Saudi Arabia presents 66 initiatives to tackle climate change at COP27 in Egypt  

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Updated 12 November 2022

Saudi Arabia presents 66 initiatives to tackle climate change at COP27 in Egypt  

Saudi Arabia presents 66 initiatives to tackle climate change at COP27 in Egypt  

SHARM EL-SHEIKH: Saudi Arabia is presenting 66 initiatives as part of its environmental plan at the UN global climate change summit taking place in the Egyptian resort town of Sharm El-Sheikh, officials said.  

The Kingdom has developed the initiatives according to four main pillars: the circular carbon economy; raising vegetation cover and reducing degraded lands; protecting wildlife habitats and biodiversity; and promoting sustainability, Albaraa Aldhahri, project manager at the Saudi Green Initiative’s environmental track, told Arab News.  

The SGI, which was announced by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman last year, launched the second edition of the forum at COP27, with a large pavilion dedicated to the Kingdom’s pioneering climate efforts.  

Several national entities were involved in the event, including the Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture, the National Center for Vegetation Cover Development and Combatting Desertification, the National Center for Wildlife, Saudi Aramco, and SABIC, all under the umbrella of the Ministry of Energy.  

“Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (announced) the SGI to position Saudi Arabia at the vanguard of the fight against the climate change,” Aldhahri said, adding: “This initiative aims to improve the quality of life in Saudi Arabia and also to protect the next generations.”  

He said the Kingdom’s moves to achieve the three targets of the SGI will start by reducing emissions by 278 million tons per annum by 2030.  

“The second target (is) to plant 10 billion trees in the coming decades, also to increase the protected areas of the terrestrial and coastal areas by more than 30 percent of the total area of Saudi Arabia,” Aldhahri added.  

The protecting wildlife, habitats and biodiversity pillar will contribute to the target of increasing the protected areas by more than 50 percent by 2030, he said, while the promoting sustainability pillar is integrated in the other two pillars to achieve the SGI targets, where the energy ministry is the main participant at the summit.  

“If we are talking about the environmental track and the approved initiatives under these pillars, we’ll say that we have 39 approved initiatives under the raising the vegetation cover and reducing the degraded lands, we have 18 approved initiatives under protecting wildlife habitats and biodiversity, and nine approved initiatives under the promoting sustainability,” Aldhahri said.  

 Al-Hanouf Al-Abdulkarim, an engineer from the energy ecosystem within the Kingdom, said one of the main aims was to reduce emissions through the circular carbon economy with different initiatives and projects to meet the ambitious SGI targets.  

“Today we can showcase a lot of these projects through capturing CO2, the production of hydrogen and some other polymer-based materials, and a lot of the renewable energy sources like the polymer-based panels,” that are in display, she said.  

 Al-Abdulkarim added that their main aim was to showcase the initiatives and ambitions of the Kingdom, but was “unfortunately” only able to present a few as there are too many.  

“We have some of our polymer-based materials that are used from hydrocarbons and polymers, as well we have one of our hydrogen production plants breaking out ammonia into hydrogen, and were have ‘Archie’, one of our applications initiated and launched in the Kingdom with the help of Aramco,” she said. 

‘Archie’ is an interactive tool that tracks every drop of oil produced throughout the whole world from its source to its destination market and estimates the life cycle carbon intensity at any point in the oil supply chain. It aims to increase both the traceability and the transparency of end-to-end carbon intensity of every part of the oil supply chain, enabling investors, policymakers, companies, and consumers to make more informed decisions.  

Meanwhile, Ahmed Al-Nafie, from the Ministry of Energy’s Liquid Displacement Program, said the circular carbon economy initiative aimed to achieve the optimal energy mix in the Kingdom, with 50 percent gas and 50 percent renewables.  

“The Kingdom launched the liquid displacement program, which aimed to displace one million barrels per day across different sectors — utility sector, generation and desalination, industry sector and agriculture sector, by availing new energy sources, expansion of the master gas system, and the electric power grid.” 

He said one million barrels represents 95 percent of the liquid used in the Kingdom, and by 2030, the country will avail a new source and will displace this quantity of liquid.  

“The main objective of this initiative is to reduce carbon emissions, avail new power sources, and enhance the Kingdom’s economy,” he added.  

GCC banks to see ‘limited impact’ from global banking worries prompted by SVB collapse: Kamco

GCC banks to see ‘limited impact’ from global banking worries prompted by SVB collapse: Kamco
Updated 31 March 2023

GCC banks to see ‘limited impact’ from global banking worries prompted by SVB collapse: Kamco

GCC banks to see ‘limited impact’ from global banking worries prompted by SVB collapse: Kamco

RIYADH: Banks in the Gulf Cooperation Council region are set to see a limited impact from the banking crisis hitting the US and Europe, according to a report from Kamco Invest.

The investment banking subsidiary of Kuwait Projects Company argues that financial institutions in the GCC had limited exposure to Silicon Valley Bank – the US firm that collapsed in March prompting concerns of contagion sweeping across the world in the manner of the 2008 global crash.

The report says balance sheets of the banks in the region remain strong, and in the final quarter of 2022 both aggregate lending and customer deposits remained strong.

“The broader GCC banking sector is expected to see only a limited indirect impact from the ongoing banking sector crisis in the US and Europe,” said the report, adding: “Shares of banks globally and in the region, especially, were affected due to fears of a contagion as the collapse of SVB was the biggest lender failure since the global financial crisis of 2008. 

“However, the collapse had only marginal impact with minimal exposure of banks only in the UAE, while most of the other countries in the GCC remained unaffected. 

“The bulk of the exposure was from various startups and VCs that had accounts with SVB that may now bank with local banks, although under increased scrutiny.”

The report also shows that rising interest rates in the US and its almost full replication by most GCC central banks during 2022 resulted in higher aggregate net interest margin for the region’s banking sector. 

NIM for GCC banks averaged at a multi-year high of over 3 percent during the fourth quarter of 2022, despite partially reflecting the higher interest rates as bulk of the rate hikes were made during the second half of the year. 

Saudi Arabia’s banks reported the highest average margin of 3.2 percent during the quarter followed by UAE and Qatari banks with margins also above the 3 percent mark after several quarters.

Aggregate lending in the GCC remained strong during the final quarter of 2022, with  central bank data showing Qatari banks experienced the strongest lending growth during, while Bahrain and the UAE banks showed a slight decline. 

Customer deposits bounced back to a stronger growth over the same period, with a quarter-on-quarter increase of 2.5 percent to reach $2.2 trillion 

Riyadh chosen to host Global Real Estate Summit

Riyadh chosen to host Global Real Estate Summit
Updated 31 March 2023

Riyadh chosen to host Global Real Estate Summit

Riyadh chosen to host Global Real Estate Summit

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia will host the 42nd edition of the Global Real Estate Summit next December in Riyadh, it has been announced.

The summit is considered the industry's largest annual gathering, and sees real estate leaders and CEOs from all over the globe coming together, according to the Saudi Press Agency.

The event will address the Saudi real estate sector in light of the Kingdom's Vision 2030 and its successes achieved to date.

Workshops, meetings, and lectures aiming to deal with the challenges of the real estate industry as well as available investment opportunities will be held throughout the event. 

There will also be discussions on the role of the industry's leaders in creating revolutionary ideas through best international practices and the mechanism of their application in the region.

A visit to prominent major projects will also occur during the summit.

The Kingdom’s achievement in hosting this global summit comes after the World Real Estate Federation meeting in Cannes, France, held on March 15, with the participation of Eye of Riyadh, the media partner of the international real estate event MIPIM, held between March 14 to 17.

Global money market funds see strong demand for fifth week in a row

Global money market funds see strong demand for fifth week in a row
Updated 31 March 2023

Global money market funds see strong demand for fifth week in a row

Global money market funds see strong demand for fifth week in a row

BENGALURU: Global money market funds continued to attract big inflows in the week ended March 29, as investors chased safer assets amid lingering worries over the turmoil in the banking sector and concerns over tightening economic conditions, according to Reuters.

Global money market funds obtained a net inflow of $47.6 billion, which was their fifth consecutive weekly inflow, underscoring investors’ caution after the collapse of two regional US lenders earlier this month.

Meanwhile, investors sold about $18 billion worth of global equity funds after buying about $13.1 billion a week ago.

They exited US and European equity funds of $20.68 billion and $630 million respectively, but acquired $2.3 billion worth of Asian funds.

Still, some sector-focused equity funds were in demand, with tech and consumer discretionary receiving a net of $1.41 billion and $630 million in net buying.

Meanwhile, global bond funds received $481 million in a second consecutive week of net buying, thanks to safe-haven demand for government bond funds. Global government bond funds had $5.08 billion worth of inflows.

However, high-yield and short- and medium-term bond funds saw $2.94 billion and $1.43 billion worth of net selling, respectively.

Among commodities, precious metal funds obtained $371 million in a third straight week of net buying. Energy funds also gathered $111 million worth of inflows.

Data for 23,903 emerging market funds showed that equities received $1.1 billion and bonds secured $24 million worth of inflows after witnessing two weekly outflows in a row.

Euro zone government bond yields edged up on Friday as receding concerns about the prospects of a global banking crisis offset the likelihood of persistent inflation in the zone.

Euro zone inflation dropped by the most on record in March, according to data on Friday. Core price pressures, which exclude food and energy, accelerated, which keeps the heat on the European Central Bank to keep raising rates.

Two-year German Schatz yields, the most sensitive to shifts in expectations for interest rates, were up 4 basis points at 2.79 percent. They’ve risen by 41 bps this week — their largest weekly increase since early 1990.

Egypt’s central bank raises interest rates by 200 bps to tame inflation

Egypt’s central bank raises interest rates by 200 bps to tame inflation
Updated 31 March 2023

Egypt’s central bank raises interest rates by 200 bps to tame inflation

Egypt’s central bank raises interest rates by 200 bps to tame inflation

CARIO : The Central Bank of Egypt has raised its overnight interest rates by 200 basis points following a meeting of its Monetary Policy Committee, saying it aimed to bring high inflation into check, according to Reuters.

The bank set the lending rate at 19.25 percent and the deposit rate at 18.25 percent.

The median forecast in a Reuters poll of 15 analysts on Monday was for the bank to increase rates by 200 bps as it struggled to control surging inflation. Seven of the analysts expected an increase of 300 bps.

In February, headline inflation soared to a five-and-a-half-year high of 30.9 percent from 25.8 percent in January. Core inflation in February rose to a record high of 40.3 percent.

“The MPC stresses that achieving a tight monetary stance is a necessary condition to attain the CBE’s upcoming inflation targets of 7 percent (± 2 percentage points) on average by 2024 Q4 and 5 percent (± 2 percentage points) on average by 2026 Q4,” it said in a statement.

Domestic supply chain disruptions, a depreciating Egyptian pound, demand side pressures “as evidenced by developments in real economic activity relative to potential capacity” and high broad money growth outturns fueled inflation, the statement said.

Since last March, the Egyptian pound’s official exchange rate has fallen by almost half, to around 30.87 pounds to the dollar, after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine exposed vulnerabilities in the country’s finances, prompting a foreign exodus from its treasuries market.

On the black market it has sunk to between 35 and 36 to the dollar.

M2 money supply, which in Egypt includes deposits in foreign currency, grew by 31.6 percent in January and was up 31.5 percent year-on-year in February.

At its last meeting on Feb. 2, the central bank left interest rates steady, saying 800 bps in rate hikes put in place over the previous year would help to tame inflation, which in December had accelerated to a five-year high of 21.3 percent.

The MPC statement said gross domestic product had slipped to 3.9 percent in the fourth quarter of 2022 from 4.4 percent in the third quarter.

“Real GDP growth is expected to soften in fiscal year 2022/23 compared to the previous fiscal year, before picking up thereafter.” Egypt’s fiscal year ends on June 30.

SABB awarded ‘Best Private Bank in Saudi Arabia’ gong by Euromoney

SABB awarded ‘Best Private Bank in Saudi Arabia’ gong by Euromoney
Updated 31 March 2023

SABB awarded ‘Best Private Bank in Saudi Arabia’ gong by Euromoney

SABB awarded ‘Best Private Bank in Saudi Arabia’ gong by Euromoney

RIYADH: The Saudi British Bank has been named “Best Private Bank in Saudi Arabia” for 2023 by Euromoney in recognition of its services and the investment opportunities it provides.

SABB was awarded the gong at the Private Banking Awards 2023 ceremony, with the decision based on input from industry insiders and independent research which evaluates a series of performance metrics and other factors about private banks.

Reflecting on the win, Bandar Al Gheshayan, the bank’s chief wealth & personal banking officer, said: “Having SABB Private Bank awarded by Euromoney as the Best Private Bank in Saudi Arabia recognizes our ongoing efforts to partner with global entrepreneurs and high-net-worth Saudi Arabian and Expatriate nationals as they manage and grow their wealth.

“For over 40 years, SABB has proudly supported the growth of the financial sector in the Kingdom and offered assistance in bringing innovative banking and investment solutions to our clients.”

SABB was also named Saudi Arabia’s Best Private Bank for environmental, social, and governance investing.

Across the region, BNP Paribas Wealth Management was named the best private bank in the Middle East, with one judge commenting that the institution “appears to have a clear roadmap and vision.” 

“A large focus has also been put on sustainability (and the responsible investment offering is now broad and solid) as well as on digital,” according to comments released after the award was announced.

The awards come just a week after Euromoney crowned SABB as the “Best Trade Finance Service Provider” and “Market Leader” in Saudi Arabia for 2023 – the latter for the seventh successive year.

Those gongs were based on a survey by Euromoney, where Saudi corporates have recognized SABB as the market leader within the trade finance space. 

The survey takes into consideration corporates’ view on their banks’ ability in providing trade finance products, solutions, quality of services and market share.