Dubai to get spillover boost from Aramco listing says DIFC chief

Dubai International Financial Center (DIFC) Governor Essa Kazim. (Photo courtesy: social media)
Updated 11 November 2017
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Dubai to get spillover boost from Aramco listing says DIFC chief

DUBAI: Dubai is set to benefit from the spillover effect of a Saudi Aramco listing and other market reforms underway in Saudi Arabia, according to the chief of the emirate’s financial hub
The planned listing of Saudi Aramco and the opening of financial markets in Saudi Arabia will “increase the pie” of financial services in the region, said Dubai International Financial Center (DIFC) Governor Essa Kazim, in an interview on the sidelines of a World Economic Forum meeting in Dubai.
“Opening Saudi is completely a positive for the whole region,” said Kazim. “Our market is highly interactive with the Saudi market, so the investment flow that would come to Saudi would have a spillover into our market.
“So we are very much supportive of Saudi opening up , reforming, restructuring and meeting their 2030 Vision. It’s good for the whole region,” he said.
The planned listing of Saudi Aramco could be worth about $100 billion based on a 5 percent offering – about four times the size of the existing record held by Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, which listed in 2014.
London and New York are among the international financial centers seeking to attract the prized Aramco share sale, which represents a touchstone for wider financial reforms underway in the Kingdom, as it opens up to increased foreign investment.
DIFC reported a 14 percent rise in the total number of firms last year despite a prolonged period of oil price weakness that contributed to economic jitters in the emirate.
Kazim said that despite wider economic headwinds facing the region, DIFC had managed to double the number of new occupiers at about 300 on an annual basis over the last three years – compared to the previous three years.
“That means companies are still coming here despite geopolitical issues,” he said. “Life and business has to go on.”
He said that the business park remains 99 percent occupied as it expands with new buildings under development.


Philippines set to import 1.2 million tons of rice as caps removed

Updated 10 min 41 sec ago
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Philippines set to import 1.2 million tons of rice as caps removed

  • President Rodrigo Duterte in October ordered the ‘unimpeded’ importation of rice after the country’s inflation shot u
  • Lawmakers have approved the bill removing the import cap on rice imports and replacing it with tariffs

MANILA: Rice traders in the Philippines are set to import about 1.2 million tons of the staple food, a state grains agency spokeswoman told Reuters on Tuesday, as the Southeast Asian country lifts a two-decade-old cap on purchases.
Bigger rice purchases by the Philippines, already one of the world’s top importers and consumers of the grain, could underpin export prices in Vietnam and Thailand, traditionally its key suppliers.
Prices in Vietnam fell last week ahead of the country’s largest harvest this month, while the Thai market is likely to see additional supply toward the end of January from the seasonal harvest.
President Rodrigo Duterte in October ordered the “unimpeded” importation of rice after the country’s inflation shot up to 6.7 percent in September and October, the highest in nearly a decade, partly due to food prices.
The National Food Authority (NFA) has approved initial applications from 180 rice traders for permits to import a total of 1.186 million tons of either 5-percent or 25-percent broken white, the NFA spokeswoman said.
“We have not set any deadline for accepting applications to import rice. There’s no more limit,” she said.
Importers are allowed to bring in rice from any country, but grains from Southeast Asian suppliers will be charged a tariff of 35 percent while those from elsewhere will face a 50-percent charge.
Lawmakers have approved the bill removing the import cap on rice imports and replacing it with tariffs. Duterte will “most likely” sign it into law “soon,” presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said on Tuesday.
Philippine inflation eased in November and December, and the rice tariffication law could help curb it this year by as much as 0.7 percentage point, the central bank has said. Rice is the biggest food item in the country’s consumer price index.