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Thursday, 7 September 2017

Saudi reform tweaks won't affect key economic policies -sources

Saudi reform tweaks won't affect key economic policies -sources:

"Saudi Arabia is revising parts of an economic development plan released a year ago but key policies, including fiscal reforms and a massive privatisation programme, won’t be affected by the review, sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.

In June 2016, the government published a National Transformation Programme (NTP) that included hundreds of steps to modernise the economy and society, from speeding up handling of court cases to improving pilgrims’ satisfaction, developing e-commerce rules and encouraging Saudis to play more sports.

It is looking increasingly unlikely that some of the targets can be hit by their 2020 deadline, however, partly because they were complex and ambitious, and partly because inefficient ministries have had trouble implementing steps."

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Big Oil bets on a dash for gas

Big Oil bets on a dash for gas:

"It took eight weeks for the world’s largest floating gas production vessel to be hauled by tugboats from a South Korean shipyard to the spot almost 500km off the north-west coast of Australia where it was moored last month.

For the next 25 years this red-hulled Goliath — the length of four football pitches and nine-times the weight of the UK’s new aircraft carrier when fully loaded — will harvest gas from subsea wells and convert it into super-cooled liquefied natural gas. Tankers will visit the ship once a week to offload its LNG for export.

The $14bn Prelude project, led by Royal Dutch Shell, is the latest in a surge of new LNG capacity which promises to reshape the oil and gas industry — and with it, the energy markets they serve. Chevron’s Wheatstone LNG development in Australia is due to start producing this month, on the heels of its nearby Gorgon project last year, after a combined $88bn of investment. ExxonMobil, BP, Total and Eni have also made big commitments."

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Saudi Arabia redrafts crown prince’s transformation plan

Saudi Arabia redrafts crown prince’s transformation plan:

"Saudi Arabia is redrafting its national economic reform plan just over a year after its much-hyped launch, stripping out some areas earmarked for change and extending the timeline of other targets. The National Transformation Plan is at the centre of Saudi efforts to overhaul its oil-dependent economy and has been spearheaded by the dynamic young royal Mohammed bin Salman, who in June was named heir to the kingdom’s throne. The move to rework the plan — in some cases delaying implementation of the reforms for as much as a decade — suggests Riyadh may have decided some of the objectives were over-ambitious."

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MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi up amid royal succession talk, UAE's Dana resumes surge

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi up amid royal succession talk, UAE's Dana resumes surge:

"Saudi Arabia’s stock market rose on Thursday amid rumours that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman might soon take the throne, while Abu Dhabi-listed Dana Gas resumed rising sharply in the wake of its deal to obtain payments from Iraqi Kurdistan.

“The royal palace is finalising plans to transfer power from King Salman to his son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman,” geopolitical consultancy Eurasia Group said in a report, predicting the plans would be implemented “soon”.

Saudis have been exchanging similar predictions on Twitter for days. Another prevalent rumour is that King Salman, 81, may transfer the post of prime minister to his son."

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Saudi Arabia’s $10bn IMF loan and its implications – Middle East Monitor

Saudi Arabia’s $10bn IMF loan and its implications – Middle East Monitor:

"The news that Saudi Arabia is applying for a $10 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is shocking. The country is the world’s largest exporter of oil, so why does it need a loan from the IMF? This move is likely to cause the collapse of the Saudi economy slowly but surely.

The past few years have already given an indication that the economy in Saudi Arabia is in trouble, and that there shall soon be a need to shift it toward non-dependence on oil. The price of crude oil has been the biggest contributor to this slowdown, with a fall from $147 per barrel in 2008 to the current $47. The high oil price led the Saudis to believe that they would enjoy massive oil revenues for a very long time.

However, instead of investing in the infrastructure, food technology, information technology and human resources while the going was good, investment was diverted overseas, especially to the West. Saudi Arabia continued to import even basic foodstuffs in order to provide citizens with a comfortable life. Foreign nationals were engaged to carry out specialised as well as menial roles. Not even basic industries were developed, never mind advanced space research, bio-technology, IT and defence."

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What Happens If The OPEC Deal Expires? |

What Happens If The OPEC Deal Expires? |

"OPEC appears to be nervous that its production cut deal will once again fall short, and the group is already discussing the possibility of yet another extension. While the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey continues to drive headlines in the energy sector, the attention will once again shift back to OPEC as the year wears on and we head into 2018. OPEC had hoped that a nine-month extension of its original six-month production cut deal – 1.2 million barrels per day from OPEC, plus reductions of nearly 0.6 mb/d from non-OPEC countries – would be enough to “rebalance” the market. But with seven months or so left to go on the deal, they are already coming around to the conclusion that it won’t be enough. Part of the reason for the group’s struggles is that the two exempted members – Libya and Nigeria – have added large volumes of new supply this year. Nigeria’s output is up to about 2.2-2.3 mb/d, according to government officials, a figure that includes condensate. Based on that figure, S&P Global Platts says Nigeria’s crude output probably stands at about 1.8 mb/d, which comports with OPEC’s latest estimate. In other words, Nigeria is now producing about 400,000 bpd more than it was a year ago on the eve of the original OPEC agreement."

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Further updraught for Middle East airline passenger demand - The National

Further updraught for Middle East airline passenger demand - The National:

"Middle East carriers had a 4.5 per cent increase in passenger demand for July, according to the International Air Transport Association (Iata).

This was an acceleration from the 3.6 per cent annual growth seen in June, although behind the five-year average pace of 11.2 per cent.

The Middle East to North America market has been affected by a combination of factors in 2017, Iata said, including the recently-lifted cabin ban on large portable electronic devices, as well as a wider impact from the proposed travel bans to the US. Traffic growth on the Middle East-US route was already slowing in early 2017, in line with a moderation in the pace of expansion of nonstop services flown by the largest Middle East airlines. July capacity climbed 3.6 per cent compared to a year ago and the load factor rose 0.7 percentage points to 81.5 per cent."

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How Standard Chartered Lost $400 Million on Risky Diamond Debt - Bloomberg

How Standard Chartered Lost $400 Million on Risky Diamond Debt - Bloomberg:

"Standard Chartered Plc’s plunge into the risky business of diamond lending began eight years ago with a cocktail party at its London headquarters.

Maurice Tempelsman, longtime escort of Jackie Kennedy and head of one of the biggest U.S. diamond companies, was there. So was diamantaire Dilip Mehta, who had been made a baron by the king of Belgium, and other luminaries from the industry of middlemen who buy rough stones from mining companies like De Beers, polish them and sell to jewelers and retailers. Flitting among the guests was the man who made it possible, Kishore Lall, recently hired to run the bank’s diamond-lending business.

The cost of that ill-fated venture is still being tallied. Since around 2013, Standard Chartered has accumulated about $400 million in actual and provisioned losses on a portfolio of loans to these diamantaires that once reached $3 billion, according to a bank official familiar with the matter. Including lending to diamond miners and retailers, the bank’s total exposure to the gems was $4.5 billion. Chief Executive Officer Bill Winters, who took over two years ago, is still trying to clean up the mess."

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U.S. finds Russia, Belarus, UAE dumped steel wire rod

U.S. finds Russia, Belarus, UAE dumped steel wire rod:

"The U.S. Commerce Department on Wednesday said it made an initial finding that carbon and alloy steel wire rod from Belarus, Russia and the United Arab Emirates are being dumped in the U.S. market, and imposed antidumping duties of up to 756.93 percent. “The dumping of goods below market value in the United States is something the Trump administration takes very seriously,” Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in a statement. In 2016, imports of carbon and alloy steel wire rod from Belarus, Russia and the UAE were valued at an estimated $10.4 million, $32.3 million and $7 million respectively, the statement said."

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MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf moves sideways early on, UAE's Dana resumes rise

MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf moves sideways early on, UAE's Dana resumes rise:

"Gulf stock markets moved sideways in quiet, early trade on Thursday with very little news to stimulate activity, although Abu Dhabi-listed Dana Gas resumed rising sharply. Dubai’s index edged down 0.1 percent with five of the 10 most heavily traded stocks rising slightly and five falling moderately. The most active stock, GFH Financial , rose 1.1 percent. Dana surged 5.2 percent to a three-year high of 0.81 dirham."

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