Global business tycoon to invest billions in KSA

Updated 23 April 2013
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Global business tycoon to invest billions in KSA

Mexico's business tycoon Carlos Slim, the world's richest man with a net worth of $73 billion, is planning to invest billions of dollars in a range of projects in Saudi Arabia. Slim is considering plans to invest in lucrative petrochemical projects in Jubail, the industrial city in the east of the Kingdom, as well as in other projects in undisclosed sectors, according to Saudi and Mexican sources.
"The visit of Slim to Riyadh comes within the framework of the commercial relations between the Kingdom and Mexico," said Saudi Ambassador to Mexico Hussein Al-Arisi, who was accompanying the Mexican billionaire in his business mission here. Slim, who has been ranked by Forbes as the world’s richest man for four years in a row, visited Jubail with Al-Asiri to check the feasibility of plans and projects in which he evinced keen interest.
Asked about the talks between Slim and senior Saudi officials and businessmen, Mexican Ambassador Arturo Trejo said: "Slim visited the Kingdom in response to an invitation from Minister of Finance Ibrahim Al-Assaf. "The Mexican business tycoon was received by Crown Prince Salman, deputy premier and minister of defense; and Prince Muqrin, second deputy premier, during his stay in Riyadh," Trejo told Arab News here yesterday.
Slim, who also visited Janadariyah festival, plans to "invest billions to build new manufacturing plants," said a report published in an Arabic daily newspaper. The Mexican billionaire also met with Mosleh Al-Otaibi, chief executive of the Royal Commission for Jubail and Yanbu. The Mexican billionaire, who is also known for his philanthropy, has a family wealth estimated at $ 73 billion, around $4 billion more than in 2012.
Slim's net worth increased from $ 69 billion last year to $ 73 billion after he expanded his empire into Europe through an acquisition of a Dutch telecom company and a majority stake in Spanish soccer club Real Oviedo. He made much of his fortune in telecoms, and also has interests in mining, real estate and infrastructure. Slim, who has benefited from the left-wing governments of South American nations, also visited Kuwait during this maiden leg of his Gulf trip.
Slim was accompanied by a high-ranking delegation, including Carlos Peralta, Mexico's largest industrial conglomerate, during his visit to the Kingdom. Referring to the visit of Slim, which indicates the progressively growing ties between Riyadh and Mexico City, Ambassador Trejo said the visit of the Mexican delegation was aimed at "strengthening commercial partnership" between the two nations.
"Slim came here as a friend of Saudi Arabia," said Trejo, adding that the Kingdom, as one of the most dynamic and competitive markets in the world, is extremely interesting for us. "We need to define a more aggressive commercial policy to increase our presence in the Saudi market," he added. The two-way trade between the Kingdom and Mexico has been in the region of $ 1 billion.


India names Modi demonetization backer as cenbank head

Visitors are seen standing next to a logo of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) at the bank's head office in Mumbai on December 5, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 12 December 2018
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India names Modi demonetization backer as cenbank head

  • Das — a high-profile backer of Modi’s controversial 2016 move to scrap high-value currency notes, known as demonetization

MUMBAI: Ex-finance ministry official Shaktikanta Das took charge of the Reserve Bank of India on Tuesday, in a swift appointment expected to ease a dispute with the government as it pushes for looser credit rules ahead of a general election.
The announcement by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s administration came just a day after Urjit Patel resigned from the post, following months of clashes between the two institutions over lending curbs and how to deploy the central bank’s surplus reserves.
Pressure on the RBI to take immediate steps to boost the economy, including a transfer of the excess reserves to the government, could well rise after Modi’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) suffered likely election losses in three key states on Tuesday.
Das — a high-profile backer of Modi’s controversial 2016 move to scrap high-value currency notes, known as demonetization — will serve a three-year term as governor, effective immediately.
RBI watchers said they expected the 61-year-old, who retired last year as secretary of the department of economic affairs having previously served on the RBI’s board, to put relations between the Mumbai-based bank and the finance ministry in New Delhi on a stabler footing.
Investors will also look closely at his ability to hold up against outside influences after recent efforts by the Modi government to gain greater control over the central bank’s regulatory powers.
“The incoming governor will have to work hard to prove that he has his own independent mind,” said Deepak Jasani, head of retail research at Hdfc Securities.
Investors said any openly political appointee with little macro-economic experience, would not sit well with financial markets that already sold off following the BJP’s election setbacks.
But Ashish Vaidya, executive director and head of trading at DBS Bank in Mumbai, said he expected India’s debt and currency markets to react positively.
“He is a bureaucrat...We expect the RBI to take a pragmatic approach under him, be pro-growth and change its stance going ahead given that inflation has come off sharply,” he said.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley told Reuters partner ANI that the government acknowledged the bank’s independence.
“Government will fully support the RBI and coordinate with it in areas where consultations of government are required to make sure India’s economy benefits from both government policy decisions and areas which fall within domain of the RBI,” ANI tweeted, quoting Jaitley.

SWIFT APPOINTMENT
Pronab Sen, India’s former chief statistician, said he was surprised by the speed of Das’s appointment.
“If you have a situation where a position as important as the governor of the RBI is filled within 24 hours of the resignation of the incumbent, that will raise eyebrows,” Sen told Reuters.
“People are going to say, clearly this guy had already been identified. And, the situation was created where Urjit Patel had to quit.”
Das — widely seen as a contender for the top RBI job after Raghuram Rajan’s term ended in 2016 — did not answer calls from Reuters to his mobile phone.
RBI officials who have worked with him closely said Das was likely to be more inclusive in the decision-making process than Patel.
“He has a balanced approach and is good at consensus building,” said a former deputy governor. .”..We have had our fair share of differences. But he has always been solution-centric rather than festering on those differences.”
Das worked in the finance ministry under both Modi’s government and the previous coalition led by the main opposition Congress party and was also involved in drafting the Insolvency and Bankruptcy code aimed at protecting small investors.
He came under fire for his pro-demonetization stance and was the most vocal bureaucrat at the time Modi withdrew the high-value bank notes to fight tax evasion.
Das last year criticized the methodology of global rating agencies and sought a sovereign rating upgrade for India.