Saudi Arabia’s US treasury holdings fall to a 5-year low

Saudi Arabia’s US treasury holdings fall to a 5-year low
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Updated 19 January 2022

Saudi Arabia’s US treasury holdings fall to a 5-year low

Saudi Arabia’s US treasury holdings fall to a 5-year low

MOSCOW: Saudi Arabia's holding of US Treasuries decreased by $1.5 billion in November to hit $115 billion, the lowest level since January 2017.

The relatively marginal monthly drop followed a bigger decline of $7.8 billion recorded in October driven by a $6.8 billion decrease in short-term U.S. Treasury bills. The $1.5 billion slip experienced in November was driven mainly by the disposal of the long-term U.S. Treasuries from the country's portfolio.

In the group of other oil-exporters, it's worth noting that Norway continued its disposal of treasuries as its holding fell for the second month in row. The country's holding of US Treasuries fell by $4.8 billion in November to $100.2 billion after a much bigger drop of $15.8 billion in October.

The UAE also continued selling its treasury holdings, falling by $5 billion in November after a similar $5.1 billion drop in October. This represents quite a significant share of the country's total UST holding which fell to $48 billion in November from $58.7 billion in August.

In addition, Kuwait's holdings declined by $1 billion in November to $45 billion.

As for China, the world's second largest holder of US Treasuries, its holding grew in November by $15.4 billion to $1.08 trillion.

Japan, the number one holder, increased its US treasuries by $20.2 billion, the second consecutive monthly rise.

Globally, the total holding of US Treasuries by non-US residents increased by $88.8 billion to $7.75 trillion.


Saudi Cabinet approves companies law reforms to improve investment environment

Saudi Cabinet approves companies law reforms to improve investment environment
Updated 12 sec ago

Saudi Cabinet approves companies law reforms to improve investment environment

Saudi Cabinet approves companies law reforms to improve investment environment

RIYADH: The Saudi Cabinet has approved the Companies system, the Real Estate Brokerage system and the Regulatory Framework for Public Transport Projects.

The new corporate system gives greater flexibility to companies operating in the Kingdom, as this system will support the legislative and structural reform packages in the Saudi economy. 

It will also enhance the diversity and strength of the local market, and raise the level of competitiveness of the Saudi investment environment.

The Saudi Cabinet said that the International Monetary Fund's estimates of economic growth in the Kingdom reflect the country's efforts and economic reforms. 

It also stressed the importance of securing energy supplies, economic development and addressing the challenges of climate change to ensure the growth and prosperity of countries.

Meanwhile, the Saudi Cabinet is discussing with Azerbaijan and Brazil cooperation agreements in the field of energy.


Commodities Update — Gold buoyed by fall in US bond yields; Wheat up; Copper slips

Commodities Update — Gold buoyed by fall in US bond yields; Wheat up; Copper slips
Updated 5 min 23 sec ago

Commodities Update — Gold buoyed by fall in US bond yields; Wheat up; Copper slips

Commodities Update — Gold buoyed by fall in US bond yields; Wheat up; Copper slips

RIYADH: Gold prices treaded water on Wednesday, with lower US Treasury yields lending support, as bullion struggled to break out of range-bound trading.

Spot gold was up 0.1 percent at $1,821.53 per ounce by 0550 GMT. US gold futures firmed 0.1 percent at $1,822.10. 

Silver dips

Spot silver dipped 0.1 percent to $20.81 per ounce, while platinum rose 0.9 percent to $918.32. 

Palladium gained 2 percent to $1,911.72.

Wheat up, corn down

Chicago wheat futures extended gains on Wednesday, lifted by signs of improving demand and bargain-buying after three straight sessions of losses pushed the contract to its lowest since February.

Corn and soybeans edged lower.

The most active wheat contract on the Chicago Board of Trade rose 0.53 percent to $9.41 a bushel.

Corn fell 0.38 percent to $6.56-3/4 a bushel and soybeans edged down 0.5 percent to $14.55-1/4 a bushel.

Copper down

Copper prices slipped on Wednesday, as downbeat US consumer confidence data and prospects of rapid rate hikes to control a surge in inflation fanned fears of a global economic slowdown, impacting metals demand.

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange was down 0.6 percent at $8,314 a ton, as of 0702 GMT.

Prices of the metal, which are used as a gauge of economic health by investors, have fallen 23 percent since scaling a peak of $10,845 in March.

The most-traded August copper contract in Shanghai ended daytime trading down 0.9 percent to $9,466.07 a ton.

(With inputs from Reuters)


Saudi development fund kicks off $100m Kiffa water project in Mauritania

Saudi development fund kicks off $100m Kiffa water project in Mauritania
Updated 6 min 24 sec ago

Saudi development fund kicks off $100m Kiffa water project in Mauritania

Saudi development fund kicks off $100m Kiffa water project in Mauritania

RIYADH: The Saudi Fund for Development, also known as SFD, has kicked off development projects in Mauritania by providing a $100 million soft development loan for a water project in Kiffa. 

The project includes a 250 km water network that reaches 90 villages and serves more than 20 percent of residents of Mauritania. 

It is expected to help provide clean water to the community, minimize the risks of water-related diseases, and achieve water security for people in Kiffa. 

The SFD delegation to Mauritiana, headed by its CEO Sultan bin Abdulrahman Al-Marshad, also inaugurated the Nouakchott Water Distribution Network Project, which SFD co-financed with a total of $25.33 million. 

The Nouakchott Water Distribution Network Project covers 208 kilometers of water pipelines and serves more than 20,000 homes. 

The delegation also launched the SFD-funded dialysis center project in Nouakchott. 

The project, worth $10 million and funded by a grant from the Kingdom, aims to increase access to health care and upgrade services by expanding the hospital capacity, including equipping a dialysis center with 16 units in Nouakchott.

“These projects will positively impact the social and economic development of our sister country, Mauritania. They provide the necessary support for basic services, promoting positive opportunities for Mauritanian people to meet their daily needs to improve their social and economic level,” said Al-Marshad. 

SFD’s delegation also inaugurated the new campus project in Nouakchott. The $30 million project includes the construction of university buildings and a university mosque, along with providing accommodations facilities. 


Oil Updates — Crude slides; Nigeria raises $482m from oilfield licenses; Exxon, Imperial to sell shale assets 

Oil Updates — Crude slides; Nigeria raises $482m from oilfield licenses; Exxon, Imperial to sell shale assets 
Updated 55 min 54 sec ago

Oil Updates — Crude slides; Nigeria raises $482m from oilfield licenses; Exxon, Imperial to sell shale assets 

Oil Updates — Crude slides; Nigeria raises $482m from oilfield licenses; Exxon, Imperial to sell shale assets 

RIYADH: Oil prices fell on Wednesday after rising in the previous three sessions as the market tussled between concerns about the global economy and tight global oil supplies.

Brent crude futures for August dropped 84 cents, or 0.7 percent, to $117.14 a barrel by 0444 GMT. The August contract will expire on Thursday and the more-active September contract was at $113.17, down 63 cents, or 0.6 percent.

US West Texas Intermediate crude futures slid 54 cents, or 0.5 percent, to $111.22 a barrel.

Nigeria raises $482 million from marginal oilfield licenses

Nigeria has raised more than $482 million from the issuance of oil prospecting licenses after it offered 57 fields for bidding, the petroleum regulator said on Tuesday.

The Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission said over 70 percent of the awardees have fully paid for their licenses, two years after bids were sought for the oil blocks. It did not say how many licenses were issued.

Marginal fields are smaller oil blocks located onshore or in shallow waters and are typically developed by local companies.

The NUPRC, which was established last year after Nigeria passed a new petroleum law, said 30 oil fields were awarded between 1999 to 2010, with 17 producing. The latest round of 57 oilfields began in 2020.

Nigeria’s oil minister said on Friday that after meeting with oil companies he expects to see some improvement in the sector that will enable Africa’s top producer to meet its OPEC production quota by the end of August.

Exxon, Imperial to sell Canada shale assets 

US oil major Exxon Mobil Corp. and Imperial Oil Ltd. said on Tuesday they will sell their Montney and Duvernay shale oil and gas assets in Canada to Whitecap Resources Inc. for $1.48 billion.

Exxon and Imperial, which jointly own the assets, began marketing them at the start of this year, hoping to capitalize on a rebound in oil and gas prices.

The assets were valued at up to $1 billion in January by industry insiders.

A strong run-up in commodity prices since then, with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine stoking global supply concerns, has pushed up the value of oil and gas properties across North America.

Imperial’s share in the sale will be around $729 million, the companies said on Tuesday.

The assets being sold include 567,000 net acres in the Montney shale play, 72,000 net acres in the Duvernay basin and additional acreage in other areas of Alberta.

(With inputs from Reuters) 


OPEC+ begins policy debate as capacity constraints loom

OPEC+ begins policy debate as capacity constraints loom
Updated 29 June 2022

OPEC+ begins policy debate as capacity constraints loom

OPEC+ begins policy debate as capacity constraints loom

LONDON: The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies, known as OPEC+, begin a series of two-day meetings on Wednesday with sources saying chances of a big policy change look unlikely this month, according to Reuters.

At its last meeting in early June OPEC+ decided to speed up production cuts and to raise output each month by 648,000 barrels per day in July and August, up from earlier increases of 432,000 bpd.

OPEC+ consists of OPEC and allies such as Russia.

Washington welcomed OPEC’s decision, which came after months of pressure from the West on OPEC+ to raise production to help cool off oil prices, which soared as a result of sanctions on Russia for the invasion of Ukraine.

However, prices kept rising due to tight supply and worries that OPEC is coming close to running out of spare capacity to raise output any further.

French President Emmanuel Macron told US President Joe Biden this week that he has been told that Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates can barely increase oil production.

Biden will travel to the Middle East including Saudi Arabia next month and is widely expected to further press Riyadh to raise production.

At least five OPEC+ delegates said the meeting this week will focus on confirming August output policies while not discussing September.

Two other delegates said the issue of production post August could emerge but it was not clear what steps could be taken.