UK minister to meet Kuwaiti, Emirati investors ahead of GCC trade deal talks

UK minister to meet Kuwaiti, Emirati investors ahead of GCC trade deal talks
UK Minister for Investment Lord Dominic Johnson meets Kuwait’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Salem Abdullah Al-Jaber Al-Sabah. (KUNA)
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Updated 12 July 2023
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UK minister to meet Kuwaiti, Emirati investors ahead of GCC trade deal talks

UK minister to meet Kuwaiti, Emirati investors ahead of GCC trade deal talks
  • Investment Minister Lord Dominic Johnson aims to promote and develop multi-billion-dollar trade and investment relationships with the key Gulf nations, officials said
  • As well as showcasing the UK as an attractive investment destination, he will highlight the potential benefits to both sides of a trade agreement between the UK and the GCC

LONDON: Lord Dominic Johnson, the UK’s minister for investment, is visiting Kuwait and the UAE this week to promote and develop multi-billion-dollar trade and investment relationships with these key Gulf nations, the Department for Business and Trade said on Wednesday.

In Kuwait, he will hold talks with government ministers and leading investment partners, including the Kuwait Investment Authority, which is celebrating its 70th anniversary, the National Bank of Kuwait, and the Kuwait Direct Investment Promotion Authority.

On Wednesday, he met Kuwait’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Salem Abdullah Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, with whom he discussed the historical ties and strategic partnership between their countries, along with the need to attract investors and encourage British companies to invest and establish a presence Kuwait, according to state-run Kuwait News Agency.

Johnson will fly from Kuwait to the UAE to hold roundtable talks with representatives of Rolls Royce and BAE, before meeting officials from the Dubai International Financial Center, the Investment Corporation of Dubai, and other key stakeholders, officials said.

In addition to promoting the UK as an attractive place to invest, Johnson will also stress that a trade deal between the UK and the Gulf Cooperation Council will be a huge catalyst for investment on both sides. The next round of ongoing talks on a trade agreement are expected to take place in the coming weeks.

“The UK and Kuwait have a growing, dynamic trade and investment relationship, and I’m delighted to be here this week as the Kuwait Investment Authority celebrates 70 years since it was the first sovereign wealth fund to be created in the Gulf,” Johnson said.

“As we celebrate this important milestone, we want to forge a new industrial partnership between our two great nations, which already enjoy huge levels of investment between each other.

“The UAE is also a hugely significant partner of ours. In 2021, we had over £12 billion ($15.5 billion) of investment stock and nearly £22 billion of bilateral trade, and through a UK-GCC trade deal we can strengthen our ties with UAE and Kuwait even further.”

The minister’s visit to the region follows the release last week of a world investment report from the UN Conference on Trade and Development that revealed the UK has the highest level of Foreign Direct Investment stocks in Europe, worth $2.7 trillion, and the third-highest in the world, after the US and China.

The total value of trade in goods and services, including exports and imports, between the UK and Kuwait stood at £4.7 billion in the four quarters to the end of 2022, an increase of 93.8 percent, or £2.3 billion in current prices, from the previous year.

In 2021, the value of inward FDI stock in the UK from Kuwait was £367 million, an increase of £14 million (4 percent) year-on-year, according to the Department for Business and Trade.

The total value of trade in goods and services, including exports and imports, between the UK and UAE was £21.6 billion in the four quarters to the end of 2022, an increase of 63.0 percent, or £8.3 billion in current prices, from the previous year.

The UAE was the UK’s 19th-largest trading partner during the four quarters to the end of 2022, accounting for 1.3 percent of total UK trade.

In 2021, the value of outward FDI stock from the UK in the UAE was £5.2 billion, representing 0.3 percent of total UK outward FDI stock. Inward FDI stock in the UK from the UAE was worth £7.4 billion, accounting for 0.4 percent of the total UK inward FDI stock.


Oil Updates – prices ease as Fed caution, stock build outweigh OPEC+ news

Oil Updates – prices ease as Fed caution, stock build outweigh OPEC+ news
Updated 17 sec ago
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Oil Updates – prices ease as Fed caution, stock build outweigh OPEC+ news

Oil Updates – prices ease as Fed caution, stock build outweigh OPEC+ news

NEW DELHI: Oil prices pulled back in Asia on Wednesday as the prospect of a delay in Washington’s rate-cutting cycle and a rise in US crude stocks offset a boost on Tuesday from news OPEC and its allies might extend its output cuts, according to Reuters.

Brent crude futures fell 30 cents, or 0.36 percent, to $83.35 a barrel by 6:02 a.m. Saudi time, while US West Texas Intermediate futures dropped 28 cents to $78.59 a barrel.

On Tuesday, Federal Reserve Governor Michelle Bowman signalled she is in no rush to cut US interest rates, particularly given upside risks to inflation that could stall progress on controlling price pressures or even lead to their resurgence.

Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank President Jeffrey Schmid made similar remarks on Monday. Their remarks underlined concern in financial markets that the potential economic benefits of lower rates will be pushed back.

“There is some profit-taking this morning after the past two sessions recouped the $2 per barrel of Mideast risk premium that crude shed on Friday,” said Vandana Hari, founder of oil market analysis provider Vanda Insights.

“It’s a combined response to the weekly US crude stock surge in the API data this morning and continuing hope that a Gaza ceasefire deal will be reached in the next few days,” Hari added.

On Tuesday, US President Biden said Israel has agreed to halt military activities in Gaza for the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. However, Israel and Hamas as well as Qatari mediators all sounded notes of caution about progress toward a truce in Gaza.

US crude stocks rose 8.43 million barrels in the week ended Feb. 23, according to market sources citing American Petroleum Institute figures on Tuesday.

Gasoline inventories fell by 3.27 million barrels, and distillate stocks fell by 523,000 barrels, the data showed.

Brent and WTO futures rose more than $1 per barrel on Tuesday after Reuters reported the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies, including Russia, will consider extending voluntary oil output cuts into the second quarter.

Extending the output cuts into the second quarter is “likely,” one of the OPEC+ sources said. Two said a longer extension to the end of 2024 was possible.

Last November, OPEC+ agreed to voluntary cuts totalling about 2.2 million barrels per day for the first quarter this year, led by Saudi Arabia rolling over its own voluntary cut.

Analysts at ANZ Research wrote in a note that such a move by the OPEC+ alliance would likely tighten the market.

Russian authorities announced on Tuesday a six-month ban on gasoline exports from March 1 to compensate for rising demand from consumers and farmers and to allow for planned maintenance of refineries.


Saudi PIF sets 7-year sukuk yield at 85 basis points above US Treasuries: Reuters

Saudi PIF sets 7-year sukuk yield at 85 basis points above US Treasuries: Reuters
Updated 22 min 31 sec ago
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Saudi PIF sets 7-year sukuk yield at 85 basis points above US Treasuries: Reuters

Saudi PIF sets 7-year sukuk yield at 85 basis points above US Treasuries: Reuters
RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund has set the yield for its seven-year dollar-denominated sukuk at 85 basis points above US Treasuries, according to a banking document reported by Reuters on Tuesday. The Kingdom’s sovereign wealth fund adjusted the yield from its initial guidance of 115 basis points earlier in the day, following strong demand that led to orders surpassing $17 billion. (With inputs from Reuters)

Saudi Arabia introduces clean diesel and gasoline fuels in Kingdom’s market

Saudi Arabia introduces clean diesel and gasoline fuels in Kingdom’s market
Updated 27 February 2024
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Saudi Arabia introduces clean diesel and gasoline fuels in Kingdom’s market

Saudi Arabia introduces clean diesel and gasoline fuels in Kingdom’s market

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s sustainability drive is gaining momentum with the Ministry of Energy announcing the launch of clean diesel and Euro-5 compliant gasoline in the Kingdom’s market. 

According to a Saudi Press Agency report, these newly introduced fuels offer lower emissions than traditional diesel and gasoline.

Like their predecessors, these energy sources are suitable for all means of transportation, and are also expected to contribute to preserving the environment and achieving the goals of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, the report added. 

Euro-5 is a standard set by the EU to regulate the emissions of vehicles. 

Saudi Arabia is leading the Middle East and North Africa region in sustainable efforts through various undertakings, including the Saudi Green Initiative. 

The Ministry of Energy said that the introduction of these two fuels comes as part of the Kingdom’s efforts to reduce emissions and reach net zero in 2060 through the application of the circular carbon economy approach. 

The report added that the launch of these resources would encourage car manufacturers to introduce the latest energy-efficient vehicle technologies to the Kingdom. 

In January, multi-project developer Red Sea Global announced that it has become the first company in Saudi Arabia to use low-carbon biofuel in all its delivery trucks.

In a press statement, RSG revealed that the entire fleet of land vehicles is now powered by electricity or biofuel. 

The biofuel is produced from used cooking oil sourced within Saudi Arabia. The type of fuel RSG has adopted emits only 0.17 kilograms of carbon dioxide equivalent per liter, compared with 2.7kg CO2e per liter from regular diesel usage.


Johnson & Johnson MedTech begins direct operations in Saudi Arabia 

Johnson & Johnson MedTech begins direct operations in Saudi Arabia 
Updated 27 February 2024
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Johnson & Johnson MedTech begins direct operations in Saudi Arabia 

Johnson & Johnson MedTech begins direct operations in Saudi Arabia 

RIYADH: Saudi healthcare is poised to benefit from advanced medical interventions after Johnson & Johnson’s technology firm, J&J MedTech KSA, announced the launching of its direct operations in the Kingdom.  

The company provides high-tech medical and surgical equipment and aims to bring customers closer to a more streamlined experience, according to a statement.   

This move not only aligns with the firm’s commitment to enhancing medical interventions and improving clinical outcomes but also reflects the company’s ongoing investment in the future of Saudi healthcare, it added.   

Marzena Kulis, managing director of Johnson & Johnson MedTech for Middle East & Africa, said: “We remain deeply vested in Saudi Arabia and in contributing to the Vision 2030 to support in developing the healthcare sector, driving economic growth, nurturing local talent, and fostering innovation.”    

She added: “As an entity, Johnson & Johnson has been present in Saudi Arabia for nearly 40 years, putting the needs of patients, families, physicians, and nurses first, and functioning as advocates for the health of the Saudi community.”   

The senior executive added that as the company transitions into this new direct model, its esteemed partners will have fewer obstacles in providing the best care for their patients.

Moreover, Trad Al-Khelaiwi general manager of J&J MedTech KSA, highlighted: “As a company that is dedicated to fostering local talent, our direct operations are also aimed at creating more opportunities within the Kingdom and supporting the government’s Saudization efforts.”

He added: “In fact, since the start of the project, we’ve made 76 new hires — with our priority and majority being KSA nationals.” 

Furthermore, Al-Khelaiwi emphasized that this transformative shift would bring the customers closer to Johnson & Johnson’s quality standards and help develop the local healthcare market with international know-how.

“By taking this bold step, we are not only embracing the health goals of Vision 2030 and aligning with the National Health Transformation Program but also spotlighting the immense potential of local talent in driving innovation and progress,” Transformation Director at Johnson & Johnson MedTech Peter Lane underscored. 

In November 2022, Johnson & Johnson announced providing digital solutions that will shorten the time patients spend in hospitals.  

According to Marzena Kulis, managing director of Johnson & Johnson MedTech Middle East, the move was crucial in countries with lower bed capacity.  

“The digital solutions that we currently offer help to shorten the time of patients’ stay, so the capacity can absorb more patients, especially in the geographies where capacity is limited,” Kulis said in an exclusive interview with Arab News at the time.


Demand for fossil fuels not likely to diminish anytime soon: Saudi energy minister

Demand for fossil fuels not likely to diminish anytime soon: Saudi energy minister
Updated 27 February 2024
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Demand for fossil fuels not likely to diminish anytime soon: Saudi energy minister

Demand for fossil fuels not likely to diminish anytime soon: Saudi energy minister

 

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia aspires to become one of the largest producers and exporters of clean energy, said Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman.

In an interview with the quarterly bulletin issued by the Saudi Association for Energy Economics, the minister said the Kingdom is capable of producing green and clean hydrogen at competitive prices.

Prince Abdulaziz said the Kingdom is focussing on all energy sources including solar, wind and green hydrogen as well as nuclear and geothermal.

This will help the Kingdom to reduce the consumption of liquid fuels in generating electricity and reaching the optimal energy mix, he added.

The minister cited the establishment of the largest green hydrogen production plant in NEOM as an example. The plant will have an annual production capacity of 250,000 tonnes by 2026.

Talking about the fluctuations in the oil market, he said the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries has mechanisms in place to deal with global crude market challenges.

Despite highlighting Saudi Arabia’s energy transition plans, Prince Abdulaziz said the need for fossil fuels, especially oil and gas, will continue for decades as also indicated by several industry reports.

The minister added that Saudi Arabia is working to reduce carbon emissions, and that it has a program to replace liquid fuels.

He explained that the program aims to run industrial facilities to rely on natural gas or alternative fuels as well as building renewable energy sources.

Furthermore, Prince Abdulaziz highlighted how Saudi Arabia has quadrupled its current renewable energy capacity from 700 megawatts to 2,800 MW by the end of 2023, with more than 800 MW of renewable energy sources still under implementation and about 1,300 MW in various stages of development. On top of that, the Kingdom plans to produce 200 additional MW this year.

The energy minister also revealed that work is underway to build one of the largest projects to capture, transport, and store carbon dioxide with an annual capacity of up to 9 million tonnes by 2030 and 44 million tons annually by 2035.

He reiterated the Kingdom’s goal to reduce emissions to 278 million tonnes annually by 2030.