“2,716,858 Umrah visas have been issued this Umrah season with 2,272,163 pilgrims arrived by air, 133,110 arrived by land and 7,299 arrived by sea. Those who arrived included 568,536 Pakistanis, 505,217 Indonesians, 292,822 Indians, 137,834 Egyptians, 124,951 Malaysians, 94,854 Turks, 90,894 Bangladeshis and 89,006 Algerians.”

Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Hajj and Umrah, announcing the latest data on Umrah visits issued this year. This year’s Umrah season extends from August 17, 2019 to June 21, 2020.  Although there is a surge of Umrah pilgrims during the annual Hajj, pilgrims visit Saudi Arabia during much of the year. [arabnews.com]



Using ‘Greenshoe Option’, Saudi Aramco Raises IPO to Record $29.4B; Banks Seek ‘Incentive Fee’


Saudi Aramco sold millions of additional shares of its initial public offering using a so-called “greenshoe option” that has raised the size of its IPO by nearly $4 billion. [more]



Saudi, U.A.E. Banks to See Jump in Loan Demand as Profit Lags

Via Archana Narayanan in bloomberg.com : While banks in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates can look forward to burgeoning loan growth in 2020, higher earnings could be slow to follow as lower interest rates pressure profit margins.

After Florida killings, Saudis withdraw 21 cadets from United States

Via Mark Hosenball in reuters.com : Saudi Arabia will withdraw 21 cadets receiving military training in the United States following a U.S. investigation into a Saudi officer’s fatal shooting of three Americans at a Florida naval base that U.S. Attorney General William Barr on Monday branded an act of terrorism.

Selwa Al-Hazzaa: The Saudi doctor giving the gift of sight

Via Noor Nugali in arabnews.com : Last November, Selwa Al-Hazzaa, alongside her colleague Dr. Mohamed Khuthaila and a medical team consisting of entirely of Saudis, put the Kingdom on the map as the first country in the Middle East, and the 5th globally, to utilize LUXTURNA, the first USA FDA-approved gene therapy treatment for any genetic disorder to treat blindness in children.



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]


Ukraine International Airlines

Iran announces arrests over downing of plane that killed 176

The announcement came amid an upswell of anger and protests by Iranians in recent days over the downing of the jetliner last Wednesday and apparent...[By Nasser Karimi and Aya Batrawy via apnews.com]


GCC Economies

U.S.-Iranian Tensions Offer Stress Test for Gulf Arab Economies

The World Bank slashed growth forecasts for Gulf economies, owing to geopolitical tensions and lower oil demand, and Moody’s issued a negative outlook for Gulf...[By Robert Mogielnicki via agsiw.org]


Al-Asad Attack

U.S. commanders at al-Asad base believe Iranian missile barrage was designed to kill

The attack lasted more than an hour and a half, commanders said, with explosions illuminating the landscape for miles. In interviews, more than a dozen...[By Louisa Loveluck via washingtonpost.com]


Qasem Soleimani

Trump authorized Soleimani’s killing 7 months ago, with conditions

"There have been a number of options presented to the president over the course of time," a senior administration official said, adding that it was...[By Carol E. Lee and Courtney Kube via nbcnews.com]


U.S. Congress

Senate vote to limit Trump’s military actions against Iran in limbo

The Senate vote on halting military action against Iran is up in the air, with the upcoming impeachment trial and Tuesday’s presidential debate scrambling the...[By Marianne Levine via politico.com]


Oil Markets

U.S. oil growth to slow, may spur shale buyouts: Schlumberger’s Papa

U.S. oil output growth is expected to slow over the next five years, likely prompting oil majors to “gobble up” smaller shale oil producers, Mark...[By Marwa Rashad via reuters.com]



China’s 2019 annual crude imports set record for 17th year

China’s crude oil imports in 2019 surged 9.5% from a year earlier, setting a record for a 17th straight year, as demand growth from new...[By Chen Aizhu via reuters.com]



BlackRock Puts Climate at Center of $7 Trillion Strategy

The BlackRock Inc. chief executive officer issued his strongest warning yet to business leaders on the climate crisis, and said his firm will take steps...[By Annie Massa via bloomberg.com]



Commentary: Manufacturing New Loyalties in the UAE

Emiratis are believed to form just 11.5 percent of the United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) total population of 9 million, the vast majority of which is...[By Will Todman via csis.org]



Libya’s Haftar left Moscow without signing ceasefire deal

Haftar asked for a delay until Tuesday to consider signing, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told a news conference on Monday. Hours later, however, Haftar...[via gulfnews.com]



Syrian army urges civilians to leave last rebel enclave; Russia offers 3 ways out

Backed by Russian jets, Syrian forces had pounded towns in the northwestern rebel bastion in recent weeks, displacing hundreds of thousands of people. At least...[By Sarah Dadouch via washingtonpost.com]



For these Syrian artists, humor is essential to coping with oppression and war

There is an Arabic proverb that says the worst tragedies are the ones that make you laugh. Alzakout is part of a flourishing community of...[By Marta Vidal via washingtonpost.com]



Japan pursues regional diplomacy to defuse Gulf tensions

Japan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates should work together to de-escalate the tense situation in the Gulf, a Japanese foreign ministry official said...[By Dahlia Nehme ]


Global Debt

Global debt rockets toward potentially destabilizing record high

Developed countries, known as mature markets, are now burdened with a total of $180 trillion in debt, or 383% of their combined GDP, Reuters said....[By Theresa Braine via nydailynews.com]


Recent Editions