Hyundai Heavy discusses joint project with Saudi minister

Updated 02 July 2016
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Hyundai Heavy discusses joint project with Saudi minister

SEOUL: Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) is expected to enjoy another boost with its joint construction projects building turbine engine plants and shipyards in Saudi Arabia.
Korea Times reported that HHI Chairman Choi Gil-seon and President Kwon Oh-gap met Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih in Seoul to discuss joint operations between HHI and Saudi Aramco.
Khalid Al-Falih is also chairman of Saudi Aramco.
Experts believe the meeting is expected to help the struggling shipyard’s efforts in normalizing its management if they deliver detailed outcomes over the projects.
Last November, HHI signed a general memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Saudi Aramco to jointly collaborate on business development opportunities in Saudi Arabia.
Under the agreement, HHI secured a bid preference over ships ordered by the Saudi government as well as the maintenance contract.
Chung Ki-sun, senior vice president of HHI Corporate Planning and also a grandson of Hyundai Group founder Chung Ju-yung, reportedly played a leading role behind the MoU deal with Saudi Aramco.
Saudi Aramco Chairman Khalid Al-Falih wa appointed as Saudi Energy Minister in May last year.
He also met Trade, Industry and Energy Minister Joo Hyung-hwan after the meeting with HHI officials.
Al-Falih earlier said Saudi Arabia wants to expand its investments in China’s energy industry as part of efforts to boost cooperation with a top customer.
Al-Falih’s comments were made in an e-mailed statement after discussions with China’s Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli and other officials in Beijing during a G20 ministerial meeting.
“Saudi Arabia is very keen to elevate their partnership in the energy sector to the highest level,” he was quoted as saying in the statement, published in Reuters.
He said he hoped Saudi investments could increase to cover all Chinese provinces and that there was room to grow bilateral trade in both energy and other hydrocarbons products such as petrochemicals.
Al-Falih also said he wanted to see new investment projects carried out by Saudi and Chinese sovereign wealth funds, and added that the two countries shared interest in crude oil storage, mining, renewable energy and industrial development.
Both Saudi Aramco and petrochemicals conglomerate Saudi Basic Industries Corp. (SABIC) have joint venture businesses in China and new projects under development.

In January, Aramco said it was also in advanced talks to invest in refineries in China. SABIC said in May it had agreed to build another petrochemical factory there.


India names Modi demonetization backer as cenbank head

Visitors are seen standing next to a logo of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) at the bank's head office in Mumbai on December 5, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 12 December 2018
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India names Modi demonetization backer as cenbank head

  • Das — a high-profile backer of Modi’s controversial 2016 move to scrap high-value currency notes, known as demonetization

MUMBAI: Ex-finance ministry official Shaktikanta Das took charge of the Reserve Bank of India on Tuesday, in a swift appointment expected to ease a dispute with the government as it pushes for looser credit rules ahead of a general election.
The announcement by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s administration came just a day after Urjit Patel resigned from the post, following months of clashes between the two institutions over lending curbs and how to deploy the central bank’s surplus reserves.
Pressure on the RBI to take immediate steps to boost the economy, including a transfer of the excess reserves to the government, could well rise after Modi’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) suffered likely election losses in three key states on Tuesday.
Das — a high-profile backer of Modi’s controversial 2016 move to scrap high-value currency notes, known as demonetization — will serve a three-year term as governor, effective immediately.
RBI watchers said they expected the 61-year-old, who retired last year as secretary of the department of economic affairs having previously served on the RBI’s board, to put relations between the Mumbai-based bank and the finance ministry in New Delhi on a stabler footing.
Investors will also look closely at his ability to hold up against outside influences after recent efforts by the Modi government to gain greater control over the central bank’s regulatory powers.
“The incoming governor will have to work hard to prove that he has his own independent mind,” said Deepak Jasani, head of retail research at Hdfc Securities.
Investors said any openly political appointee with little macro-economic experience, would not sit well with financial markets that already sold off following the BJP’s election setbacks.
But Ashish Vaidya, executive director and head of trading at DBS Bank in Mumbai, said he expected India’s debt and currency markets to react positively.
“He is a bureaucrat...We expect the RBI to take a pragmatic approach under him, be pro-growth and change its stance going ahead given that inflation has come off sharply,” he said.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley told Reuters partner ANI that the government acknowledged the bank’s independence.
“Government will fully support the RBI and coordinate with it in areas where consultations of government are required to make sure India’s economy benefits from both government policy decisions and areas which fall within domain of the RBI,” ANI tweeted, quoting Jaitley.

SWIFT APPOINTMENT
Pronab Sen, India’s former chief statistician, said he was surprised by the speed of Das’s appointment.
“If you have a situation where a position as important as the governor of the RBI is filled within 24 hours of the resignation of the incumbent, that will raise eyebrows,” Sen told Reuters.
“People are going to say, clearly this guy had already been identified. And, the situation was created where Urjit Patel had to quit.”
Das — widely seen as a contender for the top RBI job after Raghuram Rajan’s term ended in 2016 — did not answer calls from Reuters to his mobile phone.
RBI officials who have worked with him closely said Das was likely to be more inclusive in the decision-making process than Patel.
“He has a balanced approach and is good at consensus building,” said a former deputy governor. .”..We have had our fair share of differences. But he has always been solution-centric rather than festering on those differences.”
Das worked in the finance ministry under both Modi’s government and the previous coalition led by the main opposition Congress party and was also involved in drafting the Insolvency and Bankruptcy code aimed at protecting small investors.
He came under fire for his pro-demonetization stance and was the most vocal bureaucrat at the time Modi withdrew the high-value bank notes to fight tax evasion.
Das last year criticized the methodology of global rating agencies and sought a sovereign rating upgrade for India.