UAE banks’ revenues to hit $25bn by 2030 amid digital transformation: Senior official  

UAE banks’ revenues to hit $25bn by 2030 amid digital transformation: Senior official  
The total share of digital accounts rose in the UAE from 7 percent in 2018 to 51 percent in 2021 (Shutterstock)
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Updated 16 November 2022

UAE banks’ revenues to hit $25bn by 2030 amid digital transformation: Senior official  

UAE banks’ revenues to hit $25bn by 2030 amid digital transformation: Senior official  

RIYADH: Banks in the UAE are set to witness 52 percent growth in their revenue to about $25 billion by 2030 as the financial sector undertakes widespread digital transformation practices to improve customer experience, said a senior official of the UAE Banks Federation. 

Speaking at the Abu Dhabi Finance Week earlier this week, Abdulaziz Al-Ghurair, chairman of the UAE Banks Federation, said the transformation has led to the region’s leading banks registering nearly 95 percent of digital transactions, out of which over 90 percent was done over mobile phones.  

Citing the Central Bank of UAE data, Al-Ghurair revealed that in 2021 the share of cash payments in overall transactions declined from 69 percent to 20 percent, even as the total share of digital accounts rose from 7 percent in 2018 to 51 percent in 2021.  

He further said that changing customer needs had triggered significant technology investments and upgrades across the banking sector that will facilitate superior customer experience in times to come.  

The chairman revealed that UBF has been instrumental in promoting digital transformation and consolidating the sector’s leadership in developing digital solutions, contributing further to economic development in the region.  

In a webinar held last month, the federation emphasized on the relentless role of the Central Bank of UAE in adopting the latest technologies to enable greater financial inclusion and develop the national digital economy.  

“Under the direct supervision of the Central Bank of the UAE, the federation is committed to creating the conditions for this development. This progress requires keeping up with the latest trends in the financial sector to create solutions that meet customers’ needs,” said Jamal Saleh, director-general of the UBF, in a statement.  

He added: “Digitalization is currently one of the most important pillars of the global economy. It is part of our continuous efforts to ensure the consolidation of the banking and finance sector's leadership through a proactive approach of studying and analyzing global market trends.”  

In June, the CBUAE held a meeting with the CEOs of banks operating in the UAE to discuss the continued UAE’s banking sector recovery, the increasing role of digitalization of the financial sector and Emiratization initiatives in the financial sector.  

As part of the meeting, the central bank took stock of the implementation of its National Payment System Strategy, which comprised the instant payments platform and fast-tracked modernization of financial infrastructure and payment system data centers.  

It also outlined a series of wide-ranging initiatives to increase Emiratization in the financial sector, which included creating 5,000 additional jobs in the banking and insurance sector by the end of 2026.   


Saudi-Chinese relations witness ‘qualitative leap,’ says energy minister

Saudi-Chinese relations witness ‘qualitative leap,’ says energy minister
Updated 07 December 2022

Saudi-Chinese relations witness ‘qualitative leap,’ says energy minister

Saudi-Chinese relations witness ‘qualitative leap,’ says energy minister
  • China has become the top destination for Saudi oil exports
  • President Xi Jinping arrived in Saudi Arabia earlier on Wednesday as part of a three-day visit

RIYADH: Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman on Wednesday said that relations between the Kingdom and China are witnessing a qualitative leap, reflecting the keenness of both countries’ leaderships to develop them at all levels.

In remarks to the Saudi Press Agency during the Saudi-Chinese Summit in Riyadh, Prince Abdulaziz said that the Kingdom has strong and close strategic relations with China in many fields, the most important of which is energy.

China has become the top destination for Saudi oil exports as part of the high volume of trade exchange between the two countries, with continued annual growth over the past five years, he said, adding that Saudi-Chinese energy ties include multiple joint investments.

China’s President Xi Jinping arrived in Saudi Arabia earlier on Wednesday as part of a three-day visit to the Kingdom following an invitation by King Salman to attend the summit, which will run until Dec. 9.

Prince Abdulaziz highlighted the importance of cooperation between the two countries in maintaining stability of the global oil market, and said that the Kingdom will remain China’s credible and reliable partner in facing future energy challenges.

The minister also reviewed areas of cooperation between the Kingdom and China, mainly through projects to convert crude oil into petrochemicals, renewable energy, clean hydrogen, electricity projects and peaceful uses of nuclear energy, as well as investment in integrated refining and petrochemical complexes in both countries.

He highlighted the two nations’ efforts to boost cooperation in energy supply chains by establishing a regional center in the Kingdom for Chinese factories.


Budget 2023: Saudi Arabia exceeds surplus estimate and revises up GDP forecast

Budget 2023: Saudi Arabia exceeds surplus estimate and revises up GDP forecast
Updated 07 December 2022

Budget 2023: Saudi Arabia exceeds surplus estimate and revises up GDP forecast

Budget 2023: Saudi Arabia exceeds surplus estimate and revises up GDP forecast

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has recorded a larger-then-expected budget surplus for 2022 of SR102 billion ($27.13 billion) — SR12 billion higher than previously forecast.

The surplus comes as the Kingdom's gross domestic product is also set to exceed expectations — registering growth of 8.5 percent compared with the 7.5 percent estimated in December 2021 and the 8 percent forecast in pre-Budget statement published at the end of September.

GDP growth is forecast to slow to 3.1 percent in 2023.

The revelations came as the Saudi government approved a SR1.114 trillion budget for 2023, itself expected to post a surplus of SR16 billion, Saudi media outlets reported.

The Kingdom expects revenues of SR1.13 trillion next year, Saudi-owned Al Arabiya TV reported. The surplus is equivalent to 0.4 percent of gross domestic product — 0.2 percentage points higher than forecast in September 

Total revenues are forecast at SR1.234 trillion for 2022, while spending is SR1.132 trillion, meaning a surplus of 2.6 percent of GDP — 0.1 percentage point higher than previously forecast.

Saudi Arabia’s inflation, which recorded 2.6 percent in 2022, is expected to fall to 2.1 percent in 2023.

This is a developing story


Saudi’s KAPSARC signs information exchange agreement with Chinese research institute

Saudi’s KAPSARC signs information exchange agreement with Chinese research institute
Updated 07 December 2022

Saudi’s KAPSARC signs information exchange agreement with Chinese research institute

Saudi’s KAPSARC signs information exchange agreement with Chinese research institute

RIYADH: Saudi Arabian think tank King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with China’s Economics & Technology Research Institute to exchange information around energy, economics, and climate change

Under the terms of the MoU, both entities will work hand in hand in order to allow for the exchange of research and the generation of actionable insights.

Some of the fields of common interest which will be prioritized topics of research include energy, economics, climate change, sustainability, transition, productivity, hydrogen, carbon capture, among others.

The MoU falls in line with KAPSARC’s mission to utilize applied research and innovation to drive and propel the global energy sector, while the Chinese organization is affiliated with oil and gas firm China National Petroleum Corporation.

“We see a lot of common interest and alignment between China’s and Saudi Arabia's position when it comes to energy and climate. We both understand and reiterate the idea of common but differentiated responsibility when it comes to climate change,” KAPSARC’s president Fahad Alajlan said in a statement.

Through joint workshops, the exchange of ideas and insights between experts, and the creation of platforms that facilitate global cooperation and knowledge exchange, both institutions will work together on deliver research.

“As important energy producers and consumers in the world, China and Saudi Arabia play an important role in maintaining the stability of the international energy market, addressing climate change, and promoting the realization of energy green transformation goals,” added CNPC ETRI’s president Yu Guo.


Saudi bourse crashes to 19-month low, ends at 10,185 points: Closing bell

Saudi bourse crashes to 19-month low, ends at 10,185 points: Closing bell
Updated 07 December 2022

Saudi bourse crashes to 19-month low, ends at 10,185 points: Closing bell

Saudi bourse crashes to 19-month low, ends at 10,185 points: Closing bell

RIYADH: The Tadawul All Share Index collapsed on Wednesday, losing 259.13 points — or 2.48 percent — to close at 10,185.14 points. The last time the index witnessed this level was on April 26, 2021, when the market ended at 10,231.  

The advance-decline ratio took a huge hit, after 158 stocks of the listed 219 dropped while 42 gained. The total trading turnover was SR3.68 billion ($980 million) compared to Tuesday’s SR4.96 billion. 

TASI’s steep fall was driven by the banking index, which fell 448.45 points or 3.88 percent to 11,123.58. While Al Rajhi Bank tumbled 4.88 percent to close at SR74, Riyad Bank shed 4.7 percent to SR30.40. Arab National Bank slumped 4.08 percent to SR30.55. 

The other indices that boarded the southbound bandwagon were MSCI Tadawul 30 Index, which fell by 2.99 percent, Diversified Financials by 2.77 percent, Healthcare Equipment and Services by 2.72 percent and Materials by 2.42 percent.  

According to market sources, the dampened spirit among investors could be attributed to the fear of a global economic downturn. The hunch that the US Federal Reserve could increase interest rates further, following positive US services industry data released on Monday, upset the apple cart. 

The trend is contagious as Saudi Arabia, like most Gulf Cooperation Council countries, has its currency pegged to the US dollar. Therefore, any policy move of the Fed has a direct impact on the regional markets. 

The Qatari index QE General slumped 154.24 points to close at 11,463.07, while the Abu Dhabi index FTSE ADX General declined 71.61 points to end at 10,336.34.  

Back to Tadawul, the top loser of Wednesday was Tourism Enterprise Co., which slid 5.3 percent to close at SR22.90, while the top gainer was Buruj Cooperative Insurance Co. It rose 9.61 percent to end at SR16.66. 

On a positive note, on Wednesday, Scientific & Medical Equipment House Co. bagged a medical operation project tender in the medical centers affiliated with the General Department of Medical Services at a total value of SR8.71 million.  

The project will be implemented in 14 months in four affiliated medical centers across Riyadh, Jeddah, Taif and Al-Muzahimiyah. 


Saudi Arabia’s Ajex expands its logistics services to China and Middle East 

Saudi Arabia’s Ajex expands its logistics services to China and Middle East 
Updated 07 December 2022

Saudi Arabia’s Ajex expands its logistics services to China and Middle East 

Saudi Arabia’s Ajex expands its logistics services to China and Middle East 

RIYADH: Saudi firm Ajex Logistics Services has announced the launch of two new services as a part of its expansion strategy into China and the Middle East. 

The services are the AJEX international e-commerce express, known as ICX, and AJEX international express service, called IXS.  

They will provide businesses in China, Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Bahrain with a portfolio of express cross-border delivery services for customers.  

“Introducing ICX and IXS services in China, Saudi Arabia, UAE and Bahrain is an important enhancement to our service portfolio, driven by our customers’ requirements for speed, reliability, and transparency,” said Ajex's Chief Marketing & Experience Officer Nathalie Amiel-Ferrault.  

She added: “Saudi Arabia is the largest e-commerce market in the Middle East, and the end-consumers expect flexibility, late-night deliveries, and ease of payment, with cash-on-delivery representing more than 30 percent of e-commerce.”   

According to the report, customers will be able to send single-piece and multi-piece shipments from China to Saudi Arabia, UAE and Bahrain in four to seven days.  

Ajex is a joint venture between Ajlan & Bros Holding and SF Express. 

For Saudi Arabia, logistics is a crucial sector to achieve its goals outlined in Vision 2030, as the Kingdom is now diversifying its economy, which has been dependent on oil for several decades.  

Earlier in October, while speaking at the Supply Chain and Logistics Conference in Riyadh, Saudi Minister of Transport and Logistics Saleh Al-Jasser said that the Kingdom is working to inaugurate 59 logistic zones to bolster supply chains and logistic services.  

In June, in an exclusive interview with Arab News, Sulaiman Al-Mazroua, CEO of the National Industrial Development and Logistics Program, noted that the Kingdom’s logistics sector needs a huge investment combined between the government and private sector by 2030.  

He added that Saudi Arabia would provide the right business environment to attract world transportation companies to operate in the Kingdom, which will help the nation emerge as one of the world’s busiest logistics centers.