Saudi stock exchange unveils more reforms to boost investor confidence

Investors look at the boards at the Tadawul exchange in Saudi Arabia. (Reuters)
Updated 11 January 2018
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Saudi stock exchange unveils more reforms to boost investor confidence

LONDON: Tadawul, the Saudi stock exchange has announced another round of reforms designed to widen its appeal to domestic, regional and international investors — part of the Kingdom’s accelerating modernization drive.
The latest measures are designed to lift market efficiency, boost investor security and access, as well as improve liquidity in Saudi capital markets.
Last year was a groundbreaking one for Tadawul which, in conjunction with the Capital Market Authority (CMA), implemented far-ranging reforms, including introducing IFRS accounting standards for all listed companies, laying the groundwork domestic IPOs, and adopting tighter rules on corporate governance.
The latest measures take in, among other things, the updating of the Independent Custody Model (ICM) to enhance Qualified Foreign Investor access to the market by providing more flexibility in trading limits for ICM clients.
Along with this change, new procedures will be introduced to mitigate credit risk associated with the settlement process for all participants. Changes to the ICM and the introduction of the option for asset managers to aggregate orders are set to be implemented on Jan. 21, 2018.
Other changes involving the methods for determining opening and closing prices are scheduled to be implemented by the second quarter of 2018.
“The cumulative impact of these measures will be a more efficient, liquid and secure market for investors and intermediaries that is further aligned to international best practices,” said Khalid Abdullah Al-Hussan, CEO of Tadawul.
He added: “These measures and reforms are creating a more attractive investment climate for domestic and international investors alike and have attracted more than 100 major financial institutions to open accounts in the Kingdom.”


Libya’s National Oil against paying ‘ransom’ to reopen El Sharara field

Updated 14 December 2018
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Libya’s National Oil against paying ‘ransom’ to reopen El Sharara field

  • Ransom payment would set dangerous precedent
  • NOC declared force majeure on exports on Monday

BENGHAZI: Libya’s state-owned National Oil Corp. (NOC) said it was against paying a ransom to an armed group that has halted crude production at the country’s largest oilfield.
“Any attempt to pay a ransom to the armed militia which shut down El Sharara (oilfield) would set a dangerous precedent that would threaten the recovery of the Libyan economy,” NOC Chairman Mustafa Sanalla said in a statement on the company’s website.
NOC on Monday declared force majeure on exports from the 315,000-barrels-per-day oilfield after it was seized at the weekend by a local militia group.
The nearby El-Feel oilfield, which uses the same power supply as El Sharara, was still producing normally, a spokesman for NOC said, without giving an output figure. The field usually pumps around 70,000 bpd.
Since 2013 Libya has faced a wave of blockages of oilfields and export terminals by armed groups and civilians trying to press the country’s weak state into concessions.
Officials have tended to end such action by paying off protesters who demand to be added to the public payroll.
At El Sharara, in southern Libya, a mix of state-paid guards, civilians and tribesmen have occupied the field, camping there since Saturday, protesters and oil workers said. The protesters work in shifts, with some going home at night.
NOC has evacuated some staff by plane, engineers at the oilfield said. A number of sub-stations away from the main field have been vacated and equipment removed.
The occupiers are divided, with members of the Petroleum Facilities Guard (PFG) indicating they would end the blockade in return for a quick cash payment, oil workers say. The PFG has demanded more men be added to the public payroll.
The tribesmen have asked for long-term development funds, which might take time.
Libya is run by two competing, weak governments. Armed groups, tribesmen and normal Libyans tend to vent their anger about high inflation and a lack of infrastructure on the NOC, which they see as a cash cow booking billions of dollars in oil and gas revenues annually.