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Middle East & African Monitor – 26 October 2017

  • Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Announces His Vision For The Future.
  • US Congress Ponders Draft Bill On Iran.
  • Qatar Crises Is A “Non-Issue” – Saudi FM.
  • Election Monitors Withdrawn From Kenyan Election.
  • Iraqi Kurds Propose A Freeze On Referendum Result.
  • Cabinet Reshuffle In Morocco.
  • UAE Markets Prepare For A Flurry Of IPO & Debt Issuance Activity.
  • Moodys Downgrades Its Angola Ratings.
  • Flyadeal Plans To Order 50 Aircraft.
  • PPI Rises In Ghana.

REGIONAL COMMENTARY

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Announces His Vision For The Future.
The Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman, stated yesterday that he wanted his country to eliminate extremism and pursue a technology-led future, “We are returning to what we were before, a country of moderate Islam that is open to all religions and to the world, we will not spend the next 30 years of our lives dealing with destructive ideas, we will destroy them today. Saudi Arabia was not like this before 1979, we want to go back to what we were, the moderate Islam that’s open to all religions, we want to live a normal life.” he was quoted as saying by the Arab News media outlet during the ’Future Investment Initiative’ conference currently underway in Riyadh. The Crown Prince also unveiled plans for the creation of a US$500 bio investment zone called ‘NEOM’ which would be spread across Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan. “NEOM will focus on nine specialized investment sectors and living conditions that will drive the future of human civilization, energy and water, mobility, biotech, food, technological & digital sciences, advanced manufacturing, media, and entertainment with livability as its foundation”, he and the chairman of the Public Investment Fund, said in a statement.

US Congress Ponders Draft Bill On Iran.
Newly submitted US legislation, drafted by Republican senators Bob Corker (Tennessee) and Tom Cotton (Arkansas), reportedly proposes a series of amendments to the current ‘Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act’ including a series of stringent new terms such as the potential ‘snapback’ of previous US sanctions on Tehran if for example; Iranian forces test a nuclear warhead capable intercontinental ballistic missile, attempt to clandestinely acquire nuclear materials or prevent IAEA inspectors from examining any suspicious sites including military bases. The bill is set to be debated in the house later this week. Meanwhile Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister, Adel Al Jubair, yesterday affirmed his government’s support for the current US administration’s Iran position stating that Tehran’s behaviour “is not acceptable, and there will be consequences to the Iranians, this is what President Trump has said, and we are very supportive of that.”

Qatar Crises Is A “Non-Issue” – Saudi FM.
Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister has been quoted by the Gulf News newspaper suggesting that the current diplomatic crises over Qatar was “a small issue” and that there were currently more important matters to focus on. “If we can change Qatari behaviour we will be stronger in the GCC and we can confront Iran and terrorism,” Al Jubeir stated adding that “Qatar must first acknowledge it has a problem in order for them to solve it.”

Iraqi Kurds Propose A Freeze On Referendum Result.
The local government in Iraq’s Kurdistan region has called for a halt to all military operations within its borders, offered to freeze the outcome of its recent controversial referendum on independence and enter into talks with the central government in Baghdad. The official statement detailing this can be found here: KRG

Election Monitors Withdrawn From Kenyan Election.
The commonwealth has reportedly withdrawn its observers from Kenya on the back of fears for their safety ahead of tomorrow’s highly charged election re-run. The commonwealth had a team monitoring the original poll in August this year.

Cabinet Reshuffle In Morocco.
King Mohammed VI of Morocco has reportedly ordered the dismissal of four government ministers, including those responsible for education, health and housing. Their removal from office is apparently linked to delays in the implementation of various social development projects in the north of the country according to an AP report.

UAE Markets Prepare For A Flurry Of IPO & Debt Issuance Activity.
One of the world’s largest aluminum producers, Emirates Global Aluminum (EGA), which is jointly owned by Mubadala and the Investment Corporation of Dubai, is reportedly planning to conduct an IPO next year according to an article in the UAE’s National newspaper. This announcement follows plans by Emaar Properties to float a 20% stake in its property development unit Emaar Development LLC in November this year, and news that the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) may soon offer up a minority stake in its service station arm. Meanwhile Abu Dhabi Crude Oil Pipeline (ADCOP) kicked off a bond roadshow last Thursday for a US$3 bio dual-tranche bond, and this should come to market tomorrow. US$800 mio will come via a 12 year bullet tranche and the remaining US$2.2 bio will be 30-year amortizing. Initial pricing is suggested to be around 3.90% and 4.80% respectively.

Moodys Downgrades Its Angola Ratings.
Moodys downgraded its Angola credit ratings this past weekend. The country’s long-term issuer and senior unsecured rating was lowered to B2 but the outlook was adjusted from negative to stable. In a statement on its website the ratings agency listed three primary reasons for its decision as follows: 1) Lower economic strength in light of the diminished medium-term growth outlook, constrained by foreign currency shortages, high inflation, lower public sector spending and a weak banking system, and a continued heavy reliance on oil revenues. 2) Fiscal strength has materially decreased with indebtedness nearly doubling in the past four years, while liquidity risk remains elevated due to significant gross borrowing requirements. The debt-to-GDP ratio remains vulnerable to further currency devaluation and potential crystallization of contingent liabilities from the public sector. 3) Persisting external pressures in the form of low dollar liquidity and declining net international reserves, despite higher oil prices and a decreasing current account deficit.

Flyadeal Plans To Order 50 Aircraft.
Saudi Arabia’s new budget airline ‘Flyadeal’ could be in the market soon for up to 50 new aircraft, including the Airbus A320 and/or Boeing 737.

PPI Rises In Ghana.
Ghana’s producer-price-inflation rose to 7.60% y/y last month from 6.60% in August according to the latest official data.

25-10-2016

AND FINALLY…
Did you know that the modern Suez Canal is only the most recent of several manmade waterways that once snaked their way across Egypt? The Egyptian Pharaoh Senusret III is believed to have built an early canal connecting the Red Sea and the Nile River around 1850 B.C.

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