Middle East/North Africa Top Business Stories – March 28

Saudi/OPEC Oil – “Saudi Arabia said it was not in talks with Russia to balance oil markets despite an attempt by Moscow to increase the members of the Opec+,” Gulf Daily News reports.

GCC Banks – “Downward pressure on profitability and loan quality due to deteriorating operating conditions resulting from low oil prices and the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak is likely to result in more credit rating downgrades of banks in the region, according to rating agencies,” Gulf News reports.

Sovereign Wealth Funds – “On top of the collapse of oil prices and meltdown in global markets, Gulf sovereign wealth funds are channeling some of their billions back to counter the recession triggered by the coronavirus pandemic. The decline in assets could exceed $300 billion this year, according to the Institute of International Finance, the industry’s global association,” Arabian Business reports. 

Saudi Arabia Bonds – “Saudi Arabia has sold more than SR15 billion (nearly $4 billion) in Islamic bonds, as the Kingdom seeks to develop its local debt market,” Arab News reports.

Lebanon Debt Restructuring – “Lebanon has appointed DF King Limited, an Orient Capital Company, to help identify holders of the country’s Eurobonds as it works out a broad debt restructuring, a finance ministry statement said Friday,” The Daily Star/Reuters reports.

Morocco/Covid-19 – “Despite a significant increase in Morocco’s current account deficit (CAD) and external finances due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the country will overcome the challenges, predicts a recent report from American credit rating agency Fitch Ratings,Morocco World News reports.



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