World leaders urge transformation of global financial system at Paris summit 

World leaders urge transformation of global financial system at Paris summit 
Speaking at the Summit for a New Global Financial Pact in Paris, French President Emmanuel Macron said that world leaders, the private sector, and international organizations should work together to reform the existing system. (Shutterstock/File)
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Updated 23 June 2023

World leaders urge transformation of global financial system at Paris summit 

World leaders urge transformation of global financial system at Paris summit 

RIYADH: French President Emmanuel Macron on Thursday said that the world should act urgently to change the operational model of the global financial system. 

Speaking at the Summit for a New Global Financial Pact in Paris, Macron said that world leaders, the private sector, and international organizations should work together to reform the existing system, and if they fail in their efforts, it will negatively impact the trust of people.  

“If we miss the target ... trust of our people will be lost. We have to create a collective dynamic, and we need much more from the private sector,” said Macron, adding that the next two years will be crucial.  

Speaking at the summit, Antonio Guterres, secretary-general of the UN, said that the global financial architecture is outdated.  

According to him, it is also dysfunctional and unjust and has failed to provide a safety net for emerging and developing countries.  

“We can take steps right now and take a giant leap to achieve global justice. I put forward the policy brief, a detailed blueprint for a redesigned global financial architecture capable of serving as a safety net for all countries,” said Guterres. 

He added: “I have no illusions. This is a question of power and political will, and change will not happen overnight. 

“But we can take urgent action today to meet the urgent needs of the developing and emerging economies.”  

For her part, Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley said that swift action is required to uplift the interests of emerging countries and the planet as a whole.  

“What is required of us now is absolute transformation and not reform of our institutions. We come to Paris to identify the common humanity that we share and the absolute moral imperative to save our planet and to make it livable,” said Mottley.

She went on to urge world leaders to join hands to reform the global financial system for a better future.  

“Let us, representatives of our people, at this unique time in the history of civilization, not only do the right thing, but do it in time, and do it for the right reasons,” added Mottley. 

Saudi banks sees 5th month of steady 10% lending growth in October: SAMA 

Saudi banks sees 5th month of steady 10% lending growth in October: SAMA 
Updated 13 sec ago

Saudi banks sees 5th month of steady 10% lending growth in October: SAMA 

Saudi banks sees 5th month of steady 10% lending growth in October: SAMA 

RIYADH: Saudi banks experienced a 10 percent increase in lending in October 2023, maintaining a consistent year-on-year growth rate for the fifth consecutive month, according to the latest data released by the Kingdom’s central bank. 

Bank lending reached a total of SR2.56 trillion ($680 billion) in October, up from SR2.33 trillion in the same month of the previous year.

While loans granted to individuals still constitute the highest percentage share at 48 percent, totaling SR1.23 trillion, the highest lending growth rates are achieved in the corporate sectors.

On an annual basis, education loans saw a 65 percent rise in October, reaching SR6.04 billion, while loans for professional, scientific, and technical activities experienced a 40.5 percent increase, totaling SR5.4 billion.  

Just two years ago, these figures stood at SR2.27 billion and SR2.6 billion, highlighting the significant support the country is providing to these industries in line with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030. 

Although annual residential new mortgages, which are loans provided to individuals for the purpose of purchasing or refinancing residential properties, declined, they experienced a 16 percent increase in October compared to the previous month, reaching a total of SR6.77 billion. 

Moreover, nearly 94 percent of lending by Saudi banks takes the form of loans, advances, and overdrafts to the private sector, while 5.68 percent represents credit extended to public sector enterprises. 

Turning to the liabilities side, Saudi banks’ total deposits saw a 9.18 percent growth during this period, amounting to SR2.48 trillion. Among these deposits, 53 percent are demand deposits, and 34 percent are term deposits. 

The recent rise in interest rates in the Kingdom, mirroring the moves by the US Fed as the country’s currency is pegged to the dollar, has prompted Saudis to favor term deposits over demand deposits.

This shift contributed to the growth of term deposits from SR603.9 billion in October of the previous year to SR841.9 billion in October 2023.

Saudi Arabia’s PIF to buy 10% stake in Heathrow Airport 

Saudi Arabia’s PIF to buy 10% stake in Heathrow Airport 
Updated 10 min 24 sec ago

Saudi Arabia’s PIF to buy 10% stake in Heathrow Airport 

Saudi Arabia’s PIF to buy 10% stake in Heathrow Airport 

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund has entered into a share purchase agreement to acquire a 10 percent stake in London’s Heathrow Airport from Spanish infrastructure giant Ferrovial, as it continues to make strategic investments across various sectors.  

In a press statement, PIF said that will acquire the stake in FGP TopCo, the holding firm of Heathrow Airport Holdings, while French-based private equity fund Ardian will acquire another 15 percent share in the parent company through separate vehicles.  

Ferrovial, which has owned a stake since 2006, announced that the deal was worth $3 billion.  

PIF said that the transaction is still subject to regulatory approvals.  

Once the deal is approved, it will end Ferrovial’s investment in the UK airports’ operator which started at 56 percent but was reduced to 25 percent in 2013. 

“PIF is pleased to be investing in Heathrow, a world-class airport, which acts as a key gateway to the world. PIF’s investment in Heathrow is in line with its strategy to support the business as a long-term partner,” said PIF in a press statement.  

Some of the other major stakeholders in FGP TopCo are the Qatar Investment Authority, Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund, the Australian Retirement Trust, and China Investment Corp.  

Heathrow is one of the world’s largest air traffic platforms, connecting the UK with global trading partners to help stimulate economic growth.  

PIF has been steering the Kingdom’s economic diversification efforts by making several strategic investments across various sectors over the past few years.  

In its annual statement released in October, PIF said that it has established 70 companies since its launch, and 25 of them including Saudi Coffee Co. and Halal Products Development Co. were founded in 2022.  

The report further noted that companies owned by the PIF created over 181,000 jobs exclusively in 2022. 

Last month, the PIF launched Tasaru, a company dedicated to developing local supply chain capabilities for the automotive and mobility industry in Saudi Arabia.  

The fund has also made several other significant investments in the future mobility sector which includes the establishment of Saudi Arabia’s first national electric vehicle brand Ceer, in partnership with Foxconn, as well as investing in US-based Lucid Motors.

Oil Updates – prices slightly higher as OPEC+ awaited, Black Sea storm disrupts supply

Oil Updates – prices slightly higher as OPEC+ awaited, Black Sea storm disrupts supply
Updated 30 min 59 sec ago

Oil Updates – prices slightly higher as OPEC+ awaited, Black Sea storm disrupts supply

Oil Updates – prices slightly higher as OPEC+ awaited, Black Sea storm disrupts supply

TOKYO/SINGAPORE: Oil edged higher on Wednesday as investors turned cautious ahead of a crucial meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies, known as OPEC+, to decide output policy in the coming months, while a supply disruption caused by a storm in the Black Sea provided a lift for prices, according to Reuters.

Brent crude futures climbed 3 cents to $81.71 a barrel at 9:25 a.m. Saudi time. US West Texas Intermediate crude futures gained 17 cents, or 0.2 percent, at $76.58 a barrel.

Both benchmarks gained about 2 percent on Tuesday on the possibility OPEC+ will extend or deepen supply cuts, as well as concerns over Kazakh oil output and a weaker US dollar.

“Investors covered short positions ahead of the OPEC+ meeting amid worries over supply disruption from Kazakhstan,” said Hiroyuki Kikukawa, president of NS Trading, a unit of Nissan Securities.

“All eyes are on OPEC+ policy and demand outlook toward the end of this year, but WTI is expected to hover around $76, with a range of $5 each above and below, for a while unless OPEC+ significantly expands production cuts,” he said.

OPEC+ is due to hold an online ministerial meeting on Thursday to discuss 2024 production targets, after delaying the meeting from Nov. 26.

“If they (OPEC+) fail to come to a preliminary deal, we cannot rule out the risk that the meeting is further delayed, which would likely put some downward pressure on oil prices,” said Warren Patterson and Ewa Manthey, analysts from ING bank, in a note to clients.

“The outlook for the oil market in 2024 will largely depend on OPEC+ policy.”

The premium on front-month loading Brent contracts over ones loading in six months climbed to a two-week high, suggesting a build up of concerns about supply deficits in the long-term.

A severe storm in the Black Sea region has disrupted up to 2 million barrels per day of oil exports from Kazakhstan and Russia, according to state’s officials and port agent data, fueling concerns of short-term supply tightness.

Kazakhstan’s largest oilfields are cutting combined daily oil output by 56 percent from Nov. 27, the Kazakh energy ministry said.

Oil also found support from the dollar’s weakness and a drop in US crude inventories.

The dollar languished near a three-month trough against its major peers on Wednesday as expectations mount the Federal Reserve could begin lowering rates by early next year.

A weaker dollar typically supports oil prices as it makes oil cheaper for those holding other currencies.

Meanwhile, US crude oil inventories fell by 817,000 barrels last week, according to market sources citing American Petroleum Institute figures.

Eight analysts polled by Reuters estimated on average that crude inventories fell by about 900,000 barrels in the week to Nov. 24. Weekly US government data on stockpiles is due on Wednesday. 

Saudi capital Riyadh to host World Expo 2030

Saudi capital Riyadh to host World Expo 2030
Updated 29 November 2023

Saudi capital Riyadh to host World Expo 2030

Saudi capital Riyadh to host World Expo 2030
  • City was confirmed as the successor host to Osaka in 2025
  • Event expected to represent culmination of Vision 2030 and showcase Kingdom’s achievements

PARIS: Riyadh will host the World Expo 2030 after defeating challenges from South Korea and Italy for the prestigious event.
The Saudi capital was picked by a majority of 119 out of 165 votes by the member states of the Paris-based Bureau International des Expositions.
The secret ballot was carried out using electronic voting, and Riyadh was confirmed as the successor host to Osaka in 2025.


During the BIE event in the French capital, candidates presented their final Expo progress reports to member states and government-appointed delegates in an 11th-hour attempt to win votes.
The event is expected to represent the culmination of Vision 2030 and showcase the Kingdom’s achievements, with a particular focus on hospitality, tourism, and culture.
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman used a visit to Paris in June to showcase the Kingdom’s bid for the Expo, attending an exhibition held by the Royal Commission for the City of Riyadh that showcased Saudi Arabia’s rich heritage and cultural depth.
The bid began to draw support from high-profile French backers, with influential French senator Natalie Goulet saying that holding the expo in the Saudi capital would be “the culmination of Vision 2030.”
Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan said: “I would like to thank the 130 countries that have already announced their support for the Kingdom’s bid. Distinguished dignitaries, you have all acted as indispensable partners providing insight, feedback, and support throughout the Kingdom’s campaign.”
He reaffirmed Saudi Arabia’s “unwavering commitment to collaborate with all nations to deliver an Expo built by the world for the world and to find new pathways for collective action and collaboration.”
The foreign minister said the Kingdom will “provide facilities packages of $348 million to a pool of 100 eligible countries.”
Arab News backed the Expo bid through a #WhyRiyadh campaign launched on Sept. 23 – the Saudi National Day.


Public figures from across various industries backed the campaign, including Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel Al-Jubair, Riyadh Mayor Prince Faisal bin Abdulaziz bin Ayyaf, and Frédéric Bedin, president of public relations agency Hopscotch.
Other high-profile supporters included the secretary-general of Alwaleed Philanthropy and UN Human Settlements Program’s Goodwill Ambassador, Princess Lamia bint Majed, the vice president of the Saudi Arabia Boxing Federation Rasha Al-Khamism, and Rob Sobhani, adjunct professor at Georgetown University.
Nonetheless, the campaign had started earlier, with the announcement of Paris’s support of Riyadh Expo 2030, reiterated during the crown prince’s visit to the French capital in June 2023, and his participation in the first Summit for Financial pact.
Commenting on the achievement, Princess Haifa Al-Mogrin, the Kingdom’s ambassador to UNESCO, said: “Riyadh Expo 2030 will be a global platform that accelerates progress, toward the most urgent challenges, health and education, climate and the environment, trade and investment, peace and prosperity for all.”
Why Riyadh? The city’s vibrant energy, with several megaprojects in progress, is placing sustainability and quality of life at the heart of every discussion.
The Expo 2030 location addresses these themes and is set to offer sustainable solutions for the cities of tomorrow, including clean mobility and renewable energy.
Creating green neighborhoods, with the key enablers being water and trees while reinstating the red sands desert that Riyadh is famous for, is an important example of how to build the “city of the future” while preserving heritage.
Saudi Arabia is raising the sustainability bar through its Green Riyadh Program, but it also aims to create connections, encourage people to use public transport, and increase the percentage of green space to improve air quality.


The program also seeks to increase green coverage from 1.5 percent to 9.1 percent, enhancing quality of life by creating open areas to improve public health, reduce energy consumption, and ultimately make Riyadh one of the 100 best livable cities in the world.
Seventy percent of the Saudi population is under the age of 30, and with a qualified labor force across industries fueling the race to 2030, there is excitement, energy, and enthusiasm in the first Arab capital to host the world event.
“Diriyah will be very famous by 2030, the city of Riyadh will be unrecognizable,” Jerry Inzerillo, CEO of the Diriyah Group, told Arab News during an event leading up to the Expo 2030 announcement.
“What Singapore did in 60 years, what the Emiratis did just in tourism in 30 years, the crown prince wants to accomplish that in 15 years,” he added.
In a symposium held in Paris earlier in November, the Royal Commission’s directors of landscape architecture, Lamia Al-Muhanna, and Nouf Al-Moneef, unveiled a color-coded map with planned pavilions, performance venues, support facilities, and an exhibition village.
Princess Haifa bint Mohammed Al-Saud, Saudi Arabia’s deputy minister of tourism, used the event to say: “Choosing Saudi, choosing Riyadh, is choosing the world.”
Delivering Expo 2030 will mean massive infrastructure developments in the Saudi capital, including an increase in hotel capacity by 70,000 new rooms.
The venue will be accessible via a newly developed metro linking Expo City to a reconstructed King Salman Airport, set to be one of the largest aviation hubs in the world at 57 million sq. meters.
The Kingdom’s new airline, Riyadh Air, will further increase the capital’s accessibility, with flights to 100 countries by 2025.
“As host, we will create a world-class site expo to enable you to build pavilions and experiences in a way that matches your national priorities and aspirations,” said Ghida Al-Shibl, a member of the Riyadh Expo 2030 team.
She said: “By Feb 2028, participant parcel and expo village will be open. We will fast-track all necessary requirements including imports, visas, and regulations.”
Al-Shibl said the Kingdom will launch a participant lab in 2025 that will run through 2030 as a 24/7 concierge service to support “your move, and a variety of housing options for teams and families, in addition to access to excellent healthcare and education and banking services.”

Key sectors need $13.5tn investment by 2050 to become carbon-neutral: WEF

Key sectors need $13.5tn investment by 2050 to become carbon-neutral: WEF
Updated 28 November 2023

Key sectors need $13.5tn investment by 2050 to become carbon-neutral: WEF

Key sectors need $13.5tn investment by 2050 to become carbon-neutral: WEF

RIYADH: A total investment of $13.5 trillion is needed to ensure a carbon-neutral future by 2050, particularly in the production, energy and transport sectors, according to the World Economic Forum. 

In its report titled “Net-Zero Industry Tracker 2023,” WEF said that decarbonizing the industrial and transport sector is crucial to achieving a greener future, as these industries emit 40 percent of global greenhouse emissions. 

Roberto Bocca, the head of the Center for Energy and Materials at the WEF, said considerable investments are needed in the industrial and transport sector to achieve net-zero targets within the stipulated timeline. 

“Significant infrastructure investments are required, complemented by policies and stronger incentives so industries can switch to low-emission technologies while ensuring access to affordable and reliable resources critical for economic growth,” said Bocca. 

According to the report published in collaboration with Accenture, the $13.5 trillion in investments is derived from average clean power generation costs of solar, off-shore and on-shore wind, and nuclear and geothermal.

It also accounts for electrolyzer costs for clean hydrogen and carbon transport, as well as storage costs.

The report comes in the same week the 2023 UN’s Climate Change Conference is set to begin, which calls for “dramatic climate action” to close an “emissions canyon.” 

In addition to increasing capital expenditures to decarbonize existing industrial and transport asset bases, further investment is needed to build a clean-energy infrastructure, WEF added in the report. 

“It is imperative that action is taken soon to both decarbonize and improve energy efficiency; otherwise, unabated fossil-fuel demand in the key industry sectors, which have grown 8 percent on average the past three years, will increase very significantly by 2050,” added Bocca. 

Bocca highlighted that global collaboration among industrial leaders, embracing the usage of fuels like hydrogen, and implementing carbon capture, utilization and storage systems will help combat the issues surrounding emissions. 

The report added that carbon pricing, tax subsidies, public procurement and the development of strong business cases can support mobilizing necessary investments in the industrial and transport sectors. 

WEF and Accenture also stressed the need for public-private partnerships to ensure a sustainable future. 

“Collaboration between the public and private sectors is critical to a successful energy transition, and technology can be a key enabler in both managing affordable and reliable access to clean energy and addressing the incremental cost of decarbonization,” said Muqsit Ashraf, who leads Accenture Strategy.

He added: “Additionally, business model innovations can also help stimulate demand and accelerate industrial decarbonization – achieving net-zero objectives and a resilient energy transition.”