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Tuesday, 20 February 2018

UAE oil minister says job of supply cuts deal “not yet complete”

UAE oil minister says job of supply cuts deal “not yet complete”:

"A deal among global producers to cut supplies was working to bring down excess inventories but the “job is not yet complete”, the UAE’s energy minister said as he seeks to extend energy co-operation beyond 2018. Suhail Al Mazrouei said production cuts of 1.8m b/d among oil rich nations had reduced stockpiles by 266m barrels, however they were still around 74m barrels above their five year average levels. “The deal has been working . . .[but the] job is not yet complete”, Mr Mazrouei said on the sidelines of the International Petroleum Week conference in London."



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US forges ahead on oil and gas exports pledge

US forges ahead on oil and gas exports pledge:

"The US is forging ahead with a plan to boost oil and gas exports as part of a push by President Donald Trump’s administration for “energy dominance”, a top government official said. The country’s exports have been propelled by a boom in oil and natural gas production linked to the technological revolution that unlocked vast energy reserves from shale rocks in recent years. US deputy energy secretary Dan Brouillette said in an interview on Tuesday: “We are going to seek every export opportunity that we could possibly have for American businesses.”"



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Rule of law essential to attract foreign investment, says top US management consultant | Arab News

Rule of law essential to attract foreign investment, says top US management consultant | Arab News:

"Countries in the Middle East and North Africa must pursue the “transparent enforcement of the rule of law” if they are to attract vital foreign direct investment, according to a leading consulting firm advising several governments in the region, including that of Saudi Arabia. AT Kearney, the American consultant, said that corruption is one of the big factors deterring foreign investment in the Middle East, and praised Saudi Arabian government plans for economic reform, which it described as a “genuine committed effort” to transform the Kingdom’s economy and society. “The Saudi reform efforts are incredibly impressive, and the commitment to achieving them is sincere,” said Rudolph Lohmeyer, vice president of Kearney’s global business policy council."



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Saudi Sovereign Fund Dwarfs Qatar With Virgin and SoftBank Deals - Bloomberg

Saudi Sovereign Fund Dwarfs Qatar With Virgin and SoftBank Deals - Bloomberg:

"Saudi Arabia is emerging as the Middle East’s biggest deal-maker as the kingdom creates what it hopes will be the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund.

Its Public Investment Fund spent about $54 billion on investments last year, dwarfing the Qatar Investment Authority’s $3.5 billion, according to data from the Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute. The boycott-hit state has been shedding assets and investments fell from $20 billion in 2016, when the PIF had invested just $5 billion, according to the data.


Saudi Arabia’s deal-making is quickening as the kingdom steps up plans to transform its economy, while a diplomatic spat is hampering the QIA’s ability to continue making headline-grabbing global deals. In the past year alone, the PIF struck an agreement to invest $45 billion in SoftBank Group Corp.’s technology fund, committed $20 billion to an infrastructure fund with Blackstone Group LP and said it plans to invest about $1 billion in Virgin Group’s space companies."



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Saudi Arabia Quietly Decreasing Dependence on Crude Exports: Lee - Bloomberg

Saudi Arabia Quietly Decreasing Dependence on Crude Exports: Lee - Bloomberg:

"While an Aramco IPO continues to grab the headlines, Saudi Arabia is quietly getting on with the business of weaning itself off a dependence on crude oil exports, with flows of refined products soaring and direct burning of crude near multi-year lows, writes Bloomberg oil strategist Julian Lee.

Data for December from the Joint Organisations Data Initiative in Riyadh show that Saudi Arabia is continuing to make progress in reducing its dependence on crude oil for export and power generation, with its refinery inputs hitting a new high and direct crude use near the lowest since 2009.

Crude’s share of total Saudi oil exports was 82 percent on average in the last three months of 2017, down from 92 percent in the final quarter of 2013."



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Qatar Injected $43 Billion to Help Banks After Boycott, S&P Says - Bloomberg

Qatar Injected $43 Billion to Help Banks After Boycott, S&P Says - Bloomberg:

"Qatar pumped about $43 billion into banks last year after a Saudi Arabia-led boycott caused a drop in deposits, S&P Global Ratings said. The government and state-controlled companies injected the cash into the financial system after about $22 billion of deposits flowed out of the country between June and December, Mohamed Damak, S&P’s senior director for financial services, said in Dubai on Tuesday. Qatar has since June been involved in a standoff with neighboring states, who accuse the nation of supporting terrorism. Qatar has repeatedly denied the charges. The world’s biggest exporter of liquefied natural gas relies on foreign deposits to support its banking system after a drop in oil prices tightened liquidity. It also plans to spend $200 billion to host the 2022 soccer World Cup."



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Qatar Airways CEO: Constantly looking at new investments; blockade failed to slow down - The Peninsula Qatar

Qatar Airways CEO: Constantly looking at new investments; blockade failed to slow down - The Peninsula Qatar:

"Speaking to Bloomberg Television’s David Westin, Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker said that the airline is constantly looking at new investments. He discussed the airline's new Airbus planes, growth and the Qatar blockade. David Westin: Welcome, good to have you with us. Let’s start with the A350-1000, why is it important to your airline and more generally to the fleet? Akbar Albaker: We are always taken the most fearless airplanes into our fleet and it was launched by Qatar Airways. As a matter of fact we have 42 aircraft of this type. This is very fuel-efficient, it has one of the lowest -- and it has a lot of enhancements over and above the 900. It fits exactly into the route network."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf mostly softens, Commercial International Bank buoys Egypt

MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf mostly softens, Commercial International Bank buoys Egypt:

"Major Gulf stock markets softened on Tuesday, in line with a small pull-back by global bourses and oil prices, but Egypt was buoyed for a second day by strength in its biggest bank.

The Saudi stock index rose in early trade but closed 0.3 percent down as Saudi British Bank fell 2.2 percent after reporting a 16.3 percent rise in fourth-quarter net profit to 706 million riyals ($188 million), missing analysts’ average forecast of 946.5 million riyals.

Saudi Printing & Packaging gained 1.2 percent after winning a 45.6 million riyal tender from the education ministry to print syllabuses."



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Dubai's real estate slump to last until 2020- S&P | ZAWYA MENA Edition

Dubai's real estate slump to last until 2020- S&P | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"Dubai real estate prices could decline by 10 to 15 percent over the next two years, hit by new supply, geopolitical risks and the introduction of value added-tax in the United Arab Emirates, S&P Global Ratings' analysts said on Tuesday. The grim prediction came after Dubai residential prices fell by 5 to 10 percent in 2017, and the weak property market has also begun to hurt earnings of the emirate's top property developers. "We believe this correction will continue at least for this year and next, before prices stabilise in 2020 at the earliest," said Sapna Jagtiani, S&P's credit analyst for corporate and real estate ratings."



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Qatar's Commercial Bank agrees to sell stake in UAE's UAB to Tabarak- sources | ZAWYA MENA Edition

Qatar's Commercial Bank agrees to sell stake in UAE's UAB to Tabarak- sources | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"Commercial Bank COMB.QA , Qatar's third largest bank by assets, has agreed, in principle, to sell its 40 percent stake in Abu Dhabi-listed United Arab Bank UAB.AD to United Arab Emirates-based Tabarak Investment, sources told Reuters on Tuesday. The sale will be finalised shortly with a formal announcement to be made next month, the sources said, declining to be named as the matter is not yet public. Commercial Bank is exiting the UAE at a time when Qatar faces off against Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt in a regional diplomatic and commercial rift. Commercial Bank has said it is not being pressured to sell as a result of the row and is planning to re-invest the proceeds from the sale into its business in Qatar and Turkey, where it owns Alternatifbank. "



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UAE’s largest banks to see 'solid' profits this year despite rising costs  - The National

UAE’s largest banks to see 'solid' profits this year despite rising costs  - The National:

"The UAE’s four largest banks are expected to continue to report solid profits for the next 12 to 18 months, despite rising operational and provisioning costs, according to Moody’s. “Over the coming quarters, we expect provisioning costs to rise modestly as loan performance softens and the rate of recoveries – which has been broadly driving the fall in provisioning charges since 2015 – slows,” said Nitish Bhojnagarwala, a vice-president and senior analyst at Moody’s, in a paper published on Monday. “But operating expenses will stabilise,” he added. The combined fourth quarter net profit of the UAE's four largest banks - First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB), Emirates NBD, Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB) and Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB) - rose 8 per cent compared to the same period in 2017 and 2 per cent quarter on quarter, representing a “solid” rise in net profits, Moody’s report said."



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Latvia's banking sector rocked by U.S. probe, central bank chief's detention

Latvia's banking sector rocked by U.S. probe, central bank chief's detention:

"Bahrain’s central bank governor said on Tuesday that the country’s economic growth might accelerate because of the recovery of oil prices since mid-2017, but he warned that the government needed to be careful about its budget deficit.

Rasheed Mohammed al-Maraj, speaking at an investment conference in Bahrain, also said it was only a matter of time before the country introduced a value-added tax to strengthen state revenues. "



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Angry Iranians Are Forcing Their Leaders to Reboot Economy Plans - Bloomberg

Angry Iranians Are Forcing Their Leaders to Reboot Economy Plans - Bloomberg:

"When he was studying in Tehran, Abbas would catch a pre-dawn train in from the provinces. A few scenes glimpsed through the window are etched in his mind: street-sweepers huddled around fires, men curled up under blankets in front of closed shops.

Student life didn’t often take him to the affluent downtown, where glitzy malls sell Western-branded clothes and watches.

On the weekends Abbas would head back to the northwestern city of Zanjan, famous for hand-made knives and elaborately decorated shoes. The extremes of poverty and wealth on display in the capital were much less apparent in his hometown."



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Saudi bank SABB's Q4 net profit rises 16.3%, misses forecasts | ZAWYA MENA Edition

Saudi bank SABB's Q4 net profit rises 16.3%, misses forecasts | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"Saudi British Bank (SABB), the kingdom's sixth-largest lender by assets, reported a 16.3 percent rise in its fourth-quarter net profit on Tuesday, missing analysts' forecasts.

The bank, an affiliate of HSBC Holdings, said it made 706 million riyals ($188 million) in the three months ending Dec. 31, compared with 607 million riyals in the same period a year earlier, according to a bourse filing.

Three analysts surveyed by Reuters had expected the bank to post an average net profit of 946.5 million riyals for the quarter."



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UAE energy minister says OPEC, allies aim to cooperate beyond 2018

UAE energy minister says OPEC, allies aim to cooperate beyond 2018:

"United Arab Emirates Energy Minister Suhail bin Mohammed al-Mazroui said on Tuesday that OPEC and non-OPEC oil producers will continue their cooperation beyond 2018 to help avoid any future oil glut or shortage.

Mazroui said oil market monitoring beyond 2018 is the minimum OPEC and other producers participating in the supply-reduction agreement can do, adding that he expects that a framework cooperation will be presented to all members in June.

 Speaking at an energy conference in London, he added that the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Russia support extended energy cooperation beyond 2018."



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Relax and invest, Saudi prince tells investors after corruption crackdown

Relax and invest, Saudi prince tells investors after corruption crackdown:

"Three months after Saudi Arabia detained scores of people in a crackdown on corruption, its rulers are trying to reassure investors that the kingdom remains open for business.

Foreign and local investors have long complained about corruption, and confronting it is an important part of reforms unveiled by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to transform the country and reduce the economy’s reliance on oil exports.

Yet some business leaders were unsettled by the swoop on top princes, businessmen and government officials in November because of the secrecy around the crackdown and their suspicions that it was at least partly politically motivated."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf mostly weak in early trade but Saudi firm | ZAWYA MENA Edition

MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf mostly weak in early trade but Saudi firm | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"Most Gulf stock markets were weak in early trade on Tuesday, in line with a pull-back by Asian bourses and oil prices, but Saudi Arabia remained firm in a fresh sign of fund flows into Riyadh from the rest of the region.

Funds have been rotating into Saudi Arabia ahead of events such as MSCI's decision in June on whether to upgrade Riyadh to emerging market status, and the planned listing of Saudi Aramco late in the year.

The Saudi stock index was 0.2 percent higher after 55 minutes of trade with gainers outnumbering losers by a ratio of more than two to one."



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