Macro Snapshot — Ukraine war slows eurozone growth; inflation rises around the globe

The European Commission cut its growth forecast for the 19 countries sharing the euro to 2.7 percent this year from 4 percent predicted only in February, shortly before the war in Ukraine started.
The European Commission cut its growth forecast for the 19 countries sharing the euro to 2.7 percent this year from 4 percent predicted only in February, shortly before the war in Ukraine started.
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Updated 16 May 2022

Macro Snapshot — Ukraine war slows eurozone growth; inflation rises around the globe

Macro Snapshot — Ukraine war slows eurozone growth; inflation rises around the globe

RIYADH:  The Russian invasion of Ukraine and the resulting surge in energy and commodity prices will slash euro zone economic growth this year and next, while boosting inflation to record levels, the European Commission forecast on Monday.

The commission cut its growth forecast for the 19 countries sharing the euro to 2.7 percent this year from 4 percent predicted only in February, shortly before the war in Ukraine started. Growth will then slow to 2.3 percent next year, also below the 2.7 percent seen before.

The forecast is the first comprehensive estimate of the economic cost of the conflict in its neighbor for the euro zone and the wider 27-nation EU.

“The outlook for the EU economy before the outbreak of the war was for a prolonged and robust expansion. But Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has posed new challenges, just as the Union had recovered from the economic impacts of the pandemic,” the commission said in a statement.

“By exerting further upward pressures on commodity prices, causing renewed supply disruptions and increasing uncertainty, the war is exacerbating pre-existing headwinds to growth, which were previously expected to subside.”

Inflation, which the European Central Bank wants to keep at 2 percent will be 6.1 percent this year, the Commission forecast, falling to 2.7 percent — still well above the ECB’s target — next year. Before the war, the Commission expected prices to grow 3.5 percent in 2022 and 1.7 percent in 2023.

The scenario of an abrupt cut-off by Russia of gas supplies would boost inflation by an additional 3 percentage points in 2022 and an extra 1 percentage point in 2023, the Commission said.

Polish net inflation

Poland’s net Consumer Price Index excluding food and energy saw a rise by 0.8 percent in April reaching 7.7 percent year-on-year, showed a table published by the central bank on Monday.

Analysts polled by Reuters had expected April net inflation — excluding food and energy prices — year-on-year of 7.5 percent.

German manufacturing backlog 

German manufacturers’ order backlog is at a record high, according to a survey released on Monday, as companies struggle against supply bottlenecks in meeting high demand.

Even without a single new order, production could continue for 4.5 months, the Munich-based ifo institute said in a statement, citing the results of a survey in which around 2,000 companies took part between April 7 and 22.

In the previous survey, in January, the figure had been 4.4 months, while the long-term average for an order backlog was 2.9 months, the institute said. The data is seasonally adjusted.

“This recent increase in backlog is only slight, which indicates that the intake of new orders is gradually decreasing,” Timo Wollmershauser, head of forecasts at ifo, said, adding that German manufacturing would “really take off” if the supply-chain issues were to ease in coming months.

China's April property sales 

China’s property sales in April fell at their fastest pace in around 16 years as COVID-19 lockdowns further cooled demand despite more policy easing steps aimed at reviving a key pillar of the world’s second-largest economy.

Property sales by value in April slumped 46.6 percent from a year earlier, the biggest drop since August 2006, and sharply widening from the 26.17 percent fall in March, according to Reuters calculations based on data from the National Bureau of Statistics released on Monday.

Property sales in January-April by value fell 29.5 percent year-on-year, compared with a 22.7 percent decline in the first three months.

A further cut in mortgage loan interest rates for some home buyers announced by Chinese authorities on Sunday did little to convince investors and analysts that it could revive sluggish property demand. 

Japan wholesale prices

Japan’s wholesale prices in April jumped 10 percent from the same month a year earlier, data showed on Monday, rising at a record rate as the Ukraine crisis and a weak yen pushed up the cost of energy and raw materials.

The surge in the corporate goods price index, which measures the price companies charge each other for their goods and services, marked the fastest year-on-year rise in a single month since comparable data became available in 1981.

The gain followed a revised 9.7 percent increase in March, and was higher than a median market forecast for a 9.4 percent increase.

Unlike other central banks worried about surging inflation, the Bank of Japan (BOJ) has kept its ultra-easy monetary policy in place on the view that the cost-push rise in inflation is not bringing long-term price expectations to its 2 percent target.

“Companies have been trying to absorb the rising costs by corporate efforts, but from last year onwards that has become harder for them to endure,” said Takeshi Minami, chief economist at Norinchukin Research Institute.

“They will be left no choice but to pass on those extra cost.”

Japanese firms have been slow in passing on rising cost to households as soft wage growth does little to help consumer sentiment and makes them cautious about scaring off consumers with price hikes.

The yen-based import price index jumped 44.6 percent in April from a year earlier, Monday’s data showed, a sign the yen’s recent declines are inflating the cost of imports for Japanese firms.

The BoJ last month projected core consumer inflation to hit 1.9 percent in the current fiscal year that started last month before moderating to 1.1 percent in fiscal 2023 and 2024 — a sign it sees current cost-push price rises as transitory. 

But analysts expect consumer inflation to hover around 2 percent in the coming months as the high raw material costs force more firms to hike prices, posing a risk to Japan’s fragile economic recovery.

“Everything ultimately depends on whether consumers accept price hikes,” said Minami. “While they’re likely to be okay with it to some extent, they won’t fully accept it, leading to a spending decline.”

Data on Friday is expected to show Japan’s core consumer price index (CPI), which excludes volatile fresh food costs but includes energy costs, rose 2.1 percent in April from a year earlier, slightly exceeding the BoJ’s target, a Reuters poll showed last week.

 

 


TRSDC signs first JV worth $400m with Al Mutlaq Group

TRSDC signs first JV worth $400m with Al Mutlaq Group
Updated 13 sec ago

TRSDC signs first JV worth $400m with Al Mutlaq Group

TRSDC signs first JV worth $400m with Al Mutlaq Group

RIYADH: The Red Sea Development Co. has signed a joint venture agreement worth SR1.5 billion ($400 million) with Almutlaq Real Estate Investment Co., a subsidiary of the Al Mutlaq Group. 

Under the agreement, the two companies will develop the Jumeirah Red Sea, a 159-key luxury resort situated on The Red Sea destination’s hub island, Shura, currently under construction and expected to open in early 2024. 

The island forms part of the first phase of development, and will comprise 11 luxury, premium and lifestyle hotels and resorts, residential units, a championship golf course, 118 berth marina, and a comprehensive retail, dining, and entertainment offering.

The strategic partnership marks the first JV established by TRSDC.

“This joint venture investment reinforces the private sector’s alignment with our commitment to regenerative tourism and sustainable development. Our project naturally lends itself to promising business opportunities, with the ability to leverage the Kingdom’s key strategic assets, and drive economic growth and diversification as outlined by Vision 2030,” said John Pagano, CEO of TRSDC. 

“We are extremely pleased to partner with TRSDC and its best-in-class management team on this exciting and compelling project. We have been studying the giga-projects for some time, and the Red Sea is achieving its vision. The destination is coming to life, and we look forward to welcoming our first guests in 2024,” said Tariq Almutlaq, chairman of AREIC.

Investors’ interest

TRSDC is in discussions with several other investors under a similar framework to invest in The Red Sea Project’s commercial assets, including hotels and resorts, leisure, and retail and dining experiences. Moreover, AMAALA and additional soon-to-be-announced projects in the developer’s expanding portfolio bring with them additional opportunities for investors.

“We are attracting an abundance of third-party investment interest, particularly those focused on ESG who are confident that this is an exciting opportunity and one that they do not want to miss out on,” said Jay Rosen, chief financial officer at TRSDC.

Green financing

The announcement follows TRSDC achieving financial close on its SR14.120 billion ($3.76 billion) green financing earlier this year with four leading Saudi banks (Banque Saudi Fransi, Riyad Bank, Saudi British Bank, and Saudi National Bank). As the first-ever riyal denominated green financing, TRSDC was acknowledged with an award for Project Finance Deal of Year in the Capital Markets Saudi Arabia Awards 2021 plus the Best New Green Loan Financing Project Award at the International Finance Awards 2022.

The Red Sea Project has demonstrated significant progress on the ground, with Phase-1 now more than 50 percent complete and several key assets already fully operational, including a four-star management hotel, on-site offices, and the largest landscape nursery in the region.

TRSDC and AMAALA have awarded over 1,000 contracts worth in excess of SR25 billion. Work is on track to welcome the first guests in early 2023, when the first hotels will open, with the balance of phase one set to complete by early 2024.


Fuel, feedstock prices for Saudi industrial sector to be adjusted from Q4 of 2023

Fuel, feedstock prices for Saudi industrial sector to be adjusted from Q4 of 2023
Updated 3 min 43 sec ago

Fuel, feedstock prices for Saudi industrial sector to be adjusted from Q4 of 2023

Fuel, feedstock prices for Saudi industrial sector to be adjusted from Q4 of 2023

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources has decided to adjust the fuel and feedstock prices for the industrial sector from the fourth quarter of 2023, according to a ministry statement to companies.

The prices will be reviewed annually until 2030, it stated.

Price adjustment policy will be applicable to natural gas products, Arab heavy crude oil, ethane, heavy fuel oil, and Arab light crude oil.


UAE-Based Filipino businesswoman receives Presidential Award

UAE-Based Filipino businesswoman receives Presidential Award
Updated 59 min 36 sec ago

UAE-Based Filipino businesswoman receives Presidential Award

UAE-Based Filipino businesswoman receives Presidential Award
  • Pamana ng Pilipino Award, given to Dr. Karen Remo, is awarded to Filipinos overseas who have brought honor to the country through the excellence of their work

LONDON: Dr. Karen Remo, a business leader based in the UAE, has received the Presidential Award, the highest honor bestowed by the Philippine government on Filipinos overseas.

Dr. Remo is the CEO and Managing Director of The Filipino Times and New Perspective Media Group.Founded by Dr. Remo in 2013, The Filipino Times has become the Middle East's largest digital news portal for Filipinos and the UAE's largest free newspaper.She was one of 17 recipients chosen for the "Pamana ng Pilipino Award".  It is given to Filipinos overseas who, by exemplifying Filipino talent and industry, have brought honor and recognition to the country through the excellence of their work.

The award was presented by the Secretary and Chairperson of the Commission on Filipinos Overseas, Justice Francisco Acosta, on behalf of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte.

“In conferring the Pamana ng Pilipino Award to Dr. Karen Remo, the President recognizes her ability to lead, inspire, and influence Filipinos from all over the world while proving that women can be a pioneer in the field of business,” according to the Presidential Awards for Filipino Individuals and Organisations (PAFIOO) Awards Committee.

“Dr. Remo continues to be an inspiring entrepreneur and community leader in the Middle East. She has not only earned the respect of Filipinos and the multinational expat professionals in Dubai but also inspired many women to pursue their careers in business,” the statement continued.

A report by the Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO) also commended Dr. Remo's contribution to strengthening economic and social ties between the UAE and the Philippines. “Playing such an important role in the media industry, she fosters a positive relationship between the UAE and the Philippines. Her position has also allowed her to put Filipinos on the center stage.” it noted

The Philippine Ambassador to the UAE, Hjayceelyn Quintana also endorsed the nomination. “Dr. Remo comes from a community of an estimated one million Filipinos in the UAE. To be a cut above the rest means that the impact of her achievements in the host country is a source of pride for Filipinos not only in the UAE but in the Middle East region as a whole.” Quintana said.

"It is an honor to receive such a prestigious recognition and I am very grateful to the Office of the President, CFO, and the PAFIOO Awards Committee for this award. I have been privileged to work with and help many clients – both in the government and private sectors – in the Mena and Asia-Pacific regions” Dr. Remo said.

“I am very thankful to our readers and followers who always support and challenge us to do better. It was their trust and support that gave me this opportunity to showcase the passion and dedication of every team member in the NPM Group of companies to be of service and to make a difference.” she continued.


Egypt In-Focus — Startups raise $269.1m in H1; Abu Dhabi Ports Group acquires 70% equity stake in Egyptian firms

Egypt In-Focus — Startups raise $269.1m in H1; Abu Dhabi Ports Group acquires 70% equity stake in Egyptian firms
Updated 03 July 2022

Egypt In-Focus — Startups raise $269.1m in H1; Abu Dhabi Ports Group acquires 70% equity stake in Egyptian firms

Egypt In-Focus — Startups raise $269.1m in H1; Abu Dhabi Ports Group acquires 70% equity stake in Egyptian firms

RIYADH: Egyptian startups succeeded in raising a total of $269.1 million in funding in the first half of 2022, according to local media reports.

As of June 2022, around 35 startups in Egypt pulled together $269.1 million in the fintech and ecommerce sectors this year, Daily News Egypt reported.

During the first two months, Brimor and Thunder were responsible for the bulk of funds attained in January and February respectively.

March saw the highest volume when 9 startups raised $78.95 million.

In addition, three considerable deals further added to March’s ranking where Khazna, Lucky and Naqla raised $38 million, $25 million and $10.5 million respectively.

April saw a drop in finances, whereas May regenerated the funds with PayMob’s $50 million deal leading the way and June saw three deals worth $4.5 million.

Abu Dhabi Ports Group acquires stake in two firms 

Abu Dhabi Ports Group reached an agreement to acquire a 70 percent equity stake in International Associated Cargo Carrier BV, which wholly owns two Egypt-based maritime companies, Transmar International Shipping Company and Transcargo International, Asharq Alwsat reported.

The total purchase consideration of this transaction amounts to 514 million  dirhams ($140 million).

The acquisition will be fully funded from AD Ports Group’s existing cash reserves, which stood at over 3 billion dirhams as of March 31.

It is the first international acquisition realized by AD Ports Group.

Transmar is a regional container shipping company that operates across the Middle East, Red Sea, Arabian Gulf and Eastern Coast of Africa. In 2021, Transmar handled 109,000 twenty-foot equivalent units.

TCI is a terminal operator and stevedoring company, mainly operating out of the Adabiya Port, where it is the exclusive container operator. Its two lines of business are container and bulk cargo services. In 2021, TCI handled 92,000 TEUs and 1.2 million tons of bulk cargo.

 


Al-Dhaher appointed SAMA’s deputy governor for control and technology

Al-Dhaher appointed SAMA’s deputy governor for control and technology
Updated 03 July 2022

Al-Dhaher appointed SAMA’s deputy governor for control and technology

Al-Dhaher appointed SAMA’s deputy governor for control and technology

RIYADH: The Saudi Central Bank has appointed Khaled Al-Dhaher as deputy governor for control and technology at the excellent rank, according to the Saudi Press Agency. 

Khaled Al-Dhaher

Al-Dhaher has vast experience in technology and banking solutions industries. He also served as the country managing director for Saudi Arabia at the IT company Accenture.
He did a Ph.D. in computer science and engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.