Pakistan investor confidence likely to rise as Saudi Arabia extends $3bn deposit

Pakistan investor confidence likely to rise as Saudi Arabia extends $3bn deposit
The South Asian country only has enough to cover import payments for 40 days. (AFP/File)
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Updated 19 September 2022

Pakistan investor confidence likely to rise as Saudi Arabia extends $3bn deposit

Pakistan investor confidence likely to rise as Saudi Arabia extends $3bn deposit
  • Rollover will give breathing room for Pakistan economy, experts say
  • Country’s foreign reserves stood at $8.6bn as of Sept. 9

KARACHI: Pakistan’s central bank has said that the Saudi Fund for Development will extend a $3 billion deposit currently placed in the bank’s accounts for one year, which financial experts say could boost investor confidence in the South Asian economy.

The State Bank of Pakistan signed the $3 billion deposit agreement with the SFD in November 2021, which was expected to help support Pakistan’s foreign currency reserves, which stood at $8.6 billion as of Sept. 9.

SBP took to Twitter to announce the extension on Sunday and said that it reflected a “continuing strong and special relationship” between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.

“Saudi Fund for Development (SFD) has confirmed rollover of $3bn deposit maturing on 5Dec22 for one year,” the central bank wrote on Twitter.

The South Asian country only has enough to cover import payments for 40 days. Over the past couple of months, the rupee has plummeted to historic lows against the US dollar, and it continues to remain under pressure due to a demand surge for food and oil imports.

Experts say SFD’s rollover will give some breathing room for Pakistan, whose economy has been struggling to stabilize and is at risk of default. The country also faces the burden of catastrophic floods that have inflicted billions of dollars in damage, affected 33 million people, and killed over 1,500 Pakistanis.

“The rollover has definitely improved the confidence of investors and debt maturity profile of the country because now we have breathing space for another year,” Samiullah Tariq, director of research at the Pakistan Kuwait Investment Co., told Arab News on Monday.

“The sentiments of the market will continue to improve with more rollovers, which would be reflected in the credit default swap and bond yields of the country in the coming days,” he added, referring to expected rollovers of loans from China and the UAE.

The Saudi rollover “will change sentiments in the currency market” and lead to the rupee appreciating against the dollar, Zafar Paracha, general secretary of the Exchange Companies Association of Pakistan, told Arab News.

The recent development also showcases the support from Saudi Arabia and is part of the Kingdom’s long-term engagement with Pakistan, Tahir Abbas, head of research at Arif Habib Ltd., a Karachi-based brokerage firm, told Arab News.

“The rollover is a big help extended by Saudi Arabia to Pakistan as part of its long-term economic relations,” Abbas said.

“Saudi support is critical for Pakistan because coupled with deferred payment for oil imports, the deposits play a vital role for our foreign exchange reserves and currency stability.”

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World Petroleum Congress to be held in Riyadh in 2026

World Petroleum Congress to be held in Riyadh in 2026
Updated 17 sec ago

World Petroleum Congress to be held in Riyadh in 2026

World Petroleum Congress to be held in Riyadh in 2026

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia is set to host a get-together of global leaders from the oil and gas industries after Riyadh was named as the venue for the 2026 edition of the World Petroleum Congress.

As well as industry insiders, the triennial event will bring representatives from governments, other sectors, non-governmental organizations and international institutions to the Kingdom’s capital.

This conference aims to bring together countries and international organizations every three years to enhance cooperation between them in the fields of energy, and find solutions to the main challenges facing the development of this sector.

The Riyadh event will follow the 24th edition of the conference, set to be held in Calgary, Canada, from Sept. 17 to 21, 2023.

That event will focus on end-to-end chemical market outlooks, end-use market analysis, mobility, energy transition, and climate strategies.

It will also see discussions on new tracks on carbon intensity, carbon markets, clean fuels and clean tech. 

The World Petroleum Council, which is the organizer of the conference, was established in 1933, and is a neutral platform for discussing issues facing the oil and gas sector among all stakeholders from around the world.  

The council works to employ scientific developments in the oil and gas sectors, and technology transfer and sustainable use of the world's petroleum resources for the benefit of all

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Simaat platform signs technical integration agreement with Ejar Network

Simaat platform signs technical integration agreement with Ejar Network
Updated 40 min 50 sec ago

Simaat platform signs technical integration agreement with Ejar Network

Simaat platform signs technical integration agreement with Ejar Network

RIYADH: Real estate technology provider Simaat platform has signed a technical integration agreement with Ejar Network, a comprehensive system that aims to develop the housing sector in Saudi Arabia.

According to a press release, the agreement was signed in the presence of Majid Al-Hogail, the minister of the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs and Housing — who is also the chairman of the Real Estate Authority, and Ahmed Mohammed Al-Suwaiyan, governor of the Digital Government Authority.

Integrating the Simaat platform with the Ejar network will boost efficiency by simplifying documentation procedures with the aim of reducing the user experience period from 15 minutes on average to less than one minute.

“By virtue of this agreement, the Simaat platform will become the first real estate property management platform linked to a rental network for direct documentation of rental contracts on the Simaat platform,” said Dhaifallah Al-Hassani, CEO of the Simaat platform.

Executive Vice President of the Simaat platform Sami Al-Sharekh said the platform involves the largest real estate property management companies in Saudi Arabia and is linked and integrated with various government agencies such as the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Commerce, Sadad and Mada.

The press release added that Simaat platform is expected to announce its partnerships with government entities with the aim of promoting the transformation of the real estate sector into a digital market in line with Vision 2030.

Apart from Simaat platform, Ejar also signed digital integration agreements including the Aqar platform, Mojzyah Investment, Nufouth, and AtarCloud, Saudi Press Agency reported. 

“The authority works through these real estate partnerships with the private sector to activate its role in supervising the non-governmental real estate sector,” said Abdullah Al-Hammad, CEO of the Real Estate General Authority. 

He also added that the integration agreement will bolster investors in the digital real estate solutions sector. 


Saudi PIF subsidiary SEIC acquires 34% of Egypt’s B.TECH for $150mn

Saudi PIF subsidiary SEIC acquires 34% of Egypt’s B.TECH for $150mn
Updated 03 October 2022

Saudi PIF subsidiary SEIC acquires 34% of Egypt’s B.TECH for $150mn

Saudi PIF subsidiary SEIC acquires 34% of Egypt’s B.TECH for $150mn

RIYADH: The Saudi Egyptian Investment Co., a subsidiary of the Saudi Public Investment Fund, has acquired 34 percent of Egypt’s omnichannel retailer and consumer finance platform B.TECH, in a deal worth $150 million.

SEIC’s acquisition was made via the purchase of a minority stake from African Development Partners II, a fund advised by Development Partners International.

B.TECH is 34 percent owned by DPI, while the remaining 66 percent belongs to BT Holding which is owned by the Khattab family that founded the company.

DPI acquired the 34 percent stake in B-Tech in July 2016 for about $34 million.

B.TECH seeks to increase its revenues by 30 percent this year to about $562 million, as well as to increase its branch count to about 153 by the end of the year.

In 2021, B-Tech experienced a 30 percent growth rate to reach SR444 million, up from SR327 billion in 2020.

B-Tech was able to secure foreign investment in 2017 with a $15 million partnership contract with DPI.


Dubai bourse DFM to introduce changes to indices in Q4

Dubai bourse DFM to introduce changes to indices in Q4
Updated 03 October 2022

Dubai bourse DFM to introduce changes to indices in Q4

Dubai bourse DFM to introduce changes to indices in Q4

DUBAI: Dubai Financial Market said on Monday it planned to adopt a new methodology for its main equities indices, which will come into effect in the fourth quarter, according to Reuters.

The Dubai bourse’s general index, Sharia index and sector indices, will be calculated by S&P Dow Jones Indices, it said in a statement.

A key improvement among the changes is a limit on the weighting of a listed company to 10 percent from 20 percent, which should result in a larger representation of companies on the DFM’s benchmarks, it said.

The Dubai bourse said the index calculation will be based on actual free float adjusted market capitalization, and that the indices will be rebalanced on a quarterly basis, from semi-annually currently.

The bourse plans to align its sectors with an industry classification standard which is followed by institutional clients, it said.

DFM will have seven sectors: financials, industrials, real estate, utilities, communication services, materials and consumer staples.

The bourse has invited market participants for consultations on the index methodology ahead of possible changes, with the revised indexes to be launched in Q4, it said.

The changes follow a flurry of initial public offerings from state-linked entities this year, part of a government program intended to attract investors and boost activity on the stock exchange.

Toll-road operator Salik , which listed last week, raised 3.735 billion dirhams ($1.02 billion) by selling a 24.9 percent stake in its initial public offering, giving the company a market value of 15 billion dirhams.

Dubai business park operator TECOM Group in June raised 1.7 billion dirhams through the sale of 625 million ordinary shares, equivalent to 12.5 percent of the company in an IPO.

Dubai’s Water and Electricity Authority, known as DEWA, in April raised over $6 billion for its IPO, the region’s biggest since Saudi Aramco. 


UK discusses trade and investment opportunities with Saudi Arabia

UK discusses trade and investment opportunities with Saudi Arabia
Updated 03 October 2022

UK discusses trade and investment opportunities with Saudi Arabia

UK discusses trade and investment opportunities with Saudi Arabia

RIYADH: A UK delegation led by Lord Mayor of the City of London Alderman Vincent Keavney discussed trade and investment opportunities with Saudi Arabia's Minister of Investment Khalid Al-Falih during talks in Riyadh.

After the meeting, part of the ongoing UK-Gulf Cooperation Council free trade negotiations, Keavney said London’s expertise opens huge possibilities for the Kingdom as it seeks to diversify its economy away from oil as outlined in Vision 2030.

Keavney further noted that the UK already has a strong trade relationship with Saudi Arabia, and the investments made by the Public Investment Fund in Britain are fetching mutual benefits.

This is for the first time that Keavney is arriving in the Kingdom during his mayoralty, and his delegation of senior business leaders included Nicholas Lyons, chairman of the board at Phoenix Group and Sheriff of the City of London; Martin Gilbert, chairman of Toscafund, Revolut, and others; and Robert Cashmore, head of Institutional Funds Distribution, the Middle East at Octopus.

Prior to his visit to the Kingdom, Keavney, in an exclusive interview with Arab News, said that a free-trade agreement between the UK and the GCC will “significantly increase” their financial ties at a transformational moment for the global economy.

During the interview, Keavney pointed out that Saudi investment in Britain has already topped £65 billion ($69.36 billion) annually.

“Saudi Arabia has great transformational plans for its own economy, and the financial and professional services here in the UK have a huge amount to offer in helping implement and support this,” said Keavney.