Emerging market debt ratio climbs back to record highs — IIF

Emerging market debt ratio climbs back to record highs — IIF
Global debt has fallen $6.4 trillion to $290 trillion (Shutterstock)
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Updated 23 November 2022

Emerging market debt ratio climbs back to record highs — IIF

Emerging market debt ratio climbs back to record highs — IIF
  • Global debt-to-GDP ratio falls to 343 percent in 6th quarter of decline
  • Emerging market debt-to-GDP ratio returns to record high of 254 percent

NEW YORK: Emerging markets’ debt-to-gross domestic product ratio returned to record highs despite a $6.4 trillion decline in the global debt pile to $290 trillion in the third quarter due to a strong dollar and slowing bond sales, an Institute of International Finance report found, according to Reuters.

Budget deficits and slower economic growth lifted the debt-to-GDP ratio in developing economies to 254 percent, matching a record high hit in the first quarter of 2021, the IIF said in its latest Global Debt Monitor published on Tuesday.

The amount of overall emerging market debt, however, slipped to $96.2 trillion from $98.7 trillion the previous quarter. Meanwhile the global debt-to-GDP ratio fell for a sixth consecutive quarter, to 343 percent of GDP.

Soaring energy and food prices have continued to push interest rates and funding costs higher globally, while governments have ramped up spending to shore up economies.

High-yield borrowers have seen spreads widen by about 400 basis points on average this year but the widening has been smaller for investment grade borrowers, according to the IIF.

“In the face of tightening global financing conditions, access to international markets has become even more challenging for many high-yield borrowers this year,” Emre Tiftik, director of sustainability research at the IIF wrote in the report.

“The global sovereign interest bill is set to increase rapidly, notably for sub-Saharan Africa but also in EM Europe.”

Policymakers and rating agencies have warned that debt pressures on fragile developing economies are far from over and more defaults were likely.

The higher cost of debt servicing could particularly hurt countries most exposed to the effects of climate change, the IIF said.

A deal struck at the COP27 climate talks in Egypt over the weekend agreed to set up a “loss and damage” fund to help poorer countries pay for the impacts of climate disaster while highlighting the need to reform international financial institutions.

The global banking trade group said in its quarterly report that despite a reduction in dollar-debt reliance in the past years, it remains at high levels in Latin America and Africa, “leaving many countries heavily exposed to swings in foreign exchange markets.”

Outside the sovereign sphere, smaller companies and lower-earning families have been hit the hardest by the rising cost of borrowing.

“Given their high reliance on short-maturity funding,” said the IIF, “lower-income households and small-sized firms have been disproportionately affected by higher borrowing costs, with one-third of small-sized firms in mature markets facing difficulty in covering interest expenses.”

The dollar rose as much as 20 percent strongest in the third quarter, though it has pared that gain to 12 percent higher so far this year.

Emerging market currencies fell as much as 10 percent to the greenback this year and are now down 7 percent.


Nuclear energy offers ‘a golden opportunity’ to build a clean world

Nuclear energy offers ‘a golden opportunity’ to build a clean world
Updated 07 February 2023

Nuclear energy offers ‘a golden opportunity’ to build a clean world

Nuclear energy offers ‘a golden opportunity’ to build a clean world

RIYADH: Being a cost-effective and low-carbon solution, nuclear energy “offers a golden opportunity” to help build a clean world, according to the director general of the World Nuclear Association.

Sama Bilbao y Leon was speaking as a keynote speaker at the 44th IAEE International Conference in Riyadh on Tuesday. The top official said nuclear energy offers an opportunity to build a cleaner and more equitable world in which everyone has access to “clean, abundant and affordable round-the-clock energy and high quality of life.”

“As a low-carbon energy source, nuclear power can play a very important role, decarbonizing other difficult-to-able sectors,” she said.

The official said nuclear energy is certainly a cost-effective, low-carbon solution and a catalyst for economic development. It is more efficient than other sources when we think of energy transition, she added.

She, however, cautioned saying that much work is needed to deploy nuclear power with determination and speed.

Leon also pointed out that the current energy market is unstable, and there is a need to take a step back and adopt scientific approaches to make the sustainable energy transition a success.

Yousef Al-Ghamdi, executive director of strategic planning at the Saudi Electricity Co. noted that renewable energy will play an important role in energy transition, especially hydrogen energy.

Shihab Elborai, a partner at Strategy& Middle East, underscored the importance of technological advances to meet the challenges of climate change. He said recycling can help mitigate the climate effect and reduce carbon in the environment, therefore countries should invest in efficient technologies to improve the energy sector.

Peter Hartley, the George A. Peterkin Professor of Economics at Rice University, said natural gas is cheaper and a better option and as an energy source is going to stay. He added that nuclear energy is a costly affair.

Ayad Alamri, executive director for business development, at ACWA Power, said that PVC has a key role in clean energy management and distribution as we are aiming at a net-zero future.


Saudi, Hong Kong bourses sign MoU to explore listing opportunities

Saudi, Hong Kong bourses sign MoU to explore listing opportunities
Updated 07 February 2023

Saudi, Hong Kong bourses sign MoU to explore listing opportunities

Saudi, Hong Kong bourses sign MoU to explore listing opportunities

RIYADH: Saudi Tadawul Group Holding Co. has signed a memorandum of understanding with Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing to work together to explore listing opportunities and collaborate in sectors such as fintech and environmental, social and governance, according to a tweet by the parent company of the Saudi Exchange.

The MoU reflected the HKEX’s “ongoing commitment to driving global connectivity and shaping a successful shared sustainable future,” said Nicolas Aguzin, CEO of the Hong Kong bourse operator.

“This MoU brings us one step closer toward enabling cross listings and other areas of collaboration between Saudi Arabia and Hong Kong,” Tadawul CEO Khalid Al-Hussan was quoted as saying by the Chinese media.

“As we seek to position the Saudi capital market as an investment hub between East and West, we are seeing increased interest from issuers and investors in Asia.”

 

 


Saudi Arabia-China Entrepreneur Association launched at LEAP

Saudi Arabia-China Entrepreneur Association launched at LEAP
Updated 07 February 2023

Saudi Arabia-China Entrepreneur Association launched at LEAP

Saudi Arabia-China Entrepreneur Association launched at LEAP

RIYADH: The Saudi Arabia-China Entrepreneur Association was launched at the LEAP 2023 conference in Riyadh on Tuesday.

The association — comprising over 100 Saudi and Chinese businesses, government entities, nongovernmental organizations, and academic institutions — seeks to boost cooperation between the private sectors on both sides along with bilateral ties at the government level. 

The nonprofit organization is supported by the Saudi Ministry of Communications and Information Technology and the Saudi Federation for Cybersecurity, Programming, and Drones. It will be operated by eWTP Arabia Capital.

“In line with Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030, SCEA will enable cross-border investments and valuable collaborations,” said Jerry Li, founder and managing partner of eWTPA. 

The organization also plans to promote investment, encourage innovation, and develop social responsibility and public welfare.  

“China is a strategic partner for Saudi Arabia in terms of technology and innovation. Having worked closely with Alibaba and eWTPA for the last three years, I highly appreciate their efforts in contributing to the development of our local digital ecosystem,” said Faisal Al-Khamisi, chairman of the Saudi Federation for Cybersecurity, Programming, and Drones. 

Al-Khamisi added: “This association will take our collaboration to the next level and provide the broader Saudi-China business community with a forum to share valuable experiences.”   


Jordanian-Iraqi business forum to start Wednesday in Baghdad

Jordanian-Iraqi business forum to start Wednesday in Baghdad
Updated 07 February 2023

Jordanian-Iraqi business forum to start Wednesday in Baghdad

Jordanian-Iraqi business forum to start Wednesday in Baghdad
  • 3-day conference being held under title ‘Partnership for the Future’
  • Jordanian delegation to include company representatives from range of sectors

AMMAN: A Jordanian-Iraqi business forum will on Wednesday get underway in Baghdad with company representatives and investors from both countries taking part.
The Jordan Chambers of Commerce and Industry and the Jordanian Businessmen Association are co-organizing the three-day event, which is being held under the title “Partnership for the Future,” the Jordan News Agency reported on Tuesday.
The participating Jordanian delegation will include representatives of firms operating in various economic sectors including foodstuffs, communications, information technology, medicines, clothing, financial and banking services, insurance, construction, contracting, real estate development, tourism, agriculture, mining, and plastics industries.
In regard to the current global economic situation, the forum will provide a chance for the private sectors of Jordan and Iraq to work together and make the most of the opportunities available, advancing the strategic goals and common interests of the two countries.
The forum will be held concurrently with the joint Jordanian-Iraqi committee meetings and will feature bilateral talks between Jordanian and Iraqi business leaders as well as an overview of investment opportunities in Jordan.
The Jordanian party will be one of the biggest economic delegations to visit Baghdad, reflecting Amman’s desire to forge close economic ties with Iraq and support initiatives launched by King Abdullah II and the Iraqi leadership.


Tonomus teams with Oracle, Nvidia to boost AI capabilities across NEOM, Saudi Arabia

Tonomus teams with Oracle, Nvidia to boost AI capabilities across NEOM, Saudi Arabia
Updated 07 February 2023

Tonomus teams with Oracle, Nvidia to boost AI capabilities across NEOM, Saudi Arabia

Tonomus teams with Oracle, Nvidia to boost AI capabilities across NEOM, Saudi Arabia

 

RIYADH: With the aim of boosting artificial intelligence capabilities across NEOM and Saudi Arabia, Tonomus announced it had teamed up with Oracle and Nvidia at LEAP 23 on Tuesday.
The collaboration by Tonomus, a cognitive multinational conglomerate and the first company to be established as a full-fledged subsidiary of NEOM, is designed to accelerate AI-powered innovation for a broad range of use by enterprises and government organizations.
Tonomus will provide customers with direct access to Nvidia’s advanced AI, digital twin solutions that take advantage of the planned Oracle cloud region to be located at NEOM.
“The longstanding alliance between Oracle and Nvidia complements Tonomus’ ongoing mission to build the infrastructure and ubiquitous connectivity required to enable the world’s first ecosystem of cognitive technologies,” Joseph Bradley, CEO of Tonomus, said.
“This monumental collaboration will empower NEOM with geographical advantage and place Saudi Arabia firmly on the map as a regional hub for the provision of AI capabilities.”
“Tonomus will benefit from Oracle cloud infrastructure’s unmatched capability of supporting modern cloud native applications in a secure environment. This, coupled with our existing partnership with Nvidia, will speed AI adoption for enterprises,” added Richard Smith, executive vice president, cloud and technology, Europe, Middle East, and Africa of Oracle.
“Nvidia software and systems on OCI provide an ideal platform for developers like Tonomus to build AI-forward, modern cities,” Jaap Zuiderveld, vice president of EMEA at Nvidia, commented.