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Thursday, 24 August 2017

Saudi Arabia to open health, education sectors to full foreign ownership | GulfNews.com

Saudi Arabia to open health, education sectors to full foreign ownership | GulfNews.com:

"Saudi Arabia will allow foreign investors to take 100 per cent ownership of companies in its health and education sectors, the head of the kingdom’s investment authority said. It is the latest move by the country to gradually ease ownership restrictions on foreign firms, which have previously been required to set up a joint venture with a local partner. “We are opening up education centres to have ownership 100 per cent, all types of education even from primary school. This is something new for Saudi,” Ebrahim Al Omar, governor of the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA), said."



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UPDATE 1-Sluggish July imports in Qatar show sanctions still hurting economy

UPDATE 1-Sluggish July imports in Qatar show sanctions still hurting economy:

"Qatar's imports recovered only slightly in July after plunging in June, government data released on Thursday showed, suggesting the country's economy is still suffering from sanctions imposed by other Gulf states.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain cut diplomatic and transport ties with Qatar on June 5, accusing Doha of supporting terrorism, which it denies.

The closure of the Saudi border with Qatar and disruption to shipping routes via the UAE slashed Qatar's imports by 37.9 percent in June compared with May, forcing Doha to scramble to arrange new shipping routes and import some goods by air."



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Saudi foreign reserves resume falling in July

Saudi foreign reserves resume falling in July:

"Saudi Arabia's foreign reserves resumed falling in July, central bank data showed on Thursday, suggesting the government may remain under pressure to draw them down to cover a budget deficit caused by low oil prices.

Riyadh began liquidating the reserves in late 2014 and they dropped sharply from a record $737 billion in August that year. In June 2017, they rose month-on-month for the first time in over a year, prompting speculation that Riyadh might have cut its deficit enough to no longer need cash from the reserves.

But Thursday's data showed the central bank's net foreign assets fell by $6.3 billion from June to $487 billion in July, their lowest level since early 2011. The reserves shrank 12.8 percent from a year earlier."



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One OPEC State Muddles Through Oil Slump as History Deters Debt - Bloomberg

One OPEC State Muddles Through Oil Slump as History Deters Debt - Bloomberg:

"The new realities of global oil markets are yet to convince economic policy makers in Algeria that it’s time for a radical rethink.

Unlike the rest of OPEC’s members -- with the exceptions of war-torn Libya and sanctioned Iran -- Algeria has steered clear of tapping global debt markets three years into the oil-price slump. Neither will it overhaul laws to attract more foreign investors. A cabal of aging leaders sitting at the top of the party that delivered independence more than half a century ago is united in its opposition to “mortgaging” the country’s future. 

Instead, the North African nation has run through almost half of the foreign reserves it accumulated during the oil boom in order to avoid cutting welfare benefits as a sensitive political transition looms. President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, 80 and who has rarely been seen in public since suffering a stroke in 2013, has no clear successor, meaning a period of jockeying is already under way."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Most bourses lose steam as retail investors book profits

MIDEAST STOCKS-Most bourses lose steam as retail investors book profits:

"Most stock markets in the Middle East declined on Thursday as local retail investors booked profits and institutional investors stayed on the sidelines, while Dubai port operator DP World underperformed because of uninspiring interim earnings. "The region has been a retail-, momentum-driven market and I expect next week that trend will spill over," said a Dubai-based portfolio manager. With Eid al-Adha holidays due to start in the region from the middle of next week, many retail investors are starting to book profits. The Riyadh index fell 0.3 percent, snapping six straight sessions of gains, as a little over half of banks fell including one of this week's top-performing stocks, Al Rajhi Bank, which retreated 0.9 percent. "



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China is welcome in Saudi Arabia, but speculations of buying Aramco are far-fetched  | Arab News

China is welcome in Saudi Arabia, but speculations of buying Aramco are far-fetched  | Arab News:

"Commercial ties between Saudi Arabia and China have become vitally important for both countries since the visit by Chinese president Xi Jinping in January 2016 that signalled a new era in bilateral relations.  That was further cemented by the visit of King Salman to Beijing in March this year, in which multi-billion dollar deals were signed between the biggest corporate players in both countries.  Today, in Jeddah, an investment forum between the two countries will add some significant detail to the newly co-operative relationship. "



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Dubai's DP World says confident of meeting FY view after flat first half

Dubai's DP World says confident of meeting FY view after flat first half:

"DP World DPW.DI, one of the world's largest port operators, said on Thursday it was confident it would meet full-year market expectations as it reported a flat half-year net profit. The Dubai-headquartered firm made a profit of $606 million attributable to the owners of the company in the six months to June 30, according to a bourse statement. The earnings, which were in line with analyst estimates, according to Thomson Reuters data, compare with a $608 million profit in the same period a year earlier."



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Saudi Arabia, China plan joint $20 billion investment fund

Saudi Arabia, China plan joint $20 billion investment fund:

"Saudi Arabia and China plan to establish and operate jointly a $20 billion investment fund, sharing costs and profits on a 50:50 basis, Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih told Reuters on Thursday.

Falih was speaking on the sidelines of an economic conference of senior officials and businessmen from the two countries.

He said that in addition to the fund, he expected 11 business agreements worth about $20 billion to be signed between the two sides on Thursday. He did not give details."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Banks strong in Saudi Arabia, DP World down after flat profit

MIDEAST STOCKS-Banks strong in Saudi Arabia, DP World down after flat profit:

"Banking shares were buoyant in Saudi Arabia on Thursday morning while blue chips helped lift Dubai slightly, although port operator DP World underperformed because of uninspiring interim financial results. Al Rajhi Bank was up 0.3 percent, heading for its seventh straight straight session of gains. Most other Saudi lenders were also strong, with National Commercial Bank rising 0.6 percent, helping lift the Riyadh index 0.1 percent after 25 minutes of trade. In Dubai, the index was up 0.3 percent on the back of a 1.5 percent gain in the largest property developer, Emaar Properties."



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