UAE plans initial coin offerings to boost capital markets — regulator

View of Burj Khalifa the tallest building from the Business Bay area in Dubai, UAE July 8, 2018. Picture taken July 8, 2018. (Reuters)
Updated 08 October 2018

UAE plans initial coin offerings to boost capital markets — regulator

  • In ICOs, companies issue cryptocurrency tokens to investors
  • ESCA is drafting regulations for ICOs with international advisers

ABU DHABI: The United Arab Emirates plans to introduce initial coin offerings (ICOs) next year to provide companies with a fresh way to raise money, the head of the securities regulator said on Monday.
In ICOs, companies issue cryptocurrency tokens to investors, in much the same way as they issue shares in an initial public offer of equity.
“The board of the Emirates Securities & Commodities Authority has approved considering ICOs as securities. As per our plan we should have regulations on the ground in the first half of 2019,” Obaid Saif Al-Zaabi told a seminar.
ESCA is drafting regulations for ICOs with international advisers and is working with the Abu Dhabi and Dubai stock markets to develop trading platforms for the offers, he said, adding that details would be announced later.
Weak equity markets coupled with low oil prices in the last several years have severely constrained IPOs in the UAE and the Gulf Arab region as a whole.
A new law may take effect in 2019 to facilitate IPOs in which family owners sell majority or 100 percent stakes in the companies they control, Zaabi said. “The Ministry of Economy has written to the prime minister’s office and we are awaiting approval.”
Other initiatives under way include having a minimum of 20 percent women on the boards of listed companies, he said.


Oil prices surge after attacks hit Saudi output

Updated 16 September 2019

Oil prices surge after attacks hit Saudi output

  • The Houthi attacks hit two Aramco sites and effectively shut down six percent of the global oil supply
  • President Donald Trump said Sunday the US was ‘locked and loaded’ to respond to the attacks

HONG KONG: Oil prices saw a record surge Monday after attacks on two Saudi facilities slashed output in the world’s top producer by half, fueling fresh geopolitical fears as Donald Trump blamed Iran and raised the possibility of a military strike on the country.
Brent futures surged $12 in the first few minutes of business — the most in dollar terms since they were launched in 1988 and representing a jump of nearly 20 percent — while WTI jumped more than $8, or 15 percent.
Both contracts pared the gains but were both still more than 10 percent up.
The attack by Tehran-backed Houthi militia in neighboring Yemen, where a Saudi-led coalition is bogged down in a five-year war, hit two sites owned by state-run giant Aramco and effectively shut down six percent of the global oil supply.
Trump said Sunday the US was “locked and loaded” to respond to the attack, while Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said: “The United States will work with our partners and allies to ensure that energy markets remain well supplied and Iran is held accountable for its aggression.”
Tehran denies the accusations but the news revived fears of a conflict in the tinderbox Middle East after a series of attacks on oil tankers earlier this year that were also blamed on Iran.
“Tensions in the Middle East are rising quickly, meaning this story will continue to reverberate this week even after the knee-jerk panic in oil markets this morning,” said Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst at OANDA.
Trump authorized the release of US supplies from its Strategic Petroleum Reserve, while Aramco said more than half of the five million barrels of production lost will be restored by tomorrow.
But the strikes raise concerns about the security of supplies from the world’s biggest producer.
Oil prices had dropped last week after news that Trump had fired his anti-Iran hawkish national security adviser John Bolton, which was seen as paving the way for an easing of tensions in the region.
“One thing we can say with confidence is that if part of the reason for last week’s fall in oil and improvement in geopolitical risk sentiment was the news of John Bolton’s sacking ... and thoughts this was a precursor to some form of rapprochement between Trump and Iran, then it is no longer valid,” said Ray Attrill at National Australia Bank.