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Saturday, 18 November 2017

Oil Short-Sellers Return as Doubts Loom on OPEC's Horizon - Bloomberg

Oil Short-Sellers Return as Doubts Loom on OPEC's Horizon - Bloomberg:

"Short-selling is rearing its head in the oil market again.

After bullish bets on Brent crude hit a record and futures surged to two-year highs, hedge funds are pulling back with a sense that the rally reached its limit for now. Wagers on lower prices rose by the most since June as Middle East tensions took a backseat, while uncertainty looms over Saudi Arabia’s push to extend OPEC’s output curbs this month.

"We’re at levels where the market appears to have crested," said Gene McGillian, a market research manager at Tradition Energy in Stamford, Connecticut. "Continuing to see supply draw-downs is probably what the next leg of the rally will be predicated on.""



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Saudi Graft Settlements Could Reap Billions - Bloomberg

Saudi Graft Settlements Could Reap Billions - Bloomberg:

"Saudi authorities estimate they may be able to recover as much as $100 billion from settlement talks with suspects detained in an anti-corruption crackdown that has implicated prominent princes, officials and billionaires, a senior official said.

Suspects are offered settlements to avoid trial, the official said on condition of anonymity to discuss the ongoing investigation. If they accept, talks are then carried out by a special committee to work out the details. The talks involve the amounts authorities believe suspects have amassed illegally, not their entire wealth, and authorities estimate the state could recover between $50 billion and $100 billion, the official said.

The purge, which saw royals and billionaires such as Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, shook the kingdom and reverberated through capitals and financial centers as diplomats, bankers and analysts sought to figure out its impact on wealthy clients as well as the struggle for power in the world’s biggest oil exporter."



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Friday, 17 November 2017

UPDATE 2-UK court finds for Dana Gas creditors in $700 mln Islamic bond case

UPDATE 2-UK court finds for Dana Gas creditors in $700 mln Islamic bond case:

"A London High Court judge has ruled in favour of creditors in a dispute over whether United Arab Emirates energy company Dana Gas must repay $700 million of Islamic bonds. Dana Gas had said it was under no obligation to pay bondholders because of changes in Islamic finance, but Judge George Leggatt ruled that the company’s challenges to the purchase undertaking behind the bonds were “unfounded” and that the agreement was “valid and enforceable”. The case, which Dana said it would continue to fight in Britain and the UAE, is being closely watched by the global Islamic finance industry because some investors think it could set a precedent for other issuers of Islamic bonds, or sukuk, to refuse to redeem the debt at maturity."



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Oil rises 2 percent, but still set for first weekly fall in six

Oil rises 2 percent, but still set for first weekly fall in six:

"Oil prices rose about 2 percent on Friday, capping five sessions of losses, on expectations of an OPEC deal to extend curbs on production and the shutting of a major U.S. crude pipeline.

Prices were still on track for their first weekly loss in six as rising U.S. output data was compounded by doubts that Russia would support an OPEC deal.

Brent crude oil LCOc1 was $1.07 higher at $62.43 a barrel by 11:20 a.m. EST (1620 GMT) while U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude (WTI) CLc1 rose $1.25 to $56.39 a barrel.

"



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Saudi Arabia's Expropriations Should Scare Investors - Bloomberg

Saudi Arabia's Expropriations Should Scare Investors - Bloomberg:

"The government of Saudi Arabia is reportedly offering to exchange the wealth of allegedly corrupt royals and officials for their freedom. This is a tactic that has been used by post-Soviet regimes, most widely in Georgia under President Mikheil Saakashvili, but also in President Vladimir Putin's Russia. While it can be effective in supplementing government coffers, it's not great for a country's institutions and business climate.

Saudi Arabia ended up with a budget deficit of $96.5 billion in 2015 (at the current exchange rate) and $83 million last year as it fought for oil market share with the U.S. shale industry and maintained low crude prices. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was instrumental in changing that policy to a regime of hyped-up production cuts; now, he appears intent on plugging the deficit with infusions of what King Salman and the prince deem to be ill-gotten wealth to the tune of at least $100 billion. According to reports from Riyadh, people imprisoned in the capital city's Ritz-Carlton hotel -- a group including some of the country's wealthiest people -- are being told to cough up most of their assets, up to 70 percent in at least one case, in exchange for immunity. 

Saakashvili, who took over a largely bankrupt nation in 2004, fought corruption by similar methods. Since he wasn't a king with absolute powers, he pushed through changes to the country's criminal code allowing deals with justice that could replace any kind of punishment with a negotiated fine. By 2011, the year before Saakashvili's party lost a parliamentary election and he lost most of his power, 80 percent of criminal cases were resolved in this way, according to a Council of Europe report by Swedish diplomat Thomas Hammarberg. Responding to the report, the Georgian government disclosed a rare statistic: In 2010, it received 112.7 million lari ($63 million at that year's average exchange rate) from the plea agreements and court-imposed fines. That covered some 2 percent of government spending for the year.


"



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English court rules in favour of Dana Gas bondholders in key Islamic bond case

English court rules in favour of Dana Gas bondholders in key Islamic bond case:

"An English High Court judge has ruled in favour of Dana Gas’s bondholders in a high-profile dispute over the validity of $700m Islamic bonds, in what will be seen as a blow for a UAE-based energy company.

Mr Justice Leggatt ruled on Friday that certain terms of the English-law bonds obliging Dana Gas to repay bondholders were valid. The company had argued that the bonds were no longer compliant with Islamic law, leaving it with no obligation to pay.

“All the grounds on which Dana Gas has sought to challenge the validity and enforceability of the Trustee’s rights under the Purchase Undertaking to oblige Dana Gas to pay the exercise price are unfounded,” he said."



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Gulf carriers may be in focus under foreign airline U.S. tax exemption cut

Gulf carriers may be in focus under foreign airline U.S. tax exemption cut:

"A U.S. congressional proposal that would eliminate income tax exemptions for certain airlines could affect major Gulf carriers, potentially worsening an international spat between U.S. airlines and their Middle East rivals.

U.S. airlines have been petitioning the federal government for years to intervene in what they see as unfair competition by the three major Gulf carriers.

The proposal, tucked deep in the Senate tax-cut plan, calls for airlines headquartered in foreign countries to pay the U.S. incorporate tax rate if: 1) the carrier’s home country does not have an income tax treaty with the United States and 2) the carrier’s country of origin has fewer than two arrivals and departures, per week, operated by major U.S. airlines."



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Saudi Arabia swapping assets for freedom of some held in graft purge: sources

Saudi Arabia swapping assets for freedom of some held in graft purge: sources:

"Saudi authorities are striking agreements with some of those detained in an anti-corruption crackdown, asking them to hand over assets and cash in return for their freedom, sources familiar with the matter said.

The deals involve separating cash from assets like property and shares, and looking at bank accounts to assess cash values, one of the sources told Reuters.

Dozens of princes, senior officials and businessmen, including cabinet ministers and billionaires, have been detained in the graft inquiry at least partly aimed at strengthening the power of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman."



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Oil Pares Weekly Decline as Saudis Look to Dispel Russia Doubts - Bloomberg

Oil Pares Weekly Decline as Saudis Look to Dispel Russia Doubts - Bloomberg:

"Oil climbed, paring losses earlier this week, as Saudi Arabia moved to dispel doubts over Russia’s readiness to extend output curbs.

Futures rose 1.5 percent in New York, trimming the weekly decline to 1.4 percent, after Saudi Arabia’s Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih said OPEC should announce an extension of output curbs when it meets on Nov. 30. Russia is said to be hesitant to commit to a decision so soon before the deal is set to end in March. U.S. crude output gained for a fourth week to the highest in more than three decades, according to government data on Wednesday."



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Thursday, 16 November 2017

Airbus and Boeing fight for orders

Saudi authorities offer freedom deals to princes and businessmen

Saudi authorities offer freedom deals to princes and businessmen:

"Saudi authorities are negotiating settlements with princes and businessmen held over allegations of corruption, offering deals for the detainees to pay for their freedom, say people briefed on the discussions.

In some cases the government is seeking to appropriate as much as 70 per cent of suspects’ wealth, two of the people said, in a bid to channel hundreds of billions of dollars into depleted state coffers.

The arrangements, which have already seen some assets and funds handed over to the state, provide an insight into the strategy behind Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s dramatic corruption purge."



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Saudi Aramco's IPO Just Lost World's Largest Equity Investor - Bloomberg

Saudi Aramco's IPO Just Lost World's Largest Equity Investor - Bloomberg:

"Selling the world’s largest initial public offering wasn’t going to be easy. For Saudi Arabia, the mission just got a lot more complicated: the Aramco IPO won’t have the support of the biggest equity investor.

Norway’s $1 trillion sovereign wealth fund has proposed dumping all its oil and gas stocks -- roughly $35 billion -- to diversify away from energy. The Nordic nation is one of the world’s top oil producers and its fund invests heavily in energy, owning large chunks of Big Oil as well as stakes in major state-controlled companies including Petrobras of Brazil and Sinopec of China."



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Saudi central bank says no big money outflow due to graft crackdown: CNN

Saudi central bank says no big money outflow due to graft crackdown: CNN:

"There has been no big outflow of money from Saudi Arabia as a result of the anti-corruption crackdown that was announced two weeks ago, Saudi central bank Governor Ahmed al-Kholifey told CNN television on Thursday. “We see some increase, but it’s not that much,” he said, adding that the increase was in the form of corporate transfers of funds. Individuals were not moving large amounts of money out of the country by individuals, he said. Kholifey repeated statements by top government officials that although individual businessmen had been caught in the crackdown, their companies and the economy as a whole had not been hurt, and companies could still transfer money as usual."



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First Rule of Saudi Business Is Don't Talk About Saudi Business - Bloomberg

First Rule of Saudi Business Is Don't Talk About Saudi Business - Bloomberg:

"In London, New York, Zurich and beyond, the answer from international bankers is the same: We don’t want to talk about the Saudis and their billions.

More than a week after Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman arrested wealthy princes, officials and businessmen, in a power play that could reshape the oil-rich kingdom and the Middle East, bankers who’ve been discretely tending Saudi fortunes seem all but frozen.

Many are afraid to say, much less do, anything that might draw attention in Riyadh, where dozens of the kingdom’s richest people, including at least 11 princes, are being detained in the Ritz-Carlton hotel. Saudi Arabia’s market regulator has frozen the trading accounts of individuals being detained or investigated, according to three people familiar with the matter."



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MIDEAST STOCKS- Apparent state support aids Saudi, Qatar blue chips rebound | ZAWYA MENA Edition

MIDEAST STOCKS- Apparent state support aids Saudi, Qatar blue chips rebound | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"Saudi Arabia's stock market closed flat on Thursday, apparently in response to buying by state-linked funds, while Qatar rebounded from a six-year low as blue chips regained strength.

The Saudi index spent most of the day lower and was down as much as 0.9 percent before a burst of buying in the final 20 minutes lifted it to close 0.02 percent higher - a pattern seen on almost every day since the government announced a sweeping anti-corruption purge two weeks ago.

Many asset managers believe that with over 2,000 bank accounts frozen in the purge and many tycoons and individual investors alarmed by the huge extent of the crackdown, state-linked funds have been mounting an operation to stabilise the market and prevent panic from spreading."



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Saudi Aramco says state corruption purge should hearten investors

Saudi Aramco says state corruption purge should hearten investors:

"Saudi Arabia’s sweeping anti-corruption purge should be viewed “very positively” by potential investors in Saudi Aramco as a sign the kingdom is committed to economic reform, according to the state energy giant’s chief executive. As the world’s biggest oil producer prepares to sell shares to the public next year in what has been billed as the biggest initial public offering in history, Amin Nasser said investors should “appreciate” efforts to root out graft at the top of Saudi Arabia’s society. “We support and welcome all the measures taken by the government to eradicate any type of corruption,” he said in an interview. “As an investor you would like to go to a climate where you don’t see any type of corruption whatsoever. So, they should look at it very positively.”"



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Qatar faces worst decline in GCC real estate sector | ZAWYA MENA Edition

Qatar faces worst decline in GCC real estate sector | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"Difficult economic environment is expected to weigh on the prospects of the real estate sector across the GCC, especially Qatar as it faces continuing trade and economic sanctions. “We expect that difficult operating conditions in the region will continue to hurt the real estate sector for the next 12 months in the absence of positive triggers,” said Sapna Jagtiani, an analyst at S&P. Qatar’s real estate market is suffering as a result of the blockade by its neighbours. The country experienced a decline in its population in June-August, according to Qatar’s Ministry of Development Planning and Statistics, but saw a recovery in September to the same levels as before the blockade."



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Biggest Dubai Share Sale in Three Years Raises $1.3 Billion - Bloomberg

Biggest Dubai Share Sale in Three Years Raises $1.3 Billion - Bloomberg:

"Emaar Properties PJSC raised 4.82 billion dirhams ($1.31 billion) from the sale of a 20 percent stake in its United Arab Emirates development business, pricing the initial public offering at the bottom of a revised range. The Dubai-based developer of the world’s tallest skyscraper sold 800 million shares of Emaar Development PJSC at 6.03 dirhams a share, it said in a statement. That compares with a revised price guidance of 6.03 dirhams to 6.9 dirhams and initial range of 5.7 dirhams to 6.9 dirhams. About 6.2 percent of the shares were sold to individual investors and 93.8 percent to qualified investors. Emaar managed to complete the sale even after almost $19 billion was wiped out from exchanges across the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council countries last week. The market rout came after a Saudi crackdown against alleged corruption that led to the arrest of several princes and billionaires and as Tehran and Riyadh traded barbs on a missile attack on Saudi Arabia."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi slips early on, Dubai's Emaar up after unit's IPO news | ZAWYA MENA Edition

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi slips early on, Dubai's Emaar up after unit's IPO news | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"Saudi Arabia's stock market edged down in early trade on Thursday while Dubai rose as its top real estate firm, Emaar Properties , gained after pricing the initial public offer of its local development unit. The Saudi index was 0.2 percent lower after 20 minutes as real estate firm Dar Al Arkan , the most heavily traded stock, sank 1.6 percent. It has been volatile in heavy volumes over the past week, after announcing strong quarterly earnings. Wednesday's 1.0 drop by the Saudi index raised doubts over the extent to which state-linked funds are still willing to support that market."



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Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Exclusive: Dana Gas ready to import Iranian gas if supplies are 'reliable' - The National

Exclusive: Dana Gas ready to import Iranian gas if supplies are 'reliable' - The National:

"Sharjah-based energy company Dana Gas says its affiliate Crescent Petroleum’s facilities are ready for the import of gas from Iran, should the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) indicate its willingness to deliver gas through an existing pipeline that has so far remained unused.

“It is to my understanding that Iranians have indicated that they were ready to deliver gas, and we as Dana Gas are ready," chief executive Patrick Allman-Ward told The National in an interview on the sidelines of Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition and Conference (Adipec) on Wednesday.

"But clearly we need to be satisfied that the supplies of gas will be reliable and not interrupted and of course we would need even if we were given that assurance in terms of volumes and duration."



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China and India Chase Stakes in Abu Dhabi Offshore Oil Fields - Bloomberg

China and India Chase Stakes in Abu Dhabi Offshore Oil Fields - Bloomberg:

"China and India are each targeting a share of Abu Dhabi’s largest offshore oil fields as the Persian Gulf producer seeks partners to boost output and ensure exports of its oil to two of the world’s most promising markets. A stake in the offshore oil concession that’s set for renewal in March would mark a second big win of crude development rights in the emirate for China National Petroleum Corp. CNPC, which in February bought into Abu Dhabi’s largest cluster of onshore fields, agreed on Wednesday with Abu Dhabi National Oil Co. to study cooperation in areas including offshore energy and natural gas deposits, Adnoc said in a statement. India’s state-run Oil and Natural Gas Corp. too is bidding for stakes in the fields off Abu Dhabi’s coast, Amar Nath, an Indian government representative on the company’s board, said Wednesday at a conference in Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates capital. The Indian company will bid through its wholly owned international arm ONGC Videsh Ltd., said Nath, who is also a joint secretary for exploration at the country’s oil ministry."



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Russia Won't Betray Its New Best Friends in OPEC: Julian Lee - Bloomberg

Russia Won't Betray Its New Best Friends in OPEC: Julian Lee - Bloomberg:

"Don’t be fooled by noises coming out of Russia that it could balk at taking a decision later this month to extend oil output restrictions alongside its allies in OPEC, writes Bloomberg oil strategist Julian Lee. When push comes to shove, the world’s biggest energy exporter will back a deal. Here are the main reasons why: President Vladimir Putin won’t want to risk the political gains he’s made in the Middle East for the sake of 300,000 barrels a day of extra oil production."



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MIDEAST DEBT-Investors re-price political risk in Middle East bond market

MIDEAST DEBT-Investors re-price political risk in Middle East bond market:

"A rise in Middle East bond yields following Saudi Arabia’s anti-corruption purge and turmoil in Lebanon signals a long-term re-pricing of regional debt caused by heightened political risk, investors believe.

Funds started selling Middle East bonds early this month after Saudi Arabia detained dozens of senior officials and top businessmen in an unprecedented crackdown on graft.

The arrests coincided with the resignation of Lebanon’s prime minister, which put that country at the centre of regional tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran, pushing Lebanese bond prices to multi-year lows."



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Saudi Arabia to Freeze Trading Accounts as Part of Probe - Bloomberg

Saudi Arabia to Freeze Trading Accounts as Part of Probe - Bloomberg:

"Saudi Arabia’s market regulator has frozen the trading accounts of individuals being detained or investigated as part of the kingdom’s crackdown on alleged corruption, according to three people familiar with the matter.

The Capital Market Authority is asking brokerages to suspend the accounts of dozens of princes, billionaires and officials being held so they’re unable to buy or sell shares on the Tadawul stock exchange, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private.

The kingdom last week said Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency, or SAMA as the central bank is known, had frozen the bank accounts of individuals being investigated, but not those of the companies they own or manage. Wealthy Saudis are moving assets out of the region to avoid the risk of getting caught up in the crackdown, people with knowledge of the matter said. In Saudi Arabia, some are in talks with banks and asset managers to move money outside the country, the people said."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Major markets sag, Dubai's DSI surges after loss

MIDEAST STOCKS-Major markets sag, Dubai's DSI surges after loss:

"Major Gulf stock markets fell on Wednesday, partly because of retreating global equities and oil prices, though builder Drake & Scull surged in Dubai despite a heavy quarterly loss. The Saudi Arabian Capital Market Authority (CMA) issued a statement before the market opened saying that listed companies would be exempt from publishing fourth-quarter financial statements because they are transitioning to the International Financial Reporting Standards style of accounting. This surprised many fund managers, but the Arabic version of the statement said the exemption applied to “preliminary” financial statements, which seemed to imply that companies would still have to release final statements at a later date."



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OPEC Approaches Meeting Without Clear Plan on How to Extend Cuts - Bloomberg

OPEC Approaches Meeting Without Clear Plan on How to Extend Cuts - Bloomberg:

"Fifteen days from now, nations that pump more than half the world’s oil gather in Vienna to discuss extending the production cuts that helped lift prices to two-year highs. The outcome is far from certain.

Russia, which alongside Saudi Arabia was the architect of the historic cooperation between crude producers, is said to be unconvinced that a decision is needed so soon before the deal expires at the end of March. While OPEC Secretary-General Mohammad Barkindo sees no opposition in principle to continuing the supply curbs, the extension could be as short as three months or as long as nine."



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NBAD Securities on Saudi Markets, Reforms – Bloomberg

NBAD Securities on Saudi Markets, Reforms – Bloomberg:

"Mohammed Yasin, chief executive officer at NBAD Securities, discusses Saudi reforms and how to play the Saudi markets. He speaks on "Bloomberg Markets: Middle East." (Source: Bloomberg)"



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf little changed, DSI surges in Dubai after loss | ZAWYA MENA Edition

MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf little changed, DSI surges in Dubai after loss | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"Gulf stock markets were little changed in early trade on Wednesday although builder Drake & Scull surged in Dubai despite reporting a big third-quarter loss. Before the opening, the Saudi Arabian Capital Market Authority issued a statement saying listed companies would be exempt from publishing fourth-quarter financial statements because firms were transitioning to the International Financial Reporting Standards style of accounting. This surprised many fund managers, but the Arabic version of the statement said the exemption applied to "preliminary" financial statements, which seemed to imply that companies would still have to release final statements at a later date. "



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Airbus to sell 430 planes to Indigo for $49.5 billion

Airbus to sell 430 planes to Indigo for $49.5 billion:

"Airbus announced on Wednesday that it will sell 430 airplanes to U.S. firm Indigo Partners for $49.5 billion in the European firm’s biggest deal ever. The announcement came at the Dubai Air Show and the deal includes 273 A320neos and 157 A321neos. The airlines that use the aircraft will include Frontier Airlines, JetSMART of Chile, Volaris of Mexico and Wizz Air of Hungary. A320neos list for $108.4 million apiece and A321neos at $127 million. Airlines and manufacturers often negotiate lower prices for big deals like these."



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Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Labour challenges Downing St on $2bn Saudi Aramco loan guarantee

Labour challenges Downing St on $2bn Saudi Aramco loan guarantee:

"Britain’s opposition party has flagged concerns about plans to provide a $2bn loan guarantee for Saudi Arabia’s state energy giant Saudi Aramco, which has emerged as London is vying to host a stock exchange listing for the world’s largest oil producer. John McDonnell, shadow chancellor, wrote to the government on Tuesday demanding answers on the proposed credit backstop, asking what conversations had taken place between ministers and their Saudi counterparts before the loan guarantee was agreed. In his letter to chancellor Philip Hammond, seen by the Financial Times, the Labour MP asked on what grounds and on what evidence the decision had been made, and whether it was in the interests of the British public."



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Eni signs Oman oil and gas exploration deal, Qatari firm to take stake

Eni signs Oman oil and gas exploration deal, Qatari firm to take stake:

"Italian energy firm Eni signed a deal on Tuesday to explore an area off the southern coast of Oman for oil and gas and inked an agreement for Qatar Petroleum (QP) to take a stake in the block. Under the Exploration and Production Sharing Agreement (EPSA), Eni will be operator of Block 52 with an initial 85 percent stake, with the rest held by a subsidiary of state-owned Oman Oil Company SAOC. But Eni said it had also signed an agreement to cede 30 percent of the block to Qatar Petroleum (QP), a move that will reduce the Italian firm’s stake to 55 percent once completed."



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Update: Dubai's DIFC announces $100mln fintech fund | ZAWYA MENA Edition

Update: Dubai's DIFC announces $100mln fintech fund | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) on Tuesday announced it is establishing a $100 million fund to invest in early-stage and growth start-ups in the financial technology space. The fund was announced by the governor of the Dubai International Financial Centre, Essa Kazim, during his introductory address at the DIFC's inaugural Global Financial Forum event in Dubai on Tuesday morning. Kazim said the fund would help to establish "start-up and growth-stage fintech firms looking for access to the MEASA (Middle East, Africa and South Asia) markets". "



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Reduce bureaucracy, reform banking: Emir lays out 7-point strategy to fortify Qatar economy - The Peninsula Qatar

Reduce bureaucracy, reform banking: Emir lays out 7-point strategy to fortify Qatar economy - The Peninsula Qatar:

"While addressing the Advisory Council today morning, the Emir H H Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, laid out the strategy to fortify Qatar’s economy. “Our strategy to fortifying the national economy must be based on the following, he said: First, completion of the necessary legislations and decrees to facilitate investment, reduce bureaucracy, and reform the banking system to be compatible with the major tasks that we face in the new stage of building the economy and the state. Second, completion of food and water security projects over a specified time frame, and development of new industries and services necessary to respond to any contingencies, and implementing constructions and facilities that are essential for oil and gas industry."



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U.S. to Dominate Oil Markets After Biggest Boom in World History - Bloomberg

U.S. to Dominate Oil Markets After Biggest Boom in World History - Bloomberg:

"The U.S. will be a dominant force in global oil and gas markets for many years to come as the shale boom becomes the biggest supply surge in history, the International Energy Agency predicted.

By 2025, the growth in American oil production will equal that achieved by Saudi Arabia at the height of its expansion, and increases in natural gas will surpass those of the former Soviet Union, the agency said in its annual World Energy Outlook. The boom will turn the U.S., still among the biggest oil importers, into a net exporter of fossil fuels."



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Citigroup, UBS Are Among the Banks Most Exposed to Wealthy Saudi - Bloomberg

Citigroup, UBS Are Among the Banks Most Exposed to Wealthy Saudi - Bloomberg:

"Citigroup Inc. and UBS Group AG are among international banks managing the largest share of assets for wealthy Saudis, some of whom are being investigated as part of a government probe into alleged corruption, according to people familiar with the matter.

JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Credit Suisse Group AG also manage billions of dollars for some of the kingdom’s richest individuals, the people said, asking not to be identified because of the sensitivity of the matter. Citigroup’s private bank counts Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, the world’s 58th-richest person, and Khalid al-Tuwaijri, former chief of the Royal Court, as clients, two of the people said. Both are among those who were detained in the probe, the people said.

Saudi Arabia has long been the target of wealth managers such as UBS, Credit Suisse and Deutsche Bank AG, as well as other global banks seeking to advise the country’s ultra-rich. The kingdom was the 16th most populous country for high-net-worth individuals last year with 176,000, according to Capgemini’s 2017 World Wealth Report."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf mostly little changed, Dubai's GFH continues surge

MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf mostly little changed, Dubai's GFH continues surge:

"Major Middle East stock markets moved largely sideways on Tuesday with little positive news to spur buying, although GFH Financial continued surging in Dubai after disclosing details of its business strategy. In contrast to recent days, Saudi Arabia’s index spent almost the entire day higher, closing up 0.3 percent - a sign that the impact of the kingdom’s sweeping anti-corruption purge, which has alarmed investors, might be easing. Since the beginning of last week, the market had traded lower for most of the day before rebounding toward the close as state-linked funds bought shares, apparently as part of a deliberate market-support operation designed to prevent panic."



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QFC records jump in new firms after economic blockade: Al-Jaida

QFC records jump in new firms after economic blockade: Al-Jaida:

"The Qatar Financial Centre (QFC) Authority has recorded an increase in the number of new firms after the economic blockade imposed on Qatar in June, a senior QFCA official has said.
This was on top of the 41% year-on-year increase in the new companies that have registered under the Qatar Financial Centre Regulatory Authority during the first six months of 2017, QFCA CEO Yousuf Mohamed al-Jaida told reporters yesterday on the sidelines of a special business and investment forum co-hosted by QFCA and the US embassy in Qatar.
Since June, al-Jaida said 90 new firms, mostly regional and multinational corporations, are now with the QFC. “A lot of the companies that are set up in the region, specifically in the Dubai Financial Centre have actually come back home, specifically Qatari companies,” he pointed out."



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Breakup of Saudi-Russian ‘Bromance’ Would Collapse Crude Prices - Bloomberg

Breakup of Saudi-Russian ‘Bromance’ Would Collapse Crude Prices - Bloomberg:

"The Saudi- and Russia-led supply limits that have lifted crude to a 2 1/2-year high must be prolonged for an extended period or prices will collapse, said Ed Morse, global head of commodities research at Citigroup Inc. Investors already are assuming OPEC and its allied producers will agree at the end of this month to extend the limits well beyond their March expiration, Morse said at a gathering of energy economists in Houston on Monday. Morse characterized the historic 2016 rapprochement between Saudi Arabia and Russia that helped lead to the output limits as a “bromance,” and said anything short of a decisive step moving forward will disappoint traders and trigger a massive unwinding of long positions in the futures market."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi, Dubai marginally higher in early trade | ZAWYA MENA Edition

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi, Dubai marginally higher in early trade | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"Most Gulf stock markets were little changed in early trade on Tuesday as Saudi Arabia inched up, suggesting pressure from the kingdom's anti-corruption drive was easing.

The Saudi index was up 0.2 percent after 55 minutes of trade. In previous days, the index fell steeply in early trade as individual investors sold in response to the investigation, before buying by state-linked funds lifted the market towards the close.

The change in Tuesday's pattern suggested some confidence was returning. "



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Qatar First Bank sells stake in Amanat Holdings as Qatar-UAE ties unwind

Qatar First Bank sells stake in Amanat Holdings as Qatar-UAE ties unwind:

"Qatar First Bank (QFB) said on Tuesday that one of its units had sold its stake in United Arab Emirates healthcare and education investment firm Amanat Holdings, the latest sign of an unwinding of business ties between Qatar and the UAE. The stake was sold by QFB’s subsidiary Astro AD Cayman Ltd for 150 million UAE dirhams ($40.8 million). QFB did not disclose the size of the stake or the buyer, but said the deal value did not exceed 10 percent of the bank’s total assets. Astro AD Cayman was previously listed as owning 5 percent of Amanat, according to Thomson Reuters data."



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Dubai DGCX adds 44 blue-chip Indian single stock futures | ZAWYA MENA Edition

Dubai DGCX adds 44 blue-chip Indian single stock futures | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"Encouraged by strong investor appetite and robust trading performance on its existing Indian Single Stock Futures (SSF), the Dubai Gold & Commodities Exchange (DGCX) said it has received regulatory approval to launch of an additional 44 blue-chip Indian SSFs, further expanding its equities asset class vertical.

The Exchange’s Indian SSFs witnessed strong growth from July to the end of October 2017, trading a total of 851,108 contracts, up ten-fold from 2016, with a value of $5.42 billion. In October, the average daily volume was 10,750 lots valued at $64 million per day, with Open Interest of 2,042 lots, the bourse said in a statement.

With the listing of additional Indian SSFs, local and regional traders can now participate in the price performance of numerous stocks that fall within the major indices in India. Additional SSFs will be listed for trading on the Exchange from December 8, 2017."



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Monday, 13 November 2017

Opec raises demand forecast for next year’s oil

Opec raises demand forecast for next year’s oil:

"Opec’s in-house analysts have sharply raised their demand forecast for the cartel’s oil in 2018, predicting a growing market deficit that will be in focus when the group’s ministers meet later this month to discuss extending supply cuts. Writing in its monthly market report, Opec said forecast demand for its oil next year had increased by almost 400,000 barrels a day from the previous month to 33.4m b/d, a level higher than the group was producing at present. Demand for the group’s crude was also revised higher by 200,000 b/d for this year, as consumption continued to exceed many analysts’ expectations and helped to draw down inventories that accumulated during the crude glut from late 2014."



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Abu Dhabi Fund Seeks Energy Stakes After Spending $5 Billion - Bloomberg

Abu Dhabi Fund Seeks Energy Stakes After Spending $5 Billion - Bloomberg:

"Abu Dhabi’s state fund is looking to expand its energy investments, with $5 billion spent in the past few months in nations that can offer low costs such as the U.S., according to the head of Mubadala Investment Co.’s oil and chemicals projects. “If you think about the low cost environment, the U.S. ranks very high because of the feedstock,” Musabbeh Al Kaabi, the chief executive officer overseeing Mubadala’s petroleum and petrochemicals, said Monday in an interview in Abu Dhabi. “The natural gas is relatively attractive and the expansion in the petchem in the U.S. is big.” The current oil price is good for oil and gas investment, Al Kaabi said earlier in an interview on Bloomberg TV from Abu Dhabi where hundreds of energy executives are meeting at a conference. Oil demand is “exceeding our expectation,” he said. In recent months, Mubadala has spent $1.7 billion on a chemicals joint venture in the U.S. with Borealis AG and Total SA, and an additional $2.1 billion on chemicals in Louisiana. It’s also expanding in Vietnam. "



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Kuwait banks told to examine Saudi accounts after arrests- sources | ZAWYA MENA Edition

Kuwait banks told to examine Saudi accounts after arrests- sources | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"Kuwaiti banks have been told by the central bank to provide account details relating to some Saudi Arabian nationals, sources familiar with the situation told Reuters on Monday.

The move follows the freezing of more than 2,000 domestic bank accounts in Saudi Arabia after the detention of senior business figures and officials in a campaign against alleged graft.

Kuwait's central bank had asked its banks if they had exposure to any of the Saudi citizens who were arrested, one of the sources said, without providing further information. "



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Value of Saudi sovereign fund jumps amid market turmoil

Value of Saudi sovereign fund jumps amid market turmoil:

"As Saudi Arabia’s anti-corruption purge sends the shares of some if its companies into a tailspin, the kingdom’s sovereign wealth fund has gained in value.

Last week the market value of the Public Investment Fund’s portfolio of Saudi equities jumped by almost $3 billion, Reuters calculations show, even as the arrest or questioning of more than 200 people in the probe caused stocks in many privately controlled firms to slump.

The share price of National Commercial Bank, for example, surged 8.7 percent; Saudi Arabian Mining Co gained 4.7 percent. They and the remainder of the PIF’s top 10 holdings rose, while the main stock market index moved sideways."



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Qatar Property Developer Ezdan Fires Workers in Revamp - Bloomberg

Qatar Property Developer Ezdan Fires Workers in Revamp - Bloomberg:

"Ezdan Holding Group QSC reduced almost 15 percent of its workforce as Qatar’s largest publicly traded real estate developer restructures its operations, according to two people familiar with the situation.

The 220 job cuts mostly comprised maintenance staff and included some management, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private. An Ezdan spokesman and another official at the company didn’t respond to requests for comment.

Ezdan held the second-largest weighting in the Qatari stock index earlier this year until it was dropped after shareholders approved a plan on May 24 to convert the business to a private company. The shares have fallen 49 percent since. Valued at 21.2 billion riyals ($5.5 billion), Ezdan is controlled by its founder, a Qatari royal, and related entities, and only has about 6 percent of its shares available for trading by outside investors."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-State funds support Saudi, GFH Financial boosts Dubai

MIDEAST STOCKS-State funds support Saudi, GFH Financial boosts Dubai:

"Saudi Arabia’s stock market rose on Monday, apparently boosted by purchases of shares by state-linked funds, while a surge in GFH Financial lifted Dubai’s bourse. Data released by the Saudi exchange showed local individual investors were net sellers of stocks by a margin of about 13 percent last week because of the government’s sweeping anti-corruption probe, which has raised fears that people detained in the crackdown could dump assets. Foreign investors were net sellers by a bigger margin of 41 percent and Gulf investors were also net sellers. That left Saudi institutional investors net buyers by a large margin; most of them were government-linked funds deliberately supporting the market to avert a panic, many asset managers believe."



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Oman's Duqm Refinery to seek $6 bln bank funding soon - sources | ZAWYA MENA Edition

Oman's Duqm Refinery to seek $6 bln bank funding soon - sources | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"Oman's Duqm Refinery and Petrochemical Industries Co will approach banks in about two weeks for the debt financing it needs to back a $6 billion refinery project, banking sources familiar with the matter told Reuters on Monday.

The refinery, run by the joint venture between Oman Oil Company and Kuwait Petroleum International, will be able to process 230,000 barrels of crude per day and occupy 900 hectares in the Duqm industrial zone, which expects investments of up to $15 billion over the next 15 years.

This zone is Oman's biggest single economic project and part of the Gulf Arab Sultanate's efforts to diversify its economy away from oil revenues. "



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Saudi's Saleh Al-Amoudi currency exchange suspended from trade- c.bank | ZAWYA MENA Edition

Saudi's Saleh Al-Amoudi currency exchange suspended from trade- c.bank | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"Saudi Arabia's central bank said on Monday it had stopped currency exchange house Saleh Hussain al-Amoudi Sons Co from conducting business for violations related to suspected money laundering.

The central bank in September suspended three currency exchange houses from making money transfers.

"The Authority asserts that the suspension will not be lifted until the company corrects these conditions and is in full compliance with regulatory requirements," the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA) said on its website, referring to the implementation of anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism measures. "



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Qatar probing currency manipulation bid by UAE - The Peninsula Qatar

Qatar probing currency manipulation bid by UAE - The Peninsula Qatar:

"Director of the Government Communications Office H E Sheikh Saif bin Ahmed bin Saif Al Thani (pictured) announced yesterday that Qatar opened an investigation into an alleged attempt to manipulate its currency during the early weeks of a Gulf political crisis now in its sixth month.
Sheikh Saif bin Ahmed told French news agency AFP that an unnamed global financial institution, partly owned by United Arab Emirates investors, had been instructed to stop trading Qatari riyals across Europe and Asia. The Director said that if the act of financial warfare was proven to be true, it would be a disgrace and danger not only to Qatar’s economy but the global one as well.
Sheikh Saif bin Ahmed said that one of the financial institutions stopped trading in riyals for a few days and it was only after Qatar reached out to them that they resumed trading. Sheikh Saif bin Ahmed added that Qatar’s intelligence agencies were carrying out an investigation and have engaged with law enforcement officials in the relevant jurisdictions. The Qatari government through its various entities, including the central bank, is working on confirming and identifying these reports."



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Aramco CEO Says Size of Share Offering Is Still to Be Decided - Bloomberg

Aramco CEO Says Size of Share Offering Is Still to Be Decided - Bloomberg:

"Saudi Arabian Oil Co. is still waiting for a decision on how many of its shares will be offered to the public, or where the listing will be made outside of the kingdom, according to Chief Executive Officer Amin Nasser.

The shares will definitely be listed in Saudi Arabia’s market known as Tadawul, Nasser told reporters Monday at a conference in Abu Dhabi. The U.K., Hong Kong and U.S. are competing for the international listing.

“We are ready for all different stock exchanges, we are prepared and ready,” Nasser said. “There’s definitely going to be a listing on Tadawul.” The decision on how much to list is being reviewed, he said."



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UAE's Dana Gas profit boosted by financial settlement with KRG

UAE's Dana Gas profit boosted by financial settlement with KRG:

"United Arab Emirates energy producer Dana Gas reported a steep rise in third-quarter profit, benefiting from a $1 billion payment as part of a settlement agreement with the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).

The Abu Dhabi-listed company posted a net profit of $102 million, considerably higher than the $13 million in profit it made during the same period one year earlier.

As part of the Pearl Petroleum consortium, which includes Austria’s OMV, Hungary’s MOL and Germany’s RWE, Dana filed a case against the KRG in the London Court of Arbitration in 2013 accusing it of underpaying for gas liquid production."



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OPEC Head Says Oil Cuts ‘Only Viable Option’ to Stabilize Market - Bloomberg

OPEC Head Says Oil Cuts ‘Only Viable Option’ to Stabilize Market - Bloomberg:

"The oil market is re-balancing at a quickening pace and production cuts are the “only viable option” to restore stability, OPEC Secretary-General Mohammad Barkindo said.   

Global curbs on output have helped trim crude inventories from record levels, United Arab Emirates Energy Minister Suhail Al Mazrouei said in a speech at a conference in Abu Dhabi. Neighboring Oman backs an extension in the cuts accord that expires in March and sees producers prolonging their limits until the end of 2018, Oil Minister Mohammed Hamad Al Rumhy told reporters.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, in its monthly market report on Monday, will raise its estimate of oil demand growth to “above 1.5 million barrels a day” for both 2017 and next year, Barkindo said at the same conference. Stockpiles have declined by more than 180 million barrels this year alone, he said."



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UAE's ADNOC to sell at least 10% of fuel distribution in IPO | ZAWYA MENA Edition

UAE's ADNOC to sell at least 10% of fuel distribution in IPO | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) plans to sell at least 10 percent of its stake in its fuel distribution unit in an initial public offering next month, the company said on Monday. ADNOC Distribution is the leading fuel distributor in the United Arab Emirates with an approximately 67 percent market share by number of retail fuel service stations The listing, which will be on the Abu Dhabi bourse, comes as Abu Dhabi and other Gulf states seek to privatise energy assets as revenues are squeezed by lower oil prices."



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Abu Dhabi's Aldar Properties' Q3 net profit drop by almost a fifth | ZAWYA MENA Edition

Abu Dhabi's Aldar Properties' Q3 net profit drop by almost a fifth | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"Aldar Properties , the state-linked builder of Abu Dhabi's Formula One circuit, reported a nearly 20 percent decline in third-quarter profit. The results come against a backdrop of a slowing economy and property market in the oil-rich capital of the United Arab Emirates. Aldar also announced management changes, appointing its chief development officer Talal al-Dhiyebi as the new chief executive officer and named the current CEO Mohamed Khalifa al-Mubarak as its new chairman. "



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi still under pressure, GFH volatile in Dubai | ZAWYA MENA Edition

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi still under pressure, GFH volatile in Dubai | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"Gulf stock markets were mixed early on Monday with Saudi Arabia under pressure from the kingdom's anti-corruption probe and Dubai -- where trade in GFH Financial was volatile -- flat overall.

The Saudi index was 0.5 percent lower after 20 minutes of trade. Repeatedly since the start of last week, selling by individual investors spooked by the investigation has pushed the market lower during much of the day before buying by state-linked funds, which are apparently mounting a market support operation, cut losses towards the close.

The most heavily traded stock, real estate developer Dar Al Arkan, gained a further 2.1 percent after surging in the previous two days following strong quarterly earnings. "



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Sunday, 12 November 2017

Etihad not on the lookout for new equity stakes: CEO | GulfNews.com

Etihad not on the lookout for new equity stakes: CEO | GulfNews.com:

"Doing a U-turn on the investment strategy that was an inherent part of Etihad Airways’ growth plan until very recently, the airline is now starting to look inward for growth, according to its top executive.
Etihad “will not” continue to invest in various airlines across the globe, Peter Baumgartner told Gulf News in an interview on Sunday. “No, we certainly are not on the lookout for [airline stakes] for the next investment opportunity,” he said.

Etihad’s former chief James Hogan had adopted a growth strategy that involved buying equity stakes in airlines across the globe.
"



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Saudi Aramco CEO: IPO preparations ongoing, no decision on venue abroad | ZAWYA MENA Edition

Saudi Aramco CEO: IPO preparations ongoing, no decision on venue abroad | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"Preparations to float shares of Saudi Aramco next year are proceeding, but no decision has been taken yet on the venue for the international listing, the chief executive of the state oil company told Al Arabiya Television channel. "Preparations are proceeding to the fullest extent for listing in 2018," Amin Nasser told the channel in an interview aired on Sunday. He was speaking after the company signed engineering and construction deals with international firms worth $4.5 billion . "



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Dubai's Emaar Properties Q3 profit up 32 pct as home sales surge

Dubai's Emaar Properties Q3 profit up 32 pct as home sales surge:

"Dubai’s Emaar Properties , which plans to list part of its development unit, reported a 32 percent rise in third-quarter net profit on Sunday, helped by a surge in sales of residential properties. The developer, in which Dubai’s government owns a minority stake, made a net profit of 1.51 billion dirhams ($411.16 million) in the three months to Sept. 30, it said in a statement. That compares with a profit of 1.15 billion dirhams in the year-earlier period."



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Saudi Arabia Credit Risk Surges Most in Almost Two Years - Bloomberg

Saudi Arabia Credit Risk Surges Most in Almost Two Years - Bloomberg:

"The cost of insuring Saudi Arabian debt against default through five-year credit-default swaps soared more than 20 basis points last week amid an anti-corruption purge in the kingdom. Renewed tensions with Hezbollah, an Iranian-backed militant group, have compounded investor concerns about rising political risks in the region. The last time the nation’s CDS jumped as much in a single week was in January 2016 at the height of the oil-market crash."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf shares mostly weak on geopolitics, Saudi corruption inquiry

MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf shares mostly weak on geopolitics, Saudi corruption inquiry:

"Gulf stock markets mostly fell on Sunday because of rising geopolitical tensions and jitters related to Saudi Arabia’s anti-corruption investigation, although trading volume in Riyadh shrank, suggesting there was less panic selling of shares.

Geopolitical worries increased at the weekend after Bahrain linked an explosion at its main oil pipeline on Friday to Iran. There is now considerable concern about the possibility of aggressive Saudi action against Iranian interests in the region.

Meanwhile, wealthy Saudi individuals have been selling stocks in Riyadh and around the region - some of them hoping to move money out of the Gulf - since the anti-graft investigation was revealed at the start of last week."



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Opec paints a rosy picture, but challenges lie ahead - The National

Opec paints a rosy picture, but challenges lie ahead - The National:

"Some energy trends are set by factors that grind forward as slowly, invisibly and inexorably as a drill-bit. Only a major global conflict, climate shift or technological or social upheaval looks capable of deflecting them. Last week’s World Oil Outlook from Opec, one of the industry’s most influential reports, offers reasonable optimism for the big oil producers in the coming years, but cannot dispel the long-term concerns. At the most basic level, global energy use continues to be dictated by a combination of geology, demographics, macroeconomics and logistics, all of which are immutable except on longer time-scales. Opec’s report noted that Asian markets will continue to grow in their energy use for the foreseeable future, with a growing proportion of oil produced being used for transport and petrochemicals. Fossil fuels' share of the overall energy mix will continue to be large, but will begin to shrink, with the Middle East’s dominant role in petroleum production being sustained. Within this context, it is possible to see a tolerable future for major oil exporters, in particular the Opec states. The future of Opec earnings is determined by three factors: the change in world oil demand, how much of this is supplied by the Opec states, and the price. Opec’s report a slow rise in all three."



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QBA begins Europe tour to attract investments - The Peninsula Qatar

QBA begins Europe tour to attract investments - The Peninsula Qatar:

"The Qatari Businessmen Association(QBA) has announced a European tour that would cover France, Germany and Britain, from today. The delegation will be led by QBA Chairman, Sheikh Faisal bin Qasim Al Thani; the Second Deputy to the Chairman, Sheikh Dr Khalid bin Thani Al Thani; and Secretary General Issa Abdull Salam  Abu Issa. The delegation also include Sheikh Nawaf Nasser bin Khalid Al Thani, Sheikh Hamad bin Faisal Al Thani and Sherida Al Kaabi."



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Dubai Airshow opens without Qatar amid Gulf tensions

Dubai Airshow opens without Qatar amid Gulf tensions:

"The biennial Dubai Air Show opened Sunday with the world’s biggest defense companies promoting their fighter jets, drones, armored vehicles and missiles amid heightened tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran. Airlines also are taking part, but missing from the trade show this year is one of the region’s largest long-haul carriers, Qatar Airways, amid diplomatic fallout between Qatar and four Arab nations. The dispute is now in its fifth month with no resolution in sight. Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain cut ties with Qatar in June over its ties with Iran and its support of Islamist groups, accusing the small Gulf state of supporting extremists, charges it denies. The Arab quartet cut direct flights with Qatar and closed their airspace to Qatari aircraft."



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What the Saudi Arrests Mean for the Kingdom's Oil Policy - Bloomberg Gadfly

What the Saudi Arrests Mean for the Kingdom's Oil Policy - Bloomberg Gadfly:

"We may never fully know what lies behind Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's decision to arrest more than 200 Saudi citizens, including 11 princes and four government ministers, on corruption charges, just as tensions with Iran are escalating.What we do know is that his move simultaneously boosted the oil price and undermined the attractiveness of Aramco to potential foreign investors. But it would be a mistake to conclude that this political decision also heralds a shift in Saudi oil policy, or permanently damages the prospects of the state oil company's IPO. Crude prices always rise in response to unrest in the Middle East, even when the countries involved produce little or no oil. That it has done so now, in the wake of the arrests in the region's biggest producer and the threats against Lebanon and Iran in response to a missile launched from Yemen, should come as no surprise."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi shares more stable in early trade, rest of Gulf mixed

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi shares more stable in early trade, rest of Gulf mixed:

"Saudi Arabia’s stock market was relatively stable in early trade on Sunday after swinging widely last week in response to the government’s anti-corruption investigation. Other Gulf markets were mixed.

The Saudi index was down only 0.5 percent after an hour. Last week, it dropped steeply in early trade each day before rebounding towards the close as state-linked funds bought stocks to support the market.

On Sunday morning, the number of rising stocks marginally outnumbered decliners. Stocks related to people detained in the investigation partly recovered: Al Tayyar Travel added 1.5 percent and Kingdom Holding crept up 0.4 percent."



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Saturday, 11 November 2017

Bottom falls out of UAE markets | GulfNews.com

Bottom falls out of UAE markets | GulfNews.com:

"Last week the Dubai Financial Market General Index (DFMGI) fell by 172.43 or 4.76 per cent to close at 3,449.81, that’s the largest one-week decline since May 2016 and the lowest close in 18 weeks. Most issues fell as there were 34 declining and only eight that advanced, while volume increased from the previous week. The precipitous fall triggered the breakdown of a double top trend reversal pattern on a move below 3,538 with the index then retracing just over two thirds of the prior advance. In addition, the minimum anticipated target of 3,391.90 from the double top was just about reached, close enough to consider finished. As of last week’s low of 3,397.92 the index was down 6.2 per cent for the week before recoving into the close. Also at that low the DFMGI was 7.8 per cent below the recent peak of 3,684.19 hit only three weeks ago. Selling pressure remained into the end of the week with the index closing in the bottom quarter of the week’s range."



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World Bank official: Saudi fight against corruption ‘important for development’ | Arab News

World Bank official: Saudi fight against corruption ‘important for development’ | Arab News:

"Fighting corruption is key to Saudi Arabia’s development, a senior World Bank official said as he welcomed the raft of reforms underway in the Kingdom.
Hafez Ghanem, vice president of the World Bank for the Middle East and North Africa, told Arab News that anti-corruption drives were important to a country’s future development.
“Fighting corruption is important for development, it is an important part of the Vision 2030,” he said, making reference to the ambitious reform plan spearheaded by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman."



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Dubai to get spillover boost from Aramco listing says DIFC chief | Arab News

Dubai to get spillover boost from Aramco listing says DIFC chief | Arab News:

"Dubai is set to benefit from the spillover effect of a Saudi Aramco listing and other market reforms underway in Saudi Arabia, according to the chief of the emirate’s financial hub The planned listing of Saudi Aramco and the opening of financial markets in Saudi Arabia will “increase the pie” of financial services in the region, said Dubai International Financial Center (DIFC) Governor Essa Kazim, in an interview on the sidelines of a World Economic Forum meeting in Dubai. “Opening Saudi is completely a positive for the whole region,” said Kazim. “Our market is highly interactive with the Saudi market, so the investment flow that would come to Saudi would have a spillover into our market."



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Boeing sees steady Gulf demand, interest in mid-sized jet

Boeing sees steady Gulf demand, interest in mid-sized jet:

"Boeing (BA.N) sought to dispel concerns about a slowdown in the growth of Gulf airlines as the aerospace industry gathered on Saturday for the Dubai Airshow.

Speaking to reporters on the eve of the showcase event, executives at the U.S. planemaker also played down the impact of growing political tensions in the region.

“Traffic is coming back and yields are improving and this is going to be a very positive backdrop to the Dubai Airshow,” Marty Bentrott, vice president for Boeing’s commercial sales in the region, said, citing higher profit at Dubai’s Emirates. "



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A political shock throws Lebanon's economy back into crisis

A political shock throws Lebanon's economy back into crisis:

"Just when things were starting to look up for Lebanon’s economy, a new political crisis threatens to send it crashing down again. Prime Minister Saad Hariri’s shock resignation could unravel the first steps in years toward injecting some cash and confidence in Lebanon’s anemic economy. Already, the crisis is putting at risk multi-billion-dollar plans to rebuild decaying road and electrical and communication networks and get the oil and gas sector moving. Lebanon has long been buffeted by blows from the great-powers rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Iran. But its economy sputtered on under a tacit understanding among the regional heavyweights and their local proxies that left Lebanon on the sidelines of that contest."



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Oil prices slide after U.S. drillers add rigs

Oil prices slide after U.S. drillers add rigs:

"Crude was down slightly on Friday as expectations that OPEC and other producers will extend their production cut agreement were offset by U.S. drillers adding the most oil rigs in a week since June, indicating output will continue to grow.

U.S. energy companies added nine oil drilling rigs this week, the second increase in three weeks, bringing the total count up to 738, General Electric Co’s Baker Hughes energy services firm said in its closely followed report. [RIG/U]

Brent futures fell 41 cents, or 0.6 percent, to $63.52 a barrel, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude settled down 43 cents at $56.74 per barrel."



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Friday, 10 November 2017

Saudi Arabia crackdown and persistence of the unforeseen

Saudi Arabia crackdown and persistence of the unforeseen:

"It is not the risks we worry about that harm us. It is what Donald Rumsfeld once called the “unknown unknowns” that we were not thinking about and did not even know about. In markets, assets deemed high risk tend to be priced so that they do little harm when things go wrong. Crises happen when that thought to be safe surprise us.

This week we celebrated the anniversary of a huge political shock — the election of Donald Trump — with possibly an even more shocking development. In Saudi Arabia, the young crown prince asserted his authority imprisoning many members of the Saudi power structure. Even if the prison in question is a five-star hotel, this is a shocking development.

First, as we know, Saudi Arabia is an enormous oil producer. It led Opec throughout the 1970s when oil price spikes forced recessions in the western world. Second, Saudi Arabia has a critical role in the politics of the Middle East. Its nationals accounted for most of the 9/11 hijackers and it is the land of Osama bin Laden’s birth. It has a tense political and religious rivalry with Iran, the other pole within the Middle East, and the latest developments seem to ratchet up the chances of an outright between the two."



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RPT-INSIGHT-A house divided: How Saudi Crown Prince purged royal family rivals

RPT-INSIGHT-A house divided: How Saudi Crown Prince purged royal family rivals:

"The first hint that something was amiss came in a letter. On Saturday Nov. 4, guests at Riyadh’s Ritz Carlton were notified by the opulent hotel that: “Due to unforeseen booking by local authorities which requires an elevated level of security, we are unable to accommodate guests ... until normal operations are restored.” The purge was already under way. Within hours security forces had rounded up dozens of members of Saudi Arabia’s political and business elite, mostly in the capital and the coastal city of Jeddah. Among them were 11 princes as well as ministers and wealthy tycoons."



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Middle East tensions loom over Dubai aerospace pageant

Middle East tensions loom over Dubai aerospace pageant:

"Rising Middle East tensions and a corruption crackdown in Saudi Arabia will cast a shadow over next week’s Dubai Airshow, as military and aerospace leaders try to gauge whether they might prolong a weapons-buying spree in the region.

Fraying business confidence since the summer, when a sudden rift emerged between Arab powers, means the recent rapid growth of major Gulf airlines will also be under scrutiny when the Middle East’s largest industry showcase opens on Sunday.

 The biennial gathering has produced a frenzy of deals in the past, especially four years ago when Dubai’s Emirates and Qatar Airways opened the show with a display of unity as they unveiled a headline-grabbing order for passenger jets.

"



'via Blog this'

Shaking Down Saudi Princes Is Harder Than You Think - Bloomberg Gadfly

Shaking Down Saudi Princes Is Harder Than You Think - Bloomberg Gadfly:

"Saudi Arabia's unprecedented corruption crackdown -- worth anywhere from $100 billion to $800 billion, depending on who you ask -- makes wringing money from rich princes look as lucrative as extracting oil from the desert.

Similar figures are bandied about for the initial public offering of the state-owned oil company. Aramco's listing is expected to raise $100 billion to fund big economic changes in Saudi Arabia without toppling the established order. Why sell more national jewels when you can just soak the rich?"



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Correction: Fitch Revises Bahrain's Outlook to Negative; Affirms IDR 'BB+'

Correction: Fitch Revises Bahrain's Outlook to Negative; Affirms IDR 'BB+':

"Fitch Ratings has revised Bahrain's Outlook to Negative from Stable and affirmed the sovereign's Long Term Foreign- and Local-Currency Issuer Default Ratings (IDR) at 'BB+'. The issue ratings on Bahrain's senior unsecured foreign and local currency long-term bonds have been affirmed at 'BB+'. The ratings on the sukuk trust certificates issued by CBB International Sukuk Company 5 have also been affirmed at 'BB+'. The Country Ceiling has been affirmed at 'BBB+' and the Short-Term Foreign- and Local-Currency IDRs at 'B'. The issue ratings on Bahrain's senior unsecured local-currency short-term bonds have been affirmed at 'B'."



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Thursday, 9 November 2017

Saudi Arabia corruption probe arrests rise to more than 200

Saudi Arabia corruption probe arrests rise to more than 200:

"Saudi Arabia said more than 200 people had now been detained as part of an anti-graft crackdown into at least $100bn in “systematic corruption and embezzlement” going back decades.

Sheikh Saud al-Mojeb, the kingdom’s attorney-general, said on Thursday that the probe launched by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s new anti-corruption committee was “proceeding quickly” and that seven of the 208 people arrested since Saturday had been released without charge.

“The potential scale of corrupt practices which have been uncovered is very large,” Sheikh Mojeb said. “The evidence for this wrongdoing is very strong and confirms the original suspicions which led the Saudi Arabian authorities to begin the investigation in the first place.”"



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Saudi Arabia faces battle to repatriate assets after corruption crackdown | ZAWYA MENA Edition

Saudi Arabia faces battle to repatriate assets after corruption crackdown | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"Saudi Arabia has announced it will confiscate money and assets held by dozens of top officials and businessmen detained in an anti-corruption crackdown. But the experiences of two other Arab states trying to recover stolen money, Egypt and Tunisia, suggest Riyadh may face years of legal and diplomatic battles to secure assets held abroad. Even then success is not guaranteed. The anti-corruption committee that detained princes, tycoons and ministers at the weekend has the power under a royal decree to take "whatever measures are deemed necessary" to seize companies, funds and other assets without waiting for the results of criminal investigations. "



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UAE's Mubadala and French groups in 1 bln euro investment plan

UAE's Mubadala and French groups in 1 bln euro investment plan:

"Abu Dhabi state fund Mubadala Investment said on Thursday it planned to invest millions of euros in businesses and other organisations in France under a deal signed with French state-backed investment vehicles CDC International Capital and Bpifrance.

The agreement, signed during a visit of French President Emmanuel Macron to the emirate, aims to invest up to 1 billion euros ($1.2 billion) in the French economy. The deal didn’t give a timescale for the investment.

The first part of the plan involves raising the size and scope of an existing co-investment partnership, known as FEF, which was launched in 2014 by Mubadala and CDC International Capital, a subsidiary of French state-owned Caisse des Dépôts Group aimed at investing alongside sovereign wealth funds."



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UPDATE 1-UAE's TAQA posts Q3 loss after two quarters of profit

UPDATE 1-UAE's TAQA posts Q3 loss after two quarters of profit:

"Abu Dhabi National Energy Company (TAQA) reported on Thursday a narrower loss in the third quarter from a year earlier, after small profits in the previous two quarters. The state-owned oil explorer and power supplier made a loss attributable to shareholders of 194 million dirhams ($52.8 million) in the three months ended Sept. 30, it said in a statement to the stock exchange. That compared with a 524 million dirhams net loss during the same period a year ago."



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U.K., Wooing Saudi Aramco IPO, Offers $2 Billion Loan Guarantee - Bloomberg

U.K., Wooing Saudi Aramco IPO, Offers $2 Billion Loan Guarantee - Bloomberg:

"The U.K. government agreed to a $2 billion loan guarantee for Saudi Arabian Oil Co. as Britain and the U.S. compete to host the state-run energy giant’s proposed initial public offering, likely to be the largest in history. The unusually large export credit guarantee, designed to finance the purchase of British goods, will be seen by many as an attempt to help woo the IPO to the London Stock Exchange, the most viable venue for the international portion of the sale aside from New York. On Saturday, President Donald Trump said it a tweet that he’d love to see Aramco comes to the U.S.. A former senior official at the U.K. Treasury criticized the deal as an affront to free markets. The government “guaranteeing a loan to Aramco would be a further lurch in descent to mercantilism,” Nicholas MacPherson, who was the most senior non-elected official at Britain’s finance ministry until 2016, said on Twitter. He finished the tweet with the hashtag #stateaid."



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Saudi anti-corruption probe finds '$100bn was embezzled' - BBC News

Saudi anti-corruption probe finds '$100bn was embezzled' - BBC News:

"Saudi Arabia's attorney general says at least $100bn (£76bn) has been misused through systemic corruption and embezzlement in recent decades.
Sheikh Saud al-Mojeb said 199 people were being held for questioning as part of a sweeping anti-corruption drive that began on Saturday night.
He did not name any of them, but they reportedly include senior princes, ministers and influential businessmen."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf rebounds a bit after slide due to Saudi graft inquiry

MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf rebounds a bit after slide due to Saudi graft inquiry:

"Gulf stock markets rebounded slightly on Thursday after a jittery week in which most dropped because of concern about Saudi Arabia’s anti-corruption purge, which could reduce Saudi fund flows to the region.

The Saudi stock index spent most of the day lower before closing 0.3 percent higher. Similar trading patterns were seen every day this week after authorities announced the arrest of dozens of senior officials and businessmen in the investigation and froze over 1,700 domestic bank accounts.

Wealthy Saudi individuals, fearful that they could be implicated in the probe, have been dumping stocks to raise cash, in some cases intending to move the money out of the country, fund managers said."



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Saudi budget airline Flynas picks Morgan Stanley for IPO-sources | ZAWYA MENA Edition

Saudi budget airline Flynas picks Morgan Stanley for IPO-sources | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"Saudi budget airline Flynas, partly owned by Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal's firm, has selected Morgan Stanley to work on its initial public offering, sources familiar with the matter told Reuters on Thursday.

Flynas, which is 34 percent owned by Prince Alwaleed's Kingdom Holding, earlier this year had made public its plans for a flotation.

Investment banks pitched for the role two weeks ago, and the decision came this week, according to two sources, declining to be named as the matter was not public. "



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Dubai Airshow: Airbus nears deal to sell over 30 A380s -sources | ZAWYA MENA Edition

Dubai Airshow: Airbus nears deal to sell over 30 A380s -sources | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

" Airbus is close to a deal worth at least $14 billion to sell over 30 of its A380 jetliners to Dubai's Emirates to seek to secure production of its struggling superjumbo until the middle of next decade, two people familiar with the matter said.

The deal, if confirmed, is expected to be announced at the opening of the Dubai Airshow on Sunday.

Airbus said it does not comment on commercial discussions.
"



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BRIEF-Moody's says United Arab Emirates banks' funding conditions improve, a credit positive‍​

BRIEF-Moody's says United Arab Emirates banks' funding conditions improve, a credit positive‍​:

"* Moody‘s- United Arab Emirates banks’ funding conditions improve, a credit positive‍​

 * Moody’s - expect UAE banks’ market funding reliance and liquid resources to remain broadly stable over next 12-18 months

 * Moody’s - expect UAE banks to remain primarily deposit-funded, with moderate reliance on market funding."



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Saudi Billionaires Look to Move Funds to Escape Asset Freeze - Bloomberg

Saudi Billionaires Look to Move Funds to Escape Asset Freeze - Bloomberg:

"Some Saudi billionaires and millionaires are seeking to move assets from the kingdom and the wider Gulf Cooperation Council region as what authorities call a crackdown on corruption intensifies, according to six people with knowledge of the matter. The country’s wealthiest people are in talks with banks, asset managers and advisers to try to shift cash and other liquid holdings from Saudi Arabia and neighboring states amid concerns that funds could be frozen and more arrests will be made, the people said. They asked not to be identified because the matter is private. Saudi security forces arrested more than 10 princes as well as dozens of ministers, former officials and businessmen in a surprise weekend purge. The central bank asked lenders in the kingdom to freeze the accounts of dozens of individuals who aren’t under arrest, as well as the assets of those being detained, people familiar with the matter said. The Saudi attorney general said in a statement released Monday that the weekend arrests were only “phase one” of the crackdown."



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Saudi Arabia Is Putinizing, Not Modernizing - Bloomberg

Saudi Arabia Is Putinizing, Not Modernizing - Bloomberg:

"It was perhaps inevitable that the Saudi royal purge, in which 11 princes and dozens of bureaucrats stand accused of corruption, would be compared with Russian President Vladimir Putin's and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping's highly public, and highly selective, anti-graft campaigns. But Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who initiated the crackdown, resembles Putin in other dangerous ways, too.

There is no question that Saudi Arabia is, and has long been, thoroughly corrupt. With thousands of royals alone, who, in an absolute monarchy, naturally see the public purse as their own, that's no surprise. But talking about it has never been safe, even for a prince. In the last three years -- just as MbS, as the crown prince is known, rose to power -- three dissident members of the Saudi royal family have been kidnapped in Europe and flown clandestinely home. The most senior of them, Prince Sultan bin Turki, nephew to King Fahd, who ruled Saudi Arabia until 2005, was an outspoken critic of corrupt practices in the Saudi government. The Saudis kidnapped him and 20 members of his entourage in February, 2016, and he has not been seen since soldiers violently subdued him at the Riyadh airport.

In any authoritarian regime, fighting corruption can only be a pretext for power consolidation because the nature of the system invites corruption. It's always of the same kind: People close to the source of power get the most lucrative government orders. Prince Miteb bib Abdullah, former head of the National Guard, allegedly awarded $10 million in contracts to his own companies; former Riyadh governor Turki bin Abdullah is accused of doing the same on the lucrative Riyadh Metro project. As in Russia and China, however, people around the throne who don't line their pockets are viewed with more suspicion than those who do. A purge of several dozen individuals, including the relatively liberal billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal -- who, for example, advocated lifting Saudi Arabia's driving ban for women long before MbS decided to lift it -- doesn't change the essence of the regime and is as alarming as Putin's arrest of oil oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky in 2003. That move cemented Putin's power and made other wealthy Russians fall into line, leading eventually to the recentralization and tight government control of the Russian economy."



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Emirates Profit Jumps 77% Amid Job Cuts, Reduced Dollar Impact - Bloomberg

Emirates Profit Jumps 77% Amid Job Cuts, Reduced Dollar Impact - Bloomberg:

"Emirates Group boosted first-half profit 77 percent as the biggest long-haul airline cut jobs and benefited from a more stable dollar as it seeks to recover from its first annual earnings decline for five years.

Net income increased to 2.3 billion dirhams ($630 million) in the six months ended Sept. 30, with sales advancing 6 percent to 49.4 billion dirhams, the Dubai-based company said in a statement Thursday.

Emirates has been grappling with the toughest operating conditions in a three-decade history that’s seen it become an industry heavyweight by exploiting the position of the Gulf at a natural crossroads for inter-continental flights. The carrier has reduced the payroll by 3,000 people in six months, eliminating some senior cabin crew, support staff and IT workers, and has begun charging for perks such as advance seat selection in a bid to boost revenue."



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U.A.E. to Seek Bank Account Information of 19 Saudis - Bloomberg

U.A.E. to Seek Bank Account Information of 19 Saudis - Bloomberg:

"The United Arab Emirates central bank asked financial institutions to provide information on the accounts of 19 Saudi citizens, according to people familiar with the matter.

The list includes some of those who have been arrested in Saudi Arabia during an anti-corruption drive. Among those detained are princes, billionaires, former ministers and prominent businessmen, including Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, one of the world’s richest men. The Saudi attorney general said the arrests are “phase one” of the anti-corruption drive."



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