India In-Focus — Billionaire Rakesh Jhunjhunwala dies at 62; US says India hid Russian origin of fuel shipped to US

India In-Focus — Billionaire Rakesh Jhunjhunwala dies at 62; US says India hid Russian origin of fuel shipped to US
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Updated 14 August 2022

India In-Focus — Billionaire Rakesh Jhunjhunwala dies at 62; US says India hid Russian origin of fuel shipped to US

India In-Focus — Billionaire Rakesh Jhunjhunwala dies at 62; US says India hid Russian origin of fuel shipped to US

RIYADH: Stock investor Rakesh Jhunjhunwala, dubbed India’s Warren Buffett with an estimated net worth of $6 billion, died on Sunday morning at age 62, local media reported.

A chartered accountant by profession from the desert state of Rajasthan, Jhunjhunwala started dabbling in stocks while in college and went on to manage a stock trading firm, RARE Enterprises.

The cause of death was not immediately known.

The promoter of India’s newest airline, the ultra low-cost Akasa Air, Jhunjhunwala appeared days ago at its public launch. He is survived by his wife and three children.

Major politicians and business leaders mourned his death on social media.

“Rakesh Jhunjhunwala was indomitable,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi wrote on Twitter.

Former Deutsche Bank co-CEO Anshu Jain dies

Anshu Jain, a top finance executive best known for helping German lender Deutsche Bank AG take on the largest Wall Street firms, died overnight on Saturday after a five-year battle with cancer, his family said. He was 59.

Jain, who was born in India, spent two decades building Deutsche Bank into one of the world’s top universal banks. He was the first non-European to lead the German institution.

In the aftermath of the financial crisis of 2008 and the European debt crisis that followed, Jain pushed Deutsche to remain Europe’s “last man standing” as US firms pulled ahead in global banking.

He resigned from the German lender in 2015, and had been the president of US financial services firm Cantor Fitzgerald since 2017.

“He will be remembered for his leadership in financial services and his deep commitment to conservation,” said Larry Fink, chief executive of BlackRock Inc, who said he knew Jain well.

Born in the Indian city of Jaipur, Jain earned his bachelors at the University of Delhi before completing an MBA at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst.

US says India hid Russian origin of fuel shipped to US

The US has expressed concern to India that it was being used to export fuel made from Russian crude, through high-seas transfers to hide its origin, to New York in violation of US sanctions, a top Indian central banker said on Saturday.

The US Treasury Department told India that an Indian ship picked up oil from a Russian tanker on the high seas and brought it to a port in Gujarat on the west coast, where it was refined and shipped on, said Reserve Bank of India Deputy Governor Michael Patra.

US sanctions on Moscow for its February invasion of Ukraine prohibit the import to the US of Russian-origin energy products, including crude oil, refined fuels, distillates, coal and gas.

“The refined output was put back on that ship, and it set sail without a destination. In the mid-seas it received the destination so it went to New York,” Patra said at an event to celebrate 75 years of India’s independence.

 

(With input from Reuters) 


Moody’s assigns stable outlook to PIF-owned firm's EMTN program

Moody’s assigns stable outlook to PIF-owned firm's EMTN program
Updated 15 sec ago

Moody’s assigns stable outlook to PIF-owned firm's EMTN program

Moody’s assigns stable outlook to PIF-owned firm's EMTN program

RIYADH: Global rating agency Moody’s has assigned the Public Investment Fund-owned GACI First Investment Co.’s EMTN program  a (P) A1 rating.

The euro medium-term note program has been established under the special purpose company incorporated in the Cayman Islands.

The firm has been assigned a stable outlook in line with the stable outlook on existing ratings of PIF.

The rating decision reflects Moody’s view that note holders will effectively be exposed to PIF’s senior unsecured credit risk.

In February, Moody’s Investors Service assigned an A1 long-term issuer rating to the PIF. As one of the world’s largest sovereign wealth funds, PIF is one of the main vehicles to grow the Kingdom’s non-oil economy and reduce its reliance on the hydrocarbon sector.


UAE In-Focus — Hospitality market to expand by 25% by 2030; Dubai to announce hydrogen strategy soon

UAE In-Focus —  Hospitality market to expand by 25% by 2030; Dubai to announce hydrogen strategy soon
Updated 27 September 2022

UAE In-Focus — Hospitality market to expand by 25% by 2030; Dubai to announce hydrogen strategy soon

UAE In-Focus —  Hospitality market to expand by 25% by 2030; Dubai to announce hydrogen strategy soon

DUBAI: The UAE’s hospitality market is set to expand by 25 percent by 2030, with a further 48,000 rooms adding to the nation’s extensive 200,000 key portfolio, according to a study conducted by Knight Frank.

The global property consultancy said in its report that Dubai will account for the lion’s share of these new rooms, with 76 percent coming to the emirate, which already boasts more than 130,000 rooms.

“The emirate has cemented its status as a city with universal appeal, in large part to the world-leading government response to the pandemic and some of the world’s most visited and incredible attractions,” Faisal Durrani, partner and head of Middle East Research at Knight Frank said.

It is estimated that the hotel room supply will cost approximately 117.5 billion dirhams ($32 billion).

Dubai develops hydrogen strategy

Dubai will soon unveil its green hydrogen strategy, MEED reported quoting the managing director of the Dubai Electricity & Water Authority as saying.

Saeed Mohammed Al-Tayer made the revelation at a press conference held to announce the World Green Economy Summit on Sept. 28-29.

Rental market

The Dubai Land Department has signed a memorandum of understanding with Dubai Chambers to enhance the emirate’s rental market’s investment environment, according to Dubai Media Office.

As a result of the MoU, Dubai Chambers will be able to offer real estate and office space to business councils and groups.

It will also facilitate market research and joint training workshops related to the rental sector in Dubai.

In a statement, Abdul Aziz Al-Ghurair, chairman of Dubai Chambers, said the partnership complements Dubai Chambers’ 2022-2024 strategy and the ongoing efforts to boost confidence in the real estate sector, which remains a key contributor to the emirate’s economy.

A constructive dialogue between the public and private sectors is essential to Dubai’s sustainable economic growth and development, he said.

 


Saudi Arabia agrees to fund $63m Senegal road project

Saudi Arabia agrees to fund $63m Senegal road project
Updated 27 September 2022

Saudi Arabia agrees to fund $63m Senegal road project

Saudi Arabia agrees to fund $63m Senegal road project

RIYADH: The Saudi Fund for Development is pumping $63 million into a coastal road project in Senegal, it has been announced.

The agreement with the African country will see the construction of a 12 km, two-lane highway in Dakar.

The project will also contribute to raising the level of road safety, meeting the needs of residents of cities and villages, and reducing the rates of injuries and deaths resulting from traffic accidents.

The move is the latest cash injection the Saudi Fund for Development into Senegal, having previously financed 27 loans to contribute to 25 projects and programs, with a value of about $447 million.

It has also awarded grants worth $19 million in the sectors of transportation, transportation, infrastructure, health, housing, urban development, energy, education, water and sanitation.

In August, the Fund signed an agreement with the Cameroonian government to finance the construction of the Mbalmayo Regional Hospital Project, by providing a soft development loan of $12 million.

The agreement was signed by SFD CEO Sultan Al-Marshad, and the Cameroonian Minister of Economy, Planning, and Regional Development, Alamine Ousmane Mey.

The agreement will help to build and equip the hospital with 200 beds and develop specialized medical departments, centers, and buildings spanning a total area of 14,000 sq. meters. 

The development plan also comprises rehabilitating the roads that connect the hospital to the main roads to ensure easy access.


Kuwait Central Bank appoints Sahar Al-Rumaih as its first female deputy governor 

Kuwait Central Bank appoints Sahar Al-Rumaih as its first female deputy governor 
Updated 27 September 2022

Kuwait Central Bank appoints Sahar Al-Rumaih as its first female deputy governor 

Kuwait Central Bank appoints Sahar Al-Rumaih as its first female deputy governor 

RIYADH: The Central Bank of Kuwait has named Sahar Al-Rumaih as its deputy governor in a first-ever such appointment of a woman to this position in the Gulf state.

Al-Rumaih, who was the deputy CEO for corporate banking at Ahli Bank of Kuwait, replaced Yousef Al-Obaid as his term had expired, according to Bloomberg. 

With this new appointment, the central bank’s board now includes two women. 

This comes following a similar development in Saudi Arabia in June when the Kingdom’s Central Bank named Sheila Al-Rowaily, who worked as a financier with Saudi Aramco, as its first woman board of directors. 

In recent years, Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 has focused on women’s empowerment and workforce, with efforts directed towards increasing female employment in diplomatic and governmental services. 

Women joining the workforce in Saudi Arabia has been a key development of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 social and economic reforms, which has seen their participation jump from 19 percent in 2016 to 33 percent last year.


Fed hike continues to harm major global currencies

Fed hike continues to harm major global currencies
Updated 27 September 2022

Fed hike continues to harm major global currencies

Fed hike continues to harm major global currencies

RIYADH: The US Federal Reserve’s most aggressive interest hikes since the 1980s have pulled several currencies across the world to new lows.

On Sept. 21, the US Federal Reserve hiked the short-term interest rates by 75 basis points to 3 to 3.25 percent.

Since the announcement, several investors took their money out of other markets to invest in the US, thus pulling global financial markets to a state of volatility.

The Chinese onshore yuan is sliding toward 7.2 per dollar, down 10.9 percent from the same date last year, while the People’s Bank of China is setting up defenses to protect the currency, according to Reuters data.

On Sept. 26, the Indian rupee plunged 8.7 percent year-to-date to an all-time low of 81.67 against the US dollar.

Soon after the Fed hike, the British pound started falling, and it reached an all-time low on Sept. 26 before showing signs of recovery. The fall of the British pound is also due to the tax cuts announced by the new Liz Truss government.

At one point on Monday, the pound sank as low as $1.0327, surpassing the previous record low reached in 1985, before recovering some of its value. 

The Pakistan rupee also nosedived following the Fed hike, with one US dollar now equal to 233.79 Pakistani rupees.

Other major currencies like the Egyptian pound and the Australian dollar fell 19.5 percent and 11.1 percent year-to-date respectively.

Meanwhile, Chicago Fed President Charles Evans said on Tuesday the Federal Reserve will need to raise interest rates to a range between 4.50 percent and 4.75 percent.

Saudi Arabia has a fixed exchange rate regime, with a dollar peg.

The spot dollar/riyal exchange rate has remained unchanged at 3.75 since June 1986, as the Saudi Central Bank provides dollars to the domestic banks to meet the commercial and financial demand of the private sector.