Spanish unemployment rate falls; German retail sales up: Macro snapshot

Spanish unemployment rate falls; German retail sales up: Macro snapshot
The famous Cibeles fountain in Madrid, Spain (Shutterstock)
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Updated 04 January 2022

Spanish unemployment rate falls; German retail sales up: Macro snapshot

Spanish unemployment rate falls; German retail sales up: Macro snapshot

Spain's unemployment rate fell by 76,782 people, or 2.41 percent, in December, marking the 10th consecutive month of lower unemployment figures and the lowest for the period since 2007, according to Spain's Ministry of Labor.

Spain added 70,814 jobs during the month, while about 102,548 people were still enrolled in the state-supported leave scheme, 35,000 fewer than the previous month.

This brings the number of registered workers to 19.84 million, a record for the Spanish labor market, according to the Ministry of Social Security.

UK Hiring 

Higher consumer demand for instant products and services could induce UK companies to increase their hiring, according to a survey by Lloyds Bank Plc.

Almost half of the surveyed firms plan to hire more workers in the medium term, Bloomberg reported.

Australia's Housing prices

Following a 22.1 percent rise in 2021, the housing boom in Australia seems to be over as prices are set to rise by only 5 percent this year.

The price hike in 2021 was the highest since 1988, according to Bloomberg. Caused by a drop in the high-end properties boom, housing prices went up by just 1 percent in December, CoreLogic Inc. said.

Melbourne, the country’s second most populous city, experienced the first drop in prices since October 2020, falling slightly by 0.1 percent last month. Meanwhile, Sydney’s home prices rose by 0.3 percent, the lowest rate since the same period.

German retail sales 

A sharp rise in German retail sales in November pushed annual retail sales to a record high, despite the restrictions of the coronavirus pandemic that hampered a consumer-led recovery in Europe's largest economy.

Retail sales rose 0.6 percent on a monthly basis in real terms, according to the Federal Statistics Office.

China’s Factories activity

Factory activity in China grew at its fastest pace in six months in December, driven by higher production and easing price pressures.
Meanwhile, the Caixin/Markit Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index rose to 50.9 percent in December, hitting its highest level since June.

Factory production increased at the fastest pace in a year, helped by easing price pressures. A gauge of input prices has fallen to its lowest level since May 2020, according to the Reuters survey.


Russian crude production plunges by nearly 9 percent in April, OPEC+ data shows

Russian crude production plunges by nearly 9 percent in April, OPEC+ data shows
Updated 9 sec ago

Russian crude production plunges by nearly 9 percent in April, OPEC+ data shows

Russian crude production plunges by nearly 9 percent in April, OPEC+ data shows

LONDON: Russian crude output fell by nearly 9 percent to 9.16 million barrels per day (bpd) compared with March levels, according to assessments by OPEC+ secondary sources, an internal report seen by Reuters on Tuesday showed.

This meant that Russia last month produced 1.28 million bpd below the levels required in an oil production cut agreement between the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies, a group known as OPEC+.

Overall, OPEC+ produced 2.6 million bpd below its targets in April, the data showed.


Dubai’s GII acquires 51% of Saudi Arabia’s Almeswak for $530m

Dubai’s GII acquires 51% of Saudi Arabia’s Almeswak for $530m
Updated 15 min 50 sec ago

Dubai’s GII acquires 51% of Saudi Arabia’s Almeswak for $530m

Dubai’s GII acquires 51% of Saudi Arabia’s Almeswak for $530m

RIYADH: Dubai-based Gulf Islamic Investments completed a $530 million deal to acquire 51 percent stake in Saudi care provider Almeswak Dental Clinics. 

GII said it will seek to list Almeswak on the Saudi stock exchange within the next three years, Gold Business reported. 

“This is a landmark transaction that reflects our capability and reach in the healthcare sector and the Saudi market,” said Mohammed Al-Hassan, GII co-founder.

GII, as the company is known, has acquired a majority stake in Almeswak Dental Clinics from Saudi private equity firm Jadwa Investment Co.

Almeswak, which Jadwa acquired in 2017, operates more than 80 centers across 20 cities in Saudi Arabia.

 


Saudi IT provider Arab Sea back to losses as rising costs bite

Saudi IT provider Arab Sea back to losses as rising costs bite
Updated 17 min 26 sec ago

Saudi IT provider Arab Sea back to losses as rising costs bite

Saudi IT provider Arab Sea back to losses as rising costs bite

RIYADH: Saudi-listed information technology provider Arab Sea Information Systems Co. has turned into losses of SR3.6 million ($0.96 million) in the first quarter.

The company had made SR75,071 in profit in the first quarter of last year even as its sales were slightly lower, according to a bourse filing.

The Riyadh-based firm is now back to losses after it had earlier returned to an annual profit of SR21.5 million as revenue almost doubled in 2021.

Arab Sea attributed the results to a rise in expenses due to higher wages and other cost components, in addition to the cost incurred from establishing its unit, Arab Sea Financial Co.


SABIC Agri-Nutrients to invest inside and outside Saudi Arabia: Chairman

SABIC Agri-Nutrients to invest inside and outside Saudi Arabia: Chairman
Updated 30 min 43 sec ago

SABIC Agri-Nutrients to invest inside and outside Saudi Arabia: Chairman

SABIC Agri-Nutrients to invest inside and outside Saudi Arabia: Chairman

RIYADH: SABIC Agri-Nutrients Co. plans to continue examining investment opportunities both inside and outside Saudi Arabia, Chairman Abdulrahman Shamsaddin told Argaam.

Through the investment plan, the company will establish projects related to the agricultural nutrients industry in order to support its growth strategy for fertilizers and nutrients.

Along with conforming to all relevant industry standards and laws, the chairman said the company will form a partnership with all its stakeholders locally and globally. This will be done to improve shareholder rights and boost the company’s workforce to maximize its assets and reach global audiences, according to the top official.  

SABIC Agri-Nutrients Co. profit soared to SR2.5 billion ($670 million) in the first quarter, compared to SR423 million in the same period a year ago, one of the highest quarterly profits.

Incorporated in 1965, SABIC is a half-owned subsidiary of chemical giant SABIC and a significant player within the fertilizer industry. It supplies customers throughout the Middle East, Far East, Africa, and the US.

 


Commodities Update — Gold flat; Wheat nears record peak; UN warns on child nutrition due to price hikes

Commodities Update — Gold flat; Wheat nears record peak; UN warns on child nutrition due to price hikes
Updated 38 min 21 sec ago

Commodities Update — Gold flat; Wheat nears record peak; UN warns on child nutrition due to price hikes

Commodities Update — Gold flat; Wheat nears record peak; UN warns on child nutrition due to price hikes

RIYADH: Gold prices were little changed on Tuesday, as a pullback in the dollar supported demand for greenback-priced bullion and countered pressure from a recovery in US Treasury yields.  

Spot gold was last up 0.1 percent at $1,825.29 per ounce, as of 2.18 a.m. GMT, while US gold futures gained 0.6 percent to $1,825.60. 

Spot silver dropped 0.2 percent to $21.56 per ounce, while platinum was flat at $945.76. 

Palladium fell 1.2 percent to $2,002.17. 

Wheat up on supply worries

Chicago wheat futures on Tuesday neared a record peak set in March, after the US Department of Agriculture reported a worsening condition of the winter crop, deepening supply worries in an already-tight market.

The significance of US crops has risen after the Russian invasion of Ukraine hampered shipments from the key Black Sea region, and India unexpectedly closed its doors on wheat exports.

The most-active wheat contract on the Chicago Board of Trade rose as much as 2.2 percent to $12.75 a bushel, the highest since March 8, when it hit a record high of $13.64.

CBOT corn was down 0.5 percent at $8.05-1/4 a bushel as of 0204 GMT, after touching a two-week peak in the previous session.

CBOT soybeans were 0.1 percent higher at $16.58 a bushel.

London copper at near 1-week high

Prices of London copper, often used to gauge global economic health, rose to a nearly one-week high on Tuesday, as top metals consumer China’s decision to ease some COVID-19 restrictions fueled expectations of a recovery in demand.

Benchmark three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange was up 1.1 percent at $9,338 a ton, as of 0504 GMT, after hitting its highest since May 11 at $9,341.50.

The most-active June copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange rose 0.8 percent to $10,573.36 a ton by the midday break.

UN warns of ‘catastrophic’ child malnutrition due to price hikes, Ukraine war

The cost of life-saving treatment for the most severely malnourished children is set to jump by up to 16 percent, due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and pandemic disruptions, according to the United Nations’ children’s agency.

The raw ingredients of the ready-to-eat-therapeutic food have leapt in price, amid the global food crisis sparked by the war and pandemic, UNICEF said.

Without further funding in the next six months, 600,000 more children may miss out on the essential treatment, which is a high-energy paste made of ingredients including peanuts, oil, sugar and added nutrients.

UNICEF did not specify how much increased spending would be needed to maintain the program. It said a carton of the specialized nutrition containing 150 packets — enough for 6 to 8 weeks to bring a severely malnourished child back to health — goes for about $41 on average.

Alongside the wider pressure on food security, including climate change, the price rise could lead to “catastrophic” levels of severe malnutrition, the children’s agency warned in a statement.

“The world is rapidly becoming a virtual tinderbox of preventable child deaths and child suffering from wasting,” said UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell.

(With input from Reuters)