Britain and Saudi agree $90 billion trade deal

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman meets British PM Theresa May (SPA)
Updated 08 March 2018
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Britain and Saudi agree $90 billion trade deal

DIUBAI: Britain and Saudi Arabia set out an ambition to build £65 billion ($90.29 billion) of trade and investment ties in coming years, the prime minister’s office said on Wednesday, calling the agreement a vote of confidence in the British economy ahead of Brexit.
“The meeting agreed a landmark ambition for around £65 billion of mutual trade and investment opportunities over the coming years, including direct investment in the UK and new Saudi public procurement with UK companies,” a spokeswoman from Prime Minister Theresa May’s office said in a statement.
“This is a significant boost for UK prosperity and a clear demonstration of the strong international confidence in our economy as we prepare to leave the European Union.”
Prime Minister Theresa May discussed bilateral relations with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman.
The meeting at 10 Downing Street was preceded by a meeting with Queen Elizabeth at Buckingham palace.
In a statement the Saudi delegation said the Kingdom was an important destination for British companies.
“There are almost 200 joint ventures that are currently valued at £11.5 billion, including the British bank HSBC and Marks & Spencer and Jaguar Land Rover.”
The statement explained that Saudi Arabia was one of the world’s 20 largest economies and that it also had the third fastest growing market in British exports and imports.
“The Kingdom hopes that British companies will be able to take advantage of the profound changes that occur after the completion of Britain’s exit from the European Union negotiations.”
The statement added that British trade relations and Saudi Arabia exceeded £2.3 billion in the past five years.
Furthermore, the statement added – trade in goods and services in 2016 was estimated as being worth £9 billion.
The statement added that Britain faced “huge opportunities” in the post-Brexit era.
“After Britain’s exit from the European Union, there will be huge opportunities for Britain as a result of the 2030 vision,” the statement explained.


Dubai real estate market recovery to be seen as of 2022: S&P

Updated 20 February 2019
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Dubai real estate market recovery to be seen as of 2022: S&P

  • The outlook on property was part of a challenging assessment of the credit-worthiness of the emirate
  • S&P was generally comfortable with the credit ratings of the emirate’s banking system

DUBAI: S&P Global, the ratings agency, painted a grim picture for the real estate sector in Dubai, with a meaningful recovery in property prices expected only after 2022.
At a presentation to journalists in the Dubai International Financial Center, S&P analyst Sapna Jagtiani said that under the firm’s “base case scenario,” the Dubai real estate market would fall by between 5 and 10 percent this year, roughly the same as the fall in 2018, which would bring property prices to the levels seen at the bottom of the last cycle in 2010, in the aftermath of the global financial crisis.
“On the real estate side we continue to have a very grim view of the market. While we expect prices to broadly stabilize in 2020, we don’t see a meaningful recovery in 2021. Relative to the previous recovery cycle, we believe it will take longer time for prices to display a meaningful recovery,” she said.
S&P’s verdict adds to several recent pessimistic assessments of the Dubai real estate market. Jagtiani said that conditions in the other big UAE property market, in Abu Dhabi, were not as negative, because “Abu Dhabi never did ramp up as much in 2014 and 2015 as Dubai.” S&P does not rate developers in the capital.
She added that a “stress scenario” could arise if government and royal family related developers — such as Emaar Properties, Meraas, Dubai Properties and Nakheel — which have attractive land banks and economies of scale, continue to launch new developments.
“In such a scenario, we think residential real estate prices could decline by 10-15 percent in 2019 and a further 5-10 percent in 2020. In this case, we expect no upside for Dubai residential real estate prices in 2021, as we expect it will take a while for the market to absorb oversupply,” she said.
S&P recently downgraded Damac, one of the biggest Dubai-based developers, to BB- rating, on weak market prospects.
However, Jagtiani said that, despite the “significant oversupply” from existing projects, several factors should held stabilize the market: Few, if any, major product launches; improved affordability and “bargain hunting” by bulk buyers; and a resurgence of Asian, especially Chinese, investor interest in the market.
Jagtiani also said that government measures such as new ownership and visa regulations and reduction in government fees could help prevent prices falling more sharply, as well as “increased economic activity related to Dubai Expo 2020, which is expected to attract about 25 million visitors to the emirate.”
The outlook on property was part of a challenging assessment of the credit-worthiness of the emirate. “In our view, credit conditions deteriorated in Dubai in 2018, reducing the government’s ability to provide extraordinary financial support to its government related entities (GREs) if needed,” S&P said in a report. “The negative outlook on Dubai Electricity and Water
Authority (DEWA) partly reflects our concern that a real estate downturn beyond our base case could out increased pressure on government finances,” the report said.
It pointed out that about 70 percent of government revenues come from non-tax sources, including land transfer and mortgage registration fees, as well as charges for housing and municipality liabilities, as well as dividends from real estate developers it controls, like Emaar and Nakheel.
S&P was generally comfortable with the credit ratings of the emirate’s banking system, which has an estimated 20 percent exposure to real estate. “Banks in the UAE tend to generally display a good level of profitability and capitalization, giving them a good margin to absorb a moderate increase in risks,” the report said.