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Thursday, 5 October 2017

Exclusive: Franklin Templeton may double its Saudi equities portfolio - The National

Exclusive: Franklin Templeton may double its Saudi equities portfolio - The National:

"Franklin Templeton investments, a global fund management firm, may increase its Saudi Arabian equities exposure to as much as US$1.16 billion, about 4 per cent of its $29bn global emerging markets portfolio, as the biggest Arab economy continues to liberalise its capital market. “We are now at about 1 or 2 per cent of our total global portfolios in Saudi and we can easily increase it to 3 or 4 per cent,” Mark Mobius, the executive chairman of Templeton Emerging Markets Group said in Dubai yesterday. “We can easily double that under the right conditions. There’s a good chance we will do something more there.” The Capital Market Authority, overseer of the Saudi Stock Exchange (Tadawul), which has more than $450bn in market capitalisation, is liberalising the equities market and introducing structural and regulatory reforms such as changes in the settlement procedures and relaxing restrictions on foreign qualified investors."



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LPC - Qatari loans test lenders' loyalties

LPC - Qatari loans test lenders' loyalties:

"A US$570m syndicated loan refinancing for Turkey-based QNB Finansbank is highlighting the growing difficulties facing international banks as they struggle to maintain impartiality in Qatar’s dispute with its neighbours, bankers said. A US$3bn loan for Qatar National Bank, the Gulf’s largest lender, which needs to be refinanced before it matures in March 2018, is also set to test the market shortly as the crisis refuses to blow over. International banks have been trying to maintain relations with both sides of the Gulf dispute, since Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt imposed travel and trade restrictions on Qatar on June 5 and accused Qatar of backing terrorism, a charge that Doha denies. "



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Australia Is Challenging Qatar's LNG Crown - Bloomberg

Australia Is Challenging Qatar's LNG Crown - Bloomberg:

"Australia is soon to match Qatar as the world’s biggest liquefied natural gas seller thanks to a spate of new projects nearing completion, according to the Asia-Pacific nation’s commodity forecaster.

Australia’s annual LNG exports will reach 74 million tons during the year to June 2019, on par with shipments from the Middle East gas powerhouse during that period, the nation’s Department of Industry, Innovation and Science said in a quarterly report Friday. Shipments of 52.2 million tons in the current year to June will be 41 percent higher year-on-year, it said."



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UPDATE 1-Qatar c.bank's foreign reserves, liquidity rebound from sanctions hit

UPDATE 1-Qatar c.bank's foreign reserves, liquidity rebound from sanctions hit:

"The Qatar central bank’s international reserves and foreign currency liquidity rebounded in August after falling steeply for two months because of sanctions imposed by other Arab states, official data showed on Thursday. The reserves and liquidity, a measure of the central bank’s ability to support the riyal currency, recovered to $39.0 billion in August from $36.1 billion in July. In May, just before the sanctions, they had stood at $45.8 billion. The central bank did not say why they rebounded, but bankers believe the government may have used money from Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund to replenish the reserves. The central bank’s holdings of foreign securities continued shrinking in August but its balances with foreign banks rose sharply."



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Standard Chartered Probed on $1.4 Billion Client Transfers - Bloomberg

Standard Chartered Probed on $1.4 Billion Client Transfers - Bloomberg:

"Regulators in Europe and Asia are investigating Standard Chartered Plc over the role staff may have played in transferring $1.4 billion of private bank client assets from Guernsey to Singapore before new tax transparency rules were introduced, people with knowledge of the probes said.

The bank conducted an inquiry and notified regulators after employees raised questions early last year about the timing of the transactions and whether the source of customers’ funds had been properly vetted, said the people, who declined to be identified because the details are private.

The assets -- held in its Guernsey trust unit for mainly Indonesian clients, some of whom had links to the military -- were moved in late-2015 before the Channel Island adopted the Common Reporting Standard, a global framework for the exchange of tax data, at the start of 2016, the people said. Standard Chartered shuttered its operations on the island last year."



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Oil rises 2 percent, boosted by potential OPEC deal

Oil rises 2 percent, boosted by potential OPEC deal:

"Oil prices rose about 2 percent on Thursday as signs Saudi Arabia and Russia would limit production through next year pushed the U.S. benchmark back above $50 a barrel.

The news outweighed Wednesday’s U.S. data showing record U.S. exports and the return of production at a major Libyan oilfield.

Brent futures LCOc1 settled at $57 a barrel, up 2.2 percent, or $1.20, while U.S. crude CLc1 rose 81 cents, or 1.6 percent, to end at $50.79."



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Saudi Reforms to Yield $90 Billion Boost by 2020, IMF Says - Bloomberg

Saudi Reforms to Yield $90 Billion Boost by 2020, IMF Says - Bloomberg:

"Saudi Arabia may get a budget boost of more than $90 billion by 2020 from new taxes and the planned reform of fuel subsidies and prices, International Monetary Fund projections show.

Additional non-oil revenue, including from a value-added tax and excises on tobacco and energy drinks, is forecast to reach 4.8 percent of gross domestic product -- estimated by the IMF to be $722 billion in 2020. Net gains from energy price reforms may total 210 billion riyals ($56 billion), including the cost of support programs to help households and industry adapt. The estimates were included in a report compiled after a staff visit in May.

The IMF sees Saudi Arabia’s long-term plan for an economy less reliant on oil as a catalyst to improve the kingdom’s fiscal balance, after a plunge in crude prices triggered a budget deficit of more than 16 percent of GDP last year. But the Washington-based lender has also advised the government to roll out spending cuts and austerity measures more gradually, even it if means pushing back a self-imposed target of balancing the budget by 2019.

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MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf mostly lower, Kuwait's Zain up on Omantel rumour

MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf mostly lower, Kuwait's Zain up on Omantel rumour:

"Most Gulf stock markets fell on Thursday, with Qatar falling for a third straight session to a new five-year low, but shares in Kuwaiti telecommunications operator Zain jumped on a rumour that Oman Telecommunications might expand its stake in the firm.

The Saudi index lost 0.4 percent, with the banking sector, which had been relatively robust this week, falling back. National Commercial Bank lost 1.2 percent.

Saudi-based insurer Metlife AIG ANB Cooperative Insurance rose 1.1 percent to 20.04 riyals in its heaviest trade since May 2016, but closed well below its intra-day high of 21.80 riyals."



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Saudis Say Cooperation With Russia Breathed Life Back Into OPEC - Bloomberg

Saudis Say Cooperation With Russia Breathed Life Back Into OPEC - Bloomberg:

"Cooperation between Saudi Arabia and Russia has “breathed life back into OPEC” and made the country more optimistic about the outlook for oil than it has been for several years, said the kingdom’s energy minister. The success of the collaboration between the world’s two largest oil exporters is clear, said Saudi Minister of Energy and Industry Khalid Al-Falih. The relationship, which involves coordinated production cuts to eliminate an oversupply and joint energy investments, brings both short- and long-term gains, he said after a meeting in Moscow with his Russian counterpart Alexander Novak. Al-Falih was speaking at the start of Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz’s historic first visit to Russia to meet with President Vladimir Putin. The two nations -- joint architects of the supply agreement between the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and other producers that has boosted prices -- are looking at ways to extend and deepen their relationship."



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The Missing Guest at the Bond Banquet - Bloomberg Gadfly

The Missing Guest at the Bond Banquet - Bloomberg Gadfly:

"There's one notable absence from the government bond sale bonanza in the Middle East. Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi have propelled 2017's offerings in the region past last year's total of $79 billion. But of Qatar, nary a mention.The country, which raised $9 billion from investors in May 2016, would seem an obvious borrower -- were it not for the tensions with its Gulf neighbours, and its protestations that it doesn't need the money.Discount the latter argument. For all its hydrocarbon riches, Qatar has an expensive spending habit. Funding the growing budget deficit from asset sales won't quite plug the gap that a bond offering could fill -- especially with $10 billion of redemptions looming over the next two years."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf soft in early trade; Saudi insurer Metlife surges

MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf soft in early trade; Saudi insurer Metlife surges:

"Stock markets in the Gulf were mostly weak in early trade on Thursday with individual stocks reacting to company-specific news in Saudi Arabia, while Qatar continued to decline from a five-year low.

Saudi-based insurer Metlife AIG ANB Cooperative Insurance surged its 10 percent daily limit after the company announced that the industry regulator had approved the opening of three new outlets in Riyadh, Jeddah and Khobar. Metlife said the positive financial impact would be reflected in its fourth-quarter results.

Arabian Cement was up 0.4 percent after announcing that it is in initial talks with privately held Safwa Cement for a potential merger."



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