Gulf In Focus

Saudi, Oman call for continued oil cooperation

Saudi Arabia and Oman called for continued cooperation between OPEC and other allied producers to stabilise the oil market, the Gulf states said in a joint statement.

Saudi Arabia, the biggest oil producer in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, and Oman, a small non-OPEC producer, are both part of the OPEC+ alliance, which includes other nations such as Russia.

OPEC+ scrapped talks last week to adjust their agreement on oil output curbs after a dispute between Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, another OPEC producer in the Gulf. The dispute halted plans to pump more oil into the market where crude prices have recently hit 2-1/2 year highs.

OPEC+ have said they will decide later on a date for a new meeting, without signalling whether a compromise had been reached.

Oman’s leader, Sultan Haitham bin Tariq al-Said, visited Saudi Arabia on Sunday on his first official overseas trip since assuming power 2020.

Bahrain bans entry from 16 new countries-BNA

Bahrain civil aviation affairs said on Tuesday that entry will be banned from 16 new countries including Tunisia, Iran, Iraq, Mexico, Philippines, south Africa and Indonesia over coronavirus concerns, the state news agency (BNA) reported.

Bahrain had suspended entry of travellers from countries on its “Red List” in May, a list that included India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Nepal.

Bahrain has excluded citizens and residents with valid residency visas from the ban.

Turkey, Kuwait to enhance defense, business ties

Turkey and Kuwait have the potential to improve bilateral cooperation in the fields of health and defense, Turkey’s Parliament Speaker Mustafa Şentop said Monday.

Şentop arrived early Monday in Kuwait for a two-day visit along with a delegation of deputies. He was welcomed at Kuwait International Airport by Secretary-General of the Kuwait National Assembly Farz Al-Daihani and Turkey’s Ambassador to Kuwait Ayşe Hilal Sayan Koytak.

Şentop held meetings with Kuwaiti Crown Prince Sheikh Meshal Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah at Bayan Palace and later with Prime Minister Sabah Al-Khalid Al-Sabah. After the meeting with prime minister Al-Sabah, Şentop said that

“the deep-rooted ties” based on common cultural and humanitarian values ​​strengthen the friendship between the two countries.

Noting that Kuwait has a long way to reach its 2035 targets, Şentop said relations can be further strengthened in this context.

“An agreement was reached for cooperation in Naaim Industrial City, which will be one of Kuwait’s major projects. We hope that the investments of Kuwaiti companies in our country, which already exceed $2 billion, will continue to increase. We also have the potential to improve our cooperation in the fields of health and defense,” he said.

Şentop added that cultural ties will also be strengthened with the opening of a Yunus Emre culture center in Kuwait, which will provide Turkish courses.

Şentop expressed appreciation for Kuwait’s mediation efforts for the peaceful resolution of the crisis between the Gulf countries and Qatar.

“We also welcomed the positive results of the summit held in Al-Ula in January,” he said.

Qatar economy remains resilient amid covid-19

The impact of the Covid-19 crisis on the global economy has cast a shadow on the Qatari economy, but the measures taken by the State of Qatar and the economic stimulus packages for the affected economic sectors contributed to the resilience of its economy, as many indicators show.

The proactive attitude and quick adaptation to changes formed a basic pillar of the country’s plans and programmes, and flexibility was adopted to be the main approach in dealing with various regional and international challenges, especially during the current situation witnessed by all countries of the world following the pandemic and the drop in oil and gas prices, as affirmed by HE the Minister of Commerce and Industry and Acting Minister of Finance Ali bin Ahmed al-Kuwari on more than one occasion.

Since the spread of Covid-19 in March 2020, the state adopted a set of flexible proactive measures to prevent the spread of the virus, accompanied by financial stimulus policies for the affected sectors at a value of QR75bn, while exempting food and medical commodities from customs duties for a period of six months as an early response to future repercussions or consequences of the pandemic. These policies had an important role in reviving the resilience of the Qatari economy.

Saudi and UAE reach compromise in OPEC+ standoff

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have reached a compromise deal in a standoff over OPEC+ crude output quotas, according to media reports citing sources within OPEC+.

Earlier this month talks between OPEC and its allies led by Russia, a grouping known as OPEC+, fell apart over a dispute that pivoted on individual quotas for pumping crude.

At issue was how much oil Abu Dhabi would be allowed to produce under a proposed deal that sought to add an extra 2 million barrels per day of crude to the market to cool oil prices.

Crude prices have recently soared to their highest levels in two and a half years as economies around the globe – especially more developed ones- cast-off COVID-19 restrictions, boosting demand for energy.

After Reuters news agency reported that Saudi Arabia and the UAE had struck a compromise, global benchmark Brent crude fell by roughly $1 towards $75 per barrel. Both countries are major OPEC producers.

Last year, oil prices crashed after COVID-19 lockdowns gutted global crude demand and Saudi Arabia piled even more pressure onto markets by declaring an oil price war after it could not get its fellow OPEC+ members to agree to deep cuts.

Trade emerges as latest flashpoint in deepening Saudi-UAE rivalry

Trade threatens to become the latest flashpoint in the economic and strategic rivalry between Riyadh and Abu Dhabi and risks adding to tensions in the six-nation Gulf Co-operation Council after Saudi Arabia imposed new tariffs on imports from its neighbours.

The levies, which came into force this month, range from 3 to 15 percent and apply to products made by any company based in its Gulf neighbours whose workforce does not include 10-25 percent of that country’s nationals. Riyadh said the move was aimed at stopping its industries from being undercut by cheap foreign labour.

But it rides roughshod over the GCC’s customs union, under which most products from non-GCC nations are subject to a 5 percent tariff and trade between GCC members — Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain and Oman — is mainly tariff free.

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