Brazil wheat making strides in global markets amid Russia-Ukraine conflict

Brazil wheat making strides in global markets amid Russia-Ukraine conflict
A tractor sprays pesticides on wheat crops, in Arapongas, Brazil. (Reuters)
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Updated 25 January 2023

Brazil wheat making strides in global markets amid Russia-Ukraine conflict

Brazil wheat making strides in global markets amid Russia-Ukraine conflict
  • Indonesia, Saudi Arabia and Sudan buy around 50 percent of Brazilian wheat exports

SAO PAULO: Brazil is poised to register record wheat shipments for January as local suppliers continue to fill the void left by major exporters Russia and Ukraine because of the ongoing war, industry sources told Reuters.
The combination of a bumper harvest and production hiccups in Argentina due to a drought also bolstered Brazilian exporters, particularly in Rio Grande do Sul, the country’s biggest wheat producer, they said.
Based on shipping schedules, the National Association of Cereal Exporters (Anec) projected wheat exports at 803,800 tons for January.
If confirmed, the volume will represent a new historic high for the month, compared to the previous record of 695,900 tons registered in January 2022, according to Anec data.
“Brazil is a big producer and exporter of grains. As you earn credibility from the soybean trade, you begin to expand to other products,” Anec Director-General Sergio Mendes told Reuters.
According to Mendes, grain importers see Brazil as a reliable supplier, and this favors exporters.
Indonesia, Saudi Arabia and Sudan buy around 50 percent of Brazilian wheat exports. Vietnam is also a prominent buyer, Mendes noted.
“The maintenance of shipments to these countries with whom we maintain good commercial relations leads to the belief that things are progressing,” Mendes said about Brazil’s inroads in global markets.
StoneX, a consultancy, projects Brazilian shipments of 3 million tons of wheat for the 2022/23 season, from August 2022 to July this year, stable from the previous cycle’s record.
Brazil’s growing wheat exports, however, still pale in comparison to Ukraine’s 13 million ton export estimated by United States Department of Agriculture for the 2022/2023 season.
Over the entire 2022/23 July-June marketing season, world top exporter Russia faced complications to sell wheat because of Western sanctions.
But despite Russia’s involvement in the war, its wheat export forecast for 2022/2023 is estimated at 44.1 million tons, representing a 10 million ton rise from the previous cycle, according to SovEcon agriculture consultancy.


Saudi Arabia spearheading the energy transition in Mideast

Saudi Arabia spearheading the energy transition in Mideast
Updated 11 sec ago

Saudi Arabia spearheading the energy transition in Mideast

Saudi Arabia spearheading the energy transition in Mideast

RIYADH: The need for energy security has never been more critical in the history of mankind. Amid heightened political tensions, energy diversification programs and sustainability initiatives are a key part of the global agenda today, and countries are working hard to achieve their net-zero targets within the stipulated deadline.

As the world continues its journey to achieve zero emission targets, Saudi Arabia, a country that has been dependent on oil for several decades, is spearheading the energy transition mission in the Middle East region.

Saudi Green Initiative and the wider Middle East Green Initiative are revolutionizing the entire green journey in the region, and they are adequately supported by the Public Investment Fund’s Regional Voluntary Carbon Market Co. which auctioned off 1.4 million tons of carbon credits during the 6th edition of the Future Investment Initiative conference held in Riyadh in October last year.

And now, Riyadh is all set to host the 44th International Association for Energy Economics International Conference on Feb. 4-9 as the entire world is looking forward to the developments the region will witness during the event.

Paul Sullivan, lecturer at Johns Hopkins University and a senior associate fellow at King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies Energy and Environmental Security, told Arab News that Saudi Arabia is steadily progressing with greater energy efficiency and resilience, in line with the goals outlined in Vision 2030.

“Saudi Arabia is progressing via Vision 2030, the Saudi Green Initiative, leading the Middle East Green Initiative, inter alia. It is making progress with solar energy. It will do a lot more on the many colors of hydrogen. It will likely start to develop a nuclear energy program further,” said Sullivan.

Joe Rahi, partner, McKinsey & Co., told Arab News that Saudi Arabia is playing a key role in ensuring an orderly energy transition.

“Saudi Arabia accounts today for the largest share of global oil exports — and it has the potential to become a significant exporter of clean, reliable and affordable energy in the future,” said Rahi.

He further pointed out that the Kingdom has unique access to competitive natural resources both in the form of natural gas to produce blue hydrogen, as well as solar resources and land to develop green hydrogen.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia’s ACWA Power and its partners are working steadily in NEOM to complete the construction of the world’s largest green hydrogen project.

In 2022, NEOM’s CEO Nadhmi Al-Nasr had noted that the first phase of its green hydrogen facilities is expected to come online in 2025. The $500-billion megacity will be powered entirely by clean energy and will cover 10,000 sq. miles, an area 33 times the size of New York.

Sullivan further noted that Saudi Arabia could be the leader of energy transition in the region by developing joint investments, research programs, training and education throughout the Middle East and North Africa region.

“The region and the world really are small. Much more can be learned by working together and not against each other. Just giving money is not enough. The whole region needs to move forward in all aspects of the transition and how the transition affects the energy-water-food-security-economy nexus,” said Sullivan.

Rahi pointed out that Saudi Arabia should create national champions who can develop, produce and scale low-carbon energy to achieve energy transition goals.

According to Rahi, countries in the Middle East could promote investments to scale the supply of carbon capture, utilization and storage technologies along with low-carbon hydrogen and ammonia.

“The region has significant untapped potential here since the geological characteristics of its sedimentary basin could make it a global hub for carbon storage,” he said.

Rahi added: “Stakeholders could boost the development of renewables, including upgrading the supporting infrastructure. Incentives could help accelerate the move to electrification and energy efficiency in buildings, industry and the transportation sector.”

He further noted that the energy transition in the region is creating an opportunity to innovate, which includes creating a startup ecosystem for clean technologies.

Reiterating the views of top industry experts, Sullivan noted that energy transition in a sustainable manner will not happen quickly, and it demands time to materialize the green goals.

“All major transitions take time. The energy transition is no different. It has to be timed and developed for every place in a way that allows peace, prosperity, energy security and climate security,” said Sullivan.

He added: “If it is pressed on too quickly, severe energy, economic insecurity and instability could result. If it is allowed to be delayed too long, then the world and regional climates and environments could be significantly damaged. Extremism is the enemy of energy transitions, much like it is the enemy of society in general.”

Rahi opined that affordable conventional energy is still required to ensure socioeconomic growth, especially for developing countries, and added that low carbon and renewable energy such as hydrogen and solar will continue to play an increasingly important role in the growing energy system.

“To move to large-scale deployment of renewables, countries would also need to invest in grid stabilization and storage to ensure the reliability of supply and integrate renewables into existing systems,” he added.

As Saudi Arabia continues its sustainability journey, events like IAEE International Conference could catalyze the speed of the energy transition, which will ultimately make the world green and beautiful for humankind.


Closing bell: Saudi bourse slips nine points to 10,784 

Closing bell: Saudi bourse slips nine points to 10,784 
Updated 11 min 23 sec ago

Closing bell: Saudi bourse slips nine points to 10,784 

Closing bell: Saudi bourse slips nine points to 10,784 

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Tadawul All Share Index fell 9.12 points — or 0.08 percent — on Wednesday to close at 10,783.73. 

MSCI Tadawul 30 Index and the parallel market Nomu closed flat at 1,489.74 and 19,147.98, respectively. 

TASI’s total trading turnover of the benchmark index on Wednesday was SR3.67 billion ($1.22 billion), with 97 stocks of the listed 224 advancing and 114 retreating. 

Salama Cooperative Insurance Co. was the topmost gainer of the day, rising 8.77 percent to SR12.40. 

The other top gainers were Abdulmohsen Alhokair Group for Tourism and Development, Arabian Pipes Co., Alinma Tokio Marine Co. and Saudi Chemical Co.. 

The worst performer was Saudi Industrial Investment Group, which fell 4.6 percent to SR23.66.  

SIIG reported a net profit after zakat and tax of SR277 million for 2022, down 76 percent from SR1.13 billion in 2021. 

The company said the decline was fueled by its share of profit in jointly managed projects decreasing in 2022 due to lower margins led by higher feedstock costs and weaker selling prices.  

It also turned to a net loss after zakat and tax of SR296 million in the fourth quarter of 2022, from a profit of SR121.65 million in the same period a year earlier.  

The other stocks that performed poorly included Taleem REIT Fund, United International Transportation Co., Advanced Petrochemical Co. and Wataniya Insurance Co. 

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

On the announcements front, Alwasail Industrial Co. informed the stock exchange that it signed a contract with Saudi Basic Industries Corp. on Jan. 31 to finance raw materials for manufacturing activities and products, including polyethylene pipes and its derivatives, at its factories at an estimated value of SR300 million. 

The contract’s term is one year, starting from Jan. 1, 2023, the company said in a statement on Tadawul. 

The agreement includes financing raw materials equivalent to about 60,000 metric tons for manufacturing and products at the company’s factories, including polyethylene pipes and their derivatives. The materials are used in more than 90 percent of its products. Alwasail Industrial’s share price soared 15.37 percent to SR21.62. 

Meanwhile, Allianz Saudi Fransi Cooperative Insurance Co. informed Tadawul that it obtained on Jan. 31 the final approval of the Saudi Central Bank on the comprehensive motor product provided to the individual as well as the group categories, in line with the comprehensive motor insurance rules issued by the central bank on Nov. 8, 2022. The company’s share price picked up 0.68 percent to SR14.90. 

On the dividends front, Saudi Top for Trading Co.’s shareholders approved the board’s recommendation to pay a cash dividend of 120 percent, or SR12 per share, for 2022. These dividends are payable to public shareholders, excluding Abdullah AlAjmi, who waived his profit for 2022. Yet, Saudi Top’s share price plunged 9.46 percent to SR101.40.


SFD signs $320m agreement to finance infrastructure project in Oman

SFD signs $320m agreement to finance infrastructure project in Oman
Updated 23 min 7 sec ago

SFD signs $320m agreement to finance infrastructure project in Oman

SFD signs $320m agreement to finance infrastructure project in Oman

RIYADH: Saudi Fund for Development has signed a memorandum of understanding with Oman’s Ministry of Finance worth SR1.2 billion ($320 million) to finance the infrastructure development project of the Special Economic Zone in Ad Dhahirah, Oman.   

The MoU aims to open new horizons of cooperation between the two countries through the establishment of the economic zone which is set to promote economic growth, increase trade, and encourage partnerships, according to a press release.  

The deal was signed by SFD CEO Sultan Al-Murshid, and the Omani Ministry of Finance represented by Zahri Al-Abri, during the Saudi-Omani Investment Forum being held in Riyadh.  

Highlighting the importance of collaboration to both nations, Al-Marshad said: "This MoU reflects the long-established historical relations and close partnership between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Sultanate of Oman. This project will help achieve the two countries' ambitious visions, economic growth, and social prosperity.” he said. 

Al-Abri praised the Kingdom’s efforts in supporting the development projects and programs in the infrastructure sector through the SDF.  

The SDF has been working closely with Oman to finance and support various projects including infrastructure, higher education, vocational training, water, and energy. 


Saudi-based Diriyah signs telecom services deals with Salam and Tawal

Saudi-based Diriyah signs telecom services deals with Salam and Tawal
Updated 01 February 2023

Saudi-based Diriyah signs telecom services deals with Salam and Tawal

Saudi-based Diriyah signs telecom services deals with Salam and Tawal

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Diriyah project is set to benefit from a wireless telecom networking deal between the Diriyah Gate Development Authority and Integrated Telecom Co. and Telecommunications Towers Co..

The 15-year contract, which includes designing, building, and operating procedures, is projected to cover open-access services to all Diriyah stakeholders including visitors, tenants, and residents, according to a statement.

The agreement is also expected to provide fiber-optic connectivity for 2,000 plots in addition to key services in the Wadi Hanifah and Wadi Safar areas.

“Diriyah prioritizes telecommunications and network access across all of its projects, adhering to the highest global standards,” according to CEO of Diriyah Gate Development Authority Jerry Inzerillo.

The Diriyah project practices several sustainability measures, the most prominent of which is the shared use of each tower among all three primary mobile operators in the Kingdom: STC, Mobily, and Zain.

The shared use of the towers between the operators helps to minimize the number of towers required for coverage and their respective impact on the urban landscape of the country.

“This project will see us develop a state-of-the-art IT and telecom infrastructure that will be shared between service providers, enabling them to host the latest technologies in Diriyah," said Ahmed Al Anqari, CEO of the Integrated Telecom Co., also known as Salam.

Under the terms of the new deal, as many as 80 telecommunication towers are expected to be constructed over the next three years.

"The telecom towers will blend seamlessly into their surroundings. In addition, the project will offer users indoor connectivity solutions, further establishing Diriyah as a modern and sustainable destination," said Mohammed Alhakbani, CEO of Telecommunications Towers Co., also referred to as Tawal.

The new towers are meant to cut costs for service providers and guarantee connectivity by providing consistent telecom services across the Diriyah Development.


Saudi tourism sector spending surges 93% to hit $49bn in 2022, minister reveals

Saudi tourism sector spending surges 93% to hit $49bn in 2022, minister reveals
Updated 52 min 13 sec ago

Saudi tourism sector spending surges 93% to hit $49bn in 2022, minister reveals

Saudi tourism sector spending surges 93% to hit $49bn in 2022, minister reveals

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s tourism spending surged 93 percent in 2022 to hit SR185 billion ($49 billion), up from SR95.6 billion in 2021, as the Kingdom continues to diversify its economy as part of Vision 2030. 

The Minister of Tourism Ahmed bin Aqil Al-Khatib revealed these details during his monthly meeting with citizens, the Saudi Press Agency reported. 

Reviewing the achievements made by the sector during the year 2022, the minister said: "The direct contribution of the sector in the gross domestic product amounted to 3.2 percent of the total target of 10 percent by 2030.”  

Moreover, he noted that the number of jobs in 2022 reached 880,000, reflecting an increase of 15 percent when compared to the previous year. 

“The percentage of Saudi women in the tourism sector also increased to reach 44 percent of the total workers in the sector,” Al-Khatib added.  

He also urged investors in the sector to adhere to the new regulations set by the ministry in order to achieve a healthy competitive environment that is both fair and attractive to investment. 

The new regulations tackle developing the proper procedures and requirements for practicing tourism activities while taking into consideration the diversity of services provided and raising quality levels. 

Additionally, the minister also stressed on the need to further raise the level of services provided in the sector through training and preparing the human cadre, which is the main factor in upgrading the sector. 

"The ministry is seeking to provide one million jobs in the tourism sector with its various activities, which requires the establishment of training institutes and the building and development of training programs and services in the field of hospitality and tourism,” Al-Khatib explained. 

Furthermore, the ministry launched a joint borrowing program with the banking sector to finance medium, small, and micro enterprises in an attempt to enhance investments in the sector. 

During 2022, the Ministry of Tourism also implemented as many as 11 advertising campaigns to introduce and market tourism in the Kingdom, reaching 35 countries.