NEOM Completes Deals Worth $8.4 Bln on World's Largest Carbon-Free Hydrogen Plant

NEOM Green Hydrogen Company (NGHC) announced that it has now completed financial deals on the world's largest green hydrogen production facility, with a total investment value of USD 8.4 billion. (SPA)
NEOM Green Hydrogen Company (NGHC) announced that it has now completed financial deals on the world's largest green hydrogen production facility, with a total investment value of USD 8.4 billion. (SPA)
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NEOM Completes Deals Worth $8.4 Bln on World's Largest Carbon-Free Hydrogen Plant

NEOM Green Hydrogen Company (NGHC) announced that it has now completed financial deals on the world's largest green hydrogen production facility, with a total investment value of USD 8.4 billion. (SPA)
NEOM Green Hydrogen Company (NGHC) announced that it has now completed financial deals on the world's largest green hydrogen production facility, with a total investment value of USD 8.4 billion. (SPA)

NEOM Green Hydrogen Company (NGHC) announced on Monday that following signing financial documents with 23 local, regional, and international banks and investment firms, it has now completed financial deals on the world's largest green hydrogen production facility, with a total investment value of USD 8.4 billion.

The plant is currently being built at Oxagon, in Saudi Arabia's NEOM region. NGHC has concluded the engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) agreement with Air Products as the nominated contractor and system integrator for the entire facility.

Additionally, NGHC announced that the non-recourse financing structured for the project has been certified by S&P Global (as the second-party opinion provider) as adhering to green loan principles and is one of the largest project financings put in place under the green loan framework. Air Products has already awarded major contracts to various technology and construction partners.

NGHC also secured an exclusive 30-year off-take agreement with Air Products for all the green ammonia produced at the facility, which will unlock the economic potential of renewable energy across the entire value chain.

An equal joint venture between ACWA Power, Air Products, and NEOM, NGHC's mega-plant will integrate up to 4GW of solar and wind energy to produce up to 600 tons per day of carbon-free hydrogen by the end of 2026, in the form of green-ammonia as a cost-effective solution for the global transportation and industrial sectors.

NEOM Chief Executive Officer and NGHC Chairman Nadhmi Al-Nasr said: "This substantial financial backing from the investment community shows the unmatched potential of NGHC's green hydrogen project. With the financial close announced today, we are taking a massive leap towards opening the plant, in line with NEOM's vision to accelerate renewable solutions."

"At scale, this project is the first-of-its-kind internationally, leading the world in the hydrogen revolution. Harnessing the energy of NEOM's abundant natural resources, NGHC's project will pave the way for the large-scale adoption of green hydrogen while driving Saudi Vision 2030's sustainable development goals," he added.

Chief Executive Officer of NGHC, David R. Edmondson said: "I'm excited to announce that NGHC, together with our three partners ACWA Power, Air Products, and NEOM, has achieved another significant milestone in our project by achieving financial close on the world's largest green hydrogen plant with 23 banks and investment firms."

"This is a historic moment as we drive large-scale adoption of green hydrogen as the clean solution to the world's growing energy demands. This has enabled us to also conclude the EPC agreements with Air Products for a value of USD 6.7 billion," he stressed.

"Today, we are already well underway building the world's largest facility to produce green hydrogen at scale, with production scheduled to begin by the end of 2026," he said.

"We are grateful for the significant support and commitment of our shareholders and the investment community to achieve project financing at this scale and look forward to leading the charge on the global transition to a carbon-free future," he added.

Air Products Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Seifi Ghasemi added: "Air Products is proud to be shaping the future of energy with first-mover projects like this one, providing clean hydrogen to the world in a sustainable way."

"Air Products is the exclusive off-taker and will absorb the full production volume of the green hydrogen produced in the form of green ammonia at the NGHC facility to serve global mobility and industrial markets. Producing and exporting green ammonia supports the decarbonization of these heavy-duty transportation and industrial sectors and will save the world about 5 million tons of carbon dioxide per year."

"As the primary EPC contractor and system integrator for the facility, we are proud of the significant progress made with engineering and have awarded all major subcontracts for the project. Land preparation is also complete, construction is well underway, and the joint-venture team is in place and actively executing to bring green energy to the world by the end of 2026," he stated.

ACWA Power Chairman Mohammad Abunayyan, added: "As an energy transition leader and Saudi national champion, ACWA Power is proud to support and facilitate the successful financial close of this iconic green hydrogen project, marking our continued commitment alongside our partners to Saudi Arabia's Vision 2030."

"We have a proven track record of leveraging innovative solutions and advanced technology to deliver clean, sustainable power at the lowest cost. With the combined experience of our global utility scale renewable projects and innovative partners, we are making rapid strides towards the development of NGHC's giga-scale plant, integrating up to 4GW of renewable power from solar and wind energy to supply green hydrogen to global markets at scale," he remarked.

"This is a significant step forward in our shared purpose to accelerate the shift to clean energy and support the Kingdom's decarbonization goal," he said.

NGHC's financial agreements were concluded through a diverse mix of local, regional, and international banks and financial institutions, along-with a Euler Hermes tranche with no fewer than 23 institutions investing in the project in Oxagon.

In January, Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources awarded its first industrial operating license to NGHC, paving the way for the Kingdom to become the world's leading hydrogen producer, while maintaining its position as a key player in the energy sector.



Saudi Arabia Extends Voluntary Oil Cut

The Kingdom’s production will be approximately nine million barrels per day until the end of March 2024.  (Asharq Al-Awsat)
The Kingdom’s production will be approximately nine million barrels per day until the end of March 2024. (Asharq Al-Awsat)
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Saudi Arabia Extends Voluntary Oil Cut

The Kingdom’s production will be approximately nine million barrels per day until the end of March 2024.  (Asharq Al-Awsat)
The Kingdom’s production will be approximately nine million barrels per day until the end of March 2024. (Asharq Al-Awsat)

Saudi Arabia will extend a cut in the amount of oil it sends to the world, an official source from the Ministry of Energy said Thursday.

The source said that the voluntary cut of one million barrels per day, which was implemented in July 2023, will stay in place through the first three months of next year.

Therefore, the Kingdom’s production will be approximately nine million barrels per day until the end of March 2024. Afterwards, in order to support market stability, these additional cut volumes will be returned gradually subject to market conditions, the source said.

The source also noted that this voluntary cut is in addition to the voluntary cut of 500,000 barrels a day previously announced by the Kingdom in April 2023, which extends until the end of December 2024.

The source confirmed that this additional voluntary cut comes to reinforce the precautionary efforts made by OPEC+countries with the aim of supporting the stability and balance of oil markets.


Expo 2030 Accelerates Massive Tourism Projects in Riyadh

Diriyah Tourism Area (Diriyah Gateway Development Authority)
Diriyah Tourism Area (Diriyah Gateway Development Authority)
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Expo 2030 Accelerates Massive Tourism Projects in Riyadh

Diriyah Tourism Area (Diriyah Gateway Development Authority)
Diriyah Tourism Area (Diriyah Gateway Development Authority)

After Riyadh’s triumph in securing the hosting rights for Expo 2030, attention has shifted towards the Saudi tourism sector, poised to benefit significantly from millions of visitors worldwide during the exhibition period.
Concurrently, Riyadh is accelerating its tourism projects to capitalize on the exhibition's momentum.
On Tuesday, Riyadh surpassed the Italian capital Rome and the Korean city of Busan during the first round of voting held in France.
The Group CEO of Diriyah Company, Jerry Inzerillo, views Saudi Arabia’s victory in hosting Expo 2030 as a significant success for the kingdom's tourism sector.
According to Inzerillo, the announcement of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia hosting Expo 2030 is a testament to the magnitude of the transformation and success achieved by the Kingdom.
He anticipated that the exhibition would attract no less than 28 million visitors immersing themselves in unique cultures across 246 astonishing pavilions.
Earlier, Saudi Arabia achieved a significant milestone in the tourism sector, ranking second globally in terms of tourist arrivals during the first seven months of 2023.
According to the Ministry of Tourism, the Kingdom witnessed a remarkable 58% growth in tourist numbers during the first seven months of this year when compared to the same period in 2019.
This data was sourced from the UNWTO World Tourism Barometer, published by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) in September.
“We aim to receive 50 million annual visits to Diriyah, create over 178,000 direct job opportunities, and contribute $18.6 billion to the gross domestic product by 2030,” said Inzerillo in a press release on Wednesday.
Diriyah, known as the cradle of the kingdom and one of Saudi Arabia's most important historical sites, symbolizes national pride and a source of Saudi identity.
Fahad Al-Rasheed, CEO of the Royal Commission for Riyadh City, told the Associated Press that the kingdom’s exhibition plan includes transforming Riyadh into an “open-ended art exhibition without borders.”
Saudi Arabia continues its global openness to welcome the largest number of visitors, aiming to achieve its targets of receiving 100 million tourists by 2030.
Recently, the Ministry of Tourism announced the electronic issuance of visit visas for citizens of six countries, bringing the total number of countries benefiting from this service to 63.

 

 


OECD Outlook: Significant Risks to Global Economy if Hamas-Israel Conflict Expands

OECD expects inflation to gradually decline to 5.3 percent next year in its member countries (dpa)
OECD expects inflation to gradually decline to 5.3 percent next year in its member countries (dpa)
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OECD Outlook: Significant Risks to Global Economy if Hamas-Israel Conflict Expands

OECD expects inflation to gradually decline to 5.3 percent next year in its member countries (dpa)
OECD expects inflation to gradually decline to 5.3 percent next year in its member countries (dpa)

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) reduced its forecast for global GDP growth to 2.9 percent in 2023 while keeping next year's forecast unchanged.
It warned that the worsening conflict between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip could undermine the economy.
According to the estimates of the Paris-based institution, "If the conflict escalates and spreads to the entire region, the risks of growth slowdown and increased inflation will be much greater than they are now."
The Organization noted that the war has had a relatively limited impact on the global economy, noting that international growth would slow to 2.7 percent in 2024 from an expected 2.9 percent pace this year.
OECD Chief Economist Clare Lombardelli explained in the report that the obstacles holding back the economy are not coming from the Middle East and that tight financial conditions, weak trade, and low confidence all have grave consequences.
"Global growth is set to remain modest, with the impact of the necessary monetary policy tightening, weak trade, and lower business and consumer confidence being increasingly felt."
Consumer price inflation is expected to gradually ease towards central bank targets in most economies to 5.3 percent next year, compared to 7.4 percent this year.
GDP growth in the US is projected at 2.4 percent in 2023 before slowing to 1.5 percent in 2024. In the euro area, GDP growth is projected to be 0.6 percent in 2023 before rising to 0.9 percent in 2024 and 1.5 percent in 2025.
Lombardelli stated that the "pace of growth is uneven."
China is expected to grow at a 5.2 percent rate this year before growth drops to 4.7 percent in 2024 and 4.2 percent in 2025 due to ongoing stresses in the real estate sector and continued high household saving rates.
The Organization pointed out that if the war in the Middle East intensifies and expands, the impact of its transition on the global economy may be mainly through oil and gas prices.
It indicated that a ten percent rise in the price of a gas barrel may lead to an increase in global inflation by 0.2 points in the first year and a decrease in growth by 0.1 points.
Trade may be significantly affected, especially since two international trade routes, the Strait of Hormuz and the Suez Canal, are within the conflict zone.


Saudi Arabia’s Jazan Attracts over $8Bn in New Investments

Jazan City for Basic and Transformational Industries (Jubail and Yanbu Company)
Jazan City for Basic and Transformational Industries (Jubail and Yanbu Company)
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Saudi Arabia’s Jazan Attracts over $8Bn in New Investments

Jazan City for Basic and Transformational Industries (Jubail and Yanbu Company)
Jazan City for Basic and Transformational Industries (Jubail and Yanbu Company)

The two-day Jazan Investment Forum 2023, held in the Jazan region in southwest Saudi Arabia, witnessed the signing of agreements and memoranda of understanding exceeding $8 billion dollars on its first day.

This event, sponsored by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, sheds light on the investment climate in the region and promotes promising opportunities.

Prince Mohammed bin Nasser, Emir of Jazan region, inaugurated on Wednesday the activities of the forum.

He declared that “the forum aligns with the wise leadership’s support for the region’s development and its rapid qualitative leap in projects, bolstered by major initiatives and investment incentives.”

Prince Mohammed emphasized the logistical role of the Jazan City port for basic and transformational industries, serving as an economic icon by supporting factories and projects in Jazan.

He stated that one of the city’s features is that it witnessed the export of the first commercial shipment of locally manufactured alloy steel to the US.

Prince Mohammed also pointed out that the new King Abdullah International Airport will be completed by the end of 2024.

He also reviewed the projects of the Public Investment Fund (PIF) such as the Saudi Coffee Company, Saudi Downtown Company, and the Red Sea Global Company.

These initiatives underscore the region’s commitment to economic diversification and sustainable growth.

Moreover, Saudi Arabian Oil Co. (Saudi Aramco) is investing more than SAR90 billion in Jazan region, according to Downstream President Mohammed Al-Qahtani.

In his speech at the forum, Al-Qahtani stated that the most prominent of these investments include the development of infrastructure for Jazan City for Primary and Downstream Industries, and the establishment of Jazan refinery, one of the world’s largest refining projects, to process more than 400,000 barrels per day of oil, as well as a power plant.

The integrated Jazan Refinery and Petrochemical Complex will produce vanadium concentrate, a metal associated with the clean energy industry sector, he added.

The company also began exporting diversified and high-value products, ranging from gasoline, diesel, and chemicals to more sustainable electric power, Al-Qahtani said.

He further explained that Aramco implemented one of the largest projects of its kind in the world to generate electricity in Jazan using gasification and integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC).

The project has a production capacity of 3,800 megawatts of electricity to meet the refinery's needs, in addition to local industries, homes and commercial facilities in the region.


Asia’s First Saudi ETF Debuts in Hong Kong

The new fund covers comprehensive sector indices, including investment, finance, basic materials, energy, and communications (Asharq Al-Awsat)
The new fund covers comprehensive sector indices, including investment, finance, basic materials, energy, and communications (Asharq Al-Awsat)
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Asia’s First Saudi ETF Debuts in Hong Kong

The new fund covers comprehensive sector indices, including investment, finance, basic materials, energy, and communications (Asharq Al-Awsat)
The new fund covers comprehensive sector indices, including investment, finance, basic materials, energy, and communications (Asharq Al-Awsat)

Hong Kong-based CSOP Asset Management announced that, in cooperation with the Public Investment Fund (PIF), the Saudi CSOP Fund has been listed on the Hong Kong Financial Market as the first exchange-traded fund (ETF) targeting the Saudi financial market in East Asia.
According to information released on Wednesday, the fund will enable Asian investments to benefit from the essential opportunities provided by the diverse and thriving Saudi stock market.
The Saudi ETF tracks the performance of the FTSE Saudi Arabia Index to invest in shares of more than 50 leading large and medium-sized companies listed in the Saudi Tadawul market.
The new fund covers a comprehensive number of sector indices, including investment and finance, basic materials, energy, and communications, which allows it to benefit from the performance of the most important indicators in the stimulating sectors of the Saudi economy.
The initial listing of the fund is scheduled to take place with assets under management worth more than $1 billion. At the same time, the launch of the CSOP Saudi ETF will allow East Asian investors to invest in the prosperous Saudi economy and contribute to its development by taking advantage of broad and promising future opportunities.

The Public Investment Fund seeks to boost its partnerships in various global markets, paving the way for unprecedented opportunities between the leading financial market center in Hong Kong and the Saudi stock market.
The Asian company said that Saudi Arabia is one of the fastest-growing major economies in the world, noting that the Kingdom ranks as the 17th largest economy in the world in terms of nominal gross domestic product in 2022.
Saudi Arabia is the world’s biggest oil exporter, and its economy expanded 8.7 percent in 2022 to exceed $1 trillion in size, outperforming its counterparts in the Middle East and the G20.
The Kingdom gained more growth engines after the unveiling of Vision 2030 in 2016, a long-term economic transformation plan to push the country into a diversified future.


Expo 2030 to Boost Vital Sectors in Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia allocated a sum of 7.8 billion dollars to host the global fair (AFP)
Saudi Arabia allocated a sum of 7.8 billion dollars to host the global fair (AFP)
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Expo 2030 to Boost Vital Sectors in Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia allocated a sum of 7.8 billion dollars to host the global fair (AFP)
Saudi Arabia allocated a sum of 7.8 billion dollars to host the global fair (AFP)

Economic analysts anticipate that Riyadh’s successful bid to host the Expo 2030 world fair will catalyze a significant boost in Saudi Arabia’s economy, contributing approximately $50 billion.

This triumph is expected to attract foreign investments and foster prosperity and growth across various vital economic sectors in the Kingdom.

Among these sectors are aviation, transportation, real estate, housing, communications, logistics, retail, hotels, hospitality, and tourism.

The exhibition is poised to provide a substantial opportunity for both local and international companies to attract foreign investments.

Mohammed bin Dleim Al-Qahtani, an economics professor at King Faisal University, shared his insights with Asharq Al-Awsat, predicting that organizing the fair will enhance Saudi Arabia’s economic activities by around $50 billion.

This, in turn, will drive development in several crucial and vibrant economic sectors, affirmed Al-Qahtani.

The exhibition’s revenues, according to Al-Qahtani, will be distributed across various sectors: restaurants and hotels (approximately $5 billion), contracting ($11.5 billion), business services and event organization ($28 billion), and small project expenditures ($5.5 billion).

Furthermore, the world fair is expected to create approximately 60,000 jobs annually until the exhibition date, with a total estimated employment reaching 420,000 positions.

In Al-Qahtani’s opinion, the success of hosting Expo 2030 is set to enhance Saudi Arabia’s global image as a leader in hosting international events, fostering global communication, travel, and tourism.

This achievement is expected to bolster the Kingdom’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by more than 2.5%, propel key sectors outlined in “Vision 2030” forward, attract over 50 million visitors during the exhibition's duration, stimulate real estate growth, catalyze long-term investments, and significantly support the knowledge-based economy.

Meanwhile, Mohammed Mokni, a financial and investment expert and the CEO of “Ethmar,” a company owned by Imam Mohammed bin Saud University in Saudi Arabia, described Riyadh's win in hosting the exhibition as a testament to the Kingdom’s global stature.

Mokni emphasized the world's confidence in Saudi Arabia’s ability to organize this major global event, where it competes with leading nations in providing grand venues, superior services, infrastructure, and logistical aspects, as well as financial readiness.

The CEO highlighted that the Saudi bid considered all these facets, showcasing exceptional hosting capabilities from the first round of voting, leading to this exceptional victory.

Mokni further stated that this victory serves as international recognition of the Kingdom’s success in implementing its developmental plans and projects stemming from “Vision 2030,” initiated in 2015.

It also reflects the economic and political strength, resilience, and capability of Saudi Arabia, stressed Mokni.


Saudi Arabia Wins First-Ever Seat in International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board

PIOB announced the selection of Sami bin Mohammad Al-Shorafa, the General Director of the General Department of Financial Statements and Auditors at the Capital Market Authority, to represent Saudi Arabia on the International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board (IAASB) for a period of three years.
PIOB announced the selection of Sami bin Mohammad Al-Shorafa, the General Director of the General Department of Financial Statements and Auditors at the Capital Market Authority, to represent Saudi Arabia on the International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board (IAASB) for a period of three years.
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Saudi Arabia Wins First-Ever Seat in International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board

PIOB announced the selection of Sami bin Mohammad Al-Shorafa, the General Director of the General Department of Financial Statements and Auditors at the Capital Market Authority, to represent Saudi Arabia on the International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board (IAASB) for a period of three years.
PIOB announced the selection of Sami bin Mohammad Al-Shorafa, the General Director of the General Department of Financial Statements and Auditors at the Capital Market Authority, to represent Saudi Arabia on the International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board (IAASB) for a period of three years.

The Public Interest Oversight Board (PIOB) announced the selection of Sami bin Mohammad Al-Shorafa, the General Director of the General Department of Financial Statements and Auditors at the Capital Market Authority, to represent the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on the International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board (IAASB) for a period of three years, SPA said on Thursday.
This marks the first-ever Saudi seat at the IAASB.
The selection comes as part of the announcement by the PIOB approving appointments and reappointments to both the International Ethics Standards Board for Accountants (IESBA) and the IAASB, which will be effective from January 1, 2024.


Saudi Arabia’s PIF to Buy 10% Stake in London Heathrow Airport

Heathrow is one of the world’s largest air traffic platforms, connecting the UK with global trading partners to help stimulate economic growth. (Reuters)
Heathrow is one of the world’s largest air traffic platforms, connecting the UK with global trading partners to help stimulate economic growth. (Reuters)
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Saudi Arabia’s PIF to Buy 10% Stake in London Heathrow Airport

Heathrow is one of the world’s largest air traffic platforms, connecting the UK with global trading partners to help stimulate economic growth. (Reuters)
Heathrow is one of the world’s largest air traffic platforms, connecting the UK with global trading partners to help stimulate economic growth. (Reuters)

Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund announced that it has entered into a share purchase agreement to acquire a 10% stake in London Heathrow Airport as part of a shareholder reshuffle, SPA said on Wednesday.
Under the terms of the agreement, PIF will acquire 10% in FGP TopCo, the holding firm of Heathrow Airport Holdings, while French-based private equity fund Ardian will acquire 15% through separate vehicles.
The transaction is subject to complying with ROFO (Right of First Offer) and full tag-along rights which may be exercised by the other TopCo shareholders pursuant to the Shareholders’ Agreement and the Articles of Association of the company, in addition to satisfaction of applicable regulatory conditions.

PIF is pleased to be investing in Heathrow, a world-class airport, which acts as a key gateway to the world.
PIF’s investment in Heathrow is in line with its strategy to support the business as a long-term partner.
Heathrow is one of the world’s largest air traffic platforms, connecting the UK with global trading partners to help stimulate economic growth.


World Economy Will Slow Next Year Because of Inflation, High Rates and War, OECD Says 

Tourists browse inside a souvenir shop at the Nanluoguxiang tourism area in Beijing, China, 25 November 2023. (EPA)
Tourists browse inside a souvenir shop at the Nanluoguxiang tourism area in Beijing, China, 25 November 2023. (EPA)
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World Economy Will Slow Next Year Because of Inflation, High Rates and War, OECD Says 

Tourists browse inside a souvenir shop at the Nanluoguxiang tourism area in Beijing, China, 25 November 2023. (EPA)
Tourists browse inside a souvenir shop at the Nanluoguxiang tourism area in Beijing, China, 25 November 2023. (EPA)

The global economy, which has proved surprisingly resilient this year, is expected to falter next year under the strain of wars, still-elevated inflation and continued high interest rates.

The Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development estimated Wednesday that international growth would slow to 2.7% in 2024 from an expected 2.9% pace this year. That would amount to the slowest calendar-year growth since the pandemic year of 2020.

A key factor is that the OECD expects the world's two biggest economies, the United States and China, to decelerate next year. The US economy is forecast to expand just 1.5% in 2024, from 2.4% in 2023, as the Federal Reserve’s interest rate increases — 11 of them since March 2022 — continue to restrain growth.

The Fed's higher rates have made borrowing far more expensive for consumers and businesses and, in the process, have helped slow inflation from its four-decade peak in 2022. The OECD foresees US inflation dropping from 3.9% this year to 2.8% in 2024 and 2.2% in 2025, just above the Fed’s 2% target level.

The Chinese economy, beset by a destructive real estate crisis, rising unemployment and slowing exports, is expected to expand 4.7% in 2024, down from 5.2% this year. China’s “consumption growth will likely remain subdued due to increased precautionary savings, gloomier prospects for employment creation and heightened uncertainty,” the OECD said.

Also likely to contribute to a global slowdown are the 20 countries that share the euro currency. They have been hurt by heightened interest rates and by the jump in energy prices that followed Russia's invasion of Ukraine. The OECD expects the collective growth of the eurozone to amount to 0.9% next year — weak but still an improvement over a predicted 0.6% growth in 2023.

The world economy has endured one shock after another since early 2020 — the eruption of COVID-19, a resurgence of inflation as the rebound from the pandemic showed unexpected strength, Moscow's war against Ukraine and painfully high borrowing rates as central banks acted aggressively to combat the acceleration of consumer prices.

Yet through it all, economic expansion has proved unexpectedly sturdy. A year ago, the OECD had predicted global growth of 2.2% for 2023. That forecast proved too pessimistic. Now, the organization warns, the respite may be over.

“Growth has been stronger than expected so far in 2023,” the OECD said in its 221-page report, “but is now moderating as the impact of tighter financial conditions, weak trade growth and lower business and consumer confidence is increasingly felt.”

Moreover, the OECD warned, the world economy is confronting new risks resulting from heightened geopolitical tensions amid the Israel-Hamas war — “particularly if the conflict were to broaden.”

“This could result in significant disruptions to energy markets and major trade routes,” it said.


Morocco to Prolong Wheat Import Campaign in January-April 

An ear of wheat is seen during a harvesting in a field near the village Kyshchentsi, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, in Cherkasy region, Ukraine July 18, 2023. (Reuters)
An ear of wheat is seen during a harvesting in a field near the village Kyshchentsi, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, in Cherkasy region, Ukraine July 18, 2023. (Reuters)
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Morocco to Prolong Wheat Import Campaign in January-April 

An ear of wheat is seen during a harvesting in a field near the village Kyshchentsi, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, in Cherkasy region, Ukraine July 18, 2023. (Reuters)
An ear of wheat is seen during a harvesting in a field near the village Kyshchentsi, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, in Cherkasy region, Ukraine July 18, 2023. (Reuters)

Morocco will offer subsidies to import up to 2.5 million metric tons of soft wheat between Jan. 1 and April 30, 2024, state grains agency ONICL said, as the North African country pursues an import program to offset drought-affected local production.

The January to April import scheme was approved by Morocco's finance and agriculture ministries, with subsidy details to be published separately, ONICL said in a note on its website.

After drought reduced its domestic wheat crop for a second year, Morocco launched an import program for the 2023/24 season covering up to 2.5 million tons for July to September, followed by a second round for October to December allowing up to 2 million tons.

Traders had expected the import campaign to continue after shipments so far this season lagged volumes available under the subsidy schemes, and with low rainfall again creating uncertainty about Morocco's next harvest.