EU set to impose sanctions on RT and Sputnik

EU set to impose sanctions on RT and Sputnik
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Updated 01 March 2022

EU set to impose sanctions on RT and Sputnik

EU set to impose sanctions on RT and Sputnik

Aimed at exerting more pressure on Russia, the European Commission is seeking approval from countries in the EU to impose sanctions on Russian media outlets RT and Sputnik. 

According to a CNBC report, this proposed sanction aims at restricting the access of these organizations in the European region. 

If a sanction is imposed, operators in the EU will be prohibited to broadcast any content from RT and Sputnik, including transmission or distribution via cable, satellite, IPTV, internet video, or other sharing platforms. 

Earlier, Google blocked the download of RT's mobile app in the Ukrainian territory, upon request from Zelensky's government. 

YouTube had also recently suspended multiple Russian channels including RT from revenue generation on the site.


Saudi Arabia’s Industrial Production Index rises 7.3% y-o-y in December 2022: GASTAT  

Saudi Arabia’s Industrial Production Index rises 7.3% y-o-y in December 2022: GASTAT  
Updated 09 February 2023

Saudi Arabia’s Industrial Production Index rises 7.3% y-o-y in December 2022: GASTAT  

Saudi Arabia’s Industrial Production Index rises 7.3% y-o-y in December 2022: GASTAT  

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Industrial Production Index rose 7.3 percent year-on-year in December 2022, primarily driven by high production in mining and quarrying, and manufacturing activities, a new report released by the General Authority for Statistics showed.   

After months of negative trends in 2019 and 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Saudi Arabia’s IPI turned positive in May 2021 and has been growing continuously since then.   

GASTAT report noted that the mining and quarrying sector rose by 4.3 percent in December 2022 compared to the same month in 2021.   

Saudi Arabia’s mining and quarrying activities also increased as the Kingdom raised its oil production to more than 10 million barrels per day in December 2022.   

The report further pointed out that manufacturing activities increased by 18.5 percent in December 2022, compared to December 2021.   

According to GASTAT, IPI is an economic indicator that reflects the relative changes in the volume of industrial output, and it is calculated based on the industrial production survey.   

The report said that the relative weights of the mining and quarrying, manufacturing and electricity and gas supply sectors in the IPI are 74.5 percent, 22.6 percent and 2.9 percent, respectively.  

“Thus, the trend of the industrial production index in the mining and quarrying sector dominates the trend in the general IPI,” it added.   

In December 2022, Saudi Arabia’s electricity and gas supplies decreased by 6.5 percent compared to the same month in 2021.  

The GASTAT report which was released on Feb. 9, however, noted that overall IPI decreased by 0.3 percent in December 2022 when compared with November 2022.   

This decline was due to the decrease in the mining and quarrying sector which fell by 0.3 percent, it added.   

According to the report, the manufacturing sector remained unchanged in December 2022 compared to the previous month, while electricity and gas supplies decreased by 5.3 percent.   

Even though Saudi Arabia’s IPI is still showing positive trends, its growth has slowed down for the eighth month in a row from a 26.7 year-on-year growth reported in April 2022. 

It should be also noted that Saudi Arabia’s IPI growth in December is the slowest in 2022 as it went below the 11.1 percent year-on-year growth reported in January last year. 


Oil Updates — Crude steady; TotalEnergies net profits double to record $36bn in 2022 

Oil Updates — Crude steady; TotalEnergies net profits double to record $36bn in 2022 
Updated 09 February 2023

Oil Updates — Crude steady; TotalEnergies net profits double to record $36bn in 2022 

Oil Updates — Crude steady; TotalEnergies net profits double to record $36bn in 2022 

RIYADH: Oil prices were broadly steady on Thursday as the prospect of higher fuel demand in China as it reopens post-COVID curbs was offset by fears that US crude stocks hitting their highest for months may signal weakening demand in the world’s No. 1 economy. 

Brent crude futures gained 06 cents to $85.15 a barrel at 08.35 a.m. Saudi time, while US West Texas Intermediate crude futures went up 2 cents to $78.49 a barrel. Both benchmarks have gained more than 6 percent so far this week. 

TotalEnergies net profits double to record $36.2 billion in 2022 

French oil major TotalEnergies posted a record net profit of $36.2 billion in 2022, double the previous year, joining in the sector’s bumper earnings thanks to higher oil and gas prices since Russia invaded Ukraine. 

TotalEnergies’ fourth-quarter adjusted net income was $7.6 billion, including a $4.1 billion impairment related to the deconsolidation of its stake in Russian gas firm Novatek. 

The net income for the last three months of the year was in line with analyst estimates in a consensus by Refinitiv and compared with $6.8 billion a year earlier, and $9.9 billion in the third quarter of 2022. 

The blockbuster profit follows similar reports from rivals BP, Shell, Exxon Mobil and Chevron, prompting new calls to further tax the sector as households struggle to pay energy bills. 

TotalEnergies CEO Patrick Pouyanne told reporters the global backdrop remained very favorable for energy companies, with the relaxing of COVID-19 measures in China pushing up demand. 

TotalEnergies said it would propose a dividend of 2.81 euros per share, up 6.4 percent from a year earlier and on top of an already announced 1 euro per share special payout. 

As previously announced, it booked a $1.7 billion provision for extraordinary windfall taxes levied in the EU and Britain in the fourth quarter. 

The company said it expected net investments of $16-18 billion in 2023, including $5 billion for low-carbon energy. 

APA strikes oil off Suriname coast 

US oil producer APA Corp. said on Wednesday that it had found oil after drilling Sapakara South-2 appraisal well in Block 58, offshore Suriname. 

Exploration, off the South American country’s coast, has been watched closely as it is just over the border from massive oil discoveries made by an Exxon Mobil Corp.-led consortium in Guyana that is estimated to hold nearly 11 billion barrels of oil equivalent. 

The well is located about 4.6 km south of the Sapakara South-1 appraisal well, where APA found oil in 2021. 

The company had in November wound up drilling operations at the Awari well in Block 58 as it was “deemed noncommercial.” 

TotalEnergies operates Block 58, with a 50 percent working interest, while APA holds the other half. 

(With input from Reuters) 

 


Asia set to use half of world’s electricity by 2025: IEA report

Asia set to use half of world’s electricity by 2025: IEA report
Updated 08 February 2023

Asia set to use half of world’s electricity by 2025: IEA report

Asia set to use half of world’s electricity by 2025: IEA report

BERLIN: Asia will for the first time use half of the world’s electricity by 2025, even as Africa continues to consume far less than its share of the global population, according to a new forecast released on Wednesday by the International Energy Agency.
Much of Asia’s electricity use will be in China, a nation of 1.4 billion people whose share of global consumption will rise from a quarter in 2015 to a third by the middle of this decade, the Paris-based body said.
“China will be consuming more electricity than the European Union, United States and India combined,” said Keisuke Sadamori, the IEA’s director of energy markets and security.
By contrast, Africa — home to almost a fifth of world’s nearly 8 billion inhabitants — will account for just 3 percent of global electricity consumption in 2025.
“This and the rapidly growing population mean there is still a massive need for increased electrification in Africa,” said Sadamori.
The IEA’s annual report predicts that nuclear power and renewables such as wind and solar will account for much of the growth in global electricity supply over the coming three years. This will prevent a significant rise in greenhouse gas emissions from the power sector, it said.
Scientists say sharp cuts in all sources of emissions are needed as soon as possible to keep average global temperatures from rising 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. That target, laid down in the 2015 Paris climate accord, appears increasingly doubtful as temperatures have already increased by more than 1.1 degrees Celsius since the reference period.
One hope for meeting the goal is a wholesale shift away from fossil fuels such as coal, gas and oil toward low-carbon sources of energy. But while some regions are reducing their use of coal and gas for electricity production, in others consumption is increasing, the IEA said.
The 134-page also report warned that electricity demand and supply are becoming increasingly weather dependent, a problem it urged policymakers to address.
“In addition to drought in Europe, there were heat waves in India (last year),” said Sadamori. “Similarly, central and eastern China were hit by heat waves and drought. The US also saw severe winter storms in December, and all those events put massive strain on the power systems of these regions.”
“As the clean energy transition gathers pace, the impact of weather events on electricity demand will intensify due to the increased electrification of heating, while the share of weather-dependent renewables will continue to grow in the generation mix,” the IEA said. “In such a world, increasing the flexibility of power systems while ensuring security of supply and resilience of networks will be crucial."


Kenya’s integrated tax system helped raise number of active taxpayers by 5.8m, says revenue authority executive

Kenya’s integrated tax system helped raise number of active taxpayers by 5.8m, says revenue authority executive
Updated 08 February 2023

Kenya’s integrated tax system helped raise number of active taxpayers by 5.8m, says revenue authority executive

Kenya’s integrated tax system helped raise number of active taxpayers by 5.8m, says revenue authority executive

RIYADH: Kenya’s integrated tax system, also referred to as the “itax”, has helped raise the number of active taxpayers in the country by 5.8 million to hit 7.4 million in 2022, according to Mohamed Omar, the commissioner for strategy, innovation and risk management at the Kenya Revenue Authority.

 Speaking during a panel discussion on the first day of the Zakat, Customs, and Tax conference in Riyadh, Omar highlighted the significant impact of digitizing the tax system.

“The itax had an impact and we saw shifts in numbers. So, around 2014 there were 1.6 million active taxpayers, these were people who do regular returns and regular payments, the number in 2022 was 7.4 million, so that’s about more than four times,” he revealed.

He went on to explain that, as a result of digitizing the tax system, the growth in revenue was more than the nominal growth in the gross domestic product.

In addition to this, the filing system has also seen significant improvement.

“By 2017, 100 percent filing and payment was being done online; that was not happening before,” he stressed.

George Betselis, governor of the Independent Authority of Public Revenues in Greece, also spoke about the digitization of the tax system with a special focus on the COVID-19 pandemic era.

“During the pandemic, we needed to find digital solutions for at least being able to receive front end and provide front-end digital services. Our tax offices were closed, so we had to accommodate requests,” he said.

 The Zakat, Tax, and Customs conference aims to tackle global experiences in the fields and discuss the future of digitizing those sectors as well as propelling trade and protecting national security.


SNB Capital announces completion of $267m AT-1 sukuk

SNB Capital announces completion of $267m AT-1 sukuk
Updated 08 February 2023

SNB Capital announces completion of $267m AT-1 sukuk

SNB Capital announces completion of $267m AT-1 sukuk

RIYADH: SNB Capital on Wednesday announced the completion of a private placement Additional Tier 1 perpetual sukuk worth SR1 billion ($267 million).

According to an official statement, the transaction was received with overwhelming demand from a diverse investor base having a bid cover ratio of 2.1 times. Investors included financial institutions, public sector, qualified individual investors, corporates, family offices, asset managers and insurance companies.

Commenting on the development, Ammar Alkhudairy, the chairman of SNBC, said: “This issuance by SNBC is a pioneering endeavor that compliments and supports SNB’s group vision of being the premier financial services group in the region that provides seamless banking and capital markets support to the Kingdom’s ambitious growth plans”

The issuance, which is non-call for five years, was priced a fixed annual coupon rate of 5.8 percent with quarterly payment until the first call date. 

Rashid Sharif, CEO of SNBC, said: “The issuance further strengthens our capital base to continue our journey supporting the development of the Saudi Capital Market guided by Vision 2030 strategic goals and objectives.”