Tag Archives: Aramco

It was foretold

So as I went into a howling rage of laughter when Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif told the world that ‘it will destroy any aggressor‘, I almost called +98 2139931 to ask Mahmoud Alavi whether it was allowed for the Foreign Minister to pronounce National governmental acts of suicide. In all this Iran had been the greatest aggressor of all.

His response was due to the events we see in the BC article (at https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-49781350), ‘Iran warns it will ‘Destroy aggressors’ after US troop announcement‘. Even Maj-Gen Hossein Salami said Iran was “ready for any scenario“, yet he too is mistaken, the issue is not merely the attacks on Saudi Oil (which finally has woken up the west to a larger degree), the idea that both the State of Israel as well as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is ready to take the battle to Tehran is not something Iran has foreseen, it would be a challenge to deal with either, dealing with both and optional support by American troops is something they have not seen coming. It is seen in other ways as well. Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah has changed his tune, it is now all about “if Saudi and UAE stop their war on Yemen, they will not be in need of squandering more money to fund it and buying the costly defense systems against the drone attacks which, in turn, will inflict heavy losses upon both of them“, this person (read: tool) conveniently left out the part where Hezbollah members were part of the atrocities in Yemen themselves and we have not forgotten that, the forces will be overlooking whatever the state of Israel is about to give Hezbollah and its supporters, they can come cry and hide behind the UN skirt, but in the end, they created this mess themselves and now that Iran is pulling support more and more Hezbollah is suddenly in a place without the support they had 2 years ago, so Hezbollah is soon the crying child awaiting ammunition and whilst they await arrival crying for international help and offering talks, a game they have played for too long. I personally expect to see another flag for talks going up before the end of October, the sincerity of these talks are basically towards the timeline for fresh supplies and optionally until Iran backs them again with more. Yet the truth of the matter is that Iran is now engaging in a three pronged strategy that they cannot afford. Hezbollah, Houthi and Iranian attacks on Saudi interests is now striking back in almost every way, the Aramco hit made that possible. The spike was the rude wakeup call and even as the price has so far subsided by 1%, the engines of defence will require a lot of oil products soon enough, which could be another marker for increased fuel prices soon enough.

Yet it is the issue that we did not see that matters, it is the view on the precision of the attack that has intelligence analysts baffled to some degree. No matter how we slice the data, the numbers actually favour Iranian abilities, even as Iran remains in denial, the fact that this attack was more than merely successful leaves 5 players who could have done this: America, NATO, China, Russia and Iran.

It is perhaps the first time that Iran gets mentioned next to these other four on this scale. Iran cannot admit as this would be admitting to an act of war, yet this is centre stage in all this. I personally still believe that someone painted the targets, but beyond that, if that was not the case, it implies that an orchestrated drone missile attack is something that Iran has mastered to the degree that the other four have not shown ever. That is the baffling part, yet we know that the other 4 can do the same, yet that puts the Iranian drones on the same level as the General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper, which is a stretch on a few levels I might add, in addition, the drone operators that the US has are not to be underestimated, the fact that the attack was this successful grades Iranian pilots a scale higher than I ever have before. Let’s not forget, Iran is proud of its air force, and the fact that they delivered last week is rather unsettling. the truth is that there is no way that Houthi forces have anywhere near the skill, the materials and the setup to do this, that is what shows the Iranian forces to be the guilty ones and now they are calling the bluff of others to try and attack. I myself am all in favour to call out to them and merely ‘borrow’ a reaper to install free air-conditioning in that building using a GBU-12 Paveway II. Did you know that the GBU-12 Paveway II is awesome for immediate installation of air shafts and holes in buildings to facilitate for air conditioning? #JustSaying

A light situation?

Some people might think that I am making light of the situation, well, yes, but that has been the media for months, until Aramco was hit, over half a dozen attacks on Saudi Arabia, Saudi locations and its citizens was left unreported by the western media, only now, only when oil spikes, do we see action from those ignoring Iranian transgressions and acts of aggression, so in that, I am in full view of righteous when I laugh at the Iranian sentiment of ‘it will destroy any aggressor‘, as they have been the aggressor all along.

I agree with the BBC point of view giving us: “What seems clear is that this remains a game of brinkmanship, with all sides still hoping to be able to pull back from a direct military confrontation“, however on a personal note, I believe that it is too late for that, I believe that Iran will keep on playing this game for as long as they can wave the ‘nuclear deal’ carrot in front of the EU, delaying matters for as long as they can. I personally believe that it is a stage most overdue that a direct action against the Iranian military forces has become essential, they need to see direct and material damage in Iran (Tehran would be best) to show them that there is no more leeway for Iran. On other departments, I would happily offer my design to sink the Iranian fleet to SAMI, see if we can get it working, there is nothing like watching a minister of defence praising their new Sahand whilst it is appreciating the Horizon of Iran from the bottom of the Sea of Dammam (a reference to an earlier article), and to be honest, I want this design to work just so I can nose thumb DARPA, as stated before, I do have a sense of humour.

There is however another side, Iran is losing its ability to get things done soon enough (sooner would be better), even as their economic picture shifts, the Financial Tribune offered less than a day ago ‘Iran-EU Trade Tumbles 75%‘, whilst the quote “Iran exported €452.65 million worth of commodities to the European Union, indicating a 93.67% fall, and imported €2.55 billion in return to register a 52.13% year-on-year decline“, offers that Iran will have other setbacks in several fields, however the largest issue is not Iran, these numbers give out that Iran needs to focus all resources on Iran in a few fields, leaving nothing to Hezbollah and whatever they get now will be short term and would optionally deny them long term help. That is unless Iran finds a replacement supplier, it will have larger national resource problems soon enough.

There was more in the Arab News a few hours ago. As they give us ‘Only a united front will thwart Iran’s war games‘ (at https://www.arabnews.com/node/1557771), where we see: “Israeli sources continue to make it clear that they regard Iran’s proliferation of advanced missile technology to their allies in Lebanon, Syria and Iraq as a red line“, as well as “I largely believe Zarif when he says Iran doesn’t want war, but with one small addition — “on someone else’s terms.” If war comes, Iran would be happy to fight in a way that plays to its own strengths; asymmetrical, grey zone, widely dispersed, damaging to global energy flows, seeking to spread conflict uncontrollably and in particular dragging in Israel” and there we see the crux of the entire matter: ‘on someone else’s terms‘, when we take that away and make a direct statement against buildings and refineries, the hit and run tactics will no longer work and whilst Iran sets up for a massive defence the winds of support will be removed from the Houthi and Hezbollah sails to the largest degree, possibly completely removed for the long term. That was the largest need in Yemen for three years and now that this stage has arrived, actual progress will be possible in Yemen. The part here I do not agree with the writer Sir John Jenkins is the part where he gives us “We don’t have to play that game. But to impose our own, we need strategic patience, an enhanced defensive capacity against Iranian provocations, a much better communications strategy and, if necessary, a willingness to respond ourselves“, he makes a really good point and he does not shy away from ‘a willingness to respond‘. The problem I see is that the operative word is ‘willingness‘ and actual response is an essential part at present.

We cannot afford to let Iran keep on playing their hit and run guerrilla games whilst letting others take the credit/blame. this has worked for them as others need to set the stage of expenses, when a direct attack comes they lose the initiative and accept open war if needed, at that point Tehran will lose a lot more, infrastructure gone, essential needs cannot be met and international help would be their only option, allowing for the people to take a different position against their army and clergy control. there is the added need that their clergy has not seen actual losses for the longest of times and that keeps them in the delusional state that nothing bad can happen to Iran, that delusion needs to be popped like a balloon, and soon.

The issue is not merely Iran and Saudi Arabia, at some point someone (most likely Iran) will do something really stupid and get the UAE involved because of that, at that point there will be less chance of talks and less options for short term actions with a diplomatic solution at the end, it would turn into a long term event with no diplomatic options for the foreseeable future, that is a stage no one really wants, yet it would be an unavoidable danger for as long as Iran is playing the game it currently is.

Their guilt was foretold through evidence, their denial was a given by media inaction for the longest of times, now that the two meet, we see several options, but until any direct action is undertaken, I fear that the long and harsh theatre of war is the one we are in danger of staring at for now and that is a path we need to avoid, or as the American often state: ‘the best defence is a good offense‘, I would speculate that this is exactly what we need to do in this case, if only to wake Iran up to the notion that ‘on someone else’s terms‘ is no longer an acceptable strategy.

 

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When in doubt

It started 5 days ago when I wrote ‘Bitches on parade‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2019/08/26/bitches-on-parade/). The premise from my point of view is that you cannot heckle a country based on a lack of evidence (read: CEO Jamie Dimon), so whilst he pulled out of the Saudi Conference, he was eager and willing to take a chunk of a $2,000,000,000,000 pie at the drop of a hat (any hat). The man has no principles when it comes to money, which is fine. Yet now the entire event is exploding in several directions as the Guardian (at https://www.theguardian.com/business/2019/aug/29/political-uncertainty-puts-london-listing-in-doubt-for-saudi-aramco) informs us that “state oil company may rule out the London Stock Exchange amid Britain’s rising political uncertainty“, in one word brilliant! Two years of whining and lack of decision is not about to hit the British MP field in a massive way. It gets to be even better when we consider the impact for the EU as a larger field, the current favourite according to insiders will be the Japan’s Tokyo stock exchange. If that happens, I get to smile whilst a whole range of bonuses will not arrive with Wall Street, the ECB or London (I am least happy about London missing out). There is a price, there is a cost to doing business and it seems that this week Saudi Arabia is making the tally to that event.

And now we see that the field changes. With quote: “Saudi energy minister, Khalid al-Falih, reignited plans for the float earlier this summer after announcing that officials were working to list the company within the next two years. Aramco announced earlier this month, in its first investor call, that it is ready for the listing whenever its shareholders agreed market conditions were “optimal”” It is here that we need to see the profit, the sudden option for Tokyo, who was not in the race at all also implies the added risk that Tokyo says ‘yes’ (read: Hai!) too eager giving the Saudi Aramco executives a much larger bonus than they expected, making the wave on the market gives rise that there will be two waves and these executives get to enjoy the windfall of both waves. I reckon that Lürssen Yachts (optionally Damen Yachts and CRN) will get to look forward to at least 5 additional commissions for yachts over 90 meters before the end of the year.

There is a much larger issue; it is not merely who gets what, and where we buy in. Bloomberg gave us on Thursday: “It’s been a good week for those seeking to pare bets on a market that brokers including Morgan Stanley say has become too expensive, given weakening fundamentals. MSCI on Tuesday wrapped up the second phase of including Saudi shares in its developing nations index, prompting billions of dollars in inflows from passive funds. Some active managers took advantage of the increased liquidity to reduce their holdings“, there is no way for me to comment on the issue as stocks are not my trade EVER! Yet consider the quote ‘brokers including Morgan Stanley say has become too expensive‘, yet they too are rallying to get their fingers on Aramco. Business is hard and I am fine with the directness that the market needs to be. Yet Aramco is different, everyone wants in and as such Saudi Arabia gets to elect the offerings and as such some players are about to enter the new field, they are optionally becoming the next Ricky Fuld, who was the only person not offered a deal in 2008 whilst the others got one. I am not sure on how to see that, The Wall Street Journal gives us ‘Branded a Villain, Lehman’s Dick Fuld Chases Redemption‘, these people walked away with massive amounts whilst almost one in two households got foreclosed in the end, that is a massive amount of anger to deal with and I personally believe that the Saudi’s will do business with everyone, just a certain group of people will have to be willing to cut their margins by a fair bit. Certain actions have impact and will have a considerable impact of the option to do business, Saudi Arabia could afford to wait, of those people had only decided to wait factual evidence, that would have been nice, not?

I believe that their hypocrisy on Jamal Khashoggi now has a price (to some degree); in addition the economic turmoil gives Saudi Arabia the option to select the host, who will gain a lot. I never considered Japan before today on this, but the choice makes sense.

We could go with the option: ‘When in doubt select the ally that seems more sincere‘ or we can go with ‘Be careful who you wake up with presented and insincere morals‘ I reckon that Wall Street and Especially the ECB need to learn from the second option. No matter how things unfold, pretty much everyone will be keeping 100% attention on the Tokyo exchange, something that has not happened in a long time and Aramco made it happen. And all whilst this is going on, the UK is still in all kinds of childish banter, especially by opposition parties. So when we get the Jeremy Corbyn quote “avoiding a No Deal Brexit” my (absolutely less than diplomatic) response would be “If you weren’t such a stupid dick, you could have done something 2 years ago, but you all played the ‘it will blow over’ tactic ignoring the democracy when they majority decided to Brexit!“, and now the mess is becoming even larger as London lost the option for hosting the Aramco deal. We even see Dutch issues with: “Dutch Foreign Minister Stephen Blok said on Thursday that “serious talks” on Brexit had taken place in Brussels this week, but warned the two sides “are not there yet” on a deal“, there was never going to be a deal, all delays were set to try and overthrow Brexit, now you see that there will be a much larger impact and there will be trade deals in the end no company will walk away from the option to tap into a 69 million consumer base.

That was a clear setting from the very beginning, anyone ignoring that part is delusional. Let’s not forget that the need to exceed shareholder expectations also automatically imply that the EU customer base representing half a billion people also means that 13.5% of them will not ever be shunned, someone else will walk in and take over.

For some, the entire Aramco was icing on the cake and now that this falls away and falls away from Europe also means that the EU will have several grim numbers to report in January 2020, plenty of people are already scared whit less and ready to retire as soon as the October 2019 numbers are released.

When in doubt, never trust Status Quo to actually remain. It is the deadliest of traps and it just sprung.

 

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Bitches on parade

Yes, the time is now nearing. Bloomberg gives us (at https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-08-25/bankers-head-to-saudi-arabia-to-compete-for-world-s-biggest-ipo), and as it starts with “Global banks will this week start making their case on why they should be hired for what’s set to be the world’s biggest initial public offering“, we see an interesting shift. It is the initial public offering (IPO) towards Aramco and all the bankers are dressing up like they are the bitches on the Easter parade. The question is how will these American bankers be seen? Those who were eager to exploit their options; events emphasized via media friends these so called events of Jamal Khashoggi. Should they be allowed to make a bid? As Bloomberg informs us on “The oil producer was originally working with Evercore Inc. and Moelis, as well as HSBC Holdings Plc, JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Morgan Stanley“.

Now let’s walk a little time line, Morgan Stanley chairman and chief executive James Gorman gave the people on January 24th 2019 (several sources) ““The murder of Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul was utterly unacceptable,” Gorman said as he responded to questions on a panel“, yet actual and factual evidence was never presented, was it? Merely speculation on events and evidence that remains debatable. OK, I feel certain that Khashoggi is unlikely to be alive, but there is nothing pointing at ACTUAL evidence and the essay by Agnes Calamari never changed my position. Perhaps merely wrongly chosen words by James Gorman, which now implies he should not be part of this $100 billion+ windfall (I’ll take his place). Then we get to J.P. Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, he pulled out of the conference on October 2018, so he should be disregarded as well (I’ll fill in for him too). Now, HSBC Holdings Plc held their ground, in light of innuendo, the active use of implied events that remained unproved, HSBC Holdings Plc kept a straight wave; this was business, not emotion, so I say welcome HSBC (if I had a say in the matter).

And the story on Evercore Inc. and Moelis is simple, they blew their chanced way before July 2019, as such it seems that they are out of the picture too. I am of course willing (for a modest fee) to take any of those three seats, business is business. I have no idea what I would be doing, yet uniting with HSBC whilst we share 50% and I get a really nice retirement bonus to unload my part to them is not out of the question. This is a market worth well over 100 billion, I’ll be really willing to take a 7.5% part and hand the rest over to HSBC, I reckon that I am the first person in their history to hand them close to $40 billion for them being supportive to my needs, the average hooker gets $50 at best, so there! Oh, and I do realise that there are Chinese banks eager to take place, so it might end up being a three way split.

And a man like me has dreams, with that amount a nice house in belle air and a super yacht becomes an actual reality (yes, I am typing this whilst I am not awake at present). The stage for me is simple and clear.

For the other players the case is less nice. I believe that those being sanctimonious and hypocrite need to be held to account. There is a consequence to play certain games and resetting the ledger so that they can courtesan themselves into a market worth will over 100 billion is not that acceptable to me and it should not be acceptable to you either.

The entrepreneur gave us yesterday ‘Why Saudi Arabia Is Being Increasingly Seen As The Place To Be To Start A Business In The Middle East‘ (at https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/338516), they are right, but they need to see the thorns that the roses bring. the article starts so nice with: “Alper Celen’s decision to trade his cushy job at the prestigious global management consulting firm’s Scandinavian offices for a move to Saudi Arabia to grow a start-up there didn’t make much sense to his colleagues“, yet these players need to realise that this is an Islamic nation, under Islamic law and etiquette. It is a lot more rigid than France is and I have seen a 6 figure Euro deal fall away because the salesperson accidentally used ‘pour toi‘ (informal) instead of ‘pour vous‘ (formal), the buyer walked away and went straight to the competitor. When it’s merely €100K most ‘big players’ will shrug, yet now the game comes in suitcases set to the billion dollar plus that game becomes a whole new dimension. The problem is that those you talk to are indifferent to the billions, it is their bread and butter for you it optionally is not. Those players in dime sized poker games are all willing to bluff like the cardinal for the large games, but a bluff is still a bluff, when you are found out, or seen as unworthy, you will lose a lot, you will lose it all and you might not have the means to get back from where you came.

Yes, you can win big, but the whole game is larger and there is every indication that the Saudi families have kept score on those rallying behind a journalist no one cared about, with a larger lack of evidence of any kind. Soon we see their move and their idea of the Easter Parade flaunting their dresses on Takhassusi St hoping that they are still regarded to be in the game and perhaps they are. I merely wonder if they should be allowed to be in there (HSBC excluded from this consideration).

Now that Vision 2030 is off to the races they all want in (as would I), yet in all this, after all they did and all that they connected to, should they be allowed to? We have to pick certain fights and that is fine, we have certain values which make us jump in certain directions and that is fine too, but to make a 180 degree turn when it is about the money, should we accept such a party in that event when there are hundreds who want to take a slice of that cake? I do not think so.

The events regarding the Saudi conference were larger, there was a distinct impact and as such those play that game should not be allowed to play when the large trophies become available. I lost my option to an apartment in Rotterdam because I did not have the right ‘friends’, OK, fine, but you cannot rely on me giving you a pass when you come knocking. It is then a tits for dad situation at that point and now that there are really serious gains, those people should always be disregarded.

I suddenly remember a quote from Age of Ultron; there we hear: “Keep your friends rich, your enemies rich and wait to see which is which“, well Saudi Arabia found that out, after they discovered that, they have no real need to keep the charade up, so as I personally see it, goodbye Evercore Inc. and Moelis, JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Morgan Stanley, it was nice knowing you. The nice part is that when they are evicted from the offer, they will have to reconsider the game they played, the media they embraced and the values that they gave to fattening the cow whilst ownership remained in the air. I actually love it when people get to learn a lesson by losing billions, it feels like that for one moment, one tiny moment the playing field was level for all of us.

The Aramco train is now officially on the road and we will hear a lot more in the coming month, I for the most will be most interested to see how much the Chinese banks end up with. And yes, I have woken up and I know that any chance for any of those billions were delusional at this point. Yet there is always tomorrow.

Hot News

In light of all this, Al Jazeera reported less than two hour ago ‘Houthis ‘fire 10 ballistic missiles’ at Saudi airport‘, at this moment, I see Arab News, Saudi Gazette and two more all having a version of that, yet nothing on the BBC, not the Guardian, not the Washington Post, not the LA Times and not Reuters. I got the news before all them and I have nowhere near their tools. So, are you still convinced that some people should be allowed at certain tables to fill their pockets whilst they shun the people whose money they want? And as we realise the quote “The rebels fired 10 Badr-1 ballistic missiles at Jizan airport, killing and wounding dozens, the group’s military spokesperson said in a statement on Sunday“, a quote made by Colonel Turki al-Malki, we need to see that US corporations are playing a convoluted game. Consider the impact that some have, do you think that when the newsgroups get wind that something really matters to the heads of these banks that they go to bed and sleep, not with 100 billion for grabs. The world media is all about fairness and then jinxes the game by taking balance away. From my point of view it is increasingly important that those players are denied a seat at the table (any table for that matter). Saudi Arabia needs to take a hard look at who they consider their friends. In light of all the unreported news of events by Houthi forces I feel more and more inclined to think that the US is turning into a player that no one should ever consider an ally, their only allegiance is to currency, I hope that the people who need actual allies realise that part before it is too late.

 

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Government? Censorship?

We see it, we ignore it and others remain in denial. We are censored almost every day and we remain unaware. You see, the issue is not advocated as censorship. It is presented as filtered news, and it is not the same. As we looked Yesterday into the events surrounding Evgeny Lebedev, we see people like Jeremy Wright hiding behind “may have an effect on the Evening Standard and the Independent’s news agendas“, yet to what degree and in what direction, that part was not given, was it? In addition we were introduced to Nicky Morgan and the fact that this is now on her plate. Yet the issue of censorship is still here.

Bloomberg gave us: ‘Saudi Oil Plant Attacked by Drones‘ (at https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-08-17/saudi-oil-plant-attacked-by-drones-but-production-unaffected) 11 hours ago. We also get: “Yemen’s Houthi rebel leader Abdul Malik al-Houthi claimed responsibility for the attack in a televised speech which was aired via the rebel-held Saba news agency. The Houthi leader said the group launched the assault on the oil and gas facilities with 10 drones. This was done to deliver an “important message” to the members of the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen, he said” yet no one is giving any explanation how Yemeni Houthi fighters got access to high end drones. 10 drones represent a significant investment, the Houthi forces have neither the funds nor infrastructure to acquire or built them, yet they are delivered, where from?

An attack that might be seen as a terrorist attack and the exposure is close to nil. We get the news from Arab News, from Al Jazeera. Yet the event that happened 11 hours ago, is still not covered by the BBC. They limited the Middle Eat page to the US Warrant to an Iranian oil tanker, then the news on ‘Rashida Tlaib rejects Israel’s offer of ‘humanitarian’ visit‘, which is a day old, the rest is 2 days old, or even older. That is the BBC now! We do see some news from Reuters and Haaretz, yet nothing from the other UK papers. Is that not weird? Is it so weird that Saudi Arabia wants to see more on the attacks on them? The UK is facing massive censorship and has been under censor’s scrutiny, yet the UK remains silent.

We see a little more when we face Al Jazeera who gives us “A Houthi military spokesman said earlier on Saturday that the group targeted the Shaybah oil field with 10 drones in what he said was the “biggest attack in the depths” of the kingdom, the world’s top oil exporter” in the article (at https://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2019/08/drone-attack-yemen-rebels-sparks-fire-saudi-oil-field-190817132916661.html). The other non-given issue is that the Shaybah facility is really close to the UAE borders. A lot of issues remain, but the media to a much larger extent has decided to silence the news, they have decided to be Anti-Saudi Arabia. The fact that Houthi terrorist forces are sending drones into Saudi Arabia, drones that they cannot build and drones that require hardware that they do not have, cannot create and optionally cannot operate is a much larger issue, but the UK media remains silent on it. How weird is that? So here we see a direct first part where it makes perfect sense to be in a stage where they have an invested interest in newspapers that might now give voice to what is going on. If the UK really wanted an independent press, the people in the UK would have been given the complete story on Houthi forces and the exposure of Iranian funding would be out in the open, that is not the case and we should all wonder why that is happening. Oh, and I understand that there is more news in the world, I understand that there is only so much on what an journalist can achieve, yet a middle eastern section on the BBC with two articles from the last TWO days and the rest is older is a little too weird for words. The fact that this was an attack on Aramco with the linked fact that we see loads on Aramco, but the entire mess of the attack (and lack of results from the attack) is not shown in the Financial Times, or the Guardian, who was willing to report only a little under 6 days ago ‘Saudi Aramco ready for record $2tn IPO after first-half results‘ gives rise to censorship and one sided reporting. So when exactly did we find that acceptable from any independent news force? The numbers and the events do not add up.

Even the Deutsche Welle gives us (at https://www.dw.com/en/yemen-houthi-rebels-target-saudi-oil-field/a-50066244) “This is the second such attack on the Saudi energy industry in recent days and comes amid high Middle East tensions” Really? the second attack? When was the first and why do I see almost nothing on that, and basically nothing from the Western European Newsgroups? There is even more, the quote “The Saudi acknowledgement of the attack came hours after Yahia Sarie, a military spokesman for the Houthis, issued a video statement claiming the rebels launched 10 bomb-laden drones targeting the field in their “biggest-ever” operation” gives rise to all kinds of intelligence issues, the fact that certain players are leaving this in the shadow of their desk is a larger issue. It gives rise to the accusation that the CIA is still on goal to keep stability in the Middle East to a minimum. The fact that we see the (optionally boasted) claim ‘their “biggest-ever” operation‘, whilst Yemen has no infrastructure to do this, I personally doubt that they have the knowledge to fly these drones to their target, all issues involving Iranian support, optionally via Hezbollah, all ignored and all non-reported.

That is not merely censorship that is the stage of filtering events on the world stage and keeping them out of sight all together. Is this the EU play to keep news away so that they can have some empty nuclear deal afloat? All hiding behind some INSTEX tool (Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges), whilst none of it brings any revenue or actual trade, there is no positive side and when we investigate the Iranian events towards the Houthi forces in support of attacking Saudi Arabia, we see a diminished setting, yet the EU is still hiding behind the nuclear deal that was never a deal in the first place. And now we can optionally add the news filtering that Saudi Arabia is facing. All is not well and a lot of it is about to get worse, all for the simple reason that some people are asking questions now and a lot more will be doing so soon enough, at that point any election falls into the water in a stage where the UK government has only the spin tour of the next election to rely on and in addition the media will feel the pain too. When the people realise that there is no longer an independent press. It went out of the window when politicians decided to ignore the Leveson report to the largest degree. They made their own bed, enjoy the nightmare it brings.

 

 

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Poly….what? Politics!

It is almost a week ago, yet the news is still rustling through the Middle Eastern meadows. The news is partially all over it. Yet, it is the Business Insider who gave us ‘a plot to shore up the country’s depleted coffers’ (at http://www.businessinsider.com/saudi-arabia-corruption-crackdown-looks-like-a-plot-to-plug-deficit-2017-12), Ambrose Carey makes an interesting point here. The beginning quote “Now a more probable motive for Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s unprecedented detention of members of the country’s rich elite is emerging. Reports suggest that detainees are signing away cash and assets to secure their freedom in what looks like an unorthodox bid to plug the kingdom’s gaping budget deficit” could be a given truth. When we consider the Guardian last week with ‘Saudi prince Miteb bin Abdullah pays $1bn in corruption settlement‘, some of us thought that it was interesting not just that the counts of corruption had already been investigated, the idea that there was a ‘get out of jail card‘ for a mere $1,000,000,000 is equally stunning, that I beside the fact that the sum has been agreed upon and that the head of the Saudi National Guard is apparently still smiling after having paid the amount. In light of one of the accusations “awarding contracts to his own firms, including a $10bn deal for walkie talkies and bulletproof military gear worth billions of Saudi riyals” we could see that the price is interestingly light. So does the Business insider have a case?

Well, when we consider how the oil prices have slumped from the almighty $135 to $58 we all have to wonder how the impact on the long term has been. pumping oil might be like printing money at your own convenience, but once the spending spree and the high rises are there, the long term issue is that oil is at 42% of what was and upping production by 193% is just not realistic in the long term. Yet there is another worry. the quote “a huge budget deficit, which stood at $79 billion in 2016. The government has had to use foreign reserves to help cover the revenue shortfall, with the former shrinking by about a third over the last three years. The recession has forced MbS to rein back public spending, alarming cosseted Saudis long accustomed to cradle-to-grave subsidies” does not give it. Even as that is merely the deficit, that and the selling of domestic debt in July gives rise to thoughts, yet we need to wonder how inflated this issue is, as it seems to be presented. Lets not forget that it is less than 10% of the Greek debt and unlike Greece, Saudi Arabia is still getting income from the oil fields. So the need to panic should not be there. And lets face it, who is actually panicking?

Even as the Business Insider is making a nice case. I fear I cannot agree on some of the ‘findings‘ and ‘assumed speculations‘ that they offer. With “So, in all likelihood, MbS will struggle to generate the money he needs. Worse still for him, his actions could have deleterious consequences for the economy. While the acquisition of assets and cash is likely to play well with ordinary Saudis weary of corruption amongst the royals and the business elite, it may unnerve already jittery foreign investors whose engagement is critical to the Crown Prince’s economic plans. Though allies have sought to portray the detentions as an anti-graft campaign aimed at cleaning up the corporate landscape, its apparently arbitrary nature and disregard for property rights and due process will worry the investment community“. You see, it might be correct to some extent, but knowing the greed that some have for mere millions, roughly 99.32554% of that population will not run away from optional billions, that is a given you can take to the bank. From my own point of view, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman can still have it all, the timeline might slip a little, but there are clear signs that there are options to grow opportunity within Saudi Arabia. They still have options to rival Al Jazeera if certain censoring is changed, By investing into tertiary degrees for Saudi’s its dependency for foreign workers will go down, which would be a massive boost for Saudi Arabia and as Saudi Arabia grows its entertainment network it can start opening doors on setting a 5G environment which will have them being amongst those leading the charge in the next mobile evolution which will enable a lot more industry all over the Middle East. In this aging day, pharmaceutical options seem to be the next step. There is no way it can compete with India, but in partnership with India they will have options to grow this industry internally. It seems like that need is too small for Saudi Arabia, yet with 28 million people it could profit by having an industry that is mainly for export within the Middle East that is comprised of 410 million people. That is still a large market that cannot be ignored and as the quality is proven and the export grows, Saudi Arabia could see a drastically reduced need for oil soon thereafter. There are more technology options for Saudi Arabia to enjoy, but the clear path of larger growth has been proven on several counts in several nations to be within the mobile and pharmaceutical industry and that could be the growing start for an entire next generation, because these two fields will have an almost exponential need for Patent lawyers, which means that the legal field will be pushed into revolutionary growth soon after that. Mind you, not merely a local growth, the IP field would enable global growth for Saudi Arabia as well and as this field is set in stone (or marble) it will attract even more foreign investors and opportunity seekers. All issues clearly set in this field and in this the Business Insider is still on the horse that states “The Crown Prince has staked his reputation on the success of an ambitious economic transformation plan, Vision 2030, to wean the country off its dependence on oil, but he needs to fund planned reforms and projects. He was banking on a part-floatation of the national oil company Aramco, which appears to have been postponed for at least a year. The ruthless purge and financial strong-arming could now deter the very western investors and regulators needed to move forward with the sell-off“, yet there is no given that other fields need to stop getting a foothold and as these two (or three) elements are grown within Saudi Arabia, other players will find options to get their own kind of fuzzy drink labelled ‘profit’ in their hands and as such they will still be fighting for a seat at this table called vision 2030. Even as the venue per plate is much higher than expected, the long terms gains are beyond what they are able to make now. With US deficits on the rise, the EU currently has 6 nations that are at risk of breaking the deficit rule (France, Italy, Belgium, Austria, Portugal and Slovenia), so there will be consequences there too, which would imply diminished profit, so those players are looking for seats at tables with loads of gain and that is where Saudi Arabia is one of the few that would accommodate their needs. So as such, Saudi Arabia has options if they have optional controls for greedy mobs. And even as there will be good news stories coming from Strasbourg, there will be eyes on the EU as it will likely dial down the consequences for these six nations. In addition with the Mario Draghi stimulus game where we will see a likely extension into 2018 yet at a lessened 30 billion a month implies that Europe will be diving into close to half a trillion of additional debt, with the likely result that there will be nothing to show for it, no actual economic growth, so in all this debt driven society, Saudi Arabia could have a larger windfall if it plays its cards right. Once certain plays are in place, Saudi Arabia would be more and more primed for export and exporting opportunities to places that ignored and neglected its own infrastructure. In this the US would have to cut costs and corners to a level never seen before as it optionally faces the ridicule for being at best at par and more likely to stray behind Saudi Arabia in the 5G mobile networking, a field they were once the only one dominating in. What a massive set back that will be for the old USA. In this Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman could have the forefront by preferring the Polytechnic sciences over Politics. In his role he cannot avoid politics, but by focussing on Science and technology he has the option to propel Saudi Arabia beyond what others thought possible. So even as it has its issues with deficits and treasury needs, can we rely on the Business Insider that it is so much worse than we expect? I for one am not convinced that this is the case. I might be wrong, but the fact that the larger players are still willing to sell their first born for a seat at that table makes me think that there are a lot more opportunities for investors than many perceive. the question becomes does the House of Saud feel safe letting these opportunities go beyond the national borders to other players? It is always a rocky road to travel. In the end I do believe that it is more about the speed of growth and less about who owns the growth. that should keep plenty of investors tallying their optional profits for some time to come.

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Prospecting black gold

There has been news all over the world, some news is good, some less so and at times we cannot see whether news is good, bad or irrelevant. To see the dangers, or perhaps the opportunity of what is what we need to look back to 2014, and start that issue with a quote from the Marvel Movie: Age of Ultron. The quote originally from Tony Stark was: “As I always say, keep your friends rich, and your enemies rich, and then find out which is which“, it is a reference to the arms industry and the benefit of mutual escalation. Keep this in mind when you consider the article in the Independent (at http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/royal-mail-float-scandal-how-hedge-funds-cleaned-up-9303674.html), the title gives us the immediate threat with ‘Royal Mail float scandal: how hedge funds cleaned up‘, and “Speculators were allowed to buy £150m of shares despite Vince Cable’s pledge to favour long-term investors“, I omitted the claim that it was all due to the postman. That person usually rings twice, especially when Jessica Lange is around. Yet the heart of the matter, like in the movie, is not in the ‘boner’ or the ‘bonee’, it is the aftermath that matters. You see, the gem is seen in the local prosecutor and his ploy to get to the truth by going after one side, yet it is Cora’s Lawyer Katz who stops the evidence to get to the prosecutor, which nullifies whatever was attempted. So consider the part we see in the Independent: “around 20 per cent of the shares it had allocated to 16 preferred investors had gone to hedge funds and other short-term investors. This would equate to around £150m of Royal Mail shares – 13 per cent of the entire stock sold by the Government. The companies bought in at the float price of 330p a share. The shares shot up within seconds of trading, eventually peaking within weeks at more than 600p, allowing the hedge funds to bank vast profits at the taxpayers’ expense“, now consider also that this is a reflection of ‘£150m of Royal Mail shares‘. A system that has issues and allows for ‘deal sweeteners‘, now when you see this, and knowing that the bulk of hedge funds managers seem to get away with murder, consider the arrival of Aramco, better stated, the Financial Times headline ‘The $2tn Saudi Aramco question‘, which is now squarely an issue of titanic proportions (intentional pun towards the sinking dinghy). First things first, you see, this is not a fuel vendor like Shell, or a social media company like Facebook, this is the Privatised Saudi oil company that is larger than the sum of Shell, Facebook, Apple and Google. It is a 2 trillion dollar company, now consider the danger of the floating dangers of something like that, hedge funds managers can clean up and those who do will be set for a decadent life, for the rest of their lives. The dangers of something this big is pretty astounding and the fact that it could happen is not that small. You see, the dangers increases as we consider certain facts. NASDAQ gives us: “OPEC agreed in November last year to curb its output by about 1.2 million barrels per day between January and June“, that is because the stocks are a little higher than expected. This happens, oil will always fluctuate, now consider in the US alone there are 32 oil fired power plants. Production is down (for now) and the moment the first heatwave gets to the US, we see a massive spike in power requirements and 32 of those power makers require fossil fuel. In this I am only mentioning the USA, there has been power issues on a global scale, which is always going to be the case, but one of the largest providers towards the demand is going public and that is what speculators really like, because if the supply & demand need is not properly managed, we see an increase option towards fluctuation. Those speculators only need to get lucky once and the mess would be unrepairable.

The Financial Times gives us some of the goods with: “Privatising Aramco is the first step in rebalancing the economy. By disentangling the company, which accounts for more than two-thirds of government revenues, from the state, Prince Mohammed hopes to make Riyadh less oil-reliant, while providing capital for investment in new industries, ranging from technology, where it is pumping $45bn into the SoftBank Vision Fund, to mining. The privatisation of its national champion is crucial to this process” (at https://www.ft.com/content/7ed59bee-163b-11e7-b0c1-37e417ee6c76), but the heart is seen in: “That is even without looking at the question of how much oil actually lies beneath the desert kingdom’s sands“, when we consider that the oil gains in the North sea is slowing down and this is a signal seen in several places, the fact that at some point (in past, present or future) that something similar will happen to the Aramco goods is a certain fact, it is the when that cannot be anticipated. In addition, going public means that you need to be commercial, when it is government no one really cares, but in the public sector the trend must forever be upwards, so when will we see a similar float in Aramco when the numbers are not as great? It has been an utter certainty that nearly all companies go through, some did it calculated knowing they would kill the numbers within a quarter, some hoping they would kill the numbers and some did it whilst they were desperate for a miracle. Yet floating they went. How much of a $2 trillion dollar company in stock value will tumble when that happens?

And these are the circumstances where the acts were valid and not criminal at all (see UK Mail), I am not making any Tesco assumptions here, because the damage in that case will be devastating to the London Stock Exchange. One firm representing close to 70% of its entire market, there would be no London Stock Exchange after such a disaster. Bloomberg gives us the second tier of risks and dangers with ‘Saudi Aramco Cuts Oil Pricing for Europe Where Russia Dominates‘ (at https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-04-05/saudi-aramco-lowers-some-crude-pricing-for-asia-raises-for-u-s), a market that Russia already dominates. What would happen if let’s say 3 days after going public, Russia decides to slash their prices for a short time? How would the market react? Not just to Aramco having to follow, but the forecasted annual numbers then take a dive, at who’s expense? Consider that the European market is ‘ruled’ by Russia and Norway, together they make up for 50% of that market and the Saudi part is smaller than Norway and 80% of that 50% market is just Russia. So they can influence the market a fair bit. You see, Bloomberg gives us “There is a risk price wars may resume in Europe, raising the possibility the output cut agreement won’t be extended to the second half of this year“, meaning that in the second half Russia could flood the markets and the streets with black gold. That impact would be felt all over the stock market. There is one part that I am uncertain on. You see, it reads like a small and insignificant part. The quote: “Aramco will tweak the benchmark it uses in the region to make it easier for crude buyers to hedge their purchases” seems small, but consider that hedging is done by a few hundred buyers for up to 25,000 barrels. It seems like nothing, but with 179 buyers it is almost a week worth of crude oil, now the ‘stock is full‘ issue becomes a larger one, because this is a level of fluctuation on stock levels that would impact on the stock prices, the mere stock is full a few weeks ago had a $3 impact (or 4.6%), that becomes a little more than insignificant. Now, I could be wrong here as I am not in the oil, yet you see that this is a concern when it impacts a $2T invested interest by more than just hedge funds managers.

The last part comes from the Guardian. In Jan 2016 they stated “Saudi Aramco is likely to be worth well over $1tn (£685bn)“, this is important as we do not see 1.2 or 1.5 trillion, so this given number implies that in a year Saudi Aramco grow by more than 40%, the exact number cannot be determined. Other media stated that Aramco had grown to 2 trillion last year, but none have given enough evidence to state which number is the reliable one. That too impacts this new market, especially the initial dangers of floating a stock. Yesterday (at https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/apr/05/theresa-may-lse-saudi-aramco-uk-london-stock-exchange-oil) we see: ‘May and LSE chief woo Saudi ministers for $2tn Aramco listing‘, here we see: “Xavier Rolet, has launched a charm offensive in Riyadh to woo Saudi ministers with the prospect of London hosting the upcoming flotation of Saudi state oil company Aramco, which is likely to be the largest of all time“, the word ‘flotation‘ is given and the danger is now out and about, in clear view of all. So as the UK government is trying to appease Khalid Al-Falih, energy minister of Saudi Arabia (and CEO of Aramco), as well as Yasir al-Rumayyan, the director of the Saudi public investment fund – a sovereign wealth fund, I have to wonder where the Rothschild’s are, because there is no way in heaven or hell that the Rothschild family would be absent of a 5% of a $2T company option and not be a player in something with the ROI of billions, especially after the losses they had with Kurdistan and Africa. They have skin in the game now, and they need a victory in this field, their ego demands it from themselves!

In all this the final part given in the Guardian must not be overlooked, because the quote “Downing Street announced on Monday it had drawn up plans with Riyadh to boost support for Saudi’s much-vaunted Vision 2030 strategic plan for diversifying the Saudi economy to decrease its over-reliance on oil, spearheaded by the deputy crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, who met May on Tuesday“, as this now offers the level of revenue to fund the ability to become the largest 5G player in the middle east, with options to diversify into Europe, the far East and America. It is perhaps the first time in history that a public company would shoot to a top position in mobile communication, ready to set the market and their values in a few ways on a global scale. For the simple reason that moving into technology and not go for the new tech that will determine the fate of the large mobile and telecom players between 2019 and 2027 seems extremely short-sighted.

 

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