01 November 2013

Gulf Industry Magazine helps you catch up with the numbers behind economic and industrial developments in the region.


GCC food consumption to hit 49m tonnes

GULF countries will consume about 49.1 million tonnes of food annually by the end of 2017 thus registering a compounded annual growth rate of 3.1 per cent, said a report.

Of the six Gulf countries, the UAE will become the largest consumer in per capita terms, according to the investment bank Alpen Capital’s revised 2013 GCC Food Industry Report.

The UAE’s per capita food consumption currently stands at 1,486 kg per year – 27 per cent more than Oman, which consumes 1,095 kg of food per capita annually, the report stated.

Saudi Arabia currently consumes 872 kg of food per capita, Qatar 852 kg, Kuwait 634 kg, and Bahrain 453 kg per capita, while by 2017, per capita food consumption for the entire region is forecasted to reach 983 kg, said the report.

Owing to its considerably larger population, Saudi Arabia will continue to be the biggest food consumer by volume, accounting for 59 per cent of GCC food by 2017 (29 million tonnes), while Qatar’s appetite will outpace that of other Gulf countries, increasing by 5 per cent by 2017 to reach two million tonnes, it added.

Mohammed Jalal Al Rayssi, the director of communication and community service at Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority (ADFCA) and organsining committee chairman of the SIAL Middle East (part of SIAL Group, the world’s largest network of professional B2B food exhibitions), said: “Population growth, increasing income per capita, and a booming tourism industry are the main drivers of food consumption in the GCC region, while food is currently the largest segment of consumer expenditure in the entire region.”


Mobile operators’ revenue to plunge

TELECOM operators across the globe will face revenue decline by 2018 for the first time in mobile industry’s history with the Middle East registering the biggest fall in average revenue per unit globally, said a report.

Mobile operators will face global revenue decline by 2018 for the first time in mobile industry history, said a new research, indicating that the golden age of telecoms growth and prosperity was waning.

Global mobile connections will grow from 6.5 billion in 2012 to reach 8.1 billion by 2018, while annual mobile service revenues will rise from $968 million to $1.1 trillion. However, global service revenues will contract in 2018 for the first time in the history of the mobile industry, declining from 2017 levels by one per cent or $7.8 billion, said global analyst firm Ovum in its report.

As such, over the next five years, innovation in services, tariffs, business models, network operations, and partnerships will be key revenue-generating strategies, it stated.

Ovum pointed out that as growth slows and ARPU continues to decline, operators will need to find new ways to serve customers more profitably, not just focus on increasing subscriber numbers.

The new research also predicts that global connections will grow by a CAGR of less than 4 per cent between 2012 and 2018, while global revenues will grow at less than half that rate.


Saudi September inflation eases

SAUDI Arabia’s inflation eased to 3.2 per cent in September from 3.5 per cent in the previous month despite a major rise in food, housing and utility prices, official data showed.

Analysts polled by Reuters in September expected average inflation in the world’s top crude exporter to climb to 3.8 per cent in 2013 and 3.9 per cent in 2014 from 2.9 per cent in 2012.

Consumer prices slowed to 3.2 per cent compared to 3 per cent in the same month a year earlier, while monthly inflation remained unchanged from April at 0.2 per cent, according to data from the Central Department of Statistics (CDS).

Food and beverage prices rose 5.9 per cent year-on-year in September and 0.5 per cent from the previous month, while housing and utility costs surged 3.7 per cent on an annual basis and 0.1 per cent month-on-month.

The data are based on the 2007 consumer basket.


Bahrain economy set for 5.3pc growth

BAHRAIN’S economy is on course for a strong performance this year, with growth expected at 5.3 per cent, said a report citing an assessment by the central bank.

In its September newsletter, the Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) said the kingdom’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth is expected to ease to 4.2 per cent and 4 per cent in 2014 and 2015 respectively, reported the Gulf Daily News, our sister publication.

The CBB cites the latest issue of Bahrain Economic Quarterly, published by the Economic Development Board, as the source of the data, it stated.

The report notes the global economic outlook has displayed fairly consistent signs of improvement for the key advanced economies, most notably the US, even if risks still persist.


India biggest Mena trading destination

INDIA, which remains among the top five trading corridors for the UAE, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, is all set to become the top export destination for the Middle East and North African countries by 2030, said a report.

With its huge population, rapidly growing middle class and capabilities in industrial and post-industrial sectors, India is a market with considerable potential, according to HSBC’s latest Trade Forecast report.

By 2030, the country will be the UAE’s top export destination accounting for 14 per cent of exports, and Saudi Arabia’s second largest export destination accounting for 18.5 per cent of exports.

The HSBC report stated that India was already Egypt’s number one export destination and would maintain that position through to 2030, accounting for 15.4 per cent of exports.

“India and the Mena nations have been trading for many centuries and the opportunities certainly remain strong today. It’s no surprise that India is a top five trading partner with each nation in the Mena group,” remarked Tim Reid, the regional head of Commercial Banking of HSBC Mena said.

The HSBC Trade Forecast predicts that globally by 2020, India will overtake the US to import the highest share of goods for infrastructure as it invests in building its domestic networks.

Important Indian exports to the UAE include gems and jewellery; electronic goods, fabrics, machinery and equipment. India also uses the UAE as a gateway to other markets in the region, with many Indian exports transshipped from the UAE onto other countries in the Gulf, South-East Asia and East Africa.

On the Saudi trade, the HSBC report said in 2012, approximately 25 per cent of Saudi Arabian exports to India were oil and gas. Diversification means that the biggest growth in exports to India will be in chemicals, which will account for over 80 per cent of total exports from Saudi to India between 2013 and 2030.

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