UAE responds to Qatar claims it has been involved in ‘financial warfare’

The Central Bank of Qatar’s law firm has written a letter to the US Treasury asking it to investigate NBAD Americas, the US subsidiary of First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB) (Shutterstock)
Updated 19 March 2018
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UAE responds to Qatar claims it has been involved in ‘financial warfare’

LONDON: First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB) has “categorically” rejected claims that the bank was involved in transactions aimed at manipulating the Qatari riyal.
The bank’s denial followed reports that Qatar had asked US regulators to investigate the UAE bank’s US subsidiary, NBAD Americas, claiming that the bank was using ‘bogus’ foreign exchange deals to damage the Qatari economy, according to reports published by Reuters.
“FAB conducts its business in accordance with the highest professional standards and complies with the laws and regulations of the jurisdictions in which it operates. FAB categorically refutes these rumours,” the bank said in a filing to the Abu Dhabi bourse on Monday.
The Abu Dhabi-headquartered FAB was established last year following the merger of First Gulf Bank and National Bank of Abu Dhabi. 
According to Reuters, the law firm representing the Central Bank of Qatar wrote to the US Treasury requesting an investigation into FAB’s subsidiary, according to a letter dated Feb 26. and seen by the news agency.
Lawyers also asked in a separate letter that the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) investigate possible currency manipulation, Reuters said.
The call for an investigation comes as the UAE, as well as Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Bahrain continue to be embroiled in a diplomatic rift with Qatar that started mid-last year.
The Saudi-led coalition of Arab states imposed an economic boycott on Qatar on June 5, alleging that the country was supporting Islamic extremism in the region and Iran. Qatar has denied these accusations.
Last December, the Central Bank of Qatar announced that it would begin an investigation into attempts to harm the Qatari economy through manipulation of the currency, securities and derivatives markets.
“We know blockading countries and their agents are attempting to manipulate and undermine our currency, securities and derivatives, as part of a coordinated strategy to damage Qatar’s economy.
“We will not stand by while our country is attacked in this manner,” said governor of the bank, Sheikh Abdulla Bin Saoud Al-Thani in statement. 
The Central Bank confirmed that it had asked the law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison to lead the investigation, according to the same statement.
The New York-headquartered law firm did not immediately respond to Arab News requests for comments. 
The US Treasury and the CFTC has not replied to Arab News requests for comment. The Qatari government did not immediately respond to requests for comment.


World oil demand, refining growth to peak in 2035 — Unipec

Updated 49 min 22 sec ago
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World oil demand, refining growth to peak in 2035 — Unipec

  • Improved energy efficiency and technological changes, including the rise of renewables, meant global oil demand growth would slow in coming years before peaking in 2035
  • The switch to cleaner fuels will boost global demand for liquefied natural gas

SINGAPORE: World oil demand will peak at 104.4 million barrels per day (bpd) in the mid-2030s, up from just below 100 million bpd currently, as new technologies gradually eat into oil use, China’s Unipec said on Monday.
Improved energy efficiency and technological changes, including the rise of renewables, meant global oil demand growth would slow in coming years before peaking in 2035, Unipec President Chen Bo told the annual Asia Pacific Petroleum Conference (APPEC).
This in turn will slow growth in global oil refining capacity, which is set to hit 5.6 billion tons per year in 2035, he said.
“We believe 2018-2035 will be the last cycle of global refining capacity expansion. After 2035, it is difficult to see large-scale refining projects in construction, except for some small upgrade projects and petrochemical projects,” said Chen.
Unipec is the trading arm of Asia’s largest refiner Sinopec.
The switch to cleaner fuels will also boost global demand for liquefied natural gas (LNG), particularly in the Asia Pacific, after 2025, he added.
An escalating trade war between China, the largest energy importer, and the United States has dampened the Asian nation’s demand for US crude oil and LNG.
The United States exported 300,000 barrels per day (bpd) of crude oil to China in the first half of 2018, and 56 cargoes of LNG through July, or roughly 10 percent of its total LNG exports, according to official data.
Despite the trade dispute, Chen said US crude supply was an important new source for Chinese refiners as it allowed diversification from Middle East and African crudes.
Trade war tensions between the two countries would last “for the time being, and in the future we’ll be active in this area,” he added.
Beijing has excluded US crude imports from its tariffs list so far, but most Chinese buyers are staying away from US oil as the trade war shows no signs of cooling.
Unipec resumed loading US crude in September after a two-month hiatus.
China is also under pressure from the US to reduce its Iranian oil imports as Washington aims to cut exports from OPEC’s third-largest exporter to zero to force Tehran to negotiate a nuclear treaty.
Buyers in Europe, Japan, South Korea and India have either stopped or are reducing Iranian oil imports sharply ahead of the introduction of sanctions in November.
“I expect we’ll cut a little but the volume has not been finalized,” Chen said, without giving a timeframe for the cuts.
He added that Unipec has resumed normal loadings of Saudi oil after it cut imports in May-July.
Given the current supply and demand dynamic in global markets, Chen said, crude oil prices between at $60 and $80 per barrel were normal.