ãÔÇåÏÉ ÇáäÓÎÉ ßÇãáÉ : Saudi Arabia Economical and other News
08-10-11, 03:40 PM
Saudi Arriyadh fisnishes construction of Diriya square
Saudi property developer Arriyadh Development Company has announced that the construction of Prince Salman Square has been completed as part of its programme to develop the historical town of Diriya, Arab News has reported. A spokesman of the Riyadh-based company has said that the project, which was carried out by ADA's High Commission for the Development of Arriyadh (HCDA), is in harmony with the natural environment of the city and in accordance with its historical, architectural and environmental characteristics.
Source: Arab News
08-10-11, 03:42 PM
Mobily aims to secure $2.7bn laon refinancing
Banking sources have said that Saudi Arabia's Etihad Etisalat (Mobily) is aiming to secure SR10bn ($2.7 billion) loan refinancing from international banks, Reuters has reported. If the SR10.78bn Shari'ah-compliant debt financing deal is signed, it would be Mobily's largest syndicated loan. The Kingdom's second-largest mobile phone company will accept US dollars from potential European lenders, but is not wholly dependent on international participation.
08-10-11, 03:43 PM
Saudi cabinet approves GCC railway project
Saudi Arabia's Council of Ministers has given the green light to implement the $25bn Gulf Cooperation Council railway project, which aims to link the six GCC countries through a 2,117-km railway network, Arab News has reported. Culture and Information Minister Abdul Aziz Khoja has said that the Transport Ministry has received Cabinet approval to prepare engineering blueprint for the railway and follow up implementation of the project. The Finance Ministry is to allocate necessary funds for the railway, which will be completed in 2017.
Source: Arab News
09-10-11, 10:24 AM
Gold price came up a little bit
per gram in Saudi Arabia is SR 172.81
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09-10-11, 10:40 AM
Gold price per kilo in Saudi Arabia is
09-10-11, 10:44 AM
Gold price per aunce in Saudi Arabia is
09-10-11, 10:54 AM
Primedia in strategic deal with Saudi firm
Bahrain-based media company Primedia International has tied up with Saudi consulting firm Joatha Business Development Consultants.
"This joint venture develops Primedia's presence in Saudi Arabia's booming business community," said Primedia's chief executive Mike Orlov.
"We are tremendously proud to have widened the doors for our advertisers to help them penetrate this market more effectively."
Joatha Consulting is a Riyadh-based firm licensed by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry. The company provides services in three consulting and advisory practices, information technology, business development and strategy, and economic policy.
With presence in Riyadh and the Eastern Province, Primedia also has plans to open an office in Jeddah in the future. For operations in the Eastern Province, the company has appointed Mustafa Al Nasser as the new media manager.
"We welcome Mustafa on board and wish him all the best in his new role. He has worked for more than 15 years in the media, communications and marketing industry and brings valuable experience in the Saudi market," added Orlov.
Primedia also announced the opening of a call centre at its head office in Bahrain focusing on the Saudi market.
Source: Trade Arabia
09-10-11, 10:55 AM
Saudi Mercedes-Benz dealer offers checks
Juffali Automotive, the exclusive dealer for Mercedes-Benz cars in Saudi Arabia, is running a service week so that Mercedes-Benz owners may bring in their cars for a free vehicle check by factory-trained specialists.
German factory engineers will be flown in and will be on site to provide Mercedes-Benz customers with technical knowledge and advice on how to service and maintain their Mercedes-Benz.
Representatives from Mobil Oil and Michelin tyres will also be attending to give specialist technical advice.
“With the harsh operating conditions we face, it is important that Mercedes-Benz owners have their cars checked regularly to avoid mechanical failures and ensure the highest levels of safety,” said Safi Kobeissi, general manager.
In addition to the free service check, visitors to the service week at Juffali Automotive can take advantage of other offers including special discounts on spare parts and accessories.
They can even test drive a segment-leading Mercedes-Benz sedan or SUV and get a trade-in price for their current vehicle, a statement said.
Source: Trade Arabia
09-10-11, 11:10 AM
Airlines to be fined for delays in Haj flights
Saudi Arabia's General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) has said airline companies would be fined for any delays in Haj flights this year, Saudi Gazette has reported. The fines could reach up to SR150,000 for late flights, which will be doubled if the delay is more than 24 hours, GACA said. Airlines which allow flights to depart without obtaining a license will be fined more than SR30,000, it added.
Source: Ame Info
09-10-11, 11:11 AM
Shadhly first Saudi female to legally manage own business
Sawsan Sulaiman Shadhly, business woman and owner of Saudi International Center Group (SIC Group), is the first woman in the Kingdom to get a commercial license without a male legal representative.
Shadhly is actively involved in Saudi women’s affairs. Born in Jeddah in 1974, she got her Master’s degree in accounting with distinction from King Abdulaziz University, according to Al-Watan Arabic daily newspaper.
Shadhly is a member of several local and international business bodies including the Council of Dubai Businesswomen, Saudi Consumer Protection Association, and Meeting Professionals International (MPI) based in the United States.
Shadhly’s SIC Group was among the top 20 companies owned by Saudi businesswomen in the Kingdom in 2008 and 2009 consecutively. She became popular among Saudi businesswomen when she presented papers in the United Arab Emirates, Syria and Malaysia about the challenges and difficulties facing Saudi businesswomen.
Her papers focused on the achievements of Saudi women without transgressing the boundaries of the Shariah.
She spoke at several local and regional conferences and forums including the Eighth Global Forum for Businesswomen in Dubai in 2006, the International Forum for Businesswomen in Syria in 2005 and the Fifth Global Conference for Independent Women in Malaysia in 2009.
Shadhly says that the economic and social developments in the Kingdom which were brought about by globalization pose new challenges to Saudi women and their contribution to economic growth. Over the past few years, more businesswomen have become interested in investment. Shadhly believes that investment is the real contribution to economic development and that women now have a great chance to invest their huge savings, estimated to be around SR15 billion.
Source: Saudi Gazette
09-10-11, 11:12 AM
Wealth of rich Saudi families falls 12%
Riyadh There has been a fall of 12 per cent in the wealth of 14 rich Saudi families during the first three quarters of the current year.
The overall value of their assets fell to 98.4 billion Saudi riyals (Dh96.34 billion) from 111.5 billion riyals during the period between January 1 and September 29, according to the latest figures released by Al Joman Centre for Economic Consultancy.
The Al Rajhi family is the kingdom’s wealthiest non-royals. Among the 14 families that have so far declared their assets, Al Rajhi topped with a wealth of 46.3 billion riyals. This comprises 47 per cent of the total assets of these families. The Al Rashid family comes second with 5.8 billion riyals on the rich list. It is interesting to note that Al Rashid’s wealth is less than one-seventh that of Al Rajhi.
The decline in the wealth of the rich families was attributed mainly to the recent crash in the Saudi stock market. The shares plunged eight per cent during the three quarters of the year, the Sabaq website reported, quoting a statement by the Al Joman Centre. According to the report, there has been an increase in the wealth of four of the 14 families during the period.
The decline in the wealth of the rich was attributed to the crash in the Saudi stock market. The shares plunged eight per cent during the three quarters of the year.
Source: Gulf News
09-10-11, 11:13 AM
Saudi's Jarir reports 47.6% rise in profit
Saudi-based Jarir Marketing Co (JMC) has reported 47.6% increase in net profit for the third quarter of this year to SR152m, compared with a net profit of SR103m for the same period last year, and up 54.2% over SR98.6m in the previous quarter, Arab News has reported. The estimated net profit for the nine months stood at SR387.4m, an increase of 30.4% over the same period last year, JMC said.
Source: Ame Info
09-10-11, 11:14 AM
Saudi-Pakistani joint military exercise begins
On behalf of Prince Khaled Bin Sultan Bin Abdul Aziz, Assistant Minister of Defense and Aviation and Inspector General for Military Affairs, Prince Lt. Gen. Khaled Bin Bandar Bin Abdul Aziz, Commander of the Saudi Royal Land Forces, Thursday patronized the Saudi-Pakistani joint military exercise “Al-Samsaam IV” held in Jhelum district in Pakistan.
Gen. Ashfaq Kayani, Commander-in-Chief of the Pakistan Army, and a number of senior officers of the land force and the army of Pakistan also attended the event.
Gen. Kayani said that it was a great honor to have this exercise with the Saudi brothers, describing the event as yet another sign of close Saudi-Pakistani relations.
Gen. Kayani also praised Saudi forces for their bravery and valor.
For his part, Prince Khaled Bin Bandar conveyed the greetings of Crown Prince Sultan Bin Abdul Aziz, Deputy Premier, Minister of Defense and Aviation and Inspector General, and Prince Naif Bin Abdul Aziz, Second Deputy Premier and Minister of Interior, as well as Prince Khaled Bin Sultan, to the participants in the joint event.
Prince Khaled said the joint exercise is yet further evidence of the firm and deep-rooted cooperation between the two armies.
Speaking to the press following the exercise, Prince Khaled said this extraordinary exercise will help Saudi officers and soldiers develop skills in their fight against terrorism and in fighting in rugged terrain. He said the Kingdom will leave no stone unturned in combating the menace of terrorism
Source: Saudi Gazette
09-10-11, 11:16 AM
Huge opportunities in Saudi supermarket business: Tamimi Group
The owners of Tamimi supermarket on Alkhobar's Corniche on Thursday marked the opening of the expanded and renovated grocery store that has defined the company over the last four decades.
Since its launch in 1979 it has become a key landmark in the Eastern Province.
The supermarket revolutionized the grocery business. Before that Saudi Arabia had the ubiquitous baqalas. In a sense the opening of Tamimi's Alkhobar supermarket symbolized the beginning of modern commerce in Saudi Arabia.
Hundreds of customers attended the grand opening of the milestone store.
Soon after the launch, pictures were uploaded to Facebook and enthusiasts tweeted about it. Hundreds of expatriates in the US, Europe and Asia who resided in Saudi Arabia in the 1980s and 1990s commented on these photos recalling their memories of the store and its many items.
"How does that area look like now?" wrote Peter Isaak, an American who made Alkhobar his home in 1982, while commenting on the launch photo.
"I will never forget the many trips we would make to Tamimi supermarket to get stuff that we thought we would never get in Saudi Arabia."
"This particular store is our flagship ... This one led to the success of the Tamimi Group of Companies. We became a household name after this store," said Group President Tariq A. Tamimi, one of the sons of Ali Tamimi, the group founder.
"We have a special attachment with this store, and this is the reason why we have invested so much in it."
He says competition has not driven the investment.
"We have gone in for an aggressive strategy because this is still an untapped market," he added.
"Saudi Arabia is growing, and we think there are huge opportunities in the supermarket business. The population is growing; they have become quality conscious and brand conscious. Our priority is to provide them the best."
Tamimi is known for quality products, but it has lost business to hypermarkets that provide a range of products at lower prices.
"We are catering to a different segment altogether. We have organic food, and that comes at a high cost. Those who are health-conscious and are aware of what organic food is all about understand what we are talking about," said Tamimi.
"Our major focus now is the growing Saudi population; they form the bulk of our clientele."
To all those who have been Tamimi's loyal customers for years, the president's message is: "Come see for yourself what we have done for you. You will love shopping with us. We have got everything that you are looking for, and quality is our benchmark."
The new supermarket's ultimate selling point is its prime location and the fact that it is open 24/7. "We have taken into account the feedback from our regular customers and factored in their needs," said Mohsen S. Husain, food division general manager.
"We are now in the process of launching new stores in other places."
Tamimi supermarket was the only building in the area in 1979.
"I have been with this group for 35 years," said Mohammed Ilyas Khan, who is now vice president and managing director of Tamimi Global Co. Ltd.
"Across the road everything was part of the sea," he says pointing to the glitzy Alkhobar Corniche area that has now become the location for a number of coffeehouses, top brands and fast-food outlets.
"Most of this area was reclaimed from the sea," he said.
According to Khan, Tamimi Alkhobar is very dear to the owners.
"I remember Ustaz Ali Tamimi spending much of his time at this store. He took personal interest in this outlet and would listen to his customers patiently to ensure that they got what they wanted. A whole generation of Saudis and expatriates in Saudi Arabia grew up buying their daily products from in here. It is fitting that this superstore has been redone in such a fabulous way; it is the company's tribute and commitment to its customers."
"Such is our commitment to this store that we might close everything but not this one," quipped Fawaz T. Tamimi, head of the group's business development division.
"This is our life. This is our legacy."
Source: Arab News
09-10-11, 04:46 PM
The price of gold still the same as in the morning
SR 172.81 per gram
10-10-11, 09:57 AM
Allah bless u, hussan
Thanks a lot Swyrs
10-10-11, 10:00 AM
Unfortunately the price of gold came up yesterday evening
this morning the price is
SR 174.25 per gram
10-10-11, 10:15 AM
Saudi developer gets $1bn loan for project
Saudi Arabia's biggest property developer Dar Al Arkan said the Public Investment Fund (PIF) approved a SR4bn ($1bn) facility to finance the Qasr Khozam development project in Jeddah.
"This funding will contribute to the project by accelerating the development operations and pushing ahead to the next phase of sending evacuation notifications, the compensation and transfer of ownership of the properties located in the project area," it said in a bourse statement on Saturday.
The Qasr Khozama project spans an area of 4 million square meters in the old downtown district of Jeddah, which includes historical landmarks and old buildings, many of which will be demolished and replaced with modern buildings.
The port-city of Jeddah, the second-largest in the kingdom, is undergoing many development projects to modernize infrastructure.
10-10-11, 10:16 AM
Saudi shares closed higher, boosted by oil price rise
Saudi shares closed higher on Saturday with gains in all sectors after oil prices rose on Friday.
The all-share gained 1.4 percent to 6,085 points and the petrochemical sector added 2.5 percent to 6,095 points.
Petrochemical giant Saudi Basic Industries Corp (SABIC) added 2.6 percent.
Banking stocks rose 0.5 percent, lifted by gains in heavyweight Al-Rajhi Bank which added 0.7 percent.
10-10-11, 10:17 AM
Saudi Aramco, Dow ink deal for "game changing" JV
A new joint venture project between Saudi Aramco and Dow Chemical, signed on Saturday, is expected to create $10bn in revenues within a few years, officials said.
Sadara Chemical Company will make three million tonnes of chemical products a year, making it the largest joint venture in the kingdom.
It will make chemical products that are new to the Middle East, the company said in a statement.
Sadara, which will be comprised of 26 manufacturing units, will be one of the world's largest integrated chemical facilities, and the largest ever built in one single phase.
Preparation work on the complex site has started with manufacturing units expected to come on line in the second half of 2015. All units are expected to be up and running in 2016, the statement added.
"Sadara is an extraordinary and unique venture that will build upon the strengths of both Dow and Saudi Aramco to deliver the diversified and specialty materials and chemicals needed to drive growth in the entire region and beyond," said Andrew Liveris, Dow's chairman and CEO.
"This premier partnership is truly unprecedented and is very well positioned to bring value creation on every front; transforming the Saudi economy, as well as the entire chemical industry, at the same time."
Sadara is expected to deliver annual revenues of approximately $10 billion within a few years of operation while contributing significantly to Saudi Arabia's industrial diversification.
Saudi Aramco president and CEO Khalid A Al-Falih added: "I am confident that Sadara will be a game-changer in the kingdom's petrochemical industry as it has all the needed ingredients for success."
The joint venture and related investments are expected to generate thousands of jobs, with hundreds of Saudi nationals set to be recruited by the end of 2011.
Sadara's manufacturing units are expected to come on line in the second half of 2015. All units are expected to be up and running in 2016.
Source: Arabian Business
10-10-11, 10:19 AM
Saudi's Almarai says Q3 profit rises 1.2%
Almarai Co, Saudi Arabia’s largest food producer by market value, said third-quarter profit advanced 1.2 percent even as production costs and capital expenditure increased.
Net income rose to SR429.7m ($115m) from SR424.5m a year earlier, the Riyadh-based company said in a statement on Saturday.
Analysts predicted profit of SR423m, according to the average of five forecasts compiled by Bloomberg. The median estimate was for net income of SR434m.
Profit growth in the third quarter was restrained by production cost increase and “investments in production capacities and expansions to meet growing demand,” the company said in the statement.
It added that capital expenditure reached SR2.2bn in the first nine months.
Almarai’s sales were SR2.1bn in the three months that ended September 30, up from SR1.8bn a year earlier, it said. Nine-month earnings a share rose to 4.41 riyals from 4.36 riyals.
10-10-11, 10:20 AM
Saudi Arabia to verify over 100,000 university degrees
The Saudi higher education ministry has hired an international firm to verify 100,000 scientific degrees in engineering, accountancy, economics, medicine and other specialisations, Saudi Gazette has reported, citing unnamed sources. The move comes after 9 government agencies and 30 private firms had suffered great financial and professional losses after employing 8,072 employees last year who were believed to hold fake certificates, the report said. The verification procedure covers the marked examination sheet, name of the university, and other measures to determine the authenticity of a certificate.
Source: Saudi Gazette
10-10-11, 10:21 AM
Saudi Arabia cuts output in September
Saudi oil minister Ali al-Naimi has said the kingdom has cut oil production to 9.39 million barrels per day (bpd) in September from around 9.8 million bpd in August, Reuters has reported. "Demand is always fluctuating but our position is that we will supply whatever our customers ask for," Naimi told reporters in Dhahran, adding that the global oil market is balanced.
10-10-11, 10:22 AM
Saudi Arabia awards water, sewage projects worth S$ 851m
Saudi Arabia's water and electricity ministry has awarded SR851m in contracts to specialised national firms to implement several water and sewage projects across the kingdom, Arab News has reported. The projects include channelling water from dams in Leeth to Al-Shoaibah Phase-2 desalination plant at a cost of SR565m to be completed in three years and a SR37.87m sewage network in Al-Rass governorate in Qassim province to be completed within three and half years. They also include construction of a water tank and distribution centre at Wadi bin Hashbal in Khamis Mushyat governorate in Asir province at a cost of SR26m to be completed within 18 months and a SR22m sewage network project at Uhud Rafeeda (Third Phase) in Asir province within three years.
Source: Arab News
10-10-11, 10:23 AM
Inflation in Saudi Arabia will continue to fall, says Al-Jaser
Muhammad Al-Jasser, Governor of the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA), has said the country's inflation levels are not worrying and will continue to decline, Arab News has reported. "Inflation has become stable since the beginning of the year between around 4.6% and 4.9%... I expect it to continue its decline," Al-Jasser told reporters on the sidelines of a conference in Riyadh.
Source: Arab News
10-10-11, 02:18 PM
Gold price per kilo is SR 199136.95 as of October 10 at 8 AM of Saudi Arabia
11-10-11, 09:21 AM
Unfortunately the gold price comes up again
The price per gram is SR 177.3
October 10, 2011
11-10-11, 04:34 PM
Saudi Arabia beheads eight Bangladeshis for murder
Saudi Arabia beheaded eight Bangladeshi nationals in public yesterday for the murder of an Egyptian citizen in 2007, the official Saudi Press Agency reported, citing an Interior Ministry statement.
The Egyptian was killed during a robbery of a warehouse in Riyadh, the news service said, citing the ministry’s statement. Three other Bangladeshis were sentenced to prison terms and flogging for their roles in the crime.
Saudi Arabia, where religious police patrol shopping centres and cinemas are prohibited, enforces Islamic law. The kingdom usually beheads or sentences people to lashings for murder, rape and drug smuggling. The member of the Group of 20 nations has been criticised by international human rights groups.
Two other Saudi nationals were executed in the northern city of Tabuk yesterday, bringing the total number of executions to ten, London-based Amnesty International said in a statement on its website yesterday. At least 58 people have been executed in the country this year, including 20 foreign nationals, Amnesty said.
“Court proceedings in Saudi Arabia fall far short of international standards for fair trial and news of these recent multiple executions is deeply disturbing,” Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Amnesty’s Deputy Director for Middle East and North Africa, said in the statement.
The number of executions had been declining, dropping to 27 people in 2010 and 69 in 2009 from about 102 the year earlier and 158 in 2007, according to Amnesty.
11-10-11, 04:35 PM
Patients face long wait times in Saudi clinics, says survey
A recent survey by Saudi Arabia's National Guards' health affairs department has found one of the major problems patients face when visiting clinics and hospitals is the long waiting time before they see a doctor, Arab News has reported. While 59% of the 585 patients surveyed said they had to wait more than an hour, 22% said they had to wait more than half an hour before they could see a doctor and 14% said they had to wait only 15 minutes, while only 4% said they could always see the doctor as soon as they arrived at the hospital, according to the survey.
Source: Arab News
11-10-11, 04:35 PM
Adverts banned on pilgrim coaches by Haj ministry
Saudi Arabia's Haj ministry has banned all Haj service providers from placing advertisement stickers on buses transporting pilgrims, Arab News has reported. The ministry asked the Makkah municipality to select one of the specialised advertising agencies through a public tender. The winning agency will be asked to remove all posters that are randomly put up by Haj service companies, the ministry said.
Source: Arab News
11-10-11, 04:36 PM
Dar Alarkan gets funding for Jeddah project
Saudi Arabia's largest property developer, Dar Alarkan, has said the kingdom's Public Investment Fund has approved a SR4bn ($1bn) facility to finance the Qasr Khozam development project in Jeddah, Reuters has reported. "This funding will contribute to the project by accelerating the development operations and pushing ahead to the next phase of sending evacuation notifications, the compensation and transfer of ownership of the properties located in the project area," the company said.
11-10-11, 04:37 PM
Jeddah floods projects to be completed by Nov 27
All emergency flood projects underway in Jeddah will be completed before the November 27 deadline, a senior official has pledged.
Prince Mansour bin Miteb, Municipal and Rural Affairs Minister, said all work was progressing as planned as he visited a number of the work sites, Saudi daily Arab News reported on Friday.
Fourteen contracts were awarded in August to carry out emergency projects as part of a plan to prevent flooding in Jeddah.
A major ministerial meeting on tackling flooding in the city reviewed short and long-term projects planned to confront flashfloods that have destroyed the city in the past.
In November 2009, floods resulted in the deaths of more than 120 people and rendered about 10,000 people homeless while thousands of homes, buildings and vehicles were also destroyed.
“Work on all short-term emergency projects are progressing as planned. The ministry gets weekly reports on the progress of the projects,” Prince Mansour said while touring the sites of flood protection projects in Quwaisah, Umm Al-Khayr and other locations.
The prince added that the ministry wanted not only the completion of the projects on time but also insisted on the quality of the work, the paper said, citing a report in the Al-Madinah Arabic daily.
The projects visited by the minister included Qaus Check Dam 2, which has a capacity to hold 1.16m cubic meters of floodwater, and an underground pipe canal in the Mathoub valley.
In April, US-based Aecom Technology Corporation won a $171m order to work on a new long-term flood control system in Jeddah.
Aecom said it will provide project management services including a consultancy, engineering, and construction services contract for a citywide storm water, flood-control, and wastewater infrastructure improvement programme.
Under the contract, Aecom will supervise emergency and long-term solutions against natural disasters, especially flooding.
Source: Arabian Business
11-10-11, 04:38 PM
Intel to train teachers in Saudi Arabia
The Saudi education ministry has signed a memorandum of understanding with chipmaker Intel to train educators across the country on the use of classroom technologies, Saudi Gazette has reported. Under the agreement, 100,000 teachers and 10,000 principals are to be trained in technological programs at boys and girls schools, as well as expanding the use of Intel educational programs in schools.
Source: Saudi Gazette
11-10-11, 04:39 PM
Sadara chemical joint venture likely to tap debt market
The Sadara chemical joint venture being built by Saudi Arabian Oil Co and Dow Chemical Co may tap debt markets to help finance the project, Bloomberg has reported. The venture will explore all sources of funding as "it's a big project that needs a lot of debt", said Khalid Al Falih, chief executive of Saudi Aramco. The project will examine bond and sukuk markets. The plant will make three million tonnes of chemical products a year, generating about $10bn worth of sales per annum, within a few years, he said.
11-10-11, 04:40 PM
Al Hokair opens Garage store in Saudi Arabia
Saudi-based retailer Al Hokair Group has opened a Garage apparel store in Sahara Mall, Riyadh, following the signing of a partnership with the fashion brand. Under the agreement, Al Hokair is also to open two more stores over the next month in the largest malls in Saudi Arabia; one in Mall of Arabia in Jeddah and the other in Mall of Dhahran in Dhahran.
Source: Ame Info
11-10-11, 04:41 PM
Makkah in need of tour guides
Saudi experts have said the Holy City of Makkah suffers from the lack of educated and professional tour guides, Saudi Gazette has reported. Only 11 trained and experienced tour guides are employed in the Makkah region, which has 24 historical attractions visited by hundreds of thousands of visitors each month, according to Dr Mohammad Al-Omairi, Dean of the College of Management Sciences and Tourism at Um Al-Qura University in Makkah. A recent study by the ministry of Haj showed a 30% increase in Umrah pilgrims compared to last year.
Source: Ame Info
11-10-11, 04:41 PM
New cable car system planned for Makkah
The Saudi government is set to set up 12 cable car systems linking the parking areas in Kudai, Rusaifa and Taneem with the Grand Mosque in Makkah to facilitate transportation of pilgrims and reduce traffic congestion, Arab News has reported. The Centre of Research Excellence at Makkah's Umm Al-Qura University is working with the Transport and Crowd Management Centre in Toronto University to develop the system for the Holy City. In addition to the 2.3km cable car line from Kudai, there will also be two cable car lines from Rusaifa to the Haram, one with a length of 3.2km without any station and another 3.3km line parallel to the Makkah road with three stations.
Source: Arab News
12-10-11, 09:17 AM
The gold price per gram is SR 175.89
October 12, 2011
12-10-11, 12:49 PM
Meeza wins Saudi Arabia VIP lounges contract
Saudi Arabia's General Authority for Civil Aviation (GACA) has signed a 15-year agreement with Meeza Co to develop and operate VIP lounges at airports across the kingdom, Arab News has reported. According to the contract, Meeza is to develop and operate special lounges and in 12 major airports. GACA is also to transfer services to Meeza within one year, starting with King Abdulaziz Airport in Jeddah.
Source: Arab News
12-10-11, 12:49 PM
Saudi Arabia aims to make bank financing easier for SMEs
The Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA) has launched a new system to help banks evaluate the performance of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) before providing loans with confidence, Arab News has reported. "The assessment system that was launched today removes one of the major obstacles facing the development of SMEs," he said. According to a study presented at the Riyadh Economic Forum, about 90% of companies in the kingdom are SMEs.
Source: Arab News
12-10-11, 12:50 PM
Saudi Aramco, Total Refinery JV Sukuk oversubscribed
Saudi Aramco Total Refining and Petrochemical Company's (SATORP) Islamic bond, or sukuk was 3.5 times oversubscribed, making the final offering size of $1bn, Dow Jones Newswire reported. The floating rate sukuk will have a tenor of about 14 years, the firm said in a statement. It was offered at six-month Saudi interbank offered rate, or SAIBOR, plus 95 basis points. The refinery was projected to cost about $14bn to construct capable of carrying 400,000 barrels per day exports. This is expected to be completed and active by the end of 2013.
Source: Dow Jones Newswire
12-10-11, 12:52 PM
Aramco, Dow Chemical to form petrochemical JV
Aramco and US Dow Chemical have agreed to form a $20bn petrochemical joint venture in Jubail, Reuters has reported. Saudi Aramco said the move is in line with plans aimed at balancing its energy portfolio by increasing exposure to downstream industries and maximising profits from existing oil and gas streams. The state-run firm is considering building three new joint venture refineries in Asia in order to increase its global refining capacity by 50% to over 6m barrels per day (bpd).
12-10-11, 12:53 PM
Saudi market rises the fourth day straight
The Tadawul All Share Index closed 0.61% higher at 6,136.97 points. The Riyadh-based benchmark was mainly lifted by advances in the financial and petrochemical sector. Sabic added half a percent and closed at SR92.25. Saudi Hotels & Resort Areas Co. closed up 0.35% at SR28.70. Earlier in the day, Saudi Hotels announced that net profit during the third quarter amounted to SR41.1m as compared to SR32.6m for the same quarter of the previous year with growth of 26.1 and compared to SR35.7m for the previous quarter with growth of 15.1%. "The major reason behind the profit increase is the improvement in the operating results of the most properties," the firm said in a statement posted on the Tadawul website.
Source: Ame Info
12-10-11, 12:54 PM
Saudi Safco's Q3 net profit doubles
Saudi Arabian Fertilizer Co (Safco) has said its third-quarter net profits have doubled after prices for its products rose globally, Reuters has reported. Safco, which produces urea and ammonia, made a net profit of SR1.2bn in the third quarter, compared with SR604m last year. Operational profit for the quarter surged 97% to SR1.1bn, Safco said.
12-10-11, 12:55 PM
Saudi Arabia set to build, assemble cars by 2021
Saudi Arabia plans to manufacture car parts by 2013 and to build two car models and assemble cars in about 10 years, said an official who is handling the development of country’s automotive industry.
“It’s a big challenge and that is why the government is involved in developing the automotive sector,” Azzam Shalabi, president of the government’s National Industrial Clusters Programme, said in an interview on Monday in the eastern coastal city of Dammam.
The kingdom, the world’s largest oil exporter, is trying to develop new conversion industries in areas around refineries and petrochemical plants that are being built by Saudi Arabian Oil Co and Saudi Basic Industries Corp.
The country is developing the clusters to diversify the economy and provide more jobs to its rapidly growing population. In those areas, Saudi Aramco and Sabic, as the companies are known, will provide petrochemical products to producers of finished goods used in making cars, solar-energy products, home appliances, and plastic and packaging products, Shalabi said.
The Sadara chemical joint venture of Saudi Aramco and the Dow Chemical Co will create a plastics-manufacturing park next to its complex, said Fayez al-Sharef, Aramco’s chemical project director. The park will create businesses valued at $2bn, he said in Dammam on Monday.
“We estimate that by developing a sustainable scale industry, the kingdom could create 100,000 direct jobs and add SR40bn ($11bn) to the GDP annually.” He said that a sustainable industry will be producing about 500,000 cars a year.
Saudi Arabia will be developing two car models, to be called the Ghazal and Assilah, he said. The Ghazal is being developed by King Saud University, and the Riyadh Techno Valley Co. is conducting a project-feasibility study for it. The Assilah will be developed by King Abdulaziz City of Science and Technology, he said.
Saudi Arabia is also trying to convince large automotive companies to assemble cars in the kingdom. Japan’s Isuzu Motors Ltd. has a plant to assemble heavy and medium-size trucks in Dammam, where it will start production in 2012 with the aim of producing 25,000 vehicles a year, Shalabi said.
To attract foreign auto investors, Saudi Arabia is developing an automotive-zone master plan that will allow manufacturers to share some production facilities and logistics operations.
“This zone concept is being discussed with auto companies to validate its feasibility and acceptability,” Shalabi said.
The government is also giving financial incentives to investors. The state-owned funds will provide 75 percent of the project cost as a soft loan for 20 years in underdeveloped areas of the country, such as Najran in the south and Tabuk in the north, while it will finance 50 percent of the project for 15 years in other areas of the country, he said.
12-10-11, 12:58 PM
Saudi Telecom eyes new licences in MENA region
Saudi Telecom Co (STC) is targeting acquisitions and licences in the Middle East and North Africa and is confident of securing funding for any deals, the head of its international operations said on Monday.
STC, which owns 35 percent of Turkish group Oger Telecom, licences in Bahrain and Kuwait and a controlling stake in Indonesian firm Axis, wants to expand.
"Our future investments will continue to focus on the Middle East and North Africa predominantly and then Asia ... we thought there were not any opportunities (in the Middle East) a year ago, but looking at the region today the picture is changing," Ghassan Hasbani told Reuters in an interview.
"There are greenfield opportunities that will emerge or existing operations that are up for sale or potentially up for sale. There's a lot of hidden potential that will emerge in the next 18 to 24 months."
STC and Qatar Telecommunications (Qtel) were the two final bidders for Syria's third mobile licence, but the auction remains on hold as the government mounts a deadly crackdown against protesters demanding an end to President Bashar al-Assad's rule.
"We are waiting for new signals on that market (Syria) on where the process is going. Nothing has changed," said Hasbani.
Another target could be Iraq, with Saudi Arabia's northern neighbour aiming to auction a fourth mobile licence by year-end.
"When that process is underway we would look at it seriously," said Hasbani.
STC will be able to tap debt markets for acquisitions.
"Funding was more limited in 2008, but today for companies like STC I don't they think will have problems finding funding at good rates," said Hasbani.
"We only look to borrow money when there's an imminent opportunity. According to that opportunity we will look at our debt-equity mix."
12-10-11, 12:59 PM
Saudi, Sudan to explore Red Sea basin for gold and silver
Sudan and Saudi Arabia plan to produce within three years gold, silver and copper in large quantities from the bottom of the Red Sea, trying to execute a project in planning for almost four decades, a senior Sudanese official said.
Both Arab countries, which lie across each other in the Red Sea, have been sounding out since the mid-seventies on how to exploit large mineral deposits suspected to be 2,000 metres below sea levels.
A German firm first analysed in the seventies the Atlantis II basin which is located roughly half way between the Saudi port city of Jeddah and Port Sudan, the biggest port on the African country.
Using that data, both countries - which agreed long ago to jointly explore the potential of the Red Sea - now plan to start production in 2014 using special drill ships, said Abbas Al Sheikh, undersecretary in the Sudanese mining ministry.
Sudan will explore the basin with Saudi firm Manafa International which has formed a joint-venture with Canadian firm Diamond Fields International for the task.
"It's a lot," Sheikh said on Sunday on the sidelines of an industry conference in Port Sudan when asked how much both countries planned to produce from there.
Based on past estimates the basin stretching some 60 square kilometres contains 47 tonnes of gold, 3,750 tonnes of silver, 1.89 million tonnes of Zinc plus around 425,000 tonnes of copper, a Sudanese ministry study says.
The rock in the basin "indicates that sediments in some parts of the Atlantis basin may attain a total thickness of up to 160 metres," Diamond Fields says on its website.
Sheikh declined to say how much the project would cost, saying only it had now become viable after gold and copper prices have risen strongly: "It is very costly...but now gold and copper prices are high. It's expensive."
Diamond Fields said more than $70m had been spent to date by Saudi Arabia alone on research.
Industry experts said extracting the minerals from the sea bottom would be difficult and expensive, putting a question mark over the production date. Processing the minerals at a plant would cost $200 million or more.
"There are significant technological challenges," said Tucker Barrie, a Canadian mining consultant attending the conference.
The operation would need around 200 workers on rotation on sea plus 300-500 people working on land at a metallurgy plant.
Barrie said copper would be the most interesting mineral to extract from the deep-water basin: "Copper is the most value resource....From the size it is all copper."
Neither Saudi Arabia nor Sudan had a copper smelter to process the minerals, Barrie said. Building one would cost around $2bn which would make sense instead of taking the copper somewhere else for processing.
Sheikh said both governments had not yet decided where to process the extracted minerals.
Sudan is expanding its minerals and gold production to compensate for the loss of most oil reserves to newly-independent South Sudan.
14-10-11, 02:23 AM
The gold price per gram is SR 175.99
October 13, 2011
14-10-11, 02:28 AM
Saudi's Aviation Link makes Airbus narrowbodies order
Saudi-based Aviation Link has signed an agreement to buy two Airbus aircraft, an ACJ319 corporate jet and an A319 airliner, Arabian Aerospace has reported. Set for delivery in the second half of next year, Aviation Link is to manage both aircraft on behalf of two undisclosed customers.
Source: Arabian Aerospace
14-10-11, 02:30 AM
Saudi Arabian Mining Co. declines as net profit dips quarter-on-quarter
The Tadawul market closed 0.3% lower at 6,118.62 points. Shares of Saudi Arabian Mining Co., also known as Ma'aden, fell 1.80% to SR24.55. Earlier in the day, Ma'aden reported net income attributable to the shareholders of the parent company, for the third quarter ended 30 September 2011 amounted to SR27.4m compared to the actual net loss for the same quarter of 2010 amounted to SR0.2m, and compared to the actual net income for the second quarter 2011 of SR62.5m representing a decrease of 56%. "
Source: Ame Info
14-10-11, 02:31 AM
Saudi to launch e-system to monitor infection diseases
The Saudi health ministry is set to launch an integrated electronic system to monitor infectious diseases and control epidemics in the kingdom, Saudi Gazette has reported. The programme, part of a national plan to promote the preventive health medicine, is also to cover immunisation of citizens and residents as well as the storage of vaccines and registering the follow-up date, according to ministry spokesman, Dr Khalid Al-Marghalani.
Source: Saudi Gazette
14-10-11, 02:32 AM
Saudi King to undergo surgery in coming days
Saudi King Abdullah, who underwent surgery last year for back-related problems, will undergo an operation in the coming days, Saudi Arabia's state news agency reported on Tuesday.
The health of the ruler of the world's leading oil exporter is of keen interest, given his age - thought to be 88 - and uncertainty over how power would be transferred within Saudi Arabia's ruling royal family.
"In continuation of the scheduled medical follow up of King Abdullah, the king will undergo an operation in the coming days in Riyadh," news agency SPA reported, citing a statement from the royal court.
Details of the planned operation were not disclosed.
King Abdullah was absent for three months late in 2010 while he underwent treatment for a herniated disc that caused blood to accumulate around his spine. He underwent surgery in New York and convalesced in Morocco, leaving his brother Crown Prince Sultan in charge.
Sultan, who is slightly younger than Abdullah, has also been treated for health issues in the past few years and was in the United States in the summer for medical tests.
Interior Minister Prince Nayef is poised to step in if anything happens to indispose both Abdullah and Sultan. The king appointed Nayef second deputy prime minister in 2009 - a move that puts him in a strong position to one day take over.
So far only sons of the kingdom's founder, Abdul-Aziz Ibn Saud, have ascended to the throne, and eventually it will have to pass to a new generation. An "allegiance council" of sons and grandsons of the kingdom's founder was established to guide succession, but how it will work has not been made clear.
Nayef, who is in his late 70s, is considered to be a conservative who might put the brakes on some reforms introduced by Abdullah.
Last month, the king unveiled greater representation for women in Saudi Arabia, granting them the right to vote and stand in local elections. Women in Saudi Arabia are not allowed to drive and require a male relative's permission to work or leave the country.
Religious instruction is an integral part of education in the Sunni monarchy, but with a growing population, the kingdom is trying to create jobs for its 19 million people, of whom 70 percent are under the age of 30.
After returning to the kingdom in February, King Abdullah unveiled $130bn worth of job-creating projects for infrastructure, housing, security and other areas.
Despite the upheaval seen across the Arab world, and the toppling of autocrats in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya, Saudi Arabia saw only small protests flare up in the oil-rich Eastern Province, where there is a higher concentration of Muslim Shi'ites. After relative quiet since March, protests erupted again last week but were quickly stamped out.
Source: Arabian Business
14-10-11, 02:59 AM
US says Iran backed plot to murder Saudi envoy
The United States on Tuesday accused Iran of sponsoring a plot to assassinate Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the US in a conspiracy involving a secret Iranian military unit and a citizen of the Islamic Republic with a US passport.
Manssor Arbabsiar and Gholam Shakuri were charged with conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction, in this case plastic explosives, to murder Ambassador Adel Al-Jubeir and attack Saudi installations in the US in a plan hatched this year. Targets included “foreign government facilities associated with Saudi Arabia and with another country,” the US said in a complaint filed in Manhattan federal court.
The plotters also targeted Israel’s embassy in Washington, as well as the Argentina embassies of Israel and Saudi Arabia, according to a federal law enforcement official familiar with the matter.
US Attorney General Eric Holder said today that the US will hold Iran responsible for any terrorist actions tied to the plot, which he said was sponsored by the Iranian government. He called the conspiracy a “flagrant” violation of international law.
The US said Arbabsiar, who has dual US and Iranian citizenship, conspired with Shakuri, a member of Iran’s “Qods Force,” which is described as “the most secret of the Iranian regime’s numerous military organizations” by the Iran Terror Database. Prosecutors called it “a special operations unit of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps that is said to sponsor and promote terrorist activities abroad.”
“This was directed by senior members of the Qods Force,” Holder said. While Shakuri remains at large, Arbabsiar was arrested Sept 29 at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport. He appeared today in federal court in New York, where he was ordered held without bail. His lawyer, Sabrina Shroff, said he would plead not guilty and consented to detention.
US President Barack Obama was briefed on the alleged plot in June, said Tommy Vietor, a spokesman for the National Security Council.
“The disruption of this plot is a significant achievement by our intelligence and law enforcement agencies,” Vietor said in a statement.
Arbabsiar met on several occasions in Mexico with a confidential informant of the US Drug Enforcement Administration posing as an associate of the Zetas, a violent Mexican drug cartel, according to the federal law enforcement official, who declined to be identified because they aren’t authorized to publicly comment.
The informant had been charged by state authorities in connection with a narcotics offense, prosecutors said in the criminal complaint unsealed today. In exchange for his cooperation, the state charges were dismissed and he began to assist the US in narcotics seizures, according to the office of Manhattan US Attorney Preet Bharara.
The cartel the informant pretended to represent had access to military-grade weaponry, the US said, as well as explosives. Arbabsiar arranged with the informant and others posing as his criminal associates to murder the Saudi ambassador, according to the government.
Arbabsiar wired them $100,000 as a down-payment, to be followed by installments of $10,000, prosecutors said. The DEA informant said it would cost $1.5 million to carry out the attack.
At a May 24 meeting, Arbabsiar asked about the informant’s knowledge of explosives and said he was “interested in attacking an embassy of Saudi Arabia.” The informant mentioned he was familiar with C-4 plastic explosives.
That month, the informant told agents in the DEA Houston field division about requests being made by Arbabsiar to assist in terrorist attacks in the US and other countries, according to the law enforcement official.
During a July 14 meeting, Arbabsiar told the informant that his cousin in Iran had asked him to “find someone to carry out the ambassador’s assassination,” according to the complaint. He also indicated his cousin was a “big general” in the Iranian military who focuses on matters “outside Iran.”
The two men met repeatedly in June and July, according to the government. The informant said he would need four men to carry out the murder, prosecutors said.
Arbabsiar had become friends with the informant’s aunt while living in the Corpus Christi, Texas, area where Arbabsiar worked as a used car salesman, the federal law enforcement official said.
Arbabsiar later told the informant that the primary target for the attack was the Saudi ambassador and that targets for subsequent attacks were the Israeli embassy in Washington and the Saudi and Israeli embassies in Argentina, according to the federal law enforcement official.
Arbabsiar also told the informant that the same Iranian sponsors behind the terror plot also controlled drug smuggling and could provide multi-ton amounts of opium, the federal law enforcement official said.
Federal agents became aware on Sept. 28 that Arbabsiar had left Iran and had already departed on a commercial flight from Frankfurt to Mexico. The DEA and FBI worked with Mexican government officials to deny Arbabsiar entry to Mexico, and he was placed on a commercial flight routed back to his country of origin by way of New York and was arrested upon arriving at JFK.
“Though it reads like the pages of a Hollywood script, the impact would have been very real and many lives would have been lost,” Federal Bureau of Investigation Director Robert Mueller Said of the alleged plot at a Justice Department press conference.
The US State Department said the Qods force conducted attacks against coalition forces in Iraq. In October 2007, the US Treasury Department designated it as “having provided material support to the Taliban and other terrorist organizations.”
Today, the Treasury Department sanctioned Arbabsiar and four Qods force officials allegedly tied to the plot.
After he was arrested and advised of his rights, Arbabsiar confessed to his participation in the murder-for-hire plot, prosecutors said. He told authorities that his cousin approached him “in the early spring of 2011” while Arbabsiar was in Iran, and asked him to work with him on the plot.
He used code words during the plan, and called the plot “Chevrolet,” according to prosecutors.
Arbabsiar and Shakuri are charged with five counts including conspiracy to murder a foreign official and conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction. They may face as much as life in prison if convicted.
“This is dangerous new territory for Iran,” said Representative Mike Rogers, a Michigan Republican and chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. “It is the latest in a series of aggressive actions -- from their nuclear program to state sponsorship of terrorism, from complicity in killing our soldiers in Iraq to now plotting hostile acts on US soil. This episode underscores the need for concerted international unity to confront Iran.”
Mahdi Nourian, spokesman for the Iranian mission at the United Nations, didn’t immediately respond to phone messages or e-mail seeking comment. Nail al-Jubeir, director of the information office at the Saudi embassy in Washington, wasn’t immediately available for comment.
Iran’s Islamic Republic News Agency referred to the criminal charges as a “propaganda campaign” by the US government in a report on its website.
The alleged plot illustrates a trend since 2009 of “a more aggressive, more anti-American, more risk-tolerant Iranian government,” said Ken Pollack, director of the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution in Washington.
Pollack said the crushing of Iran’s pro-reform Green Movement protests in 2009 brought with it the purge by the hardliners of moderates in the Iranian government.
At the press conference today, Holder said there is no “basis to believe” any other co-conspirators are still present in the US
The charges were brought in New York because the wiring of the $100,000 payment was made through a bank in New York, Bharara’s office said. In a statement, US Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a Democrat from New York, said of the alleged plot that “Iran has shown the world once again it poses an existential threat to the world community.”
14-10-11, 03:18 AM
Saudi's Dar Al Arkan says to diversify portfolio
Dar Al Arkan , Saudi Arabia's biggest property developer, will diversify its sources of income over the next three years and will not need to issue more debt, its chairman told Reuters in an interview.
Dar Al Arkan chairman Yousef al-Shalash said the developer is expected to post better results toward the end of 2011 and during 2012 as sales and rents improve, both of which were negatively affected over the past three years.
"We hope to diversify our sources of income in order to have some stability in our revenue sources as we expand our rent portfolio to 40 percent from 10 percent of the firm's revenue," Shalash said.
DarAl Arkan also plans expand its housing unit sales to 20 percent of the portfolio from the current 10 percent, while halving its dependence on land sales to 40 percent from the current 80 percent.
"We hope to reach these levels within three years... We had already started working on that two years ago," Shalash said.
Some 80 percent of its assets of about SR23bn ($6.13bn) are land plots in the kingdom, where analysts say properties are hard to value. Dar Al Arkan also has SR6bn ($1.6bn) in debt.
"We are fully able to repay our coming obligations from the company's income, without resorting to debt... The debts do not exceed six billion riyals and it does not cause any concern for us as it only represents 35 percent of our total assets," he said.
The firm has a $1bn Islamic bond maturing in 2012 and last year it raised $450m from a sukuk issue that had a five-year maturity and was priced at 10.75 percent just in time to refinance a $600m sukuk maturing in March 2010.
Bankers said Dar Al Arkan raised less than it had targeted after a lengthy road-show.
On Saturday, Dar Al Arkan said the Public Investment Fund (PIF) approved a SR4bn facility to finance one of its biggest projects in Jeddah, the Qasr Khozam development which spans an area of 4m sq m.
The total cost of the project is estimated at SR12bn, Shalash said, declining to give details on when construction will start.
"There are difficulties (in financing) for development companies in the Saudi market, especially after the financial crisis... This affected the growth in projects and implementation plans," Shalash said.
The firm also plans to start building this month 500 new housing units in the capital Riyadh as the country faces a large housing shortage due to rapid population growth which reached 27 million people.
A report from Banque Saudi Fransi in March said Saudi Arabia needs 1.65 million new homes by 2015 but Shalash believes the shortage exceeds that amount.
"The Saudi housing market is the best... There is real demand for housing units, around 4.5-5 million houses in the next ten years," Shalash said.
14-10-11, 03:19 AM
Telco Zain Saudi's chief executive resigns
Saad al-Barrak has resigned as telecoms operator Zain Saudi's chief executive, the company said on Tuesday, two weeks after a consortium withdrew plans to buy a 25-percent stake.
Khalid Al-Omar will take over as acting chief executive, pending the appointment of Badr bin Nasser al-Kharafi as permanent CEO if shareholders approve, the company said in a statement to the Saudi bourse.
Bahrain Telecommunications Co and Kingdom Holding withdrew a joint $950 million bid for a 25 percent stake owned by Kuwait's Zain last month, while al-Barrak also tried to put together his own consortium to buy out Zain and allow him to remain in charge.
Barrak was also the former chief executive of Zain and was the architect of Zain's rapid expansion in the previous decade, when Zain claimed to be the fourth largest telecoms carrier globally, with operations in 23 countries.
Zain has since retrenched to become a seven-licence carrier, selling its African operations to India's Bharti Airtel for $9 billion in 2010, with indebted shareholder the Kharafi Group seen as the main driver for this change in strategy.
Kharafi also failed in two attempts to sell controlling stakes in Zain, first to an Indian-led consortium and then to UAE's Etisalat.
A condition of the proposed deal with Etisalat was for Zain to first sell its stake in Zain Saudi since Etisalat is already active in Saudi Arabia through its affiliate Mobily .
Zain Saudi shares closed 1.7 percent lower on the Saudi bourse on Tuesday.
14-10-11, 03:21 AM
Saudi cabinet OKs $10bn coast-to-coast railway
Saudi Arabia approved plans to build a freight and passenger railway connecting its western port of Jeddah with the eastern ports of Dammam and Jubail, president of the Saudi Railway Organisation said in a statement on Tuesday.
The 950km railway project, which is estimated to cost $10bn and will pass through Riyadh, was shelved after the financial crisis.
"This project will transport containers to the local and neighbouring gulf markets as a main activity... which will lower the cost for transporting goods," Saudi Railway Organisation President Abdul Aziz Al Hokail said, adding that it will also transport passengers.
The rail line will connect the Red Sea port city of Jeddah to the capital Riyadh, where it will connect to an existing network between Riyadh and Dammam.
The Saudi cabinet approved the funding from the state-run Public Investment Fund and will solicit bids to build out infrastructure, according to a statement on the state news agency.
The land-bridge project was originally offered as a Build Operate Transfer tender in 2007 but it was shelved for further study.
Kuwaiti logistics firm Agility entered a consortium in 2007 with US firm KBR Inc and General Electric to bid for the project, which was then estimated to be cost around $6bn.
Other firms that tendered bids in 2007 include Japan's Mitsui & Co and Germany's Siemens as well as Korea's Samsung Engineering and Construction.
The rail project is one of three main projects Saudi Arabia is planning to upgrade its transportation infrastructure. A high-speed (Haramain) railway linking Islam's holiest cities in Mecca and Medina to Jeddah is currently under construction.
Saudi Railway Organisation is studying bids for the second and final phase of the Haramain railway which includes construction of the railway tracks, installation of signal systems and telecommunications as well as procurement of rolling stock equipment.
The third rail project is the 2,400km north-south railway, which would be the kingdom's longest railway project, also financed by PIF.
15-10-11, 09:09 AM
Unfortunately the gold price came up
per gram is SR 177.38
October 15, 2011
15-10-11, 09:39 AM
Votes for women is big 'small step' in Saudi
The right to vote in elections in a country that remains an absolute monarchy, where they still may not work nor travel without assent from a male relative nor drive a car, may seem a small step for the women of Saudi Arabia.
Yet King Abdullah's unexpected move was a momentous turn in the culture wars that have marked his reign. It may presage more change, not only for women but in the relationship between royal house and clergy upon which the state was founded, and among rivals within a ruling family that faces mounting demands from subjects who see other Arabs pushing closer to democracy.
The king's announcement on Sunday in the Shura Council that women would be allowed to join the hitherto all-male - and legally toothless - advisory chamber, and to vote in municipal elections, was welcomed as significant by women, who under Saudi law occupy an explicitly subordinate role to men in society.
"These are chances for women, who think they can help in pushing the wheel of development," said Lama al-Sulaiman, who as vice president of the Jeddah chamber of commerce is among the few Saudi women to hold such a prominent office.
Unique in the world, Saudi women may not drive. Concealing attire is obligatory in public. In court, their testimony counts for less than that of a man. And they must have a male ‘guardian’ to endorse major life decisions, from choosing to marry to taking a job or travelling abroad.
Though Abdullah, who casts himself as a reformer, appointed a woman as a deputy minister in 2009 - for women's education - no woman has full cabinet rank nor serves as an ambassador.
But Hamida Alireza, a resident of the prosperous commercial hub of Jeddah, spoke for many Saudi women in saying that the rate of change had been satisfactory over the decade or so in which Abdullah has steered policy through an opaque political process in which other princes and clerics also have a big say.
"I think the pace, as long as we stay at this pace, is very good," she said. "Three years ago none of this was on the table."
The warm applause which greeted his five-minute speech in the Shura Council, and the silence from senior clerics who have voiced doubts in the past about women's rights, suggest that the king had paved the way for this latest reform.
"Any opposition on a religious basis does not have any legs to stand on because it was done according to Islamic teachings," said Hossein Shobokshi, a liberal Saudi newspaper columnist.
So far, the only opposition to the move has been in comments posted on social networking sites by individual conservatives convinced that Abdullah is corrupting their Islamic society.
"To Allah, to history and to our nation, King Abdullah's reign has seen the most corruption in the history of al-Saud with regard to women," Abdulrahman al-Luwaiheq posted on Twitter a few hours after the announcement.
It is unclear how far such sentiments are shared by more powerful clerics from the austere Wahhabi tradition, whose collaboration with the ruling al-Saud family lies at the heart of the Saudi kingdom, founded in its present form in the 1930s.
Previously stated positions among senior government-funded sheikhs, reveal profound misgivings about women's rights.
The most senior, the Grand Mufti, in an undated web posting, has warned that involving women in politics could mean "opening the door to evil".
Such conservatism is widespread in Saudi society, though state-sponsored restrictions on women have at times provoked broad disapproval - witness the popular outrage in 2002 when religious police blocked schoolgirls fleeing a fire because they were not fully dressed in the presence of men. Fifteen died.
Change - and reaction - are not new in Saudi Arabia, where clerics have conferred an aura of piety upon a dynasty that was quick to embrace the modern technologies its oil wealth bought, while accepting a religious model of society more in keeping with its tribal heritage than the gridlocked cities of 2011.
When King Faisal introduced education for girls in the 1960s, he suffered a conservative backlash. And when militants seized the Grand Mosque in Mecca in 1979 over perceived moral decline, some clerics were sympathetic to them.
T has been much resistance to giving women greater freedom. Women's rights activists faced criticism for campaigning for the right to vote in this week's municipal elections - the king's announcement will give them that right only at the next opportunity.
And when women campaigned for the right to drive this summer - some of them taking to wheel in defiance of the law - some conservatives set up a social media group encouraging physical attacks on any woman who dared to follow suit.
King Abdullah has countered resistance in various ways, employing both carrot and stick.
Last year he decreed that only members of the country's top religious council had the power to issue fatwas, or religious edicts, a move that tried to sideline his most vocal critics.
And in 2009 he fired a senior scholar from an important post after he criticised the first mixed-sex Saudi university and spoke out against the teaching of evolution as an alien idea.
This year, the king has also encouraged clerical favour by big spending on building mosques and on the morality police, as well as by banning media criticism of senior clerics.
In a year when Arab Spring revolts have unseated secular autocrats, the clergy remain a powerful support to the Saudi monarchy, even as it seeks popular favour, too. Votes for women are a significant development for Saudi society, but will not rapidly diminish clerical influence over its politics.
15-10-11, 09:54 AM
Zain court ruling 'will not deriail $ 950 million stake deal'
A court ruling against Kuwait's Zain will not derail a $950m deal to sell its quarter-stake in affiliate Zain Saudi, the chief executive of joint bidder Bahrain Telecommunications (Batelco) said on Monday.
Peter Kaliaropoulos said he was awaiting clarification from Zain on any implications from Sunday's court ruling.
The court ruled that Zain's April annual shareholders meeting was invalid, upholding a case brought by a former board member who opposed the election process.
"The court case was in Kuwait, not Saudi Arabia," said Kaliaropoulos. "If it was detrimental, we would have heard straight away. I can only judge that because we haven't heard at this point in time, it's not a material impact."
In March, Batelco and joint bidder Kingdom Holding agreed to buy the stake in indebted telecoms operator Zain Saudi, with the bidders poised to get management control.
Kaliaropoulos reiterated that he expected due diligence on the deal to be completed by the end of September.
15-10-11, 09:56 AM
Geerly Emgrand cars unveiled in Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia's automotive distributor Haji Husein Alireza & Company has introduced China-made "Geely & Geely Emgrand" cars for the first time in the Kingdom, Saudi Gazette has reported. The managing director of the company, which launched three models in Jeddah, said that after an in-depth study on the marketing possibilities of Geely cars in the Kingdom, they found out the cars' sophistication, innovativeness and competitiveness suggest a "great future".
Source: Saudi Gazette
15-10-11, 10:08 AM
Saudi cement sector set to stay strong - report
A recent report by Saudi Arabia's NCB Capital has said the kingdom's cement industry is to continue to achieve high dividends, with expected yields for 2011 around 6%-7%. Yamamah Cement remains the bank's only overweight in the sector as it benefits from its high capacity and stock levels which should enable it to take advantage of the strong demand environment present in Saudi Arabia. The total sales volume for the nine listed stock increased by 15% y-o-y to 10,757 million tonnes, while for the four private cement companies volumes rose by 5% to 2,802 million tonnes in the second quarter of this year.
Source: Ame Info
16-10-11, 11:12 AM
The gold pirce stays as yesterday
per gram is SR 177.02 as of today morning
October 16, 2011
16-10-11, 11:33 AM
Saudi banks well positioned to withstand euro zone crisis
Saudi Arabia’s banks are well positioned to withstand the euro zone crisis, Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA) Governor Muhammad Al-Jasser told Reuters Saturday after a meeting of the Group of 20 countries in Paris, adding that the Saudi central bank is going to stick to its strategy in the light of the European debt crisis.
He said the Saudi banks were well positioned to deal with any upcoming shocks as well as the European debt crisis. Capital adequacy for banks was north of 17 percent with most of it Tier 1 capital.
"That’s very robust. Second, our banks sources of funding are predominantly domestic from domestic deposits which is a reasonably stable source of funding," he said.
"Most of the lending is domestic also so the exposure to the outside is very limited and therefore we are very confident that our banking system is well positioned to withstand any stress emanating from what’s happening in Europe," he said.
Robust lending growth to the private sector of more than 9 percent in the first 10 months of the year indicated strong demand, while inflation has stabilized in a tight range of 4.6-4.9 percent and should begin trending down, Al-Jasser said.
"Our economy is doing very well and is expected to continue next year. This year, I have forecast that we will have at least 5 percent growth and probably something close to that next year," he said.
Moreover, Al-Jasser said interest rates settings were appropriate at the moment with no signs of inflation coming from monetary impetus.
"I still think it is an appropriate setting now until we see inflation due to monetary impetus," he said.
Asked whether that meant credit growth needed to be in double digits, Al-Jasser said: "Something like that. And it also depends on credit whether it is going to productive activities and leading to growth one would not worry too much about it, if it is going to finance speculative activities one has to worry."
The Saudi central bank has been keeping its repo rate at 2 percent since January 2009 and reverse repo rate at 0.25 percent since June 2009.
Asked if SAMA had considered buying European sovereign bonds such as Italian ones, Al-Jasser said: "We do not buy specific bonds at all. We have not done it."
"We always have a much more integrated reserve investment strategy which looks at it in a continuous and dynamic way that values security, safety and liquidity and therefore we do not look opportunistically at distressed assets or special assets that come up one way or the other," he said after a meeting of the Group of 20 countries in Paris.
Moreover, Al-Jasser said "we have gold in our reserves but we have not bought and we have not sold it in a very long time. It has become a very speculative asset and we do not get into any speculative assets."
The Saudi central bank’s net foreign asset reserves have climbed steadily to a record high of SR1.879 trillion ($500 billion) in August.
Gold reserves have been unchanged at SR1.556 billion since 2008, the central bank’s data show.
Al-Jasser also said US Treasuries continued to be "an important safe haven and major asset" in global financial markets, noting that "62 percent of global reserves are still in US assets. It is safe to say they are there to stay for a while."
The SAMA governor further said though the euro zone’s debt crisis had become the number one short-term challenge for the world economy, yet he felt the bloc’s leaders were determined to find a way out.
"Not only Saudi Arabia but members of the G20 are convinced that challenge facing the global economy is the European challenge in the short term," Al-Jasser further said.
"However, we felt from the interventions of our European colleagues that they appreciate the gravity of the situation and they are determined to do what it takes to safeguard the European economy and financial markets," he said.
"They told us that at the Oct. 23 summit decisions will be taken that will reassure Europeans first, and the rest of the world second, that Europe is not only able but also willing to do what it takes to safeguard the European markets. I take what they told us at face value and I have no reason to doubt their determination
Source: Saudi Gazette
16-10-11, 11:38 AM
Saudi banks to face 'little impact' from global slowdown
J P Morgan Securities has said Saudi lenders face limited impact from potential global slowdown risks and are likely to bounce back to healthy return-on-equity levels driven by lending growth and ample liquidity, Reuters has reported. The brokerage said lending growth is expected to be driven by higher economic growth levels and the $125bn government spending plan announced in the first quarter of this year.
Source: Ame Info
16-10-11, 12:29 PM
Samba, Riyadh bank post strong Q3