RIYADH: The Saudi stock market closed the month of March higher, despite investors fretting over Russia’s war in Ukraine, and the chaos it caused on the markets, which sent oil prices on a rollercoaster ride.
While it fluctuates daily up and down, the main index, TASI, ended the month gaining 3.9 percent at 13,090, in one of the best monthly performances.
TASI also witnessed a record high as it crossed 13,000 points for the first time since 2006, amid a strong earnings season for most major players.
In what is considered the region’s most active initial public offerings market, the value of initial share sales reached as high as $3.4 billion during the first quarter of this year.
The result was driven by a flurry of listings during the month of March, led by Nahdi Medical, which was also the largest listing since Aramco. Among others were Al-Dawaa Medical Services, and Al Masane Al Kobra Mining.
As for the parallel market, Nomu, it closed the month almost unchanged at 25,010 points.
While many investors’ moods soured amid the ongoing war, many investors feared that they would miss out on the seemingly unstoppable gains.
It’s unclear how stock prices will react during the month ahead. Market sentiment could be downbeat and subject to wild swings, as the market is filled with uncertainty.
RIYADH: Consumer prices in Russia jumped 7.61 percent in March, their biggest month-on-month increase since January 1999, data showed on Friday, as the economy took a hit from sanctions and a record fall in the rouble.
Inflation in Russia has accelerated sharply in the past few weeks as the ruble slipped to an all-time low last month after Russia began what it calls “a special military operation” in Ukraine on Feb. 24.
The fall in the ruble, which has recovered sharply this week to 2022 highs, boosted demand for a wide range of goods from food staples to cars on expectations that prices will rise even more.
Germany’s growth to fall
Germany’s economic growth could fall to 1.4 percent-1.5 percent this year, from 2.7 percent in 2021, with an average of around 590,000 people on reduced-hours lay-off schemes over the course of the year, Labor Minister Hubertus Heil said in an interview with Bild am Sonntag.
“We will still be growing,” Heil said. “But this all subject to the proviso that the war does not spread further and that energy supply remains in place,” he added.
The government would provide further aid and support for lay-offs where possible to safeguard jobs if the situation worsened, Heil said.
Germany plans to offer more than €100 billion ($108.8 billion) worth of aid to companies hit by fallout from the war in Ukraine, according to a document seen by Reuters on Friday.
Argentina’s inflation estimate
Argentina’s 2022 inflation is expected to reach 59.2 percent, analysts consulted by the country’s central bank said on Friday, largely due to the impact that the war in Ukraine is having on prices.
The projection is 4.2 percentage points higher than the previous poll published one month ago.
The survey, which consulted 41 participants between March 29 and 31, also estimated March’s inflation at 5.5 percent and a growth of 3.2 percent for the year.
The economists surveyed expect the average nominal exchange rate in Argentina to be 154 pesos per dollar by December and expect it to reach 222 pesos per dollar by the end of 2023.
Chile inflation surges
Chile’s consumer prices rocketed 1.9 percent in March, the highest monthly rise in almost thirty years, underscoring the challenge for authorities as they battle spiraling inflation exacerbated by rising global commodities costs.
The country’s official statistics agency said on Friday that the rise had been driven by food prices, non-alcoholic beverages and education.
The monthly figure was far higher than the 1.05 percent rise expected in a Reuters poll of economists and is the highest monthly inflation rate since 1993. The rolling 12-month rate rose further to around 9.4 percent, the highest since 2008.
Saudi stocks closed slightly higher on Sunday, with gains registered by several major companies, including AMAK, and ACWA Power.
As of the closing bell, the Saudi main index, TASI, closed 0.61 percent higher at 13,395.
The parallel market Nomu slid 0.21 percent, to reach 24,245.
Shares in AMAK rallied 10 percent to lead the gainers.
NADEC led the fallers since the opening, finishing the session down 3.54 percent, while shares in Nama Chemicals Co. slid 2.75 percent.
Among the gainers, ACWA Power rose 6.80 percent, while Bank Aljazira gained 6.18 percent.
Aramco, the largest player in the Saudi oil market, closed today’s trading session 0.12 percent lower.
In the banking sector, the Saudi National Bank climbed 0.28 percent, while the Kingdom’s largest valued bank, Al Rajhi, edged up 0.49 percent.
As for Saudi pharma operators, Nahdi Medical Co. rose 0.96 percent, while Aldawaa Medical Services Co. was up 0.52 percent at the closing bell.
In the insurance sector, Al-Rajhi Company for Cooperative Insurance fell 0.73 percent.
In the food and beverages sector, Almarai Co. edged up 1.15 percent.
Brent crude was priced at $102.78 a barrel, and US benchmark West Texas Intermediate is at $98.26 a barrel, as of 3:30 p.m. Saudi time.
RIYADH: The Saudi Export-Import Bank approved loans worth over SR5.5 billion ($1.46 billion) during the first quarter of 2022, the Saudi Press Agency reported.
It is part of the bank’s efforts to boost Saudi exports and help diversify the national economy.
The value of approved financing requests in the first quarter of this year amounted to SR2.5 billion, according to the bank. The figure was utilized by firms in the fields of energy, petrochemicals, technology and agriculture among others.
As for the value of insurance applications, these amounted to SR3 billion during the same period. This was allocated to local firms, banks, and financial institutions.
In addition, since the beginning of 2022, the bank has signed five memorandums of understanding which aim to open more credit lines to empower Saudi exporters.
RIYADH: Oman’s production of crude oil and oil condensates climbed by over 8 percent in February, compared to the same period last year, amounting to around 61 million barrels.
Total exports of crude oil in the Sultanate rose by 18.3 percent during February, compared to the same period in the previous year, the Oman News Agency reported.
However, the production of natural gas in this month saw a decline of 4 percent to reach 7.5 million cubic metres.
RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Industrial Production Index, also known as IPI, grew by 22.3 percent in February compared to the same month of 2021.
This was the highest year-on-year growth rate during the last three years, the General Authority for Statistics added.
IPI’s positive growth for the tenth month in a row is attributed to higher production in the three sub-sectors; mining and quarrying, manufacturing and electricity and gas supply.
The relative weights of the mining and quarrying, manufacturing and electricity and gas supply sectors in the IPI are 74.5, 22.6 and 2.9 percent, respectively.
In February 2022 mining and quarrying grew by 25.5 percent compared to the same month a year earlier, as Saudi Arabia increased its oil production to its highest level by over 10 million barrels per day.
Additionally, electricity and gas supplies were down by 9.3 percent during February 2022, compared to a month earlier.
This comes as Saudi IPI’s positive trend follows a long period of negative growth rates in 2019 and 2020, driven by pandemic repercussions.
It turned positive in May 2021.