Sunday, 17 November 2019

Saudi Aramco Sees Itself as a $1.7 Trillion Company

THE NEW YORK TIMES: The world’s largest oil company is providing more data for potential investors in its initial public offering, which is expected next month.

Saudi Aramco, the world’s largest oil company, offered more details on the enormous share offering it is planning for December, setting an overall market value of the company of as much as $1.7 trillion, a figure short of the $2 trillion initially estimated by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Still, the company could raise close to $26 billion when it offers shares to the public, a total that could make it the largest initial public offering ever.

Aramco said in a statement that the offering price for its shares would be between 30 and 32 riyals, or about $8 to $8.50 per share, and that 1.5 percent of the company, amounting to three billion shares, would be sold. That would set the value of the company between $1.6 trillion and $1.7 trillion.

Aramco said that it would publish the final price on Dec. 5. Trading on the Riyadh stock market, the Tadawul, is expected to commence around Dec. 12. » | Stanley Reed | Sunday, November 17, 2019

Roundtable: How Islamic Is Islamic Finance?

When you're saving money - should you be making money? Today we look at the differences between traditional and Islamic banking. What's allowed - what's not? So how does one system differ from the other? A bank might lend you $100,000 for a house and make $25,000 in interest. An Islamic bank says that's wrong, but could still end up $25,000 better off - and you still get the house. We’ll try to explain.

Thursday, 14 November 2019

The Business of War: Making a Killing from Conflict – Almir Colan

I have recorded this video around 3 years ago and in the light of recent discussion about wars in Middle east I think it is relevant to remember that wars are very beneficial for some corporations, special interest groups and investment funds. It is unfortunate but some people are making profit only when others kill.

Islamic Finance Clinic – The Heart of the Islamic Economic System

America v China: Why the Trade War Won't End Soon | The Economist

America and China are edging closer to signing a deal in the trade war. But that won’t mark the end—the issues at the heart of the conflict will be very difficult to resolve.

The world’s leading superpowers are locking horns. Over the past 16 months America and China have been trading blows through tariffs on goods. The impact is being felt on industries worldwide. But what is the story behind the America-China trade war?

So the trade war, what have you guys been looking at? The US doesn’t like that China is growing so fast and set to overtake America as the biggest economy in the world if it hasn’t already by certain measures. Basically, China and the US are caught in this race of imposing tariffs on each other so the US slaps a high tariff on certain products then China retaliates.

It’s multiple industries across multiple markets, it’s huge. And I think right now would be a really good time to look at what’s happened how it could impact the world from now on.

At ‘The Economist’, we’ve been covering the trade war extensively Soumaya Keynes is our trade and globalisation editor based in Washington, DC.

How did this whole trade war kick off? How did this whole trade war start? For a long time there have been frustrations that past American administrations had with the Chinese. On the 2016 presidential campaign trail you started to see some really tough rhetoric.

China’s economic rise has been dramatic. In 1978 China’s GDP at market prices was just 6% of America’s. Last year it had grown to 66%. When considering local spending power China has already overtaken America. This unprecedented growth began with President Deng Xiaoping. He started opening up China’s economy to the world in 1978 and the country quickly became “the world’s factory”. Over the next decade, exports as a share of GDP tripled and by 1988 15% of China’s exports went to America. The World Trade Organisation opened its doors to China in 2001. And it was America that ushered it in.

After joining the WTO, China became an economic superpower. But people had expected the country to also become more like a Western capitalist economy. That didn’t happen. America now claims that China achieved its growth by not playing fair. Are those claims justified?

The Trump administration has been using tariffs or taxes on imported goods to try to force the Chinese to change their ways. In July 2018 America imposed tariffs of 25% on $34bn worth of Chinese products. That almost doubled the average tariff rate on Chinese imports from 3.8% to 6.7%. And it’s American firms that have to pay that tax. But with every increase from America, came an increase from China. Since the start of the trade war China has more than doubled its average tariff rate. America’s has tripled. The fight has become overtly political because China’s tariffs are hitting President Trump’s voter base. Many counties where Trump won in the 2016 election were here in the Great Plains and these are the counties most affected by China’s tariffs.

As things stand now, a ceasefire in the trade war could be drawing near. The two leaders are hoping to agree on a “phase one” deal soon which could mean some tariffs being lifted The Trump administration wants China to buy more American produce and tighten up their intellectual property rules. If that phase one deal is signed will it be the beginning of the end of the trade war?

Even if there is a phase one deal there will be a lot of issues still to be resolved. But there’s more to the trade war than just tariffs. America has also imposed restrictions on some Chinese firms especially ones in the tech industry.

David Stockman: True US Economy about to Be ‘Revealed’

The Federal Reserve has given another $112 billion to Wall Street. Hardly a sign of a “thriving economy.” David Stockman, former budget director for President Ronald Reagan and author of “Peak Trump: The Undrainable Swamp and the Fantasy of MAGA” joins Rick Sanchez to share his insights. He argues the market “can’t digest” all the money flooding into Wall Street and that the Federal Reserve responded with panic.

Sunday, 10 November 2019

Saudi Aramco Unveils Next Stage of Blockbuster Flotation

BBC: The world's most profitable company has published more details about its planned stock market flotation.

Oil giant Saudi Aramco's long-awaited prospectus said individual retail investors will have a chance to buy shares as well as big institutions.

But the 600-page prospectus did not say how much of the Saudi firm would be sold, nor the date of the listing.

It did, though, mention possible risks, including the government's control over oil output and terrorist attack.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is seeking to sell the shares to raise billions of dollars to diversify the Saudi economy away from oil by investing in non-energy industries.

Bankers think the long-awaited flotation will value Aramco at $1.5-2 trillion, making the stock market listing the biggest ever.

The prospectus said up to 0.5% of the company would be set aside for retail savers, but Aramco had not yet decided on the percentage for larger institutional buyers. » | Sunday, November 10, 2019

Monday, 4 November 2019

Will Aramco's IPO Succeed? I Inside Story

Saudi Arabia's crown jewel and the world's largest oil producing firm, Aramco, is now set to go public after several delays.

The initial public offering, or IPO, will be on the Saudi stock exchange. How much of the company's for sale and at what price, will be determined later.

Part of the Crown Prince's economic plans for the kingdom, the flotation aims to raise billions of dollars. But estimates of how much it might actually draw, vary widely. Mohammed Bin Salman wants a $2 trillion price tag, many bankers put it at $1.5 trillion.

But can ARAMCO's IPO satisfy his ambitions? And what, if any, are the risks?

Presenter: Dareen Abu Ghaida | Guests: Mohammed Cherkaoui, author and senior fellow at Al Jazeera Centre for Studies; Jeff Colgan, associate professor at Brown University and author of 'Petro-Aggression: When Oil Causes War'; Joseph Kechichian, senior fellow at King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic studies

Sunday, 3 November 2019

Opinion: The Happy, Healthy Capitalists of Switzerland

THE NEW YORK TIMES: Forget Scandinavia. Switzerland is richer and yet has a surprisingly equal wealth distribution.

Like many progressive intellectuals, Bernie Sanders traces his vision of economic paradise not to socialist dictatorships like Venezuela but to their distant cousins in Scandinavia, which are just as wealthy and democratic as the United States but have more equitable distributions of wealth, as well as affordable health care and free college for all.

There is, however, a country far richer and just as fair as any in the Scandinavian trio of Sweden, Denmark and Norway. But no one talks about it.

This $700 billion European economy is among the world’s 20 largest, significantly bigger than any in Scandinavia. It delivers welfare benefits as comprehensive as Scandinavia’s but with lighter taxes, smaller government, and a more open and stable economy. Steady growth recently made it the second richest nationin the world, after Luxembourg, with an average income of $84,000, or $20,000 more than the Scandinavian average. Money is not the final measure of success, but surveys also rank this nation as one of the world’s 10 happiest.

This less socialist but more successful utopia is Switzerland. » | Ruchir Sharma | Saturday, November 2, 2019

Wednesday, 30 October 2019

Federal Reserve Cuts Interest Rates for Third Time in 2019

THE NEW YORK TIMES: The quarter-point cut comes as the economy continues to show signs of slowing, but the Fed signaled that it will pause to weigh incoming data before adjusting rates again.

WASHINGTON — The Federal Reserve cut interest rates Wednesday for the third time this year as slowing business investment, ongoing trade tensions and global weakness continued to weigh on the American economy.

But the Fed signaled that it will pause and assess incoming data before it considers lowering borrowing costs again. Fed Chair Jerome H. Powell said that while “there’s plenty of risk left,” some of it has subsided, pointing to the potential for a limited trade deal between the United States and China and a negotiated exit for Britain from the European Union.

“Overall, we see the economy as having been resilient to the winds that have been blowing this year,” he said. Wednesday’s decision to cut rates for a third time was made “to help keep the U.S. economy strong in the face of global developments and to provide some insurance against ongoing risks.” » | Jeanna Smialek | Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Sunday, 20 October 2019

World Economy Is Sleepwalking into a New Financial Crisis, Warns Mervyn King

THE GUARDIAN: Past crashes spawned new thinking and reform but nothing has changed since 2008 banking meltdown, says former Bank of England boss

The world is sleepwalking towards a fresh economic and financial crisis that will have devastating consequences for the democratic market system, according to the former Bank of England governor Mervyn King.

Lord King, who was in charge at Threadneedle Street during the near-death of the global banking system and deep economic slump a decade ago, said the resistance to new thinking meant a repeat of the chaos of the 2008-09 period was looming.

Giving a lecture in Washington at the annual meeting of the International Monetary Fund, King said there had been no fundamental questioning of the ideas that led to the crisis of a decade ago.

“Another economic and financial crisis would be devastating to the legitimacy of a democratic market system,” he said. “By sticking to the new orthodoxy of monetary policy and pretending that we have made the banking system safe, we are sleepwalking towards that crisis.” » | Larry Elliott, Economics editor | Sunday, October 20, 2019