Egypt names 6 banks for its first $2bn Islamic bonds: Bloomberg

Egypt names 6 banks for its first $2bn Islamic bonds: Bloomberg
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Updated 23 February 2022

Egypt names 6 banks for its first $2bn Islamic bonds: Bloomberg

Egypt names 6 banks for its first $2bn Islamic bonds: Bloomberg

RIYADH: Egypt has selected six international banks to manage the sale of its first sovereign Islamic bonds worth $2 billion, Bloomberg reported citing people familiar with the decision.

The lenders include Citigroup, HSBC Holdings, Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, Credit Agricole, Emirates NBD Bank and First Abu Dhabi Bank. 

The issuance is likely to take place in the second quarter of 2022, the sources told Bloomberg.

Last year, Egypt raised $6.8 billion through Eurobond issuances and is currently planning its first Japanese yen-denominated Samurai bond in this fiscal year ending in June. 


Oil Updates — Crude up; Iraq plans to raise oil exports by 250k bpd in 2023 

Oil Updates — Crude up; Iraq plans to raise oil exports by 250k bpd in 2023 
Updated 15 sec ago

Oil Updates — Crude up; Iraq plans to raise oil exports by 250k bpd in 2023 

Oil Updates — Crude up; Iraq plans to raise oil exports by 250k bpd in 2023 

RIYADH: Oil prices posted gains of more than 1 percent in Asian trade on Wednesday on falling US crude inventories and a lower greenback.  

Brent crude futures firmed 95 cents or 1.14 percent to $83.98 per barrel by 0411 GMT, while US West Texas Intermediate crude futures climbed 80 cents or 1.02 percent to $79.00 per barrel. 

Venezuela to sign new contracts to boost oil output at joint ventures 

Venezuela will soon sign new contracts to boost oil joint ventures between state firm PDVSA and private energy companies, the country’s Oil Minister Tareck El Aissami said on Tuesday, a move that will benefit Chevron Corp.  

The US Treasury Department on Saturday authorized the No. 2 US oil producer to expand operations at its Venezuela joint ventures. That authorization is expected to help the country grow crude production and exports following almost four years of harsh US oil trading sanctions. 

US President Joe Biden’s administration has said sanctions on Venezuela could be eased further depending on the progress of key political talks that resumed this month in Mexico aimed at agreeing to a presidential election and other demands. 

El Aissami made the announcement on Twitter following a meeting with Chevron’s top executive in Venezuela, Javier La Rosa. Chevron was authorized earlier this year by Washington to meet Venezuelan officials, including those individually sanctioned like El Aissami. 

“It is a regular practice for Chevron Venezuela leadership to meet with authorized PDVSA and government representatives in relation to the activities that the company is authorized to undertake in the country,” Chevron said in a statement.  

Chevron is a minority partner in four oil joint ventures in Venezuela with PDVSA, which have produced this year between 60,000 and 100,000 barrels per day of crude. The new license authorizes the US company to export its projects’ oil to the US.  

Iraq plans to raise oil exports by 250,000 bpd in 2023 

Iraq has plans to raise oil exports by 250,000 barrels per day in the second half of next year to reach 3.6 million bpd from the current 3.35 million bpd, Iraq’s state news agency quoted Saadoun Mohsen, a senior official at the country’s state oil marketer SOMO, as saying on Tuesday. 

EU inches toward deal on Russian oil price cap this week 

EU countries are inching toward a deal this week on a price cap on Russian oil, a way to adjust the cap in future, and on linking it to a package of new sanctions against Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine, diplomats said on Tuesday. 

The deadline for a deal is Dec. 5 because that is when the EU’s own full embargo on purchases of Russian seaborne oil, agreed upon at the end of May, kicks in. 

The price cap, a softer measure proposed by the Group of Seven nations, is supposed to replace the tougher EU plan to protect global supply and prevent a price surge, but there is disagreement among the 27 EU countries on the level of the cap. 

“Consultations have been ongoing since last Wednesday and we are inching toward an agreement, we are closer and closer,” Reuters reported quoting one senior EU diplomat involved in the negotiations.  

The G7 proposal, presented to EU governments by the European Commission, was a price cap in the range of $65-70 per barrel — a level that diplomats said was fixed in September when Russian oil traded at $68-76 per barrel on the market. 

“The idea was that a cap of around 5 percent below the market price would work to make the Russians sell while reducing their revenues,” a second senior diplomat said. “But since then prices have kept falling and are now below the cap level, so that level achieves no objective,” he said. 

Poland, Lithuania and Estonia, therefore, rejected the G7 proposal saying the cap should be closer to Russian production costs, which are estimated at about $20-25 per barrel. The three countries, which all border Russia, back a $30 price cap. 

They also argued that, given changing global oil markets and Russia’s ability to finance the war, the price cap should not be set in stone, but be a dynamic tool that could be reviewed often under a mechanism yet to be agreed. 

(With input from Reuters)  


Saudi Tourism Development Fund signs partnership agreement with Hilton

Saudi Tourism Development Fund signs partnership agreement with Hilton
Updated 30 November 2022

Saudi Tourism Development Fund signs partnership agreement with Hilton

Saudi Tourism Development Fund signs partnership agreement with Hilton
  • The new accord will help them launch several projects in the hospitality sector

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Tourism Development Fund signed an agreement with Hilton on Tuesday to promote strategic partnerships between the two entities. 
The new accord will help them launch several projects in the hospitality sector, wrote state agency SPA.
Hilton will provide its global experience to help the Tourism Development Fund develop hospitality establishments and entertainment facilities for tourists. 
The changes are inspired by the needs of family-oriented attractions, such as water parks, restaurants and cafes, and adventure activities.


SEVEN invests over $13 billion to build entertainment destinations in Saudi Arabia

SEVEN invests over $13 billion to build entertainment destinations in Saudi Arabia
Updated 30 November 2022

SEVEN invests over $13 billion to build entertainment destinations in Saudi Arabia

SEVEN invests over $13 billion to build entertainment destinations in Saudi Arabia
  • The new destinations will include more than 150 entertainment areas in a bid to spur the industry’s growth

RIYADH: The Saudi Entertainment Ventures (SEVEN), announced it will invest over $13 million in establishing 21 entertainment destinations across 14 cities in the Kingdom.

The company, owned by the Public Investment Fund (PIF), said the new destinations will include more than 150 entertainment areas in a bid to spur the industry’s growth and attract tourists, reported the Saudi Press Agency (SPA).

“The announcement comes in conjunction with the efforts seeking to consolidate the sector’s position as a basic pillar for diversifying sources of national income, creating jobs, and contributing to raising the quality of life for citizens and residents, in addition to supporting the empowerment of Saudi cities to obtain a better position among global cities,” the statement read.

Abdullah bin Nasser Al-Daoud, chairman of SEVEN’s board of directors, said the new entertainment areas aim to enhance visitor experiences and establish partnerships with key global entertainment leaders.

“We believe the entertainment sector in the Kingdom is full of opportunities, and its role in the local economy is growing, and that it constitutes a solid basis for job creation, as it is a strong engine for many other economic sectors,” he said.

With the new venture, Al-Daoud said SEVEN would work to provide opportunities for local small and medium companies (SMEs) and develop Saudi talent through global partnerships.

The company had earlier started construction work on one of its entertainment destinations at “Al-Hamra” district in Riyadh, with an investment of over $800 million.

The project will include indoor viewing wheel, surfing area, air-flying zones and electric karting tracks. It is expected to attract 6 million visitors annually, according to the company’s statement.


KAPSARC study concludes OPEC+ efforts to stabilize market cut price volatility by 50%

KAPSARC study concludes OPEC+ efforts to stabilize market cut price volatility by 50%
Updated 29 November 2022

KAPSARC study concludes OPEC+ efforts to stabilize market cut price volatility by 50%

KAPSARC study concludes OPEC+ efforts to stabilize market cut price volatility by 50%
  • OPEC+’s market-stabilization efforts appear to have lifted the average price from $18 to $54 during the pandemic demand shock

RIYADH: OPEC+’s management of spare capacity reduced crude oil price volatility by up to 50%, both before and during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new study published by King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center (KAPSARC) in the Energy Journal.

The study “Oil Market Stabilization: The Performance of OPEC and Its Allies” further highlights that, OPEC+’s market-stabilization efforts appear to have lifted the average price from $18 to $54 during the pandemic demand shock, but to have decreased the average price before the pandemic by $2.50, Saudi Press Agency reported.

The reduction in oil price volatility lowered macroeconomic costs of adjustment to the pandemic and contributed to higher social welfare.

The study developed an economic mode to calculate the crude oil price that would have prevailed if OPEC+ had not attempted to stabilize the oil market using its spare capacity.

“OPEC’s role has been critical in reducing price volatility directly— by acting as a swing producer that offsets shocks to supply and demand. Its spare capacity policy is an effective tool to achieve this strategic objective,” KAPSARC President Fahad Alajlan said.

“The value to the world economy of stabilizing the oil market is substantial. In a previous peer-reviewed study, we calculated that OPEC’s management of its spare capacity annually increased world’s GDP by almost $200 billion,” Research Fellow and report co-author Hossa Almutairi said.

The economic importance of stabilizing the price of oil derives from the rigidity of global oil demand and non-OPEC oil supplies. Any shock to supply or demand requires a relatively large price adjustment to restore market equilibrium, SPA reported.

The negative impact on the global economy of the resulting price volatility was amplified by oil’s position as the leading commodity in international trade.

“The period covered by our study ends in August 2021, but I believe that OPEC+’s market stabilization efforts have consistently continued until today. We will quantify their impacts with our model once sufficient data is available,” Axel Pierru, Energy Macro & Microeconomics Program Director, said.


Mideast capitalizes on tourism opportunities to drive regional growth 

Mideast capitalizes on tourism opportunities to drive regional growth 
Updated 29 November 2022

Mideast capitalizes on tourism opportunities to drive regional growth 

Mideast capitalizes on tourism opportunities to drive regional growth 

RIYADH: For decades, the Middle East relied on its economic success by cashing in on its rich natural resources, such as oil. But now, the region has veered from the path to building a tourism industry using its soft power of culture and nature. 

“We are blessed to be the first region in Saudi Arabia to have an approved strategy by the government out of the 13 provinces, and all measures to protect nature and the culture (of the Kingdom) are underway,” said Prince Turki bin Talal, chairman of Aseer Development Authority, while speaking at the World Travel and Tourism Global Summit in Riyadh on Tuesday. 

The authority has been under the spotlight since last September when Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman unveiled a strategy to develop the Aseer region into a global tourism destination highlighted as the “Arabian Highland” by investing SR50 billion ($13.3 billion). 

“The idea is to make Aseer a great place to live, not just to visit. So, whoever comes here comes back again. That’s really our desire,” said Prince Turki. 

The enthusiasm is palpable in Oman, a nation investing in human capital development to drive tourism in the country and the entire region. 

“There are a number of Omanis working in Qatar for the World Cup and also in the hospitality sector. They have been trained in Oman with an international curriculum. We are developing them for the country and helping the region,” said Hashil Al Mahrouqi, CEO of Oman Tourism Development Co. 

On the other hand, Bahrain is geared up for its cruise tourism as it expects more than 50,000 tourists to visit the country in the six months until May next year as part of the 2022-2023 cruise season. 

Cruise tourism represents an integral part of the nation’s 2022-2026 strategy to promote Bahrain’s status as a global tourism hub. 

“We have done very well in creating those unique tourism offerings that leave Bahrain with a story to tell,” said Fatima Al Sairafi, Minister of Tourism, Bahrain. 

In fact, the Red Sea is opening the floodgates of tourism opportunities in the region, with countries collaborating to draw global tourism traffic toward the Middle East. 

“Marketing cruising in the Red Sea region has much better chances of success than just marketing Saudi Arabia by itself,” said Fawaz Farooqui, managing director of Cruise Saudi, a 100 percent subsidiary of the Public Investment Fund that works with the government to build the offshore and onshore cruise ecosystem. 

The company has collaborated with Egypt and Jordan to develop cruise tourism in the region and is currently in talks with Oman to hoist their sails when the wind is fair.