Saturday 28th November 2015
NEWS TICKER, FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 27TH: The Taiwan Stock Exchange (TWSE) has launched an online ‘Rules & Regulations Directory’, providing international investors and the media with a centralised location for all 238 Taiwan capital market regulations in both English and Chinese. Regulations available via the Directory include rules for: primary and secondary listings, corporate governance, clearing and settlement, margin trading, ETFs, market monitoring and regulation, among others. The Directory features an easy-to-navigate graphical interface, allowing investors to locate regulations by category or by tree structure, as well as a comprehensive search function that automatically suggests laws and regulations based on key words. The English translation of the regulations was provided by multinational law firms -The European Parliament’s negotiation team has informed the European Commission that it is ready to accept a one-year delay of the entry into force of MiFID II. However, this only applies if the Commission finalises the implementing legislation swiftly and thereby takes into account the European Parliament’s priorities. Furthermore, Commission and ESMA need to come up with a clear roadmap on the implementation work and especially for setting up the IT-systems. That’s telling them! - China shares fell 5.5% in trading today; it’s a big fall, the biggest since August. Analysts say it is related to the regulator’s announced determination to enforce good practice on the securities industry. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index fell 1.9% today and 3% over the week. Elsewhere, Japan shares fell 0.3% after the Nikkei neared the 20000 barrier on Thursday. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 fell 0.2% and South Korea's Kospi slipped 0.1%. The Straits Times Index (STI) ended 25.57 points or 0.89% lower to 2859.12, taking the year-to-date performance to -15.04%. The top active stocks today were OCBC Bank, which declined 0.46%, SingTel, which declined 0.26%, UOB, which declined 0.10%, DBS, which declined 0.36% and Global Logistic, with a 2.44% fall. The FTSE ST Mid Cap Index declined 0.48%, while the FTSE ST Small Cap Index rose 0.03%.Brent crude was last down 0.2% at $45.38 a barrel. U.S. oil prices fell 0.4% on Thursday amid signs of robust US production despite data showing a lower-than-expected increase in US oil inventories and a decline in the number of working oil-rigs in the country. Gold prices were down 0.3% at $1,066.70 a troy ounce - The EBRD has extended a total of $70m in loans to Mongolia’s Khan Bank, aimed at small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The EBRD package will include financing for SMEs and their value chains, sustainable energy projects designed to improve energy efficiency, a risk-sharing facility that will help Khan Bank clients access longer-term financing, and an increase in the trade finance facility, which helps companies perform export and import operations. The sustainable energy part of the financing package, which is $10m, is part of the special financing framework, Mongolian Sustainable Energy Financing Facility. The EBRD has such facilities in many countries of operations; they are part of the Bank’s drive for green economy transition. The EBRD is also providing technical cooperation as part of the sustainable energy financing portion, funded by the multi-donor EBRD Shareholder Special Fund. Khan Bank, which has around 500 offices across Mongolia, is one of the largest commercial banks in the country. The loan agreements were signed by Khan Bank CEO Norihiko Kato and the head of the EBRD office in Mongolia, Matthieu Le Blan.

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Fortunes divide in infrastructure spending in the GCC

Monday, 03 October 2011
Fortunes divide in infrastructure spending in the GCC The growing disparity of fortunes in the GCC project segment was starkly exposed by a Citigroup report, which highlighted the fact that while some $170bn of projects in the United Arab Emirates have been put on hold or cancelled outright, the MENA region has seen a substantial uptick in infrastructure project spend. Who are the winners and runners up in the GCC project stakes right now?

The growing disparity of fortunes in the GCC project segment was starkly exposed by a Citigroup report, which highlighted the fact that while some $170bn of projects in the United Arab Emirates have been put on hold or cancelled outright, the MENA region has seen a substantial uptick in infrastructure project spend. Who are the winners and runners up in the GCC project stakes right now?

Citigroup’s latest MENA construction tracker report holds that the value of projects either delayed or cancelled rose to $170bn in August alone; a signal indication that the construction segment, particularly related to real estate in the Emirates, is still suffering from the fallout of local construction firms overstretching their credit exposure in the early years of this century. The figure is significant; the value of projects cancelled or delayed accounts for 56% of the all stymied projects across the survey area and is up 13% on July’s figures.  The property boom in the Emirates has now been languishing for over 3 years, with some prices of private property estimated to have fallen by as much as 60% in Dubai. No wonder many developers have been forced to abandon projects.

Projects cancelled or on hold across the wider MENA region in contrast, fell slightly to $1.69bn, compared with $1.7bn in July.  However, key markets in the GCC continue on the fast track in terms of new project spend. Saudi Arabia added $81bn worth of projects to the already $100bn it intends to spend on infrastructure in general and $20bn it will spend on downstream petrochemical projects over the coming five years.  Saudi Arabia, the UAE, also Jordan and Egypt are reportedly now pushing forward the idea of building nuclear power capacity across the MENA region; with the estimated value of projects topping $400bn over the next 15 years.  Saudi Arabia will again dominate this segment, with a planned $350bn spend on the King Abdullah City of Atomic and Renewable Energy project, which aims to establish a zeroCo2 emissions city using a mix of nuclear and other renewal energy sources.  Around 16 separate nuclear units are planned.

Kuwait ($20bn) and Qatar ($2bn) also have projects that are in preliminary stages of construction. In contrast, the UAE also showed a $12bn decline in preliminary projects to $118bn.

It is a contrasting picture with the situation even two years ago. While the outlook for countries such as Saudi Arabia look strong in the near term, revised data issued by the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority shows that the build up to the current construction pipeline was rather slow in 2009 and the first half of 2010. There was an uptick in growth in 2010, with the industry posting 3.7% year-on-year real construction industry growth, while an average growth in construction projects of some 4% a year over the next four years is expected, backed by a healthy project pipeline, strong government support, an ability to invest and local demand for infrastructure keeps the industry stable.

The country’s Ninth Development Plan announced a touch over a year ago sets out an investment spend on infrastructure of some SAR1, 444bn ($385bn) between 2010 and 2014. Then, in response to stirrings elsewhere in MENA, now called the Arab Spring, the government created two packages of social benefits worth $130bn to finance further investment in education, healthcare and housing projects. SAR250bn ($66bn) was pledged for housing alone, with 500,000 new units in the pipeline. Around 7% of development plan investment will be channelled into housing, encompassing some 1m new houses to be built on a public-private partnership basis.  Another 19% will be invested in healthcare, involving the build of some 117 hospitals and 750 so-called primary care units.  The government also has an $80bn 10-year investment plan for electricity infrastructure underway in parallel with the infrastructure investment plans, which run out to 2018. Some 20GW of electricity capacity is currently under construction, worth around $30bn.

In a boost to local construction firms, the Saudi Industrial Development Fund has announced it will finance up to 75% of costs for investment projects in under-developed regions.

The current crop of investments underway includes the SAR40bn expansion of the Grand Mosque, underscoring the Kingdom’s pivotal role in Islam. The expansion, in the northern part of the Grand Mosque will cover an estimated 356,000 square metres, ultimately accommodating up to 1.2m worshippers.  It includes the construction of four giant bridges allowing access to the northern courtyards inside the Grand Mosque. It is the largest expansion project within the Grand Mosque complex to date and will showcase the country’s move into the 21st century, while retaining its sacred role as protector of the Islamic faith.

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