CGI Gulf Insights of the Week Sept 27 2020

  • ByCGI Gulf Insights of the Week
  • Sunday, 27 September 2020
  • Published inSeptember 2020
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Country Risk Update - Kuwait

Risk Indicator  - DB4a
Risk Level        - Moderate

Ratings Trend  Deteriorating rapidly
Political infighting between parliament and government flares up as lockdown eases, meaning that the government faces difficulty in funding the budget deficit. Business opportunities should increase as the government's national development plan targets a more diverse economy. Resumption of operations in the Divided Zone will boost oil-production capacity (though OPEC quotas will still constrain actual production).
Market Overview
Saudi fintech surges even as coronavirus bites private sector
Saudi Arabia is seeing a faster adoption of technology at a time when the coronavirus pandemic has weighed heavy on the private sector, according to a senior executive from the country's Financial Sector Development (FSD) programme. The FSD programme, which was launched three years ago, has achieved 90 percent of its targets and the coronavirus pandemic has led to a surge in the fintech sector, said Faisal al Sharif, director general of the FSD program. Speaking at the 15th virtual edition of the Euromoney Saudi Arabia conference, Al Sharif said the FSD’s targets for Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA) issuing fintech licences was three by end of 2020 but today there are eight such licences. Similarly, the target for cashless transactions was 28 percent e-transactions by end of this year, but today they make up almost 37 percent of the total.
Global, UAE stock markets on back foot as fears linger
As markets align with reality and indices globally correct on fears of a second wave of COVID-19, weak signs of economic revival and high unemployment, another week of cautious buying was in sight. Stock markets across the world witnessed massive selling during the week gone by amid concerns over steep valuations and a tech bubble burst in the US, however by the end of the week, a partial rebound was observed. Markets’ tryst with ground reality triggered benchmark indices to fall for consecutive days, with fears compounded by fast-rising new virus cases in various global hotspots and rising possibility of lockdowns that could derail the already weak economic recoveries worldwide. The benchmarks are now aligning to market wide investor sentiment and reacting sharply on any negative global cues. Sectors that seemingly withstood the market crash and launched into a massive March-September rally are now finally experiencing selling pressure.
Dubai-based gold trader named in reports filed with US Treasury's FinCEN
Dubai-based gold traders and refiners Kaloti Jewellery Group’s dealings with three Indian companies have figured in several transactions red-flagged by banks to US Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN). The combined amount involved in alleged transactions through three international banks involved billions of dollars, according to information obtained by US news portal BuzzFeed. Met Trade India, now renamed as Metenere Ltd, Jai Gurudev Industries & Warehousing, one of the companies of Mumbai-based Rajsi Group, Chennai-based Surana Corporation are the Indian companies, while Dubai-based Bafleh Jewellery, owned by Indian businessmen Ramesh Bhogilal Vora and his son Chirag Ramesh Vora, are the entities reportedly involved in the dealings with Kaloti Jewellery Group.
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