Saudi Arabia and China sign currency swap agreement worth $6.9bn

Saudi Arabia and China sign currency swap agreement worth $6.9bn
The Saudi Central Bank noted that the new deal will help strengthen financial cooperation, promote the use of local currencies, and strengthen trade and investments between Saudi Arabia and China. File
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Updated 20 November 2023
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Saudi Arabia and China sign currency swap agreement worth $6.9bn

Saudi Arabia and China sign currency swap agreement worth $6.9bn

RIYADH: The Saudi Central Bank, also known as SAMA, and the People’s Bank of China have signed a local currency swap agreement worth SR26 billion ($6.93 billion) as collaboration between the countries continues to strengthen.

According to SAMA, the three-year agreement “has been established in the context of financial cooperation between the Saudi Central Bank and the People’s Bank of China.”

A separate media release issued by China’s central bank highlighted that the mutual agreement could extend the swap agreement beyond three years.

The bank also noted that the new deal will help strengthen financial cooperation between Saudi Arabia and China, promote the use of local currencies, and strengthen trade and investments between the countries.

Currency swap agreements are financial contracts between two nations to exchange a predetermined amount of one currency for an equivalent value in another currency.

The Kingdom, one of the world’s largest oil exporters, has recently strengthened trade relations with China beyond hydrocarbons.

In August, a report released by the General Authority for Statistics revealed that the Kingdom’s exports to China reached SR13.7 billion ($51.3 billion), making the Asian giant its primary trading partner.

The Kingdom’s imports from China touched SR11.8 billion in the same month.

In September, Saudi Arabia and China signed a memorandum of understanding to exchange expertise in modern transport systems, including high-tech methods to enhance roads, build autonomous vehicles, and improve shipping and the running of ports.

In the same month, to strengthen the tourism relationship between nations, Saudi Arabia was officially granted Approved Destination Status by China, allowing Chinese citizens to travel to the Kingdom on group tours.

The agreement is expected to boost connectivity between countries and open opportunities across the tourism sector.

In October, Saudi Arabia’s Literature, Publishing, and Translation Commission partnered with China’s National Press and Publishing Administration to promote literary translation.

Under this deal, both nations will work together to strengthen cultural ties, enhance content exchange and reinforce literary cooperation.


Saudi Arabia offers tax incentives for companies moving regional HQs to Riyadh

Saudi Arabia offers tax incentives for companies moving regional HQs to Riyadh
Updated 05 December 2023
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Saudi Arabia offers tax incentives for companies moving regional HQs to Riyadh

Saudi Arabia offers tax incentives for companies moving regional HQs to Riyadh

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia said on Tuesday it will offer tax incentives for foreign companies that locate their regional headquarters in the Kingdom, including a 30-year exemption for corporate income tax.

The tax incentives include zero income tax for foreign entities that move their regional headquarters in the Kingdom, and these benefits can be availed from the date of the regional headquarters issuance license, according to Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Investment. 

Saudi Arabia’s program to attract foreign companies to open their regional headquarters in the Kingdom is a joint initiative between the Ministry of Investment and the Royal Commission for Riyadh City. 

The regional headquarters program aims to encourage international companies to open their regional headquarters in the Middle East and North Africa region in Saudi Arabia, and to materialize that the Kingdom is offering a wide range of benefits and incentives. 

Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Investment Khalid Al Falih said that Saudi Arabia is offering more incentives to foreign companies which open their regional headquarters in the Kingdom which includes special benefits for firms complying with Saudization requirements. 

He added that the friendly business environment in Saudi Arabia has made over 200 companies relocate their headquarters to the Kingdom. 

Saudi Finance Minister Mohammed Al-Jadaan said: “The new tax exemptions, granted on the activities of regional headquarters of international companies in the Kingdom will give these firms more clarity of vision and stability, which will enhance their capabilities for future planning and expanding their business in the region, starting from the Kingdom,” Al-Ekhbariya reported. 

Earlier in November, Al-Falih said that Saudi Arabia has already surpassed the targets of the regional headquarters program which aimed to attract 160 international firms by the end of this year. 

In an interview with Bloomberg, Al-Falih noted that the regional headquarters program is a long journey and added that the Kingdom is working with international entities to create the right ecosystem to open their offices in Saudi Arabia. 

Some of the noted companies that opened their regional headquarters in Saudi Arabia in recent months are PwC Middle East and GE Healthcare. 

He also added that Saudi Arabia is a stable destination for international investors, at a time of geopolitical tensions and economic headwinds. 


Riyadh, Doha sign multiple deals across various sectors

Riyadh, Doha sign multiple deals across various sectors
Updated 05 December 2023
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Riyadh, Doha sign multiple deals across various sectors

Riyadh, Doha sign multiple deals across various sectors

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia and Qatar have signed multiple agreements and memorandums of understanding as both nations continue to strengthen their relationship. 

These deals, which are expected to enhance trade and economic relationships between Saudi Arabia and Qatar, were signed during the 44th Gulf Cooperation Council Summit in Doha on Tuesday. 

Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund and the Qatar Investment Authority signed an MoU to accelerate investments in the energy and infrastructure sector, according to a report by the Qatar News Agency.

Another MoU was signed between Saudi Arabia’s Digital Government Authority and Qatar’s Ministry of Communications and Information Technology to promote cooperation between the two nations in the field of digital governance. 

Saudi Arabia’s Prince Saud Al-Faisal Institute for Diplomatic Studies signed an additional MoU with Qatar’s Diplomatic Institute of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to cooperate in the field of diplomatic training. 

The Saudi Central Bank, also known as SAMA, signed an MoU with its counterpart in Qatar for cooperation between financial institutions. 

Another agreement was signed between the Saudi Authority for Intellectual Property and Qatar’s Ministry of Commerce and Industry to further collaborate in the field of intellectual property. 

An additional cooperation agreement was signed between the Saudi Broadcasting Authority and Qatar Media Corporation to develop relations in the radio and television industries. 

The two countries also signed a memorandum of understanding for cooperation in the fields of sports. 

On Dec.4, foreign ministers of Qatar and Saudi Arabia held a meeting in Doha to develop bilateral relations. 

“Today we held the first meeting of the executive committee of the Qatari-Saudi Coordination Council in Doha, where we discussed ways to develop bilateral relations within the framework of the executive committee,” said Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, who is also the country’s prime minister. 

During the meeting, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan and Al-Thani discussed ways to deepen cooperation in areas of mutual interest. 


COP28 president hails global leaders’ practical initiatives at final dialogue

COP28 president hails global leaders’ practical initiatives at final dialogue
Updated 05 December 2023
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COP28 president hails global leaders’ practical initiatives at final dialogue

COP28 president hails global leaders’ practical initiatives at final dialogue

RIYADH: COP28 President Sultan Al-Jaber has applauded world leaders for their practical initiatives during the final dialogue, expressing optimism for the continued “open mindset” throughout the remainder of COP.  

This comes as high-level dialogues between the COP28 Presidency and the International Energy Agency received a strong endorsement of practical actions. 

The conclusion of the dialogues, co-chaired by Al-Jaber and the executive director of the IEA, Fatih Birol, marked a significant achievement, bringing together over 40 high-level leaders, including four heads of state and 18 heads of delegation and ministers from diverse regions.  

Al-Jaber said: “I am encouraged by the practical actions brought forward by world leaders today at the final dialogue, and I hope that you take this open mindset and optimism throughout this COP.” 

Addressing the significance of the dialogues, Al-Jaber emphasized the need for collaboration, stating: “This series of dialogues has allowed us to converge on the critical elements of the just energy transition. The transition will not be straightforward, but it will be harder if we cannot agree on its central components.”  

Birol echoed this sentiment, expressing satisfaction at the alignment and support for the IEA’s five goals for COP28.  

These goals include tripling renewable capacity and doubling energy efficiency by 2030, a structured decline in fossil fuel use, commitment from the oil and gas industry to align with 1.5 degrees, and financing mechanisms for clean energy in developing countries. 

The leaders showed strong support for the COP28 presidency’s Global Renewables and Energy Efficiency Pledge, with over 110 countries signing up to the initiative.   

Urgency on the coal front emerged as a key consensus, with a focus not only on preventing new unabated coal plants but also on accelerating the retirement of existing facilities. 

As the final dialogue unfolded during the World Climate Action Summit as part of COP28 in Dubai, heads of state, government leaders, and international organizations convened to solidify their commitment to an orderly energy transition.  

Al-Jaber urged participants to carry the open mind and optimism demonstrated during the final dialogue throughout COP28, reinforcing the importance of collective action in addressing the pressing challenges of our time.  

This positive momentum sets the stage for further deliberations and collaborative efforts at COP28 UAE, hosted at Expo City Dubai till Dec. 12. 


Global Leadership Summit: Top decision-makers discuss real estate trends in Riyadh

Global Leadership Summit: Top decision-makers discuss real estate trends in Riyadh
Updated 05 December 2023
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Global Leadership Summit: Top decision-makers discuss real estate trends in Riyadh

Global Leadership Summit: Top decision-makers discuss real estate trends in Riyadh

RIYADH: Real estate leaders and decision-makers from over 110 countries have assembled in Riyadh to exchange knowledge, share best practices, and explore the latest domestic and international developments in the sector.

The International Real Estate Federation’s 42nd edition of the Global Leadership Summit brought together over 30 speakers under the theme “Resilience for Growth,” featuring high-level sessions with keynote presentations and roundtables addressing critical issues affecting the industry.   

Endorsed by FIABCI and organized by the Eyes of Cities, the event is scheduled to run from Dec. 4 to 7 in Riyadh.

Saudi Minister of Municipal and Rural Affairs and Housing Majel Al-Hogail used his address to the gatherting to highlight the Kingdom’s pioneering real estate initiatives.

“In Saudi Arabia, we are working to develop two segments. We aim to develop our human (capital) and our real estate. Humans are the building blocks for a great nation and transformation,” Al-Hogail said. 

He further explained that the Kingdom’s human capital serves as a catalyst for the ongoing development and initiatives reshaping the economy. 

“In the heart of this transformation, the Kingdom witnesses a flourishing real estate sector across different projects anticipated on a global level,” the minister added.  

Al-Hogail emphasized that the Kingdom’s ongoing transformative agenda, Vision 2030, is already underway, thanks to grand real estate projects like NEOM, the Line, and Oxagon. 

Furthermore, Mohammad Al-Suliman, the CEO of Saudi Arabia’s Real Estate Registry, highlighted Vision 2030’s impact on the Kingdom’s sector. 

“Vision 2030 is mapping a new era of real estate, which can be navigated by elevating home ownership, achieving investment attractiveness, streamlining digital services, and securing investments,” Al-Suliman said during the event.  

Moreover, Abdullah Al-Hammad, CEO of Saudi Arabia’s Real Estate General Authority, shed light on the Kingdom’s approach to boosting its property industry. 

“The Kingdom’s real estate sector holds immense potential, supported by robust legislation and governmental support. This framework, along with the sector’s ability to promptly address challenges, makes it highly promising,” Al-Hammad said.  

During the discussion, other international leaders, including Budiarsa Sastrawinata, the president of FIABCI, highlighted the significant impact of real estate on national development. 

Sastrawinata further applauded the Kingdom’s developments and its hosting of such an event, which is set to bolster investment opportunities and prosperity in the sector. 

Tony Blair, former UK prime minister and founder of the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change, also highlighted the Kingdom’s developments. 

“Saudi Arabia can become a demonstration of what strong leadership with a clear sense of direction can achieve. The developments here show the potential for real change,” Blair said during the event.  


Closing Bell: Saudi main index loses 48 points to close at 11,144 

Closing Bell: Saudi main index loses 48 points to close at 11,144 
Updated 05 December 2023
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Closing Bell: Saudi main index loses 48 points to close at 11,144 

Closing Bell: Saudi main index loses 48 points to close at 11,144 

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Tadawul All Share Index turned red on Tuesday, as it shed 47.56 points, or 0.42 percent, to close at 11,143.83.  

The total trading turnover of the benchmark index was SR5.86 billion ($1.56 billion) as 98 of the stocks advanced, while 119 declined.  

The Kingdom’s parallel market, Nomu, also slipped with the index shedding 97.22 points to close at 24,003.59.  

The MSCI Tadawul Index edged down by 0.46 percent to close at 1,433.85.  

The top performers on the main index were mainly insurance firms, with the best-performing stock being Saudi Enaya Cooperative Insurance Co. The company’s share price soared by 9.90 percent to SR15.32. 

Other top performers on the main index were LIVA Insurance Co. and Amana Cooperative Insurance Co. whose share prices surged by 8.56 percent and 8.32 percent, respectively.  

The worst performer of the day was Development Works Food Co., as its share price tumbled by 9.79 percent to SR118.  

Meanwhile, the share price of Riyadh Cement Co., which started its trading on the main market today, went up by 0.14 percent to SR34.85.  

The best performers on the parallel market were Naseej for Technology Co. and Bena Steel Industries Co. whose share prices edged up by 11.86 percent and 8.78 percent, respectively.  

On the announcements front, KEIR International Co. said it has signed a 21-month contract worth SR48 million with National Grid SA to connect Al-Aridh Bulk Supply Point with the 132-kilovolt network in Riyadh.  

According to a Tadawul statement, KEIR International will carry out tasks related to high-voltage 132 kV underground cable installation, station protection, communications, and the implementation of remote-control systems.  

The company further noted that the financial impact of this deal will be visible from the first quarter of 2024 until the fourth quarter of 2025.  

KEIR International added that there are no related parties to the deal.