Lebanon’s negotiations with IMF likely to start in November: minister

Lebanon's Economy Minister Amin Salam speaks during an interview with Reuters in Beirut, Lebanon on Oct. 22, 2021. (Reuters)
Lebanon's Economy Minister Amin Salam speaks during an interview with Reuters in Beirut, Lebanon on Oct. 22, 2021. (Reuters)
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Updated 24 October 2021

Lebanon’s negotiations with IMF likely to start in November: minister

Lebanon’s negotiations with IMF likely to start in November: minister
  • Foreign Minister Bou Habib also spoke about the maritime border dispute between Lebanon and Israel

BEIRUT: Lebanon’s foreign minister said on Sunday negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) were likely to start in November, Lebanon’s Al Jadeed TV reported.
Economy Minister Amin Salam had said on Friday, in an interview with Reuters, that the new government aimed to make progress toward starting full negotiations for an IMF deal by the end of this year or early next, but was not expecting funds to be dispersed before elections in March.
Foreign Minister Bou Habib also spoke about the maritime border dispute between Lebanon and Israel, telling Al Jadeed that he was “optimistic about reaching an agreement.”
Lebanon and Israel are in dispute over the delineation of their territorial waters and negotiations between the old foes could lead to Lebanon being able to unlock valuable gas reserves amid its worst-ever financial crisis.
The two countries have been holding on-off US mediated talks since October to try to resolve the issue. 


Italy’s Snam buys stake in Algerian gas pipelines

Italy’s Snam buys stake in Algerian gas pipelines
Updated 13 sec ago

Italy’s Snam buys stake in Algerian gas pipelines

Italy’s Snam buys stake in Algerian gas pipelines

MILAN: Italy’s Snam has agreed to buy a stake in pipelines carrying Algerian gas into Italy in a move that could pave the way for hydrogen imports from Africa into Europe.
Europe’s biggest gas infrastructure group said on Saturday it would pay energy company Eni €385 million ($436 million) for a 49.9 percent stake in the pipelines to jointly control the assets with its fellow Italian company.
Snam, which makes most of its money from managing Italy’s natural gas transport grid, has pledged to spend more on new, clean business lines such as green hydrogen.
Like other European gas grid operators, it is upgrading its national network to be hydrogen ready.
Snam also owns 20 percent of the TAP pipeline that carries Azeri gas into Italy.


Saudi finance minister OKs amendments to unified GCC Customs Law

Saudi finance minister OKs amendments to unified GCC Customs Law
Updated 27 November 2021

Saudi finance minister OKs amendments to unified GCC Customs Law

Saudi finance minister OKs amendments to unified GCC Customs Law

RIYADH: Saudi Finance Minister Mohammed Al-Jadaan, who is also chairman of the Zakat, Tax and Customs Authority, has approved amendments to the executive regulations of the Uniform GCC Customs Law, Argaam reported citing the official gazette Umm Al Qura.

As per the amended rules, customs duties on foreign commodities re-exported outside the Gulf Cooperation Council should be refunded, in whole or in part, provided that the exporter (re-exporter) is the importer in whose name the foreign commodities are received, or any person who proves ownership to the Customs Department.

In addition, the re-exported foreign commodities whose customs duties are to be refunded should be from one dispatch, to identify and match them with the import documents, Argaam reported.

Value of the foreign commodities to be re-exported and on which the new rule is applicable should not be less then SR20,000 ($5,332) or its equivalent in other GCC currencies.

The report said: “The refund request should be for foreign commodities that were not used locally after importing from outside the GCC region, and in the same condition they were upon import.

“The foreign commodities should be re-exported within a calendar year from the date of paying the customs duties when importing them for the first time from outside the GCC.”

The refund should be requested within six months from the date of re-export.

 


US investment bank Moelis to open Riyadh office, hire Saudis

US investment bank Moelis to open Riyadh office, hire Saudis
Updated 27 November 2021

US investment bank Moelis to open Riyadh office, hire Saudis

US investment bank Moelis to open Riyadh office, hire Saudis

RIYADH: US investment bank Moelis & Co. plans to open an office in the Saudi capital Riyadh and will soon begin hiring staff in the Kingdom, Bloomberg reported.

The New York-based company sees the Kingdom attracting more foreign investors and benefiting from an “energy supercycle,” Vice Chairman Eric Cantor said in an interview.

The boutique financial adviser, founded by Wall Street veteran Ken Moelis, wants to do more deals in the region as the world’s biggest oil exporter prepares for as many as 160 privatizations in 2022, as well as a flood of initial public offerings to the Kingdom’s stock market.

“We are waiting for a final stamp on our license,” Cantor said. “It’s forthcoming and part of that is hiring Saudis,” he said, without saying how many people the bank wants to employ.

Moelis has its main office for the Middle East in Dubai. The move to open one in Riyadh comes as Saudi Arabia pushes international firms to relocate their regional headquarters there.

 


Oil demand to return to 2019 levels by end of 2022: Baker Hughes CEO

Oil demand to return to 2019 levels by end of 2022: Baker Hughes CEO
Updated 26 November 2021

Oil demand to return to 2019 levels by end of 2022: Baker Hughes CEO

Oil demand to return to 2019 levels by end of 2022: Baker Hughes CEO

RIYADH: Oil demand will return to 2019 levels by the end of 2022, despite some delays in projects due to repercussions from the pandemic, Baker Hughes CEO Lorenzo Simonelli told Al-Arabiya.

National oil companies in the Middle East have been preparing for the increased demand, while international oil companies, especially those in North America, have been maintaining financial discipline in returning funds to shareholders, he said.

However, some independent oil companies have already begun to increase their capital spending, he said.

Currently, Baker Hughes sees an improvement in oil and gas services activity, not only in North America, but also in international basins with low costs, he said.

When it comes to developing its products, Baker Hughes always takes into account carbon emissions and the Texas-based energy services company is trying to shift its sources in its manufacturing operations to renewables and has contracted with suppliers, Simonelli said.

The company pledged to reduce carbon emissions of the first and second scope by 50 percent by 2030, and to zero by 2050, Simonelli said. The company is now concerned with dealing with third scope emissions, he said.

 


Saudi Arabia startups see huge growth in eco-friendly ‘impact’ funding 

Saudi Arabia startups see huge growth in eco-friendly ‘impact’ funding 
Updated 27 November 2021

Saudi Arabia startups see huge growth in eco-friendly ‘impact’ funding 

Saudi Arabia startups see huge growth in eco-friendly ‘impact’ funding 

RIYADH: Venture capital impact investment in Saudi Arabia reached a new high in 2021 in both total number of transactions and capital deployed, according to a report produced by MAGNiTT and sponsored by Wa'ed, Saudi Aramco's entrepreneurship arm.

Impact investments are those aimed at generating a measurable social and environmental benefit alongside a financial return. 

Impact funding in the Kingdom up to the third quarter of 2021 was 130 percent higher than in 2020 in terms of funding, and 21 percent higher in transactions.

Some $444 million were invested through 403 deals with impact-driven startups across the Middle East and North Africa between 2016 and the third quarter of 2021, according to the report.

Of those deals, 20 percent involved Saudi-based firms.

Flat6Labs was the leading impact investor in startups based in the MENA region with 45 transactions between 2016 and the third quarter of this year to date. 

The Saudi Aramco Entrepreneurship Center, 500 Startups, the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology Innovation Fund, Oasis 500 and Falak Startups invested in 12 or more funding rounds raised by impact-driven startups in MENA.

The education and healthcare technology sectors accounted for the highest share in total impact VC deals, collectively registering 40 percent of all transactions in MENA from 2016 to the third quarter of this year to date.

The energy sector played a key role in impact investments across MENA, with 95 percent of all funding going to startups within the impact ecosystem.