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Friday, 17 February 2017

GCC lenders set for profit dip as asset growth slows and liquidity tightens | The National

GCC lenders set for profit dip as asset growth slows and liquidity tightens | The National:

"The net income of Arabian Gulf banks is forecast to drop by 5 to 7 per cent this year as the sector grapples with weak revenues and higher credit losses, according to Standard & Poor’s. Bank profitability decreased last year amid a rise in money set aside to cover bad debts and slower loan growth as economies in the region slowed. "Operating revenues are ­weakening, credit losses increasing and the net bottom line is under pressure," said Suha Urgan, S&P’s Dubai-based lead analyst for financial institutions."



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Sarah Al Suhaimi to Become the First Woman to Head Saudi Arabia's Stock Exchange - Bloomberg

Sarah Al Suhaimi to Become the First Woman to Head Saudi Arabia's Stock Exchange - Bloomberg:

"NCB Capital Co. Chief Executive Officer Sarah Al Suhaimi will become the first woman to chair Saudi Arabia’s stock exchange, the largest bourse in the Middle East.

Al Suhaimi was appointed chairwoman of the Tadawul, replacing Khalid Al Rabiah, the exchange said in a statement on Thursday. She is expected to keep her position at NCB Capital, the investment banking unit of National Commercial Bank, a person familiar with the appointment said. Al Suhaimi was the first female head of a Saudi investment bank when she assumed the role in 2014."



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Sovereign funds increasingly do their own private equity deals | Reuters

Sovereign funds increasingly do their own private equity deals | Reuters:

"Some of the world's biggest sovereign wealth funds are increasingly striking their own private equity deals rather than relying on external fund managers, in a drive to cut costs and gain more control.

With some $6.5 trillion in assets, sovereign investors already account for 19 percent of capital committed to private equity, according to data from research firm Preqin.

But mega-funds such as the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA), Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund (PIF) and Singapore's GIC, are hiring specialists to find or vet deals - enabling them to negotiate with private equity firms from a position of strength or to go it alone."



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Iraq plans to acquire 'large fleet' of oil tankers | Reuters

Iraq plans to acquire 'large fleet' of oil tankers | Reuters:

"Iraq plans to acquire a "large fleet" of oil tankers to transport the OPEC nation's crude to global markets, Oil Minister Jabar al-Luaibi said in a statement on Friday.

The nation's tanker fleet was largely destroyed during the U.S.-led offensive to dislodge Iraq from Kuwait in 1991, according to the state-run Iraqi Oil Tankers Company's website. The company owned as many as 24 tankers in the 1980s.

"The ministry is keen to restructure the company and develop its operations by building and buying a large fleet of tankers," Luaibi told the company's management, according to the statement."



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Norway plans shake-up of $900bn oil fund

Norway plans shake-up of $900bn oil fund:

"Norway’s government has proposed the biggest changes to the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund in decades, cutting the amount of oil money the country can spend each year and tilting the fund towards higher risk by investing about $90bn more in stock markets.

The $900bn oil fund should be able to invest 70 per cent of its assets in equities, up from 60 per cent, the centre-right government said as it backed proposals made by the fund itself and an expert group.

The shift, which needs parliamentary approval, would be significant for global markets since the fund on average already owns 1.3 per cent of every listed company. The increased investment in equities would come at the expense of buying bonds as the oil fund, which has an investment horizon of a century or more, tries to increase its returns."



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Hurdles mount for Saudi Aramco IPO - Saudi Aramco (Private:ARMCO) | Seeking Alpha

Hurdles mount for Saudi Aramco IPO - Saudi Aramco (Private:ARMCO) | Seeking Alpha:

"Complications restructuring Saudi Arabia’s state-owned oil company and disentangling its finances from those of the government are slowing the march toward what is expected to be the biggest IPO in history. The hotly anticipated listing of a minority stake in Saudi Aramco (Private:ARMCO) is now unlikely to happen until late 2018 at the earliest, WSJ reports, and if foreign advisers have their way, it won't happen until 2019."



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Emerging market ETFs and the jaws of death

Emerging market ETFs and the jaws of death:

"It may seem a strange position for an active fund manager to adopt, but I am in favour of passive or index investment. The advantages of index investing are clear. Investors can invest in a widely diversified portfolio at minimal cost as management charges are low, as are the costs of dealing. The obvious drawback to index funds and exchange traded funds (ETFs) is that they deprive investors of the opportunity to focus their investment only in good companies and/or shares which offer reasonable value or better. However, it seems that most active fund managers do not even attempt to invest only in good companies, or if they do they are not very good at identifying them. They seem to have similar problems in determining what is reasonable value."



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Arabs wary of Donald Trump’s Middle East policy shift

Arabs wary of Donald Trump’s Middle East policy shift:

"After Donald Trump stood alongside Benjamin Netanyahu and said that Washington was no longer committed to a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict, members of Israel’s rightwing could barely conceal their delight.

But the Arab response has ranged from outright hostility to a more cautious reaction in countries that have discreetly been drawing closer to Israel.

At a stroke on Wednesday, Mr Trump pulled back from a principle that has been a core of US policy in the Middle East — and the dream of Palestinians — for more than two decades."



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