Saudi E-commerce Set to Reach $44 Bln by 2030

The BIBAN e-commerce gathering in Saudi Arabia (SPA)
The BIBAN e-commerce gathering in Saudi Arabia (SPA)
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Saudi E-commerce Set to Reach $44 Bln by 2030

The BIBAN e-commerce gathering in Saudi Arabia (SPA)
The BIBAN e-commerce gathering in Saudi Arabia (SPA)

Saudi Arabia is working to improve its investment climate for e-commerce, aiming to attract more local and international companies to tap into this rapidly growing market, projected to reach $44 billion by 2030.

Enhancing the e-commerce sector is a key goal of the National Transformation Program, supporting Saudi Arabia’s “Vision 2030.”

This move is vital for boosting the national economy, as the Kingdom ranks among the top 10 fastest-growing countries in e-commerce.

The program plays a crucial role in empowering the private sector and improving government efficiency to drive the country's transformation and meet the vision's targets.

Experts emphasize the importance of e-commerce for large companies, both locally and globally, as they increasingly turn to online platforms to expand their businesses.

Saudi Arabia is creating a competitive environment for both local and foreign companies by adopting new technologies, which is energizing the Saudi market.

Dr. Mohammed bin Duleim Al-Qahtani, an economic analyst and academic at King Faisal University, predicts a 13.5% annual growth in Saudi Arabia's e-commerce sector, surpassing the global average of 11.2%.

Speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat, he expected the sector, currently valued at $21 billion, to exceed $30 billion by 2027 and reach around $44 billion by 2030.

Al-Qahtani highlighted Saudi Arabia’s focus on digital infrastructure and e-commerce, leveraging its strategic location.

He stressed the importance of expanding e-commerce and digital banking, suggesting internationalizing branches of major local banks.

Al-Qahtani also emphasized global efforts, led by G20 nations like Saudi Arabia, to address e-commerce challenges and ensure cyber and financial security.



Japan's Demand-Led Inflation Slows, Clouds BOJ Rate Hike Path

 People visit Ameya-Yokocho shopping street in the Ueno area of Tokyo on June 19, 2024. (AFP)
People visit Ameya-Yokocho shopping street in the Ueno area of Tokyo on June 19, 2024. (AFP)
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Japan's Demand-Led Inflation Slows, Clouds BOJ Rate Hike Path

 People visit Ameya-Yokocho shopping street in the Ueno area of Tokyo on June 19, 2024. (AFP)
People visit Ameya-Yokocho shopping street in the Ueno area of Tokyo on June 19, 2024. (AFP)

Japan's core inflation accelerated in May due to energy levies but an index that strips away the effect of fuel slowed for the ninth straight month, data showed on Friday, complicating the central bank's decision on how soon to raise interest rates.

The slowdown in so-called "core core" inflation, which is closely watched by the Bank of Japan as a key gauge of demand-driven price moves, casts doubt on the bank's view that rising wages will underpin consumption and keep inflation on track to durably hit its 2% target.

The core consumer price index (CPI), which excludes volatile fresh food, rose 2.5% in May from a year earlier, government data showed, accelerating from the previous month's 2.2% gain due largely to a hike in the renewable energy levy. It was roughly in line with a median market forecast for a 2.6% gain.

But inflation as measured by an index stripping away both fresh food and fuel slowed to 2.1% in May from 2.4% in April, marking the lowest year-on-year increase since September 2022.

Private-sector service inflation slowed to 2.2% in May from 2.4% in the previous month, suggesting companies remained cautious about passing on labor costs.

"The Bank of Japan has been arguing that the strong pay hikes agreed upon in this year's spring wage negotiations will eventually provide a boost to services inflation, but so far there's little evidence of that happening," said Marcel Thieliant, head of Asia-Pacific at Capital Economics.

A renewed rise in crude oil prices and the boost to import costs from a weak yen muddle the outlook for inflation.

Analysts expect core CPI to accelerate near 3% later this month due to rising raw material costs. But such pressure could hurt consumption and discourage firms from hiking prices, hampering the BOJ's efforts to keep underlying, demand-driven inflation durably around its 2% target.

"Real wage growth remains weak in Japan and there's no data confirming that demand-driven inflation is accelerating," said Takeshi Minami, chief economist at Norinchukin Research.

"The BOJ probably won't raise rates again at least until October-December this year," he said.

The BOJ exited negative rates and bond yield control in March in a landmark shift away from a decade-long, radical stimulus program.

With inflation exceeding its 2% target for two years, it has also dropped hints that it will raise short-term rates to levels that neither cool nor overheat the economy - seen by analysts as somewhere between 1-2%.

Many economists expect the BOJ to raise interest rates to 0.25% this year, though they are divided on whether it will come in July or later in the year.

BOJ Governor Kazuo Ueda has said the central bank will raise rates if it becomes more convinced that inflation will durably hit 2% backed by robust domestic demand and higher wages.

Recent weak signs in consumption remain a concern. Japan's economy contracted in the first quarter due in part to a 0.7% drop in consumption as rising living costs discourage households from boosting spending.