Governor of Saudi wealth fund appointed Aramco chairman

Governor of Saudi wealth fund appointed Aramco chairman
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Yasir Al-Rumayyan is head of Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund and already an Aramco board member. (AFP/File photo)
Governor of Saudi wealth fund appointed Aramco chairman
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Khalid Al-Falih, seen here, will be replaced as the chairman of Aramco by Yasir Al-Rumayyan, head of the Kingdom’s sovereign wealth fund (AFP/File photo)
Updated 03 September 2019

Governor of Saudi wealth fund appointed Aramco chairman

Governor of Saudi wealth fund appointed Aramco chairman
  • Yasir Al-Rumayyan replaces Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih from the top Aramco post
  • The move comes as the government prepares for an IPO of the state-owned oil company

RIYADH/DUBAI: Yasir Al-Rumayyan, governor of Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, has been appointed chairman of Saudi Aramco as the world’s biggest oil company gears up to list shares on a stock market.

Al-Rumayyan replaces Khalid Al-Falih, who has been chairman of Aramco since 2015 and has led the preparation for an initial public offering (IPO) of Aramco shares, as well as a record breaking $12 billion bond issue this year. He has been with Aramco since 1979.

Al-Falih remains minister of energy and head of the Saudi delegation at the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), where he has been instrumental in forging an alliance with Russia to limit global crude oil production. Last week, a new Ministry of Industry and Minerals was set up, removing those sectors from his former portfolio.

Al-Falih tweeted his congratulations to Al-Rumayyan. “This comes as an important step to prepare the company for the public offering, wishing him every success,” he said.

Al-Rumayyan, who has overseen the transformation of the PIF from a small civil-service pension investor to a sovereign wealth fund with $320 billion of assets under management, is already on the board of Aramco.

Ellen Wald, a US consultant and author of the book Saudi Inc, highlighted the importance of the oil price for the IPO. “As long as Al-Falih is the energy minister, all assumptions are that he is in charge of oil policy and OPEC,” she told Arab News.


Saudi private sector rebounds with growth at 10-month high

Updated 4 min 6 sec ago

Saudi private sector rebounds with growth at 10-month high

Saudi private sector rebounds with growth at 10-month high
  • Steep rise in sales and growing business confidence spark jump in purchasing, hiring activity

RIYADH: Business activity in Saudi Arabia has risen to its highest level since January this year, showing the Kingdom’s economy is beginning to overcome the worst effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

According to IHS Markit’s Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) Survey, the acceleration of output growth in the Saudi economy in November was driven by a steep rise in sales and strengthening business confidence.

The survey found that input purchasing rose, while employment growth also returned for the first time since January. Input cost inflation also quickened, leading to a stronger increase in average output charges.

The index has now registered above the 50.0 no-change mark for three months in a row, highlighting a sustained recovery after the economic downturn due to the pandemic.

The Saudi PMI rose to 54.7 in November from 51 the previous month — the strongest improvement since January. The indices vary between 0 and 100, with a reading above 50 indicating an overall increase compared with the previous month, and below 50 an overall decrease.

Both domestic and foreign sales rose last month, marking only the second upturn in new export orders since February.

FASTFACT

$7 Billion

The Public Investment Fund invested $7 billion in mainly US stocks in the first quarter of the year.

Business confidence for the year ahead also improved notably during the month. In particular, firms were encouraged by the Saudi government’s easing of lockdown curbs and news of a breakthrough in the development of a vaccine.

Accelerated rises in output and new orders led Saudi firms to sharply expand purchasing activity during November. In addition, hiring activity turned positive and a number of companies linked increased employment to rising demand.

Commenting on the latest survey, David Owen, an economist at IHS Markit, said: “A third successive rise in the Saudi Arabia PMI pointed to an economy getting back on its feet in November. Supported by output and new business growth reaching 10-month highs, the data suggests a strong end to the year for the non-oil private sector. Notably, employment started to rise, while business confidence strengthened in the wake of encouraging vaccine news and sharper demand growth.”

Saudi economist and financial analyst Talat Zaki Hafiz told Arab News: “The improvement is due to many factors, such as the reopening of the market with the ease in lockdown and, finally, the lifting of the curfew. The return to normality has had a significant impact on private sector performance.”

Hafiz added: “Things will get much better by the next year. We have also noticed an improvement in oil prices recently and this will improve things significantly.”