Tabby expands to Egypt offering flexible payments

Tabby currently ranks among the top 10 shopping apps in the Middle East with more than 2 million active shoppers. 
Tabby currently ranks among the top 10 shopping apps in the Middle East with more than 2 million active shoppers. 
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Updated 05 September 2022

Tabby expands to Egypt offering flexible payments

Tabby expands to Egypt offering flexible payments

Tabby, the Middle East’s leading payments and shopping app, announced its launch in Egypt, enabling shoppers to pay over time without any interest or fees, according to a press release. 

Ahmed Khalil, Tabby Egypt’s GM, said: “We’re excited to provide Egyptians with flexible and honest payment experiences with no interest and no fees. We’re also delighted to be a growth partner for our retail partners by helping them tap into millions of active shoppers.” Khalil added: “After securing $275 million in funding from leading global and regional investors, we’re looking forward to becoming Egypt’s preferred BNPL services provider.”

Tabby works with multiple brands to offer flexible payments at checkout.

Tabby currently ranks among the top 10 shopping apps in the Middle East with more than 2 million active shoppers. 

With Tabby’s “Split in 4” product, shoppers will be able to split their purchases into four interest-free payments at store checkouts, both online and offline. 


Gulf nations invest in Latin America energy projects

Gulf nations invest in Latin America energy projects
Updated 12 sec ago

Gulf nations invest in Latin America energy projects

Gulf nations invest in Latin America energy projects
  • Saudi Arabia, UAE among most promising partners as region strives to meet needs brought by economic development

SAO PAULO: As Latin American countries have been moving to enhance their energy infrastructure and meet the needs brought by economic development, investors worldwide have been demonstrating their desire to explore the region’s new opportunities.

Gulf nations, especially Saudi Arabia and the UAE, have been among the most promising partners in the region’s upcoming energy endeavors.

The most recent announcement regarding Latin American-Middle Eastern energy partnerships was made last week, when Paraguayan authorities met with their Emirati counterparts and discussed the terms of a memorandum on economic cooperation. Partnerships in renewable energy projects were part of the deal.

With three hydroelectric power plants, Paraguay produces much more electricity than it needs, and exports the excess — more than 60 percent — to Brazil and Argentina.

“But in eight or 10 years, our situation will be much less comfortable. We’ll need to invest in electricity production, something that we’ve never thought about over the past 40 years,” Victorio Oxilia, an energy expert and professor at the National University of Asuncion, told Arab News.

Not only will demand from the population grow, but new industries will implement projects in Paraguay and require more energy, he added.

“At the same time, we need to diversify our sources. All our hydroelectric plants depend on the River Parana. Severe droughts can easily impact power generation,” he said.

Investing in solar energy plants is the natural response to those challenges. A government strategic plan for 2040 established it as a priority, Oxilia said, adding: “It’s a resource that abounds in the whole territory, so it’s a great candidate to be developed not only by Paraguay’s public energy company, but also by private agents.”

The projects currently being discussed will probably be followed by many more in the coming years, and will encompass wind power, hydrogen and synthetic biofuels.

A recent law, promulgated in January, determined a series of incentives for renewable energy production.

“There’s great potential when it comes to substituting the fossil fuels we now use in transportation and which we have to import,” Oxilia said.

Paraguay’s economy has been growing over the past few years thanks to agriculture — the nation is a major grain producer and exporter.

That is opening new opportunities in different areas, and may also include green energy in the future, Oxilia said.

“The Chaco region is near the big lithium reserves in Chile and Argentina. It’s a region that … can concentrate a cluster of lithium battery manufacturers,” he added.

In January, during Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week, Paraguayan officials met with directors of the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development, who promised to fund — or at least lend money for — renewable energy projects in the South American country.

On the same occasion, Costa Rican authorities discussed with Emirati officials potential partnerships in electricity production.

In an interview with local news website La Republica, Environment and Energy Minister Franz Tattenbach said the Central American nation needs to transform its transportation sector and adopt electric buses, for instance.

Mario Alvarado Mora, who directs the Costa Rican Association of Energy Producers, told Arab News that 99 percent of the electricity produced in the country is environmentally clean, “but two-thirds of the nation’s energy come from nonrenewable sources and are used mostly in transportation.”

He added: “Costa Rica has a great challenge, and also a great opportunity, to decarbonize its energy mix and use renewable resources.”

The energy sector is pushing the government for legislative changes in order to increase legal safety and attract more foreign investors, he said. A bill containing some of these changes is being analyzed in Congress.

In Argentina, where both Saudi Arabia and the UAE are planning to invest in energy endeavors, the most pressing needs concern not so much energy production but its distribution infrastructure, said Juan Jose Carbajales, a professor at Jose Clemente Paz National University in Buenos Aires.

“We lack pipelines to take crude and natural gas from Vaca Muerta deposits to regional markets. We also need to expand our high-voltage grid,” he told Arab News, referring to the giant geological formation in Neuquen, Rio Negro, La Pampa and Mendoza provinces that contains major reserves of oil and gas.

Carbajales lamented that there are many projects for wind and hydroelectric power plants currently suspended due to the lack of distribution infrastructure.

“That situation also limits the expansion of hydrogen fuel because electricity is needed in its production,” he added.

In April, Argentina signed a $500 million deal with the Saudi Fund for Development for food and energy projects, including the gas pipeline Nestor Kirchner.

Scheduled to be completed in June, the pipeline will connect Vaca Muerta to Buenos Aires province. The SFD loan will also fund transmission lines.

In 2022, the sovereign funds of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Abu Dhabi and Kuwait announced that they would invest $1 billion in Argentina until the end of 2023. Some of the partnerships include energy generation and infrastructure.

Such investments are fundamental for Argentina given that it is facing serious macroeconomic challenges, including high inflation.

“Those problems make it harder for the country to have access to the international capital markets,” Carbajales said.

Another Latin American country with great plans involving energy — especially renewable energy — is Mexico, which in February disclosed its project for that sector and invited nations worldwide to invest in it during the inauguration of a solar plant in the state of Sonora.

Also in February, Saudi Minister of Economy and Planning Faisal Al-Ibrahim told Mexican magazine Expansion that investments in energy were part of the potential partnerships between the two countries.

Lawyer and energy expert Marcial Diaz told Arab News: “Mexico doesn’t have the means to make the necessary investments in projects connected to wind power, solar power and the market of fuels.”

He added that Mexico imports almost 70 percent of its fuel, so a transformation in that area is fundamental, with private investors directly collaborating in new endeavors.

Skeptical about the current administration’s ability to draw foreign investments for energy projects, Diaz said such plans usually take a long time, “so endeavors being conceived now will only be carried out during the next administration.”

He added: “No Latin American country is self-sufficient in energy terms, so it’s important for all of us to count on long-term investments.”


Wallen Trading signs partnership with Renault Group to distribute cars in KSA

Wallen Trading signs partnership with Renault Group to distribute cars in KSA
Updated 15 min 5 sec ago

Wallen Trading signs partnership with Renault Group to distribute cars in KSA

Wallen Trading signs partnership with Renault Group to distribute cars in KSA

RIYADH: Wallan Trading Co., one of the leading players in the Saudi car market, signed a strategic partnership to become the official distributor of Renault Group as the Riyadh-based firm looks to expand its automotive offerings in the Kingdom.

A key distributor of global automobile brands including Hyundai Motors, Genesis, Kenworth, and Geely Motors, Wallan Trading says the new partnership will help boost its services in the Kingdom.  

Fahad bin Saad Al-Waalan, chairman of the Wallan Group, said: “We are pleased to cooperate with the giant Renault Group. This alliance allows us to expand our areas of services to our customers in the Kingdom by offering world-class Renault cars.”  

“We are confident that this partnership will provide a unique experience for customers, based on the Renault Group’s commitment to technological innovation and our solid experience in the Saudi market,” he added.  

Wallan started its business in the 1980s when it became the official agent of Hyundai in the central region of Saudi Arabia. The company has been growing its automobile portfolio since then with partnerships with other global passenger and commercial vehicle brands.

Jerome Banaud, managing director of Renault operations in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia Pacific, said: “We are delighted to proceed with this strategic alliance with the Wallan Group as its long-standing experience in the automotive sector and its strong customer focus perfectly match our brand goals.”  

Renault Group has a long history of providing automotive innovation and technology, including the introduction of Europe’s first mass-produced electric car. 

Eurozone inflation tumbles, fuelling ECB rates debate 

Eurozone inflation tumbles, fuelling ECB rates debate 
Updated 33 min 59 sec ago

Eurozone inflation tumbles, fuelling ECB rates debate 

Eurozone inflation tumbles, fuelling ECB rates debate 

FRANKFURT: Eurozone inflation eased more than expected last month as underlying price growth also slowed, fuelling a debate about the need for further European Central Bank rate hikes beyond an increase later this month. 

Inflation in the 20 nations sharing the euro eased to 6.1 percent in May from 7.0 percent in April, below expectations for 6.3 percent in a Reuters poll of economists. 

The reading came as only a modest surprise for investors, however, as national data earlier this week foreshadowed the drop. 

Core inflation, which excludes volatile food and fuel prices, and which has played an increasing role in the ECB’s policy deliberations, fell to 5.3 percent from 5.6 percent, coming well under expectations for 5.5 percent. 

The ECB has raised base rates by a combined 375 basis points to 3.25 percent over the past year to combat runaway prices and has essentially committed to another 25-basis point hike on June 15 given high underlying price pressures. 

“Today, inflation is too high, and it is set to remain so for too long,” ECB President Christine Lagarde said on Thursday. “That is why we have hiked rates at our fastest pace ever – and we have made clear that we still have ground to cover to bring interest rates to sufficiently restrictive levels.” 

Some economists argued that the bigger-than-forecast drop in underlying inflation suggests that not much work is left to be done. 

“Underlying inflation has probably passed its peak,” Commerzbank economist Christoph Weil said. “This supports our expectation that the ECB will raise key interest rates by 25 basis points for the last time in June.” 

Several influential policymakers, including the central bank governors of Germany, the Netherlands and Ireland, have already put a July rate hike on the table, and other economists sided with the policy hawks. 

They argue that July must be in play, partly because the ECB has been wrong about the inflation path for so long, it would rather err on the side of caution. 

“The May numbers and broader economic data will most likely convince the ECB to continue 25 basis points hikes in June and July and in our baseline forecast to pause after that,” Nordea said in a note. 

While Thursday’s benign price data add to the case for caution, Europe’s inflation problem is far from solved as price growth for many core items, particularly services, remains stubbornly high. 

Services inflation slowed to 5.0 percent from 5.2 percent while price growth for industrial goods eased to 5.8 percent from 6.2 percent, still excessive but both moving in the right direction. 

The ECB is also likely to take some comfort from the slowdown in food inflation to 12.5 percent from 13.5 percent as pressures on that front were still expected to build for some time. 

Recession risk  

Lower energy prices could push down headline inflation faster than some forecasts, but recent wage settlements could keep core inflation high. 

Eurozone wage growth is hovering in the 5 percent to 6 percent range, twice the rate that would be consistent with the ECB’s inflation target. 

But wages need to catch up after inflation ate deep into real incomes for years and the ECB is hoping that once inflation slows, wage growth will follow, so they will mutually extinguish each other. 

While that is a plausible scenario, the bloc’s labor market is exceptionally tight and firms, particularly in services, are reporting increasing labor shortages, an upside risk for wages and hence inflation. 

Another potential concern for the ECB is that economic growth appears less resilient than thought, particularly in manufacturing, with a raft of indicators showing that industrial activity could weigh on the overall economy even as services boom. 

This raises the risk that sharply higher borrowing costs could tip the bloc into recession, an outcome the ECB has tried to avoid. 

Financial investors see two more rate hikes from the ECB, with the first move fully priced in by June and a second in either July or September. 

Oil Updates — crude edges up on potential US rate hike pause 

Oil Updates — crude edges up on potential US rate hike pause 
Updated 50 min 45 sec ago

Oil Updates — crude edges up on potential US rate hike pause 

Oil Updates — crude edges up on potential US rate hike pause 

RIYADH: Oil prices rose on Thursday, reversing earlier losses, as a potential pause in US interest rate hikes and the debt ceiling bill passing a crucial vote renewed optimism about further fuel demand growth in the world’s biggest oil consumer. 

Brent crude futures for August rose 58 cents, or 0.80 percent, to $72.18 a barrel by 9:55 a.m. Saudi time, while US West Texas Intermediate crude edged up by 49 cents, or 0.72 percent, to $68.58 a barrel. 

US Federal Reserve officials on Wednesday pointed toward a potential rate hike “skip” in June that reversed market expectations of an imminent hike that could slow economic growth and weaken oil demand. 

Additionally, the US House of Representatives’ passage of a bill suspending the US government’s $31.4 trillion debt ceiling improved the chances of averting a disastrous government default. 

Barclays slashes Brent oil price

British multinational bank Barclays has slashed the average price of its Brent crude forecast for this year from $92 to $87 a barrel. 

The bank also slashed its price forecast of Brent for 2024 as it cut the average projected price to $87 a barrel from $97. 

China’s CNOOC begins production at new offshore well in Brazil 

China’s CNOOC Ltd. has begun production at the Buzios5 well off the coast of Brazil, the company said in a statement on Thursday. 

The well is the fifth phase of the Buzios oil field off Brazil’s southeast coast. At an average water depth of 1,900 meters to 2,200 meters, the field is the world’s largest deep-water pre-salt oil field, with daily production of 600,000 barrels, the company said. 

CNOOC’s Brazilian subsidiary owns 7.34 percent of the Buzios shared reservoir, which is 88.99 percent owned by Brazilian state-owned oil and gas company Petrobras. 

CNOOC paid $1.9 billion to Petrobras last year to secure a 5 percent stake in a production sharing agreement at the field. 

Russia says ‘no final decisions’ yet on oil refiner subsidies 

Russia’s Finance Ministry said on Wednesday that no final decision had been made regarding plans to halve subsidies for oil refiners. 

The Interfax News Agency, citing sources, said the plans to halve the subsidies may be postponed to September. 

“The issue is being discussed in the government. No final decisions have been taken,” a finance ministry spokesperson told Reuters. 

(With input from Reuters) 

Red Sea Global announces new sailing club to improve tourism prospects

Red Sea Global announces new sailing club to improve tourism prospects
Updated 28 min 1 sec ago

Red Sea Global announces new sailing club to improve tourism prospects

Red Sea Global announces new sailing club to improve tourism prospects

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia is expected to witness a huge influx of sailors, windsurfers and tourists, with multi-project developer Red Sea Global announcing the launch of a new sailing club in the Kingdom. 

According to a press release, RSG’s water sports subsidiary WAMA will operate the sailing club. 

“Sailing is about freedom and adventure while surrounded by the beauty of the ocean. As a pioneer of regenerative tourism and with our first hotels on track to open this year, we are certain this will be a hugely popular activity among our visitors,” said John Pagano, group CEO of RSG, in the statement. 

He added: “The WAMA Sailing Club will provide everyone, regardless of background or ability, the opportunity to explore the wonders of the Red Sea archipelago, experience an exhilarating sport, learn more about marine conservation and enjoy the sense of independence and freedom sailing offers.” 

The press release further noted that the sailing club would provide activities such as sailing, crewing, trapezing and windsurfing in the Red Sea. 

Developing tourism is a crucial agenda for Saudi Arabia as it successfully pursues its economic diversification program. 

Saudi Arabia’s National Tourism Strategy aims to attract 100 million visitors by 2030, besides increasing the tourism sector’s contribution to more than 10 percent of the gross domestic product. The strategy also eyes creating an additional one million jobs in the Kingdom. 

According to RSG, the new sailing club is also expected to create employment opportunities for Saudis, boosting the hospitality sector in the Kingdom. 

“The club will also create exciting employment opportunities for Saudis and international sailors, boosting the Kingdom’s hospitality and sports sector and contributing to Saudi Vision 2030. This will include work experience for Saudi teenagers, who will be able to learn new skills and enhance their understanding of water-based careers,” said RSG in the press statement. 

UK-based RS Sailing, an international designer, builder and supplier of sailboats, is also supporting WAMA Sailing Club in its operations. 

“Our passion is inspiring more people to discover the joys of sailing. That is why our work with RSG to open this stunning stretch of coastline to the sailing community and supporting the launch of the WAMA Sailing Club is a moment of real pride for our team,” said Michiel Geerling, commercial director at RS Sailing. 

Meanwhile, RSG also announced that it has reached an agreement with US-based firm Partanna to install 11,000 carbon-negative pavers in its landscape nursery, which spans one million sq. meters. 

Partanna is widely considered a pioneer of the world’s first carbon-negative concrete, which makes use of a technology that not only avoids carbon emissions but naturally removes them from the atmosphere.

“We believe that sustainability is no longer enough. We need to find ways to restore and regenerate the planet. That is why we have committed to increasing the net conservation benefit at our destinations by 30 percent through the enhancement of habitats that ensure biodiversity can flourish, and to being carbon neutral when we become fully operational,” said Pagano about the deal. 

Rick Fox, co-founder of Partanna, added: “RSG is right, sustainability isn’t enough. We say that carbon avoidance isn’t enough either. The world desperately needs removal solutions and our technology can perform like no other, permanently locking in the carbon it absorbs.”