Container Handling Services Grew by 48% in the 2nd Quarter of 2024, Report

Riyadh: The Ministry of Commerce registered 2,457 new commercial files for container handling services during the second quarter of 2024, an increase of 48% compared to 1,658 files in the same period last year, according to the ministry’s quarterly bulletin for the business sector.

The report indicated that Riyadh led with 1,027 records, followed by the Makkah Region with 738 records, the Eastern Region with 405, Madinah Region with 79, and Qassim Region with 59 records.

The Ministry of Commerce quarterly report highlighted the vital sectors that contribute directly to the GDP as part of the opportunities created by Saudi Vision 2030 for local and foreign business, with the goal of keeping pace with the economic developments taking place in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Among the most prominent economic activities in these promising sectors are transportation, logistics and technology services, recreational arts, and entertainment.

Source: Saudi Press Agency

Oman’s GDP Rises in Q1 of 2024

The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) at current prices for the Sultanate of Oman at the end of the first quarter of 2024 recorded an increase of 0.8 percent, reaching OR 10.442 billion, compared to the same period in 2023, which amounted to OR 10.362 billion.

The Oman News Agency reported preliminary data issued by the National Centre for Statistics and Information, indicating that crude oil activities amounted to OR 2.996 billion, a decrease of 4.4 percent. Natural gas activities decreased by 0.1 percent, recording OR 524.4 million.

Meanwhile, non-oil activities increased by 3.9 percent, recording a value of OR 7.1885 billion Omani Riyals at the end of the first quarter of 2024, compared to OR 6.92 billion at the end of the same quarter in 2023.

Source: Qatar News Agency

Kuwaiti Oil Rises 85 Cents

The price of a barrel of Kuwaiti oil rose 85 cents to reach $89.52 per barrel in weekend trading, compared to $88.67 in the previous days trading, according to the price announced by the Kuwait Petroleum Corporation.

In global markets, Brent crude futures fell 89 cents to $86.54 per barrel, while US West Texas Intermediate crude futures fell 72 cents to $83.16.

Source: Qatar News Agency

Qatar Chamber Chairman Affirms Importance of Activating Qatari-Polish Business Council

Chairman of the Board of Directors of Qatar Chamber HE Sheikh Khalifa bin Jassim bin Mohammed Al Thani stressed the importance of activating the joint Qatari-Polish Business Council to play its role in following up and supporting cooperation between business sectors in both friendly countries.

This came during his speech in a meeting between a Qatar Chamber delegation and their Polish counterpart, attended by President of the Polish Chamber of Commerce (PCC) Marek Kloczko.

His Excellency said that Qatar and Poland are associated with robust and rapidly growing relations, covering numerous fields and sectors, noting that The year 2016 represented a unique turning point in trade relations between the two countries when Qatar began delivering LNG to Poland following the opening of the Swinoujscie LNG receiving terminal on the Baltic Sea.

His Excellency also said that trade exchange between the two countries witnessed a remarkable growth of 80 percent during the past three years, reaching a value of QR 4.81 bi
llion in 2023, compared to QR 2.65 billion in 2020, which makes Poland an important trade partner to Qatar, pointing out that many Polish companies are operating in the Qatari market in various economic sectors, and in return, there are various Qatari investments in Poland, especially in the real estate sector.

The Qatar Chamber also participated in the fifth edition of the Qatari-Polish New Technology Forum in the Polish capital, Warsaw.

Source: Qatar News Agency

QNB Says ASEAN Economies Relatively Resilient to Sudden Changes

Doha: Qatar National Bank (QNB) has affirmed that the large ASEAN economies are relatively resilient to sudden changes in risk sentiment and capital flows.

In its weekly economic commentary, QNB considered such resilience as a major source of support in a context of higher uncertainty associated with global monetary conditions and regional FX volatility.

The economic commentary’s analysis focused on the large Southeast Asian (ASEAN) economies of Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, and the Philippines, through the assessment of external vulnerability along two dimensions: the external financing needs and the overall level of official FX reserves. Countries with large external financing needs are required to finance it either with additional foreign capital or drawing down their own FX wealth.

The commentary stated that the official FX reserves can be an important backstop to absorb external shocks. However, the level of FX reserves should be considered in context, including not only short-term external financing
needs but also other key macro metrics.

It pointed out that Thailand is still in a good position to weather sudden changes in capital flows. Even with international tourism still significantly below pre-pandemic levels, the situation remains stable. The country continues to run sizable current account surpluses, which helped it amass USD 221 Bn in official FX reserves, comfortably covering 209 percent of the IMF reserve adequacy metric.

The economic commentary deemed Malaysia, a big producer of both manufacturing goods and commodities, as another resilient ASEAN economy. Like Thailand, the country had also run persistent current account surpluses for years, as a net oil and soft commodity exporter, underlining that Malaysia has been positively affected by the overall strength of commodity markets in recent years, which resulted in a bigger current account surpluses.

Malaysia’s reserve adequacy metrics are much tighter than those for Thailand, with the central bank holding almost half of the amount of FX re
serves that Thailand holds at USD 113 Bn. However, Malaysia is still in the safe zone of the IMF reserve adequacy metric with a 115 percent coverage.

The economic commentary highlighted that the Philippines is a net external borrower, which means that it runs current account deficits. With a large trade deficit that is currently only partially offset by sizable inflows of remittances from the community of Philippine expatriate workers, the country is expected to run a current account deficit that amounts to around 2 percent of GDP. While the deficits are partially driven by a healthy push for much needed investment, the deterioration of the external position has so far been sizable. However, monetary authorities control ample FX reserves. Official reserves of USD 103 Bn cover 196 percent of the IMF reserve adequacy metric.

With respect to Indonesia, it is traditionally the large ASEAN country most exposed to potential external shocks, is now back to a current account deficit position. This comes after a sho
rt hiatus benefiting from a commodity boom that has propped up its external revenues, due to high prices for coal, gas and palm oil. In fact, the country is now expected to run a current account deficit of about 1 percent of GDP this year. The deficit is expected to last for longer, as the delivery of a sizable pipeline of capital expenditure projects will require more imports. Indonesian official FX reserves amount to USD 136 Bn, covering 112 percent of the IMF reserve adequacy metric.

Source: Qatar News Agency

Under patronage of HH Shaikh Khalid bin Hamad graduation ceremony held for Bahrain Olympic Academy courses

Manama: Under the patronage of His Highness Shaikh Khalid bin Hamad Al Khalifa, His Highness Shaikh Khalid bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Supreme Council for Youth and Sports First Deputy Chairman, General Sports Authority (GSA) and Bahrain Olympic Committee President (BOC), the Bahrain Olympic Academy held a graduation ceremony for six administrative and technical courses.

His Highness Shaikh Salman bin Mohammed Al Khalifa, Vice President of the General Sports Authority, honoured the graduates at a ceremony held at the Wyndham Grand Manama.

The ceremony was attended by His Highness Shaikh Isa bin Abdullah Al Khalifa, President of the Royal Equestrian and Endurance Federation (BREEF); His Highness Shaikh Isa bin Ali bin Khalifa Al Khalifa, BOC Vice-President; Dr. Abdulrahman Sadiq Askar, the CEO of the GSA; Faris Al Kooheji, the BOC Secretary General; Makis Asimakopoulos, the Director of the International Olympic Academy, and Mohammed Hassan Al Nisf, the Advisor to His Highness the President of the Olympic Committee

HH Shaikh Salman bin Mohammed Al Khalifa honoured 81 graduates who passed the Advanced Sports Management Diploma, the Olympic Studies Diploma, the National Coaches Programme, the Olympic Mission graduates, the Physical Literacy Lecturer Preparation Programme, and the National Coaches Programme Level 4 graduates.

The sponsors and supporters were also honoured, including the Labour Fund (Tamkeen), the University of Bahrain (UoB), and Mahzooz Gulf.

Asimakopoulos delivered a speech at the Bahrain Olympic Academy graduation ceremony. He thanked the Bahrain Olympic Committee for the invitation and expressed pride in the close cooperation between the IOA and its Bahraini counterpart.

Asimakopoulos presented a commemorative gift to HH Sheikh Salman bin Mohammed Al Khalifa.

He also presented Dr Nabil Taha, the Director of the Bahrain Olympic Academy, with a photo of HM the King’s signature on the 1981 decree that established the Bahrain Sports Institute, which later became the Bahrain Olympic Academy.

Bahrain News Agency