Why Saudi Aramco's IPO looks doomed to fail

The expectation of high oil prices has been allowing Gulf Arab states- particularly in Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Kuwait- to undertake large infrastructure projects and for locals to live comfortably, often with subsidized utility bills and the granting of land by the rulers for local males. For this to continue, crude oil prices have to remain ove...
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Are you only as old as you feel?

What constitutes "old" is an issue that plagues all societies, including the Middle East. I'm reading an article in one of New Zealand's online papers that says older women are over 30. This article asks some key questions about the issue.  I wrote this article for Behavioural Shift (www.BehaviouralShift.com).​ How old is "old"? Is it when som...
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NZ Superfund performs well in annual report

Key items of interest include: The NZ Superfund has delivered its annual report and the results are good. Here is a summary: - On pages 40 – 41, we delve into the factors driving the recent shifts in the economic and investment environment: "It has been a fascinating 12 months for investment markets with two dominant drivers through 2018: central b...
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UAE buyers still seek London property despite Brexit

While the British might be reeling from the fall in sterling and the fact that overseas holidays are more expensive, some foreigners like the Emiratis are viewing the Brexit chaos as an opportunity to buy into the property market in Central London. The current Brexit fiasco has resulted in a 25% discount on some property. This is how Arabian Busine...
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Fury over KSA's 100% shisha tax

I was curious to read this in Dubai-based "Arabian Business" , a weekly magazine, although not surprised. Smoking shisha is a common past time in all the Gulf Arab countries. Often shisha is smoked instead of drinking alcohol. Therefore, to tax shisha at 100%, on top of the 5% sales tax already introduced, is hefty and it has not gone well in Saudi...
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Progress seen in French initiative for US-Iran talks

The on-going tensions between Iran, the UAE, Saudi Arabia and the West (the US in particular) are likely to come to a head soon. Trying to negotiate a truce between the parties is France and Emmanuel Macron in particular. This article explains what is happening. 'The only game in town': Progress seen in French initiative for US-Iran talks Laura Roz...
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The growth of online education courses

When it comes to education, people are taking matters into their own hands. Technology and a changing global economy are facilitating this. As a consequence, the 40-year career is gone, replaced by life-long learning and diverse career paths. Learners are molding education into what they need for today's work world, which means 'bite-sized' learnin...
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Perception versus reality: how does this affect age?

Perception is so often different from reality. And nowhere more so than Dubai. The perception is that Dubai is the best place in the world; the reality is that it is not. Everyone thinks that life can't get any better but when you leave to some parts of the world things life does get better. Perception and reality-as it relates to the mature person...
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Yemen's war is becoming more complex

The war is Yemen is not only complex but also disastrous. Some of the parties involved in it, in particular the UAE, are changing their position. The UAE is now attacking Yemen's national army, a presence it was meant to support. Yemen is complicated even without a war but when there is a war and one of the parties is inconsistent in its position t...
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Kuwait and Saudi Arabia at odds over Palestine

The animosity between Palestine and Israel has been made worse by the recent declaration by the US that there is not a two-state solution in its peace plan. Saudi Arabia is sticking with its ally, the US- for now at least. That means it's now arresting Hamas-aligned people in the country, such as Mohammed Al-Khodari, who has been residing in Saudi ...
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The US and Lebanon's currency

Amidst all that is happening in the Middle East, one of the countries that is often forgotten is Lebanon- yet it is affected by all that is happening around it. For example, the Syrian war has meant millions of refugees flooding into Lebanon. Volatility too is impacting Lebanon's currency. Here Sam Brennan, from Al Monitor, explains. BEIRUT — Leban...
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What is the future for Syrian refugees in Lebanon?

A great deal continues to happen in the Middle East- from the attacks on Saudi oil production facilities, and on-going tensions with Iran to the Israeli election, where Benjamin Netanyahu appears to have lost but may yet be able to form a coalition, which he failed to do in April. It's a wait and see situation. But instead of looking at any of thes...
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Is Netanyahu losing his magic?

A great deal seems to be going on in the Middle East, from the failure of the Egyptian government to put its state-owned assets up to an open bid; to Iran, Saudi Arabia and the US's increasing likelihood of entering into a bloody war and the failure of Benjamin Netanyahu to win an overall majority in the Israeli elections. The outcome of the latter...
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Will Netanyahu form a coalition and will there be war in the Middle East?

The Israeli election re-run is one of the main issues in the Middle East. The other is the blowing up of two Saudi Arabian oil production plants allegedly by Iran. From an outsider's viewpoint it seems that events are coming together so that there will be war in the Middle East. If Benjamin Netanyahu manages to form a coalition- he failed to do so ...
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Sheikh Mohammed: Dubai has become the 'Silicon Valley' of the Middle East

Arriving in Dubai in 2005, I was asked to write an article on the topic: "Is Dubai built on sand?". Clearly, it is but I argued that the sand was solid. Given that the emirate was focused on real estate, in an attempt to diversify beyond logistics, it was true. Real estate developments appealed to everyone, Western ex-pats, as well as Indians and o...
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Netanyahu vows to annex large parts of occupied West Bank

While travelling, the updates I am getting from the Middle East are mostly about the Israeli elections which will take place on September 17. It seems that the outcome will be little different from the election in April when Benjamin Netanyahu failed to put together a coalition government. Hence, the need for the forthcoming election. The latest is...
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How much are Palestinians paying for 'peace' with Israel?

As far as global issues go, especially war, most reportage seems to come from the Middle East. Perhaps only war happens there? What about Africa, Europe, or Asia? I'm in Cambodia now where there has been a mass genocide and there are still tensions with Vietnam. What about the escalating tensions with South Korea and Japan? North Korea's nuclear am...
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Saudi Arabia replaces Aramco chairman ahead of potential IPO

Initial Public Offerings (IPOs) are relatively common in the Middle East but not all are successful. This is often because the stock exchanges are thin. Saudi Aramco's potential IPO is set to be the biggest in the region, hoping to raise USD100 billion based on a USD 2 trillion valuation. Given the importance of this IPO it's hardly surprising that...
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Despite heightened regional tensions, UAE seeks deescalation with Iran

Politics in the Middle East are always complicated. There is the war in Yemen where the UAE joined with Saudi Arabia in opposing the Houthis but is now trying to pull out in favour of negotiations instead of military action. There are political analysts who maintain that this is part of a wider strategy to have closer ties with Iran once again. And...
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The once flourishing Iranian community in Dubai faces pressure amid Persian Gulf tensions

Iranians in Dubai are considering moving back to Iran. The UAE government is cracking down on them in adherence to US sanctions policy. Perhaps this is surprising? Many of the families in Dubai are of Iranian descent, even if they do not want to admit it, and many have continued to trade with Iran. In 2014, when I was leaving, Iranians, with a lot ...
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