Unemployment is biggest risk for business – WEF survey

Company executives say unemployment or underemployment as the top risk over the next decade. (Reuters)
Updated 20 September 2017
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Unemployment is biggest risk for business – WEF survey

LONDON: Unemployment is the biggest risk for businesses globally, according to a World Economic Forum survey of business leaders published on Wednesday.
The company executives put unemployment or underemployment as the top risk over the next 10 years, followed by fiscal crises and the failure of national governance, data from the WEF’s Executive Opinion Survey showed.
The survey of 12,411 executives across 136 countries provides a backdrop for the World Economic Forum’s Global Risks report published shortly before its annual January meeting in Davos, Switzerland, according to a spokesman for insurance broker Marsh. Marsh is part of Marsh & McLennan, which published the data together with Zurich Insurance.
“Geopolitical risks and events have led to uncertainties which raise questions about how to manage resilience in uncertain times,” said John Scott, chief risk officer, commercial insurance, at Zurich.
For businesses in the North America, East Asia and Pacific regions, the biggest risks were considered to be cyberattacks and asset bubbles.


Saudi stocks receive landmark emerging markets upgrade from MSCI

Updated 21 June 2018
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Saudi stocks receive landmark emerging markets upgrade from MSCI

  • Market authorities in Saudi Arabia have introduced a series of reforms in the past 18 months
  • MSCI’s Emerging Market index is tracked by about $2 trillion in active and global funds

LONDON: Saudi Arabian equites are poised to attract up to $40 billion worth of foreign inflows, following a landmark decision by index provider MSCI to include the Kingdom’s stocks in its widely tracked Emerging Markets index.

"MSCI will include the MSCI Saudi Arabia Index in the MSCI Emerging Markets Index, representing on a pro forma basis a weight of approximately 2.6% of the index with 32 securities, following a two-step inclusion process," the MSCI said in a statement late on Wednesday night Riyadh time.

“Saudi Arabia’s inclusion in MSCI’s EM Index is a milestone achievement and will likely bring with it significant levels of foreign investment,” Salah Shamma, head of investment for MENA at Franklin Templeton Emerging Markets Equity, told Arab News. 

“It is a recognition of the progress Saudi Arabia has made in implementing its ambitious capital markets transformation agenda. The halo effect of such a move will be felt across the stock exchanges of the entire Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).”

Market authorities in Saudi Arabia have introduced a series of reforms in the past 18 months to bring local capital markets more in line with international norms, including lower restrictions on international investors, and the introduction of short-selling and T+2 settlement cycles.

Such reforms prompted index provider FTSE Russell to upgrade the Kingdom to emerging market status in March, opening the country’s stocks up to billions worth of passive and active inflows from foreign investors.

MSCI’s Emerging Market index is tracked by about $2 trillion in active and global funds. The inclusion of Saudi stocks in the index, alongside FTSE Russell’s upgrade, is forecast to attract as much as $45 billion of foreign inflows from passive and active investors, according to estimates from Egyptian investment bank EFG Hermes. 

The upgrade announcement was widely expected by the region’s investment community, following a similar emerging markets upgrade announcement by fellow index provider FTSE Russell in March. 

“MSCI index inclusion will be a historic milestone for the Saudi market as it will allow for sticky institutional money to make an entry in 2019 which will help deepen the market,” said John Sfakianakis, director of economic research at the Gulf Research Center in Riyadh.