Breakingviews

Cox: Argentina, Aramco are deals for tricky times

January 26, 2016

Two big transactions dominated Davos. One would open up a democracy to capital markets after years of feckless governance and isolation. The other is designed to help a repressive regime retain power. In the world’s current parlous state, it’s to be hoped that both get done.

Saudi Aramco IPO could herald a Riyadh garage sale

January 12, 2016

The IPO of a strategic stake in Saudi Aramco could be the start of a kingdom-wide selloff of state assets. The government owns stakes in locally listed firms worth $170 billion. By spinning these off to compensate for lower oil revenue, it could fund years of budget deficits.

Saudi Aramco IPO carries big investor risks

January 8, 2016

Saudi Arabia has whetted the appetite of potential shareholders with the prospect of listing shares in its state oil company. A sale would give investors access to 18 pct of the world’s oil reserves but little say in how the company is run. The risks could outweigh the rewards.

Gulf states are on a collision course with tax

December 23, 2015

Wealthy populations in Arab sheikhdoms have mostly been spared taxation. Falling oil prices make that untenable. Laws are being drafted in the UAE for new levies on companies and consumers to offset falling revenue. Other countries in the region will follow.

Saudi has chance to teach hedge funds a lesson

December 3, 2015

The largest OPEC producer has long complained that the biggest risk to a stable oil market is hedge funds who bet on falling prices. A deal to cut production in Vienna on Dec. 4, while a drop in the bucket for Saudi, could push up oil prices and leave speculators with big losses.

Dollar peg remains Saudi Arabia’s best option

November 27, 2015

Saudi Arabia is under pressure to break its currency peg with the dollar. The inflexible riyal means Saudi can’t devalue to offset weak oil prices. But given Riyadh’s huge forex reserves, the risks of moving to a floating currency still outweigh the rewards.

Oil market rests on Saudi-Iranian output deal

November 24, 2015

Saudi Arabia says it will work with the world’s biggest oil producers to maintain price stability. To be effective, the OPEC kingpin will also have to make room for Iran to add barrels to the flooded market. The geopolitics are fast moving. But logic points to a deal.

Energy subsidies will test Saudi’s pain threshold

October 29, 2015

The kingdom is considering how to claw back the $107 bln it foregoes each year by subsidising the price of domestic energy. Without that support, companies would be uncompetitive and subjects angry. But the impact of low oil prices makes giveaways an unaffordable luxury.

Oil price floor could be a long way down

By Edward Hadas
January 13, 2015

Petro-economics are painfully simple for producers. Lower prices hardly push up demand. And it will take a price below $30 a barrel before supply falls enough to balance the market. Unless producers can regroup into an effective cartel, their suffering will continue.

Jumbo $6 bln bank IPO shows Saudi too big to miss

October 7, 2014

The sale of shares in the kingdom’s top bank will be the largest this year after Alibaba. A few foreign investors may share some of the upside. For most, it’s a reminder of the opportunities on offer when the $584 bln market opens more fully to outsiders next year.