72% Trade Volume Hike between Saudi, Russia in Q1 2019



72% Trade Volume Hike between Saudi, Russia in Q1 2019

Wednesday, 21 August, 2019 – 08:30
Riyadh- Fatehelrahman Yousif
Moscow affirmed holding strategic relations with Riyadh in all fields, revealing that the trade volume between Russia and Saudi Arabia during the Q1 2019 increased by 72%.

The office of Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak told Asharq Al-Awsat that there was trade growth between the two countries from January to April 2019.

The volume of trade rose by 72%, reaching $ 505.2 million, compared to the same period last year.

“We have many points of intersection and mutual interests, as there is a certain mutual desire to boost cooperation in such fields as industry, peaceful use of atomic energy, innovation, the space sector, and agriculture,” Novak’s office stated.

Energy Ministers noted the importance of increasing cooperation especially in promising sectors and pointed to the inking of agreements in previous meetings. Both sides also voiced their support for the currently shared technical cooperation in the fuel and energy sectors.

Novak’s office also confirmed Moscow and Riyadh’s commitment to efforts spent by OPEC and non-OPEC oil-producing countries to stabilize global oil market and reduce volatility.

It also noted the importance of joint efforts to stabilize the market, stressing the determination of producers to ensure stability, predictability, and gradual development of the market.

Experts: Suez Canal $3.6 Billion in Due Certificates to Remain in Banks



Experts: Suez Canal $3.6 Billion in Due Certificates to Remain in Banks

Tuesday, 20 August, 2019 – 09:45
A cargo ship passes through the New Suez Canal in Ismailia, Egypt, January 17, 2016. (Reuters)
Cairo – Asharq Al-Awsat
Analysts and bankers said that most of the Suez Canal certificates of deposits due on September 4 will not be withdrawn from banks after their due date. They will instead be reinvested in new certificates because the certificate holders are wary of taking risks.

In 2014, the Suez Canal Authority made more than EGP60 billion (USD3.61 billion) from issuing investment certificates for Egyptians for five years with a revenue of 12 percent end of 2016 to around 15.5 percent.

The revenue was invested in building the new Suez Canal and a number of tunnels.

Back then, Egypt permitted the purchase of investment certificates for Egyptians only by individuals, companies and authorities, such as funds.

Mona Mostafa, director of trading at Arabeya Online, told Reuters that 80 percent of due certificates in September would be linked to new certificates because most of the subscribers of Suez Canal certificates are clients of banks and not adventurous investors.

Egypt announced in August 2014 plans to set up the new Suez Canal in addition to the current canal under a project worth several billions of American dollars. The project aims to expand trade along the fastest route of navigation between Europe and Asia.

Egyptian officials hope the new canal would push annual revenues to USD13.5 billion by 2023 from more than USD5 billion.

The Suez Canal was inaugurated in 1869, and its length is around 160 km. It is the shortest maritime route between Asia and Europe. The canal is Egypt’s largest income source of hard currency alongside tourism, gas and oil exports and workers’ transfers from abroad.

Further, Suez Canal revenues reached USD5.7 billion in 2018, rising from USD5.3 billion in 2017.

China to build Shenzhen into socialist demonstration area



China to build Shenzhen into socialist demonstration area

China to build Shenzhen into socialist demonstration area

Imagine china

An aerial view of Shenzhen.

China is aiming to build its southern metropolis of Shenzhen into a “global model city with distinguished competitiveness, innovation capability and influence” by mid-century, according to a guideline supporting Shenzhen. The document supports the city in the construction of a pilot demonstration area of socialism with Chinese characteristics.

The guideline, released by the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and the State Council on Sunday, says that by 2025 Shenzhen should become a “modern international city of innovation” with its economic power and quality of development at the forefront of cities worldwide. By 2035, it should become a “hub for innovation, creativity, and entrepreneurship” as well as a sample for China to build a “great modern socialist country” at the city level.

The coastal city in Guangdong Province should play a leading role in high-quality development and position itself as a demonstration city of the rule of law, the guideline stressed, calling for the creation of a “stable, fair, transparent and predictable” business environment.

It added that Shenzhen should become a model for a civilized society and decent livelihoods for its residents and a pioneer in pursuing sustainable development.

The guideline was made public more than three weeks after it was reviewed at the ninth meeting of the central committee for deepening overall reform.

Key role in Greater Bay Area

Hailing Shenzhen an “important window” of China’s reform and opening-up, the guideline said supporting the city in building a pilot demonstration area of socialism with Chinese characteristics will be conducive for better implementing the strategy of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area and enriching the practice of the “One Country, Two Systems” principle.

It underscored support for Shenzhen to play a key role in developing the Greater Bay Area into an international innovation and technology hub.

Shenzhen will also be supported in building innovation-oriented bodies in fields such as 5G, artificial intelligence, cyberspace science and technology and laboratories on life information and bio-medicine, according to the guideline.

It seeks to encourage overseas personnel who have permanent resident status in Shenzhen to set up scientific and technological enterprises.

The plan vowed to deepen reform and opening-up in the Shenzhen-Hong Kong modern service industry cooperation zone in Qianhai of Shenzhen and upgrade the city’s level of opening-up to Hong Kong and Macao.

Meanwhile, people from Hong Kong and Macao working and living in Shenzhen will be treated the same as residents of the city in terms of their livelihoods, it said.

In February, the central government unveiled a blueprint for the development of the Greater Bay Area, which covers nine cities in Guangdong Province – Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Foshan, Huizhou, Dongguan, Zhongshan, Jiangmen and Zhaoqing – as well as Hong Kong and Macao Special Administrative Regions.

Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Hong Kong and Macao are positioned as core cities in the Greater Bay Area.

India: Govt readies 3-pronged plan to make India a $10 trillion economy by 2032



Govt readies 3-pronged plan aimed at making India a $10 trillion economy by 2032

On June 6, the government created two new Cabinet committees under the chairmanship of prime minister — the Cabinet Committee on Investment & Growth, and the Cabinet Committee on Employment & Skill Development

INDIA Updated: Aug 17, 2019 08:09 IST

Rajeev Jayaswal
Rajeev Jayaswal

Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Economic growth has slowed every quarter since the first quarter of 2018-19.
Economic growth has slowed every quarter since the first quarter of 2018-19. (REUTERS FILE PHOTO FOR REPRESENTATION)

The government is working on an economic plan that will provide an immediate boost to tackle the current crisis of growth; and medium-term and long-term blueprints to make India a $5 trillion economy by 2024-25 and a $10 trillion one by 2032, two government officials aware of the development said.

The finance ministry is compiling inputs from different ministries, with the ultimate aim of accelerating growth and creating jobs, and these will be discussed by the high-level committees headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the officials who work for two different economic ministries said on condition of anonymity.

On June 6, the government created two new Cabinet committees under the chairmanship of prime minister — the Cabinet Committee on Investment & Growth, and the Cabinet Committee on Employment & Skill Development.

Economic growth has slowed every quarter since the first quarter of 2018-19. The Reserve Bank of India recently downgraded its growth estimate for the year to 6.9% from 7%. The real estate and construction sectors remain in the doldrums; car sales have declined for nine straight months, with demand for new cars in July around 30% lower from a year ago; and the crisis in shadow banking, a result of the meltdown at IL&FS and later DHFL, hasn’t fully passed.

Also Watch | PM on I-Day: India can become $5 trillion economy in the next 5 years

PM on I-Day: India can become $5 trillion economy in the next 5 years
Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed confidence that India will become a $5 trillion economy in the next five years. PM Modi was addressing to the nation from the ramparts of Red Fort on the occasion of 73rd Independence Day.


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The government’s immediate objectives are to create demand and boost growth, the officials said. “There is enough liquidity in the banking system. There is a need for banks to pass on the benefits of a lower interest regime to customers aspiring to buy vehicles, homes and white goods. Some policy or administrative directions in this regard is expected soon to boost consumer sentiment before the forthcoming festive season,” one of the two officials said.

Among the proposals on the table, he added, is one to temporarily slash Goods and Services Tax (GST) on automobiles, which is currently in the highest slab of 28%. The government is also working on an attractive package for scrapping of old vehicles to boost auto sales, he said.

The government may also make some institutional arrangement of funds to complete stalled projects and provide more tax incentives to homebuyers to spur demand in the sector, the officials said. Stimulus packages are also expected for labour-intensive sectors such as textile and those services that have the potential to create lots of jobs — e-commerce, hospitality, tourism, telecom and information technology (IT) — the second official said.

The government is also keen on incentivising investments in the manufacture of hi-tech products, the second official added. Communications, electronics and IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad is holding a meeting of stakeholders from the electronics industry on Monday to discuss issues related to the sector. Top executives of multinational companies such as Apple, Samsung, Lava, Xiaomi, Panasonic, LG Electronics, Dell and Siemens are expected to attend the meeting. The outcome of the meeting will be conveyed to the cabinet committees on investment and employment for policy considerations, the second official said. Prasad has already met stakeholders from the telecom industry.

While the immediate aim of the government is to revive demand, it is committed to make India a $5 trillion economy by 2024-25, a target articulated in PM Modi’s Independence Day speech. Modi spoke about exports, a ~100 lakh crore investment in infrastructure, and a special focus on the rural economy, and micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), and all of these will be reflected in the country’s economic policies, the officials said.

“Eventually the government’s long-term vision is to make India a $10 trillion economy,” the first official said.

Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) director general Chandrajit Banerjee said the PM’s speech on Independence Day has boosted the morale of the industry. “At CII, we estimated that the economy needs roughly around ~450 lakh crore [of investment] in the next 5 years for moving to the 8-8.5% growth trajectory. In that, infrastructure itself would obviously be one of the largest areas of investment, given the massive infrastructure gaps that India has. The PM’s statement of the country getting to that investment cycle is very heartening. We believe that 55% of this has to come from public investments,” he said.

First Published: Aug 17, 2019 07:18 IST

Saudi’s: Turkey’s Seasonally Adjusted Jobless Rate Hits Highest on Record



Turkey’s Seasonally Adjusted Jobless Rate Hits Highest on Record

Thursday, 15 August, 2019 – 11:15
Vendors sell dry food near the New Mosque area in Istanbul’s Eminonu district. (AFP)
Asharq Al-Awsat
Turkey’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate climbed to its highest level on record, statistical data showed on Thursday, despite a slight fall in the April-June headline figures.

The seasonally adjusted rate hit 14.0%, according to Turkish Statistical Institute figures, reflecting Turkey’s slide into recession after a currency crisis last year saw the lira lose nearly 30% of its value against the dollar.

The rate is the highest recorded in the statistical institute’s data going back to 2005, said Reuters.

In the April-June period, when Turkey’s tourism and agriculture industries create temporary jobs, the headline jobless rate eased to 12.8%, down from a 10-year high of 14.7% in December-February. In the March-May period it stood at 13%.

Year-on-year, unemployment was up 3.1 percentage points in the April-June period, the data showed.

Enver Erkan, economist at GCM Investment, said he expects unemployment to rise again after July, when the effects of temporary tourism employment wear off.

“We will see the unadjusted unemployment rate rise towards 14% by the end of the year. Economic growth is important for a fall in unemployment independent of seasonal factors,” he said.

“We will probably see positive growth in the fourth quarter but this will not be enough to end the full year with growth.”

The non-agricultural unemployment rate was unchanged from a month earlier at 15%, the data showed.

China: Job fair aims to make Shanghai home for global young talent



Job fair aims to make Shanghai home for global young talent

Job fair aims to make Shanghai home for global young talent

Chen Huizhi / SHINE

Foreign and Chinese students at the job fair in Shanghai

Job fair aims to make Shanghai home for global young talent

Chen Huizhi / SHINE

A student finds out about job opportunities at the fair.

Over 800 Chinese students studying at universities overseas and foreign students studying in Shanghai attended a job fair in the city on Wednesday.

The 11th “Shanghai Career Fair” held by the government in cooperation with universities in the United States, the UK and Canada, seeks to attract more young people to work in Shanghai under the banner of “Make Shanghai Your Home.”

The city’s human resources and social security bureau said that 12,700 Chinese who had studied overseas had obtained a Shanghai hukou, or residence, last year, 33 percent more than in 2017.

Students from Cambridge University, Imperial College London, London School of Economics, Columbia University, the University of Chicago, Stanford University, UC Berkley, UCLA and Toronto University, met over 60 companies based in Shanghai at the job fair where over 1,000 jobs were on offer.

Rich Carruthers, deputy director of the careers service at Imperial College London, said Shanghai had become a hub for global talent to work and the college was honored to be a part of the talent exchange.

“People say that innovation happens in a right time and a right place, and I believe our students here are making a wise move in choosing Shanghai as their career destination,” he said. “Shanghai is opening its arms, welcoming them and making the city a hub gathering overseas talent.”

Carruthers said feedback from students who attended past events was all very positive.

Chen Yu’ang, a Ningbo native who’s doing a master’s degree in international health management in the UK and who has a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from the US, said he was looking at jobs mainly in the consulting industry.

“Shanghai has great cultural offerings and has a lot of career opportunities as the entire economic landscape of China is promising,” he said.

Zhu Di, from Hangzhou, a sophomore studying electronic engineering in the UK said Chinese companies are keen to attract Chinese graduates with an overseas background while Chinese students like her tended to return to China to work.

“Take the UK, finance might be more emphasized in its economy, but for students of technology, China is the future because the country is so much pushing for science and technology development,” she said.

Piao Song, recruitment director of Shanghai Institute of Materia Medica of Chinese Academy of Sciences which had a stand at the fair, said Chinese students and professionals with an overseas background are welcomed for their international scope, and out of patriotic feelings they were willing to return to build their own country too.

“Shanghai has competitive talent policies and perhaps more and better career opportunities,” she said. “Our scientists as principal investigators who lead research groups that get generous support for their projects, which probably wouldn’t be available elsewhere.”

Also at the fair were foreign students studying in Shanghai. Elmira Safarova from Russia, a master’s student at East China Normal University.

Safarova, who has been living in China for five years and is fluent in Chinese, said she’s currently interning for a software developer in Shanghai on a mobile app targeting foreign students and helping them work towards higher levels in the HSK test for Chinese language proficiency in non-native speakers.

“There are many possibilities here, and for students with a language background it would be even better if we continue to study other subjects such as finance and business,” she said.

In previous fairs, over 5,000 students had met with employers, and a great number had found jobs in Shanghai, according to the human resources bureau.

Over 160,000 Chinese who had studied overseas have been working or starting businesses in Shanghai, it said. The number of companies they founded exceeded 5,200 with starting funds of over US$800 million.

The bureau said an even larger job fair will be held in November.

To help companies and students reach each other, the bureau said it planned to introduce a website called “Shanghai Overseas Talents.”

The bureau said it will continue to support returnees to settle in Shanghai and relax the requirements for overseas talents to obtain a residence permit for overseas talents, while expanding the scope of financial support for them.

China: Shanghai’s unemployment figure down 4.38%



Shanghai’s unemployment figure down 4.38%

Shanghai had 187,700 registered unemployed as of June, a decrease of about 4.38 percent, or 8,600 from the same period last year, the city’s human resources and social security bureau said on Wednesday.

In June, young people accounted for just over 20 percent of the total, a drop of nearly 9 percentage points from 2011, with training, help and specific programs to boost their job opportunities, according to the bureau.

More than 5,400 long-term jobless young people had received help to start their own businesses as of the end of June, with 8,000 the yearly target, the bureau said.

More than 610,000 people had received vocational training between January and June, and the city had also established 110 training centers of highly skilled talents.

A total of 385,400 new jobs had been created in the first half of the year, the bureau said, more than 77 percent of the target for the year. Among them, 108,500 covered strategic emerging industries.

Over 500,000 new jobs are provided in the city every year, the bureau said. The city’s registered jobless rate was 3.6 percent at the end of last year, a figure that decreases year by year, it said.

Although the city’s job market is stable, the slow down in economic growth both at home and abroad and the emergence of world trade protectionism had led to increased uncertainty in the job market, said Zhao Yongfeng, the bureau’s director.

The city has taken measures such as increasing the frequency of monitoring key enterprises and providing subsidies for enterprises that retain employees, he said.

Last year, 117,900 enterprises enjoyed such subsidies, a total of 2.136 billion yuan (US$304 million).

Saudi’s: Algeria’s Trade Deficit Increases in H1 2019



Algeria’s Trade Deficit Increases in H1 2019

Wednesday, 14 August, 2019 – 11:45
Algerian youths sit near the Martyrs’ Memorial in Algiers (Reuters)
Algiers- Asharq Al-Awsat
Algeria’s trade deficit amounted to $3.18 billion during the H1 of 2019 against $2.84 billion during the same period of 2018, official data showed on Tuesday.

Algerian exports totaled $18.96 billion during H1 2019 compared to $20.29 billion during the same period in 2018, down 6.57 percent.

Meanwhile, imports fell to$22.14 billion compared to$23.14 billion, down 4.3 percent, according to figures provided by the Algerian Customs’ Department of Studies and Prospects.

France has topped the list of Algerian export customers with exports worth $2.66 billion, followed by Italy with $2.5 billion dollars and Spain with $2.26 billion.

China, however, remained the top exporter to Algeria with exports worth $4.2 billion, followed by France with $2.14 billion, and Spain with $1.68 billion.

Fuel exports, which accounted for 93.1 percent of the total exports, amounted to $17.65 billion, a decrease of 6.31 percent compared to $18.84 billion during the same period of 2018. While other exports fell 10.01 percent to $1.31 billion.

As for imports, five out of seven product groups included in the import division have decreased during H1 2019 compared to the same period last year.

The energy and fuel group’s import bill fell 62.22 percent to $275.51 million from $729.32 million during the same period.

And the imported food bill was estimated at $4.13 billion, compared with $4.61 billion, a decline of 10.52 percent

A report published by the Algerian news agency (APS) a few days ago reported that Algeria’s food import bill fell by more than $480 million in 2019’s first half.

It explained that this fall is mainly due to the decline in the import of cereals, milk and its derivatives, sugar, residues, and waste products of the food industry and others.

Last week, the Algerian National Office of Statistics revealed in a report that Algeria’s economy has achieved an annual growth of 1.4 percent in 2018, compared to 1.3 percent in 2017.

In a publication on economic accounts from 2015 to 2018, it showed that the growth index remains “positive” despite the economic context characterized by a current account deficit in the balance of payments, low exchange reserves and a decline in the level of growth in the non-fuel sector.

The growth rate of non-fuel GDP has amounted to 3.3 percent in 2018, compared to 2.1 percent in 2017, indicating “a good performance,” the Office added.

Economic growth has witnessed a five percent increase in the agriculture sector, 5.2 percent in public works, construction, and irrigation, including petroleum public works, and a 4.1 percent increase in industry.

Iran: Zarif: US Turning Gulf Region into ‘Tinderbox’



Zarif: US Turning Gulf Region into ‘Tinderbox’

Monday, 12 August, 2019 – 11:30
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif arrives for a meeting at United Nations Headquarters in the Manhattan borough of New York, US, July 18, 2019. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
Asharq Al-Awsat
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif accused the United States in a television interview on Monday of turning the Gulf region into a “matchbox ready to ignite.”

Oil tanker traffic passing through the Gulf via the Strait of Hormuz has become the focus of a US-Iranian standoff since Washington pulled out of the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran and reimposed sanctions to strangle Tehran’s oil exports.

After explosions that damaged six tankers in May and June and Iran’s seizure of a British-flagged tanker in July, the United States launched a maritime security mission in the Gulf, joined by Britain, to protect merchant vessels.

According to Reuters, Zarif said in the interview that the Strait “is narrow, it will become less safe as foreign (navy) vessels increase their presence in it”.

“The region has become a matchbox ready to ignite because America and its allies are flooding it with weapons,” he said.

Last month, Iran’s Revolutionary Guards seized the British tanker, Stena Impero near the Strait for alleged marine violations, two weeks after Britain seized an Iranian oil tanker near Gibraltar, accusing it of violating sanctions on Syria.

The tanker dispute has tangled Britain in the diplomatic dispute between the EU’s big powers – which want to preserve the Iran nuclear deal – and the United States which has pushed for a tougher policy on Iran.

Also Monday, Iranian Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri charged that Washington’s unilateralist policies and its emphasis on sanctions threaten the stability of the region.

He was speaking at an economic forum hosted by Turkmenistan.

Japan to remove South Korea from favored trade partners list



Japan to remove South Korea from favored trade partners list

Decision comes a month after Japan tightened curbs on exports to South Korea of three high-tech materials needed to make memory chips and display panels.

WORLD Updated: Aug 02, 2019 18:44 IST


Japan’s industry minister Hiroshige Seko.
Japan’s industry minister Hiroshige Seko. (AP Photo)

Japan’s cabinet on Friday approved a plan to remove South Korea from a list of countries that enjoy minimum export controls, a move likely to escalate tensions fueled by a dispute over compensation for wartime forced laborers.

The decision to drop South Korea from the “white list,” a step that has been protested fiercely by Seoul, comes a month after Japan tightened curbs on exports to South Korea of three high-tech materials needed to make memory chips and display panels.

The cabinet has approved the move, Japan’s industry minister, Hiroshige Seko said.

Japan has said the measures are based on national security concerns, citing South Korea’s insufficient export controls as well as the erosion of trust after South Korean court rulings ordered Japanese firms compensate wartime forced laborers.

Japan says the issue of compensation was settled by a 1965 treaty that normalized ties between Tokyo and Seoul.

(The story has been published from a wire feed without any modifications to the text, only the headline has been changed)

First Published: Aug 02, 2019 18:31 IST