GCCIA to Begin Interconnection with Iraq

Minister Ziyad Fadel discussed in Saudi Arabia proceeding with the Gulf interconnection project and proposals for its development (Iraqi electricity)
Minister Ziyad Fadel discussed in Saudi Arabia proceeding with the Gulf interconnection project and proposals for its development (Iraqi electricity)
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GCCIA to Begin Interconnection with Iraq

Minister Ziyad Fadel discussed in Saudi Arabia proceeding with the Gulf interconnection project and proposals for its development (Iraqi electricity)
Minister Ziyad Fadel discussed in Saudi Arabia proceeding with the Gulf interconnection project and proposals for its development (Iraqi electricity)

The Gulf Cooperation Council Interconnection Authority (GCCIA) will launch Thursday the implementation of the electrical interconnection project with the southern Iraq network, which is expected to be operational by the end of next year.

The governor of the Eastern Region, Prince Saud bin Naif bin Abdulaziz, will inaugurate the ceremony in the presence of GCC Sec-Gen Jassim al-Budaiwi, and Gulf and Iraqi ministers.

Chairman of the GCCIA Board Mohsen al-Hadrami asserted the importance of the event at the level of Gulf countries, reiterating that the project will boost cooperation with Iraq.

Hadrami indicated that energy security is one of the most important axes of cooperation developed through exchange between the GCC countries and Iraq, noting that it is the first step to expand outside the Gulf grid system by linking neighboring countries such as Turkey, Jordan, and Egypt.

The project is in line with the vision of the GGCC and the GCCIA to expand connectivity with the neighboring grid, reaching Europe, Africa, and Asia.

CEO of GCCIA Ahmed al-Ebrahim considered the interconnection project a key strategic project in the Gulf and one of the most important infrastructure interconnection projects approved by the GCC leaders.

He indicated that the project aims to achieve its main strategic goals of enhancing energy security, increasing reliability, and ensuring safety for Gulf grids.

Meanwhile, Iraqi Minister of Electricity Zial Fadhil visited the GCCIA headquarters in Saudi Arabia as part of his visit to the Kingdom.

Fadhil discussed the interconnection project and network stability.

He also reviewed the developments related to the required contracts, the stages completed, the implementation plan, and the connecting lines inside Kuwait.

In July 2022, the Gulf Interconnection Authority (GCCIA) signed the contract between its network and the electricity grid of southern Iraq on the sidelines of the Jeddah Security and Development Summit.

The contract includes the authority's construction of lines from its substation in Kuwait to the al-Faw station in southern Iraq to supply it with about 500 megawatts of energy from the Gulf countries. Construction will take about 24 months, with a total transmission capacity of 1,800 megawatts.

Last February, the authority concluded five contracts with the companies executing the project at a total cost of more than $200 million.



Saudi Arabia Announces Tax Breaks to Foreign Firms With New HQs

A general view of Riyadh city, Saudi Arabia, February 20, 2022. REUTERS/Mohammed Benmansour
A general view of Riyadh city, Saudi Arabia, February 20, 2022. REUTERS/Mohammed Benmansour
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Saudi Arabia Announces Tax Breaks to Foreign Firms With New HQs

A general view of Riyadh city, Saudi Arabia, February 20, 2022. REUTERS/Mohammed Benmansour
A general view of Riyadh city, Saudi Arabia, February 20, 2022. REUTERS/Mohammed Benmansour

Saudi Arabia announced on Tuesday it would grant 30 years of tax relief to multinationals establishing regional headquarters.

This comes less than a month before a January 1 deadline for multinationals to open regional headquarters in Saudi Arabia or lose out on government contracts.

The tax-relief package includes a zero-percent rate for corporate income tax and withholding tax, the investment ministry said in a statement.

"This new incentive gives business more visibility and certainty for future planning as multinational corporations expand their presence in the region through Saudi Arabia, while also taking part in our own transformation journey," AFP quoted Finance Minister Mohammed al-Jadaan as saying.

"We look forward to welcoming more multinational corporations to participate in projects across all sectors, including our giga-projects and in preparation for the hosting of such events as the 2029 Asian Winter Games and Expo 2030."

More than 200 licenses have been granted under the program to date, the Saudi investment ministry said.

Other benefits under the program include the ability to apply for unlimited work visas and a 10-year waiver on quotas for hiring Saudi nationals.


Houthi Attacks on Ships in Red Sea Threaten Global Trade

The Red Sea connects Africa and Asia and is a vital corridor for maritime shipping. (Photo: Reuters)
The Red Sea connects Africa and Asia and is a vital corridor for maritime shipping. (Photo: Reuters)
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Houthi Attacks on Ships in Red Sea Threaten Global Trade

The Red Sea connects Africa and Asia and is a vital corridor for maritime shipping. (Photo: Reuters)
The Red Sea connects Africa and Asia and is a vital corridor for maritime shipping. (Photo: Reuters)

Tension escalated in the Red Sea after ships were attacked while crossing the vital path that links Europe to the Arabian Gulf and Sea, all the way to East Asia, raising fears of new disruptions in global trade, including energy supplies.

On Sunday, the Pentagon said a US warship and three commercial ships were attacked off the coast of Yemen, raising concerns that the Houthis, who targeted Israeli ships last month, are expanding their campaign in response to the war in Gaza.

US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said on Monday that the attacks were “totally unacceptable,” adding that the United States was in talks with other countries about forming a naval task force to ensure the safe passage of ships in the Red Sea.

US Central Command said it was studying “appropriate responses” to the attacks that endangered the lives of crews from several countries, as well as threatening international trade and maritime security. It added that although the attacks were carried out by the Houthis, they were “fully enabled by Iran.”

This new threat to shipping - which could affect trade from crude oil to vehicles - comes following major pressures on supply chains due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the Russian war in Ukraine, which increased inflation and led to a global economic slowdown.

“The Red Sea route matters,” Henning Gloystein at consultancy Eurasia Group told the Financial Times.

“It matters even more for the Europeans, who get all their Middle Eastern oil and LNG through the Red Sea,” he added.

Since 2019, the Houthis and other suspected Iranian proxies have attacked multiple ships in the Middle East, seized oil tankers and launched attacks using limpet mines attached to their hulls, according to a report by the Financial Times.

“The oil market has become too complacent about risks that the Gaza conflict will expand regionally and threaten oil and gas infrastructure and shipping in the Red Sea and Gulf,” Bob McNally, founder of Rapidan Energy and a former adviser to the George W Bush White House, was quoted as saying.

McNally added that material interruption in regional energy flows could reach 30 percent.

Ship-owners are now exploring safer, but more expensive, alternative routes and are demanding greater protection in Middle Eastern waters. An alternative route involves going around the Cape of Good Hope, near Cape Town, and sailing along West Africa, a much longer and more expensive path.

According to the Financial Times report, ship-owners are already having to pay more for insurance, as well as diverting vessels and investing in additional security measures.

Marcus Baker, head of marine at insurance broker Marsh, said that some insurers had already increased rates during the week before Sunday’s Red Sea attacks, in one case by as much as 300 per cent. He added that the market “is going to have to react” to the latest incidents.


Saudi Arabia Rules Out Phasing Out Oil Usage

The cost of complete transformation will be steep and may lead to the collapse of the entire global economic system (AFP)
The cost of complete transformation will be steep and may lead to the collapse of the entire global economic system (AFP)
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Saudi Arabia Rules Out Phasing Out Oil Usage

The cost of complete transformation will be steep and may lead to the collapse of the entire global economic system (AFP)
The cost of complete transformation will be steep and may lead to the collapse of the entire global economic system (AFP)

In the heat of deliberations at COP 28 in Dubai regarding the critical energy future dossier, Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman categorically dismissed any approval for a gradual phase-out of oil usage.

The minister reiterated in an interview conducted on Monday evening that Saudi Arabia, along with other nations, would not entertain such a step.

Speaking to Bloomberg, Prince Abdulaziz affirmed that no one, especially governments, believes in a phasedown of oil.

On another note, the energy minister dismissed Western donations to a new climate loss and damage fund as “small change.”

Prince Abdulaziz noted that Saudi Arabia, the world's biggest oil exporter but not a contributor to the new UN fund, had earmarked $50 billion for climate adaptation in Africa.

The loss and damage fund for vulnerable nations, a major win at the start of the COP28 climate talks in Dubai, has attracted about $700 million so far from donors including the European Union and the US, a sum criticized as insufficient by campaigners.

“Unlike the small change offered for loss and damage from our partners in developed countries, the Kingdom through its South-South cooperation announced in the Saudi Africa Summit in Riyadh last month the allocation of up to $50 billion,” Prince Abdulaziz said in a video message to the Saudi Green Initiative forum, held on the sidelines of COP28 in Dubai.

“This will help build resilient infrastructure and strengthen climate resilience and adaptation in the African continent directly through Saudi stakeholders,” he added.

Saudi Arabia has revamped its energy sources, invested in renewables and improved energy-efficiency as it tries to decarbonise its economy by 2030, Prince Abdulaziz affirmed.

“You cannot go to undeveloped countries or developing countries and ask them to do the same measures of the transition,” Yasir Al-Rumayyan, chairman of Saudi state oil giant Aramco, told the forum.

“Especially people who don't have access to energy,” he adde.

He said he heard an African minister say “in order for us to have growth, we have to carbonize first then to decarbonize.”

“Maybe the bottom line is we should be less idealistic and more practical,” he added.

The decisive affirmations from Saudi Arabia come at a time when tensions have infiltrated the corridors of COP 28, dominating discussions on the future of energy.

According to updated preliminary drafts of the summit’s closing statement, all perspectives appear to be on the table and evenly poised thus far.


Egypt’s Non-Oil Private Sector Contraction Slows Down in November

The contraction of the non-oil private sector in Egypt slows during November, but business confidence declines to the lowest level in 11 and a half years. (Reuters)
The contraction of the non-oil private sector in Egypt slows during November, but business confidence declines to the lowest level in 11 and a half years. (Reuters)
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Egypt’s Non-Oil Private Sector Contraction Slows Down in November

The contraction of the non-oil private sector in Egypt slows during November, but business confidence declines to the lowest level in 11 and a half years. (Reuters)
The contraction of the non-oil private sector in Egypt slows during November, but business confidence declines to the lowest level in 11 and a half years. (Reuters)

The Standard & Poor’s Global Purchasing Managers’ Index showed on Tuesday that the contraction of the non-oil private sector in Egypt slowed in November, but business confidence in the sector fell to its lowest level in 11 and a half years.

The group said in its report that the Purchasing Managers’ Index in Egypt, adjusted in light of seasonal factors, rose to 48.4 points in November from 47.9 points in October, noting that the index was still below the 50 level that separates growth from contraction.

The report noted that high inflation rates and a continuing decline in production and new orders led to a drop in business activity expectations over the next 12 months to their weakest levels since data collection began in April 2012. Inflationary pressures also led to a sharp decline in sales to customers, which contributed to decreased hiring and procurement.

According to the report, levels of production and new business continued to decline strongly in November, although the rates of decline slowed from those recorded in October.

According to the companies surveyed, historically high inflation rates continued to reduce customer demand, while some companies indicated that unresolved import issues were restricting business activity.

Although the decline in production and new business was widespread across all sectors studied, it was particularly noticeable among wholesale and retail companies.

As demand rates continue to deteriorate due to inflationary pressures, non-oil producing companies in Egypt recorded the lowest level of confidence in future activity in the history of the series. The data showed that expectations were only slightly positive, while the manufacturing and construction sectors presented pessimistic forecasts.

David Owen, Senior Economist at S&P Global Market Intelligence, said: “Optimism in the Egyptian non-oil economy is eroding as we approach the end of the year, as economic challenges arising from the Russia-Ukraine war put additional pressure on costs and capacity at businesses. While the resulting downturns in new business and output were not as severe compared to those seen at the start of the year, they are also showing no signs of letting up, stretching a sequence of decline that goes back to late 2021.”


Saudi Private Sector Activity Continues to Grow in November as New Orders Rise

Manufacturers are very optimistic about the next 12 months as they expect a favorable business climate. (SPA)
Manufacturers are very optimistic about the next 12 months as they expect a favorable business climate. (SPA)
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Saudi Private Sector Activity Continues to Grow in November as New Orders Rise

Manufacturers are very optimistic about the next 12 months as they expect a favorable business climate. (SPA)
Manufacturers are very optimistic about the next 12 months as they expect a favorable business climate. (SPA)

Saudi Arabia’s non-oil private sector continued its rapid growth during November, driven by the rise of new orders to the highest level in 5 months, according to the Riyad Bank Purchasing Managers’ Index.

The seasonally adjusted Riyad Bank Purchasing Managers' Index slowed to 57.5 in November, from 58.4 in October, but remained well above the 50 mark signaling growth.

According to the report issued by the bank in cooperation with Standard & Poor’s, the index continued to indicate a rapid expansion in the non-oil private sector during the month of November, despite evidence indicating an acceleration of price pressures to their highest levels in nearly a year and a half.

The report added that the rise in raw material prices led to a renewed increase in companies’ sales prices, but demand rates remained strong and new business flows rose at the highest rate since June, with companies acquiring new customers and increasing investment spending.

Naif Al-Ghaith, chief economist at Riyad Bank, said that the Saudi PMI has “shown positive signs of expansion, driven by strong sales, increased orders and effective marketing strategies.”

“Firms anticipate a continuous increase in output, fuelled by a robust inflow of new projects,” he added.

He noted that manufacturers, in particular, were highly optimistic about the next 12 months as they anticipate a favorable business climate.

Al-Ghaith went on to say that the wholesale and retail sectors also showed signs of strong expansion in November, in line with the overall positive sentiment in the Kingdom’s non-oil private sector economy.

“This bodes well for Saudi Arabia's economic growth and suggests a favorable environment for businesses in various industries,” he stated.


China Blue-chip Stocks Hit 5-year Lows, Yuan Eases after Moody's Move

People walk at a shopping compound in Beijing, China December 6, 2023. REUTERS/Tingshu Wang
People walk at a shopping compound in Beijing, China December 6, 2023. REUTERS/Tingshu Wang
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China Blue-chip Stocks Hit 5-year Lows, Yuan Eases after Moody's Move

People walk at a shopping compound in Beijing, China December 6, 2023. REUTERS/Tingshu Wang
People walk at a shopping compound in Beijing, China December 6, 2023. REUTERS/Tingshu Wang

China's blue-chip stocks slumped to an almost five-year trough on Wednesday while the yuan currency extended losses, as markets grappled with Moody's cut to China's credit outlook at a time of growing worries about the economy's stuttering recovery.
The ratings agency issued a downgrade warning on China's credit rating on Tuesday, saying costs to bail out local governments and state firms and control its property crisis would weigh on the world's second-largest economy.
China stocks opened down with the CSI300 Index touching its lowest level since Feb. 2019, before recouping earlier losses. It was up 0.2% by midday, while the Shanghai Composite Index was down 0.1%.
Chinese markets have had a torrid time this year as a shaky economic recovery and a deepening property crisis have added to geopolitical challenges, including protracted Sino-US tensions over tech and trade.
The CSI300 Index has tumbled 12.2% so far this year and is set to record one of the worst performer in the region.
The Hang Seng Index, meanwhile, rebounded roughly 0.7% in morning trade, with tech shares leading gains.
"The CSI300 index was hit the hardest in terms of valuation, as the index gets more allocations from foreign investors. Adding the impact of Moody's cut, the index may find a bottom and rebound soon," said Pang Xichun, research director at Nanjing RiskHunt Investment Management Co.
Foreign capital recorded a net inflow via the northbound trading link as of midday, after three consecutive sessions of outflows.
"Moody's decision to downgrade its outlook on China's debt is the latest link in a long string of recent disappointments for investors in Chinese equities," said Yasser El-Shimy, investment analyst at The Motley Fool.
China's economic recovery has shown signs of losing steam quickly after an initial burst in consumer and business activity at the start of the year, weighed down by an ailing housing market, local government debt risks and slow global growth.
FRAGILE YUAN
In the currency market, China's yuan slipped against the dollar on Wednesday even as major state-owned banks continued their efforts to stabilise the currency.
The central bank, the People's Bank of China (PBOC), extended its months-long trend of setting daily guidance fix at levels stronger than market projections, which traders and analysts have widely interpreted as an official attempt to keep the currency stable.
On Wednesday, the PBOC set the midpoint rate, around which the yuan is allowed to trade in a 2% band, at 7.1140 per dollar prior to market opening, 13 pips weaker than the previous fix of 7.1127. But it was 336 pips firmer than Reuters estimate of 7.1476.
"The strong yuan fix continues to convey a message of support for the yuan as domestic demand remains fragile and China's property market continues to struggle to find a foothold," Maybank analysts said in a note.
The spot yuan rate opened at 7.1570 per dollar and was changing hands at 7.1578 at midday, 98 pips weaker than the previous late session close.
China's major state-owned banks stepped up US dollar selling forcefully after the Moody's statement on Tuesday, and they continued to sell the greenback on Wednesday morning, Reuters reported.
The yuan has had a volatile year, having weakened 6.14% to the dollar at one point before recouping some of the losses on growing bets that US interest rates have peaked.
The yuan strengthened 2.55% in November, its best month this year, but it is still down 3.6% year-to-date.
Other global ratings agencies, Fitch Ratings and S&P Global Ratings, made no changes to their respective China credit ratings.
Fitch affirmed China's A+ rating with a stable outlook in August, while S&P Global said on Wednesday it has retained China's A+ rating with a 'stable' outlook.
"We last affirmed our A+ long term ratings on China in June with stable outlook and there has been no changes to that yet," said S&P in an emailed response to queries from Reuters.


Gold Ticks Up as Dollar Slips

Gold jewellery is seen displayed for sale at a Chow Tai Fook jewellery store in Shanghai, China November 27, 2023. REUTERS/Nicoco Chan
Gold jewellery is seen displayed for sale at a Chow Tai Fook jewellery store in Shanghai, China November 27, 2023. REUTERS/Nicoco Chan
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Gold Ticks Up as Dollar Slips

Gold jewellery is seen displayed for sale at a Chow Tai Fook jewellery store in Shanghai, China November 27, 2023. REUTERS/Nicoco Chan
Gold jewellery is seen displayed for sale at a Chow Tai Fook jewellery store in Shanghai, China November 27, 2023. REUTERS/Nicoco Chan

Gold prices edged higher on Wednesday as the dollar eased and weaker-than-expected US jobs data cemented expectations that the Federal Reserve's policy tightening cycle has come to an end.
Spot gold rose 0.2% at $2,023.40 per ounce by 0538 GMT. US gold futures for February delivery also rose 0.2% to $2,041.20.
"Volatility in gold prices is likely to remain capped heading into Friday's US non-farm payrolls data," said City Index Senior Analyst Matt Simpson.
"It might take a particularly weak set of numbers for gold to post strong gains from here – as many bullish fingers were likely burned with gold's false break to a record high."
Bullion climbed to a record high of $2,135.40 on Monday on elevated bets for a Fed rate cut, before dropping more than $100 in the same session, on uncertainty over the timing of the monetary policy easing, Reuters reported.
Data on Tuesday showed US job openings fell to a more than two-and-a-half year low in October, signaling that higher rates were dampening demand for workers.
The dollar index fell 0.2% against a basket of currencies after rising to a two-week high on Tuesday, making gold less expensive for other currency holders.
Focus now shifts to the Friday release of the November non-farm payrolls data that could provide more clues on US interest rate outlook ahead of Fed's policy meeting next week.
Traders are pricing in about a 60% chance of a rate cut by March next year, CME's FedWatch Tool shows. Lower interest rates tend to support non-interest-bearing bullion.
Spot gold may bounce into a range of $2,033-$2,039 per ounce, as it has stabilized around a support of $2,009, according to Reuters technical analyst Wang Tao.
Silver rose 0.6% to $24.27 per ounce, while platinum gained 0.3% to $901.30. Palladium rose 0.9% to $943.01 per ounce, after hitting an over five-year low on Tuesday.


Saudi Arabia's PIF Buys 49% of Rocco Forte's Luxury Hotel Chain

Founder Rocco Forte indicated that Saudi Arabia's support will give the company more financial strength (Rocco Forte)
Founder Rocco Forte indicated that Saudi Arabia's support will give the company more financial strength (Rocco Forte)
Founder Rocco Forte indicated that Saudi Arabia's support will give the company more financial strength (Rocco Forte) Founder Rocco Forte indicated that Saudi Arabia's support will give the company more financial strength (Rocco Forte)
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Saudi Arabia's PIF Buys 49% of Rocco Forte's Luxury Hotel Chain

Founder Rocco Forte indicated that Saudi Arabia's support will give the company more financial strength (Rocco Forte)
Founder Rocco Forte indicated that Saudi Arabia's support will give the company more financial strength (Rocco Forte)
Founder Rocco Forte indicated that Saudi Arabia's support will give the company more financial strength (Rocco Forte) Founder Rocco Forte indicated that Saudi Arabia's support will give the company more financial strength (Rocco Forte)

Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund (PIF) has bought a 49 percent stake in Sir Rocco Forte's luxury hotel group and plans to double the chain's size over the next five years with new hotels in the Middle East, Italy, and the US.

The deal, announced on Monday, values Forte's group of 14 hotels across Europe at £1.2bn and implies an enterprise value, including debt, of £1.4bn, according to people familiar with the details.

As part of the deal, Italian sovereign wealth fund CDP Equity, which owned a 23 percent stake, will exit the business, along with four of Forte's five sisters, according to the Financial Times.

Founder Rocco Forte, alongside his sister Olga Polizzi, will retain a controlling 51 percent stake. They will remain in the positions of CEO and Vice President, respectively.

In an interview with the Financial Times in Brown's Hotel in London's Mayfair, Forte, who chairs the group, said he was "very bullish" about demand from US travelers, which account for more than a third of turnover, and that he expected "a lot more business" from visitors based in the Middle East thanks to the partnership with Saudi Arabia.

It is not the first time that Forte has promised expansion, but he said the backing of Saudi Arabia would give the business more financial firepower this time.

"We're in a good position in the right industry at the right time," said Forte, arguing that the luxury hotel sector was "quite protected [from an economic slowdown] compared to the rest of the economy."

"Having a partner like PIF gives you much more solidity to the outside eye . . . banks love you much more," said Forte.

The deal is the latest in a long line of investments in the luxury hospitality sector by the PIF as part of a push by the Fund to diversify Saudi Arabia's economy away from fossil fuels.

PIF Deputy Governor Turqi al-Nowaiser said the investment reflects the Fund's belief in the "current potential of the hospitality and tourism industry."

The Fund will be given two board seats, and the Forte family will have three.

From the year to the end of April, Rocco Forte Hotels recorded group revenues of £ 293.5 million, up from £ 166.5 million a year earlier when coronavirus restrictions affected trading. Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortization were £64 million, up from £18.1 million a year earlier.


Saudi Green Initiative Forum at COP28: Kingdom Advances Climate Ambitions

Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman (Ministry of Energy)
Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman (Ministry of Energy)
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Saudi Green Initiative Forum at COP28: Kingdom Advances Climate Ambitions

Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman (Ministry of Energy)
Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman (Ministry of Energy)

Saudi Arabia has unveiled its efforts to launch renewable energy projects with a capacity of 20 gigawatts by 2024. This comes after the kingdom having quadrupled its renewable energy production from 700 megawatts to 2.8 gigawatts so far.
Saudi Minister of Energy Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman announced on Monday that the Saudi Green Initiative was launched in 2021 to achieve the country’s climate ambitions of reaching zero neutrality by 2060.
“Within this initiative, the Kingdom is committed to reducing 278 million tons of carbon emissions annually by 2030,” he said while inaugurating the third edition of the Saudi Green Initiative 2023 (SGI) Forum in Dubai on Monday.
“When the international community called for increasing climate ambition, the Kingdom came forward and launched the Green Saudi Arabia initiative as a fundamental pillar for achieving the Kingdom’s climate ambitions.”
“We are working to expand our efforts regionally and internationally through the Green Middle East Initiative to achieve global climate goals,” said Prince Abdulaziz.
The energy minister further said that Saudi Arabia, through the previous session of the SGI forum during “COP27,” which was held in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, and during the current “COP28” being held in Dubai, showed its utmost keenness and strenuous efforts to achieve those ambitions regarding renewable energy.
“The Kingdom’s concrete action on implementing renewables are reflected by its ability to quadruple its capacity from 700 megawatts last year to 2.8 gigawatts with more than eight gigawatts of renewable under construction and around 13 gigawatts in various development stages,” said Prince Abdulaziz.
“We are also planning to tender an additional 20 gigawatt by 2024 as part of our commitment to accelerate the development to renewable energy projects,” he added.
He explained that Saudi Arabia has launched a geophysical survey project, starting next year, which is one of the few projects of this extensive scale implemented nationally, involving over 1200 measurement stations.
Prince Abdulaziz stressed that Saudi Arabia aims to become a major exporter of green hydrogen globally, as the NEOM Project has completed its first phase and achieved investments worth $8.5 billion.
This project will produce 1.2 million tons of green ammonia annually, he said while pointing out that the Kingdom is developing international partnerships to develop more green hydrogen projects in the country, in addition to hydrogen mobility solutions, including trains.
The minister said that Saudi Arabia, in its bid to boost its ambition to export clean and green electricity and hydrogen, has signed a memorandum of understanding for the economic corridor between India, the Middle East and Europe, during the G20 summit meetings in India.
“This will be an essential possibility for export, and this corridor includes electricity, transmission lines and hydrogen pipelines, where we will supply clean energy on a large scale at a low cost and in a reliable manner,” said Prince Abdulaziz.
“Saudi Arabia is working closely to achieve circular carbon in the energy transition, which was approved by the G20 summit,” he affirmed.

 

 


Türkiye's Inflation Ticks up to 62%

A woman shops at a street market in Istanbul, Türkiye, 04 December 2023. (EPA)
A woman shops at a street market in Istanbul, Türkiye, 04 December 2023. (EPA)
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Türkiye's Inflation Ticks up to 62%

A woman shops at a street market in Istanbul, Türkiye, 04 December 2023. (EPA)
A woman shops at a street market in Istanbul, Türkiye, 04 December 2023. (EPA)

Türkiye's annual inflation rate ticked up slightly in November, the state statistics agency said on Monday, showing further signs of levelling off following a series of sharp interest rate hikes.

The rate moved to 61.98 percent last month from 61.36 percent in October, the TUIK state statistics agency said.

The pace at which consumer prices are rising has started to ease, after six successive months of interest rate hikes took borrowing cost to 40 percent from 8.5 percent.

Analysts are penciling in a final rate hike of 2.5 percentage points at the central bank's next policy meeting on December 21.

The latest batch of data show higher borrowing costs starting to slow down consumption -- a key goal of the central bank.

Türkiye's gross domestic product rose by just 0.3 percent between July and September. It had risen by 3.3 between April and June.

"The central bank will welcome these figures as evidence that demand is cooling and inflation pressures continue to soften," said analyst Liam Peach of Capital Economics.

Reset will take time

"However, bringing inflation down to much lower levels will require monetary policy to remain tight for a prolonged period and we expect the central bank to leave interest rates unchanged throughout 2024," Peach said.

Signs of Türkiye's economy starting to emerge from crisis are starting to be noticed by foreign investors, who had pulled out of the market because of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's unpredictable past policies.

Analysts blame Erdogan for setting off the inflation spiral by forcing the nominally independent central bank to slash borrowing costs far below the rate at which prices were rising.

The official annual inflation rate peaked at 85.51 percent in October 2022.

Standard and Poor's revised Türkiye's long-term sovereign credit rating to positive from stable last month.

"Inflation appears to have peaked, albeit at elevated levels of over 60 percent," the ratings agency said.

But it also warned: "The policy reset will take at least two years to tame inflation."

Türkiye's central bank expects inflation to peak in May of next year at between 70 and 75 percent.