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Greek islanders dismayed by way of plan to scale up fish farming


POROS, Greece: At the sunny quay of the picturesque Greek island of Poros, veteran fisherman Spiros Papaioannou makes no bones about drawing close plans to amplify fish farming. “We don’t need them on our island,” the rubber-booted guy in his seventies grumbled whilst cleansing his nets. “We fishermen are going to be chased away, that’s needless to say,” he mentioned. Greek-Spanish workforce Avramar, which gifts itself as the sector’s main manufacturer of Mediterranean fish, already operates a number of fish farms in Poros.

The Greek state has lengthy deliberate to make the Saronic Gulf island of three,000 population close to the Peloponnese peninsula some of the nation’s best aquaculture websites for sea bream and sea bass, which basically finally end up at French and Italian eating places. In the end, fish farms would duvet 1 / 4 of the island, 600 hectares on land and 269 hectares at sea. A Mediterranean nation with greater than 15,000 kilometers (9,300 miles) of beach, Greece is raring to increase its aquaculture trade and has earmarked 25 websites for fish farm set up. The Ecu Union has allotted 92 million euros ($101 million) to advertise aquaculture in Greece by way of 2027.

Consistent with the Hellenic Aquaculture Manufacturers Group (HAPO), the trade in 2021 noticed a seven % building up in quantity to 131,000 lots. In Poros, annual manufacturing would building up eightfold to greater than 8,800 lots from 1,100 lots recently over the following 5 years, in line with native undertaking managers POAY Poros. Poros mayor Yannis Dimitriadis is amongst the ones adverse to the initiative, which he says will endanger the island’s current tourism trade. “Sure to maritime tourism, no to fish farming”, learn a banner striking from the Poros cultural centre construction. Poros “is 95 % dependant on tourism, at once or not directly,” Dimitriadis instructed AFP.

POROS, Greece: An aerial photograph presentations fish farms at the Poros Island, on July 5, 2023. Greek-Spanish workforce Avramar already operates a number of fish farms in Poros. – AFP

Provoking the stability “We’re going to change into an commercial zone, calling into query the entire stability of our economic system”, added the mayor, who claims to have already two times met High Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis to provide an explanation for his opposition to the undertaking. Contacted by way of AFP, the Avramar workforce, which accomplished a turnover of 157 million euros in 2021, didn’t want to supply main points. “The undertaking is in a initial segment. On the other hand, we will guarantee you that we’re dedicated to transparency and can proportion updates once we’re ready to take action,” the gang mentioned in a commentary. Consistent with POAY Poros, the Greek state is anticipated to approve the undertaking by way of November 2024.

‘Now not Mykonos’ With its pastel-colored constructions and oleander and bougainvillea-filled squares, Poros gifts itself as a a ways cry from the mega resort fashion. “We don’t need to be Santorini or Mykonos,” defined Magdalena Iwaszko, proprietor of a small resort close to the island port. “Vacationers come right here to loosen up… the established order of fish farms would have huge environmental penalties. No person desires aquaculture right here,” she mentioned. Poros’ merit is “crystal transparent waters and an untouched coast,” the hotelier argues. The ocean off the northern a part of Poros is dotted with huge floating cages. “I’m really not (essentially) adverse to fish farms,” mentioned fisherman Tasos Ladas, acknowledging that Greek seas are “being emptied of fish 12 months after 12 months” a method or every other.

“They’re a vital evil. Nevertheless it must be carried out as it should be, with strict protocol and controls—and no longer in vacationer spaces,” the fisherman famous. Mayor Dimitriadis could also be anxious in regards to the setting, arguing that the top focus of fish in small basins encourages illness. He’s additionally eager about the potential for fish waste and administered medication and chemical substances, corresponding to formaldehyde. “All this then spreads into the ocean,” he says. Fish farms deny those accusations, insisting that protective the surroundings and making sure fish well being are very important to their trade. – AFP

China imposes export curbs on essential metals, drones


BEIJING: Chinese language controls on exports of 2 metals essential to creating semiconductors got here into pressure on Tuesday, an afternoon after Beijing imposed curbs at the international gross sales of a few drones. The Biden management has in fresh months stepped up measures to limit Chinese language corporations’ get entry to to essentially the most complicated semiconductors. China, which seeks to turn into self-sufficient in semiconductor design, says the ones measures are aimed toward keeping up US supremacy within the box. From Tuesday, Chinese language corporations searching for to export gallium or germanium will wish to download a license, in line with a directive from the Ministry of Trade.

Beneath the brand new regulations, they’re going to additionally wish to supply knowledge at the ultimate recipient and provides information about their finish use. China accounts for 94 p.c of the arena’s manufacturing of gallium—utilized in built-in circuits, LEDs and photovoltaic panels—in line with a document via the Eu Union revealed this 12 months. For germanium, very important for fiber optics and infrared, China makes up 83 p.c of manufacturing. The export curbs “ship a transparent sign that China holds the entire energy on this unhealthy recreation”, analyst James Kennedy advised AFP, calling the curbs “an unambiguous message” to america.

“If the USA chooses additional escalation, China’s subsequent reaction could have penalties.” For now, he mentioned, China “goals to reason at least harm” to america, as a result of their wishes in gallium and germanium are “low” and the metals can also be got in other places. The measures come because the Biden management mulls recent curbs on Chinese language get entry to to high-tech chips, in addition to on outbound US investments in China. Drone export ban In addition they observe curbs via Beijing at the exports of sure forms of unmanned aerial cars, often referred to as drones.

As of September 1, exporters would require a license laying out their finish use in addition to different main points sooner than they may be able to be bought in a foreign country. A China trade ministry spokesperson mentioned the transfer was once now not aimed toward “any explicit nation or territory”. However they did cite the danger of drones “being transformed for army use” in justifying the limitations. China is a significant exporter of drones, with the US-blacklisted DJI representing greater than 70 p.c of worldwide marketplace proportion, in line with CNBC. The corporate’s drones are reported to were used broadly via either side within the warfare in Ukraine.

In April 2022, DJI mentioned it was once quickly postponing trade in each Russia and Ukraine whilst it “internally re-evaluate(ed) compliance necessities”. America has accused China of mulling fingers shipments to beef up Russia’s marketing campaign—claims Beijing has strongly denied. A US intelligence document ultimate week mentioned Beijing most probably provided Moscow with dual-use civilian-military apparatus hired in Ukraine, however famous that it’s “tricky to determine the level to which (China) has helped Russia evade and circumvent sanctions and export controls”. – AFP

Gulf Financial institution receives buyer lawsuits via cell app


KUWAIT: As a part of its efforts to keep in touch extra temporarily and successfully, Gulf Financial institution is receiving lawsuits in the course of the Cell Utility, the place the lawsuits are gained by means of the Proceedings and Buyer Coverage Unit and addressed inside of 15 operating days. This aligns with the directions of the Central Financial institution of Kuwait, so to improve the safety of shoppers – by means of organising a balanced dating between banks and their shoppers – this is guided by means of the most efficient global practices on this box.

The Deputy Common Supervisor of Shopper Banking at Gulf Financial institution, Bader Al-Ali mentioned that if shoppers wish to record a grievance in the course of the specified mechanisms, they should bear in mind the next:

1. The Buyer Proceedings and Coverage Unit paintings to discover a resolution, or rationalization, for a buyer’s grievance, inside the framework of the implementation of the phrases of the contractual dating between the buyer and the financial institution.

2. The Buyer Proceedings and Coverage unit works 5 days per week, from Sunday to Thursday, from 8 am to a few pm, and is closed on weekends and public vacations.

3. Proceedings submitted are addressed and spoke back to inside of 15 industry days.

4. The paintings of the unit is proscribed to responding to shoppers’ lawsuits; therefore, the Buyer Proceedings and Coverage unit can’t carry out banking transactions equivalent to: Activating accounts, canceling, soliciting for, activating credit cards, converting a cell phone quantity, or updating buyer data.

5.    The reaction to the written grievance is completed in the course of the Buyer Grievance and Coverage Unit at Gulf Financial institution, and no longer in the course of the Central Financial institution of Kuwait. In case the buyer gadgets to the reaction, he should record a complaint to the Central Financial institution of Kuwait in the course of the mechanism discussed on Gulf Financial institution’s web site or the Central Financial institution of Kuwait’s web site.

Al-Ali added: “We’re continuously speaking with our shoppers, taking note of their necessities and finding out lawsuits with nice accuracy and a spotlight, with the purpose of temporarily responding to their banking wishes.” Gulf Financial institution’s imaginative and prescient is to be the main Kuwaiti Financial institution of the Long term. The Financial institution is continuously enticing and empowering its staff as a part of an inclusive and diverse administrative center in reputation of each worker’s function in turning in buyer excellence and serving the group at huge.

With its intensive community of branches and leading edge virtual services and products, Gulf Financial institution is in a position to give its shoppers the number of how and the place to behavior their banking transactions, all whilst making sure a easy and seamless banking revel in. Gulf Financial institution is dedicated to keeping up tough tendencies in sustainability at environmental, social and governance ranges via numerous sustainability tasks, strategically decided on to profit the Financial institution each internally and externally. Gulf Financial institution helps Kuwait Imaginative and prescient 2035 “New Kuwait” and works with more than a few events to reach it.

Kuwait’s credit score expansion muted in H1


KUWAIT: Home credit score expansion remained vulnerable in Q2 at 0.2 % q/q, translating right into a YTD build up of 0.8 % (+3.3 % y/y). Upper rates of interest, banks’ decrease price war on the subject of retail lending, and normalizing expansion following a robust 2022 are one of the most elements in the back of the weak spot this 12 months. Having a look forward, whilst a extra favorable political backdrop and ongoing momentum in mission awards would possibly enhance industry credit score we word that, traditionally, industry credit score expansion has been a lot weaker in the second one part of the 12 months than in H1. Trade credit score larger through a restricted 0.4percent q/q translating into YTD expansion of one.6 %.

This follows a robust 6.8percent expansion in 2022, the quickest annual enlargement since 2013. The business sector used to be, through some distance, the primary motive force of expansion in Q2, expanding through a forged 6.3percent q/q whilst “different services and products” and “oil/gasoline” had been the weakest, shedding through 3percent and a couple of.1percent, respectively. From a YTD viewpoint, “business” and “development” are the quickest rising, in combination accounting for 84 % of the overall build up in industry credit score. The specifically rate of interest delicate “actual property”, the field’s heavyweight with a 41 % proportion, is up through 0.9 % YTD (+5.6 % in 2022) after a robust upward thrust in June, having been within the crimson for many of 2023. Having a look forward, we word that industry credit score expansion is normally a lot weaker in the second one part of the 12 months.

Then again, an ongoing growth in mission awards, that are up through just about 140 % y/y in H1, particularly if accompanied through a sustained favorable political backdrop would possibly enhance industry credit score expansion in the second one part of the 12 months. In the meantime, family credit score remained flat for the second one consecutive quarter, a pointy slowdown following two very robust years. Upper rates of interest, easing price war some of the banks given the upper price of price range, softening shopper spending expansion, and decrease actual property gross sales are all elements that experience contributed to this primary slowdown in family lending.

On a y/y foundation, general credit score is up through 3.3percent thru June (industry +2.1percent, family +3.7percent), slower than the 5.1percent recorded on the finish of Q1. Deposit expansion softening Resident deposits larger through 0.6 % q/q, lifting YTD expansion to two % (+1.6 % y/y). In continuation of Q1, private-sector deposits larger, even supposing marginally, in Q2 and executive deposits soared whilst public establishments’ deposits (accounting for 13 % of resident deposits) remained on a downtrend, in reality falling through a steep 20 % since Might 2022.

YTD, private-sector deposits are up through 2.9 %, executive deposits soared through 16 % whilst public establishments’ deposits fell through 10 %. Inside of private-sector KD deposits, and for the 5th consecutive quarter, expansion in time deposits outpaced that of CASA. Since March 2022, when hobby rate-liftoff commenced, time deposits are up through 29 % whilst CASA is down through 12 %.

Bargain price hike In spite of everything, the Central Financial institution of Kuwait (CBK) tracked the USA Fed in mountain climbing charges through 25 bps in its July assembly, bringing cumulative hikes within the bargain price to two.75 % since March 2022, in comparison with a cumulative 5.25 % build up through the Fed. Whilst the Fed left the door open for additional hikes in the rest of the 12 months, relying principally on how inflation will evolve, the latest (June) dot-plot signifies one ultimate 25 bps hike in 2023 whilst present futures marketplace pricing signifies that the mountain climbing cycle is completed.

ABK holds first half of 2023 analyst convention name


KUWAIT: Al-Ahli Financial institution of Kuwait (ABK) just lately held its analyst convention for the primary half of of 2023. Attended by means of Shiamak Soonawalla, Crew Leader Finance Officer Abdulaziz Jawad, Leader Technique Officer and Yaqoub Almulla, Senior Supervisor of Investor Members of the family, the decision concerned a dialogue of ABK’s first-half monetary effects. Hosted by means of EFG Hermes, an in depth presentation used to be performed at the Crew’s efficiency and fiscal signs throughout the primary half of of the yr. Moreover, the audio system additionally shared insights on ABK’s upcoming strategic plans.

Shiamak Soonawalla

Ongoing expansion Soonawalla expressed his enjoyment of turning in but some other a hit half-year efficiency. He mentioned, “ABK’s effects show excellent growth and delivered accountable expansion for our shareholders with an completed Internet Benefit of KD 23.9 million for the primary half of of 2023, representing a 30 % build up over the related half of of 2022. Moreover, Profits according to Proportion reached 11 fils, an build up of 38 % in comparison to 8 fils within the earlier yr.” The Crew CFO affirmed that the monetary efficiency within the first half of of 2023 displays persevered development in underlying working drivers, sturdy mortgage expansion, decrease provisions and impairments, a wholesome balance-sheet, at ease liquidity ranges, and as olid capital base.

Moreover, he highlighted that the Financial institution continues to take pleasure in a aggressive benefit because of the distribution of ABK’s operations around the UAE and Egypt. He mentioned, “The Crew’s geographical footprint helps earnings technology, mortgage distribution, and deposit assortment. The Crew’s global operations include the operations of its UAE branches and ABK-Egypt subsidiary, contributing about 39 % of working source of revenue and 35 % of belongings.” Soonawalla additionally introduced that web working benefit totaled KD 44.3 million, which used to be led by means of a 2 % development in Working Source of revenue to KD 88.3 million compared to KD 86.3 million within the first half of of 2022.

In the meantime, the non-performing mortgage ratio used to be at 1.36 % with a mortgage loss protection ratio for the gang of 376 % in 2023, and extra provisions of KD 195 million over IFRS necessities in keeping with Central Financial institution of Kuwait pointers. Strong efficiency Soonawalla highlighted that the Crew maintained strong working efficiency with a web passion margin of two.1 % and working benefit to reasonable belongings of one.4 %. Those effects as soon as once more mirror cast efficiency by means of the Crew and show the continuing expansion in its companies. He mentioned, “The Crew additionally has top liquidity ranges with a web strong investment ratio of 110 %, a Liquidity Protection Ratio of 245 %, and a self-funded stability sheet with a Buyer Deposit of KD 4 billion with buyer deposits accounting for 71 % of general liabilities.”

Soonawalla mentioned that the Crew has proven strong general fairness throughout the remaining 3 years and a powerful capital place with a Tier 1 ratio of 12.7 %, and a complete Capital Adequacy Ratio of 15.1 % within the first half of of 2023. The Crew’s Working Source of revenue of KD 88.3 million breaks right down to 44 % in business banking, 44 % in retail banking, and 12 % in treasury. As for the Crew’s breakdown in belongings, 59 % is in business banking, 13 % in retail, and 28 % in treasury. Overall Hobby Source of revenue at KD 195 million for the primary half of of 2023 mirrored a powerful expansion of KD 79.5 million (69 %) over the primary half of of 2022, led principally by means of sturdy asset expansion and stepped forward rate of interest setting. Charges and commissions source of revenue contributed KD 16.7 million.

He persevered, “The Crew’s working bills mirror persevered investments in key trade tasks, virtual applied sciences and processes. This allows the Crew to provide best-in-class provider to shoppers and optimize sources to beef up operational potency.” Moreover, Soonawalla discussed that the Crew has taken provisions in bizarre direction of industrial for retail and company shoppers in Kuwait and in a foreign country places. The Crew stays dedicated to its conservative means in managing credit score exposures and provisioning. Strategic good fortune In his section, Jawad famous that throughout the primary half of of 2023, the macroeconomic international panorama skilled sluggish enhancements.

Quite a lot of financial signs and key components performed a pivotal function in shaping the full efficiency of the economic system and a decline in international financial institution credit score disasters. He mentioned, “As central banks proceed their campaigns to sluggish inflation, each the United States and Europe are more likely to keep away from recessions by means of Federal Reserve (Fed) at the side of different central banks all over the world looking to defeat inflation by means of impulsively elevating rates of interest. The Fed raised the objective vary for the Fed price range fee by means of 25bps to five.25 percent-5.5 % in its July 2023 assembly, which continues to push borrowing prices to the very best degree for the previous 22 years. Therefore, the Central Financial institution of Kuwait larger the bargain fee by means of 25bps to achieve 4.25 % following the Fed build up.”

Shifting to Kuwait, Jawad elaborated that the economic system is forecasted to be cast with a lot of drivers to believe, together with a newly elected cupboard and transparent executive plan of development on large-scale tasks. He discussed a 2 % projected upward push within the nation’s oil and fuel GDP, leaving the non-oil sector as the main motive force of total GDP expansion. Kuwait’s 2022-2023 price range reported a surplus of KD 6.4 billion, the primary surplus completed up to now 9 years. Additionally, Kuwait’s executive intends to adopt 107 tasks in its 4-year program as a part of the just lately printed Kuwait Construction Plan. Jawad persevered, “ABK’s profitability ratios additionally larger as ROAA and ROAE reached 0.65 % and eight.3 % respectively in tandem with bettering asset high quality ratios in addition to protection ratio.

We’re neatly above each our present 9.5 % minimal CET1 and 13.5 % minimal CAR together with D-SIB.” It’s price noting that ABK’s lengthy credit standing by means of Fitch stands with an (A) with a strong outlook and (A2) from Moody’s with persevered seen expansion in most of the key markets ABK operates in. Virtual transformation Jawad shared ABK’s vital growth in its virtual transformation efforts in the course of the opening of its first absolutely digitized department in Al-Khiran Mall in Kuwait. He commented, “This has enabled us to streamline our operations, supply higher buyer revel in, and make bigger our buyer base. Having a look forward, we stay dedicated to forcing innovation and expansion in our trade. We’re succesful in our technique and our skill to execute, and can proceed to invest within the spaces that may pressure long-term worth for our stakeholders.”

At the technique facet, ABK continues to ship on its 3 main pillars, specifically (1) Scaling & Developing Worth, (2) Maintaining & De-Risking, and (3) Innovation and Enablement, which have been translated to nearly 100+ key tasks. He mentioned, “Those are monitored on a per thirty days foundation with a view to be certain the a hit execution of our technique, which is consistent with our first half of 2023 monetary effects.” Credit score amenities Proceeding his dialogue on ABK’s technique, Jawad mentioned that, consistent with the function of changing into the global banking hub for the Crew, the ABK DIFC department effectively closed a 37-month (with a 12-month extension possibility) USD 600 million Asian centered syndicated time period mortgage facility. This inaugural transaction will sign in ABK with the most important facility by means of quantity from a Kuwaiti borrower focused on the Asian marketplace to this point.

The deal used to be neatly won in Asian markets and, at the again of over the top call for, used to be upsized to USD 600 million from the preliminary release goal of $500 million. The landmark financing closed with a complete of eleven Asian lenders. Capital build up Commenting at the financial institution’s capital build up, Jawad mentioned, “ABK could also be lately expanding its capital and has received the approval of the Capital Markets Authority (CMA) and Central Financial institution of Kuwait for the request to extend the financial institution’s capital. The approval is to extend the proportion capital by means of KD 50 million (with out the proportion top rate), providing a rights factor of 500 million new stocks for subscription with the proper of preemption for the financial institution’s shareholders.

Moreover, an EGM used to be hung on 17 July 2023 and the approval to extend capital used to be received. We’re lately within the ultimate levels for the CMA approval to begin the subscription procedure.” ESG and sustainable finance He persevered, “ABK completed expansion in all key efficiency signs and has confirmed its dedication and management in Company Social Accountability (CSR) by means of collaborating in quite a lot of neighborhood, reduction, and humanitarian tasks outside and inside Kuwait. Our dedication to sustainability is going past simply complying with rules; it’s a elementary a part of our strategic imaginative and prescient. We consider that ESG is a very powerful for the longer term good fortune of our financial institution and the wellbeing of the communities we serve.”

That being mentioned, ABK is finalizing a complete, up to date ESG technique that aligns with its core trade goals at the side of across the world famend sustainability frameworks, such because the United International locations Sustainable Construction Targets, United International locations Rules for Accountable Banking and the just lately presented Global Sustainability Requirements Board (ISSB) requirements. Jawad highlighted that this technique will act as a roadmap to combine ESG components into each side of ABK’s operations, making sure the proactive control of ESG dangers and capitalization at the offered alternatives. He persevered, “We also are enforcing an ESG coverage that units transparent pointers for accountable practices throughout all our trade actions.

Now not handiest will this coverage information our inside operations, however it’s going to additionally lengthen to our interactions with shoppers, companions, and providers, selling sustainable practices all over our whole worth chain.” Jawad concluded his remark by means of highlighting one of the most vital milestones in ABK’s sustainability adventure – the approaching implementation of a Sustainable Finance Framework. He mentioned, “This framework will facilitate the investment of tasks that undoubtedly give a contribution to society and the surroundings. By means of directing capital in opposition to sustainable tasks, we goal to boost up the transition to a extra inclusive and low-carbon economic system, whilst maximizing worth for our stakeholders.”