Sunday, November 27, 2022



Arab Monetary Fund signs $1 bln agreement to support Yemeni government reforms -Saudi state media

The Arab Monetary Fund has signed a $1 billion agreement to support Yemen's economic reform program to its Saudi-backed government, Saudi state media said on Sunday.The new package by the Abu Dhabi-based fund, which includes countries from the Middle East and North Africa, will provide support for the Yemeni government's efforts to stabilize the economy from 2022 to 2025, Saudi Ekhbaria TV reported.The war between the Iran-aligned Houthi group and a Saudi-led coalition has brought Yemen's economy to its knees and caused the world's largest humanitarian crisis. Inflation and foreign currency shortages have made food, water and fuel unaffordable for many in Yemen, which imports most of its needs.While the Yemeni riyal has been kept relatively steady at around 560 to the dollar in the Houthi-controlled areas, it has reached all-time lows in provinces controlled by the Saudi-backed government. These include Aden, where on Sunday one dollar was being exchanged for more than 1,000 rials.The fate of Yemen's financesAfter the Houthis stormed the capital Sanaa in 2014 and ousted the government, sending it into exile, Yemen’s central bank split into two branches - one in Sanaa, under Houthi control, and one internationally recognized branch in Aden, which has access to money printers. People crowd to get food rations from a charity kitchen in Sanaa, Yemen July 20, 2020. Picture taken July 20, 2020. (credit: REUTERS/KHALED ABDULLAH)Aden's branch is under the control of the Saudi-backed administration.Saudi Arabia said in April it would arrange $3 billion of support to the war-torn country's economy after a new presidential council was formed. It was not clear if the whole sum has been disbursed.

University of Tabuk and Red Sea Global launch Saudi tourism program 

JEDDAH: The University of Tabuk and Red Sea Global signed a partnership to launch a tourism educational program for Saudi students, Red Sea Hospitality Pioneers. The program will take place at the Tourism and Hospitality College of Al-Wajh governorate, located on the coast of the Red Sea. The University of Tabuk tweeted: “The Red Sea Hospitality Pioneers Program, ending with employment will begin in the second semester of the academic year 1444 AH (2023 A.D.).” The eight semester-program is divided into two tracks of intermediate diplomas, including the Food and Beverage Management Diploma, which will teach students operational skills including purchasing ingredients, developing menus, and preparing, presenting, and serving food and beverages. The Hospitality Management Diploma, meanwhile, will see students learn skills that will enable them to succeed with careers in luxury hospitality services covering different aspects ranging from sales and customer services to policies and procedures used to ensure proper and smooth operations. Graduates of the program will be qualified for job opportunities at hotels, tourist resorts, restaurants, food and beverage departments, and event organizing companies. The Red Sea Hospitality Pioneers Program features monthly monetary rewards from RSG to be given to all enrolled students, internships at RSG-affiliated international hotels, and will see distinguished students receive internship programs at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University. A similar program was launched previously between the same parties targeting students aged 18 and above to enhance and qualify local talents. RSG has launched many other programs over the years with the same goal, to enhance tourism quality in the region and to educate and qualify local talents, including the English For Tourism Program, the Red Sea Art Competition, as well as the Red Sea Ecotecture.

Iran’s Top Paramilitary Commander Warns Against Unrest in Eastern Province

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TASI sheds 142 points on dampening business sentiment, closes at 10,796: Closing Bell 

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s benchmark index fell on Sunday as investors shied away from the market due to dampening business sentiment and uncertainty in global demand.  The Tadawul All Share Index fell 142 points to close at 10,796, while the parallel market, Nomu, plunged 300 points to finish at 18,866.  Of the 219 companies listed on TASI on Sunday, 33 advanced, while 173 declined. The total trading turnover closed at SR2.58 billion ($690 million). It had fallen to SR1.7 billion in the first three hours of trading on Sunday.  The first important announcement on the bourse came from SNB Capital, the lead manager of Saudi Aramco Base Oil Co., also known as Luberef, intending to proceed with an initial public offering and listing of its ordinary shares on the primary market.  The statement said the offer is expected to sell existing shares and result in a free float of 29.65 percent of Luberef share capital or 50.05 million ordinary shares.  The offering price will be determined after the book-building period, the statement added.  Middle East Paper Co. also announced the approval of its shareholders to its board’s recommendation to increase capital by 33.3 percent by granting one bonus share for every three shares held during an extraordinary general meeting on Nov. 24.  The company shares, however, fell 2 percent to close at SR28.6 after reaching SR27.70.  Meanwhile, Yaqeen Capital, the financial adviser and lead manager for the IPO of Molan Steel Co. on the Nomu-Parallel Market, announced that the issue was oversubscribed.   The steel company offered 532,410 shares, representing 20.02 percent of its capital. The final offer price was set at SR 24 per share, the statement added.  From an industry standpoint, the Pharma, Biotech & Life Science index fell for the bearish prowl as it fell 44 points to close at 3,015. Interestingly, the Healthcare Equipment & Services index rose 52 points to 8,872.   Tourism Enterprise Co. has been under the spotlight in the top gainers’ list on TASI for a while now. It increased by 2.9 points to close at SR32.05. The other gainers included Dr. Sulaiman Al Habib Medical Services Group, Arabian Drilling Co and Alhokair Group for Tourism and Development.  The top fallers were Malath Cooperative Insurance Co., United Wire Factories Co., Al Yamamah Steel Industries Co, Red Sea International Co. and Nama Chemicals Co. 

Yemen FM: Houthis must be classified as ‘terrorist group’

The Houthis must be classified as a terrorist group, Yemen’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ahmed Awad bin Mubarak, told on Sunday the US Ambassador to Yemen, Steven Fagin.  The Yemeni government is planning on designate the Houthis as a terrorist organization, Mubarak said, stressing the importance of the international community's support for those decisions. The two sides discussed the challenges that face the peace process, and the Houthis threat to international navigation and international peace and security, state news agency SABA reported. Mubarak said that the Houthis aimed to “brainwash society” and impose a “racist identity” instead of the national one, the report said. The US ambassador renewed his country's condemnation of the Houthi terrorist attacks on oil facilities, stressing the United States’ support for the security, stability and unity of Yemen. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to Yemen, Mohammed bin Saeed al-Jaber, said that the Houthi attacks, using Iranian weapons, on oil ports are “terrorist operations.”  He added that Houthi attacks on civilian facilities harm the interests of Yemeni people. “The international community is working to support the truce, and we encourage those efforts,” the ambassador said. “We hope that international efforts will contribute to pushing the Houthis to support the peace process.” He also the Arab Monetary Fund will help the Central Bank of Yemen to stabilize the economy.

Trade remedies system to boost competitiveness, says Saudi commerce minister 

RIYADH: A trade remedies system for international trade is set to lure investment and boost the competitiveness of domestic products, said the Saudi Minister of Commerce Majid Bin Abdullah Al-Qasabi. The trade remedies will also help curb potential damage subsequent to an increase in imports by imposing measures against these imports at the Kingdom’s customs borders, the minister highlighted. Al-Qasabi who is also the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the General Authority for Foreign Trade stressed that the trade remedies system will play a crucial role in shielding the Kingdom’s national industry from the damage that comes as a result of the dumped as well as subsidized imports. Moreover, the system will also ensure maintaining the Kingdom’s exports that are subject to trade remedies procedures, the minister emphasized. The minister said the cabinet’s approval related to the system is also set to create new industries and generate job opportunities, all in line with the goals and objectives of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030, reported Saudi Press Agency. Last month, the Saudi General Authority for Foreign Trade, in collaboration with the World Trade Organization, hosted a workshop in Riyadh from Oct. 25-27.  The workshop, titled “Market Access,” was held by a group of international experts at the WTO. It included a number of representatives from government agencies.  The event aimed to build the skills of specialists in government agencies through an understanding of market access, customs and non-tariff procedures, and the work of the WTO.   It also demonstrated how participants can benefit from WTO databases. The workshop aimed to foster technical expertise and knowledge of the basic principles and rules of the WTO related to tariffs and concession schedules, ongoing issues being discussed at WTO, the Kingdom’s obligations toward other countries in trade agreements and the best practices of other countries. Established in Jan. 2019, the General Authority of Foreign Trade is accountable for enhancing international commercial gains and investment activities in the Kingdom while defending its interests in the foreign trade field, thus contributing to the development of its national economy.  

After striking Kurdistan, Iran aims to pacify Sistan-Balochistan – analysis

The head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Hossein Salami headed to southwest Iran this weekend to view in person the problems the regime has faced in its Sistan-Balochistan province. This is particularly the case in Zahedan, a city that Salami visited.Unrest there has claimed the lives of members of the security forces and Iran’s regime has responded by massacring people. However, the regime doesn’t just want to massacre, it wants to try to speak to the locals and turn a corner of the two-month-long protests. Towards that end, Salami went down to Balochistan and gave a speech in which he tried to embrace Sunnis and Shi’ites, and to speak about the land as having a “spirit of unity” that is flowing throughout Iran. This is largely an illusion because people in Balochistan are angry. Like the Kurds, they feel disenfranchised by the regime.Iran has done a brutal crackdown already on the Kurdistan region, where the protests began two months ago. Iran has also fired rockets and used drones to attack Kurdish opposition groups in Iraq. Iran claims that these groups traffic weapons across the border.  A police motorcycle burns during a protest over the death of Mahsa Amini, a woman who died after being arrested by the Islamic republic's ''morality police'', in Tehran, Iran September 19, 2022 (credit: WANA (WEST ASIA NEWS AGENCY) VIA REUTERS)The situation in southwest Iran is more complex.In that area, there are long-simmering tensions and also groups that oppose the regime. Across the border in Pakistan, the region of Balochistan is also one that has a history of opposing the Pakistan government. This is because Iranian and Pakistan rule has been imposed on this region, populated by minorities.  Salami used his visit to discuss enemies and to talk about unity. He tried to portray the region as having played a role in fighting alongside their other Iranian brothers during the war against Iraq in the 1980s. Salami slammed the “Zionist” regime and claimed Israel would collapse. “We are determined against them. We will definitely turn this new battle scene, this huge sedition scene, and this world war into a burial ground for the policies of America, Israel and its allies,” he said.  The visit of Salami and his speech shows how the regime is trying to shift the narrative on the protests and that it is increasingly relying on the IRGC to try to either put down the protests or explain to the people why they should support the regime. The problem for the regime is that its playbook has been the same for decades. It blames the US and Israel. However, it is unclear if the average people still buy this propaganda.  

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