Retail e-payments exceed Saudi Vision target in 2021, Central Bank says

Retail e-payments exceed Saudi Vision target in 2021, Central Bank says
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Updated 28 January 2022

Retail e-payments exceed Saudi Vision target in 2021, Central Bank says

Retail e-payments exceed Saudi Vision target in 2021, Central Bank says

RIYADH: Electronic payments in retail surpassed the 55 percent target set out by the Financial Sector Development Program, FSDP, one of the main programs of Saudi Vision 2030.

The e-payments exceeded 57 percent of total transactions conducted in 2021, the Saudi Central Bank said in a statement.

Over 5.1 billion transactions were made through the national Mada payment system during 2021, with a growth rate of 81 percent compared to 76 percent in 2020, the statement said.

More than a million Point of Sale terminals were deployed by the end of 2021 compared to 721,000 terminals deployed in 2020.

Additionally, contactless payments methods accounted for 95 percent of all PoS transactions in 2021, alongside other electronic payment methods such as e-commerce payments, ‘SADAD’ system payments and the new Instant Money Transfer through ‘Sarie’ system and others.

The business sector had 84 percent of its total payment transactions electronic in 2021, compared to just 51 percent in 2019, marking a 65 percent increase in electronic payment share during these past two years.

Accordingly, major corporations rely on electronic payments to complete 99.6 percent of their transactions, while the same metric stood at 78 percent for Small Medium Enterprises, and 76 percent for micro enterprises, the Central Bank noted.

The Central Bank is working on promoting electronic infrastructure, expanding electronic payment activities and accelerating the electronic transformation of transactions, Governor of the Bank Fahad Almubarak said.

He added that this most recent achievement was driven by FSDP and the implementation of the bank's strategic plans for the payments sector, primarily aiming to reduce dependency on cash, and increase the rate of electronic payments to 70 percent by 2025.

Almubarak emphasized the joint efforts between the government and private sectors to increase payment choices and implement many payment digitization initiatives.


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 11 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 1 min 6 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 19 min 6 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 39 min 17 sec ago

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.” 


Crypto Wrap — Ether and Bitcoin fall; Babel Finance valued at $2bn; Ukraine's crypto fundraise declines

Crypto Wrap — Ether and Bitcoin fall; Babel Finance valued at $2bn; Ukraine's crypto fundraise declines
Updated 44 min 30 sec ago

Crypto Wrap — Ether and Bitcoin fall; Babel Finance valued at $2bn; Ukraine's crypto fundraise declines

Crypto Wrap — Ether and Bitcoin fall; Babel Finance valued at $2bn; Ukraine's crypto fundraise declines

RIYADH: Bitcoin, the leading cryptocurrency internationally, traded lower on Thursday, falling by 0.72 percent to $29,667.34, as of 9:00 a.m. Riyadh time.

Ether, the second most traded cryptocurrency, was priced at $1,922.94 down by 3.31 percent, according to data from Coindesk.

Babel Finance valued at $2 billion following its latest fundraising

Babel Finance, a cryptocurrency lender and asset manager based in Hong Kong, announced on Wednesday that it had raised $80 million in a new round of funding at a $2 billion valuation, Reuters said. 

As part of the Series B financing round, Jeneration Capital, Circle Ventures, and 10T Holdings joined existing investors Dragonfly Capital and BAI Capital.

Babel said that a number of family offices were also involved in the round. In its previous round, a year earlier, the company raised $40 million.

The company, which specializes in crypto lending and trading, limits its offerings to Bitcoin, Ethereum, and stablecoins. Last year, the firm’s loan balances stood at $3 billion, with 500 customers on its customer list.

Cryptocurrency crash devalues Ukraine’s government’s crypto fundraise

According to Reuters, Ukraine, battered by three months of war, plans to continue tapping cryptocurrency investors in order to raise funds, following a fall in prices that practically wrecked the country’s fundraising efforts.

The Ukrainian government used social media to solicit cryptocurrency donations following the Russian invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24.

Mykhailo Fedorov, Ukraine’s vice prime minister, aimed to rally crypto investors this week at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

The government’s “Aid for Ukraine” fund raised more than $60 million in cryptocurrency on March 19. However, two months later, on May 19, Alex Bornyakov, Ukraine’s deputy minister for digital transformation, said the total raised was $51.5 million.

Bornyakov said the government spent $45 million of the aid raised in the “Aid for Ukraine” fund on equipment for Ukraine’s army before the crash, Reuters reported.

Recent weeks have seen a sharp decline in cryptocurrencies. After dropping 17 percent in April, Bitcoin has lost more than 20 percent of its value so far in May, highlighting the risks involved with holding the highly volatile asset.