UAE’s non-oil outlook positive despite slight PMI dip in May  

Update UAE’s non-oil outlook positive despite slight PMI dip in May  
The S&P Global report noted that improved operating conditions in the UAE drove business confidence to one of its strongest levels since October 2021. (Shutterstock)
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Updated 05 June 2023

UAE’s non-oil outlook positive despite slight PMI dip in May  

UAE’s non-oil outlook positive despite slight PMI dip in May  

RIYADH: The UAE’s non-oil private sector growth outlook remained positive in May, even as the seasonally adjusted S&P Global Purchasing Managers’ Index fell to 55.5 compared to 56.6 in April. 

The S&P Global report noted that improved operating conditions drove business confidence to its strongest levels since October 2021.    

According to the index, PMI readings above 50 show non-oil private sector growth, while those below 50 signal contraction.    

“The UAE PMI pointed to another strong performance across the non-oil sector midway through the second quarter of 2023. Despite slipping from April’s six-month high of 56.6, the latest headline reading of 55.5 signaled a robust improvement in business conditions, driven by marked upturns in activity and new work,” said David Owen, senior economist at S&P Global Market Intelligence.    

He added: “The Future Output Index showed optimism rising to the highest level since October 2021, with firms pinning their hopes on projections that the strong demand momentum will continue.”   

Egypt’s May non-oil PMI rises to 47.8 

Egypt’s non-oil private sector growth outlook witnessed its softest downturn in 15 months as efforts to stabilize the demand environment paid off.   

While remaining below the 50 mark, the country’s PMI increased for the second month in a row, going from 47.3 in April to 47.8 in May, showed the report. 

Despite the adverse effects of higher prices on sales, output and purchasing, companies indicated that inflationary pressures were gradually alleviating.   

However, the S&P noted that the North African country still experienced a significant contraction in activity levels. In addition, non-oil companies continued to face difficulties, resulting in a gloomy outlook for activity and yet another reduction in employment.   

“The Egypt PMI remained in negative territory in May but showed further promise that current economic headwinds were beginning to dissipate. The headline index rose for the second month running to 47.8, while the two main sub-indices of output and new orders rose to their highest levels in 17 and seven months, respectively,” stated Owen.   

Qatar’s non-oil PMI grows for 6th time in 7 months 

Qatar exhibited yet another improvement in its non-energy growth for the sixth time in seven months, according to the S&P Global report.   

Hitting a PMI of 55.6 in May from 54.4 in April, the country recorded its biggest improvement in business conditions since July of last year.   

The main driver of the PMI increase was a surge in output and new orders, while employment and stocks of purchases also played a role.   

Yousuf Al-Jaida, CEO of the Qatar Financial Center Authority, said: “Qatar’s non-energy private sector remained on an upward growth trajectory in May, as inflows of new business accelerated in part due to tourism and demand for financial services.” 

“The sub-indices for output (59.6) and new orders (60.1) boosted the headline PMI to a 10-month high of 55.6, well above the long-run trend level since 2017 of 52.3,” he added.   

Al-Jaida further noted that financial services remained on top in terms of performance. These firms also increased their charges, compared to the slight change across the rest of the non-oil sector.   

The report showed that the rate of purchase price inflation has risen to its highest level in almost two years, suggesting that increasing input demand is reflected in prices.   

“Supply chains were able to cope with greater demand, as lead times on inputs fell further during the month,” said Al-Jaida.   

Newly launched company set sights on Saudi coastal city as first tourism project

Newly launched company set sights on Saudi coastal city as first tourism project
Updated 7 sec ago

Newly launched company set sights on Saudi coastal city as first tourism project

Newly launched company set sights on Saudi coastal city as first tourism project

ABU DHABI: A Saudi coastal city will be the site of Baheej’s first project in its strategy to develop exciting tourist destinations as part of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 plans.

The development company was launched on Tuesday by Asfar, a Saudi-based tourism investment firm, and a joint venture between AWN Enterprises and Tamimi Group.

Baheej will study each city in Saudi Arabia to identify gaps in a tourist’s itinerary, and speaking to Arab News on the sidelines of the Future Hospitality Summit in Abu Dhabi, one of the executives involved with the company gave more details of its future plans.

“We are extremely in the early stages. That will be the first asset that will be developed and up and running by, I would say, the beginning of 2027,” said Abdulrahman Al-Bassam, executive chairman of AWN Enterprises and a member of Baheej’s board of directors.

Without sharing further details about the project’s site, the executive confirmed that “it will be a coastal city.”

Al-Bassam said he hoped Baheej would help Saudi Arabia meet its economic diversification goals for tourism, which includes attracting 100 million local and international visitors annually by 2030.

Norah Al-Tamimi, who hails from one of the Kingdom’s most influential family businesses, has been appointed the acting chief executive.

Expanding on the remit of the new initiative, Al-Bassam said: “So if the gap is in, for example, accommodation, we provide accommodation. If the gap is in, let’s say, a visitor center or a beach retreat or you name it, that would be part of the project assets that we would like to develop in a certain city.”

Baheej is also focused on destination management, and will work hand-in-hand with local governments and authorities, as well as “a local tour operator who owns, say, a couple of horses to use in a touristic experience,” said the executive.

Al-Bassam noted that Asfar comes in “with its power as an investor, as well as a catalyst with regional players, be them regulators or service providers or affiliates and companies within the PIF conglomerate.”

Asfar was created by the Public Investment Fund earlier this year to support the Kingdom’s tourism strategy, which is a key part of Vision 2030.

Al-Bassam went on to state: “Whereas our alliance — Tamimi Group and AWN Enterprises — that’s the private partner within this partnership, comes in with their experience in contracting and in professional services as well as the hospitality, restaurants, and catering business.”

The company’s head noted that he views gaps in Saudi Arabia’s tourism as opportunities rather than problems, as this denotes room for improved tourism experiences.

“Each town in Saudi Arabia has its own uniqueness and we would like to tap into this,” he said.

Closing Bell – TASI grows 40 points; ADES Holding begins retail subscription 

Closing Bell – TASI grows 40 points; ADES Holding begins retail subscription 
Updated 26 September 2023

Closing Bell – TASI grows 40 points; ADES Holding begins retail subscription 

Closing Bell – TASI grows 40 points; ADES Holding begins retail subscription 

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Tadawul All Share Index concluded its trading on Tuesday at 10,918.24 points, rising 0.37 percent. 

Parallel market Nomu closed at 22,406.83, gaining 169.84 points, or 0.76 percent.   

MSCI Tadawul 30 Index edged up 2.83 points, or 0.2 percent, to 1,402.31.   

The primary index’s total turnover touched SR6.2 billion ($1.6 billion), as 93 stocks rose and 126 retreated. Conversely, Nomu recorded a trading turnover of SR86 million. 

Al Sagr Cooperative Insurance Co. was the topmost performer in TASI, soaring 7.86 percent to SR23.60.  

Additionally, Saudi Automotive Services Co. soared 7.77 percent to SR62.40. 

Another notable performer, Saudi Arabian Amiantit Co., jumped 6.27 percent to SR51.70.  

Abdulmohsen Alhokair Group for Tourism and Development and Aldrees Petroleum and Transport Services Co. climbed 5.56 percent and 5.27 percent to SR2.28 and SR139.80, respectively. 

On the flip side, Al-Baha Investment and Development Co. experienced the most significant drop, plunging 6.25 percent to SR0.15.  

Shares of Thimar Development Holding Co. and Saudi Real Estate Co. dipped 5.14 percent and 3.13 percent to SR26.75 and SR13.62, respectively. 

Sumou Real Estate Co. and First Milling Co. both slumped about 2.7 percent to finish at SR1.30 and SR2, respectively. 

On the announcement front, ADES Holding opened its doors for public subscription of 33.87 million shares, priced at SR13.50 each.   

This valuation pegged at a nominal value of SR1 per share was ascertained through a structured order book-building process. 

The subscription window, initiated by the company, will span three days, concluding on Sept. 28.   

This move follows the green light from the Financial Market Authority on June 21, granting the drilling services company permission to register and make available 338.72 million shares from its total capital pool. 

Saudi Arabia’s transformation turns it into a must-visit tourism destination

Saudi Arabia’s transformation turns it into a must-visit tourism destination
Updated 26 September 2023

Saudi Arabia’s transformation turns it into a must-visit tourism destination

Saudi Arabia’s transformation turns it into a must-visit tourism destination

ABU DHABI: Tourists are expected to add Saudi Arabia to their “bucket list” due to the government’s transformation of the sector, according to industry veteran William Heinecke, founder and chairman of Minor Hotels. 

Speaking during a panel discussion on the second day of the Future Hospitality Summit in Abu Dhabi, Heinecke noted that Saudi Arabia is on the verge of significant change, predicting that the Kingdom will achieve in 10 years what it took Dubai 30 years to accomplish. 

The Kingdom is currently undergoing a remarkable tourism boom, with the sector expanding by 121 percent in 2022, positioning it as the fastest-growing destination in the G20 and surpassing the global average prior to COVID-19, as detailed in an annual report tracking the progress of Vision 2030.   

Data from the real estate consultancy firm Knight Frank revealed that, under Vision 2030, Saudi Arabia’s hotel industry is poised for further expansion, targeting a total of 310,000 hotel rooms by 2030, with an estimated investment of $110 billion. 

Heinecke expressed his admiration for Saudi Arabia’s visionary leader, who is young enough to see through ambitious initiatives. 

“You need someone not only who has the money, but you need someone who has the vision and the passion to stay with it,” he said.  

“When you look at what’s happening in Saudi Arabia, it’s incredible. It’s going to make so many new bucket lists for everybody in the world. And even what’s happened in the Middle East, Dubai, Doha, it's incredible,” Heinecke added.  

In another panel discussion, various factors and trends that are shaping the travel and tourism industry were deliberated. 

Gilda Perez-Alvarado, incoming group chief strategy officer at Accor, a leading hospitality company, highlighted subjects such as innovation, the impact of technology, and broader long-term trends that are affecting the entire ecosystem of travel and hospitality, including hotels.   

“The amount of change we’re witnessing now, which, by the way, was accelerated during the pandemic, is extremely exciting. So, if you ask me what one of the catalysts for change was, it was that,” Perez-Alvarado said during her panel. 

However, she added: “Our industry is still highly fragmented, so there’s plenty of room for growth." 

Perez-Alvarado emphasized that significant changes and developments are taking place in Saudi Arabia that were previously unimaginable. 

“One where you’re seeing things done that no one would have imagined could be done. In 2015, who would have thought that we would have witnessed the changes we’re seeing in Saudi Arabia?” she said. 

Perez-Alvarado concluded by emphasizing that the Middle East is the fastest-growing region, with Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 now becoming a reality, demonstrating that ambitious goals can be accomplished, showcasing the region’s ability to turn imaginative ideas into tangible achievements. 

UAE’s Yas, Saadiyat islands ‘great and safe’ investment destinations 

UAE’s Yas, Saadiyat islands ‘great and safe’ investment destinations 
Updated 38 min 59 sec ago

UAE’s Yas, Saadiyat islands ‘great and safe’ investment destinations 

UAE’s Yas, Saadiyat islands ‘great and safe’ investment destinations 

ABU DHABI: The UAE’s Yas and Saadiyat islands have emerged as safe havens for investment thanks to the endeavors of the Abu Dhabi Department of Culture and Tourism in grooming them as luxury destinations, said the CEO of a real estate development firm.

Speaking to Arab News on the sidelines of the Future Hospitality Summit in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday, Miral Group CEO Mohamed Abdalla Al-Zaabi said both destinations continue to attract investments and tourists in line with the UAE’s vision of economic diversification.

“Abu Dhabi has been listed five times in a row as the safest city in the world. Investment here is very lucrative. Saadiyat and Yas islands are growing very fast,” Al-Zaabi said.

The top executive said: “In 2021, we added three hotels with 1,000 rooms, and now see 90 percent occupancy in summer.”

He said more rooms will be added to help boost the fast-growing tourism sector and ultimately aid the country’s economic diversification plans.   

Al-Zaabi said tourism will play a key role in economic diversification. He said the country wants to increase the sector’s contribution to the gross domestic product from 15 percent to 17 percent, which “is not easy to achieve.”

“Hotels will always be a key factor here in that pillar, and we at Miral are proud of what we have done so far. Only in 2021, we opened three hotels on Yas Island. We opened Hilton, DoubleTree and, of course, in collaboration with Warner Bros. Discovery, we opened the WB hotel in Abu Dhabi, which is the first Warner Bros. hotel in the world,” Al-Zaabi said.

He said the Warner Bros. achieved 90 percent occupancy last summer. I think summer now is no longer a low season here in Yas Island.   

“Since 2007, we have been developing Yas Island, introducing new facilities and attractions, and today we see that all coming together under one umbrella, one vision, integrated, and interconnected to provide a very unique and unforgettable experience for our customers,” he said.

Commenting on whether Yas Island can accommodate more, he said they have long been adding attractions, facilities, hotels, and rooms, and they now, with the other partners, are adding more properties, and homes on the islands.

Al-Zaabi also pointed out that they recently announced their environmental, social, and governance strategy focusing on eight areas.

“We have already implemented two great initiatives that I am personally very proud of. We signed an agreement with Emerge, a Masdar subsidiary, to install solar panels, that provide more than 7 megawatts of power to our theme park. And now recently we also did the same at SeaWorld Abu Dhabi, where we installed solar panels to supply almost 5 MW,” he said.

The CEO said they are busy with their Phenomena Abdu Dhabi project, in collaboration with the Japanese TeamLab.   

“We are also building the Natural History Museum. Both projects are the result of our collaboration with the Abu Dhabi Department of Culture and Tourism. We are also expanding Warner Bros theme park by adding a Harry Potter area, which would be a good expansion to enrich our customer experience on the island,” he said.

Saudi hospitality sector emerging as new global benchmark

Saudi hospitality sector emerging as new global benchmark
Updated 25 min 12 sec ago

Saudi hospitality sector emerging as new global benchmark

Saudi hospitality sector emerging as new global benchmark

ABU DHABI: Saudi Arabia’s tourism and hospitality sector is in high gear to achieve industry targets set under Vision 2030, industry leaders said during a panel on Tuesday.

“No sector matches tourism in creating jobs, especially in rural areas and communities that are currently suffering from unemployment. One in every five jobs globally today is supported by tourism, so that’s tourism is such an important sector,” Badr Alherbish, chief strategy officer of Saudi Arabia’s Tourism Development Fund, said in one of the sessions of the three-day Future Hospitality Summit in Abu Dhabi.

One example of Saudi Arabia’s ambitious development push is the Rua Al Madinah project — a mega mixed-used real estate development to the east of the Prophet’s Mosque — which, according to Ahmed Al-Juhani, CEO of Rua Al Madinah Holding, required laser focus to work around logistical issues to deliver this massive project.

“(Since) the launch, the master plan and infrastructure work… there has been a lot of work done on the ground. We actually took over the land and we made all the detours around the urban development. We completed the design of 5,000 rooms, we signed a hotel management agreement with three companies for these rooms.”

The value of contracts and execution is now more than SR5.3 billion ($1.4 billion), Al-Juhani added, and the company will next month go to the market for the tender of the 5,000 rooms.

“We also have another 7,000 rooms under design right now and in the concept stage and also another 8,000 rooms when start design in November,” he said.

“We are talking about 20,000 rooms before the year ends at different stages: under design, under construction, or in the middle of the design.”

Meanwhile, the Boutique Group headed by Mark DeCocinis is renovating three historic palaces: Al-Hamra Palace which will offer 77 keys including 33 luxury palace suites and 44 luxury villas in Jeddah; Tuwaiq Palace which will provide 96 keys including 40 luxury palace suites and 56 luxury villas; and the Red Palace will offer 71 keys including 46 luxury suites, and 25 luxury guest rooms. Both Tuwaiq and Red Palace are located in Riyadh.

“We’re renovating and restoring these balances, which takes time and it takes a lot of love and attention to detail. Our guest profile, we target the very top of regional and international travelers… we want to provide that exceptional service and personalized service,” DeCocini told the panel.

“I believe Saudi hospitality will be the new benchmark in the world globally.”