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Sept OIC news wrap: Saudi emphasizes global clean energy cooperation; IsDB supports critical projects; and others

Here's a roundup of key developments across the OIC ecosystem during the first two weeks of September

Editor's note: Its a month of cross-border collaborations. Especially for Saudi Arabia. The Arab world's largest economy is calling for clean energy cooperation on a global level, looking to beef up coordination with Qatar at land border ports, and is also calling for greater integration among Gulf strategies across the transport and logistics sector. 

Meanwhile, Oman and Tunisia are also exploring ways to boost economic and investment cooperation.




IsDB to fund Mauritanian institutes with $49.69m

The Board of Directors of the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) have sanctioned $49.69 million in funding for the establishment of higher education institutions in Mauritania.


This initiative aligns with IsDB's commitment to expand access to quality higher education, acknowledging that education plays a pivotal role in providing opportunities for young people in Mauritania and beyond. (Zawya)


Saudi Arabia
IsDB injects $800m to support critical projects across member countries

The Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) has given the green light for $800 million in financing during its 352nd meeting in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.


These funds are aimed at supporting critical projects in sectors such as energy, education, health, and transportation, with the end-goal of addressing socio-economic challenges in IsDB member countries, especially vulnerable communities.


Additionally, the IsDB has initiated an emergency intervention to aid approximately 125,000 individuals impacted by the conflict in Sudan, delivering a multi-sectoral response to provide life-saving assistance. (IsDB)


Al Baraka Bank secures $30m in financing

Al Baraka Bank Egypt (SAUD) has announced the acquisition of $30 million in financing from the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD), affiliated with the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB).


Al Baraka Bank Egypt, part of the Al Baraka Banking Group, offers Islamic Sharia-compliant banking services, including retail, corporate, and investment banking, through a network of 32 branches in Egypt. (Zawya)




Qatar / Saudi Arabia

Qatar, Saudi Arabia discuss beefing coordination at land border ports

Qatar and Saudi Arabia conducted their second coordination meeting between their interior ministries to discuss the single port project and data exchange between the Abu Samra Qatari Port and Saudi Salwa Port. (Zawya)


Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia calls for integrated Gulf strategies in logistics sector

The Federation of Saudi Chambers has urged for greater integration of Gulf strategies across transport and logistics services.


It has emphasized the importance of private sector involvement in developing logistics policies, fostering international partnerships, enhancing infrastructure and procedures, stimulating the logistics sector, and advancing the privatization of operational activities. (Zawya)


Oman / Tunisia

Oman, Tunisia explore ways to enhance economic, investment cooperation

Government officials in Oman and Tunisia held a meeting to discuss ways of enhancing bilateral cooperation. 


The discussions were held between Said Mohammed al Saqri, Oman's minister of economy and Samir Saied, Tunisian minister of economy and planning and his delegation.


Deliberations were centred on strengthening cooperation in economic and investment domains between the two nations. Both sides expressed their commitment to exploring new avenues for collaboration, particularly in economic, commercial, investment, and other relevant sectors. (Zawya)




Saudi Arabia

Saudi foreign minister emphasizes global clean energy cooperation

Saudi Arabia's foreign minister, Prince Faisal Bin Farhan, representing King Salman, addressed the G77 + China summit, reiterating the kingdom's dedication to a collective, integrated approach for development, prosperity, and stability.


He emphasized the significance of investing in clean energy technology as a means to transition towards clean energy solutions. (Zawya)




Saudi Arabia

New water transmission project launched for Makkah, Madinah

Alkhorayef Water and Power Technologies Co. is set to construct and operate pipelines to supply water to Madinah and Makkah as part of the Rayis-Rabigh independent water transmission pipeline project.


The initiative, under a build-operate-transfer agreement with Saudi Water Partnership Co., will have a capacity of 500,000 cubic meters per day and a length of 150 km. (Arab News)

Aug OIC news wrap: BRICS welcomes Egypt, UAE, Saudi; Bahrain signs deal for largest solar project; & others

Here's a roundup of key developments across OIC countries during the month of August

Editor's note: As a key signal of shifting regional sands, BRICS announced the admission of six new members, four of which are OIC countries, a development that rightfully dictated global news in the wake of the bloc's summit held in August. Saudi Arabia, meanwhile, is also mulling trade ties with Jordan and Qatar. 

With strong markers highlighting the looming climate crisis and its implications, countries across the world are either commissioning out or operating renewable energy projects to beckon a greener future. Bahrain too, inked deals for a 72 megawatt solar power plant. Though rather shy of the MENA region's largest solar energy project (a feat eyed by GCC member Saudi) it still remains the country's largest of its kind yet. 

In news coming from the subcontinent, Pakistan is looking to partner with West Asian countries - Iran and Iraq - on collaboration and economic development.


Trade Developments

Tajikistan signs agreements to improve water resources management 
The Republic of Tajikistan's Ministry of Finance, along with Tawhidbank, Imon, and Asr Leasing, have inked the "Wakalah Agreements" backed by the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) to enhance Water Resources Management in Khatlon Region.

The initiative, witnessed by the IsDB's local representative, will promote a rural credit scheme for agriculture, using various Islamic financing methods. The goal is to offer shariah-compliant finance, aiding farmers in the agriculture value chain and bolstering Islamic finance principles. (IsDB)

Pakistan / Iran
Pakistan, Iran chalk out five-year plan with $5bn trade target
Pakistan and Iran have set out a five-year collaboration plan, targeting $5 billion in trade.

This initiative was announced during a meeting in Islamabad between Pakistan's foreign minister, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, and Iran's Hossein Amir-Abdollahian. The plan focuses on removing trade barriers, instituting a free trade agreement, and building ties between private sectors of both countries. (Anadolu Ajansı)

Egypt / Turkiye
Egypt eyes joint industrial ties with Turkiye
Egypt and Turkiye anticipate an uplift in industrial collaboration after high-level ministerial discussions.

Ahmed Samir, Egypt's trade and industry minister, held talks with Mehmet Fatih Kacir, Turkiye's minister of industry and technology, in Ankara, marking the first visit of its kind in a decade.

Their discussions spanned the potential of a Turkish industrial zone in Egypt, increased cooperation in sectors like furniture, carpets, and chemicals, and a joint strategy until June 2024. (Arab News)

Egypt / Jordan
Egypt, Jordan sign MoUs to boost cooperation in several fields
Egypt and Jordan ratified 12 memoranda of understandings to strengthen bilateral ties.

The preliminary agreements cover key focus areas. These include economic development, securities regulation, environment, social affairs, media collaboration between Petra and the MENA region, as well as cultural exchange for 2023-2026.

Agreements also extended to manpower, social insurance coordination, and health sector collaboration. (Zawya)

Pakistan / Iraq
Pakistan, Iraq sign agreement to improve tax mechanism, economic cooperation
Pakistan and Iraq have inked a convention to counter double taxation on income and curb tax evasion, a move aimed at enhancing economic ties, as confirmed by Pakistan's Federal Board of Revenue.

Negotiations held in August saw both sides resolving various matters before agreeing on the convention draft. This pact promises to bolster investments, ensure clarity on taxation for cross-border transactions, and offer tax relief to residents of both nations, thus promoting trade. (Arab News)

Tunisia / Libya
Tunisian-Libyan continental trade corridor towards sub-Saharan Africa created
Tunisia and Libya have declared the establishment of a continental trade corridor, to connect the two countries with sub-Saharan Africa, as unveiled at a joint ministerial meeting.

Deliberations spotlighted on the need to modernize the Ras Jedir border crossing to meet international standards. (Zawya)

Morocco / Saudi Arabia
Morocco's king stresses on strong bilateral relations with Saudi Arabia 
King Mohammed VI of Morocco has penned a letter to Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman, emphasizing the robust bilateral relations and the aim to enhance them further.

This move, reported by both Saudi and Moroccan news agencies, aligns with efforts to fortify ties between the allied nations.

The correspondence was delivered during a meeting in Riyadh, where officials discussed strengthening relations and tackled global matters of mutual concern. 

Syria / Egypt / Brazil
Arab Brazilian Chamber discusses Syria-Egypt-Brazil trade
The Arab Brazilian Chamber of Commerce's Cairo office deliberated on collaboration with the Federation of Syrian Chambers of Commerce to streamline trade between Egypt, Syria, and Brazil.

The discussions involved key figures including Tamer Mansour, CEO of the Arab Brazilian Chamber of Commerce(ABCC), and Mohamed Firas Jijakli of the Syrian Federation.

Mansour highlighted the significant involvement of Syrian entrepreneurs in Brazil and expressed optimism about Syria's economic resurgence in the near future. (ANBA)

Saudi Arabia / Jordan
Saudi-Jordanian joint committee meets in Riyadh to promote trade ties
The 18th session of the Saudi-Jordanian Joint Committee convened in Riyadh, focusing on enhancing the economic ties laid down in the 1962 bilateral agreement.

Saif bin Saad Al-Faqar from Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Transport emphasised the shared intent to broaden cooperation, while Jordan's Dana Al-Zoubi highlighted last year's efforts in Amman, signalling continued growth in trade and economic interactions(Arab News)

BRICS expands to include Egypt, UAE and Saudi Arabia
Egypt, UAE and Saudi Arabia have officially joined the BRICS alliance, making it a group that now includes Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa, and Egypt, UAE and Saudi Arabia.

The countries business communities heralds the move, seeing potential for increased trade and investment opportunities(Zawya)

Read: BRICS expansion: What's in store for the global halal industry?

Saudi Arabia / Qatar
Qatar-Saudi co-ordination council meets in Doha
In a meeting in Doha, representatives from Qatar and Saudi Arabia discussed ways to boost bilateral trade and economic relations, particularly focusing on import and export initiatives.

The meeting, part of the Qatari-Saudi Co-ordination Council, witnessed discussions about fortifying the fraternal ties between the two nations. (Zawya)


Côte d’Ivoire
IsDB-financed bridge inaugurated by Côte d'Ivoire's President
President Alassane Ouattara unveiled the Cocody Bridge on August 12, a 530 million euros engineering feat backed financed by the Islamic Development Bank.

Spanning 630 meters across Cocody Bay and towering over 100 meters, the cable-stayed bridge in West Africa is set to ease traffic in Abidjan, connecting its commercial heart with residential areas. (IsDB)

GCC seeks strengthening international trade via free-trade agreements
The Gulf Cooperation Council, under Secretary-General Jassem Mohamed Albudaiwi, is keen to bolster its foreign trade and investments via free-trade agreements.

Talks with New Zealand's Trade Minister, Damien O'Connor, hint at a nearing trade deal between the GCC and New Zealand.

Amid global economic shifts, such accords are pivotal for GCC's growth and global relations. (Zawya)

ESG Developments

Bahrain pens deal for largest solar power project
Bahrain plans to build its largest solar power project, a 72 megawatt initiative in the Sakhir region.

The plant will feature rooftop, ground-based solar units, car park systems, and electric vehicle charging stations. It supports the kingdom's ambition for carbon neutrality by 2060 and accounts for 28% of its renewable energy target of 250 megawatt by 2025.

Yasser bin Ibrahim Humaidain, the minister of electricity and water affairs, said the project aligns with Bahrain's National Renewable Energy Action Plan.  (Zawya)

Operational Developments

Egypt / Libya
Egyptian authorities strategize to create logistic zone adjacent to Libyan border
Aiming to spur economic growth, Egypt plans a new logistics zone near the Salloum land port, adjacent to Libya.

Unveiled by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, this move seeks to strengthen trade with Libya and enhance the Western Region's economic landscape. (BNN Network)


Read more: News wrap for August: Spain unveils tourism travel guide; Saudi rolls out visa waiver for British nationals; & others

UAE's Masdar to develop renewable energy projects in Malaysia

UAE clean energy powerhouse Masdar has inked an agreement with Malaysia's Citaglobal Berhad to develop a broad range of renewable energy projects in the Southeast Asian country, including rural, off-grid initiatives.   

By virtue of the MoU, Masdar and Citaglobal will join forces to develop projects across the renewable energy mix in the Malaysian state of Pahang. This includes exploring solar, battery energy storage system (BESS), wind and other renewable energy technologies.

Malaysia is targeting net-zero emissions by 2050.

Mohamed Jameel Al Ramahi, Masdar’s chief executive officer, said, “Masdar is excited to be partnering with Citaglobal Berhad and to be expanding our presence in the key Southeast Asian market." 

"As the UAE looks ahead to hosting the UN climate change conference, COP28, later this year, Masdar is proud to be working with partners to advance clean energy solutions around the world,” he added. 

Masdar is active in more than 40 countries, with a total electricity generation capacity of more than 20GW. It has invested, or committed to invest, in worldwide projects, with a combined value of more than $30 billion.

“By collaborating with a leading energy transition player, we will make faster progress towards our climate targets, besides building our long term energy requirements in a responsible and cost efficient manner," noted Citaglobal Berhad executive chairman and president, Tan Sri (Dr) Mohamad Norza Zakaria.

"The MoU will also facilitate the potential collaboration between Masdar and Citaglobal related to technology solutions and equipment supply outside of Malaysia with a focus on Central Asia.”

Southeast Asia is a key investment destination for Masdar. The company has developed the region’s largest floating solar facility in Indonesia, which will generate enough electricity to power 50,000 homes. In February 2023, Masdar entered the geothermal energy sector through a strategic investment in Indonesia’s Pertamina Geothermal Energy.

July OIC news wrap: Turkey, GCC countries ink deals; Saudi intensifies net-zero quest; and more

Here's a roundup of key developments across OIC countries in the month of July.

Editor's note: The Turkish President's recent trip to the GCC to shore up investment was a fruitful one. His visit marked the signing of 16 cooperation agreements between his country and Saudi Arabia, and another $50 billion in deals with the UAE. This also builds on the comprehensive economic partnership agreement ratified by the UAE and Turkey earlier this year, to push bilateral non-oil trade to beyond $40bn in the next five years. 

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia is accelerating in its quest for net-zero emissions, exploring clean energy alternatives, partnering with cross-border entities on green projects, as well as shoring up financial support for the world's largest solar project. 

ESG Developments – Saudi Arabia / Japan
Saudi Arabia, Japan launches initiative for clean energy cooperation
Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center (KAPSARC) and the Institute of Energy Economics, Japan (IEEJ) have entered into an agreement to collaborate on strategies for achieving their respective net-zero emission targets.

The agreement is part of the Saudi-Japan Lighthouse Initiative for Clean Energy Cooperation, which aims to provide a blueprint for other countries seeking to reduce their carbon emissions(Arab News)

ESG Developments – Saudi Arabia 
Saudi's ACWA Power consortium commits $2.2bn for Al-Shuaibah solar projects
Saudi Arabia is accelerating its efforts towards creating the world's largest solar project.

Saudi's ACWA Power, along with its consortium, has finalised the $2.2 billion financing for the Al-Shuaibah 1 and Al-Shuaibah 2 solar projects.

The funding mix includes senior debt and equity, with contributions from the National Development Fund and various local and international banks. (Arab News)

ESG Developments – Saudi Arabia 
Engie, PIF to develop hydrogen projects in Saudi Arabia
Engie, a global leader in low-carbon energy and services, has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund (PIF) for the joint development of green hydrogen projects.

The partnership, in line with Saudi Vision 2030, will focus on creating green hydrogen production projects for export. (Hydrogen Central)

ESG Developments – UAE / Pakistan 
UAE, Pakistan business relations strengthen, new deal to explore renewable energy projects
The UAE and Pakistan have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to develop renewable energy projects in the subcontinental country.

The agreement was signed during the visit of Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, the UAE's Special Envoy for Climate Change, to Pakistan.

Sharif al Olama, the UAE's Undersecretary of the Ministry of Energy & Infrastructure, and Rashid Mahmood Langrial, Secretary Power Division of Pakistan, formalised the agreement. (Zawya)

ESG Developments – Saudi Arabia 
Saudi's PIF inks agreement with Japanese power generator JERA to develop green hydrogen
Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with JERA Co., Inc., Japan's largest power generator, to explore the potential for developing green hydrogen projects.

The agreement will initiate feasibility studies for creating green hydrogen and derivative projects aimed at both domestic and international markets. (Zawya)

Trade Developments – UAE / Mozambique 
UAE, Mozambique sign deal in workforce field
The UAE and Mozambique have inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) aimed at enhancing management of the contractual work cycle for Mozambican workers in the UAE.

Signed by Dr. Abdulrahman Al Awar, Minister of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MoHRE) in the UAE, and Margarida Adamugy Talapa, Mozambique's Minister of Labour, Employer and Social Security, the deal seeks to create increased job opportunities for Mozambican workers in the UAE while ensuring their rights in the working environment. (Zawya)

Trade Developments – Saudi Arabia / Turkey 
Saudi Arabia and Turkey sign 16 cooperation agreements
Saudi Arabia and Turkey have signed 16 cooperation agreements across various fields and investment sectors, valued at over SR2.3bn.

The agreements, signed at the Saudi-Turkish Business Forum in Istanbul, cover areas such as real estate development, construction, and engineering consultancy. The forum aimed to enhance partnerships and explore investment opportunities in urban development, building, contracting, and smart cities(Saudi Gazette)

Trade Developments – Oman / Morocco
Oman, Morocco sign agreements to enhance cooperation in rail transport
Oman and Morocco have inked four new bilateral agreements spanning maritime transport, diplomatic training, consumer protection, and rail cooperation.

The agreements, signed at the Omani-Moroccan Joint Committee's sixth session, signal greater cooperation in economics, culture, science, and technology fields, offering ample opportunities for the private sectors of both nations. (The Arabian Stories)

Trade Developments – UAE / Turkey
Turkiye, UAE sign $50bn in deals to boost strategic ties
Turkiye and the UAE have signed agreements amounting to $50 billion to strengthen investments across strategic sectors.

The deals, part of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's UAE visit, include the establishment of a high-level strategic council to bolster ties. These accords are intended to diversify the UAE-Turkiye Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement framework, aiming to maximize bilateral trade and investment, and potentially create numerous jobs. (Arab News)

Trade Developments – Saudi Arabia / Oman
Saudi Arabia enhances cooperation with Oman as PIF signs MoU with OIA 
Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund (PIF) has entered a memorandum of understanding with the Oman Investment Authority to strengthen economic ties.

This partnership will facilitate PIF and its associated entities in capitalizing on investment prospects in Oman. In 2022, trade between the two nations rose by 123% year-over-year, totaling $7.01 billion. (Arab News)

Investment – Bangladesh
ITFC signs $1.4bln energy security financing plan with Bangladesh
The International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC), a member of the Islamic Development Bank Group, has pledged $1.4 billion to assist Bangladesh with oil imports for a year, starting July 2023.

The agreement underscores ITFC's commitment to aiding its member states' economic development and ensuring energy security for fast-growing economies like Bangladesh. (Zawya)

Investment – Bangladesh
Bangladesh Seeks $900M in Loans from ITFC for Energy Imports
Bangladesh Petroleum Corp. (BPC) is set to secure an added $400 million in loans from the International Islamic Trade Finance Corp (ITFC) for petroleum imports, as revealed by a government document.

This is atop a $1.4 billion loan BPC agreed with ITFC in May for the same purpose, extending until June 2024. Concurrently, Petrobangla is aiming to borrow $500 million from ITFC for liquefied natural gas imports. (BNN Bloomberg)

OIC: Monthly news wrap - June 2023

Here is a roundup of key developments across the OIC during the month of June

Editor's note: To say that our planet is in peril is stating the obvious. Not only is it warming up at worrying speeds, but also losing its natural areas. Though a lot needs to be done on multiple levels to stem the damage, several countries are stepping up their game to counter the impending climate crisis.

Saudi Arabia collaborated with Kazakhstan to build on its existing energy partnership, while UAE's Masdar signed up for a 1GW wind power project in the Central Asian country. GCC state Oman inked $10bn in green hydrogen deals to underpin its net-zero ambitions, while Egypt upped its energy transition game with revised climate commitments.  

Trade Developments – Saudi Arabia / Bahrain
Bahrain, Saudi Arabia deal to position as single tourism destination 
Bahrain and Saudi Arabia have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) aimed at positioning the two countries as a unified regional and global tourism destination

The agreement, inked by Bahrain's tourism minister, Fatima bint Jaafar Al Sairafi, and Saudi Arabia's counterpart Ahmed Al Khateeb, establishes a framework for collaboration in various areas of mutual interest. (Zawya) (June 7, 2023)

Trade Developments – Saudi Arabia / Kazakhstan
Saudi Arabia collaborates with Kazakhstan to build on energy partnership 
Saudi Arabia and Kazakhstan have signed a deal to establish a framework for cooperation in the energy sector, expanding their existing energy partnerships.

The agreement covers collaboration in petroleum, gas, refining, petrochemicals, and electricity. Both countries will also work together on renewable energy, clean hydrogen, energy efficiency, storage, and development. (Arab News) (June 13, 2023)

Trade Developments – Senegal
ICIEC launches book highlighting development partnership with Senegal 
The Islamic Corporation for the Insurance of Investment and Export Credit (ICIEC), a member of the Islamic Development Bank Group, launched a book titled "Senegal and ICIEC - Empowering Real Economy, Driving Development Impact."

The book, to be launched in July, offers insight into the successful collaboration between ICIEC and Senegal. (ICIEC) (July 3, 2023)

ESG Developments – Saudi Arabia
Saudi Electricity Co. invests $373m in three projects to boost power grid 
Saudi Electricity Co. is investing SR1.4 billion ($373 million) in improving electricity networks in three Saudi governates - Rafha, Al-Wajh, and Najran - to reduce liquid fuel consumption and carbon emissions.

The project aims to enhance reliability and efficiency while benefiting subscribers. (Arab News) (June 8, 2023) 

ESG Developments – UAE / Kazakhstan
UAE's Masdar signs roadmap for up to 1GW wind power project in Kazakhstan 
Masdar, Abu Dhabi's renewable energy company, has signed a roadmap to develop a wind power plant with a capacity of up to 1 GW in Kazakhstan.

The project aims to support the Central Asian country's goal of achieving 50% renewable energy in its energy mix by 2050. The agreement was signed by Masdar, the Ministry of Energy of Kazakhstan, the Kazakhstan Investment Development Fund, and Samruk-Kazyna. (Zawya) (June 12, 2023)

ESG Developments – Saudi Arabia
AlUla inks deal with Schneider Electric to adopt clean energy solutions 
Saudi Arabia's heritage city, AlUla, is working towards becoming a sustainable tourism destination by partnering with global power management specialist Schneider Electric.

The Royal Commission of AlUla has signed a memorandum of understanding with Schneider Electric to implement sustainable energy management solutions, including smart microgrids and intelligent buildings(Arab News) (June 14, 2023)

ESG Developments – Oman
Oman signs $10bn in green hydrogen deals to boost net-zero ambitions 
Oman's Hydrom has signed agreements worth $10 billion with a consortium of South Korea's Posco and French firm Engie, as well as the Hyport Duqm initiative, to develop two new green hydrogen production projects.

The projects will be located in the Al-Wusta governorate and are part of Oman's plan to produce over 1 million tons per annum of green hydrogen by 2030, increasing to 8 million by 2050. (Arab News) (June 22, 2023)

ESG Developments – Egypt
Egypt accelerates energy transition with revised climate commitments 
Egypt has submitted updated climate commitments under the Paris Agreement, aiming to generate 42% of its energy from renewable sources by 2030 instead of 2035.

The updated Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) document highlights the country's need for grants and soft financing worth €500 million to achieve the revised targets. (Arab News) (June 27, 2023)

ESG Developments – Saudi Arabia
TotalEnergies completes financing of its first solar power plant in Saudi Arabia 
French energy giant TotalEnergies has achieved financial closure for its first solar power plant in Saudi Arabia, signaling the growth of sustainable energy provision in the country.

The 119-megawatt solar plant will be developed by a consortium consisting of TotalEnergies, Toyota Tsusho of Japan, and Saudi Arabia's Altaaqa Renewable Energy. (Arab News) (June 29, 2023)

Investment – Saudi Arabia
RVCMC successfully sells over 2.2 million tonnes of carbon credits 
The Regional Voluntary Carbon Market Company (RVCMC) announced the successful auction of over 2.2 million tonnes of carbon credits, making it the largest-ever voluntary carbon credit auction

Sixteen Saudi and international companies participated in the auction, with Aramco, Saudi Electricity Company (SEC), and ENOWA purchasing the largest number of carbon credits. (ITFC) (June 19, 2023)

Investment – Benin
IsDB Group, France's AFD partner to co-finance $1bn for green investments
IsDB, a multilateral development bank, and AFD, France's bilateral aid provider, have signed an MoU to strengthen their collaboration in project development and co-financing in developing countries, with a focus on Africa.

The partnership aims to co-finance projects aligned with the SDGs and the Paris climate agreement, with a target of $1 billion ($500 million each) over a specific period. (IsDB) (June 20, 2023)

Newswrap (May 2023) - OIC

Indonesia Enhances its Support to IsDB’s Mandate by Increasing its Shareholding; Morocco and Saudi Arabia work towards a strong investment and trade partnership; ITFC Signs Four Agreements with total amount US$ 1.1 billion with Mali, The Gambia, Djibouti; Icd and Ithmar Capital Join Forces to Boost Energy Transition and Food Security in Morocco and Africa; SAUDI ARAMCO: First time an OIC based company is in Top 50 most innovative companies in the world; Makkah and Madinah are aiming to become financial and business epicentres for the Islamic world.


Trade Developments – Morocco / Saudi Arabia
Morocco and Saudi Arabia work towards a strong investment and trade partnership. (May 10, 2023)
Morocco and Saudi Arabia are working towards strengthening their economic ties through the establishment of a joint fund for investment and trade development. This initiative presents an opportunity for Morocco to boost its economic growth and for Saudi Arabia to solidify its position as the largest economy in the Middle East. (Atalayar)

Trade Developments – Saudi Arabia
ITFC Signs Four Agreements with total amount US$ 1.1 billion with Mali, The Gambia, Djibouti. (May 10, 2023)
The International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC) has signed significant agreements with Mali, The Gambia, and Djibouti, totaling over US$1.1 billion. These agreements aim to support key sectors such as agriculture, energy, and health, as well as the private sector, fostering economic growth and ensuring a stable supply of essential products. (ITFC)

Trade Developments – Saudi Arabia / Indonesia
Indonesia Enhances its Support to IsDB’s Mandate by Increasing its Shareholding. (May 13, 2023)
The Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) has approved Indonesia's request to increase its subscription in the Bank's Capital Stock. As a result, Indonesia will gain a permanent seat on the Bank's Board of Executive Directors. This Special Capital Increase strengthens the partnership between IsDB and Indonesia, supporting sustainable socio-economic development and key areas such as climate action and food security. (IsDB)

Trade Developments – Saudi Arabia
ITFC signs $1.2bn agreements with Burkina Faso, Cote d'Ivoire, Nigeria, and partner banks. (May 13, 2023)
The International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC) has solidified its commitment to collaboration and cooperation by signing seven major agreements with Azerbaijan, Burkina Faso, Cote d'Ivoire, Nigeria, and Uzbekistan. These agreements, signed during the Islamic Development Bank Group (IsDB) Annual Meetings, aim to foster growth and development, particularly for small and medium enterprises (SMEs). (ITFC)

Trade Developments – Saudi Arabia
Icd and Ithmar Capital Join Forces to Boost Energy Transition and Food Security in Morocco and Africa. (May 14, 2023)
The Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD) has signed an agreement with ITHMAR CAPITAL during the 2023 IsDB Annual Meetings in Jeddah. The collaboration aims to explore investment opportunities in energy transition, food security, and infrastructure in Morocco and other African countries(ICD)

Trade Developments – Tunisia / Algeria
Tunisian Hotel Federation and Algerian National Federation of Hotels and Tourism sign partnership agreement. (May 15, 2023)
The President of the Tunisian Hotel Federation (FTH), Dora Miled, signed a cooperation and partnership agreement with the President of the Algerian National Federation of Hotels and Tourism, Abdelouhab Boulefkhad. The agreement aims to enhance tourism, particularly in the hotel sector, in both Tunisia and Algeria through coordinated efforts and joint actions. (Zawya)

Trade Developments – Saudi Arabia
Makkah and Madinah are aiming to become financial and business epicentres for the Islamic world. (May 19, 2023)
Makkah and Madinah strive to establish themselves as financial and business hubs for the Islamic world. Through the Manafea agreement, signed by key chambers of commerce, these cities aim to leverage their global significance. Initiatives include hosting world forums, capitalizing on investment opportunities, and establishing a permanent global showcase for Halal products(Arab News)

Trade Developments – Pakistan / Qatar
Pakistan, Qatar vow to enhance bilateral trade, tourism. (May 19, 2023)
Pakistan and Qatar have pledged to enhance bilateral trade and tourism ties. This commitment was made during a meeting between Qatar's Ambassador Sheikh Saud bin Abdul Rahman Al Thani and Pakistan's Minister for Interior Rana Sanaullah in Islamabad. The discussions encompassed various topics of mutual interest, including bilateral relations and the presence of Pakistani workers in Qatar(Dunya News)

Trade Developments – Morocco / Saudi Arabia
Prince Mohammad bin Fahd University signs deal with Moroccan Al Akhawayn University. (June 1, 2023)
Prince Mohammad bin Fahd University (PMU) and Moroccan Al Akhawayn University have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to strengthen cooperation in the scientific, academic, and research domains. The agreement includes collaboration in various academic fields, joint research projects, exchange of academic experiences and students, utilization of available resources, and cooperation in future studies and training. (Zawya)

ESG Developments – UAE
Dubai: Agreement signed to tap $1.3trln global trade of recyclables. (May 5, 2023)
The Global Recycling Foundation and the World Sustainable Business Forum (WSBF) have signed an agreement during the Chief Future Officer Forum in the UAE. This agreement aims to leverage the global trade of recyclables, valued at $1.3 trillion, and contribute to the sustainable future of technology. (Zawya)

Company News – Saudi Arabia
SAUDI ARAMCO: First time an OIC based company is in Top 50 most innovative companies in the world. (May 23, 2023)
Saudi Aramco, the OIC (Organization of Islamic Cooperation) based company, has achieved a significant milestone by being listed among the top 50 most innovative companies globally. This recognition highlights the company's commitment to innovation and its influential position in the global market. (Boston Consulting Group)

Investment – Uzbekistan
TAQA to invest over $3bn in Uzbekistan’s power sector. (May 22, 2023)
UAE-based utilities firm Abu Dhabi National Energy Co. (TAQA) has unveiled plans to invest more than $3 billion in Uzbekistan's power sector. Under a strategic partnership with the Uzbek government, TAQA aims to explore projects and investment opportunities in the country's energy sector. (Arab News)

Investment – Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia’s PIF announces $3bn investment unit for Iraq. (May 25, 2023)
Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund has established a $3 billion investment unit to target industries in Iraq, aligning with its strategy to expand investments in the Middle East and North Africa region. Headquartered in Saudi Arabia, the unit of the Saudi-Iraq Investment Co. aims to invest in infrastructure, mining, agriculture, real estate development, and financial services(Arab News)

Newswrap: OIC

The UAE introduces agricultural reform to boost local production, while Saudi Arabia establishes four special economic zones to attract international investors; Tunisia secures $18 million in funding for infrastructure and medical equipment from AFESD; NEOM awards a $2 billion contract for railway construction; UAE and Morocco aim to double trade and investment, and Egypt allocates $980.3 million to support exports; Iran's non-crude oil trade with OIC countries grows by 15%.


Regulatory - UAE
UAE announces major agriculture and farming reform and tourism opportunities (April 27th, 2023)

The UAE has announced a major agricultural and farming reform aimed at increasing local production and reducing imports. The plan includes providing incentives for farmers and reducing water and electricity costs for agricultural activities. (Arabian Business)

Investment - Saudi Arabia
Four new special economic zones to be established in Saudi Arabia (April 14th, 2023)

Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has announced the creation of four special economic zones in Riyadh, Jazan, Ras Al-Khair and King Abdullah Economic City to attract international investors. The zones will offer competitive tax rates, exemption from customs duties on imports, and 100% foreign ownership of companies, among other benefits. (Arab News)

Investment - Tunisia
Tunisia, AFESD (Arab Fund for Economic & Social Development) sign funding agreement (May 1st, 2023)

Tunisia has signed an agreement with the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development (AFESD) for $18 million in funding. The funds will be used for building and upgrading classified roads in four regions of the country, and to acquire medical equipment for the Tunisian health ministry. (Zawya)

Investment - Saudi Arabia
NEOM awards $2bn contract to join OXAGON with The Line (May 3rd, 2023)

NEOM has awarded a $2bn contract to Webuild and Shibh Al-Jazira Contracting for building a railway line between OXAGON and The Line development. The infrastructure will include 14 viaducts, seven roads, and nine rail underpasses. (Arab News)

Trade Developments - UAE/Morocco
UAE, Morocco to double trade & investment in seven years (May 1st, 2023)

UAE and Morocco aim to double trade and investment exchanges in the next seven years, as part of strengthening cooperation in priority sectors, such as finance, technology, and infrastructure. The agreement was reached during the first-ever UAE-Morocco Joint Economic Committee (JEC) session in Rabat. (Zawya)

Trade Developments - Egypt
Egypt allocates $980.3m to support exports in coming fiscal year: Egyptian PM (April 30th, 2023)

Egypt will increase its support for exports to almost $1 billion in the next fiscal year, up from $262 million, as part of a three-year program. In addition, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi announced the issuance of golden permits to investors to expedite projects and increase investment. (Arab News)

Trade Developments - Iran
Iran's Trade with OIC Grows by 15 Percent to $54 Billion during 11 Months (April 10th, 2023)

Iran's non-crude oil trade with members of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation was worth $54.32 billion, a 15.53% increase in value from the previous year. Trade volume declined by 4.05%, with the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, and Iraq as Iran's top trade partners among OIC members. While weight decreased, Iran's exports to OIC increased in value. (Financial Tribune)

Peak recession fears bring commodities down to earth

Insight by Ole Hansen, Head of Commodity Strategy at Saxo Bank.


The commodity sector remains under pressure from a whole host of negative developments. In early June, the weakness spread from industrial metals – already suffering from China’s zero-Covid policy and continued lockdowns – to all other sectors. The trigger was the stronger than expected inflation print, forcing the FOMC to respond with a 75-basis point rate hike – a move that subsequently led to an increased focus on recession (a word that now features in most market related updates).

In addition, the general reduction in risk appetite amid challenging market conditions have seen the dollar strengthen to levels not realised in decades – most notably against the euro and Japanese yen. A stronger dollar raises the cost of dollar-denominated commodities, thereby adding additional pressures on demand in regions like Europe already struggling with punitive gas and power prices.

China, the world’s biggest consumer of most commodities, continues to struggle with mounting Covid-19 cases, and a challenged property sector. This continues to delay a recovery, especially for industrial metals which have slumped by one-third since hitting a record peak in early March. The challenge to the Chinese economy was highlighted by the 0.4% year-in-year drop in real GDP during the second quarter. While pockets of strength remain due to tight market conditions, the exit from the sector by speculators and the selling from macroeconomic-focused funds may continue to apply downward pressure until the dollar stabilises and inflation begins to retreat, thereby easing the pressure on central banks to maintain their current aggressive monetary tightening stance.


Source: Saxo Group


Inflation being at a multi-decade high, and how central banks try to bring it under control, remains the key focus across markets. While input costs have started to ease through lower commodity prices, the worry persists that central banks’ attempts to force down economic activity by tightening monetary conditions may lead to an economic downturn that could trigger a recession. Currently, the main focus is on Europe, where punitively high gas prices are hurting activity, as well as the U.S., where another shockingly high inflation print at 9.1% for June will likely trigger another 0.75% rate hike when the FOMC meets on July 27.

Since hitting a record high in early June before the US rate hike driving a recession focus and dollar strength, the Bloomberg Commodity Spot Index had suffered five consecutive weeks of losses. This brought the total slump to 17%, with all sectors suffering deep corrections. This was led by industrial metals (-23%), energy (-20%) and grains (-19%). Precious metals have not escaped the rout with silver down 16% and gold 9% during this time.

Crude oil (Brent) continues to trade around $100 per barrel after briefly dipping below key support at $97.5 per barrel – the equivalent in WTI being $93.50. Overall, the market has all but surrendered the gains seen in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, with the attention instead turning to the risk of an economic slowdown hurting demand. This would help reduce the tightness that in recent months propelled prices sharply upwards. President Biden’s visit to Saudi Arabia is unlikely to yield much in terms of additional barrels, not least considering the latest price drop. In the short term, the market will continue to focus on the dollar and Covid-19 outbreaks in China, with the latter resulting in Chinese growth slumping to its lowest since the Wuhan outbreak in early 2020.


Source: Saxo Group


Questions are now being raised about the energy sector’s ability to withstand additional recession-focused selling. We still believe – and fear – that worries about demand destruction will be more than offset by supply constraints. Russia’s ability to maintain its current production levels will be increasingly challenged over the coming months. In addition, we are seeing several OPEC+ members close to being maxed out, with only a few oil providers still being able to raise production.

In the short term, we will see a continued battle between macroeconomic-focused traders selling “paper” oil, through futures and other financial products as a hedge against recession, and the physical market where price supportive tightness remains – most notably in Brent where buyers of physical barrels are paying a near record premium for immediate delivery. In addition, the US will eventually have to stop pumping close to a million barrels per day into the market from its strategic reserves. On that basis, we see Brent crude oil trading not far from support. However, in response to the current recession focus, we lower our Q3 target range to $95 to $115.

Industrial metals: Copper was heading for its steepest weekly decline since early 2020 with the combination of an increasingly challenged Chinese property sector and a global economic slowdown forcing a major adjustment to the short-and-medium-term price outlook for the metal. The Rio Tinto Group, a major supplier and the world’s second largest mining company, warned about the prospects for the global economy in a quarterly update, pointing to war, inflation and tighter monetary policy.

From a technical perspective, the price of High-Grade Copper has, during the past three weeks, cratered non-stop since breaking key support around $3.95. In the process, it has corrected by a massive 61.8% of the $3/lb surge from the 2020 pandemic low to the record high on March 11 this year. Responding to these developments, hedge funds now hold a net short of 26k lots – still well above the 68k lots short held in the aftermath of the pandemic-led slump in early 2020.

A break below $3.14/lb may signal a complete reversal of the uptrend and a return to the pre-pandemic trading range between $2.5 and $3.0. In order to avoid a downward extension of this magnitude, the recessionary pressures and the dollars’ advance both need to slow.


Source: Saxo Group

Precious metals: Gold, just like copper, is heading for its fifth weekly loss – the longest streak in almost four years. During this time, it has slumped by 9%. The main drivers for this are the much stronger dollar, a sharp drop in US 10-year inflation expectations driving up real yields and not least a major headwind from silver, which has behaved increasingly like an under-pressure industrial metal.

For gold to find fresh support, some of these recent headwinds – most importantly the dollar – need to reverse. We view gold’s recent weakness as overdone as the threat of stagflation has not gone away. However, we also respect the market’s ability to create pain, not least during the liquidity-thin holiday months where momentum in either direction is often allowed to run with limited appetite to oppose the prevailing trend. As a result, we have seen a sharp reduction in exposure held by investors in ETFs (Exchange Traded Funds) and speculators in futures. The latter group have cut bullish bets to a three-year low.

Having challenged $1700 for the first time since a brief visit last August, a break below will put $1675 within reach – a level that has provided support on several occasions during the past two years. Meanwhile, silver is down 40% to an 18-dollar handle from the 2021 peak around $30 after slicing through several layers of support. In the process, speculators have switch positions back to the largest net short in more than three years. At this stage, a sentiment change will be needed to prevent further losses and for buyers to return to challenge the mentioned short position.


Source: Saxo Group


European gas prices have more than doubled since early June with Dutch TTF (Title Transfer Facility) benchmark gas futures trading around €170/MWh or $50/MMBtu. Russia has increasingly been weaponising its gas supplies to Europe in retaliation against sanctions and the region’s support for Ukraine through military aid. While a short-term disruption from Norway earlier this week drove prices to €187/MWh, the focus remains on the Nord Steam 1 pipeline – currently shut down for maintenance. The pipeline – which is the main supply channel for gas to the European Union, especially Germany – was already operating at 40% capacity before the shutdown. This added to an energy crunch which is hurting industries while raising concerns about winter supplies. The main concern is whether Gazprom will keep the line shut even after maintenance finishes next week. If so, it will seriously challenge Europe’s efforts to rebuild its inventory levels ahead of the peak winter demand season.

Record high gas prices driving up the cost of heating and electricity are one of the reasons why EURUSD has reached parity for the first time in 22 years. As a result, we are currently seeing a high correlation between Russian gas flows to Europe and the euro. In other words, next week's decision by Gazprom/Russia on Nord Stream 1 shipments may trigger additional weakness or potentially, together with an expected ECB (European Central Bank) rate hike, help create a floor under the common currency.



Agriculture: A combination of dollar strength, emerging supply from recently harvested winter crops, a forecast for strong wheat production in Russia and Australia and a plunge in investor sentiment towards commodities in general, have seen the Bloomberg Grains index return to flat on the year – giving back all the post-invasion gains. The bulk of the weakness has been seen during the five-week window since recessionary fears and the stronger dollar emerged following the June US CPI print and subsequent FOMC rate hike.  

Speculators, sensing a market running out of steam, began cutting back exposure across the six major grain and soybeans contracts in late April. This came after the total length exceeded 800k lots – a level that on three previous occasions during the past decade had led to a sharp reversal in prices and positions. As of July 5, that length had been cut to 391k lots. However, with production uncertainties in the US and especially Europe caused by the current heatwave, we doubt that prices have much further to fall until we get more clarity on production levels.  

Talks held this week in Turkey between Russia, Ukraine and the UN over unblocking millions of tons of Ukraine’s grain exports has been described as constructive and, if successful, it would further reduce the risk of a food crisis over the coming months. Ukraine, a major exporter of high-quality wheat, corn and sunflower oil has seen its main export artery through the Black Sea blocked since March. This helped send wheat and edible oils sharply higher before a level of calm was restored in the early weeks of the war.  

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