39,000 TOYOTA CARS IN UAE MAY HAVE AIRBAG TROUBLE
Al Futtaim Motors, the exclusive distributor of Toyota in the UAE has said it has started a ‘special service campaign’ on 39,294 Toyota vehicles in the UAE, including Corolla (2010 to 2013 models), Yaris (2012 models) and Alphard (2011 and 2013 models).
The statement comes after Toyota Motor Corp announced it was recalling a total of about 2.9 million vehicles in Japan, China, Europe and other regions, including its Corolla Axio sedan and RAV4 SUV crossover due to potentially faulty airbags.
“The involved vehicles are equipped with Takata-produced front driver and/or passenger airbag inflators which contain propellants that could degrade after prolonged exposure to humidity and high temperatures. These propellants could cause the inflators to rupture and the airbag to deploy abnormally in the event of an accident,” Al Futtaim said in a statement to Khaleej Times.
“In the interests of delivering the highest standards of Toyota quality and customer care, Al Futtaim Motors has begun contacting customers with affected models to inform them about the situation and arrange service bookings accordingly,” the statement said.
It may be noted that Toyota Motor Corp was recalling a total of about 2.9 million vehicles in Japan, China, Europe and other regions including its Corolla Axio sedan and RAV4 SUV crossover due to potentially faulty airbags. The Japanese automaker said that the latest recalls were part of a wider recall of airbags which use inflators made by Takata Corp ordered by global transport authorities last year. The air bag inflators in question use a chemical compound which can explode with excessive force after prolonged exposure to hot conditions.
UAE TO HIKE INTEREST RATE
The United Arab Emirates central bank has said that it was raising key interest rates by 25 basis points, effective on Thursday, inresponse to the rate increase by the US Federal Reserve. Rates on certificates of deposit issued by the UAE central bank will increase, and the repo rate at which financial institutions borrow short-termliquidity from the central bank will increase to 1.25 per cent, it said.
What it will mean for UAE residents – you and me – will depend on how the banks pass on this interest rate hike. It is likely that the banks will start offering a better deposit rate for money invested your savings accounts and fixed deposit instruments. It is also likely that the cost of borrowing goes up, which means that, for individuals, car loans, personal loans as well as home loans could get more expensive. It is totally up to individual banks to decide the amount of interest rate hikes the implement after the move.
SAUDI ARABIA CUTS TAXES ON OIL COMPANIES
Saudi Arabia on Monday cut taxes on oil companies in a major move that could attract investments in its energy giant Aramco, expected to be offered to investors in 2018. A new set of income tax rates on oil companies working in the kingdom has been decreed. It is to range from 50 percent to 85 percent depending on the firms’ investments, after it was 85 percent across the board.
The royal decree published Monday said companies investing more that 375 billion riyals ($100 billion) will be subject to a 50-percent tax rate. “Saudi Aramco’s tax rate is reduced from 85 percent to 50percent, bringing it in line with international benchmarks,” the government-owned oil giant said on its Twitter account following the decree. Saudi Arabia plans to sell five percent of Aramco next year, as part of efforts to build up a large sovereign wealth fund. The sale falls within the kingdom’s strategy to diversify its oil-dependent economy away from hydrocarbons. “The royal decree concerning taxes is in the interest of the kingdom, its citizens and future generations,” said Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih, whose country is the world’s biggest oil exporter.
INTERNATIONAL RENEWABLE ENERGY CONFERENCE
ABU DHABI: The government officials from more than 150 countries and leaders from international organisations, the private sector and civil society have gathered in Abu Dhabi for the seventh assembly of the International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena) to chart a path to a sustainable energy future.
The assembly, the agency’s ultimate decision-making authority, brings together the international community to advance the global renewable energy agenda, make concrete steps to accelerate the global energy transition and a decarbonisation of the global energy mix. “An unprecedented transformation of our energy system is underway. Plummeting costs and rapid innovation have spurred investments that are positioning renewable energy solutions at the centre of energy discussion today,” said Irena director-general Adnan Z. Amin. “It is no longer a question of whether or if, but of how we can accelerate this change to move towards a global, sustainable and affordable low-carbon energy future.”
The two-day event in Abu Dhabi, following a day of preliminary meetings and discussions on Friday, will focus on Irena’s strategic direction to support countries accelerate deployment of renewableenergy, and in doing so, meet climate goals, boost the economy and increase energy access and security. Highlights of this year’s assembly include: two ministerial roundtables covering innovation in the power sector and catalysing off-grid renewable energy deployment for development; discussions on scaling up private sector renewable energy uptake and driving energy sector decarbonisation through innovation; the announcement of projects in developing countries receiving loans worth $44.5 million under the fourth round of the Irena/Abu Dhabi Fund for Development.
The assembly will also feature the launch of ‘REthinking Energy 2017’ which examines the latest trends in renewable energy and the dramatic changes in the energy sector in many countries. “The speed and scaleof the energy transformation calls for, more than any time before, a strengthening of global cooperation, through concrete action and initiatives, to grapple with the multiple changes and challenges ahead,” added Amin. “Irena’s assembly is the meeting point for such international cooperation, and the next two days will address a range of issues central to the energy transformation underway.”
RUSSIA, IRAN OIL COOPERATION
The Russia-Iran cooperation under the “oil-for-goods” program may start in 2017, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak told reporters on the sidelines of an international Arctic forum.
Iranian media reported last month that the agreement would envision selling Russia 100,000 barrels per day. Novak later clarified that the oil delivery volume under the “oil-for-goods” deal could reach 5 million tonnes of oil annually.
“Now changes have been introduced to the relevant contract, which clarified certain points. The procedures for intra-state coordination are underway now, and after this is over, it [the program] will come into force and implementation of specific agreements will begin,” Novak said. “I believe this year we have all opportunities to start cooperation,” he said when asked at what stage of development the ‘oil-for-goods’ program was.
Earlier in March, Russian trade representative in Iran Andrei Lugansky told Sputnik that the total volume of goods that Russia could deliver to Iran under the “oil-for-goods” deal between could reach $45 billion annually.
TURKEY DOUBLES IMPORT OF IRANIAN OIL
TEHRAN- Turkey’s import of oil from Iran rose more than two times in February 2017 from February 2016, Tasnim news agency reported on Thursday.
Iran exported about 834,000 tons (about 199,083 barrels) per day of crude oil to Turkey in January 2017, while the figure for the same month in 2016 was 406,894 tons. Turkey also imported 643.193 tons of oil products from Iran in January 2017, while the figure for January 2016 was only 34.825 tons.
JAPAN, IRAN AGREES ON MUTUAL PROTECTION OF INVESTMENT
TEHRAN – The embassy of Japan in Tehran announced that the agreement on mutual protection of investment between Iran and Japan will enter into force from April 26.
According to a statement published on Wednesday, the embassy received the notice regarding the completion of the agreement’s administrative process from the Islamic Republic of Iran, IRNA reported.
The agreement covers a comprehensive and detailed blueprint regarding encouragement and protection of investments in the two countries and entering into force, it is expected that economic relations between Iran and Japan will increase significantly.
The Agreement was signed by Fumio Kishida, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, and Ali Tayyebnia, Iranian minister of finance, in Tokyo. The bill of reciprocal promotion and protection of investments between the Islamic Republic of Iran and Japan was presented to Iran’s parliament in November 2016 and it was approved by the parliament.
NEW PROJECTS IN SHALE OIL TO BOOST OIL OUTPUT
Dubai: New production projects and a fresh shale boom could boost oil output by a million barrels per day (bpd) year on year and result in an oversupply in the next couple of years, according to Goldman Sachs.”2017-19 is likely to see the largest increase in mega projects’ production in history, as the record 2011-13 capex commitment yields fruit,” the US investment bank said in a research note on Tuesday.
The Opec’s landmark decision to limit output for the first time in eight years in a bid to arrest the existing supply glut reduced price volatility and increased stability, unintentionally helping the shale producers, the bank said. “Opec’s decision in November 2016 to cut production was rational, in our view, and fit into its role of inventory manager of last resort,” Goldman said.
“However, the unintended consequence was to underwrite shale activity through a bullish credit market at a time when delayed delivery of the 2011-13 capex boom could lead to record non-Opec production growth in 2018.” The Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries agreed to curb its output by about 1.2 million bpd from January 1 this year. Russia and 10 other non-Opec producers agreed to jointly cut by an additional 600,000 bpd.
UAE RANKS 9TH GLOBALLY IN CREATIVE GOODS
The UAE ranks ninth in the global list of countries in terms of exports and re-exports of creative goods with a value to $16.1 billion. Creative goods include jewellery, advertising materials, chandeliers, bags and other goods and services where the use of creativity and intellectual capital are key inputs.
The UAE’s share of global exports of creative goods is three per cent, according to a study issued by the Department of Industry and Trade Information Analysis at the Ministry of Economy. In 2015, the global export of creative goods grew to $ 538 billion in 2015, accounting for a 3.3 per cent of the world’s total export of merchandise. The total value of UAE’s foreign trade of creative industries, including imports, re-exports and exports was $30.7 billion in 2015, according to the study prepared by economic researcher Ahmed Annaba and supervised by Dr Mattar Ahmad Al Ali.
Among Arab countries, the UAE accounts for more than 75 per cent of the total value of Arab exports of creative goods. According to the World Trade Center, the value of Arab countries’ exports for 2015 is estimated to be close to $21 billion. In 2015, the UAE imported creative goods mostly from India with a share of 17.4 per cent, followed by Malaysia at 12.3 per cent, China 11.5 per cent, France 10 per cent and Italy 8.9 per cent. The top 10 countries account for 79.0 per cent of the UAE’s total imports of creative goods.
The World Trade Organization has ranked the UAE as one of the world’s top trading economies, ranking 20th globally and first in the Middle East and Africa in commodity exports. The UAE is also placed 19th internationally in commodity imports and led the Mena region in overall commodity trade, with regional exports totalling $265 billion to account for 1.6 per cent of the worldwide total in 2015.
According to the WTO, the UAE had a 31.5 per cent share of the Middle East’s total exports in 2015 compared to 28 per cent in 2014, as well as 30.8 per cent of the region’s total imports. In terms of service trade, the country ranked 20th globally and first in the Arab World with service imports worth $68 billion, representing 1.9 per cent of the world total and a 1.5 per cent improvement over 2014.
During the first nine months of 2016, the UAE’s non-oil foreign trade stood at Dh1.172 trillion, posting almost flat growth compared to Dh1.170 trillion during the same period in 2015. The share of imports in the UAE’s total non-oil trade amounted to Dh721.2 billion, up 1 per cent year-on-year, while exports grew by six per cent to reach Dh149.1 billion, according to data from the Federal Customs Authority.