MSX index ends higher

Scion Industrial news

The MSX index closed at 4,508.68 points, up by 0.72 per cent from the previous close. The Sharia Index ended up by 0.7 per cent at 481.57 points.

Oman Qatar Insurance, up 5.41 per cent, was the top gainer while Muscat Thread Mill, down 8.7 per cent, was the top loser. Shares of HSBC Bank Oman were the most active in terms of the number of shares traded while Ooredoo were the most active in terms of turnover.

A total number of 331 trades were executed during the day’s trading session, generating a turnover of OMR1.9 million, with more than 8.33 million shares changing hands. Out of 40 traded securities, 16 advanced, 9 declined, and 15 remained unchanged. At the session close, domestic investors were net buyers for OMR86,000 while foreign investors were net sellers for OMR79,000, followed by GCC & Arab investors for OMR7,000 worth of shares.

Financial Index closed at 7,163.24 points, up 0.33 per cent. Prices of Oman Qatar Insurance, National Bank Oman, Bank Dhofar, Sohar International Bank and Oman Arab Bank were up by 5.41 per cent, 3.31 per cent, 1.45 per cent, 0.97 per cent and 0.83 per cent respectively. Prices of Muscat Finance, Ahli Bank and Ominvest were down by 1.54 per cent, 1.54 per cent and 1.2 per cent respectively.

Industrial Index closed at 6,284.77 points, down 0.09 per cent. Prices of National Aluminium, Al Anwar Ceramics, Gulf Mushroom Products, Oman Fisheries and Galfar Engineering were up by 4.88 per cent, 2.56 per cent, 2.04 per cent, 1.89 per cent and 0.61 per cent respectively. Prices of Muscat Thread Mill, Dhofar Cattle Feed, Raysut Cement and Oman Cement were down by 8.7 per cent, 5 per cent, 4.31 per cent and 0.67 per cent respectively.

Services Index was up by 0.48 per cent before closing at 1,621.53 points. Prices of SMN Power Holding, Oman National Engineering, Ooredoo and Oman Telecom were up by 3.13 per cent, 2.8 per cent, 2.02 per cent and 1.33 per cent respectively. There were no losers for the day.


World oil prices rise by 2% on supply woes

Scion Industrial Engineering Pvt. ltd.

Global crude oil prices rose by more than two per cent on Wednesday after Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a partial military mobilisation, raising fears of a shortage in oil and gas supplies.

Brent crude futures rose $2.28, or 2.5 per cent, to $92.90 a barrel, after falling $1.38 in the previous session, while US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures rose by $2.22, or 2.6 per cent, to $86.16 a barrel.

Oman oil price
Oman oil price (November Delivery 2022) on Tuesday reached $92.84, comprising a rise by 24 cents from the price of Tuesday which stood at $92.60, on the Dubai Mercantile Exchange (DME).

The average price of Oman oil (September Delivery 2022) has stabilised at $103.21 per barrel, thus $9.72 per barrel lower than August Delivery 2022.

“Oil markets strongly rebounded in response to the Russian president’s announcement regarding the conflict in Ukraine. The planned mobilisation of Russian troops could result in increasing tensions, disruptions in oil deliveries as well as new sanctions from Europe,” Wael Makarem, Senior Market Strategist – MENA at Exness, said to Times of Oman.

“This could add to the concerns around supply levels, possibly shifting attention away from the decreasing demand for a moment. Geopolitical tensions could also affect current price trends if the confrontation flares up,” he further added.

At the same time, traders remained concerned about the slowing demand as global economic output continues to cool down. This could continue to affect oil prices over the longer term as geopolitical tensions abate, Makarem said.

The US Federal Reserve is widely expected to hike rates by 75 basis points for the third time in a row later on Wednesday in its drive to rein in inflation. This could also impact expectations regarding the global economy and demand for energy. A stronger-than-expected interest rate hike could put downward pressure on oil prices, he said.

“As a result, energy markets could see strong volatility in the coming days as traders react to the central bank’s decision on one side as well as to the increasing tensions in Europe on the other,” he added.


Oman’s inflation rate hits 2.4% in August

scion Industrial Engoineering

The inflation rate of the Consumers Price Index (CPI) in the Sultanate of Oman stood at 2.4 per cent in August 2022, according to the latest data issued by the National Centre for Statistics and Information (NCSI).

The data indicated a rise in the prices of main groups in August 2022 compared to August 2021, such as education by 5.1 per cent, food and non-alcoholic beverages by 4.9 per cent, health by 3.5 per cent, transport by 3.1 per cent, restaurants and hotels by 2.1 per cent, miscellaneous goods and services by 1.5 per cent, recreation and culture by 1.4 per cent, furniture, household equipment and routine household maintenance by 1.2 per cent, clothing and footwear by 0.9 per cent and housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels by 0.6 per cent.

Meanwhile, the prices of some main groups remained unchanged, such as tobacco and communications.

Prices also went up for oils and fats by 19.2 per cent, meats by 8.8 per cent, fruits by 7.5 per cent, non-alcoholic beverages by 4.4 per cent, bread and cereals by 4.1 per cent, milk, cheese and eggs by 3.2 per cent, sugar, jam, honey and sweets by 2.3 per cent, other foodstuff by 1.9 per cent and fish and seafood by 1.7 per cent. Prices declined for vegetables by 2.9 per cent.

As far as governorates are concerned, Al Buraimi recorded the highest inflation rate of 4.3 per cent, followed by Al Dakhiliyah by 2.9 per cent, Dhofar by 2.7 per cent, Al Dhahirah by 2.6 per cent, North Al Batinah by 2.4 per cent, North Al Sharqiyah and South Al Sharqiyah by 2.3 per cent, while the Governorate of Muscat recorded the lowest inflation rate of 2.1 per cent.


Union Minister Piyush Goyal meets with UAE counterpart on sidelines of G20 ministerial meet


Union Minister for Commerce Piyush Goyal Thursday met with the UAE Minister of State for Foreign Trade Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi and held discussions to bolster the trade and investment ties between the two countries.

The meeting occurred on the sidelines of the Group of 20 (G20) nations’ trade, investment, and industry ministerial meeting.

In a tweet, Goyal wrote, “Delighted to meet UAE Minister of State for Foreign Trade
Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi at G20, Indonesia. Took stock of the progress under the India-UAE Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement and discussed further strengthening of our trade and investment ties.”

Piyush Goyal also held a meeting with the Saudi Arabia Minister of Commerce Majid Alkassabi and held talks to strengthen economic ties between India and Saudi Arabia.

“Met H.E.Majid Alkassabi, Minister of Commerce, Saudi Arabia at G20IndonesiaI. Deliberated on ways to attract greater investment & strengthen bilateral trade to further bolster economic ties between India and Saudi Arabia,” wrote Piyush Goyal.

Earlier, Piyush Goyal met with the US trade representative Katherine Tai and held discussions on World Trade Organization Dispute Settlement Reforms and exchanged ideas on ways to strengthen the mechanism making it more efficient.

The meeting came ahead of the G20 Summit which will be hosted by Indonesia in Bali in the month of November.

India’s G-20 Presidency next year will be a golden chance for the country to correct the long-standing anomalies that go against the developing countries, especially in the domain of agriculture and food subsidies, SBI.

Research said in its latest report. India is going to hold the G20 presidency from December 1, 2022, to November 30, 2023. Piyush Goyal also held a meeting with the Executive Vice President of the European Commission Valdis Dombrovskis and discussed on expediting Free Trade Agreement negotiations which will benefit both sides.

“Met Executive Vice President of the European Commission Valdis Dombrovskis on the sidelines of G20 Indonesia. Both sides are keen to expedite FTA negotiations with mutually beneficial results,” he added.

Minister Piyush Goyal on Tuesday said the UK is keen to stick to the Diwali deadline for India-UK free trade agreement and both countries are working towards it. He referred to the passing away of Queen Elizabeth II and said “as we are expanding our engagements, the UK is at a cusp”.

“Two days ago, I received a letter from the UK again reiterating that they want to stick to the Diwali deadline (for the India-UK Free Trade Agreement),” Goyal said at an event here.

Speaking of India’s engagements and the quest to become self-reliant, Goyal said, “If we don’t engage with the international market, we are the losers…Today the whole world is talking of Atmanirbhar…There is no power that can stop us from becoming a developed nation in the next 25 years…The world wants to engage with us, the world has more confidence in us than we have.”

Earlier, in the day, British High Commissioner to India, Alex Ellis said that India and the United Kingdom have the high ambition of completing the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) by Diwali this year.


GCC financial markets impacted by conflict in eastern Europe


Like other markets globally, financial markets in Oman and the wider GCC were mostly impacted by the conflict in eastern Europe, according to an industry expert.

“The ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict has strongly affected energy deliveries and profoundly changed how the market worked,” said Daniel Takieddine BDSwiss CEO Mena.

Elaborating on the current oil prices, both domestically and globally, in the short term Daniel said, “It goes without saying that the conflict in Europe would continue to be a threat to the supply side, however, the market is seeing a decline in demand.”

“This is particularly the case with the aggressive tightening in monetary policy that the Federal Reserve is leading, which could accelerate the global economic slowdown. As a result, oil prices could continue to slide with rebounds from time to time whenever production cuts would happen,” he further added.

When asked whether this escalation has a large impact on economic growth, Daniel said that the conflict in Ukraine has already significantly affected global economic growth by pushing up commodities prices including oil, natural gas and grains among other things and by disrupting supply lines.

“This has affected countries that depend on these products like Egypt for grains and Europe for natural gas. The ensuing inflation has accelerated monetary policy tightening which continues to affect growth. In this regard, any further escalations could exacerbate existing issues,” he added.

Logistics and supplies of commodities and other essential products could still be under threat if tensions flare up, Daniel warned, adding that supplies of electronic components were strongly affected by the COVID-19 conditions applied in China in the past and could see similar effects if the logistics chain is disrupted with Taiwan being an important production centre along with China.

“The same could be said about grains, which are produced massively in Russia and Ukraine, and are shipped thanks to a fragile agreement between the belligerents. Additionally, the war could affect future crop harvests, which could significantly affect supplies,” he pointed out.

Regarding his views about inflation in the US, the US Federal Reserve’s policy and its impact on Oman and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, Daniel said, “We could see the Federal Reserve continue raising key interest rates this year and the next in a bid to fight inflation. The latter has started to decline but not as fast as previously expected which could prompt the US central bank to pursue a more aggressive policy.”

“This in turn could result in slower demand for energy products which are essential exports for Oman and other countries in the region as well as in an erosion of confidence among investors, leading to lower prices on the stock market,” he added.

Speaking about the stock markets in Oman and GCC countries, Daniel said, “Most markets in the GCC initially benefited from the increasing energy prices that resulted from the war in Ukraine and the sanctions applied by the European Union on Russia. The higher prices helped boost equities and local economies while the increasingly tighter monetary policies, in particular in the US, eroded confidence and weighed on performances.”

“Currently, stock markets are mainly weighed by the global economy’s slowdown and a looming recession as central banks raise interest rates to fight inflation. At the same time, the tensions between the US, Taiwan and China and the conflict in eastern Europe could contribute to the deteriorating economic conditions in the respective continents,” he added further.


Oman’s Sohar Port partners with logistics firm to expand cargo space

Scion Industrial Engineering Pvt. Lt.

Muscat’s Sohar Port and Freezone has signed a pact with Oman-based Arkan Sohar Logistics to build a container freight station and logistics complex in the port which will occupy 26,000 sq m. Arkan Sohar Logistics will provide bonded and non-bonded facilities, ambient and covered storage, as well as temperature-controlled, dry, chilled, and frozen storage facilities as part of the deal.
Other facilities that will be offered as per the agreement include cross stuffing for import, re-export, and transhipment cargo, lashing, crating, staging, labelling, repacking, kitting, and order processing. Arkan Sohar Logistics’ container freight station (CFS) services will enable importers and exporters using Sohar Port to securely store goods and products for consolidation and expedited shipping, according to reports emanating from Oman.

With a total investment of around OMR 2.7 million ($7 million), Arkan Sohar Logistics is one of the fastest-growing logistics service providers in the region and offers state-of-the-art customs-bonded areas for cargo, a racked warehouse facility, and custom-built dock levellers to enable easy access to trailers and for safe loading and unloading.

Sohar Port runs a Customs clearing service available 24×7 and a bonded transport corridor that will permit goods to travel between the Port and Freezone within 14 minutes, with on-site One-Stop-shop service available to help with the procurement of all necessary registration, licenses, and visas.


Port of Duqm presents business opportunities for oil, gas sector

Scion Industrial Engineering

Port of Duqm Company (PODC), in collaboration with Oman Society for Petroleum Services (Opal) and Oman logistics Association (OLA) organised a forum on ‘Business Opportunities at Port of Duqm’, which attracted oil and gas companies operating in the Sultanate of Oman.

The forum aimed at encouraging business collaboration with Port of Duqm, where a large number of professionals from the oil and gas sector joined forum.

The Port of Duqm is currently supporting the oil and gas industry, serving both the upstream and downstream sectors. Further growth in cargo volumes is expected as downstream petrochemical projects developed in Duqm. Eventually, the Port of Duqm will essentially be serving Al Wusta Governorate particularly, which is rich in oil and gas.

Speaking on the occasion, Reggy Vermeulen, CEO of Port of Duqm, pointed out, “The Port of Duqm is rapidly becoming a new commercial gateway, thanks to its strategic location. While unlocking its full potential to further grow its activities, the Port is opening up great prospects for cooperation, creating business opportunities in the oil and gas sector. It is standing as a port of call and a hub of economic activity for key corporates and oil and gas players.”

“The port is, further, facilitating the import of raw materials and re-export of goods. Capitalising on its existing infrastructure and abundant land area, the Port offers opportunities to accommodate storage and distribution facilities for oil and gas cargo logistics. This is based on the rise of cargo operations, which we are currently servicing while intending to offer space leasing for cargo too. It is the clear vision of the Port of Duqm to become the region’s most preferred multi-purpose port, and the entire marketing strategy is built around that. In view of that, all major shipping lines like Maersk, CMA CGM, MSC, Hapag Lloyd, Evergreen have acknowledged Duqm as the end destination for their containers, and containerized cargo is being shipped to and from Duqm accordingly,” the CEO added.

On the other hand, Abdul Rahman Al Yahyaei, CEO of Oman Society for Petroleum Services (Opal), said, “The Special Economic Zone at Duqm is offering several investment opportunities and I’ve witnessed incredible growth and development in the recent past. Oman is taking a serious aspiration for the establishment of attractive projects in Duqm while the infrastructure is being upscaled almost on daily basis.”

Such business forums undoubtedly bring fruitful outcomes and benefits for all participants, including corporates and individuals alike. Further, the attendees were familiarized with the key achievements of Port of Duqm, and the future promising plans and strategies for its development. In due course, they have commended the Port of Duqm’s taking the lead in organizing such an enlightening economic forum.


German hospitality group launches new properties in Oman and Qatar

Deutsche Hospitality, a leading German hospitality management group, announced the official opening of IntercityHotel, Muscat, as well as, the debut of the much-awaited Steigenberger Residence, Doha.

The announcement was made on Monday, at the Future Hospitality Summit (FHS) 2022. The coming of these new properties boosts Deutsche Hospitality’s presence in Oman to three operational properties.

“The Middle East plays a vital role in the international hospitality industry for owners and operators alike, and FHS is the perfect destination to share and learn from one another. To navigate this new season and leading into the new year, the Summit allows for us to get valuable market insights, opportunity for networking and potential partnerships,” said Siegfried Nierhaus, Vice President Middle East, Deutsche Hospitality.

IntercityHotel, Muscat opened its doors on September 1, located in the Ministry and Embassy district. The hotel includes standard rooms and deluxe suites, as well as, a business floor which includes business rooms and suites. The business floor has added benefits such as early check-ins and late check-outs, VIP in-room amenities and more. The hotel also boats a luxurious spa, an all-day-dining restaurant, meeting rooms and a ballroom.

Steigenberger Residence, Doha is set to open in October, the property will feature 278 furnished apartments, along with amenities like a rooftop swimming pool, gym, yoga room, spa and five restaurants and bars.

“The Qatar hotel segments have a lot of potential as it is accessible for all key tourism source markets, and with the country preparing to host one of the world’s largest sporting events in November, we believe the opening of Steigenberger Residence Doha will be a pivotal step in our expansion journey,” Nierhaus said.

The group’s regional portfolio currently comprises 23 properties in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman, UAE and Egypt. Its worldwide footprint extends to more than 160 hotels across three continents.


Oman to ban import of plastic bags from 2023


The Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Investment promotion has issued a ministerial decision that bans imports of plastic bags with effect from January 2023. The decision comes in line with the ministry’s plan to regulate market activities pertaining to the import of products that damage the environment, according to Sami Salim Al Sahib, Director General of the Industry, as reported by Oman News Agency (ONA).

The decision, issued in coordination with the Environment Authority, will support Omani factories by limiting unfair competition from imported products that do not meet environment standards, he explained.

“Eliminating plastic bags is one of the challenges that the ministry seeks to overcome in cooperation with the concerned authorities and find specifications for manufacturers and suppliers to ensure the correct transition to alternatives to plastic bags that harm the environment,” said Sahib, as reported by local news.

An administrative fine of OMR1,000 will be imposed on anyone importing plastic bags, the fine will be doubled if the violation is repeated.

In cooperation with the Environment Authority, the ministry seeks to shift to environment-friendly industries, however, it was noted that the decision will not affect local plastic production facilities. The decision intends to help local plastic production factories to augment sales and production to meet local market demands.

To ensure a proper shift to plastic alternatives, as well as, raise social awareness about the negative impacts of plastic, the ministry will be working in cooperation with concerned departments to develop specifications and instructions. The decision is set to come into effect by January 1, 2023.


Abraj Energy Services rebrands ahead of possible listing on Muscat Stock Exchange

Scion Industrial Engineering Pvt. ltd.

Abraj Energy Services is rebranding, as the firm looks towards a potential listing on Oman’s Muscat Stock Exchange later this year.

In a statement, the company called the identity a refocusing on modernisation and innovation of its service offerings.

Abraj currently offers a range of services including drilling and workover rigs as well as fracturing, cementing and coiled tubing services. The company was the first MENA-based company to launch integrated fracking services, pioneering the development of unconventional deep tight gas wells.

“Our transformation into a global brand reinforces a commitment to continue leading the charge in the drilling and oilfield services sector, serving our clients, shareholders and the Sultanate of Oman to the highest standard,” said Ayad Al Balushi, Chairman of Abraj in the statement.

“It is amongst our foremost priorities to contribute to the Sultanate’s sustainable economic development, which we look to foster through enhancing in-country value and exploring ways to make drilling practices greener and more efficient. Abraj’s new brand identity is a visual manifestation of the company’s bright, ambitious future, yet pays homage to the successes we have achieved thus far,” Al Balushi added.

The re-branding comes ahead of the company’s participation in the Muscat Stock Exchange (MSX) roadshow. The company is reviewing the process of listing on the MSX, currently subject to review and necessary regulatory approvals.

Recognised as core entity in Oman’s oil and gas services sector, they employ over 2,000 nationals boasting a 93 percent Omanization rate. The firm has forged a robust network of suppliers, enabling adoption of advanced technologies that combined with their workforce ensures operational safety and efficiency. As the GCC continues its efforts towards a sustainable future, companies are making extra efforts to expand into sustainable ways of operation.