Thursday, October 22, 2015

Kuwait Labor Market to Remain Strong

Kuwait's fourth oil refinery on stream

Govt's oil policy based on clear vision
AFTER waiting for more than ten years and obtaining all necessary approvals, Kuwait has finally signed the contract worth $15 billion for building Al-Zour Refinery by the end of 2019. 
Finally, another mega oil project has been approved and is on-stream for completion. It is very important that the construction of the new refinery progresses, as it was postponed more than once. Now that it is on, it is a huge indication that Kuwait is serious about completing its outstanding projects and has finally realized it is time to move forward.
The new refinery is expected to become fully operational by the end of year 2020 with three local refineries of total capacity exceeding 1.2 million barrels per day after closing down Shuaiba Refinery and turning it into an oil terminal
Therefore, the total refining capacity of Kuwait will be close to 2 million barrels inside and outside Kuwait including the refineries in Italy and Vietnam. 
It is indeed good news for the industry as a whole including the commercial arena, traders and small businesses. We must remember that mega projects lead to smaller projects due to which everyone will have work and the commercial activities will be revived. The cash, which will amount to more than $25 billion after taking into account the other refinery project, should be directed to different commercial projects.
Business Opportunities

Kuwait plans new terminal as stop-gap for delayed airport expansion

 Kuwait's government is to build a new terminal at the country's international airport that can handle 5 million passengers a year, as the Gulf state seeks a short-term solution for rising traffic before a larger expansion project is ready. 

The new terminal will lift capacity at Kuwait International Airport to 10 million passengers a year, Yousef al-Fouzan, director-general of Kuwait's Directorate General of Civil Aviation, 

It has tendered the project and has set a deadline of Nov. 3 for bidders to respond. Fouzan said construction would take around 15 months to complete, with the new terminal operational at the start of 2017. 

The proposed terminal will bridge the gap until a much larger expansion project at the airport is ready - one which will boost capacity to 25 million passengers a year but which has already been hit by delays. 

Turkey's Limak Holding and local construction firm Kharafi National won the bid in August to build the new terminal at a proposed cost of 1.312 billion dinars ($4.35 billion). 

Growth Partners

GCC rail will 'spur economic growth'

HE the Minister of Transport Jassim Seif Ahmed al-Sulaiti has stressed that establishment of the GCC railway network will not only facilitate faster movement of people and cargo, but also accelerate the region's economic development. Addressing the concluding session of the 19th annual meeting of GCC transport ministers in Doha yesterday, al-Sulaiti expressed hope that work on the GCC rail network would start without any delay. 

He said there was "excellent co-ordination" between the states and they were aware of the importance of the ambitious project and how it would benefit each of them. Al-Sulaiti said every GCC member-state has initiated a number of significant moves and this has helped facilitate better co-ordination that will eventually contribute to the establishment of the network. While recalling the developments that have taken place in the region's transport sector over the past few years, including the establishment of better road infrastructure, HE the minister said the sector has received utmost attention from the GCC leaders all along and similar support could be expected in future for further progress. 

Besides the development of highways and diversification of transport options, all future developments in the sector would contribute to the faster growth of regional economies in the coming years, he said. Referring to steps taken by the member-states since the meeting of GCC transport ministers in 2003, HE al-Sulaiti said the leaderships of each country was well aware of the positive impact the railway network would have on their economies, once completed. 

Al-Sulaiti said the studies carried out since then have found that the project would be beneficial to the people as well as to the economy of the region. At the 2009 meeting, the leaders agreed to go ahead with their detailed studies, which included - among other issues - the engineering designs and possibility of establishing a GCC railway authority to supervise the entire project. A committee consisting of the transport ministers of the member-states has been assigned to intensify the work as early as possible, incorporating the best international standards, practices and specifications, the minister noted. 

He also reminded the gathering that the development of maritime transport was equally important as it was in line with the requirements of the region's international trade. The minister said all recommendations of the previous meeting held in Kuwait last year have been deliberated upon and priority areas have been shortlisted. Speaking later, GCC secretary-general Abdullatif bin Rashid al-Zayani said the member-states should do necessary follow-up on the Gulf railway project as it would have a considerable bearing on the economy of the entire region. 

Kuwait consumer sector remains robust despite mild moderation - NBK Economic Report
KUWAIT: The consumer sector continued to grow more rapidly than the rest of Kuwait's economy despite some slowdown in growth. Household debt growth remained in the double-digits, though it has moderated over the last twelve months. Consumer spending growth also maintained a robust pace, driven by good sentiment and healthy growth in household income. Indeed, employment growth has been improving over the last 12 months, supporting the consumer sector. While overall expatriate employment has been strong, there was some weakening in skilled expat hiring over the last 12 months.
Household's debt growth stood at 12.5 percent year-on-year (y/y) in July, mostly unchanged from the pace a year ago. Personal facilities excluding credit for the purchase of securities rose to KD 10.2 billion. Most of the growth has been in installment loans, which largely finance home acquisition. Installment loans grew by 15 percent y/y in July, with the pace picking up slightly from a year ago. This most likely reflects the role strong demand for housing plays in driving household debt growth. 
Employment among Kuwaiti nationals has been picking up slightly over the last 12 months, providing some additional support to the sector. New hires among Kuwaitis over the 12 months ending in June 2015 are estimated at 21,900 compared to 20,100 a year before.Net employment growth has been mostly steady at around 3 percent y/y.
Hiring among skilled expatriates appears to have slowed somewhat over the last 12 months, especially among the more highly skilled. Employed non-Kuwaitis with at least a secondary education rose by 8,600 during the 12 months ending in June 2015, down from 15,000 a year before. The weakness was more notable among those with a university education. By contrast, total expatriate employment in the private sector continued to see strong growth, rising by 7.5 percent y/y, implying robust growth in the unskilled segments.


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