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Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Barclays executive sacked after SFO interview

Barclays executive sacked after SFO interview:
"Barclays dismissed one of its top executives as a “direct result” of what he told investigators who have a criminal probe open against the bank, a tribunal has heard.

Richard Boath, who until this year was Barclays’ chairman of financial services, will argue in an unfair-dismissal hearing against the ban‎k that he was sacked after investigators at the UK’s Serious Fraud Office passed Barclays a transcript of his interview with them, his lawyer told a London tribunal in a hearing on Wednesday, reports Caroline Binham in London.

The SFO is investigating Barclays’ £7.3bn emergency cash call at the height of the financial crisis, when it turned to investors in Qatar and Abu Dhabi to stay out of UK government control."

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Oil price firms after Iraq says it is ready to cut output

Oil price firms after Iraq says it is ready to cut output:
"Iraq’s prime minister said the country is willing to cut some of its own production, in a move that could smooth the way to a supply deal when Opec, the oil cartel, meets next week.

Haider al-Abadi said Iraq would “shoulder responsibility” for some of the planned reductions of the 14-member group’s output to bolster the oil price, according to comments reported by Reuters.

The price of Brent crude, the international benchmark, rose 20 cents to $49.28 a barrel following the news, from an earlier low of $48.56 a barrel. West Texas Intermediate, the US marker, increased 25 cents to $48.27 a barrel, from a low of $47.40."

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Oil prices edge higher despite doubts on OPEC-led cuts | Reuters

Oil prices edge higher despite doubts on OPEC-led cuts | Reuters:
"Oil prices turned positive on Wednesday despite investor doubts that OPEC will agree to a production cut large enough to make a significant dent in the global glut of crude.

Members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) will meet next week on Nov. 30 in Vienna to decide on the details of an agreement to cut output that the group has been trying to hammer out since September.

Oil prices were lower in the morning but turned positive after the Energy Information Administration said U.S. crude stocks unexpectedly fell 1.3 million barrels last week."

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OPEC’s Latest Headache: Russian Reluctance to Cut Oil Output - Bloomberg

OPEC’s Latest Headache: Russian Reluctance to Cut Oil Output - Bloomberg:
"For months, Russia has told OPEC its preferred option in any eventual oil-supply deal was to freeze production, rather than to cut it. It’s dawning on the group that Moscow may actually mean it.

While Russia talked about a freeze, Saudi Arabia and its allies privately expected Moscow would eventually join a cut if the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries delivered its own reduction, according to people briefed on the matter, who asked not to be named because of the sensitive nature of the talks.

Several OPEC members are adamant Russia must reduce supply if the plan to ease a global glut is to succeed. Just one week before OPEC’s ministerial meeting in Vienna, that prospect seems less likely."

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MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi lifts mood in regional markets; Egypt holds near 8-yr peak | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi lifts mood in regional markets; Egypt holds near 8-yr peak | Reuters:
"Saudi Arabia's index firmed on Wednesday as blue chips resumed their climb and the positive mood flowed into other Gulf bourses, carrying them higher. Egypt's market edged up, holding near an 8-year peak as foreign funds remained aggressive buyers.

Riyadh's index bounced 3.0 percent to 6,796 points, closing 93 points over technical resistance at the July peak of 6,703 points. Turnover was almost double that of Tuesday.

Some blue chips continued to attract funds, with the top telecommunication operator Saudi Telecom Co (STC) jumping 4.6 percent."

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Saudi government payments to construction firms may not mean a speedy market recovery, builders warn | The National

Saudi government payments to construction firms may not mean a speedy market recovery, builders warn | The National:
"Builders have cautioned that the Saudi government’s instigation of repayments to its suffering construction industry may not be able to avert a prolonged lull next year before a recovery takes hold of the market.

Joseph Daher, the chief executive of the Jeddah-based Almabani General Contractors, said payments started to filter through from some government-related clients at the end of September.

"We’ve received some, and more is on the way," he said. "We have reasons to be optimistic.""

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MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi shares advance, rest of region quiet | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi shares advance, rest of region quiet | Reuters:
"Saudi Arabia's stock market extended gains in early trade on Wednesday, outperforming regional markets where local retail investors were the main participants.

Riyadh's index added 1 percent in the first 45 minutes of trade, inching closer to technical resistance at the July peak of 6,703 points.

Petrochemicals and banking stocks, which have been outperforming other sectors over the past month, strengthened. Saudi Basic Industries added 1.2 percent while Banque Saudi Fransi gained 2.4 percent."

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Saudi Arabia Sway in OPEC Limited by Resurgent Iraq and Iran - Bloomberg

Saudi Arabia Sway in OPEC Limited by Resurgent Iraq and Iran - Bloomberg:
"Saudi Arabia’s dominance of OPEC isn’t what it once was. 
Iraq and Iran, shaking off shackles of sanctions and war, have raised oil output to record highs and are asserting themselves within the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries. Together they produce more than 8 million barrels of oil a day, nearly a quarter of the oil pumped by the group, and both want to boost their output further."

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Saudi Arabia, cutting its budget, turns to private schools

Saudi Arabia, cutting its budget, turns to private schools:
"With oil prices languishing around $50 a barrel for the second year, in Saudi Arabia economic diversification has transformed from a phrase in vogue to a necessity. The kingdom, burning through foreign reserves, faces another year of double-digit fiscal deficits and plans to wean itself off oil revenues by shifting nationals from the public payroll and into the private sector.

Despite education making up a quarter of all budgeted spending, however, some experts feel the system of rote learning and omnipresent religious schooling has left youths lacking the critical thinking and technical skills needed for productive private sector work.

“Education is the fulcrum of Vision 2030,” says Rasheed Eltayeb, vice-president in Booz Allen’s Middle East public sector practice, referring to Saudi Arabia’s official blueprint for the future. “So the next logical step is to get into reforming the core of education.”"

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Honeymoon is over for new Saudi leader as reform pain kicks in

Honeymoon is over for new Saudi leader as reform pain kicks in:
"As new arrivals hurry through Riyadh’s airport, Ahmed hustles for customers, hoping to lure travellers into his saloon car.

One of hundreds of thousands of Saudis who studied in the US on a government-funded programme, the 30-year-old mechanical engineering graduate has yet to find a job for which he spent years training for. Instead, he makes an uncertain living, operating an illegal airport taxi, risking fines from the police.

“The economy is bad, where are the jobs?” he says. “All my friends are cursing the government.”"

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