Oil Updates – crude rebounds from six-month-low but demand concerns linger

Oil Updates – crude rebounds from six-month-low but demand concerns linger
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Updated 07 December 2023
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Oil Updates – crude rebounds from six-month-low but demand concerns linger

Oil Updates – crude rebounds from six-month-low but demand concerns linger

BEIJING/SINGAPORE: Oil prices reclaimed some ground on Thursday after tumbling to a six-month low in the previous session but investors remained concerned about sluggish demand and economic slowdowns in the US and China, according to Reuters.

Brent crude futures rose 27 cents, or 0.4 percent, to $74.56 a barrel by 9:13 a.m. Saudi time. US West Texas Intermediate crude futures rose 24 cents, also 0.4 percent, to $69.62 a barrel.

“Oil markets may have been oversold,” which could mean the recovery is a “short-term rebound,” Tina Teng, a markets analyst with CMC Markets, said in a note.

In the previous session, the market was spooked by data showing US output remains near record highs even though inventories fell, analysts at ANZ said in a note.

Some of the bearishness was also a result of higher product fuel inventories, the ANZ analysts said.

Gasoline stocks rose by 5.4 million barrels in the week to 223.6 million barrels, the Energy Information Administration said on Wednesday, far exceeding expectations for a 1 million-barrel build.

For the first time in a year, the market structure for Brent contracts switched to trade in contango, with contracts for near-term delivery cheaper than six months later . WTI contracts have also switched to trade in contango over six months out.

A market moving back into contango suggests there is less worry about the current supply situation and encourages traders to put barrels in storage.

Oil prices have fallen by about 10 percent since the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies, together called OPEC+, announced a combined 2.2 million barrels per day voluntary output cuts.

“Oil markets seem to completely sideline producer’s cartel maneuvers aimed at keeping oil prices elevated,” said Priyanka Sachdeva, analyst from Phillip Nova, in a note.

“The sign of easing inflation is (also) feeding into fears of a global economic slowdown and in turn dented demand for fuel globally,” Sachdeva said.

A Reuters survey found that OPEC oil output fell in November in the first monthly drop since July, as a result of lower shipments by Nigeria and Iraq as well as ongoing market-supporting cuts by Saudi Arabia and other members of the wider OPEC+ alliance.

Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman met to discuss further oil price cooperation on Wednesday as members of OPEC+, which may strengthen the market’s confidence in the impact of output cuts.

Kuwait and Algeria also reaffirmed their support and commitment to the voluntary cuts.

Russia has pledged to disclose more data about the volume of its fuel refining and exports after OPEC+ asked Moscow for more transparency on classified fuel shipments from the many export points across the country, sources at OPEC+ and ship-tracking firms told Reuters.

Concerns about China’s economy also put a lid on oil’s price gains. Chinese customs data showed that crude oil imports in November fell 9 percent from a year earlier, as high inventory levels, weak economic indicators and slowing orders from independent refiners weakened demand.

While China’s total imports dropped on a monthly basis, exports grew for the first time in six months in November, suggesting the manufacturing sector may be beginning to benefit from an uptick in global trade flows.

Ratings agency Moody’s put Hong Kong, Macau and swathes of China’s state-owned firms and banks on downgrade warnings on Wednesday, just one day after it put a downgrade warning on China’s sovereign credit rating.


NHC signs deals to revolutionize Saudi real estate sector with innovative technologies

NHC signs deals to revolutionize Saudi real estate sector with innovative technologies
Updated 59 min 40 sec ago
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NHC signs deals to revolutionize Saudi real estate sector with innovative technologies

NHC signs deals to revolutionize Saudi real estate sector with innovative technologies

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s National Housing Co. signed two agreements at LEAP 2024, aiming to support real estate activities in the Kingdom by crafting unique business intelligence solutions.

The deal were signed with data science company Quant and Paseetah Tech Solutions to empower technologies in the real estate market to enhance services provided to customers interested in making investments, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

The chief of solutions sector, Rayan Al-Aql, represented the National Housing Co. in signing the agreement, while Quant CEO Ahmed Bukhamseen and Omar Al-Omar, CEO of Paseetah Tech Solutions, represented their respective companies.

The agreements aim to enable modern technologies in the real estate sector by leveraging information owned by the NHC to contribute to creating unique solutions serving the market.

This includes generating more accurate real estate analytics, supporting innovation in data analysis, and creating real estate indicators that enhance the market’s reliance on data in property decisions. This facilitates informed decision-making for investors and buyers, the SPA reported.

NHC is showcasing its services and technological achievements at the LEAP conference currently underway in Riyadh. 

These achievements have benefited over 10 million people across eight government digital platforms. 

The company has also documented more than 9 million residential and commercial lease contracts, achieved over 6.5 million downloads for the “Sakani” application, operated and developed the “Balady” platform under the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs and Housing, among other technological accomplishments associated with the digital platforms operated and developed by the NHC.

Earlier in February, the National Housing Co. announced that it would build a total of 3,800 homes after forging six partnership agreements worth SR2 billion ($533 million). 

These deals, which were signed with several real estate developers, aim to build residential units in the Riyadh southwestern community of Al-Asalah, with prices starting from SR475,000, according to the Saudi Press Agency. 

SPA added that this initiative is part of a comprehensive program of urban development spearheaded by the NHC aiming to revolutionize the housing landscape by introducing innovative concepts and integrated services, ultimately enhancing the quality of life across all sectors of society.


Saudi Arabia named ‘most improved country overall’ in US Chamber of Commerce IP Index

Saudi Arabia named ‘most improved country overall’ in US Chamber of Commerce IP Index
Updated 04 March 2024
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Saudi Arabia named ‘most improved country overall’ in US Chamber of Commerce IP Index

Saudi Arabia named ‘most improved country overall’ in US Chamber of Commerce IP Index

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has received recognition as “the most improved country overall” in the 12th edition of the US Chamber of Commerce International Intellectual Property Index. 

Released on March 2, the report emphasizes the several achievements of the Kingdom, with Vice President of Middle East Affairs at the US Chamber of Commerce Steve Lutes telling Arab News that Saudi Arabia has made significant strides in the technology sector over the past year.

“Specifically, I think this year the Kingdom did sign on to some important international treaties and they’ve made some other progress on both the enforcement side and some other of the indicators,” Lutes said on the sidelines of the LEAP 2024 conference.

“The Kingdom moving up in ranking gives more confidence to investors,” he added. 

Lutes went on to say that the body aims to encourage partnerships with the business community, government, and academia in Saudi Arabia to drive the establishment of a diversified, knowledge-based economy aligned with Vision 2030.

The US Chamber of Commerce considers over 50 indices when ranking countries, Lutes added. 

“Some of this looks very marginal. But really, when you think about it from an economic perspective, these are very important drivers because these are the sorts of things that companies look at. Is my IP going to be safe? Is it going to be protected? Are rules going to be enforced? And that’s where you get the investment in value and innovation,” said the vice-president.

The Kingdom allocates a total of $2 million across all funding rounds dedicated to artificial intelligence companies and over $3 billion proportional to gross domestic product with a ranking position of 31 in the Global AI index.

“We’ve been looking at this as governments around the globe start to grapple with the regulatory frameworks for artificial intelligence. The Chamber commissioned a report that was largely targeted toward a domestic audience and had some policy recommendations in that,” said Lutes.

A report by the European Centre for International Political Economy and the US Chamber of Commerce, titled “The Opportunity of Artificial Intelligence: Boosting Productivity and Growth in Saudi Arabia,” will be released in March.

The study will include a breakdown covering the benefits of AI for the Kingdom, endowments and digital industry structures, and AI policies going forward. 

“It has some sector-by-sector analysis where we think it can be the most impactful. In my mind, though, the biggest message is for policymakers,” Lutes said, adding: “One of those is investing, for example, in human capital. You have to have the workforce that’s ready to take on these technologies and bring it to government processes, to business processes and see it diffuse. So, when it comes to the sectors, I think, you know, healthcare and education are two that are highlighted in particular as having the most upside.”

Lutes added this is his first time attending LEAP, which is now in its third edition, and the Chamber has been collaborating with the Ministry of Communications and the Saudi Authority for Data and Artificial Intelligence. 

“We are at the LEAP Conference and IP is so fundamental to that. So, kudos to the Kingdom this year. And I guess our message is let’s not rest on our laurels. Let’s continue to work together to see if we can continue to see the Kingdom climb in that index as well,” he concluded. 

LEAP, held in Riyadh from March 4-7, is an annual premier tech event founded in 2022 by the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology. It convenes leading professionals from the sector to deliberate on the industry’s future and the innovative opportunities ahead.


Riyadh forum explores Saudi-Brazil business, trade ties

Riyadh forum explores Saudi-Brazil business, trade ties
Updated 04 March 2024
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Riyadh forum explores Saudi-Brazil business, trade ties

Riyadh forum explores Saudi-Brazil business, trade ties
  • South American country ‘an important trading partner’ for the Kingdom, says envoy
  • Joint council launched after Brazilian president’s visit late last year

LONDON: The Saudi-Brazilian Business Forum in Riyadh was attended by more than 150 investors from both countries on Monday, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

The event, hosted by the Federation of Saudi Chambers and Brazil’s Lide Group, aimed to improve business and trade ties.

Dr. Faisal Ghulam, Saudi ambassador to Brazil, delivered a speech at the forum in which he praised the strong economic relations between the two countries built over 55 years.

He described Brazil as “an important trading partner” for the Kingdom. Annual trade between the two countries stands at $8 billion.

Ghulam lauded the establishment of a Saudi-Brazilian coordination council following President Lula da Silva’s visit to the Kingdom late last year.

Saudi Vision 2030 is providing Brazilian investors with significant opportunities, paving the way for improved trade ties, said Luiz Fernando Furlan, chairman of Lide’s board.

The newly established council will “work to advance the partnership, overcome challenges, and facilitate visas for the business communities from the two countries,” said its Chairman Mishal bin Hithlain.

Lide chief Joao Doria called on the Brazilian business community to explore the “great investment opportunities” available in the Kingdom through Vision 2030.

The forum covered key sectors at the heart of trade between the two countries, including aviation, energy, logistics, mining, agriculture, real estate and healthcare. It was the first event hosted by Lide after the firm opened offices in Riyadh.

The company’s Saudi representative, Malik Al-Qahtani, pledged to serve the business sectors of both countries and improve the ease of operations for Saudi and Brazilian investors.


Saudi aviation professions localization plan enters 2nd phase

Saudi aviation professions localization plan enters 2nd phase
Updated 04 March 2024
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Saudi aviation professions localization plan enters 2nd phase

Saudi aviation professions localization plan enters 2nd phase

RIYADH: The number of Saudi flight attendants and fixed-wing pilots is set to increase as the localization plan for the Kingdom’s aviation sector enters its second phase.

The Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development, in collaboration with the Ministry of Transport and Logistic Services, has announced the implementation of the second phase of localizing licensed aviation professions in private sector establishments employing five or more individuals in targeted aviation professions.

In the second phase, the HRSD has specified the professions targeted, setting a 60 percent target for flight attendants and a 70 percent ratio for fixed-wing pilots, contingent on employees in the aviation professions obtaining the professional accreditation certificate from the General Authority of Civil Aviation.

The Ministry of Transport has reiterated its commitment to overseeing the implementation of the program’s second phase. It aims to enable private sector establishments to leverage all support and employment programs offered by the Human Resources and Social Development System to aid in the recruitment and retention of national talent.

The HRSD has issued procedural guidelines explaining the details of the decision, its implementation, and the support and employment programs provided to private sector establishments.

Speaking to Arab News on the sidelines of the Saudi Airport Exhibition, held at the Riyadh International Convention and Exhibition Center in December 2023, Mervat Sultan, president of the Women in Aviation Middle East Chapter, noted a significant boom, with an increase in airports, establishment of new airlines, and a rising number of tourists. 

She added that the aviation industry in Saudi Arabia is “becoming bigger and bigger and would be leading the industry in the next 20 years.”

In 2022, Ahmed Al-Rajhi, minister of HRSD, issued a notification nationalizing a number of professions and economic activities — including licensed aviation professions, opticians, and periodic inspection activity, as well as postal service outlets and more. 

The decision to localize licensed aviation professions was announced to be implemented in two phases. The first one became effective on March 15, 2023.

In line with its Vision 2030, Saudi Arabia is undertaking an ambitious initiative to empower its citizens and boost their global competitiveness. 


Closing Bell: Saudi main index slips to close at 12,434 

Closing Bell: Saudi main index slips to close at 12,434 
Updated 04 March 2024
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Closing Bell: Saudi main index slips to close at 12,434 

Closing Bell: Saudi main index slips to close at 12,434 

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Tadawul All Share Index slipped on Monday, losing 120.61 points, or 0.96 percent, to close at 12,434.59. 

The total trading turnover of the benchmark index was SR10.50 billion ($2.80 billion) as 43 of the listed stocks advanced, while 180 retreated.  

Similarly, the MSCI Tadawul Index decreased by 17.59 points, or 1.09 percent, to close at 1,592.03. 

Also, the Kingdom’s parallel market Nomu slipped, losing 515.71 points, or 1.91 percent, to close at 26,446.68. This comes as 16 of the listed stocks advanced, while 47 retreated. 

The best-performing stock of the day was Al-Baha Investment and Development Co., with an increase of 7.14 percent in its share price, reaching SR0.15. 

Other top performers include Saudi Steel Pipe Co. and ACWA Power, whose share prices soared by 5.74 percent and 5.41 percent, to stand at SR57.10 and SR276.80, respectively. 

In addition to this, other notable performers included Saudi Ceramic Co. and SAL Saudi Logistics Services Co. 

On the contrary, the day’s least favorable performer was Seera Group Holding, witnessing a 9.91 percent decline in its share price to SR29.55. 

Furthermore, Alkhaleej Training and Education Co. and AYYAN Investment Co. were among the weakest performers, experiencing drops of 9.88 percent and 7.56 percent, settling at SR33.75 and SR26.90, respectively. 

Moreover, other weak performers also included Mobile Telecommunication Co. Saudi Arabia and Maharah Human Resources Co. 

On the announcements front, Al Rajhi Bank disclosed its plan to issue sustainable sukuk in US dollars, as per its statement on Tadawul. The issuance, under the revised international sukuk program, will be facilitated through a special purpose company and extended to qualified investors globally. 

According to the statement, the value and terms of the sustainable sukuk offering will be determined based on market conditions, to meet the bank’s financial and strategic objectives within the framework of its sustainability financing.