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Sunday, 30 July 2017

Saudi foreign assets rise for first time since May last year | GulfNews.com

Saudi foreign assets rise for first time since May last year | GulfNews.com:

"Saudi Arabia’s central bank reserves rose for the first time in over a year, even as low oil prices hinder government efforts to overall an economy dependent on energy exports. Net foreign assets at the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency increased to $493.2 billion in June from $491.7 billion in the previous month, according to a monthly report published on its website. It was the first increase since May 2016, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The rise is surprising, “especially given that the government’s deposits with the central bank continued to fall in the month,” said Monica Malik, chief economist at Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank. The increase “could be linked to investments strategies of the government and related flows,” she said."



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Saudi Aramco’s IPO choice: London, New York — or both? | Arab News

Saudi Aramco’s IPO choice: London, New York — or both? | Arab News:

"I spent much of last week in London being persuaded that the city’s stock exchange was the appropriate place for listing shares in Saudi Aramco — apart from the Tadawul, of course, where it is guaranteed star billing.

I almost bought it. The London Stock Exchange (LSE) is a fine, venerable institution, still by far the biggest in the European trading zone. It wants the Aramco business, and the regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority, has bent over backwards to help them do it.

Maybe some investment professionals have reservations about being minority shareholders in a government-controlled entity, but they have the ultimate option: If they do not like it, do not buy it. 

"



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Iran, Iraq moving closer to construction of Kirkuk pipeline: minister

Iran, Iraq moving closer to construction of Kirkuk pipeline: minister:

"Iran and Iraq are moving closer to building a pipeline that would export crude oil from the northern Iraqi fields of Kirkuk via Iran, Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh said on Sunday after meeting his Iraqi counterpart Jabar al-Luaibi, according to the official news site of the Iranian oil ministry. Agreements were reached between the two ministers about an international company that will carry out a feasibility study of the project, Zanganeh was quoted as saying in the SHANA report. Iraq and Iran signed a memorandum of understanding in February to study the construction of the pipeline."



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MIDEAST DEBT-Gulf ratings diverge as Bahrain, Oman sink, others stabilise

MIDEAST DEBT-Gulf ratings diverge as Bahrain, Oman sink, others stabilise:

"Fresh cuts in the debt ratings of Bahrain and Oman underline a growing gap between the weakest Gulf Arab economies and the others - a gap which may not yet be fully reflected in market prices. Moody's downgraded Bahrain by two notches on Friday to B1, four notches below investment grade. All three major agencies rate Bahrain junk; Moody's is one notch below Standard & Poor's and three below Fitch. Moody's also cut Oman one notch to Baa2, two notches above S&P, which has the country at junk, and the same level as Fitch. All three agencies kept negative outlooks for Bahrain and Oman."



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Global Banks Are Said to Shift Qatar Business From Dubai Hub - Bloomberg

Global Banks Are Said to Shift Qatar Business From Dubai Hub - Bloomberg:

"Some international banks are serving Qatar from London and New York instead of Dubai’s financial center as a regional dispute makes it harder to do business with clients in the gas-rich Gulf state, according to people familiar with the matter.

Lenders that handled clients such as the Qatar Investment Authority and wealthy family offices out of the Dubai International Financial Centre are shifting coverage to other global financial hubs to avoid damaging relations with the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, said the people, asking not to be identified because the matter is private.

Saudi Arabia, the U.A.E., Bahrain and Egypt severed diplomatic and transport links with Qatar in June, accusing it of supporting extremist groups. Qatar denies the charges. As part of the restrictions, Emirates, Etihad Airways PJSC and FlyDubai suspended flights to and from Qatar, meaning that Dubai-based bankers have to fly via Oman or Kuwait, adding hours to a flight that used to take less than 60 minutes. "



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Qatar Crisis Back to Square One as Economy Shows the Strain - Bloomberg

Qatar Crisis Back to Square One as Economy Shows the Strain - Bloomberg:

"The Saudi-led alliance that severed ties with Qatar reinstated a list of 13 demands that must be met before talks to resolve the eight-week crisis could start, just as as fresh economic data highlighted the impact of the unprecedented boycott on the Gulf nation.

The foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain said there would be no compromise until Qatar ends its support for terrorism -- a charge it has repeatedly denied. The bloc had initially dropped the conditions, which included shuttering Al Jazeera television, and instead referred to six broad principles it said Qatar must agree to, fueling speculation that the crisis could soon be resolved.

Sunday’s announcement in Manama, Bahrain’s capital, deals a fresh blow to mediation efforts by Kuwait and U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who flew to the region this month and presented proposals aimed at preparing both sides to hold direct talks. Those efforts have reached an impasse, a Gulf official with direct knowledge of the matter said last week. "



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Poor Q2 earnings dent Saudi Arabia in weak region

MIDEAST STOCKS-Poor Q2 earnings dent Saudi Arabia in weak region:

"Disappointing second-quarter results from large cap Saudi Arabian companies were the main drag on the local index on Sunday, while neighbouring bourses were mostly weak. The Riyadh index fell 0.8 percent as the largest petrochemical maker Saudi Basic Industries (SABIC) lost 1.3 percent after it reported a second-quarter net profit of 3.71 billion riyals ($989.3 million), below analysts' estimates of 4.6 billion riyals and down by a quarter from the year ago period. The profit fall stemmed from weaker performance at its iron and steel unit, said Chief Executive Yousef al-Benyan at a press conference in Riyadh."



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