Vietnam’s resort island welcomes first tourists after nearly 2 years

South Korean tourists walk through the lounge area of Vinpearl Resort in Phu Quoc island on Saturday. AFP
South Korean tourists walk through the lounge area of Vinpearl Resort in Phu Quoc island on Saturday. AFP
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Updated 20 November 2021

Vietnam’s resort island welcomes first tourists after nearly 2 years

Vietnam’s resort island welcomes first tourists after nearly 2 years

HANOI: Two hundred vaccinated foreign tourists arrived in Vietnam’s beach-fringed island of Phu Quoc on Saturday, the first wave of visitors to the country in nearly two years as it seeks to resurrect its pandemic-ravaged tourism economy.

Vietnam imposed tight border controls at the start of the pandemic in an effort to keep out COVID-19, with some initial success, but that harmed its burgeoning tourism sector, which typically accounts for about 10 percent of gross domestic product.

Vaccinated tourists now do not have to undergo mandatory two-week quarantine, according to the authorities, but are required to enjoy their holiday only inside the mega complex resort Vinpearl and will be tested twice during their trip.

“This is the first and vital step to revive our tourism sector and to prepare for the full resumption next year,” Nguyen Trung Khanh, chairman of the country’s tourism administration said in statement.

“We want to offer tourists a new experience amid new normalcy which they can live fully in Phu Quoc and then live fully in Vietnam,” Khanh added.

The island’s authorities expect to welcome 400,000 domestic and international tourists to the end of this year.

Other Vietnamese destinations such as the UNESCO world heritage site Hoi An and Danang beach are also welcoming international tourists back.

The move follows similar steps taken by neighboring Thailand, which hosted vaccinated foreign tourist for quarantine-free holiday earlier this month.

Foreign arrivals to Vietnam slumped from 18 million in 2019, when tourism revenue was $31 billion, or nearly 12 percent of its gross domestic product, to 3.8 million last year.

Vietnam, which has inoculated more than half of its 98 million people, is seeking to resume international commercial flights from January next year and eyeing a full tourism reopening from June.


Turkish manufacturers stop production amid limited gas supply: NRG matters

Turkish manufacturers stop production amid limited gas supply: NRG matters
Updated 13 sec ago

Turkish manufacturers stop production amid limited gas supply: NRG matters

Turkish manufacturers stop production amid limited gas supply: NRG matters

RIYADH: From the US to Europe to Asia, instability in the energy sector prevails as prices continue to soar, delays take place, proposals jeopardize green goals, and gas flows come to a halt. However, countries including Indonesia seem to be keeping their green push on track with major investments on the way.

Looking at the bigger picture:

  • European power prices are soaring as mild weather reduces wind turbine output, Bloomberg reported. The surge in prices is further deepened by the political turbulence caused by Russia’s movements on Ukraine’s border which could jeopardize the continent’s energy supply.
  • Around 300 renewable power firms are appealing to congress leaders in the US to speed up the signing off of climate projects which are part of President Biden’s tax and spending plan. This comes as projections indicate that each month of delay leads to a loss of an estimated $2 billion of economic activity.
  • The EU has been criticized by The Platform on Sustainable Finance for its plan to label nuclear energy and natural gas projects as green and sustainable, Bloomberg reported. This comes as the plan is expected to threaten the continent’s net zero goals, diminishing the EU’s credibility when it comes to environmentally-friendly policies.
  • Several Turkish manufacturers have temporarily stopped production after neighboring Iran cut gas flows into the country for as much as 10 days due to technical issues in a local station, Reuters reported.
  • Indonesia is to establish a $4 billion worth polysilicon industry to boost solar panel production, Bloomberg reported. This comes as the Asian country aims to drift away from fossil fuels and shift its dependability on green energy.

Through a micro lens:

  • UK multinational oil and gas firm Shell’s carbon capture plant located in Canada, better known as The Quest, is responsible for releasing more greenhouse gases than it captures, according to an investigation by UK human rights organization Global Witness  The group claims that while the carbon capture facility has averted 5 million tons of carbon dioxide from breaking free into the atmosphere since 2015, it has emitted 7.5 million tons of greenhouse gases in return during the same period. A spokesman for Shell claimed that the analysis is “simply wrong,” CNBC reported.

Saudi TASI opens flat as investor sentiment slips: Opening bell

Saudi TASI opens flat as investor sentiment slips: Opening bell
Updated 19 min 44 sec ago

Saudi TASI opens flat as investor sentiment slips: Opening bell

Saudi TASI opens flat as investor sentiment slips: Opening bell

RIYADH: Saudi Arabian stocks opened flat on Tuesday, with the main index TASI just nudging higher, on weaker investor sentiment amidst cautious trading.

As of 10:20 a.m. Saudi time, TASI was at 12,081 points, and the parallel Nomu market traded at 25,560 points.

Saudi insurer Bupa Arabia topped the gainers in early trading as it surged 3.3 percent to SR139 ($37).

In the financial sector, the Kingdom’s largest bank by market value Al Rajhi Bank advanced 0.5 percent and Alinma Bank edged up 0.2 percent.

Financial sector gains were capped as shares in the Saudi British Bank, known as SABB, the Arab National Bank, and Riyad Bank fell 0.9, 1.3, and 0.9 percent, respectively.

Shares in utility provider ACWA POWER Co. went up by 1.33 percent.

Riyadh-based transport firm Saudi Public Transport Co. added 0.8 percent after it sealed a SR57.5 million public transport deal with the authority of Saudi Arabia’s Madinah Region.

Arabian Centres Co., known as Almrakez, gained 0.7 percent.

Almrakez said it will distribute cash dividends at SR0.75 ($0.2) per share for the first half of the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2021.

In energy trading, Brent crude oil reached $86.9 per barrel, and US benchmark WTI crude oil was at $83.8 per barrel as of 10:17 a.m. Saudi time.


Ericsson profits soar despite China trouble

Ericsson profits soar despite China trouble
Image: Shutterstock
Updated 51 min 49 sec ago

Ericsson profits soar despite China trouble

Ericsson profits soar despite China trouble

Swedish telecoms giant Ericsson said Tuesday its net profit soared in 2021, with a better-than-expected performance in the fourth quarter despite losing ground in the key Chinese market.


The world’s number two telecoms equipment maker is competing with China’s Huawei in the global rollout of ultra-fast 5G mobile phone networks.


But Ericsson’s sales in China have taken a major hit as it has faced reprisals there since Sweden banned Huawei and another Chinese firm, ZTE, from the European country’s 5G network in 2020 for security reasons.


Despite the challenges, the Swedish company expects to reach its long-term profitability target sooner than previously estimated.


“Our strategy to invest in technology leadership and grow market share in our core business underpinned a robust financial performance in 2021 and ensured a good Q4 for Ericsson overall,” chief executive Borje Ekholm said in a statement.


Net profit soared by 30 percent last year to 23 billion kronor ($2.5 billion, 2.2 billion euros).


Sales were stable at 232.3 billion kronor in 2021.


Its profit surged by 41 percent in the fourth quarter to 10.1 billion kronor, while sales rose by three percent at 71.3 billion kronor.


Analysts surveyed by Bloomberg had expected a quarterly profit retreating to 7.1 billion kronor.


In mainland China, sales plunged by 7.7 billion kronor last year, but Ericsson made up those losses by gaining ground in other markets.
 


All you need to know before trading on Tadawul today

All you need to know before trading on Tadawul today
Updated 25 January 2022

All you need to know before trading on Tadawul today

All you need to know before trading on Tadawul today
  • The main index TASI closed 0.6 percent lower at 12,068 points, partially shrugging off gains from the past two weeks

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s stock exchange fell for a second consecutive day on Monday as cautious trading took over, and investors braced for more earnings announcements.

The main index TASI closed 0.6 percent lower at 12,068 points, partially shrugging off gains from the past two weeks. The parallel Nomu market slipped 0.5 percent to 25,573 points.

This was in line with other GCC stock exchanges, which were all down except for the Qatari bourse which saw a 0.3 percent rise in its QSI index.

Dubai’s DFMGI led the fallers as it registered losses amounting to 2 percent.

Bourses of Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Oman, and Kuwait all edged down from 0.1 to 0.5 percent.

The Egyptian EGX30 index retreated 0.3 percent.

In energy trading, Brent crude oil reached $86.9 per barrel, and US benchmark WTI crude oil was at $83.8 per barrel as of 8:46 a.m. Saudi time.

Stock news

  • Riyadh-based Saudi Public Transport Co., also known as SAPTCO, sealed a SR57.5 million ($15 million) public transport deal with the authority of Saudi Arabia’s Madinah Region
  • Car rental firm Theeb Rent a Car has closed a SR27 million leasing agreement for four years with the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development
  • Saudi petrochemical firm SABIC Agri-Nutrients has completed a SR1.2 billion partial acquisition in Dubai-based ETG Inputs Holdco LTD
  • Alandalus Property Co. has completed 70 percent of Al Jawharah Al Kubra project in Jeddah
  • Al Rajhi Capital, manager of Al Rajhi REIT Fund, has completed the extension of the limit on Shariah-compliant facilities granted to the fund by an amount of SR600 million
  • BinDawood Holding Co. is working with its legal advisor to compensate for the damages suffered because of the lawsuit filed against subsidiary Danube Co. for Foodstuffs and Commodities

Calendar

Jan. 25, 2022

End of East Pipes Integrated Co.’s initial public offering subscription

Saudia Dairy and Foodstuff Co., SADAFCO, to pay cash dividends at SR3 per share for the first half of its fiscal year

Jan. 27, 2022

End of Gas Arabian Services’ IPO book-building

End of Scientific and Medical Equipment House’s IPO book-building

Jan. 28, 2022

End of Elm Co.’s IPO book-building 

 


Chemicals sales soar as Saudi non-oil exports grow by 26%

Chemicals sales soar as Saudi non-oil exports grow by 26%
Updated 25 January 2022

Chemicals sales soar as Saudi non-oil exports grow by 26%

Chemicals sales soar as Saudi non-oil exports grow by 26%

RIYADH: Outgoing chemical shipments picked up pace significantly prompting the Saudi non-oil exports growth to hit an annual rate of 26.1 percent in November, according to data released by Gastat.

Exports of chemicals or allied industries expanded went up by 70.6 percent from a year ago and made up 34 percent of non-oil merchandise exports.

Sales of plastics and rubber also increased, rising by a yearly rate of 38.4 percent.

The ratio of non-oil exports to imports jumped to 52.6 percent in November, up from 42.3 percent in the previous month, as imports increased by only 1.4 percent compared to the higher growth of non-oil sales, Gastat pointed out in its latest report.

Moreover, oil exports surged by 112.8 percent and its share of total exports increased to 75.8 percent in November, up from 65 percent in the same month of the previous year. Overall merchandise exports leaped 82.5 percent from a year earlier.

China was the Kingdom’s main trading partner, accounting for 17.2 percent of total exports and 20.6 percent of imports. India and Japan were other major recipients of Saudi goods and services, buying 11.6 percent and 9.6 percent, respectively, of exports. South Korea, the US, the UAE and Egypt were also among the top 10 exporting destinations.

In addition, the US and the UAE provided Saudi Arabia with 11.4 percent and 6 percent, respectively, of its imports.

Looking at the major customs ports for imports, Gastat said that 25.9 percent of total purchases came through the Jeddah Islamic Sea Port in November. It was followed by King Abdulaziz Port, King Khalid International Airport and Bat'ha.