Saudi Investment Ministry Signs 12 MoUs with Int’l Companies at World Defense Show 2024

World Defense Show 2024 in Riyadh (SPA)
World Defense Show 2024 in Riyadh (SPA)
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Saudi Investment Ministry Signs 12 MoUs with Int’l Companies at World Defense Show 2024

World Defense Show 2024 in Riyadh (SPA)
World Defense Show 2024 in Riyadh (SPA)

The Ministry of Investment has concluded its participation in the World Defense Show 2024, held in Riyadh, where it showcased available investment opportunities in the Kingdom as well as the support services it offers to investors as it leads the national endeavor to improve the investment climate in the Kingdom, SPA said on Friday.
During the four-day conference that ended Thursday, the Ministry of Investment and the General Authority for Military Industries (GAMI) signed 12 memoranda of understanding (MoUs) with international companies working in the defense sector -- including Airbus, Leonardo industrial group, Lockheed Martin Corporation, Roketsan, and others -- in a bid to enhance cooperation in areas related to investment in the defense sector in the Kingdom.
It discussed a wide range of investment opportunities that will contribute to achieving the Kingdom's ambitious goals to increase the contribution of foreign direct investment to gross domestic product (GDP) to 5.7%, the contribution of the private sector to GDP to 65%, and to localize 50% of spending on the military sector by 2030.
The Ministry of Investment also sponsored an agreement to establish a joint entity between Qudra Industrial Co. and Steelcore Inc. to localize, manufacture, and innovate small arms.
The World Defense Show is held every two years with the aim of empowering defense and security institutions to keep pace with defense developments and technical solutions in line with the targets of the Saudi Vision 2030.



LEAP 24 Investments in New Technologies, Cloud Computing, Data Centers Reach Record $11.9Bln

Saudi Minister of Communications and Information Technology Eng. Abdullah Alswaha speaks at the launch of LEAP 2024 in Riyadh. (SPA)
Saudi Minister of Communications and Information Technology Eng. Abdullah Alswaha speaks at the launch of LEAP 2024 in Riyadh. (SPA)
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LEAP 24 Investments in New Technologies, Cloud Computing, Data Centers Reach Record $11.9Bln

Saudi Minister of Communications and Information Technology Eng. Abdullah Alswaha speaks at the launch of LEAP 2024 in Riyadh. (SPA)
Saudi Minister of Communications and Information Technology Eng. Abdullah Alswaha speaks at the launch of LEAP 2024 in Riyadh. (SPA)

Saudi Minister of Communications and Information Technology Eng. Abdullah Alswaha announced on Monday investments worth $11.9 billion to support deep and emerging technologies, innovation, and cloud computing in Saudi Arabia and the world.

He made the announcement at the launch of the LEAP 24 exhibition in Riyadh. The event runs until March 7.

Alswaha highlighted "the unwavering support" that Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, Crown Prince and Prime Minister, has shown Saudi and global tech sectors to help the digital economy grow and prosper as part of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, read a statement from the exhibition organizers.

The investments will help consolidate the Kingdom’s position "as the largest market and digital economy in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA)" for leading technology companies such as Amazon Web Services, IBM, Datavolt and ServiceNow.

The investments will go toward developing Saudi digital skills and supporting tech start-ups.

On the first day of LEAP 24, Amazon Web Services announced a $5.3 billion investment in a new cloud zone in Saudi Arabia. Datavolt also announced a $5 billion investment in Saudi data centers with a capacity of more than 300 megawatts.

IBM plans to invest $250 million in a global software development center in the Kingdom. ServiceNow will invest $500 million to localize its regional services in Saudi Arabia, with training and development programs to upskill and train Saudi talent.

Dell will open a manufacturing and fulfilment center in Saudi Arabia, the first of its kind in the MENAT region.

Aramco announced the establishment of the Saudi Accelerator Innovation Lab (SAIL). Aramco and MCIT co-founded SAIL to strengthen Saudi Arabia's digital capabilities and to launch the "Metbrain" GenAI model; it also announced "Aramco LLM", the world’s first industrial grade GenAI.

Datadog will establish the first cloud application security solutions academy in the Kingdom, and Uipath announced the establishment of its first-in-the-region automation academy to train, upskill, and foster Saudi talent.


Saudi Minister of Commerce Chairs 18th Session of Saudi-Egyptian Joint Committee

The meeting was chaired by Saudi Minister of Commerce and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the General Authority for Foreign Trade, Dr. Majid bin Abdullah Al-Qasabi, and Egyptian Minister of Industry and Trade Ahmed Samir. (SPA)
The meeting was chaired by Saudi Minister of Commerce and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the General Authority for Foreign Trade, Dr. Majid bin Abdullah Al-Qasabi, and Egyptian Minister of Industry and Trade Ahmed Samir. (SPA)
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Saudi Minister of Commerce Chairs 18th Session of Saudi-Egyptian Joint Committee

The meeting was chaired by Saudi Minister of Commerce and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the General Authority for Foreign Trade, Dr. Majid bin Abdullah Al-Qasabi, and Egyptian Minister of Industry and Trade Ahmed Samir. (SPA)
The meeting was chaired by Saudi Minister of Commerce and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the General Authority for Foreign Trade, Dr. Majid bin Abdullah Al-Qasabi, and Egyptian Minister of Industry and Trade Ahmed Samir. (SPA)

The 18th session of the Saudi-Egyptian Joint Committee concluded in Riyadh on Monday.

The meeting was chaired by Saudi Minister of Commerce and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the General Authority for Foreign Trade, Dr. Majid bin Abdullah Al-Qasabi, and Egyptian Minister of Industry and Trade Ahmed Samir.

Al-Qasabi stressed Saudi Arabia's keenness to strengthen trade relations with Egypt through the exchange of visits between the private sectors, holding trade exhibitions to promote opportunities and increase the Kingdom's exports to Egypt.

Trade volume between Riyadh and Cairo reached around $11.8 billion until November 2023, with metal products, plastics, and their derivatives being the most prominent commodities exported to Egypt. Metal products and fruits were recorded as the most notable imported commodities.

The 18th session of the Saudi-Egyptian Joint Committee aligns with the strategic approaches of the two countries that aim to address challenges through periodic meetings with concerned parties. These meetings follow up on the implementation of recommendations and oversee the committee's work.


Saudi Arabia Launches Program to Attract Local, Int’l Investments, Boost Role as Global Tourism Hub

The initiative aims to attract investments in the hospitality sector, with a value of approximately SAR 42 billion, projecting estimated revenues of about SAR 16 billion to the Kingdom's GDP by 2030. (SPA)
The initiative aims to attract investments in the hospitality sector, with a value of approximately SAR 42 billion, projecting estimated revenues of about SAR 16 billion to the Kingdom's GDP by 2030. (SPA)
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Saudi Arabia Launches Program to Attract Local, Int’l Investments, Boost Role as Global Tourism Hub

The initiative aims to attract investments in the hospitality sector, with a value of approximately SAR 42 billion, projecting estimated revenues of about SAR 16 billion to the Kingdom's GDP by 2030. (SPA)
The initiative aims to attract investments in the hospitality sector, with a value of approximately SAR 42 billion, projecting estimated revenues of about SAR 16 billion to the Kingdom's GDP by 2030. (SPA)

Saudi Minister of Tourism Ahmed bin Aqeel Al-Khateeb unveiled on Monday the Tourism Investment Enablers Program, designed to facilitate business practices and enhance investment attractiveness for both local and international investors.

As part of its ambitious program, the Ministry of Tourism, in collaboration with the Ministry of Investment, announced the Hospitality Sector Investment Enablers Initiative. This initiative aims to increase and diversify tourism offerings, bolstering the capacity of hospitality facilities in targeted tourist destinations across the Kingdom.

The initiative aims to attract investments in the hospitality sector, with a value of approximately SAR 42 billion, projecting estimated revenues of about SAR 16 billion to the Kingdom's GDP by 2030.

Al-Khateeb stated: "The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia boasts rich and diverse tourism wealth, making its tourism industry globally attractive. Saudi Vision 2030 outlines our roadmap to becoming a sought-after global destination, recognizing the tourism sector as a key driver of the national economy."

"We witnessed a 390% increase in demand for tourism activity licenses last year, marking the beginning of the Kingdom's significant investment in the tourism sector over the next decade, providing opportunities and a conducive investment environment for both local and international investors," he added.

The initiative encompasses strategically prepared enablers to improve the cost and ease of doing business. These include facilitating access to government lands under favorable conditions, streamlining project development processes, finding solutions to investor challenges, and developing laws to reduce operational costs, fostering tourism industry growth.

The initiative is anticipated to yield numerous social and economic benefits, including an increase in the number of hotel rooms by approximately 42,000, creating around 120,000 job opportunities in targeted destinations by 2030. This will positively impact talent development and support nationalization efforts in the local job market.


Saudi Arabia: ROSHN Group Launches Sales of 4th Phase of Flagship Development 'SEDRA'

The new area will cover over 1.9 million square meters. SPA
The new area will cover over 1.9 million square meters. SPA
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Saudi Arabia: ROSHN Group Launches Sales of 4th Phase of Flagship Development 'SEDRA'

The new area will cover over 1.9 million square meters. SPA
The new area will cover over 1.9 million square meters. SPA

Saudi Arabia’s ROSHN Group announced on Monday the expansion of its popular "SEDRA" project in Riyadh with a new phase that adds 4,860 residential units.

The new area will cover over 1.9 million square meters and will be released in stages, with 1,254 units available for purchase in the first sale tranche, ROSHN Group said in a statement.

"The launch of sales for SEDRA 4 builds on the success of SEDRA’s first three phases and reflects the progress ROSHN has made in such a short period,” said ROSHN Group CEO David Grover.

“Meeting the unprecedented demand for ROSHN’s new way of living, SEDRA 4 blends modern, innovative, and sustainable design with unparalleled amenities, such as schools, a primary care hospital, and a district mall within a five-minute walk, to cultivate a vibrant community atmosphere."

According to the statement, SEDRA 4 has 4,860 new homes in its latest phase, featuring 30% of the phase’s footprint dedicated to public spaces. The latest expansion boasts the "Kingdom's largest Sports Dome" and includes amenities like green spaces, mosques and neighborhood retail centers.

Located north of SEDRA 3 and accessible via Airport Road, SEDRA 4 connects residents to ROSHN Front shopping, education, healthcare, and entertainment options, making it part of the vibrant North Riyadh area, near universities, the airport, and a train station, added the statement.


Bitcoin Bounces Beyond $64,000 as Records Beckon

FILE PHOTO: Physical representations of the bitcoin cryptocurrency are seen in this illustration taken October 24, 2023. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: Physical representations of the bitcoin cryptocurrency are seen in this illustration taken October 24, 2023. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo
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Bitcoin Bounces Beyond $64,000 as Records Beckon

FILE PHOTO: Physical representations of the bitcoin cryptocurrency are seen in this illustration taken October 24, 2023. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: Physical representations of the bitcoin cryptocurrency are seen in this illustration taken October 24, 2023. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo

Bitcoin scaled a two-year high on Monday, breaking $64,000 as a wave of money carried it within striking distance of record levels.
It touched $64,285 early in the Asian day, its highest since late 2021, and was last 2% firmer for the session at $63,850. Bitcoin's record high is $68,999.99 set in November 2021, Reuters reported.
The largest cryptocurrency by market value has gained 50% this year and most of the rise came in the last few weeks where trading volume has surged for US-listed bitcoin funds.
Spot bitcoin exchange-traded funds were approved in the United States earlier this year. Their launch opened the way for new large investors and has re-ignited enthusiasm and momentum reminiscent of the run up to record levels in 2021.
"The flows are not drying up as investors feel more confident the higher price appears to go," said Markus Thielen, head of research at crypto analytics house 10x Research in Singapore.
Smaller rival ether has hitched a ride on speculation that it too may soon have exchange-traded funds driving inflows. It's up 50% year-to-date though at $3,490 on Monday stayed just shy of two-year highs made last week.
The rally has come in tandem with records tumbling on stock indexes from Japan's Nikkei to the S&P 500 and tech-heavy Nasdaq and with volatility gauges in equities and foreign exchange turning lower.
"In a world where Nasdaq is making new all-time highs, crypto is going to perform well as bitcoin remains a high-volatility tech proxy and liquidity thermometer," said Brent Donnelly, trader and president at analysis firm Spectra Markets.
"We are back to a 2021-style market where everything goes up and everyone is having fun."


NTP CEO: ‘National Transformation’ Makes Big Strides in Legislative Development in Saudi Arabia

CEO of the National Transformation Program (NTP) Thamir Al-Sadoun. (Asharq Al-Awsat)
CEO of the National Transformation Program (NTP) Thamir Al-Sadoun. (Asharq Al-Awsat)
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NTP CEO: ‘National Transformation’ Makes Big Strides in Legislative Development in Saudi Arabia

CEO of the National Transformation Program (NTP) Thamir Al-Sadoun. (Asharq Al-Awsat)
CEO of the National Transformation Program (NTP) Thamir Al-Sadoun. (Asharq Al-Awsat)

CEO of the National Transformation Program (NTP) Thamir Al-Sadoun confirmed that the Kingdom is on track to achieve some of the Program’s goals before the turn of this decade.

“The National Transformation Program has achieved numerous milestones, with figures attesting to its success,” said Al-Sadoun in an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat.

The program is a cornerstone of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030.

Reviewing figures, Al-Sadoun stressed that foreign investment licenses shot up by over 96% last year compared to 2022.

“More than 200 licenses were issued for international company regional centers,” he revealed.

As for the legal sector, the NTP focused on activating digital transformation in judicial services, and succeeded in raising the percentage of services provided electronically.

He noted that the Kingdom’s “Najiz platform offers over 160 judicial services, saving 65 million visits and conserving 90 million sheets of paper annually.”

Regarding the environment, Al-Sadoun said: “Over 192,000 hectares of vegetation cover have been restored in the Kingdom, increasing protected area coverage to 18.8% of the total area, up from 4.3% in 2016.”

On water systems, the “Saudi Saline Water Conversion Corporation’s desalinated water production capacity reached an unprecedented 11.5 million cubic meters per day, a global record,” according to Al-Sadoun.

Concerning food security, Al-Sadoun said: “The Kingdom now has the largest grain storage capacity in the Middle East, increasing from 2.5 million tons in 2016 to 3.5 million tons.”

With regard to the Kingdom’s digital experience, he revealed that “5G services have been extended to 97 provinces across the Kingdom, with over 6,000 government services now offered electronically.”

Al-Sadoun added that up-to-date achievements and more are detailed in NTP’s annual report, which is available online.

The CEO noted challenges in updating laws but mentioned significant progress with new regulations for business, disability rights, and the environment.

“The Kingdom’s leaders and the NTP’s committee, made up of 12 members including ministers and officials, provide unwavering support to Vision realization programs,” affirmed Al-Sadoun.

“This strong support has kept us moving forward during this ambitious journey, even during the challenging times of the COVID-19 pandemic,” he asserted.

“For instance, one challenge we faced was improving the legal framework to meet our goals and adopt best practices.”

“We've made significant progress by introducing laws like the Disability Rights Law, ensuring the rights of people with disabilities and promoting their inclusion in society.”

“We've also implemented laws like the Occupational Safety and Health Law and the Wage Protection System to improve working conditions for everyone,” added Al-Sadoun.

“Several other regulations and laws are also helping us achieve our targets for 2030,” he revealed.

With the Kingdom making real progress in global indicators, he highlighted how these achievements reflect Saudi Arabia’s future ambitions regarding its global standing and competitiveness.

“The Kingdom has made impressive strides in international indicators, thanks to the dedicated efforts of the NTP,” he reiterated.

“Saudi Arabia’s rise to 17th place globally and 3rd among G20 nations in the Global Competitiveness Report highlights the Kingdom’s major economic reforms aimed at boosting the private sector and attracting investments,” explained Al-Sadoun.

As for what’s next for the NTP, Al-Sadoun said: “We remain committed to achieving our goals and targets, launching initiatives with tangible impact.”

“This impact is realized by the sons and daughters of this nation, and we will continue working with all stakeholders within the framework of the NTP to realize Vision 2030 and beyond,” he added.


The World’s Eyes Turn to Riyadh for Launch of LEAP 24

The second edition of LEAP (SPA)
The second edition of LEAP (SPA)
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The World’s Eyes Turn to Riyadh for Launch of LEAP 24

The second edition of LEAP (SPA)
The second edition of LEAP (SPA)

LEAP24, the world’s largest technological exhibition, kicked off on Monday in Riyadh, with the participation of more than 1,800 international and local exhibitors, and more than 1,000 technical experts and 600 startup companies.

Organized by the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology and the Saudi Federation for Cybersecurity, Programming and Drones, the exhibition, which runs from March 4 to 7, highlights the latest technology industries and unveils government AI initiatives and the newest innovations.

In its current edition, the conference has expanded the number of participants from major technical exhibitors in the world, in addition to the presence of an elite group of expert speakers and international companies.

The current version will see the participation of world tech giants, including Google, Microsoft, Oracle, Dell, Cisco, SAP, Amazon Web Services, Alibaba, Huawei, Ericsson, and others.

More than 30 government agencies are competing to showcase their advanced digital services, through the “Digital Saudi Arabia” exhibition, organized by the Digital Government Authority within the activities of LEAP 24, with the participation of many government and private agencies.

The event aims to enhance the Kingdom’s international position as an innovative digital environment, highlight success stories in the digital transformation journey, and its importance at the regional and international levels, in addition to unveiling the most prominent digital government services aimed at raising the quality of life and enhancing competitiveness.

The exhibition will see government agencies and national companies showcasing their digital products and services based on innovative models using emerging technologies, in addition to the signing of strategic agreements and the launching of new services, dialogue sessions for a number of ministers and officials, and workshops in the field of digital transformation.

The LEAP conference witnessed rapid developments over its years, as the total number of launches increased from $6.4 billion in the first edition to more than $9 billion in the second edition, while the number of attendees increased from 100,000 visitors in the first edition to more than 172,000 in the second year.


Türkiye Inflation Rises to 67%, Keeping Pressure on Cenbank

A full moon rises behind the Camlica mosque in Istanbul, Türkiye, Saturday, Feb. 24, 2024. (AP Photo/Emrah Gurel)
A full moon rises behind the Camlica mosque in Istanbul, Türkiye, Saturday, Feb. 24, 2024. (AP Photo/Emrah Gurel)
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Türkiye Inflation Rises to 67%, Keeping Pressure on Cenbank

A full moon rises behind the Camlica mosque in Istanbul, Türkiye, Saturday, Feb. 24, 2024. (AP Photo/Emrah Gurel)
A full moon rises behind the Camlica mosque in Istanbul, Türkiye, Saturday, Feb. 24, 2024. (AP Photo/Emrah Gurel)

Türkiye's annual inflation rate climbed to 67.07% in February, exceeding expectations and keeping up pressure for tight monetary policy amid strong rises in food, hotel and education prices, official data showed on Monday.
Shortly before the data, Finance Minister Mehmet Simsek told local broadcaster BloombergHT that inflation would remain high in the coming months due to base effects and the delayed impact of rate hikes, but would fall in the next 12 months.
The central bank has hiked interest rates by 3,650 basis points since June, but has now paused its tightening cycle saying that the current 45% policy rate is sufficient to bring inflation down, Reuters said.
Yet some economists see a growing prospect of more tightening sometime after nationwide local elections on March 31, given the price pressure and
strong domestic demand.
"Core price pressures continue to run hot and if this continues, the possibility of a restart to the central bank's tightening cycle will only increase in the coming months," said Capital Economics senior emerging markets economist Liam Peach.
Month-on-month consumer price inflation (CPI) was 4.53%, according to the Turkish Statistical Institute, down from 6.70% in January but well above a Reuters poll forecast of 3.7%.
Annual inflation was expected to climb to 65.7% in February before falling to 42.7% by the end of 2024, the poll found.
In January, annual consumer price inflation was 64.86%.
"Inflation was high in January due to temporary effects. There could be some continuation of that in February," Simsek said. "However as of March, inflation will be back on trend. It will become in line with our disinflation path."
LIRA SLIDE
The lira has weakened 6% this year after a near-37% slide in 2023, further stoking import prices. It was slightly weaker at 31.4205 against the dollar after the data.
Though some analysts predict currency weakness after the elections - in which President Tayyip Erdogan's ruling party seeks to reclaim big cities from the opposition - Simsek said authorities want neither a depreciating nor very valuable lira.
Restaurants and hotels led the price rises in February, surging 94.5%, followed by a 91.8% rise in education prices. Heavily weighted food and non-alcoholic drinks prices jumped 71.1%.
Economists have said that February inflation was also driven by the lingering impact of this year's minimum wage hike on the services sector.
Last month, the central bank maintained its 36% year-end inflation target and vowed to keep policy tight for longer to bring inflation down to the forecasted path. The Reuters poll showed annual inflation falling only to 42.7% by year end.
The domestic producer price index was up 3.74% month-on-month in February for an annual rise of 47.29%, the data showed.


Gold Near Two-month Peak as Dollar Drifts

US dollar drifted within a tight range on Monday, pressured by lower Treasury yields - Reuters
US dollar drifted within a tight range on Monday, pressured by lower Treasury yields - Reuters
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Gold Near Two-month Peak as Dollar Drifts

US dollar drifted within a tight range on Monday, pressured by lower Treasury yields - Reuters
US dollar drifted within a tight range on Monday, pressured by lower Treasury yields - Reuters

Gold prices lingered close to a two-month high on Monday, after softer US economic readings last week cemented prospects of an interest rate cut in June by the Federal Reserve.

Spot gold edged 0.1% lower to $2,081.34 per ounce, as of 0630 GMT, but hovered near $2088.19, a level seen on Friday when the contract hit its highest since Dec. 28. US gold futures fell 0.3% to $2,090.10.

"The key drivers for gold is what's going to happen on the interest rate front - and we saw a move higher in gold on Friday because a series of macro releases out of the US moved the narrative towards the Fed possibly decreasing rates sooner than expected," Marex analyst Edward Meir said.

Gold prices rose about $50 last week, with absolutely all of the gains coming on the last two days on the back of poor US manufacturing and construction spending data and easing price pressures, according to the Fed's preferred inflation gauge.

This came as the US dollar drifted within a tight range on Monday, pressured by lower Treasury yields, as traders waited for more crucial economic data for fresh clues on the timing of Federal Reserve interest rate cuts.

The euro was firm following Friday's 0.33% advance, with a European Central Bank policy decision looming on Thursday.

The yen fluctuated around the closely watched 150 per dollar level, as investors tried to assess whether the Bank of Japan's exit from its negative interest rate policy could happen as soon as this month.

The dollar index - which measures the currency against six major peers, including the euro and yen - was little changed at 103.85 as of 0530 GMT, oscillating narrowly in the bottom half of it 103.43-104.97 range of the past month.

The index lost 0.26% on Friday following some weak manufacturing and construction spending data.

That also weighed on Treasury yields, removing additional support for the dollar, with the benchmark 10-year yield sliding as low as 4.178% for the first time in two weeks. The yield stood around 4.2% on Monday.

"Bias appears to be swinging towards a test of range support," in the lead up to key macro releases this week, as well as Fed Chair Jerome Powell's testimony to Congress, Westpac strategists wrote in a client note.

"However, markets will need a major shift in data to suggest that range support will be anything other than another buying opportunity," that will keep the dollar index within its current range, the note said.

This week brings manufacturing and services ISM readings on Tuesday, with the main event on Friday in the form of monthly payrolls figures.


IAEA Chief Pushes Development Banks to Fund New Nuclear Energy Projects

Rafael Grossi, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), poses for a picture in his office at the IAEA headquarters in Vienna, Austria on March 01, 2024, ahead of a board of governors of the UN nuclear watchdog to be held on March 4, 2024 in Vienna. (Photo by Joe Klamar / AFP)
Rafael Grossi, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), poses for a picture in his office at the IAEA headquarters in Vienna, Austria on March 01, 2024, ahead of a board of governors of the UN nuclear watchdog to be held on March 4, 2024 in Vienna. (Photo by Joe Klamar / AFP)
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IAEA Chief Pushes Development Banks to Fund New Nuclear Energy Projects

Rafael Grossi, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), poses for a picture in his office at the IAEA headquarters in Vienna, Austria on March 01, 2024, ahead of a board of governors of the UN nuclear watchdog to be held on March 4, 2024 in Vienna. (Photo by Joe Klamar / AFP)
Rafael Grossi, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), poses for a picture in his office at the IAEA headquarters in Vienna, Austria on March 01, 2024, ahead of a board of governors of the UN nuclear watchdog to be held on March 4, 2024 in Vienna. (Photo by Joe Klamar / AFP)

International Atomic Energy Agency chief Rafael Grossi has asked global development banks and their government shareholders to fund new nuclear energy projects, stating that failing to do so could delay the energy transition, the Financial Times reported on Monday.
The UN nuclear watchdog chief told the Financial Times in an interview that lack of funding for emissions-free nuclear energy by multilateral lenders such as the World Bank and Asian Development Bank was "out of step" with the wishes of most of their shareholders, adding that there has been a "sea-change" in the outlook on nuclear power due to the climate crisis and the war in Ukraine.
"All these development banks or international finance institutions are out of date, out of step with what is happening," Grossi told the newspaper. "The outlook of the banks seems to be a "post-Chernobyl sort of mantra, which does not correspond any more to the policy indication from countries and the ideas and projects we are seeing."
World leaders will attend a "first-of-its-kind" nuclear energy summit in Brussels later this month where they are expected to discuss how to overcome opposition from a small number of nations such as Germany to using development banks to fund nuclear projects, Grossi told FT.
The IAEA estimates annual nuclear investment will need to more than double to $100 billion by 2030, up from almost $50 million in 2022, to meet the Paris Agreement target of net zero carbon emissions by 2050, the report added.