Dubai to get spillover boost from Aramco listing says DIFC chief

Dubai International Financial Center (DIFC) Governor Essa Kazim. (Photo courtesy: social media)
Updated 11 November 2017

Dubai to get spillover boost from Aramco listing says DIFC chief

DUBAI: Dubai is set to benefit from the spillover effect of a Saudi Aramco listing and other market reforms underway in Saudi Arabia, according to the chief of the emirate’s financial hub
The planned listing of Saudi Aramco and the opening of financial markets in Saudi Arabia will “increase the pie” of financial services in the region, said Dubai International Financial Center (DIFC) Governor Essa Kazim, in an interview on the sidelines of a World Economic Forum meeting in Dubai.
“Opening Saudi is completely a positive for the whole region,” said Kazim. “Our market is highly interactive with the Saudi market, so the investment flow that would come to Saudi would have a spillover into our market.
“So we are very much supportive of Saudi opening up , reforming, restructuring and meeting their 2030 Vision. It’s good for the whole region,” he said.
The planned listing of Saudi Aramco could be worth about $100 billion based on a 5 percent offering – about four times the size of the existing record held by Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, which listed in 2014.
London and New York are among the international financial centers seeking to attract the prized Aramco share sale, which represents a touchstone for wider financial reforms underway in the Kingdom, as it opens up to increased foreign investment.
DIFC reported a 14 percent rise in the total number of firms last year despite a prolonged period of oil price weakness that contributed to economic jitters in the emirate.
Kazim said that despite wider economic headwinds facing the region, DIFC had managed to double the number of new occupiers at about 300 on an annual basis over the last three years – compared to the previous three years.
“That means companies are still coming here despite geopolitical issues,” he said. “Life and business has to go on.”
He said that the business park remains 99 percent occupied as it expands with new buildings under development.

Japan’s households tighten purse strings as sales tax and typhoon hit

Updated 06 December 2019

Japan’s households tighten purse strings as sales tax and typhoon hit

  • Falls in factory output, jobs and retail add to fears of worsening slowdown after Tokyo unveils $122bn stimulus package

TOKYO: Japanese households cut their spending for the first time in almost a year in October as a sales tax hike prompted consumers to rein in expenses and natural disasters disrupted business.

Household spending dropped 5.1 percent in October from a year earlier, government data showed on Friday.

It is the first fall in household spending in 11 months and the biggest fall since March 2016 when spending fell by 5.3 percent. It was also weaker than the median forecast for a 3 percent decline.

That marked a sharp reversal from the 9.5 percent jump in September, the fastest growth on record as consumers rushed to buy goods before the Oct. 1 sales tax hike from 8 percent to 10 percent.

“Not only is the sales tax hike hurting consumer spending but impacts from the typhoon also accelerated the decline in the spending,” said Taro Saito, executive research fellow at NLI Research Institute.

“We expect the economy overall and consumer spending will contract in the current quarter and then moderately pick up January-March, but such recovery won't be strong enough.”

Household spending fell by 4.6 percent in April 2014 when Japan last raised the sales tax to 8 percent from 5 percent. It took more than a year for the sector to return to growth.

Compared with the previous month, household spending fell 11.5 percent in October, the fastest drop since April 2014, a faster decline than the median 9.8 percent forecast.

Analysts said a powerful typhoon in October, which lashed swathes of Japan with heavy rain, also played a factor in the downbeat data. Some shops and restaurants closed during the storm and consumers stayed home.

Separate data also showed the weak state of the economy.

The index of coincident economic indicators, which consists of a range of data including factory output, employment and retail sales data, fell a preliminary 5.6 points to 94.8 in October from the previous month, the lowest reading since February 2013, the Cabinet Office said on Friday.

It was also the fastest pace of decline since March 2011, according to the data.

Real wages adjusted for inflation, meanwhile, edged up for a second straight month in October, but the higher levy and weak global economy raise worries about the prospect for consumer spending and the overall economy.

While the government has sought to offset the hit to consumers through vouchers and tax breaks, there are fears the higher tax could hurt an economy already feeling the pinch from global pressures.

Japan unveiled a $122 billion fiscal package on Thursday to support stalling growth and as policymakers look to sustain activity beyond the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

A recent spate of weak data, such as exports and factory output, have raised worries about the risk of a sharper-than-expected slowdown. The economy grew by an annualized 0.2 percent in the third quarter, the weakest pace in a year.

Analysts expect the economy to shrink in the current quarter due to the sales tax hike.