General Motors Middle East appoints Sajed Sbeih as new vice president

General Motors Middle East appoints Sajed Sbeih as new vice president
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Updated 17 January 2022

General Motors Middle East appoints Sajed Sbeih as new vice president

General Motors Middle East appoints Sajed Sbeih as new vice president

RIYADH: Automotive company General Motors Africa and Middle East, or GM AMEO, has appointed Sajed Sbeih to the role of vice president of strategy, product & operations at GM Europe. 

Sbeih was previously serving as the managing director of commercial operations for GM Middle East & Sub-Saharan Africa, according to the company’s statement.

Currently named as GM AMEO chief financial officer, Albert Nazarian has been named as the managing director of commercial operations for GM Middle East & Sub-Saharan Africa.

Also, Ajai Shankar, former finance director, is appointed as the company’s new chief financial officer.  

This comes in line with the company’s global growth strategy and efforts to support its vision of Zero Crashes, Zero Emissions and Zero Congestion.


Indonesia to lift ban on palm oil exports from Monday: president

Indonesia to lift ban on palm oil exports from Monday: president
Updated 10 sec ago

Indonesia to lift ban on palm oil exports from Monday: president

Indonesia to lift ban on palm oil exports from Monday: president

Jakarta: Indonesia will lift its ban on palm oil exports next week, President Joko Widodo said Thursday, relieving pressure on the global vegetable oil market that hit peak prices because of the suspension, the war in Ukraine and global warming.

“Based on the supply and the condition of cooking oil and considering there are 17 million people in the palm oil industry; farmers and other supporting workers, I decided that cooking oil export will reopen on Monday, May 23,” he told an online briefing.

Indonesia's Palm Oil Association appreciates the government's decision to lift a palm oil export ban from May 23, as storage tanks were reaching full capacity, secretary general Eddy Martono said on Thursday.

Separately, palm oil farmers union SPKS in a statement said it hopes plantation activities will soon return to normal due to the removal of the ban.


Saudi fintech NQOODLET wins Visa Everywhere Initiative in Saudi Arabia finals

Saudi fintech NQOODLET wins Visa Everywhere Initiative in Saudi Arabia finals
Updated 7 min 16 sec ago

Saudi fintech NQOODLET wins Visa Everywhere Initiative in Saudi Arabia finals

Saudi fintech NQOODLET wins Visa Everywhere Initiative in Saudi Arabia finals

RIYADH: Expense management fintech platform NQOODLET has won the the Saudi Arabian heat of the 2022 Visa Everywhere Initiative finals, the global innovation competition for startups and fintech companies.

For claiming the first place, NQOODLET won SR200,000 ($53,000) and will represent Saudi Arabia at the regional finals in the Central Europe, Middle East and Africa which will be held on June 17. 

Founded in 2021, NQOODLET provides a digital platform for small and medium enterprises to manage their expenses, purchases, and register bills directly through corporate cards.

The Visa Everywhere Initiative — Launched in 2015 —  is a global, open innovation program that tasks start-ups and fintechs to solve payment and commerce challenges to further enhance their own product propositions.

 


Egypt In-Focus: Food exports to Malaysia surge 338% in Q1

Egypt In-Focus: Food exports to Malaysia surge 338% in Q1
Updated 35 min 3 sec ago

Egypt In-Focus: Food exports to Malaysia surge 338% in Q1

Egypt In-Focus: Food exports to Malaysia surge 338% in Q1

RIYADH: Egyptian food exports to Malaysia saw an increase in the first quarter of 2022 as compared to the same quarter in 2021. The government is stressing the need to promote financing green growth in the African continent. 

  • Food exports to Malaysia surged a record 338 percent during the first quarter of 2022 to reach $3.5 million, local newspaper Youm 7 reported.  The value of food exports to Malaysia during the corresponding quarter a year earlier stood at $800,000. This is a good opportunity to raise the volume of trade exchange between both countries, according to Tamim El-Dawy, deputy executive director of the Export Council for Food Industries.
  • Minister of International Cooperation Rania Al-Mashat attended a panel discussion on financing green growth, local newspaper Youm 7 reported. She highlighted the importance of boosting multilateral cooperation as well as the crucial role of development banks and international institutions in promoting green growth in Africa.
  • The International Finance Corp., or IFC, has announced that it will be collaborating with Egyptian leading pharmaceutical company Rameda in an attempt to back the local firm’s green strategy, enhance its production efficiency, and boost overall productivity. The IFC is aiming to do so by assisting Rameda in adopting solutions that will help it reduce its carbon as well as water footprint in addition to improving competences in materials and resource utilization, Daily News Egypt reported.
  • Over 2.14 million tons of wheat have been collected from farmers all over Egypt, reflecting high efficiency in terms of the operating wheat supply system, local newspaper Egypt Today reported, citing Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly. 

Saudi Arabia’s public debt edges up at end of 1Q as new domestic debt exceeds repayment

Saudi Arabia’s public debt edges up at end of 1Q as new domestic debt exceeds repayment
Updated 51 min 37 sec ago

Saudi Arabia’s public debt edges up at end of 1Q as new domestic debt exceeds repayment

Saudi Arabia’s public debt edges up at end of 1Q as new domestic debt exceeds repayment

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s public debt increased by just over 2 percent to SR958 billion ($256 billion) at the end of the first quarter of 2022, according to a quarterly report from the Ministry of Finance. 

The increase in public debt — which stood at SR938 billion in the fourth quarter of 2021 — was driven by higher domestic issuances combined with lower principal repayments. 

The “issuances and borrowings” by the Kingdom during the first quarter of 2022 totaled SR52.6 billion, while the repayment of principal over the same period was SR32 billion.

HIGHLIGHTS

The increase in public debt — which stood at SR938 billion in the fourth quarter of 2021 — was driven by higher domestic issuances combined with lower principal repayments. 

Saudi Arabia’s real GDP grew 9.6 percent year-on-year in the first quarter of 2022, the highest growth rate in 10 years.

The Kingdom’s public debt-to-GDP ratio stood at 30 percent as of Dec. 31, 2021.

The public debt level is SR20 billion higher than that projected by Saudi-based Jadwa Investments, which expected it to stay at SR938 billion in 2022 and 2023, according to a research report issued earlier this week.

Jadwa revised upward the firm's projection for the Kingdom’s nominal gross domestic product growth in 2022 to 22.8 percent year-on-year from the previous February estimate of 10.9 percent.  As a result the firm is now projecting a lower 2022 public debt-to-GDP ratio of 24.4 percent compared to 26.4 percent previously.  

In February, Jadwa cited a recent statement by the National Debt Management Center that “the funding requirement in 2022 would mainly focus on refinancing SR43 billion of debt, although it would remain opportunistic by exploring additional debt raising activities, depending on market conditions.”

Though public debt increased in the first quarter of 2022, the rise in public debt-to-gross domestic product ratio at year-end is likely to be capped by the strong growth in nominal GDP projected for the current year.

Saudi Arabia’s real GDP grew 9.6 percent year-on-year in the first quarter of 2022, the highest growth rate in 10 years, according to the General Authority for Statistics. The increase was driven by a significant increase in oil activities.

The Kingdom’s public debt-to-GDP ratio stood at 30 percent as of Dec. 31, 2021, data compiled by Arab News shows.


India In-Focus — Shares fall; JPMorgan downgrades India’s IT sector; Central threatens to curb domestic coal supply

India In-Focus — Shares fall; JPMorgan downgrades India’s IT sector; Central threatens to curb domestic coal supply
Updated 56 min 26 sec ago

India In-Focus — Shares fall; JPMorgan downgrades India’s IT sector; Central threatens to curb domestic coal supply

India In-Focus — Shares fall; JPMorgan downgrades India’s IT sector; Central threatens to curb domestic coal supply

MUMBAI: Indian shares dropped 2 percent on Thursday, weighed down by a broader market selloff, as investors dumped risky assets on worries over stubborn inflation and economic slowdown.

The NSE Nifty 50 index was down 1.95 percent at 15,924, as of 0353 GMT, with all its major sub-indexes in the negative territory, while the S&P BSE Sensex fell 2.11 percent to 53,067.39.

JPMorgan downgrades India’s IT sector as pandemic boom fades

Soaring inflation, supply chain issues and the hit from the Ukraine war will bring an end to the growth boom India’s IT services industry enjoyed during the pandemic, JPMorgan analysts said on Thursday as they downgraded the sector to “underweight.”

The $194-billion sector whose software services helped businesses adapt to pandemic-era practices of online shopping and remote working is facing a demand slowdown this year as employees return to offices and the Russia-Ukraine war weighs on spending from clients in Europe.

“We see peak revenue growth behind us and EBIT margins trending down from inflation, mean reversion,” JPM said.

“While the bottom-up outlook remains positive from most Services, Software and SaaS names YTD, and the tech spending cycle remains buoyant structurally, we feel there are more downside risks to current earnings assumptions.”

The brokerage expects the slowdown to worsen in 2023 partly due to a potential decline in orders from the key market of the US, where economic growth has started to weaken.

It lowered Tata Consultancy Services Ltd, India’s top IT exporter, to “underweight” rating from “neutral” but stayed “overweight” on rival Infosys.

India threatens to curb domestic coal supply if utilities delay imports

India’s power ministry on Wednesday said it would cut domestic fuel supply to state government-run utilities by 5 percent if they do not import coal for blending by June 15, as officials struggle to address rising power demand.

A heatwave pushed power use to a record high in April, leading to the worst electricity crisis in more than six years and forcing India to reverse a policy to slash coal imports.

“If blending with domestic coal is not started by June 15, then the domestic allocation of the concerned defaulter thermal power plants will be further reduced by 5 percent,” the power ministry said in a statement.

It said state government-run utilities, most of which are debt-laden, will have to import more coal to fire their power plants due to reduced local supply if they delay placing orders and supplies do not arrive by June 15.

The power ministry has asked all utilities to ensure delivery of 50 percent of the allocated quantity by June 30, another 40 percent by end-August and the remaining 10 percent by the end of October.

(With input from Reuters)