Nasdaq Dubai to launch Saudi Arabian futures later this year

The Kingdom’s stock exchange, the Tadawul, has announced its intention to enable futures and other derivatives trading. (AFP)
Updated 20 May 2018

Nasdaq Dubai to launch Saudi Arabian futures later this year

  • The move will allow global investors to trade shares in Saudi Arabian listed companies via contracts to buy or sell shares at a set price in the future
  • The Kingdom’s stock exchange, the Tadawul, has announced its intention to enable futures and other derivatives trading

DUBAI: Nasdaq Dubai, the UAE’s international stock exchange, is to launch futures trading in Saudi Arabian quoted companies before the end of this year, Arab News can reveal.
The move will allow global investors to trade shares in Saudi Arabian listed companies via contracts to buy or sell shares at a set price in the future, and is expected to add to the attraction of the Kingdom’s financial markets among international investors. 
It will be the first time Saudi stocks can be traded in derivative form.
Hamed Ali, chief executive of the Dubai-based exchange, said: “We are delighted to provide investors with an exciting new route to gain exposure to the Kingdom’s dynamic and rapidly expanding equity markets. What we’ve seen happen in Saudi Arabia is impressive reform, progression and change, and there is a lot of regional and international interest in the stock markets there. 
“This is good news for our two markets, and a good step in building a stronger bridge between them,” he added.
Ali has been involved in talks about the initiative for some time with relevant market players in the Kingdom. 
“The framework we have built for trading and clearing Saudi futures is based on intensive consultations with regional and international market participants, including brokers and potential 
investors.  Our futures will provide further 
impetus to invest in Saudi Arabian capital markets and help develop new links with market participants,” he added.
The Kingdom’s stock exchange, the Tadawul, has announced its intention to enable futures and other derivatives trading, but its plans are still thought to be some way from implementation. Earlier this month it announced the setting up of an independent clearing house, essential to pave the way for derivatives trades.
The launch of futures by Nasdaq Dubai comes at a busy time for markets in the Kingdom. The Tadawul’s headline TASI index is among the best performing in the world, having risen 11 percent so far this year. 
Index provider MSCI is widely expected to include KSA stocks in its widely tracked emerging markets index from next year, opening the bourse up to significant inflows from foreign investors. 
Such investors are also eagerly waiting for a raft of domestic privatizations that could further boost the markets later this year and beyond. 
The most eagerly anticipated is the initial public offering (IPO) of a minority stake in oil major Saudi Aramco, which could be the biggest IPO in history. Asked about the listing, Ali said: “We would definitely offer single stock futures in it.”
Nasdaq’s Saudi futures market will commence in the third quarter of the current year, offering contracts on some of the Kingdom’s biggest stocks by market capitalization and liquidity, including some of the Middle East’s largest businesses active in sectors such as petrochemicals, real estate, banking and transport.
The futures contracts will give investors new hedging tools to take long and short positions on the companies, at a time when international investor interest in the Kingdom’s stock market is increasing rapidly, Nasdaq believes.
The Nasdaq futures market currently operates with leading Gulf brokerages as members, and two active market makers on the UAE contracts.


More market participants are preparing to join as Nasdaq Dubai adds the KSA single stock futures and expands its 
derivatives platform in phases, to include futures based on stocks and indices of various exchanges in the Middle East and North Africa, as well as options, Nasdaq said. More brokers are expected to join the Nasdaq platform as the trade in Saudi futures takes off, including some from Saudi Arabia.
Nasdaq Dubai launched UAE futures trading in 2016 with single stock futures on seven UAE-listed companies. That number has since increased to 17 and last February the exchange added futures on Dubai Financial Market’s DFMGI share index, as well as the ADSMI index of Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange. Futures on MSCI’s UAE index will be added soon under a license agreement signed with MSCI.
“We are really pleased with the futures market performance. Volumes have been steady, but, of course, they just reflect the underlying performance of the market,” Ali said.
Futures and other derivative products are common instruments in Western and other financial markets, and are regarded as key mechanisms to enhance market 
liquidity, but have been slower to gain 
acceptance in the Middle East.  
The futures move by Nasdaq Dubai is a sign of increasing co-operation between the UAE and Saudi stock exchanges, as well as others in the Gulf Co-operation Council region.
Sarah Al-Suhaimi, chairperson of the Tadawul, said recently that she wanted to make the Tadawul the “dominant” exchange in the region, and that discussions had taken place between exchange policymakers and regulators with a view to enabling common listing rules and dual listings of regional companies.
“Can there be other things we can do 
together with Riyadh? Yes, of course, there are lots of things, but we need to agree a framework,” Ali said.
“We will be looking at more products in the future. This is just a starting point,” he added.


Futures Contracts

Futures contracts allow investors to buy shares (or other assets) at an agreed price for delivery (and payment) at a later date. They are a common tool used to hedge risk, by limiting exposure to price fluctuations.

US economists less optimistic, see slower growth: survey

Updated 25 March 2019

US economists less optimistic, see slower growth: survey

  • While the odds of a US recession by 2020 remain low, they are rising
  • The odds of a recession starting in 2019 is at around 20 percent, and for 2020 at 35 percent

WASHINGTON: US economists are less optimistic about the outlook and sharply lowered their growth forecasts for this year, amid slowing global growth and continued trade frictions, according to a survey published Monday.
And while the odds of a recession by 2020 remain low, they are rising, the National Association for Business Economics said in their quarterly report.
The panel of 55 economists now believe “the US economy has reached an inflection point,” said NABE President Kevin Swift.
The consensus forecast for real GDP growth was cut by three tenths from the December survey, to 2.4 percent after 2.9 percent expansion in 2018.
The economy is expected to slow further in 2020, with growth of just 2 percent, the report said.
Three-quarters of respondents cut their GDP forecasts and believe the risks of to the economy are weighted to the downside.
“A majority of panelists sees external headwinds from trade policy and slower global growth as the primary downside risks to growth,” NABE survey chair Gregory Daco said in a statement.
“Nonetheless, recession risks are still perceived to be low in the near term.”
Panelists put the odds of a recession starting in 2019 at around 20 percent, and for 2020 at 35 percent, slightly higher than in December.
Daco said that “reflects the Federal Reserve’s dovish policy U-turn in January” when the central bank said it would keep interest rates where they are for the foreseeable future, a message reinforced this week.
After four rate increases last year, Daco said a “near-majority of panelists anticipates only one more interest rate hike in this cycle compared to the three hikes forecasted in the December survey.”
Panelists see wage growth as the biggest upside risk to the economy, despite expected increase of just 3 percent this year, as inflation holds right around the Fed’s 2 percent target.
Meanwhile, amid President Donald Trump’s aggressive tariff policies, the panel projects the trade deficit will rise to a record $978 billion this year, beating last year’s record $914 billion.
In an interesting twist in the survey, only 20 percent said they expected to see the dreaded “inverted yield curve” — when the interest rate on the 10-year Treasury note falls below the 3-month bill — this year.
In fact, the yield curve inverted on Friday for the first time since 2007.