01 September 2014

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


Saudi to have record budget surplus

SAUDI Arabia’s budget revenues are expected to reach a record SR1.17 trillion ($312 billion) this year, though elevated spending will keep the fiscal surplus below 5 per cent of GDP, a report said.

Saudi government spending particularly on wages and salaries, goods and services and public projects is likely to remain high this year, added the latest Macroeconomic update released by Jadwa Investment, a Saudi closed joint stock company.

Saudi Arabia’s oil revenues are the source of around 90 per cent of budget revenues.

Saudi Arabia is also becoming a major aid and financial assistance provider in the Middle East region which will put further pressure on its budgetary position, the Jadwa report said.

Dr Fahd Alturki Fahad, head of Research at Jadwa, said the remainder of the additional oil revenue will be used to build up savings in the form of foreign assets at the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (Sama).

“Sama foreign assets were up by $13 billion in the first six months of the year and we expect an increase of more than $50 billion over the whole of 2014,” he added.

Very high government spending will remain as the main stimulus to the economy with high oil revenues supporting business and investor confidence for the fourth consecutive year. Economic data for 2014 (covering the first half) has been solid, indicating that overall economic growth will still be driven by the non-oil sector this year.

“In particular, we think that construction, transportation, retail and manufacturing will be the main drivers of growth in the non-oil economy,” said Dr Fahad.


Big data technology market to hit $16.9bn

THE big data technology and services market will reach $16.9 billion by 2015, up from $3.2 billion in 2010, research firm IDC has forecast.

This represents a 40 per cent annual growth rate, seven times the rate for the overall ICT business. This trend is affecting all regions. Over 40 per cent of chief information officers in the Middle East, according to IDC, were considering big data technology investment in 2013.

Big data can potentially enable companies to increase top-line revenues by providing better and timelier insights on target consumers, said a study conducted by Strategy.

To tap the potential of big data, organisations must reshape their decision-making culture to allow senior executives to make more judgments based on clear data insights, the study further said. The firm pointed out key factors in assessing maturity levels which included environment readiness, the extent of legal and regulatory frameworks and ICT infrastructure; internal capabilities; and the many methods for using big data.

Companies need to understand their maturity level in managing and leveraging big data in order to undertake initiatives to exploit its transformative potential, it said.


Qatar tyre market to grow 6pc

THE tyre market in Qatar is forecast to grow at a compound annual growth rate (Cagr) of about 6 per cent during 2014-19, according to a recently released TechSci research report “Qatar Tyre Market Forecast & Opportunities, 2019’’.

Moreover, the re-treading tyre market in the country is projected to outperform and grow at a CAGR of around 9 per cent during the same period.

Sales of passenger vehicles, commercial vehicles, and construction equipment are expected to increase over the next five years in Qatar, creating a positive market outlook for the country’s tyre market, the report said.

Rising automobile sales, increasing demand for cost-effective Chinese tyres and imposition of a ban on balloon tyres are key trends emerging in Qatar tyre market, a statement said.

The Qatar tyre market is largely a replacement and import-driven market with significant penetration of China tyre brands due to their easy availability and cost-effective pricing than flagship brands. Harsh climatic conditions generally reduce the shelf life of tyres in Qatar to about one and a half year, it said.

A boost in the sales of passenger, commercial and off-the-road (OTR) tyres in the country is expected during the forecast period attributable to small product life, booming construction projects due to the Qatar National Vision Plan 2030 and ongoing infrastructure projects due to the upcoming FIFA World Cup 2022, the statement said.

“A majority of construction activities are planned in Doha and the Ar Rayyan region, which is expected to witness maximum demand growth for commercial, OTR and passenger tyres.

Besides, a rise in employment, urbanisation and immigration as well as an increase in per capita GDP have allowed consumers in Qatar to readily accept new tyre technologies.” said Karan Chechi, research director with TechSci Research, a research-based global management consulting firm.


Saudi economy to grow 4pc this year

SAUDI Arabia’s economy is set to grow four per cent this year as its real GDP growth will remain at 3.8 per cent, said a report.

The Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s Mena Equity Strategy report pointed out that this ‘moderate upside potential’ is premised on the expectation that the impact of the labour market reforms on the non-oil economy will start easing from the second half of the year, said the Saudi Gazette.

The kingdom’s consumption growth has been among the strongest in the region, it said, with expected growth at 6.6 per cent this year and eight per cent in the next, on the back of a demographic window of opportunity as well as a cyclical re-leveraging and structural developments, it said.

It also said that the SR250 billion ($66.6 billion) housing appropriations and mortgage laws are likely to progress slowly but steadily in the near term.


UAE, Bahrain top ‘payroll to people’ rate

UAE and Bahrain are among the top ranked countries with the highest payroll to population (P2P) rate, with 59 per cent and 53 per cent, respectively, as many people work directly for the government or government-owned entities, said a report.

Gallup’s latest global P2P measurements showed that countries with high rates tend to be some of the wealthiest or those with the highest GDP per capita, while lowest P2P scores tend to have large informal economies with high self-employment, which at the global level has a negative relationship with GDP per capita.

The data is based on more than 136,000 interviews across 136 countries last year, in which adults were asked a battery of employment questions modelled on the International Labour Organisation’s standards.

It, however, does not count adults who are self-employed, working part time, unemployed, or out of the workforce as payroll-employed in the P2P metric and is not seasonally adjusted.

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