Qatar sinks to 19-month low, SABB surges in Saudi

Screens displaying stock information are seen at Qatar Stock Exchange in Doha on June 5, 2017. Qatar’s stock market sank to a 19-month low on Monday while other regional bourses were mixed in mostly quiet trade. (REUTERS file photo)
Updated 11 September 2017
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Qatar sinks to 19-month low, SABB surges in Saudi

DUBAI: Qatar’s stock market sank to a 19-month low on Monday while other regional bourses were mixed in mostly quiet trade, although Saudi British Bank surged in Riyadh.
The Qatari stock index dropped 1.6 percent to 8,532 points, its lowest finish since January 2016, in a broad sell-off that saw declining stocks outnumber gainers by 27 to nine.
Qatar National Bank, the biggest lender, slid 2.0 percent and Qatar Gas Transport dropped 4.4 percent.
The market has been depressed by the diplomatic dispute between Qatar and its neighbors that erupted in early June, and after a phone call between leaders of Qatar and Saudi Arabia on Saturday, Riyadh accused Doha of “distorting facts” and suspended any further dialogue.
This suggested a resolution of the dispute might remain distant. Although wealthy Qatar is believed to have the financial resources to cope with its isolation, banks face higher funding costs as other Gulf states withdraw deposits.
The withdrawals have been pushing down the Qatari central bank’s foreign reserves, which shrank $10.4 billion in June to $24.4 billion. The central bank usually releases each month’s reserves data late in the following month but has not yet published July data; it has not given a reason for the delay.
In Saudi Arabia, the index gained 0.5 percent in rising trading volume as Nama Chemicals, which had surged 9.5 percent in unusually heavy trade on Sunday, added a further 2.1 percent to 21.90 riyals, though it pulled back from near technical resistance at its May peak of 23.22 riyals.
Saudi British Bank climbed 2.6 percent to 28.15 riyals after Morgan Stanley raised the stock to “overweight” from “equal-weight” and lifted its target price to 32.50 riyals from 31 riyals.
The Dubai index edged up 0.2 percent. Union Properties, the most heavily traded stock, added 0.9 percent and Deyaar gained 0.8 percent.
Direct sales of United Arab Emirates properties are being allowed at this year’s annual Cityscape exhibition in Dubai for the first time in a decade. Deyaar said in a stock exchange statement on Monday that it was launching a new 1 billion dirham ($272 million) residential and hotel project at Cityscape.
In Abu Dhabi, the index slipped 0.2 percent but Abu Dhabi National Insurance Co. (ADNIC) climbed 4.1 percent in thin trade. On Sunday, Reuters quoted sources as saying Abu Dhabi Investment Council was weighing a sale of its nearly 24 percent stake in ADNIC, with Allianz among groups showing initial interest in buying it.
In Egypt, the index climbed 0.6 percent in active trade after news that annual urban consumer price inflation dipped to 31.9 percent year-on-year in August from 33.0 percent in July. If inflation continues to drop, it could permit the central bank to ease policy late this year.


Rolls-Royce unveils hybrid flying taxi at Farnborough

Updated 17 July 2018
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Rolls-Royce unveils hybrid flying taxi at Farnborough

  • Rolls-Royce hopes to manufacture a prototype version of its electric vertical take-off and landing vehicle within the next 18 months
  • Rolls-Royce is also researching an all-electric product but that is not as advanced as the EVTOL offering

FARNBOROUGH, United Kingdom: British engine maker Rolls-Royce revealed plans this week to develop a hybrid electric vehicle, dubbed the “flying taxi,” which takes off and lands vertically and could be airborne within five years.
The London-listed aerospace giant, which is based in Derby in central England, showed off the plans at the Farnborough Airshow for the first time, as other players also rush into the market segment.
Rolls said it hoped to manufacture a prototype version of its electric vertical take-off and landing (EVTOL) vehicle within the next 18 months, and could potentially take to the skies in the early 2020s.
The Rolls-Royce EVTOL plane will seat four or five people, with a flying range of 500 miles (805 kilometers) and a top speed of 200 miles per hour.
“In this market, you will see something like this flying within three to five years, and we will demonstrate the system in two years,” said Rob Watson, head of Rolls-Royce’s electrical team.
“At the end of next year we will be flight ready,” he said at the group’s Farnborough chalet.
The hybrid vehicle, which has so far cost single-digit millions of pounds to develop, will use a traditional gas turbine engine with an electrical system wrapped around it.
Rolls-Royce is also researching an all-electric product but that is not as advanced as the EVTOL offering.
“There is an emerging market for all-electric planes but we believe that you need a level of requirement that an all-electric system cannot really provide today,” Watson said.
“So, all-electric is the way to hop around within a city, but if you want to travel 200 or 300 miles, if you want to run London to Paris, then you are going to want to run something that will give you that range.
“So we think you will see hybrid propulsion systems starting to make this market.”
Rolls is not alone in the hybrid “flying taxi” marketplace.
Other companies researching the sector include US taxi-hailing company Uber, the Google-backed Kitty Hawk project, Lilium Aviation in Germany, Safran in France, and Honeywell in the United States.
The aerospace sector’s push into electric propulsion has drawn comparisons with the automotive industry, where electric cars are gaining ground in terms of popularity and performance.
“Think of it like the car industry. Historically everybody had an internal combustion engine. over time you add more electric capability to it and then you start to see electric cars,” added Watson.
“In the same way, we are introducing a hybrid propulsion system into this market because we think it gives you that range and capability.”
David Stewart, aviation and aerospace adviser and partner at Oliver Wyman, said that the aerospace sector was facing pressure to become more environmentally friendly.
“I think that electrical propulsion is a potential disruptor to the way things are powered,” said Stewart, who will speak at Farnborough on Tuesday.
“We are quite a long way for electrical power to be a replacement for kerosene, but never say never.”
He cautioned that Rolls-Royce’s flying taxi concept was in reality a development platform to test the new technology.
The real market opportunity will likely be a scaled-up version of 10-15 seats that can serve a wider variety of applications, according to Stewart.
Watson added: “Over time you’ve got more electrical capability for bigger and bigger aircraft — and that’s really what we are thinking about today.
“We are learning today about the technology that we will need tomorrow.”