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Monday, 6 November 2017

Oil climbs above $64 a barrel after Saudi crackdown

Oil climbs above $64 a barrel after Saudi crackdown:

"Oil surged above $64 a barrel to the highest level in two years on Monday after Saudi Arabia’s crackdown on dozens of princes and business tycoons raised concerns about stability and policymaking in the world’s largest crude exporter. The sharp move in Brent crude, the international benchmark, came shortly after Saudi officials warned that they had found “widespread corruption” among the suspects detained in the weekend sweep and threatened to freeze assets of those being held. Brent hit a high of $64.23 a barrel on Monday before settling for the day at $64.27, a rise of $2.20. This takes its gains since June to more than 40 per cent, a move that is likely to be closely watched by central banks already monitoring rising inflation. US benchmark West Texas Intermediate hit $57.41 a barrel, its highest in two years, before settling the day at $57.35, up $1.71."



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Saudi officials warn they have the powers to freeze assets

Saudi officials warn they have the powers to freeze assets:

"Saudi officials have warned that the kingdom’s sweeping anti-corruption crackdown allows them to freeze the accounts and assets of suspects, saying initial evidence revealed “widespread corruption in a number of cases.”

Dozens of princes, ministers and leading businessmen have been caught in the dragnet cast by the reformist crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, including billionaire investor Prince Alwaleed bin Talal.

Khalid Al-Mehaisen, a member of Prince Mohammed’s new anti-corruption committee, on Monday said the suspects had been under investigation for three years and authorities would continue to issue arrest warrants and travel restrictions to bring offenders to justice."



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AP ANALYSIS: Saudi crown prince's arrests are a risky gamble

AP ANALYSIS: Saudi crown prince's arrests are a risky gamble:

"Saudi Arabia’s young Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has taken his riskiest gamble yet with the stunning arrests of top princes, military officers, government officials and influential businessmen in the kingdom.

The sweep, which the government says is aimed at eliminating corruption, also appears to be aimed at stamping out potential rivals or critics of Prince Mohammed, popularly known as “MBS” and the son of King Salman.

The move is raising concerns over increasing totalitarianism along with disarray and resentment from within a royal family whose unity has been the bedrock of the kingdom."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-State funds support Saudi as crackdown drags down neighbours

MIDEAST STOCKS-State funds support Saudi as crackdown drags down neighbours:

"Buying by government-linked funds supported Saudi Arabia’s stock market on Monday, asset managers said, but most other Gulf bourses fell as the Saudi crackdown on corruption sent shivers through the region.

After falling in early trade, Riyadh’s index rebounded in the closing minutes to finish 0.1 percent higher in active trade - repeating its pattern on Sunday, when it ended up 0.3 percent after an early tumble.

Several regional fund managers said they believed Saudi state-linked funds were deliberately supporting the market to prevent a panic after a new anti-corruption committee detained dozens of leading political and business figures."



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Seasoned Saudi banker and technocrat steers region's biggest economy - The National

Seasoned Saudi banker and technocrat steers region's biggest economy - The National:

"Mohammed Al Tuwaijri is Saudi Arabia’s new minister of economy and planning, a fitting role for the technocrat who has been at the front-and-centre of the kingdom’s economic transformation drive ever since he joined the government ranks. Mr Al Tuwaijri, who was the vice minister of economy and planning, has replaced Adel Fakeih in a late Saturday night ministerial shake up aimed at streamlining the country’s economy, which is still heavily dependent on the sale of hydrocarbons for the revenues. A former Saudi Royal Air Force pilot, Mr Al Tuwaijri, has been instrumental in helping the policymakers in shaping up the economic and fiscal agenda over the past year or so. A banking veteran with 21 years of service under his belt, 12 of which were spent in senior executive management roles in Saudi banks, he has been the public face of the kingdom's economic reform agenda."



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UAE's ADNOC to launch fuel retail business stake sale in December :sources

UAE's ADNOC to launch fuel retail business stake sale in December :sources:

"Abu Dhabi National Oil Co (ADNOC) plans to launch a share sale of a stake in its network of fuel service stations and retail convenience stores in December, sources told Reuters on Sunday. The listing for ADNOC Distribution, which manages petrol stations and convenience stores across the United Arab Emirates (UAE), comes as Abu Dhabi and other Gulf states seek to privatize energy assets as revenues are squeezed by lower oil prices. Sources told Reuters in September that the company could list more than 10 percent of its fuel retail business and one or two more businesses later as part of a major shake-up."



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Qatar Joins China Aviation Bonanza With Surprise Stake in Cathay - Bloomberg

Qatar Joins China Aviation Bonanza With Surprise Stake in Cathay - Bloomberg:

"Qatar Airways Ltd.’s surprise purchase of a 9.6 percent stake in Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd. to gain a foothold in East Asia has damped a long-held speculation among investors that the Hong Kong flag carrier would soon merge with another major shareholder: Air China Ltd. Qatar Air on Sunday agreed to buy the stake for HK$5.16 billion ($662 million) from Hong Kong-based Kingboard Chemical Holdings Ltd. and related companies, which have been steadily amassing shares in the Asian airline for the past year. The purchase, the first by a Middle Eastern airline in an East Asian carrier, makes the Doha-based company the third-largest shareholder in Cathay after Hong Kong conglomerate Swire Pacific Ltd. with 45 percent, and state-owned Air China with almost 30 percent. Cathay’s stock fell the most in more than three months.  “Cathay will have three major shareholders, all with different and potentially conflicting interests,” said Corrine Png, chief executive officer of Crucial Perspective, which focuses on research in Asia transportation equities. “We still think it makes more economic sense for Cathay and Air China to merge longer term, but given this new development with Qatar Airways in the picture, it is going to become more complicated for all three parties.”"



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Citigroup Faces Saudi Setback as Billionaire Backer Arrested - Bloomberg

Citigroup Faces Saudi Setback as Billionaire Backer Arrested - Bloomberg:

"Citigroup Inc. may face new obstacles to rebuilding its Saudi Arabia business after the bank’s longstanding shareholder and promoter was arrested in an anti-corruption drive. Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, the 62-year-old Saudi billionaire, was detained by authorities on Saturday without disclosure of the allegations. The government also named former HSBC Holdings Plc Middle East and North Africa head Mohammad Al Tuwaijri as economy and planning minister as part of the crackdown. International lenders are expanding their foothold in the kingdom as the nation overhauls its economy and plans to list Saudi Arabian Oil Co., or Aramco, in what could be the largest initial public offering in history. Citigroup, which lost its Saudi investment banking license by selling its stake in Samba Financial Group in 2004, has been plotting a return. The bank got a new license in April."



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Saudi stock market ‘dominant’ player in Gulf IPOs | ZAWYA MENA Edition

Saudi stock market ‘dominant’ player in Gulf IPOs | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"The Saudi stock market, known as the Tadawul, remains the “dominant” Gulf player in attracting initial public offerings (IPOs), according to a report published on Sunday by PwC.

The exchange attracted two of the region’s four IPOs during the third quarter of this year.

The Tadawul “remained the dominant exchange” in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) in terms of IPO proceeds, PwC said."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi resumes fall; another top businessman reportedly held | ZAWYA MENA Edition

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi resumes fall; another top businessman reportedly held | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"Saudi Arabia's stock market resumed falling early on Monday after another top businessman was reported detained in a sweeping anti-corruption purge that has swept up dozens of senior political and economic figures. The Saudi stock index was down 1.1 percent after 75 minutes as Al Tayyar Travel plunged 10 percent after the company quoted media reports as saying its founder Nasser bin Aqeel al-Tayyar, who holds direct and indirect stakes totalling 29.72 percent in the firm, was being held. Kingdom Holding, which had tumbled 7.6 percent on Sunday after its billionaire chairman Prince Alwaleed bin Talal was detained, sank a further 2.8 percent. "



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