Tehran to Dispatch Commercial Envoy to Ashgabat: TPOI Chief

The head of the Trade Promotion Organization of Iran (TPOI) said that his organization will send a commercial envoy to Turkmenistan to bolster bilateral ties in the fields of trade and economy. Mehdi Zeyghami said that a comprehensive cooperation document will be formulated between the two countries in various fields.

Speaking in an interview with IRNA, he pointed to the organizing of the 17th edition of the Iran-Turkmenistan Joint Economic Cooperation Commission in Ashgabat and said Iran will send a commercial envoy to the Central Asian country within the next four months.

Zeyghami put the volume of trade exchanges between Iran and Turkmenistan in 2022 at US$500 million, stating that the two countries enjoy the potential to enhance the volume of trade exchanges.

The TPOI chief further pointed out that Turkmenistan is interested in participating in Iran's specialized exhibitions and added that the two countries have established fair interactions in the field of construction materials and technical engineering services.

The 17th edition of the Iran-Turkmenistan Joint Economic Cooperation Commission was held in Ashgabat on November 17-18 during which the two countries inked several cooperation documents, valued at about US$1 billion. - Tasnim


Tehran to Host Intl. Exhibition of Chandeliers, Functional & Decorative Lights

The 29th edition of Iran’s International Exhibition of Chandeliers, Functional and Decorative Lights will kick off at the Tehran Permanent International Fairgrounds on November 24, the head of Tehran Chandelier Manufacturers Union announced.

The exhibition will run through November 27, Hamid Reza Manafi said, speaking in an interview with IRNA. He put the export value of the chandelier industry in the last three years at about US$10 million.

The high quality of the products of chandeliers manufactured in the country makes them competitive with the similar products of other countries in the international arena, he said, adding that the chandelier industry has the capacity to export its products to other countries including Turkey, Syria and the Persian Gulf littoral states and this requires branding and introducing products.

Manafi put the existing number of chandelier manufacturing factories and workshops in the country at between 2,000 and 3,000. - Tasnim


Finnish Company Trains Iraqi Air Traffic Personnel

A delegation from Iraq's General Company for Air Navigation/Aviation Communications has participated in a training workshop and inspection of the AOWS system, held at the Finnish company Vaisala.

This is part of the Mosul International Airport reconstruction project led by the Ninewa Governorate. Mr. Wissam Sameer Abbas, Deputy Director General, stated that the training aimed to keep employees abreast of modern technologies, following the directives of the Minister of Transport, Mr. Razzaq Hadi al-Saadi.

The workshop, spanning 12 days, focused on equipping the team with skills in managing and maintaining the AOWS system. This training prepares the aviation company's personnel to effectively handle and maintain the system once integrated into Mosul International Airport, aligning with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) guidelines.


Libya Attends Blue Africa Summit in Morocco

The Minister of Marine Resources in the Government of National Unity, Adel Sultan, has participated in the Blue Africa Summit, which was held in Tangier, Morocco, and is dedicated to discussing the protection of the marine environment, the blue economy, and developing strategic plans for sustainable development.

The summit was attended by representatives of 20 countries, in addition to representatives of relevant international and regional organizations and representatives of the United Nations, the African Union and the European Union, according to the Government of National Unity.

“Libya supports blue economy programs, and calls on all countries and decision makers to work together to stand against the challenges facing these efforts, which have been made to achieve important progress”, Sultan said during the first session, pointing to the importance of cooperation between the continents of Africa and Europe in the field of the blue economy, and fighting pollution of the seas and oceans.


Oman Chamber of Commerce & Industry Establishes Foreign Investors Committee

The Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OCCI) has established a Foreign Investors Committee under the chairmanship of Abdullatif Muhyiddin Khawanji, an OCCI board member. Other members nominated to the Foreign Investors Committee for the period 2023-2026 are: Davis Kallukaran, Ahmed Rayees, Dr Thomas Alexander, Sheikh Julanda al Hashmi, Ahmed Subhani, Naji Salim al Harthy, Alwyn, and Giovani Piazzolla. Sharouq Hamed al Farsi is the committee’s coordinator.

The committee formally met on Thursday under the chairmanship of Abdullatif Muhyiddin Khawanji at OCCI headquarters, in the presence of the legal advisor Ali al Khasbi. Sharouq Hamed al Farsi made the presentation on the sectoral committee’s structure, mandates, the mechanism of functioning, and the articles of association of the committee. Davis Kallukaran was unanimously nominated to be the vice-chairman of the Foreign Investors Committee. Kallukaran is also one of the founder directors of the Indo-GCC Middle East Chamber of Commerce (INMECC), incorporated in India and having chapters across the states of India and the Middle East countries, including Oman.

The new committee’s mandates include identifying obstacles and issues facing the private sector and trying to find solutions; preparing statistical reports to follow up on the recommendations; holding meetings with state officials and directly discussing the concerns and aspirations of the private sector; conformity with the proposed targets and Oman Vision 2040; study and review developments related to economic affairs; participation in seminars, conferences, and workshops; submitting recommendations to the concerned authorities; integration between sectoral committees in the main center and branches in the governorates.

The committee will also be engaged in managing internal and external delegations, holding specialized workshops, holding joint meetings with chamber branches, representing OCCI in meetings outside, representing the chamber in conferences and events, holding conferences and seminars, participation in meetings held in OCCI, hosting officials, establishing emergency work teams, and conducting studies in coordination with the chamber.


S&P: GCC Economies to Stay Resilient in Case of Israel-Hamas War Escalation

GCC economies will remain resilient even if the Israel-Hamas war prompts a wider regional conflict, according to S&P Global. The rating agency performed a stress testing scenario to quantify the resilience of some rated Middle Eastern banking systems if the instability spreads. The report anticipates external outflows from the region, but only Qatar, Egypt, and Jordan would face deficits. External outflows refer to a sudden and substantial reduction in deposits, withdrawals by large institutional clients, or a decline in the availability of funding.

“Under our standardized assumptions, external funding outflows could reach about US$220 billion, or about 30% of the tested systems’ cumulative external liabilities. However, banks have sufficient external liquidity to cover these outflows in most cases,” the report said. In its simulated scenario, S&P assessed the outflows from stressed banking sector liabilities against liquid government assets. A broader regional escalation of the Israel-Hamas war, possibly through proxy conflicts, could lead to a shift in investors’ risk perception of the Middle East. This might result in the departure of confidence-sensitive funds, a pattern observed during previous periods of stress.

Despite escalating financing needs driven by banks, most GCC economies still maintain strong net external positions, primarily due to sizable and expanding fiscal reserves. Additionally, government assets, inclusive of S&P’s estimations of external sovereign wealth fund assets, far exceed the stressed liability outflows. However, Egypt and Qatar were deemed to be vulnerable due to the increased external debt in their financial systems, while Jordan’s banking activities in Palestinian territories leave it at risk.

According to S&P, other systems seem robust, depending on their ability to timely liquidate external assets with manageable adjustments, emphasizing the importance of maintaining financial resilience in case of unexpected escalations or shifts in economic dynamics. The report estimated that the GCC countries will have an average of US$660 billion of gross external debt, both public and private, maturing annually over 2023-2025. Notably, the UAE and Qatar are expected to be responsible for more than half of this total, according to the report.


Kuwaiti Carrier Wins ICT Leadership Award

Jazeera Airways, Kuwait’s leading low-cost carrier, emerged a winner at the ICT Leadership Awards 2023, organized by CXO Insight Middle East. The ICT Leadership Awards honor companies and individuals in the Middle East whose ICT practices have driven innovation and business agility.

Curated by the editors of CXO Insight Middle East, the awards provide a platform to celebrate technology leaders from diverse industries for their outstanding leadership, innovative approaches, and the tech providers behind their transformative projects. Jazeera Airways was recognized from the aviation sector, for its ground operations control system, that provides a centralized platform for real-time data input and management of crucial flight parameters. This system seamlessly integrates with multiple airline and airport operations systems, including flight and crew management, fuel providers, ground handling service providers, and cargo service providers.

Rohit Ramachandran, Chief Executive Officer of Jazeera Airways said: “We are pleased to be recognized by CXO Insight Middle East for our technology leadership. Over the year, at Jazeera Airways we have continued to drive efforts for digital transformation across our business. With our ground operations control system, we introduced multiple dashboards that offer different departments a common platform to make quick decisions based on real time information from across the network.

“This system not only ensured accurate information but the data analytics also helped improve our on-time performance by five minutes. We also achieved a cost saving of 8% to 10% by auto reconciliation of invoices from different service providers. What makes us even more proud is that all of this was done in-house by our IT team in cooperation with all the other operational departments.”

In the last few years, the airline has also introduced several other digital transformation initiatives including business process automation, contactless operations, AI-powered chatbots for customer service, personalization with big data and AI, optimization of flight paths for fuel efficiency, digital platforms to offset carbon emissions and Electronic Flight Bags (EFBs), the mobile devices such as tablets or smartphones that pilots can use to access flight information and manuals.

Jazeera Airways operates a network of 64 destinations across the Middle East, Central and South Asia, Africa, and Europe with a fleet of 22 aircraft transporting more than 4 million passengers a year. The airline also owns and operates its own airport terminal, Jazeera Terminal 5 in Kuwait offering more convenience and connectivity for business, leisure, religious and weekend travelers.


Qatari Energy Minister Meets Lebanese Caretaker Minister of Economy and Trade

Minister of State for Energy Affairs H E Saad Sherida Al Kaabi met in Doha yesterday with Caretaker Minister of Economy and Trade of the Republic of Lebanon H E Dr. Amin Salam. Discussions during the meeting dealt with energy relations and cooperation between Qatar and Lebanon and means to enhance them.


Federation of Saudi Chambers Hosts Irish Trade Envoy

Irish Minister Neale Richmond TD spearheaded a trade mission in Riyadh to boost investment opportunities, particularly in the aviation and human resources sector.

The minister of state at the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment highlighted that Vision 2030 has had “a positive impact” on the Kingdom and the world, emphasizing greater opportunities for cooperation between the two countries in the aviation and airport infrastructure industry.

The gathering was part of the Saudi-Irish Business Forum hosted by the Federation of Saudi Chambers and attended by representatives of more than 80 regional and Irish companies. Gerry Cunningham, Ambassador of Ireland to Saudi Arabia, was also present.

The minister said: “Irish-Saudi relations are going through their best time at the diplomatic and economic level, and Irish companies are looking forward to investment opportunities in the Saudi market,” inviting Saudi companies to invest and explore opportunities in Ireland too.

The chairman of the board of directors of the Federation of Saudi Chambers, Hassan Al-Huwaizi, said: “Vision 2030 and Project Ireland 2040 open promising prospects for integration and economic cooperation between the two countries.”

Trade between Saudi Arabia and Ireland reached approximately SR5.3 billion ($19.8 billion) in 2022, including SR75 million in Saudi exports and SR5.2 billion in Irish imports.


Oil Retreats on Caution Ahead of OPEC+ Meeting

Oil futures fell on Tuesday, reversing steep gains made in the past two sessions, as investors turned cautious ahead of a meeting of OPEC+ this Sunday when the producer group may discuss deepening supply cuts due to slowing global growth. Brent crude futures fell 51 cents, or 0.6%, to US$81.81 a barrel by 0746 GMT, while US West Texas Intermediate crude futures were at US$77.32 a barrel, down 51 cents, or 0.7%. Both contracts climbed about 2% on Monday after three OPEC+ sources told Reuters that the group, made up of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allies, was set to consider whether to make additional oil supply cuts when it meets on Nov. 26. Those gains were trimmed on Tuesday.

Short-term speculators took profit on WTI after several indicators were overbought on technical charts, Singapore-based OANDA analyst Kelvin Wong said. "Market participants have started to price in an extension of the current quantum oil supply cut into 2024 or even deeper cuts in the upcoming OPEC+ meeting," he added. OPEC+ is likely to extend or even deepen oil supply cuts into next year, eight analysts have predicted. RBC Capital analyst Helima Croft said: "We see some scope for the group to do a deeper reduction, but we would anticipate that Saudi Arabia would seek additional barrels from other members to share the burden of the adjustment." Reopening the quota agreements reached in June could prove challenging and could lead to protracted negotiations, and hence the leadership may look for more voluntary adjustments from individual producers, she added in a note.

Oil prices have dropped about 16% since late September as crude output in the US, the world's top producer, held at record highs, while the market was concerned about demand growth, especially from the world's largest oil importer, China. Traders were also watching for signs of demand destruction from a possible US recession in 2024 and considering last week's warning about possible deflation from Walmart, the largest US retailer. US crude and gasoline stockpiles likely rose last week, while distillates inventories were seen dropping, a preliminary Reuters poll showed on Monday. Weekly stockpile reports from the American Petroleum Institute and the Energy Information Administration are due later on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively.


Polish Oil & Gas Company Discusses Resumption of Work in Libya

During a technical meeting with the Polish Oil and Gas Company on Monday morning in Tripoli, the National Oil Corporation (NOC) discussed lifting force majeure and resuming the company’s exploration activity in Libya in 2023. The NOC said in a statement that the meeting also saw a discussion of the proposed technical work for 2024 regarding seismic surveying, exploratory drilling, and geological studies.

The statement added that this meeting comes within the framework of completing the annual technical meetings held between the NOC and the participating foreign companies. The NOC announced that crude oil production reached 1,240,000 barrels per day, and condensate production reached 50,000 barrels per day in the past 24 hours. It also announced that the total domestic consumption of natural gas reached 879 million cubic feet in the same period.