First day of Future Investment Initiative sees mega-deals and nod to future technologies

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Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman with Jordan's King Abdullah II at the Future Investment Initiative forum in Riyadh. (FII)
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The spectacular light show to open the Future Investment Initiative event. (Arab News)
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Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashed Al-Maktoum in attendance at the opening ceremony of the Future Investment Initiative conference in Riyadh. (AFP)
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Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, right, with Saudi business executive Lubna Olayan during a panel at opening day of the Future Investment Initiative in Riyadh. (AFP)
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Yasir Al-Rumayyan, head of the Public Investment Fund, gives his welcome speech. (Arab News)
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Yasir Al-Rumayyan, head of the Public Investment Fund. (Ziyad Alarfaj / AN)
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Opening day panel at the Future Investment Initiative in Riyadh. (Ziyad Alarfaj / AN)
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Saudi business executive Lubna Olayan. (Ziyad Alarfaj / AN)
Updated 23 October 2018
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First day of Future Investment Initiative sees mega-deals and nod to future technologies

RIYADH: The Future Investment Initiative (FII) kicked off in Riyadh on Tuesday, with the head of Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund saying the event can do "business for good." He also said the event would see countries coming together to "collaborate for the future.”

The event in Riyadh also saw a raft of deals worth $50 billion being finalized, including 12 so-called “mega-deals” being signed.

 

 

Yasir Al-Rumayyan, head of the Public Investment Fund and the opening speaker at the event, also said his fund was targeting a $2 trillion portfolio by 2030.

 

 

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, Khaldoon Al-Mubarak, CEO and MD of Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala Investment Company as well as Kirill Dmitriev, CEO of the Russian Direct Investment Fund, were all in attendance on Tuesday.

Khan said, during the panel on emerging opportunities, that his country was looking for a mix of loans from the IMF and “friendly governments.” Khan added that he had spoken to Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman about boosting investment ties between the two countries.

Saudi Arabia's Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih praised CEO of French energy giant Total, Patrick Pouyanne, for standing by Saudi Arabia in this difficult period.

"We see what partnership means when you have difficult times," Pouyanne responded as he shared the stage with Falih.

"This is when you really strengthen a partnership."

 

 

On the energy and investment panel, Al-Falih noted that global oil demand would hit 120 million barrels a day in the next few decades, and that the Kingdom could boost its crude production by 1-2 million barrels a day.

 

 

The world's media turned their attention to a future technology presentation when the Crown Prince and Jordan's King Abdullah II arrived.

 

At the session, Saudi Arabia's Minister of Communications and IT Abdullah Al-Sawahah said: "Saudi Arabia is moving at light speed in becoming the tech hub of the region."

Meanwhile, Emirati investor Mohamed Alabbar added: "There is so much room for technology growth in the Middle East, especially in Saudi Arabia, the UAE and the whole region."

The three-day FII event will likely see more investment partnerships from Russia and China being forged, as noted by Ellen Wald, president of the Transversal Consulting think-tank and author of the recent book “Saudi Inc,” with executives still looking to do business at the Riyadh meeting despite some having pulled out.

Click for more coverage of the event: Future Investment Initiative.


Hong Kong economy cools as trade tension mounts

Updated 16 November 2018
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Hong Kong economy cools as trade tension mounts

HONG KONG: Hong Kong’s economic growth slowed in the latest quarter and the government warned it could face headwinds from US-Chinese trade tension and higher interest rates.
Government data Friday showed the Chinese territory’s economy expanded by 2.9 percent over a year earlier, down from the previous quarter’s 3.5 percent.
Exports rose 5 percent over a year earlier, but the government said the impact of trade tension and weaker global demand “has begun to surface” and is “likely to become more apparent in the near-term.”
The government said Hong Kong also faces a drag from higher interest rates. The Hong Kong dollar has a fixed exchange rate with the US dollar, which requires the central bank to raise interest rates along with the US Federal Reserve even though economic growth is slowing.