UN: Technology, environment and business key to kickstarting Gulf fisheries – Arab News

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The UN Food and Agriculture Organization says building a large scale fishing industry involves a mixture of three things — technology, environment and business.
Lionel Dabbadie, the senior fisheries and aquaculture officer at the international body is tasked with helping governments across the Gulf boost their seafood sectors.
“We work at a technical level with regional governments,” Dabbadie, originally from the French island of Reunion but now based in Abu Dhabi, told Arab News.
He added: “We try to identify business models that can work in the Gulf and how countries can generate economies of scale, that includes the private sector, to improve profitability.
Saudi Arabia, for instance, plans to attract over $4 billion of foreign and local investment into its fishing industry as part of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 scheme to diversify the economy.
According to Dabbadie, Gulf seas are challenging for aquaculture because of their warm temperatures and high concentrations of salt.
He said: “We need to identify where it makes sense to introduce aquaculture – and then develop business models in terms of the most appropriate species, and what technologies can be used to maximize profitability.”
Dabbadie lists three conditions for a successful seafood industry in a Gulf country.
“The first is to have suitable technology”, he added. “What works in China will not necessarily work in another part of the world. It could be an offshore cage, an inland farming operation using a combination of solar panels and tanks, or a water recycling (fish farming) technique known as a recirculated aquaculture system. The technology must fit both nature and people.”
He added: “Then you need what we call an ‘enabling environment’, for example, large volumes of fish seed and fish feed – in the thousands of tons – and a logistics and supply chain.
“And finally, you need a healthy business culture in which companies exchange knowledge and information and can tackle the challenges they’re going to face.”
Dabbadie believes a successful fishing industry in the region needs cooperation.
“This will avoid wastage of human and natural and financial resources, enable faster results, build up regional trade and prevent disease from entering the supply chain from other parts of the world”, he said.
The UN officer also recommends government support for smaller firms.
He added: “2022 is the international year of artisanal fisheries. This is aimed at highlighting the fact that most of the fish produced today comes from small firms. But they are not very well recognized, so we are organizing several conferences this year to highlight the importance of the sector.”
Dabbadie is optimistic about the commercial potential for Saudi Arabia’s aquaculture and fisheries industries, particularly when around 179 million tons of aquatic food are produced globally per year. 
“Saudi Arabia currently accounts for a small portion (around 140,000 tons a year, according to government data) – but it also means a lot of room for growth.”
The US trade deficit increased in December as imports surged amid the restocking of shelves by businesses, culminating in the largest shortfall on record in 2021.

The Commerce Department said on Tuesday that the trade deficit rose 1.8 percent to $80.7 billion in December.
Data for November was revised lower to show a $79.3 billion gap instead of the previously reported $80.2 billion.
Economists polled by Reuters had forecast a $83.0 billion deficit.

The deficit jumped 27.0 percent to $859.1 billion in 2021. That was the highest on record and followed a $676.7 billion shortfall in 2020.
RIYADH: Profits of the Saudi Investment Bank, also known as SAIB, have jumped to SR1.06 billion ($283 million) during 2021, bolstered by a fall in expenses.
This represents an 8.38 percent profit leap from SR979 million a year ago, according to a bourse filing.
The hike in profits was mainly attributed to lower operating expenses as well as an increase in net special income, the bank said in a statement.
Owing to lower provisions for credit losses that fell by 39.7 percent during the year, operating expenses of the bank were cut by 6.5 percent.
The bank’s earnings per share edged up from SR1.25 to SR1.34 in 2021.
RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s main index, TASI, closed lower on Tuesday, following a decline in the oil market.
The main index, TASI, closed down 0.19 percent, at 12,226 points, while the parallel market, Nomu, climbed 0.33 percent to 25,366 points.
In energy trading, Brent crude reached $90.84 per barrel, and US benchmark WTI traded at $89.69 per barrel as of 3:29 p.m. Saudi time.
Saudi Automotive Services Co., SASCO ranked first among today’s gainers, with an increase of 7.90 percent gain.
Saudi Enaya Cooperative Insurance Co. was the highest faller, with a 4.68 percent decline 
The largest player in the Saudi oil market, Aramco ended the session 0.54 percent higher.
Al-Othaim Markets Co. gained 2.80 percent, despite a 32 percent fall in net profit for 2021 to SR305 million ($81 million).
Leading Saudi fitness company, Leejam Sports Co. edged up 3.23 percent following the appointment of a new CEO
In the financial sector, Saudi Arabia’s largest valued bank, Al Rajhi bank declined by 0.67 percent, while Bank Aljazira climbed 1.58 percent.
 
The European Union agreed on Tuesday to prolong until June 30, 2025 permission for Britain’s clearing houses to continue serving customers in the bloc, with officials saying it would be the final extension.

Clearing has become a Brexit battle ground between Britain and the EU as the bloc seeks control over euro-denominated trades to build “strategic autonomy” in capital markets.

The London Stock Exchange’s LCH unit in London clears about 90 percent of euro interest rate derivatives, a contract widely used by companies in the EU to insure themselves against unexpected moves in borrowing costs.

Mairead McGuinness, financial services chief at the executive European Commission, said she will also propose measures to reduce “our excessive dependence” on major clearers based outside the bloc and to improve the attractiveness of EU-based clearers while enhancing their supervision as volumes increase.

The EU was forced to extend clearing permission for LCH and two other clearers in London, ICE and LME Clear, after failing to persuade banks and their customers to shift the activity from London to Deutsche Boerse’s Eurex in Frankfurt fast enough.

An abrupt end to cross-border clearing would have disrupted markets, but EU officials believe three years will be long enough to shift enough business without needing a further extension.

“It’s clearly the end of the road, there will be no extension after those three years,” an EU official said.

Eurex said on Tuesday that average daily cleared volumes in interest rate swaps grew to a record 276 billion euros ($314.75 billion) in January, a market share of 22 percent.

“In the long run, euro clearing has to take place in Europe,” said Markus Ferber, a German member of the European Parliament, adding London has benefited from EU inaction.

REDUCTION TARGETS

The EU’s 46-page consultation paper is asking for views on possible “negative and positive” incentives, such as forcing EU market participants to open and use a clearing account with the clearer in the bloc, and imposing targets on customers to cut their use of specific UK clearers.

Incentives could include hiking capital charges on EU banks exposures to UK clearers to encourage a shift in clearing across the Channel, along with forcing more private and public entities like asset managers and pension funds in the EU to clear their trades, an EU official said.

The range of products that must be cleared could also be broadened.

EU customers account for a minority of the London Stock Exchange’s euro clearing business, and the bourse said it was focused on ensuring orderly functioning of markets. ICE had no immediate comment.

The four-week consultation period will be followed by a “communication” setting out the way forward, with a legislative proposal in the third quarter.

Data would be collected from market participants to monitor how their exposure to UK clearers is cut over time, but EU officials declined to say how much clearing would need to move to satisfy the bloc’s authorities.

Banks have warned they could shift clearing from London to the United States, where clearing houses already have long-term access to EU customers.

Eurex focuses on euro-denominated clearing but banks say they want to stick with LCH in London because it offers clearing across several currencies to cut the amount of capital and collateral needed.
 
Europe’s gas storage will run out in six weeks if a Russian invasion of Ukraine disrupts supplies, a leading energy consultancy has warned.
The report from UK group Wood MacKenzie said it will be impossible for European countries to find alternative volumes to meet demand.
The warning comes hard on the heels of US President Joe Biden’s threat to shut down Russia’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline if Russian President Vladimir Putin attacks Ukraine.
Nord Stream 2, which is not yet operational, stretches for almost 800 miles from Russia across the Baltic into Germany.
Any threat to it could force Putin to react, potentially cutting off Russian supplies to Europe through its existing pipeline.
Wood MacKenzie said: “Were all gas flows (from Russia) to stop today, existing gas storage would run out in six weeks. Demand destruction would be massive and if the disruption was prolonged, gas inventory couldn’t be rebuilt through the summer.”
It added: “We’d be facing a catastrophic situation of close to zero gas in storage for next winter. This scenario highlights how dependent Europe has become on Russian gas and the critical role diplomacy and commercial sensibilities have to play to ensure supplies keep flowing.”
Europe gets almost 40 percent of its natural gas from Russia and the report said it would be impossible to find alternative supplies to meet its current demand.
Against the backdrop of a fall in Russian gas exports to Europe, Liquefied Natural Gas imports have doubled in recent years and accounted for about 20 percent of Europe’s gas supply in 2021.
However, the consultancy said: “LNG volumes into Europe surged through the fourth quarter (of 2021) to hit record levels in January. Warmer temperatures in Asia prompted LNG traders to reroute cargoes to take advantage of higher prices in Europe, temporarily reducing European buyers’ requirements of Russian imports. That though has now reversed with the arrival of cold weather lifting Asian spot LNG prices.”

The controversial Nord Stream 2 outlet bypasses Ukraine and Poland and has been at the center of Putin’s standoff with Kiev. Critics say that the natural-gas pipeline will strengthen Russia’s hand in Europe and isolate Ukraine.
The pipeline, which would sharply reduce the cost to Russia of exporting its gas, is still awaiting final approval from the European Union but Ukraine is concerned once Nord Stream 2 is operational it will lose around $2 billion (SR7.5 billion) a year in so-called transit fees.
European gas imports from the existing Nord Stream pipeline, which runs through Ukraine, have halved since 2019 amid accusations that Putin was withholding supplies to Europe to drive up prices and pressure regulators to approve Nord Stream 2.
Wood MacKenzie said: “Russia also has a lot to lose – not least its reputation as a reliable supplier of gas; and Nord Stream 2 which is in danger of becoming a white elephant. Should Europe choose to wean itself off Russian gas it’s a bullish signal to LNG developers in the US, Qatar and beyond.”
Germany relies on Russia for around 50 percent of its natural gas supplies and would be the biggest beneficiary of Nord Stream 2 should it and the EU give it final approval.
Berlin has been accused of failing to support fellow NATO members in Eastern Europe as Russia has built up around 100,000 troops on the Ukraine border in recent weeks.
While NATO members have sent weapons and advisers to Kiev, Germany sent 5,000 helmets for Ukrainian troops.
Russia’s central bank is estimated to be sitting on $600 billion in reserves giving it an ample short term buffer in the event it is hit with sanctions on its banks or the country’s energy exports.
 

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