Women achievers honored at Abu Dhabi business show

Updated 02 February 2014
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Women achievers honored at Abu Dhabi business show

Two popular and influential Emirati women executives have received prestigious ‘Excellence Awards’ which applaud best-in-class American and Emirati individuals and businesses for their achievements in the local business community.
Michael H. Corbin, US ambassador to the UAE, presented the awards to Sheikha Lubna bint Khalid Al-Qasimi, UAE minister of development and international co-operation and Noura Al-Kaabi, CEO of Abu Dhabi Media Zone Authority (twofour54).
They were honored at the AmCham Abu Dhabi’s Annual Excellence Awards and Annual Charity Gala tin Abu Dhabi.
More than 300 top business executives and government officials gathered to recognize leading UAE companies, institutions and entrepreneurs for their dedication to strengthening US-UAE commercial relations.
While Sheikha Lubna received the AmCham Abu Dhabi’s Falcon Individual Award which recognizes an individual demonstrating an outstanding commitment to sustainable US-UAE business relations, the Young Achiever Award went to Noura Al-Kaabi.
Sheikha Lubna is the first woman in the UAE to hold a cabinet position, where she had major impact on enhancing UAE economic and foreign trade relations with the US.
In 2013, Sheikha Lubna was appointed the minister of international cooperation and development.
She joined the federal government in 2004 as minister of economy, becoming the first woman to assume a cabinet position in the UAE.
She was later appointed in 2008 as minister of foreign trade.
She founded Tejari, the Middle East’s first business-to-business online marketplace in 2000. Currently the successful firm has branches across the region.
Sheikha Lubna has been honored by several countries for her role in enhancing their relations with the UAE.
In 2013, Forbes Magazine recognized her as the most powerful Arab woman and the world’s 67th most powerful women.
Besides her ministerial responsibilities, she also a board director at the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation, a member of the Governing Board of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy — National University of Singapore, a member of the Board of Trustees for Thunderbird, The American Graduate School of International Management, Phoenix Arizona, a Board Director at the Emirates Foundation for Youth Development, a member of the Board of Trustees of the Dubai School of Government and Co-Founder and Board Member of the Friends of Cancer Patients.
Noura Al-Kaabi, CEO of twofour54, leads the Media Zone Authority and its subsidiaries, whose primary objectives are to foster Arab-focused media and digital businesses in the UAE.
Noura is the first Emirati who ranked on Foreign Policy magazine’s ‘Top 100 Global Thinkers List’, an honor she received in 2013. Pope Francis, John Kerry, Vladimir Putin, Hassan Rouhani, Angela Merkel, Dilma Rousseff and Mark Zuckerberg were some other names in the global thinkers list.
Also in 2013, France’s leading weekly news magazine, Le Nouvel Observateur, named Noura one of the 50 individuals who contribute to changing the world.
She was named Forbes Middle East’s 30 Most Influential Women in Government in 2013, Arabian Business’ 100 most powerful Arab Women in 2011 and 2012 and CEO Middle East’s 100 most powerful Arab Women in 2012.
Noura, who is a member of the Federal National Council (FNC), also oversees Abu Dhabi Film Festival, the Abu Dhabi Film Commission, and the Abu Dhabi Media Summit and sits on the board of Abu Dhabi Media, Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce, Image Nation and the Abu Dhabi Sports Council. She is also a member of the Advisory Board for Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation and a member of the Scientific Committee of the Sheikh Zayed Book Award.
“AmCham Abu Dhabi is proud to recognize the winners of the 2014 Annual Excellence Awards,” said Matthew E. Byrd, chairman, AmCham Abu Dhabi.
“This year’s Excellence Awards winners are truly outstanding individuals and organizations; they embody excellence in their business by demonstrating passion and dedication to their work while continuing the strong bilateral commercial relationship between the US and UAE,” he added.


Oil markets jittery over lower demand forecasts

Updated 18 November 2018
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Oil markets jittery over lower demand forecasts

RIYADH: Oil prices continued to nosedive last week over demand concerns amid an outlook of a slowing global economy. The strong US dollar weighed on both oil prices and the global demand outlook. Currencies weakened against the dollar, eroding their purchasing power.
Brent was down to $66.76 per barrel and WTI dropped to $56.46 per barrel by Friday. The former came close to its one-year low as both the International Energy Agency (IEA) and OPEC released monthly reports that articulated a darkening demand outlook in the short term. This increased fears of an oil demand slowdown. Market fundamentals also suggest that price volatility is likely to remain high in the near-term, although the oil market reached a balance in early October.
OPEC’s Monthly Oil Market Report (MOMR) arrived with bearish sentiments, revising downward its oil-demand forecast for this year and next, for the fourth month in a row. It forecast that global oil demand will rise by 1.29 million barrels per day (bpd) in 2019, 70,000 less than what OPEC expected last month. The MOMR also forecast increasing non-OPEC supply growth for 2019, with higher volumes outpacing the annual growth in world oil demand, leading to an excess in supply. The report was welcomed with open arms by the IEA, which had been at least in part responsible for driving sentiment toward a bear market. Surprisingly, OPEC warned that oil demand is falling faster than expected. Necessary action is a must.
Saudi Arabia is not sitting idly by while oil markets look as if they are heading toward instability. Markets were expecting severe US sanctions on Iran, which could have resulted in supply shortages once Iran’s crude exports went to zero. The unexpected introduction of waivers to allow eight countries to continue importing Iranian oil, was however an eye-opener. Now, as the world’s only swing producer, Saudi Arabia will have to take other measures to balance oil markets and drain excess oil from global stockpiles.
Despite what some analysts are claiming, there is currently no strategy to send less oil to the US to help reduce US stockpiles. Yes, some have claimed that Saudi crude shipments to the US are at about 600,000 barrels per day this month, which is a little more than half of what was being shipped in the summer months. But the reasons for this are related to seasonally low demand, the surge in US inventories and refineries heading into their winter maintenance season. Remember that November crude oil shipments were allocated to the US refiners last month before the US waivers on the Iranian sanctions were revealed. Also, keep in mind that Saudi Arabia owns the largest refinery in the US, which has a refining capacity that exceeds 600,000 bpd.

Lurking on the horizon is the massive US budget deficit and increasing rumblings that the US economic boom is over. 

It must be noted that there is a degree of financial manipulation underway in the oil futures markets. At the moment, there are few places where quick profits can be made, so some investors moved from stocks to commodities. Now, there are downward pressures on oil prices as some commodities market traders went long on oil futures, thinking that crude prices would rise. Then these same traders shorted natural gas, assuming that with a warmer winter, prices of that fuel would fall. Unfortunately for the traders, Trump’s sanction waivers on Iranian crude oil exports and cold weather on the US East Coast, caused exactly the reverse to take place. Oil prices fell and natural gas prices rose. Traders were therefore forced to sell their assets to cover margins, pushing oil prices lower. It is expected that some hedge funds and investment funds will also be moving away from going long on oil futures and this will cause further selling.
Lurking on the horizon is the massive US budget deficit and increasing rumbling that the US economic boom is over. The US federal budget deficit rose 17 percent in the 2018 fiscal year. It is now larger than in any year since 2012. Federal spending is up and amidst US President Donald Trump’s tax cuts, and federal revenue is not keeping pace. To make matters worse, the strong US economy and interest rate hikes by the US Federal Reserve have boosted the dollar.
A strong dollar makes commodities such as crude oil more expensive in international markets and reduces demand. Trump wants oil to be priced as low as possible to help bolster the US economy, which is clearly under strain, and to facilitate sales of crude abroad. But with a looming global oil shortage just a few years away due to a lack of upstream investment, it is incumbent on global oil producers to consider the long term in their output decisions.

* Faisal Mrza is an energy and oil market adviser. He was formerly with OPEC and Saudi Aramco. Reach him on Twitter: @faisalmrza