Saudi stocks open flat nudging higher; oil hits 7 year high: Opening bell

Saudi stocks open flat nudging higher; oil hits 7 year high: Opening bell
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Updated 18 January 2022

Saudi stocks open flat nudging higher; oil hits 7 year high: Opening bell

Saudi stocks open flat nudging higher; oil hits 7 year high: Opening bell

RIYADH: The Saudi stock exchange opened flat with positive bias on Tuesday amid a stronger oil market and new company listings.

As of 10:20 a.m. Saudi time, TASI was flat at 12,171 points, and the parallel Nomu market edged up by 0.2 percent to 26,219 points.

Nomu was led by Alwasail Industrial Co. and AME Co. for Medical Supplies on debut, up 30 percent each.

On TASI, Saudi insurers Amana Cooperative Insurance and Saudi Enaya Cooperative Insurance topped the gainers, rising 4 and 2.9 percent, respectively.

Earlier today, Amana announced its board’s recommendation to increase capital through a rights issue, with a target amount of SR300 million ($80 million).

The Kingdom’s largest lender, the Saudi National Bank, rose to SR73.6, and oil giant Saudi Aramco was up slightly to SR37.

Tadawul group, owner of the Saudi Exchange, added 2.4 percent to reach SR164 — its highest value since listing. This came amid trading of almost 500,000 shares.

Shares of Mouwasat Medical Services Co. saw the highest losses, down 0.75 percent in early trading. This followed the board’s recommendation of a SR2.75 dividend per share for 2021.

Aldrees Petroleum and Transport Services Co. saw gains amounting to 2.3 percent after posting profits of SR177 million in 2021, a 46-percent leap from a year earlier.

In energy trading, Brent crude reached $87.8 per barrel — the highest in over 7 years, and US WTI crude oil crossed $85 per barrel as of 10:30 a.m. Saudi time.


ECB to force UK-based investment banks to relocate staff, trading

ECB to force UK-based investment banks to relocate staff, trading
Updated 6 sec ago

ECB to force UK-based investment banks to relocate staff, trading

ECB to force UK-based investment banks to relocate staff, trading
  • Banks could be required to appoint a head of trading desk within the euro area legal entity or may be asked to ensure the desk has the adequate infrastructure and number and seniority of traders

FRANKFURT: Too many global investment banks continue to serve euro zone clients out of London and the European Central Bank plans to force them to relocate senior staff and trading activity to the bloc, ECB supervisory chief Andrea Enria said on Thursday.

The ECB has long battled the industry’s biggest players, who are reluctant to relocate activities after Brexit, despite explicit demands by the ECB, which supervises the bloc’s biggest financial institutions.

In a sign that patience is wearing thin, Enria said the ECB will issue “binding decisions” to key investment firms, prescribing action on a case-by-case basis.

“We want to ensure that incoming legal entities have onshore governance and risk management arrangements that are commensurate, from a prudential perspective, with the risk they originate,” Enria said in a blog post. “The extent of the actual relocation and specific booking configuration will depend on the current set-up of each bank.”

Banks could be required to appoint a head of trading desk within the euro area legal entity or may be asked to ensure the desk has the adequate infrastructure and number and seniority of traders to manage risk locally, the ECB said.

They could also be asked to establish a solid governance and internal control framework of remote booking practices and to ensure limited reliance on intragroup hedging.

Of the trading desks assessed by the ECB at seven key institutions, around 70 percent still used a back-to-back booking model, a frowned upon practice in which a firm transfers risks to a third party or to another intragroup entity which then hedges it.

It also concluded that 20 percent of desks were organized as split desks, in which a duplicate version of the primary trading desk located offshore is established within the euro area legal entity to manage the part of the risk originated there.

These practices remove risk management expertise from the euro zone entity, leaving the local unit vulnerable in case of market turbulence.

“It is our duty to protect the depositors and other creditors of the local legal entity, prevent the disruption of banking services and safeguard broader financial stability in our area of jurisdiction,” Enria said. 


Russian pipeline gas exports to EU fall 4.5% as supplies through Ukraine get hit

Russian pipeline gas exports to EU fall 4.5% as supplies through Ukraine get hit
Updated 10 min 30 sec ago

Russian pipeline gas exports to EU fall 4.5% as supplies through Ukraine get hit

Russian pipeline gas exports to EU fall 4.5% as supplies through Ukraine get hit

RIYADH: Russia’s gas pipeline exports through its main trade routes — an aggregate of Nord Stream 1, Ukraine transit, and Yamal pipeline — fell 4.5 percent on May 16, a recent market note issued by Rystad Energy said.
The dip is caused due to a near 30 percent decline in the flows via Ukraine’s gas transportation system.
The European benchmark for natural gas prices — Dutch TTF M+1 — surged 15 percent on May 12 as Moscow placed sanctions on Gazprom units that operate in countries that have imposed sanctions on Russia since the start of the Ukraine war, according to another note from RE.
The Russian government has barred 31 companies from conducting transactions and entering Russian ports including Gazprom Germania and Europol Gas -– the owner of the Polish part of the Yamal Europe pipeline.
The Yamal-Europe pipeline is seen as a potential alternative route to the Russian transits via Ukraine that has been put in jeopardy due to the ongoing war between the two countries.
Russia had previously halted supplies to Poland and Bulgaria to take action against “unfriendly” countries that refuse to make payments in rubles, according to Bloomberg.
Shipments via Ukraine, on the other hand, were also curtailed on May 11 after a key cross-border entry point was put out of action because of troop activity on the ground.
“Current gas contracts could be deemed null and void because of this decision and supplies could be stopped unilaterally by Gazprom, citing a regulatory order outside of their control,” Kaushal Ramesh, a senior analyst at Rystad Energy said in a May 12 note.
“There is historical precedent for Gazprom stopping gas flows as they did several times between 2005-2014,” Ramesh pointed out then.
While this situation is not probable, it will put pressure on Europe “to arrange for additional LNG, speed up plans for a buyer’s alliance and potentially consider demand-side measures such as gas rationing,” the analysis said.
The EU, however, has been taking precautionary measures to ensure appropriate storage levels. The current stock is expected to last through most of 2022 taking into consideration the possibility of a complete halt of Russian flows.
But the outlook for winter 2022 supply is now much more pessimistic, the note said.
As Europe and its allies in the US and the UK impose a wide range of sanctions targeting Russia over the war in Ukraine, they are yet to find alternatives to Russian gas that makes up 40 percent of their consumption.


Oil prices extend losses on fears of economic slowdown

Oil prices extend losses on fears of economic slowdown
Updated 11 min 55 sec ago

Oil prices extend losses on fears of economic slowdown

Oil prices extend losses on fears of economic slowdown
  • Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said on Thursday that Moscow would send any oil rejected by European countries to Asia and other regions

LONDON: Oil prices fell on Thursday, following earlier gains, on concerns that high fuel prices could hurt economic growth, but planned easing of restrictions in Shanghai and a tight supply outlook capped losses.

Brent crude futures for July were down $1.25, or 1.2 percent, at $107.86 a barrel by 0932 GMT. US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures for June fell $1.96, or 1.8 percent, to $107.63 a barrel.

Front-month prices for both benchmarks fell about 2.5 percent on Wednesday.

“Slumping stocks led by the US retail sector raised concerns about growth, and with that, demand for fuels,” Saxo Bank analyst Ole Hansen said.

Heavy falls on European and Asian stock markets followed Wall Street’s worst day since mid-2020, as stark warnings from some of the world’s biggest retailers underscored just how hard inflation is biting.

The looming possibility of a European Union ban on Russian oil imports has been supporting prices, however.

This month the EU proposed a new package of sanctions against Russia for its invasion of Ukraine, which Moscow calls a “special military operation.”

That would include a total ban on oil imports in six months’ time, but the measures have not yet been adopted, with Hungary among the most vocal critics of the plan.

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said on Thursday that Moscow would send any oil rejected by European countries to Asia and other regions.

Novak said Russian oil production was about 1 million bpd lower in April but had increased by 200,000 bpd to 300,000 bpd in May with more volumes expected to be restored next month.

On Wednesday, the European Commission unveiled a 210-billion-euro ($220-billion) plan for Europe to end its reliance on Russian fossil fuels by 2027, and to use the pivot away from Moscow to quicken its transition to green energy.

Also, US crude inventories fell last week, an unexpected drawdown, as refiners ramped up output in response to tight product inventories and near-record exports that have forced US diesel and gasoline prices to record levels.

Capacity use on both the East Coast and Gulf Coast was above 95 percent, propelling those refineries close to their highest possible running rates.

In China, investors are closely watching plans to ease coronavirus curbs from June 1 in the most populous city of Shanghai, which could lead to a rebound in oil demand from the world’s top crude importer.


UAE healthcare platform NMC appoints Jean-Philippe Sarther as CFO

UAE healthcare platform NMC appoints Jean-Philippe Sarther as CFO
Updated 8 min 53 sec ago

UAE healthcare platform NMC appoints Jean-Philippe Sarther as CFO

UAE healthcare platform NMC appoints Jean-Philippe Sarther as CFO

ABU DHABI: Integrated private healthcare platform NMC OpCo. Ltd. has appointed Jean-Philippe Sarther as its new chief financial officer.

In a statement, NMC stated that the new appointment will instill robust governance at every level of the organization, which is expected to ensure business growth. 

In a career that spans over 25 years, Sarther has worked across various industry sectors in Europe and the Middle East. He had previously held the position of CFO in companies like Tristar Group, GEMS Education, and Axiom Telecom. 

“JP’s (Jean Philippe Sarther) expertise and experience with both public and founder-led private companies make him the ideal partner as we embark on NMC’s next phase of growth, marked by a clear direction and focus on governance throughout the organization,” said Michael Davis, CEO of NMC.


Indonesia to lift ban on palm oil exports from Monday: president

Indonesia to lift ban on palm oil exports from Monday: president
Updated 22 min 14 sec ago

Indonesia to lift ban on palm oil exports from Monday: president

Indonesia to lift ban on palm oil exports from Monday: president

Jakarta: Indonesia will lift its ban on palm oil exports next week, President Joko Widodo said Thursday, relieving pressure on the global vegetable oil market that hit peak prices because of the suspension, the war in Ukraine and global warming.

“Based on the supply and the condition of cooking oil and considering there are 17 million people in the palm oil industry; farmers and other supporting workers, I decided that cooking oil export will reopen on Monday, May 23,” he told an online briefing.

Indonesia's Palm Oil Association appreciates the government's decision to lift a palm oil export ban from May 23, as storage tanks were reaching full capacity, secretary general Eddy Martono said on Thursday.

Separately, palm oil farmers union SPKS in a statement said it hopes plantation activities will soon return to normal due to the removal of the ban.