Saudis, Emiratis stress Kingdom’s rise creates more opportunities for region  

Saudis, Emiratis stress Kingdom’s rise creates more opportunities for region  
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Saudi Minister of Economy Faisal Al Ibrahim with his UAE counterpart Abdullah bin Touq at the Saudi MiSK Foundation Pavilion in Davos World Economic Forum Annual Meeting. (Supplied)
Saudis, Emiratis stress Kingdom’s rise creates more opportunities for region  
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Saudi ministers participate in a panel discussion at the World Economic Forum 2022. (WEF)
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Updated 28 May 2022

Saudis, Emiratis stress Kingdom’s rise creates more opportunities for region  

Saudis, Emiratis stress Kingdom’s rise creates more opportunities for region  
  • Participating in WEF panel on ‘Saudi outlook,’ Kingdom’s Investment Minister Khalid Al-Falih said ‘a rising tide lifts all boats’
  • Chairman of Dubai-based Damac Hussain Sajwani says KSA, UAE ‘completing each other in terms of growth, not competing with each other’

DAVOS: Over the past decade, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries have been steadily diversifying their economies away from oil, offering incentives to attract capital and talent, encouraging small businesses and start-ups, and trying to give their young citizens exciting new career paths in the private sector.

As the largest economy in the Middle East, with ties to both China and the US, Saudi Arabia is well-positioned to use its strategic relationships and hydrocarbon resources to stabilize volatile energy markets and advance economic recovery. Predictably, the Kingdom’s priorities and its response to today’s turbulent geopolitical context are in the limelight as it continues with its reform agenda.

The pace of economic diversification by the Kingdom has quickened greatly since the unveiling of Saudi Vision 2030 in 2016 by (then Deputy) Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The accent is now on business growth, tourism, education, manufacturing, entertainment, health care and other sectors.

This has given rise to speculation among economic analysts as to whether the development can be a win-win for Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf countries, particularly the UAE. The question was put to the speakers in a panel discussion entitled “Saudi outlook” on Wednesday at the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos.

 

 

Offering to answer the question first, Saudi Minister of Finance Mohammed Al-Jadaan said: “When a country like Saudi Arabia moves, others up their game. We are seeing that in action today. So, it is in the interest of the whole region and not only Saudi Arabia.”

Al-Jadaan’s view was echoed by the other speakers, starting with Khalid Al-Falih, the Saudi minister of investment, who said: “A rising tide lifts all boats. Regional integration is more important to the smaller but very important economies next to us than it is to Saudi Arabia.

“So, I believe the Kingdom’s rise in its economic and competitive performance actually helps their competitiveness. It allows companies and enterprises and the governments of those countries to integrate with the larger global economy in Saudi Arabia.”

Speaking from the perspective of the Saudi Ministry of Tourism, Haifa bint Mohammed Al-Saud, assistant minister for strategy and executive affairs, said: “Competition is critical. We create competition within Saudi Arabia for different destinations because what it does is increase quality. And it’s very healthy because they start complementing each other.”




Saudi Arabia will continue to diversify its economy, ministers from the Kingdom told a WEF panel discussion on Wednesday. (AN photo)

More broadly, she said: “The region in its entirety is a hub, so once you arrive in the region, it becomes more appealing to visit different destinations. So, (competition is) absolutely to our benefit.”

Faisal Al-Ibrahim, Saudi minister of economy and planning, said: “For me, competition and competitiveness are essential for us to raise the bar higher. But collaboration is also necessary.

“There is a lot of coordination and collaboration that happens behind the scenes. There is a lot of camaraderie between policymakers within the region that gives us these assurances.”

Last year, Saudi Arabia set certain rules for companies seeking to take advantage of the $3 trillion investment opportunities identified for international investors under the Vision 2030 strategy. The government said it would no longer sign contracts with foreign companies without a regional headquarters inside the Kingdom starting from 2024.

The new arrangement is thought to have aroused a sense of competition between Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Talk of unspoken economic rivalry has continued to make global headlines as both announce aggressive initiatives to attract or deploy investment.

However, Hussain Sajwani, chairman of Damac, the Dubai-based Emirati property development company, thinks Saudi Arabia and Dubai are completing each other in terms of growth, rather than competing with each other.

“I think they completing each other in two different economies, two different outlooks,” he told Arab News on the sidelines of the Davos summit on Tuesday.




Damac Chairman Hussain Sajwani. (Supplied)

“Dubai is a connecting point for businesses for travelers, tourism, Saudi Arabia is very different. So Dubai companies help and complete the growth of Saudi Arabia,” he said.

Similar sentiments have been expressed by other Emirati businessmen and government ministers over the past year, with the general consensus being that the two GCC members are independently adjusting their social and economic policies as part of their economic diversification strategies.

In comments to Arab News last November, Badr Al-Olama, an executive director at Abu Dhabi sovereign fund Mubadala, dismissed the idea that Saudi Arabia and UAE’s economic progress is a zero-sum game.

“What many people try to interpret as competition is completely wrong because the market is so large,” he said. “The fact that we are close neighbors means we are able to complement each other with certain capabilities to compete on a global scale.”

 

 

In an interview with Arab News in December, Khalifa Shaheen Al-Marar, UAE minister of state, said that the two countries have adopted policies that benefit the entire Arab region and contribute to better outcomes for global peace and human welfare.

“The UAE and Saudi Arabia maintain a close and complementary relationship that benefits the two countries and the wider region, which includes economic and developmental integration,” he said.

“We believe that healthy economic competition in the region is important, and the UAE always views it as an opportunity to generate new prospects and adopt policies that benefit the region as a whole.

“Our two countries’ economic partnership is one based on open exchange and cooperation. The Saudi-Emirati Coordination Council, a high-level bilateral mechanism established to harmonize Saudi Vision 2030 and UAE Vision 2021, continues to play an important role in inking additional economic agreements and streamlining trade between our two countries.” 

 


Careem acquires money transfer technology platform Denarii

Careem acquires money transfer technology platform Denarii
Updated 24 sec ago

Careem acquires money transfer technology platform Denarii

Careem acquires money transfer technology platform Denarii

RIYADH: Careem, the ride-hailing and e-commerce platform, has acquired Denarii, a Dubai-based money transfer platform, in its second acquisition this month.

While the company has not disclosed the value of the deal, this acquisition will allow Careem to integrate Denarii’s technologies and assets into its platform.

Some key members of the Denarii team will also join Careem as part of the acquisition, MAGNiTT reported. 

Careem will use Denarii’s technology for its Careem Pay feature, to connect customers and Captains with remittance services provided by licensed providers. 

“Denarii’s innovative API will accelerate our journey to offering simple and affordable international remittance services, adding to the wide variety of services already available through Careem Pay,” Mudassir Sheikha, CEO and co-founder of Careem said. 


JPMorgan warns oil may hit $380 a barrel if Russia begins retaliatory production cuts

JPMorgan warns oil may hit $380 a barrel if Russia begins retaliatory production cuts
Updated 2 min 35 sec ago

JPMorgan warns oil may hit $380 a barrel if Russia begins retaliatory production cuts

JPMorgan warns oil may hit $380 a barrel if Russia begins retaliatory production cuts

RIYADH: Amid ongoing geopolitical tensions and skyrocketing energy rates, global oil prices may hit $380 a barrel if the US and European curbs compel Russia to inflict retaliatory crude output cuts, Bloomberg reported citing analysts at JPMorgan Chase & Co.

It was after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine that the Western allies led by the US imposed several sanctions, and worked out a complicated mechanism to cap the price fetched by Russian oil.

According to JPMorgan analysts including Natasha Kaneva, currently Russia enjoys a strong financial position and it can afford to slash daily crude production by 5 million barrels.

The analysts noted that Russia’s crude production cuts could be disastrous for the world, as a cut of 3 million barrels will elevate London crude prices to $190. In the worst-case scenario, if the output is cut by 5 million barrels, the price could reach as high as $380 a barrel.

“The most obvious and likely risk with a price cap is that Russia might choose retaliate by reducing exports as a way to inflict pain on the West,” wrote the analysts.


SABB appoints new CEO to lead corporate and institutional banking

SABB appoints new CEO to lead corporate and institutional banking
Updated 15 min 5 sec ago

SABB appoints new CEO to lead corporate and institutional banking

SABB appoints new CEO to lead corporate and institutional banking

RIYADH: The Saudi British Bank has appointed Yasser Ali Al-Barrak as its new CEO for corporate and institutional banking from this month.

The appointment of Al-Barrak will take effect on July 1, the bank said in a press statement.

Al-Barrak joined SABB in 2012 and has held many leadership positions, most recently being the general manager of global corporate and institutional banking, the statement said.

“The appointment of Yasser is a testament to the success of career growth plans at SABB, which is a major player in managing our most valuable assets, our people,” said SABB Managing Director & CEO Tony Cripps.

Established in 1978, SABB is an associate of the HSBC Group and a Saudi joint-stock company. It was named Saudi’s best bank for 2022, the statement added.

The bank provides retail, corporate, investment, private, and treasury services and has a paid-up capital of SR20.5 billion ($5.46 billion).


Crypto Moves — Bitcoin slips; Voyager Digital suspends operations

Crypto Moves — Bitcoin slips; Voyager Digital suspends operations
Updated 03 July 2022

Crypto Moves — Bitcoin slips; Voyager Digital suspends operations

Crypto Moves — Bitcoin slips; Voyager Digital suspends operations

RIYADH: Bitcoin, the leading cryptocurrency worldwide, traded lower on Sunday, falling by 0.93 percent to $19,033.92 at 9 a.m. Riyadh time.

Ethereum, the second most traded cryptocurrency, was priced at $1,057.11, rising by 1.15 percent, according to data from CoinDesk.

Voyager Digital suspends withdrawals and deposits 

To preserve its platform’s value, Voyager Digital on Friday announced it had suspended withdrawals, trading, and deposits, according to Reuters. 

A default notice was issued to embattled hedge fund Three Arrows Capital just days earlier for the fund’s failure to make required payments.

According to Voyager CEO Stephen Ehrlich, the move gives the company more time to consider strategic alternatives with various interested parties while preserving its value.

The company announced that it had hired financial advisers Moelis & Co., Consello Group, and legal advisers Kirkland & Ellis LLP “to support its exploration of strategic alternatives.”

Voyager’s crypto assets are worth $685 million, compared to the more than $1.12 billion it has lent in crypto assets. The company said it lent $350 million and 15,250 bitcoins to 3AC. 

Voyager’s move comes less than a month after Celsius Network suspended withdrawals due to extreme market conditions. Customers of Celsius have not yet been able to withdraw money again.

(With inputs from Reuters)


Saudi mall operator Abdullah Al Othaim cancels IPO plans 

Saudi mall operator Abdullah Al Othaim cancels IPO plans 
Updated 03 July 2022

Saudi mall operator Abdullah Al Othaim cancels IPO plans 

Saudi mall operator Abdullah Al Othaim cancels IPO plans 

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Abdullah Al-Othaim Markets Co. has canceled plans to sell shares of its mall business to the public, the company said in a bourse filing.

The group halted initial public offering plans for Abdullah Al Othaim Investment Co. due to concerns over valuation and market volatility.

Arab News earlier reported that the group had selected GIB Capital to manage an IPO of a 30-percent stake in the Kingdom’s stock market. 

Known as Al Othaim Malls, the firm specializes in the construction, management and operation of shopping malls, entertainment centers, restaurants and cinemas.