Tuesday, July 7, 2015

NBK’s economic update reports Kuwait inflation at 3.3% in May

Amid a slowdown or stabilization across all components except healthcare and local food, inflation in the consumer price index (CPI) inched down from 3.4 percent year-on-year (y/y) in April to 3.3 percent y/y in May. Although relatively low, local food inflation climbed at a gradual pace for the third consecutive month. Local food inflation is expected to remain soft in the second half of this year with the International food prices declining as well. In order to limit any significant inflationary gains, the stronger dinar is also projected. The average annual inflation rate is forecast to close to 3.5 percent in 2015.

Core inflation (CPI excluding food items) eased for the second consecutive month in May, from 3.7 percent y/y in April to 3.5 percent y/y. Core inflation is seeing some reprieve because of subdued inflation across most components. Housing inflation is also expected to ease modestly in the near-to-medium term which will help keep core inflation in check. Inflation is off and now under 2 percent y/y excluding housing (and food).

Global food prices declined by 17.5 percent y/y and Inflation in the local food price index edged up from 2.3 percent y/y in April to 2.6 percent y/y in May. The rise in local food inflation may be due to the increased demand in the run-up to the holy month of Ramadan in June.

Local Food inflation will remain soft in the second half of 2015 because international food prices are still declining. Inflation in housing services remained unchanged from April at 6.3 percent y/y. This inflation component is updated once every quarter with the next update due in the June report.

Due to healthy demand levels, Housing inflation rose to an almost six-year high in March though it is expected to subside later in 2015. Clothing and footwear inflation declined by almost 1 percent and furnishing and household maintenance inflation remained comfortable. Since most of the products in this segment are imported and the dinar has remained strong the inflation is trending lower for a year. The inflation of 'other goods and services' was down to 2.4 percent y/y in May from 2.7 percent y/y in April.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Kuwait Planning to Finance Budget Deficit by Issuing Bonds

Kuwait is considering issuing bonds among various options to finance a budget deficit created by low oil prices, Finance Minister Anas al-Saleh said on Thursday.

The Finance Minister Anas al-Saleh said on Thursday that Kuwait is considering issuing bonds among various options to finance a budget deficit created by low oil prices. In an interview with Al Arabiya television he said that there was a possibility of going to the market and issuing bonds and so on this year. A specialized team at the central bank is currently studying this issue and the most important factor will be what's best for the country and economically beneficial to the markets.

He however did not specify whether Kuwait was considering issuing international or domestic bonds. The government currently does not have outstanding dollar bonds and only a modest domestic debt.

Saleh said the figures which came as a surprise, showed a budget deficit of 2.31 billion dinars ($7.6 billion) in the last fiscal year to March 31, and it was the first since 1999/2000.

The parliament approved a budget for the current year which forecasts a deficit of 8.18 billion dinars.
Like Saudi Arabia, Kuwait may run down assets in its sovereign wealth fund in addition to issuing bonds.

The Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute, which tracks the industry estimates that the Kuwaiti fund holds $548 billion of assets.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Digital Business in Qatar to Grow in the Coming Years

Cisco launched its 10th annual Visual Networking Index (VNI) Forecast 2015. The forecast stated that the location of Qatar is beneficial in advancing digital market and business in the country. It is estimated that the total internet users in the Middle East and Africa is slated to grow to 425 million by 2019. The growing demand for mobile devices and usage of social networking is cause of digital advancing in the Middle East. An annual growth rate of 44 percent in the Middle East and Africa is estimated by 2019. The internet users will increase by 3.9 billion from 2.8 billion last year.

The increased usage of internet, mobile devices, faster broadband speed, machine-to-machine (M2M) connections and video services are noted as the key factors that drive internet traffic growth. The social networking sites are the most exploited and will look to develop it furthermore. There are about 176 million users, say about 81 percent of residential internet users using social networks.
The business along with the consumers and societies in Qatar are pacing their way towards the era of digitization, as said by the General Manager of Cisco Qatar, Mohammad Hammoudi.

He further added that, since Internet is the fast developing technology, they will look into benefiting the Middle Eastern industries, government agencies, healthcare, sports, entertainment, education and manufacturing, transportation, oil and gas, thereby improving the lives of citizens.


Kuwait Petroleum Corporation’s ‘Vision 2030’ focuses on Human Resources Development

On the occasion of inauguration of Vision 2030 (People Excellence for Success) by Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC) at Hilton Hotel in Mangaf, the Acting CEO Mohammed Al-Farhoud said that KPC will be ensuring proper training and implementation of latest trends to strengthen their employees’ skills and capabilities. A KPC official also added that they will look at fostering their human resource as per the changing technology to survive in the market. This will ensure that the employees have a healthy work environment which will help them achieve the company’s goals.

Furthermore, Farhoud added that KPC has already implemented some of the initiatives to train their employees. He believes that these initiatives would also help to develop their HR sector. They have already introduced an HR operating model.

The three-day Vision 2030 seminar also saw various presentations given by different companies’ HR managers. Some of the companies who attended the seminar were Total EP, Hay Group, Burgan, Ernst and Young, Accenture, Ratqa, Minagish and Wafra. The seminar also discussed subjects such as overviewing oil and gas industry’s compensation, the future of work in the oil industry, leveraging change management and major transformation and strategic workplace and planning practice in the Middle East. Various oil companies with their top management employees, senior management and HR personnel were also present for the seminar.


Thursday, June 25, 2015

UNRWA Pleased by Kuwait’s Generous Donation to Help Palestine Refugees across Middle East

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) was very much pleased to inform in a press release about the generous donation made by Kuwait government to help the refugees from Palestine across the Middle East. Kuwait donated a sum of $15 million for the human development team of UNRWA.

The Permanent Representative of the State of Kuwait, Mansour Al-Otaib announced at a ceremony held at Geneva on June 11 about the country’s contribution to UNRWA. The funds were finally given at a UN meet held in New York by the Representative himself.

UNRWA Commissioner General Pierre Krähenbühl was pleased by this act of Kuwait and thanked the Amir of Kuwait and its people for its generosity. He also added that these funds are to be used for the many refugees who unwantedly were caught up in war in Syria. This will help to fulfil their daily needs and provide them with basic necessities of life who are meanwhile living under the blockade and occupation in Gaza and the West Bank.

Kuwait has donating selflessly to the UNRWA and has been their consistent donors whenever there were times of crisis. In 2014, UNRWA was helped with $14 million by Kuwait. Also, in 2013, $29 million was funded to the UNRWA.