Saudi Arabia now centre of gravity of world investment: report

April 16th, 2008 - 6:13 pm ICT by admin  

(Gulf Business Capsule)

Dubai, April 16 (IANS) Saudi Arabia has become the world’s centre of gravity for capital investment with over $117 billion in petroleum and petrochemicals investments planned over the next two years, according to new research. In a report titled ‘The Saudi Arabian Paradox - Opportunities and Challenges in the KSA Energy Infrastructure Market’, Industrial Info Resources (IIR) of Sugar Land, Texas, in joint sponsorship with Contax Dubai, a leading Middle East consultancy agency, discusses important business strategies for pursuing opportunities in this dynamic environment, the Khaleej Times reported.

“Investment in refining and petrochemical projects in the Middle East is 20 to 30 times greater than the investment in the US, making the Middle East the world’s centre of gravity for this type of investment,” the newspaper quoted Dan ‘The Moneyman’ Frishberg as saying on US radio station BizRadio.

This is fuelled by $100-a-barrel oil, natural gas feedstock and natural resource availability, and access to low cost labourers and projects which can be built more effectively than in other parts of the world like Europe or the US.

Among the main features of the report are key drivers for investment, importance of a physical local presence, key success factors for winning projects, operational pain points, perceptions of Saudi Arabia by outsiders and risk areas for project delivery. It also covers attitudes to ‘Saudisation’, challenges for new entrants, key success factors for foreign investors and operators, energy project pipeline, mega-projects to be awarded (2008-09), and projects workload (to the second quarter of 2014).


‘Inflation will continue to be biggest challenge for Gulf’

Inflation will be the biggest challenge of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and its Arab neighbours, but economic growth will continue for the next two to three years, according to industry leaders.

Khalid Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, chairman of the leading conglomerate Bin Zayed Group, said abandoning the dollar peg would not tame the rise in prices as inflation in the UAE is “internally induced”, the Gulf News reported.

The pegging of the Gulf countries’ currencies to the plunging US dollar has been cited as one of the major reasons for the skyrocketing inflation in the region.

“De-pegging is not the answer. If you analyse the inflation here in the UAE, you will find out that more than 60 percent or 70 percent of that is not imported. Therefore, the problem needs to be managed internally,” the newspaper quoted Al Nahyan as saying at a leadership forum here.

“Inflation is going to be the biggest challenge in the whole GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) because we are pegged to the dollar. And as the US fights recession, we don’t have the right tools for the time being,” he added.


Blair optimistic about Palestine economy

Former British prime minister Tony Blair has said that in spite of the political turmoil, the Palestine economy is on the upswing and foreign direct investments (FDI) are pouring into the country.

Blair, the representative of the Middle East Quartet - comprising the UN, the US, the European Union, and Russia - made these comments while speaking on the eve of the Palestine Investment Conference Road Show in Abu Dhabi, the Gulf Today reported.

“The Palestine government has also unveiled a $500 million housing mortgage facility for the Palestinian people, which will further boost the economy,” he was quoted as saying.

Stating that hotels in Bethlehem were reporting full occupancy, he said this was an indication of the thriving economy.

What the Palestinian people needed was political support and the means to build the state economy, he added.

“Already the donors have pledged $7.7 billion in aid to the country and most of these money will be put in building the infrastructure projects,” he said.


Indian business delegation in Qatar

A delegation of industrialists and technocrats from the state of Gujarat in India met representatives of a number of Qatari companies recently.

Members of the Ahmedabad Management Association (AMA) held the meetings at a reception organised by the Indian Business Promotion Network (IBPN) at the Ramada Hotel in Doha, according to a report in the Gulf Times.

Speaking at the ceremony, India’s Ambassador to Qatar George Joseph lauded the delegation for choosing to visit Qatar.

The delegation, led by Janak Parikh, made a presentation on the history of the AMA and its programmes.

Bassam Musabesh, the general manager of Qatari Businessmen Association, highlighted the growing business opportunities in Qatar.

Representatives of Sievert, a pioneer in the field of non-destructive testing, stressed on the company’s commitment to serving the oil and gas industry in Qatar.

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