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Sunday, 28 January 2018

Saudi crackdown draws to a close leaving battered image

Saudi crackdown draws to a close leaving battered image:

"Shares in Kingdom Holding Company soared on Sunday after Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, its billionaire owner, returned to his palace in Riyadh almost three months since his arrest and detention over corruption allegations. Investor optimism swiftly lifted shares in Prince Alwaleed’s investment vehicle, by 10 per cent, the daily upper limit. But insiders warned that the future for KHC, alongside the businesses of other magnates released over the weekend from the Ritz-Carlton hotel in the Saudi capital, remains far from clear. No detail has been provided on any settlements that may have been reached."



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Qatar, Oman sign MoU for economic cooperation - The Peninsula Qatar

Qatar, Oman sign MoU for economic cooperation - The Peninsula Qatar:

"Qatar and Oman have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on food production, marketing, joint investment and export of Omani products to Qatar. This took place during the official talks held between the two countries in Muscat. A press release by the Ministry of Municipality and Environment said Sunday that the talks was chaired from the Qatari side by the Minister of Municipality and Environment H E Mohammed bin Abdullah Al Rumaihi and from the Omani side by the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries Dr Fuad bin Jaafar Al Sagwani. The session focused on agriculture, livestock and fisheries sectors and ways to develop them.  The Minister of Municipality and Environment stressed that the strategic relations between the two countries are at the highest level and built on clear basis, pointing out that the signing of the memorandum of understanding was within the framework of strengthening the existing cooperation between the two countries in areas of common interest."



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Commercial Bank of Qatar in talks about potential loan -sources

Commercial Bank of Qatar in talks about potential loan -sources:

"Commercial Bank of Qatar (CBQ), the Gulf state’s third-largest lender by assets, is in talks with banks about a syndicated loan of up to $500 million, two sources familiar with the matter told Reuters. Raising money through a loan was one option open to the bank, which was also considering bonds as part of its normal funding pattern, one of the sources said. Qatari banks have been looking to diversify their funding sources since June last year when Qatar became locked in a dispute with Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain. The rift involved the latter four cutting diplomatic and transport ties with Doha and led to banks from those countries pulling funds out of Qatar."



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Iranian Lawmakers Reject Framework of Rouhani's Next Budget - Bloomberg

Iranian Lawmakers Reject Framework of Rouhani's Next Budget - Bloomberg:

"Iranian lawmakers rejected the outline of a budget proposed by President Hassan Rouhani, which was to include another round of unpopular subsidy cuts for the next fiscal year.

The budget framework was defeated Sunday by a vote of 120 to 83, with nine abstentions, state-run Mehr news agency reported. It did not report the objections, though it said some legislators cited a lack of attention to teachers’ living conditions.

Rouhani, who submitted the draft budget to parliament in November, had planned to reduce energy subsidies and strip cash handouts from millions who had received them after an earlier round of subsidy cuts. With protests against economic conditions erupting in several cities and towns in late December, such changes are now particularly sensitive."



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Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank Q4 net profit up 7 pct

Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank Q4 net profit up 7 pct:

"Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank posted a 7 percent rise in fourth-quarter net profit on Sunday, bolstered by a rise in net interest and Islamic financing income. The emirate’s second-largest bank by assets made a net profit attributable to shareholders of 1.07 billion dirhams ($291.3 million) in the three months to Dec.31, compared to 1.0 billion dirhams in the fourth quarter of the previous year, according to its financial statement. SICO Bahrain and EFG Hermes forecast a fourth quarter profit of 942.5 million dirhams and 1.17 billion dirhams, respectively."



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Saudi corruption purge winds down but scars will linger

Saudi corruption purge winds down but scars will linger:

"Saudi Arabia’s stock market celebrated the release of some of the kingdom’s top businessmen from detention on Sunday but the after-effects of a purge of the business elite may last for years, deterring private investment.

Billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, head of global investment firm Kingdom Holding 4280.SE, was among at least half a dozen tycoons freed at the weekend after over two months of confinement in Riyadh’s Ritz-Carlton Hotel.

Their release signaled a massive anti-corruption drive, in which authorities detained over 200 people and said they aimed to seize $100 billion of illicit assets, was drawing to a close. The Ritz-Carlton is to reopen to the public in mid-February."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi's Kingdom soars on Alwaleed release, earnings hit SABIC

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi's Kingdom soars on Alwaleed release, earnings hit SABIC:

"Shares in Saudi Arabia’s Kingdom Holding soared on Sunday after owner Prince Alwaleed bin Talal was released from detention, but top petrochemical producer Saudi Basic Industries fell on weak fourth-quarter earnings.

Because of heavily weighted SABIC, the Saudi stock index rose only 0.2 percent, but rising stocks outnumbered losers by 109 to 67.

The release of Prince Alwaleed and at least several other senior Saudi businessmen at the weekend, after they were detained for over two months in a corruption probe, was seen as positive for their companies - and also for the market as a whole, by suggesting the probe, which sent shockwaves through political and business circles, was winding down."



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GCC banks improve profits on lower costs and provisions | GulfNews.com

GCC banks improve profits on lower costs and provisions | GulfNews.com:

"The full-year earnings of GCC banks point to improved profits, lower costs and substantial reduction in cost of risks positively impacting their profitability. Positive endowment effect [the effect of higher interest rates on net interest margins (NIMs) as interest-generating assets are larger than interest-bearing liabilities] has also improved the bottomlines of many banks and is expected to continue into 2018 as most GCC countries are expected adjust interest rates in tandem with the Fed rates. In 2017, endowment effects were modest across the region with negative impact in Saudi Arabia. Analysts expect the impact from higher interest rates on margins to improve next year."



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Future of Saudi economy about policy, not prices says S&P chief | Arab News

Future of Saudi economy about policy, not prices says S&P chief | Arab News:

"Saudi Arabia’s prospects depend more on government reforms becoming “irreversible” than the price of oil, said Moritz Kraemer, global chief rating officer for S&P in an interview with Arab News. He said: “If oil went to $100 per barrel again there would be a risk of undermining the reform momentum — and helping those campaigning to maintain the previous status quo. “We don’t think the oil price will determine the fate of the country. The policies that are chosen will determine future economic stability,” said Kraemer."



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Qatar’s trade surplus jumps by 39.1% - The Peninsula Qatar

Qatar’s trade surplus jumps by 39.1% - The Peninsula Qatar:

"Despite the ongoing unjust siege against Qatar, the country’s international trade and trade surplus have registered a remarkable double-digit growth in December 2017, both on yearly basis as well as well as month-on-month. The sharp increase in trade surplus was attributed to higher exports value of petroleum gases and other hydrocarbons products.

In December 2017, the foreign merchandise trade balance, which represents the difference between total exports and imports, showing a surplus of QR14.9bn, an increase of about QR4.2bn, or 39.1 percent, compared to the corresponding month previous year (2016). When compared on monthly basis, the trade surplus has increased by nearly QR 2.1bn, or 16.1 percent, compared to November 2017.

The total value of exports of goods, including exports of goods of domestic origin and re-exports, in December 2017 reached at QR25.9bn, showing a sharp increase of 34.5 percent, compared to the same month in 2016."



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Saudi Remains Investment Hub After Crackdown, Investcorp Says - Bloomberg

Saudi Remains Investment Hub After Crackdown, Investcorp Says - Bloomberg:

"Saudi Arabia remains an attractive destination for investors despite a sudden crackdown on corruption that led to concerns about transparency, according to a top executive at asset-management firm Investcorp Bank BSC.

“Saudi Arabia is still a big market in terms of fundraising and investing,” Hazem Ben-Gacem, head of the Bahrain-based firm’s European private equity business, said on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos. “Our businesses in the Gulf continue to thrive.”

The firm, which aims to double its assets under management to $50 billion in five years, is betting on investors’ fears being put to rest as the kingdom winds down the anti-corruption drive that led to dozens of princes and billionaires being detained in Riyadh starting in November. Saudi Arabia freed Prince Alwaleed bin Talal and several of the nation’s most prominent businessmen from detention this weekend, clearing the Ritz-Carlton hotel that served as their jail."



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Are We There Yet, OPEC? Oil Policy Needs a Destination: Gadfly - Bloomberg

Are We There Yet, OPEC? Oil Policy Needs a Destination: Gadfly - Bloomberg:

"Are we there yet?

We've learned two things on the oil policy of OPEC and friends from meetings in Muscat, Oman and Davos. They don't know the destination, but they know they haven't got there.

Since the group started their output cuts in January last year, it gradually emerged that they had a goal of returning inventories to a five-year average level. But this benchmark has never been precisely defined. What inventories? Where? Measured in what units? Against which five-year baseline? None of these questions has yet been addressed."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi's Kingdom soars on Alwaleed release, earnings hit SABIC

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi's Kingdom soars on Alwaleed release, earnings hit SABIC:

"Shares in Saudi Arabia’s Kingdom Holding soared in early trade on Sunday after owner Prince Alwaleed bin Talal was released from detention, but top petrochemical producer Saudi Basic Industries fell on weak fourth-quarter earnings.

The Saudi stock index was flat after an hour but rising stocks outnumbered losers in a ratio of about two to one.

The release of Prince Alwaleed and at least several other senior Saudi businessmen at the weekend, after they were detained for over two months in a corruption probe, was seen as positive for their companies - and also for the market as a whole, by suggesting the probe, which sent shockwaves through political and business circles, was winding down."



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