01 March 2021

Saudi Arabia’s GDP grows by 2.8pc in Q4 2020

The seasonally adjusted real gross domestic product (GDP) of Saudi Arabia recorded a growth rate of 2.8 per cent in the fourth quarter (Q4) of 2020 compared to the third quarter of 2020, a media report said.

The flash estimates for quarterly GDP published by the General Authority for Statistics (GASTAT) provide more timely information on the Saudi economy to decision makers and users for economic activities, reported Saudi Press Agency (SPA). Moreover, international organisations use the seasonal adjusted data to make economic comparisons between countries, it added.


Dubai-UK trade hits $5.85bn in 2020

The United Kingdom is one of the biggest trade partners of Dubai and the UAE emirate’s external trade with the UK stood at AED21.5 billion ($5.85 billion) in 2020, it was revealed during an official meeting.

The implementation of Brexit and the following consequences on trade, travel and security were the main highlights of the meeting between Ahmed Mahboob Musabih, Director-General of Dubai Customs, and Bill Williamson, Director of British Customs, said a Wam news agency report.

During the online meeting, Musabih assured Williamson that Dubai Customs will provide all that is necessary to British businesses and investors to help them overcome any challenges that might result from them leaving the trading bloc.

Britain has officially left the European trading block and started applying new procedures from the first day of the new year.

On his part, Williamson highly commended the outstanding achievements and performance of Dubai Customs in the past few years. He attributed that to the hard work of its teams and the sophisticated and advanced technologies used in its operations. This has helped in expediting trade, close monitoring of traffic of goods between the two sides, and helping British authorities thwart cross border illegitimate shipments, he explained.

Musabih said Dubai’s external trade with the UK stood at AED21.5 billion in 2020 (AED16.3 billion for imports, AED1.6 billion for exports, and AED3.6 billion for re-exports).


Global trade recovers in Q4, cuts decline to 9pc

Led by trade in goods, global trade recovered in the last quarter of 2020, reducing its overall decline for the year to about 9 per cent, said UNCTAD in a new report, noting that the rebound, while uneven, was largely powered by developing countries.

But while imports and exports of goods grew by about 8 per cent in the fourth quarter of last year, trade in services stagnated as measures taken in the global fight against Covid-19 continued to affect sectors such as travel, said the latest Global Trade Update.

“The recovery process has been uneven, with many countries lagging,” said UNCTAD economist Alessandro Nicita, who worked on the report.

The recovery of Q4 2020 was largely driven by the trade of goods from and to developing countries, especially by the very strong performance of East Asian economies. On a year-over-year basis, trade in goods originating from East Asia grew about 12 per cent in Q4 2020, with goods imports increasing by about 5 per cent, the report said.

In contrast, negative trends remained for goods exports originating from most other regions, even in Q4 2020.

The influence of East Asian economies is even more marked when considering trade among developing countries (South-South trade).

While South-South trade has outperformed global trade, excluding trade of East Asian developing economies results in a significant drop in South-South trade, even for Q4 2020.

“The recovery in Q4 2020 was more broad-based, as trade in most sectors recorded positive growth,” Nicita said.

In Q3 2020, the recovery was, by contrast, largely driven by sectors related to goods for which demand increased due to Covid-19, such as personal protective equipment and home office equipment.

However, besides services, trade in the energy and transport equipment sectors continued to be well below average levels.


Global ultra-thin glass industry to reach $14.3bn

The global ultra-thin glass market size is projected to grow from $7.8 billion in 2020 to $14.3 billion by 2025, growing at a CAGR of 13 per cent between 2020 and 2025, a new report by ResearchAndMarkets.com has predicted.

Ultra-thin glass is a low-thickness, special category glass that is lightweight, flexible, and has electrical conductivity and sensitivity. It is used in various applications in the consumer electronics, automotive & transportation, and medical & healthcare industries, among others. Ultra-thin glass can be majorly classified into technical or non-technical, depending on the processes used during manufacturing.

However, the negative impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the consumer electronics industry has affected the ultra-thin glass market adversely, noted the report.

In terms of value, 0.1mm-0.5mm thick ultra-thin glass is the fastest-growing segment in the ultra-thin glass market, which is projected to register the highest CAGR in terms of value between 2020 and 2025. This ultra-thin glass is flat and has a smooth surface and excellent heat resistance and has its applications in touch panel display, fingerprint sensor, a semiconductor substrate, vehicle infotainment system, and biotechnological devices.


Logistics companies rack $300bn in revenue

In spite of the challenging economic environment, four leading logistics companies – UPS, DHL, USPS, and FedEx – report over $300 billion in revenue for the financial year 2020, data analysed by the Trackr app team reveals.

The data was analysed from official press releases from 4 selected companies to find out what impact the coronavirus outbreak and e-commerce boom have made on the logistics sector, and provide an outlook for 2021 and beyond.

From the data, UPS reports the highest revenue increase of 14.20 per cent, resulting in $84.60 per cent billion. DHL’s revenue reaches a staggering $80.41 billion, followed by USPS that has also experienced a boost of nearly $2 billion (from $71.15B in 2019 to $73.10B in revenue), leaving FedEx with $69.20 billion behind. As the companies’ leaders admit themselves, 2020 has exceeded their expectations, bringing significant changes to the stock market as well. FedEx managed to improve its stock price to all-time highs of $254.36 for the period of February 10, 2020, to February 10, 2021, increasing its ROI by 60.35 per cent.

UPS grew by 53.25 per cent during the same period and its stock price is now $162.37 while DHL experienced 36.04 per cent growth, resulting in a stock price of $45.25.

However, the companies had to also overcome the challenges brought by the pandemic and the surge in e-commerce.

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