As FII finishes, preparations begin for G20 and women’s empowerment

Top finance moguls and political leaders attended the three-day Davos-style Saudi investment summit, which concluded on Oct. 31, 2019. (AFP / FAYEZ NURELDINE)
Updated 01 November 2019

As FII finishes, preparations begin for G20 and women’s empowerment

  • The final “deal value” of FII — the amount of money invested by Saudi Arabian and foreign companies during the week — reached $20 billion

RIYADH: The Future Investment Initiative forum in Riyadh closed with a total of $20 billion in financial deals signed and a commitment that Saudi Arabia would address the issues of social empowerment and sustainability when it hosts the G20 gathering of heads of state a year from now.

Saudi Minister of State Ibrahim Al-Assaf told a crowded closing plenary session that the Kingdom had been preparing for the G20 for some time, with a formal handover from Japan expected later in November.

“We have had high-level meetings headed by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and also other committees preparing for that. On the agenda obviously are the outstanding issues — like dealing with the microeconomic challenges, dealing with financial regulatory issues, and dealing with structural reforms.

Al-Assaf added: “Each presidency there will be a specific area where the interests of the host will be focussed on. In the case of Saudi Arabia, I believe that one of the most important issues will be empowering women and youth. This is very important and although we have little experience, we have been successful in that. This is where the growth will be coming from.” 

The final “deal value” of FII — the amount of money invested by Saudi Arabian and foreign companies during the week — reached $20 billion with the signing of a $5 billion investment agreement between Al-Akaria, the Saudi real estate developer, and Triple Five group of Canada, to develop the Arabian Dream project, a world-class international tourist destination. 

SAGIA, the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority, said the project would ultimately attract 70 million visitors and employ 25,000 nationals.

Al-Assaf joked: “Last year it (FII) was called ‘Davos in the Desert,’ and I believe in the future we should call the other one FII in the Snow.”

 


Iraq pledges full compliance with OPEC+ oil cuts

Updated 9 min 27 sec ago

Iraq pledges full compliance with OPEC+ oil cuts

  • Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman Al-Saud, the Saudi Arabian energy minister, and his Iraqi counterpart, Ihsan Ismail, reaffirmed their commitment to the cuts
  • Under tough economic pressure, Iraq had struggled to meet the full cuts, but Ismail promised to reach 100 percent this month

DUBAI: Iraq has pledged to meet in full its obligations under the OPEC+ oil production cuts that have been credited with rebalancing global crude markets after the mayhem of April’s “Black Monday” when prices crashed around the world.

In a telephone call between Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman Al-Saud, Saudi Arabian energy minister, and his Iraqi counterpart, Ihsan Ismail, the two men reaffirmed their commitment to the cuts, which have helped to pull the oil price back from historic lows.

Brent crude, the global benchmark, has more than doubled in the past three months.

Under tough economic pressure, Iraq had struggled to meet the full cuts, but Ismail promised to reach 100 percent this month. Iraq has now committed itself to an ambitious program of compensation to make up for past overproduction.

Iraq will further reduce production by 400,000 barrels per day this month and next, Ismail said, bringing its total cut to 1.25 million barrels daily. That level of cuts could be adjusted when final estimates of compliance are assessed by the six “secondary sources” that monitor OPEC+ output.

“The two ministers stressed that efforts by OPEC+ countries toward meeting production cuts, and the extra cuts under the compensation regime, will enhance oil market stability, help accelerate the rebalancing of global oil markets, and send a constructive signal to the market,” a joint statement added.

Prince Abdulaziz thanked Ismail for his efforts to improve Iraq’s compliance with the agreement.

Iraq had been the biggest laggard in the move toward 100 percent compliance by the 23 members of the OPEC+ alliance.

Officials in Riyadh told Arab News that Iraqi compliance had reached about 90 percent, a high level by the country’s previous standards but still short of the new targets.

Saudi Arabia has been forcefully advocating full compliance with the targets in an effort to remove oil from the global market as demand is still badly affected by the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The oil market will be under the spotlight later this month when the joint ministerial monitoring committee of OPEC+ energy ministers convenes virtually in the most recent of the monthly meetings set up to oversee the state of the global industry.

Oil had another strong week on global markets, breaking through the $45 barrier for the first time since early March on signs that the glut in US oil stocks was easing, as well as reductions in the amount of “floating crude” stored in tankers on the world’s oceans.

The price spiked on news of the Beirut explosion, which some analysts believed could herald a deterioration in regional security and a threat to oil exports.

Brent crude was trading at $44.70 on international markets.