Economics Editor, Europe, Middle East and Africa
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Jan 23, 2015

New Saudi king to focus economic policy on jobs as oil sags

DUBAI (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia’s new king is expected to focus economic policy on creating jobs and multi-billion dollar infrastructure projects to prevent tumbling oil prices from causing social tensions or undermining business confidence.

King Salman, who took the throne in the early hours of Friday after the death of his brother King Abdullah, inherits an economy that faces its biggest challenge since the global financial crisis in 2009.

Jan 22, 2015

Growth in Gulf Arab oil states to slow moderately this year: Reuters poll

DUBAI (Reuters) – Cheap oil will slow growth in most Gulf Arab economies this year but heavy spending by governments and healthy private sector activity will prevent any serious slump, a Reuters poll showed on Thursday.

The poll of 17 economists, conducted over the past two weeks, was the first since global oil prices plunged to near six-year lows, slashing the energy export revenues of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).

Jan 22, 2015

Growth in Gulf Arab oil states to slow moderately this year

DUBAI, Jan 22 (Reuters) – Cheap oil will slow growth in most
Gulf Arab economies this year but heavy spending by governments
and healthy private sector activity will prevent any serious
slump, a Reuters poll showed on Thursday.

The poll of 17 economists, conducted over the past two
weeks, was the first since global oil prices plunged to near
six-year lows, slashing the energy export revenues of the
six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).

Jan 19, 2015

Oil’s plunge to siphon Gulf petrodollars from global markets

DUBAI, Jan 19 (Reuters) – Plunging oil prices could prompt
Gulf Arab sovereign wealth funds to pull tens of billions of
dollars out of global markets this year, with much of the money
expected to come out of U.S. dollar debt and deposits with banks
abroad.

But – in a crucial balancing act for funds tasked with
diversifying their economies away from hydrocarbons – many are
expected to remain active in making long-term investments such
as infrastructure and real estate, with an increasing focus on
developing nations as opposed to sluggish European economies.

Jan 11, 2015

Austerity? Not for us, say rich Gulf states as oil slides

DUBAI, Jan 11 (Reuters) – It’s a weekend morning at the
Dubai Mall, a glitzy complex with 1,200 stores, and the shoppers
are pouring in. A traffic jam has formed in the basement parking
area. With passenger arrivals at Dubai’s airport at record
highs, retailers expect a good month.

The 55 percent plunge of oil prices since last June might be
expected to usher in an age of austerity in the Gulf, which
faces a steep drop in its income.

Dec 28, 2014

Saudi 2015 budget based on oil price around $60 – analysts

DUBAI, Dec 28 (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia’s 2015 state budget
assumes an oil price close to current levels of around $60 a
barrel for Brent crude, a shift from past budgets which
were based on prices well below market levels, analysts say.

The kingdom doesn’t reveal the oil prices which it uses to
calculate its annual budgets. So analysts estimate them, making
assumptions about several other variables such as planned oil
exports and production for the following year.

Dec 25, 2014

Markets rise as Saudis maintain spending in 2015 budget

DUBAI, Dec 25 (Reuters) – Gulf stock markets rose on
Thursday as Saudi Arabia released a 2015 state budget that will
keep spending high, reassuring the region that economic growth
is unlikely to be hurt much by the plunge of oil prices.

The Saudi budget envisions state spending at a record 860
billion riyals ($230 billion) next year, up 0.6 percent from the
2014 budget plan.

Dec 25, 2014

Saudis to keep spending heavily in 2015 budget, shrug off oil plunge

DUBAI, Dec 25 (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia will lift state
spending to a record in its 2015 budget while covering a deficit
with its huge fiscal reserves, the government said, providing
the first detailed look at how the world’s top oil exporter aims
to handle an era of cheap oil.

Financial markets had feared the kingdom might slash
spending. But the budget, released by the Finance Ministry on
Thursday, suggests authorities are confident of their ability to
ride out low oil prices and see no need for major austerity.

Dec 24, 2014

Gulf markets rise ahead of Saudi budget

DUBAI, Dec 24 (Reuters) – Gulf stock markets resumed rising
on Wednesday ahead of the release of Saudi Arabia’s 2015 state
budget, which is expected to be announced on Thursday and show
the government keeping spending at high levels despite the
plunge of oil prices.

Regional bourses collapsed in early December because of
fears that reduced oil export revenues would prompt Gulf
governments to scale back economic development projects, hurting
corporate profits.

Dec 23, 2014

Gulf markets’ rebound stalls after oil pulls back

DUBAI, Dec 23 (Reuters) – Most Gulf stock markets fell on
Tuesday, ending a rally of several days, after the Brent oil
price pulled back to near $60 a barrel, dampening sentiment
among retail investors.

The bourses have been closely correlated to oil over the
last several months because of concern that lower oil export
revenues could cause Gulf governments to cut back spending,
particularly in the countries with relatively weak state
finances, Bahrain and Oman.

    • About Andrew

      "Based in London, I manage economics and emerging markets coverage in the EMEA region and reporting on emerging markets in the area. Before moving to EMEA in early 2009 I spent almost 20 years in Asia as a journalist, based in Hong Kong, Taipei, Tokyo, Singapore and Shanghai."
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