Saudi stocks boosted by Binladin progress

The Ritz-Carlton in Riyadh where a number of businessmen have been held in a crackdown on corruption. (Reuters)
Updated 14 January 2018
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Saudi stocks boosted by Binladin progress

DUBAI: Signs of progress toward settling cases in Saudi Arabia’s crackdown on corruption boosted its stock market on Sunday.
The Saudi index far outperformed the rest of the region as it rose 1.4 percent to 7,440 points in active trade, rising above last September’s peak of 7,429 points.
Dozens of Saudi princes, officials and top businessmen — including owners of major stakes in some firms — were detained as part of the crackdown in early November. The market’s initial panic has faded, but investors are still concerned about the fate of some of the companies involved.
On Saturday, family-owned construction giant Saudi Binladin Group, which has seen its chairman and several other members of the Bin Laden family detained, said some of its shareholders might transfer part of their holdings to the state in a settlement with authorities.
The announcement, which confirmed an earlier Reuters report, boosted banking shares on Sunday with all 12 listed banks rising. Saudi British Bank jumped 4.6 percent.
A Saudi banker said the Binladin news appeared positive for the sector in the short term because state ownership might help the recovery of financially troubled Binladin, ensuring that payments to its bank creditors continued.
However, the banker added that it remained unclear whether banks would benefit in the long term, as restructuring Binladin could also involve a restructuring of its debt or more pressure on banks to make provisions or write off some debt.


‘Get prices down’ Trump tells OPEC

Updated 20 September 2018
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‘Get prices down’ Trump tells OPEC

  • Trump highlights US security role in region
  • Comments come ahead of oil producers meeting in Algeria

LONDON: US president Donald Trump urged OPEC to lower crude prices on Thursday while reminding Mideast oil exporters of US security support.
He made his remarks on Twitter ahead of a keenly awaited meeting of OPEC countries and its allies in Algiers this weekend as pressure mounts on them to prevent a spike in prices caused by the reimposition of oil sanctions on Iran.
“We protect the countries of the Middle East, they would not be safe for very long without us, and yet they continue to push for higher and higher oil prices!” he tweeted.
“We will remember. The OPEC monopoly must get prices down now!”
Despite the threat, the group and its allies are unlikely to agree to an official increase in output, Reuters reported on Thursday, citing OPEC sources.
In June they agreed to increase production by about one million barrels per day (bpd). That decision was was spurred by a recovery in oil prices, in part caused by OPEC and its partners agreeing to lower production since 2017.
Known as OPEC+, the group of oil producers which includes Russia are due to meet on Sunday in Algiers to look at how to allocate the additional one million bpd within its quote a framework.
OPEC sources told Reuters that there was no immediate plan for any official action as such a move would require OPEC to hold what it calls an extraordinary meeting, which is not on the table.
Oil prices slipped after Trumps remarks, with Brent crude shedding 40 cents to $79 a barrel in early afternoon trade in London while US light crude was unchanged at about $71.12.
Brent had been trading at around $80 on expectations that global supplies would come under pressure from the introduction of US sanctions on Iranian crude exports on Nov. 4.
Some countries has already started to halt imports from Tehran ahead of that deadline, leading analysts to speculate about how much spare capacity there is in the Middle East to compensate for the loss of Iranian exports as well as how much of that spare capacity can be easily brought online after years of under-investment in the industry.
Analysts expect oil to trend higher and through the $80 barrier as the deadline for US sanctions approaches.
“Brent is definitely fighting the $80 line, wanting to break above,” said SEB Markets chief commodities analyst Bjarne Schieldrop, Reuters reported. “But this is likely going to break very soon.”