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

ECB to force UK-based investment banks to relocate staff, trading
Headquarters building of the European Central Bank located in Ostend, Frankfurt. (Shutterstock)
Short Url
Updated 19 May 2022

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. 


Saudi-listed shipping firm Bahri closes $1.04bn sukuk issuance

Saudi-listed shipping firm Bahri closes $1.04bn sukuk issuance
Updated 12 sec ago

Saudi-listed shipping firm Bahri closes $1.04bn sukuk issuance

Saudi-listed shipping firm Bahri closes $1.04bn sukuk issuance

RIYADH: National Shipping Co. of Saudi Arabia, better known as Bahri, has completed the issuance of SR3.9 billion ($1.04 billion) sukuk, denominated in Saudi Riyals and maturing in seven years.

The offering, led by Al Rajhi Capital, HSBC Saudi Arabia, and SNB Capital, started by mid-June, and the settlement was done on July 5, the firm said in a bourse filing.

The Saudi-listed company earlier said it will use proceeds to refinance the existing sukuk which will mature this month.

Bahri is a joint venture between Saudi Aramco and the Public Investment Fund, operating a fleet of 89 tankers and container ships that transport oil, petrochemicals, and other types of cargo.

 


OPEC secretary-general Mohammad Barkindo dies

OPEC secretary-general Mohammad Barkindo dies
Updated 4 min 10 sec ago

OPEC secretary-general Mohammad Barkindo dies

OPEC secretary-general Mohammad Barkindo dies

RIYADH: OPEC secretary-general Mohammad Barkindo dies at Abuja, Nigeria at an age of 63, Arab News learned.

He will be buried in his home town Yola, a source confirmed.

The news of Barkindo’s death was confirmed by Mele Kyari, managing director of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation. 

In a tweet, Kyari described Barkindo’s departure as a great loss to his immediate family, NNPC Nigeria, OPEC and the global energy community.

A few hours before his death, Barkindo was honored by Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari at the state house.

During the honoring ceremony, Buhari described Barkindo as a worthy ambassador of the country, and lauded his efforts as the secretary general of OPEC for six years.

“You have indeed been a worthy ambassador of our country. We are proud of your achievements before and during your appointment at OPEC and the proud legacies you will leave behind,” said Buhari, during the honoring event. 

Barkindo’s unexpected demise came at a time when he was expected to complete his tenure as the OPEC secretary-general on July 31. 

A few days back, it has been reported that Barkindo will join the Atlantic Council as a distinguished fellow in the Global Energy Center after his term at the OPEC. 

In his career which spanned over four decades, Barkindo has worked as NNPC’s International Investments head, president of Duke oil, CEO of NNPC, etc. 

From 1986 to 2010, Barkindo was the Nigerian Delegate to OPEC Ministerial Conferences. He became the secretary-general of OPEC on Aug. 01, 2016, and continued in that position until his death. 

 


Saudi authorities taking steps to prevent artificial price hike, says minister

Saudi Minister of Commerce Majid Al-Qasabi. (Supplied)
Saudi Minister of Commerce Majid Al-Qasabi. (Supplied)
Updated 06 July 2022

Saudi authorities taking steps to prevent artificial price hike, says minister

Saudi Minister of Commerce Majid Al-Qasabi. (Supplied)
  • After 13 months — specifically March 2021 — there were growing signs of economic recovery, Al-Qasabi said, but warning that there was an increase in demand versus supply

JEDDAH: Major events including the COVID-19 pandemic and war in Ukraine have caused price hikes around the world, Saudi Minister of Commerce Majid Al-Qasabi said in a periodic government communication conference on Tuesday.

The press conference discussed four key areas: Global events that led to price increases, the Saudi leadership’s guidance to address the effects of the hikes, repercussions of global events on prices, as well as a question and answer segment.

“Let us rewind two years and a half back to February 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic was an economic, social and mental tsunami. It was the biggest economic crisis in the world,” Al-Qasabi said.

“This pandemic affected the whole world all at once, and suddenly without any warning. We are still suffering from its effects,” he added.

“We stayed in the pandemic for 13 months, and after that, it was the beginning of recovery.”

After 13 months — specifically March 2021 — there were growing signs of economic recovery, Al-Qasabi said, but warning that there was an increase in demand versus supply.

“The demand was more than the supply, and this causes an imbalance in the market, when the demand exceeds the supply. Of course, the result will be that prices have risen,” he added.

Al-Qasabi pointed to the Suez Canal obstruction in March 2021 as another event that added to global economic woes.

“We saw the blockage of the navigational movement and the cessation of the navigational movement in the Suez Canal, then after three months — in July 2021 — the second variant of the virus appeared and imposed a curfew again, which caused the closure of some ports and some cities,” he said.

In February 2022, the Russia-Ukraine conflict began. The minister said that the war affected transportation, too.

“We had a crisis between Russia and Ukraine, and we still do not know how long this crisis will last. These events combined, overlapped and completed, leading to a crisis in transportation and supply chains,” he said.

The transportation and supply chain crisis includes the disruption of some transportation ports, such as the main port of Shanghai, a sixfold increase in the cost of transportation, as well as surging freight insurance rates.

Al-Qasabi hailed King Salman’s royal order on Monday that approved the allocation of SR20 billion ($5.32 billion) to help citizens mitigate the impacts of rising global prices.

Half of the allocated money will go to social insurance beneficiaries and the Citizen Account Program.


NRG Matters: QatarEnergy signs deal with Shell for $30bn North Field East project; Germany’s renewable energy consumption up

NRG Matters: QatarEnergy signs deal with Shell for $30bn North Field East project; Germany’s renewable energy consumption up
Updated 05 July 2022

NRG Matters: QatarEnergy signs deal with Shell for $30bn North Field East project; Germany’s renewable energy consumption up

NRG Matters: QatarEnergy signs deal with Shell for $30bn North Field East project; Germany’s renewable energy consumption up

RIYADH: On a macro level, the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy has discussed measures for monitoring petroleum product trading in the emirate. Zooming in, QatarEnergy has signed a deal with Shell for the Gulf state’s $30 billion North Field East expansion. 

Looking at the bigger picture

  •  Dubai Supreme Council of Energy has discussed measures for monitoring petroleum product trading in the emirate, according to WAM.
  • Renewable energy accounted for 49 percent of the total German power consumption in the first half of 2022, up 6 percent from a year earlier, Reuters reported. 

Industry groups have attributed this increase to favorable weather conditions. 

Through a micro lens:

  • QatarEnergy has signed a deal with Shell for the Gulf state’s North Field East expansion, the first phase of the world's largest liquefied natural gas project, according to Reuters.

This happens as the country partners with international companies in the first and largest phase of the nearly $30 billion expansion that will boost Qatar’s position as the world’s top LNG exporter.

  • Siemens Gamesa and Germany’s renewables developer wpd have signed a supply agreement for  a 927-megawatt Gennaker offshore wind power plant, according to Trade Arabia.

Located 15 kilometers off the German coast, the project will feature 103 Siemens Gamesa Direct Drive offshore wind turbines each with a 167-meter rotor.


Gas consumption set to contract due to Russia: IEA

Gas consumption set to contract due to Russia: IEA
Updated 05 July 2022

Gas consumption set to contract due to Russia: IEA

Gas consumption set to contract due to Russia: IEA

Gas consumption will contract slightly this year due to high prices and Russian cuts to Europe, with only slow growth over coming years as consumers switch to alternatives, the International Energy Agency said on Tuesday.

The IEA chopped its forecast for global gas demand by more than half in its latest quarterly report on gas markets.

It now expects growth of just 3.4 percent by 2025, an increase of 140 billion cubic meters from 2021 levels, which is less than the 175 bcm jump in demand registered in 2021 alone.

“The consequences of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on global gas prices and supply tensions, as well as its repercussions on the longer-term economic outlook, are reshaping the outlook for natural gas,” said the IEA.

HIGHLIGHTS

The IEA chopped its forecast for global gas demand by more than half in its latest quarterly report on gas markets.

It now expects growth of just 3.4 percent by 2025, an increase of 140 billion cubic meters from 2021 levels, which is less than the 175 bcm jump in demand registered in 2021 alone.

“Today’s record prices and supply disruptions are damaging the reputation of natural gas as a reliable and affordable energy source, casting uncertainty on its prospects, particularly in developing countries where it had been expected to play a growing role in meeting rising energy demand and energy transition goals,” it added.

While Russia has cut supplies to Europe and European nations have pledged to wean themselves off Russian gas, the impact quickly rippled throughout the world.

European nations are trying to make up the shortfall by importing more liquefied natural gas shipped by tanker, which the IEA said is creating supply tensions and leading to demand destruction in other markets.

It warned that the scramble for LNG risked not only causing economic harm to other more price sensitive importers, but pushing up prices and thus contributing to additional revenues for Russia.

“In this context, an accelerated phase-out of Russian gas should primarily focus on reducing gas demand and scaling up domestically produced low-carbon gase” such as biogas, biomethane, and green hydrogen, said the IEA.

The IEA, which advises energy importing nations on policy, said in its new forecast for lower gas demand growth that only a fifth of the reduction came from expected efficiency gains and substituting renewables for gas.

“Our forecast’s lower gas demand growth compared to last year does not guarantee an accelerated transition to net-zero emissions, as the bulk of the revision comes from lower gross domestic product and fuel switching rather than by faster gas-to-electricity conversion and efficiency gains,” said the report.

The IEA said additional green energy transition measures would, in additional to their long-term impact in reducing emissions, ease pressure on gas prices globally by reducing supply tensions while also delivering short-term improvements in air quality by quickening the move away from coal.

“The most sustainable response to today’s global energy crisis is stronger efforts and policies to use energy more efficiently and to accelerate clean energy transitions,” Keisuke Sadamori, IEA director for energy markets and security, said in a statement.