Rehla CR spots new opportunity in mobility space

Special Rehla CR spots new opportunity in mobility space
Rehla CR CEO Dr. Abdulrahman Al-Shikhy speaking to Arab News
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Updated 01 April 2022

Rehla CR spots new opportunity in mobility space

Rehla CR spots new opportunity in mobility space

Jeddah-based mobility app Rehla CR has shifted its focus on a rather overlooked area of the ride-hailing space in Saudi Arabia: tourism.

The company plans to connect customers with tour guides across tourist spots such as Abha and AlUla. It has obtained the necessary licenses from the Ministry of Tourism and hopes to introduce this service later this year.

“Rehla has the same license as ride-hailing apps Uber and Careem, but we specialize in inter-city journeys. The app is like Airbnb, except our product is a car seat rather than a bed,” Rehla CR CEO Dr. Abdulrahman Al-Shikhy told Arab News.

The company currently focuses on inter-city trips around the Umrah circuit in Makkah, Medina and Jeddah and will soon be covering the whole of Saudi Arabia.

According to Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Transportation, the Kingdom clocks more than 53 million inter-city trips in a month.

Launched in 2020, the mobility firm started as a bootstrap operation with SR1 million in capital raised from a bank loan, Al-Shikhy’s family support and later via the crowdfunding platform Scopeer.

As the operation gains more traction and attracts drivers with a generous commission structure, Al-Shikhy is more optimistic about further investment rounds.

 


Goldman sees strong case for higher oil prices despite negative shocks

Goldman sees strong case for higher oil prices despite negative shocks
Updated 13 sec ago

Goldman sees strong case for higher oil prices despite negative shocks

Goldman sees strong case for higher oil prices despite negative shocks
  • The investment bank kept its 2023 outlook of $125 unchanged

BENGALURU: Goldman Sachs said the case for higher oil prices was still strong with current supply shortfalls well above its expectations in recent months, despite a recent retreat led by factors including global recession concerns.

The market will remain in unsustainable deficits at current prices and balancing it will still require “demand destruction on top of the ongoing economic slowdown,” the investment bank said in a note dated Aug. 7.

Oil prices hovered near multi-month lows on Monday, pressured by lingering worries about an economic slowdown.

Goldman said a divergence between benchmark Brent prices, which averaged $110 a barrel in June and July, and the corresponding Brent-equivalent global retail fuel price of $160 per barrel was not enough to trigger enough demand destruction to end the supply deficit.

“The unprecedented discount of Brent prices, even wider than we expected, can be explained by the worsening Russian energy crisis, as it boosts the costs of transforming crude out of the ground (Brent) into retail pump prices around the world through surging EU gas prices, freight rates, USD and global refining utilization,” it said.

Goldman trimmed its Brent price forecasts for the third and fourth quarters to $110 and $125 a barrel, respectively, versus previous forecasts of $140 and $130. It kept its 2023 outlook of $125 unchanged.

The investment bank forecast US retail gasoline and diesel prices to rebound to $4.35 and $5.50 per gallon, respectively, by the fourth quarter and average $4.40 and $5.25 in 2023.

“We forecast that US retail fuel prices will rally into year-end then decline from 2Q23 onward as refining and marketing margins start to normalize,” Goldman said.

The US average retail gasoline price hit a peak of $5.02 a gallon in mid-June, data from the American Automobile Association motorist advocacy group showed. 


India may scrap wheat import duty to cool domestic prices, say sources

India may scrap wheat import duty to cool domestic prices, say sources
Updated 12 min 54 sec ago

India may scrap wheat import duty to cool domestic prices, say sources

India may scrap wheat import duty to cool domestic prices, say sources

MUMBAI: India could scrap a 40 percent duty on wheat imports and cap the amount of stocks traders can hold to try to dampen record high domestic prices in the world’s second-biggest producer, government and trade officials told Reuters on Monday.

Late in the day, the Trade Ministry said it would restrict the export of some wheat-derived products like finely milled “maida” and semolina from Aug. 14, with only an inter-ministerial committee allowed to clear their shipment. Exports of the items are generally small.

India barred wheat exports in May after the crop suffered a heatwave, but domestic prices still rose to a record high. Yet, international prices are still way above the domestic market, making it unviable for traders to buy from abroad.

If the government does remove the duty, and international prices also fall, then traders say they could start importing, especially during the upcoming festival season, when higher demand typically drives domestic prices higher.

“We are exploring all possible options to bring down the prices,” said a senior government official who held a discussion with industry officials last week.

New Delhi could scrap the 40 percent import duty and impose stock limits on wholesalers and traders to signal to the market that the government will do everything in its power to keep prices in check, said the official, who declined to be named due to the sensitivity of the subject.

Domestic wheat prices ended last week at a record 24,000 rupees ($301.57) per ton, having risen 14 percent from lows struck after the government surprised markets on May 14 by banning exports, ending hopes that India could fill the market gap left by missing Ukraine grain.

Domestic prices are still nearly a third lower than global prices, said a Mumbai-based trader with a global trading firm, who described Indian wheat as the cheapest in the world.

India last imported wheat in the April 2017 to March 2018 financial year.

“If global prices fall by another 20 percent and Indian prices continue their rally, then maybe, sometime after a few months, imports might become feasible,” the trader said.

The government has limited options to intervene in the market this year since its procurement has fallen 57 percent to 18.8 million tons, said a New Delhi-based dealer with a global trading firm.


Oil hover near multi-month lows on demand worries

Oil hover near multi-month lows on demand worries
Updated 24 min 5 sec ago

Oil hover near multi-month lows on demand worries

Oil hover near multi-month lows on demand worries
  • Russian crude, oil products exports continue to flow ahead of an impending EU embargo

LONDON: Oil prices hovered near multi-month lows on Monday as lingering worries about demand weakening on the back of a darkened economic outlook outweighed some positive economic data from China and the US.

Erasing earlier gains, Brent crude futures were down 55 cents, or 0.6 percent, at $94.37 a barrel by 1331 GMT. US West Texas Intermediate crude was at $88.25 a barrel, down 76 cents, or 0.9 percent.

Front-month Brent prices last week hit the lowest since February, tumbling 13.7 percent and posting their largest weekly drop since April 2020, while WTI lost 9.7 percent, as concerns about a recession hitting oil demand weighed on prices.

“Last week’s price action left no doubt that recession-driven demand concerns have the upper hand over supply fears. One could even go as far as saying the war premium has evaporated,” PVM analyst Stephen Brennock said.

Both contracts recouped some losses on Friday after jobs growth in the US, the world’s top oil consumer, unexpectedly accelerated in July.

On Sunday, China also surprised markets with faster-than-expected growth in exports.

China, the world’s top crude importer, brought in 8.79 million barrels per day of crude in July, up from a four-year low in June, but still 9.5 percent less than a year earlier, customs data showed.

In Europe, Russian crude and oil products exports continued to flow ahead of an impending embargo from the EU that will take effect on Dec. 5.

Last week, the Bank of England warned of a protracted recession in Britain.

Gasoline demand in the US continues to weaken despite falling prices at the pump, and stockpiles are rising.

In terms of US production, energy firms last week cut the number of oil rigs by the most since September in the first drop in 10 weeks.

The US clean energy sector received a boost after the Senate on Sunday passed a sweeping $430 billion bill.


China’s Huawei set to finalize data center location in Saudi Arabia 

China’s Huawei set to finalize data center location in Saudi Arabia 
Updated 45 min 22 sec ago

China’s Huawei set to finalize data center location in Saudi Arabia 

China’s Huawei set to finalize data center location in Saudi Arabia 

RIYADH: China’s tech giant Huawei is soon to decide the location of its data center in Saudi Arabia, president of Huawei Cloud Middle East told Gulf News. 

The data center in Saudi Arabia will be Huawei’s second in the Middle East, following Abu Dhabi.

“We are in the final stages of the Saudi decision — the investment decision has already been made,” Frank Dai explained. “All that’s left is where in Riyadh should the facility be built.”

He added: “The Middle East remains central to our vision of how digital transformation can reshape economies, even change the world. This is only the beginning of what data-driven economies can achieve.”


Wizz Air to resume flights from UAE to Russia in October

Wizz Air to resume flights from UAE to Russia in October
Updated 08 August 2022

Wizz Air to resume flights from UAE to Russia in October

Wizz Air to resume flights from UAE to Russia in October

DUBAI: European budget airline Wizz Air will resume flights from Abu Dhabi to Moscow from October, it said on Thursday, more than five months after the carrier suspended all services to Russia following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine in February.

The airline’s Abu Dhabi-based joint venture, Wizz Air Abu Dhabi, will operate the daily flight from Oct. 3, with fares starting from 359 dirham ($97.74), it said in a statement.

Wizz Air, which in October 2021 announced the Abu Dhabi to Moscow flights would start in December that year, said on Feb. 27 it had suspended all flights to Russia.

Other Emirati carriers, including Emirates, have continued to operate services to Russia following the invasion of Ukraine.

Wizz Air Abu Dhabi is a joint venture between Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth fund ADQ and the European airline. It is based in Abu Dhabi and is a UAE registered carrier.