Barclays, RBS, HSBC, Credit Suisse fined $390m for forex cartel

Barclays, RBS, HSBC, Credit Suisse fined $390m for forex cartel
European Flags in front of the European Commission Headquarters building in Brussels. Shutterstock
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Updated 02 December 2021

Barclays, RBS, HSBC, Credit Suisse fined $390m for forex cartel

Barclays, RBS, HSBC, Credit Suisse fined $390m for forex cartel
  • HSBC’s fine was the largest at 174.3 million euros

European Union antitrust regulators fined Barclays, Credit Suisse, HSBC and RBS a total of 344 million euros ($390 million) on Thursday for rigging the foreign exchange spot trading market.


UBS avoided a 94 million euro fine as it had alerted the European Commission about the cartel. The EU competition regulator said the cartel had focused on forex spot trading of G10 currencies.


HSBC’s fine was the largest at 174.3 million euros, followed by Credit Suisse at 83.3 million euros, Barclays at 54.3 million and RBS at 32.5 million.


Barclays, HSBC and RBS admitted wrongdoing in return for a cut in the penalty. RBS is now known as NatWest following a rebranding last year.


The fines are the latest to hit banks, which have received billions of euros in penalties worldwide over more than a decade for the rigging of benchmarks used in many day-to-day financial transactions.


“Today we complete our sixth cartel investigation in the financial sector since 2013 and conclude the third leg of our investigation into the foreign exchange spot trading market,” EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager said in a statement.


UAE and South Korea sign agreements in defense, hydrogen cooperation

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, UAE vice president and prime minister and ruler of Dubai, meets with President Moon Jae-in at Expo 2020 Dubai. (WAM)
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, UAE vice president and prime minister and ruler of Dubai, meets with President Moon Jae-in at Expo 2020 Dubai. (WAM)
Updated 16 January 2022

UAE and South Korea sign agreements in defense, hydrogen cooperation

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, UAE vice president and prime minister and ruler of Dubai, meets with President Moon Jae-in at Expo 2020 Dubai. (WAM)
  • The UAE is the first leg of the South Korean president’s tour that includes stops in Saudi Arabia and Egypt

LONDON: The UAE and South Korea signed several agreements on Sunday during President Moon Jae-in’s official visit to the Emirates to attend the “Day of Korea” ceremony at Expo 2020 Dubai.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, UAE vice president and prime minister and ruler of Dubai, praised relations between the two countries and their keenness to further boost bilateral ties in various areas, Emirates News Agency reported.
“The strategic partnership between the UAE and Korea provides many opportunities to enhance cooperation in various fields, including economy, trade, food security, health, culture, space, energy and tourism,” he said, adding the Emirates is South Korea’s top trade partner in the region.
The volume of non-oil trade between the two countries reached $4.8 billion in 2020.

“Prominent strategic projects such as the Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant are proof of the depth of relations between the two friendly nations,” Sheikh Mohammed said. “We also appreciate the active participation of the South Korea pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai.”
During the meeting, a memorandum of understanding was signed between the UAE's Ministry of Defense and South Korea's Defense Acquisition Program Administration on medium and long-term cooperation in the fields of defense industries and technology.
UAE’s Tawazun Economic Council (Tawazun) signed an MoU with Korea’s LIG Nex1 Co. and two MoUs with Hanwha Systems Co.
Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) signed three agreements with a number of Korean entities, and they include a framework agreement between ADNOC and the Export-Import Bank of Korea.
A joint study agreement was signed between ADNOC, the Korea National Oil Corporation and SK Gas on hydrogen, and another agreement between ADNOC and KNOC on ammonia cargo.
“During the next phase, we plan to draw up plans to further expand cooperation in areas of common interest, as well as explore development opportunities in priority sectors,” Sheikh Mohammed said.
Moon will meet Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Riyadh on Tuesday and the head of the Gulf Cooperation Council Nayef Al-Hajraf on Wednesday, when he is expected to announce the resumption of Gulf free-trade talks. He will meet Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi in Cairo on Thursday, South Korean news agency Yonhap said.


Dubai real estate sales in 2021 record highest value since 2009

Dubai real estate sales in 2021 record highest value since 2009
Dubai skyline
Updated 16 January 2022

Dubai real estate sales in 2021 record highest value since 2009

Dubai real estate sales in 2021 record highest value since 2009

Dubai real estate deals were worth approximately 151 billion dirhams ($41.1 billion) in 2021, their highest value since 2009.

The total number of deals last year reached 61,241, the largest number since 2013, according to Al Arabiya.

This value jumped by 110 percent compared to 2020, while the total number of deals increased over the course of 2021 by 74 percent compared to 2020.

Of these deals, ready made properties accounted for 60 percent of total real estate transactions in Dubai in 2021, while the rest was made up of off-plan properties.


Egypt sees first private issuance of green bonds 

Egypt sees first private issuance of green bonds 
Updated 16 January 2022

Egypt sees first private issuance of green bonds 

Egypt sees first private issuance of green bonds 

A Norwegian clean energy company Is working on what wiuld be the first private issuance of green bonds in Egypt. 

Norway's Scatec plans to issue around $340 million in green bonds, secured by its six solar energy plants in Benban complex that has a production capacity of 390 megawatts, Alarabiya reported citing banking sources. 

This comes amid Egypt’s boom in clean infrastructure projects during the last decade.  

 


China plans to increase consumption during the holiday season: Macro snapshot 

China plans to increase consumption during the holiday season: Macro snapshot 
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Updated 16 January 2022

China plans to increase consumption during the holiday season: Macro snapshot 

China plans to increase consumption during the holiday season: Macro snapshot 
  • German gross domestic product rose by 2.7 percent in 2021 compared to 2020

Despite a rise in COVID-19 cases, China is planning to uplift consumption during the holiday season, the country’s National Development and Reform Commission said.

China will still maintain pandemic control, yet its effect would be mitigated through the fine-tuning of those regulations to each area, Bloomberg reported.

The commission also called on e-commerce vendors and online entertainment channels to introduce more sales promotions during the season.

South Korea Interest Rates

In a bid to combat inflation, the Bank of Korea decided to raise its interest by 0.25 percent to the pre-pandemic level of 1.25 percent.

The bank also signaled that further hikes would take place in the remainder of the year, according to The Wall Street Journal. The country’s annual inflation rate reached 3.7 percent in December, noticeably above the central bank’s target of 2 percent.

Inflation is set to remain above the 3 percent mark for a while and would average more than 2.5 percent for the full year, the bank’s governor, Lee Ju-yeol, said.

German GDP growth

German gross domestic product rose by 2.7 percent in 2021 compared to 2020, according to first calculations by the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis).


“Economic development has been largely dependent on the infection rates of Covid-19 and associated preventive measures also in 2021,” said Dr. Georg Thiel, head of the Federal Statistical Office, at the press conference on the 2021 GDP in Wiesbaden. 

“Despite the continuing pandemic situation, more delivery bottlenecks and material shortages, the German economy has managed to recover from the sharp decline last year, even though the economic performance has not yet reached the pre-crisis level agai,” Thiel continued.

Moreover, GDP in 2021 was still 2.0 percent lower than it was in 2019 the year before COVID-19 started.

UK economy

Britain's economy grew 0.9 percent faster than expected in November, before the latest wave of coronavirus infections and restrictions on many businesses, and was 0.7 percent larger than it was in February 2020, according to the Office for National Statistics.


“It's amazing to see the size of the economy back to pre-pandemic levels in November – a testament to the grit and determination of the British people,” finance minister Rishi Sunak said.


Government deposits with SAMA in biggest monthly drop since 2016  

Government deposits with SAMA in biggest monthly drop since 2016  
Updated 16 January 2022

Government deposits with SAMA in biggest monthly drop since 2016  

Government deposits with SAMA in biggest monthly drop since 2016  
  • Compared to December 2020, SAMA's net foreign assets fell 2.4 percent

The government’s deposits with the Saudi Central Bank fell by SR74.7 billion ($19.9 billion) during December to reach SR538, preliminary data posted by SAMA revealed.

This change represents the biggest monthly drawdown of government deposits with SAMA since November 2016 when they fell by SR90.3 billion.

At the same time during December 2021, net foreign assets held by the Saudi Central Bank dropped by 2 percent from November to SR1.64 trillion, according to preliminary data.

Compared to December 2020, SAMA's net foreign assets fell 2.4 percent.

In addition, the Kingdom’s monetary base – which is the sum of currency outside banks, cash in vaults and bank deposits with SAMA – edged up by 0.5 percent in December on a month-on-month basis to reach SR356 billion.