Sep 10 - 16, 2001
Saudi cuts crude output by 324,000 bpd
OPEC kingpin Saudi Arabia cut crude output by more
than 320,000 barrels per day (bpd) Saturday in line with the cartel's
decision to reduce production by one million bpd from September 1, a
Saudi oil official said.
"We have cut our production to bring us in
line with our new quota and we have informed our clients of
this," the official, asking not to be named, told AFP.
Following the decision by the Organisation of
Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to slash output to bolster
flagging prices, Saudi Arabia's quota was cut by 324,000 bpd to 7.541
million bpd from 7.865 million bpd.
Other OPEC member states "will respect their
new quotas, despite claims that OPEC produced a surplus of 500,000 bpd
over its August quota," fixed at 24.201 million bpd, added the
official, whose country is the world's largest producer and exporter
The Saudi-owned newspaper Al-Sharq Al-Awsat on
Saturday quoted a Saudi oil ministry official as saying that the cut
was instigated because of the "world recession which had negative
repercussions on the oil market." "Recession and instability
in the levels of crude demand necessitated restrictions in the supply
of crude on the international market to preserve oil prices," he
A barrel of benchmark Brent North Sea crude for
October delivery was selling in London on Friday for 26.27 dollars
from 25.80 dollars a week earlier.
In New York, the light sweet crude October contract
was little changed at 26.65 dollars a barrel from 26.80 dollars a week
UN moot: Arabs reject text
The Arab caucus at the UN World Conference Against
Racism on Thursday rejected in its current form a last-minute text on
the Middle East, a spokesman for the conference president said.
"They are not accepting the text as-is,"
said Ronnie Mamoepa, spokesman for South African Foreign Minister
Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, who is chairing the conference.
The text was the second produced after a walkout on
Monday by the United States over "hateful" language on the
Jewish state's treatment of Palestinians in the original, disputed,
text which emerged from preparatory meetings.
The new document was presented to the caucuses at
the conference in Durban as a "take-it-or-leave-it" text,
Mamoepa said. If it is not accepted by all caucuses, he said, a small
task force would probably be set up "to move the process
forward", but the text would be suspended if that failed to
obtain general agreement.
Earlier the European Union delegates accepted a
revised Middle East declaration proposed by South Africa in a bid to
prevent an European Union walkout from a stormy United Nations racism
conference here. But the Arab grouping at the UN conference against
racism, was still examining the draft text and would respond later, a
Palestinian spokesman said.
"We are in the process of studying the text
and we will respond this afternoon," said Salman el-Herfi, the
representative of the Palestinian Liberation Organization in South
Africa and a member of the Palestinian delegation to the conference.
South Africa put forward the compromise wording
early on Thursday after talks on an initial text broke off during the
night after discussions lasting all day on Wednesday.
The United States and Israel walked out of the
conference on Monday over what they considered "offensive"
language condemning Israeli practices towards the Palestinians in
conference draft documents.
Yemen registers 1.75 bln trade surplus in 2000
Yemen's registered a trade surplus of 1.75 billion
dollars last year, according to a report published by the official
news agency SABA Wednesday.
Exports in 2000 totaled 4.07 billion dollars while
imports amounted to 2.32 billion dollars, said the report, released
after a meeting here of the Federation of Arab Chambers of Commerce
Yemen's exports to Arab countries rose from 78.9
million dollars in 1999 to 210 million dollars in 2000.
Yemeni Vice-President Abdel Rabbo Mansur Hadi had
on Monday deplored the fact that Arab investments in the Arab world
were "130 times less than Arab investments abroad."
"Arab investments in the region did not exceed 2.3 billion
dollars in 2000, compared to 300 billion dollars abroad," he told
the opening session of the Arab federation meeting.
Downturn in Bahrain's offshore banking sector
Bahrain's offshore banks recorded a 15.4 per cent
downturn in profits last year, the Middle East Economic Survey
reported Monday, questioning the future of the whole sector.
Bahrain's offshore banking "continues to
display significant disparities in terms of activity, size and
performance, calling into question the franchise of individual
institutions and, to some extent, the future of the offshore sector as
a whole in light of global moves toward fiscal harmonization,"
the authoritative Nicosia-based newsletter said.
Eight banks included in a MEES survey recorded a
sectoral decline in net profits of 15.4 per cent, although individual
performances ranged widely from Gulf International Bank's 75 per cent
rise in net income to a decline of 99 per cent at Bahrain
International Bank and an outright loss of 56.8 million dollars at BMB
Assets for the sector rose by only 4.3 per cent in
2000, and latest information from the Bahrain Monetary Agency
indicates that assets for the entire offshore banking sector fell at
the end of June to 83.04 billion dollars compared to 90.33 billion
dollars for the equivalent figure in 2000.
Jordan says IMF endorses economic reforms
The International Monetary Fund has endorsed
Jordan's substantial progress so far in implementing structural
reforms essential to boost a stronger economic recovery, Finance
Minister Michel Marto said on Friday.
Marto said Jordan received high marks for its
performance by an IMF-executive directors board meeting on Wednesday
that assessed a third staff review of the three-year programme that
ends in April 2002.
The meeting agreed to the disbursement of another
$38 million under an $128 million SDR financing from an EFF (Extended
Fund Facility), with the IMF saying Jordan was firmly set on the path
of sustainable growth.
US to launch peace initiative for Sudan
The United States is preparing an initiative to
mediate peace between Sudan's Muslim government and the Christian and
animist groups fighting for autonomy in the south, US officials said
The plan, to include up to 30-million-dollars in
humanitarian and relief aid, is to be led by former US senator John
Danforth who the officials said would be named Washington's point man
on Sudan on Thursday.
"We are working on the Danforth announcement
now and we are also looking to increase our assistance to Sudan,"
said one senior official.
"It's no secret that Sudan is important to us
and this initiative will demonstrate that," a second official
Dubai to host WB, IMF moot
Dubai has begun preparations for hosting a meeting
of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund in 2003, hoping to
enhance the emirate's image as a regional financial hub, officials
said on Wednesday. The Gulf emirate on Wednesday signed a 240.4m
dirham deal with Khansaheb Civil Engineering, a local contracting
firm, to build a convention centre with a capacity to serve about
Israeli missiles kill two Palestinians
An Israeli helicopter gunship fired missiles at a
jeep in the West Bank town of Tulkarm on Thursday, killing two people
and wounding an activist wanted by Israel, Palestinian officials said.
The Israeli army had no immediate comment. Israel
has tracked and killed dozens of Palestinians it says are behind
attacks against Israelis since a Palestinian uprising against
occupation erupted last September.
Palestinian hospital officials said Mustafa Onbas,
19, and Omar Subuh, 21, both low-level members of Palestinian
President Yasser Arafat's Fatah faction were killed in the Apache
helicopter strike on a Nissan jeep at the entrance to Tulkarm.
They said Raed al-Karmi, a Fatah activist wanted by
Israel was also in the vehicle. He was wounded in the attack.
Saudi shares slip on profit-taking
The Saudi stocket market shed 0.9 per cent in the
week closing Thursday as profit-taking ended a six-week run that had
produced record highs.
The NCFEI all-shares index dropped to 2,582.52
points from a record 2,605.04 the previous Thursday, Bakheet Financial
Advisors (BFA) reported. But it is still 14.4 per cent higher than at
the start of the year.
Egyptian plane crash-lands
Around 250 passengers and crew escaped unhurt when
an Egypt Air plane en route from Cairo to Abidjan crash-landed in
northern Nigeria, airport officials and passengers said Wednesday.
The plane was attempting to make an emergency
landing at the international airport in Kano, northern Nigeria's
largest city, early on Tuesday when it suddenly nose-dived, they said.
Those aboard were Egyptians, Indians, Lebanese and
Pakistanis. Most were business travelers, airport officials said.
Syria's Assad gets Saudi message
Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad held talks on
Tuesday with Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister over what was described
as the critical situation in the region and ways to reactivate Arab
A Syrian presidential spokesman said Saudi Foreign
Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal also gave Assad a message from King
Fahd dealing with coordination between their two countries.
"The talks covered the Israeli brutal actions
against the Palestinian people and contacts to reactivate Arab
solidarity," the spokesman said.
International Motor Show 2001
Motor Parts and Accessories 2001 to be held
alongside the 6th Middle East International Motor Show will showcase
more than 200 automobile products and services from manufacturers
worldwide. The Motor Show will be held at the Dubai World Trade Centre
(DWTC) from November 8 to 12, 2001.
"With the after-market getting fiercely
competitive, the Motor Show will see a large number of first time
exhibitors with innovative products & services indicating the
expanding scope of the after-sales and service business in the
region," said Panakj Nadkarni, International Project Manager, DWTC.
Bacteria to blame for fish catastrophe
Kuwaiti officials confirmed Tuesday that bacteria
were responsible for the death of millions of fish in Kuwaiti waters
in recent weeks.
"Breeding of the stretococcus bacteria, which
was found in all samples of dead fish, was the reason," said
Mohammad al-Sarawi, cited by the official KUNA news agency.
"The test results for the moment rule out
chemical pollution or any poisoning," said Sarawi, head of
Kuwait's Environment Public Authority.
Two thousand tonnes of dead fish have been washed
up on the Kuwaiti coast in the last three weeks with more to come.
IDB hands Arab aid to Palestinians
The Islamic Development Bank (IDB) has delivered 45
million dollars to the Palestinian Authority, the first instalment of
165 million dollars earmarked for the uprising against Israel, a bank
official told AFP on Sunday.
The Jeddah-based bank runs two Arab funds totaling
one billion dollars set up by an Arab summit in Cairo last October to
support the Palestinian intifada.
Saudi vacationers spent $14 bln abroad in 2000
Saudi nationals spent 14.4 billion dollars on
foreign travel in 2000, while tourists to Saudi Arabia spent almost
two billion dollars, the kingdom's top tourist official said in a
report published Sunday.
"Saudi tourists spent over 100 million nights
abroad in 4.4 million trips during the year 2000. On average, each
night cost them 135 dollars, bringing the total spending to about 14.4
billion dollars," Prince Sultan bin Salman Al-Saud said, quoted
in Arab News.
Prince Sultan, secretary general of the tourism
commission, said he expected new investment in the domestic tourist
sector to create at least 164,000 jobs for Saudi citizens.
Iraq to boost imports from Syria, Jordan
Iraq has agreed with Syria and Jordan to increase
annual imports from both nations, Commerce Minister Mohammed Mehdi
Saleh said on Saturday.
"We have agreed with Syria and Jordan to
increase imports and bring them respectively to 1.5 billion and one
billion dollars before the ened of the year," he said, cited by
the official INA news agency.
"The accords with Syria and Jordan were
decided in line with our policy of strengthening cooperation with our
Arab brothers," he said.
Arab banking summit in October
Around 500 Arab ministers, central bank governors
and bankers will meet on October 31 to coordinate positions for the
November conference of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Doha.
Fouad Shaker, secretary general of the Union of
Arab Banks (UAB), said in a press conference that the "Arab
Banking Summit" will gather Arab League chief Amr Mussa and 17
Arab government ministers.
The meeting will also be attended by governors of
Arab central banks as well as bankers and economists from the region,