Modi visit to Riyadh added new dimension to Saudi-India ties

Modi visit to Riyadh added new dimension to Saudi-India ties
STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIP: Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman with Indian Premier Narendra Modi in Riyadh.
Updated 15 August 2016

Modi visit to Riyadh added new dimension to Saudi-India ties

Modi visit to Riyadh added new dimension to Saudi-India ties

RIYADH: India’s engagement with the Arabian peninsula, especially with Saudi Arabia, dates back to several millennia when traders and sailors from South Asia used to sail across the Arabian Sea, in boats made of Malabar wood.

The relationship got reinforced and strengthened over a period of time with robust exchanges and there emerged a strong symbiotic relationship, which has stood the test of time and is growing stronger and stronger.
Moreover, “the historic visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Riyadh in April this year at the invitation of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman is seen as a turning point in our growing engagement with Saudi Arabia,” said Ahmad Javed, Indian ambassador, while speaking on the occasion of independence day.
The visit, which saw signing of several agreements, added new dimension to the ties.
This is in addition to several high-profile exchange of visits between the two countries in the past.
In fact, continuous political interaction has nurtured and shaped ties between the Kingdom and India in recent decades.
The visit of late King Abdullah to India in January 2006 was indeed another historic landmark in the political and economic relations between the two countries.
India as a nation and Indian people, especially those living in the Kingdom, were honored to hear from King Abdullah that he regarded India as his “second home”.
But, the visit of Prime Minister Modi to Riyadh undoubtedly opened a new chapter in bilateral cooperation in diverse fields and has contributed to a qualitative upgradation of the already strong bilateral relationship.
But, there is enormous potential in relations with Saudi Arabia; and New Delhi is determined to enhance the areas of interaction.
The past few months has witnessed positive developments that has brought India-Saudi relations to the threshold of a new phase in bilateral relations.
The two countries are in the midst of a serious, constructive and purposeful interaction process. Although trade and people to people ties are ancient and historic, yet government diplomatic efforts between the two countries have helped to make these relations stronger, more vibrant, contemporary and mutually beneficial.

No doubt, Saudi-Indian relations are forging ahead on the parallel bar of trade and investment between the two countries, whose bilateral trade surged from $2.63 billion in 2005 to over $26.7 billion last year. Bilateral investment was also on the upswing.
Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA) has issued 426 licenses to Indian companies for joint ventures, which will bring more than $1.6 billion investment to the Kingdom.
In fact, Saudi investment in India also gained momentum on the strength of business opportunities emerging in its vibrant economy.
Saudi Arabia, as the 48th biggest investor in India, had investments worth $65 million up to March this year.
Apart from this, Saudi petrochemical giant SABIC had set up its R & D center in Bangalore with an investment of $100 million.
These Saudi-India joint ventures or Saudi-owned companies in India cover a broad spectrum of industry such as paper manufacture, chemicals, computer software, granite processing, industrial products and machinery, cement, metallurgical industries, etc.
In terms of bilateral trade, India ranked as the fourth largest trading partner of Saudi Arabia.
“The Kingdom, in fact, is the eighth largest market in the world for Indian exports and is the destination to more than 2.44 percent of India’s global exports,” said a report published on the website of Indian embassy.
For Saudi Arabia, India is the fifth largest market for its exports, accounting for 8.87 percent of its global exports.
The principal Indian exports to Saudi Arabia have been basmati/non-basmati rice, tea, manmade yarn, fabrics, made-ups, cotton yarn, primary and semi-finished iron and steel, chemicals, plastic and linoleum products, machinery and instruments
India’s major imports from the Kingdom comprise petroleum and petrochemical products. Saudi Arabia is also the largest supplier of crude oil to India accounting for a quarter of India’s crude exports.
In terms of human resources development, Indian manpower has made a significant contribution to the Saudi economy, which absorbed about three million Indian workers, of whom over 80 percent are in the blue-collar category.
Exchange of visits between the business communities on both sides also helped to maintain the forward thrust of bilateral relations. Indian business delegations’ visits to the Kingdom and those of Saudis to India during last decade helped in identifying new areas of cooperation between the two countries leading to technology transfer and job opportunities for the nationals of both countries.
No doubt, the centuries old two-way trade was mutually beneficial for the people of India and Arabian Peninsula, enhancing their knowledge and understanding, besides fulfilling their day-to-day requirements.
On the other hand, the Indian government has always been supporting the endeavors undertaken by the leadership of Saudi Arabia to improve the Haj management, which has made the pilgrimage for the Muslims from across the world a safe and comfortable experience.
The leadership of the two countries has displayed a strong commitment to further the historical bonds of friendship.
The visit of late King Saud bin Abdulaziz to India in 1955 marked the beginning of high-level bilateral engagement, which was followed a year later by the visit of the then Indian Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, to the Kingdom. Later, Crown Prince Faisal bin Abdulaziz visited India in 1959 and the then Indian Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi, visited the Kingdom in 1982.
The visit of then Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to Saudi Arabia in 2010 and the signing of the ‘Riyadh Declaration’ during the visit gave a further boost to the momentum of bilateral relations. It elevated the engagement between the two countries to the level of strategic partnership and articulated their commitment to promote bilateral ties in political, economic, security, defense and cultural areas.
Based on the framework provided by the Delhi Declaration and Riyadh Declaration, bilateral relations between the two countries have been strengthened with increase in ministerial visits and stronger economic ties based on substantial trade relations and investments.
The tone set by the landmark visits opened new vistas in bilateral cooperation.
Moreover, the two countries have a shared vision for global peace and development.
India supports the Kingdom’s efforts in combating global terrorism and both the countries strive to join efforts to put an end to the scourge of extremism and violence, which constitute threat to all nations. Custodian of Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah’s initiative to promote interfaith dialogue is well received and appreciated by the Indian leadership.
The role played by about three million Indian expatriates in the growth and development of the Kingdom is well appreciated by the Saudi leadership and has played an important role in bringing the two countries closer.
They have been participating in all the major developmental projects in the Kingdom.
On the cultural front, a 45-member Saudi youth delegation visited India on a 10-day tour recently, to promote understanding and friendship among the youth of the two countries.
The Saudi Youth delegation visited premier institutes such as Indian School of Business, Infosys, Narayan Hrudayalaya, Institute of Electrical & Electronic Engineering and many other institutions, and also interacted with Indian business leaders at an event organized by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).
The delegation also met Indian political leaders and other senior officials of the ministry of external affairs in New Delhi.
Referring to the progressively growing relations between the Kingdom and India, an Indian embassy report said that “two countries share a historical relationship spanning several millennia, which is characterized by strong civilizational, cultural and socio-economic ties.”
The historic visit of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah to India in January 2006 marked the beginning of a new phase in bilateral relations.
The warm reception accorded to the then Indian Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, during his official visit to the Kingdom in February-March 2010 reflected the importance attached to the bilateral ties by the leaderships of both countries.
Singh was awarded the King Abdul Aziz Sash of first class by King Abdullah, and was given the privilege of addressing the members of Majlis Al-Shoura.
No doubt, the Indo-Saudi ties are flourishing.
The achievements are there for all to see. India and Saudi Arabia today stand tall in the comity of nations, and are justly praised for their enduring commitment to liberty and human rights in the most difficult of circumstances.
In the economic field, too, India and Saudi Arabia are acknowledged giants, major role-player in industry, agriculture and services, and are striding confidently forward in the vanguard of modern technology.
The values of secularism, moderation, tolerance and cross-cultural interaction, which have been India’s core national values for centuries, have assumed a new meaning and urgency in contemporary times.
Hence, It is not surprising that the Indian model is seen as worthy of emulation by other societies and other societies and nations.


Qatar has no need to sell bonds after first quarter surplus, says finance minister

Qatar has no need to sell bonds after first quarter surplus, says finance minister
Updated 18 min 47 sec ago

Qatar has no need to sell bonds after first quarter surplus, says finance minister

Qatar has no need to sell bonds after first quarter surplus, says finance minister
  • The minister said the country continued to focus on diversification and was studying the possible future introduction of value added tax

DOHA: Qatar has no need to tap bond markets for budget-balancing reasons after a better than expected oil price boosted its revenues, Finance Minister Ali Al-Kuwari said.
He told Bloomberg TV that the country would only consider raising fresh debt for opportunistic reasons such as attractive yields.
“When we did the budget we ran very conservative numbers (based on) $40 oil and the expectation was around 34 billion Qatari riyals of deficit for the year however we had an excellent first quarter and oil prices moved in the right direction,” he said.
The minister said the country continued to focus on diversification and was studying the possible future introduction of value added tax.
Al-Kuwairi said that investigations into former finance minister Ali Shareef Al-Emadi were continuing and that once the outcome of those enquiries was known it would be made public.
Al-Emadi was arrested earlier this year over allegations of abuse of power and misuse of public funds.
“Qatar has a very transparent legal system and once we have the full details of the investigation and outcome I am sure the public will know what is going on,” said Al-Kuwari.


Oil rises on optimism of quick recovery in global demand

Oil rises on optimism of quick recovery in global demand
Updated 31 min 28 sec ago

Oil rises on optimism of quick recovery in global demand

Oil rises on optimism of quick recovery in global demand
  • Both benchmarks have risen for the past four weeks on optimism over the pace of global COVID-19 vaccinations and expected pick-up in summer travel

TOKYO: Crude oil prices rose on Tuesday, with Brent hitting $75 a barrel for the first time since April 2019, as investors remained bullish about a quick recovery in global oil demand and as concerns eased over an early return of Iranian crude.
Brent crude futures for August climbed 26 cents, or 0.4 percent, to $75.16 a barrel by 0400 GMT, paring earlier losses. It rose as high as $75.23 a barrel, the strongest since April 25, 2019, earlier in the session.
US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude for July was at $73.70 a barrel, up 4 cents, or 0.1 percent. WTI for August climbed 11 cents, or 0.2 percent, to $73.23 a barrel.
Brent gained 1.9 percent and WTI jumped 2.8 percent on Monday.
Both benchmarks have risen for the past four weeks on optimism over the pace of global COVID-19 vaccinations and expected pick-up in summer travel. The rebound has pushed up spot premiums for crude in Asia and Europe to multi-month highs.
“The market sentiment stays strong with improved outlook for global demand,” said Satoru Yoshida, a commodity analyst with Rakuten Securities, adding that a rally in Asian stock markets is also helping boost risk appetite among investors.
Global shares extended their recovery on Tuesday, with Asian markets bouncing from four-weeks lows as investor focus on economic growth partly offset worries about the US Federal Reserve raising rates sooner than expected.
BofA Global Research raised its Brent crude price forecasts for this year and next, saying that tighter oil supply and recovering demand could push oil briefly to $100 per barrel in 2022.
Investors are looking to weekly US inventory data as crude oil stockpiles have fallen for four weeks, said Toshitaka Tazawa, analyst at commodities broker Fujitomi Co.
US crude stocks were expected to drop for the fifth consecutive week, while distillate and gasoline were seen rising last week, a preliminary Reuters poll showed on Monday.
“The oil prices are expected to hold a firm tone amid expectations that fuel demand will pick up quickly along with economic recovery in Europe and the United States,” Tazawa said.
The price gap between the world’s two most actively traded oil contracts narrowed to its lowest in more than seven months, demonstrating that US oil output is still in the COVID-19 doldrums with the market likely to remain undersupplied.
Negotiations to revive the Iran nuclear deal took a pause on Sunday after hard-line judge Ebrahim Raisi won the country’s presidential election.
Raisi on Monday backed talks between Iran and six world powers to revive a 2015 nuclear deal but flatly rejected meeting US President Joe Biden, even if Washington removed all sanctions.
“The lower probability of Iranian crude oil returning to the market due to the new hard-line president is also supporting the market,” Fujitomi’s Tazawa said.


Maple Invest delays buyout of Dubai developer DAMAC

Maple Invest delays buyout of Dubai developer DAMAC
Updated 45 min 51 sec ago

Maple Invest delays buyout of Dubai developer DAMAC

Maple Invest delays buyout of Dubai developer DAMAC
  • It has appointed an independent valuer and financial adviser to help determine the fairness of the offer from the perspective of shareholders

DUBAI: Investment company Maple Invest, owned by tycoon Hussain Sajwani, has delayed the potential buyout of DAMAC, the developer said in a bourse filing.

It earlier offered to take the Dubai developer, which is behind some of the emirate’s glitziest property projects, private at a 45 percent discount to its offer price in 2015 when it went public.

On Monday, the investment company said it hired advisers following the $599m plan.
The company founded by tycoon Hussein Sajwani said on Sunday it has appointed an independent valuer and financial adviser to help determine the fairness of the offer from the perspective of shareholders, the company said in a filing to the Dubai Financial Market.
DAMAC said on Sunday it had also appointed Al Tamimi & Co. as an external legal adviser and that the supplemental offer document would be published by the end of the month.
The developer said that there would be no change to the rights of customers who had paid for projects that had not yet been delivered.
The planned de-listing of DAMAC is seen as a blow for the Dubai Financial Market amid amid increased competition from other regional bourses in Abu Dhabi and Saudi Arabia.


US seeks to extradite Turkish businessman over fraud charges

US seeks to extradite Turkish businessman over fraud charges
Updated 22 June 2021

US seeks to extradite Turkish businessman over fraud charges

US seeks to extradite Turkish businessman over fraud charges
  • Korkmaz and co-conspirators allegedly used the proceeds from the scheme to buy the Turkish airline Borajet, hotels in Turkey and Switzerland and a yacht named the Queen Anne

WASHINGTON: The United States will seek to extradite a Turkish businessman from Austria so he can appear before a US judge in Utah, where he is facing charges of conspiring to commit money laundering and wire fraud, the US Justice Department said.
Sezgin Baran Korkmaz laundered more than $133 million in fraud proceeds through bank accounts that he controlled in Turkey and Luxembourg, the Justice Department said in a statement.
Korkmaz, it said, was arrested in Austria on Saturday at the department’s request following the unsealing of a superseding indictment charging him with conspiracy to commit money laundering, wire fraud and obstruction of an official proceeding.
Reuters was not immediately able to identify Korkmaz’s lawyers for comment.
The businessman is also being investigated by Turkey, where prosecutors in December detained 10 executives working at Korkmaz’s companies, after Turkey’s Financial Crimes Investigation Board (MASAK) said the companies were used for money laundering, Turkish state-news agency Anadolu reported.
The Turkish ambassador to Austria told Dogan News agency on Sunday that Korkmaz was detained on Saturday in a town about 260 km (160 miles) from Vienna and that Turkey had initiated an extradition process with Austrian authorities.
The Turkish Foreign Ministry did not return a call for comment.
It was not immediately clear where Korkmaz would be extradited. He is believed to have left Turkey in December before the police raids.
US prosecutors say the fraud proceeds stemmed from a scheme involving the filing of false claims for more than $1 billion in renewable fuel tax credits for the production and sale of biodiesel by Utah-based Washakie Renewable Energy.
Washakie could not immediately be reached for comment.
Korkmaz and co-conspirators allegedly used the proceeds from the scheme to buy the Turkish airline Borajet, hotels in Turkey and Switzerland, a yacht named the Queen Anne and a villa and an apartment on the Bosphorus in Istanbul, the Justice Department said.

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Global stocks, US yields recoup some losses

Global stocks, US yields recoup some losses
Updated 22 June 2021

Global stocks, US yields recoup some losses

Global stocks, US yields recoup some losses
  • Investors still digesting last week’s surprise hawkish shift by the US Federal Reserve

WASHINGTON: US stocks were higher on Monday and global stocks advanced in choppy trade after hitting a four-week low earlier in the session, with investors still digesting last week’s surprise hawkish shift by the US Federal Reserve.

The US dollar retreated from Friday’s 10-week high. Yields on 10-year Treasuries turned higher after sliding overnight to a four-month low of 1.354 percent. But the benchmark note was still trading well below its recent mid-point range of about 1.6 percent after traders reacted to Federal Reserve expectations for a rate hike.

Shares of banks, energy firms and other companies that tend to be sensitive to the economy’s fluctuations were higher, recovering some losses after have fallen sharply since the Fed’s meeting on Wednesday, when the central bank caught investors off guard by anticipating two quarter-percentage-point rate increases in 2023.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 1.45 percent, the S&P 500 gained 1 percent and the Nasdaq Composite added 0.2 percent.

“Bulls are attempting to regroup this morning after last Friday’s plunge,” Paul Hickey of Bespoke Investment Group said in a market note.

Stocks in Asia took their cue from Wall Street’s falls on Friday but European shares bucked the trend, with the pan-European STOXX 600 index up 0.6 percent.

“The situation in reality is actually pretty good — the Fed is stabilizing inflation,” said Sebastien Galy, senior macro strategist at Nordea Asset Management in Luxembourg. “Cyclical sectors may have overshot the market in the short term and so you may have a bit of pressure on the sector.”

Galy noted the “interesting part” of the correction was that it lagged as traders digested the news.

MSCI’s All Country World Index, which tracks shares across 49 countries, was up 0.5 percent after hitting its lowest since May 24.

Earlier in Asia, Japan’s Nikkei led declines with an over 3 percent drop and dipped below 28,000 for the first time in a month, while MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan fell 1.2 percent.

The US dollar index was down 0.4 percent, off Friday’s 10-week high of 92.408, following its biggest weekly advance in more than a year.

St. Louis Fed President James Bullard further fueled the sell-off on Friday by saying the shift toward faster policy tightening was a “natural” response to economic growth and particularly inflation moving quicker than anticipated as the country reopens from the coronavirus pandemic.

“We believe there is a limit to how much more hawkish the Fed can be given its inflation projections relative to the catch-up rates range,” BlackRock analysts said in a note.

“Our bottom line: We believe the Fed’s new outlook will not translate into significantly higher policy rates any time soon.”

Several Fed officials have speaking duties this week, including Chair Jerome Powell, who testifies before Congress on Tuesday. 

The euro was up 0.46 percent to $1.1915. Sterling recovered some ground, to trade 0.9 percent higher after sliding to its lowest since April 16.

Commodity-linked currencies have also suffered, with the Australian dollar hovering above a six-month low at $0.7495.

A stronger greenback has pressured cryptocurrencies, too, with Bitcoin falling 7.7 percent, while smaller rival Ether lost 11 percent.

In commodities, gold rebounded 1.0 percent to $1,781.41 an ounce on Monday, looking to snap a six-day losing streak, but remained near the lowest since early May.

Copper continued to fall on Monday, hitting its lowest level since mid-April after moves by China to rein in commodities price rallies and signals from the US Federal Reserve it will tighten monetary policy sooner than expected. 

Benchmark copper on the London Metal Exchange (LME) was down 0.8 percent at $9,070 a ton in official trading, after touching $9,011.

Crude oil rose, underpinned by strong demand during the summer driving season and a pause in talks to revive the Iran nuclear deal that could indicate a delay in resumption of supplies from the OPEC producer. Brent crude futures rose to $74.48 a barrel, up 1.32 percent on the day, as Intermediate (WTI) crude rose 1.9 percent to $73.