Lebanon’s 2022 draft budget forecasts 20.8% deficit amid financial crisis

Lebanon’s 2022 draft budget forecasts 20.8% deficit amid financial crisis
View of the Parliament of Lebanon building (Shutterstock)
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Updated 21 January 2022

Lebanon’s 2022 draft budget forecasts 20.8% deficit amid financial crisis

Lebanon’s 2022 draft budget forecasts 20.8% deficit amid financial crisis

Lebanon’s debt-ridden government expects a 20.8 percent deficit for the coming year, according to a draft budget released on Jan 21. 

The plan, seen by Reuters, will see ministers put forward a long-term treasury advance to Electricité du Liban, Lebanon’s electricity company, of 5.25 trillion Lebanese pounds ($3.5 billion).

The advance will be provided to pay for fuel purchases, interest and loan installments, in a country that has been hit by energy shortages.

Last year, Lebanon’s projected budget had a deficit of 31.3 percent, and the plan was not passed by the country’s parliament.

Political dissension and escalating tensions between communities have had a negative impact on economic growth, compounding Lebanon’s woes since its 2019 default on a $90 billion debt.

Nassib Ghobril, head of research at Lebanon’s Byblos bank, warned that the government’s projection of a lower deficit depends on whether it can “improve the investment climate for business.”

Speaking to Arab News, he argued that a 10 percent tax increase on imported goods “won’t be effective if the government keeps on avoiding combatting custom evasion and smuggling.”

Ghobril said the cost of smuggling to other countries, more specifically Syria, runs into the hundreds of millions of dollars.

He added that Lebanon’s 2022 growth, which he estimates contracted by 12 percent in 2021, and 25 percent in 2020, will depend on the Lebanese government’s next policies.

“There are two scenarios: either the government reaches an agreement on economic reforms, with a deal with the IMF (International Monetary Fund), and this will push growth into positive territory after four years of contraction; or it won’t and we will face another year of economic contraction,” he said.


BlackRock, Fidelity among bidders for UAE’s Borouge $2bn IPO: Bloomberg

BlackRock, Fidelity among bidders for UAE’s Borouge $2bn IPO: Bloomberg
Updated 20 sec ago

BlackRock, Fidelity among bidders for UAE’s Borouge $2bn IPO: Bloomberg

BlackRock, Fidelity among bidders for UAE’s Borouge $2bn IPO: Bloomberg

RIYADH: Borouge’s $2 billion initial public offering has drawn interest from big investors, including the world’s largest asset manager BlackRock Inc. and Fidelity.

The UAE-based firm received bids from the two international funds for the share sale that could value it at $20 billion at listing, Bloomberg reported citing unnamed sources.

Borouge had generated orders at 17 times the amount offered as of mid-day May 25, the third day of book-building, which will run until May 30, Bloomberg’s sources noted.

Other sources told Al Arabiya that the total requests reached 21 times coverage, representing almost $40 billion, by the end of the third day on May 25.

Borouge, which is a joint venture between Abu Dhabi National Oil Co. and Austria’s chemical producer Borealis, produces plastics used in a wide range of products.

Representatives for Adnoc and BlackRock declined to comment to Bloomberg on the news.


Petrochemical prices to remain the same for the next two years: Tasnee CEO

Petrochemical prices to remain the same for the next two years: Tasnee CEO
Updated 23 min 19 sec ago

Petrochemical prices to remain the same for the next two years: Tasnee CEO

Petrochemical prices to remain the same for the next two years: Tasnee CEO
  • Prices for propane and butane in Saudi Arabia remained unchanged, as those in Japan rose significantly, where propane prices topped $800 per ton

RIYADH: Petrochemical prices are expected to remain the same through 2022, and likely to continue until 2023, CEO of National Industrialization Co., also known as Tasnee, Mutlaq Al-Morished, said.

Al-Morished told Argaam that petrochemical prices are “very good” for all producers at present, while indicating a marginal decline in some prices.

The price of basic materials such as iron, copper, lead, and aluminum is also high, he added.

The GCC region terminal prices reached $8,000, up from $800-850 earlier, resulting in higher prices for end products.

Prices for propane and butane in Saudi Arabia remained unchanged, as those in Japan rose significantly, where propane prices topped $800 per ton — the highest level in 30 years.

Prices have fallen to $600 per ton today, but they are unattractive to investors building new industries, Al-Morished said.

Established in 1985, Tasnee is one of the largest petrochemical and industrial companies in the Kingdom. It also has interests in metals, industrial services, and environmental technologies.


Saudi recycling firm Tadweeer’s shares soars 30% on market debut

Saudi recycling firm Tadweeer’s shares soars 30% on market debut
Updated 24 min 14 sec ago

Saudi recycling firm Tadweeer’s shares soars 30% on market debut

Saudi recycling firm Tadweeer’s shares soars 30% on market debut

RIYADH: Shares in Saudi Arabia’s National Environmental Recycling Co. soared 30 percent after its debut on the parallel market Nomu on Thursday.

Shares surged in afternoon trading, reaching SR84.50 ($22.53), against an initial public offering price of SR65, as of 12:54 p.m. Saudi time.

Established in 2015, Tadweeer deals with the recycling of electrical and electronic waste in line with the Saudi Green Initiative.


Palm oil analyst Mistry urges Indonesia to resume exports immediately

Palm oil analyst Mistry urges Indonesia to resume exports immediately
Updated 42 min 14 sec ago

Palm oil analyst Mistry urges Indonesia to resume exports immediately

Palm oil analyst Mistry urges Indonesia to resume exports immediately
  • Farmers in Indonesia were already burdened with higher levies and taxes of $575 per ton compared to their Malaysian counterparts who pay $125 per ton, Mistry said

KUALA LUMPUR: Leading edible oil analyst Dorab Mistry on Thursday urged Indonesia to immediately resume exports of palm oil, warning that a halt in shipments pending details of a domestic sales rule could spell economic “doom” for farmers.

Mistry, director of Indian consumer goods company Godrej International, is a prominent figure in the palm oil industry and his market-moving outlooks are closely watched by traders.

In an open letter to the Indonesian government shared with some international media outlets, Mistry said the world’s biggest palm oil producer and exporter was heading to a “calamitous situation” as inventories had already reached historical highs surpassing seven million tons.

“If unrestricted exports do not start before the end of May we foresee a situation where all storage tanks will be full and the industry will grind to a halt,” he said, adding that Indonesian farmers would bear the brunt of this.

Indonesia reopened exports of crude palm oil and its derivatives from May 23 after a three-week ban on shipments in a bid to curtail runaway cooking oil prices.

But President Joko Widodo reinstated a policy of mandatory local sales at a certain price level, and exporters have held back on shipments as they await details on the latest rules.

Farmers in Indonesia were already burdened with higher levies and taxes of $575 per ton compared to their Malaysian counterparts who pay $125 per ton, Mistry said.

“But now they face the incredible situation of not being able to harvest their fruit and instead will be forced to watch it rot on the trees,” he said.

The losses are “inevitable” and would be seen in early June even if exports commence immediately, exacerbated by the start of a boom in production due to good rainfall, Mistry said.

“The export ban has also forced countries to look at their reliance on Indonesian palm and find ways of making soft oils available at a cheaper price,” he said, citing India’s decision to allow duty-free imports of crude soyoil and crude sunflower oil.

“The combination of historical record stocks, full storage tanks, boom cycle in production, poor demand, and restricted exports spells almost certain doom for the Indonesian farmer,” Mistry warned.

He said a “complete economic disaster” for farmers could only be avoided if the government adopted an immediate unrestricted export policy, which he described as a win-win solution for both farmers and buyers alike.

Indonesian government officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The administration of President Joko Widodo has been focused on trying to bring down the price of cooking oil derived from palm oil in the domestic market. 


Saudi Aramco joins with Repsol to build synthetic fuel plant in Spain

Saudi Aramco joins with Repsol to build synthetic fuel plant in Spain
Updated 26 May 2022

Saudi Aramco joins with Repsol to build synthetic fuel plant in Spain

Saudi Aramco joins with Repsol to build synthetic fuel plant in Spain
  • Upon completion in 2024, the facility will have a production capacity of 2,100 tons per year

RIYADH: Saudi Aramco and Spanish energy company Repsol have agreed to jointly build a synthetic fuel plant in Bilbao, using the production technology developed by Johnson Matthey and BP, according to a statement.

The statement issued by Johnson Matthey revealed that the plant will be one of the world’s first to use renewable green hydrogen and carbon dioxide as its only raw materials.

Upon completion in 2024, the facility will have a production capacity of 2,100 tons per year.

According to the statement, the plant will produce a sustainable synthetic drop-in fuel that can be blended for existing road vehicle engines, planes and ships.

“Converting CO2 into synthetic, lower-carbon fuels can meaningfully contribute to the reduction of transport emissions and, through this strategic partnership, we aim to harness innovative technologies that can unlock the full potential of both sustainable fuels and chemicals — and demonstrate their competitiveness,” said Aramco Chief Technology Officer Ahmad Al-Khowaiter.

Adriana Orejas, director of Industrial Transformation and Deep Tech at Repsol said, “The development of Bilbao synthetic fuel, where sustainable synthetic fuel shall be produced, represents an important step on our commitment of being a Net Zero Emission company by 2050, aligned with the climate objectives set out in Paris by COP21.”