Saudi Arabia’s PIF hires former IFC official as chief economist

Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund has appointed a former International Finance Corporation official as its chief economist. (Shutterstock)
Updated 18 March 2019
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Saudi Arabia’s PIF hires former IFC official as chief economist

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund has appointed a former International Finance Corporation official as its chief economist within a plan to boost hiring and expand overseas, it was reported on Sunday.
“Within its plans to add 700 employees to its workforce, the Public Investment Fund (PIF) has appointed Ted Chu as chief economist after he held the same position at the IFC,” Al-Arabiya tweeted without citing a source.
In February, PIF managing director Yasir Al-Rumayyan said the fund plans to boost its staff to 700 by the end of the year from 450 now, and is looking to open offices in London and the United States — initially in New York and then in San Francisco.
PIF, which is chaired by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, manages over $250 billion in assets including stakes in Uber Technologies.
It plans to increase its assets to $600 billion by 2020, as part of a plan to reduce the Saudi economy’s dependence on oil.


‘Huge increase’ in crude prices not expected: IEA executive director

Updated 19 July 2019
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‘Huge increase’ in crude prices not expected: IEA executive director

  • The International Energy Agency is revising its 2019 global oil demand growth forecast down to 1.1 million barrels per day
  • IEA’s Fatih Birol: Serious political tensions could impact market dynamics

NEW DELHI: The International Energy Agency (IEA) doesn’t expect oil prices to rise significantly because demand is slowing and there is a glut in global crude markets, its executive director said on Friday.
“Prices are determined by the markets ... If we see the market today, we see that the demand is slowing down considerably,” said IEA’s Fatih Birol, in public comments made during a two-day energy conference in New Delhi.
The IEA is revising its 2019 global oil demand growth forecast down to 1.1 million barrels per day (bpd) and may cut it again if the global economy and especially China shows further weakness, Birol told Reuters in an interview on Thursday.
Last year, the IEA predicted that 2019 oil demand would grow by 1.5 million bpd. But in June this year it cut the growth forecast to 1.2 million bpd.
“Substantial amount of oil is coming from the United States, about 1.8 million barrels per day, plus oil from Iraq, Brazil and Libya,” Birol said.
Under normal circumstances, he said, he doesn’t expect a “huge increase” in crude oil prices. But Birol warned serious political tensions could yet impact market dynamics.
Crude oil prices rose nearly 2 percent on Friday after a US Navy ship destroyed an Iranian drone in the Strait of Hormuz, a major chokepoint for global crude flows.
Referring to India, Birol stressed the country could cut its imports, amid rising oil demand in the country, by increasing domestic local oil and gas production.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had set a target in 2015 to cut India’s dependence on oil imports to two-thirds of consumption by 2022, and half by 2030. But rising demand and low domestic production have pushed imports to 84 percent of total needs in the last five years, government data shows.
Meanwhile, the IEA doesn’t expect a global push toward environmentally friendly electric vehicles can dent crude demand significantly, Birol said, as the main driver of crude demand globally has been petrochemicals, not cars.
He said the impact of a serious electric vehicle adoption push by the Indian government would not be felt immediately.