Commodities Update — Gold flat; Wheat, soybean fall; Copper heads for worst quarter

Commodities Update — Gold flat; Wheat, soybean fall; Copper heads for worst quarter
Gold prices, set to drop for a third straight month, have fallen about 6.2 percent this quarter (Shutterstock)
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Updated 30 June 2022

Commodities Update — Gold flat; Wheat, soybean fall; Copper heads for worst quarter

Commodities Update — Gold flat; Wheat, soybean fall; Copper heads for worst quarter

RIYADH: Gold was mostly quiet on Thursday, but faced its worst quarter since early 2021 as the strength of the dollar kept investors away. 

Bullion’s outlook was clouded by top central banks adopting aggressive tactics against stubborn inflation.

Spot gold was flat at $1,817.07 per ounce by 0339 GMT. US gold futures edged up 0.1 percent to $1,819.70.

Gold prices, set to drop for a third straight month, have fallen about 6.2 percent this quarter. 

Silver slightly up

Spot silver was up 0.1 percent at $20.72 per ounce, while platinum was flat at $916.66. 

Palladium gained 1.2 percent to $1,986.21. However, they were all still headed for monthly and quarterly losses.

Grains fall

Chicago corn fell on Thursday, weighed down by increased chances of rain in growing areas in the US.

Wheat and soybeans also fell.

The most-active corn contract on the Chicago Board of Trade fell 0.42 percent to $6.51 a bushel.

Wheat fell 0.59 percent to $9.24-3/4 a bushel and soybeans edged down 0.02 percent to $17.48 a bushel.

Copper heads for worst quarter since March 2020

Copper prices slipped on Thursday and were set for their biggest quarterly percentage drop since March 2020, hit by worries about a potential recession following a series of interest rate hikes and a slowdown in demand due to lockdowns in top consumer China.

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange was down 0.4 percent at $8,371.50 a ton, as of 0437 GMT. The contract has fallen more than 19 percent so far this quarter.

The most-traded August copper contract in Shanghai was flat at $9,555.69 a ton by the midday break.

(With input from Reuters) 


Bank Albilad launches $53m wholly owned payments arm Enjaz

Bank Albilad launches $53m wholly owned payments arm Enjaz
Updated 21 sec ago

Bank Albilad launches $53m wholly owned payments arm Enjaz

Bank Albilad launches $53m wholly owned payments arm Enjaz

RIYADH: Saudi-based Bank Albilad has established a wholly owned payments arm in Riyadh with SR200 million ($53 million) capital, according to a bourse filing.

Enjaz Payment Services Co., licensed by the Saudi Central Bank as a Major Electronic Money Institution, will handle all payments and remittances activities currently operated as a business division in the bank.

The incorporation of Enjaz is in line with Bank Albilad’s strategy and any major developments in this regard will be announced in due course, it said.

 


Alkhair Capital among Kingdom’s top 10 financial firms with $3.6bn assets

Alkhair Capital among Kingdom’s top 10 financial firms with $3.6bn assets
Updated 7 min 1 sec ago

Alkhair Capital among Kingdom’s top 10 financial firms with $3.6bn assets

Alkhair Capital among Kingdom’s top 10 financial firms with $3.6bn assets

RIYADH: Alkhair Capital has seen the value of its assets under management rise to SR13.42 billion ($3.6 billion) in the first quarter, making it one of Saudi Arabia’s top ten financial institutions.

The Riyadh-headquartered investment firm reported a 34.6 percent increase in assets under management in the first quarter of 2022 compared to the year-ago period, according to the Capital Market Institutions Report.

“Alkhair Capital is a pioneer in providing Islamic products, and the recent ranking by the Capital Market Institutions confirms our strong track record and operational excellence,” said Abdullah Al Shilash, CEO of Alkhair Capital Saudi Arabia.

Most recently, Alkhair Capital acted as the financial advisor and underwriter to two Saudi-listed companies’ rights issue offerings.

The first was a SR173 million capital raise for Saudi Industrial Export Co. and the second was Amana Cooperative Insurance Co.’s SR300 million capital hike plan.


Saudi paper manufacturer MEPCO posts 216% leap in profit on higher revenues

Saudi paper manufacturer MEPCO posts 216% leap in profit on higher revenues
Updated 24 min 11 sec ago

Saudi paper manufacturer MEPCO posts 216% leap in profit on higher revenues

Saudi paper manufacturer MEPCO posts 216% leap in profit on higher revenues

RIYADH: Saudi papers maker MEPCO has posted a 216 percent leap in profits during the first half of 2022 fueled by higher revenues.

Profits of the company, formally known as Middle East Paper Co., rose to SR192 million ($51 million) in the first half, up from SR60 million in the prior year period, it said in a bourse filing.

This was coupled with a 45 percent increase in revenue to SR652 million during the same period owing to higher demand and pricing.


 


Saudi dairy giant Almarai re-appoints chairman and vice chairman

Saudi dairy giant Almarai re-appoints chairman and vice chairman
Updated 35 min 18 sec ago

Saudi dairy giant Almarai re-appoints chairman and vice chairman

Saudi dairy giant Almarai re-appoints chairman and vice chairman

RIYADH: Saudi-based dairy giant Almarai has re-elected Prince Naif bin Sultan bin Mohammed bin Saud Al-Kabeer as board chairman and Suliman Al Muhaideb as vice chairman.

The new term takes effect from Aug. 7 and will last for three years, according to a bourse filing.

Last month, the dairy giant announced strong results as it recorded an 8.4 percent increase in profit for the first half of 2022 to SR940 million ($250 million).


 


GCC needs to secure its investment landscape: Report

GCC needs to secure its investment landscape: Report
Updated 07 August 2022

GCC needs to secure its investment landscape: Report

GCC needs to secure its investment landscape: Report
  • Call to focus on frontier sectors based on emerging technologies to attract FDI

CAIRO: Real and perceived political risks, the lack of focus on non-oil sectors, laxity in regulatory policies and a restrictive business environment are some of the factors impeding the growth of foreign direct investment in the Gulf Cooperation Council region, said a recent study.

According to Oliver Wyman’s recent report titled “De-risking the Investment Landscape: High-impact FDI Policies for the GCC,” the region needs to prioritize regulations and policies to de-risk investment. 

This approach should help them attract additional FDIs, the report recommended.

“The best way to attract FDI may be to focus on frontier sectors, which are based on emerging technology, generate high growth, and have few incumbent players to disrupt,” the report stated.

The policies adopted earlier in the GCC were unfocused and aimed to attract all possible investments in all potential sectors, which proved unsuccessful, according to the report.

Although most Gulf countries have been proactive in developing initiatives to stimulate FDI, few have successfully attracted foreign investment in the region.

“Historically, FDI into GCC economies has fluctuated with the rise and fall of commodity prices,” explained Wyman’s report. “However, it has failed to materialize as a consistent driver of economic opportunity in non-oil economic sectors.”

HIGHLIGHTS

• Oman and Bahrain are the only two GCC economies that saw FDI inflows over outflows in each of the years from 2016 to 2021.

• While Kuwait registered FDI outflows totaling $3.6 billion in 2021, it saw a sharp drop from $8 billion in the previous year.

“With such readily available domestic capital, many GCC states have historically not needed to prioritize FDI as a source of development finance,” it added.

The report further revealed that GCC states are becoming increasingly aware of the benefits of FDI and its potential impact on their economies, which could enhance productivity.

Foreign investment provides a good source of finance, promotes interactions of local suppliers and consumer markets, and stimulates human capital by training local workers and employing foreign ones.

As stated by the report, an increased level of private competition, an enhancement in technological know-how and a surge in cross-border activity are additional favorable consequences that arise from increased FDI.

The UN Conference on Trade and Development recently released the “World Investment Report 2022,” which showed that Saudi Arabia and the UAE, two of the largest economies in the GCC, saw 2021 FDI outflows exceed FDI inflows by $4.6 billion and $1.9 billion, respectively. 

The difference for all GCC members stood at $6.4 billion, although a noticeable improvement from 2019 and 2020, where the differences were $11.1 billion and $8.3 billion, respectively.

Oman and Bahrain are the only two GCC economies that saw FDI inflows over outflows in each of the years from 2016 to 2021, according to the UNCTAD report.

In comparison, FDI inflows to Indonesia in 2021 surpassed the outflows by $16.5 billion. Similarly, FDI inflows to Vietnam and Malaysia trumped outflows by $15.4 billion and $6.9 billion, respectively, UNCTAD data show.    

On the other hand, Saudi Arabia witnessed the highest FDI outflows in the GCC in 2021. It recorded $23.9 billion in net outflows in 2021 compared to only $4.9 billion in 2020. It is worth mentioning the Kingdom’s FDI inflows stood at $5.4 billion in 2020.

 The UAE came in second with $22.5 billion worth of FDI outflows in 2021 compared to $18.9 billion the year before, the UNCTAD data showed.

While Kuwait registered FDI outflows totaling $3.6 billion in 2021, it saw a sharp drop from $8 billion in the previous year, the report stated.