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Middle East & African Monitor – 16 November 2017

  • China Resumes Strategic Oil Reserve Linked Purchases.
  • Al Hariri Reportedly Set To Travel To France Soon.
  • Dos Santos Removed As Head Of Angola’s Oil Company.
  • Twenty Percent Of Nigeria’s Foreign Debt Consists Of Eurobond Issuances. 
  • Saudi Arabia Introduces Trading Licenses For Foreign Entrepreneurs.
  • US$3.1 Bio Repo Agreement With Egypt Extended.
  • SoftBank Plans To Invest Up To US$25 Bio In KSA. 
  • Yemen’s CB Set To Receive US$2 Bio Injection.
  • FlyDubai Places US$27 Bio Aircraft Order.
  • ADNOC & CNPC Sign Collaboration Agreement.

REGIONAL COMMENTARY

China Resumes Strategic Oil Reserve Linked Purchases.
According to data released by the satellite-led research firm, Orbital Insight, China’s strategic oil stocks rose by an estimated 37 mio barrels during the first 9 days of November 2017, following an apparent drop of over 120 mio barrels over the previous two months. Such specific purchases (which the IEA expects to continue at a record pace into 2018), combined with the overall increase in demand by the country’s ‘teapot’ refiners, helped China’s crude imports hit a 5-month high of 9 mio bpd in September, although this number has since dropped back to 7.3 mio bpd in October as local refiners closed in on their annual quotas. Meanwhile there are ongoing but as yet unconfirmed media reports, that China’s state-owned oil companies are keen to take a sizeable chunk of the planned 5% stake set to be offered by Saudi Aramco via an IPO next year, in support of Beijing’s long-term energy security plans.

Al Hariri Reportedly Set To Travel To France Soon.
Saad al Hariri, who recently resigned as Prime Minister of Lebanon has, according to a Reuters report published this morning, agreed to travel from Riyadh to Paris as a guest of the French government within the next 48 hours, before heading to Beirut to officially resign his post, as previously requested by that country’s President. This news is however yet to be officially confirmed.

Dos Santos Removed As Head Of Angola’s Oil Company.
President Joao Lourenco has removed Isabel do Santos from her position as chairman of the country’s state-owned oil company Sonangol, in a move which may have come as somewhat of a surprise but highlights an ongoing attempt by the new President to reduce his predecessor, Jose Eduardo dos Santos’, remaining influence on a country that the latter had ruled for 38 years. Isabel Dos Santos was the former President’s eldest daughter and is alleged to be Africa’s richest woman with a net-worth of around US$3 bio according to the ‘Quartz’ news website.

Twenty Percent Of Nigeria’s Foreign Debt Consists Of Eurobond Issuances.
Nigeria’s Debt Management Office said yesterday that Eurobond issuances accounted for over one-fifth of the sovereign’s total foreign debt portfolio of US$15.39 bio, compared to its total domestic debt of US$49.90 bio as at the end of September 2017. This announcement follows the Nigerian Senate’s approval earlier this week, of a US$5.5 bio external loan request by the Buhari administration. According to the local ‘Premium Times’ newspaper the President had requested the Senate’s approval for the government to pursue a US$3 billion external loan and issue a US$2.5 billion Eurobond or ‘Diaspora’ bond in the international markets. Buhari had also reportedly explained that the bonds would assist in funding this year’s budget while the loan would be used for the refinancing of maturing domestic debt.

Saudi Arabia Introduces Trading Licenses For Foreign Entrepreneurs.
Saud Arabia has begun offering trading licenses to foreign entrepreneurs which would enable them to establish businesses in the Kingdom for the first time. This initiative, announced yesterday by Saudi regulators, will enable selected businesses to establish themselves with King Abdullah Economic City which itself is the first publically listed city in the world. “We believe the future is the knowledge economy, so we can't do that without entrepreneurs from all over the world. We've offered entrepreneurs incentives to come into Saudi Arabia so it doesn't only require regulatory approvals but also access to market, we're giving them free office space, free education for their children, anything that they ask for," the CEO of KAEC was quoted as saying by CNBC.

US$3.1 Bio Repo Agreement With Egypt Extended.
Egypt’s Central Bank said yesterday that it has signed a fresh Repo agreement with a consortium of banks which would extend the maturity of US$3.1 bio by 12 months. The CB also said that it had repaid an amount of US$ 2 bio which matured last week. Meanwhile Egypt’s unemployment rate dipped slightly to 11.90% during Q3 of this year from 11.98% the previous quarter according to the country’s statistics bureau.

SoftBank Plans To Invest Up To US$25 Bio In KSA.
The Japanese based SoftBank Group is reportedly planning to invest up to US$25 bio in Saudi Arabia over the next few years, US$15 bio of which will apparently be deployed within the giant NEOM project recently unannounced by Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince, while US$10 bio will be aimed towards renewable and solar energy projects linked to the Saudi Electricity Company, according to a recent Bloomberg article.

Yemen’s CB Set To Receive US$2 Bio Injection.
According to a statement by Yemen’s President, Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi, and which was published in Gulf News, Saudi Arabia has promised to provide his country’s Central Bank with a US$2 bio deposit to help stabilize the local currency, and will release additional funding for basic infrastructure projects within “liberated” areas of the country. This announcement follows a recent decision by the US administration to unfreeze US$205 mio belonging to Yemen’s CB.

FlyDubai Places US$27 Bio Aircraft Order.
UAE based FlyDubai this week committed to the largest ever single-aisle passenger jet order made by a Middle East airline, which would see the company buy 175 Boeing 737 MAX planes with the purchase rights for an additional 50 if required.

ADNOC & CNPC Sign Collaboration Agreement.
The Abu Dhabi National Oil Company and the China National Petroleum Corporation yesterday signed a framework agreement covering various areas of potential collaboration. CNPC is reportedly considering various joint-opportunities including the development of Abu Dhabi’s Lower Zakum, Umm Shaif and Nasr offshore concessions, the Bab Bu Hasa, Ghasha and Hail sour gas development projects as well as other projects, according to the UAE’s ‘National’ newspaper.

16-11-2017

AND FINALLY…
Did you know that John D. Rockefeller, who revolutionized and dominated the oil industry during the late 19th and early 20th century, had an estimated net worth of US $1.4 trillion (in today’s money) at the time of his death?

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