Saudi Arabia, China ink $1.33bn worth of cooperation deals 

Saudi Arabia, China ink $1.33bn worth of cooperation deals 
The Saudi-Chinese Business Forum is being held in Beijing (SPA)
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Updated 17 August 2023
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Saudi Arabia, China ink $1.33bn worth of cooperation deals 

Saudi Arabia, China ink $1.33bn worth of cooperation deals 
  • Agreements cover key sectors such as infrastructure development, financing and housing

RIYADH: Riyadh and Beijing have inked a dozen cooperation agreements worth over $1.33 billion on the sidelines of the Saudi-Chinese Business Forum, bolstering collaboration in key sectors such as infrastructure, financing and housing. 

The developments at the event, being held in Beijing, signify the deepening ties between the two countries, paving the way for enhanced growth and shared progress, Saudi Minister of Municipal and Rural Affairs and Housing Majid Al-Hogail said in a tweet. 

These partnerships are set to foster advancements in key areas, including five focused on real estate developments, signaling a promising trajectory for the mutual growth of the Kingdom and China, according to the Saudi Press Agency. 

During the forum, Al-Hogail stressed the Kingdom’s dedication to enhancing its partnership with China as he spoke about several achievements, such as the three summits during the Chinese President’s visit to Saudi Arabia in December. 

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These partnerships are set to foster advancements in key areas, including five focused on real estate developments, signaling a promising trajectory for the mutual growth of the Kingdom and China.

Saudi Arabia and China sealed 35 investment agreements worth around $30 billion during the visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to the Kingdom last December.

The minister also shed light on the comprehensive strategic partnership agreement between the two countries, including an action plan for cooperation in the housing sector. 

With the construction of over 300,000 housing units across 17 Saudi cities, covering an area of over 150 million square meters, and valued at over SR100 billion ($26.66 billion), the Kingdom holds significant investment opportunities, Al-Hogail emphasized. 

Moreover, he revealed that the Ministry of Municipal, Rural Affairs and Housing is working hand in hand with several Chinese companies on housing projects worth an accumulated SR3 billion. 

The forum explored investment opportunities between the two sides, bolstering collaborations in urban infrastructure, housing, real estate development and financing. 

Saudi Arabia and China sealed 35 investment agreements worth around $30 billion during the visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to the Kingdom last December. 

According to a Belt and Road Initiative report, Saudi Arabia remains one of China’s most vital global trade partners, leading Chinese engagement in the construction sector during the first half of 2023. 

China is Saudi Arabia’s largest trading partner. According to Reuters news agency, bilateral trade between the two countries hit $87.3 billion in 2021, with Chinese exports to the Kingdom reaching $30.3 billion and China’s imports from Saudi Arabia totaling $57 billion.

China’s main exports to Saudi Arabia are textiles, electronics and machinery, while China mainly imports crude oil and primary plastics from the Kingdom. In the first 10 months of 2022, China’s Saudi oil imports reached 1.77 million barrels per day, valued at $55.5 billion, according to Chinese customs data.

Saudi Arabia represented 25 percent of the $432 billion trade between China and Arab countries in 2022.


Closing Bell: Saudi main index closes in green at 12,157

Closing Bell: Saudi main index closes in green at 12,157
Updated 5 min 16 sec ago
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Closing Bell: Saudi main index closes in green at 12,157

Closing Bell: Saudi main index closes in green at 12,157

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Tadawul All Share Index rose on Wednesday, gaining 77.24 points, or 0.64 percent, to close at 12,157.61. 

The total trading turnover of the benchmark index was SR7.37 billion ($1.96 billion) as 157 of the listed stocks advanced, while 64 retreated.    

The MSCI Tadawul Index increased by 6.82 points, or 0.45 percent, to close at 1,520.39. 

The Kingdom’s parallel market Nomu decreased by 31.22 points, or 0.12 percent, to close at 25,887.91. This comes as 36 of the listed stocks advanced, while as many as 32 retreated. 

The best-performing stock of the day was AYYAN Investment Co., with its share price surging by 9.97 percent to SR19.42. 

Other top performers include the Miahona Co. and Al Sagr Cooperative Insurance Co., whose share prices soared by 9.88 percent and 9.41 percent, to stand at SR42.25 and SR24.88, respectively. 

National Gas and Industrialization Co. and Al-Baha Investment and Development Co. were also amongst the top gainers.  

The worst performer was the Mediterranean and Gulf Insurance and Reinsurance Co. whose share price dropped by 2.46 percent to SR31.70. 

Other underperformers included Baazeem Trading Co. and Arabian Pipes Co., with their share prices declining by 1.53 percent to SR64.30 and 1.20 percent to SR131.40, respectively.

Saudi Public Transport Co. and Red Sea International Co. also experienced declines in their stock prices.

Value Capital Co., serving as the financial advisor and lead manager, announced that Tharwah Co. intends to offer 705,735 ordinary shares, representing 15 percent of its total shares post-offering. The company’s shares will be listed on Nomu. 

Tharwah Co.’s application for listing on the parallel market. was approved by the Saudi Exchange on May 19, and the Capital Market Authority approved the offering on June 3. The price per share for subscribers will be determined after the book-building period. The one-week offering period is scheduled to commence on Aug. 4. 

Alkhabeer Capital, a Shariah-compliant investment and financial services firm, has announced the listing and commencement of trading for the Alkhabeer Diversified Income Fund 2030 on the Saudi Exchange. 

In an official statement, the fund reported successful participation from a diverse group of investors, including individuals and institutions, during its initial public offering.  

The IPO concluded on June 13, attracting 144,132 subscribers and raising a total of SR305.4 million. 


Saudi Cabinet approves establishment of national minerals program

Saudi Cabinet approves establishment of national minerals program
Updated 49 sec ago
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Saudi Cabinet approves establishment of national minerals program

Saudi Cabinet approves establishment of national minerals program
  • Program aims to develop Kingdom’s infrastructure and support local supply chains
  • Saudi Arabia’s mineral wealth is valued at an estimated $2.5 trillion

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia is set to launch a new national minerals program, further strengthening its position as a regional and global center for the mining and metals sector. 
The Saudi Cabinet has approved the establishment of the initiative, which is set to be linked to the Kingdom’s Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources, according to a statement. 
The newly announced program is expected to meet the growing local, regional, and global needs for minerals, build local capabilities, and contribute to exploration operations. 
This is in line with Saudi Arabia’s ambition to transform mining into a foundational industrial pillar of the country’s economy. It also aligns with the ministry’s goal to further bolster the sector and contribute to ongoing developments under Saudi Vision 2030. 
According to a ministry statement released earlier this year, the Kingdom’s mineral wealth is valued at an estimated SR9.4 trillion ($2.5 trillion). 
The Minister of Industry and Mineral Resources Bandar Alkhorayef thanked King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for the cabinet’s approval and said the program will effectively drive growth in the minerals sector and exploit the country’s mineral wealth. 
“The Council of Ministers’ decision to establish the National Minerals Program will constitute a qualitative shift in supporting supply chains in the industrial and mining sectors and strengthen the Kingdom’s position as a regional and global center for the mining and minerals sector,” Alkhorayef said in a statement. 
“The Kingdom’s directions aim to develop mineral value chains so that the mining sector becomes the third pillar of the national industry and to benefit from the Kingdom’s geographical location, which represents one of the most important major trade intersections,” he added.
The statement further revealed that the initiative will entail important functions, including ensuring the quality and adequacy of supply chains for current and future minerals and developing and managing their strategic storage.
It will also work on quantifying and following up on securing Saudi Arabia’s mineral needs, developing plans and strategies, and providing industrial supplies of mining raw materials.
The nation’s mining sector has been expanding locally and internationally, with significant strides being made.
In March, the Kingdom’s mining sector recorded a 138 percent increase in the issuance of exploitation licenses since the new Mining Investment Law was implemented in 2021. 
The number of permits recorded rose from eight in 2021 to 19 last year as the Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources actively works to boost mineral production and investment. 


Saudi weekly POS spending hits $3bn, driven by hotel sector surge

Saudi weekly POS spending hits $3bn, driven by hotel sector surge
Updated 33 min 11 sec ago
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Saudi weekly POS spending hits $3bn, driven by hotel sector surge

Saudi weekly POS spending hits $3bn, driven by hotel sector surge
  • Payments in restaurants and cafe held the largest share of POS transactions

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s point-of-sale spending totaled SR11.9 billion ($3.19 billion) from July 7 to 13, driven by a 3.8 percent weekly surge in hotel sector transactions, official data showed.

The latest data from the Saudi Central Bank, also known as SAMA, revealed that the hospitality industry showed the only increase during the week, with total transaction values reaching SR269.6 million. 

Point-of-sale is where transactions between merchants and customers take place, using systems like cash registers or digital terminals to manage sales and payments. 

Saudi Arabia’s apex bank releases weekly POS data to provide insights into consumer spending patterns, economic activity, and trends in various sectors such as retail, hospitality, and services. 

During the seven-day period starting July 7, POS transactions in the Kingdom declined by 9.8 percent, reversing from an increase in the previous week, to reach SR13.2 billion.  

Data from SAMA indicated that payments in restaurants and cafes decreased by 6.4 percent compared to the previous week, totaling SR1.84 billion, while still holding the largest share of POS transactions. 

Expenses on food and beverages dipped by 12.5 percent to reach SR1.79 billion, the third-largest fall compared to the previous week.  

Miscellaneous goods and services came in third place in spending size, recording an 11.2 percent dip, reaching SR1.57 billion. 

Gas stations witnessed the smallest dip this week, recording a 3.2 percent decrease, reaching SR841.4 million.  

Construction and building materials experienced the second-smallest drop in POS transaction value, diminished by 4.7 percent to SR329.7 million. Furthermore, expenses on transportation witnessed the third-smallest surge, with a 5.6 percent decrease, reaching SR733.1 million. 

According to data from SAMA, 33.37 percent of POS deals occurred in Riyadh, with the total transaction value reaching SR3.91 billion, representing an 8.3 percent decline from the previous week when it was SR4.26 billion. 

Riyadh has expanded into a major growth hub, with Spinneys recently debuting its flagship 43,520 sq. ft. outlet at La Strada Yard, marking the start of its expansion in the capital and Jeddah to meet the increasing demand for high-quality groceries in Saudi Arabia.  

In Jeddah, purchases accounted for 14.6 percent of the total, amounting to SR1.71 billion, reflecting an 8 percent weekly decrease, the third-largest decline compared to the previous week.  

Expenditures in Abha and Makkah declined by 4.8 percent and 4.2 percent, reaching SR224.2 million and SR459.5 million, respectively. 

The highest fall was spotted in Tabouk with a 12.8 percent weekly change, reaching SR216.2 million. 


Saudi Arabia’s crude exports up 2.51 % to 6.12m bpd: JODI data

Saudi Arabia’s crude exports up 2.51 % to 6.12m bpd: JODI data
Updated 17 July 2024
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Saudi Arabia’s crude exports up 2.51 % to 6.12m bpd: JODI data

Saudi Arabia’s crude exports up 2.51 % to 6.12m bpd: JODI data

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s crude exports rose to 6.12 million barrels per day in May – up 2.51 percent compared to the previous month, data from the Joint Organizations Data Initiative revealed.

Data also indicated that the Kingdom’s crude production increased to 8.99 million bpd, reflecting a monthly rise of 0.08 percent.

Refinery crude output, representing the processed volume of crude oil yielding gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, and heating oil, surged to an almost six-year high. It increased by 17 percent compared to the previous month, reaching 3.026 million bpd, according to JODI data.

This also marked a 16 percent increase from the 2.61 million bpd recorded during the same month in 2023.

Exports for refinery oil products reached 1.22 million bpd, a 13 percent decline compared to the previous month.

The data revealed Saudi demand for petroleum products rose by 75,000 bpd to 2.355 million bpd.

As one of the world’s leading oil producers, Saudi Arabia plays a crucial role in supplying these refined products to meet global energy demands.

OPEC and its allies, known as OPEC+, agreed in June to extend most of its substantial oil output cuts into 2024, with plans to gradually phase them out in 2025.

This decision aims to support the market amid sluggish global demand growth, high interest rates, and increasing US production.

OPEC+ has implemented several deep output cuts since late 2022. The countries participating in the second round of voluntary cuts included Algeria, Gabon, and Kazakhstan, as well Kuwait, Oman, and Russia. Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Iraq also took part.

When it came to the third round, all countries participated apart from Gabon.

OPEC+ also delayed the deadline for an independent assessment of its members’ production capacities from June 2024 to the end of November 2025. These figures will guide the reference production levels for 2026.

Direct crude usage

Saudi Arabia’s direct burn of crude oil, involving the utilization of oil without substantial refining processes, experienced a decrease of 2,000 bpd in May, representing a 0.5 percent decline compared to the preceding month. The total direct burn for the month amounted to 398,000 bpd.

Compared to May last year, direct crude usage decreased by 80,000 bpd, a 17 percent decline.

The Ministry of Energy aims to enhance the contributions of natural gas and renewable sources as part of the Kingdom’s goal to achieve an optimal, highly efficient, and cost-effective energy mix.

This involves replacing liquid fuel with natural gas and integrating renewables to constitute approximately 50 percent of the electricity production energy mix by 2030.


Saudi economic growth to outstrip global average in 2025: IMF

Saudi economic growth to outstrip global average in 2025: IMF
Updated 17 July 2024
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Saudi economic growth to outstrip global average in 2025: IMF

Saudi economic growth to outstrip global average in 2025: IMF
  • Global economy is in a “sticky spot,” according to the IMF

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s economic growth is expected to outpace the global average in 2025 according to the latest International Monetary Fund study.

The IMF’s World Economic Outlook update puts the Kingdom’s output increase at 4.7 percent next year – above the 3.3 percent forecast for the planet as a whole.

The figure for Saudi Arabia is down from an estimate released in April which anticipated a 6 percent growth rate for 2025.

The IMF also scaled back its 2024 projection for the Kingdom, shifting from 2.6 percent in its earlier forecast to 1.7 percent in its most recent report.

The Washington-based institution described the global economy as being in a “sticky spot,” although it maintained its earlier calculation that worldwide output would increase at a rate of 3.2 percent in 2024 and 3.3 percent in 2025.

“The growth forecast for 2024 in Saudi Arabia has been revised downward by 0.9 percentage point; the adjustment reflects mainly the extension of oil production cuts,” the IMF said. 

“Varied momentum in activity at the turn of the year has somewhat narrowed the output divergence across economies as cyclical factors wane and activity becomes better aligned with its potential. Services price inflation is holding up progress on disinflation, which is complicating monetary policy normalization,” the July update stated.

The IMF added: “Upside risks to inflation have thus increased, raising the prospect of higher-for-even-longer interest rates, in the context of escalating trade tensions and increased policy uncertainty. To manage these risks and preserve growth, the policy mix should be sequenced carefully to achieve price stability and replenish diminished buffers.”

Global economic snapshot: divergent paths ahead

Across major economies, contrasting trends defined economic forecasts heading into 2024 and beyond.

Earlier in the year, the US confronted a sharper-than-anticipated slowdown, driven by easing consumer spending and adverse net trade dynamics. 

Growth projections for 2024 have been revised to 2.6 percent, 0.1 percentage point lower than projected in April, with expectations for 2025 further declining to 1.9 percent.

Tightening fiscal policies and cooling labor markets are poised to exert further pressure. Inflation remains stubborn, particularly in services, delaying potential monetary policy adjustments. Therefore, it is lagging behind other advanced economies in easing measures.

Europe’s recovery hinges on robust performances in the services sector, with growth expected to reach 0.9 percent in 2024, rising to 1.5 percent in 2025. 

Strengthened consumer demand, bolstered by higher real wages and improved financing conditions, supports this optimistic outlook. However, persistent weaknesses in manufacturing, notably in Germany, suggest a nuanced recovery across sectors.

China’s economy continues to exhibit resilience, with a revised growth forecast of 5 percent for 2024, driven by a resurgence in domestic consumption and robust export performance. 

Yet expansion is anticipated to moderate to 4.5 percent in 2025 and beyond as the country grapples with demographic shifts and slowing productivity gains.

Emerging markets and developing economies are projected to grow by 4.3 percent in 2024, driven by a strong performance in Asia, particularly China and India. 

India’s growth forecast has been revised upward to 7 percent for 2024, higher than April’s projection of 6.8 percent reflecting improved private consumption and positive carryover effects from 2023.  

The UK anticipates modest growth of 0.7 percent in 2024, expanding to 1.5 percent in 2025. Economic prospects are shaped by ongoing fiscal restraint and residual impacts of earlier inflationary pressures on consumer and investment activities.

Japan’s revised growth forecast for 2024 is 0.7 percent from 0.9 percent in April, influenced by transient supply disruptions and subdued private investment.

Nevertheless, robust wage settlements are anticipated to fuel a resurgence in private consumption by the latter half of the year.

Regional impact and global trade

The IMF report noted that oil production and regional conflicts continue to weigh heavily on economic prospects in the Middle East and Central Asia. 

Alongside Saudi Arabia, Sudan’s economic outlook has been markedly revised downward due to persistent conflict. 

Conversely, there have been upward revisions in other regions, such as Brazil, where reconstruction efforts buoy growth prospects following recent flooding and structural factors like increased hydrocarbon production.

“World trade growth is expected to recover to about 3.25 percent annually in 2024–25 and align with global GDP growth again,” the IMF added. 

The initial increase seen in the first quarter of this year is likely to slow down due to ongoing subdued manufacturing activity. 

Despite a notable rise in cross-border trade restrictions affecting it between distant geopolitical blocs, projections suggest that the global trade-to-GDP ratio will remain stable.

Inflation and monetary policy

Global disinflation efforts are facing headwinds, with services price inflation complicating monetary policy normalization. 

The report highlighted the persistence of higher-than-average inflation in services costs, which has tempered the disinflation in goods prices.

“The revised forecast for advanced economies is for the pace of disinflation to slow in 2024 and 2025. That is because inflation in prices for services is now expected to be more persistent and commodity prices higher,” the international organization said.

It added that the gradual cooling of labor markets and an expected decline in energy costs should bring headline inflation back to target by the end of 2025. 

Price increases are anticipated to persist at elevated levels in emerging markets and developing economies, falling more gradually compared to advanced countries.

Due in part to declining energy costs, inflation has nearly returned to pre-pandemic levels for the typical emerging market and developing economy.