Posts tagged ‘Saudi Arabia’

11/10/2016

Diaspora Dollars Dwindle: Indian Remittance Growth Slips to 12-Year Low – India Real Time – WSJ

India’s global army of expatriates–which does everything from writing software in Silicon Valley to building skyscrapers in in Qatar–is the world’s most generous when it comes to number of dollars sent home, but this year they have become a bit stingy.

Recently released World Bank estimates predict the Desi diaspora will send home $65.45 billion this year. While that is just above remittances into China ($65.17 billion) and tens of billions beyond any other country, it is a 5% decline from last year.

The last time India saw a bigger slide in remittances was back in 2004 when remittances fell 11%.

Globally, remittances are expected to edge up about 1% this year, the World Bank predicted, so why is India underperforming?

The main problem is that many of the Gulf Cooperation Council countries have been struggling with the decline in oil prices. That has meant they are hiring fewer Indians, providing fewer perks to their international employees and in some countries even restricting the number of foreigners that can be hired.

“This year the South Asia region would see a decline of 2.3% in remittances to the region due mainly to the impact of declining oil prices and labor market nationalization policies on remittances from GCC countries,” the report said. “Moving forward remittance growth in the region is expected to remain subdued.”

Some parts of the southern state of Kerala and other regions in India that depend on remittances are already starting to feel the pain from the decline in oil riches.

The World Bank expects remittance growth to return, expanding 2.2% in South Asia next year and 2.3% the year after that. Globally remittance growth will likely be stuck below 4% for years, the bank said.

“Remittances continue to be an important component of the global economy, surpassing international aid. However this ‘new normal’ of weak growth in remittances could present challenges for millions of families that rely heavily on these flows. This, in turn, can seriously impact the economies of many countries around the world bringing on a new set of challenges to economic growth,” said Augusto Lopez-Claros, Director of the World Bank’s Global Indicators Group.

Source: Diaspora Dollars Dwindle: Indian Remittance Growth Slips to 12-Year Low – India Real Time – WSJ

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01/08/2016

How Cheap Oil Is Squeezing South Asia’s Cash Lifeline – India Real Time – WSJ

Chronically low oil prices are disrupting a critical financial lifeline across Asia and depriving economies of much-needed hard currency.

The flow of cash, or remittances, from Asian citizens working in the Gulf soared when the price of oil was high, boosting growth across the board. The billions of dollars in annual inflows paid for necessities such as schooling and health care and helped propel families into the middle class for the first time.

Now that money is disappearing, perhaps permanently, as laborers lose work in oil-driven Mideast countries. That’s adding a new threat to growth in some Asian nations and depriving them of currency inflows they need to balance their national accounts and keep their currencies from depreciating too quickly.

A barrel of Nymex crude is now trading at around $41, up from below $30 earlier this year. But prices are a long way from the peak of the boom and aren’t expected to return to previous highs soon. In February 2014, a barrel of crude cost more than $100.

Demonstrating the pressures of sustained low prices, thousands of Indian workers protested in Saudi Arabia on Saturday at being left without jobs, pay and food after they were laid off. The Indian government stepped in over the weekend to hand out food to hungry workers.

Source: How Cheap Oil Is Squeezing South Asia’s Cash Lifeline – India Real Time – WSJ

18/06/2016

New App Promises to Tell Indian Farmers When to Sow Crops – India Real Time – WSJ

Monsoon season in India has just begun, but farmers in Andhra Pradesh, a southeastern coastal state of India, won’t need to look to the skies to know when to sow their crops.

A new mobile application launched earlier this month and developed by a local agriculture research institute, Microsoft India and the state government tells farmers in the state which week is perfect for sowing seeds, the health of their soil and other indicators.

The app uses rainfall data collected from farms in 13 districts in Andhra Pradesh over 45 years to give farmers a sense of when to start planting, Suhas P. Wani, director of Asia research at the International Crops Research Institute for Semi-Arid Tropics or ICRISAT, a research organization in Hyderabad said.Farmers are asked to register a mobile number with the state government, choose a language–currently limited to the regional Telugu and English–and enter details of the village, district or sub-district.

The advice received could vary from farmer to farmer and from village to village, Mr. Wani said. “The app has crop-specific information such as 10 years of groundnut sowing progress data” to guide farmers who grow specific crops, he added.

He said that constant data on crop yield was being collected on a monthly basis by field officers and sent for evaluation to provide regular forecasts to farmers.

A weather button shows the temperature and rainfall as well as fertilizer recommendations for the day and projection for the next seven days. Additionally, a farmer can get weather alerts for extreme conditions like hailstorms or unseasonal rains that impact crop yields.

Andhra Pradesh logged the highest number of farmer suicides in the country last year. At least 58 farmers took their own lives in the state, according to an agriculture ministry report.

But not every farmer can afford to invest in expensive smartphone technology.

So far, most of the farmers have requested to be sent the information via SMS message. Mr. Wani said once registered, farmers can get the predicted sowing date through SMS. “The main idea behind the application is to help farmers reduce losses by telling when to sow seeds or spray the plants,” he said.

The application will be rolled out in other Indian states next year, based on feedback from farmers in the state, he added.

Source: New App Promises to Tell Indian Farmers When to Sow Crops – India Real Time – WSJ

09/06/2016

India plans expanded missile export drive, with China on its mind | Reuters

India has stepped up efforts to sell an advanced cruise missile system to Vietnam and has at least 15 more markets in its sights, a push experts say reflects concerns in New Delhi about China’s growing military assertiveness.

Selling the supersonic BrahMos missile, made by an Indo-Russian joint venture, would mark a shift for the world’s biggest arms importer, as India seeks to send weapons the other way in order to shore up partners’ defenses and boost revenues.

The government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has ordered BrahMos Aerospace, which produces the missiles, to accelerate sales to a list of five countries topped by Vietnam, according to a government note viewed by Reuters and previously unreported.

The others are Indonesia, South Africa, Chile and Brazil.The Philippines is at the top of a second list of 11 nations including Malaysia, Thailand and United Arab Emirates, countries which had “expressed interest but need further discussions and analysis”, the undated note added.

A source familiar with the matter would only say the note was issued earlier this year.New Delhi had been sitting on a 2011 request from Hanoi for the BrahMos for fear of angering China, which sees the weapon, reputed to be the world’s fastest cruise missile with a top speed of up to three times the speed of sound, as destabilizing.

Indonesia and the Philippines had also asked for the BrahMos, which has a range of 290 km and can be fired from land, sea and submarine. An air-launched version is under testing.

Source: India plans expanded missile export drive, with China on its mind | Reuters

27/08/2015

India’s Hard-Working Expat Army – The Numbers – WSJ

Compared with expatriates from other countries, expats from India are younger, better-educated, harder-working and much more likely to be male. A new survey of people working far from home by the expat social group InterNations also suggests Indian expats are much more likely to pick a partner from home and less likely to settle in the country in which they currently work. While there is debate about exactly how expats differ from other migrant workers, any definition would have to include many of the millions of Indians who help run companies, build software and erect buildings across the globe. Indians have proven to be the highest ranked group of migrants to the U.S., in terms of education and pay. Indian-born leaders now run everything from Microsoft Corp. to Google Inc.

The InterNations survey of 14,400  self-declared expats living in 64 countries  offers some interesting insights into what India’s world-wide web of non-resident road warriors looks like. Here are a few numbers from the survey.

80% Around 80%, or four out of five, Indian expatriates who responded to the InterNations survey are male. That’s really lopsided. The average for all countries combined in the survey was about 47% male.

36.5 years Indians that took part in the survey were 36.5 years old on average. That is younger to the broader expat populace, which had an average age of 40.9 years. 45.2 hours Indian expats said they worked an average of

45.2 hours a week. While that is probably not enough overtime to get you to the top of Google like Sunder Pichai, it’s 3.2 hours more than the average expat.

92% More than 90% of those surveyed had a college degree or higher. On average only 83% of the world’s expats graduated from university. Data on Indians enrolled in U.S. schools show they are often more likely to go for advanced degrees. The education of globe-trotting Indians is also seen in their language abilities.

Close to half (48%) of the people surveyed said they could speak four or more languages. 9 out of 10 Compared with other expatriates,

Indians were much more likely to pick a partner from home. Around 89% of Indians in the survey said they were with someone from their home country. On average, expatriates around the world are usually more likely not to choose someone from home. Only 43% of those surveyed said they had a partner from their countries of origin.

12% Nearly a quarter of expats say they would consider settling in the country where they are currently working. For Indian expatriate workers, however, the number is just around one in eight.

Source: India’s Hard-Working Expat Army – The Numbers – WSJ

09/06/2015

China Headlines: How is the Chinese Dream changing the world? – Xinhua | English.news.cn

On the way toward the renaissance of its ancient glory, China is inspiring its people and the world with a new concept: the Chinese Dream.

Put forward by Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, in November 2012, the Chinese Dream of Great Renewal has not only struck a chord with the Chinese people, but been, believe it or not, changing the world.

PROFOUND CHANGES IN CHINA, WORLD

The ancient Chinese civilization had a broad influence on the world. Now China is “coming back” as it is reemerging as a great power.

For this reason, many people began to read “Xi Jinping: The Governance of China”, a book that outlines the full political ideas of the top Chinese leadership.

Xi’s book has sold 4.5 million copies worldwide, with an overseas circulation of some 400,000, a record for any Chinese leader’s publication in nearly four decades.

It is becoming increasingly easy to pin down a definition of the Chinese Dream. On cabs and billboards, the Chinese Dream is described as “a prosperous country, a revitalized nation and a happy people”.

The Dream is also elaborated on as “two centenary goals” — to double the 2010GDPand per capita income of urban and rural residents and complete the building of a moderately prosperous society by 2020; and to build a modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced and harmonious by the middle of this century.

If the development plan comes true, it will be one of the most earth-shaking developments since the First Opium War (1840-1842), not only for China but also for global history.

In a report published last year, London-based advertising company WPP said the Chinese Dream “enjoys a much higher level of awareness than the American Dream or British Dream.”

DREAMS OF 1.3 BILLION PEOPLE

China’s population outnumbers that of theUnited States, theEuropean UnionandJapancombined, accounting for about one fifth of the world’s total.

It is unprecedented in the history of human civilization for a country of such a scale to rejuvenate.

The Chinese Dream is the dream for every Chinese individual. In the Three Gorges reservoir region in central China’s Hubei Province, 35-year-old farmer Zhou Xingliang’s dream is quite ordinary: he wants his son to grow up healthy and go to a good college, and for he and his wife to be able to take good care of their parents.

Several hundred kilometers away, in Danjiangkou City, chicken farmer Tan Yong has different aspirations. Dreaming of inventing, the 44-year-old man made a two-tonne submarine with a red star painted on the cabin door. The sub can dive 10 meters below the water surface.

For the entrepreneurial Cantonese Zhang Qinwei, his dream of a “gold rush” in Dubai came true. In 12 years, Zhang expanded his business from a four-square meter shop to a wholesale mall of Chinese products.

As president of the Guangdong Chamber of Commerce in the United Arab Emirates, Zhang now dreams of helping more Chinese companies do businesses there.

via China Headlines: How is the Chinese Dream changing the world? – Xinhua | English.news.cn.

04/04/2015

Yemen crisis: China evacuates citizens and foreigners from Aden – BBC News

China’s navy has evacuated 225 foreign nationals and almost 600 Chinese citizens from Yemen‘s southern port of Aden, amid fierce fighting there.

Chinese navy receives evacuees from Aden, 2 Apr 15

China says it is the first time its military has rescued foreign nationals from a danger zone.

Houthi rebels in the city have been fighting troops loyal to ousted Yemeni President, Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi.

On Friday, the rebels withdrew from the presidential palace, following Saudi-led air strikes.

Over the past two weeks, fighting in Yemen has left more than 500 people dead and some 1,700 wounded, UN humanitarian chief Valerie Amos said.

Warplanes have dropped weapons and medical aid to fighters defending Aden

This week, Shia Houthi rebels pushed through to the heart of Aden using tanks and armoured vehicles.

But on Friday they were forced from the Crater neighbourhood and the presidential palace they overran the day before.

Saudi-backed fighters loyal to Mr Hadi also say they received an airdrop of arms supplies from coalition planes.

Elsewhere in Yemen, a military base in the south-eastern port city of Mukalla was taken over by al-Qaeda militants on Friday. It happened a day after fighters broke into the town’s jail freeing prisoners.

A military official said al-Qaeda “took the headquarters of the 2nd Military Region in the afternoon without resistance”.

Chinese naval frigates were carrying out anti-piracy patrols off the coast of Somalia when they were diverted to Yemen to evacuate people trapped by the fighting.

The evacuees were taken by naval frigates across the Red Sea to Djibouti, to take flights home.

The non-Chinese evacuees included 176 people from Pakistan, said Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying. There were smaller numbers from other countries, including Ethiopia, Singapore, the UK, Italy and Germany.

Ms Hua said it was the first time China had helped evacuate foreign citizens – and only the second time that China has used warships to evacuate its own citizens from a conflict zone, says the BBC’s Martin Patience in Beijing.

via Yemen crisis: China evacuates citizens and foreigners from Aden – BBC News.

06/03/2014

Refiners Eye Better Oil Deal Terms on U.S. Boom: Corporate India – Businessweek

India, Asia’s second-biggest energy user, is in talks with Saudi Arabia and Kuwait for better terms on oil contracts as surging U.S. output frees up supplies.

Hindustan Petroleum Gas Cylinder

Hindustan Petroleum Corp. (HPCL), India’s third-largest state refiner, is seeking to at least double the interest-free credit period for crude purchases from Saudi Arabia and Kuwait to 60 days, B.K. Namdeo, the company’s refineries director, said in Mumbai. Mangalore Refinery & Petrochemicals Ltd. (MRPL) wants price discounts for agreeing to contracts that are more than 10 years long, according to Managing Director P.P. Upadhya.

“Discussions are going on, and we expect the extended credit period to be reflected in the new contracts from April 1,” Namdeo said. “There is a surplus in the market, and India should take full advantage of the situation.”

via Refiners Eye Better Oil Deal Terms on U.S. Boom: Corporate India – Businessweek.

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13/02/2014

* Rice Exports From India Climbing to Record on Mideast Demand – Businessweek

Rice shipments from India, the world’s largest producer after China, will probably expand to a record as buyers from Iran to Saudi Arabia boost purchases of aromatic basmati grain used in biryani and pilaf dishes.

Exports are set to increase 7.8 percent to 11 million metric tons in the 12 months through March from a year earlier, said M.P. Jindal, president of the All India Rice Exporters Association. Sales of basmati may jump 14 percent to 4 million tons as cargoes of non-basmati varieties advance 4 percent to 7 million tons, he said in a phone interview.

Shipments are increasing from India as Thailand, once the world’s biggest supplier, is also set to boost exports. The Southeast Asian country has built record stockpiles big enough to meet about a third of global import demand under a buying program that started in 2011. Farmers are demanding the government sell the reserves to pay for their crop.

via Rice Exports From India Climbing to Record on Mideast Demand – Businessweek.

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29/09/2013

Chinese pilgrims head for Saudi Arabia – China Daily

BEIJING – A total of 290 Chinese Muslims took off in a charter flight here for Saudi Arabia on Saturday evening for the annual pilgrimage to Mecca, according to the State Administration for Religious Affairs.

English: A picture of people performing (circu...

English: A picture of people performing (circumambulating) the . This picture taken from the gate of Abdul Aziz seems to divide the Kaaba and the minarets into mirror images of one another. Français : Pélerins en train de réaliser la Circumambulation (ou Tawaf) autour de la Ka’ba. Photo prise depuis la porte Ibn Saud, d’où la vue présente une symétrie en miroir presque parfaite. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

These passengers, coming from various regions including the provinces of Hubei, Jiangsu, Guangdong, Heilongjiang and the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, marked the last group of more than 11,800 Chinese Muslims who have all left for this year’s pilgrimage, said a statement released Saturday by the administration.

The Mecca pilgrimage, also known as the Hajj, is a Muslim religious tradition that specifies that all able-bodied Muslims who can afford to travel to Saudi Arabia must visit Mecca at least once in their lifetime. According to the administration, professional medical experts were sent together with the pilgrim team to ensure the health of pilgrims.

via Chinese pilgrims head for Saudi Arabia |Society |chinadaily.com.cn.

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