Eastern Libya, US firm close to signing Libya port deal

The development of a multipurpose, deep sea port in Susah, Libya, will give a big boost to the local economy. (Social media)
Updated 07 July 2019

Eastern Libya, US firm close to signing Libya port deal

  • It would be a coup for the parallel govt, which has not gained global recognition

TUNIS, BENGHAZI: Eastern Libyan authorities and US security firm Guidry Group plan to finalize an agreement to develop a major port in the east of the troubled oil producer, both sides said.
Talks have been going on for about a year to build a port in Susah, which would mark a rare sign of investment in Libya. Most of the country has been in chaos since the toppling of Muammar Qaddafi in 2011.
“The Guidry Group and the State of Libya through the Sea Port Authority officially signed the concession agreement on May 13 for the development of a multi-purpose, deep sea port in Susah, Libya,” the Guidry Group said in a statement to Reuters.
“Next steps for the project will involve establishing all the technical, financial, operational and commercial requirements,” the firm said.
Salah Elhasi, head of the eastern port authority, said no final deal had been signed yet but 90 percent of work was done.
“We are in the final stage of the agreement. ...and are reviewing the agreement’s details,” he said.
Neither side gave details. In February, both had put the investment volume of the project at $1.5 billion.
A final signature would be a coup for the parallel government in charge of eastern Libya which has not gained international recognition. The UN-backed government sits in Tripoli in western Libya.

HIGHLIGHT

The Susah port is supposed to be the main entry port for goods into Libya as a sea depth of up to 40 meters would enable containers to load goods on smaller vessels headed for other cities.

The Susah port is supposed to be the main entry port for goods into Libya as a sea depth of up to 40 meters would enable containers to load goods on smaller vessels headed for other cities.
Officials hope the port will create jobs in a country where most look to a bloated public sector or join armed groups.
Since the negotiations started, tensions between the two governments have escalated as eastern Libyan forces led by Khalifa Haftar allied to the parallel government started a military campaign to seize Tripoli.
The port is meant to serve the whole of Libya.
The Guidry Group said it was “very close” to signing a funding agreement for the port.
Some fear a port may damage ancient historical sites.
Susah, with its sleepy fishing harbor next to historic temple columns and also some underwater sites, is close to the ancient Greek mountain city of Cyrene.


S&P 500 inches closer to record high

Updated 12 August 2020

S&P 500 inches closer to record high

  • US stock market index returns to levels last seen before the onset of coronavirus crisis

NEW YORK: The S&P 500 on Tuesday closed in on its February record high, returning to levels last seen before the onset of the coronavirus crisis that caused one of Wall Street’s most dramatic crashes in history.

The benchmark index was about half a percent below its peak hit on Feb. 19, when investors started dumping shares in anticipation of what proved to be the biggest slump in the US economy since the Great Depression.

Ultra-low interest rates, trillions of dollars in stimulus and, more recently, a better-than-feared second quarter earnings season have allowed all three of Wall Street’s main indexes to recover.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq has led the charge, boosted by “stay-at-home winners” Amazon.com Inc., Netflix Inc. and Apple Inc. The index was down about 0.4 percent.

The blue chip Dow surged 1.2 percent, coming within 5 percent of its February peak.

“You’ve got to admit that this is a market that wants to go up, despite tensions between US-China, despite news of the coronavirus not being particularly encouraging,” said Andrea Cicione, a strategist at TS Lombard.

“We’re facing an emergency from the health, economy and employment point of view — the outlook is a lot less rosy. There’s a disconnect between valuation and the actual outlook even though lower rates to some degree justify high valuation.”

Aiding sentiment, President Vladimir Putin claimed Russia had become the first country in the world to grant regulatory approval to a COVID-19 vaccine. But the approval’s speed has concerned some experts as the vaccine still must complete final trials.

Investors are now hoping Republicans and Democrats will resolve their differences and agree on another relief program to support about 30 million unemployed Americans, as the battle with the virus outbreak was far from over with US cases surpassing 5 million last week.

Also in focus are Sino-US tensions ahead of high-stakes trade talks in the coming weekend.

“Certainly the rhetoric from Washington has been negative with regards to China ... there’s plenty of things to worry about, but markets are really focused more on the very easy fiscal and monetary policies at this point,” said Paul Nolte, portfolio manager at Kingsview Asset Management in Chicago.

Financials, energy and industrial sectors, that have lagged the benchmark index this year, provided the biggest boost to the S&P 500 on Tuesday.

The S&P 500 was set to rise for the eighth straight session, its longest streak of gains since April 2019.

The S&P 500 was up 15.39 points, or 0.46 percent, at 3,375.86, about 18 points shy of its high of 3,393.52. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 341.41 points, or 1.23 percent, at 28,132.85, and the Nasdaq Composite was down 48.37 points, or 0.44 percent, at 10,919.99.

Royal Caribbean Group jumped 4.6 percent after it hinted at new safety measures aimed at getting sailing going again after months of cancellations. Peers Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. and Carnival Corp. also rose.

US mall owner Simon Property Group Inc. gained 4.1 percent despite posting a disappointing second quarter profit, as its CEO expressed some hope over a recovery in retail as lockdown measures in some regions eased.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners 3.44-to-1 on the NYSE and 1.44-to-1 on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 35 new 52-week highs and no new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 50 new highs and four new lows.