Eurozone’s private sector conditions improve following a six-month low in October: Economic wrap

Eurozone’s private sector conditions improve following a six-month low in October: Economic wrap
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Updated 23 November 2021

Eurozone’s private sector conditions improve following a six-month low in October: Economic wrap

Eurozone’s private sector conditions improve following a six-month low in October: Economic wrap

The euro area’s business activity growth picked up pace in November, following its six-month low in the previous month, IHS Markit revealed. 

The composite Purchasing Managers’ Index for the zone reached 55.8 in November, compared to 54.2 in October, according to flash estimates by the London-based firm.

However, high inflation in the area remained an issue as both costs and average selling prices went up by record rates.

Although confidence about the outlook dropped to a 10-month low — partly due to a revival of Covid-19 concerns — firms faced stronger demand in November, pulling the rate of job creation to its second highest level in 21 years.

The services sector had a stronger performance compared to manufacturing, as its growth reached a three-month high. The manufacturing sector also experienced a rebound in November, despite expanding at the second-lowest level in the previous 17 months.

The Consumer Confidence Index fell significantly in both the EU and the eurozone in November as they went down by 2.1 percent and 2.0 percent respectively compared to October.

The indicator reached -8.2 for the EU and -6.8 for the euro area, the European Commission said.

The index fell below the pre-pandemic level for the EU while it was close to that level for the eurozone. However, it remained above its long-term average.

UK’s private sector

The UK’s composite PMI ticked down to 57.7 in November from 57.8 in the previous month, flash estimates by IHS Markit showed.

Similar to the eurozone, the services sector outperformed the manufacturing industry as client demand picked up pace and pandemic-related restrictions were relaxed. The manufacturing sector expanded at its highest level in three months as well.

On the flip side, input cost inflation reached record levels in November due to wage hikes and jumps in the costs of energy, fuel and raw materials.

Meanwhile, employment levels underwent some improvements as customer demand and higher backlogs of work drove the increase.

In addition, new order intakes grew by the highest levels since June while exports rose only slightly.

Australia’s economy

Growth of the Australian private sector increased in November on the back of better conditions in both the services and the manufacturing sectors, according to flash estimates by IHS Markit.

Composite PMI for the country reached an initial reading of 55 in November, a five-month high and up from the previous month’s 52.1. Output and demand growth in the private sector rose in November as Covid-19-induced restrictions eased off. Business confidence and employment conditions also improved.

Supply chain disruptions remained an issue in the private sector. This, along with transportation and labor issues, were causing higher prices.

In another economic development for Australia, the country’s central bank said that it would closely examine asset prices to check if there are bubbles as interest rates hit record low levels, Bloomberg reported.

Favorable EM debt securities

Rising interest rates triggered by emerging markets’ central banks means that their debt will be more attractive for investors, according to private equity giant BlackRock. 

It will also provide a buffer in the event of policy tightening by the US Federal Reserve. 

“We prefer local-currency bonds of higher-yielding countries with solid current account balances,” global chief investment strategist at BlackRock, Wei Li, said.

However, this could negatively affect stocks and equities in these countries, the firm added.

Singapore’s core inflation

Singapore’s core inflation rate, which excludes changes in food and energy prices, increased to 1.5 percent in October, posting the highest jump in nearly 3 years, the Monetary Authority of Singapore revealed. 

This builds on the previous month’s inflation of 1.2 percent.

This was driven by higher prices of services and food as they rose annually by 1.6 and 1.7 percent respectively. 

In addition, consumer prices as a whole went up by a yearly rate of 3.2 percent in October, compared to 2.5 percent in September.

Poland’s interest rates

Poland’s central bank is expected to hike interest rates to pre-pandemic levels, according to Bloomberg. This comes at a time when inflationary pressures in the country are mounting.


Chip crisis pushes European car sales to new low

Chip crisis pushes European car sales to new low
Updated 17 sec ago

Chip crisis pushes European car sales to new low

Chip crisis pushes European car sales to new low
  • The Chinese car market grew by 4.4 percent and the US market by 3.7 percent

EU car sales fell to a new low last year as the auto sector was hobbled by the Covid pandemic and a shortage of computer chips, industry figures showed Tuesday.


Registrations of new passenger cars in the EU slid by 2.4 percent in 2021, to 9.7 million vehicles, the worst performance since statistics began in 1990, according to data from the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA).


That follows the historic fall of nearly 24 percent suffered in 2020 due to pandemic restrictions, and brought new car registrations in the EU to 3.3 million below the pre-crisis sales of 2019.


The lack of semiconductors, the computer chips used in a multitude of car systems in both traditional and electric vehicles, was the main reason holding the industry back.


“This fall was the result of the semiconductor shortage that negatively impacted car production throughout the year, but especially during the second half of 2021,” said the ACEA.


Car manufacturers initially downplayed the impact of the chip shortage, but it eventually led them to slow production and even idle factories.


EU car sales did rebound strongly in the second quarter, but for most of the second half they were down by around 20 percent.


The short-term perspectives for supplies are not good.


“The start of 2022 will still be difficult in terms of supplies of chips,” Alexandre Marian at the AlixPartners consultancy told AFP.


“The situation should improve in the middle of the year, but that doesn’t mean other problems won’t crop up, concerning raw materials, supply chains and labor shortages,” he said.


The chip shortage is a consequence of the pandemic as manufacturers were disrupted by lockdowns and sick employees, as well as supply chain problems and increased global demand for electronics.


The pandemic has also sent prices for many raw materials soaring and caused labor shortages in some areas.


If the markets in France, Italy and Spain posted modest gains, a 10.1-percent drop in Germany dragged down the overall EU figure.


Germany is by far Europe’s largest car market, accounting for a quarter of total sales at over 2.6 million last year.


If the shortage of semiconductors was the major factor holding back a rebound, the EU also underperformed compared to the other major markets where the recovery from the pandemic was stronger.


The Chinese car market grew by 4.4 percent and the US market by 3.7 percent.


The decline in European sales may also reflect “the sharp increase in the average price of cars as well as an expectant attitude by consumers concerning electric vehicles which is pushing them to put off purchases and hold on to their current vehicle longer,” said analysts at Inovev, an automotive data analytics firm.


Europe’s top three auto manufacturers all saw a drop in sales in the bloc.


Volkswagen managed to retain the top spot, but a 4.8-percent drop in sales to 1.4 million vehicles caused its market share to dip to 25.1 percent.


Stellantis, which was formed from the merger of Italy’s Fiat group and France’s Peugeot-Citroen, suffered a smaller 2.1-percent drop to 2.1 million units, nudging its market share higher to 21.9 percent.


Renault group suffered a 10-percent drop, with sales of its eponymous brand tumbling by 16 percent, while sales of both its low-cost Dacia brand and sporty Alpine brands rose.


The French automotive group saw its market share narrow to 10.6 percent.


Germany’s BMW managed a 1.5-percent increase in registrations, but Daimler — the owner of the Mercedes and Smart brands — suffered a 12.4-percent drop.


Korea’s Hyundai Group — which includes both the Hyundai and Kia brands — solidified its position as the number-four carmaker in the EU with an 18.4-percent gain to over 828,000 vehicles.


Its market share rose to 8.5 percent.


The data, which are supplied by ACEA members, do not include sales by US electric vehicle manufacturer Tesla.


The ACEA data also did not include a breakdown by petrol, diesel and electric vehicles, which are provided in a separate quarterly report.


Out of this world: 555.55-carat black diamond lands in Dubai

Out of this world: 555.55-carat black diamond lands in Dubai
An employee of Sotheby's Dubai presents a 555.55 Carat Black Diamond "The Enigma" to be auctioned at Sotheby's
Updated 13 min 46 sec ago

Out of this world: 555.55-carat black diamond lands in Dubai

Out of this world: 555.55-carat black diamond lands in Dubai
  • Stevens also said the black diamond is likely from outer space

Auction house Sotheby’s Dubai has unveiled a diamond that’s literally from out of this world.


Sotheby’s calls the 555.55-carat black diamond — believed to have come from outer space — “The Enigma.”

The rare gem was shown off on Monday to journalists as part of a tour in Dubai and Los Angeles before it is due to be auctioned off in February in London.


Sotheby’s expects the diamond to be sold for at least 5 million British pounds ($6.8 million). The auction house plans to accept cryptocurrency as a possible payment as well.


Sophie Stevens, a jewelry specialist at Sotheby’s Dubai, told The Associated Press that the number five bears an importance significance to the diamond, which has 55 facets as well.


“The shape of the diamond is based on the Middle-Eastern palm symbol of the Khamsa, which stands for strength and it stands for protection,” she said. Khamsa in Arabic means five.


“So there’s a nice theme of the number five running throughout the diamond," she added.


Stevens also said the black diamond is likely from outer space.


“With the carbonado diamonds, we believe that they were formed through extraterrestrial origins, with meteorites colliding with the Earth and either forming chemical vapor disposition or indeed coming from the meteorites themselves,” she said.


Black diamonds, also known as carbonado, are extremely rare, and are found naturally only in Brazil and Central Africa. The cosmic origin theory is based on their carbon isotopes and high hydrogen content.

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All you need to know before Tadawul opens amidst winning streak 

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Updated 18 January 2022

All you need to know before Tadawul opens amidst winning streak 

All you need to know before Tadawul opens amidst winning streak 

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s main TASI index ended higher for the seventh straight session on Monday, buoyed by optimistic investor sentiment.

TASI advanced to close at 12,166 points, while the parallel market Nomu edged down by 0.4 percent.

Nomu is to see two new company listings today of Alwasail Industrial Co. and AME Co. for Medical Supplies.

Gulf stock exchanges saw a mixed performance on Monday, led by TASI and Kuwait’s BKP, both up 0.5 percent.

Next, the Qatari index QSI added 0.3 percent, while Bahrain’s BAX was flat. Bourses of Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and Oman edged lower.

Elsewhere in the Middle East, the Egyptian index EGX30 closed 0.2 percent higher.

The oil market was up in early trading. Brent crude reached $87.6 per barrel and US WTI crude oil crossed $85 per barrel as of 9:00 a.m. Saudi time.

Stock news

  • Smart Cities Solutions Co., subsidiary of Batic Investments and Logistics Co., has sealed a SR422 million ($113 million) deal for a smart parking project in Buraydah
  • Amana Cooperative Insurance Co. has announced its board’s recommendation to increase capital through a rights issue, with a target amount of SR300 million
  • Saudi Public Transport Co., also known as SAPTCO, has appointed Musad Bin Abdulaziz Aldaood as Vice Chairman for three years starting on Jan. 1, 2022
  • Aldrees Petroleum and Transport Services Co.’s board recommended SR1.5 dividend per share for the fiscal year 2021
  • Mouwasat Medical Services Co.’s board recommended dividends at SR2.75 per share for 2021

Calendar

Jan. 18, 2022

  • Alwasail Industrial Co. and AME Co. for Medical Supplies will debut their shares on Nomu
  • Subscription to Allied Cooperative Insurance Group’s unsubscribed shares starts

Jan. 19, 2022

  • Allied Cooperative Insurance Group’s rump offering ends

Jan. 20, 2022

  • National Co. for Learning and Education will start paying out dividends of SR0.8 per share for the fiscal year ended Aug. 31, 2021

 


Saudi city of Buraydah sees a $133m smart parking system

Saudi city of Buraydah sees a $133m smart parking system
Updated 18 January 2022

Saudi city of Buraydah sees a $133m smart parking system

Saudi city of Buraydah sees a $133m smart parking system

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Smart Cities Solutions Co., or SCSC, has sealed a SR422 million ($113 million) deal for a smart parking project in the city of Buraydah.

The contract duration stands at 25 years, a bourse statement by the mother company Batic Investments and Logistics Co. revealed.

As per the deal, Buraydah is to see SCSC develop, operate, and maintain a smart parking system.

SCSC will build multiple hydraulic parking lots which will provide nearly 8,000 parking spaces.

The project’s financial impact is expected to roll out on the company’s financial statements upon its completion, Batic said in the statement.

Batic owns 72.8 percent of the capital of SCSC, which specializes in implementing technical services and smart city solutions in pursuit of Saudi Vision 2030.

SCSC has already signed 25-year contracts to develop smart parking solutions in three other Saudi Arabian cities, Al Khobar, Dhahran, and Dammam.


2021 was a record year for VCs investing in emerging venture market: MAGNiTT

2021 was a record year for VCs investing in emerging venture market: MAGNiTT
Updated 18 January 2022

2021 was a record year for VCs investing in emerging venture market: MAGNiTT

2021 was a record year for VCs investing in emerging venture market: MAGNiTT

RIYADH: 2021 was a record year for venture capitalists investing in emerging venture market across Middle East, Africa, Pakistan and Turkey, according to a new report from MAGNiTT.

The deals last year hit $6.8 billion through 1,329 deals, marking a growth of 228 percent in funding and 267 percent in number of deals when compared to 2020, the report showed.

The year was also a record for mega deals with 12 mega-deals, those that exceeded $100 million, more than all mega-deals combined between 2016 and 2020. These deals accounted for 42 percent of all capital raised across Emerging Venture Markets in 2021.

Philip Bahoshy, CEO & Founder of MAGNiTT said in a statement: “2021 has in fact been more than just a record-breaking year for VCs, rather it has been a defining year. While the global pandemic posed great pressures on governments, private sectors, and startup ecosystems alike; the year 2021 marked the resurgence of VC activity tenfold.”

MAGNiTT is a data platform founded in 2015 covering venture capital in emerging venture markets.