Will the Gulf’s flying gentry consider venturing below stairs?

Updated 29 December 2017
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Will the Gulf’s flying gentry consider venturing below stairs?

The arrival of Emirates at Stansted, a hub for Ryanair, sets up some potentially interesting options as the luxury and budget ends of air travel respond to the shared experience of tougher competition.
While Etihad’s ill-fated codeshare alliance strategy failed to deliver on its ambitious hopes following the collapse of both Air Berlin and Alitalia, there is still considerable interest in codeshare combinations between big global carriers and their low-cost cousins serving regions from Europe to Asia — and that do not require vast investments.
There has been no hint from either Emirates or Ryanair of any desire for future collaboration, but Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary has long held the belief that carriers such as his would eventually provide the spokes to the hub model.
“The low-fare airlines will be doing most of the feed for the flag carriers,” he told Bloomberg in a 2015 interview. He saw it as taking between five and 10 years for that to happen.
A similar process has already started in the Gulf with the tie-up between Emirates and sister low-cost carrier flydubai.
Last week easyjet’s Europe managing director also told a German newspaper that it had received “very many inquiries” from other airlines wanting to use his airline as their feeder.
The last year has seen upstart low-cost carriers from Norwegian Air to Wizz Air make encroachments into the long-haul market.
It all makes for an interesting global aviation market in 2018 which may see carriers with very different operating models and passenger expectations becoming unlikely bedfellows.


Saudi stocks receive landmark emerging markets upgrade from MSCI

Updated 14 min 56 sec ago
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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’s 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.