On the final Monday of 2019, protesters staged a sit-in at the Beirut offices of Bank Audi, Lebanon’s largest bank. Chants of “We want the money!” were heard as the furious protesters—many of them Audi’s clients—demanded that tellers give them their funds.
Sovereign wealth funds are state-owned funds used by especially Middle Eastern and Asian governments to support projects they feel will promote domestic growth and welfare; lately, they have been shifting to emerging-technology opportunities. One difference between SWFs and other funds is a willingness to wait to realize long-term returns; technology firms with vast potential to serve private and public interests are proving to be the perfect targets for SWF investment.
The oil price affects all of us, so its movements are a popular target of speculation. So far in 2019, the oil price has been tracking upward, and oil-market watchers are asking themselves if it could hit $100 per barrel soon. The definitive answer remains elusive, as the multiple and at times conflicting elements that determine the price of oil are in a word: complicated. Stay tuned as OPEC meets in June.
Artificial intelligence is infiltrating almost every industry, including banking, and automating tasks in ways that outperform humans. But is this cause for nail-biting or rejoicing? A lot depends on how intelligently artificial intelligence is first viewed and then put to work by humans. Banks worldwide, such as Alawwal bank in Saudi Arabia, are proving that this powerful technology, if exploited smartly, will be transformational for banks and customers alike.
The commodities “super cycle” generated by mainly Chinese demand came to a screeching halt midway through 2014. The pain has been acutely felt by especially US oil and gas companies, which, crushed by their operating losses and high interest costs on debt, have been seeking Chapter 11 protection in record numbers.
Saudi Arabia’s state-owned oil company Saudi Aramco is on the verge of becoming the world’s biggest company, after the government recently confirmed plans to sell a 5-percent stake in the country’s sole oil producer.
The Tadawul, Saudi Arabia’s stock market, is going to be opening up to foreign investors for the first time this coming April. When the approaching move was announced in July of last year, it led to a three-percent rise in the index. The Tadawul market happens to be the largest in the Middle East at $500 billion plus, simultaneously being the second largest
Saudi Arabia’s stock market always has been closed to direct participation of investors from abroad, but now the kingdom is looking to boost capital and has decided to open up its stock market to foreign investors. This will happen in the first half of next year, but the country’s Capital Market Authority, which made the announcement on July 22, added that the guidelines for participation will be made public in August.