Macro Snapshot — China economy to remain in recovery; Morocco GDP growth lower than forecast

Macro Snapshot — China economy to remain in recovery; Morocco GDP growth lower than forecast
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Updated 18 April 2022

Macro Snapshot — China economy to remain in recovery; Morocco GDP growth lower than forecast

Macro Snapshot — China economy to remain in recovery; Morocco GDP growth lower than forecast

RIYADH: Morocco gross domestic product’s growth is seen lower than previous predictions, China's economy slowed in March, and Spain is to revise its 2022 GDP target. In Russia, the central bank governor flags faster rate cuts, with the Mayor announcing 200,000 jobs at risk as foreign firms leave. China's economy is likely to continue in its recovery trend this year; the country's retail spending fell by 3.5 percent and its industrial output, on the other hand, rose by 5.0 percent.

Morocco’s GDP growth

Morocco’s GDP growth is seen averaging between 1.5 percent and 1.7 percent in 2022, down from the 3.2 percent that was predicted in the budget law, the state news agency MAP reported, citing Prime Minister Aziz Akhannouch.

China Q1 GDP tops forecast

China’s economy slowed in March as consumption, real estate and exports were hit hard, taking the shine off faster-than-expected first-quarter growth numbers and worsening an outlook already weakened by COVID-19 curbs and the Ukraine war.

The biggest near-term challenge for Beijing is the tough new coronavirus rules at a time of heightened geopolitical risks, which have intensified supply and commodity cost pressures. Chinese authorities are therefore walking a tight rope as they try to stimulate growth without endangering price stability.

The GDP expanded by 4.8 percent in the first quarter from a year earlier, data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed on Monday, beating analysts’ expectations for a 4.4 percent gain and picking up from 4.0 percent in the fourth quarter.

A surprisingly strong start in the first two months of the year improved the headline figures, with GDP up 1.3 percent in January-March in quarter-on-quarter terms, compared with expectations for a 0.6 percent rise and a revised 1.5 percent gain in the previous quarter.

Analysts say April data will likely be worse, with lockdowns in commercial center Shanghai and elsewhere dragging on, prompting some to warn of rising recession risks. 

Moscow mayor says 200,000 jobs at risk as foreign firms leave

Around 200,000 people risk losing their jobs in the Russian capital because foreign companies have suspended operations or decided to leave the Russian market, Moscow Mayor, Sergei Sobyanin, said on Monday.

Moscow authorities are ready to support people who lost their jobs by providing training and temporary and socially-important work, Sobyanin wrote on his blog.

Russia flags faster rate cut

Russia’s Central Bank should be able to lower its key rate faster and create conditions for more affordable loans, Governor Elvira Nabiullina said on Monday.

The central bank more than doubled its key interest rate to 20 percent when Russia was hit by international sanctions, after sending its forces into Ukraine in February, but then cut it this month to 17 percent, flagging a challenging economic environment and a slowdown in inflation. 

Spain to revise down 2022 GDP target

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez (Shutterstock)

Spain will revise down its economic growth target for 2022, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said on Monday in a TV interview.

The government is set to update its bullish 7 percent growth projection for 2022 later this month, to take into account the impact of inflation stoked by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“There will be a downward revision of growth figures in Spain, Europe and the world, that's a fact, but that does not mean that Spain will not continue growing and creating jobs,” Sanchez told Antena3 TV station.

The Bank of Spain expects gross domestic product to expand 4.5 percent in 2022.

China’s economy likely to remain in recovery for 2022

China’s economy is likely to stay on its recovery trend this year, and Beijing will step up macro policy implementation to stabilize the outlook, Fu Linghui, a spokesman at China’s statistics bureau, said at a news conference on Monday.

China will be able to contain COVID-19 outbreaks, and can keep consumer price increases under control, Fu said.

China March industrial output rises 

China’s industrial output rose 5 percent in March from a year earlier. That was down from a 7.5 percent increase seen in the first two months of the year, data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed on Monday.

The reading was stronger than a 4.5 percent increase predicted by analysts in a Reuters poll.

Retail sales in March contracted 3.5 percent year-on-year, amid increasing COVID-19 outbreaks and lockdowns, after increasing 6.7 percent in January and February. The figure was well below expectations for a 1.6 percent decrease.

Fixed asset investment increased 9.3 percent year-on-year in the first quarter, compared with the 8.5 percent increase tipped by the Reuters poll, but down from 12.2 percent growth in the first two months.


Here’s what you need to know before Tadawul trading on Thursday

Here’s what you need to know before Tadawul trading on Thursday
Updated 13 sec ago

Here’s what you need to know before Tadawul trading on Thursday

Here’s what you need to know before Tadawul trading on Thursday

RIYADH: Saudi stocks jumped on Wednesday, thanks to strong first-half earnings despite mixed results from the insurance and cement sectors.

TASI the main index added 0.8 percent to 12,646, while the parallel Nomu market lost 2.3 percent to 21,533, as information technology consulting firm Saudi Networkers Services Co. made a weak stock market debut.

Gulf peers advanced in line with the Kingdom's main benchmark index, led by a 1.8 percent jump for the Qatari bourse.

Dubai and Abu Dhabi gained 1.3 and 0.7 percent, respectively, followed by Kuwait and Bahrain. While the Omani index edged 0.1 percent lower.

Elsewhere, Egypt’s EGX30 soared 2.2 percent after the country’s president accepted the resignation of central bank governor Tarek Amer, the presidential office said.

In energy trading, Brent crude traded at $93.7 a barrel, while US West Texas Intermediate slipped to $88.08 a barrel as of 9:14 a.m. Saudi time on Thursday.

Stock news

Abdullah Al Othaim Markets Co. reported a higher profit of SR138 million ($37 million) for the first half of 2022, on the back of sales growth

Malath Cooperative Insurance Co. posted a 216 percent higher net loss before Zakat of SR25 million for the first half of 2022

Taiba Investments Co. was back to a profit of SR55 million in the first half of 2022 as hospitality sales rose post the pandemic

Red Sea International Co. secured SR35 million worth of financing from SABB 

CHUBB Arabia Cooperative Insurance Co.'s half-year profit before Zakat declined 54.8 percent to SR3 million

Gulf General Cooperative Insurance Co.’s losses narrowed by 20 percent to SR35 million in the first half of 2022

SABB Takaful issued its board’s circular regarding the offer document for the merger with Walaa Cooperative Insurance Co.

National Gas and Industrialization Co. announced it is studying the feasibility of partnering with UK’s Aburi Composites and Front End Co. to operate a joint composite cylinder factory

Naba Alsaha’s initial public offering for listing on Nomu was concluded with 531 percent coverage

Andalus Property Co. appointed Mashal Ibrahim Abuneef as its acting CEO effective Sep. 1

Tabuk Agricultural Development Co. signed a contract to sell its industrial potatoes to Wafrah for Industry and Development Co. for SR4.3 million

Calendar

August 18, 2022

Rawasi Albina Investment Co. will start trading its shares on Nomu


Taiba Investments returns to profits of $15m on pandemic recovery in H1

Taiba Investments returns to profits of $15m on pandemic recovery in H1
Updated 35 min 2 sec ago

Taiba Investments returns to profits of $15m on pandemic recovery in H1

Taiba Investments returns to profits of $15m on pandemic recovery in H1

RIYADH: Taiba Investments Co. has turned into a profit of SR55 million ($15 million) in the first half of the year, wiping out losses of SR14.8 million from the same period last year.

The results are primarily due to the gradual recovery of Taiba’s activities from the COVID 19 pandemic, it said in a bourse filing.

Its revenues soared 103 percent to SR134 million during the first six months of 2022.

Ramadan and the Hajj season contributed to increased hospitality revenues and improved lease performance for the company's properties during the period, it said.

Listed in the Saudi main index, Taiba Investments Co. specializes in investing in real estate, tourism, maintenance, operations, industry, mining, agriculture, and trade.


Saudi retailer Al Othaim Markets’ profit jumps 31% to $37m as sales soar in H1

Saudi retailer Al Othaim Markets’ profit jumps 31% to $37m as sales soar in H1
Updated 46 min 7 sec ago

Saudi retailer Al Othaim Markets’ profit jumps 31% to $37m as sales soar in H1

Saudi retailer Al Othaim Markets’ profit jumps 31% to $37m as sales soar in H1

RIYADH: Abdullah Al-Othaim Markets Co. reported a higher profit of SR138 million ($37 million) for the first half of 2022 on the back of sales growth.

Owing to an 11 percent rise in revenue to SR4.7 billion, profit surged 31 percent from SR106 million in the same period last year, according to a bourse filing.

The retail major noted that its share in the profit of its associate Gulf Flour Milling Co. boosted this period’s results, as it was not recorded in the prior year.

However, it incurred higher costs from opening new stores and enhancing competencies in senior positions, in addition to the fact that profits from its mall unit, Abdullah Al-Othaim Investment Co., were derecognized.

In a separate filing, the retailer declared a dividend payout for the first half of the year amounting to SR180 million, representing SR2 per share, to be paid in September.


Dubai sees air travel surge, expects World Cup boost

Dubai sees air travel surge, expects World Cup boost
Updated 17 August 2022

Dubai sees air travel surge, expects World Cup boost

Dubai sees air travel surge, expects World Cup boost
  • The airport handled 160 percent more traffic over the past six months compared to the same period last year

DUBAI: Dubai International Airport saw a surge in passengers over the first half of 2022 as pandemic restrictions eased and the upcoming FIFA World Cup in Qatar will further boost traffic to the city-state’s second airfield, its chief executive said Wednesday.

Paul Griffiths, who oversees the world’s busiest airport for international travel, told The Associated Press that the airport handled 160 percent more traffic over the past six months compared to the same period last year, part of an air travel rebound around the world.

The nearly 28 million people who traveled through the airport over the past six months represent some 70 percent of the airport’s pre-pandemic levels, even as Dubai’s key source market of China remains closed due to severe pandemic restrictions. Griffiths said he expects the airport’s traffic to return to pre-pandemic levels by the end of next year.

“It’s a very, very welcome surge of traffic,” Griffiths said.

The first World Cup in the Middle East, he added, will send foreign soccer fans flocking to Al-Maktoum International Airport at Dubai World Central, or DWC. From there, they will travel daily to Qatar, a tiny neighbor that faces a hotel squeeze.

“We’ve actually seen a huge demand at DWC for slot filings for airlines wanting to operate a shuttle service,” he said. “I think the city has a lot to offer and a lot to gain from the World Cup.”

Among the airlines buying extra slots to shuttle soccer fans to the tournament from DWC are Qatar Airways, low-cost carrier FlyDubai and budget airline Wizz Air Abu Dhabi, he said.

During the first half of 2022, Dubai International Airport dealt with nearly 56 percent more flights than the same period in 2021, when contagious coronavirus variants clobbered the industry.

Now, in a sign of the health of the industry, Emirates said on Wednesday that it would pour billions of dollars into retrofitting much of its Airbus A380 and Boeing 777 fleet. At the height of the pandemic, the airline received a $4 billion government bailout.


Russian consumer prices dip for 6th straight week

Russian consumer prices dip for 6th straight week
Updated 17 August 2022

Russian consumer prices dip for 6th straight week

Russian consumer prices dip for 6th straight week

MOSCOW: Consumer prices in Russia declined for the sixth week running, data showed on Wednesday, as the rubles appreciation in the past few months and a drop in consumer demand weighed on the pace of price growth.

The consumer prices index dipped 0.13 percent in the week to Aug. 15 after easing 0.08 percent a week earlier, the federal statistics service Rosstat said.

Inflation remains high but is slowing after prices of nearly everything, from vegetables and sugar to clothes and smartphones, have jumped sharply since Feb. 24 when Russia sent tens of thousands of troops into Ukraine.

The CPI extended its decline even after the central bank slashed its key rate by 150 basis points to 8 percent last month and indicated it was ready to consider further monetary easing to limit the depth of economic recession.

A separate set of Rosstat’s data showed on Wednesday that the producer price index, the gauge of prices that suppliers are charging their clients, fell sharply in annual terms to 6.1 percent in July from 11.3 percent in June, well below levels above 30 percent seen in April.

High inflation has been the key concern among households for several years as it dents living standards, something that this year will be aggravated by recession in the economy.

Russia’s economy will contract less than expected and inflation will not be as high as projected three months ago, the Economy Ministry forecasts seen by Reuters showed, suggesting the economy is dealing with sanctions better than initially feared.

So far this year, consumer prices have risen 10.72 percent compared with a 4.69 percent increase in the same period of 2021, Rosstat data showed.