Saudi Inflation Slows to Lowest Level Since 2021

A Saudi citizen buys sweets from one of the major stores in preparation for Eid al-Fitr (SPA)
A Saudi citizen buys sweets from one of the major stores in preparation for Eid al-Fitr (SPA)
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Saudi Inflation Slows to Lowest Level Since 2021

A Saudi citizen buys sweets from one of the major stores in preparation for Eid al-Fitr (SPA)
A Saudi citizen buys sweets from one of the major stores in preparation for Eid al-Fitr (SPA)

In March, inflation in Saudi Arabia slowed down to its lowest level since 2021, hitting 1.6% annually compared to 1.8% in February.

This drop was mainly due to a slowdown in food and beverage price increases. However, housing rents continued to climb, reaching 10.5%.

In June 2021, inflation peaked at 6.16%, according to data from Saudi Arabia’s General Authority for Statistics (GASTAT).

Among the G20 nations, Saudi Arabia ranks third lowest in inflation rates, trailing behind Switzerland and Italy.

According to the World Bank’s latest report for the Middle East and North Africa, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait have managed to keep inflation in check through strict monetary policies and support for food and energy prices.

Recent data from GASTAT shows that housing and utility prices went up by 8.8%, while food and drink prices rose by 0.9%. However, transportation costs fell by 1.8%, and prices for miscellaneous goods and personal services increased by 1.1%.

Experts speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat say the Saudi government's measures have kept inflation lower compared to global economies.

Mohammed Bin Duleim Al-Qahtani, an economist at King Faisal University, pointed out that housing, rent, dining out, and electricity prices still affect inflation.

He believes the economy will grow, preventing major economic downturns over the next couple of years. Al-Qahtani also expected inflation to drop significantly by 2028.

Nasser Al-Quraowi, head of the Saudi Center for Studies and Research, said Saudi Arabia ranks among the top five countries in stable inflation despite global crises.

He emphasized the state’s role in protecting citizens and residents’ living standards, which will remain a priority for inflation control in the future.



Ukraine in Talks with EU to Maximize Electricity Imports, Minister Says 

German's Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock speaks to Ukrainian minister of energy German Galushchenko during official visit to a thermal power plant which was destroyed by a Russian rocket attack in Ukraine, Monday, May 21, 2024. (AP)
German's Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock speaks to Ukrainian minister of energy German Galushchenko during official visit to a thermal power plant which was destroyed by a Russian rocket attack in Ukraine, Monday, May 21, 2024. (AP)
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Ukraine in Talks with EU to Maximize Electricity Imports, Minister Says 

German's Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock speaks to Ukrainian minister of energy German Galushchenko during official visit to a thermal power plant which was destroyed by a Russian rocket attack in Ukraine, Monday, May 21, 2024. (AP)
German's Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock speaks to Ukrainian minister of energy German Galushchenko during official visit to a thermal power plant which was destroyed by a Russian rocket attack in Ukraine, Monday, May 21, 2024. (AP)

Ukraine is negotiating to maximize possible imports of electricity from European Union countries to compensate for the generation capacity destroyed by the Russian attacks, Ukrainian energy minister said on Friday.

Russian missile and drone attacks on Ukraine's energy sector have intensified since March, resulting in significant damage and blackouts in many regions.

The attacks have caused more than $1 billion of damage to the sector, leading to the loss of 8,000 MWh of generating capacity from the energy system, the government says.

Currently, Ukraine can import from the EU states no more than 1,700 Mwh of electricity simultaneously.

"We're negotiating. Our task is to maximize this figure," Energy Minister German Galushchenko told parliament.

"Technically, we can receive (import) more than 2,000 Mwh, even 2,400 Mwh. I'm sure a decision will be made," he added.

Volodymyr Kudrytskiy, the head of Ukraine's national power grid operator Ukrenergo, told Ukraine's Telegraf that 1,700 Mwh is "the ceiling for now".

"Everything will depend on how quickly our European colleagues - energy system operators of neighboring countries - will be able to implement projects to expand the capacity of their grids," Kudrytskiy said.

He said that European grid companies need time and money to reinforce some of their substations, install additional transformers or build new transmission lines.

"We think 3,500 to 4,000 Mwh of interstate interconnector capacity is something we can have in the horizon of five years," Kudrytskiy noted.

Energy minister Galushchenko did not say exactly how much imports are being discussed now, but Maxim Timchenko, the head of Ukraine's largest private energy company, DTEK, said earlier this month that an increase to 2,200 Mwh could significantly improve the situation.

DTEK has lost about 90% of its power generation capacity due to Russian missile attacks in recent months.

DTEK data showed that Ukraine consumed around 13,000 Mwh before the attacks as of March 17 but after a series of Russian attacks on the energy system, consumption fell to 9,100 Mwh.

Due to power shortages, Ukrainian power grid operator Ukrenergo has been forced to introduce regular shutdowns of industrial consumers and households and maintain high import rates.

Problems with power generation can have a "potentially negative impact" on industry, especially the largest electricity consumers, the economy ministry said this week.


Türkiye Invites Arab Countries to Sign Bilateral Free Trade Agreements

Turkish Minister of Treasury and Finance Mehmet Simsek speaking during the Arab-Turkish Banking Summit in Istanbul. (Asharq Al-Awsat)
Turkish Minister of Treasury and Finance Mehmet Simsek speaking during the Arab-Turkish Banking Summit in Istanbul. (Asharq Al-Awsat)
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Türkiye Invites Arab Countries to Sign Bilateral Free Trade Agreements

Turkish Minister of Treasury and Finance Mehmet Simsek speaking during the Arab-Turkish Banking Summit in Istanbul. (Asharq Al-Awsat)
Turkish Minister of Treasury and Finance Mehmet Simsek speaking during the Arab-Turkish Banking Summit in Istanbul. (Asharq Al-Awsat)

Turkish Minister of Treasury and Finance Mehmet Simsek called on Arab countries not to be afraid to conclude free trade agreements with Ankara, stressing that such deals would strengthen relations between Türkiye and the Arab world.

Speaking at the International Arab Banking Summit in Istanbul on Thursday, Simsek said the customs union agreements between Türkiye and the European Union contributed to the development of the manufacturing industry in his country.

“I believe that we should take advantage of the opportunities provided by free trade agreements. We are open to cooperation with our Arab neighbors. Together, we can develop ports and create new facilities, tourism can be revived, and we can also support each other with regard to human resources,” he remarked.

The minister went on to say that Türkiye is a country with a diversified economy, capable of competing in the areas of production, added value and technology, and acts as a bridge between Europe and Central Asia.

He added that the Arab world has rich and diverse resources, and enjoys a budget surplus, especially in the Gulf countries.

Simsek noted that Ankara and the Arab capitals can develop strong partnerships in the fields of tourism, construction and defense industries, and can implement mutually beneficial projects in trade and investment.

Meanwhile, Türkiye’s Central Bank on Thursday left the benchmark one-week repo rate unchanged at 50 percent for the second consecutive meeting, matching with market expectations.

“Considering the lagged effects of the monetary tightening, the (Monetary Policy) Committee decided to keep the policy rate unchanged, but reiterated that it remains highly attentive to inflation risks,” the bank said in a statement.

The bank added that it terminated the securities maintenance practice, within the scope of simplifying the macroprudential framework and enhancing the functionality of the market mechanism.


Saudi Arabia Explores Untapped Markets to Expand Global Flight Connections

The Air Connectivity Program pavilion during the annual meeting of the International Aviation Council in Riyadh (Photo by: Turky Al-Agili)
The Air Connectivity Program pavilion during the annual meeting of the International Aviation Council in Riyadh (Photo by: Turky Al-Agili)
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Saudi Arabia Explores Untapped Markets to Expand Global Flight Connections

The Air Connectivity Program pavilion during the annual meeting of the International Aviation Council in Riyadh (Photo by: Turky Al-Agili)
The Air Connectivity Program pavilion during the annual meeting of the International Aviation Council in Riyadh (Photo by: Turky Al-Agili)

Saudi Arabia has established the Air Connectivity Program in 2021 to work with air carriers and airports with the aim to launch additional routes and flights to targeted destinations.

The Kingdom is seeking to become a global aviation hub through several initiatives and programs, at the forefront of which is the National Aviation Strategy, which seeks to connect 250 direct destinations to and from Saudi airports, increase air traffic, and raise the volume of cargo.

In remarks to Asharq Al-Awsat, Executive Vice President of Aviation Development in the Air Connectivity program, Rashid Al-Shammari talked about a plan to expand air routes through 29 airports in the Kingdom by adding the largest number of plane seats.

He explained that the program links the National Tourism Strategy to the National Aviation Strategy through the launch of new routes, additional flights in priority target markets and seasonal trips.

He made his comments on the sidelines of the first annual meeting in the Middle East of the General Assembly of the Airports Council International, which is held in Riyadh from May 22-23.

He stated that the Air Connectivity Program has been able to launch more than 50 routes since its inception in 2021, and works to facilitate entry into the market and enhance expansion opportunities for travel partners to achieve the goals of Vision 2030, in addition to empowering cadres and developing operational excellence based on the latest technologies.

Some of the routes that were launched include a connection between Beijing and Riyadh. The program also cooperated this year with the Italian national carrier ETA to operate flights from the city of Rome to Jeddah and Riyadh.

At the global level, the Kingdom jumped 14 places in the rate of international air connectivity, to reach the 13th place in 2023 compared to 27th in 2019, according to the latest air connectivity index report issued by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), in a classification that includes more than 200 countries.

Moreover, in 2023, Riyadh Air was established by the Public Investment Fund, targeting more than 100 destinations by 2030 and providing more than 200,000 direct and indirect job opportunities, as well as contributing SAR 75 billion ($20 billion) to the country’s gross domestic product.


Saudi Arabia’s Non-oil Exports Rise 3.3% in Q1 of 2024

The Saudi government continues to support non-oil activities to achieve economic growth (Asharq Al-Awsat)
The Saudi government continues to support non-oil activities to achieve economic growth (Asharq Al-Awsat)
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Saudi Arabia’s Non-oil Exports Rise 3.3% in Q1 of 2024

The Saudi government continues to support non-oil activities to achieve economic growth (Asharq Al-Awsat)
The Saudi government continues to support non-oil activities to achieve economic growth (Asharq Al-Awsat)

Saudi Arabia’s non-oil exports recorded an annual increase of 3.3 percent in the first quarter of 2024 compared to the same period in 2023, the General Authority for Statistics (GASTAT) revealed on Thursday.

 

This increase was mainly attributed to a rise in the value of re-exports, which reached SR6.4 billion in March 2024, an 18 percent increase compared to SR5.4 billion in March 2023.

The International Trade Q1 2024 report by GASTAT pointed to positive trends in the Kingdom’s export sector.

The report revealed a significant 19 percent increase in exports of chemical and allied industry products in March 2024 compared to the previous month, reaching a value of SR6.5 billion in March.

Merchandise exports and non-oil exports also rose by five percent and six percent respectively in March, compared to February 2024.


Egypt: Central Bank Keeps Key Interest Rates Unchanged

FILE PHOTO: A general view of the new headquarters of Central Bank of Egypt, at the New Administrative Capital (NAC) east of Cairo, Egypt December 8, 2023. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: A general view of the new headquarters of Central Bank of Egypt, at the New Administrative Capital (NAC) east of Cairo, Egypt December 8, 2023. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh/File Photo
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Egypt: Central Bank Keeps Key Interest Rates Unchanged

FILE PHOTO: A general view of the new headquarters of Central Bank of Egypt, at the New Administrative Capital (NAC) east of Cairo, Egypt December 8, 2023. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: A general view of the new headquarters of Central Bank of Egypt, at the New Administrative Capital (NAC) east of Cairo, Egypt December 8, 2023. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh/File Photo

Egypt's central bank kept its overnight interest rates steady on Thursday, as expected, saying that while economic growth had slowed, rising non-food inflation had offset a steady decline in food inflation.
The meeting of the central bank's Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) was its first since Egypt signed an $8 billion financial support agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in March, when it hiked rates by 600 basis points (bps).
The MPC on Thursday left the lending rate unchanged at 28.25% and the deposit rate at 27.25%, it said in a statement.
The hold was widely expected, with only one of 19 analysts in a Reuters poll forecasting that the MPC would lower rates.
Interest rates are still well below the headline inflation rate, which was running at 32.5% in April. Inflation has declined from a record 38% in September.
"Forecasts indicate that inflation has already peaked and thus is expected to moderate in 2024 as inflationary pressures begin to subside," the MPC said in a statement accompanying the interest rates decision.
The MPC said economic growth had slowed to 2.3% in the fourth quarter of 2023 from 4.2% a year earlier and that indicators suggested growth would remain subdued in the first quarter of 2024.
The central bank raised interest rates on March 6 as part of its agreement with the IMF, bringing total increases since the beginning of the year to 800 bps.
As part of the IMF agreement, Egypt allowed its currency to tumble to under 50 to the dollar after having fixed it at 30.85 for a year. The Egyptian pound has since strengthened to about 47.1 to the dollar.


GACA President to Asharq Al-Awsat: We are Moving towards Automating Saudi Airports

The Chairman of the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA), Abdulaziz Al-Duailej (Asharq Al-Awsat)
The Chairman of the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA), Abdulaziz Al-Duailej (Asharq Al-Awsat)
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GACA President to Asharq Al-Awsat: We are Moving towards Automating Saudi Airports

The Chairman of the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA), Abdulaziz Al-Duailej (Asharq Al-Awsat)
The Chairman of the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA), Abdulaziz Al-Duailej (Asharq Al-Awsat)

The Chairman of the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA), Abdulaziz Al-Duailej, said that Saudi Arabia is one of the advanced countries in digital government, technical connectivity, and access to information, revealing the Kingdom’s efforts to benefit from the latest technologies in the field of automating airport operations with the aim of facilitating the traveler’s experience.
In remarks to Asharq Al-Awsat, Al-Duailej explained that the authority has recently automated many processes at airports, including obtaining a boarding pass electronically and dropping luggage without human intervention.
The chairman of GACA was speaking at the conclusion of the Future Aviation Forum 2024, on Wednesday.
The three-day event was held in Riyadh with the participation of more than 30 ministers, 77 leaders of civil aviation authorities and heads of air transport companies, as well as 7,000 industry experts from more than 120 countries.
Al-Duailej noted that the electronic gates service was activated at King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh during the month of Ramadan, adding that GACA was working to introduce other automated services.
He also highlighted progress towards achieving the country’s goals of doubling the number of passengers, to exceed 330 million in 2030.
The Saudi official stated that the Kingdom enjoys a strategic geographical location and aims to be a hub connecting the East to the West, especially in the field of aviation and logistics services. From this standpoint, he stressed that the country seeks to double air freight from less than one million tons in 2019 to more than 4.5 million tons by 2030.
He continued that Saudi Arabia aims to increase the number of direct air stations from 148 stations in 2023 to 250 global destinations in 2030.
The Saudi strategy for the civil aviation sector focuses on creating a global investment environment and shaping the future of the aviation industry in Saudi Arabia, with the aim to transform the country into a leader in the region and the world.


South Korea Unveils $19 Bln Package to Compete in Global Chip 'Warfare'

A view shows Samsung Electronics' chip production plant at Pyeongtaek, South Korea, in this handout picture obtained by Reuters on September 7, 2022. Samsung Electronics/Handout via REUTERS
A view shows Samsung Electronics' chip production plant at Pyeongtaek, South Korea, in this handout picture obtained by Reuters on September 7, 2022. Samsung Electronics/Handout via REUTERS
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South Korea Unveils $19 Bln Package to Compete in Global Chip 'Warfare'

A view shows Samsung Electronics' chip production plant at Pyeongtaek, South Korea, in this handout picture obtained by Reuters on September 7, 2022. Samsung Electronics/Handout via REUTERS
A view shows Samsung Electronics' chip production plant at Pyeongtaek, South Korea, in this handout picture obtained by Reuters on September 7, 2022. Samsung Electronics/Handout via REUTERS

South Korea announced on Thursday a 26 trillion won ($19 billion) support package for its chip businesses, citing a need to keep up in areas like chip design and contract manufacturing amid 'all-out warfare' in the global semiconductor market, Reuters said.
Under the package, President Yoon Suk Yeol said a financial support program worth about 17 trillion won was planned through state-run Korea Development Bank to back investments by semiconductor companies, according to the presidential office.
"As we all know, semiconductors are a field where all-out national warfare is underway. Win or lose, that depends on who can make cutting-edge semiconductors first," Yoon said at a meeting with top government officials.
South Korea, home to the world's top memory chip makers Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix, has fallen behind some rivals in areas such as chip design and contract chip manufacturing.
South Korea's share of the global fabless sector, which is dominated by companies like US giant Nvidia that design chips but outsource manufacturing, stood at about 1%, Yoon's office said. There was also a gap between local chipmakers and the leading contract chip makers like Taiwan's TSMC, it said.
Yoon said a 1 trillion won fund would be set up to support equipment makers and fabless companies.
Industry minister Ahn Duk-geun said the government aimed to help boost South Korea's global market share in non-memory chips, such as mobile processors, to 10% from the current 2%.
The package is bigger than plans flagged by the country's finance minister Choi Sang-mok earlier this month, when he said the government was targeting support for chip investments and research worth more than 10 trillion won.
In a press briefing, Choi described South Korea's chip support package "as good as" any other country.
Countries around the world ranging from China to the United States have been ploughing tens of billions of dollars via grants and other means to support their own chip sectors.
"The government is apparently trying to follow the trend where other countries are giving out subsidies for their own chip companies," said Greg Roh, head of research at Hyundai Motor Securities.
South Korea is building a mega chip cluster in Yongin, south of the capital Seoul, touted as the world's largest high-tech chipmaking complex to attract chip equipment and fabless companies.
Finance minister Choi said the government would streamline bureaucracy and cut red tape to help speed up construction of the chip cluster at twice the normal rate.
In January, Yoon, who has vowed to pour all possible resources into the country's chip industry, said he would extend tax credits on investments in the domestic semiconductor industry to boost employment and attract more talent.


Oil Prices Fall for Fourth Straight Day as US Rate Hike Prospects Emerge

FILE PHOTO: An oil storage tank and crude oil pipeline equipment is seen during a tour by the Department of Energy at the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in Freeport, Texas, US June 9, 2016.  REUTERS/Richard Carson/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: An oil storage tank and crude oil pipeline equipment is seen during a tour by the Department of Energy at the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in Freeport, Texas, US June 9, 2016. REUTERS/Richard Carson/File Photo
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Oil Prices Fall for Fourth Straight Day as US Rate Hike Prospects Emerge

FILE PHOTO: An oil storage tank and crude oil pipeline equipment is seen during a tour by the Department of Energy at the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in Freeport, Texas, US June 9, 2016.  REUTERS/Richard Carson/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: An oil storage tank and crude oil pipeline equipment is seen during a tour by the Department of Energy at the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in Freeport, Texas, US June 9, 2016. REUTERS/Richard Carson/File Photo

Oil prices eased for a fourth straight session on Thursday after the minutes of a US Federal Reserve meeting revealed discussions of a further tightening of interest rates if inflation remained sticky, a move that could hurt oil demand.
Brent crude futures fell 20 cents, or 0.2%, to $81.70 a barrel at 0651 GMT. US West Texas Intermediate crude (WTI) futures were down 29 cents, or 0.4%, at $77.28. Both benchmarks fell more than 1% on Wednesday, Reuters said.
Minutes released on Wednesday from the Federal Reserve's last policy meeting showed the US central bank's response to sticky inflation would "involve maintaining" its policy rate for now but also reflected discussion of possible further hikes.
"Various participants mentioned a willingness to tighten policy further should risks to inflation materialize in a way that such an action became appropriate," minutes of the Fed's meeting said.
Higher interest rates boost borrowing costs, crunching funds that could boost economic growth and oil demand in the world's largest oil consuming nation.
Also weighing on the market, US crude stocks rose by 1.8 million barrels last week, according to the Energy Information Administration, compared with an estimate for a 2.5 million-barrel draw.
Globally, physical crude markets have more recently been pressured by soft refinery demand and ample supply.
"Recent market softness has come on the back of weaker data, including rising oil inventories, tepid demand, and refinery margin weakness and the increasing risk of run cuts," Citi analysts said in a note on Thursday.
Russia said it exceeded its OPEC+ production quota in April for "technical reasons" and will soon present to the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) Secretariat its plan to compensate for the error, the Russian Energy Ministry said late on Wednesday.
Citi said it still expects that OPEC+, which groups together OPEC and allies led by Russia, will hold its production cuts through the third quarter of this year when it meets on June 1.
Citi also said it continues to see Brent averaging $86 a barrel in the second quarter of 2024.


Gold Prices Dip on Hawkish Fed Minutes

A participant shows gold bars during the 21st edition of the international gold and jewelry exhibition at the Kuwait International Fairgrounds in Kuwait City on May 23, 2024. (Photo by Yasser AL ZAYYAT / AFP)
A participant shows gold bars during the 21st edition of the international gold and jewelry exhibition at the Kuwait International Fairgrounds in Kuwait City on May 23, 2024. (Photo by Yasser AL ZAYYAT / AFP)
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Gold Prices Dip on Hawkish Fed Minutes

A participant shows gold bars during the 21st edition of the international gold and jewelry exhibition at the Kuwait International Fairgrounds in Kuwait City on May 23, 2024. (Photo by Yasser AL ZAYYAT / AFP)
A participant shows gold bars during the 21st edition of the international gold and jewelry exhibition at the Kuwait International Fairgrounds in Kuwait City on May 23, 2024. (Photo by Yasser AL ZAYYAT / AFP)

Gold prices fell for a third straight session on Thursday after minutes from the most recent Federal Reserve meeting indicated that some officials were inclined to raise interest rates.
Spot gold fell 0.6% at $2,365.49 per ounce, as of 0638 GMT. Bullion hit a record high of $2,449.89 on Monday, Reuters reported.
U.S. gold futures were down 1.1% at $2,367.60.
While the policy response for now would "involve maintaining" the US central bank's benchmark policy rate at its current level, the minutes released on Wednesday also reflected discussions of possible further hikes.
"Gold did take a bruising after the Fed minutes reminded investors that interest rate cuts are far from imminent," said Tim Waterer, chief market analyst at KCM Trade.
Bullion is known as an inflation hedge, but higher rates increase the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding gold.
"There is a chance gold could drift back to support levels around the $2,355 region if the dollar keeps the upward momentum going," Waterer said, adding that the medium to longer-term outlook still looks constructive for gold, but that is very much predicated on the next rate move being lower and not higher from the Fed.
Traders' bets signaled growing doubts that the Fed will cut rates more than once in 2024, currently pricing in a 72% chance of a rate cut by November.
India's gold imports in 2024 could fall by nearly a fifth from the previous year as record high prices spur retail consumers to exchange old jewelry for new items, the head of an industry body told Reuters.
"While physical gold demand has been holding up well since 2021, a sharp price rise is likely to temper discretionary buying in 2024. For jewelry demand, fewer days deemed in Indian and China to be auspicious for weddings could be a headwind," ANZ said in a note.
Spot silver fell 0.9% to $30.48, platinum lost 0.6% to $1,028.55 and palladium dropped 1.1% to $988.62.


Saudi Arabia Hosts Int’l Conference to Improve Traveler Experience

Group photo of officials during the Airports Council International Conference (Asharq Al-Awsat)
Group photo of officials during the Airports Council International Conference (Asharq Al-Awsat)
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Saudi Arabia Hosts Int’l Conference to Improve Traveler Experience

Group photo of officials during the Airports Council International Conference (Asharq Al-Awsat)
Group photo of officials during the Airports Council International Conference (Asharq Al-Awsat)

Officials and investors in the airport industry developed innovative strategies to facilitate the traveler’s experience, during the Airports Council International (ACI) Asia-Pacific & Middle East / ACI World Annual General Assembly, Conference and Exhibition (WAGA 2024), which kicked off in Riyadh on Wednesday.

The three-day event, hosted by Riyadh Airports, features the participation of aviation leaders, airport CEOs, and over 800 specialists from across the globe. This is the first time WAGA is being held in the Middle East, underscoring Saudi Arabia’s pivotal role in airport management and aviation.

The head of the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA), Abdulaziz Al-Duailej, said on the occasion that Saudi Arabia is anticipating the future of aviation through its endeavor to host major events related to the industry, and is implementing a clear vision to lead the Middle East region at the level of logistical services.

He added that the Airports Council International conference represents a tremendous opportunity for the system in Saudi Arabia, by providing a basic foundation for benefiting from industry leaders and keeping pace with the latest developments in the field of aviation locally and globally.

For his part, the CEO of Riyadh Airports, Ayman Abo Abah, announced that his company is working with the relevant authorities to promote the reliance on clean energy sources, pointing in this context to progress achieved at King Khalid International Airport.

Riyadh Airports was established in 2016 as part of the sector privatization program. The company manages and operates King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh, and seeks to develop the airport’s infrastructure and conduct expansion projects for new services and facilities.

Abo Abah explained that King Khalid International Airport has received the global accreditation certificate for managing carbon emissions for airports (level three) from the Airport Carbon Emissions Management Accreditation Program (ACA), making it the first airport in the Kingdom and the Middle East to obtain this certificate.

This confirms the implementation of the necessary standards and practices to reduce emissions and launch green initiatives that support this trend, he underlined.

Riyadh Airports’ hosting of WAGA 2024 coincides with the third edition of the Future Aviation Forum (FAF 2024), organized by GACA.

Wednesday’s sessions addressed the current state of the industry and the system’s future trends, emphasizing the importance of taking into account environmental sustainability and working to remove carbon in new, innovative ways.