Oman credit rating outlook revised to positive by S&P on fiscal improvement

Oman credit rating outlook revised to positive by S&P on fiscal improvement
Oman was downgraded to B+ from BB- by S&P in October 2020 as debt level rose. (Shuttertstock)
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Updated 02 October 2021

Oman credit rating outlook revised to positive by S&P on fiscal improvement

Oman credit rating outlook revised to positive by S&P on fiscal improvement
  • Long-term foreign currency credit rating was affirmed at B+

RIYADH: S&P Global Ratings revised up Oman’s credit outlook to positive from stable on the expectation that the sultanate’s reform program will limit increases in government debt in the coming years.

Oman’s credit rating was affirmed at ‘B+/B’. S&P downgraded Oman's long-term sovereign credit rating to B+ from BB- in October 2020 due to the projected material deterioration of public sector finances.

“The positive outlook indicates that we consider that Oman’s reform program, and the higher oil prices relative to 2020, will narrow fiscal deficits and slow the increase in net government debt over the next three years,” Dubai-based credit analyst Zahabia Gupta wrote in a rating note.

S&P said it could raise its ratings on Oman over the next 12 months if planned fiscal reforms and stronger economic growth sustainably reduce fiscal imbalances and the stock of net government debt beyond its current expectations.

However, it could revise the outlook to stable if it saw risks to fiscal reform implementation that could reduce the government’s ability to maintain sustainable public finances, Gupta said.

S&P could also revise the outlook to stable if external debt issuances by government-related
enterprises increased the country’s external debt metrics more than it currently expects.


Sajwani buys 15.6% of DAMAC shares through Dubai Financial Market

Sajwani buys 15.6% of DAMAC shares through Dubai Financial Market
Updated 5 sec ago

Sajwani buys 15.6% of DAMAC shares through Dubai Financial Market

Sajwani buys 15.6% of DAMAC shares through Dubai Financial Market

RIYADH: Maple Invest, owned by businessman Hussein Sajwani has bought a 15.6 percent stake in Damac Properties through the Dubai Financial Market.

It is part of a plan by which the Emirati businessman aims to acquire up to 100 percent shares of the company he established in 2002 and de-listing it  from the Dubai market, Asharq reported on Sunday.

According to Damac Properties’ disclosure to the Dubai market on Sunday, Maple executed approximately 944 million shares, representing 15.6 percent of the property firm's issued capital, at a price of 1.4 dirhams per share.

Maple made a conditional offer to buy the rest of the shares of the firm — which is not owned by Maple or its subsidiaries — on June 9. The offer included a price of 1.3 dirhams per share. Damac shareholders rejected the offer and called on its board of directors to appoint advisers to assess the fairness of the offer's value.

In late October, Maple announced that it intends to purchase 800 million shares of Damac Properties through the Dubai Financial Market, provided that the purchase process is outside the offer made by Maple to acquire all of Damac’s shares.

The data issued today is the implementation of a quantity higher than the target, bringing Sajwani’s direct and indirect share in the company to approximately 88 percent.


Crypto exchange Coinstore enters India despite restrictions on trade: Crypto wrap

Crypto exchange Coinstore enters India despite restrictions on trade: Crypto wrap
Updated 5 min 36 sec ago

Crypto exchange Coinstore enters India despite restrictions on trade: Crypto wrap

Crypto exchange Coinstore enters India despite restrictions on trade: Crypto wrap

RIYADH: Singapore-based virtual currency exchange Coinstore has begun operations in India at a time when the Indian government is preparing legislation to effectively bar most private cryptocurrencies.

Coinstore is the second global exchange to enter India in recent months, following in the footsteps of CrossTower which launched its local unit in September.

Coinstore has launched its web and app platform and plans branches in Bangalore, New Delhi and Mumbai which will act as its base in India for future expansion, its management said.

"With nearly a quarter of our total active users coming from India, it made sense for us to expand into the market," Charles Tan, head of marketing at Coinstore told Reuters.

Asked why Coinstore was launching India despite the pending clampdown on cryptocurrencies, Tan said: "There have been policy flip-flops but we hope things are going to be positive and we are optimistic that the Indian government will come out with a healthy framework for cryptocurrencies."

Tan said Coinstore plans to recruit about 100 employees in India and spend $20 million for marketing, hiring and development of crypto-related products and services for the Indian market.

The price of the world's biggest cryptocurrency, Bitcoin, has more than doubled since the start of this year, attracting hordes of Indian investors.

Industry estimates suggest there are 15 million to 20 million crypto investors in India, with total crypto holdings of around 400 billion rupees ($5.33 billion).

Coinstore also plans to expand into Japan, Korea, Indonesia and Vietnam, according to Tan.

Crypto payments

Newegg, one of the major technology-focused e-commerce platforms, has announced that SHIB is coming soon to its platform.

Newegg currently accepts cryptocurrency via Bitpay and the crypto payment service provider is expected to add shiba inu to its list of supported cryptocurrencies, which includes the rival meme cryptocurrency dogecoin.

Meanwhile, AMC theaters are also preparing to accept SHIB payments in the first quarter of next year, according to the CEO Adam Aron.

Daily trading

Bitcoin, the leading cryptocurrency in trading internationally, traded lower on Sunday, falling by 1.17  percent to $54,322. at 5:46 p.m. Riyadh time.

Ether, the second most traded cryptocurrency, traded at $4,077, down by 1.52 percent, according to data from CoinDesk.


Commercial banks’ lending to private sector up $6.42 bn in October

Commercial banks’ lending to private sector up $6.42 bn in October
Updated 8 min 6 sec ago

Commercial banks’ lending to private sector up $6.42 bn in October

Commercial banks’ lending to private sector up $6.42 bn in October

MOSCOW: Commercial banks’ October lending to the private sector grew by SR24.1 billion ($6.42 billion) from a month ago to SR2 trillion, data published by Saudi Arabia’s central bank on Sunday revealed.

This corresponded to a monthly growth rate of 1.2 percent from the previous month’s SR1.99 trillion in September. 

On the other hand, commercial banks’ lending to the government and quasi-government entities sector fell by a monthly SR13.1 billion to reach SR546.9 billion, reflecting a decline rate of 2.3 percent. 

Looking at the banks’ total assets, official data showed that they grew by SR42.1 billion compared to the previous month to hit SR3.19 trillion. The monthly growth rate stood at 1.3 percent.


TASI falls 4.5% to near 5 month-low: Market wrap

TASI falls 4.5% to near 5 month-low: Market wrap
Image: Shutterstock
Updated 28 min 16 sec ago

TASI falls 4.5% to near 5 month-low: Market wrap

TASI falls 4.5% to near 5 month-low: Market wrap

RIYADH: The Saudi stock market ended the session on Sunday, down 4.5 percent or 512 points, to close at 10,788 points.

Some 233.1 million shares changed hands in 407,000 deals, with heavy trading in Al Rajhi bank, Alinma Bank, SABIC.

Today’s decline is the largest in percentage terms and points since May 2020, when the market fell by 7.4 percent and 527 points.

On Friday, global markets suffered sharp losses after the World Health Organization (WHO) warned that Omicron, the new COVID-19 variant with numerous mutations, is likely to resist the current vaccines.

In addition, Brent crude dropped 11.6 percent to $72.72 a barrel, while WTI sank 13 percent to $ 68.15 a barrel.

The parallel Nomu index was down 790 points, or 3.41 percent, It closed at 22,374.24 points, after 313,000 trades.

Most of the shares declined today, led by Al Rajhi Bank and SABIC closing at SR133.80 ($35.6) down 5 percent and SR112 down 6 percent.

Saudi Aramco finished at SR34.90 down 2 percent amid trading of about seven million shares.

Saudi National Bank, Alinma Bank, Riyad Bank, Banque Saudi Fransi, Bank Albilad, Sipchem, Maaden, SABB and SABIC Agri-Nutrients declined between 3 and 6 percent.

Petro Rabigh, Saudi Kayan, JAZADCO and Tasnee were among the top decliners.

Meanwhile, Amana Insurance and Saudi Enaya were top gainers, rising to SR37.30 and SR33.35, respectively.


Saudi Energy Ministry to help SABIC develop renewable energy projects

Saudi Energy Ministry to help SABIC develop renewable energy projects
Updated 31 min 17 sec ago

Saudi Energy Ministry to help SABIC develop renewable energy projects

Saudi Energy Ministry to help SABIC develop renewable energy projects

RIYADH: Saudi Energy Ministry on Sunday signed a memorandum of understanding with the Saudi Basic Industries Corp. to help develop the company’s renewable energy projects. 

SABIC CEO Yousef Al-Benyan said the support from the Energy Ministry would enable the company achieve its net-zero emissions goal.

Al-Benyan said the chemical manufacturing company plans to increase its use of renewable energy to further reduce emissions of greenhouse gases.

All these measures are part of the Saudi Green Initiative. The Kingdom aims to reach net zero in carbon emissions by 2060.  

The main vehicle for the Saudi green initiative is the Circular Carbon Economy, a framework that mitigates carbon emissions but allows different countries to pursue their own economic strategies.