Saudi Arabia GDP highest among G20 in Q3 

Saudi Arabia GDP highest among G20 in Q3 
The Kingdom’s trade balance rose to SR72.7 billion ($19.3 billion) in August (Shutterstock)
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Updated 04 November 2022

Saudi Arabia GDP highest among G20 in Q3 

Saudi Arabia GDP highest among G20 in Q3 

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia recorded the highest growth of real Gross Domestic Product among G20 countries in the third quarter of 2022, with a rate of 8.6 percent, official data showed. 

This coincides with a moderate inflation rate at 2.9 percent, which is among the lowest rates among the G20 countries. 

According to a new report by the Ministry of Economy and Planning, the real non-oil GDP growth expanded by 5.9 percent after six consecutive quarters. 

The manufacturing, wholesale and retail trade, restaurants and hotels, construction and transportation were among the main contributors of the Saudi non-oil sector in the third quarter of 2022, the report said. 

The Kingdom’s trade balance rose to SR72.7 billion ($19.3 billion) in August, with a growth rate of 87 percent compared to the same period of last year, despite the continuous bottlenecks in supply chains that impede global trade. 

Exports to China, Japan and the US increased, while India and South Korea doubled their imports of Saudi goods on an annual basis, with the Kingdom strengthening its vital role in the international arena. 

“Looking into the future, our growth prospects remain strong, and investors should be optimistic about the economy's performance in the near term, supported by the improvement of the non-oil sector, and the Kingdom's increasing ability to attract talent, develop tourism, and invest,” Minister of Economy and Planning, Faisal bin Fadel Al-Ibrahim, said. 

Al-Ibrahim noted that they will support the resilience of the economy. 

Saudi Arabia is expected to grow by 7.6 percent in 2022 and 3.7 percent in 2023, according to International Monetary Fund estimates in The World Economic Outlook Report, issued in October. 

The World Bank forecasts higher growth in 2022 than the IMF, coming in at 8.3 percent, before moderating to 3.7 percent and 2.3 percent in 2023 and 2024 respectively. 


11 agreements signed during global medical biotechnology summit in Saudi Arabia

11 agreements signed during global medical biotechnology summit in Saudi Arabia
Updated 27 January 2023

11 agreements signed during global medical biotechnology summit in Saudi Arabia

11 agreements signed during global medical biotechnology summit in Saudi Arabia
  • Delegates at the two-day event discussed biotech developments with the aim of shaping a modern and innovative healthy industry, organizers said
  • The speakers included international experts who highlighted the importance of global collaboration and industrial-academic cooperation to overcome health sector challenges

RIYADH: Eleven agreements were signed during the Riyadh Global Medical Biotechnology Summit 2023, which concluded in the Saudi capital on Thursday.

Delegates discussed a number of topics, ideas and ambitions related to the biotech sector during the two-day event, with the aim of helping to develop the field and enhance industrial and investment trends to build a modern and innovative healthy industry, organizers said.

The speakers included local and international experts and specialist researchers who explored topics that highlighted the importance of international collaboration and global industrial-academic cooperation to overcome unprecedented challenges in the health sector.

They stressed that investment in biotechnology will help to develop new products and achieve economic growth through global health solutions that advance scientific progress and innovation in industrial technology.

Eleven memorandums of understanding and cooperation agreements were signed during the summit between leading figures in the medical biotech sector, government agencies, and international and national companies.

An exhibition took place on the sidelines of the event, featuring local and international drug and vaccine manufacturers, along with research agencies and universities in the Kingdom. The participants showcased their latest research and innovations relating to drugs and vaccines, and their goals for enhancing drug security.

The summit was organized by the Ministry of National Guard Health Affairs, King Abdullah International Medical Research Center, and King Saud bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences, in cooperation with the Ministry of Investment. It took place under the auspices of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and was inaugurated on his behalf by Minister of the National Guard Prince Abdullah bin Bandar.

Organizers said the aim of the two-day event was to highlight the importance of integration between ministries and other government organizations to improve quality in fields related to medical biotechnology.


Philippines 2022 GDP growth quickest in over 4 decades, but outlook challenging

Philippines 2022 GDP growth quickest in over 4 decades, but outlook challenging
Updated 26 January 2023

Philippines 2022 GDP growth quickest in over 4 decades, but outlook challenging

Philippines 2022 GDP growth quickest in over 4 decades, but outlook challenging
  • Pent-up demand, reopening, spur growth — planning secretary
  • Says China reopening to provide boost

MANILA: The Philippine economy ended 2022 with the fastest growth in over four decades underpinned by a robust final quarter, but analysts and policymakers warn that a global slowdown and soaring inflation will make for a difficult year ahead.
Manila’s fourth quarter forecast-beating annual growth of 7.2 percent reported by the statistics agency compared with the 6.5 percent pace expected in a Reuters poll, and brought full-year expansion to 7.6 percent, the fastest since 1976 and above the government’s target of 6.5 to 7.5 percent.
Economic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan attributed the stellar fourth-quarter performance to strong domestic demand, rise in jobs, and “revenge” spending following the lifting of pandemic curbs and full reopening in the last three months of the year.
“We are confident that we will remain in our high growth trajectory,” Baliscan told a media briefing on Thursday.
He said China’s reopening will be a boon for the Philippine economy, while protecting the purchasing power of Filipinos and ensuring food security would remain priorities for the government as the public grapples with high inflation.
On a quarter-on-quarter basis, GDP growth came in at 2.4 percent in October-December, compared with expectations for a 1.5 percent rise and the previous quarter’s upwardly revised 3.3 percent expansion. Balisacan said the government was sticking with its 6.0-7.0 percent growth target for 2023, but that is not without risks, with the global economy expected to slow further this year roiled by the Ukraine conflict while rising inflation could lead to further policy tightening.
Like the rest of the world, the Philippines is battling red-hot inflation, currently running at 14-year highs, which if not tamed could crimp domestic consumption, a major driver of growth.
Government data showed household spending slowed for a third straight quarter in the October-December period, growing at an annual rate of 7.0 percent from 8.0 percent in the third quarter.
“We expect a difficult year ahead for the Philippines,” Capital Economics said in a note, citing the impact of high inflation and tighter monetary policy on domestic spending. For 2023, Capital Economics is expecting growth of 5.5 percent.
Elevated inflation, plus the need to maintain interest rate differentials between the US and the Philippines, have forced the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) to embark on an aggressive tightening cycle last year.
Its governor hinted on Thursday of further policy actions depending on what the US Federal Reserve does.
Speaking at an economic briefing in London, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Felipe Medalla reiterated the central bank stood ready to act to bring inflation, which hit 8.1 percent in December, back to its 2 percent-4 percent target this year. 


UAE banks’ investments hit 13-month high in November

UAE banks’ investments hit 13-month high in November
Updated 26 January 2023

UAE banks’ investments hit 13-month high in November

UAE banks’ investments hit 13-month high in November
  • Abu Dhabi’s ADX expects increased listings this year
  • IHC considers bidding for Adani Enterprises

RIYADH: UAE banks’ investments exceeded 511 billion dirhams ($139 billion) at the end of November 2022, the highest level in 13 months, according to the Central Bank of the UAE.

The CBUAE’s statistics also showed an annual increase of 7.7 percent, equivalent to 36.6 billion dirhams, reaching a total of 511 billion dirhams at the end of November, compared to 474.5 billion dirhams in November 2021.

According to the figures, securities that are debts to third parties, or bonds, accounted for the largest share of banks’ investments by more than 49.1 percent, reaching 250.9 billion dirhams at the end of November, an increase of 4.5 percent on a monthly basis, compared to 240.1 billion dirhams in the previous year.

The share of banks’ investments in securities held to maturity amounted to some 39.3 percent of total investments, reaching 200.8 billion dirhams at the end of November 2022.

This was an annual increase of 76 percent compared to 114 billion dirhams in November 2021, and a monthly increase of some 2.9 percent compared to 195.1 billion dirhams in October 2022.

The banks’ investments in stocks totaled 12.2 billion dirhams in November 2022, a monthly increase of around 4.3 percent, compared to some 11.7 billion dirhams in October 2022. It also decreased on an annual basis by around 12.9 percent.

The statistics also showed that the other banks’ investments totaled 47.2 billion dirhams at the end of last November.

This was an annual increase of 4.7 percent, compared to 45.1 billion dirhams in November 2021, and a monthly increase of 0.85 percent, compared to 46.8 billion dirhams in October 2022, as well as an increase of 10.8 percent over the first 11 months of 2022, compared to about 42.6 billion dirhams in December 2021.

ADX listings

The Abu Dhabi stock exchange expects an increase in listings this year, even as global economies grapple with high inflation and rising interest rates, its chairman said.

“We have a healthy pipeline of IPOs and listings with aspirations to surpass 2022. There will always be challenges, but also opportunities,” Hisham Khalid Malak, chairman of the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange told Reuters on Wednesday.

The global picture is “starting to look better than expected, with a soft landing now forecast in the United States,” he said, adding that “Europe is also starting to look better and China is opening up.”

Acquisition

UAE conglomerate International Holding Company is considering bidding for Indian billionaire Gautam Adani-led Adani Enterprises’ 200 billion rupee ($2.45 billion) follow-on sale of shares that began on Wednesday, the company’s spokesman said.

“IHC is considering the opportunity of bidding for stock purchase in the Adani Enterprise FPO (follow-on public offer); however, should anything materialize, IHC will inform the market as per the governance rules and regulations,” IHC spokesman Ahmad Ibrahim told Reuters.

 

 


Closing bell: TASI proceeds at snail’s pace, inches ahead 0.12% 

Closing bell: TASI proceeds at snail’s pace, inches ahead 0.12% 
Updated 26 January 2023

Closing bell: TASI proceeds at snail’s pace, inches ahead 0.12% 

Closing bell: TASI proceeds at snail’s pace, inches ahead 0.12% 

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Tadawul All Share Index on Thursday edged up 12.50 points — or 0.12 percent — to close at 10,821.65.

While MSCI Tadawul 30 Index ended flat at 1,499.11, the parallel market Nomu booked a marginal decline at 19,252.34. 

TASI’s total trading turnover of the benchmark index on Thursday was SR3.71 billion ($990 million), with 116 stocks of the listed 223 advancing and 83 retreating. 

Building material firm Al Kathiri Holding Co. was the topmost gainer of the day, which rose 9.87 percent to SR51.20.  

Investment major Saudi Advanced Industries Co. was the next best grosser as its share price surged 5.85 percent to SR27.15.  

SAIC on Thursday informed the stock exchange that its shareholders approved increasing the company’s capital by 20 percent by distributing one bonus share for every five shares held to strengthen the capital base to enhance its future growth plans.  

The move would boost its current capital from SR500 million to SR600 million, according to a statement to Tadawul.  

The worst performer on Thursday was Almarai Co., which fell 3.11 percent to SR53. The other stocks that performed poorly included Arabian Pipes Co., Etihad Atheeb Telecommunication Co., Saudi Basic Industries Corp. and Al-Rajhi Co. for Cooperative Insurance. 

Among sectoral indices, 12 of the 21 listed on the stock exchange declined while the rest advanced. 

The Insurance Index was the best-performing index thanks to Saudi Reinsurance Co., which jumped 5.05 percent to SR15.40. On the other hand, Allianz Saudi Fransi Cooperative Insurance Co. moved up 4.01 percent to SR14. The other gainers were Saudi Enaya Cooperative Insurance Co., Aljazira Takaful Taawuni Co. and Al Alamiya for Cooperative Insurance Co. 

The Food and Beverages Index was the worst-performing sector as it rose 2.19 percent to 4,771.99, with five of the nine constituents falling. Even the gainers registered only a slight increase between 0.16 and 0.94 percent. 

On the announcements front, United Wire Factories Co., also known as Aslak, reported a 24 percent increase to an estimated net profit after Zakat and tax of SR7.3 million for 2022 from SR46.2 million a year earlier, mainly due to higher sales volume and profit margins.  

The company’s revenues increased 11.4 percent to SR1,026.40 million between January and December last year from SR921.33 million in the year-ago period. 

The release stated that the fourth-quarter net profit also soared 52 percent year on year to SR12 million. Aslak’s share price closed 1.22 percent higher to SR24.96. 

Meanwhile, the Saudi exchange also announced the listing and trading units of Alinma Hospitality REIT Fund on the primary market beginning Monday, Jan. 30, with the symbol 4349.  

The units will be allowed to fluctuate with an upper and lower limit of 30 percent a day and an upper and lower limit of 10 percent for static price fluctuation. 


Saudi Arabia’s central bank issues draft banking system for public consultation

Saudi Arabia’s central bank issues draft banking system for public consultation
Updated 26 January 2023

Saudi Arabia’s central bank issues draft banking system for public consultation

Saudi Arabia’s central bank issues draft banking system for public consultation

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s central bank is seeking the public’s views on a range of financial system reforms, including allowing institutions that grant credit to be classed as ‘banking businesses’.

The new framework being proposed would also see the term apply to those outside the Kingdom who work with individuals inside Saudi Arabia, as determined by the Central Bank, for several purposes including customer protection.

Another key change is the strengthening of the regulatory framework for the Deposit Protection Fund, so the fund pays deposits to depositors according to the declared coverage limit in cases that require this, in order to protect depositors and contribute to financial stability, according to the Saudi Press Agency.

The public, interested parties, and specialists can register their opinions on the project through the National Competitiveness Center’s consultation platform.

The new banking system comes as a result of continuous internal assessments carried out by the central bank amid efforts to keep pace with the comparative legislative developments of a number of countries.

The changes were also based on recommendations issued by international organizations.

In addition to this, the new banking system also aims to stimulate investment in the sector, contribute to financial stability in the Kingdom, as well as enhance the protection of depositors and customers.