News – 2012.04.11

Published: April 11, 2012

SUSRIS Daily News – Excerpts from International Media Reports
/Provided as a service from the Saudi-US Trade Group, Washington, DC/

4.11.12 EDITION

Al-Rabiah Moves to Push Foreign Trade and Investment: ARAB NEWS

4.11.12

Commerce and Industry Minister Tawfiq Al-Rabiah yesterday opened a major workshop for the development of Saudi commercial attaches as part of the ministry’s efforts to promote trade and investment relations with foreign countries. The workshop attended by top officials from related departments and agencies discussed ways to improve the performance of Saudi commercial attaches abroad to attract foreign investment and increase trade exchange with other countries. Officials from the Foreign Ministry and other related government departments including Saudi Standards, Metrology and Quality Organization (SASO), Saudi Industrial Property Authority (Modon) and Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority attended the workshop.

Saudi Arabia’s Economy Grew 6.6 Percent in Fourth Quarter: BLOOMBERG

Glen Carey | 4.11.12

Saudi Arabia’s gross domestic product expanded 6.6 percent in the fourth quarter from a year earlier on additional government spending and higher oil prices. The government sector grew by 3.6 percent and the private sector by 9.9 percent, the Central Department of Statistics and Information in Riyadh said on its website today. The oil industry expanded by 6.1 percent.

Saudi’s SABB Q1 profit up 13.7 pct, beats forecasts. SAUDI BANKS IN FOCUS AFTER Q1; GLOBAL DIP TO WEIGH: Saudi Arabia’s banks will be in focus on Wednesday after posting strong growth in first-quarter earnings but upside is limited as analysts say the results were priced in and largely in-line with estimates, Arabian Business reports.

Saudi Economic Growth To Hit 4.7pc: AL BAWABA

4.11.12

Saudi Arabia’s economy is likely to grow to 4.7 per cent from the 2.9 per cent forecast earlier mainly driven by the high oil prices and elevated oil output, according to a report. Given challenging regional dynamics that have pushed oil prices significantly higher this year, and commitments by Saudi Arabia to boost oil output to help ease prices, the 2012 oil output will average 9.8 million barrels per day (mbd), said Standard Chartered in its latest forecast.

Saudi Arabia Housing Demand: CONSTRUCTION SOURCE

3.23.11

Saudi Arabia has a population which has doubled since 1988 and has quadrupled over the last 40 years. Each year the population grows by an average of 2%. Currently the population stands at 25.7 million people; the population has grown significantly with the number of younger citizens and 7.7 million of these are aged under 15 years old and two-thirds of the population are under the age of 30 years. On top of this has been an influx of expat workers to the country, which now stands at 5.5 million people.

Private Firms Urged To Employ More Saudis: ARAB NEWS

4.11.12

The Labor Ministry has urged all private enterprises to prove their commitment to the Nitaqat system by employing the required number of Saudis in their firms in order to be in the safe zone and receive access to the ministry’s services. The ministry’s official spokesman Hattab Al-Anazi said the Nitaqat would depend on the moving average of Saudized jobs in a firm for a fixed period of 13 weeks. This will be calculated effective from Feb. 23, 2012.

Saudi Crown Prince Back Home After Medical Tests: THE DAILY STAR

AFP | 4.11.12

Saudi Crown Prince Nayef bin Abdul Aziz has returned to the kingdom from a holiday following medical tests in the United States, state news agency SPA reported. Prince Nayef “arrived in Riyadh on Tuesday evening, having come from outside the kingdom where he spent a vacation,” SPA said. In March, the royal palace said the crown prince went to Algeria for a vacation after the results of medical tests he underwent in the U.S. city of Cleveland were “reassuring.”

Saudi Aramco Says Developing Shale Deposits Will Be ‘Challenge’: BLOOMBERG

Bloomberg | Wael Mahdi | 4.10.12

Developing shale gas in Saudi Arabia will be a challenge as most of it is in deep reservoirs with very low permeability, according to Saudi Arabian Oil Co. The country, the world’s largest crude exporter, still has “great potential” in shale gas and needs to develop the resources to meet rising domestic demand, Adnan Kanaan, general supervisor for gas reservoir management at the state-owned producer known as Saudi Aramco, said today at a conference in Khobar, Saudi Arabia.

First of Its Kind in the Region Saudi Tourism Films and Photo Library Website Now Online: ETURBONEWS.COM

4.11.12

His Royal Highness Prince Sultan bin Salman bin Abdul Aziz President of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities (SCTA), inaugurated last Monday the website of the Saudi tourism films and photo library’s website ( www.seesaudi.sa ). Mr. Hamad Al Sheikh, Assistant Vice President of SCTA for Investment, said, “The Saudi tourism films and photo library website is the first of its kind in the region, which is built by photographers and tourism filmmakers.”

Oil Traders Defy Naimi Pledge, Betting on Higher Prices: BLOOMBERG

Ayesha Daya | 4.11.12

Oil traders are paying scant attention to assurances from Saudi Arabia that it can raise production enough to cap crude’s advance, after the commodity climbed to the highest level for any quarter since 2008. Futures have slipped less than 4 percent since March 20, when Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi said Saudi Arabia could boost output by 25 percent immediately if needed. Brent for delivery in July, when the European Union’s ban against Iran comes into force, is at about $119 a barrel, almost 20 percent above al- Naimi’s $100 target. The six most widely held options are bets on rising prices, with the most popular being $140 in June, data from London’s ICE Futures Europe exchange show. The bull market in oil underlines how OPEC output at the highest level in three years and promises of extra production are failing to ease concern that political disputes from Iran to Sudan may disrupt shipments at a time when global economic growth is struggling to gain momentum. Crude plunged 16 percent in late July 2008, from a record $147.50, after Saudi Arabia unilaterally added 500,000 barrels a day to the market and pledged to develop a further 2.5 million barrels a day of capacity from new fields. CONDITIONS ARE RIGHT FOR A DROP IN OIL PRICES: According to Petroleum Economist magazine, oil supply in Saudi Arabia is growing. The Saudis claim they have another 2.5 million barrels per day of spare production ready to come on line. We’re up to our ears in oil. Even while the benchmark U.S. oil price remains over $100 per barrel, commercial crude oil inventories are hitting 353.4 million barrels, Stockhouse.com reports.

Bombardier Opens New Academy In Saudi: TRADE ARABIA

Trade Arabia | 4.11.12

Berlin-based Bombardier Transportation, a rail technology leader, has launched a project management academy in Saudi Arabia featuring a modular education programme. The academy will train a new generation of project managers who will go on to deliver ambitious urban transport projects across the region. The academy supports young Saudi national engineering or business professionals and recent graduates who are interested in developing a long-term career in project management with Bombardier.

Another Saudi Arrested In Anti-Piracy Crackdown: ARAB NEWS

Rodolfo Estimo, Jr. | 4.11.12

The Ministry of Culture and Information has recommended to the Board of Grievances that a jail sentence and stiff fine be imposed on a Saudi businessman arrested for trading pirated products. “The Saudi trader could be detained for at least 10 days and fined SR150,000 as per the recommendation of the Violation Review Committee,” Rafeik Al-Okaily, the ministry’s director of copyrights, told Arab News yesterday.

Banque Saudi Fransi Q1 Net Up 10pc: TRADE ARABIA

4.11.12

Banque Saudi Fransi registered a 10 per cent gain in its first-quarter net profit on the back of improved operating income, the bank said, edging ahead of analysts’ expectations. The SR789 million ($210.4 million) it earned in the first three months of 2012 compared with net earnings of 717 million riyals in the same period a year earlier and 661 million riyals in the last quarter of 2011, the bank said in a bourse statement on Tuesday.

Interview: IT Breakthroughs Help Reduce Medical Errors: ARAB NEWS

Walaa Hawari | 4.11.12

General Electric Healthcare’s investment in Saudi Arabia runs into billions of riyals. In the course of its investment for expanding the scope of its business, the company has also been focusing on education and training. “In the last few years, we trained more than 1,300 people as part of the Ministry of Health’s intensive technical training in which we spent a lot of money and efforts,” Karim Karti, president & CEO of GE Healthcare EAGM, told Arab News in an exclusive interview.

Turkish PM, Saudi King To Meet On Syria: REUTERS

4.10.12

The leaders of Saudi Arabia and Turkey will meet to discuss Syria on Friday, a Saudi official said on Tuesday, in a mark of accelerating diplomacy on a crisis in which both regional powers have condemned President Bashar al-Assad. “The Syrian issue is top of the agenda,” the official told Reuters in confirming that Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan would hold talks with King Abdullah in Riyadh at the end of the week. A Turkish newspaper said Erdogan would fly there directly on Thursday on his way home from an official visit to China.

Saudi Writers Publish Abroad To Escape Censorship: AL ARABIYA

Khaled Al-Shaei | 4.11.12

Several Saudi writers prefer to publish their work outside the kingdom, not only for international exposure but also to escape censorship at home and the restrictions imposed on topics tackled in books that are published domestically. According to writer Abdullah Bekheet, Saudi writers basically resort to publishing in other Arab countries to escape censorship. “For a writer to publish in Saudi, he needs permission from the Ministry of Information then his book has to be edited and corrected in accordance with publication regulations in Saudi,” he told Al Arabiya. In Beirut for example, Bekheet added, books are not censored even if they are later sold in Saudi Arabia or displayed at the Riyadh International Book Fair.

Saudi Arabia Denies Activist On Hunger Strike: CHICAGO TRIBUNE

Reuters | 4.11.12

A prominent Saudi rights campaigner, who has been detained for a year, is not on hunger strike, an Interior Ministry spokesman said in response to activists saying he was in deteriorating health and Saudi authorities were to blame. Mohamad al-Bajadi was detained in March 2011 after voicing support for families demonstrating outside the Interior Ministry in Riyadh to demand the release of jailed relatives, according to fellow activists.

More News and Commentary from SUSTG

SYRIA: KOFI ANNAN SEEKS IRAN’S HELP IN SYRIA CRISIS
Special envoy Kofi Annan said Wednesday in Tehran that Iran could help solve the crisis in Syria, where activists reported fresh violence near the capital Damascus a day before an international cease-fire is supposed to take effect. Iran is one of Syria’s strongest allies, and former U.N. chief Annan went there to bolster support for his faltering plan to stop the country’s slide toward civil war, AP reports. ASSAD ‘MUST FACE DAY OF RECKONING,’ SAYS UK’S CAMERON: David Cameron has warned President Bashar al-Assad that he will face a day of reckoning for his savagery as Britain intensified the diplomatic pressure for a fresh UN security council resolution on Syria.  In some of his strongest criticism of Assad, the prime minister accused the Syrian leader of using Kofi Annan’s peace plan to conduct rolling military operations against heavily populated areas, the Guardian reports. TURKEY, G8 MINISTERS HOLD SYRIA CALL: Turkey’s Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu will hold a video conference call with counterparts from the Group of Eight of major nations on Wednesday evening, a ministry official said, Reuters reports.

SUDAN: BORDER FIGHTING TO AFFECT OIL PRODUCTION

Sudan said renewed fighting with South Sudan in the oil-producing border region between the two countries will affect its oil production, a Sudanese official said on Wednesday.

EGYPT: COURT RULING RAISES PRESIDENTIAL STAKES

An Egyptian court yesterday suspended the body chosen to write Egypt’s new constitution, upending the country’s timetable for political transition – and perhaps much more, Kristen Chick (CSM) reports.

LIBYA: GADDAFI’S SON ‘HOPES’ FOR LIBYAN TRIAL

Seif al-Islam, son of slain Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi, told International Criminal Court officials he hoped to be tried in Libya but they doubted his statement, a report published Wednesday said, AFP reports.

IRAN: ‘NEW INITIATIVES’ FORTHCOMING FOR TALKS

Iran says it will present new initiatives at upcoming nuclear talks with world powers in Turkey, but warned that efforts by Western nations to exert pressure on Tehran would “backfire,” VOA reports.

EU: FRENCH CABINET OKS ANTI-TERRORISM MEASURES

The conservative French government on Wednesday unveiled new counterterrorism measures to punish those who visit extremist websites or travel to weapons-training camps abroad, in the wake of deadly shootings by an suspected Islamic extremist in southern France last month, Sylvie Corbet (AP) reports.

YEMEN: THIRD DAY OF FIGHTING LEAVES 31 DEAD

Yemeni government troops battled al-Qaida militants in heavy fighting Wednesday that left 31 people dead, raising the death toll from three days of clashes to at least 158, military officials said. The fighting, which broke out Monday with an ambush on an army post, is centered in and around the town of Lawder in the country’s nearly lawless south. Of those killed on Wednesday, 28 were al-Qaida militants and three were civilians fighting alongside the army, the officials said. Six civilians were also wounded, AP reports.

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