Bahrain probes $1.3bn Iranian money laundering network

Bahrain probes $1.3bn Iranian money laundering network
Al-Buainain alleged that Future Bank and its controlling shareholders were involved in systematic and widespread violations of banking laws in Bahrain. (File/Shutterstock)
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Updated 18 May 2021

Bahrain probes $1.3bn Iranian money laundering network

Bahrain probes $1.3bn Iranian money laundering network
  • Attorney General Ali bin Fadl Al-Buainain said the alleged offenses took place between 2008 and 2012

RIYADH: Bahrain’s attorney general said that public prosecutors had uncovered a $1.3 billion money laundering racket linked to officials at Future Bank and other Iranian institutions — including its central bank.
Attorney General Ali bin Fadl Al-Buainain said the alleged offenses took place between 2008 and 2012.
Al-Buainain said that Future Bank officials, together with other Iranian bank officials and the Central Bank of Iran, were involved in the transfer of money through an unauthorized remittance system, Al Arabiya reported.
Officials concealed the source of the funds to enable banks that included Iran’s Melli Bank and Bank Saderat Iran, to complete transfers which would have otherwise been blocked.
Al-Buainain alleged that Future Bank and its controlling shareholders were involved in systematic and widespread violations of banking laws in Bahrain.

 


Shipping industry faces ESG heat from lenders

Shipping industry faces ESG heat from lenders
Updated 10 sec ago

Shipping industry faces ESG heat from lenders

Shipping industry faces ESG heat from lenders

LONDON: Banks are demanding much stricter environmental criteria when financing shipping companies as investor pressure grows on the sector to accelerate going greener, according to Boston Consulting Group (BCG).

Shipping, which transports about 90 percent of world trade, accounts for nearly 3 percent of the world’s CO2 emissions and BCG forecast the industry will need $2.4 trillion to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.

“ESG-driven requests are already prompting more action from banks. Shipping is already feeling it and they (shipping companies) are under pressure now,” said Peter Jameson, partner with BCG, which are consultants for the COP26 UN climate summit that starts on Oct. 31.

Standard Chartered has already provided loans linked to sustainability targets for drilling group Odfjell and the shipping division of Oman’s Asyad Group, the bank has said.

“When looking at lending on new assets, banks are going to create a bigger conduit for CO2 reductions through their policies,” Jameson told Reuters.

“The banks are also seeing insurance companies feeling shareholder pressure and this is also causing big pension funds to reassess.”

ESG-related assets under management are estimated to represent up to 80 percent of total lending to shipping by 2030, BCG said.

UN shipping agency the International Maritime Organization has said it aims to reduce overall greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from ships by 50 percent from 2008 levels by 2050, but industry groups are calling for more progress from governments.


Global FDI flows rise by over 70% despite a divergence in inflows for different countries: Economic wrap

Global FDI flows rise by over 70% despite a divergence in inflows for different countries: Economic wrap
Updated 6 min 11 sec ago

Global FDI flows rise by over 70% despite a divergence in inflows for different countries: Economic wrap

Global FDI flows rise by over 70% despite a divergence in inflows for different countries: Economic wrap

According to UN data, global foreign direct investment flows were valued at $852 billion in the first half of 2021. This reflected a partial-year growth of 78 percent when compared to 2020.

In the US, inflows were up by 90 percent, driven by a surge in cross-border mergers and acquisitions.

However, James Zhan, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development’s director of investment and enterprise, said that this “mask(s) the growing divergence in FDI flows between developed and developing economies.”

While FDI inflows to high-income countries leapt by a massive partial-year rate of 117 percent, low-income countries faced a 9 percent decline in inflows.

Eurozone’s construction

The euro area’s construction output fell by 1.6 percent year-on-year in August, data released by Eurostat revealed. This was driven by a 2.9 percent annual decline in civil engineering production and a 1.3 percent fall in building construction.

Construction fell the most in Spain and Romania as they saw their annual construction output slip by 13.9 percent and 7 percent respectively. 

On the other hand, Hungary experienced the highest jump in yearly construction production, growing by 10.2 percent. Poland was the second highest with a 7.9 percent year-on-year rise.

On a monthly basis, the zone’s construction also declined by 1.3 percent in August when compared to July.

European trade balances

Switzerland’s trade surplus decreased to CHF4.4 billion in September down from the all-time high of CHF4.6 billion recorded in the previous month, official data showed. 

Exports declined by a monthly rate of 0.2 percent in September. This was driven by a fall in exports to a number of countries. Most notably, exports to the US and Japan slumped by 22.2 percent and 9.6 percent respectively. 

On the other hand, imports rose by 0.9 percent to reach its highest level in 20 months. Imports of pharmaceutical products experienced the highest increase as it grew by 5.2 percent.

Meanwhile, Spain's trade deficit steeply expanded to €3.87 billion in August from a deficit of €1.73 billion in the same month last year, according to official data. 

This was the largest monthly trade deficit since September 2019 as imports leaped by 33.9 percent year-on-year to €26 billion. This was fuelled by an 11.4 percent rise in energy purchases and a 7.9 percent jump in imports of chemical products. Meanwhile, exports rose at a slower 25.1 percent growth rate to reach €22 billion.

During the first eight months of the year, Spain's trade deficit rose to €10.87 billion, from €9.6 billion in the same period a year earlier.

Indonesia’s interest rate on hold

Indonesia's central bank kept interest rates steady at its record low level of 3.5 percent on Monday. Rates remain low to boost economic activity, the bank said.

Bank Indonesia expects the economy to grow by 3.5-4.3 percent in 2021.


UK sets out net zero strategy as it gears up to host COP26

UK sets out net zero strategy as it gears up to host COP26
Updated 20 min 24 sec ago

UK sets out net zero strategy as it gears up to host COP26

UK sets out net zero strategy as it gears up to host COP26

LONDON: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Tuesday set out his ambition for a green revolution that he hopes will force Western economies to kick their addiction to fossil fuels.

Britain at the end of the month hosts the COP26 UN climate talks in Glasgow, Scotland, which aim to strengthen global action on global warming.

“With the major climate summit COP26 just around the corner, our strategy sets the example for other countries to build back greener too as we lead the charge towards global net zero,” Johnson said.

Johnson, who once expressed skepticism about climate change, presented his 368-page net zero strategy as a document that would put the UK at the vanguard of green economies.

“The UK leads the world in the race to net zero,” he said in the foreword to the “Net Zero Strategy: Build Back Greener.”

“The likes of China and Russia are following our lead with their own net zero targets, as prices tumble and green tech becomes the global norm,” he said.

The net-zero strategy is essentially a series of long-term promises, some with caveats, to shift the world's fifth largest economy towards green technologies — from moving to clean electricity “subject to security and supply” to “setting a path” to low-carbon heating in British homes.

It aims to secure 440,000 jobs and unlock £90 billion ($124 billion) of private investment by 2030.

It also aims to help Britain gain a competitive edge in low-carbon technologies such as heat pumps, electric vehicles, carbon capture and storage and hydrogen.

The government aims to be powered entirely by clean electricity, subject to security of supply, by 2035. It aims to have 40 GW of offshore wind power by 2030, as well as 1 GW of floating offshore wind.

Britain will also deliver 5 GW of hydrogen production capacity by 2030 while cutting its emissions from oil and gas by half.

The government aims to deploy at least 5 million tons of CO2 a year of engineered greenhouse gas removals by 2030.

Earlier on Tuesday, Johnson announced nearly £10 billion of private investment in green projects at an investment summit in London.


Indonesia plans to ‘hit the brakes’ on raw commodity exports

Indonesia plans to ‘hit the brakes’ on raw commodity exports
Updated 33 min 5 sec ago

Indonesia plans to ‘hit the brakes’ on raw commodity exports

Indonesia plans to ‘hit the brakes’ on raw commodity exports

BEBATU: Indonesia is planning to “hit the brakes” on the export of all raw commodities in an effort to attract investment in onshore resource processing and create jobs, President Joko Widodo said on Tuesday.

Indonesia has banned a number of unprocessed ore exports including nickel, tin and copper in a bid to encourage downstream industries, including producing batteries for electric vehicles and aluminum industry, among others.

The government is currently conducting a study for the downstreaming of other commodities with a long-term goal of no longer selling just raw materials, the president, who is popularly known as Jokowi, said in an interview in the village of Bebatu on Borneo island.

A new policy would hopefully emerge next year, he said.

“Don’t be surprised. We had nickel (export ban) before. Next year, we may stop bauxite, the next year we may stop something else,” Jokowi said.

Under current regulations, Indonesia will ban bauxite shipments in 2023.

Stopping exports of unprocessed palm oil was being considered, he said, although he declined to provide an estimate of when such policy could be issued.


Chipmaker GlobalFoundries targets valuation of about $25bn in US IPO

Chipmaker GlobalFoundries targets valuation of about $25bn in US IPO
Updated 38 min 22 sec ago

Chipmaker GlobalFoundries targets valuation of about $25bn in US IPO

Chipmaker GlobalFoundries targets valuation of about $25bn in US IPO

BENGALURU: Chipmaker GlobalFoundries, owned by Abu Dhabi’s sovereign wealth fund Mubadala Investment Co., is aiming for a valuation of about $25 billion in its initial public offering in the US.

The IPO, one of the most hotly anticipated listings, is expected to cap a record year for flotations, after several big names such as Robinhood Markets Inc., Coinbase Global Inc. and Roblox Corp. capitalized on the stock markets boom earlier in 2021.

Alongside electric-vehicle maker Rivian’s stock market debut, GlobalFoundries is expected to headline an unusually crowded year-end IPO schedule.

IPOs in the US have already touched an all-time record of over $250 billion this year, according to data from Dealogic.

In a filing to stock exchanges on Tuesday, GlobalFoundries set a price range between $42 and $47 a share for its stock market flotation. At the upper end of the range, the company is expected to raise about $2.6 billion.

Including the “greenshoe option,” which allows companies to sell additional shares during an IPO, GlobalFoundries could be valued at about $26 billion.

Mubadala, which is selling 22 million shares in the IPO, will hold an 89.4 percent stake in GlobalFoundries and control 89.4 percent of the voting power, following the listing and the private placement, according to the latest filing.