Gulf in the News – November 22, 2013

Forces mobilized as mortars from Iraq land at KSA border

Source: Arab News (Read full story)

The government has mobilized its security forces after six mortar bombs landed near a remote Saudi border post close to neighboring Iraq and Kuwait on Wednesday. Nobody was hurt in the bombardment.
The mortar rounds hit a desert area on the far northwestern fringes of the Kingdom’s oil-producing region and several hundred kilometers from the major fields operated by the world’s largest oil exporter.
There was no word on who was behind the barrage, which occurred two days after twin suicide bombings killed 25 people near Iran’s Embassy in Beirut. Saudi Arabia has condemned the Beirut bombings.
Maj. Gen. Mansour Al-Turki, Interior Ministry spokesman, said Iraq, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia were investigating the mortar fire. Baghdad said it was not involved.

Gulf nations face mixed blessing from an Iran nuclear agreement

Source: Gulf Times (Read full story)

A nuclear deal between Iran and countries including the US and Russia could prompt sovereign upgrades of Gulf Arab nations even as it may cut their revenue by causing oil prices to fall, according to IHS Inc.
“The reduction in geopolitical risk would serve as a key trigger for a sovereign ratings review for the countries of the Gulf Co-operation Council, and potentially an upgrade,” Bryan Plamondon, an economist specialising in the Middle East at energy consultant IHS, said on Wednesday by e-mail from Lexington, Massachusetts. “Countries would then likely see benefits in the form of lower borrowing costs and greater foreign investment.”  All six GCC nations are ranked as investment grade at Moody’s Investors Service and Standard & Poor’s. The agencies respectively rate Kuwait, Qatar and the UAE as Aa2 or AA, Saudi Arabia as Aa3 and AA-, Oman as A1 and A, and Bahrain as Baa2 and BBB.

Youth top priority for GCC nations, says Al-Zayani

Source: Arab News (Read full story)

About 700 young men and women from the Gulf countries attended the conference. It was held to implement the resolution made during the GCC summit in Bahrain in December 2012, in which it was agreed that the development of human resources was instrumental in achieving unity and prosperity.  [GCC Secretary-General Abdullatif bin Rashid] Al-Zayani said, “It is believed that human resources are the most important source of power and progress to achieve security and stability for citizens. In this connection, GCC countries must work hard to promote its youth.”

UAE ranks world’s second best performing market

Source: Khaleej Times (Read full story)

Amid positive implications of the recent merging market upgrade, the UAE has emerged as the world’s second best performing market with year-to-date increase of 61 per cent, Bank of America Merrill Lynch said on Thursday. … While the UAE has emerged as the world’s second best performing, Saudi Arabia was ranked as a top 10 market performer with year to date increase of 21 per cent. Qatar performed equally well with year to date increase of 22 per cent, said Michael Harris, managing director and head of EEMEA Equity Strategy.

KSA aims to save one third of oil consumption by 2032

Source: Arab News (Read full story)

Maher Alaudan, head of R&D and innovation at King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy (KACARE), says Saudi Arabia has declared its intention to adopt a renewable energy plan with the establishment of KACARE. “The most important reason for establishing this city is to develop a strategy for adopting renewable energy,” he said. Alaudan stated that the objectives of the KACARE is to produce a large amount of alternative energy by 2030, in order to support reducing fuel consumption at a time when we consume large amounts of fuel locally.

OIC states urged to raise intra-trade by 20 percent

Source: Arab News (Read full story)

The President of the Islamic Development Bank Group (IDB) Ahmad Mohamed Ali has called on IDB member countries to raise the targeted volume of trade between its member countries to 20 percent by the year 2015, as recommended during the Islamic Summit held in Makkah in 2005.  The IDB chief made this statement while speaking at the opening session of the 29th Standing Committee for Economic and Commercial Cooperation (COMCEC) in Istanbul, Turkey, in the presence of Turkish President Abdullah Gül, who is current chairman of COMCEC.