100 mega events in HK to attract 1.7 mn visitors in next six months


HONG KONG: Over 100 mega events spotlighting the arts, fashion, kung fu and others will be held in Hong Kong within the next six months, according to Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu.

China Daily quoted Lee as saying that the forthcoming events, comprising 60 new entries to the city’s events calendar, are anticipated to attract approximately 1.7 million visitors to Hong Kong and stimulate around HK$7.2 billion (US$923 million) in consumer expenditure.

At his regular news conference on Tuesday, Lee said that 60 mega events will be added to the line-up in the second half of this year. In total, the number of events scheduled for 2024 will climb to 210, an increase of over 40 percent on plans made at the beginning of the year.

‘This means that Hong Kong will have at least one mega event every two days,’ Lee said.

The 100-plus events to be staged over the following months will include cultural and creative activities, festival parades, sports competitions, trade fairs, financial summits and more.

Lee said th
at the total number of visitor arrivals reached 14.62 million in the first four months of this year – double that of the same period last year.

He added that the number of visitors from the United States, Canada and Indonesia increased by 80 percent in April, with most of these visitors staying for more than one day.

The city’s aviation transportation capacity is expected to have returned to its pre-COVID levels by the end of this year, making it easier for more long-haul passengers to visit Hong Kong, the CEO said.

He also thanked the central government for the recent measures it has put in place to benefit Hong Kong, such as its expansion of the Individual Visit Scheme to more mainland cities.

The HKSAR government will continue to work with the central government in the hope of seeing more tourism-boosting measures implemented, such as increasing the tax allowance for Chinese mainland visitors, to stimulate the local retail market, Lee added.

Source: Emirates News Agency

CABSAT 2024 continues to reveal transformative trends and innovations within media and entertainment landscape


DUBAI: CABSAT 2024, the Middle East’s flagship event for content, broadcast, satellite, media, and entertainment sectors, continued for a second day to promote innovative solutions, technologies, and ideas that are fundamentally reshaping the media and entertainment industry.

The show, which will run until May 23, 2024, organised by the Dubai World Trade Centre, enjoyed a special visit from ZHU Yonglei, Vice Minister of the National Radio and Television Administration of People’s Republic of China (NRTA).

Across the three days, CABSAT 2024 is expected to welcome 18,000+ visitors from sectors including Engineers, System Integrators and Broadcasters within Digital, Content, Broadcast and Satellite; to Content Buyers, Sellers, Producers and Distributors, all set to gain extensive insights into the future of media and entertainment from a series of engaging and captivating discussions on the latest developments and opportunities in the industry.

For its 30th anniversary edition, CABSAT features a remarkable li
ne-up of speakers for its conference events, including the Content Congress and SATExpo Summit. These discussions set forth a significant opportunity for attendees to learn about the cutting-edge technologies and solutions that are revolutionising the media and entertainment space.

Across day two at the CABSAT 2024, the SATExpo Summit witnessed resounding success, gathering regional and global satellite and space technology influencers, including inventors, prominent leaders, engineers, government officials, and a wide range of solution providers. The summit also featured discussions on the global launch and manufacturing markets, future trends, and trajectories, as well as business strategies of leading companies, particularly in light of the emergence of AI.

Key speakers included – Jassem Nasser, Chief Business Development Officer of Yahsat, Jan Stoop, VP Business Development, Comtech, USA; Joakim Espeland, CEO, QuadSat, Denmark; David Provencher, Vice President Business Development, AvL Technologies, USA
; Elizebeth Varghese, Principal and Co-leader, Deloitte Consulting, USA. An engaging Fireside Chat, on ‘Phased Array Antennas for Next-Generation Mobility’ featured Dr. Leslie Klein, President and CEO, C-COM Satellite Systems Inc., Canada, and Virgil Labrador, Editor-in-Chief, Satellite Markets and Research, USA, as speakers.

Speaking about the SATExpo Summit, Jassem Nasser, Chief Business Development Officer of Yahsat, said, ‘On behalf of Thuraya and Yahsat, we are delighted we took part in the SATExpo Summit. Yahsat is at the forefront of transformation within the satellite communications industry. Building upon our success in key satellite communications segments, we are accelerating our efforts to venture into new market verticals as part of Yahsat’s comprehensive D2D and IoT strategy, which encompasses several sectors and use cases. This can be seen with our decision to combine satellite and cellular communications through the introduction of SKYPHONE by Thuraya and with the many other exciting soluti
ons we have in the pipeline.’

Joakim Espeland, CEO, QuadSat, Denmark, said, ‘We were delighted we took part in the discussion on ‘Advances in Antenna Registration Processes from Gateway to User Terminal’. The discussion unveiled vital insights on innovations in antenna testing and calibration, the use of advanced testing in calibration, and the future of antenna registration and calibration.’

Likewise, the Content Congress continued on day two of CABSAT 2024, to bring together professionals from the media, broadcast, and technology spaces to explore trends and ideas that will influence how individuals create, connect, and monetise the content lifecycle. The session enabled participants to stay current on the advancements within the changing media landscape, understand cross-border and regional collaboration, as well as leverage the growing content creation economy for new opportunities.

This year, CABSAT is also launching exclusive Brand Ambassador programme that is open to exceptional business leaders. Th
is distinguished group of experts will shape the media and entertainment landscape, initiate high-level conversations between key partners, and help drive opportunities that support the MENA region becoming a coveted destination for the sector.

Source: Emirates News Agency

Kuwait’s April trade surplus with Japan down 4 pct.


Kuwait’s trade surplus with Japan narrowed 4 percent from a year earlier to JPY 75.5 billion (USD 483 million) in April, down for the second consecutive month due to slow exports, government data showed Wednesday.

However, Kuwait stayed in black ink with Japan for 16 years and three months, as exports still offset imports in value, the Finance Ministry said in a preliminary report.

Overall exports from Kuwait to Japan shrank 8.7 percent year-on-year to JPY 94.6 billion (USD 605 million) for the second straight month of decline. Meanwhile, Imports from Japan also fell 23.3 percent to JPY 19.1 billion (USD 122 million), down for the fifth month in a row.

Middle East’s trade surplus with Japan widened 13.5 percent to JPY 845.6 billion (USD 5.4 billion) last month, with Japan-bound exports from the region jumping 15.3 percent from a year earlier.

Crude oil, refined products, liquefied natural gas (LNG) and other natural resources, which accounted for 96.3 percent of the region’s total exports to Japan, grew 1
6.1 percent. The region’s overall imports from Japan surged 20 percent on demand for automobiles, machinery and manufactured goods.

Japan’s global trade balance returned to deficit in April with JPY 462.5 billion (USD 3.0 billion), as the weak yen boosted imports bills. Exports gained 8.3 percent from the year before, buoyed by robust shipments of automobiles, and semiconductor-making equipment chips.

Imports also increased 8.3 percent on crude oil and aircraft, as a weaker yen pushed up the value of their imports. China remained Japan’s biggest trade partner, followed by the US. The trade data are measured on a customs-cleared basis before adjustment for seasonal factors.

Source: Kuwait News Agency

ECI records 21-fold growth in gross exposure by end-2023 to reach AED9.6 billion in 5 years


DUBAI: Etihad Credit Insurance (ECI), the UAE Federal export credit company, has unveiled its remarkable growth trajectory in its latest annual report for the year 2023. With a gross exposure of AED9.6 billion by the end of 2023, ECI has experienced a staggering 21-fold increase compared to 2019. This was announced during a media briefing led by Raja Al Mazrouei, Chief Executive Officer of ECI, in the presence of other senior officials from the company.

Abdullah bin Touq Al Marri, Minister of Economy and Chairman of ECI Board of Directors, said, ‘Under the guidance of our wise leadership, the UAE has achieved outstanding successes on regional and international levels, solidifying its standing as the region’s leading hub for trade and investment. With an emphasis on emerging industries and SMEs, we will continue to broaden and diversify our economy according to the ‘We the UAE 2031′ vision, which aims to increase the country’s non-oil exports to AED800 billion and raise the volume of non-oil foreign trade to
AED4 trillion by the next decade.’

Bin Touq added, ‘Etihad Credit Insurance has significantly contributed to advancing this national vision by fostering the expansion of domestic trade and enterprises and facilitating crucial economic relations through comprehensive economic partnership agreements (CEPAs). The company’s innovative credit solutions and strategic collaborations have enhanced the competitiveness of UAE businesses worldwide. This not only diversifies the UAE’s economic landscape, but also propels its non-oil exports forward.’

He stated that ECI’s recent commitments to clean and green energy initiatives further signify its role as a driving force towards sustainability. ‘ECI’s support has been financial as well as strategic, contributing to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development through support for non-oil trade, while also ensuring compliance with international standards,’ Bin Touq added.

The report highlighted ECI’s notable role in fostering the expansion of the UAE’s non-oil exports, co
vering 3.1 percent out of AED441 billion in 2023, compared to 1.9 percent in the previous year. This growth was supported by a diverse portfolio, with over two-thirds of beneficiaries comprising small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), while large corporations represented another 20.9 percent. This underscores ECI’s significant contribution to the UAE’s progress towards its 2031 foreign trade targets.

Raja Al Mazrouei, Chief Executive Officer of ECI, said, ‘We are committed to providing innovative credit solutions, facilitating easy access to finance, offering expert market insights, and nurturing strategic collaborations in line with our vision and mission to foster sustainable and secure non-oil trade for the UAE’s economy. We empower UAE businesses to confidently participate in global trade, driving towards a robust and well-diversified economy. Leveraging our innovative approach and meticulously crafted 2023 business plans, ECI has emerged as a beacon of stability for UAE enterprises. We have seen a si
gnificant increase in the demand for our services, with a remarkable surge in insured trade and investment transactions. Our dedication to protecting the interests of UAE exporters is evident in the numbers, with a 25 percent increase in policies issued compared to 2022.’

Al Mazrouei added, ‘As we continue to adapt and grow, expanding ECI’s services to strengthen national exports stands as our primary objective, marking a significant leap forward in our capabilities and outreach. This new strategic phase aims to double the growth rate of UAE exports through ECI and increase our contribution to the non-oil GDP by 7-fold by 2031.’

The report stated that ECI’s global outreach efforts resulted in the support of UAE exporters across 17 sectors in 110 countries, amounting to a non-oil trade and investment of AED14 billion in 2023. This success was facilitated by approximately 21 agreements signed with government export credit agencies worldwide, solidifying ECI’s position as a trusted partner for international tr
ade.

Additionally, the report highlighted ECI’s commitment to supporting clients beyond credit insurance. This commitment was demonstrated by the company’s effective handling of overdue payments, leading to the collection of AED82 million. It showcases ECI’s significant contributions to facilitating access to financing for UAE exporters, with over AED1.8 billion worth of credit coverage provided to financial institutions over the past five years. It also stated that ECI secured AA- international rating by Fitch for the fifth consecutive year, reflecting on the company’s ability to mitigate potential risks and reiterating its strong presence in global markets.

Furthermore, the report stated that ECI has given a credit cover of AED4.7 billion to UAE’s industrial sector, a key contributor to non-oil exports, with AED1.4 billion committed in 2023 alone, enabling manufacturers’ exports achievement and in line with the company’s partnership with the Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology (MoIAT).

It furthe
r highlighted ECI’s projects that aims to support economic development and improve the quality of living, including credit insurance commitment of USD 500 million to boost Africa’s clean energy transition as part of the UAE’s USD 4.5 billion Africa Green Investment initiative, announced during the Africa Climate Summit held in September 2023. The report underscored ECI’s strong track record of managing claims and recoveries across its portfolio. The company supported clients with the management of late payments worth AED415 million, of which AED353 million or 83 percent were successfully recovered, it added.

It stated that ECI-backed trade finance lending crossed AED1 billion in the first year of a partnership with DP World Trade Finance. The partnership aims to broaden SME access to trade finance by mitigating the potential risks and covering industries including agricultural commodities, chemicals, manufacturing, and construction materials.

The report also outlined ECI’s plans to leverage the UAE’s Compre
hensive Economic Partnership Agreements (CEPAs) to further enhance trade and strengthen commercial relations. These efforts will be supported by ECI’s expanding information database, which grants access to over 300 million corporates globally, empowering UAE-based exporters with valuable insights and intelligence.

Source: Emirates News Agency

CBUAE announces M-Bills Auction on 27th May


ABU DHABI: The Central Bank of the UAE (CBUAE) today announced an auction of Monetary Bills (M-Bills) on May 27th, 2024.

The auction includes four issues of M-Bills Treasury bonds. The first for 28 days for up to AED4000 million, the second for 84 days for up to AED3000 million, the third for 112 days for up to AED3000 million, and the fourth for 280 days for up to AED5000 million.

The Issue Date will be 29th May 2024, and the maturity date for the first issue will be June 12th, 2024, the second issue will be 21st August, 2024, the third issue will be 18th September, 2024, and the fourth issue will be 5th March, 2025.

Source: Emirates News Agency

UAE China Tyre & Auto Parts Expo kicks off May 27 with over 300 exhibitors

SHARJAH: Capitalising on the zooming auto automotive aftermarket and service industry in the country and the region, the UAE China Tyre and Auto Parts Expo is set to see an impressive rise in the number of exhibitors taking part in its upcoming edition.

Aiming to provide the regional market direct access to the Chinese tyre and auto parts industries, the 3rd UAE China Tyre and Auto Parts Expo 2024 will get under way at Expo Centre Sharjah from May 27, 2024, organisers announced at a press conference.

Organised by Inter Commerce Expo Corporation in association with Shandong Port Overseas Supply Chain (Qingdao) Co., Ltd. and Hualun Inter Tech FZCO, the three-day event will continue until May 29. The event is supported by the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI).

The 3rd UAE China Tyre and Auto Parts Expo 2024 will host nearly 300 exhibitors from China, a 130 percent rise in the number of exhibitors when compared to the previous show which featured more than 130 participants.

This was reveal
ed at the press conference held at Expo Centre Sharjah on Wednesday (May 22). It was addressed by Jamal Saeed Bouzanjal, Director of the Corporate Communication Department at SCCI, Wang Dong, Chairman of the board of Shandong Port Oversea Supply chain (Qingdao) Co.,Ltd, Liu Ju’an, CEO of Shandong Port Oversea Supply chain (Qingdao) Co.,Ltd, Host of the UAE China Tyre and Auto Parts Expo, Yang Xue, Representative of Shandong Business Office in West Asia and Africa, and Zhou Runcheng, Department Director of Inter Commerce Expo Corporation, in addition to officials from both sides.

Jamal Bouzanjal highlighted the importance of the UAE China Tyre and Auto Parts Expo as a crucial platform for fostering business connections and exploring the latest innovations in this vital industry.

He further noted that the event provides a valuable opportunity for Chinese manufacturers to strengthen their presence and expand in various regional markets.

He emphasised the Sharjah Chamber’s commitment to supporting the even
t is a testament to its pivotal role in advancing the auto parts trade sector, which is experiencing notable growth in the UAE and the wider region.

For his part, Liu Ju’an, Host of the UAE China Tyre and Auto Parts Expo, said: ‘The 130 percent increase in the number of participants is an impressive rise in the number of exhibitors for any trade fair. This is only the third edition of the UAE China Tyre and Auto Parts Expo and we are happy to see such impressive growth in such a short span of time. This underscores the growing trade relations between the UAE and China and the strong expansion being witnessed in the regional automotive aftermarket and service sector. The Expo is now one of the best events in the region where one can explore the latest parts, components, equipment, tools, technologies, tyres or services.’

‘China’s automotive exports are on the rise, driven by technological advancements, supply chain advantages, and strategic bilateral relations. Chinese manufacturers are also increasing t
heir scale and their competitiveness is constantly improving, especially in the new energy vehicle industry. Thus, the UAE China Tyre and Auto Parts Expo is uniquely placed to tap into the Chinese supply chain that is relatively stable, leading to consistent production, minimal cost fluctuations, and improved international competitiveness,’ said Wang Dong, Chairman of the board, Shandong Port Oversea Supply chain (Qingdao) Co.,Ltd.

The regional automotive aftermarket is driven by a rise in new vehicle sales, localised production, rising demand for vehicle modification, and other macro-economic factors such as a strong local economy and rise in population growth. It will be a gathering point for decision makers across aftermarket and supply chain, including garages, body shops, retailers, dealers, detailing, vehicle manufactures and more.

Apart from a comprehensive display of all types of auto parts and tyres, the event will also feature forums that will discuss topics related to the industry and technolog
y.

Source: Emirates News Agency

Emirates Islamic issues $750 million Sustainability Sukuk


DUBAI: Emirates Islamic has announced the successful pricing of its US$750 million first-ever Sustainability Sukuk, marking a significant milestone in the bank’s sustainable journey and Islamic finance industry.

This is the first Sustainability Sukuk issued out of the UAE following the release of the International Capital Market Association (ICMA), the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) and the London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG) Guidance on Green, Social and Sustainability Sukuk in April 2024.

In a statement today, the bank said that the five-year issue witnessed robust demand from investors across different regions and was oversubscribed 2.8 times.

The strong order book, which exceeded $2.10 billion, allowed the bank to tighten the profit rate to 5.431 percent per annum, at a spread of 100 basis points over 5 Year US treasuries.

Source: Emirates News Agency

Shenzhen Finance Institute launched to link local development with global vision


SHENZHEN: The inaugural Shenzhen Finance Forum, centred on “High-Quality Development and the Path of Financial Development with Chinese Characteristics,” took place alongside the inauguration ceremony of the Shenzhen Finance Institute, Renmin University of China (RUC), in Shenzhen, according to China Economic Net.

The event, which was arranged by RUC, was co-hosted by its Institute of Advanced Social Sciences (Shenzhen), School of Finance, National Academy of Financial Research, and Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies. At the ceremony, the official inauguration of the Shenzhen Finance Institute at RUC took place.

As per the organiser, the recently founded Shenzhen Finance Institute is committed to serving national strategies, local development, social needs, and academic advancement. It will capitalise on the strengths of the university’s prominent financial disciplines and related areas to build a modern financial system. Its goal is to support the strategic objective of developing a financially robu
st nation and to excel in science and technology finance, green finance, inclusive finance, pension finance, and digital finance.

Additionally, the Institute is dedicated to establishing a hub for nurturing talent, conducting scientific research, and fostering innovation in Shenzhen. Its mission is to provide “Chinese examples” and “Chinese solutions” to the global advancement of financial disciplines, benefiting the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area and beyond.

Finance serves as a cornerstone of Shenzhen’s economic rise, significantly contributing to its growth path. Official figures indicate that the financial sector added a remarkable 473.9 billion yuan to the economy last year, accounting for a significant 15.4 percent of the city’s GDP.

Source: Emirates News Agency

Western warnings of an economic catastrophe in the West Bank


London – Ma’an – Western officials warned of an “economic catastrophe” in the West Bank if the occupation does not renew “a vital exemption that Israeli banks need in order to maintain their relations with their Palestinian counterparts.”

The British newspaper “Financial Times” reported that this exemption, which expires on July 1, “allows the payment of the costs of vital services and salaries associated with the Palestinian Authority, and facilitates the import of basic materials,” such as food, water, and electricity, into the occupied Palestinian territories.

Without this exemption, Israeli banks will stop dealing with Palestinian financial institutions, and the Palestinian economy will effectively stop over time, according to three Western officials.

The newspaper quoted an American official as saying that not renewing the exemption ‘will not only be at the expense of Palestinian interests, but also at the expense of the security and stability of Israel and the region.’

It also quoted two other Weste
rn officials as saying that Washington is leading the efforts aimed at renewing the exemption, as it ‘appealed to its allies to exert pressure on the Israeli government.’

British officials said the United Kingdom was ‘also concerned’ about this issue, according to the Financial Times.

This issue is expected to be discussed at the G7 finance ministers’ meeting, expected later this week in Italy, according to officials.

The newspaper explained that the Palestinian economy trades with other economies in multiple currencies, including the Jordanian dinar, which is widely used in the West Bank.

The Palestinian economy operates with the Israeli shekel, so Palestinian financial institutions must pass through the Bank of Israel and other Israeli banks in order to access it.

Source: Maan News Agency

U.S. fund Oaktree takes over Inter Milan football club


MILAN: U.S. investment fund Oaktree Capital Management said it has become the new owner of Italian football club Inter Milan after its owner defaulted on a loan, according to international news agencies.

The U.S. fund has taken control of the club as of Wednesday after Inter Milan’s holding companies failed to repay a pound 395 million loan, Oaktree said in a statement.

Granted in 2021 to the Luxembourg-based vehicle through which Chinese conglomerate Suning controls Inter, the loan was guaranteed by the firm’s stake in Inter Milan.

Under such a scheme Oaktree had the potential right to take control of the club in the event of a default.

“Our initial focus is operational and financial stability. We have great respect for Inter Milan’s management team,” said Oaktree’s Alejandro Cano.

Founded in 1908, Inter Milan is among the most famous clubs in Italian football, having won the league 20 times, and are home to top players including Lautaro Martinez and Nicolo Barella.

Suning bought a majority stake in th
e club in 2016 in one of the highest profile forays by a Chinese business into European football.

Source: Emirates News Agency