“The overall economy was weighed down by shrinkage of 6.4% in the country’s oil sector, according to data released Tuesday by the General Authority for Statistics. Overall growth for 2019 is expected to accelerate to a modest 0.4%, according to the latest government estimates, before climbing to 2.3% next year.”

Abeer Abu Omar, Bloomberg journalist, reporting about the Saudi economy in 2019 and projections for 2020. [Bloomberg.com]



Riyadh’s Night Skies Light Up with New Years Fireworks for the First Time

Riyadh 2020

The night sky over Riyadh was illuminated with fireworks and light shows to celebrate the beginning of the new decade last night.  [more]



Saudi Market Witnesses 7% Growth in 2019

in aawsat.com : The Saudi stock exchange total gains in 2019 amounted to 7 percent, especially with the Aramco IPO and traders rushing to buy its shares. The Saudi stock index closed at levels nearing 8,400 points at the end of 2019 trading, and managed during recent transactions to establish important technical support points, which is required for a positive performance of most of the shares of traded companies.

Saudi mortgage loans surge in 2019, with $18bn offered in year up until November

Via Gavin Gibbon in arabianbusiness.com : Residential villas proved the most popular when it came to mortgage funding, with SR7.192bn ($1.918bn) provided; while residential apartments were funded to the tune of SR1.3bn ($347bn); followed by residential lands at SR546m ($145.6m).

US readies 4,000 troops for deployment to Middle East amid Baghdad unrest: report

Via John Bowden in thehill.com : As many as 4,000 U.S. troops are reportedly on standby for possible deployment to Kuwait after demonstrators, including members of an Iranian-backed militia, breached the walls of the U.S. Embassy compound in Baghdad.



Saudi Aramco IPO

Interview at Davos: Aramco International Listing ‘Still on the Cards,’ Saudi Arabia Finance Minister Says

Saudi Arabian Finance Minister Mohammed Al-Jadaan discusses the recent $5 billion debt issuance, the state of the Saudi economy, and the prospect of an international...[via bloomberg.com]



More efforts needed to bridge gender, generation gaps in labor market: Saudi conference

The two-day T20 Inception Conference brought together experts from all over the world to discuss a range of essential issues covering climate, energy, migration, youth,...[By Rashid Hassan via arabnews.com]


Saudi Bonds

Saudi Arabia Issues $5 Billion of Bonds as Gulf Tensions Ease

The kingdom issued $5 billion of debt, taking advantage of low borrowing costs globally. It’s seeking to plug part of its growing budget deficit by...[By Archana Narayanan and Matthew Martin via bloomberg.com]


Saudi Youth Development Survey of 2019

Youth make up over two-thirds of Saudi Arabia: Survey

Youth, categorized as individuals aged 0-34 years, make up 67.02 percent of the total population of Saudi Arabia, according to a report released by the...[By Matthew Amlôt via alarabiya.net]


Pensacola Shooting

At Florida base, a mix of relief, anxiety in Saudi shooting aftermath

With an FBI investigation underway, Navy security officer David Link still is not allowed to talk about what he saw when a Saudi gunman killed...[By Phil Stewart via reuters.com]



Saudi Arabia to Screen Travelers From China After Virus Outbreak

Saudi Arabia will start screening passengers arriving from China and take other preventive measures following the outbreak of the new coronavirus in China, the kingdom's...[via nytimes.com]


Women in the Workforce

First military section for women introduced in Saudi Arabia

Under the initiative to incorporate more women into the field, previously announced in October 2019, women can now join the military as lance corporals, corporals,...[via thenews.com]


Study Abroad

From the field: The new student recruitment landscape in Saudi Arabia

The Saudi government began to wind down the KASP scholarship programme in 2016, and Saudi numbers in all major receiving countries began to drop off...[via icef.com]


Saudi Projects

Fifteen of the top projects currently shaping Saudi Arabia

The kingdom is pouring billions into a suite of gigaprojects, transport and mobility schemes, such as Riyadh Metro, designed to wean the country off its...[By Gavin Gibbon via arabianbusiness.com]



Teneo Signs Up to Manage PR Unit of Saudi Mega-City

The New York-based firm’s duties include leading and staffing Neom’s PR unit to ensure that the development’s corporate messages and positioning are effectively communicated. It also...[By Kevin McCauley via odwyerpr.com]



Saudi Arabia’s taxis go green

The green vehicles will be monitored and tracked to document quality of service and driver efficiency, equipped with screens that support both Arabic and English...[By Aseel Bashraheel via arabnews.com]



Small Earthquake hits Saudi Arabia, Iran

In Saudi Arabia, the earthquake was recorded at 10:27 pm local time. The magnitude of the quake was 3.9 on Richter scale....[via siasat.com]



Saudi Arabia renews call for Sudan to be removed from US terror blacklist

Bashir was toppled by the military last year, but the country remains on the list along with Syria, Iran and North Korea. In recent months, Saudi...[via middleeasteye.net]


“Future’s Folktales”

Saudi anime series ready for liftoff

The 13-episode series takes place in a futuristic reimagining of the Kingdom, showcasing tales of Saudi heritage that have been passed down from generation to...[By Hala Tashkandi via arabnews.com]



US troops fire tear gas at pro-Iran protesters in Iraq

The militiamen were protesting deadly U.S. airstrikes that targeted Kataeb Hezbollah on Sunday, killing 25 fighters. Those strikes were in response to a rocket attack...[By Qassim Abdul-Zahra via apnews.com]



Trump threatens Iran over violent protest in Iraq

Mr Trump tweeted that Iran "will pay a very big price" for any damage or loss of life. "This is not a warning, it is...[via bbc.com]



Top US diplomat Mike Pompeo to raise Uygur issue with Beijing’s allies on upcoming Central Asian tour

During his visit to eastern Europe and central Asia from Friday through January 7, Pompeo will conduct meetings with representatives from a number of countries...[By Owen Churchill via scmp.com]



Airstrike kills 3 in Libya’s Tripoli

Three civilians were killed in an airstrike that hit a civilian area in southern Libyan capital Tripoli, the UN-backed government's forces said in a statement. The...[via xinhuanet.com]



Palestinian Fatah marks 55 years with West Bank marches

Established by Yasser Arafat in 1965, Fatah led the armed struggle against Israel for decades as the main component of the Palestine Liberation Organization. The...[via stripes.com via AP]



Egypt draws ire with artifacts’ move to busy Tahrir Square

Egypt’s recent decision to transport ancient Pharaonic artifacts to a traffic circle in the congested heart of Cairo has fueled fresh controversy over the government’s...[via washingtonpost.com]



Perspective: A new decade presents new opportunities for the Middle East

The region endured more than its share of tragedies in the 2010s. We must reflect on them to avoid repeating the same mistakes in the...[via thenational.ae]


Troop Deployment

US readies 4,000 troops for deployment to Middle East amid Baghdad unrest: report

As many as 4,000 U.S. troops are reportedly on standby for possible deployment to Kuwait after demonstrators, including members of an Iranian-backed militia, breached the walls of...[By John Bowden via thehill.com]


Exxon Mobil

Exxon Mobil secures large exploration position offshore Egypt

Exxon Mobil received leases to explore 1.7 million acres offshore of Egypt, including 1.2 million acres in the North Marakia offshore block that’s about five miles offshore...[via oilandgas360.com]



Spurned by Neighbors, Qatar Aims for Self-Sufficiency

Before June 2017, when Qatar's neighbors severed diplomatic and trade ties, the oil-rich Arab gulf state imported nearly all its food through the Saudi border...[By Jacob Wirtschafter via voanews.com]


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