Skip to content Skip to Search
Skip navigation

Andrew Hammond

Senior editor

Andrew Hammond began as a trainee journalist at BBC World Service Arabic radio before working with Reuters in Egypt, UAE and Saudi Arabia. He was also a political analyst with the European Council on Foreign Relations and HSBC Middle East, and has published books including Popular Culture in North Africa and the Middle East

Andrew Hammond
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at prayers to mark the end of Ramadan. He said in 2022 that flogging would be ended and the use of the death penalty restricted

Saudi Arabia grapples with new penal code

A legislative committee is grappling with the text of a new penal code which could cement — or jeopardise — the gains made by Saudi Arabia after it introduced a new commercial law code last year.  The kingdom is trying to shake off a reputation for opaque and arbitrary justice to meet ambitious tourism and […]

Jaumur Neom resort gulf of Aqaba

Neom announces superyacht resort on Gulf of Aqaba

Plans to build a high-end resort town on the Gulf of Aqaba aimed at the luxury yacht community have been announced by Neom, despite rising doubts about Saudi Arabia’s ability to maintain funding lines for the country’s giga-projects.  The new project, Jaumur, was described by Neom as an “exclusive residential community set around an inspiring […]

illegal pilgrims Mecca Saudi Arabia

Illegal Hajj pilgrims risk fines and deportation

Fines for Saudi nationals and deportation for foreign residents taking part in the Hajj pilgrimage without a permit have been announced by the country’s interior ministry. Those who help illegal pilgrims also face jail as the kingdom tries to impose stricter controls over the annual rites.  A fine of SAR10,000 ($2,700) will be issued against […]

Riyadh Air CEO Tony Douglas at the unveiling of the airline's livery. The company is waiting on its first order of Boeing Dreamliner 787s

Riyadh Air expands with fleet of narrowbody jets

The new Saudi airline Riyadh Air will announce a fleet of narrowbody jets later this year for a first-phase expansion that will eventually include a new terminal to meet Saudi tourism ambitions. Although its widebody aircraft come from the troubled manufacturer Boeing, Riyadh Air declined to say if the latest narrowbody orders would be from […]

Lucid cut the price of its flagship Air model in February by as much as 10 percent

Lucid cuts electric car prices but posts higher revenue

Saudi-backed US electric vehicle maker Lucid reported first-quarter revenue above analysts’ estimates this week as it sets to produce more cars this year but selling at cheaper prices to spur sales.  The Nasdaq-listed EV company had cut prices of its flagship Air sedans in February by up to 10 percent, as customers globally began to […]

A pilgrim prays during a visit to Mount Al-Noor in the holy city of Mecca. Saudi Arabia is building an additional 320,000 hotel rooms by 2030

Pilgrims remain bedrock of Saudi tourism plans

Saudi tourism is to undergo a massive expansion with religious travellers remaining its bedrock – but some hotel operators are wary of an overheated market. The kingdom is aiming to bring in 150 million visitors per year by 2030, with tourism accounting for 10 percent of non-oil GDP, playing a key role in its economic […]

Saudi budget deficit Sky Bridge in Riyadh

Saudi budget deficit rises fourfold in Q1 2024

Saudi Arabia recorded a budget deficit in the first quarter of 2024 of SAR12.4 billion ($3.3 billion), four times higher than a year ago – confirming a revenue squeeze that has raised doubts about the funding of some of the kingdom’s giga-projects.  The Q1 deficit in 2023 was SAR2.92 billion, the finance ministry’s quarterly budget […]

Path, Road, City BHB06R Wall Street Bull in Downtown Manhattan, NYC

Saudi stock trading slumps as interest jumps in US stocks

Saudi trading in US stocks trebled in the fourth quarter of 2023 compared with the previous year to SAR58.7 billion ($15.6 billion), as the kingdom’s interest in US equities revived following the Covid pandemic. Total trading in foreign and domestic markets remains historically low.  The transactions in the US market accounted for more than 97 […]

Saudi Arabia’s industry and mineral resources minister Bandar Al-Khorayef. The country is struggling to meet an FDI target of $100bn a year by 2030

Saudi industry minister tempts investors with funding incentives

Saudi Arabia’s ministry of investments and mineral resources is prepared to finance up to 75 percent of industrial projects in the country, as the kingdom tries to boost its low foreign direct investment (FDI) numbers.  Bandar Al-Khorayef, the minister of industry and mineral resourcespointed to well-developed infrastructure across 36 industrial cities, prefabricated factories ready to […]

Fakeeh IPO

Institutions snap up share of Fakeeh Care Group IPO in minutes

Institutional investors snapped up their slice of shares in the Saudi healthcare conglomerate Fakeeh Care Group within minutes of the start of the book-building process for the company’s IPO. Fakeeh Care Group, which was founded in Jeddah in 1978, has set the price range for its initial public offering (IPO) at between SAR53 ($14.13) and […]

Saudi Arabia is looking to shift traffic to its railways to improve road safety and reduce carbon emissions from car usage

Passenger numbers on Saudi trains leap 23% in a year

Passenger traffic on Saudi railways rose 23 percent year on year to 2.7 million people in the first quarter of 2024, the state operator said this week, as the kingdom pushes to improve infrastructure before a 2030 deadline.  The railway system also saw a 9 percent rise in the volume of minerals and goods transported, […]

The contraction in the Saudi economy was largely driven by a 10% reduction oil activity

Saudi economy contracts for third quarter in a row

Saudi Arabia’s economy contracted by 1.8 percent year on year in the first quarter of 2024, while growth in non-oil activities slowed to its lowest rate in a year, statistics released this week show.  The country’s GDP fell for the third quarter in a row, although the drop eased from the 4.3 percent contraction in […]

2REKCFR Soroako, Indonesia. 28th July, 2023. A worker seen in action at Nickel mine, operated by PT Vale Indonesia in Sorowako. U.S. Geological Survey Shows that Indonesian nickel reserves ranked first, reaching 21 million tons or equivalent to 22% global reserves. Credit: SOPA Images Limited/Alamy Live News

Manara takes a $2.5bn stake in Brazilian mining giant

Manara Minerals, a joint venture between Saudi Arabian Mining Co (Maaden) and the sovereign Public Investment Fund (PIF), has completed a $2.5 billion deal to acquire a stake in a subsidiary of Brazilian giant Vale. Maaden said in a filing to the Saudi Exchange that it has acquired 10 percent of Vale Base Metals Limited […]

Dammam logistics port from air

Major logistics centre planned for Saudi’s third city

A major logistics centre is planned for Dammam in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province that will be connected to an expanded Dammam port and a new city metro system.  The regional logistics centre in Dammam, Saudi Arabia’s third largest city, will cover eight square kilometres and account for 55 percent of the Eastern Province’s targeted logistics […]

Tawfik Alzaidi

Saudi director’s labour of love takes the kingdom to Cannes

For the first time a Saudi film has been selected to compete in the Cannes film festival, catapulting its little-known self-taught director into the limelight. Tawfik Alzaidi was so surprised that he’d managed to break through to the big time that he kept the news that his film Norah had been accepted for the ‘Un […]

Jacksonville Port in Florida. A new container service connecting the port to Jeddha could improve Saudi exports

Florida port service could increase Saudi non-oil exports

Saudi Arabia’s exports are set to improve following the introduction of a new container service that will link Jeddah with Florida. Non-oil exports rose 4.4 percent year on year in February while production cuts led oil exports to slip to 77 percent of the total, the government said. Jacksonville Port Authority (Jaxport) in Florida said […]

Cenomi executives hope to attract shoppers who might otherwise spend abroad by offering a 'world class' experience Young muslim couple shopping and having fun

Saudi mall operator takes aim at Dubai’s retail crown

Saudi Arabia’s leading mall operator is looking to challenge Dubai for the title of the top retail location in the Gulf, with plans to add five more locations by 2027. Bruno Wehbe, chief operating officer of Cenomi Centers, said the Jawharat Riyadh would include new elements such as 3D holographic projections, food halls with live […]

Diriyah Gate encompasses the Al-Turaif Unesco World Heritage Site

Saudi giga-project Diriyah Gate targets 2027 completion

Diriyah Gate, one of the first Saudi giga-projects, said this week that it was on target for completion by late 2027. The opening of the project’s first hotel is now rescheduled for later this year.  “We’re looking forward to the conclusion of our project, probably toward the end of 2027,” said Andrew Tonnor, Diriyah Gate’s […]

Clothing, Coat, Formal Wear Oliver Dowden UK business LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - FEBRUARY 21, 2022: Minister without Portfolio and Co-Chairman of the Conservative Party Oliver Dowden leaves Downing Street in central London on February 21, 2022 in London, England. Ministers were expected to finalise the government's long-term plan on living with Covid in England including an end of the legal requirement to self-isolate after testing positive for the virus by the end of this week and scaling back the universal free testing. (Photo by WIktor Szymanowicz/NurPhoto)NO USE FRANCE

300 UK company chiefs to descend on Riyadh for expo

The UK is sending hundreds of business executives to a trade expo in Riyadh in May as part of a year-long drive to win contracts in Saudi Arabia, as the Gulf state seeks to increase foreign investment in its giga-projects.  “The Great Futures launch event in Riyadh on 14-15 May 2024 aims to bring to […]

Saudi defence spending

Saudi Arabia world’s fifth biggest arms buyer in 2023

Saudi Arabia remains the world’s fifth largest arms buyer, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. The think tank’s latest report said that Saudi Arabia spent $76 billion on arms in 2023, a 4 percent increase on the previous year, making it the biggest spender after the US, China, Russia and India. The kingdom’s […]

BEIJING, CHINA - APRIL 08: U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen speaks during a press conference at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing on April 8, 2024 in Beijing, China. U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen visits China from April 4 to 9. (Photo by Jiang Qiming/China News Service/VCG )No Use China.

US treasury holdings high in Saudi Arabia’s estimation

Saudi Arabia’s holdings of US treasuries stayed close to a two-year high in February at $130.5 billion as yields rose in recent months, according to new data. The Saudi central bank’s holdings fell $3.2 million month on month, or 0.3 percent, to $130.5 billion, maintaining Saudi Arabia’s place at number 17 in the list of […]