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Tuesday, 31 October 2017

POLL- Mideast funds more cautious on bonds, Saudi plans draw interest | ZAWYA MENA Edition

POLL- Mideast funds more cautious on bonds, Saudi plans draw interest | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"Middle East fund managers have become more cautious about investing in regional bonds while ambitious economic development plans in Saudi Arabia have increased interest in equities there, a monthly Reuters poll shows. Twenty-three percent of regional funds expect to reduce their allocations to fixed income in the next three months while 8 percent expect to increase them, according to the poll of 13 leading managers conducted over the past several days (for full poll results, click). That is a shift from last month's poll, when 15 percent expected to increase fixed income allocations and 15 percent foresaw reducing them."



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UK financial watchdog denies government pressure over Aramco IPO

UK financial watchdog denies government pressure over Aramco IPO:

"The head of Britain’s financial watchdog has rejected suggestions its proposed changes to listing rules for sovereign-controlled companies were influenced by the government to try to persuade oil giant Saudi Aramco to list in London.

Saudi Arabia is considering floating a 5 percent stake in Aramco in London or New York. It is expected to be the biggest IPO ever and boost the reputation of its chosen venue.

But the possible listing has been met with resistance from British fund managers concerned about governance. It would require the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to relax certain rules, including that companies float at least 25 percent of their shares - a power not used in the FCA’s four-year history."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi soft again, Emaar and DSI hold back Dubai

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi soft again, Emaar and DSI hold back Dubai:

"Saudi Arabia’s stock market fell on Tuesday despite a big rebound by petrochemical company PetroRabigh, while Dubai Investments helped offset losses by real estate-related shares in that market. The Saudi stock index dropped 0.2 percent as PetroRabigh’s gain failed to bolster the petrochemical sector as a whole while banking and insurance stocks weighed heavily on the market. PetroRabigh jumped 4.3 percent in its heaviest trade since May after reporting third-quarter net profit of 706‍ million riyals ($188.3 million) versus a year-earlier loss of 211 million riyals, with sales surging 43 percent."



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Oil market enters ‘new normality’ after price correction, says BP

Oil market enters ‘new normality’ after price correction, says BP:

"The oil market is settling into “a new normality” according to BP, which announced a doubling of third-quarter profits and launched a share buyback programme. The results beat market expectations, pushing BP shares up 3.3 per cent on Tuesday morning, in a further sign of confidence returning to the oil and gas sector. Geopolitical tensions and tightening supplies have driven Brent crude, the international benchmark, above $60 a barrel in recent days for the first time since 2015. "



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Saudis Leads Gulf Nations in Cutting Break-Even Oil Price - Bloomberg

Saudis Leads Gulf Nations in Cutting Break-Even Oil Price - Bloomberg:

"Saudi Arabia, OPEC’s biggest oil producer, is also a leader when it comes to slashing the crude price the country needs to balance its budget.

The kingdom will need oil to trade at $70 a barrel next year to break even, the Washington-based International Monetary Fund said Tuesday in its Regional Economic Outlook for the Middle East and Central Asia. That’s down from a break-even of $96.60 a barrel in 2016, the biggest drop of eight crude producers in the Persian Gulf. The break-even is a measure of the crude price needed to meet spending plans and balance the budget."



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Dubai’s Emirates REIT plans debut sukuk of at least $300 mln this year -source

Dubai’s Emirates REIT plans debut sukuk of at least $300 mln this year -source:

"Dubai-based Emirates REIT , a sharia-compliant real estate investment trust, plans to issue a debut Islamic bond of at least $300 million by the end of this year, said a source close to the company. The sukuk, to be denominated in U.S. dollars, could potentially replace all of the company’s outstanding debt, said the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of commercial sensitivities. The addition of a new issuer to the Gulf’s international bond market comes at a time of record debt sales in the region, as governments raise debt to plug budget deficits and corporates change their capital structures in an era of low oil prices."



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Gulf states still committed to VAT but dates will vary, IMF says

Gulf states still committed to VAT but dates will vary, IMF says:

"All six countries in the Gulf Cooperation Council remain committed to introducing value-added tax, though they will do so at different speeds, a senior International Monetary Fund official said. “My feeling, through my interaction with the authorities, is that they are still committed and they are still preparing implementation,” Jihad Azour, head of the IMF’s Middle East department, said in an interview. Seeking to close budget deficits caused by low oil prices, GCC states have agreed to introduce VAT at a 5 percent rate in 2018 - a big step for governments that have traditionally levied little tax and relied instead on oil revenues."



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IMF endorses Saudi plan for $500-billion business zone

IMF endorses Saudi plan for $500-billion business zone:

"The International Monetary Fund has endorsed an ambitious Saudi Arabian plan to build a $500-billion business and industrial zone extending into Jordan and Egypt, saying the project could benefit the whole region.

Jihad Azour, head of the IMF’s Middle East department, said Riyadh would need to balance the huge cost of the zone and other economic projects with its drive to cut a big state budget deficit caused by low oil prices.

But the plan to develop the zone, known as NEOM, could stimulate trade and allow the Middle East to capitalize on its location as a bridge between Asia and Europe, Azour said in an interview."



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IMF Expects U.A.E. Economy to Rebound in 2018 as Abu Dhabi Grows - Bloomberg

IMF Expects U.A.E. Economy to Rebound in 2018 as Abu Dhabi Grows - Bloomberg:

"The International Monetary Fund expects the United Arab Emirates’ economic growth to nearly triple next year as the country’s largest sheikhdom, Abu Dhabi, benefits from an expected recovery in oil exports.

The U.A.E.’s gross domestic product will expand 3.4 percent in 2018 from 1.3 percent this year, largely on expectations that growth in oil-rich Abu Dhabi will surge to 3.2 percent from 0.3 percent this year, the IMF forecast. Dubai’s output will accelerate more moderately, to 3.5 percent from 3.3 percent in 2017, the Washington-based lender estimated.

“The non-oil sector both in Dubai and Abu Dhabi is almost growing at the same speed, around 3 percent,” Jihad Azour, head of the IMF’s Middle East and Central Asia Department, told reporters in Dubai on Tuesday. The recovery in Abu Dhabi, which holds about 6 percent of the world’s proven oil reserves, will be helped by a recovery in oil output next year after the OPEC-led agreement to reduce production caused exports to decline this year, he said."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf stays sluggish but Saudi's PetroRabigh surges on strong results

MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf stays sluggish but Saudi's PetroRabigh surges on strong results:

"Saudi Arabia’s stock market stayed soft in early trade on Tuesday despite a big rebound by petrochemical company PetroRabigh, while real estate-related shares again weighed on Dubai. The Saudi stock index dropped 0.3 percent in the first hour as PetroRabigh’s gain was offset by losses in the banking and insurance sectors. PetroRabigh jumped 5.6 percent in heavy trade; it reported third-quarter net profit of 706‍ million riyals ($188.3 million) versus a year-earlier loss of 211 million riyals, with sales surging 43 percent. "



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Monday, 30 October 2017

Dana Gas to Miss Payment on $700 Million Sukuk Tomorrow - Bloomberg

Dana Gas to Miss Payment on $700 Million Sukuk Tomorrow - Bloomberg:

"A Middle Eastern energy company that has questioned the lawfulness of its own sukuk won’t settle the $700 million worth of debt owed to investors tomorrow, according to people familiar with the matter. Dana Gas PJSC, the Sharjah, United Arab Emirates-based energy producer, has no plans to repay the two mudaraba sukuk of $350 million in size each, and the company is confident it will win a court case with bondholders, the two people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private. A spokeswoman for the company didn’t immediately comment when contacted by Bloomberg. The company, which has struggled to collect payments from Egypt and Iraq’s Kurdish region, announced plans in May to restructure the debt, but it shocked the Islamic finance industry a month later when it said it no longer considered its sukuk Shariah-compliant. The missed payment tomorrow will be the second time in five years the company fails to settle bonds at maturity."



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Oil Extends Two-Year High as Saudis, Russia Back Prolonged Cuts - Bloomberg

Oil Extends Two-Year High as Saudis, Russia Back Prolonged Cuts - Bloomberg:

"Brent crude extended its rally to a two-year high as OPEC and Russia signaled they’ll prolong supply cuts, while instability in Iraq’s Kurdish region persisted.

The global benchmark rose 0.8 percent, and West Texas Intermediate gained 0.5 percent, though both crudes pulled back from Monday’s highs as they moved closer to levels that signal they might be overbought. Supporting the rally was Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman last week backing an extension of production cuts by OPEC beyond March, following similar signals from Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“OPEC is doing a good job of talking up their position. That put a bid in the market coming into today,” Bob Yawger, director of the futures division at Mizuho Securities USA Inc. in New York, said by telephone. The issues in Kurdistan have “not ended yet. There’s still some potential bid from that.”"



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi soft despite SABIC beat, Emaar drags down Dubai

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi soft despite SABIC beat, Emaar drags down Dubai:

"Saudi Arabia’s stock market was soft on Monday despite strong earnings at Saudi Basic Industries Corp (SABIC), while Emaar Properties dragged down Dubai’s index.

The Saudi index edged down 0.2 percent. SABIC, the biggest petrochemical producer, gained 0.6 percent after reporting a 10.7 percent rise in third-quarter net profit to 5.79 billion riyals ($1.54 billion); analysts had on average forecast 4.27 billion riyals.

SABIC cited higher average selling prices and higher sales quantities, but this - and Brent crude oil’s rise above $60 a barrel at the end of last week for the first time since 2015 - failed to boost the petrochemical sector as a whole."



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UAE consortium to raise $1bn for big-ticket India projects - The National

UAE consortium to raise $1bn for big-ticket India projects - The National:

"NRI-Emirati Investors Group, a consortium of UAE-based private investors, said it will raise US$1 billion for a fund that will finance infrastructure projects in India, the biggest local private fund-raising effort of its kind. "This would be the largest such collective fund raising programme by a private group of investors generating as much $1bn for investment into big-ticket Indian projects and reflects the level of maturity of the UAEs private sector businesses," said Vipul, the consul general of India."



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Some answers and ambivalence from the ‘Saudi Davos’ | Arab News

Some answers and ambivalence from the ‘Saudi Davos’ | Arab News:

"As the stands were being dismantled at the King Abdul Aziz International Conference Center and the last items of luxury luggage were being loaded into airport-bound limos outside the Ritz Carlton last Thursday evening in Riyadh, I bumped into an old banker friend. He works for one of the big American banks that has done business in the Middle East for decades, but this was his first visit to the Kingdom. His verdict: “They told me Saudi Arabia was more different from the US than any other country in the world, but that’s not true. This could be any big conference, anywhere in the world. It was definitely not what I expected.” I got the feeling that many among the 3,500 attendees would have had a similar reaction after the three-day event. Even those who have been traveling regularly to the Kingdom for many years must have been pleasantly surprised at the way the Future Investment Initiative (FII) played out."



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Emirates NBD's Q3 profit rises 37 pct, ahead of two forecasts

Emirates NBD's Q3 profit rises 37 pct, ahead of two forecasts:

"Emirates NBD (ENBD), Dubai’s largest lender, posted a 37 percent rise in third-quarter net profit on Monday as impairments tumbled and operating income rose.

The bank, the last major lender from the United Arab Emirates to report its earnings during the quarter, made a net profit of 2.28 billion dirhams ($620.78 million) in the three months to Sept. 30, a statement from the bank said, compared to 1.66 billion dirhams in the corresponding period of 2016.

That was ahead of the forecasts of two analysts. EFG Hermes expected the bank would make a net profit of 1.85 billion dirhams, while SICO Bahrain estimated 1.89 billion dirhams."



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Saudis Favor Local Sales as They Plan to Deepen Debt Markets - Bloomberg

Saudis Favor Local Sales as They Plan to Deepen Debt Markets - Bloomberg:

"Saudi authorities plan to keep selling local bonds every month as they seek to finance the budget deficit and deepen a nascent debt market, according to the official overseeing the kingdom’s borrowing strategy.

Fahad Al-Saif, head of the debt management office at the Ministry of Finance, said local issuance makes up about 65 percent of the kingdom’s sales and the government wants to maintain this ratio “plus or minus 10 percent for the foreseeable future.”"



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Dubai's DP World Is New Shining Star of Gulf Bond Markets - Bloomberg

Dubai's DP World Is New Shining Star of Gulf Bond Markets - Bloomberg:

"A Dubai-owned ports operator that has weathered slower global growth since the financial crisis has emerged as the Gulf’s star performer in the bond market.

Buoyed by steadily improving finances and a credit-rating upgrade, state-controlled DP World Ltd.’s debt due in 2037 have handed investors a 21 percent return this year as of Friday. It’s the best performer among dollar-denominated bonds of $1 billion and more in the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Petrochemicals, banks support Saudi; Emaar weighs on Dubai

MIDEAST STOCKS-Petrochemicals, banks support Saudi; Emaar weighs on Dubai:

"Banks and an earnings beat by Saudi Basic Industries Corp (SABIC) boosted Saudi Arabia’s stock market early on Monday while Emaar Properties held back Dubai’s main index.

The Saudi stock index climbed 0.3 percent in the first hour. SABIC, the biggest petrochemical producer, gained 0.9 percent after reporting a 10.7 percent rise in third-quarter net profit on Sunday, beating analysts’ forecasts by a third.

Elsewhere in the sector, Arabian Pipes was up 5.1 percent and Saudi Kayan rose 0.6 percent in heavy trade. However, PetroRabigh fell 0.6 percent."



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Sunday, 29 October 2017

Saudi Arabia affirms backing for Opec supply cuts extension

Saudi Arabia affirms backing for Opec supply cuts extension:

"Some of the world’s most powerful oil producers are rallying behind an extension of a global supply cuts agreement ahead of next month’s ministerial meeting, providing support to crude prices that have rebounded to $60 a barrel.

Saudi Arabia’s crown prince Mohammed bin Salman confirmed on Saturday the kingdom’s willingness to back an extension of Opec-led output curbs past its expiry in March next year.

“The kingdom affirms its readiness to extend the production cut agreement, which proved its feasibility by rebalancing supply and demand,” Prince Mohammed said in an unusual official statement on the oil market."



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Exclusive: S&P Dow Jones to launch three new Middle East indices - The National

Exclusive: S&P Dow Jones to launch three new Middle East indices - The National:

"Index provider S&P Dow Jones Indices plans to launch three new regional indexes by early 2018 a it continues its expansion in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) and leverages the global and regional rise in passive investment inflows, its global chief executive. The company plans to launch two high-yield indexes before the end of this year – the S&P Mena Bond and Sukuk High Yield Index, and the S&P Bond and Sukuk High Yield Index – said its global chief executive Alex Matturi. The company, which is majority owned by S&P Global, plans to launch a third index, the S&P Pan-Arab Sharia Multi-Asset Class Index, in the first quarter of 2018, responding to growing demand for market benchmarking tools among banks, asset managers and sovereign wealth funds."



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Saudi foreign reserves continue slide, lowest since April 2011

Saudi foreign reserves continue slide, lowest since April 2011:

"The Saudi Arabian central bank’s foreign reserves continued falling in September, standing at their lowest since April 2011, as the government drew them down to cover a budget deficit caused by low oil prices, central bank data showed on Sunday. The bank’s net foreign assets shrank by $2.4 billion from August to $477.6 billion, down 12.6 percent from a year earlier. They peaked at $737 billion in August 2014, before starting to drop in line with oil prices. Central bank governor Ahmed al-Kholifey said last week that the pace of the reserves’ fall had slowed over the past three years and that their current level was very comfortable."



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INTERVIEW- UAE, Saudi eye joint investments to reduce food security risks: UAE ministry undersecretary | ZAWYA MENA Edition

INTERVIEW- UAE, Saudi eye joint investments to reduce food security risks: UAE ministry undersecretary | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"The United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia are looking to ramp up their partnerships and joint ventures in order to bolster food security levels for their growing populations, a senior UAE official said. “Today neither UAE nor Saudi are arable lands. So the food security concerns created a will for both countries to get into joint investments that could see a third party or country, not necessarily in UAE or Saudi,” Abdulla Al Saleh, Undersecretary for Foreign Trade and Industry at the UAE Ministry of Economy told Zawya in an Arabic interview at a business forum in Abu Dhabi this month. “This is one of the ways to reduce the investment and production costs of food commodities. When there is a larger capital along with a bigger target market, the investment return is definitely better,” he added."



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UPDATE 1-Saudi’s SABIC Q3 net profit up 10.7 pct on higher prices, sales

UPDATE 1-Saudi’s SABIC Q3 net profit up 10.7 pct on higher prices, sales:

"Saudi Basic Industries Corp (SABIC), the world’s fourth-biggest petrochemicals company, reported a 10.7 percent rise in third-quarter net profit on Sunday, beating analysts’ estimates.

Majority state-owned SABIC made a net profit of 5.79 billion riyals ($1.54 billion) in the three months to Sept. 30, up from 5.23 billion riyals in the year-earlier period, the company said in a bourse statement.

The net profit was better than the average net profit of 4.27 billion riyals forecast by four analysts."



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Qatar Eases Bank Laws for Expats With Expired Visas Amid Boycott - Bloomberg

Qatar Eases Bank Laws for Expats With Expired Visas Amid Boycott - Bloomberg:

"Qatar’s central bank is easing its banking rules for expatriates, as it grapples with a regional economic boycott about to enter its sixth month. The regulator ordered lenders to allow foreign workers to conduct normal banking transactions for 90 days after the expiry date of their visa, according to a statement posted on its website Sunday. The rule change is in line with an existing policy allowing expatriates to stay for three months from the end of a residency permit. The law “aims to facilitate the transactions of residents in the State of Qatar and to ensure the proper functioning of their financial affairs,” the central bank said in the statement. Qatar’s banks, like others in the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council, have typically blocked expat accounts once residency is canceled or expires to ensure debts are settled before they leave the country."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Petchems, Saudi Telecom beat lift Riyadh; rest of Gulf sluggish

MIDEAST STOCKS-Petchems, Saudi Telecom beat lift Riyadh; rest of Gulf sluggish:

"Petrochemical stocks and an earnings beat by Saudi Telecom Co lifted Riyadh’s stock market on Sunday while other Gulf bourses were sluggish, once more ignoring a strong performance by Wall Street on the previous trading day.

The Saudi stock index climbed 0.7 percent. Unusually, four of the 10 most active stocks were petrochemical producers after oil prices rose sharply at the end of last week, with Brent crude hitting $60 a barrel for the first time since 2015; industry leader Saudi Basic Industries gained 0.8 percent.

Saudi Telecom climbed 3.6 percent after reporting an 18.2 percent rise in third-quarter net profit to 2.62 billion riyals ($698.7 million), topping the 2.28 billion forecast of four analysts polled by Reuters. But the increase was mostly due to cost-cutting; revenue from services fell 8.5 percent to 12.84 billion riyals."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Petchems, Saudi Telecom lift Riyadh; other bourses quiet

MIDEAST STOCKS-Petchems, Saudi Telecom lift Riyadh; other bourses quiet:

"Petrochemical stocks and an earnings beat by Saudi Telecom Co boosted Riyadh’s stock market early on Sunday while other Gulf bourses were generally quiet.

The Saudi stock index climbed 0.6 percent in the first 45 minutes as petrochemical giant Saudi Basic Industries gained 1.2 percent and several other producers such as Saudi Kayan rose by smaller amounts in unusually active trade.

Brent oil rose 1.9 percent on Friday to $60.44 a barrel after Saudi Arabia and Russia pledged support for extending oil output cuts. Rising oil prices tend to be positive for Saudi petrochemical firms’ profit margins."



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Mixed performance hides underlying strength | GulfNews.com

Mixed performance hides underlying strength | GulfNews.com:

"Last week the Dubai Financial Market General Index (DFMGI) fell by 21.67 or 0.59 per cent to end at 3,651.10. Market breadth leant on the bearish side but not by much. There were 15 advancing issues against 20 declining, while volume dipped below the prior week. The DFMGI made an attempt to continue its ascent at the start of the week but was quickly rebuffed at the week’s high of 3,684.19. That was a new eight-month high but the day closed near the low of the day, clearly a failed breakout, at least for now. Regardless, the general trajectory of price behaviour continues to point higher. After a continuation of the pullback off last week’s high the index managed to end the week relatively close the recent highs, and just at support of the downtrend line starting from the early-August peak. The overall retracement off the high was approximately 50 per cent of the most recent upswing, a respectable pullback with a quick recovery."



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Three Crucial Things We Still Don't Know About the Aramco IPO - Bloomberg

Three Crucial Things We Still Don't Know About the Aramco IPO - Bloomberg:

"The financiers and corporate chieftains gathered for Saudi Arabia’s ‘Davos in the Desert’ heard the same message again and again. From the crown prince down, Saudi leaders wanted no room for doubt: the initial public offering of oil giant Aramco is "on track" for 2018.

But beneath the disciplined message put forward in Riyadh lies a more uncertain reality. The 2018 deadline looks tight and the final shape of the deal -- exactly where it happens, how big it is and who gets to take part -- is no clearer than it was a week ago.

There’s a lot at stake in Saudi Arabia and beyond. Potentially the biggest equity sale in history, the IPO is the centerpiece of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s ambitious reform program and intended to seed a $2 trillion sovereign wealth fund to carry the Middle East’s biggest economy through the end of the oil age. It will also mean a giant pay day for Aramco’s Wall Street advisers including JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Morgan Stanley. "



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Saudi Arabia Mulls More Fiscal Expansion in 2018 to Spur Economy - Bloomberg

Saudi Arabia Mulls More Fiscal Expansion in 2018 to Spur Economy - Bloomberg:

"Saudi Arabia is considering a more expansionary budget than planned for 2018, Finance Minister Mohammed Al-Jadaan said, as authorities seek to support an economy struggling under the weight of austerity cutbacks.

Authorities were already planning an expansionary budget, “and we are considering even a potential further expansion,” Al-Jadaan said in an interview at the Future Investment Initiative in Riyadh. “We think the economy requires that support and development requires that support.”

The biggest Arab economy contracted two quarters in a row this year after the kingdom cut its crude output to support prices. Growth in non-oil industries was too slow to pick up the slack as Saudi Arabia struggles with the impact of spending cuts. The drive to repair public finances is part of a larger program to overhaul an economy too dependent on oil. The plan includes selling stakes in state assets, including oil giant Saudi Aramco, creating the world’s biggest sovereign wealth fund as well as balancing the budget by 2020."



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NYSE not given up on Aramco IPO, as Saudi bourse eyes exclusive role | ZAWYA MENA Edition

NYSE not given up on Aramco IPO, as Saudi bourse eyes exclusive role | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"The head of the New York Stock Exchange has not given up on the initial public offering (IPO) of Saudi Arabian oil company Aramco, even as the kingdom's bourse operator said it aspired to be the exclusive venue for the listing.

Thursday's comments add to the mystery about Aramco's listing venues as global exchanges compete to win part of the flotation as it will bring a major boost to trading volumes.

Saudi Aramco's chief executive said this week that domestic and international exchanges such as New York, London, Tokyo and Hong Kong have been examined for a partial listing. The $100 billion IPO is aimed at helping raise the kingdom's profile in the eyes of overseas investors, a key part of its goal to reform the economy that is reliant on oil revenues. "



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Saturday, 28 October 2017

Why is it so hard to get a clear picture of Aramco IPO? - The National

Why is it so hard to get a clear picture of Aramco IPO? - The National:

"Almost two years have passed since the Saudi crown prince Muhammad bin Salman intimated that Aramco was considering an initial public offering (IPO). Since then, some more details have crystallised, including that 5 per cent of the company is up for sale, and that the IPO is a firm plan rather than an abstract possibility. Yet the IPO remains mostly mysterious, with most media reports being based on anonymous sources from within the oil behemoth, or unnamed hedge fund managers. Why is it so hard to get transparent analysis? Several factors are at play. First, much of the background information that would usually be available in the build-up to an IPO, such as objective assessments of the company’s assets, are unavailable due to Aramco’s importance to Saudi Arabia’s national security, in an era where the kingdom faces a multitude of geo-political threats. In contrast, when a company such as the cloud storage major Dropbox considers an IPO, there are no national security concerns that retard the flow of relevant information to prospective investors."



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Brent oil above $60 level for first time since 2015

Brent oil above $60 level for first time since 2015:

"Brent crude oil hit $60 a barrel on Friday for the first time in more than two years, in the latest sign the market is tightening after a three-year glut. The international oil benchmark hit a high of $60.53 a barrel in afternoon trading in London, taking gains to more than 35 per cent since it slumped to a low for the year of $45 a barrel in June. Oil has been boosted by strong demand as the world’s economy expands at its fastest in years, helped along by prices that remain almost half the level they were in mid-2014."



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Saudi prince uses ‘Davos in the desert’ to woo world’s top investors

Saudi prince uses ‘Davos in the desert’ to woo world’s top investors:

"Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman beamed as he swept through a 3,000-strong crowd of politicians and the world’s most powerful financiers like a rock star.

At each turn, he was stopped for a handshake, a quiet word or selfies as people clamoured for their moment with the Saudi heir-apparent at a conference this week in Riyadh, dubbed by some as “Davos in the desert”.

The gathering was viewed as Saudi Arabia’s coming-out party, with the charismatic royal seeking to woo bankers and investors with his grandiose vision to overhaul the oil-dependent economy and modernise the conservative kingdom. And the 32-year-old did not hold back when outlining the scale of his ambitions."



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Friday, 27 October 2017

Norway oil fund posts sixth straight quarter of gains

Norway oil fund posts sixth straight quarter of gains:

"Norway’s $1tn oil fund took advantage of benign market conditions over the summer to post its sixth consecutive quarter of positive returns.

The world’s largest sovereign wealth fund returned 3.2 per cent in the third quarter with strong stock markets ensuring its equity portfolio gained 4.3 per cent while bonds delivered a 0.8 per cent return.

Yngve Slyngstad, chief executive of Norges Bank Investment Management, which manages the fund, said:"



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Exclusive: Saudi Arabia’s Tadawul open to stake sale to international exchanges - The National

Exclusive: Saudi Arabia’s Tadawul open to stake sale to international exchanges - The National:

"The Saudi Stock Exchange (Tadawul), the Arab world’s biggest bourse, is open to selling a stake to an international exchange, a move it would consider based on the added value to the US$440 billion bourse, its chief executive said. “The exchange won’t take this step unless it is 100 per cent value added to Tadawul,” Khalid Al Hussan told The National in Riyadh. “We believe that we are big as far as this region [is concerned], most liquid, so if we are going to add the element of an exchange to our exchange, it should be a clear added value and just not because we need to attach our name to a big exchange.” Tadawul is home to one of the world’s top petrochemical’s producers, Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (Sabic), and the kingdom’s financial sector heavyweights such as Al Rajhi Bank and National Commercial Bank. It is preparing to host Saudi Aramco next year on its trading platform, when the state-controlled oil producer sells shares to the public in what is slated to be the biggest IPO in the history."



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INTERVIEW-Emirates and flydubai could operate from single terminal at Dubai airport | ZAWYA MENA Edition

INTERVIEW-Emirates and flydubai could operate from single terminal at Dubai airport | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"Emirates and flydubai could use the same terminal at Dubai International Airport, the world’s busiest for international travellers, after expanding their commercial relationship earlier this year, the head of the airport operator said. Emirates, the Middle East’s largest airline, exclusively uses Terminal 3 with the exception of some Qantas flights which will end next year. Budget airline flydubai shares Terminal 2, on the other side of the airport, with other carriers. Proposals to improve connections for passengers between the two airlines are under consideration, including whether it’s feasible for them to operate out of Terminal 3. "



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Brent Oil Holds Near 2-Year High as Saudi Prince Backs OPEC Cuts - Bloomberg

Brent Oil Holds Near 2-Year High as Saudi Prince Backs OPEC Cuts - Bloomberg:

"Brent oil held gains near the highest level in more than two years as Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman backed the extension of OPEC-led output cuts. Futures were little changed in London, up 2.7 percent for the week. The prince said Thursday that “of course” he wanted to prolong the curbs beyond the end of March 2018. At the same time, OPEC is negotiating an exit strategy to the deal in an effort to reassure investors the group won’t flood the market once the agreement finally expires, people familiar with the talks said this week."



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Thursday, 26 October 2017

Saudi eyes private stake sale in Aramco

Saudi eyes private stake sale in Aramco:

"Saudi Arabia’s finance minister has confirmed the kingdom is exploring a private stake sale in state energy giant Saudi Aramco, with plans for an international listing just one option for a privatisation billed as the largest initial public offering in history.

Mohammed Al-Jadaan said in an interview with the Financial Times on Thursday that while plans for listing Aramco internationally were still being debated at the highest levels of the kingdom, the only confirmed component was an offering on the domestic Tadawul exchange. Private stake sales to strategic investors are also being considered.

The kingdom is aiming to finalise plans for the IPO’s full structure by the end of this year, Mr Al-Jadaan said. Bankers, lawyers and consultants are waiting for news on the offering that is expected to generate record fees, with the kingdom valuing the total company at more than $2tn."



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Saudi Arabia’s ‘Vision 2030’ is looking a lot less clear

Saudi Arabia’s ‘Vision 2030’ is looking a lot less clear:

"Saudi Arabia’s move into recession comes at an unfortunate time for its new crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman (known to all as MbS). Unemployment is continuing to rise, threatening the social contract. In foreign affairs, the war in Yemen and the dispute with Qatar appear to be in stalemate. And then there is the vexed issue of King Salman’s ill health, and the question of who succeeds him. This was probably not the situation that the Deputy Crown Prince envisaged 18 months ago when he launched his ambitious “Vision 2030” programme and set out his hopes for a Saudi Arabia that was no longer dependent on oil revenues. “Within 20 years, we will be an economy that doesn’t depend mainly on oil . . . We don’t care about oil prices — $30 or $70, they are all the same to us. This battle is not my battle.”"



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Saudi minister raises doubt over international Aramco listing

Saudi minister raises doubt over international Aramco listing:

"Saudi Arabia’s finance minister has confirmed the kingdom is exploring a private stake sale in state energy giant Saudi Aramco, with plans for an international listing just one option for a privatisation billed as the largest initial public offering in history.

Mohammed Al-Jadaan said in an interview with the Financial Times on Thursday that while plans for listing Aramco internationally were still being debated at the highest levels of the kingdom, the only confirmed component was an offering on the domestic Tadawul exchange. Private stake sales to strategic investors are also being considered.

The kingdom is aiming to finalise plans for the IPO’s full structure by the end of this year, Mr Al-Jadaan said. Bankers, lawyers and consultants waiting for news on the offering that is expected to generate record fees, with the kingdom valuing the total company at more than $2tn.

"



'via Blog this'

Saudi Arabia's Floating City Brings on a Sinking Feeling - Bloomberg Gadfly

Saudi Arabia's Floating City Brings on a Sinking Feeling - Bloomberg Gadfly:

"Prince Mohammad bin Salman of Saudi Arabia displays an Elon Musk-like affinity for ludicrous challenges and grandiose promises. With his latest announcement, though, he's edging into Peter Thiel territory: floating cities.The prince wasn't talking about seasteading on Thursday. Instead, he said that NEOM, the futuristic megalopolis he plans to build in northwestern Saudi Arabia, unveiled earlier this week, will sell shares in itself at some point. "It’s as if you float the city of New York,” he said in an interview with Reuters.Living, as we are, in this brave new world with things like initial coin offerings, why not raise the idea of an initial city offering?"



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Saudi investment ambitions impress but foreign money may be slow to come

Saudi investment ambitions impress but foreign money may be slow to come:

"Saudi Arabia impressed bankers and fund managers from around the world this week with the size of its economic ambitions but it may not have convinced foreign businessmen to pour in the billions of dollars needed to transform the kingdom. 

At a lavish, three-day investment conference attended by over 3,500 people from 88 countries, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman announced plans for a $500 billion business zone reaching into Jordan and Egypt. Riyadh’s main sovereign wealth fund said it would nearly double its assets to $400 billion by 2020.

The event, part of the kingdom’s drive to free itself of reliance on oil exports in an era of cheap oil, attracted senior executives of global banks such as Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, Bank of China and Mizuho.

"



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf markets flat on steady oil, banks weigh on Abu Dhabi

MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf markets flat on steady oil, banks weigh on Abu Dhabi:

"Stock markets in the Middle East were largely flat on Thursday on the back of steady oil prices, but exchanges in Dubai and Abu Dhabi shed some value, dragged down by some companies missing investors’ expectations.

Oil prices steadied, supported at near multi-month highs by tighter crude markets, but slightly pressured by an unexpected increase in U.S. production, exports and crude inventories.

Brent crude was changing hands at $58.34 a barrel at 1221 GMT, backed by comments from Saudi Arabia’s energy minister earlier this week which confirmed that the country - the world’s top crude exporter - is determined to end a global supply glut that has impacted oil prices over the past three years."



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Exclusive: Saudi Aramco IPO on track for 2018 - Saudi crown prince

Exclusive: Saudi Aramco IPO on track for 2018 - Saudi crown prince:

"Saudi Aramco’s initial public offering is on track for next year and the national oil giant could be valued at more than $2 trillion, Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman told Reuters in an interview.

The sale of around 5 percent of Aramco next year is a centerpiece of Vision 2030, an ambitious reform plan to diversify the Saudi economy beyond oil which is championed by Prince Mohammad.

Saudi officials have said domestic and international exchanges such as New York, London, Tokyo and Hong Kong have been looked at for a partial listing of the state-run firm. "



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Saudi Arabia to Open Fledgling Small-Cap Market to Foreigners - Bloomberg

Saudi Arabia to Open Fledgling Small-Cap Market to Foreigners - Bloomberg:

"Saudi Arabia will allow foreigners to trade shares directly in its market for smaller companies as the kingdom gradually opens its market amid a wider drive to diversify its economy.

The platform, known as Nomu, will be open to foreigners starting January, Capital Market Authority Chairman Mohammed Elkuwaiz said during an event in Riyadh on Thursday. Qualification requirements for foreign investors that apply to the main stock market will be waived for those trading in Nomu, he said."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Shares in First Abu Dhabi Bank, Emaar Properties slip

MIDEAST STOCKS-Shares in First Abu Dhabi Bank, Emaar Properties slip:

"Shares in First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB), the largest bank in the United Arab Emirates, dipped 1.9 percent on Thursday, the day after it reported an 18 percent drop in third-quarter profit.

Financial sector stocks helped drag the Abu Dhabi index down 0.6 percent in early trading.

Elsewhere on the exchange, shares in Etisalat, the United Arab Emirates-based telecom group, edged up 0.05 percent following its reporting on Wednesday of a 29 percent increase in third-quarter net profit."



'via Blog this'

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Exclusive: Saudi Tadawul expects market capitalisation to top $1 trillion by 2022 - The National

Exclusive: Saudi Tadawul expects market capitalisation to top $1 trillion by 2022 - The National:

"Saudi Arabia’s stock exchange expects its market capitalisation to more than double by 2022, climbing to above US$1 trillion, helped by a potential share float of Saudi Aramco, leveraging the government’s privatisation programme and bringing domestic and regional companies seeking financing to the exchange, its chief executive said. “We hope so. Yes,” Khalid Al Hussan said of the possible jump for Tadawul, as the exchange is known, from its current $440 billion market capitalisation level to beyond $1tn in the next five years. “It’s not easy. I can’t say it’s going to be easy. It comes with challenges,” he said in an exclusive interview with The National in Riyadh. Tadawul is the biggest equities exchange in the Arab world and is among the top 26 largest capitalised bourses globally. It opened doors to foreign investors in 2015 and has gone through radical transformation operationally and on the regulatory front. The changes make it a potential candidate for inclusion in the MSCI Emerging Market Index, a gauge tracked by investors with trillions of assets under management."



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Abu Dhabi Investor Targets U.S. Tech Spending, Saudi Deals - Bloomberg

Abu Dhabi Investor Targets U.S. Tech Spending, Saudi Deals - Bloomberg:

"Abu Dhabi’s government-owned development fund is betting on U.S. technology in a multi-billion dollar spending plan that will see it partnering with Saudi Arabia and competing against other oil-rich neighbors like Qatar.

Mubadala Investment Co. wants to expand investments in technology companies in the U.S. after opening a Silicon Valley office last week, Chief Executive Officer Khaldoon Al Mubarak said in an interview with Bloomberg TV in Riyadh on Tuesday. The office, which Mubadala opened just six months after deciding it needed a U.S. base, represents a break with the company’s strategy to center operations in Abu Dhabi.

“It became very clear to us that we needed to go deeper,” Al Mubarak said. “And to go deeper we needed to be closer to the market. We needed to be in San Francisco at Silicon Valley.”"



'via Blog this'

Etihad-linked bonds stay afloat despite downgrade

Etihad-linked bonds stay afloat despite downgrade:

"Some $1.2 billion in bonds issued by an Etihad Airways-linked special purpose vehicle only lost a few points in the secondary market after Fitch downgraded them to “CC” last Friday, putting the paper just two notches above default.

The bonds’ cash price was a few points above 80 cents on the dollar on Wednesday. Fund managers say they should be at least 20 points below that, but the discrepancy reflects expectations of financial backing by Etihad, the borrower of reference under the special purpose vehicle.

However, investors are questioning whether such support would actually materialise."



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Huge Saudi fund to be conservative borrower, chief says

Huge Saudi fund to be conservative borrower, chief says:

"Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund will be a conservative borrower when it enters international debt markets to obtain leverage for its expansion, the fund’s managing director Yasir al-Rumayyan said on Wednesday. The PIF, with assets of $224 billion, is being built into a key instrument of Saudi policy, investing at home to develop the economy and abroad to increase returns on the kingdom’s oil wealth. It aims to expand to $400 billion by 2020. In addition to obtaining capital injections and assets from the government, plus retained earnings, it plans to fund itself with loans, bonds or a combination of the two - raising the prospect of a big new debt issuer in international markets."



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Brent Won’t Rally to $70 a Barrel, Global Risk Management Says - Bloomberg

Brent Won’t Rally to $70 a Barrel, Global Risk Management Says - Bloomberg:

"Michael Poulsen, senior oil risk manager at Global Risk Management, says U.S. shale producers have demonstrated self-control over the past year, with more concern for revenue rather than just output, although he doesn’t expect breakevens to fall much further. He also said even if the market hits $60 a barrel, it won’t spark a rally to $70. Poulsen was interviewed on Oct. 24. Comments have been edited and condensed. What will it take for oil to shift out of this range?  If we are talking the $55-$60 a barrel range, then we will probably need some sort of geopolitical trigger for the upside. For the downside, it’s a little bit more tricky. It would have to be a failed OPEC agreement in November or demand dropping. "



'via Blog this'

Dubai developer Nakheel's Q3 profit up 42 pct

Dubai developer Nakheel's Q3 profit up 42 pct:

"Dubai developer Nakheel reported a 42.4 percent increase in third quarter net profit on Wednesday, Reuters calculations showed. The developer behind Dubai’s palm-shaped islands made a 1.36 billion dirham ($370.28 million) profit in the July-September period, up from 955 million dirhams, Reuters calculated based on a nine-month earnings statement. It made 4 billion dirham profit for the nine months to September 30, up 2.3 percent, the state-owned developer said."



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MidEast Stocks Mostly Gain, Saudi Stocks Helped by Oil Prices - Nasdaq.com

MidEast Stocks Mostly Gain, Saudi Stocks Helped by Oil Prices - Nasdaq.com:

"Middle East shares mostly rose, with Saudi stocks finding mild support from firm oil prices . Brent crude was above $58 per barrel. In company news, Saudi Electricity Co (SEC) said the Saudi government is considering selling a large stake in the company to SoftBank Vision Fund, while maintaining a controlling stake. SEC, which is 74% owned by Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund, has assets estimated at around $100 billion."



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UAE's First Abu Dhabi Bank Q3 profit falls on lower operating income | ZAWYA MENA Edition

UAE's First Abu Dhabi Bank Q3 profit falls on lower operating income | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"First Abu Dhabi Bank , the largest bank in the United Arab Emirates, on Wednesday reported an 18 percent drop in third quarter profit as lower operating income weighed on its bottom line. FAB made a net profit of 2.61 billion dirhams ($711 million) in the third quarter of 2017, compared to 3.18 billion dirhams in the period a year earlier, the bank said in a statement. This is the second combined financials of Abu Dhabi's two biggest banks after their merger in April to create one of the largest banks in the Middle East and Africa. "



'via Blog this'

Saudi stock exchange pushing for ‘exclusive’ Aramco listing

Saudi stock exchange pushing for ‘exclusive’ Aramco listing:

"The head of Saudi Arabia’s stock exchange has said the Tadawul is pushing to be the “exclusive” listing venue for the initial public offering of Saudi Aramco, the kingdom’s state energy giant, raising questions about the status of the international leg of what has been billed as the biggest IPO in history. Khalid Al Hussan said while the kingdom’s highest authorities had yet to make a final decision on the structure of any IPO – which New York and London have been vying to host internationally – the Tadawul was preparing for an eventuality where it could be the sole listing venue. “Our aspiration for Tadawul, as the main exchange in the region, is to be the exclusive venue for Aramco,” said Mr Al Hussan in an interview with the Financial Times in Riyadh, in which he made his first public comments on the Aramco listing."



'via Blog this'

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi stocks largely flat, SEC rises on potential SoftBank stake

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi stocks largely flat, SEC rises on potential SoftBank stake:

"Saudi Arabian stocks opened largely flat on Wednesday as gains by Saudi Electricity Co (SEC) were offset by declines for Zain Saudi and Middle East Healthcare.

SEC was one of the biggest gainers, rising by 4.5 percent in early trading after news on Tuesday that the kingdom will consider selling a large stake in the utility to SoftBank Vision Fund, the world’s largest private equity fund.

The Saudi government would retain a controlling stake, the utility said in a statement."



'via Blog this'

Saudi Wealth Fund Plans to Borrow to Double Investment Returns - Bloomberg

Saudi Wealth Fund Plans to Borrow to Double Investment Returns - Bloomberg:

"Saudi Arabia’s sovereign-wealth fund will borrow to boost returns from its investments as it seeks to diversify the kingdom’s oil-dependent economy.

The Public Investment Fund will also look for more partnerships like its tie-ups with money managers Blackstone Group LP and SoftBank Group Corp. as part of its aim to boost assets under management to $2 trillion by 2030, Managing Director Yasir Al-Rumayyan said in a Bloomberg Television interview at the Future Investment Initiative in Riyadh. The fund will seek to hold a quarter of those assets in foreign markets, he said."



'via Blog this'

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Mubadala to float Emirates Global Aluminium next year, CEO says - The National

Mubadala to float Emirates Global Aluminium next year, CEO says - The National:

"Mubadala Investment Company, an Abu Dhabi government-owned strategic firm with US$127 billion in assets, plans to take Emirates Global Aluminium (EGA) public through a share float next year, said Mubadala's group chief executive said.

“We hope to take this company [EGA] public in 2018,” Khaldoon Al Mubarak said at the Future Investment Initiative conference in Riyadh.

“It’s a great story,” he said of the company’s evolution as a global industrial champion but did not give details of the planned initial public offering."



'via Blog this'

Middle Eastern sovereigns eye loans in fundraising drive

Middle Eastern sovereigns eye loans in fundraising drive:

"Gulf states are ramping up plans to raise syndicated loans for state-owned firms in a fundraising drive designed to offset the effects of low oil prices that also includes privatisations, financial restructurings and IPOs of state assets. Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) is in the market for a US$6bn loan and a US$3bn bond as it plans to float stakes in some of its services businesses as part of a major shakeup. “The Middle East market is distressed and sovereigns are looking for cash through oil companies, GREs (Government Related Entities) and IPOs,” a banker said."



'via Blog this'

Abu Dhabi's Mubadala says it plans Emirates Global Aluminium IPO in 2018 | ZAWYA MENA Edition

Abu Dhabi's Mubadala says it plans Emirates Global Aluminium IPO in 2018 | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"Abu Dhabi's state fund Mubadala Investment Co [MUDEV.Ul} plans to take Emirates Global Aluminium public in an initial public offer of shares next year, Mubadala's chief executive Khaldoon al-Mubarak said at a business conference on Tuesday. "



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UAE: the Middle East’s power broker flexes its muscles

UAE: the Middle East’s power broker flexes its muscles:

"Behind roadblocks and newly laid roads, workers are putting the finishing touches to a gleaming “floating dome” that emerges from the sand like a large spaceship. The 7,000-tonne latticed structure is the centrepiece of a new Louvre that will finally open in Abu Dhabi next month.

The museum is the flagship project of the emirate’s multibillion-dollar development plans — the latest instalment of its efforts to present itself to the world as a tolerant global city that links east and west. It forms part of a plan conjured up a decade ago by an ambitious younger generation of leaders.

Back then, the talk in the United Arab Emirates’ capital was about weaning the economy off its dependence on oil and equip a youthful population, raised in a conservative society, with the skills to prosper in the modern world."



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Saudi Arabia's NEOM: Oasis or Sand Castle? - Bloomberg

Saudi Arabia's NEOM: Oasis or Sand Castle? - Bloomberg:

"The promotional video for NEOM, Saudi Arabia's proposed $500 billion city of the future announced on Tuesday, errs toward the dreamy and inspirational end of the artistic spectrum. But I couldn't shake the feeling it might also be perfect as the happy prelude to some dystopian movie where society drowns in its own hubris.

NEOM debuted at a conference this week in Riyadh, dubbed "Davos in the desert" and effectively a giant marketing pitch to draw in dollars as part of Saudi Arabia's effort to reform its oil-dependent economy. It manages to be simultaneously ambitious and derivative -- which underscores a central challenge facing the country and the global oil market that depends on it.

On the ambitious side of the ledger, offering people "a lifestyle that surpasses that of any other metropolis" isn't even NEOM's most aggressive claim. It is supposed to cover just over 10,000 square miles of desert in Saudi Arabia's northwestern corner -- big enough to accommodate about 37 Singapores."



'via Blog this'

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi Arabia flat, Emaar lifts Dubai market

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi Arabia flat, Emaar lifts Dubai market:

"Saudi Arabia’s stock market ignored a huge investment conference in Riyadh and remained flat while Emaar Properties and contractor Drake & Scull helped Dubai to rebound on Tuesday.

The market barely reacted to bullish news from a major investment conference in the kingdom, which attracted hundreds of bankers, businessmen and government officials from around the world.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the 32-year-old architect of reforms designed to end Saudi Arabia’s reliance on oil exports, announced a $500 billion plan to build a business and industrial zone that would extend into Jordan and Egypt."



'via Blog this'

Saudi to build new $500bn economic zone where robots may outnumber humans

Saudi to build new $500bn economic zone where robots may outnumber humans:

"Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has announced plans for a new economic zone in the kingdom’s northwest region with up to $500bn in investments, the official Saudi Press Agency reported.

The new zone, called Neom, will cover an area of 26,000 sq km along 486km on the Red Sea coast and will run across Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt.

“Neom will be constructed from the ground-up, on greenfield sites, allowing it a unique opportunity to be distinguished from all other places that have been developed and constructed over hundreds of years and we will use this opportunity to build a new way of life with excellent economic prospects,” the prince said on Tuesday."



'via Blog this'

Saudi Arabia commits $20bn to Blackstone fund

Saudi Arabia commits $20bn to Blackstone fund:

"Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund said it has firmed up its $20bn commitment to a $40bn fund launched with US private equity firm Blackstone earlier this year.

Yasir al-Rumayyan, the PIF’s managing director, said the PIF needed to invest in “conventional investments,” such as medical care and education.

PIF, which is hosting a large investment conference in Riyadh, said it had committed to a $40bn Blackstone fund first announced in May. It has not signed up to a new $50bn Blackstone fund, as reported earlier."



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Foreign money strains at leash ahead of 'inevitable' Saudi MSCI listing - The National

Foreign money strains at leash ahead of 'inevitable' Saudi MSCI listing - The National:

"HSBC, which has the biggest investment bank in Saudi Arabia, says foreign investors are getting ready for their first significant stock purchases in the kingdom as an upgrade to emerging-market status looks likely. It’s “inevitable” that MSCI, whose classifications can influence billions of dollars of asset allocations, will add Saudi Arabia to its emerging-market benchmarks, said Majed Najm, the chief executiveof the British lender’s Saudi unit. In June, MSCI put Saudi Arabia, which currently stands alone from broader groupings, on the watchlist for a potential upgrade in 2018. Another index provider, FTSE Russell, last month said the kingdom would soon meet the criteria to be promoted from its current unclassified status to a secondary emerging market, but refrained from doing so for now."



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Decline in Dubai rents to continue in 2018? | GulfNews.com

Decline in Dubai rents to continue in 2018? | GulfNews.com:

"With a glut of apartments and villas for lease and tenant demand failing to keep up, rents in many areas around Dubai have been heading south for some time now. And if the latest analysis were correct, it looks like the trend will continue towards year-end and even drag on into 2018. According to Jesse Downs, managing director of Phidar Advisory, many signs point to the cost of renting a home in Dubai coming down further and these include the huge influx of new residential developments and slow employment growth. Construction of new flats, villas and townhouses has been quite aggressive of late, especially since the city expects the number of Dubai visitors to swell during the Expo 2020 hosting. As of the last quarter, thousands of apartments and hundreds of villas were delivered in Dubai, providing more options for the tenants to choose from and pushing rates down."



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As curtain rises on ‘Saudi Davos,’ all eyes are on the PIF performance | Arab News

As curtain rises on ‘Saudi Davos,’ all eyes are on the PIF performance | Arab News:

"The stage is set, the actors are waiting in the wings and the audience is expectant. The three-day performance by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) has been billed as the “Saudi Davos,” and by the end of the week the world expects to know a lot more about the Kingdom and its strategy to diversify away from oil dependency. Like the Swiss gathering of the World Economic Forum, the Future Investment Initiative will be crammed full of plenaries, bilaterals, workshops, breakout sessions and (hopefully) media interviews and briefings. It will be a difficult choice to decide which session to attend when there is so much going on in a concentrated time frame. Here, in no particular order, are the questions I will be looking to have answered by the time the event closes on Thursday. "



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At Riyadh jamboree, Saudis may struggle to lure foreign funds in recession

At Riyadh jamboree, Saudis may struggle to lure foreign funds in recession:

"With low oil prices and austerity pushing Saudi Arabia into recession, the government may struggle to persuade international business leaders this week to pour billions of dollars of badly needed investment into the kingdom.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the 32-year-old architect of reforms designed to end Saudi Arabia’s reliance on oil exports, will make a rare public address to hundreds of bankers, businessmen and government officials from around the world at a three-day conference starting on Tuesday.

Arranged by Saudi Arabia’s main sovereign wealth fund, the $180 billion Public Investment Fund (PIF), the event is labeled the Future Investment Initiative - an effort to present the world’s top oil exporter as a leading global investment destination."



'via Blog this'

Saudi Aramco listing on track for 2018, says sovereign wealth fund

Saudi Aramco listing on track for 2018, says sovereign wealth fund:

"Saudi Aramco’s initial public offering is on track to take place next year, Saudi Arabia’s top sovereign wealth fund said on Tuesday.

“Everything is on track. 2018 is our target. There is nothing that I know about that can take us off track,” Public Investment Fund Managing Director Yasir al-Rumayyan told a major investment conference in Riyadh.

 Asked if the possible involvement of investors such as the Chinese would delay the IPO, Rumayyan said it would not."



'via Blog this'

Saudi Arabia's Market Makeover Looks Great on Paper, But Stocks Are Languishing - Bloomberg

Saudi Arabia's Market Makeover Looks Great on Paper, But Stocks Are Languishing - Bloomberg:

"Saudi Arabia’s market regulator is implementing reforms at breakneck speed to attract foreign investors, but investors wouldn’t know it by looking at the stocks.

Two years after international investors were first allowed to trade Saudi stocks directly, total foreign ownership has lingered below 5 percent of the value of shares on the exchange. The 50-day moving average for the Tadawul All Share Index’s volume fell this month to the lowest level since 2011 and the stock gauge is among the world’s top 10 worst performers this year, missing out on a rally that sent emerging-market equities soaring 30 percent."



'via Blog this'

MIDEAST STOCKS-Emaar helps Dubai rebound, Saudi banks recover

MIDEAST STOCKS-Emaar helps Dubai rebound, Saudi banks recover:

"Emaar Properties and contractor Drake & Scull helped Dubai’s market to rebound in early trade on Tuesday and Saudi Arabia edged up, led by petrochemical and bank stocks.

The Dubai index rose 0.6 percent with Emaar adding 1.2 percent, recouping part of Monday’s 2.0 percent loss sustained after the company said it expected to sell 20 percent of property development unit Emaar Development LLC next month in an initial public offering.

Previously, Emaar had said it would offer up to 30 percent of the business, distributing the funds raised as dividends to shareholders in the parent company. It did not say on Sunday why the sale was expected to be only 20 percent."



'via Blog this'

Monday, 23 October 2017

ADX follows Dubai bourse into the futures with Nasdaq - The National

ADX follows Dubai bourse into the futures with Nasdaq - The National:

"Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX) and Nasdaq Dubai will launch a futures contract linked to the Abu Dhabi General Index (ADI), enabling investors to trade equity futures on Nasdaq’s derivatives platform, the two parties announced.

It follows an almost identical agreement between Nasdaq Dubai and Dubai Financial Market (DFM) on Sunday, to launch a futures contract linked to the DFM General Index (DFMGI), which would also be traded on Nasdaq Dubai.

ADX and Nasdaq Dubai said in a statement on Monday: “Subject to regulatory approval, ADI futures are expected to be traded later this year with the support of leading UAE brokers, and targeted at professional and institutional investors enabling them to take a macro view on the ADX market.”"



'via Blog this'

Abu Dhabi housing and hotel markets decline further - The National

Abu Dhabi housing and hotel markets decline further - The National:

"Residential rents and sales prices in Abu Dhabi declined in the third quarter of 2017 on the back of economic tightening and the release of new housing stock, according to real estate consultancy JLL. Apartment sales and rental prices in the capital both dropped 13 per cent year-on-year over the quarter, while sales prices declined 13 per cent year-on-year and rents by 9 per cent, JLL’s latest market overview found. The decline was slightly less on a quarterly basis – at 3 per cent and 5 per cent for apartment sales and rents, respectively – and 8 per cent and 1 per cent for villa sales and rents, respectively."



'via Blog this'

MIDEAST STOCKS-NCB, Mobily hit Saudi, Emaar still weighs on Dubai

MIDEAST STOCKS-NCB, Mobily hit Saudi, Emaar still weighs on Dubai:

"National Commercial Bank (NCB) and telecom stocks dragged down Saudi Arabia’s main index on Monday while Emaar Properties weighed on Dubai’s stock market for the second day in a row. The Saudi index fell 1.3 percent to 6,886 points on the back of the banking and insurance sectors, as NCB reported an 8.4 percent rise in third-quarter net profit, or around 5 percent below analysts’ estimates. It fell 4.8 percent. Bank Aljazira fell 1.0 percent, although it reported a 41 percent rise in third-quarter net profit to 228 million riyals. Alawwal Bank also sank 3.4 percent. Alinma Bank was the most heavily traded stock and lost 2.1 percent."



'via Blog this'

Ratings group S&P launches operations in Riyadh

Ratings group S&P launches operations in Riyadh:

"S&P Global Ratings has opened an office in Riyadh amid expectations financial reform in Saudi Arabia will jumpstart activity in its debt markets. The New York-headquartered company claims to be the first international credit agency to be licenced to conduct credit ratings activity in the kingdom. S&P said its “entry into Saudi Arabia comes at a time of unprecedented economic and social reform, as the Kingdom’s leadership seeks to implement Saudi Vision 2030″. The 2030 plan is the hallmark initiative of Mohammed bin Salman, the heir to the kingdom’s throne who is hoping to overhaul Saudi Arabia’s oil-dependent economy."



'via Blog this'

How much is Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund worth? | FT Alphaville

How much is Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund worth? | FT Alphaville:

"“More than $200 billion and less than $300 billion,” said one senior PIF official earlier this year. “One-hundred-eighty to $200 billion,” estimated a government minister involved in PIF oversight. A person briefed by PIF said the fund recently determined a “fairly definitive” value, but declined to detail it."



'via Blog this'

Global LNG markets to remain oversupplied into 2020s despite strong demand -IEA

Global LNG markets to remain oversupplied into 2020s despite strong demand -IEA:

"Global liquefied natural gas (LNG) markets will remain oversupplied into the 2020s due to a surge in production, although soaring demand especially from China may tighten the market earlier than expected, the IEA said on Monday. “We will see massive amounts of new LNG capacity coming to the market ... so we will probably continue to have well-supplied markets into the middle of the 2020s,” said Keisuke Sadamori, director of energy markets and security at the International Energy Agency (IEA). “The Qataris, for example, are going to increase LNG liquefaction capacity by 30 percent by 2024, which we have not included in our 2017 gas market outlook report,” Sadamori said in Singapore on Monday."



'via Blog this'

Deripaska’s En+ Group Targets $8.5 Billion Valuation in IPO - Bloomberg

Deripaska’s En+ Group Targets $8.5 Billion Valuation in IPO - Bloomberg:

"Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska’s En+ Group Plc announced a price range for its initial public offering, indicating a valuation as high as $8.5 billion before it issues new shares.

En+ wants to sell shares and global depositary receipts in Moscow and London at $14 to $17 apiece, the company said in a statement on Monday. This implies a pre-IPO value between $7 billion and $8.5 billion. The offering is expected to represent between 15.8 percent and 18.8 percent of the issued share capital on a fully diluted basis, excluding the over-allotment option.

"The price range seems quite fair and gives some upside for growth," Oleg Petropavlovskiy, an analyst at BCS Global Markets, said by phone. "It is unlikely to sell shares at the top end of the range, but has all chances to be in the middle of the range.""



'via Blog this'

How Saudi Arabia Is Building Its $2 Trillion Fund - Bloomberg

How Saudi Arabia Is Building Its $2 Trillion Fund - Bloomberg:

"Saudi Arabia is stepping up plans to turn its sovereign wealth fund into a global giant. This week, it’s holding a coming-out party of sorts for the Public Investment Fund, which is central to the government’s effort to diversify the economy away from oil, under a plan known as Vision 2030. The Saudis are hosting the titans of investing and finance at a summit that aims to raise the profile of the PIF, which could eventually control more than $2 trillion, according to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. That explains why many eyes will be on -- and private jets winging toward -- the Saudi capital."



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Oil Extends Gains as OPEC Says All Options Open on Re-Balancing - Bloomberg

Oil Extends Gains as OPEC Says All Options Open on Re-Balancing - Bloomberg:

"Oil extended gains as OPEC and its allies reiterated that all options are open to re-balance the market. December futures increased as much as 0.8 percent in New York. OPEC and its partners including Russia achieved a record-high level of compliance to output cuts during September, according to a statement Saturday from the committee responsible for monitoring the agreement. In the U.S., drillers reduced the rig count a third week to the lowest since June, according to Baker Hughes."



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Britain's Spire rejects 1.2 billion pound Mediclinic offer, shares soar

Britain's Spire rejects 1.2 billion pound Mediclinic offer, shares soar:

"Britain’s Spire Healthcare has rejected a full takeover offer from South African private hospitals operator Mediclinic International (MDCM.L), which already owns nearly 30 percent of its stock, sending its shares up 12 percent.

Spire said Mediclinic had made a preliminary and conditional proposal that consisted of 150 pence in cash and 0.232 new Mediclinic shares per Spire share, valuing the target at 298.6 pence per share or around 1.2 billion pounds ($1.6 billion) in total.

Spire shares were up 13.1 percent at 295.6 pence by 0807 GMT, on track for their biggest-ever daily gain and only a slight discount to the value of Mediclinic’s terms."



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Worst May Be Over for Qatar Banks as Deposit Flight Slows - Bloomberg

Worst May Be Over for Qatar Banks as Deposit Flight Slows - Bloomberg:

"The drop in Qatar’s non-resident deposits slowed to 4.2 percent in September, easing pressure on banks amid a lingering political crisis with Saudi Arabia and three other Arab countries. Banking and economic data show that the worst may be over for the gas-rich nation -- as long as tensions don’t flare again, according to Jason Tuvey, a London-based economist at Capital Economics. “We expect strains in the banking sector to continue to ease,” he said."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Emaar weighs on Dubai, Banks drag down Saudi early on | ZAWYA MENA Edition

MIDEAST STOCKS-Emaar weighs on Dubai, Banks drag down Saudi early on | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"Emaar Properties weighed on Dubai's stock market in early trade on Monday for the second day in a row, while Saudi Arabia was dragged down by the banking and insurance sectors.

The Dubai index lost 0.7 percent as Emaar fell another 2.0 percent, after losing 2.1 percent on Sunday, after it said it expects to sell 20 percent of its local property development unit Emaar Development LLC next month in an initial public offering.

Previously, Emaar had said it would offer up to 30 percent of the business, distributing funds raised as dividends to shareholders in the parent company. It did not say on Sunday why the sale was expected to be only 20 percent. "



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Sunday, 22 October 2017

On the cusp of a new era, Saudi Arabia courts the world - The National

On the cusp of a new era, Saudi Arabia courts the world - The National:

"Next week, Saudi Arabia, the Arab world's largest economy and Opec's biggest oil producer, will court hundreds of movers and shakers from across the business world and government, as the kingdom presses on with its national and economic transformation initiatives, unfazed by detractors or the challenges ahead.

At a three-day event in Riyadh dubbed the Future Investment Initiative (FII), the kingdom’s 32-year-old crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, will host the top echelons of technology superpowers and global banks. These include players like SoftBank, Citi and HSBC; regional investment heavyweights like UAE’s Mubadala Investment Company and Bahrain’s Mumtalakat; and some of the world’s biggest money managers like the Carlyle Group, BlackRock and Schroders.

“We are having this event after doing very daunting homework,” said Ihsan Buhulaiga, a Riyadh economist who heads Joatha Consulting. “The Saudi Arabian government has worked very hard for about two years and it is time to forge strategic partnerships and show the world what the kingdom can offer in terms of investments to the rest of the world.”"



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Dubai to introduce stock index futures, short-selling on the way

Dubai to introduce stock index futures, short-selling on the way:

"Nasdaq Dubai will introduce trade in futures contracts based on the main DFMGI equities index of Dubai’s other stock market, Dubai Financial Market , the two exchanges said on Sunday. With the exception of Kuwait, Gulf countries have been slow to introduce equity derivatives, fearing they could destabilise markets. But as low oil prices drain liquidity from the region, several bourses plan derivatives trade to attract fresh money. Trade in DFMGI futures by institutional investors is expected to begin later this year with the support of leading United Arab Emirates brokers, the two Dubai exchanges said."



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Size of Emaar Development IPO disappoints market | ZAWYA MENA Edition

Size of Emaar Development IPO disappoints market | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"Emaar Properties expects to sell a 20 percent stake in its real estate development business next month in an initial public offering, it said on Sunday, with the smaller than anticipated sale sending its shares down by more than 2 percent. Dubai's largest listed developer said in a bourse statement that it had received shareholder approval to sell up to 30 percent of Emaar Development on the Dubai exchange, the first major listing in three years. Emaar Development was valued at 24.1 billion dirhams ($6.56 billion) as of September by JLL, Emaar said in a separate bourse statement, confirming a Oct. 2 Reuters report. "



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Opening bourse wider, Saudi to let foreigners take strategic stakes in firms

Opening bourse wider, Saudi to let foreigners take strategic stakes in firms:

"Saudi Arabia will let foreign investors take strategic stakes of 10 percent or more in stock exchange-listed companies, the securities regulator said on Sunday, expanding an effort to attract foreign capital and technology to the kingdom.

The Capital Market Authority said it was working with the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority, the state investment agency, to prepare rules under which foreign investors with appropriate experience and expertise could own such stakes.

Current regulations forbid a single foreign investor from owning 10 percent or more of the shares of a listed Saudi company."



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Tillerson Says Saudi Arabia Rebuffed Him on Ending Qatar Crisis - Bloomberg

Tillerson Says Saudi Arabia Rebuffed Him on Ending Qatar Crisis - Bloomberg:

"Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Saudi Arabia’s leaders rebuffed his request in meetings Sunday to end the four-month isolation of Qatar.

Tillerson has taken the lead in seeking to end the dispute, which was sparked in June when a Saudi-led bloc of four countries imposed economic restrictions against Qatar over its alleged support of terrorism. He was in Saudi Arabia and Qatar this weekend as part of efforts to break the deadlock.

“I did in my meetings with Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman ask him please engage in dialogue,” Tillerson said at a briefing in Doha alongside Qatar’s foreign minister. “There is not a strong indication that the parties are ready to talk yet. So we cannot force talks upon people who aren’t ready to talk.”"



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Emaar IPO plan hits Dubai, Saudi fails test of resistance

MIDEAST STOCKS-Emaar IPO plan hits Dubai, Saudi fails test of resistance:

"Dubai’s leading real estate developer, Emaar Properties, pulled the emirate’s stock index lower on Sunday while Saudi Arabia’s index again retreated from major technical resistance. The Dubai index lost 0.8 percent to 3,644 points, pulling back from resistance on the August peak of 3,681. Emaar slid 2.1 percent after saying it expected to sell 20 percent of its local property development unit Emaar Development LLC next month in an initial public offer. Previously, Emaar had said it would offer up to 30 percent of the business, distributing funds raised as dividends to shareholders in the parent company."



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UAE central bank survey projects moderate growth in loan demand

UAE central bank survey projects moderate growth in loan demand:

"Demand for business credit and personal loans in the United Arab Emirates increased marginally in the July-September quarter, and a moderate increase is expected in the current quarter, a central bank survey showed on Sunday.

The net balance measure for business lending - the weighted percentage of respondents reporting an increase in demand for loans minus those reporting a fall in demand - was plus 6.3 in the latest quarter, against plus 7.5 in the previous quarter.

More than 60 percent of survey respondents reported no changes to loan terms and conditions last quarter, with about 30 percent reporting a modest tightening. For the current quarter, respondents expect the net balance measure to rise to plus 17.3. (Reporting by Andrew Torchia)"



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Mideast Stocks: Emaar pulls Dubai down, Saudi flat early on | ZAWYA MENA Edition

Mideast Stocks: Emaar pulls Dubai down, Saudi flat early on | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"Emaar Properties pulled Dubai's stock market lower in early trade on Sunday while Saudi Arabia was flat after a string of corporate earnings.

The Dubai index lost 0.5 percent as Emaar fell 0.9 percent after saying it expects to sell 20 percent of its local property development unit Emaar Development LLC next month in an initial public offer.

Previously, Emaar had said it would offer up to 30 percent of the business, distributing funds raised as dividends to shareholders in the parent company."



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Saudi Fund Flexes Muscles With Stream of Billion-Dollar Projects - Bloomberg

Saudi Fund Flexes Muscles With Stream of Billion-Dollar Projects - Bloomberg:

"Saudi Arabia’s wealth fund is on a roll.

In the past month alone, the Public Investment Fund announced projects valued at more than $10 billion -- in industries ranging from property, energy, recycling and entertainment. Last week it set up a real-estate refinancing firm with a mandate of $20 billion in deals in five years.

The fund already holds about $110 billion of assets in listed Saudi companies and has investments with Blackstone Group LP to Softbank Group Corp. This month it scooped up a $2.4 billion stake in food processor Almarai Co."



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