Amazon to layoff 10,000 employees: report

Amazon to layoff 10,000 employees: report
The Amazon logo is seen outside its JFK8 distribution center in Staten Island, New York. (Reuters)
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Updated 15 November 2022

Amazon to layoff 10,000 employees: report

Amazon to layoff 10,000 employees: report

NEW YORK: Amazon is preparing to lay off as many as 10,000 employees, The New York Times reported on Monday, making the e-commerce behemoth the latest tech giant to unleash a large-scale redundancy plan.
This would represent a little less than one percent of the group’s total payroll, which had 1.54 million employees worldwide at the end of September, not counting seasonal workers who are recruited during periods of increased activity like the Christmas holidays.
The Times report said the affected positions will be located in Amazon’s devices department, the retail division and human resources.
The distribution by country was not specified.
The report said that the total number of employees laid off could change, but if confirmed, it would be the largest round of firings in the history of the 28-year-old company founded by Jeff Bezos.
The layoffs would follow an aggressive hiring spree. With business booming due to the coronavirus pandemic, as cooped up people turned in earnest to online shopping, Amazon doubled its workforce from the first quarter of 2020 to 1.62 million employees two years later.
But with the economy souring, two weeks ago Amazon announced a hiring freeze and its workforce has already decreased compared to the beginning of the year.
Contacted by AFP, Amazon did not respond immediately to a request to comment.
Last week, Meta, Facebook’s parent company, announced it was cutting 11,000 jobs, or about 13 percent of its workforce.
Online payment company Stripe and car-hailing app Lyft, also recently reported big layoffs. Twitter, freshly acquired by Elon Musk, earlier this month fired about half of its 7,500 employees.


OPEC+ maintains status quo on output amid fresh price cap on Russian oil 

OPEC+ maintains status quo on output amid fresh price cap on Russian oil 
Updated 10 sec ago

OPEC+ maintains status quo on output amid fresh price cap on Russian oil 

OPEC+ maintains status quo on output amid fresh price cap on Russian oil 

RIYADH: The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, and its allies, known as OPEC+, has agreed to roll over its existing output policy, just a day after the Group of Seven nations decided to put a price cap on Russian energy supplies.  

The decision was made at the 34th OPEC and non-OPEC Ministerial Meeting, which was held virtually, on Dec. 4, 2022.  

Earlier in October, OPEC+ had agreed to cut output by 2 million barrels per day, which equals to about 2 percent of world demand, from November until the end of 2023.  

After deciding on the output cut, OPEC+ said that the move was due to a weaker economic outlook, and to maintain market stability.  

On Friday, G7 nations and Australia agreed to put a price cap on Russian oil at $60 a barrel, a price higher than where Russia already sells most of its crude, ultimately aimed at maintaining Russian oil flowing to global markets.  

Post the EU decision, a senior Ukrainian presidential aide said that the price cap on Russian seaborne crude oil agreed to by the G7 countries and Australia should be lowered to $30 per barrel, Reuters reported.  

“This was everything that was proposed by the McFaul-Yermak group, but it would be necessary to lower it to $30 to destroy the enemy’s economy quicker,” Andriy Yermak, head of Ukraine’s presidential administration, wrote on Telegram.  

Meanwhile, Russia said that it will not accept the price cap imposed by G7 countries and Australia.  

“We will not accept this ceiling,” said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, Russian news agency Tass reported.  

Kremlin also noted that Russia will not send its oil under the energy cap proposed by G7, and added that the country is analyzing how to respond to these fresh sanctions.  

Leonid Slutsky, chair of the Russian lower house’s foreign affairs committee, told the Tass news agency that the EU jeopardized its own energy security by setting a price cap on Russian seaborne oil.  

He also added that the EU's decision is violating the market's laws. Amid these developments, Russia seems confident regarding the demand for its oil.  

In comments published on Telegram, Russia’s embassy in the US criticized the move by the G7 and made it clear that the country will continue to find buyers for its oil.  

“Regardless of the current flirtations with the dangerous and illegitimate instrument, we are confident that Russian oil will continue to be in demand,” the Russian embassy said.  

(With inputs from Reuters)


Saudi Arabia clears 725 industrial projects worth $265bn in 9 months to build domestic capacity 

Saudi Arabia clears 725 industrial projects worth $265bn in 9 months to build domestic capacity 
Updated 40 min 52 sec ago

Saudi Arabia clears 725 industrial projects worth $265bn in 9 months to build domestic capacity 

Saudi Arabia clears 725 industrial projects worth $265bn in 9 months to build domestic capacity 

Riyadh: Saudi Arabia has issued permits for 725 industrial projects worth an accumulated SR1.37 trillion ($265 billion) in the first nine months of 2022, according to data from the Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources.  

This comes as the Kingdom is pushing to develop domestic industrial and manufacturing sectors as part of its strategy to diversify away from the oil-based economy.  

In September alone, the ministry issued permits for 79 industrial projects estimated to be SR3.1 billion with up to 1,882 licensed workers, the data revealed.  

While national investors accounted for 84 percent of the projects in September, 16 percent were foreign-owned or joint ventures with foreign nations.  

Moreover, as many as 68 factories started production in September with a volume of investment of SR3.5 billion. The data revealed that the commencement of those factories also generated up to 4,219 jobs during September.  

By the end of September, the total number of industrial projects in the Kingdom hit 10,728, up from the 10,192 recorded same period a year earlier, according to data.  

In August 2022, the MIMR announced that the Kingdom issued permits for non-oil industrial projects worth an accumulated SR4.1 billion, MEED reported.  

Some 115 licenses were issued for non-oil industrial projects — 20 percent higher than those granted in July.  

Toward the end of August, the total number of industrial units in the Kingdom reached 10,707.  

Until September, the licensed projects covered several small and medium industries, including metals, chemicals, home appliances, paper, etc.  

Saudi Arabia is set to become the world leader in sustainable metal production as the Kingdom explores its mining potential, according to Khalid Al-Mudaifer, vice-minister for Mining Affairs, Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources. He further emphasized that the economic diversification was in line with the goals outlined in Vision 2030. 

Speaking at the Mines and Money conference earlier this month in London, Al-Mudaifer said that minerals are indispensable to the energy transition from hydrocarbons to renewables.      

“Decarbonization – the net-zero transition – cannot happen without minerals and metals: a lot of minerals and metals. We need to scale up discoveries, and we need to scale up production,” said Al-Mudaifer.  

The vice-minister added that mineral and metal supply chains need to become more resilient to meet rising demands and noted that the ongoing geopolitical tensions have exposed the vulnerabilities in the sector, which may result in “cost spikes of some minerals by 350 percent.”


Saudi traffic drives Dubai Airports’ recovery post pandemic, says CEO   

Saudi traffic drives Dubai Airports’ recovery post pandemic, says CEO   
Updated 04 December 2022

Saudi traffic drives Dubai Airports’ recovery post pandemic, says CEO   

Saudi traffic drives Dubai Airports’ recovery post pandemic, says CEO   

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia played an important role in the Dubai Airports' recovery post the pandemic as the Kingdom drove significant traffic growth between the two countries, according to the airport’s top official.  

Saudi Arabia accounts for 18 percent of Dubai Airports' total traffic, CEO of the airport Paul Griffiths revealed in an exclusive interview with Arab News, adding that most of the growth since the pandemic has been between the two countries.  

He added: “With more and more airports opening direct services between Dubai and Saudi Arabia, I think the prospects for further growth are still considerable.”   

Dubai Airports has gone through several transitional stages during the management of the pandemic, according to Griffiths.  

Highlighting some of the challenges that the airport faced, he pointed out that the key was to get people to recover and actually travel again while assuring them of their health and safety. Also, it was important to assure them that the rules for travel are going to be consistent. The CEO explained that this applies to complying with all their health regulations including being tested and vaccinated.    

But now, he said, they have a new challenge which is the “resource challenge.” “The challenge is to get everyone re-engaged to make the whole commerce of the world function professionally again. So that has been very difficult over the past few months in particular,” Griffiths added.  

Despite this, Dubai in particular has recorded a strong recovery in the post-pandemic period.   

He explained this comes as the emirate was able to swiftly get people back into jobs and train them in an attempt to function quickly while, at the same time, other parts of the world were still challenged in providing the appropriate level of resources needed for the operational requirements that they have.  

Dubai Airports, in specific, is 100 percent back to the number of people in the right jobs required, according to Griffiths. Moreover, he added that point-to-point traffic numbers to the city were 119 percent over and above pre-pandemic levels in December 2021, reflecting very strong traffic recovery.  

“We have virtually doubled the amount of traffic.  We are going to end the year with about 68.2 million. We have revised our forecast several times in the opposite direction and the prospects are actually now very good,” he revealed.  

As of today, an estimated 6 million travelers are currently coming through Dubai Airports on a monthly basis. The CEO said this figure is expected to further rise and potentially reach the 7.8 million recorded before COVID-19.  

Dubai’s added value is mainly attributed to the high investment in the emirate as well as its geographic location, according to Griffiths.  

As a result of high investment in the emirate, he said the number of people that now want to come and visit Dubai increases year on year, usually, in double digits.  

Highlighting the emirate’s unique geographic location, he pointed out that Dubai is within four hours flying time of a third of the world’s population and within eight hours flying time of two-thirds of the world’s population.  

Speaking on technology and its continuous development, the CEO stressed that airport experiences will be much quicker and more seamless in the future.  

“I think we’ll remove a lot of the processes we go through, like immigration and security. That’s not to say they won’t be there, but we just won’t see them because they’ll be done behind the scenes,” he explained.  

Dubai Airports has become a primary international airport in the world, with it being ranked the largest airport by international passenger traffic for the past six to seven years, he concluded.  


GCC stocks finished November lowest in a year as TASI continues to be under 11K level

GCC stocks finished November lowest in a year as TASI continues to be under 11K level
Updated 04 December 2022

GCC stocks finished November lowest in a year as TASI continues to be under 11K level

GCC stocks finished November lowest in a year as TASI continues to be under 11K level

RIYADH: The equity markets in the Gulf Cooperation Council region were dragged to the lowest in one year in November 2022, as Saudi Arabia’s main index slipped 6.6 percent below the 11,000 mark, according to a report by Kamco Invest.

TASI slipped below 11,000 on Nov. 21 and has been hovering under that mark since then.

In November, Arabian Drilling Co. topped the TASI chart with a gain of 18.0 percent followed by Abdul Mohsen Al-Hokair Tourism and National Co. for Learning and Education with gains of 17.4 percent and 16.2 percent, respectively.

On the decliners’ side, Middle East Paper Co. topped with a fall of 26.8 percent followed by Rabigh Refining and Petrochemical Co. and Fitaihi Holding Group with declines of 24.9 percent and 24.3 percent, respectively.

In the report, Kamco Invest noted that Oman was the best-performing market in November with a gain of 5.7 percent, followed by Kuwait and Abu Dhabi where stocks rose 3.6 percent and 1.3 percent respectively.

According to the report, the steep decline in November also affected the GCC markets' year-to-date performance, with the index closing the month in red for the fourth time this year.

“Saudi Arabia was the only market in the GCC that closed November 2022 with a year-to-date decline of 3.4 percent,” said Kamco Invest in the report.

The report added: “Abu Dhabi continued to lead in the region with a year-to-date gain of 24.3 percent followed by Oman and Kuwait with healthy gains of 11.7 percent and 7.7 percent, respectively.”

According to the Kamco Invest report, almost all the sectoral indices closed in the red during the month of November.

The report further pointed out that capital goods, hotels, restaurants and leisure, and real estate indices showed marginal positive performance during the month while the rest of the benchmarks receded.

The pharma and biotech index was the worst-performing index during November as it registered a decline of 10.6 percent followed by the consumer durable and apparel and materials index with declines of 10.4 percent and 9.6 percent, respectively, the report added.

The report went on to point out that the utility index in the GCC region also witnessed a decline of 9.6 percent during November. 


Oil Updates — Crude dips ahead of OPEC+ meeting; Russia says price cap will not curb oil demand 

Oil Updates — Crude dips ahead of OPEC+ meeting; Russia says price cap will not curb oil demand 
Updated 04 December 2022

Oil Updates — Crude dips ahead of OPEC+ meeting; Russia says price cap will not curb oil demand 

Oil Updates — Crude dips ahead of OPEC+ meeting; Russia says price cap will not curb oil demand 

RIYADH: Oil futures slipped 1.5 percent in choppy trading on Friday ahead of a meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies, known as OPEC+, on Sunday and an EU ban on Russian crude on Monday. 

Brent crude futures settled down $1.31, a 1.5 percent drop, at $85.57 per barrel. US West Texas Intermediate crude CLc1 futures fell $1.24, or 1.5 percent, to $79.98 per barrel. 

Both contracts dipped in and out of the negative territory, but notched their first weekly gains at around 2.5 percent and 5 percent, respectively, after three consecutive weeks of drops. 

Russia says price cap is dangerous 

Russia said on Saturday it would continue to find buyers for its oil, despite what it said was a “dangerous” attempt by Western governments to introduce a price cap on its oil exports. 

A coalition of Western countries led by the Group of Seven nations agreed on Friday to cap the price of Russian seaborne oil at $60 a barrel, as they aim to limit Moscow’s revenues and curb its ability to finance its invasion of Ukraine. 

Russian President Vladimir Putin and high-ranking Kremlin officials have repeatedly said that they will not supply oil to countries that implement the price cap. 

In comments published on Telegram, Russia’s embassy in the US criticized what it said was the “reshaping” of free market principles and reiterated that its oil would continue to be in demand despite the measures. 

“Steps like these will inevitably result in increasing uncertainty and imposing higher costs for raw materials’ consumers,” it said. 

“Regardless of the current flirtations with the dangerous and illegitimate instrument, we are confident that Russian oil will continue to be in demand.” 

Zelensky says level of price cap on Russian oil isn’t serious 

The $60 price cap on seaborne Russian oil agreed by G7 nations and Australia is not serious and will do little to deter Russia from waging war in Ukraine, President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Saturday. 

The EU is now set to approve the cap after the G7 and Australia struck a deal on Friday. The measure aims to reduce Russia’s income from selling oil, while preventing a spike in global prices. 

“You wouldn’t call it a serious decision to set such a limit for Russian prices, which is quite comfortable for the budget of a terrorist state,” Zelensky said in a video address. 

“It’s only a matter of time before stronger tools will have to be used anyway. It is a pity that this time will be lost.” 

Andriy Yermak, head of Zelensky’s administration, said earlier that the cap should be set at $30 “to destroy the enemy’s economy quicker.” 

Zelensky complained the world had shown weakness by setting the cap at $60, which he said would swell Russia’s budget by $100 billion a year.

“This money will ... go toward further destabilization of precisely those countries that are now trying to avoid serious decisions,” he said. 

(With input from Reuters)