100 global business chiefs confirmed for Saudi PIF gathering

Updated 22 October 2018
0

100 global business chiefs confirmed for Saudi PIF gathering

  • Business chiefs and technology innovators to gather in Riyadh
  • Annual meet reflect's Kingdom's technological ambitions

LONDON: Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) has confirmed more than 100 global investors, CEOs and disruptive innovators as speakers at the Future Investment Initiative (FII) in Riyadh next month.
The meeting which debuted last year, will run between Oct. 23 to Oct. 25 and focus on three core themes of Investing in Transformation, Technology as Opportunity and Advancing Human Potential.
Last year’s event made global headlines when a robot called “Sophia” took to the stage and engaged in an entertaining exchange with the host. Her appearance underscored the Kingdom’s ambitions to become a driving force in artificial intelligence and robotics as part of a push to add high tech jobs and diversify away from oil.
Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase is among the speakers attending the FII.
He said: “Technology is the greatest thing that has ever happened to mankind. Artificial intelligence, big data and machine learning are helping JPMorgan Chase reduce risk and fraud, upgrade service, improve underwriting and enhance marketing across the firm. We know technology has been a great force, and for the benefit of all of us, that force should not be left unleashed.”
Nicknamed “Davos in the Desert,” a reference to the annual gathering of thought leaders at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland, the FII attracts both established industry titans and emerging entrepreneurs working in disruptive sectors.
Next month’s event will explore a number of subjects, including how leaders from business and government can develop a collective vision for the future, how venture capital is changing the future of innovation, and how immersive technology is changing the way we live, work and create.
Among the speakers set to attend the event are BlackRock boss Larry Fink, JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon and Dara Khosrowshahi, the CEO of Uber Technologies.
IMF president Christine Lagarde will also make an appearance along with Steven Mnuchin, US Treasury Secretary.


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

Updated 20 February 2019
0

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.