• ByCGI Gulf Insights of the Week
  • Sunday, 14 June 2020
  • Published inJune 2020
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Country Risk Update - Saudi Arabia
Risk Indicator  - DB4a
Risk Level        - Moderate

Ratings Trend  Deteriorating rapidly

Dun & Bradstreet downgrades Saudi Arabia's country risk rating as the economy is hit by weak oil prices, a new oil production quota, and Covid-19. a rating that strong Gulf support has helped revive market confidence in Bahrain. Longer-term growth will be driven by government reforms under its Vision 2030, which aims to reduce dependence on oil export revenues and boost the private sector.

Market Overview
Arif Naqvi's theft from Abraaj totals $385m, liquidators claim
Liquidators overseeing Abraaj Group’s insolvency now estimate chief executive officer Arif Naqvi’s alleged theft to have cost the firm $385 million, an amount significantly more than what prosecutors claimed. Naqvi is one of six former Abraaj executives who face charges stemming from the private equity’s firm’s 2018 collapse. In court papers last year, US prosecutors said Naqvi stole more than $250 million. But in a new filing on Friday, the liquidators put the losses much higher, claiming Naqvi stole $385 million from 2009 to 2018 as he moved money for his own use in more than 3,700 transactions.
Commercial Bank of Dubai to open up shares to foreign investors
Commercial Bank of Dubai has opened up its shares to foreign investment. The bank has set a foreign ownership limit (FOL) of 40 percent after receiving regulatory approval. Shareholders had previously given the move the go-ahead at the annual general assembly meeting in March. Dr. Bernd van Linder, chief executive officer of Commercial Bank of Dubai, said the FOL will enhance liquidity in the shares and help accommodate interest from global investors.
DIFC back to business with offices, retail outlets, and restaurants open 
Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC has welcomed back clients, visitors, retailers, and restauranteurs at the Centre. “The health and safety of the DIFC community remain the utmost priority. The Centre will continue to enforce strict precautionary measures as per Dubai and UAE Government guidelines to minimize the spread of COVID-19, including directives on hygiene, sanitization, and social distancing,” DIFC said in a statement. Offices, private sector businesses, and retail units can operate at 100 percent capacity ensuring all the precautionary measures and social distancing requirements are adhered to. Opening hours will adhere to timings permitted for public movement.
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