Macro Snapshot — Spain edges closer to pre-pandemic tourism levels; S.Korea inflation near 24-year high

More than twice as many tourists visited Spain in June than in the same month last year and they spent almost three times as much during their stay, National Statistics Institute data showed on Tuesday. Reuters
More than twice as many tourists visited Spain in June than in the same month last year and they spent almost three times as much during their stay, National Statistics Institute data showed on Tuesday. Reuters
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Updated 02 August 2022

Macro Snapshot — Spain edges closer to pre-pandemic tourism levels; S.Korea inflation near 24-year high

Macro Snapshot — Spain edges closer to pre-pandemic tourism levels; S.Korea inflation near 24-year high

RIYADH: Spain approached its pre-pandemic tourism levels with 7.5 million visitors in June. 

More than twice as many tourists visited Spain in June than in the same month last year and they spent almost three times as much during their stay, National Statistics Institute data showed on Tuesday.

The 7.5 million visitors in June spent close to €9 billion ($9.2 billion).

Before the pandemic put a halt to travel in 2020, the country received a total of 38.2 million tourists in 2019, with 8.8 million visiting in June.

Australia’s central bank hikes rates

Australia’s central bank on Tuesday raised interest rates for a fourth month running, but tempered guidance on further hikes as it forecast faster inflation but also a slowdown in the economy.

Wrapping up its August policy meeting, the Reserve Bank of Australia lifted its cash rate by 50 basis points to 1.85 percent, marking an eye-watering 175 basis points of hikes since May in the most drastic tightening since the early 1990s.

Yet, RBA Gov. Philip Lowe also made the outlook for policy more conditional.

UK house prices rise at slowest pace in a year

British house prices rose in July at the slowest monthly pace in a year and the market is likely to slow further as the cost-of-living squeeze tightens and the Bank of England keeps on raising interest rates, mortgage lender Nationwide said on Tuesday.

House prices last month were 0.1 percent higher than in June when they rose by 0.2 percent. It was the weakest increase since July of last year and was below the median forecast in a Reuters poll of economists for an increase of 0.3 percent.

In annual terms, prices were 11 percent higher than in July 2021, speeding up from growth of 10.7 percent in June but weaker than expected by all economists in the Reuters poll.

S. Korea inflation near 24-year high

South Korea’s consumer inflation sped up to an almost 24-year high in July, data showed on Tuesday, but other figures indicated the rate of price rises may be near a peak.

Signs of economic slowdown, meanwhile, sent bond yields tumbling.

Bond yields were also pushed lower by a central bank comment that the pick-up in the annual inflation rate to 6.3 percent in July from 6 percent in June was what it had expected when raising interest rates by an unusually big margin last month.

With input from Reuters


NEOM’s tech unit rebrands amid plans to emerge as cognitive multinational conglomerate

NEOM’s tech unit rebrands amid plans to emerge as cognitive multinational conglomerate
Updated 17 sec ago

NEOM’s tech unit rebrands amid plans to emerge as cognitive multinational conglomerate

NEOM’s tech unit rebrands amid plans to emerge as cognitive multinational conglomerate

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s NEOM Tech & Digital Co. has rebranded as Tonomus, signaling the next stage in its growth plans.

The rebranding focuses on Tonomus’s role as a cognitive multinational company in a bid to enable NEOM to fuel Saudi Arabia’s economic growth and diversification, according to a statement. 

Tonomous, headquartered at NEOM, is building the cognitive foundation and adopting hyper-disruptive solutions integral to the development of NEOM and its flagship initiatives, the statement added.

As it invested $1 billion in 2022 in artificial intelligence-driven products and hyperconnected, predictive and proactive solutions, Tonomous emerged as a global player in the smart-to-cognitive transition. 

“Tonomus will support our ambitions by contributing to the future of the tech and digital industry, stimulating innovation, and driving the development of the world’s first cognitive community,” CEO Nadhmi Al-Nasr said. 

“This will be realized by involving the most talented and brightest minds to develop the integrated system that will be utilized across all of NEOM’s businesses, sectors and projects,” he added. 

In this context, NEOM is cooperating with Low Earth Orbit satellite operator OneWe to establish a $200 million joint venture, aimed at providing rapid and reliable connectivity.


Netflix sets up studio in Finland to develop video games

Netflix sets up studio in Finland to develop video games
Updated 34 min 36 sec ago

Netflix sets up studio in Finland to develop video games

Netflix sets up studio in Finland to develop video games

RIYADH: Online streaming giant Netflix has announced that it will be opening an internal video game studio in Helsinki, Finland, as it aims to reduce its reliance on third-party developers and expand its gaming offerings.

According to a statement released by Netflix, the new game studio will be headed by Marko Lastikka, who has worked at Zynga Inc. for five years, where he worked on FarmVille 3.

Before joining Zynga, Lastikka was the co-founder and executive producer at Electronic Arts Inc.’s Tracktwenty studio in Helsinki, according to his LinkedIn page.

In March, Netflix announced that it was buying Finland-based mobile game developer Next Games in a deal that amounted to $72 million.

The new studio in Finland will be Netflix’s fourth games studio. Earlier this year, Netflix had bought Boss Fight Entertainment, having purchased Night School Studio in September 2021.

“Why Helsinki? It is home to some of the best game talents in the world. This will be a games studio that we build from scratch, and our second games studio in Helsinki alongside Next Games, which became part of Netflix earlier this year,” said Amir Rahimi, vice-president of Netflix Game Studios, in a statement.

He added: “This is another step in our vision to build a world-class games studio that will bring a variety of delightful and deeply engaging original games — with no ads and no in-app purchases — to our hundreds of millions of members around the world.”

Netflix currently has 31 video games on its platform exclusively offered to its customers. The online streaming giant is planning to have 50 games available by the end of the year, according to a Bloomberg report.

One of the most-anticipated games from Netflix that will be released soon is Stranger Things: Puzzle Games, based on the platform’s hit series.

 


TRSDC reveals plans for state-of-the-art Marine Life Institute

TRSDC reveals plans for state-of-the-art Marine Life Institute
Updated 27 September 2022

TRSDC reveals plans for state-of-the-art Marine Life Institute

TRSDC reveals plans for state-of-the-art Marine Life Institute

The Red Sea Development Co has disclosed its design plans for the state-of-the-art Marine Life Institute.

The 10,340 square meter institute is set to boost conservation-driven research, in addition to attracting tourists and marine-lovers from all over the world.

Located in the Triple Bay Marina at AMAALA, the three-story structure will be designed to imitate coral formations and reef patterns, integrating nature within its architecture.

Moreover, the one-of-its-kind project will enhance sustainable and innovative methods to reduce water wastage, pollution, and prevent erosion.

The Red Sea Marine life institute will hold a capacity of 650 guests at once, starting their magical journey with a "Grand Reveal" of the world’s largest man-made reefs.

Moving on, the guests will be taken on a plethora of activities—walking through underwater paths, snorkeling with rare species,exploring research labs,  and diving the depth of the Red Sea in a submarine.

“The Red Sea Marine Life Institute will take guests on a vibrant, educational, and awe-inspiring journey that unveils the natural wonders of the Red Sea and blurs the boundaries between the institute and the ocean,” stated Gerard Evenden, Head of Studio at Foster + Partners, the architectural design firm working on the project.

 “With 10 zones that provide everything from augmented reality experiences to night diving, and spaces for the scientific community to effectively progress their environmental projects, the Red Sea Marine Life Institute is undeniably unique,” said John Pagano, Group CEO of TRSDC.


Saudi Arabia leading G20 nations in tourist inflow numbers for 2022: WTO report

Saudi Arabia leading G20 nations in tourist inflow numbers for 2022: WTO report
Updated 27 September 2022

Saudi Arabia leading G20 nations in tourist inflow numbers for 2022: WTO report

Saudi Arabia leading G20 nations in tourist inflow numbers for 2022: WTO report

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has topped the G20 countries for the flow rating of international tourists in the first seven months of 2022, according to a report released by the World Tourism Organization.

The report, released during the G20 tourism ministers’ meeting held in Bali, Indonesia, did not detail the exact number of travelers who visited the Kingdom, but claimed the sector saw a growth rate of 121 percent in the first half of 2022.

During the event Saudi Arabia’s tourism minister Ahmed Al-Khateeb said the surge in tourist inflow aligns with the Kingdom’s economic diversification policies and aims to increase tourism’s contribution to the country’s gross domestic product, as outlined in Vision 2030, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

Calling Saudi Arabia one of the fastest growing markets for tourism, Al-Khateeb said the Kingdom’s tourism sector is accelerating at a rate of 14 percent compared to the pre-coronavirus pandemic period. 

The tourism minister stressed that G20 countries need to collaboratively work together to build a more resilient and sustainable future for the sector.

According to Al-Khateeb, collective action is necessary to revive the tourism sector which has been negatively impacted due to the outbreak of the pandemic.

He also stressed the necessity of partnerships between the public and private sectors and multilateral cooperation in order to shape an efficient tourism sector for the future.

“Collaboration is key as we strive to secure a more resilient and sustainable future,” Al-Khateeb said.

He added: “Let us continue working together across sectors to drive our continued growth. Let us continue to support one another to take collective action to shape a more resilient sector and let us build sustainability into the core of every decision we make.”

Earlier in June, Al-Khateeb said that Saudi Arabia has allocated $100 million to provide training for 100,000 people to work in the tourism and sustainability sector.

He added that 90 hotels were launched in the Kingdom as a part of its tourism strategy, and more hotels will be opened soon, with 70 percent being funded by the private sector.

Al-Khateeb, in June, told AFP that the Kingdom is hoping to attract 12 million foreign visitors in 2022, up from the 4 million tourists who visited Saudi Arabia in 2021.

“Saudi Arabia will change the tourism landscape globally. The destinations that Saudi will offer by 2030, it’s something completely different,” he said.


OPEC+ supply cut essential to buoy oil prices, UBS says

OPEC+ supply cut essential to buoy oil prices, UBS says
Updated 27 September 2022

OPEC+ supply cut essential to buoy oil prices, UBS says

OPEC+ supply cut essential to buoy oil prices, UBS says

RIYADH: An oil production cut by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies is vital to break the negative momentum in prices amid recession fears and a stronger dollar, analysts at UBS said on Tuesday.

“A lack of action by the group to remove barrels from the market is likely to spur further downside pressure on oil prices,” UBS said in a note.

“The group has to announce a production cut of at least 0.5 million barrels per day over the coming days.”

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, Russia and other producers known as OPEC+, is scheduled to meet next on Oct. 5.

Crude is falling on fears that a recession will lead to weaker demand and a better supplied oil market, UBS said, adding that the broader risk-off environment caused by aggressive monetary policy tightening in the US and Europe was also weighing on prices.

Oil prices on rose more than 1 percent on Tuesday, after plunging to nine-month lows a day earlier, amid indications that producer alliance OPEC+ may enact output cuts to avoid a further collapse in prices.