Contingency plans in place to tackle market volatility

Contingency plans in place to tackle market volatility
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BREXIT DEBATE: Arab News Editor in Chief Mohammed Fahad Al-Harthi making a point during the Arab News business dialogue attended by western diplomats and Saudi businessmen in Jeddah.
Contingency plans in place to tackle market volatility
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WARM WELCOME: Arab News Editor in Chief Mohammed Fahad Al-Harthi receiving guests before the beginning of the dialogue. (AN photos by Salman Al-Marzouki)
Contingency plans in place to tackle market volatility
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Mohammed Shokat, consul general of Britain; Patrick Nicoloso, consul general of France; and Elisabetta Martini, consul general of Italy at the business dialogue.
Contingency plans in place to tackle market volatility
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Arab News Editor in Chief Mohammed Fahad Al-Harthi with Western diplomats, Saudi businessmen and senior staff members at the end of the business dialogue in Jeddah. (AN photos by Salman Marzouki)
Updated 31 July 2016

Contingency plans in place to tackle market volatility

Contingency plans in place to tackle market volatility

JEDDAH: Britain is committed to restoring people’s confidence in financial markets and to make sure the economy is stable and the period of uncertainty ends soon, said British Consul General Mohammed Shokat at the Arab News business dialogue held at the newspaper’s office in Jeddah on Thursday.
Opening the dialogue — Europe, UK, GCC and Brexit: Winners and Losers — Arab News Editor in Chief Mohammed Fahad Al-Harthi welcomed the guests to the event saying Arab News plans to host such forums as “we believe that the newspapers’ role is not just to report news but also to organize dialogues to present different perspectives to our readers.”
Saudi Arabia and GCC, he said, have very close relations with Britain and Europe and Brexit is bound to have some impact.


“We admire how the Brexit vote was conducted and how the will of the people is respected. This is the beauty of democracy. This dialogue aims to discuss the ramifications of Brexit and how it will affect GCC’s future relations with Britain and Europe,” he said.
Speaking about Arab News, Al-Harthi said this is the first publication of the Middle East’s biggest media entity — Saudi Research and Marketing Group. It was launched in 1975 and now SRMG has some 30 publications including dailies and weeklies.Arab News intends to hold such dialogues and forums to listen to experts, diplomats and intellectuals and inform our readers about their views and opinions.
Khalil Hanware, business editor of Arab News, who moderated the discussion, asked British Consul General Mohammed Shokat to give his comments on the fallout of Brexit that initially wiped $2 trillion off the world markets and continue to have ripple effects globally.
The British consul general appreciated the Arab News initiative to hold a dialogue on Brexit and quoted the statement of new British Premier Theresa May who said Brexit meant Brexit and that people have given their verdict and “we are going to make a success of this.”He, however, said things would be clear when negotiations begin after the UK kicks in Article 50. Britain will soon trigger Article 50 to start the negotiations, he said. Until the negotiations begin, there is no point in speculating about the outcome.
The UK is committed to restoring people’s confidence in British market, said the diplomat. Britain will make sure the economy is stable and try to end the period of uncertainty as soon as possible, he said.
Prime Minister May, Shokat said, was holding talks with European leaders to discuss mechanisms to take forward the discussion.He, however, admitted that UK will face challenges along the way during this period and added that contingency plans were in place to deal with any volatility in the market.
Shokat said the governor of the Bank of England had made it clear on the first day after the Brexit vote that the liquidity is there in the UK banking system, the Bank of England and other financial institutions are ready and willing to provide further support if that becomes necessary.
Basically the governor wanted to reassure everybody that the UK financial system can cope with a period of sustained volatility in the market if that arises, said the diplomat.
The fundamentals of the British economy are very strong and there is no cause of concern, the diplomat added.
He said UK intends to start a new relationship with all countries.
“We are well-placed to reshape our relationship with the European Union, with the GCC, America, with China and India,” Shokat said.
“As a country we want to ensure people that we are an international player, we are still globally minded and a big-thinking country. Eighteen of the top 100 ranking universities in the world are in UK. In terms of G7 and G20 we are in top 2 or top 5, so all the fundamentals of a robust economy are there.”To a question whether France will be a winner as a result of Brexit as many financial companies that were based in London, being the financial hub of Europe, might want to relocate after Britain’s exit from the EU, French Consul General Patrick Nicoloso said: “France will welcome any company coming to our country.”
But he said Britain remains a major partner of France and an European country. It remains a great player for the European Union and for the rest of the world. He said even before Brexit there were differences between Britain and the EU bloc. Britain was also not part of the Schengen visa regime and was not part of the single EU currency — euro, he pointed out.He said he was not pessimistic, but what France wants is that Britain’s exit should be as soon as possible.
The French diplomat said he was unable to say about the impact until the negotiations reach conclusion.
He said Britain should trigger Article 50 to start negotiations as soon as possible.
To a question by the Arab News editor in chief regarding speculations about the future of Europe after Brexit, the French consul general said that Brexit made the entire Europe realize there was need for reforms and we have started working on this in coordination with our Italian and German partners.
Italian Consul General Elisabetta Martini echoed Al-Harthi’s remarks that Brexit was a democratic process and had to be respected.
She said she believed there were no winners or losers in the process.
Martini said Brexit did not come out of the blue as it was an issue that evolved gradually during the past 30 years.
She said unemployment and immigration were some the important issues that had contributed to Brexit. And that needs to be addressed. In the wake of Brexit, Italy started an exercise called the founding members’ meeting where all the founding members of the EU will discuss how to kick-start a new momentum to realize the European project that “we all believe in,” she said.“We are still one of the major partners of UK and we think that UK is an European country,” she said. She said the timeline has to be clear for the negotiations, as uncertainty will lead to volatility in the market.
To a question that the state of Italian economy was facing debt crisis-about $400 billion debt and most of Italian banks in bad debt — and how will the Italian government cope with the situation after Brexit, Martini said there was no systematic problem of Italian banks, there were individual problems of some banks and these problems did not arise out of Brexit those were there even before Brexit. These problems are being addressed, she said.But he said Britain remains a major partner of France and an European country. It remains a great player for the European Union and for the rest of the world. He said even before Brexit there were differences between Britain and the EU bloc. Britain was also not part of the Schengen visa regime and was not part of the single EU currency — euro, he pointed out.
He said he was not pessimistic, but what France wants is that Britain’s exit should be as soon as possible.
The French diplomat said he was unable to say about the impact until the negotiations reach conclusion.
He said Britain should trigger Article 50 to start negotiations as soon as possible.
To a question by the Arab News editor in chief regarding speculations about the future of Europe after Brexit, the French consul general said that Brexit made the entire Europe realize there was need for reforms and we have started working on this in coordination with our Italian and German partners.
Italian Consul General Elisabetta Martini echoed Al-Harthi’s remarks that Brexit was a democratic process and had to be respected.
She said she believed there were no winners or losers in the process.
Martini said Brexit did not come out of the blue as it was an issue that evolved gradually during the past 30 years.
She said unemployment and immigration were some the important issues that had contributed to Brexit. And that needs to be addressed. In the wake of Brexit, Italy started an exercise called the founding members’ meeting where all the founding members of the EU will discuss how to kick-start a new momentum to realize the European project that “we all believe in,” she said.
“We are still one of the major partners of UK and we think that UK is an European country,” she said. She said the timeline has to be clear for the negotiations, as uncertainty will lead to volatility in the market.
To a question that the state of Italian economy was facing debt crisis-about $400 billion debt and most of Italian banks in bad debt — and how will the Italian government cope with the situation after Brexit, Martini said there was no systematic problem of Italian banks, there were individual problems of some banks and these problems did not arise out of Brexit those were there even before Brexit. These problems are being addressed, she said.
But he said Britain remains a major partner of France and an European country. It remains a great player for the European Union and for the rest of the world. He said even before Brexit there were differences between Britain and the EU bloc. Britain was also not part of the Schengen visa regime and was not part of the single EU currency — euro, he pointed out.He said he was not pessimistic, but what France wants is that Britain’s exit should be as soon as possible.
The French diplomat said he was unable to say about the impact until the negotiations reach conclusion.
He said Britain should trigger Article 50 to start negotiations as soon as possible.
To a question by the Arab News editor in chief regarding speculations about the future of Europe after Brexit, the French consul general said that Brexit made the entire Europe realize there was need for reforms and we have started working on this in coordination with our Italian and German partners.
Italian Consul General Elisabetta Martini echoed Al-Harthi’s remarks that Brexit was a democratic process and had to be respected.She said she believed there were no winners or losers in the process.
Martini said Brexit did not come out of the blue as it was an issue that evolved gradually during the past 30 years.
She said unemployment and immigration were some the important issues that had contributed to Brexit. And that needs to be addressed. In the wake of Brexit, Italy started an exercise called the founding members’ meeting where all the founding members of the EU will discuss how to kick-start a new momentum to realize the European project that “we all believe in,” she said.
“We are still one of the major partners of UK and we think that UK is an European country,” she said. She said the timeline has to be clear for the negotiations, as uncertainty will lead to volatility in the market.
To a question that the state of Italian economy was facing debt crisis-about $400 billion debt and most of Italian banks in bad debt — and how will the Italian government cope with the situation after Brexit, Martini said there was no systematic problem of Italian banks, there were individual problems of some banks and these problems did not arise out of Brexit those were there even before Brexit. These problems are being addressed, she said.
Speaking at the Business Dialogue, Sami A. Al-Nwaisir, chairman, Al-Sami Holding Group, said: “I believe the GCC and mainly Saudi Arabia should be on top of the list of the UK’s strategic partners. The annual bilateral trade exceeds 22 billion pounds favoring Britain.”
He added: “Saudi trade and investment minister visited the UK recently, which is a goodwill gesture and I hope it will be cemented with substantial efforts to address the investors’ needs and political concerns we have.”
Al-Nwaisir said: “In fact, as a strategic partner with the UK, Saudi Arabia leads the world’s 1.5 billion Muslims. The Kingdom’s financial power tops in the region with more than $3 trillion investment.”