UAE GDP to grow at 4.3% in 2024, forecasts central bank  

UAE GDP to grow at 4.3% in 2024, forecasts central bank  
The Central Bank of the UAE has retained its forecast unchanged at 3.9 percent for this year.  (Supplied)
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Updated 28 March 2023

UAE GDP to grow at 4.3% in 2024, forecasts central bank  

UAE GDP to grow at 4.3% in 2024, forecasts central bank  

RIYADH: The UAE’s gross domestic product is expected to grow at 4.3 percent in 2024, driven by oil and non-oil exports, according to the latest forecast by the country’s central bank.   

In its 4th Quarterly Economic Review released on Monday, the Central Bank of the UAE has retained its forecast unchanged at 3.9 percent for this year.  

This comes as the apex bank noted that the country’s economy had a good run in the first three quarters of 2022, with the fourth quarter set to maintain a solid footing, helping the UAE GDP to close the year at an estimated 7.6 percent.  

While oil production is likely to slow by the OPEC+ agreements, the non-oil sector is expected to continue to support aggregate output, even if at a slower pace, the bank’s report revealed.   

The real estate and construction sectors, as well as a vibrant manufacturing sector, such as refineries and aluminum production, are the key drivers of strong performance, noted the report.   

Furthermore, the FIFA World Cup in Qatar and other global events held in the region increased travel and tourism to the UAE – something that provided a much-needed boost to the economy. 

In the fourth quarter of 2022, oil production averaged 3.1 million barrels per day, with UAE hydrocarbon GDP estimated to have grown by 10 percent year-on-year in line with the OPEC+ agreements.  

OPEC agreed to cut production by 2 million barrels per day at the beginning of November, causing the CBUAE’s projections for hydrocarbon real GDP growth to be revised downward. As a result, the CBUAE expects oil GDP to rise by 3.0 percent and 3.5 percent in 2023 and 2024, respectively.   

Following the robust growth in the first three quarters of 2022, the non-oil sector is expected to rise at a similar rate in the fourth quarter. The CBUAE expects the UAE’s non-oil GDP to grow at 6.6 percent in 2022.   

The UAE’s Consumer Price Index increased by 4.6 percent in the fourth quarter of 2022, compared to 6.5 percent in the previous quarter. While inflation is rising in line with global trends, the apex bank noted that it is still much lower than the global average.   

During 2022, CPI inflation averaged 4.8 percent, which was close to CBUAE’s projection of 4.9 percent.   

“In 2023, inflation is projected to decelerate to 3.2 percent, on the back of softer price increases in all categories, especially transport and food, and beverages,” according to the report’s statement.  


Oil Updates — crude slips on US debt ceiling struggles

Oil Updates — crude slips on US debt ceiling struggles
Updated 30 May 2023

Oil Updates — crude slips on US debt ceiling struggles

Oil Updates — crude slips on US debt ceiling struggles

RIYADH: Oil prices fell on Tuesday, giving up earlier gains, as concerns about the viability of the US debt ceiling pact cooled the market’s risk-on sentiment and mixed messages from major producers have clouded the supply outlook ahead of their meeting this weekend. 

Brent crude futures fell 60 cents, or 0.78 percent, to $76.47 a barrel at 9:23 a.m. Saudi time, after rising by 0.5 percent earlier on Tuesday. 

US West Texas Intermediate crude dipped 37 cents to $72.30 a barrel, down 0.51 percent from Friday’s close. There was no settlement on Monday because of a US public holiday. 

Some hard-right Republican lawmakers said on Monday they might oppose a deal that would raise the debt ceiling in the US, the world’s biggest oil user, while Democratic President Joe Biden and Republican House of Representatives Speaker Kevin McCarthy remained optimistic the deal will pass. 

Biden and McCarthy forged an agreement on the debt over the weekend, and it must pass a divided US Congress before June 5, the day the Treasury Department says the country will not be able to meet its financial obligations, which could disrupt financial markets. 

OPEC will welcome Iran’s return to oil market when sanctions lifted 

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries will welcome Iran’s full return to the oil market when sanctions are lifted, its secretary-general told the Iranian oil ministry’s news website SHANA on Monday. 

Iran is an OPEC member, although its oil exports are subject to US sanctions to curb Tehran’s nuclear program. 

Secretary-General Haitham Al-Ghais, who is visiting Tehran for the first time, added that Iran could bring on significant production volumes within a short period of time. 

“We believe that Iran is a responsible player among its family members, the countries in the OPEC group. I’m sure there will be good work together, in synchronization, to ensure that the market will remain balanced as OPEC has continued to do over the past many years,” SHANA’s website cited him as saying. 

Asked about OPEC’s voluntary production cut and its effect on oil prices, Al-Ghais said, “In OPEC ... we don’t target a certain price level. All our actions, all our decisions are made in order to have a good balance between global oil demand and global oil supply.” 

In a surprise move in early April, Saudi Arabia and other members of OPEC+, which comprises OPEC and allies including Russia, announced further oil output cuts of around 1.2 million barrels per day.  

Brazil’s Petrobras approves new commercial portfolio for natural gas 

Brazilian state-run oil company Petrobras on Monday announced a new commercial portfolio for natural gas, saying it was moving to include “diversified” deadlines, benchmarks and places of delivery to “ensure competitiveness.” 

Petroleo Brasileiro SA, as the firm is formally known, said it would resume using Henry Hub benchmark prices for gas in addition to Brent oil prices while offering distributors more options for contract deadlines and delivery locations. 

(With input from Reuters) 


Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea Global reviews strategic partnership opportunities in Egypt

Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea Global reviews strategic partnership opportunities in Egypt
Updated 30 May 2023

Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea Global reviews strategic partnership opportunities in Egypt

Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea Global reviews strategic partnership opportunities in Egypt

RIYADH: The Saudi-based Red Sea Global company held its second promotional procurement exhibition in Cairo, in cooperation with its media partner, MEED Network, and in the presence of representatives from more than 100 Egyptian companies from the private sector, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Monday.
The exhibition is the second of its kind in a series of local, regional and international introductory meetings conducted by the company, which is wholly owned by the Kingdom’s Public Investment Fund.
The event aims to establish more partnerships with the private sector to enable the delivery of the company’s growing portfolio of projects.
Ben Edwards, group head of cost, commercial and procurement at Red Sea Global, said the opportunity to present projects and opportunities available to the Egyptian market is a major strategic step for Red Sea International this year.
“To achieve the innovative approach that we seek, especially with regard to sustainability, we had to identify organizations and companies that share the same vision to establish real partnerships with them, and we met today with many future partners,” he added.
Red Sea Global is one of the companies with continuous progress in implementing projects for its “Red Sea” and “Amaala” destinations, and the twelve future projects in the company’s portfolio, SPA added.
In March, it held its first regional induction tour in Doha, where the company met with representatives from more than 100 Qatari companies.
The company has awarded contracts worth more than SR40 billion ($10.6 billion) for its “Red Sea” and “Amaala” destinations so far and this year, contracts worth SR5 billion were awarded, with an additional SR20 billion expected to be awarded before the end of the year.


Riyadh Airports CEO joins international aviation body

Riyadh Airports Co. CEO Musad Aldaood (File)
Riyadh Airports Co. CEO Musad Aldaood (File)
Updated 29 May 2023

Riyadh Airports CEO joins international aviation body

Riyadh Airports Co. CEO Musad Aldaood (File)

RIYADH: In significant global recognition of the Kingdom’s aviation sector, Riyadh Airports Co. CEO Musad Aldaood has been elected to the board of the Airports Council International, Asia-Pacific.   

This assembly of airport authorities is dedicated to improving airport operations and standards, representing their collective interests with international organizations like International Civil Aviation Organization and International Air Transport Association.  

The announcement was made during the 18th meeting of the ACI Asia-Pacific Assembly in Kobe, Japan. 

Aldaood joined leaders from airports across mainland Asia, Australasia, the Pacific Ocean islands and key North American points such as Vancouver, San Francisco and Hawaii.  

Commenting on his appointment, Aldaood said he was looking forward to working with other board members, the World Executive Committee, regional advisers, and the management team to continuously make airports a great and safe place for travelers and airport partners.   

“We will devote our expertise and efforts to improve the aviation sector, raise the aspirations and expectations, and work with relevant sectors in a joint and integrated manner to develop our work through the ACI World Governing Board, Asia-Pacific and the Middle East,” he said.  

Aldaood brings over 21 years of experience managing and operating King Khalid International Airport under the RAC.   

He also holds concurrent positions as the vice chair of the board of directors of Saudi Public Transport Co. and a board member of Altanfeethi Co., overseeing executive terminals and offices across the Kingdom’s airports.  


New shipping service added to Kingdom’s Dammam port

New shipping service added to Kingdom’s Dammam port
Updated 29 May 2023

New shipping service added to Kingdom’s Dammam port

New shipping service added to Kingdom’s Dammam port

RIYADH: Traffic at the King Abdulaziz Port in Dammam will soon ease thanks to the addition of Swiss-based Mediterranean Shipping Co.’s new service, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

The Upper Gulf Express shipping service aligns with the objectives of the National Transport and Logistics Strategy to position the Kingdom as a global logistics hub connecting three continents, the General Authority of Ports said. 

The shipping service connects Dammam with the ports of Abu Dhabi and Sharjah in the UAE as well as the Iraqi port of Umm Qasr.  

The service which is set to launch at the end of May also consolidates the position of the King Abdulaziz Port as the main port through which goods pass from all over the world. 

In January this year, the ports authority announced the launch of a new freight service at King Abdulaziz Port operated by MSC.    

The connection allows Dammam to enjoy weekly sailings to eight maritime destinations spanning the Arabian Gulf, South Asia, and Southern Africa.    

These include the ports of Khalifa bin Salman in Bahrain, Khalifa in the UAE, Qasim in Pakistan, Mundra and Hazira in India, Port Louis in Mauritius, and Durban and Coega in South Africa.    

The service started on Jan. 21 and features five vessels with an average carrying capacity exceeding 6,000 twenty-foot equivalent units.


UAE’s Dana Gas raises its foreign ownership limit to 100% 

UAE’s Dana Gas raises its foreign ownership limit to 100% 
Updated 29 May 2023

UAE’s Dana Gas raises its foreign ownership limit to 100% 

UAE’s Dana Gas raises its foreign ownership limit to 100% 

RIYADH: The UAE’s vision of strengthening its capital markets has become one step closer to reality as Sharjah-based energy company Dana Gas plans to raise its foreign ownership limit to 100 percent. 

Listed on the Abu Dhabi market, the firm announced that it had obtained the approval of the regulatory authorities to raise the percentage of foreign ownership from 49 percent to 100 percent of its capital, according to a regulatory filing on the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange. 

The largest private sector natural gas company in the region disclosed that the move aligns well with the UAE’s new Commercial Companies Law that abolished a requirement that UAE nationals own 51 percent of onshore firms. 

“Opening our company fully to foreign ownership will support the UAE’s vision of strengthening its dynamic capital markets by attracting greater numbers of international investors and deepening market liquidity,” said Dana Gas Chairman Hamid Jafar in a press statement. 

According to Jafar, the company’s growth outlook remained rather sturdy in the Kurdistan region of Iraq, where the firm is seeking to increase production. 

It also maintained a strong growth outlook in Egypt, where the firm is working on maximizing the value of its assets by negotiating improved fiscal terms. 

However, Dana Gas’ recent earnings report was not favorable. The company generated a net profit of 183 million UAE dirhams ($50 million) in the first quarter of 2023 compared to 198 million UAE dirhams in the year-ago period. 

Profitability for the quarter dropped 7 percent compared to a 22 percent decline in the company’s realized prices. However, the impact of lower realized prices on the company’s profitability was partially offset by reduced operating costs by 14 percent. 

Revenue was 13 percent lower at 447 million UAE dirhams in the first quarter of 2023 compared to 513 million UAE dirhams in 2022.

The decrease in revenue, and subsequently net profit, was primarily due to a pullback in energy prices from high levels.