US, Qatar discuss gas supplies amid Ukraine invasion fears

US, Qatar discuss gas supplies amid Ukraine invasion fears
Above, Ras Laffan Industrial City, Qatar’s principal site for production of liquefied natural gas and gas-to-liquid. (AFP)
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Updated 22 January 2022

US, Qatar discuss gas supplies amid Ukraine invasion fears

US, Qatar discuss gas supplies amid Ukraine invasion fears
  • As Europe faces record energy prices, concerns especially high over possible supply dip
  • American official: ‘There’s no magic wand. It’s all really hard, really complicated’

LONDON: The US is holding discussions with Qatar and other gas exporters amid fears that a Russian invasion of Ukraine could spark a decline in supply.

The talks with the Gulf state and some EU nations have focused on new ways to secure alternative seaborne liquefied natural gas cargoes.

The discussions have become more intense in the last week as security talks between senior American and Russian ministers made little progress.

As Europe is facing record energy prices, concerns are especially high regarding a possible dip in gas supplies.

“We’re looking at what can be done in preparation for an event, especially midwinter with very low (European natural gas) supplies in storage,” a senior US administration official told the Financial Times.

“We discussed what can be moved around the market, what can help … the things we can prepare now for deployment if and when there is an escalated crisis.”

Officials are concerned that Europe could face widespread chaos, with blackouts and industrial disruption, if Russian gas exports fall sharply following an invasion. Gas stocks are at a record low for this time of year.

The US administration official said existing contracts between LNG exporters and Asian buyers risk disrupting any new plans to divert supply to Europe.

“There’s no magic wand,” the official said. “It’s all really hard, really complicated. Looking to do it within the constructs of how markets work, how commercial terms work, how cargoes work.”

An energy industry executive warned that Europe would almost certainly face extremely high energy prices amid an invasion, which could require coordinated government action to secure alternative LNG supplies.

“They will effectively have to compete for all the supply in the market, taking cargoes away from Asia, and the likely end result is the taxpayer will pay,” the executive told the FT.

“It would be like procuring PPE (personal protective equipment) at the start of the pandemic, with governments needing to intervene.”


India In-Focus — Indian shares rise; Serum plans African vaccine plant; Paytm expects central bank curbs to be lifted soon

India In-Focus — Indian shares rise; Serum plans African vaccine plant; Paytm expects central bank curbs to be lifted soon
Updated 13 sec ago

India In-Focus — Indian shares rise; Serum plans African vaccine plant; Paytm expects central bank curbs to be lifted soon

India In-Focus — Indian shares rise; Serum plans African vaccine plant; Paytm expects central bank curbs to be lifted soon
  • Africa was the only continent that did not have its own manufacturing capacity for COVID-19 vaccines during the worst phases of the pandemic

MUMBAI: Indian shares rose slightly on Tuesday, helped by automobile and metal stocks, with investors watching the shares of newly-listed logistics firm Delhivery.

The NSE Nifty 50 index was up 0.13 percent at 16,236.35 by 0350 GMT, while the S&P BSE Sensex rose 0.14 percent to 54,365.34.

Vaccine giant Serum plans African plant in global expansion

The Serum Institute of India, the world’s biggest vaccine maker, is considering setting up its first manufacturing plant in Africa as it looks to expand globally after its success in selling COVID-19 vaccines, its CEO told Reuters on Monday.

“It’s never been a better time to be a vaccine manufacturer. I’m looking at expanding our manufacturing across the globe,” SII CEO Adar Poonawalla said during an interview at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

“There are some great countries out there: South Africa, Rwanda, you know, to name a few that we’re looking at.”

Africa was the only continent that did not have its own manufacturing capacity for COVID-19 vaccines during the worst phases of the pandemic in the last two years, leaving it at the mercy of suppliers from overseas, including the SII.

Paytm payments bank expects central bank curbs to be lifted soon

India’s Paytm Payments Bank, which facilitates transactions on mobile commerce platform Paytm, expects the central bank to allow it to resume taking on new customers in the next few months, a top executive told Reuters.

In March, the Reserve Bank of India ordered a comprehensive audit of the company’s IT systems, citing “material” supervisory concerns, without elaborating further, and barring it from taking on new customers.

The bank is working with the RBI to complete the IT audit and address the regulator’s concerns.

“The process is underway and we think it should take three to five months from where we are right now,” Madhur Deora, group chief financial officer, Paytm, told Reuters on Sunday.

SoftBank-backed logistics firm Delhivery valued at $4.9bn in India debut

Shares of Delhivery, an Indian logistics startup backed by SoftBank Group, rose as much as 7.6 percent in their market debut on Tuesday, giving the company a valuation of 379.60 billion rupees ($4.89 billion).

The Gurugram-based company’s services include parcel transportation, warehousing, cross-border and supply chain services to more than 23,000 customers, and counts popular e-commerce sites such as Amazon Inc. and Walmart Inc’s Flipkart as its clients.

Delhivery’s IPO, trimmed by nearly 30 percent to 52.35 billion rupees, was subscribed 1.63 times earlier this month at an offer price set at 487 rupees.

The offering included a fresh issue of shares worth up to 40 billion rupees and an offer for sale of shares worth 12.35 billion rupees from existing shareholders, including US private-equity firm Carlyle Group Inc. and Japanese conglomerate SoftBank.

(With input from Reuters) 


Commodities Update — Gold inches lower; Soybean, corn ease; COFCO International sets 2030 target on soy land use

Commodities Update — Gold inches lower; Soybean, corn ease; COFCO International sets 2030 target on soy land use
Updated 7 min 33 sec ago

Commodities Update — Gold inches lower; Soybean, corn ease; COFCO International sets 2030 target on soy land use

Commodities Update — Gold inches lower; Soybean, corn ease; COFCO International sets 2030 target on soy land use

RIYADH: Gold edged lower on Tuesday, as the US dollar rebounded slightly after a slide in the previous session, weighing on demand for greenback-priced bullion.

Spot gold fell 0.2 percent to $1,850.40 per ounce, as of 0240 GMT, after rising to its highest since May 9 of $1,865.29 on Monday. 

US gold futures were flat at $1,848.20. 

Silver falls, Palladium up

Spot silver dipped 0.3 percent to $21.71 per ounce, while platinum eased 1.3 percent to $946.00. 

Palladium edged up 0.1 percent to $1,994.50. 

Wheat up

US wheat futures extended gains on Tuesday, supported by a slower pace of spring wheat planting and amid fears over yield for the winter crop in the US, while corn fell after output concerns in key producer Brazil eased with minor frost.

The most-active wheat contract on the Chicago Board of Trade was up 0.21 percent at $11.92-1/2 a bushel, as of 0348 GMT.

Corn eased 0.45 percent to $7.82-3/4 a bushel and soybeans edged 0.28 percent lower to $16.82-1/4 a bushel.

Copper eases

London copper prices edged lower on Tuesday after hitting a more than two-week high in the previous session, as the dollar rebounded and demand worries persisted due to ongoing lockdowns in top consumer China.

Benchmark three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange was down 0.4 percent at $9,510.50 a ton, as of 0217 GMT, after hitting its highest since May 5 at $9,565 on Monday.

The most-active June copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange rose 0.2 percent to $10,827.48 a ton.

COFCO International sets 2030 target on soy land use in South America

COFCO International has committed to making its soy supply chain free of deforestation and land conversion by 2030 in environmentally sensitive regions of South America, including the Amazon and Cerrado, the Chinese-owned crop merchant said.

Like other global grain traders, COFCO International has previously pledged greater auditing of soybean crops to help stem land clearance in Brazil that is blamed for reducing biodiversity and contributing to global warming.

The 2030 target would cover the Amazon rainforest region, Brazil’s Cerrado savannah belt and the Gran Chaco zone, which spans parts of Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil and Paraguay, COFCO International’s CEO Wei (David) Dong said in a sustainability report published by the company on Monday.

(With input from Reuters) 


Saudi IT firm MIS reports 50% decline in profits as sales fall in the first quarter

Saudi IT firm MIS reports 50% decline in profits as sales fall in the first quarter
Updated 12 min 21 sec ago

Saudi IT firm MIS reports 50% decline in profits as sales fall in the first quarter

Saudi IT firm MIS reports 50% decline in profits as sales fall in the first quarter

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Al Moammar Information Systems Co. reported a 50 percent decline in first-quarter profit, dragged down by lower sales.

Known as MIS, the information technology firm’s net profit fell from SR9.3 million ($2.5 million) to SR4.6 million year-on-year, according to a bourse filing.

This came due to a revenue drop of 26 percent to SR107 million in the same period in addition to a rise in marketing, salary, and depreciation expenses.

Established in 1979, MIS is Saudi Arabia’s first listed information technology company.


Saudi Rawabi Holding’s energy unit eyes $500m in pre-IPO funding: Bloomberg

Saudi Rawabi Holding’s energy unit eyes $500m in pre-IPO funding: Bloomberg
Updated 13 min ago

Saudi Rawabi Holding’s energy unit eyes $500m in pre-IPO funding: Bloomberg

Saudi Rawabi Holding’s energy unit eyes $500m in pre-IPO funding: Bloomberg

RIYADH: Rawabi Energy Co., a unit of Rawabi Holding Co., seeks to raise $500 million in funding ahead of a potential initial public offering on Saudi Arabia’s stock market.

The potential IPO could take place later this year and value the company at $1 billion, Bloomberg reported citing unnamed sources.

The sources said Rawabi is working with investment banking firm Evercore in preparation for the funding.

It is also currently in talks with banks to select a financial advisor for the offering, the sources added.

Rawabi Holding and Evercore declined to comment to Bloomberg on the news.


Saudi finance minister says no immediate plans to transfer more funds to PIF

Saudi finance minister says no immediate plans to transfer more funds to PIF
Updated 42 min 48 sec ago

Saudi finance minister says no immediate plans to transfer more funds to PIF

Saudi finance minister says no immediate plans to transfer more funds to PIF
  • The PIF manages over $600 billion in assets, a figure that has doubled in about two years

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia’s finance minister said on Monday there were no immediate plans to transfer more funds to the Public Investment Fund (PIF), the sovereign wealth fund at the center of the kingdom’s plans to diversify its economy away from oil.

The PIF manages over $600 billion in assets, a figure that has doubled in about two years.

“I think there is no immediate plan to transfer any funds to PIF,” said Finance Minister Mohammed Al-Jadaan, speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

In 2020, the PIF got a $40 billion injection from the central bank, which Jadaan said at the time was done on an “exceptional basis.”

In February this year, Saudi Arabia transferred 4 percent of oil giant Saudi Aramco’s shares, now worth $92 billion, to the PIF.

Jadaan said Saudi Arabia would, in the first quarter of next year, deploy its expected surplus from this year where it would have “the most positive impact on the economy,” including to the National Development Fund, which supports private sector investment.

“So we need to make sure we allocate enough amount of money to them,” he said. “We have opportunities to invest with the PIF because they are actually making very good deals in their investments and doing very well, both inside Saudi and outside,” he added.

“And then you need to look at, you know, your reserves. Is there potential medium-term external shocks (so) that you need to build more reserves, or what you have now is enough?“

Jadaan reiterated Saudi Arabia expects economic growth of 7.4 percent this year and said inflation was seen reaching between 2.1 percent and 2.3 percent by the end of 2022.

A cap on petrol prices when oil breaches $70 was helping contain inflation, he added.

“It was the end of last year we froze the price escalation of gasoline for the internal economy and households at $70. So anything above $70, the economy will not feel that heat.”