Saudi Arabia's foreign currency reserves edge down 2% in December – Arab News

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Saudi Arabia’s foreign currency reserves fell by SR33.7 billion ($9 billion), or 1.9 percent month-on-month in December.
Foreign currency reserves declined to SR1.61 trillion ($429.5 billion) from SR1.64 trillion in November, according to preliminary data released by the Saudi Central Bank (SAMA) during the weekend.

The preliminary release does not provide any further breakdown of total foreign currency reserves.
In November Saudi foreign currency reserves grew by SR51.6 billion to SR1.64 as the “foreign currency and deposits abroad” increased by SR52.4 billion ($14 billion) while “investment in foreign securities” decreased by SR852 million ($227 million). As a result Saudi Arabia’s November foreign currency reserves rose 3.2 percent from October.       
In annual terms, foreign currency reserves fell 2.6 percent in December, according to preliminary numbers from SAMA.
RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s stock exchange finished higher for the third straight session on Tuesday as investor sentiment boosted amid a wave of record highs for the Kingdom’s stocks.
Both the main and parallel indexes advanced.
At closing bell, TASI rose 1.5 percent to 11,844 points, and the parallel Nomu market was up 1.2 percent to 26,144 points.
TASI led the GCC, followed by Kuwait’s BKP which added 1 percent. The main indexes of Bahrain and Oman edged up slightly, while the Qatari index QSI was flat.
Dubai’s DFMGI and Abu Dhabi’s new FTSE ADX General Index registered losses amounting to 0.7 and 0.3 percent, respectively.
In Abu Dhabi, the FTSE ADX General Index has been launched to replace the ADX General Index, known as ADI, effective Jan. 10, 2022.
Elsewhere in the Middle East, the Egyptian index EGX30 was down 0.2 percent.
In the energy market, Brent crude rose to near $84 per barrel and US WTI crude oil reached $81.5 per barrel as of 8:37 a.m. Saudi time.
Stock news
Alahli Takaful Co. and Arabian Shield Cooperative Insurance have announced the effectiveness of their merger, after the conclusion of ATC’s creditor objection period with no objections
HSBC Saudi Arabia, the financial advisor of Jahez International Co.’s IPO, announced that no price stabilization has been implemented on the offer price as previously announced
The Saudi National Bank, or SNB, launched the sale of 5-year dollar-denominated bonds, namely Sukuk, at a par value of $200,000
Bank Al Jazira’s board has appointed Tarek Othman AlKasabi as chairman and Abdulmajeed Ibrahim AlSultan as vice-chairman
Calendar
Jan. 12, 2022
·Al Yamamah Steel Co. will start distributing dividends at SR1 per share for the second half of 2021
·National Metal Manufacturing and Casting Co., known as Maadaniyah, will start compensating rights issue owners who did not exercise their subscription rights
Jan. 13, 2022
·Last day to subscribe to Allied Cooperative Insurance Group’s rights issue  
Jan. 17, 2022
·End of East Pipes Integrated Co.’s initial public offering book-building process
RIYADH: The second day of the Future Minerals Forum in Riyadh kicked off on Wednesday, with major speakers set to take the stage for high-level talks on the future of the mining industry.
Held at the King Abdulaziz International Conference Center, the three-day event opened on Tuesday with two closed-door ministerial meetings that emphasized on sustainability issues surrounding the sector.

Representatives from 31 countries met on Tuesday for the talks, where they agreed deeper collaboration on mining across the region was needed to unlock the sector’s full potential.
The meetings discussed the role that metals and minerals could play in the global energy transition, as well as the role each country in the region can play in developing sustainable and responsible mineral value chains.
The event, hosted by the Saudi Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources, is aimed at highlighting the role of mining in Saudi Vision 2030, after the government identified it as the third pillar of the Kingdom’s economy.
It consists of panel discussions, workshops, and networking opportunities for key industry players, policy makers, and investors.
Follow our coverage (all timings in GMT):
0630 – Saudi Arabia’s industry and mineral resources minister Bandar Alkhorayef opens the second day of the Future Minerals Forum in Riyadh.
RIYADH: France launched a preparatory framework to establish an investment fund dedicated to developing its mining industry. The fund’s main target will be to secure the country’s strategic supply of minerals and metals, le Figaro reported.

With a global move away from fossil fuels and into electrical power, France and Europe will depend less on fossil fuels and more on minerals, according to a report by Philippe Varin, CEO of Suez Group and former chairman of France Industrie.

Europe, and France in particular, have great ambitions in taking part in the global energy transition, but the country depends entirely on external sources for its supply of minerals, mainly Republic of the Congo and China, according to the report.

France will be home to three mega factories producing batteries used in the production of electric cars. These factories are part of an overall plan to build 38 factories across Europe.

As part of the France 2030 economic plan, the Ministry of Finance will launch a call for projects worth €1 billion ($1.1 billion) to strengthen the country’s industrial sector.

The Ministry of Finance, also referred to as Bercy, stated: “It is still too early to define geographies or countries in which to invest.”
COPENHAGEN: More than half of people in Europe will likely catch omicron by March, the World Health Organization said Tuesday, as the World Bank warned the contagious variant could hamper global economic recovery.
Millions in China were locked down again, exactly two years after Beijing reported the first death from what was later confirmed to be coronavirus.
The highly transmissible omicron strain has swept across countries, forcing governments to impose fresh measures and some rolling out vaccine booster shots.
But the WHO on Tuesday warned that repeating booster doses of the original Covid jabs was not a viable strategy against emerging variants.
The UN body called for new vaccines that better protect against transmission.
“A vaccination strategy based on repeated booster doses of the original vaccine composition is unlikely to be appropriate or sustainable,” a WHO vaccine advisory group said.
With almost eight million recorded infections over the past seven days, Europe is currently reporting the largest number of deaths and cases worldwide, according to an AFP tally.
Europe is at the epicenter of alarming new outbreaks and the WHO said Tuesday omicron could infect half of all people in the region at current rates.
The WHO’s regional director for Europe Hans Kluge described a “new west-to-east tidal wave sweeping across” the region.
“The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) forecasts that more than 50 percent of the population in the region will be infected with omicron in the next six to eight weeks,” he added.
The WHO’s European region covers 53 countries and territories including several in Central Asia, and Kluge said 50 of them had omicron cases.
Kluge however stressed “approved vaccines do continue to provide good protection against severe disease and death — including for omicron.”
The European Medicines Agency (EMA) said that the spread of omicron was pushing Covid toward being an endemic disease that humanity could live with, even if it remained a pandemic for now.
The World Bank, meanwhile, predicted global economic growth will decelerate in 2022 as omicron risks exacerbating labor shortages and supply chain snarls.
In its latest Global Economic Prospects report, it cut its forecast for world economic growth this year to 4.1 percent after the 5.5 percent rebound last year.
World Bank President David Malpass said the pandemic could leave a “permanent scar on development” as poverty, nutrition and health indicators move in the wrong direction.
The warnings came exactly two years after the announcement of the first person dying of a virus only later identified as Covid — a 61-year-old man in Wuhan, China, where the illness was first detected.
Since January 11, 2020, known fatalities in the pandemic have soared to nearly 5.5 million.
China largely tamed its initial outbreak using lockdowns, border closures and mass testing, but flare-ups in some major cities are testing that zero-Covid strategy just weeks before the Beijing Winter Olympics.
The city of Anyang in Henan province on Monday night told its five million residents not to leave their homes or drive cars on the roads, China’s official Xinhua news agency said.
The cities of Yuzhou and Xi’an have also entered strict lockdowns.
Hong Kong, which already has some of the toughest coronavirus border restrictions in the world, on Tuesday shut kindergartens and primary schools until early February to fight an omicron outbreak.
And Japan extended until the end of next month a strict Covid border policy that bars almost all new foreign foreign arrivals.
The World Economic Forum warned that the widening gap in unequal access to vaccines could create a poisonous legacy of resentment,making it harder to reach agreements on global issues such as climate change.
“A greater prevalence of Covid-19 in low-vaccination countries than in high-vaccination ones will weigh on worker availability and productivity, disrupt supply chains and weaken consumption,” WEF said.
The polarizing nature of the Covid came into sharp focus last week when Australia canceled the visa of the world’s top men’s tennis player over Covid shot requirements.
The unjabbed, vaccine-skeptic Novak Djokovic won a legal challenge against the government Monday, but Australia’s immigration minister reserves the right to cancel his visa again as the Serbian aims to defend his Australian Open title.
In France, unions say three out of four teachers plan to strike on Thursday against the government’s shifting rules on Covid testing for students, forcing half the country’s primary schools to close.
And Bolivia’s vice president David Choquehuanca, who touts indigenous treatments for Covid-19, has contracted the virus for a third time, the government announced.
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said he had caught it for a second time.
LONDON: Oman and the UK held talks on Tuesday to discuss opportunities for trade and investment cooperation in clean energy and mining in the sultanate and prospects for sustainable, long-term expansion and growth.
The discussion, which attracted around 100 delegates and allowed Omani officials to enter into dialogue with potential British investors, sought to develop Omani-UK relations while promoting investment between the two countries, in line with the goals of the sultanate’s Vision 2040.
It also sought to identify steps UK companies needed to take to invest in Oman and develop the country as a regional hub for clean energy.
Omani Minister of Commerce, Industry and Investment Promotion Qais Al-Yousef said his country had become more focused on promoting investment opportunities in recent years and regarded Britain as a key partner in its efforts to develop a stronger and more diverse economy.
Oman’s Vision 2040 highlights the need for sustainable development and economic diversification.

Supported by @UKEF and @tradegovuk, UK clean energy and mining companies met an Omani ministerial delegation at @ABCCnews today to discuss future investment opportunities. pic.twitter.com/b5GhVOqOcZ
He also said Oman offered great opportunities in a range of key sectors and was keen to further develop the historic relations it has with the UK.
Al-Yousef was part of a ministerial delegation visiting the UK to follow up on Sultah Haitham bin Tariq’s visit last month, and included officials from the ministry of finance and labor and the Oman Investment Authority.
The speakers at the event, organized by the Arab British Chamber of Commerce in collaboration with the Oman Embassy in London and the British Embassy in Muscat, highlighted investment opportunities in solar energy, renewable technology, wind power and hydrogen, as well as tourism, fisheries and information and communications technology.
The sultanate has implemented investment incentives and a raft of measures to attract foreign companies and to increase revenue to mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the economy.
As competition for foreign investment is at an all-time high this week’s UK visit helps @Tejarah_om increase awareness of Oman’s exciting business offer @UKinOman @tradegovuk
The International Monetary Fund said in September that Oman is expected to switch to a surplus this year, after a spike in fiscal deficit and debt last year due to the pandemic and low oil prices.
Bill Murray, the UK ambassador to Oman, who chaired the discussion said that the meeting was being held within the framework of the UK-Oman joint action program to promote bilateral investment.
He said Sultan Haitham’s visit to the UK in December was a milestone in UK-Omani relations, adding that the roundtable was held on the day Oman marked the second anniversary of the sultan’s rule.
“Several leading UK firms active in Oman in the clean energy and mining sectors delivered positive accounts of their experiences of the Oman business environment,” ABCC said.
Delighted to host a group of Omani Ministers this morning as part of their official visit to the UK. Great to have the chance to discuss mutual opportunities for investment, training and skills, and job creation. @GerryGrimstone @tradegovuk @UKinOman #Oman pic.twitter.com/dbCuFW9f49
The companies, which were supported by the UK Department for International Trade and Export Finance — the kingdom’s export credit agency, also commended the support available to foreign investors and said authorities in the sultanate were keen to help businesses succeed in the market.
Bandar Reda, ABCC secretary-general and CEO, pledged to support private sector engagement and said prospects for closer business ties between the UK and Oman were growing across all sectors.
“Driven by the ambitions set out in its Vision 2040, Oman is moving ahead to diversify its economy, opening up new income streams and developing the skills of its citizens to contribute to greater prosperity and economic sustainability,” he said.
“At a time of global uncertainties, as we together face the combined challenges of COVID, Brexit and the energy transition, one of the enduring certainties is the increasing strength of Arab-British cooperation which is founded on the friendship of our peoples,” Reda added.

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