Saudi economy sees ‘stabilization’: Analyst

Saudi Arabia’s oil revenues have grown significantly. (Shutterstock)
Updated 20 November 2018
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Saudi economy sees ‘stabilization’: Analyst

  • Saudi Arabia reduced its budget deficit by 60 percent to SR49 billion in the first nine months of the year
  • Paul Wetterwald: The most recent data suggests some kind of stabilization, but resisting the temptation to re-expand government spending in line with higher oil prices will remain a challenge

LONDON: Saudi Arabia’s reduction in its budget deficit marks a “stabilization” of its economy but avoiding big hikes in government spending will remain a challenge, according to a new research note.
Saudi Arabia reduced its budget deficit by 60 percent to SR49 billion ($13 billion) in the first nine months of the year, official figures published last month show.
The reduction — greater than anticipated in earlier budget forecasts — was the result of a significant growth in both oil and non-oil revenues, the Ministry of Finance said. 

A research note by Paul Wetterwald — chief economist for Indosuez Wealth Management, the global wealth management division of Crédit Agricole, said that this marked an “impressive” reduction in the deficit given it was accompanied by a rise in government spending.
Going forward, however, minimizing hikes in government spending will be key, Wetterwald wrote in the note circulated on Monday.
“The most recent data suggests some kind of stabilization, but resisting the temptation to re-expand government spending in line with higher oil prices will remain a challenge,” he wrote.
Wetterwald pointed out that Saudi Arabia’s debt-to-GDP ratio is set to rise over the coming years.

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Apple China says it will push software update in bid to resolve Qualcomm case

Updated 14 December 2018
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Apple China says it will push software update in bid to resolve Qualcomm case

  • Apple will carry out the software updates at the start of next week to address the concern
  • A court found Apple infringed two patents held by the chipmaker and banned sales of older iPhone models

SHANGHAI/SAN FRANCISCO: Apple Inc. , facing a court ban in China on some of its iPhone models over alleged infringement of Qualcomm Inc. patents, said on Friday it will push software updates to users in a bid to resolve potential issues.
Apple will carry out the software updates at the start of next week “to address any possible concern about our compliance with the order,” the firm said in a statement sent to Reuters.
Earlier this week, Qualcomm said a Chinese court had ordered a ban on sales of some older Apple iPhone models for violating two of its patents, though intellectual property lawyers said the ban would still likely take time to enforce.
“Based on the iPhone models we offer today in China, we believe we are in compliance,” Apple said.
“Early next week we will deliver a software update for iPhone users in China addressing the minor functionality of the two patents at issue in the case.”
The case, brought by Qualcomm, is part of a global patent dispute between the two US companies that includes dozens of lawsuits. It creates uncertainty over Apple’s business in one of its biggest markets at a time when concerns over waning demand for new iPhones are battering its shares.
Qualcomm has said that the Fuzhou Intermediate People’s Court in China found Apple infringed two patents held by the chipmaker and ordered an immediate ban on sales of older iPhone models, from the 6S through the X.
Apple has said that all of its phone models remained on sale in mainland China and that it had filed a request for reconsideration with the court. All the models appeared to be available to buy on Apple’s China website on Friday.
Qualcomm, the biggest supplier of chips for mobile phones, filed its case in China in late 2017, arguing that Apple infringed patents on features related to resizing photographs and managing apps on a touch screen.