Suez Canal Revenues Drop 46% in January

A ship carrying containers passes through the Suez Canal. (Reuters)
A ship carrying containers passes through the Suez Canal. (Reuters)
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Suez Canal Revenues Drop 46% in January

A ship carrying containers passes through the Suez Canal. (Reuters)
A ship carrying containers passes through the Suez Canal. (Reuters)

Egypt’s Suez Canal Authority reported that revenues for January 2024 witnessed a massive decrease of 46% compared to the same period in 2023, from $804 million to $428 million.

The Authority’s Chairman, Osama Rabie, said in televised statements that 1,362 ships crossed the Canal in January of 2024, compared to 2,155 vessels in January 2023, a 36% drop.

Rabie noted that this is the first time the Suez Canal has gone through a crisis, adding that the Authority held many meetings with shipping bodies and companies to reach a solution.

He said that the meetings witnessed consensus that the Suez Canal route is the best, shortest, and safest maritime course and that the Cape of Good Hope is an unsustainable navigation route.

Rabie pointed out that ships are being delayed between 12 and 15 days, depending on the speed of the vessel and weather conditions, as a result of taking routes alternative to the Red Sea and the Suez Canal, thus disrupting global supply chains.

The official said the Suez Canal problem affects the whole world, not just Egypt.

He expected traffic through the Canal to increase rapidly after the current crisis is over to compensate for supply chains.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) recently warned of escalating tension in the Red Sea region and its repercussions on trade and shipping costs.

The Fund said in a report that included an update on the regional economic prospects in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) that after ships were subjected to drone attacks in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, many major shipping companies transferred their shipments to alternative shipping routes, with potential implications for global supply chains and commodity trading, and higher insurance costs.

It warned that shipping costs could rise further if tension continues after some shipping companies shifted larger portions of their trade to longer alternative routes, which would increase fuel and operating costs.



PIF Launches Neo Space Group to Boost Saudi Arabia’s Satellite and Space Industries

PIF Launches Neo Space Group to Boost Saudi Arabia’s Satellite and Space Industries
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PIF Launches Neo Space Group to Boost Saudi Arabia’s Satellite and Space Industries

PIF Launches Neo Space Group to Boost Saudi Arabia’s Satellite and Space Industries

Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) announced on Monday the establishment of the Neo Space Group (NSG), a wholly owned PIF company that will become a national champion in the satellite and space sector.

NSG will enhance the space and satellite sector by developing local capabilities and boosting its strategic position within the growing global space economy, said PIF in a statement.

The group aims to develop and boost commercial space operations in Saudi Arabia, providing innovative satellite and space solutions locally and globally. It will invest in local and international assets and capabilities, as well as promising venture capital opportunities, to catalyze the advancement and localization of sector-specific expertise.

NSG will contribute to the development and deployment of the latest cutting-edge technologies in the space industry through its four dedicated business segments: satellite communications, earth observation and remote sensing, satellite navigation and Internet of Things, as well as a satellite and space-focused venture capital fund.

Co-head of MENA Direct Investments at PIF Omar Al-Madhi said: “The establishment of NSG marks an important milestone in the development of the growing satellite and space sector in Saudi Arabia and the ambition to be a leading commercial player in the global satellite sector.”

“It is a unique milestone for PIF as it is PIF’s first investment focused on the space industry, which represents a series of new opportunities for the Saudi economy and private sector. It will also drive economic expansion in Saudi Arabia within several related strategic sectors while advancing the localization of vital industries,” he stressed.

The development of the aerospace sector is in line with PIF’s strategy to unlock the potential of promising sectors in Saudi Arabia and support the diversification of the Saudi economy, the growth of non-oil revenues and the realization of Saudi Vision 2030.


Sports Boulevard Doubles Value of Private Real Estate Investment Fund for Riyadh Arts District to SAR2 Bln

Sports Boulevard Doubles Value of Private Real Estate Investment Fund for Riyadh Arts District to SAR2 Bln
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Sports Boulevard Doubles Value of Private Real Estate Investment Fund for Riyadh Arts District to SAR2 Bln

Sports Boulevard Doubles Value of Private Real Estate Investment Fund for Riyadh Arts District to SAR2 Bln

Saudi Arabia's Sports Boulevard Foundation, together with Ajdan Real Estate Development Company and Albilad Capital, decided to double the value of the private real estate investment fund, currently valued at SAR1 billion, said Sports Boulevard in a statement on Monday.

This will bring the total value of the fund to SAR2 billion, which will be used to increase the private sector’s participation in the Riyadh's Arts District, one of the Sports Boulevard project destinations.

The Sports Boulevard Development Company will remain the major unitholder in the fund, with Ajdan Real Estate Development Company as a developer and primary investor, while Albilad Capital is the fund manager.

This partnership underscores the collaborative effort behind the expansion, and points to a strategic alliance aimed at creating a vibrant and dynamic urban space that enhances the cultural and economic landscape of Riyadh.

The project, according to the release, aims to develop a mixed-use lifestyle destination consisting of residential, retail, office, and entertainment components. Spanning a land area of more than 39,000 sqm in the heart of the Arts District, the total combined built-up area is approximately 240,000 sqm, with over 100,000 sqm of net leasable area.

The design style is driven by Sports Boulevard Design Code, which is inspired by the Salmani Architectural Style.

This destination promises a dynamic and immersive lifestyle experience for residents and visitors alike.

The project extends beyond the private development parcels, spanning an area of 184,000 sqm, and offering a captivating public realm distinguished by its recreational activities, spacious pedestrian spaces, and bike-friendly tracks, utilizing efficient mobility, seamlessly connected to the Promenade and the cycling bridge.

The Sports Boulevard is one of Riyadh's mega projects launched by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud on March 19, 2019. The project extends for more than 135 km on Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Road, connecting Wadi Hanifah in the west with Wadi Al Sulai in the east through a grid of safe green pathways for pedestrians, cyclists, athletes, and horse riders.

The project includes more than 4.4 million square meters of greenery and open spaces, and up to 50 multidisciplinary sports facilities. In addition, there are several unique destinations and investment zones, totaling over 3 million square meters.


Poverty Strikes 14.5 Million Syrians in their Country

Despite the improvement in weather conditions, agricultural production in Syria declined due to the displacement of farmers (Syrian Agricultural Media Account)
Despite the improvement in weather conditions, agricultural production in Syria declined due to the displacement of farmers (Syrian Agricultural Media Account)
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Poverty Strikes 14.5 Million Syrians in their Country

Despite the improvement in weather conditions, agricultural production in Syria declined due to the displacement of farmers (Syrian Agricultural Media Account)
Despite the improvement in weather conditions, agricultural production in Syria declined due to the displacement of farmers (Syrian Agricultural Media Account)

Two recent World Bank reports show that the poverty belt in Syria currently includes about 69 percent of the population, or about 14.5 million Syrian citizens.

For more than 10 years, Syria has been mired in conflict, leading to widespread devastation and humanitarian crises. The situation has worsened with the recent external shocks, as the two reports pointed to the continued lack of funding and limited humanitarian aid, which further depleted families’ ability to secure their basic needs, amid rising prices, a decline in basic services, and an increase in unemployment rates.

The Regional Director of the Middle East Department at the World Bank, Jean-Christophe Carret, said Syria witnessed multiple and overlapping shocks last year, more than a decade after the start of the bloodiest conflict of this century.

The economic situation in Syria continued to deteriorate in 2023, according to the updated monitor of the World Bank, a copy of which was obtained by Asharq Al-Awsat, as economic activity maintained its decline, and the value of the Syrian pound dropped significantly by 141 percent against the US dollar. At the same time, estimates indicate that consumer price inflation rose by 93 percent, due to the reduction in subsidies provided by the government.

Amid the economic slowdown, which is partly caused by the damage to infrastructure due to earthquakes and conflicts, public finance revenues continue to drop, prompting the authorities to further reduce spending, while tightly adjusting support programs.

Although agricultural production had improved due to better weather conditions over the previous year, the conflict severely affected the agricultural sector, with massive displacement of farmers and widespread damage to infrastructure and irrigation networks, leading to a decline in yields.

Conflict-related unrest has also severely affected foreign trade, and the collapse of domestic industrial and agricultural production has amplified Syria’s dependence on imports.

The Spring 2024 issue of the Syrian Economic Monitor expects the economic contraction to continue, as a result of the real GDP being exposed to an unprecedented state of uncertainty, leading to its decline by 1.5 percent during the current year.

A special section, which is focused on the main findings of the Syrian Household Well-Being Report, indicates that in 2022, poverty affected 69 percent of the population, or about 14.5 million Syrians.

Although extreme poverty did not actually exist before the outbreak of the conflict, it affected more than one in every 4 Syrians in 2022, and may have worsened due to the devastating effects of the earthquake in February 2023 and other several external factors, especially Lebanon’s financial crisis in 2019, the Covid-19 pandemic, and the war in Ukraine.


Alibaba’s AliExpress Recruits Beckham to ‘Score More’ Global Sales 

Former Manchester United player David Beckham poses on the red carpet before "99" World Premiere. (Reuters)
Former Manchester United player David Beckham poses on the red carpet before "99" World Premiere. (Reuters)
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Alibaba’s AliExpress Recruits Beckham to ‘Score More’ Global Sales 

Former Manchester United player David Beckham poses on the red carpet before "99" World Premiere. (Reuters)
Former Manchester United player David Beckham poses on the red carpet before "99" World Premiere. (Reuters)

AliExpress, an e-commerce site owned by Chinese giant Alibaba, has signed former England soccer captain David Beckham as a brand ambassador as it plays catch-up with rival PDD Holdings' Temu in a battle to sell cheap made-in-China goods to the world.

A low-key cross-border player until recently, Alibaba is now investing aggressively to boost global sales as domestic e-commerce growth wanes. Its international division, which includes AliExpress, is its fastest growing unit with revenues surging 45% year on year over January to March.

Earlier this year, AliExpress also signed on as a sponsor of the UEFA Euro 2024 tournament, which starts in June, where it will invest millions of dollars in discounts, deals and engagement to attract online consumers.

An advertisement campaign featuring Beckham will run in conjunction with the UEFA tournament and encourage consumers to "score more with AliExpress", the e-commerce platform said in a statement on Monday.

This comes after the success of a move by PDD Holdings' Temu to air multiple commercials at the Super Bowl this year encouraging US consumers to "shop like a billionaire".

According to mobile intelligence firm Apptopia, Temu's app downloads jumped 34% on Super Bowl Sunday from the day before.

"Football, soccer, fans (in Europe and) Latin America are a similar demographic to American football fans in North America, they are generally going to include a lot of price-sensitive, inflation-impacted consumers," said Humphrey Ho, US managing partner at digital advertising agency Hylink Digital, about the decision by Temu and now AliExpress to focus on football fans.

COMPETITIVE LANDSCAPE

Though Alibaba has long looked at the overseas market as a potential money maker, with founder Jack Ma saying in 2017 that Alibaba aimed to serve 2 billion global consumers by 2036, it is having to make up ground in many markets ceded to rival Temu.

"Historically, execution has been the problem for Alibaba's international ambitions," said Jianggan Li, founder and CEO of Momentum Works, a venture and insights firm.

"Alibaba spent years debating whether it would be too difficult or too challenging to compete with Amazon (in the US), and Temu just went ahead and did it."

Temu, which sells $5 earbuds and $10 dresses among other things to over 60 global markets, has grown in popularity since its 2022 launch, with Chinese investment management firm CICC estimating Temu raked in $18 billion in revenue in 2023.

PDD does not break out revenue for Temu separately and does not comment on the accuracy of third-party sales estimates.

To better compete with rivals, Alibaba is now utilizing its competitive advantages, offering five-day delivery windows to 11 markets on a selection of products, backed by its investments in global logistics.

The buyback of logistics arm Cainiao in March will likely strengthen the logistical advantages AliExpress has over rivals.

AliExpress has a presence in more than 100 markets.

Alibaba has the will and the money to pump into growth for AliExpress, but most importantly, the competitive landscape is forcing the issue, changing the dynamics of cross-border e-commerce from China, Li said.

"AliExpress has to find a way to compete with and differentiate from Temu" in order to win market share, Li said.

"I mean, there's no other choice."


Gold Recoups from 2-week Low as Traders Eye US Inflation Data

A view shows ingots of 99.99 percent pure gold in a workroom during production at Krastsvetmet precious metals plant in the Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk, Russia, May 23, 2024.  REUTERS/Alexander Manzyuk
A view shows ingots of 99.99 percent pure gold in a workroom during production at Krastsvetmet precious metals plant in the Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk, Russia, May 23, 2024. REUTERS/Alexander Manzyuk
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Gold Recoups from 2-week Low as Traders Eye US Inflation Data

A view shows ingots of 99.99 percent pure gold in a workroom during production at Krastsvetmet precious metals plant in the Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk, Russia, May 23, 2024.  REUTERS/Alexander Manzyuk
A view shows ingots of 99.99 percent pure gold in a workroom during production at Krastsvetmet precious metals plant in the Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk, Russia, May 23, 2024. REUTERS/Alexander Manzyuk

Gold prices drifted higher on Monday from a two-week low hit in the previous session as traders gauged fading hopes of US interest rate cuts ahead of a key inflation report due later this week.
Spot gold was up 0.4% at $2,342.73 per ounce, as of 0543 GMT, having touched its lowest since May 9 at $2,325.19 on Friday. US gold futures also climbed 0.4% to $2,343.60, Reuters reported.
Bullion hit a record high of $2,449.89 earlier last week, but has shed more than $100 since then.
"I suspect gold can manage a small bounce from current levels before retesting the $2,280-$2,300 zone, which could see losses extended if US data continues to outperform," said City Index senior analyst Matt Simpson.
The core personal consumption expenditures price index (PCE), the preferred inflation measure for the US Federal Reserve, is due on Friday.
Bullion is known as an inflation hedge, but higher rates increase the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding gold.
"With bullish fingers being burned at the highs and forcing some to liquidate and others to switch to the bear-camp, I doubt we'll see a new high soon with the Fed maintaining their 'higher-for-longer' narrative with interest rates," City Index's Simpson said.
Minutes from the Federal Reserve's meeting published last week showed the central bank's path to 2% inflation could take longer than expected.
Traders' bets indicated rising skepticism that the Fed will lower rates more than once in 2024, currently pricing in about a 62% chance of a rate cut by November according to the CME FedWatch Tool.
According to Reuters technical analyst Wang Tao, spot gold may test resistance at $2,352 per ounce, a break above could open the way towards $2,363.
Gold demand in India slightly improved last week after prices corrected from a record high, but retail purchases remained lower than normal, prompting dealers to widen discounts.
Spot silver rose 1.6% to $30.83, platinum climbed 1.4% to $1,040.25 and palladium gained 1.4% to $976.72.


Ma’aden Resorts to International Expertise to Exploit Saudi Arabia’s Largest Discovered Resources

Saudi Arabia is implementing mining projects to exploit untapped wealth. (Asharq Al-Awsat)
Saudi Arabia is implementing mining projects to exploit untapped wealth. (Asharq Al-Awsat)
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Ma’aden Resorts to International Expertise to Exploit Saudi Arabia’s Largest Discovered Resources

Saudi Arabia is implementing mining projects to exploit untapped wealth. (Asharq Al-Awsat)
Saudi Arabia is implementing mining projects to exploit untapped wealth. (Asharq Al-Awsat)

The Saudi Arabian Mining Company (Ma’aden) is seeking to benefit from its relationships with its global partners, and to rely on the latest technologies, in order to raise the maximum capabilities and potential to work on the unexplored mineral resources project in Saudi Arabia, which is valued at $2.5 trillion, through an appropriate set of investments, sources have revealed.

In January, the Kingdom announced that it had raised its estimates of the value of untapped mineral resources, including phosphate, gold, minerals, and rare earths, to SAR9.4 trillion ($2.5 trillion), an increase from the previous estimation of SAR4.9 trillion ($1.3 trillion).

Ma’aden operates 17 mines and sites, employing more than 68,000 workers, and exports its products to more than 30 countries. It is also implementing a plan to increase the volume of its business within its 2040 strategy, in phosphate, aluminum, gold, and copper, in addition to exploring new minerals.

Mining has emerged as a vital sector for the Saudi economy, as it played a pivotal role in promoting growth and advancing development under Vision 2030. In this context, Ma’aden is working to consolidate the sector's position as the third pillar of the economy in the Kingdom.

The company is an important player in supporting the achievement of the goals of the country’s strategic roadmap, and has implemented one of the largest exploration programs in the world, investing in new technologies through its partnership with Barrick Gold and Ivanhoe Electric, to help unleash the enormous potential of mineral wealth in Saudi Arabia.

Minister of Industry and Mineral Resources Bandar Al-Khorayef recently announced the discovery of new mining resources with an estimated value of $2.5 trillion. This came during the third edition of the International Mining Conference, which was held in Riyadh, under the patronage of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz.

The minister pointed to new discoveries of rare earth elements and transition metals, in addition to huge increases in phosphate ore and other minerals, such as copper, zinc, gold, and others.

The Ma’aden Company recently revealed the discovery of significant gold resource potential extending along a 100km strike from the existing Mansourah Massarah gold mine. This is the first find from the company’s extensive exploration program, launched in 2022, aimed at building Ma’aden’s production pipeline.


Beijing Says Samsung Encouraged to Invest More in China

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Samsung is seen on a building during the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain February 25, 2018. REUTERS/Yves Herman/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: The logo of Samsung is seen on a building during the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain February 25, 2018. REUTERS/Yves Herman/File Photo
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Beijing Says Samsung Encouraged to Invest More in China

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Samsung is seen on a building during the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain February 25, 2018. REUTERS/Yves Herman/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: The logo of Samsung is seen on a building during the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain February 25, 2018. REUTERS/Yves Herman/File Photo

Chinese Premier Li Qiang told Samsung Chairman Jay Y. Lee on Sunday that China welcomed further investment by the Korean conglomerate, state news agency Xinhua reported, as foreign businesses in the Chinese market struggle to navigate geopolitical uncertainties.
The meeting in Seoul between China's second highest-ranking official and the Korean executive took place ahead of a summit between Li, South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, the first three-way talks by the Asian neighbors in more than four years, Reuters reported.
Samsung Electronics has over the past six years invested $24 billion in the Chinese market, a company executive was quoted as saying in a November report by state-run China Daily.
But the Korean tech giant has seen its business face growing challenges amid US-China tensions as it navigates export controls Washington has rolled out to cut off China's access to cutting-edge chips.
Li's choice to meet with a Samsung executive echoed earlier remarks the Chinese leader gave during a bilateral meeting with Yoon, where he encouraged more Korean enterprises to invest and do business in China and urged Beijing and Seoul to cooperate on maintaining the stability of industrial supply chains.


G7 Finance Leaders to Call on Israel to Maintain Palestinian Bank Links

German Finance Minister Christian Lindner, United States Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen, Bank of Canada Governor Tiff Macklem, Canada's Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland, Italy's Economy Minister Giancarlo Giorgetti, Bank of Italy Governor Fabio Panetta, Japan's Finance Minister Shunichi Suzuki, Bank of Japan Governor Kazuo Ueda, France's Minister for Economy and Finances Bruno Le Maire, Eurogroup President Paschal Donohoe, Bank of France Governor Francois Villeroy de Galhau, European Central Bank (ECB) President Christine Lagarde, International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva, President of Germany's Federal Reserve Bundesbank Joachim Nagel, World Bank President Ajay Banga, attend a family photo session at the G7 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors' meeting in Stresa, Italy, May 24, 2024. REUTERS/Massimo Pinca/File Photo Purchase Licensing Rights
German Finance Minister Christian Lindner, United States Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen, Bank of Canada Governor Tiff Macklem, Canada's Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland, Italy's Economy Minister Giancarlo Giorgetti, Bank of Italy Governor Fabio Panetta, Japan's Finance Minister Shunichi Suzuki, Bank of Japan Governor Kazuo Ueda, France's Minister for Economy and Finances Bruno Le Maire, Eurogroup President Paschal Donohoe, Bank of France Governor Francois Villeroy de Galhau, European Central Bank (ECB) President Christine Lagarde, International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva, President of Germany's Federal Reserve Bundesbank Joachim Nagel, World Bank President Ajay Banga, attend a family photo session at the G7 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors' meeting in Stresa, Italy, May 24, 2024. REUTERS/Massimo Pinca/File Photo Purchase Licensing Rights
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G7 Finance Leaders to Call on Israel to Maintain Palestinian Bank Links

German Finance Minister Christian Lindner, United States Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen, Bank of Canada Governor Tiff Macklem, Canada's Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland, Italy's Economy Minister Giancarlo Giorgetti, Bank of Italy Governor Fabio Panetta, Japan's Finance Minister Shunichi Suzuki, Bank of Japan Governor Kazuo Ueda, France's Minister for Economy and Finances Bruno Le Maire, Eurogroup President Paschal Donohoe, Bank of France Governor Francois Villeroy de Galhau, European Central Bank (ECB) President Christine Lagarde, International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva, President of Germany's Federal Reserve Bundesbank Joachim Nagel, World Bank President Ajay Banga, attend a family photo session at the G7 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors' meeting in Stresa, Italy, May 24, 2024. REUTERS/Massimo Pinca/File Photo Purchase Licensing Rights
German Finance Minister Christian Lindner, United States Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen, Bank of Canada Governor Tiff Macklem, Canada's Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland, Italy's Economy Minister Giancarlo Giorgetti, Bank of Italy Governor Fabio Panetta, Japan's Finance Minister Shunichi Suzuki, Bank of Japan Governor Kazuo Ueda, France's Minister for Economy and Finances Bruno Le Maire, Eurogroup President Paschal Donohoe, Bank of France Governor Francois Villeroy de Galhau, European Central Bank (ECB) President Christine Lagarde, International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva, President of Germany's Federal Reserve Bundesbank Joachim Nagel, World Bank President Ajay Banga, attend a family photo session at the G7 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors' meeting in Stresa, Italy, May 24, 2024. REUTERS/Massimo Pinca/File Photo Purchase Licensing Rights

G7 finance leaders will call on Israel to maintain correspondent banking links between Israeli and Palestinian banks to allow vital transactions, trade and services to continue, according to a draft joint statement seen by Reuters on Saturday.

The statement, to be released at the end of a Group of Seven finance ministers and central bank governors' meeting in northern Italy, also calls for Israel "to release withheld clearance revenues to the Palestinian Authority, in view of its urgent fiscal needs"

"We call on Israel to take the necessary measures to ensure that correspondent banking services between Israeli and Palestinian banks remain in place, so that vital financial transactions and critical trade and services continue," the draft statement said, Reuters reported.

The G7 finance leaders also called for the removal or relaxation of other measures "that have negatively impacted commerce to avoid further exacerbating the economic situation in the West Bank."

The statement echoes a warning on Thursday from U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, who said the failure to renew a soon-to-expire banking waiver would cut off a critical lifeline for the Palestinian territories amid a devastating conflict in Gaza.


Moody’s Affirms Saudi Arabia's 'A1' Credit Rating with 'Positive' Outlook

File photo of the Saudi capital Riyadh - File/AAWSAT
File photo of the Saudi capital Riyadh - File/AAWSAT
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Moody’s Affirms Saudi Arabia's 'A1' Credit Rating with 'Positive' Outlook

File photo of the Saudi capital Riyadh - File/AAWSAT
File photo of the Saudi capital Riyadh - File/AAWSAT

The international credit rating agency" Moody's" has affirmed Saudi Arabia's credit rating at “A1" with positive outlook.

In its latest report report, the agency said the rating affirmation is based on its assessment of the government's significant progress that achieved in implementing broad-based reform agenda since 2016 and the track record of macroeconomic and fiscal policy effectiveness that will support the sustainability of the economic diversification.

The agency said it expects the continued implementation of large diversification projects in the Kingdom will support non-hydrocarbon real GDP growth as they are designed to be modular and commercialized in phases.

It also also said the positive outlook is a reflection of the reforms and investments in various non-oil sectors that will, over time, lead to a material decline in the Kingdoms economic and fiscal reliance on hydrocarbons.


Fitch Upgrades Saudi Electricity Company to 'A+'; Stable Outlook


Saudi Electricity Company HQ in Riyadh - SPA
Saudi Electricity Company HQ in Riyadh - SPA
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Fitch Upgrades Saudi Electricity Company to 'A+'; Stable Outlook


Saudi Electricity Company HQ in Riyadh - SPA
Saudi Electricity Company HQ in Riyadh - SPA

Fitch Ratings has upgraded Saudi Electricity Company's (SEC) Long-Term Foreign- and Local-Currency Issuer Default Ratings to 'A+' from 'A', and removed the ratings from Under Criteria Observation (UCO). The National Long-Term Rating was also upgraded to 'AAA(sau)' from 'AA+(sau)'.

The agency also said in its reports that all the outlooks are Stable.

The upgrade follows a reassessment of SEC's links with the Saudi Arabian government under Fitch's recently updated Government-Related Entities (GRE) Rating Criteria.

SEC's ratings are now equalized with those of Saudi Arabia (KSA, A+/Stable), as the new support score assumes 'Virtually Certain' support from the state, based on GRE Criteria definitions.