Commodities Update — Gold flat; Wheat nears record peak; UN warns on child nutrition due to price hikes

Commodities Update — Gold flat; Wheat nears record peak; UN warns on child nutrition due to price hikes
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Updated 17 May 2022

Commodities Update — Gold flat; Wheat nears record peak; UN warns on child nutrition due to price hikes

Commodities Update — Gold flat; Wheat nears record peak; UN warns on child nutrition due to price hikes

RIYADH: Gold prices were little changed on Tuesday, as a pullback in the dollar supported demand for greenback-priced bullion and countered pressure from a recovery in US Treasury yields.  

Spot gold was last up 0.1 percent at $1,825.29 per ounce, as of 2.18 a.m. GMT, while US gold futures gained 0.6 percent to $1,825.60. 

Spot silver dropped 0.2 percent to $21.56 per ounce, while platinum was flat at $945.76. 

Palladium fell 1.2 percent to $2,002.17. 

Wheat up on supply worries

Chicago wheat futures on Tuesday neared a record peak set in March, after the US Department of Agriculture reported a worsening condition of the winter crop, deepening supply worries in an already-tight market.

The significance of US crops has risen after the Russian invasion of Ukraine hampered shipments from the key Black Sea region, and India unexpectedly closed its doors on wheat exports.

The most-active wheat contract on the Chicago Board of Trade rose as much as 2.2 percent to $12.75 a bushel, the highest since March 8, when it hit a record high of $13.64.

CBOT corn was down 0.5 percent at $8.05-1/4 a bushel as of 0204 GMT, after touching a two-week peak in the previous session.

CBOT soybeans were 0.1 percent higher at $16.58 a bushel.

London copper at near 1-week high

Prices of London copper, often used to gauge global economic health, rose to a nearly one-week high on Tuesday, as top metals consumer China’s decision to ease some COVID-19 restrictions fueled expectations of a recovery in demand.

Benchmark three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange was up 1.1 percent at $9,338 a ton, as of 0504 GMT, after hitting its highest since May 11 at $9,341.50.

The most-active June copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange rose 0.8 percent to $10,573.36 a ton by the midday break.

UN warns of ‘catastrophic’ child malnutrition due to price hikes, Ukraine war

The cost of life-saving treatment for the most severely malnourished children is set to jump by up to 16 percent, due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and pandemic disruptions, according to the United Nations’ children’s agency.

The raw ingredients of the ready-to-eat-therapeutic food have leapt in price, amid the global food crisis sparked by the war and pandemic, UNICEF said.

Without further funding in the next six months, 600,000 more children may miss out on the essential treatment, which is a high-energy paste made of ingredients including peanuts, oil, sugar and added nutrients.

UNICEF did not specify how much increased spending would be needed to maintain the program. It said a carton of the specialized nutrition containing 150 packets — enough for 6 to 8 weeks to bring a severely malnourished child back to health — goes for about $41 on average.

Alongside the wider pressure on food security, including climate change, the price rise could lead to “catastrophic” levels of severe malnutrition, the children’s agency warned in a statement.

“The world is rapidly becoming a virtual tinderbox of preventable child deaths and child suffering from wasting,” said UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell.

(With input from Reuters) 


Zain Group boss is top Kuwait-based CEO on Forbes Middle East list of top executives

Zain Group boss is top Kuwait-based CEO on Forbes Middle East list of top executives
Updated 13 sec ago

Zain Group boss is top Kuwait-based CEO on Forbes Middle East list of top executives

Zain Group boss is top Kuwait-based CEO on Forbes Middle East list of top executives
  • The magazine ranked Bader Nasser Al-Kharafi in 35th place on its list of the top 100 CEOs in the region

LONDON: Forbes Middle East has named Bader Nasser Al-Kharafi, the CEO of Zain Group. as one of the top 100 CEOs in the Middle East for 2022.

He is ranked 35th and leads a number of other Kuwait-based executives on the list, including Sheikha Dana Al-Sabah of the KIPCO Group, Essam Al-Sager of the National Bank of Kuwait, Tareq Al-Sultan of Agility, Elham Mahfouz of the Commercial Bank of Kuwait, Mohammed Al-Osaimi of Boursa Kuwait, and Talal Al-Ajmi of VI Markets.

Al-Kharafi was appointed vice chairman of Zain Group in 2014 and CEO in 2017. He is also the chairman of the board for the executive committee of Boursa Kuwait, a board member of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, and a founder of BNK Holding, a privately held shareholding company.

The CEOs ranked on the Forbes list come from 26 countries in the region. Companies in the UAE leads the way with 19 entries, followed by Egypt with 16 and Saudi Arabia with 15.

In 2021, the bosses on the list managed more than $1 trillion in revenues and the combined worth of their companies is more than $5 trillion. The sector with the most CEOs on the list is banking and financial services, with 27, followed by telecoms with eight, and energy and logistics with seven.

“Irrespective of the economic environment, market conditions, and other factors, it is the CEO who bears most of the responsibility for the success or failure of the company they lead,” Forbes Middle East wrote.

“This is becoming more apparent in the Middle East, where corporate governance has been improving for several years. There is now a clear separation between ownership and management in companies throughout the region.

“This trend is particularly strong in government-owned businesses, with even sectors such as defense and utilities now being incorporated and even being listed on stock exchanges. This has made CEOs focus more on long-term benefits that stem from innovation, technology, and ESG (environmental, social and governance) initiatives.”

In 2021, when Forbes Middle East published its first list of the top CEOs in the region, the magazine found that the mood among executives was focused on safety and the protection of business.

“This year has seen a reversal in fortunes, with record profits, new investments, large IPOs (initial public offerings), and mega deals taking center stage,” according to the magazine.

“For example, so far in 2022 Amin H. Nasser has led Saudi Aramco to become the world’s most valuable company by market value again, usurping Apple. Meanwhile, Sultan Ahmed Al-Jaber led ADNOC as it took three of its subsidiaries — ADNOC Drilling, Fertiglobe and Borouge — public, with Borouge’s $2 billion IPO becoming Abu Dhabi’s largest-ever IPO.”

The CEOs were ranked based on the effects they have had on the region, their country and the markets that they serve; their overall experience and time spent in their current role; the size of the company in terms of revenues, assets and market cap; their achievements and performance in the past year, and the innovations and initiatives they are responsible for.

To create the rankings, Forbes Middle East sent questionnaires and gathered data from stock market disclosures, industry reports, annual reports and financial statements, among other primary sources.


Egypt In-Focus — PMI sees its biggest slump in 2 years; trade balance deficit falls by 53%


Egypt In-Focus — PMI sees its biggest slump in 2 years; trade balance deficit falls by 53%

Updated 06 July 2022

Egypt In-Focus — PMI sees its biggest slump in 2 years; trade balance deficit falls by 53%


Egypt In-Focus — PMI sees its biggest slump in 2 years; trade balance deficit falls by 53%


CAIRO: Sharply rising prices and currency devaluation have resulted in Egypt’s non-oil private sector’s biggest drop in two years in June. Additionally, the country’s trade balance deficit fell by 53 percent during April. 

Egypt’s non-oil private sector

Egypt’s non-oil private sector has seen its biggest drop in two years during the month of June, in the face of sharply rising prices and a devalued Egyptian pound, according to the S&P Global Purchasing Managers’ Index. 

The North African country’s PMI registered 45.2 in June, down from 47 during the month earlier. 

Trade balance deficit

Egypt’s trade balance deficit fell by 53 percent during April 2022 to reach $1.7 billion compared to April 2021’s $3.62 billion, according to the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics.

According to CAPMAS’ monthly bulletin, the country’s exports rose by 54.2 percent to hit $4.94 billion during April, compared to $3.2 billion in the same period last year. 

Acquisition

Cairo-based real estate developer Sixth of October for Development and Investment Co., or Sodic, has submitted a non-binding offer to acquire up to 100 percent of the share capital of state-owned developer Madinet Nasr Housing & Development.

The transaction could value the company, to be acquired, at $328 million, according to MEED.

This comes in line with Sodic’s strategy to expand its portfolio of mixed-use residential communities in Cairo.

Sodic is majority-owned by a consortium comprising Abu Dhabi-based Aldar and ADQ. 

 


US targets Iranian oil and petrochemical trade network

US targets Iranian oil and petrochemical trade network
Updated 06 July 2022

US targets Iranian oil and petrochemical trade network

US targets Iranian oil and petrochemical trade network
  • The US Treasury Department said the network used a web of front companies based in the Gulf

WASHINGTON: The US on Wednesday imposed sanctions on a network of people and entities it accused of helping to deliver and sell Iranian petroleum and petrochemical products to East Asia, applying pressure on Tehran as Washington seeks to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.
The US Treasury Department in a statement said the network used a web of front companies based in the Gulf to facilitate the delivery and sale of hundreds of millions of dollars worth of the products from Iranian companies to East Asia.
In Doha last week, indirect talks between Tehran and Washington ended without a breakthrough over how to salvage Iran’s 2015 JCPOA nuclear pact.
“While the United States is committed to achieving an agreement with Iran that seeks a mutual return to compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, we will continue to use all our authorities to enforce sanctions on the sale of Iranian petroleum and petrochemicals,” Brian Nelson, the Treasury’s under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, said in the statement.
Among those designated in Wednesday’s move was Iran-based Jam Petrochemical Company, which the Treasury accused of exporting petrochemical products worth hundreds of millions of dollars to companies throughout East Asia, many of which the Treasury said were sold to Iran Petrochemical Commercial Company for shipment to China.


Oil drops to 12-week low on recession worries

Oil drops to 12-week low on recession worries
Updated 06 July 2022

Oil drops to 12-week low on recession worries

Oil drops to 12-week low on recession worries

NEW YORK: Oil prices dropped to a 12-week low in volatile trade on Wednesday, extending Tuesday’s heavy losses as growing fears of demand destruction from a global recession outweighed supply concerns.

Brent futures for September delivery fell $2.99, or 2.9 percent, to $99.78 a barrel by 10:57 a.m. EDT (1457 GMT), while US West Texas Intermediate crude fell $3.19, or 3.2 percent, to $96.31.

That puts WTI and Brent on track for their lowest closes since April 11, after Brent fell 9 percent and WTI fell 8 percent on Tuesday.

It also put both benchmarks in technically oversold territory with a relative strength index below 30 for a second day in a row. If Brent closes at that level, it would be the first time it remains in oversold territory for two days since December 2021.

Oil prices were also knocked down by a soaring US dollar , which rose to a near 20-year high against a basket of other currencies.

A stronger US dollar makes oil more expensive for holders of other currencies, which can curb demand.

In China, the world’s biggest oil importer, the market worried that new COVID-19 lockdowns could cut demand.

China’s crude oil imports from Russia, meanwhile, soared 55 percent from a year earlier to a record level in May. Russia displaced Saudi Arabia as the top supplier as refiners cashed in on discounted supplies amid sanctions on Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine.

Adding to downward pressure on oil prices, Equinor ASA said all oil and gas fields affected by a strike in Norway’s petroleum sector are expected to be back in full operation within a couple of days.


NRG Matters: Egypt, UAE agree to establish 10 GW wind power project; Shell to build Europe’s largest hydrogen plant


NRG Matters: Egypt, UAE agree to establish 10 GW wind power project; Shell to build Europe’s largest hydrogen plant

Updated 06 July 2022

NRG Matters: Egypt, UAE agree to establish 10 GW wind power project; Shell to build Europe’s largest hydrogen plant


NRG Matters: Egypt, UAE agree to establish 10 GW wind power project; Shell to build Europe’s largest hydrogen plant


RIYADH: On a macro level, Egypt and the UAE agreed to establish a 10GW wind power project. Zooming in, British oil firm Shell has decided to build Europe’s largest hydrogen plant from renewable power. 

Looking at the bigger picture

• Egypt and the UAE have agreed to establish a 10 GW wind farm, Ahram newspaper reported citing Electricity Minister Mohamed Shaker. 

Without providing further details, Shaker added that the deal is set to be signed after the Eid Al-Adha holidays. 

• The EU plans to become the top investor in the world’s tallest dam in Tajikistan, Reuters reported citing EU officials.

It is part of the strategy aimed at helping the Central Asia cut its reliance on Russian energy. 

Through a micro lens:

• South Korea’s Doosan Heavy Industries and Construction will implement Saudi Aramco’s estimated $500 million Jafurah cogeneration independent steam and power plant project, according to MEED.

• British oil firm Shell has decided to build Europe’s largest plant producing hydrogen from renewable power, according to Bloomberg. 

The Holland Hydrogen I will include 200 MW of electrolyzers, powered by a wind farm off the coast of the Netherlands, which is 10 times the size of the largest existing green hydrogen facility in Europe.