Kremlin says West is to blame for Ukraine grain crisis

Kremlin says West is to blame for Ukraine grain crisis
Russia and Ukraine together account for nearly a third of global wheat supplies
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Updated 26 May 2022

Kremlin says West is to blame for Ukraine grain crisis

Kremlin says West is to blame for Ukraine grain crisis
  • The Kremlin says Ukraine had made commercial shipping impossible by mining its waters

LONDON: The Kremlin on Thursday said the West only had itself to blame for a brewing food crisis due to problems getting Ukraine’s grain out to world markets, demanding the United States and its allies scrap what it cast as illegal sanctions.

Besides the death and devastation sown by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the war and the West’s attempt to isolate Russia as punishment have sent the price of grain, cooking oil, fertilizer and energy soaring, hurting global growth.

The United Nations, which says a global food crisis is deepening, is trying to broker a deal to unblock Ukraine’s grain exports though Western leaders have blamed Russia for holding the world to ransom by blockading Ukrainian ports.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov rejected those accusations and said the West was to blame for the situation.

“We categorically reject these accusations and, on the contrary, accuse Western countries that they have taken a number of illegal actions that led to this,” Peskov told reporters.

“They (the West) must cancel those illegal decisions that prevent the chartering of ships, that prevent the export of grain, and so on” so that supplies can resume, Peskov said.

Russia has captured some of Ukraine’s biggest seaports and its navy controls major transport routes in the Black Sea, where extensive mining has made commercial shipping dangerous.

Sanctions have also made it hard for Russian exporters to access vessels to move commodities to global markets.

Russia and Ukraine together account for nearly a third of global wheat supplies.

Chicago wheat futures hit a record price in March on supply concerns, and are still up by 30 percent since Feb. 24.

Ukraine is also a major exporter of corn, barley, sunflower oil and rapeseed oil, while Russia and Belarus — which has backed Moscow in the war and is also under sanctions — account for over 40 percent of global exports of the crop nutrient potash.

Time is running out to get some 22 million tons of grain out of Ukraine ahead of the new harvest as Russia continues to blockade the country’s Black Sea ports, Ukrainian lawmaker Yevheniia Kravchuk said on Wednesday.

“We have about maybe a month and a half before we start to collect the new harvest,” she told Reuters on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in the Swiss resort of Davos, adding there was not sufficient space to store the fresh harvest.

Ukraine has lost the ports of Kherson and Mariupol to Russian occupation, and fears Russia may try to seize a third, Odesa.

The Kremlin says Ukraine had made commercial shipping impossible by mining its waters.

European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen is among those who have accused Moscow of using food exports as a weapon, while Kyiv has said Russia has stolen hundreds of thousands of tons of grain in areas their forces have occupied.
“Putin is trying to hold the world to ransom, and he is essentially weaponizing hunger and lack of food among the poorest people around the world,” British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said during a visit to Bosnia on Thursday.


World Bank approves $500m loan for emergency food security project in Egypt

World Bank approves $500m loan for emergency food security project in Egypt
Updated 14 sec ago

World Bank approves $500m loan for emergency food security project in Egypt

World Bank approves $500m loan for emergency food security project in Egypt

RIYADH: The World Bank has approved a $500-million loan to help Egypt ensure an uninterrupted supply of bread as the country faces food security concerns amid rising prices and supply disruption due to the Russia-Ukraine war.

“This project supports the government’s strong commitment to ensuring that the needs of citizens continue to be met even amid a very challenging global context caused by concomitant crises such as COVID-19 and the war in Ukraine,” said Rania Al-Mashat, Egypt’s Minister of International Cooperation, in a press statement.

The loan given under the Emergency Food Security and Resilience Support Project will help Egypt finance the public procurement of imported wheat. This would be equivalent to one month of supply for the Bread Subsidy Program which supports around 70 million low-income Egyptians, including 31 million people who live under the national poverty line, said a press release.

Bread is a staple in Egypt and the World Bank said this new project will link wheat imports to direct assistance to the poor and vulnerable population through Egypt’s Bread Subsidy Program.

“As always we are keen to continuously support Egypt in overcoming obstacles to its ambitious sustainable development plans and to further enable the country to pave the way for a prosperous and productive future for all its citizens,” said Marina Wes, World Bank country director for Egypt, Yemen and Djibouti. 


NEOM subsidiary to power off-road racing series Extreme E with green hydrogen

NEOM subsidiary to power off-road racing series Extreme E with green hydrogen
Updated 14 min 26 sec ago

NEOM subsidiary to power off-road racing series Extreme E with green hydrogen

NEOM subsidiary to power off-road racing series Extreme E with green hydrogen

RIYADH: NEOM’s energy, water and hydrogen subsidiary ENOWA has partnered with Extreme E to introduce green hydrogen power to their global sustainable racing series. 

This development comes on the heels of the announcement that NEOM became the title partner of the McLaren Formula E and Extreme E racing teams under the banner of NEOM McLaren Electric Racing, according to a statement. 

NEOM has partnered with McLaren Racing to drive innovation and talent development in electric motorsport.

With the partnership, Extreme E and ENOWA aim to implement innovative green hydrogen-based technologies.

ENOWA will play a part on the scientific advisory board of Extreme E and together both parties will develop educational programs to young generations about climate positive solutions.

“Our partnership is aimed toward both creating visibility to the most urgent problems the planet is facing but at the same time demonstrating solutions that deliver meaningful impact,” ENOWA CEO said. 

“Together we can accelerate innovations in clean technologies powered by green hydrogen, contributing to hydrogen mobility markets and the future of global decarbonization,” Peter Terium added. 

At the Season 2 opener of Extreme E in NEOM in February 2022, the series revealed its plans to launch an off-road hydrogen Championship in 2024. 

Named Extreme H, the championship will sit alongside Extreme E, its existing electric racing series, and will be a world-first for motorsport. 

Development for the Extreme H vehicle is already underway, with the aim being the launch of a prototype in early 2023.


Pivot Engineering wins $168m contract for Damac Lagoons development

Pivot Engineering wins $168m contract for Damac Lagoons development
Updated 29 June 2022

Pivot Engineering wins $168m contract for Damac Lagoons development

Pivot Engineering wins $168m contract for Damac Lagoons development

DUBAI: Emirati property development company Damac has awarded a $168.2 million construction contract for the Costa Brava cluster within its Damac Lagoons development to Pivot Engineering and General Contracting Co., MEED reported.

According to the report, the scope of work under this contract includes the construction of 976 townhouses for the project.

It was in November 2021 that the development works of the Damac Lagoons Project began in the inland Dubailand area.

The project also includes villas, townhouses, artificial beaches, and community facilities. Damac Lagoons Project which spans 45 million square feet also includes clusters named Venice, Morocco, Nice, Malta, Andalucia and Portofino.

Pivot Engineering and General Contracting Co. is headquartered in Abu Dhabi, and it has been working in the region for 44 years, according to the company website. 


Saudi Cabinet approves new companies law to drive entrepreneurship

Saudi Cabinet approves new companies law to drive entrepreneurship
Updated 7 min 9 sec ago

Saudi Cabinet approves new companies law to drive entrepreneurship

Saudi Cabinet approves new companies law to drive entrepreneurship

RIYADH: The Saudi Cabinet has approved a law allowing the creation of a new type of company in the Kingdom to boost entrepreneurship.

The new Companies law was signed off on Tuesday, and will regulate all provisions related to companies, whether commercial, non-profit or professional.

It allows a new form of company — called a Simplified Joint Stock Company — that meets the needs of entrepreneurship and venture capital growth.

It also allows the issuance of a family charter that regulates ownership in family businesses, in addition to governance, management, work policy, employment of family members and cash profits to ensure the sustainability of these companies.

“The new law will improve the financing and business dynamics in every sector in the economy, it should have a great positive impact on the economy for the next decades,” CEO of Razeen Capital, Mohammed Al Suwayed, told Arab News.

 “I can't point out a single impact because the impact is going to be happening in all of the sectors gradually,” he said.

It also reduces the legal requirements and procedures for small and medium enterprises, and simplifies the procedures for establishing companies.

Under this law, many restrictions in the incorporation, practice and exit phases and restrictions on company names have been removed.

According to the Ministry of Investment, the changes will also enhance the diversity and strength of the local market, and raise the level of competitiveness of the Saudi investment environment.

“The new corporate system came to achieve the hopes of family businesses, organize their business by concluding the family charter, encourage bold investment and address the challenges of entrepreneurs by approving the simplified joint stock company,” the Minister of Commerce Majid Al-Kassabi said. 

Real Estate Brokerage law

Another law signed off was the Real Estate Brokerage law, which aims to regulate the brokers business and provide innovative and high-quality services to beneficiaries.

“The Saudi Cabinet’s ratification of the real estate brokerage law will help ensure the reliability of real estate transactions through the Real estate General Authority,” Majid Al-Hogail, Minister of Municipal, Rural Affairs and Housing said on Twitter.

He added that It will also help raise the level of services provided and preserve the rights of customers in the sector through standards and procedures for doing business.

Al-Hogail indicated that real estate brokerage services are limited to brokers licensed by the General Real Estate Authority, and brokerage contracts and real estate transactions must be submitted electronically.

He said the commission and prepayment must be determined, and that violators will be subject to penalties under the law.


Commodities Update — Gold buoyed by fall in US bond yields; Wheat up; Copper slips

Commodities Update — Gold buoyed by fall in US bond yields; Wheat up; Copper slips
Updated 29 June 2022

Commodities Update — Gold buoyed by fall in US bond yields; Wheat up; Copper slips

Commodities Update — Gold buoyed by fall in US bond yields; Wheat up; Copper slips

RIYADH: Gold prices treaded water on Wednesday, with lower US Treasury yields lending support, as bullion struggled to break out of range-bound trading.

Spot gold was up 0.1 percent at $1,821.53 per ounce by 0550 GMT. US gold futures firmed 0.1 percent at $1,822.10. 

Silver dips

Spot silver dipped 0.1 percent to $20.81 per ounce, while platinum rose 0.9 percent to $918.32. 

Palladium gained 2 percent to $1,911.72.

Wheat up, corn down

Chicago wheat futures extended gains on Wednesday, lifted by signs of improving demand and bargain-buying after three straight sessions of losses pushed the contract to its lowest since February.

Corn and soybeans edged lower.

The most active wheat contract on the Chicago Board of Trade rose 0.53 percent to $9.41 a bushel.

Corn fell 0.38 percent to $6.56-3/4 a bushel and soybeans edged down 0.5 percent to $14.55-1/4 a bushel.

Copper down

Copper prices slipped on Wednesday, as downbeat US consumer confidence data and prospects of rapid rate hikes to control a surge in inflation fanned fears of a global economic slowdown, impacting metals demand.

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange was down 0.6 percent at $8,314 a ton, as of 0702 GMT.

Prices of the metal, which are used as a gauge of economic health by investors, have fallen 23 percent since scaling a peak of $10,845 in March.

The most-traded August copper contract in Shanghai ended daytime trading down 0.9 percent to $9,466.07 a ton.

(With inputs from Reuters)