Egypt says it is not at risk of bankruptcy

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Egypt’s government has rejected claims that the country is exposed to bankruptcy risk due to its debts and the cost of servicing them during rate rises and inflation.

It also cited a report on the performance of the Egyptian economy from June to November.
The Cabinet said Egypt’s ratio of external debt to GDP was 34.1 percent, below the maximum risk limit of 50 percent.

The report said the structure and diversity of Egypt’s external debt instruments including loans, deposits, issued bonds and short-term credit facilities, were positive.

The Cabinet said that most of Egypt’s external debt was medium and long-term. Around two-thirds of foreign debt was also at fixed interest rates — which mitigates the risks of international rate increases.

It added: “In light of the successive economic crises that the world witnessed during the previous periods, governments all over the world tended to adopt expansionary economic policies to mitigate the consequences of the negative effects of these economic crises on families and companies.

“Such policies led to a significant rise in levels of global indebtedness, which rose to a record 350 percent of the global GDP by the end of the second quarter of 2022.”

The Cabinet added that Egypt aimed to maintain fiscal discipline, reduce the budget deficit to 5.6 percent of GDP, and achieve the first surplus from the state’s general budget permanently at 0.2 percent of the GDP.

These measures would contribute to reducing indebtedness and achieving financial and economic stability for the country’s general budget and ensure safety for current and future generations, said the statement.

The Cabinet statement came as Egypt’s Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics announced on Thursday that the general index of consumer prices rose by 2.5 percent to 140.7 points in November.

The annual inflation rate in November rose to 19.2 percent, compared to 16.3 percent in October, said an agency statement.
The annual inflation rate in urban areas rose during November to 18.7 percent, compared to 16.2 percent in October.
The agency’s statement attributed the rise to prices increase for bread and grain by 52.1 percent, meat and poultry by 30.3 percent, fish and seafood by 38 percent, dairy products and eggs by 40 percent, and coffee and tea by 23.1 percent.

It also cited price increases in tobacco products by 0.3 percent, clothing by 2.1 percent, footwear by 1.3 percent, home furnishings by 2.6 percent, and appliances by 3.1 percent.


ACWA Power signs a $1.5bn agreement with Power China

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Saudi Arabia private utility firm ACWA Power has signed a $1.5 billion agreement with Power China, it has been reported by Reuters.

No further details were released, and ACWA Power did not respond to Arab News’ request for a comment.

The deal comes amid a flurry of Memorandums of Understanding signed by the energy provider with Chinese entities to coincide with the visit of China’s President Xi Jinping to the Kingdom.

ACWA Power signed MoUs that relate to financing, investment, engineering procurement and construction contracts and renewable energy equipment procurement in its clean and renewable energy projects.

The strategic partners from China include Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, Bank of China, SPIC Huanghe Hydropower Development Co, and China Southern Power Grid International.

Power China International Group, China Energy International Group, Jinko Solar Co, Sungrow Power Supply Co and Jolywood Solar Technology Co also inked agreements.

The deals will lay the ground for financing, investment and construction of ACWA Power’s global clean and renewable energy projects in Saudi Arabia and Belt and Road Initiative countries.

Mohammad Abdullah Abunayyan, chairman of ACWA Power, said: “ACWA Power’s solid and growing relationship with major Chinese entities has contributed to our leading position in driving the global energy transition and reflects the valuable ties between Saudi Arabia and China.

“As a leading developer of power, water and green hydrogen assets worldwide, and being headquartered in a Belt and Road Initiative country, we are in a unique position to support both the energy transition and economic transformation envisioned by Saudi Arabia’s forward-looking and iconic Vision 2030, as well as China’s Belt and Road initiative.

“We look forward to playing a vital role in each of these national agendas that complement each other.”

ACWA Power’s track record of collaboration with China started in 2009 when the firm opened an office in Beijing.

To date, Chinese organizations have a hand in 47 projects within ACWA Power’s portfolio, spread across 12 countries.

During this time, ACWA Power’s collaboration with Chinese firms have reached a $10billion with investors and financiers, and an additional $33 billion with Chinese EPC and suppliers, covering multiple landmark renewable and seawater desalination projects over the world.


GCC Supreme Council lauds Saudi convening of summits, looks forward to strengthening cooperation with China

On the sidelines of summits in Riyadh on Friday with the visiting president of China, Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince and Prime Minister Mohammed bin Salman presided over the meeting of the 43rd session of the Supreme Council of the Gulf Cooperation on behalf of King Salman.

Lauding Saudi Arabia’s convening of the Riyadh GCC-China Summit for Cooperation and Development and the Riyadh Arab-China Summit for Cooperation and Development, the Supreme Council said it was looking forward to their contribution to strengthening cooperation and the strategic partnership with China.

Among those in attendance were Sheikh Hamad bin Mohammed Al-Sharqi, the ruler of Fujairah, as representative of UAE President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed; King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa of Bahrain; Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani; Crown Prince of Kuwait Sheikh Mishal Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah; Sayyid Fahd bin Mahmoud Al-Said, deputy prime minister of Oman; and Dr. Nayef Falah Mubarak Al-Hajraf, secretary-general of the GCC.

During the summit, the Supreme Council reaffirmed its support for the sovereignty of Palestinians over all Palestinian territories occupied by Israel since June 1967.

Condemning Israel’s continued settlement-building on occupied Palestinian lands, the council urged the international community to intervene and stop the expulsion of Palestinians from their homes.

It cautioned that attempts to impose Israeli sovereignty on Palestinian people was a clear violation of international law.

“Our countries reiterate the need for a just and lasting solution to the Palestinian cause in accordance with the resolutions of international legitimacy and the Arab Peace Initiative, in a way that guarantees the Palestinian people’s rights with Al-Quds as its capital,” the Saudi crown prince said, referring to East Jerusalem.

He also reiterated the Kingdom’s full support for international efforts aimed at arriving at a comprehensive political solution in Yemen.

The Supreme Council stressed that future negotiations with Iran over the nuclear issue must address Tehran’s attempts at destabilizing the region and its sponsorship of terrorism and sectarian militias.

Saudi Arabia emphasized the need for Iran to abide by international principles and charters, fulfill its nuclear obligations, cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency, and maintain the principle of good neighborliness.

The Saudi crown prince took the opportunity to announce the Kingdom’s intention to launch the second phase of Vision 2030.

“In light of the significant developments over the past seven years, resulting from the implementation of the GCC’s ambitious development and economic transformation plans, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia intends to present a second phase of the vision of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud,” he said.

“The vision contributed towards strengthening the strategic role of the Gulf Cooperation Council, regionally and globally, accelerating the council’s progress in the economic, social, security, military and political fields — including the appointment of military commanders to the unified military command of the Gulf Police.”

Affirming that the GCC countries will remain a safe and reliable source to provide the world with its “green energy” needs, the crown prince highlighted the Kingdom’s efforts in launching the Saudi Green Initiative, the Middle East Green Initiative, the concept of a circular carbon economy, and other programs aimed at developing sustainable energy sources.

Underscoring the need for sustainable development, the crown prince said: “The Kingdom believes that hydrocarbon energy sources will remain an important resource to meet the needs of the world for the coming decades.”

He added: “Aware of the importance of sustainable development and preserving the environment for future generations, we continue joint action to address climate change and strive to reduce and address its impact.”

The Saudi crown prince congratulated Sultan Haitham bin Tariq on Oman’s assumption of the presidency of the 43rd session of the Supreme Council.

He also paid tribute to the late UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahyan’s outstanding role and his efforts to enhance the work of the Supreme Council.

The Saudi crown prince congratulated Sheikh Tamim for his success in hosting the ongoing football FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

At the outset of his speech, the crown prince warmly welcoming the GCC representatives to Saudi Arabia, asking them to consider the Kingdom as their “second country.”

He added: “We ask the Almighty Allah to help us continue with the march of goodness and cooperation and to promote the GCC’s joint action toward steady development and prosperity.”

In the final communique issued at the end of Friday’s session, the Supreme Council thanked the crown prince for assuming the presidency of the meeting, and expressed its appreciation for the “keenness and interest mentioned in his opening speech to activate the march of cooperation among GCC countries.”

It also expressed its “deep appreciation and gratitude for the great and sincere efforts” of King Salman and the Saudi government during the Kingdom’s “presidency of the 42nd session and the important steps and achievements that were achieved.”


Saudi Arabia issues permits for non-oil industrial projects worth SR4.1bn


Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources has announced that the Kingdom issued permits for non-oil industrial projects in August worth an accumulated SR4.1 billion ($1.1 billion), MEED reported.

Some 115 licenses were issued for non-oil industrial projects — 20 percent higher than those issued in July.

Those issued in August brought the total number of non-oil industrial permits granted by MIMR since the beginning of 2022 to 646.

With combined investments of an estimated SR1.37 trillion, the total number of industrial units in the Kingdom hit 10,707 towards the end of August.

The licenses issued in August were for chemicals, metals, machinery, furniture, home appliances and other light-medium products.

While 85 percent of the projects issued with permits were owned by locals, the remaining 15 percent were owned by foreigners or as joint ventures.

MIMR saw an investment volume of SR13.7 billion as it issued 501 new industrial licenses during the first six months of 2022.

During the same period, 721 factories started production, attracting investments amounting to SR19.10 billion, the ministry’s monthly bulletin showed.

This brought the total volume of investments in the industrial sector until June to SR1.36 trillion, with a total of 10,675 factories.


Saudi Arabia clears 725 industrial projects worth $265bn in 9 months to build domestic capacity

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Saudi Arabia has issued permits for 725 industrial projects worth an accumulated SR1.37 trillion ($265 billion) in the first nine months of 2022, according to data from the Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources.

This comes as the Kingdom is pushing to develop domestic industrial and manufacturing sectors as part of its strategy to diversify away from the oil-based economy.

In September alone, the ministry issued permits for 79 industrial projects estimated to be SR3.1 billion with up to 1,882 licensed workers, the data revealed.

While national investors accounted for 84 percent of the projects in September, 16 percent were foreign-owned or joint ventures with foreign nations.

Moreover, as many as 68 factories started production in September with a volume of investment of SR3.5 billion. The data revealed that the commencement of those factories also generated up to 4,219 jobs during September.

By the end of September, the total number of industrial projects in the Kingdom hit 10,728, up from the 10,192 recorded same period a year earlier, according to data.

In August 2022, the MIMR announced that the Kingdom issued permits for non-oil industrial projects worth an accumulated SR4.1 billion, MEED reported.

Some 115 licenses were issued for non-oil industrial projects — 20 percent higher than those granted in July.

Toward the end of August, the total number of industrial units in the Kingdom reached 10,707.

Until September, the licensed projects covered several small and medium industries, including metals, chemicals, home appliances, paper, etc.

Saudi Arabia is set to become the world leader in sustainable metal production as the Kingdom explores its mining potential, according to Khalid Al-Mudaifer, vice-minister for Mining Affairs, Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources. He further emphasized that the economic diversification was in line with the goals outlined in Vision 2030.

Speaking at the Mines and Money conference earlier this month in London, Al-Mudaifer said that minerals are indispensable to the energy transition from hydrocarbons to renewables.    

“Decarbonization – the net-zero transition – cannot happen without minerals and metals: a lot of minerals and metals. We need to scale up discoveries, and we need to scale up production,” said Al-Mudaifer.

The vice-minister added that mineral and metal supply chains need to become more resilient to meet rising demands and noted that the ongoing geopolitical tensions have exposed the vulnerabilities in the sector, which may result in “cost spikes of some minerals by 350 percent.”