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Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Shale powers US oil output to heights of 1970

Shale powers US oil output to heights of 1970:

"US oil production has returned to its record high point, 47 years after the previous peak during the final days of the last Texas oil boom, as the shale revolution that was temporarily set back by low crude prices has reignited.

The government’s Energy Information Administration estimated on Wednesday that US output was running at just under 10.04m barrels per day last November, fractionally below the previous record set in November 1970.

Soaring output from shale wells has put the US on course to overtake Saudi Arabia and Russia to become the world’s largest crude producer, shaking up oil markets and the geopolitics of energy."



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Saudi Arabia’s corruption crackdown risks scaring off investors

Saudi Arabia’s corruption crackdown risks scaring off investors:

"Mohammed bin Salman, the crown prince and de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia, electrified his country, the Middle East and the world some two years ago when he unveiled his “Vision 2030”. The aim was to transform the kingdom from a state-dominated economy almost wholly dependent on oil, to an innovative and private investment-driven powerhouse. The biggest Arab economy would come of age, along with its people, currently trapped between the medieval puritanism of the Wahhabi clerical establishment and the cradle-to-grave welfare patronage of the ruling House of Saud — which is no longer affordable anyway, given the collapse in oil prices.

The young crown prince, known colloquially as MbS, electrified once more in November with his astonishing purge of princes and financiers, ministers and tycoons, broadcasters and potentates. This was a round-up of the richest and most powerful in what was and is advertised as a blow against corruption so decisive as to change the culture of a kingdom almost inured to kickbacks, cosy contracts and sleaze.

Hundreds of detainees (exact figures are hard to come by in this bizarre affair) were held in the gilded cage of the Ritz-Carlton in Riyadh. Now, most seem to have cut deals with the authorities to cough up assets in return for their freedom. Some 95 are holding out, and are supposedly to be put on trial. As the Saudi attorney-general, Sheikh Saud al-Mojeb, put it: “The royal order was clear. Those who express remorse and agree to settle will have any criminal proceedings against them dropped.”"



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Qatar makes foray into Mexican oil, wins 4 blocks

Qatar makes foray into Mexican oil, wins 4 blocks:

"Qatar Petroleum, the world’s largest producer of liquefied natural gas, scored big wins in Mexico’s latest deep-water oil tenders, scooping four fields in partnership with Anglo Dutch major Shell. Mexico is auctioning a total of 29 deep-water fields on Wednesday – nine in the Perdido Fold in the north of the Gulf of Mexico, and 10 each in the Cordilleras Mexicanas and Salina basins. Pre-qualified companies include all the oil majors and China’s Cnooc – which won two blocks in the last deep-water tender just over a year ago. State-owned QP has as one of its strategic objectives “to become one of the leading national oil corporations in the world”. Qatar is a member of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries, or Opec. While it has been looking at Brazil, this is believed to be its first investment in Latin America."



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Why GCC states should ditch the dollar peg and switch to a currency basket   - The National

Why GCC states should ditch the dollar peg and switch to a currency basket   - The National:

"The US Fed will be normalising monetary policy in 2018, reversing the loose, unconventional policies it has pursued since the onset of the financial crisis 10 years ago. This means rising interest rates and monetary tightening. The UAE and other GCC countries (with the exception of Kuwait), whose currencies are pegged to the US dollar, will therefore have to follow suit and raise domestic interest rates, their monetary policy driven by the Fed’s actions rather than their own needs. Higher interest rates mean the cost of borrowing (on debt, loans, credit facilities and so on) for government, businesses, households and consumers will become more expensive. Tighter monetary conditions will also result in lower spending and investment. This will dampen economic activity and growth prospects in the UAE, and elsewhere around the region, exacerbating the negative effects of fiscal austerity, recently imposed taxes (VAT and excise duties), geopolitical risks and uncertainty."



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Commercial Bank seeks to benefit from Qatar's Turkish ties - The Peninsula Qatar

Commercial Bank seeks to benefit from Qatar's Turkish ties - The Peninsula Qatar:

"Commercial Bank, Qatar's third largest bank by assets, is deploying more capital and focusing more on Turkey to benefit from closer political ties, its chief executive said. Ankara has emerged as a strong ally of Qatar after Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt announced a blockade of Doha in June 2017. And Qatari lenders have sought to diversify funding sources since the siege began right months ago."



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Qatar c.bank's reserves, liquidity rise in December

Qatar c.bank's reserves, liquidity rise in December:

"The Qatar central bank’s international reserves and foreign currency liquidity rose slightly in December, official data showed on Wednesday, as capital outflows caused by sanctions imposed by other Arab states eased.

The reserves and liquidity, a measure of the central bank’s ability to support the riyal currency, increased to $37.6 billion last month from $36.9 billion in November. "



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Gulf gov'ts to continue tapping global debt markets this year, analysts say | ZAWYA MENA Edition

Gulf gov'ts to continue tapping global debt markets this year, analysts say | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"The amount of bonds and sukuk issued in the Gulf region hit a record high of over $70 billion last year, fuelled by sovereign governments, who raised 70 percent of the total, according to a new study. The figure represented a $10 billion (16.7 percent) increase on the amount of debt raised on capital markets in the previous year, report co-authors Fisch Asset Management (Fisch) confirmed to Zawya by email on Tuesday. The GCC Fixed Income Market: Then and Now, a white paper published by Fisch/Emirates NBD Asset Management on Monday, stated that 2017 represented the second year where sovereign governments had embarked on aggressive external debt issuance programmes as they seek to fill budget deficits caused by lower oil revenues."



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For Saudi tycoons freed from detention, cheers and a business challenge

For Saudi tycoons freed from detention, cheers and a business challenge:

"Cheering supporters greeted Saudi Arabian billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal when he arrived at his skyscraper offices in Riyadh after his release from detention in an anti-corruption crackdown.

But he and other tycoons freed from a luxury hotel in the Saudi capital face a challenge to get back into the swing of running their financial empires in the uncertainty hanging over the business community since their detention in early November.

 Their ability to do so could impact Saudi Arabia’s attempts to lure investors to big projects, an important part of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s grand vision to transform the kingdom and reduce its dependence on oil."



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Dubai developer Nakheel's Q4 profit up 58 pct

Dubai developer Nakheel's Q4 profit up 58 pct:

"Dubai developer Nakheel reported a 58 percent increase in fourth-quarter net profit on Wednesday. The developer behind Dubai’s palm-shaped islands made a net profit of 1.67 billion dirham ($454.8 million) in the October-December period, up from 1.06 billion dirham in the same year ago period. Annual net profit grew 14 percent to 5.67 billion dirham, according to a company statement."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Cement shares lift Saudi, other big markets fall

MIDEAST STOCKS-Cement shares lift Saudi, other big markets fall:

"Cement shares lifted Saudi Arabia’s stock index on Wednesday while other big bourses in the region were weak, with real estate shares pulling down Dubai.

The Saudi index rose 0.3 percent as 13 of the 14 cement stocks climbed in unusually heavy trade. Jouf Cement was up 5.4 percent and Tabuk Cement jumped its 10 percent daily limit.

The sector reported weak 2017 earnings because of a slumping construction industry, but some investors expect a stronger 2018 as the government boosts spending under its budget plans."



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Majid Al Futtaim 2017 earnings rise 1% with change in business mix - The National

Majid Al Futtaim 2017 earnings rise 1% with change in business mix - The National:

"Majid Al Futtaim, the UAE-based conglomerate whose business interests include owning and operating shopping malls and developing residential communities, said its annual earnings grew 1 per cent in 2017, as a result of performance changes in the business mix across its portfolio and the currency devaluation in Egypt. “The slower Ebitda (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortization) growth predominantly resulted from a change in business mix across the portfolio, with food grocery retail growing at a faster rate than the higher margin properties businesses,” the company said on Wednesday. Ebitda for the privately held company, reached Dh4.2 billion up from Dh4.1bn a year earlier. Revenue grew 8 per cent to Dh32.2bn from Dh29.9bn. At constant FX rates, group revenue would have grown by 14 per cent and Ebitda by 5 per cent, the firm added. The Egyptian pound has lost nearly half of its value since the currency was devalued in November 2016."



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Biggest OPEC Producer Deals Blow to Tiny Rival in Top Market - Bloomberg

Biggest OPEC Producer Deals Blow to Tiny Rival in Top Market - Bloomberg:

"Tiny OPEC producer Qatar is paying the price for top member Saudi Arabia’s oil strategy in Asia.

Oil exports from Qatar, one of OPEC’s smaller crude producers, to Japan last year slumped by almost a quarter to its lowest level since 1990, while shipments from giant supplier Saudi Arabia grew 8.1 percent, boosting its market share in the Asian nation to a record. Over in South Korea, imports from Qatar sank 26 percent to the least in seven years."



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Qatar's Commercial Bank expects 7-9 pct loan growth in 2018

Qatar's Commercial Bank expects 7-9 pct loan growth in 2018:

"Qatar’s Commercial Bank expects loan growth of 7 to 9 percent in 2018, in line with the market, the bank’s group chief executive said on Wednesday.

Tighter liquidity and higher funding costs will mean margins for the bank are under pressure, Joseph Abraham told reporters."



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UAE's ADNOC to expand partnerships with Chinese energy, technology and chemical companies | ZAWYA MENA Edition

UAE's ADNOC to expand partnerships with Chinese energy, technology and chemical companies | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"Dr. Sultan bin Ahmad Sultan Al Jaber, Minister of State and ADNOC Group CEO, has held a series of meetings with government and corporate leaders in Beijing, focused on strengthening the strategic relationship between the UAE and China and deepening the partnerships between ADNOC and China’s energy, chemical and technology sector. Dr. Al Jaber met today with Wang Yi, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China and Ning Ji Zhe, and Vice Chairman of China’s National Development and Reform Commission, NDRC, to discuss business and economic relations between the UAE and China, including growing cooperation between the two countries in the technology, energy, chemical, investment and commercial sectors. China is the UAE’s largest trading partner, with bilateral trade growing 800 fold in the three decades since formal relations were established to top US$50 billion per annum. He highlighted the significant progress made in developing the close ties between the UAE and China and expressed the keen interest of the UAE leadership to further enhance those relationships."



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Oil Pares Strongest January Since 2013 on U.S. Supply Outlook - Bloomberg

Oil Pares Strongest January Since 2013 on U.S. Supply Outlook - Bloomberg:

"Oil slipped for a third day in New York, continuing its retreat from a three-year high, on estimates that U.S. crude stockpiles increased last week.

West Texas Intermediate futures fell 0.5 percent, bringing their monthly advance to 6.2 percent. Data from the U.S. Energy Department is forecast to show that inventories probably rose by 900,000 barrels to 412.5 million, according to a Bloomberg survey.

“Strong U.S. crude supply growth and deteriorating inventory dynamics” could “trigger a sentiment shift and unsettle the record speculative length in the oil market,” said Giovanni Staunovo, an analyst at UBS Group AG in Zurich."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf weak in early trade, real estate pulls down Dubai

MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf weak in early trade, real estate pulls down Dubai:

"Gulf stock markets were mostly weak in early trade on Wednesday with real estate shares pulling down Dubai and petrochemicals weighing on Saudi Arabia. The Dubai index was 1.0 percent lower as blue chip Emaar Properties sank 2.2 percent; Union Properties , Deyaar and DAMAC also slid. Dubai Islamic Bank, which had tumbled 4.6 percent on Tuesday after announcing plans for a new share issue, fell a further 1.4 percent."



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