US jobless claims fall; Turkey’s central bank slashes interest rate again: Economic wrap

US jobless claims fall; Turkey’s central bank slashes interest rate again: Economic wrap
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Updated 21 October 2021

US jobless claims fall; Turkey’s central bank slashes interest rate again: Economic wrap

US jobless claims fall; Turkey’s central bank slashes interest rate again: Economic wrap

Americans applying for jobless benefits declined to 290,000 in the week ending 16 October, compared to the previous seven day's 296,00 claims, official data showed. 

This is the lowest level since March 2020 as job hirers hold on to their employees as a result of worker shortages.

Turkish interest rate falls once more

The Turkish Central Bank decided to cut its interest rate again from 18 percent to 16 percent, despite rising inflation and a depreciating currency. 

This decision came after the president renewed calls to alleviate borrowing costs to promote economic growth. Economists considered this confirmation of the bank's loss of independence as the president sacked the last three central bank governors.

South Korea's exports

Based on data released by its customs agency, South Korea's exports jumped in the first 20 days of October by 36.1 percent compared to a year earlier, while imports soared by 48 percent, causing a provisional trade deficit of $2.49 billion.

Exports rose the most for petroleum products and vessels as they leapt by 128.7 percent and 93.5 percent respectively.

The data showed that exports to China, the United States and the European Union increased during this period by 30.9, 37.1 and 42.1 percent respectively.

Sub-Saharan Africa’s recovery at risk 

The IMF said that the weak vaccination rollouts in sub-Saharan Africa could setback the region’s economic recovery in the coming period.

While higher commodity prices and favorable harvests were beneficial for some countries, the overall outlook is pessimistic as the region is likely to considerably lag behind developed countries.

The international organization expects sub-Saharan economic growth to be 3.7 percent in 2021 and 3.8 percent in 2022. 

Russia’s producer prices

Russian producer prices went up by a 26.3 percent annual rate in September, official data revealed. This is the lowest level since March and was mainly driven by a 41.4 percent surge in costs of raw materials extraction and a 25.4 percent jump in manufacturing costs.

China’s investments abroad

China's non-financial outbound direct investment (ODI) grew by 2.4 percent in the first nine months of 2021 compared to the same period last year to reach $80.78 billion, the commerce ministry said.

Ukraine’s interest rate 

The Central Bank of Ukraine kept the interest rate on hold at 8.5 percent. However, the bank said there was a possible chance to increase the rate in December if needed to manage rising inflationary pressures.


Saudi Arabia takes more steps to develop and protect the Red Sea

Saudi Arabia takes more steps to develop and protect the Red Sea
Updated 10 sec ago

Saudi Arabia takes more steps to develop and protect the Red Sea

Saudi Arabia takes more steps to develop and protect the Red Sea
  • The Saudi cabinet approved on Tuesday the establishment of a new body to protect the coral reefs and sea turtles in the Red Sea

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia is taking more steps to develop and protect the Red Sea, which the Kingdom deems to be a big contributor to the growth of its tourism industry. 

The Saudi cabinet approved on Tuesday the establishment of a new body to protect the coral reefs and sea turtles in the Red Sea, as well as organizational preparation work for a new authority in the area, according to the cabinet's weekly statement carried by Saudi Press Agency.


Egypt imposes a 10% customs tax on mobile phones 

Egypt imposes a 10% customs tax on mobile phones 
Image: Shutterstock
Updated 1 min 42 sec ago

Egypt imposes a 10% customs tax on mobile phones 

Egypt imposes a 10% customs tax on mobile phones 

RIYADH: Egypt’s house of representatives approved a presidential decree that includes imposing a 10 percent customs tax on imported mobile phones, to promote local industry.

Egypt’s Minister of Finance explained that the amendments aim to encourage investment, maximize production facilities and strengthen competitiveness of goods manufactured there in international markets.

Mohamed Maait added that computers and tablets are excluded from the tax, because they constitute a tool for digital transformation and the development of the education system. 

The amendment of some categories of customer tariffs comes in light of the conclusions reached by the Higher Council of Customs Tariffs in Egypt, head of the Egyptian customs authority, El-Shahat Ghaturi said. 


Sweden’s Lundin Energy explores potential sale that could reach up to $10.7bn

Sweden’s Lundin Energy explores potential sale that could reach up to $10.7bn
Updated 5 min 11 sec ago

Sweden’s Lundin Energy explores potential sale that could reach up to $10.7bn

Sweden’s Lundin Energy explores potential sale that could reach up to $10.7bn

Sweden-based Lundin Energy, valued at around $10.7 billion, is exploring a potential sale in what could be one of the largest European oil and gas deals in years, Bloomberg said citing unnamed sources.

The shares of the company climbed as much as 14 percent on Monday, the highest jump during a day since April 2020. They rose 10 percent by the market close in Stockholm, recording a value of about 96.8 billion kronor ($10.7 billion).

The company said in a statement Monday that it “continuously engages in opportunities that are potentially value accretive,” but there are no conclusive decisions yet.


India's CashFree invests $15m in UAE payment platform Teller

India's CashFree invests $15m in UAE payment platform Teller
Image: Shutterstock
Updated 16 min 53 sec ago

India's CashFree invests $15m in UAE payment platform Teller

India's CashFree invests $15m in UAE payment platform Teller
  • They also aim to develop a unified payments platform to help merchants in India

RIYADH: Indian payments and banking solutions company CashFree has invested $15 million in Dubai-based Teller, which provides electronic payment services in the UAE and Saudi Arabia.

With this investment CashFree's market share has exceeded 50 percent.

The two companies intend to launch joint services in the MENA region, building on Teller's knowledge of the region's markets and payments infrastructure, Asharq reported.

They also aim to develop a unified payments platform to help merchants in India accept payments from customers in the region.

The electronic payments market in India exceeds $20 billion annually.


Saudi National Water Company unifies water distribution sector 

Saudi National Water Company unifies water distribution sector 
Updated 17 min 39 sec ago

Saudi National Water Company unifies water distribution sector 

Saudi National Water Company unifies water distribution sector 

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s National Water Company has completed merging 13 public water distribution firms to increase efficiency of operations and fix technical gaps.

The move will also localize expertise in the sector, NWC’s chief Mohammed Al-Mowkley said on Monday. 

The announcement was attended by the Kingdom’s Minister of Environment, Water, and Agriculture Abdulrahman Al-Fadley, who said investments in the water sector stood at $21.3 billion. 

The move is part of Saudi Arabia's National Water Strategy that aims to restructure the sector to serve its residents better. 

Under the integration, Tabuk and Al-Madinah will be the “northwestern sector,” while governorates in Riyadh will be under the “middle sector.”

NWC had previously launched a unified digital structure to improve its services across the Kingdom.