Riyadh no longer one of the 100 most expensive cities for expats: Mercer

Riyadh no longer one of the 100 most expensive cities for expats: Mercer
Riyadh was positioned at 103 in Mercer's Cost of Living Index 2022, falling from 29 in the previous year’s list (Shutterstock)
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Updated 03 July 2022

Riyadh no longer one of the 100 most expensive cities for expats: Mercer

Riyadh no longer one of the 100 most expensive cities for expats: Mercer

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s capital, Riyadh, has dropped 72 places in a ranking of the world’s most expensive cities for expats as it tumbled out of the top 100, according to a report issued by Mercer.

Riyadh was positioned at 103 in Mercer’s Cost of Living Index 2022, falling from 29 in the previous year’s list. 

Commenting on Riyadh’s fall, Khaled Al-Mobayed, CEO of Menassat Reality Co., a Riyadh-based real estate developer, said: “The results came in contrary to the expectations, due to the pandemic’s ongoing consequences and the rising cost of logistics and supply chain.”

“Being out of the 100 top expensive cities is a good sign despite the challenges that the economy has gone through,” he added.

UAE's Dubai took over Lebanon's capital, Beirut, as the most expensive city among Arab countries in the region, ranking 31.

Despite being placed third in 2021, Beirut was not even on this year’s list of 227 cities due to the country’s economic turmoil.

The city’s fall reflects the severe drop in value of the Lebanese pound, according to Lebanese economic analyst Bassel Al-Khatib, who pointed out the minimum wage is now worth $20, while it was $450 before the economic crisis gripping the country. 

“Lebanon is extremely expensive to those who get paid in Lebanese pounds yet very cheap for those who get pain in US dollars,” he told Arab News, adding: “Lebanon was expensive for both citizens and foreigners, and with the currency dropping 95 percent and the dollar reaching record levels, the situation changed.”

“Everything has become expensive but not for foreigners who have dollars. All services by the government such as water, electricity fees, or internet are still the same but food prices skyrocketed,” he added.

Abu Dhabi was the second highest Arab city from the region, ranked at 61, while Jeddah came in at 111 this year compared to 94 in 2021.

Jordan's capital Amman ranked 115, followed by Bahrain's Manama at 117, Oman's Muscat at 119 and Kuwait city at 131.

Egypt's capital, Cairo, was placed at 154 while Rabat, Algiers and Tunis came as the least expensive in the region, ranking 162, 218 and 220 respectively.

Hong Kong topped the list as the most expensive city in the world in 2022, moving from second rank last year and taking the top spot from Turkmenistan’s capital, Ashgabat.

Switzerland’s Zurikh and Geneva followed as second and third most expensive cities, replacing Hong Kong and Beirut respectively.

Turkey’s capital, Ankara, came in as the least expensive city, ranking 227, taking the spot from Kyrgyzstan’s capital Bishkek.


MIDEAST STOCKS-Major Gulf bourses trade mixed; Abu Dhabi at record high

MIDEAST STOCKS-Major Gulf bourses trade mixed; Abu Dhabi at record high
Updated 14 sec ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Major Gulf bourses trade mixed; Abu Dhabi at record high

MIDEAST STOCKS-Major Gulf bourses trade mixed; Abu Dhabi at record high

REUTERS: Major stock markets in the Gulf were mixed in early trade on Wednesday, ahead of the release of US inflation data that could point to the Federal Reserve’s appetite for more aggressive rate increases.

The Abu Dhabi index touched a record peak, rising 0.7 percent to 10,193 points and bolstered by a 2.1 percent gain in conglomerate International Holding Co. (IHC), which is on course to gain for a fourth session in five.

On Monday, IHC reported a quarterly profit of 6.81 billion dirhams ($1.85 billion), up from 2.87 billion a year earlier, mainly driven by acquisitions.

IHC, which has a market capitalization of more than $167 billion and assets in the fast-growing health care and industrial sectors, is Abu Dhabi’s most valuable listed company.

Elsewhere, Abu Dhabi National Energy Company jumped 4 percent, after reporting a sharp rise in first-half net profit.

Dubai’s main share index eased 0.1 percent, hit by a 1.5 percent fall in its top lender, Emirates NBD.

The bank has given most employees a pay rise of up to 8 percent to help cushion rising costs of living, Reuters reported on Tuesday, citing two sources familiar with the matter.

Dubai average rental prices for apartments and townhouses rose by 29 percent and 33 percent in the first half of the year and for villas by 64 percent, according to Betterhomes, as the property market continued a strong post-pandemic recovery.

The Dubai index’s losses, however, were limited by a 1.3 percent rise in blue-chip developer Emaar Properties.

Saudi Arabia’s benchmark index added 0.1 percent, helped by a 0.5 percent gain in Al Rajhi Bank.

Oil giant Saudi Aramco has told at least four North Asian buyers that it will supply full contractual volumes of crude in September, sources with knowledge of the matter said on Wednesday.

Shares of Aramco were down 0.5 percent.

The Qatari benchmark dropped 0.4 percent, driven down by a 0.6 percent fall in Qatar Islamic Bank.

Among other losers, Salam International Investment jumped 3.8 percent following a decline in first-half profit.

Crude oil prices, a key catalyst for the Gulf’s financial markets, fell ahead of a key US report on inflation and after industry data showed US crude inventories had unexpectedly risen last week, signalling a potential hiccup in demand.
 


Commodities Update — Gold hovers near one-month peak; Corn down, wheat gains; London base metals soften

Commodities Update — Gold hovers near one-month peak; Corn down, wheat gains; London base metals soften
Updated 28 min 19 sec ago

Commodities Update — Gold hovers near one-month peak; Corn down, wheat gains; London base metals soften

Commodities Update — Gold hovers near one-month peak; Corn down, wheat gains; London base metals soften

RIYADH: Gold prices hovered on Wednesday near their highest level in more than a month, supported by a weaker dollar with investors awaiting US inflation data, which is expected to influence the pace of Federal Reserve rate hikes.

Spot gold held its ground at $1,793.39 per ounce, as of 0318 GMT, after hitting its highest since July 5 at $1,800.29 on Tuesday. US gold futures were down 0.1 percent at $1,810.

Silver eases

Spot silver eased 0.2 percent to $20.47 per ounce, while platinum fell 0.4 percent to $930.14. 

Palladium edged 0.1 percent higher to $2,217.40.

Corn ease, wheat up

Chicago corn futures eased on Wednesday, as the market took a breather after climbing to a one-week high in the previous session on concerns over hot and dry weather in parts of the US Midwest.

Wheat rose for a third consecutive session, although hopes of more grain exports from Ukraine limited gains.

The most-active corn contract on the Chicago Board of Trade rose a quarter of a cent to $6.14-1/4 a bushel, as of 0028 GMT, and soybeans slid 0.1 percent to $14.27-1/2 a bushel.

Wheat added 0.5 percent to $7.85-3/4 a bushel.

London base metals soften

Prices of most base metals in London eased on Wednesday after China’s inflation in July hit a two-year high, while investors were braced for continued hawkishness from the Federal Reserve ahead of the highly anticipated US inflation data.

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange lost 0.8 percent to $7,920.50 a ton by 0309 GMT.

The most-traded September copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange dipped 0.3 percent to $9,026.33 a ton.

LME zinc fell 1.1 percent to $3,499 a ton, lead lost 0.8 percent to $2,149 a ton, tin declined 0.8 percent to $24,235 a ton.

(With input from Reuters) 


Emirates announces third daily flight to Mauritius

Emirates announces third daily flight to Mauritius
Updated 10 August 2022

Emirates announces third daily flight to Mauritius

Emirates announces third daily flight to Mauritius

DUBAI: Emirates has announced plans to add a third-daily flight to Mauritius starting Oct. 1, 2022, a statement on state-run news agency WAM said. 
The plans to increase the frequency of flights to Mauritius by adding an evening flight is in response to increased travel demand to and from the country and will boost connectivity to the island nation.
Emirates’ third-daily flight to Mauritius will boost seat capacity on the routes by approximately 35 percent, catering to the surge in demand and providing added support to the tourism industry during one of the busiest travel seasons.

The added frequency supplements the existing double-daily Airbus A380 services.

Emirates started operations to Mauritius in September 2002 with three weekly flights. 

The airline is currently in its 20th year of operations to the island nation.

 Mauritius is a very popular leisure destination, and continues to experience consistent growth post-pandemic.


TASI opens flat as investors await inflation and earnings reports: Opening bell

TASI opens flat as investors await inflation and earnings reports: Opening bell
Updated 10 August 2022

TASI opens flat as investors await inflation and earnings reports: Opening bell

TASI opens flat as investors await inflation and earnings reports: Opening bell

RIYADH: Saudi stocks market started flat on Wednesday as investors await inflation data and additional earnings reports.

As of 10:07 a.m. Saudi time, the Saudi benchmark index TASI and the parallel market Nomu traded at 12,336 and 22,201, respectively.

The Kingdom’s oil giant Saudi Aramco dropped 0.13 percent, while the country's biggest lender Saudi National Bank gained 0.41 percent.

Al-Jouf Agricultural Development Co. rose 0.77 percent, after seeing its profits jump 203 percent during the first half of 2022 to SR22 million ($6 million).

National Gas and Industrialization Co. fell 1.73 percent after a 14 percent decline in net profit to SR105 million during the first half of this year.

Bupa Arabia for Cooperative Insurance Co. increased 0.51 percent, after it received final approval from the Saudi Central Bank to sell its new insurance product in the Kingdom.

Filling and Packing Materials Manufacturing Co. climbed 2.72 percent, after its board proposed a SR115 million capital increase through rights issues.

Walaa Cooperative Insurance Co. lost 0.40 percent, after its losses widened to SR27 million during the first half of 2022, compared to SR13 million in the same period last year.

Abdullah Al-Othaim Markets Co. gained 1.66 percent, after approving the sale of SR211 million worth of land owned by the company in Al-Madinah Al-Munawarh.

Baazeem Trading Co. declined 1.88 percent, after its half-year profit was down 8.5 percent to SR13.4 million.

Theeb Rent a Car Co. increased 1.52 percent, after its profit rose by 68 percent to SR86 million during the first half of 2022.

Southern Province Cement Co. slipped 1.53 percent, after reporting a 42 percent profit drop to SR150 million for the first half of 2022.

Saudi miner Almasane Alkobra Mining Co. dropped 1.66 percent, after its profits dropped 11 percent to SR82 million during the first half of 2022.


Saudi PIF acquires stakes in 4 Egyptian companies for about $1 billion: Asharq sources

Saudi PIF acquires stakes in 4 Egyptian companies for about $1 billion: Asharq sources
Updated 10 August 2022

Saudi PIF acquires stakes in 4 Egyptian companies for about $1 billion: Asharq sources

Saudi PIF acquires stakes in 4 Egyptian companies for about $1 billion: Asharq sources

RIYADH: The Saudi Egyptian Investment Co., affiliated with the Saudi Public Investment Fund, has acquired stakes in four Egyptian companies, for about $1 billion, Asharq reported citing sources.

The four companies are E-Finance for Financial and Digital Investments, Abu Qir Fertilizers and Chemical Industries, MOPCO and Alexandria Container & Cargo Handling Co.

The agreement comes after a government official confirmed to Asharq on Tuesday that the SEIC successfully completed an agreement to buy 25 percent of the shares of the Misr Fertilizer Production Co., MOPCO, at a premium of 25 percent over the stock price on the stock exchange.