Macro Snapshot — Egypt GDP topped 5% in Q1; countries hike interest rates to stabilize economies

Egyptian planning minister expects the country’s economy to grow around 6 percent in the 2021-22 fiscal year. Reuters/File
Egyptian planning minister expects the country’s economy to grow around 6 percent in the 2021-22 fiscal year. Reuters/File
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Updated 23 May 2022

Macro Snapshot — Egypt GDP topped 5% in Q1; countries hike interest rates to stabilize economies

Macro Snapshot — Egypt GDP topped 5% in Q1; countries hike interest rates to stabilize economies

RIYADH: Egypt’s economy grew more than 5 percent in the first quarter of 2022, CNBC Arabia reported on Monday, citing Planning Minister Hala Al-Saeed.

She also said the economy would grow around 6 percent in the 2021-22 fiscal year, which ends in June.

On the other hand, many countries are taking steps to stabilize their respective economies by hiking interest rates.

Ghana ramps up interest rate 

Ghana’s central bank on Monday raised its main interest rate by 200 basis points to 19 percent to curb inflationary pressures and promote macroeconomic stability, Gov. Ernest Addison said.

In March, the Bank of Ghana raised its policy rate by 250 basis points to 17 percent — the largest hike in its history — to stem runaway inflation in one of West Africa’s more prosperous nations as the government cut spending to reduce the budget deficit and save a sliding local currency.

But in April the consumer inflation rate in the gold, oil and cocoa producer hit an 18-year high of 23.6 percent. 

Pakistan hikes main policy rate 

The State Bank of Pakistan raised its benchmark interest rate on Monday by 150 basis points to 13.75 percent, the second hike in less than two months, as the South Asian nation grapples with a sinking economy.

The key interest rates have been hiked by 400 bps in less than two months, according to the central bank.

“This action, together with much needed fiscal consolidation, should help moderate demand to a more sustainable pace while keeping inflation expectations anchored and containing risks to external stability,” the bank said in a statement.

Swiss bank may tighten monetary policy 

The Swiss National Bank will tighten monetary policy if inflation in Switzerland remains persistently high, governing board member Andrea Maechler said in an interview published on Monday.

The European Central Bank on Monday became the latest institution to signal it was hiking rates to combat soaring inflation, following similar moves by the US Federal Reserve and the Bank of England. Read full story

The SNB could follow suit, should Swiss inflation remain outside its target range 0-2 percent. April saw the highest inflation rate in Switzerland for 14 years, with prices rising by 2.5 percent.

“If the inflation we expect does not come down in the medium term to a range between 0 percent and 2 percent, we will not hesitate to tighten policy,” Maechler told Swiss newspaper Bilan.

The SNB now has the world’s lowest interest rate of minus 0.75 percent which along with its readiness to intervene in the currency markets has been the basis of its monetary policy over the last seven years.

Nigeria Q1 GDP growth slows 

Nigerian gross domestic product grew 3.11 percent in the first quarter, slower than in the previous quarter as a fall in oil production hit the rest of the economy, the national statistics office said on Monday ahead of a central bank interest rate decision on Tuesday.

It was the sixth consecutive quarter of growth, with non-oil sectors helping Nigeria bounce back from a severe recession caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The full-year GDP figure for 2021 showed the fastest growth in seven years. 

Gross domestic product grew by 3.98 percent in the fourth quarter of 2021. In the first three months of last year, the growth rate was 0.51 percent.

“After the recession experienced by the country in 2020 occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic, the economy has been on the path of growth,” the National Bureau of Statistics said.

 


REVIEW: Circlys - saving platform

Photo/Supplied
Photo/Supplied
Updated 03 July 2022

REVIEW: Circlys - saving platform

Photo/Supplied
  • Eligible members must have accounts documented through the national information center “Nafath,” have a fixed income and a Saudi bank account

Many people when they have a certain income worry about having a proper amount of savings in their bank accounts.

Saving is known to be one of the best steps toward a healthy financial status and there are many ways to go about it.

One example is Circlys, an official Saudi closed joint-stock company, headquartered in Riyadh and specializing in financial technology.

It is a certified cooperative saving application provided for customers in Saudi Arabia under the supervision of the Saudi Central Bank, the Ministry of Commerce and the Ministry of Investment.

Eligible members must have accounts documented through the national information center “Nafath,” have a fixed income and a Saudi bank account. Every subscriber must sign a claim in case of defaulting and to guarantee their rights.

Circlys offers different saving opportunities throughout the year with durations varying between six and 12 months. Monthly shares start at SR500. Subscribers can choose the month they would like to receive the sum they register to get, and payments from each subscriber are deducted based on their salary period. Amounts will be received within three days after the salary receiving date.

The idea of the saving platform is inspired by a common saving concept in the Arab region called “Jamea’a,” where a group of three or more individuals agrees on saving the same amount of money in turns, provided that each individual pays the agreed-upon amount in the specified time. It is not permissible to breach the deadline or evade payment.

With a 4.7 rating by users, the savings platform has more than 180,000 beneficiaries and 10,000 saving circles. The phone app is available in English and Arabic on Android and iOS. For more information, visit circlys.com


Algeria to review gas prices with all its clients

Algeria to review gas prices with all its clients
Updated 03 July 2022

Algeria to review gas prices with all its clients

Algeria to review gas prices with all its clients
  • Algeria’s oil and gas earnings are up 70 percent and have reached $21.5 billion in the five first months of 2022

ALGIERS: Algeria is negotiating with all its clients to review gas prices, state oil and gas producer Sonatrach’s CEO, Tewfik Hakkar, told reporters on Sunday.

Hakkar added that the review of the prices is not targeting a single company or country.

The statement comes almost a week after Spain began re-exporting gas to Morocco in reverse flow via the Gazoduc Maghreb-Europe pipeline, marking the first direct flow of piped gas from Europe to Africa.

Spain and Morocco agreed earlier this year to consider using the GME pipeline for reverse flow to the North African country with the gas to be sourced from the global LNG market.

On Nov. 1, Algeria, which has cut off diplomatic ties with Morocco, stopped supplying natural gas to its neighboring country through the GME pipeline.

Algeria is now supplying Spain using the Medgaz undersea pipeline with an annual capacity of 8 billion cubic meters, which does not go through Morocco.

Earnings up

Algeria’s oil and gas earnings are up 70 percent and have reached $21.5 billion in the five first months of 2022, compared to $12.6 billion in the same period last year, an executive at state oil and gas producer Sonatrach told reporters on Sunday.

Along with gas, Algeria is a large oil producer with 12.2 billion barrels of proven oil reserves. The country exports 540,000 barrels per day of its total production of about 1.1 million bpd. All proven oil reserves are held onshore, though offshore exploration is in the early stages.


NRG Matters: DEWA expands its energy production capacity; Germany cuts natural gas consumption by 35% in May

NRG Matters: DEWA expands its energy production capacity; Germany cuts natural gas consumption by 35% in May
Updated 03 July 2022

NRG Matters: DEWA expands its energy production capacity; Germany cuts natural gas consumption by 35% in May

NRG Matters: DEWA expands its energy production capacity; Germany cuts natural gas consumption by 35% in May

RIYADH: On a macro level, Germany reduced consumption of natural gas by 35 percent in May. Zooming in, Dubai’s DEWA added 700MW of energy production capacity, to reach a total of 14,117 MW. 

Looking at the bigger picture

  • Germany has reduced its consumption of natural gas by 35 percent during the first five months of 2022, compared to the same period last year, Bloomberg reported citing an industry lobby group. Only part of the drop was due to a milder winter, it added. 

Through a micro lens:

  • Dubai Electricity and Water Authority has added 700 MW of energy production capacity, to reach a total of 14,117 MW, according to the Dubai Media Office. 

This includes 600 MW from the Hassyan Power Complex, which runs on natural gas, and 100 MW from photovoltaic solar panels at the 5th phase of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum Solar Park, which DEWA is implementing.

  • The Egyptian Nuclear and Radiological Regulatory Authority has issued a construction license to build the first reactor at Al Dabaa Nuclear Power Plant, according to a statement.

On Egypt’s Mediterranean coast, the El Dabaa site is 320 km west of Cairo. The plant will comprise four VVER-1200 units, like those already in operation at the Leningrad and Novovoronezh nuclear power plants in Russia, and the Ostrovets nuclear power plant in Belarus.


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

TRSDC signs first JV worth $400m with Al Mutlaq Group
Updated 03 July 2022

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 03 July 2022

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.