Dubai’s inflation moderates to 4.27% in October: official data

Dubai’s inflation moderates to 4.27% in October: official data
The report disclosed that the 4.27 percent inflation rate recorded in October is higher compared to the 3.81 percent in September 2023. Shutterstock
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Updated 23 November 2023
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Dubai’s inflation moderates to 4.27% in October: official data

Dubai’s inflation moderates to 4.27% in October: official data

RIYADH: Dubai’s inflation rate slightly eased to 4.27 percent in October, compared to 4.5 percent in the previous year, the official data showed.  

The report from the Dubai Statistics Center highlighted a 4.70 percent annual increase in transport expenses driven by rising petrol prices.
Meanwhile, expenses for insurance and financial services experienced a rise of 8.97 percent in October compared to the same month the previous year.
The report also highlighted a 6.07 percent year-on-year increase in housing, water, electricity, as well as gas and fuel prices.  

Additionally, food and beverage expenses saw a rise of 3.52 percent, while prices for restaurant and hotel services increased by 2.94 percent. 

Official data indicated a 5.78 percent decrease in tobacco product prices in October compared to the previous year. 

Additionally, the report disclosed that the 4.27 percent inflation rate recorded in October is higher compared to the 3.81 percent in September 2023. 

In August, Dubai’s inflation rate was 2.3 percent, while in July and June, it was 1 percent and 2 percent, respectively. 

Emirates NBD’s Senior Economist Jeanne Walters highlighted in an article that the increase in Dubai’s CPI represents the fastest rate of inflation since March. 

She stated: “The move was expected and entirely due to higher transport costs as petrol prices rose in October.”  

The monthly rise in inflation was attributed to a 2.67 percent increase in expenses for restaurants and hotel services.  

Meanwhile, housing, water and electricity prices experienced a 0.57 percent increase in October compared to the previous month. Additionally, gas and fuel prices also saw a similar rate of rise during the same period. 

“Inflation is likely to moderate again in November as petrol prices declined month on month, and we retain our forecast for average CPI at 3.5 percent this year, down from 4.7 percent in 2022,” Walters commented. 

In October, Jihad Azour, the International Monetary Fund’s director for the Middle East and Central Asia region, stated that inflation is gradually coming under control in the region.  

“The good news is inflation is getting under control, but it is peaking this year, and gradually will go down,” Azour told Reuters.  

The IMF anticipates economic growth in the MENA region to accelerate in 2024 after a slowdown in 2023. 


Saudi Arabia’s Tharwah to expand footprint with $13m proceeds from Nomu offering, CEO reveals 

Saudi Arabia’s Tharwah to expand footprint with $13m proceeds from Nomu offering, CEO reveals 
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Saudi Arabia’s Tharwah to expand footprint with $13m proceeds from Nomu offering, CEO reveals 

Saudi Arabia’s Tharwah to expand footprint with $13m proceeds from Nomu offering, CEO reveals 

RIYADH: Saudi-based human resources firm Tharwah is planning to use the anticipated SR50 million ($13 million) raised from its Nomu listing to fund its expansion plans, according to its CEO. 

In an interview with CNBC, Abdullah Al-Zahrani explained that company aims to allocate more than 80 percent of the proceeds to support its horizontal and vertical expansion in the Gulf region, noting that the company recently opened offices in the UAE and Egypt.

This follows Tadawul’s statement released earlier this month, in which Value Capital Co., in its capacity as the financial adviser and lead manager on the potential offering of Tharwah, announced the firm’s intention to present 705,735 ordinary shares, representing 15 percent of its offerings. It was also revealed that the company’s shares would be listed on Nomu.

This move falls in line with the firm’s goal to become a leading expert center in human capacity development by delivering best-in-class solutions that meet global standards while considering local understanding.

Al-Zahrani said it also aligns well with Saudi Arabia’s promising consulting market and the company’s consistent approach to the Kingdom’s Vision 2030.

During the interview, the CEO said that the company implemented over 90 projects with government agencies and the private sector, which was worth an accumulated SR150 million during the last period.

Al-Zahrani added that since the beginning of 2024, the volume of existing contracts has reached 30, totaling SR90 million.

It is anticipated that the company will grow by more than 20 percent this year.
 


Suez Canal revenue drops as some shippers shun Red Sea 

Suez Canal revenue drops as some shippers shun Red Sea 
Updated 53 min 33 sec ago
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Suez Canal revenue drops as some shippers shun Red Sea 

Suez Canal revenue drops as some shippers shun Red Sea 

RIYADH: The Suez Canal’s annual revenue dropped by almost a quarter in its latest financial year as some shippers switched to alternative routes to avoid attacks by Iran-aligned Houthis in the Red Sea. 

Osama Rabie, the head of the Egyptian canal’s authority said on Thursday revenues fell to $7.2 billion in its 2023-24 financial year from $9.4 billion the year before. 

Since November, the Houthis have been attacking commercial vessels in the Red Sea and Indian Ocean to show support for the Palestinian militant group Hamas in its fight against Israel. 

Rabie said the number of ships using the canal fell to 20,148 in 2023-24 from 25,911 the year before. 

The Suez Canal is a key source of foreign currency for Egypt, and authorities have been trying to boost its revenues in recent years, including via an expansion in 2015. 

The canal is vital for global trade, handling a large portion of goods like oil and gas, with its tolls and services crucial to Egypt’s income, supporting infrastructure, jobs, and economic stability. 

About 15 percent of world shipping traffic transits via the Suez Canal, the shortest shipping route between Europe and Asia. 

A statement issued by the Egyptian Cabinet in May revealed that the Suez Canal Economic Zone had secured 144 projects worth $3.2 billion between July 2023 and April 2024, down from $4.9 billion recorded between July 2022 and May 2023. 

This happened as there was a 50 percent drop in Suez Canal trade and a 32 percent decrease in trade through the Panama Canal during the first two months of 2024 compared to the previous year, as reported by the International Monetary Fund in a March blog post. 

At that time, Walid Gamal El-Din, chairman of the General Authority for the Suez Canal Economic Zone, disclosed that out of the 144 projects in its industrial zones and ports, 67 had received final approvals, with 77 securing initial approvals. 

He added that more than 25,000 direct and indirect job opportunities would be created upon the completion and operation of these projects. 

Furthermore, the chairman disclosed that the implementation rates of investment projects within the industrial zones had reached 77 percent, while those in ports had reached 71 percent. 

(With inputs from Reuters)
 


Real Estate Brokerage Law spurs 17% surge in Saudi property transactions, watchdog CEO reveals

Real Estate Brokerage Law spurs 17% surge in Saudi property transactions, watchdog CEO reveals
Updated 18 July 2024
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Real Estate Brokerage Law spurs 17% surge in Saudi property transactions, watchdog CEO reveals

Real Estate Brokerage Law spurs 17% surge in Saudi property transactions, watchdog CEO reveals

RIYADH: New regulations providing safeguards in Saudi Arabia’s real estate sector helped drive up residential and commercial property transactions by 17 percent within their first year, according to a senior official.

Speaking at the launch of the Real Estate Brokerage Forum, CEO of the Kingdom’s Real Estate General Authority Abdullah bin Saud Al-Hammad highlighted the positive outcomes in the sector since the law was enacted on June 29, 2022, which helped deliver SR605 billion ($161.2 billion) worth of deals within 12 months.

The new regulations mean the Real Estate General Authority is responsible for preparing mandatory contract forms, promoting brokerage and services, and defining marketing criteria as well as setting standards, and managing violations and complaints.

This law applies universally to individuals, partnerships, and corporate entities involved in estate brokerage activities.

The regulation is part of a drive to increase home ownership in Saudi Arabia, with the Kingdom aiming for a 70 percent rate by 2030.

Reflecting on the law's success, Al-Hammad added that residential transactions reached approximately 2.9 million, up 18 percent, while commercial transactions increased by 11 percent to 604,000, according to the Saudi Press Agency.

He went on to say that the real estate brokerage and services legislation provided extensive opportunities for innovation and development and played a pivotal role in the economic framework and real estate transactions. 

Furthermore, the Real Estate General Authority  registered around 219,000 real estate brokerage contracts and issued 35,255 individual brokerage licenses along with 19,735 licenses for corporate entities. 

It also licensed 52 real estate platforms, which contributed to removing over half a million unreliable property advertisements, according to the CEO.

The law ensures transparency and boosts the efficiency of real estate brokers through regulatory practices and defined responsibilities.

Al-Hammad said that the authority conducted 58 joint inspection campaigns with relevant entities, inspected over 34,000 public advertisements, and processed more than 67,000 electronic surveys and 9,100 reports, showcasing the rigorous oversight mechanisms in place.

He added that this forum edition is part of ongoing efforts to enhance real estate brokerage services and transactions, building a robust and advanced sector that contributes to economic growth and aligns with strategic aspirations. 

The event’s discussions focused on the impact, opportunities, and challenges posed by real estate platforms on the future of the market.


Oil Updates – prices rise on bigger-than-expected drop in US crude stocks

Oil Updates – prices rise on bigger-than-expected drop in US crude stocks
Updated 18 July 2024
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Oil Updates – prices rise on bigger-than-expected drop in US crude stocks

Oil Updates – prices rise on bigger-than-expected drop in US crude stocks

SINGAPORE: Oil prices extended gains from the previous session on Thursday, buoyed by a bigger-than-expected decline last week in crude stocks in the US, the world’s largest oil consumer, according to Reuters.

Brent futures rose 58 cents, or 0.7 percent, to $85.66 a barrel by 8:30 a.m. Saudi time, while US West Texas Intermediate crude gained 75 cents, or 0.9 percent, to $83.60.

Both contracts settled higher on Wednesday.

US crude inventories fell by 4.9 million barrels last week, the latest data from the US Energy Information Administration showed. That exceeds a decline of 30,000 barrels forecast by analysts in a Reuters poll and a drop of 4.4 million barrels in a report from the American Petroleum Institute trade group.

“Healthy demand signals from the US outweighs concerns from modest Chinese growth last week,” said Priyanka Sachdeva, senior market analyst at Phillip Nova.

“Hopes of a Fed easing, which can boost economic growth, and current summer travel in the US are ensuring enough traction in oil demand from the world’s largest economy,” Sachdeva said.

The prospects of cuts in interest rates in coming months in the both the US and Europe helped to support the market.

Federal Reserve officials said on Wednesday the US central bank is “closer” to cutting interest rates given inflation’s improved trajectory and a labor market in better balance, possibly setting the stage for a reduction in borrowing costs in September.

Also, US economic activity expanded at a slight to modest pace from late May through early July with firms expecting slower growth ahead.

The European Central Bank, meanwhile, is all but certain to keep interest rates unchanged on Thursday, but signalled that its next move is likely to be a cut.

Investors are also awaiting policy news from a key leadership gathering in China that is to end on Thursday.

The dollar eased on Thursday for a third straight session. A weaker dollar can boost demand for oil by making greenback-denominated commodities like oil cheaper for holders of other currencies. 


Saudi Aramco completes issuance of international bonds worth $6bn 

Saudi Aramco completes issuance of international bonds worth $6bn 
Updated 18 July 2024
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Saudi Aramco completes issuance of international bonds worth $6bn 

Saudi Aramco completes issuance of international bonds worth $6bn 
  • Oil firm taps market for the first time since 2021

RIYADH: Energy giant Saudi Aramco has completed the issuance of a $6 billion US dollar-denominated international bond, marking the state oil firm’s return to the debt market after a hiatus of three years.  

In a Tadawul statement, the company revealed that the offerings, which began on July 9 under the firm’s Global Medium Term Note program, will be traded on the London Stock Exchange. 

The last time Aramco tapped the debt market was in 2021 when it raised $6 billion from a three-tranche sukuk, also known as an Islamic bond. 

Governments and companies operating in the Middle East region have been eager to leverage debt markets this year amidst declining global interest rates. As part of this trend, Saudi Arabia issued $12 billion in dollar-denominated bonds in January. 

Aramco Executive Vice President of Finance and Chief Financial Officer Ziad T. Al-Murshed, said: “We are pleased with the strong interest and level of engagement from investors globally, both existing and new. Our order book exceeded $33 billion at its peak, reflecting Aramco’s exceptional financial resilience and fortress balance sheet.”  

He added: “Achieving a negative issue premium across all tranches is a testament to our unique credit proposition. We have consistently demonstrated our financial discipline, while delivering on shareholder value and business growth, and we aim to maintain a strong investment-grade credit rating across business cycles.” 

Aramco disclosed that the bonds will have a minimum subscription of $200,000. 

These financial instruments have three $2 billion senior notes, which are expected to provide a yield of 5.25 percent, 5.75 percent, and 5.87 percent for bonds maturing in 10, 30, and 40 years, respectively.  

This follows a comment made by Al-Murshed in February that the company could potentially issue longer-term bonds of up to 50 years and might offer these financial instruments in 2024 as market conditions improve. 

“We’re always prioritizing longer term over short term. The timeframe I don’t want to give you exactly but it’s not very far away. Likely in 2024,” said Al-Murshed at that time.  

The company revealed that the latest offering was more than six times oversubscribed, based on the initial targeted size of $5 billion. 

Aramco added that the transaction received strong demand from a diverse base of investment-grade-focused institutional investors, with all three tranches favorably priced with a negative new issue premium, reflecting the company’s strong credit profile. 

Aramco, in the latest statement, said that the bonds will be issued in accordance with Rule 144A/Reg S offering requirements under the US Securities Act of 1933, as amended.  

This security act aims to ensure that investors have financial and other important information about securities that are being sold publicly.  

The company further noted that the issuance also complies with the stabilization rules of the Financial Conduct Authority and the International Capital Market Association.  

The bonds offer various redemption options at maturity, upon an event of default, or for tax reasons, including the issuer’s call, maturity par call, and make-whole call. 

In June, Aramco also sold over $10 billion worth of shares in its second public offering. The 1.55 billion shares on offer represented 0.64 percent of the company’s issued shares.