Macro Snapshot — Britain’s private sector activity slows; Japan’s May factory activity grows at slowest rate in 3 months 

Momentum in Britain’s private sector slowed much more than expected this month, adding to recession worries as inflation pressures ratcheted higher, according to a business survey on Tuesday that showed rising pessimism. Reuters/File
Momentum in Britain’s private sector slowed much more than expected this month, adding to recession worries as inflation pressures ratcheted higher, according to a business survey on Tuesday that showed rising pessimism. Reuters/File
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Updated 24 May 2022

Macro Snapshot — Britain’s private sector activity slows; Japan’s May factory activity grows at slowest rate in 3 months 

Macro Snapshot — Britain’s private sector activity slows; Japan’s May factory activity grows at slowest rate in 3 months 

RIYADH: Momentum in Britain’s private sector slowed much more than expected this month, adding to recession worries as inflation pressures ratcheted higher, according to a business survey on Tuesday that showed rising pessimism.

S&P Global’s flash Composite Purchasing Managers’ Index, a monthly gauge of the services and manufacturing industries, slumped to 51.8 in May from 57.6 in April, its lowest level since February last year.

The preliminary reading was worse than all forecasts in a Reuters poll of economists, which had pointed to a drop to 57, and the scale of the fall was bigger than any seen pre-COVID-19.

“The collapse in the composite PMI in May is the clearest sign yet that demand is faltering in response to the intense squeeze on households’ real disposable incomes,” said Samuel Tombs, chief UK economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics.

Until now, most surveys of British business activity had been fairly robust, despite record-low consumer confidence after inflation hit a 40-year high of 9 percent.

US new home sales fall

Sales of new US single-family homes tumbled to a two-year low in April, likely as higher mortgage rates and soaring prices squeezed first-time buyers and those in search of entry-level properties out of the housing market.

New home sales plunged 16.6 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 591,000 units last month, the lowest level since April 2020, the Commerce Department said on Tuesday. March’s sales pace was revised down to 709,000 units from the previously reported 763,000 units.

Sales have now declined for four straight months. New home sales dropped 5.9 percent in the Northeast and tumbled 15.1 percent in the Midwest. They plummeted 19.8 percent in the densely populated South and decreased 13.8 percent in the Midwest.

Nigeria raises interest rate 

Nigeria’s central bank on Tuesday raised the benchmark interest rate by 150 basis points to 13 percent, its first hike in more than two years, to combat rising inflation, sending markets tumbling.

The move surprised analysts and traders who expected the Monetary Policy Committee to keep the rate on hold.

But Gov. Godwin Emefiele told a news briefing that the rate hike was necessary to tame inflation, which quickened to 16.82 percent in April, its highest in eight months, amid a fragile economic recovery.

Indonesia holds rates

Indonesia’s central bank announced on Tuesday more aggressive hikes in the reserve requirement ratio for banks, expecting inflation to rise slightly above its target band this year, but kept interest rates unchanged at a record low.

Bank Indonesia announced a quicker pace in RRR hikes, ordering banks to park 7.5 percent of their reserves starting July and 9 percent from September. This compared with BI’s previously announced policy path, in which BI had set three staggered RRR hikes this year from 3.5 percent to 6.5 percent in September.

BI left the benchmark 7-day reverse repurchase rate at a record low of 3.50 percent, as expected by 25 of 27 economists polled by Reuters. Its two other main rates were also unchanged. 

Poland budget surplus

Poland had a budget surplus of 9.2 billion zlotys ($2.14 billion) at the end April, state-run news agency PAP quoted Finance Minister Magdalena Rzeczkowska as saying on Tuesday.

Poland had a deficit of 0.3 billion zlotys at the end of March.

Separately, a government spokesman said that the deficit at the end of 2021 was 26.4 billion zlotys, 65.1 percent of what had been planned for in the budget.

Philippines narrows growth target 

The Philippines has revised its 2022 gross domestic product growth target to 7 percent-8 percent from the previous range of 7 percent-9 percent to take into account external risks, the government said on Tuesday.

It also slightly lowered the budget deficit target to 7.6 percent of GDP from 7.7 percent, among revisions that it said took into account the impact of Russia-Ukraine conflict, China’s slowdown, and monetary policy normalization in the US.

The government, however, kept the GDP growth target at the 6 percent-7 percent range for 2023 and 2024, as it expects the domestic economy to sustain its strong recovery in the medium term.

GDP would grow at the same pace in 2025, the economic managers on the Development Budget Coordination Committee said.

German inflation to reach 7%

Germany’s 2022 inflation rate will more than double from last year’s 3.1 percent as already high energy and food prices are pushed up by the war in Ukraine, the country’s Chambers of Industry and Commerce said on Tuesday.

DIHK said it now expects the inflation rate to hit 7 percent, after initially forecasting a rise of 3.5 percent in its February forecast.

Germany’s Economy Ministry said in April it saw an inflation rate of 6.1 percent in 2022 and 2.8 percent next year, citing the effects of energy prices in Europe’s biggest economy.

French business activity 

French business activity slowed slightly in May compared to the previous month, a preliminary survey showed on Tuesday, as inflationary pressures took the shine off fewer COVID-19 restrictions.

S&P Global said its flash May Purchasing Managers’ Index for France’s services sector was 58.4 points — down from a final number of 58.9 in April. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast 58.6 for the May flash reading.

Japan’s factory activity grows 

Japan’s manufacturing activity expanded at the slowest pace in three months in May, as supply bottlenecks due to parts shortages and China’s COVID-19 lockdowns caused output and new orders growth to slow.

Activity in the services sector improved for the second consecutive month on stronger domestic demand due to the fading impact of the pandemic, though service-sector firms faced a drag from the sharpest rise in input prices on record.

 

(With input from Reuters) 


Commodities Update — Gold inches up; Copper hovers near 17-month low

Commodities Update — Gold inches up; Copper hovers near 17-month low
Updated 11 sec ago

Commodities Update — Gold inches up; Copper hovers near 17-month low

Commodities Update — Gold inches up; Copper hovers near 17-month low

RIYADH: Gold inched higher on Monday, as weakness in Treasury yields kept prices above the $1,800-mark and marginally outweighed pressure stemming from elevated US dollar levels.

Spot gold was up 0.1 percent at $1,811.99 per ounce, by 0319 GMT. 

US gold futures rose 0.6 percent to $1,812.10.

Silver eases

Spot silver eased 0.2 percent to $19.84 per ounce, while platinum fell 0.5 percent to $884.49. 

Palladium dropped 1.3 percent to $1,934.40.

Copper languishes near 17-month low amid slowdown fears 

Copper prices slipped on Monday to hover near a 17-month low as renewed lockdowns in top consumer China and the prospect of aggressive rate hikes stoked fears of global economic slowdown, denting demand for metals.

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange was down 0.3 percent at $8,027.50 a ton, as of 0404 GMT.

The most-traded August copper contract in Shanghai fell 2.1 percent to $9,153.68 a ton by the midday break.

Russian ship carrying Ukrainian grain detained by Turkey

Turkish customs authorities have detained a Russian cargo ship carrying grain which Ukraine says is stolen, Ukraine’s ambassador to Turkey said on Sunday.

Ukraine had previously asked Turkey to detain the Russian-flagged Zhibek Zholy cargo ship, according to an official and documents viewed by Reuters.

Reuters reporters saw the Zhibek Zholy ship anchored about 1 km from shore and outside of the Karasu port on Sunday, with no obvious signs of movement aboard or by other vessels nearby.

“We have full co-operation. The ship is currently standing at the entrance to the port, it has been detained by the customs authorities of Turkey,” Ambassador Vasyl Bodnar said on Ukrainian national television.

Bodnar said the ship’s fate would be decided by a meeting of investigators on Monday and that Ukraine was hoping for the confiscation of the grain.


TASI begins higher despite market fears: Opening bell

TASI begins higher despite market fears: Opening bell
Updated 04 July 2022

TASI begins higher despite market fears: Opening bell

TASI begins higher despite market fears: Opening bell

RIYADH: Saudi stocks opened higher in the early morning trading session, despite ongoing market fears of higher interest rates weighing on investors' sentiment.

The main index, TASI, gained 0.11 percent to reach 11,477, while the parallel market, Nomu, started flat at 21,082, as of 10:08 a.m. Saudi time.

This was led by a rise in the banking sector, with Al Rajhi, the Kingdom’s largest valued bank, adding 0.25 percent, and Saudi National Bank adding 0.75 percent.

Among the biggest IT companies, Elm Co. gained 0.48 percent and Al Moammar Information Systems Co. gained 0.12 percent, respectively.

Shares of Saudi Aramco, the largest player on the Saudi oil market, opened 0.52 percent lower.

Fawaz Abdulaziz Alhokair Co. led the fallers with a 3.07 percent decline, followed by Abdulmohsen Alhokair Group for Tourism and Development which fell 2.48 percent.

In the energy sector, West Texas Intermediate crude was trading at $108.56 per barrel and Brent crude was trading at $111.74 per barrel as of 10:10 a.m. Saudi time.


SABB to pay $301m in dividends for H1

SABB to pay $301m in dividends for H1
Updated 04 July 2022

SABB to pay $301m in dividends for H1

SABB to pay $301m in dividends for H1

RIYADH: Saudi British Bank, also known as SABB, has proposed a dividend of SR1.13 billion ($301 million) for the first half of 2022.

The dividend payout per share has been set at SR0.55 for over 2 billion shares eligible for dividends which will be distributed on July 27, according to a bourse filing.

SABB, which was voted the best bank in 2022, recently appointed Yasser Ali Al-Barrak as its new CEO for corporate and institutional banking.

The bank has posted a 3 percent increase in net profit to SR1 billion in the first quarter of 2022, over SR974 in the year-ago quarter.


Here’s what you need to know before Tadawul trading on Monday

Here’s what you need to know before Tadawul trading on Monday
Updated 04 July 2022

Here’s what you need to know before Tadawul trading on Monday

Here’s what you need to know before Tadawul trading on Monday

RIYADH: Saudi stocks ended their first trading session of July in red, extending losses after an 11-percent decline in June due to fears over inflation and recession.

TASI, the main benchmark index, fell 0.5 percent to 11,464 on Sunday and the parallel market, Nomu, shed 2.3 percent to 21,082.

Oman’s stock exchange declined 0.3 percent in line with Saudi Arabia.

However, the Bahraini bourse led the gains in the region as it advanced by 1.4 percent, followed by Kuwait and Qatar, up 1 and 0.7 percent, respectively.

Outside the Gulf, Egypt’s blue-chip index EGX30 lost as much as 2.4 percent.

In the oil market, Brent crude futures rose slightly to $112.16 a barrel and US West Texas Intermediate reached $108.82 a barrel by 8:59 a.m. Saudi time on Monday.

Stock news

The Saudi British Bank, or SABB, appointed Yasser Ali Al-Barrak as its new CEO for corporate and institutional banking

SABB’s board of directors proposed a dividend distribution of SR1.13 billion ($301 million) in total, or SR0.55 per share, for the first half of 2022

Al-Khaleej Training and Education Co. entered into a non-binding agreement to potentially acquire 51 percent of Al-Minhaj Private Schools Co.

Ayyan Investment Co. named Faisal Al-Qahtani chairman of the board and Abdul Aziz Al Shaikh vice-chairman

Wafrah for Industry and Development Co.’s rights issue was 78 percent subscribed, generating SR120 million in proceeds

Jahez International Co. for Information System Technology appointed Lulua Bakr to replace audit committee chairman Abdulwahab Al-Butairi following his resignation

Saudi Basic Industries Corp.'s health insurance contract with Bupa Arabia was renewed for one year starting July 4

Calendar

July 4, 2022

Launch of single-stock futures trading on Tadawul

July 7, 2022

Saudi Exchange will close for the Eid Al Adha holidays and resume trading on July 13


Dubai fintech YAP raises $41m to expand footprint, eyes Saudi market among others

Dubai fintech YAP raises $41m to expand footprint, eyes Saudi market among others
Updated 04 July 2022

Dubai fintech YAP raises $41m to expand footprint, eyes Saudi market among others

Dubai fintech YAP raises $41m to expand footprint, eyes Saudi market among others

RIYADH: The UAE’s fintech YAP, a leading digital banking platform, has raised $41 million in a funding round led by Saudi Arabia’s Aljazira Capital, Abu Dawood Group, Astra Group and Audacia Capital.

The company plans to complete series A funding by the end of the year and use the funds to expand its regional footprint, it said in a statement.

It recently partnered with Bank AlJazira to launch its consumer and business banking platforms in Saudi Arabia.

“There is incredible demand for fintech products in the region, and we are well placed to be a market leader to address these needs,” said Marwan Hachem, co-founder and group CEO of YAP, in the statement.

Marwan Hachem, co-founder and group CEO of YAP (Supplied)

The company has also received regulatory approval in Pakistan and Ghana to offer similar services and plans to soon launch in Egypt.

YAP offers users a simple interface with a complete view of consumer spending analytics and easy ways to transfer money and pay bills.

With no minimum balance required, the app also provides customers with real-time notifications of purchases, withdrawals, and transfers.

YAP’s product development pipeline includes a new multicurrency offering, products for children and households, equity trading, loans and buy-now-pay-later options through the YAP Store, the YAP Financial Marketplace, and the YAP Hub.

“The momentum and growth we have seen since our launch validate the need for the YAP platform throughout the region. We look forward to expanding into new markets and enhancing our offering in the months ahead with these investments,” Anas Zaidan, co-founder and managing director of YAP, said in the statement.

Since its launch in 2021, the platform has provided over 130,000 users with an extensive database of resources at their fingertips to become expert money managers.