Oil Updates — Crude slides; Japan to take time phasing out Russian imports; China’s oil imports rebound in April

Oil Updates — Crude slides; Japan to take time phasing out Russian imports; China’s oil imports rebound in April
The G7 nations committed to the move “in a timely and orderly fashion” at an online meeting on Sunday to put further pressure on President Vladimir Putin. (Shutterstock)
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Updated 09 May 2022

Oil Updates — Crude slides; Japan to take time phasing out Russian imports; China’s oil imports rebound in April

Oil Updates — Crude slides; Japan to take time phasing out Russian imports; China’s oil imports rebound in April

RIYADH: Oil prices slipped on Monday, along with stock markets in Asia, sparked by fears a global recession could dampen oil demand, with investors eying EU talks on a Russian oil embargo that is expected to tighten global supplies.

Brent crude dropped 28 cents, or 0.3 percent, to $112.11 a barrel by 0153 GMT.

US West Texas Intermediate crude was at $109.36 a barrel, down 41 cents, or 0.4 percent.

Japan to take time phasing out Russian oil imports

Japan will take time to phase out Russian oil imports after agreeing on a ban with other Group of Seven nations to counter Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said on Monday.

The G7 nations committed to the move “in a timely and orderly fashion” at an online meeting on Sunday to put further pressure on President Vladimir Putin, although members such as resource-poor Japan depend heavily on Russian fuel.

“For a country heavily dependent on energy imports, it’s a very difficult decision. But G7 coordination is most important at a time like now,” Kishida told reporters, repeating comments he made at the G7 meeting.

“As for the timing of the reduction or stoppage of Russian oil imports, we will consider it while gauging the actual situation,” he said. “We will take our time to take steps toward a phase-out.” He did not elaborate.

There have been no ships loading Russian oil for Japan since mid-April, according to Refinitiv data.

About 1.9 million barrels were exported from Russia to Japan in April, 33 percent down from the same month a year ago.

China’s oil imports rebound

China’s crude oil imports grew nearly 7 percent in April from the same month a year earlier, its first rise in three months, although weakening fuel demand due to COVID-19 lockdowns has dampened throughput at Chinese refineries.

The world’s top crude oil buyer imported 43.03 million tons last month, data from the General Administration of Customs showed on Monday, equivalent to 10.5 million barrels per day.

That compares with 9.82 million bpd in April 2021 and 10.06 million bpd in March.

Imports for January-April fell 4.8 percent versus the same period last year to 170.89 million tons, or about 10.4 million bpd.

(With input from Reuters) 


Saudi Arabia’s benchmark index inches up 0.16% to close at 10,839.49

Saudi Arabia’s benchmark index inches up 0.16% to close at 10,839.49
Updated 9 sec ago

Saudi Arabia’s benchmark index inches up 0.16% to close at 10,839.49

Saudi Arabia’s benchmark index inches up 0.16% to close at 10,839.49

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Tadawul All Share Index on Sunday inched up 17.84 points — or 0.16 percent — to close at 10,839.49. 

While MSCI Tadawul 30 Index ended flat at 1,499.46, the parallel market Nomu fell 73.53 points to 19,252.34. 

TASI’s total trading turnover of the benchmark index on Sunday was SR3.24 billion ($860 million), with 104 stocks of the listed 223 advancing and 101 retreating. 

Fawaz Abdulaziz Alhokair Co., also known as Cenomi Retail, was the topmost gainer of the day, rising 9.98 percent to SR17.64. Cenomi Retail on Sunday informed the exchange of its plans to divest 26 non-strategic brands to rationalize its brand portfolio.  

In the first phase of its transformation program, the franchise retailer has decided to divest three brands under Azal restaurant and Shawarma Almuhalhl for SR25 million.  

The company said it wants to focus on “champion brands” occupying the No. 1 or No. 2 positions in their sectors.   

The other top gainers were Abdulmohsen Alhokair Group for Tourism and Development, Halwani Bros. Co., Knowledge Economic City and Al Sagr Cooperative Insurance Co. 

The worst performer on Sunday was Development Works Food Co., which fell 3.27 percent to SR165.80. The other stocks that performed poorly included ACWA Power Co., Saudi Industrial Investment Group, Tihama Advertising and Public Relations Co. and Maharah Human Resources Co. 

Among sectoral indices, nine of the 21 listed on the stock exchange declined while the rest advanced. 

The Utilities Index was the worst-performing sector as it fell 2 percent to 7,152.92, weighed down by ACWA Power which stumbled 3.08 percent to SR150.80. 

While Alkhorayef Water and Power Technologies Co. dropped 2.04 percent to SR144.20, National Gas and Industrialization Co. slipped 0.39 percent to SR51.60. 

The Insurance Index was the best-performing index thanks to Al Sagr Cooperative Insurance Co., which jumped 5.35 percent to SR16.14. On the other hand, Arabia Insurance Cooperative Co. moved up 3.95 percent to SR11.06. The other gainers were Alinma Tokio Marine Co., Aljazira Takaful Taawuni Co. and Salama Cooperative Insurance Co. 

On the announcements front, Saudi Arabian Amiantit Co. on Sunday reported net losses after zakat and tax to SR8.8mn in 2022 from SR171.3mn in the previous year.  

Net losses fell due to the continued sales growth as revenues increased 16 percent from SR438.91 in 2021 to SR508.82 in 2022. Its share price rose 4.51 percent to SR44. 

Arabia Insurance Cooperative Co. on Jan. 27 informed the exchange that the Saudi Central Bank issued a final approval on its insurance product for corporate business. In a filing to Tadawul, the insurer said the approved product is a professional indemnity insurance policy for auditors of the entities supervised by the Capital Market Authority. AICC’s share price increased by 3.95 percent to SR11.06. 

The Saudi Exchange also announced that Alqemam for Computer System Co. would be listed and start trading on Nomu-Parallel Market on Tuesday, Jan. 31, as a direct listing with the symbol 9558. In addition, the company set its price guidance at SR80 per share.

 


Aramco’s iktva forum and exhibition kicks off in Saudi Arabia

Aramco’s iktva forum and exhibition kicks off in Saudi Arabia
Updated 59 min 5 sec ago

Aramco’s iktva forum and exhibition kicks off in Saudi Arabia

Aramco’s iktva forum and exhibition kicks off in Saudi Arabia

DHAHRAN: Dhahran Expo Center will host Saudi Aramco’s seventh edition of the annual ‘In Kingdom Total Value Add,’ or ‘iktva’ forum and exhibition on Jan. 30. 

The four-day event will enable participants to visit designated exhibition pavilions for enablers, digital, sustainability, industrial and manufacturing, as well as investment workshops and various panel discussions. It will conclude on Feb. 2.

The 2023 theme will be: “Accelerating Future Success,” which aims to strengthen their readiness and resilience for tackling the upcoming calendar year by forging their collective localization efforts in different focus areas, such as sustainability, digital, industrial, manufacturing, and others. 

As a major contributor to the commercial and industrial sectors of the Kingdom, the local supplier ecosystem remains a top priority in Saudi Aramco’s long-term planning. 

With adding over SR488 million ($130 billion) to Saudi Arabia’s gross domestic product since its launch, iktva continues to accelerate economic growth, enhancing the value of their supply chain. Through collaboration at the forum and beyond, iktva invites entities to come together and play an important role in providing the vital energy the world needs. 

This annual gathering is designed to help the community further innovate, collaborate, and network.

Under the patronage of Prince Saud bin Nayef bin Abdulaziz, Governor of the Eastern Province, the all-day events will include an array of 30 workshops; including sessions on cloud computing, blockchain, holographic technologies, enterprise cyber security, artificial intelligence and SPARK, a world class energy hub, investment opportunities in the electrical and in the industrial sectors, among other talks.

There will be a session led by the Aramco localization team, who will share opportunities related to connectivity, communication and computing. It’ll also provide ample chances for engagement with businesses committed to boosting local content within the Saudi energy economy. 

According to the official statement, the program aims to drive additional domestic value creation to support a rapidly changing economic environment and foster future prosperity. "Working with our suppliers, we will capture value that produces long-term tangible benefits such as quality jobs for a growing Saudi population, innovation and diversification of industry, and increased global competitiveness,” it added.

On the occasion, Aramco’s president and CEO Amin H. Nasser said: “With a foundation of localization and resilience as our blueprint, we are building an ecosystem of critical importance. One that will help further diversify the Kingdom’s economy and ensure we meet our responsibility to the world, and the billions who depend on us for energy. For all these reasons, we must build it with care, with the belief that generations from now, what we are building will still be standing strong.”

Since the launch of the iktva program in 2015, iktva’s program was designed to drive supply-chain efficiency and value across Aramco’s operations and has created best-in-class infrastructure, streamlined business processes, and pioneered industry initiatives that ensure sustainability and enabling new opportunities. It has also encouraged the development of a diverse, sustainable and globally-competitive energy sector within the Kingdom.

In 2022, iktva’s action plan and support supervisor, Majid Al-Mohammed said at a local content forum in Riyadh that the “iktva program has been gradual in several stages; starting with supportive merchants and suppliers of goods, then supporting service providers and moving to support manufacturers in the Kingdom.” 


Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Commerce issued 4,115 commercial licenses in 2022 

Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Commerce issued 4,115 commercial licenses in 2022 
Updated 29 January 2023

Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Commerce issued 4,115 commercial licenses in 2022 

Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Commerce issued 4,115 commercial licenses in 2022 

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia saw over 4,000 foreign companies starting their commercial and construction activities in 2022 as the Kingdom continues to push ahead with its diversification efforts under Vision 2030.

The Kingdom's Ministry of Commerce issued 4,115 commercial licenses, of which 3,750 were foreign entities while 365 licenses were given to companies from the Gulf Cooperation Council countries. 

Among the GCC companies, the majority of them were retailers selling fitness equipment, fishing gear, bicycles, and fitness wear.

The foreign companies which got licenses to operate in the Kingdom are engaged in general construction, residential building and non-residential buildings like schools, hospitals, and hotels. 

The ministry issued 2,847 commercial licenses to the arts and entertainment sector during the year 2021, bringing the total number of licenses to the sector in the Kingdom to 11,424. 

The significant increase in the commercial licenses issued last year highlights efforts to achieve the goals of Vision 2030, as the Kingdom aims to attract investments worth around $69 billion and provide more than 200,000 job opportunities in the entertainment sector by 2030. 

Riyadh has the highest number of commercial licenses issued at 4,127, followed by Makkah, 3,216; the Eastern Province, 1,701; and Asir, 501. 

The ministry has also announced a new corporate law in cooperation with the Capital Market Authority and has put it into force as of Jan. 19. 


Qatar’s trade balance surplus surges to hit $7.75bn in December 

Qatar’s trade balance surplus surges to hit $7.75bn in December 
Updated 29 January 2023

Qatar’s trade balance surplus surges to hit $7.75bn in December 

Qatar’s trade balance surplus surges to hit $7.75bn in December 

RIYADH: Qatar’s trade balance surplus has surged to hit 28.2 billion Qatari riyals ($7.75 billion) in December 2022, according to a report released by the country’s Planning and Statistics Authority. 

The figure reflects a 10 percent increase on an annual basis and a 7.6 percent climb on a monthly basis, the report revealed. 

The surge in the Gulf country’s trade balance surplus is mainly attributed to the increase in exports and the curbing of imports, the report added. 

This comes as the value of Qatari exports of local origin and re-exports amounted to about 38.3 billion riyals in December 2022. The figure reflects an increase of 7.6 percent compared to December 2021 and an increase of 3.1 percent from November 2022, according to the report. 

In addition to this, the value of merchandise imports during December 2022 also jumped 7.7 percent from the previous month, to reach an estimated 10.1 billion riyals, the report highlighted.  

Meanwhile, the value of Qatar's exports of oil, gas, and condensate rose during the month of December to 26.2 billion riyals, reflecting an increase of 12.9 percent on an annual basis and 6.1 percent on a monthly basis.  

During the same month – December 2022 - China and India accounted for almost a third of Qatar's exports, the authority’s report showed. 

China came at the top of the destination countries for Qatari exports with a value of 8.4 billion riyals, accounting for 21.9 percent of the total value of exports.  China was followed by India with a value of 4.2 billion riyals, representing 11 percent of the total value of exports. 

In 2022, Qatar posted a budget surplus of 30 billion riyals for the third quarter of 2022, the Finance Ministry announced.  

In its briefing on the actual data of Qatar's budget in the third quarter of 2022, the ministry said that the total revenues for this quarter amounted to 81.8 billion riyals, of which 76.3 billion riyals were oil and gas revenues, while non-oil revenues were estimated at 5.5 billion riyals. 

The ministry's data had revealed earlier that Qatar's budget surplus in the first half of 2022 doubled several times to reach 47.3 billion riyals, compared to a surplus of 4 billion riyals during the same period of 2021. 


Oil activity boosted Oman’s economy by 30.4% in September 2022

Oil activity boosted Oman’s economy by 30.4% in September 2022
Updated 29 January 2023

Oil activity boosted Oman’s economy by 30.4% in September 2022

Oil activity boosted Oman’s economy by 30.4% in September 2022

RIYADH: Oman’s economy grew by 30.4 percent in September 2022 year-on-year, thanks to increased oil production, local media reported, citing figures issued by National Centre for Statistics and Information.

The growth indicator — gross domestic product at current prices — increased to hit 32 billion Omani rial by the end of September 2022, compared to the same period a year before.

The NCSI data reported that the increase was largely due to the high growth rate in Oman's oil activities which surged 72.5 percent year-on-year up until the end of September 2022. 

The data was derived from the first edition of the Quarterly National Accounts Indicators report issued by NCSI on Sunday.  

Manufacturing activities also added to GDP growth, having increased 65.6 percent by the end of the third quarter of last year compared to a year prior.  

Additionally, the NCSI report evaluated key indicators at current and constant prices, economic activities’ rates of growth, and other significant indicators lifting GDP within the period ending in September 2022.  

The west Asia sultanate, however, witnessed a contraction in construction activity which slowed by 2.2 percent at current prices during that period.

Oman’s GDP at constant prices, on the other hand, recorded a rise of 4.5 percent to reach 26 billion Omani riyal in September, which was largely attributed to the 12 percent growth in oil activities.  

Service activities also contributed, increasing by 5 percent during that period.  

Oman's GDP had the second highest growth rate among the Gulf Cooperation Council countries, according to the World Bank report Global Economic Prospects. 

The report released earlier this month forecasted the country’s GDP to rise at market prices at a rate of 3.9 percent in 2023. This ranks Oman second, after the UAE, for growth rates this year.  

The GDP in the Middle East and North Africa region is expected to increase by 3.5 percent in 2023, and then decline to 2.7 percent the following year.  

The World Bank's report also indicated that the GCC region could sustain an inflation rate below the global average during this year.