Thai companies eye investment opportunities in Saudi market

The Thai Trade Exhibition Saudi Arabia 2023 began on Sunday in Riyadh aimed at boosting commercial ties between the two countries and offering a platform for members of their respective business communities to explore opportunities. AN photos by Huda Bashatah
1 / 3
The Thai Trade Exhibition Saudi Arabia 2023 began on Sunday in Riyadh aimed at boosting commercial ties between the two countries and offering a platform for members of their respective business communities to explore opportunities. AN photos by Huda Bashatah
The Thai Trade Exhibition Saudi Arabia 2023 began on Sunday in Riyadh aimed at boosting commercial ties between the two countries and offering a platform for members of their respective business communities to explore opportunities. AN photos by Huda Bashatah
2 / 3
The Thai Trade Exhibition Saudi Arabia 2023 began on Sunday in Riyadh aimed at boosting commercial ties between the two countries and offering a platform for members of their respective business communities to explore opportunities. AN photos by Huda Bashatah
The Thai Trade Exhibition Saudi Arabia 2023 began on Sunday in Riyadh aimed at boosting commercial ties between the two countries and offering a platform for members of their respective business communities to explore opportunities. AN photos by Huda Bashatah
3 / 3
The Thai Trade Exhibition Saudi Arabia 2023 began on Sunday in Riyadh aimed at boosting commercial ties between the two countries and offering a platform for members of their respective business communities to explore opportunities. AN photos by Huda Bashatah
Short Url
Updated 27 August 2023
Follow

Thai companies eye investment opportunities in Saudi market

Thai companies eye investment opportunities in Saudi market
  • Trade event opens in Riyadh with over 100 prominent Thai brands showcasing products

RIYADH: The Thai Trade Exhibition Saudi Arabia 2023 began on Sunday in Riyadh aimed at boosting commercial ties between the two countries and offering a platform for members of their respective business communities to explore opportunities.

Thai Ambassador Darm Boontham inaugurated the first edition of the trade show, which showcases over 100 prominent Thai brands from the Southeast Asian country.

The envoy thanked the Kingdom for its support to the Thai Embassy in organizing the event. He expressed his gratitude to several government bodies such as the General Authority of Foreign Trade, the Saudi Business Center, and the Federation of the Saudi Chambers of Commerce and Industry.

“I do hope that the Thai Trade Exhibition 2023 will contribute greatly in forging closer economic ties between the two kingdoms,” Boontham said.

The four-day event is a result of a collaborative effort between the Thai Embassy and the Saudi General Authority for Foreign Trade.

In his opening remarks at the inauguration, Abdulaziz Alsakran, deputy governor of international relations at GAFT, said: “This event marks a milestone in the strong relationship between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Kingdom of Thailand.”

“We gather not only to celebrate the impressive collection of Thai products and services but also to highlight the depth of the friendship and collaboration in our bilateral ties,” he added.

The Saudi official highlighted the efforts of both countries in boosting trade ties. He said those efforts have resulted in “effective and key partnerships, positioning Saudi Arabia as Thailand’s second (top) trading partner in the region.”

The exhibition aims to catalyze and enrich trade and economic interactions between the two nations and is being attended by entrepreneurs, professionals, and companies eager to tap into potential business prospects and forge partnerships.

In addition to the business aspect, the event will provide an opportunity for visitors interested in tourism and cultural exchange to explore Thailand’s heritage and attractions.

According to an official announcement by the Thai government, over 100 manufacturers and entrepreneurs from the country are showcasing a wide range of products from different sectors such as food and beverage, fashion, health, beauty, jewelry, medical services, and spas.

“This will also be a good opportunity for Thai products and services to be recognized in Saudi Arabia and other countries in the region,” it added.

The Thai Trade Exhibition includes a pavilion featuring GAFT, emphasizing its role in enhancing trade ties with different countries through market expansion and the presentation of investment prospects.

“Saudi Arabia is a very important friend of Thailand in the Middle East. With the restoration of full diplomatic ties in January 2022, both sides have been exchanging visits of high-level government officials and business people forging closer friendships with one another,” Prayoon Inskul, permanent secretary of Thailand’s Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperation.

Investors from Saudi Arabia are enthusiastic about venturing into new opportunities, and Thailand is widely recognized among people from the Middle East for its exceptional culinary offerings and reputation in the field of medical tourism.

As a result, Thai SMEs and investors have a fantastic opportunity to establish businesses and find trading partners throughout the Middle East and Saudi Arabia.

Relations between Saudi Arabia and the Southeast Asian nation have been growing stronger in recent months.

“The trade volume between our two countries has been on an upward trajectory reaching around $10 billion in 2022. However, it is still less than the aspirations of our leaders as there are many untapped potentials to be achieved,” Alsakran added.

Last November, authorities in Thailand proposed a bilateral cooperation plan to strengthen their country’s ties with the Kingdom, as a high-profile investment delegation from Riyadh visited Bangkok.

In June, a top Thai official said companies from Thailand are ready to invest a combined $36 million in Saudi Arabia.

Sanan Angubolkul, chairman of the Thai Chamber of Commerce, revealed the figure during a meeting of the Saudi-Thai Business Forum in Riyadh.

Angubolkul said that eight Thai companies are looking to invest the sum in Saudi Arabia, expressing his country’s readiness to cooperate with the Kingdom in the energy and crude oil storage industry.

The volume of trade exchange between Saudi Arabia and Thailand grew by 37 percent in 2022 to reach SR36.8 billion ($9.81 billion).

In November, Auramon Supthaweethum, director general of Thailand’s Department of Trade Negotiations, told Arab News that the country could become Saudi Arabia’s “gateway” to Asian markets following Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s visit to Bangkok as a special guest of the Thai government.


Oil Updates – crude extends losses after dollar rises on shifting interest rate outlook

Oil Updates – crude extends losses after dollar rises on shifting interest rate outlook
Updated 12 sec ago
Follow

Oil Updates – crude extends losses after dollar rises on shifting interest rate outlook

Oil Updates – crude extends losses after dollar rises on shifting interest rate outlook

SINGAPORE: Oil prices fell on Monday, extending losses from the previous session after the dollar rose on market views that higher-than-expected inflation could delay cuts to high US interest rates that have been capping global fuel demand growth, according to Reuters.

Brent crude futures fell 14 cents, or 0.2 percent, to $81.48 a barrel by 9:56 a.m. Saudi time, while US West Texas Intermediate crude futures declined 22 cents, or 0.3 percent, to $76.27 a barrel as the US dollar strengthened. A stronger dollar makes oil more expensive for holders of other currencies.

The dip built on losses last week, when Brent declined about 2 percent and WTI fell more than 3 percent as markets pushed out the start of US interest rate cuts by two months due to an uptick in inflation.

“The risk-on sentiment seems to be in a retreat after the Nvidia-led market rally last week as higher-for-longer rate expectations lifted the US dollar, pressuring commodity prices,” Auckland-based independent analyst Tina Teng said.

Oil prices have been trading between $70 and $90 a barrel since November, as rising supply in the US and concerns of weak demand in China offset supply cuts by OPEC and its allies, known as OPEC+, despite two wars raging.

“Crude oil prices declined for want of fresh drivers,” ANZ analysts wrote in a note. “Oil has been caught between bullish factors such as lower OPEC output and elevated geopolitical risks and bearish concerns about weak demand in China.”

As the Israel-Hamas conflict continues in the Middle East, White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan told CNN on Sunday that negotiators for the US, Egypt, Qatar and Israel had agreed on the basic contours of a hostage deal during talks in Paris but are still in negotiations.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said it was not clear yet whether a deal would materialize.

The geopolitical risk premium from Yemeni Houthis’ attacks on ships in the Red Sea remained modest at only a $2 a barrel boost to Brent, Goldman Sachs analysts said in a note.

However, the bank has raised its summer peak price to $87 a barrel, up from $85, as Red Sea disruptions have driven larger-than-expected draws in stocks held by countries that are members of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.

Goldman Sachs still expects oil demand to grow by 1.5 million barrels per day in 2024 but has cut China’s forecast while raising that for the US and India.

Separately, investors are keeing an eye on the impact on Russian oil supply after the US sanctioned Moscow’s leading tanker group Sovcomflot on Friday.

Adding to global energy supplies, Qatar will further raise liquefied natural gas production despite a recent steep drop in global prices.

In the US, the ANZ analysts anticipated oil stockpiles could start to fall in the coming weeks as refineries return from maintenance, which could offer some support to prices.

US energy firms this week added the most oil rigs since November, and the most in a month since October 2022, energy services firm Baker Hughes said. 


Closing Bell: Saudi main index slips to close at 12,605

Closing Bell: Saudi main index slips to close at 12,605
Updated 25 February 2024
Follow

Closing Bell: Saudi main index slips to close at 12,605

Closing Bell: Saudi main index slips to close at 12,605

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Tadawul All Share Index slipped on Sunday, shedding 29.74 points, or 0.24 percent, to close at 12,604.59.

The total trading turnover of the benchmark index was SR6.63 billion ($1.77 billion) as 148 of the stocks advanced while 74 retreated.  

On the other hand, the Kingdom’s parallel market, Nomu, rose 194.49 points, or 0.76 percent, to close at 25,702.15. This comes as 44 of the stocks advanced while as many as 22 retreated.

Meanwhile, the MSCI Tadawul Index slipped 7.60 points, or 0.47 percent, to close at 1,620.57.

The best-performing stock of the day was Saudi Arabian Amiantit Co. The company’s share price surged 9.96 percent to SR29.25. 

Other top performers include Arabian Pipes Co. as well as Saudi Steel Pipe Co.

The worst performer was Al-Baha Investment and Development Co., whose share price dropped by 6.67 percent to SR0.14.

On the announcements front, Hail Cement Co. announced its annual financial results for the period ending Dec. 31. 

According to a Tadawul statement, the firm’s net profit reached SR24.61 million in 2023, reflecting a 49.95 percent rise compared to 2022.  

The increase in net profit was mainly attributed to a decrease in general and administrative costs as well as a drop in zakat expenses. 

It was also primarily linked to achieving profits from financial investments at fair value as well as high returns on Murabaha deposits during the aforementioned period.

Additionally, Saudi Steel Pipe Co. has also revealed its annual consolidated financial results for 2023. 

A bourse filing disclosed that the company’s net profit hit SR217 million in the year ending on Dec. 31, up 301.85 percent in comparison to the corresponding period a year earlier. 

The rise in net profit is mainly driven by a surge in gross profit, recognition of a bargain purchase gain, a rise in other income, and a drop in Zakat and tax expense.

Saudi Lime Industries Co. announced the signing of a conditional binding agreement with Astra Industrial Group and Tharawat Mining Co. to acquire a 100 percent stake in the share capital of Astra Mining Ltd. Co.

According to a Tadawul statement, the transaction value is up to a maximum of SR35 million for acquiring the company shares and settlement of company debt to local banks amounting to SR129.6 million. Accordingly, the maximum amount is SR164.6 million.

Moreover, the Capital Market Authority approved the public offering of King Khalid University Endowment Fund units.

Meanwhile, Al-Modawat Specialized Medical Co. will list on Nomu today.


Saudi approach toward capital allocation, economic diversification lauded

Saudi approach toward capital allocation, economic diversification lauded
Updated 25 February 2024
Follow

Saudi approach toward capital allocation, economic diversification lauded

Saudi approach toward capital allocation, economic diversification lauded

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s general disposition around capital allocation is diversified, as financial institutions in the Kingdom are “savvy and strong” with long-term strategies, according to a senior executive.

In an interview with Arab News on the sidelines of the Middle East Investment Conference held in Riyadh, President and CEO of CFA Institute Marg Franklin noted that Saudi Arabia aims to move away from its heavy reliance on oil by diversifying its investment portfolio.

This diversification plan involves investing in small and medium-sized enterprises within the Kingdom to broaden the economy’s scope.

She said: “If you look at Saudi Arabia’s general disposition around capital allocation, it really centers on diversification, and that is really where we’ve seen the savviest and strongest financial institutions who have a very long-term view and very long-term objectives really achieve those ambitions for the capital.”

Franklin highlighted the importance of asset owners in the Middle East, who prioritize serving their citizens over short-term gains, emphasizing long-term objectives and sustainability in capital allocation.

Additionally, amid Saudi Arabia’s ambitious Vision 2030 program, Franklin noted that the CFA Institute emerges as a key player in shaping the nation’s economic landscape.

With a three-pronged approach focused on education, advocacy, and policy, the institute is instrumental in fostering a robust and well-functioning capital market.

“When we look here in Saudi Arabia, it’s an ambitious program for 2030 and what’s exciting about it is how much it’s related to the population of Saudi, so it really lines up with those last six words of our mission for the ultimate benefit of society,” Franklin said.

She added: “The key things where CFA Institute, I think has a distinct role to play is first of all in developing and enhancing the capital markets, making sure they’re efficient and fair.”

Franklin continued: “Because at the end of the day, when you’re bringing in global capital or exporting global capital, there is a common language that goes with it. But there will be unique features here in the region, specifically Islamic finance.”

The second aspect Franklin highlighted is capacity building and talent development. This includes the renowned CFA program, known for its comprehensive curriculum and ethical foundation, providing a common platform for investment professionals globally.

“Then finally, just building those baseline skills, because we know one of Saudi Arabia’s key objectives is to build financial literacy, and that’s crucial if you’re going to increase the savings of citizens,” Franklin said.


Oman’s insurance sector expected have recorded 10% growth in 2023   

Oman’s insurance sector expected have recorded 10% growth in 2023   
Updated 25 February 2024
Follow

Oman’s insurance sector expected have recorded 10% growth in 2023   

Oman’s insurance sector expected have recorded 10% growth in 2023   

RIYADH: Oman’s insurance sector is expected to have achieved a 10 percent growth in 2023, paving the way for attracting additional regional investors, according to a top official. 

This comes as Oman recorded a growth rate of about 13 percent in insurance premiums in 2022, according to Mustafa Ahmed Salman, member of the board of directors of the Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry.  

Salman, also serving as the chairman of the chamber’s Finance and Insurance Committee, emphasized that raising the capital of insurance companies will greatly enhance their ability to attract investors and facilitate business growth, as reported by the Oman News Agency. 

“The contribution of the insurance sector to the gross domestic product of the Sultanate of Oman currently amounts to 1.3 percent, which is a good percentage compared to Arab countries,” he said.  

This positive trend follows the insurance division emerging as one of the fastest-growing sectors in the Middle Eastern country. 

The chairman went on to explain that the volume of Arab insurance reached about $45 billion, constituting 1 percent of the volume of global insurance. 

Furthermore, Salman highlighted that the Finance and Insurance Committee of the chamber is actively engaged in studying and developing laws, decisions, and regulations related to the sector.  

He also emphasized that the board is actively addressing challenges, presenting proposals, and offering visions to overcome obstacles. 

All these endeavors demonstrate that increasing the contribution of insurance to the GDP is achieved by establishing large projects and capital for insurance companies, as well as strengthening their reserves, highlighted the chairman. 

Regarding the performance of insurance firms on the Muscat Securities Market, he emphasized that their prices have been traded at appropriate costs and delivered good dividends over the past years. 

Salman further disclosed that efforts are underway to enhance trading in the shares of these companies, aiming to attract more investors for buying and exchanging their assets.  

Oman’s insurance industry is projected to grow at an annualized rate of 4.5 percent, reaching $1.8 billion in 2028, up from around $1.4 billion in 2022, according to the UAE-based investment banking advisory firm Alpen Capital. 

In a recently released study titled “GCC Insurance Industry Report,” the advisory firm stated that several macroeconomic trends, particularly GDP and population growth between 2023 and 2028, are expected to drive this transition. 


Saudi Arabia further empowers tourism authority to help sector grow

Saudi Arabia further empowers tourism authority to help sector grow
Updated 26 February 2024
Follow

Saudi Arabia further empowers tourism authority to help sector grow

Saudi Arabia further empowers tourism authority to help sector grow
  • New regulations approved for establishment of marketing offices to promote KSA globally

RIYADH: The Saudi Cabinet recently approved regulations for the country’s tourism authority that will give a fresh impetus to the sector and contribute to its overall growth.

The Cabinet, chaired by King Salman, approved 24 regulations concerning the Saudi Tourism Authority with a focus on global promotion, international and regional collaboration and tourists targets.

The regulations will help the authority achieve tourism targets in line with Vision 2030 and empower the body to play a pivotal role in promoting the Kingdom as a tourist destination locally, regionally, and globally.

One of the approved regulations enables the tourism authority to establish marketing offices both domestically and internationally. The objective is to boost visitor arrivals and realize the vision of positioning the Kingdom as a top-tier tourist destination, according to Umm Al-Qura, the country’s official gazette.

Tourism Minister Ahmed Al-Khateeb, who is also chairman of the STA, highlighted that the Cabinet’s approval of the authority’s regulations underscores the government’s commitment to supporting the tourism sector in achieving its objectives aligned with Vision 2030.

HIGHLIGHTS

• The regulations will help the authority achieve tourism target in line with Vision 2030 and empower the body to play a pivotal role in promoting the Kingdom as a tourist destination locally, regionally, and globally.

• One of the approved regulations enables the tourism authority to establish marketing offices both domestically and internationally.

• The objective is to boost visitor arrivals and realize the vision of positioning the Kingdom as a top-tier tourist destination.

Among the key objectives is the collaboration with government bodies in the tourism sector to establish marketing offices for traveler destinations and oversee the strategies of these offices. Additionally, the regulations include setting visitation targets and allocating funds in a manner that enhances the involvement of the private sector in this endeavor.

As per the new regulation, the tourism authority is now mandated to undertake all measures essential for realizing its objectives, including formulating comprehensive plans and policies for tourism marketing within the Kingdom, domestically and internationally. 

Additionally, the regulation emphasizes the promotion and enhancement of destinations in collaboration with the Ministry of Tourism, as well as the support and marketing of activities and events organized by governmental bodies and the private sector.

Moreover, the authority is required to establish and maintain an up-to-date database encompassing all sites, tourist destinations, resorts, and services in collaboration with pertinent authorities. 

Moreover, it is tasked with conducting activities associated with promoting Umrah packages, which includes overseeing the development and management of any designated platform in coordination with relevant agencies. 

Additionally, the authority is mandated to assess visitor experiences, devise essential standards, tools, and mechanisms, identify tourist priorities and challenges, and subsequently share the findings and performance reports with the ministry.

The Umm Al-Qura statement added that the body should propose the necessary designs, policies, and procedures to prepare the development of tourist sites and destinations that need rehabilitation or modernization and submit them to the Ministry of Tourism, in addition to working with distinguished local and international companies and institutions, to provide products and tools with professional content, and to benefit from its expertise in tourism marketing in the Kingdom.

The source further stated that the STA is required to conduct marketing campaigns domestically and internationally to promote travel sites and products. This includes developing trademarks, registering them, and securing any intellectual property rights associated with tourism marketing under the authority’s name. The source emphasized that the body should also undertake any necessary actions related to these tasks and leverage them in accordance with pertinent rules.

The new regulation assigns the authority to develop and execute media plans to promote tourism domestically and globally. This includes organizing forums, conferences, and local and global exhibitions. 

Additionally, the body will offer administrative and technical support to tourism product owners, facilitate small and medium enterprises, and implement training programs to enhance marketing efficiency.

Furthermore, with an independent annual budget, the STA is responsible for overseeing promotional campaigns, proposing investment opportunities, and coordinating with relevant entities to enhance the travel experience. It will also collaborate with the Ministry of Tourism, government bodies, and the private sector to formulate marketing policies and ensure alignment with the national tourism strategy.