GCC-Singapore economic ties to get a boost as officials meet in Riyadh     

GCC-Singapore economic ties to get a boost as officials meet in Riyadh     
GCC Secretary-General Jassim Muhammad Al Budaiwi at the meeting (UAE Ministry of Economy)
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Updated 03 August 2023
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GCC-Singapore economic ties to get a boost as officials meet in Riyadh     

GCC-Singapore economic ties to get a boost as officials meet in Riyadh     

RIYADH: Economic relations between the Gulf Cooperation Council countries and Singapore received a boost following a meeting between officials from the two sides in Riyadh that discussed ways to enhance cooperation in several areas of interest.

GCC Secretary-General Jasem Al-Budaiwi met with Singapore Ambassador Wen Zhao Ming in the Saudi capital to promote and strengthen multilateral trade relations, the Saudi Press Agency reported.    

Al-Budaiwi stressed that the GCC countries have distinguished relations with Singapore, especially in the economic, trade, and investment fields.    

Reiterating the latest developments on the free trade agreement signed between the two sides in 2008, the GCC official stressed the need to bolster ties between the GCC and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, of which Singapore is a member.  

The agreement covers issues related to trade, rules of origin, customer procedures, services, and government procedures.   

The treaty allows GCC goods duty-free access to the Singapore market while allowing the Asian country’s domestic exports to the Gulf on a tariff-free concession. Key GCC sectors benefiting from the FTA include petrochemicals, jewelry, machinery, and iron and steel-related industry. 

In June 2023, Al-Budaiwi also held a meeting with Malaysia’s deputy minister of foreign affairs in Riyadh.  

During the meeting, the official discussed the importance of strengthening cooperation relations between GCC nations and Malaysia by raising the level of strategic dialogue between both parties.  

The GCC is getting closer to signing a free trade agreement with the UK after the completion of the fourth round of negotiations last month.  

The agreement between GCC countries and the UK is set to push commerce between the two parties by 16 percent, highlighting a substantial economic opportunity for both sides.  

Hosted in London, the fourth round of negotiations took place from July 17-28 with in-person and virtual attendees. The fifth round is set to be hosted by the GCC later this year.    

Both parties have participated in 44 meetings including 23 technical talks around policy issues thus far.  


Saudi capital Riyadh to host World Expo 2030

Saudi capital Riyadh to host World Expo 2030
Updated 41 min 35 sec ago
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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
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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.” 


CBUAE and People’s Bank of China renew currency swap agreement, sign MoU 

CBUAE and People’s Bank of China renew currency swap agreement, sign MoU 
Updated 28 November 2023
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CBUAE and People’s Bank of China renew currency swap agreement, sign MoU 

CBUAE and People’s Bank of China renew currency swap agreement, sign MoU 

RIYADH: The UAE and China have entered into a renewed currency swap arrangement facilitated by agreements that aim to advance technical and technological cooperation between the two nations. 

The understanding, which will renew the currency swap between the Central Bank of the UAE and the People’s Bank of China, bears a nominal value of 18 billion dirhams ($4.9 billion) over the next five years. This deal aims to enable the provision of liquidity in local currency into the financial markets. 

This agreement is expected to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of settling financial and trade transactions between the two nations. 

Both banks also signed a memorandum of understanding to enhance collaboration with central bank digital currency development and strengthen cooperation between CBUAE and the Digital Currency Institute of the People’s Bank of China in the field of financial technology. 

The MoU will allow information to be shared on best practices and regulations pertaining to digital currencies and will support the implementation of cooperative undertakings, such as Project mBridge, a multi-central bank digital currency platform that facilitates quick and secure cross-border trade payments.

“The renewal of the currency swap agreement between our two countries and the MoU with our partners in China reflect the depth of the relationship between the UAE and China, embodying the Central Bank’s commitment to solidifying the partnership with our Chinese counterpart in financial, trade and investment fields,” Khaled Mohamed Balama, governor of CBUAE said. 

Additionally, the MoU includes cooperation in training and skills development for specialists on both sides and the exchange of bilateral visits to discuss matters of common interest. 

Last week, the Dubai Financial Market, in collaboration with Nasdaq Dubai and the Shanghai Stock Exchange, signed an MoU to advance joint products, including indices and electronic fund transfer initiatives. 

This step marks a significant development in fostering financial collaboration between exchanges. 


Saudi economy to rebound in 2024: Riyadh Capital

Saudi economy to rebound in 2024: Riyadh Capital
Updated 28 November 2023
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Saudi economy to rebound in 2024: Riyadh Capital

Saudi economy to rebound in 2024: Riyadh Capital

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s economy is expected to “rebound” in 2024, according to an analysis by Riyadh Capital.

The bank’s “Saudi Economic Chartbook” for the fourth quarter of 2023 outlines a projected continuation of solid growth for non-oil activities, facilitated by a progress-driven financial policy emphasizing an increase in investment spending, leading to the foreseen advancement in 2024.

For 2023, the document estimates non-oil activities to grow by 5.1 percent while projecting a 4.9 percent boost for 2024.

The bank notes that the Kingdom’s economy is expected to consolidate in 2023 due to oil production cuts in the last 12 months.

The decline in crude output in 2023 is expected to gradually reverse over the course of next year, leading the body to forecast an oil sector GDP contribution of 3.6 percent in 2024.

For 2023, the fiscal deficit is estimated at SR82 billion ($21.9 billion), corresponding to 2.1 percent of GDP.

Meanwhile, the 2024 deficit is projected to narrow to SR43 billion or 1.1 percent of GDP, primarily due to gradually higher oil and non-oil revenues.


Closing Bell: Saudi main index inches up to close at 11,101

Closing Bell: Saudi main index inches up to close at 11,101
Updated 28 November 2023
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Closing Bell: Saudi main index inches up to close at 11,101

Closing Bell: Saudi main index inches up to close at 11,101

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Tadawul All Share Index rebounded on Tuesday, as it gained 20.18 points or 0.18 percent to close at 11,100.92.

The total trading turnover of the benchmark index was SR4.87 billion ($1.30 billion) as 108 of the listed stocks advanced, while 103 declined.

Saudi Arabia’s parallel market Nomu also performed well on Tuesday, with the index gaining 371.89 points or 1.53 percent, closing at 24,631.21.

The MSCI Tadawul Index too edged up 0.36 percent to close at 1,430.79.

The best-performing stock of the day was Wafrah for Industry and Development Co. The company’s share price soared by 5.36 percent to SR41.30.

Other top performers were Dr. Sulaiman Al-Habib Medical Services Group and Yamama Cement Co., whose share prices surged by 3.73 percent and 3.53 percent, respectively.

The worst performer in the main index was Alamar Foods Co., as its share price dipped by 3.90 percent to SR113.20.

The positive performance of Nomu was driven by Fad International Co., which debuted on the market today. The company’s share price surged by 30 percent to SR109.20.

In the parallel market, Future Care Trading Co.’s share price edged up by 10.10 percent to SR25.50.

On the announcements front, the Saudi exchange said that Armah Sports Co. will be listed and start trading on Nomu on Nov. 30.

Al-Moammar Information Systems Co., also known as MIS, revealed that it was awarded a contract worth SR81.6 million by the Kingdom’s Ministry of Justice to offer technical support.

In a Tadawul statement, MIS said that there were no related parties involved in the deal.

Meanwhile, Knowledge Tower Trading Co. announced that it purchased land that spans 1,148 sq. meters in Riyadh’s Malaz neighborhood at a value of SR6.3 million.

In a statement to Tadawul, the company said that the purchase would be financed through company sources and added that the land would be developed as an income-generating investment.