Commodities Update — Gold hits one-week low; corn climbs; China’s alumina exports soar

Update Commodities Update — Gold hits one-week low; corn climbs; China’s alumina exports soar
Spot gold was down 0.3 percent at $1,944.06 per ounce, as of 0430 GMT. (Shutterstock)
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Updated 20 April 2022

Commodities Update — Gold hits one-week low; corn climbs; China’s alumina exports soar

Commodities Update — Gold hits one-week low; corn climbs; China’s alumina exports soar

RIYADH: Gold prices fell on Wednesday to their lowest in more than a week, as an elevated US dollar and Treasury yields continued to weigh on demand for bullion.

Spot gold was down 0.3 percent at $1,944.06 per ounce, as of 0430 GMT, after hitting its lowest since April 11. US gold futures fell 0.7 percent to $1,944.80.

On Tuesday, prices had fallen up to 1.8 percent as a stronger dollar and rising Treasury yields overshadowed safe-haven inflows into the metal.

Silver falls, palladium up

Spot silver dipped 0.4 percent to $25.05 per ounce, while platinum eased 1.4 percent to $976.64.

Palladium gained 0.9 percent to $2,394.05 on Wednesday.

Corn near 10-year high


Chicago corn was largely unchanged on Wednesday and scaled near a decade-high in the previous session, as traders fretted over planting delays in the US and a lack of supplies from war-torn Ukraine.

The most-active corn contract was unmoved at $7.99-3/4 a bushel, as of 0422 GMT, but not far from its highest since September 2012 reached on Tuesday.

Soybeans gained 0.2 percent at $16.95 a bushel and wheat rose 0.3 percent to $11.11-3/4 a bushel.

China’s March alumina exports to Russia soar

Closeup view of alumina tubes (Shutterstock)

China’s alumina exports to Russia surged over 90 times in March from the same period a year earlier, customs data showed on Wednesday, as sanctions against Russia for its invasion of Ukraine cut off some of its traditional supplies.

In March, China shipped 9,949 tons of alumina to Russia, up from 104.5 tons the same month in 2021, according to the General Administration of Customs. Its total alumina exports last month soared 180 percent year-on-year to 12,955 tons.

The volume is still tiny compared with China’s monthly output of more than six million tons. But it came after Australia imposed an export ban on alumina and aluminum ores to Russia as part of Western-led sanctions against Moscow.

Analysts had expected Russia could source the ingredient from China, though challenges exist as China needs to fulfill its domestic demand first and may be worried about secondary sanctions from the West.

China’s March soybean imports from the US fall

 A farmer holds harvested soybeans in his hands on his farm in Chesterfield Township, New Jersey. (Shutterstock)

China’s soybean imports from the US plunged in March from a year earlier, customs data showed on Wednesday, as poor margins curbed buying.

China, the world’s top importer of soybeans, brought in 3.37 million tons last month from the US, down from 7.18 million a year earlier, data from the General Administration of Customs showed.

The trend for the year in US shipments was lower, with imports during the first three months of 2022 falling 30 percent from a year earlier to 13.4 million tons, according to the data.

Last year’s imports were supported by Beijing's increased purchases of US farm goods, including soybeans, after an initial trade deal in January 2020 between the two countries.

US cargoes in March last year were further boosted as the rain slowed the harvest and exports from Brazil, China’s top supplier of the beans.

The data on Wednesday showed that soybean imports from Brazil in March were 2.87 million tons, up from 315,334 tons a year earlier.

China brought in 6.37 million tons of the oilseed from Brazil in the first quarter, up 370 percent from 1.35 million tons a year earlier.

(With inputs from Reuters) 


MEPCO factory working to restore full capacity after Jeddah floods hit operation

MEPCO factory working to restore full capacity after Jeddah floods hit operation
Updated 15 sec ago

MEPCO factory working to restore full capacity after Jeddah floods hit operation

MEPCO factory working to restore full capacity after Jeddah floods hit operation

RIYADH: Jeddah-based Middle East Paper Co. is still working to get a factory fully operational after the fatal floods that hit the city last week prompted a production shutdown.

The company revealed the record rainfall — which left two people dead in the city — caused work to stop in its Al Khumrah plant on Nov. 24.

According to a disclosure with the Saudi stock exchange — known as Tadawul — about 40 percent of production was back online within 48 hours, but the firm estimates it could take until Dec. 5 for the factory to be working at full capacity.

The statement said that while there was an “impact on some logistical activities”, there were “no human injuries.”

“The financial impact will be determined after the restoration of production capacity and operation,” the company added.

Earlier this month, the paper company, known as MEPCO, revealed its plants were operating at above 92 percent production despite declining commodities demand.

The paper manufacturer reported net earnings valued at SR245 million ($65 million) for the first nine months of 2022 — an annual increase of 95 percent. 

The firm’s CEO Sami Safran said at the time that MEPCO was riding out a global weaking for commodity demand — including paper products — thanks to consistent domestic demand.

He added that MEPCO, on average, exported 40 percent of its output, boosting its growth plans, and although shipping costs rose in the first half of the year, they slightly declined in the third and fourth quarters.  

At the end of October, MEPCO invited its shareholders to vote on increasing its capital to SR666 million to support the company’s financial position and growth plans. 

According to a bourse filing, the Saudi-listed paper manufacturer’s board proposed a 33 percent capital hike from the current capital of SR500 million. 

Rainfall in the southern area of Jeddah on Nov. 24 was the highest amount ever recorded, according to Saudi Arabia’s National Center for Meteorology, with 179mm of water falling between 8am and 2pm.

As well as causing disruption to roads — with footage posted online showing cars being swept away — there was also an impact on air travel.

King Abdulaziz International Airport, based to the north of Jeddah, urged passengers to contact airlines for schedules as “due to weather conditions, the departure of some flights has been delayed”.

Oil Updates — Crude falls over $2; Chevron to expand production in Venezuela 

Oil Updates — Crude falls over $2; Chevron to expand production in Venezuela 
Updated 28 November 2022

Oil Updates — Crude falls over $2; Chevron to expand production in Venezuela 

Oil Updates — Crude falls over $2; Chevron to expand production in Venezuela 

RIYADH: Oil futures fell more than $2 a barrel on Monday, with US West Texas Intermediate crude hitting an 11-month low, as protests in top importer China over strict COVID-19 curbs fueled demand concerns. 

Brent crude dropped $2.16, or 2.6 percent, to trade at $81.47 a barrel at 0230 GMT, after diving to $81.16 earlier in the session — its lowest since Jan. 11. 

US WTI crude slid $2.08, or 2.7 percent, to $74.20 a barrel. It fell as far as $73.82 earlier — its lowest since Dec. 27, 2021.  

Both benchmarks, which hit 10-month lows last week, have posted three consecutive weekly declines. Brent ended the latest week down 4.6 percent, while WTI fell 4.7 percent. 

Chevron can resume key role in Venezuela’s oil output, exports 

Chevron Corp. has received a US license allowing the second-largest US oil company to expand its production in Venezuela and bring the South American country’s crude oil to the US. 

The decision grants broader rights for the last big US oil company still operating in US-sanctioned Venezuela. However, it restricts any cash payments to Venezuela, which could reduce the oil available to export. 

License terms are designed to prevent state-run oil firm Petróleos de Venezuela, known as PDVSA, from receiving proceeds from Chevron’s petroleum sales, US officials said. The license lasts for six months and will be automatically renewed monthly thereafter, the US Treasury said. 

The US authorization “brings added transparency to the Venezuelan oil sector” and allows Chevron to benefit from sales of “oil that is currently being produced” by its joint ventures with PDVSA, the California-based company said in a statement. 

(With input from Reuters) 


BEEAH Group paves way for a sustainable future in the region

BEEAH Group paves way for a sustainable future in the region
Updated 27 November 2022

BEEAH Group paves way for a sustainable future in the region

BEEAH Group paves way for a sustainable future in the region
  • Group aims to help Sharjah achieve 100% landfill waste diversion: CEO

DUBAI: BEEAH Group, the UAE’s leading sustainability pioneer and digital expert, has achieved a waste diversion rate of 76 percent, the highest in the Middle East, and the remaining 24 percent was disposed of in landfills.

Speaking to Arab News, Group CEO Khaled Al-Huraimel said that BEEAH Group aims to help Sharjah achieve 100 percent landfill waste diversion in 2022, up from 76 percent currently.

BEEAH Group launched the UAE’s first waste-to-energy facility earlier in 2022 as part of its efforts to achieve zero waste, he added.

The facility, located in Sharjah, would divert over 300,000 tons of non-recyclable waste from landfills annually and generate 30 megawatts of clean energy, enough to power almost 30,000 homes.

“Once the facility reaches full operational capacity, Sharjah will become the first city in the Middle East to achieve zero waste,” Al-Huraimel said

All of this is due to BEEAH Group’s operations in Sharjah with 10 different plants.

There are 10 dedicated recycling facilities that process materials such as paper, plastic, tires, old vehicles, metals, construction and demolition waste, organic waste, industrial wastewater, maritime waste and commercial and industrial waste.

Al-Huraimel said BEEAH was established in 2007 to address the environmental challenges the region was facing, including waste. However, at the beginning of 2022, the company changed its name to BEEAH Group and adopted the structure of an investment holding company and a new visual identity. This is part of the group’s strategy to diversify its core business into new sectors.

The Gulf Cooperation Council countries have the highest waste per capita in the world. Therefore, this was the immediate challenge, he added.

“We started in waste management, and today, we’re proud to say we became the first to reach zero waste in the emirate of Sharjah, and today we are also active across the UAE,” he said. “Our new structure as an investment holding group has seen us launch several new business verticals that will capitalize on business opportunities across different industries and countries.”

BEEAH places sustainability and digitization at the heart of the business. This can be seen across several verticals, including BEEAH Tandeef for waste collection and city cleaning and BEEAH Recycling for waste processing and material recovery. There is also BEEAH Energy for clean and renewable power and BEEAH Environment Services for consulting, research and innovation.

Additionally, there is BEEAH Digital for future technologies and digital ventures, BEEAH Transport for green mobility and autonomous transportation, and BEEAH Education, an environmental education and awarding organization for businesses and individuals.

The various verticals will benefit from the collective experience of the BEEAH Group while having more room to grow within their respective industries.

BEEAH Group encourages collective responsibility for sustainability through education and awareness programs. In 2010, BEEAH Group launched the BEEAH Academy of Sustainability to promote environmental education. Today, the academy reaches a network of more than 252,000 students, 6,500 teachers, and 700 schools. Across its areas of operation, the group aims to improve quality of life through a twin-pillared approach that focuses on sustainability and digitalization.

Digitalization of BEEAH Group

During a private meeting at BEEAH Group’s recently built headquarters, designed by the late Zaha Hadid, Al-Huraimel remarked, “It was one of the last buildings she designed.” 

Our new structure as an investment holding group has seen us launch several new business verticals that will capitalize on business opportunities across different industries and countries.

Khaled Al-Huraimel, BEEAH Group CEO

According to him, the organization’s brand-new headquarters reflect BEEAH Group’s identity as a sustainable icon.

The BEEAH Group headquarters is a command center for all BEEAH Group operations, as it has more than 10,000 employees and is growing. “This building is one of the smartest and most sustainable buildings in the region,” he added.

A primary area of focus for BEEAH Group is technology, and the organization believes that technology has many tools to help it achieve its goals, Al-Huraimel said. In that sector, BEEAH Group has three companies: Evoteq,, and One Data Center, a recent joint venture with Khazna to build Sharjah’s first data center.

He said the BEEAH Group headquarters operates using hundreds of artificial intelligence use cases.

At Tandeef, BEEAH Group’s waste collection business, the vehicles are all tracked, and the routing is also optimized by artificial intelligence.

The commercial and industrial recycling facility, a recent facility launched by BEEAH Recycling this year, has a robot with AI vision that can segregate different types of waste.

“So, we believe and embrace technology as it can help us create a better future and meet our targets,” Al-Huraimel said.

As part of its efforts in facilitating digital transformation, BEEAH Group also partnered with Khazna Data Centers recently to build Sharjah’s first Tier 3 data center.

Commenting on their JV with Khazna, the group CEO said that data centers have become necessary with the growth of cloud computing. This requires a great deal of data storage.

He added that Sharjah also needs a data center to support shortages and digitalization and become a more innovative city.

“In today’s world, it’s important to build a strong digital foundation and infrastructure,” said Al-Huraimel.

By harnessing the power of technology and innovative sustainable solutions, the BEEAH Group is paving the way for a better quality of life across the MENA region.

COP27 delegation

BEEAH Group has commenced operations in Egypt’s Sharm El-Sheikh, including sustainable waste management services during the UN Climate Change Conference, also known as COP27.

He said that the organization and Egypt’s Green Planet, an environmental solutions company, signed a contract in September to provide waste management and city cleaning services under the 10-year contract.

“We were awarded the waste management contract for Sharm El-Sheikh, and we have commenced our services before COP27,” he added.

The BEEAH Group also attended COP27 and represented the UAE as part of the UAE delegation.

Besides showcasing the organization’s groundbreaking projects, such as the UAE’s first waste-to-energy plant and the region’s first fully AI-integrated office building, BEEAH Group introduced the conference attendees to its recycling facilities and zero-waste solutions.

“We were proud to participate in COP27 as part of the UAE delegation. As a frontrunner in climate action, the UAE has made huge strides toward zero emissions; we are pleased to show how we support these targets through clean energy, sustainable infrastructure, and integrated waste management solutions,” said Al-Huraimel.

“I believe the UAE and the region have strong sustainability goals. We see that in the UAE, Saudi, Egypt, and so on,” he said, commenting on BEEAH Group’s attendance at COP27.

As the group CEO pointed out, Egypt and Saudi Arabia are two key markets for BEEAH Group, which will continue to expand over the next 18 months.

Geographic growth and diversification have been the main ways the group has grown. BEEAH has diversified into digital, energy consulting and health care.

“We targeted Saudi Arabia and Egypt for future expansion, as they are the two biggest markets for us in terms of size and recognition of the relationship between our countries,” he said.

Currently, the group focuses on growing in Saudi Arabia and Egypt by offering waste management services in both countries.

BEEAH Group also hopes to consolidate its position as a regional leader in waste management while looking at other government and private contracts.

World tourism leaders gather in Riyadh as KSA gears up for WTTC Global Summit 

World tourism leaders gather in Riyadh as KSA gears up for WTTC Global Summit 
Updated 27 November 2022

World tourism leaders gather in Riyadh as KSA gears up for WTTC Global Summit 

World tourism leaders gather in Riyadh as KSA gears up for WTTC Global Summit 

RIYADH: Global leaders in the tourism sector will gather in Riyadh for the World Travel and Tourism Global Summit from Nov. 28-Dec. 1 as the Kingdom steadily pursues its journey to evolve as a global tourist destination, in alignment with its Vision 2030 goals. 

Touted to be one of the biggest tourism events of the year, the global summit is being organized at the King Abdul Aziz International Conference Center under the theme “Travel for a Better Future."

During the event, industry leaders will share their thoughts about the future of the sector and the challenges that should be addressed to ensure a safer, more resilient, inclusive, and sustainable travel and tourism industry. 

According to a press release issued by WTTC, former British Prime Minister Theresa May will be one of the key speakers at the event, along with other prominent personalities in the sector including Jerry Inzerillo, group CEO of Diriyah Gate Development Authority, and Paul Griffiths, CEO of Dubai International Airports. 

South Korean diplomat Ban Ki-Moon, who served as the eighth secretary-general of the UN between 2007 and 2016, will also address delegates during the event. 

“We are delighted to have such influential speakers already confirmed for our global summit in Riyadh. Our event will bring together many of the world’s most powerful leaders in our sector to discuss and secure its long-term future, which is critical to economies and jobs around the world,” said WTTC's president and CEO Julia Simpson. 

Simpson also lauded Saudi Arabia’s tourism efforts and said that the Kingdom’s tourism sector will be the fastest growing one in the region by the end of this decade.

She added: “The government of Saudi Arabia has been instrumental in the recovery of the global travel and tourism sector following two years of crisis. Set to become a major tourist destination, our latest research shows that Saudi Arabia’s travel and tourism sector will surpass pre-pandemic levels next year and will see the fastest growth across the Middle East over the next decade.”

This year’s WTTC Global Summit is also supported by a metaverse experience created for potential investors to explore investment opportunities and take part in sessions virtually, according to a press release.

“WTTC will arrive in Riyadh as tourism enters a new era of recovery and we welcome the world to join them virtually in our metaverse,” said Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Tourism Ahmad Al-Khateeb.

He added: “Bringing together global leaders from both the public and private sector, the summit will be fundamental in building the better, brighter future the sector deserves and technology and innovation will be key to our collective future success.”

For the first time in history, this year’s WTTC Global Summit will be live streamed to the general public. 

The event in Saudi Arabia is timely with a new global consumer survey carried out by YouGov revealing that the appetite for international travel is now at its highest point since the start of the pandemic. 

According to the survey report, 63 percent of the respondents are planning a leisure trip in the next 12 months, a strong indication of the sector’s bounce back after the economic headwind triggered by the pandemic.

The report also noted that 27 percent of the participants are planning three or more trips in the next 12 months. Earlier in October, while speaking at the Future Investment Initiative, Al-Khateeb said that Riyadh is set to become the capital of the global tourism industry, and the tourist destinations in the Kingdom are being built and will operate in a sustainable manner.

“We have the vision, we put the plan, and we put all the resources, especially the financial resources to deliver the plan,” said Al-Khateeb. 

Dar Al Arkan bags contract to develop ROSHN’s residential units in SEDRA

Dar Al Arkan bags contract to develop ROSHN’s residential units in SEDRA
Updated 27 November 2022

Dar Al Arkan bags contract to develop ROSHN’s residential units in SEDRA

Dar Al Arkan bags contract to develop ROSHN’s residential units in SEDRA

RIYADH: Saudi developer Dar Al Arkan has won a contract to develop residential units in SEDRA, an integrated community project being developed in northern Riyadh by national developer ROSHN, a Public Investment Fund-backed company.

This brings two of the leading property developers in Saudi Arabia together as both look to combine their expertise to bring more variety to ROSHN’s housing offering at SEDRA. 

“We will deliver beautiful and well-appointed villas in the community that will further raise the bar for luxury residences in Saudi Arabia,” said Yousef Al Shelash, chairman of Dar Al Arkan.

Being developed in eight phases, SEDRA is set to add 30,000 residential units to Riyadh’s housing stock once completed in three years. The project is being constructed over 20 million square meters of neighborhoods. 

A flagship development of ROSHN, SEDRA recently won the ‘Residential Project of the Year’ award at the Construction Week Middle East 2022 Awards held in Dubai. 

The project will offer a diverse mix of residences built around a ‘work, live and play’ model, the company said in a press release, adding that it will foster a sustainable community.

ROSHN said it seeks to bring a new concept of integrated, human-centric, livable communities to the Kingdom.  SEDRA’s facades are influenced by the ‘Salmani’ style of architecture, it said. The company said the project will have a blend of tradition and modernity, while it will have natural features including a wadi and an acacia forest. 

“Bringing the ROSHN concept to life requires novel ways of thinking, new partnerships with the top entities in their fields, and innovative solutions to address the challenges of the future. As a development sector enabler, ROSHN leverages its partnerships to ensure we bring the highest quality homes to markets, across the Kingdom,” said ROSHN Group CEO, David Grover. 

Dar Al Arkan Properties is fast growing its portfolio across the Kingdom and expanding its international footprint. It boasts a track record of delivering 15,000 residential units and over 50,000 square meters of commercial space. 

ROSHN's ethos is to develop communities that look both to Saudi heritage and the evolving aspirations of the Saudi people. The master developer operates across a broad range of asset classes and land uses, including residential, retail, commercial, hospitality, and public and civic facilities.