Tourism Development Fund to develop destination in Saudi city Taif

Tourism Development Fund to develop destination in Saudi city Taif
Landscape of Taif, Saudi Arabia (Shutterstock)
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Updated 25 January 2022

Tourism Development Fund to develop destination in Saudi city Taif

Tourism Development Fund to develop destination in Saudi city Taif

RIYADH: The Tourism Development Fund will invest more than SR300 million ($80 million) in the Saudi city of Taif, which is located in the western part of the Kingdom, in a bid to attract visitors.

The TDF, a goverment-run organisation fund that aims to strengthen the tourism sector has formed a strategic partnership with the distinguished Al-Ameen Compan.

It will see the development of a hotel with approximately 150 hotel units, retail and entertainment facilities, with additional space for a large outdoor corridor and designated spaces for local and international shops in the area.

The 100,000 square kilometre project reflects a modern concept in shopping by integrating the retail sector and leisure activities.

The project reflects the Fund's commitment to developing emerging tourist areas within the framework of the National Tourism Strategy, Qusay Al-Fakhri, CEO of the Tourism Development Fund said.

He added that it will highlight Taif's distinct and promising potentials, including its mild climate and agricultural sector and enhance the region's attractiveness through world-class tourism facilities.


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

Egypt In-Focus: Food exports to Malaysia surge 338% in Q1
Updated 14 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 16 min 48 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 21 min 37 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) 


EU reveals $221bn plan to cut red tape and boost renewables: NRG matters

EU reveals $221bn plan to cut red tape and boost renewables: NRG matters
Updated 43 min 17 sec ago

EU reveals $221bn plan to cut red tape and boost renewables: NRG matters

EU reveals $221bn plan to cut red tape and boost renewables: NRG matters

RIYADH: The EU steps in once again with a new package aiming to boost renewables in favor of a clean future. Switzerland is also seen working on securing storage capacity ahead of winter. Meanwhile, America’s Caterpillar Inc is eyeing the energy transition as the main driver of the mining business as a whole. Other than that, Germany’s Uniper announced that it will continue importing natural gas from Russia for another decade. 

Looking through the bigger picture: 

·      The EU has revealed a $221 billion plan which aims to cut red tape and pave the way for renewables, Bloomberg reported.  The scheme also includes plans to ramp up liquified natural gas imports and lowering energy demand to reduce dependency on Russian supplies. Under the new plan, the EU wants to raise the renewables target to 45 percent of the bloc’s energy needs by 2030. 

·      Switzerland’s government and natural gas industry have announced that they will collaborate in an attempt to bolster storage capacity in nearby countries and guarantee additional supply sources before winter arrives, Reuters reported, citing the cabinet. This comes as the European country does not own any gas storage facilities. On top of this, gas constitutes an estimated 15 percent of the country’s overall energy consumption. 

Through a micro-lens:

·      American construction machinery and equipment firm Caterpillar Inc has announced that it believes that the energy transition will be a major driver for the mining business in the years to come. In the period between 2021 and 2024, the firm is targeting a global market with an accumulated worth of $5 trillion for energy transition-related infrastructure, Reuters reported, citing the firm’s CEO Jim Umpleby. 

·      German energy firm Uniper SE has announced that it will continue to import natural gas from Russia for another ten years despite Europe’s efforts to cut dependency on the country. This comes as the firm has contracts with Russian majority state-owned gas industry company Gazprom PJSC that is set to expire in the middle of the 2030s, Bloomberg reported, citing the corporation’s CEO Klaus-Dieter Maubach.


GE to build two wind turbines in Yanbu Industrial City by end of 2022: Head of GE Saudi Arabia

GE to build two wind turbines in Yanbu Industrial City by end of 2022: Head of GE Saudi Arabia
Updated 50 min 15 sec ago

GE to build two wind turbines in Yanbu Industrial City by end of 2022: Head of GE Saudi Arabia

GE to build two wind turbines in Yanbu Industrial City by end of 2022: Head of GE Saudi Arabia
  • Separately, GE signed a memorandum of understanding with Saudi Aramco and the Saudi Electricity Company to develop a roadmap toward hydrogen and ammonia neutralization for power generation

DAMMAM: General Electric is set to build two wind turbines in Yanbu Industrial City, with a total capacity of 800 megawatts by the end of the year.

Yanbu is a port city on the Red Sea coast of western Saudi Arabia and hosts major downstream oil and petrochemicals facilities.

The area is managed by the Royal Commission for Jubail and Yanbu.

GE said it plans to accelerate its renewable production of wind turbines and hybrid battery storage, as well as solar and hydrogen-related products, in line with the Saudi green initiative.

The US-based engineering giant is also a leading manufacturer of gas turbines, which work to limit carbon emissions.

 

“GE has a record of efficient gas turbines, which we were able to achieve with our technology development,” said Hisham Albahkali, the president of GE Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, in an exclusive interview with Arab News. “We have been able to reach the optimum efficiency, which gives less pollution and less carbon.”

Albahkali explained how the firm aims to optimize the output of its gas turbine production.

He said: “Gas turbines work on fossil fuel, but the idea is to burn hydrogen. So, the output of the gas turbine won’t be combined with hydrocarbons.”

Separately, GE signed a memorandum of understanding with Saudi Aramco and the Saudi Electricity Company to develop a roadmap toward hydrogen and ammonia neutralization for power generation and carbon capture on May 16.

“We have provided Aramco and SEC with one wind turbine each, and we are participating in several solutions with them for batteries,” Albahkali added on the sidelines of the MoU signing ceremony.

FASTFACT

SME focus

GE has enrolled around 200 local SMEs into workshop units to help them meet global energy standards.

“Human capital is important for us,” Albahkali said.

GE celebrated its 130th anniversary in April and has operated in the Kingdom for 90 years.