HSBC sees little impact on Saudi Arabia’s investment after Khashoggi death

Saudi Arabia is unlikely to see significant impact on its trade and investment flows following the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, the chief executive of Europe’s biggest bank HSBC said. (Shutterstock)
Updated 11 November 2018

HSBC sees little impact on Saudi Arabia’s investment after Khashoggi death

  • Saudi Arabia is unlikely to see significant impact on its trade and investment flows following the killing of Khashoggi
  • HSBC will remain supportive of its local affiliate in the Kingdom

LONDON: The killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi is unlikely to have a significant impact on Saudi Arabia’s foreign trade and investment flows, the chief executive of Europe’s biggest bank HSBC has said.

Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist, was killed in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2, in a case that led to several high-profile names pulling out of an investment conference in Riyadh last week.

Many of the Western companies that withdrew their top executives from the Future Investment Initiative forum did however send representatives — with big deals struck during the event. 

John Flint, chief executive of HSBC, said that companies were unlikely to “disengage” from doing business in Saudi Arabia. 

“It has been a difficult few weeks for the Kingdom,” Flint told Reuters. 

“I understand the emotion around the story, but it is very difficult to think about disengaging from Saudi Arabia given its importance to global energy markets.”

While Flint pulled out of the Future Investment Initiative (FII) forum, HSBC’s investment banking chief Samir Assaf spoke onstage at the event.

Flint said the bank will remain supportive of its local affiliate in the Kingdom, Saudi British Bank (SABB), Reuters reported. The news comes after Norway’s sovereign wealth fund, the world’s largest, said it plans to more than double its investments in Saudi Arabia.

More than 3,500 participants from 88 countries attended last week’s FII in Riyadh, where a agreements totaling more than $60 billion were announced.

Executives from international companies to address the event included Alex Dimitrief, president and CEO of GE Global, and Mehmood Khan, chief scientific officer at PepsiCo.

Separately, HSBC on Monday reported stronger-than-expected results, helping to boost London’s stock market, on which it is listed.

Shares in HSBC, Europe’s biggest bank by assets, jumped 4.7 percent after it reported a 28 percent rise in quarterly profit, showing progress in its battle to control costs.

The FTSE 100 index leapt by 1.25 percent on Monday, with HSBC a major contributor to the gains. 


Trump calls for World Bank to stop lending to China

Updated 33 min 3 sec ago

Trump calls for World Bank to stop lending to China

WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump on Friday called for the World Bank to stop giving loans to China, one day after the institution adopted a lending plan to Beijing over Washington’s objections.
The World Bank on Thursday adopted a plan to aid China with $1 billion to $1.5 billion in low-interest loans annually through June 2025. The plan calls for lending to “gradually decline” from the previous five-year average of $1.8 billion.
“Why is the World Bank loaning money to China? Can this be possible? China has plenty of money, and if they don’t, they create it. STOP!” Trump wrote in a post on Twitter.
Spokespeople for the White House and the World Bank did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The World Bank loaned China $1.3 billion in the fiscal 2019 year, which ended on June 30, a decrease from around $2.4 billion in fiscal 2017.
But the fall in the World Bank’s loans to China is not swift enough for the Trump administration, which has argued that Beijing is too wealthy for international aid.