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IMF projects UAE’s economic growth at 3.7 per cent in 2019

Dubai: The UAE economy is projected to grow at 2.9 per cent in 2018 and 3.7 per cent in 2019 against and estimated growth of 0.8 per cent, according to the latest regional economic outlook report of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

“Growth projections are based on the significant increase in oil prices and the progress the country has made in fiscal adjustments on both revenue and expenditure side. Going forward, we expect the improved government revenues to reflect on the growth in non-oil economy,” said Jihad Azour, director, Middle East and Central Asia Department of the IMF.

The IMF projects strong growth revival in both Abu Dhabi and Dubai in next two years. In 2018, Abu Dhabi’s GDP is projected to grow by 2.7 per cent and 2019 by 3.4 per cent, against 0.5 per cent growth in 2017.

Dubai’s GDP is projected to grow at 3.3 per cent in 2018 and 4 per cent in 2019 compared to a 2.8 per cent growth recorded in 2017.

“Recent oil price increase is yet to trickle down to private sector growth in the UAE and Saudi Arabia. With fiscal and structural reforms already set in motion, it is an opportune time for encouraging growth in non-oil private sector,” said Azour.

The IMF observed that higher oil prices and slower pace of fiscal consolidation are boosting near term growth pro-spects for the region’s oil exporters. GDP growth for oil exporters is projected at 1.4 per cent in 2018 and 2 per cent in 2019.

In GCC countries, following a contraction in 2017, growth is projected to recover and reach 2.4 per cent in 2018 and 3 per cent in 2019. As for the non-oil sector, growth is projected to remain steady at 2.4 per cent.

For oil-importing countries in MENA, growth is expected to continue at a modest pace of 4.5 per cent in 2018, be-fore dropping back to 4 per cent next year, the IMF said.

This level of growth is not sufficient to create the required jobs for a region marred by instability and civil strife, it said. Oil revenues for MENA exporters have increased by about $260 billion (230 billion euros) over the period 2016 to 2018.

This has mostly been due to a price rise generated by production cuts in nations belonging to the OPEC, as well as non-OPEC producers.

Source: https://gulfnews.com/business/imf-projects-uaes-economic-growth-at-37-per-cent-in-2019-1.1542096043901

Bahrain seeks to boost tourism to Hawar Islands

The CEO of Bahrain Tourism and Exhibitions Authority (BTEA), Shaikh Khaled bin Humood Al Khalifa met with acting CEO of Southern Tourism Company, Captain Abdulla Al Murbati, to discuss strategies to boost tourist numbers to Hawar Islands.

The meeting, in line with the directives of the Deputy Prime Minister and Chairman of Bahrain Mumtalakat Holding Company, Shaikh Khalid bin Abdulla Al Khalifa, saw both parties discuss plans currently underway to develop and transform Hawar Islands into an attractive tourist destination. They also discussed increasing collaboration efforts in order to prepare an integrated programme with the aim of increasing tourists visiting Hawar Beach Hotel and the surrounding area through hosting events and activities throughout the year.

“We appreciate the confidence shown by Shaikh Khalid bin Abdulla Al Khalifa in trusting the BTEA to position Hawar Islands as a major attraction in the kingdom. During the meeting with Southern Tourism Company, we discussed the unique and distinctive tourism offerings of Hawar Beach Hotel, which will further contribute to the kingdom’s tourism sector and the national economy as a whole,” said Shaikh Khaled.

Further commenting on the meeting, Captain Al Murbati said: “The meeting held with Shaikh Khaled bin Humood Al Khalifa was extremely fruitful, and provided us with the opportunity to collaborate more closely in order to highlight Hawar Islands’ offerings, particularly Hawar Beach Hotel and the surrounding area; as it is truly unique from the other islands in the Kingdom.”

“The additional efforts in driving tourists to Hawar Islands throughout the year have come as a result of the increase we have witnessed in the number of tourists visiting the Islands as of the start of 2018 up until the third quarter, in comparison to the same period last year. Moreover, there was an increase in the occupancy rate as well as the number of daily trips taken,” Captain Al Murbati added.

The BTEA’s strategy focuses on developing the kingdom’s tourism sector by offering unique tourist attractions, further positioning it as an ideal tourist destination on a regional and international level under the slogan of ‘Ours.Yours.’, which contributes to the Kingdom’s economy and the 2030 Economic Vision.

Southern Tourism Company is owned by Bahrain Mumtalakat Holding Company – the government’s sovereign wealth fund – and specialises in operating the hotel and sea transportation to and from Hawar Islands. –TradeArabia News Service


Source: http://www.abc-bahrain.com/News/1/284185

Over 4,000 visitors attend Halal Expo Dubai

More than 4,000 visitors, mostly buyers and sellers of halal products and services, from 40 countries, as well as over 75 companies from 15 countries, attended the 10th Halal Expo Dubai, which opened yesterday (October 29) in Dubai, UAE.

The two-day expo kicked off just two months after Duai Islamic Economy Development Centre recognised the show as part of the Islamic Economy Week.

The recognition will facilitate the trade of UAE halal products worldwide and acceptance of UAE halal standards in the international markets, as well as markets that accept UAE’s halal certification, of which there are 60 markets globally, said a statement.

The UAE is home to 5,000 importers, manufacturers and stockists of halal products. Emirates Authority for Standardisation and Metrology (Esma), the country’s standardisation authority, is expected to issue 18,000 halal certification this year – which is one of the highest in the world.

Companies from Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Spain, Pakistan, Switzerland, India, the UK, Brunei, Thailand, China and the UAE are participating at the show.

These developments are a direct result of the vision of the government as envisioned by HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, when he declared his plan to transform Dubai as the global capital of Islamic Economy in 2013.

Subsequently, the government has created Dubai Islamic Economy Development Centre (DIEDC), which is supporting the Halal Expo Dubai.

The global halal economy is estimated to touch the $6.4 trillion (Dh23.48 trillion) mark by 2018, up from $3.2 trillion in 2012, according to a latest report, while Dubai reinforces its position as the capital of the global Islamic economy as it opens doors to the 9th edition of the Halal Expo Dubai.

The GCC countries import $50 billion (Dh183 billion) worth of halal products, according to a latest research by Farrelly and Mitchell – a food and agri-business specialist. Of this, the UAE’s Halal import bill is $20 billion (Dh73 billion), or about 40 per cent of the GCC’s Halal products imports.

Raees Ahmed, director of Orange Fairs and Events, organiser of the Halal Expo – Dubai, 2017, said: “Expo is part of our efforts to help Dubai strengthen its position as the global hub of Halal and Islamic economy.”

“The two-day exhibition will create the right meeting point for international buyers, sellers, producers, manufacturers, importers, exporters and wholesalers of Halal and Islamic products and services and help generate businesses for the leading international Halal suppliers through Dubai,” he said.

“Halal foods are considered to be healthy and hygienic. A growing number of non-Muslim consumers prefer halal foods, as they are deemed safer. As a result, the distribution of halal foods has expanded beyond traditional markets in cities such as Shanghai which has 80,000 Muslims,” he added.

Globally, Muslim expenditure on food and beverage (F&B) was estimated at $1.12 billion in 2014 and potentially rising to $1.58 billion in 2020. Muslim expenditure makes up 16.7 per cent of global expenditure on F&B in 2014.

Orange Fairs and Exhibition, is organising Halal Expo, an international exposition to highlight the growth in the ethical, moral and halal and healthy living, products and services.

Halal Expo Dubai is the largest and most comprehensive Business-to-Business (B2B) halal exposition in the Middle East for the $2.3 trillion global halal industry. The event, which attracted participation from 13 countries in its previous edition and registered 3,700 trade visitors from 40 countries, expect larger trade participation where buyers and sellers of halal products and services are expected to do brisk business.

Halal Expo Dubai focuses on a number of business verticals, including, halal food, halal beverage, halal fashion, halal cosmetics and personal care products, halal travel and tourism, halal hospitality, halal banking and finance, it stated. – TradeArabia News Service


Source: http://www.tradearabia.com/news/IND_346980.html

Dubai’s retail sector continues to grow with new entrants

As top retailers launch their Fall/Winter 2018 fashion collections in stores in Dubai, UAE, this month, the city’s retail scene continues to thrive due to its position as a world-class shopping destination.

With a robust and extensive retail calendar managed by Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment (DFRE), an agency of the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism), retailers in Dubai are given several opportunities to market their collections.

Many international brands have chosen Dubai to have a presence in the Middle East.

In addition to the strong retail sector, Dubai’s ongoing tourism efforts continue to draw visitors from across the globe who are keen on experiencing everything the city has to offer.

For the fourth year running, Dubai has ranked fourth among the world’s most popular destinations for international travellers according to MasterCard’s Global Destination Cities Index 2018. With the city welcoming 15.79 million overnight visitors last year and ranking a projected growth rate of 5.5 per cent, Dubai is expected to witness another year of steady expansion in 2018, it said.

Given Dubai’s multicultural mix of nationalities, diverse businesses, futuristic landscape, it gives the brand both global and local exposure through international and GCC tourists as well as UAE residents.  TradeArabia News Service


Source: http://www.tradearabia.com/news/RET_346735.html

Saudi Aramco signs 15 strategic deals worth $34bn

Saudi Aramco has signed 15 strategic and commercial collaborations valued at more than $34 billion with 15 partner companies from eight countries at the Future Investment Initiative (FII) forum in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

The memoranda of understanding (MoUs) reflect both Saudi Aramco’s and the Kingdom’s international partnership strategies and the determination to diversify the economy, enhance the domestic investment environment and boost employment opportunities.

The MoUs support Saudi Aramco’s forward-looking strategy across business units, including downstream, offshore, and engineering. It engages with companies representing eight countries including major businesses in France, China, the US, Japan, the UAE, the UK, South Korea and India.

A number of these MoUs will enhance the In-Kingdom Total Value Add (iktva) program, Saudi Aramco’s flagships initiative to improve the domestic supply chain, its operations and its employment potential, through greater commercial engagement with Saudi businesses.  Iktva’s localization objective is to achieve 70 per cent of locally supplied goods and services by 2021.

In the area of job creation, Saudi Aramco has proactively pursued opportunities to pilot the high value job creation in the Kingdom, increasing opportunities for Saudi citizens over the next 10-15 years with anchor projects, including the King Salman International Complex for Maritime Industries and Service in Ras Al Khair which will generate in the region of 30,000 direct and 50,000 indirect jobs.

The MoUs and commercial collaborations signed are:

•    MoU with Total to launch engineering studies to build petrochemical complex in Jubail, KSA
•    MoU with Total regarding the potential establishment of a retail service station network
•    MoU with Hyundai Heavy Industries regarding  potential HHI investments in  King Salman International Maritime Complex for Industries and Services at Ras Al Khair
•    MoU with Baker Hughes GE
•    MoU with Schlumberger
•    MoU with Halliburton
•    MoU with Oilfield Supply Center
•    MoU with Flex-Steel to invest in RTP reinforced thermoplastic pipe facility
•    MoU with NPCC (National Petroleum Construction Company, UAE) to invest in a fully integrated fabrication yard and marine base
•    MoU with SeAH Changwon Integrated Specialty Steel Co. Limited to invest in localization of engineering steel
•    MoU with GumPro (India) to invest in drilling chemicals facility
•    MoU with Acwa Power (KSA) and Air Product (USA) regarding  the Jazan Refinery gasification power project
•    MoU with Sumitomo (Japan) regarding potential investments to upgrading PetroRabigh Refinery
•    MoU with Norinco (China) regarding potential investments in refining and chemicals projects
•    MoU with NOV (USA) to invest in manufacturing and repair of onshore rigs and equipment

The Future Investment Initiative is an ideal platform to attract international investments and to capitalize on emerging new opportunities that are fast emerging with Vision 2030.

Saudi Aramco is playing a pivotal role, alongside many national stakeholders, in enabling new industrial and business partnerships in the Kingdom thanks to its position as a global energy powerhouse, and as reflected in our major investments and partnerships globally, not only in core oil and gas and downstream, but also in pursuing advanced technologies and energy-related value adding activities.

Saudi Arabia’s infrastructure, both physical and digital, has witnessed an extraordinary advancement. This is integral to today’s advanced industrial activities. It attracts investors and enhances the fundamental competitiveness of the Saudi economy. – TradeArabia News Service


Source: http://www.tradearabia.com/news/IND_346707.html

Saudi Arabia ranks second in road connectivity index

Saudi Arabia has been ranked second on the Road Connectivity Index, right after the US, in the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Global Competitiveness Report (GCR) 2018.

Also the report indicated that kingdom was now positioned 30th worldwide on the Road Quality Index, advancing four ranks compared to last year.

The Saudi Transport Ministry lauded the kingdom’s advanced ranking on the Global Competitiveness Report, attributing the achievement to the generous and unlimited support of the country’s leadership, which has resulted in implementing various road projects throughout the Kingdom’s road network of more than 68,000 km.

The ministry pointed out that it had completed 55 road projects during the first half of 2018, in addition to fast-tracking delayed projects, a move that has resulted in restructuring and rescheduling 124 delayed projects.

In line with its periodic and preventive road maintenance programme, which holds great significance for its plans, the ministry implemented a total of 399 maintenance projects.

A total of 85 maintenance projects had been completed during the first half of 2018 covering the installation of barriers, traffic signs, signboards, reflective road signs, asphalting and hard-shoulders extensions.

Source: http://www.tradearabia.com/news/CONS_346527.html

Bahrain to host major dermatology, aesthetics conference

Bahrain will host a major dermatology, laser and aesthetics conference and exhibition in November.
The first Bahrain Dermatology, Laser and Aesthetics conference and exhibition (BDLA 2018) will be held under the patronage of the president of the Supreme Council for Health (SCH), Lieutenant General Dr Shaikh Mohammed bin Abdulla Al Khalifa on November 29 and 30.
BDA Center for Medical Training is organising the conference at the Crowne Plaza Hotel Bahrain – Conference Center.
The first-of-its-kind initiative in Bahrain, BDLA 2018 brings the region’s foremost experts in dermatology, plastic surgery, laser and aesthetics to brainstorm and discuss the latest advances and trending topics in the field. The participants will benefit by staying ahead of the curve and update themselves on the new and advanced health technologies. The aim of the organisers is to highlight ways to engage patients and gain improvement in health-related outcomes, a statement said.
The conference includes five workshops that are unique and adapted to fit the local and regional regulatory frameworks. The workshops offer new insight into techniques in major and minimally invasive plastic surgeries, skin care and skin rejuvenation, as well as the treatment of burns, ulcers, the latest trends in injectables such as fillers and Botox, body countering devices and laser machines.
President of the conference, Dr Nidhal Abdulrahman Khalifa, states that the event aims to identify the latest international practices in the field of dermatology and plastic surgery.
“We aim to promote these practices to enhance the Bahraini practice. We hope to advance the skills of Bahraini doctors, technicians and authorised practitioners. We also intend to spread awareness of non-qualified personnel that perform cosmetic medical procedures, and the harmful health complications and adverse sequelae that can arise,” he said.  – TradeArabia News Service
Source: http://www.tradearabia.com/news/HEAL_346278.html

Saudi interior design market spend hits $3bn, says report

The interior design market in Saudi Arabia is poised for solid growth over the coming years with the kingdom accounting for nearly SR11.25 billion ($3 billion) market spend, almost one third (32 per cent) of the total GCC interior design market of SR35.6 billion ($9.48 billion), said a Ventures report released ahead of an industry event.

The report was commissioned by Index Saudi, the new design exhibition which will run at the Riyadh International Convention and Exhibition Centre from October 30 to November 1.

Thousands of designers, architects and buyers representing hundreds of international suppliers will be taking part in the Saudi expo this month to capitalise on the boom in interior design spending across the kingdom.

According to Ventures, the renewed demand for high-quality interior design and fit-out services in Saudi Arabia was mainly due to to the influx of new residential, commercial and hospitality projects as well as the host of new schools and hospitals planned across the country in preparation for Saudi Vision 2030.

While the report shows that Saudi Arabia is the biggest investor across the Gulf in healthcare and educational property fit-outs, with the specific markets estimated to be valued at SR1.425 billion and SR926 million respectively by 2019, it also highlights that the residential sector takes top spot in value for the country’s interiors industry, worth SR4.5 billion and forecast to grow to SR5.12 billion in 2019.

The top international interior design firms to attend the Index Saudi include Al Yamama Factory for Wooden Furniture, International Timber Company (Itco), Tanatel, +Object, Sleep Nice, Gift Mart, Taxiat Trading Co and Mineheart.

Jalal Ozgen, the division manager at Itco said: “Saudi Arabia is still the most stable market when compared to other countries in the Middle East despite all its economic woes. The furniture industry in particular will continue to be active because of the renovation activities and because of the kingdom’s ambition to develop the touristic sector and living standards.”

“Itco continues to raise awareness about its offered services in the Saudi Market and it goes without saying that Index will be a good vehicle to increase our client base and a good platform to launch new products,” remarked Ozgen.

The show is likely to attract thousands of interior designers, architects, project managers, retail buyers, importers and distributors from the full spectrum of hospitality, residential, retail, educational and commercial design sectors.

Jaafar Shubber, the event director for Index Saudi, said: “Upcoming mega projects in Saudi including the King Abdullah Financial District, Kingdom City and Jazan Economic City mean that the country is investing vast amounts of money into new and redevelopment construction and fit-out projects in the next decade.”

“Across all sectors there is a definite sense that we are at the precipice of a dramatic shift in the history of the design industry,” stated Shubber.

“The Index brand is very well established as the must-attend platform for interior designers in the Middle East and this new show in Riyadh will bring the creative minds together at the heart of the country’s generation-defining projects,” said the official.

“This will be the number one networking event for anyone involved with the design community across the Kingdom and beyond,” he added.-TradeArabia News Service


Source: http://www.tradearabia.com/news/CONS_346111.html

Saudi healthcare market needs $37.3b investment

The healthcare market in Saudi Arabia requires an estimated $23.6 billion – $37.3 billion new investment as the population grows at a rate of 2.65% per annum, said Colliers International, the global commercial real estate leader, in its latest white paper on the healthcare sector in the Kingdom.

The report, which is the 8th edition in their series of research papers on healthcare in the MENA region, revealed that based on historical population growth rate of 2.65% per annum, by 2030, KSA will require an additional 50,000 new beds (with current ratio of 2.23 beds per 1,000 population) and over 110,000 bed (with world average of 2.7 beds per 1,000 population) and almost 40,000 more doctors.

Mansoor Ahmed, Director of Healthcare, Education and Public Private Partnerships (PPP), said “one way of bridging the required investment is by creating more REIT funds. We estimate that REIT funds in the Kingdom can unlock around $7.5 billion to $8.5 billion property value from the private sector, thereby playing a major role in extending the growth in the healthcare sector. In addition to the above, with the foreign investors ownership announcement by the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA), in which foreign investors can have 100% ownership in healthcare and education sectors, which once implemented, is expected to boost private sector investment in the healthcare sector.”

He noted that the healthcare sector in Saudi Arabia is undergoing evolution on the back of rapid advancements in technology, research and development (R&D) in line with the global and regional trends. However, healthcare providers and professionals are grappling with several challenges concurrently, such as patients becoming customers and the patient care transitioning from “fee for quality” rather than “fee for service”. This coupled with new compliance requirements that aim at wellness and prevention plus ensuring better coordination, efficiencies, add depth and complexity to an increasingly competitive marketplace.

Recent trends and industry dynamics require operators in the healthcare sector to make challenging decisions. While the healthcare system has improved across the region including Saudi Arabia, the sector offers opportunities for investors/

operators, the report further said.

Key factors that make Saudi Arabia’s healthcare market attractive are:

• KSA’s healthcare sector is structured to provide a basic platform of healthcare services to all, with specialized treatment facilities offered at some private and public hospitals.

• KSA has an estimated population of 32.6 million in 2018, which is expected to double, reaching 77.2 million by 2050, growing at 2.65% per annum. Assuming a more conservative 1.02% average annual growth, as suggested by World bank, KSA population would still reach 45.1 million by 2050. This increase in population is expected to fuel the demand for healthcare services in the kingdom. Concurrently, the

healthcare system needs to treat emerging Lifestyle Diseases and Illnesses associated with modern and urban lifestyle, partially due to the growing middle-income population.

• The government is encouraging private sector participation in the healthcare sector as the public sector’s role is gradually transitioned to becoming more of a regulator rather than as a provider of healthcare facilities, as highlighted in the National

Transformation Plan (NTP) and the privatization plan. In 2017, Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA) announced that foreign investors can have 100% ownership in health and education sectors, once implemented this is expected to boost private sector investment in healthcare in KSA.

• Government commitment to healthcare is evident as the government continues its efforts in developing various medical cities, however, many of these facilities are expected to be operated in conjunction with the private sector investment using various Public Private Partnership (PPP) models.

• The healthcare and social services sector has been allocated 15% (SR147 million) of the total KSA’s 2018 budgeted expenditures, up from actual spend of SR 133 million during 2017. This 10.5% increase in the allocation reflects a strong indication of potential demand as well as the government’s willingness to augment growth and improvement within the sector.

Moreover, the report said the population pyramid in KSA has significantly changed between 1980 and 2015, and it will further change by 2050 this will have a significant impact on healthcare demand in terms of quality, quantity and type of healthcare facilities.

During 2015-2050 approximately 19 million babies will be born in KSA, creating demand for facilities and services, relating to mother and childcare (obstetrics, gynecology, pediatrics, etc.) along with the more common prevailing communicable and some non-communicable diseases.

The age group between 20-39 years is very important for future healthcare planning, as it is common that there is the development of chronic diseases; cardiovascular, irritable bowel syndrome, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and some types of cancer.

These have a long-term impact on demand for healthcare. With 12 million population in this age group there is considerable demand not only for curative but also preventative facilities.

“Over the next three decades, we envisage a sharp rise in healthcare demand as approximately 80.0% of an individual healthcare requirements typically occur post the 40-50 age range. This is primarily due to an increase in lifestyle related diseases, such as diabetes, coronary and other obesity-related illnesses,” the report forecast.

Besides, `n increase in life expectancy in KSA is expected to extend from the current level of 73.1 years and 76.1 years for males and females respectively to 78.4 and 81.3 by 2050.

This is expected to create demand on long- term care (LTC) facilities, focusing on geriatric related care, rehabilitation and home healthcare services.

Based on current international benchmarks of 4-6 beds per 1,000 population above 65 years, Saudi Arabia currently needs from 6,400 to 9,600 beds dedicated for LTC, this is expected to reach 41,200 – 61,800 LTC beds by 2050, the report added. — SG


Source:  http://saudigazette.com.sa/article/544271/BUSINESS/Saudi-healthcare-marketneeds-$373b-investment

Saudi wealth fund invests $1bn in Tesla rival Lucid Motors

Deal aims to help Silicon Valley company launch its first electric vehicle in 2020

Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund has made its second major investment in a US electric vehicles maker, striking a $1bn deal to provide much-needed financing for Tesla-rival Lucid Motors on Monday.

The move comes just weeks after the Financial Times revealed the Saudi Public Investment Fund, the state vehicle being used by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to overhaul his nation’s economy, had built a near 5 per cent stake in Elon Musk’s car group Tesla.

The PIF said the deal would provide funding to help Lucid launch its first electric vehicle in 2020, ending months of speculation over whether the private Silicon Valley-based company would be able to secure the backing needed to allow further development of its products.

Lucid is one of a handful of electric car start-ups trying to model themselves on Tesla, though they are years behind and, in several cases, struggling to raise cash.

Lucid’s chief technology officer, Peter Rawlinson, was previously the chief engineer for Tesla’s Model S. Copying the game plan of the Model S, Lucid’s first car, called the Air, is a high-end sedan designed to reach production capacity of about 50,000 a year, acting as a showcase for the company’s brand and technology as it tries to open a wider market.

“By investing in the rapidly expanding electric vehicle market, PIF is gaining exposure to long-term growth opportunities, supporting innovation and technological development and driving revenue and sectoral diversification for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” the $250bn fund said.

Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil exporter, is investing in new industries to diversify the kingdom’s economy away from its vast hydrocarbon resources, in preparation for a time when global demand for its barrels could peak. While Saudi Arabia is investing in a sector that is primed to erode oil’s dominance in transportation, the kingdom still sees growth in vehicles powered by traditional fuels led by fast-growing emerging economies in Asia and Africa.

However, unlike its move to purchase a stake in Tesla, the decision to invest in Lucid was the source of major debate within the PIF, said people with direct knowledge of the matter.

That was partly because of the troubled financial position of Lucid, one of these people said. The company has yet to build its planned factory in Arizona, a facility it predicted would cost $700m and produce 10,000 vehicles in 2019. The company’s backers include Jia Yueting, the entrepreneur behind ambitious Chinese electronics conglomerate LeEco until the group ran into financial difficulties.

Lucid’s links to Tesla include former employees such as Bernard Tse, who was an early board member and executive at Tesla before Elon Musk came in to take full management control, and Martin Eberhard, the Tesla founder who fell out with Mr Musk.

Details of the PIF investment, including whether the Saudi fund would in effect take control of Lucid’s equity or whether the deal would require approval from US national security regulators, were not immediately available.

The decision to invest in Lucid comes as the PIF’s own finances are under scrutiny, with the fund earlier on Monday finalising an $11bn loan package.

With the initial public offering of state energy giant Saudi Aramco shelved indefinitely, the PIF has been on the hunt for new means to generate funds, including raising debt and a potential $70bn sale of its stake in state chemical group Sabic to Aramco.