Foreign or joint capital constitute 39% of total investments in KSA’s industrial sector, says ministry

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Before the start of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, real estate prices were surging in Qatar and neighboring countries, causing people to rent their properties at high prices and cash in on the increased market demand.

Taking place in the Arab world for the first time, the 2022 FIFA World Cup is an unprecedented event.

During the tournament, FIFA Tournament Time Demand Model has forecast that upward of 1.7 million people will visit the host country, with 500,000 visitors on the busiest days. Because of this, visitors to the emirate of just 2.8 million people are concerned about accommodation or prefer to stay in neighboring countries.

Despite some concerns, organizers are reassuring people there would be enough accommodation for all fans. Thousands of hotel rooms FIFA had reserved were recently released to ease the crunch, possibly decreasing prices.

The authorities have continued to provide housing to all World Cup fans. Still, according to Doha News, landlords have recently capitalized on the opportunity to charge outrageous prices, though residents claim this is at their expense.

Doha News reported that residents are being evicted, asked to sign short-term or 24-month lease agreements, or even had their rent raised significantly.

The World Cup is widely responsible for this situation, with many believing landlords are trying to take advantage of the visitors’ profits, making living conditions challenging for long-term residents, Doha News added.

According to Qatari law, a lease renewal can increase rent by up to 10 percent. Still, Anum Hassan, head of research for Valustrat’s Qatar office, disclosed that rents have increased by 40 percent in some districts of Doha over the past year.

During the World Cup period in 2022, the government removed the price cap, allowing landlords to charge between SR15,500 ($4,124) and SR20,600 per night.

Booking a villa through Airbnb for 29 days of the World Cup costs at least SR48,860, but prices can reach hundreds of thousands.

Despite this, the real estate market continues to benefit from the games. A recent report from Property Finder, one of the region’s leading property technology companies, revealed a 2.97 percent increase in residential sales in September and October due to this month’s FIFA World Cup.

Afaf Hashim, the country manager at Property Finder in Qatar, said: “Investors and first-time property purchasers are now more confident to invest in the Qatari property market in response to renowned sporting events happening in the country.”

“The Ministry of Justice is also taking the required actions to make the market more transparent, which will pave the way for further investments shortly,” she added.

According to the report, investors and end-users are increasingly interested in properties listed for sale in Qatar, which has recently emerged as a hot spot for property investment.

There was a 4.98 percent increase in leads but a 7.71 percent increase in impressions. Some areas saw considerable gains in rental prices, while others saw substantial declines. For instance, Al-Hilal’s rent fell by 83.9 percent, while Salata’s increased by 93.75 percent.

Adam Stewart, the Qatar head of Knight Frank, told Arab News that the tourism and hospitality sector will contribute 12 percent of the country’s gross domestic product by 2030, worth about $55 billion, by which time tourist arrivals are projected to reach 7 million.

Set the ball rolling

Knight Frank does not expect a slowdown in the Dubai real estate market’s demand in the short to medium term; in fact, the opposite is expected, Faisal Durrani, partner and head of research in the Middle East at Knight Frank, told Arab News.

“The mainstream market is expected to register price growth of 5-7 percent by the end of 2022, with a similar figure expected in 2023,” he said.

He also added that a new wave of tourism is expected in Saudi Arabia’s Dammam Metropolitan Area following the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

“Following the Saudi government’s recent announcement to allow Qatar World Cup ticket holders easy access to multiple entry tourist visas, the Kingdom is expecting to play host to some of the football fans unable to be accommodated in Qatar,” he said.

As a result of its proximity to Qatar and relative affordability, Dammam is expected to be a popular alternative to Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Manama during the World Cup, he added.

However, Alex Galtsev, founder and CEO of Realiste, a personal artificial intelligence firm on real estate investing, believes Qatar’s FIFA 2022 World Cup will benefit the Middle East real estate market.

“As a major tourist attraction and financial hub in the region, Dubai will be the main beneficiary outside Qatar,” he told Arab News.

There has already been an increase in demand for local hotel chains and resorts. “Because of limited accommodation options, tourists had to seek alternative options that were more affordable, such as short-term rentals. In turn, this has led to a 50 percent increase in rental prices in Dubai over the last three months,” Galtsev added.

Qatar’s FIFA guests opted for areas near downtown where the major tourist attractions are located rather than cheap suburban locations surrounded by desert. As a result, the districts near the waterfront are the following most popular renting areas.

However, Galtsev said that the demand for the short-time rental would significantly decrease after the event.

Despite these soaring prices and owners renting out their properties, what matters is the result and how they will affect the market overall.


Saudi Arabia’s industrial production rises 15.7% in September: GASTAT

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Saudi Arabia’s Industrial Production Index increased by 15.7 percent in September 2022, compared to the same month in 2021, official data showed.

The index, calculated through an industrial production survey showed positive growth trends, driven by an increase in production activities of mining and quarrying, manufacturing, and electricity and gas supply, according to the General Authority for Statistics.

Mining and quarrying, which held the largest weight of the three categories at 74.5 percent, witnessed a 14.2 percent increase in economic activity year-on-year in September as the Kingdom increased its oil production to more than 11 million bpd.

Manufacturing, and electricity and gas supply, which accounted for weights of 22.6 percent and 2.9 percent, saw a rise in economic activity by 22 percent and 5.5 percent respectively compared to the same period last year.

The growth of the IPI has been positive since May 2021, after a series of months that witnessed negative growth in 2019 and 2020 partially impacted by the effects of the global pandemic.

Since mid-2021, the index’s growth portrayed an upward trend where it sped up at the end of 2021 and proceeded to grow by double digits the year after.

Saudi Arabia’s annual growth of IPI started to outperform the growth rates witnessed in 2018 in August, and continued above the 2018 mark in September.

August this year saw a 16.8 percent IPI growth rate, which surpassed the 5.8 growth percent in Aug. 2021, the 11.6 percent decline in Aug. 2020, and the 7.3 decline in Aug. 2019.

Similarly, September’s 15.7 percent IPI growth rate topped the 6.5 percent growth in Sept. 2021, the 7.5 percent decline in Sept. 2020, as well as the 11.3 percent decline in Sept. 2019.

The Kingdom’s IPI growth at 15.7 percent in September has been the slowest since January of this year when industrial production grew by 11.1 percent year-on-year.

According to GASTAT, the Saudi IPI fell by 0.4 percent month-on-month in September of this year as all 3 sectors dipped slightly.

The dip in September recorded the first decrease in monthly IPI since falling to 102.7 in April of 2021 from 103.8 the month before.

Mining and quarrying dropped by 0.1 percent, manufacturing dropped by 1 percent whereas electricity and gas dropped by 3 percent when compared to August 2022.


Flydubai flight diverted to Turkey over security alert

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A flydubai flight travelling from Warsaw to Dubai reportedly made an emergency landing in Ankara, Turkey on Thursday due to a security threat, according to local reports.

It was later confirmed that the threat was a hoax.

According to reports by Turkish newspaper Daily Sabah “after the 161 passengers and bags were removed from the plane, a careful examination of the plane was carried out by a specialised team.”

“flydubai flight FZ 1830 from Warsaw International airport (WAW) to Dubai International (DXB) on 24 November has diverted to Ankara International Airport (ESB) as a precautionary measure following claims of a security threat,” a flydubai spokesperson told Arabian Business.

“The aircraft safely landed at 03:17 local time and was met with the local authorities. Our highly trained crew followed standard operating procedures and the aircraft was cleared for departure at 06:47 local time. We apologise to our passengers for any inconvenience caused to their travel plans,” the spokesperson said adding that “the safety and security of our passengers and crew are our number one priority.”


UAE’s IHC plans billion-dollar IPOs in 2023

Abu Dhabi’s IHC is looking to raise cash with IPOs of its technology and health units next year its CEO says.

On the back of an outstanding year, which has seen profits surge 236% in the first nine months of the year, IHC will look to sell off assets and diversify investments next year.

IHC is the UAE’s largest publicly traded company and is valued at more than $200bn.

As it consolidates and makes new acquisitions IHC is planning to sell 20 per cent of its International Technology Holding unit, Chief Executive Syed Basar Shueb told reporters.

UAE firm plans IPO of subsidiaries
Any sale is likely to come in Q3 next year,

ITH was on track to have a turnover of AED500m ($136 million) and have $1bn in assets by the second quarter, Shueb said.

IHC will also sell of part of its Pure Health in an IPO in the first quarter of 2023. The size of the share offer is yet to be confirmed.

“It will be more than $1 billion, but the size depends on how much we put in the market. I don’t think we can go above 10%, otherwise we will pull all the liquidity from market and this will affect the other players,” Shueb said.

The IPO for Pure Health, a key company in the fight against Covid-19 in the UAE, has been delayed by its merger with state-owned Abu Dhabi Health Services.

IHC completed four IPOs this year and plans a similar number in 2023.


Iran Construction Industry Report 2022


Iran’s construction industry is expected to grow by 2.5% in real terms in 2022, following annual growth of 1.8% in 2021. It is then expected to register an annual average growth of 3.6% between 2023-26, supported by government investments on the energy, oil and gas, petrochemicals, infrastructure and industrial sectors.

Over the year, the industry’s output will be supported by government expenditure under the 2022 Budget which was announced in December 2021. The government released a budget of IRR36.3 quadrillion ($864.3 billion), projecting IRR9.3 quadrillion ($221.5 billion) in revenue and IRR13.9 quadrillion ($332 billion) in spending.

Of the total budget, the government allocated IRR20.1 trillion ($478.6 million) to the Ministry of Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts, IRR158 trillion ($3.8 billion) to the Ministry of Education and IRR349.5 trillion ($8.3 billion) to defense infrastructure and strategic research, among others.

Over the remainder of the forecast period, the industry’s output will be supported by construction of major projects, including the 300,000-barrel Shahid Ghasem Soleimani oil refinery project with an investment of IRR483 trillion ($11.5 billion), the Khuzestan refinery with an investment of IRR189 trillion ($4.5 billion) and the development and stabilization of the Abadan refinery, with an investment of IRR84 trillion ($2 billion).

Additionally, an investment of IRR45 trillion ($1.1 billion) over the next four years, to develop 10 key motorways, will improve the transportation network across the country. Moreover, the country’s talks with the Taliban to resume work on the Khaf-Herat link project, connecting northeastern Iran with northwestern Afghanistan, could help in enhancing the railway network and improving trade relations between the countries.

However, there are key political and economic risks that could impact on investor confidence. On May 5 2022, the government increased prices for basic food items, which has compounded financial challenges for households and led to the protests against President Ebrahim Raisi and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei across many areas of the country.


Oil products export climbs 40% in H1

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The value of Iran’s oil products export increased 40 percent in the first half of the present Iranian calendar year (March 21-September 22), as compared to the same period of time in the past year, the boar director of Iranian Oil, Gas and Petrochemical Products Exporters Union (OPEX) announced.

Hamid Hosseini said while the six-month export indicates 40 percent growth in value, it fell 20 percent in weight, as compared to the same period of time in the past year.

Major export products included liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), polymers, methanol, bitumen and industrial lubricants, he said.

“It is hoped that we can maintain the 55 percent share of downstream oil and gas industries in the country’s exports”, Hosseini further noted.

The expansion of trade diplomacy, and the activation of chambers of commerce, one of whose tasks is marketing, can be a solution for the development of the share of downstream oil industries, the board director of Iranian Oil, Gas and Petrochemical Products Exporters Union (OPEX), who is also an energy expert, further commented.

Iraq wants stable energy prices, prime minister says

Iraq is keen to maintain stable oil prices at not more than $100 per barrel, Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani told reporters on Saturday.

Iraq, a member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), will have discussions with other members to reconsider and increase its production quota, he added in a briefing.

“Iraq is keen for stability of energy prices, we do not want prices to increase above $100 and neither, at the same time, for them to fall in a way that affects the level of supply and demand,” he said.

Sudani’s cabinet took office in late October, ending more than a year of deadlock since a parliamentary election. He was backed for the post of prime minister by an alliance of Iran-aligned factions.

Sudani said Iraq was determined to keep mediating between regional rivals Saudi Arabia and Iran, which have been locked in proxy conflicts across the Middle East and started talks last year hosted by Baghdad to try to contain tensions.

“The concerned parties officially asked us to continue playing this role”, Sudani said.

Frictions have grown recently between Saudi Arabia and Iran, which has been swept by more than two months of protests ignited by the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini while she was in the custody of the country’s morality police.

Iran has accused foreign adversaries of fomenting the unrest.

Iran’s intelligence minister told Saudi Arabia on Wednesday that there is no guarantee of Tehran continuing its “strategic patience,” according to semi-official Fars news agency.

Last month, Iran’s Revolutionary Guards chief Hossein Salami warned Saudi Arabia Riyadh to control its media outlets.


World hoped to crucify top oil supplier

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The world was hoping to crucify Saudi Arabia as a top oil exporter, its energy minister said on the sidelines of the COP27 summit in Egypt, adding the kingdom would be closely monitoring other countries’ renewable promises.

Setting out what he said were Saudi Arabia’s steps to produce cleaner energy and reduce its carbon footprint, Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said: “The world is hoping to crucify us.”

Instead, he said, Saudi Arabia would be holding the rest of the world to account.

“We want people to match us, and we want to make sure people put their money where their mouths are,” he said.

Among Saudi Arabia’s contributions, he said Saudi Arabian state oil producer Aramco (2222.SE) had the lowest methane emissions by any measure.

Methane emissions, although less enduring than carbon dioxide, are extremely potent, and the amount produced by the oil and gas industry was a focus of discussion at the COP27 talks on Friday.

The minister also said the kingdom was on track to reach net zero emission by 2060 and may bring the target forward, depending on technology.

“We believe that date hopefully can be brought earlier but I just want to make sure that when we commit we deliver but our hope is to deliver ahead of time,” he said.


Saudi Arabia is also working on producing hydrogen using renewable energy and aims to be the lowest cost producer, Prince Abdulaziz said.

“We want to showcase ourselves as an energy exporting country, because we will be working hard in exporting hydrogen along with oil, along with liquid gases,” he told Reuters. “We’ll be hopefully be doing electricity too.”

The kingdom says it should also meet a carbon capture target of 44 million tonnes by 2035, he said.

Saudi Aramco signed a joint development agreement in parternship with the energy ministry on Thursday to establish a carbon capture and storage hub with the potential to store up to 9 million tonnes of carbon dioxide a year by 2027.

Environmental campaigners tend to be wary of carbon capture on the grounds industry can use it to justify the continued use of fossil fuels.

Oil and gas officials and industry leaders say fossil fuels remain necessary, especially as the world faces economic crisis and the disruption of Russian supplies as a result of the Ukraine war.

They say under-investment in fossil fuels has helped to cause the price spikes of this year that have driven inflation to multi-decade highs and that oil and gas must be developed alongside renewable energy.

“You need to invest to decarbonise existing resources like oil and gas while building your renewable sectors. That needs to happen in parallel,” Aramco chief Amin Nasser said on Friday.