Tuesday, July 5, 2022



CRU appoints new Regional Director of Sales for Middle East and North Africa – Mining.com

Most recently, Ajlouni was an Associate Vice President for Guidepoint, having previously held a specialist sales role at Refinitiv. Using her extensive in-region business development experience, Ajlouni will increase CRU’s current market share by maintaining and growing client relationships with for both the analysis and consulting businesses. “Zain brings a combination of region-specific business development and language skills which are the perfect fit for us as we look to consolidate our position in the mining, metals and fertilizer segments – all major growth sectors in the MENA region,” said Glenn Cooney, Head of Licensing and Vice President of Sales, Europe. “New and existing customers alike will benefit from Zain’s experience, and we’re delighted to welcome her to the team.”

Navy to offer rewards up to $100K for tips on Middle East smuggling, terror plots

Snitches get riches.  The Navy’s 5th Fleet, based in the Middle East, is launching a program to offer rewards of ​up to $100,000 or the equivalent in vehicles, boats or food to people who rat out plans to attack Americans or smuggle drugs and weapons, the Associated Press reported Monday.  The offer of lucrative payouts for intelligence in the Persian Gulf and other strategic waterways could ramp up the pressure on the delivery of weapons to Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in war-torn Yemen.  The 5th Fleet announcement never directly mentioned Iran, but the Houthis have threatened an allied task force organized in the Red Sea, although there have been no attacks carried out by the Iranian-supported militias on the Navy since then, the report said. ​“Any destabilizing activity has our attention,” Cmdr. Timothy Hawkins, a 5th Fleet spokesman, told The Associated Press. “Definitely we have seen in the last year skyrocketing success in seizing both illegal narcotics and illicit weapons. This represents another step in our effort to enhance regional maritime security.” The 5th Fleet said it and its partners have seized $500 million in drugs in 2021 — more than in the previous four years combined. It has also intercepted 9,000 weapons in the same period.  The Navy’s 5th Fleet is launching a program to offer rewards of ​up to $100,000.AP/Kamran Jebreili The incentives for squealing, which will take effect Tuesday through the Department of Defense Rewards Program, grew out of similar operations begun on the battlefields in Iraq, Afghanistan and other countries following the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks by Al Qaeda terrorists.  Now that ground fighting has mostly come to a halt in the region, the 5th Fleet decided to retool the program for use in Middle East waterways.  Hawkins said a hotline would be manned by speakers fluent in Arabic, Farsi and English, while the Navy would take tips online in Dari and Pashto.  One of the main destinations for weapons smuggling is Yemen, where the government was forced to flee in 2014 after Houthis seized the capital Sana’a. The 5th Fleet and its partners have seized $500 million in drugs in 2021.AP Beginning in March 2015, a Saudi-led coalition armed with US weapons and intelligence have fought on the side of Yemen’s exiled government, but the constant warfare has created a humanitarian crisis in the Arab nation and lead to widespread famine. Iran has been sending rifles, rocket-propelled grenades, missiles and other arms to the Houthis, although the country denies any involvement.  Hawkins said the Navy hopes to disrupt those shipments via the tipline “That’s what we’re after,” he said. “That’s not in the interest of regional stability and security.” With Post wires

Morocco: Mohammed VI's silence on the country's woes speaks volumes | Middle East Eye

Despite palace propaganda vainly attempting to hide the government’s lack of action, Morocco is sinking into an unprecedented socioeconomic crisis: rising living costs, deepening drought - the worse the country has experienced in decades - and soaring fuel and grain prices on international markets, barley and wheat, in particular. The sovereign has not even deemed it necessary to make an appearance, let alone take any action to alleviate the kingdom’s high costs of living Not to mention a range of other alarming indicators, from the growing trade deficit to rising unemployment rates (rising among graduates from 18.5 percent to 19.6 percent), growing public debt (nearly 80 percent of GDP), dwindling foreign exchange reserves (covering only six months of imports of goods and services), decreased direct foreign investment (10bn dirhams, or about €1bn, down seven percent compared to the previous year), and declining economic growth (just over one percent according to the IMF, as opposed to the previous forecast of three percent).  This sorry state of affairs reflects the failure of an irresponsible regime that casually amasses wealth and enjoys a luxurious lifestyle while the overwhelming majority of Moroccans are seeing their purchasing power dwindle, day after day. Yet the sovereign has not even deemed it necessary to make an appearance, let alone take any action to alleviate the kingdom’s high cost of living. It boggles the mind that the monarch would simply sit back and watch. That said, collusion between Morocco’s business and political elites is all too familiar. What's more, it is encouraged by the kingdom’s foremost economic power, Mohammed VI himself, especially since the Islamist Justice and Development Party (PJD) was ousted at the ballot box. In short, in Morocco, public affairs are controlled by business politicians, much to the displeasure of democratic forces opposed to the regime but silenced by security forces fearful of the threat of escalating protests.  'Smokescreen' Contrary to the usual practices of democratic nations, where in times of crisis heads of state intervene to reassure citizens and attempt to mitigate the effects of economic and social stagnation, the Alawite monarch, who has been off the radar for quite some time, seems to have so thoroughly abandoned political life that the question of who is really in charge begs to be answered. Excepting a rare public works inauguration or two, such as the launch in April of Morocco’s Ramadan solidarity operation, Mohammed VI isn’t much of a communicator, particularly in times of crisis. However, he jumps on any opportunity he can to congratulate a medal-winning athlete or a victorious football team. Clearly, for him, the national football team’s World Cup qualification takes precedence over the purchasing power of impoverished Moroccans. An April 2019 Oxfam report ranked Morocco as the most socially unjust country in North Africa, and the pandemic only widened the wealth gap, heightening problems of tax injustice, gender disparity and access to education, health and work. “Royal projects” could arguably provide a response to the nation’s social crisis. The project for the generalisation of social protection, and medical coverage, in particular, comes to mind. The project, however, is clearly a “smokescreen” and is hardly likely to produce results in a country patently lacking both sufficient hospital infrastructure and qualified medical personnel.  On that count, the numbers speak for themselves: the national health budget in Morocco represents no more than six percent of the overall national budget, whereas in Algeria it is 12 percent (the World Health Organisation recommendation is 15 percent). Moroccans gather in front of parliament in the capital Rabat to protest against rising prices, 20 February 2022 (AFP) Those who boast about the monarchy’s timely commitment to universal healthcare access would do well to wonder why it took the sovereign nearly two decades to launch his “social project”. And why, moreover, he opts to go abroad for medical treatment if he puts so much stock in the Moroccan health system. State of inertia Against a global backdrop of geopolitical and economic uncertainty, the Moroccan executive has lapsed into an astonishing state of inertia with regard to the nation’s growing social crisis. In a country plagued by endemic corruption, the executive appears favourable to granting protection to crooked elected officials and looters of public funds And for lack of an exit strategy to the crisis, the authorities are making vigorous efforts to quell growing social unrest. They did so in May when they banned a countrywide protest march organised by the Social Action Front (FAS), in response to the “high cost of living, the repression of freedoms and the normalisation of relations with Israel”. Needless to say, Morocco in recent years has seen an unprecedented deterioration of human rights, as noted in the 2021 report by the Moroccan Association for Human Rights (AHDH).  And with the Moroccan cash economy in its death throes, the regime continues to rely on remittances from Moroccans residing abroad, net tax revenues and public debt. The fact is, the government has no clear plan of action and simply hopes to weather the current crisis, notably through potential travel and tourism revenue, though levels remain far below those corresponding to the same period of 2021 (down by 22 percent).  Lack of vision The regime lacks the vision needed to tackle the socioeconomic crisis engulfing the country, a short-sightedness that calls into question the royal commission’s much-celebrated report for a “new development model”.  Particularly since the government has yet to unveil a plan of action laying out the model’s social, economic, cultural and environmental principles, excepting an umpteenth national education reform project (2022-2026) hastily announced by Chakib Benmoussa, head of the commission and minister of education. [embedded content] This is another example of the cynicism of the regime that continues to advocate illusory development - growth that in no way affects the lives of Moroccan citizens - and diplomatic achievements – with the conflict in Western Sahara still hanging in the balance in the UN, and the Biden administration content for the moment to open a US consulate in Dakhla, mainly for trade purposes. The fact is, the social crisis in the kingdom is here to stay, with one in every two Moroccans affected by poverty, according to the official National Observatory of Human Development (ONDH) in its 2021 report, and many of his majesty’s subjects reduced to rummaging through public refuse in search of food - not that the governing elite are overly bothered by it. Economic deregulation The same line of reasoning, maintaining that the nation’s alleged resilience will keep the regime safe from social implosion, is parroted among the ranks of an out-of-touch analysts preaching economic deregulation, while calls for greater accountability and combating corruption are put on the back burner.  The ruling party’s sudden decision to withdraw the bill requiring members of parliament to declare their assets, on the grounds that it wanted to “ensure its improvement”, is a case in point. The bill was initially drawn up to advance moral integrity in public life by combating the endemic corruption that deprives the Moroccan economy of a crucial source of revenue. In April, the justice minister and head of the Authenticity and Modernity Party (PAM, a centre-left party, backed and directed by the monarchy), Abdellatif Ouahbi, threatened to strip non-profit organisations of the right to file a complaint against elected officials, a “prerogative”, Ouahbi claimed, that should be the exclusive right of the minister of the interior.  Thus, in a country plagued by endemic corruption - Transparency International assigned it a “highly corrupt” ranking in 2022 - the executive appears favourable to granting protection to crooked elected officials and looters of public funds. It is hardly surprising that the kingdom is the second biggest enabler of tax evasion in North Africa.   In the meantime, as the affluent classes mull over luxury overseas travel offers, the poor are left to fend for themselves and, as prices continue to soar, few can afford the upcoming Eid al-Adha festivities, already affected by skyrocketing mutton prices. But the governing elite of business politicians is having none of it and declines any responsibility in the current crisis. The king, for his part, seems completely oblivious to the present social crisis that, in time, is likely to take a political turn. On 16 June, the palace announced that Mohammed VI was ill with Covid-19, reigniting the debate on the monarch’s health and reminding us how little we actually know about it. And so, rumours about the mysterious workings of power in Morocco, which depends on the providential authority of a single man, continue to run rampant. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Eye. This article has been translated and condensed from the MEE French edition.

Work to be completed well before World Cup: organisers – Al-Monitor

Work to be completed well before World Cup: organisers - Al-Monitor: Independent, trusted coverage of the Middle East

Turkey: Court rejects request to extradite Jordanian over Haiti assassination | Middle East Eye

A Turkish court rejected on Monday a request to extradite a Jordanian man wanted by Haiti over his alleged involvement in the assassination of president Jovenel Moise and ordered his release.Moise, 53, was found lying on his back with 12 bullet wounds and a gouged eye at his private residence in Port-au-Prince on 7 July 2021. His wife was also wounded in the attack, with a group of Colombian mercenaries seen as the main suspects.  Four months after the murder, Jordanian businessman Samir Handal boarded a flight from the United States on 15 November to visit his mother in Palestine.  However, after the plane took off, a red notice was issued against him by Interpol over Moise's death and he was arrested at Istanbul aiport. Interest in Handal had arisen after it was found that two months before the assassination he had rented an office to Emmanuel Sanon, a doctor indicted in Moise's murder.  Haiti's police also claimed in August that Handal had hosted "meetings of a political character" at his Port-au-Prince home, which had been attended by Sanon. Handel's lawyers told the court that their client was innocent and that the red notice against him was lifted on 20 April. "I rented an office space for a medical clinic hospital for Dr Sanon," Handal told the Turkish court in a hearing on 30 May.  "I have never been in any meeting, nor known anything. I heard about the assassination on radio and social media." Torture fears Turkey's Daily Sabah newspaper said Handal and his lawyers had argued he would be "tortured and killed" if he was extradited to Haiti. "Haiti is in the hands of a serious unrest. Prisons there lack water and medical equipment. A United Nations report notes convicts' deaths in prison," a Turkish lawyer for Handal told the court.  Daily Sabah said another lawyer referred to warnings on security risks in Haiti "by Turkey and the United States". Turkey's Medyascope website said Istanbul's 37th High Criminal Court, which heard the case, had unaminously rejected Handal's extradition, ruling that "the reasons for his extradition were not sufficient". Handal, who has been attending hearings via video link from Ankara Sincan High Security Prison, cried and threw his hands up in the air as the judges read the verdict. Daily Sabah reported that Mahmut Barlas, one of Handal's lawyers, said it has been "a busy eight months" for them but that they were happy to see "justice prevail". More than 40 suspects have been arrested over Moise's assassination, although nobody has been convicted in connection with the case.  Meanwhile, Haiti's judicial proceedings into the murder have stalled, with four judges on the case resigning amid complaints about death threats and concerns for their security.

Middle East and Africa Electric Vehicle Plastics Market 2022-2028 – Business Wire

DUBLIN--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The "Middle East and Africa Electric Vehicle Plastics Market 2022-2028" report has been added to ResearchAndMarkets.com's offering. Market Outlook This study on the electric vehicle plastics market in the Middle East and Africa insinuates that it is likely to observe growth with a CAGR of 25.78% in the forecasting years from 2022 to 2028. Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, and Rest of Middle East & Africa together constitute the market in this region. The government of the United Arab Emirates has undertaken several measures to promote electric vehicle adoption, in a bid to diminish its carbon footprint. It has also set up a number of charging stations in the nation, which is expected to influence consumers to opt for these vehicles. Moreover, there is no special consumption or luxury tax on EVs, which has further surged their demand in the market. Such strategic reforms to promote the adoption of electric vehicles are expected to fuel the demand for EV plastics. This, in turn, is expected to boost the electric vehicle plastic market in the UAE. On the other hand, the government of South Africa has acknowledged the nation's automotive industry as one of its significant sectors. It has shown substantial growth and contributes majorly to the economy. The demand for electric vehicles is also growing and several charging stations are being constructed. The efforts to curb the harmful vehicular emissions, as part of the Clean Fuel 2 initiative, are also anticipated to enhance the sales of these vehicles. This, in turn, is expected to influence the demand for EV plastics and foster the market's growth over the coming years. Key Topics Covered: 1. Middle East and Africa Electric Vehicle Plastics Market - Summary 2. Industry Outlook 2.1. Impact of Covid-19 on the Electric Vehicle Plastics Industry 2.2. Evolution & Transition of Electric Vehicle Plastics 2.3. Key Insights 2.3.1. Usage of Anti-Microbial Plastics/Additives in Electric Vehicles 2.3.2. Use of Bioplastic in Electric Vehicles 2.3.3. Increase in Electric Bus & Heavy-Duty Truck (Hdt) Registration in 2020 2.4. Porter's Five Forces Analysis 2.5. Key Impact Analysis 2.5.1. Superior Technology 2.5.2. Application 2.5.3. Efficiency 2.5.4. Cost- Effectiveness 2.6. Market Attractiveness Index 2.7. Vendor Scorecard 2.8. Industry Components 2.9. Regulatory Framework 2.10. Key Market Strategies 2.10.1. Acquisitions 2.10.2. Product Developments 2.10.3. Business Expansions 2.11. Market Drivers 2.11.1. Increasing Significance of High-Performance Plastic to Assure Safety and Security 2.11.2. Emphasis on Electric Vehicle Lightweighting 2.12. Market Challenges 2.12.1. Slow Adoption of Electric Vehicles 2.12.2. Electric Vehicle Plastic Recycling Issues 2.13. Market Opportunities 2.13.1. Enhanced Popularity of Electric Micromobility Due to the Pandemic 2.13.2. Spending on Electric Vehicles by Both Consumers & Government on the Rise 2.13.3. Stringent Emission Standards to Drive Electrification 3. Middle East and Africa Electric Vehicle Plastics Market Outlook - by Electric Vehicle Type 3.1. Bev 3.2. Hev/Phev 4. Middle East and Africa Electric Vehicle Plastics Market Outlook - by Component 4.1. Powertrain 4.2. External 4.3. Internal 5. Middle East and Africa Electric Vehicle Plastics Market Outlook - by Plastic Type 5.1. Polyurethane (Pu) 5.2. Polyamide (Pa) 5.3. Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (Abs) 5.4. Polypropylene (Pp) 5.5. Polycarbonate (Pc) 5.6. Other Electric Vehicle Plastic Types 6. Middle East and Africa Electric Vehicle Plastics Market - Country Outlook 6.1. United Arab Emirates 6.2. Saudi Arabia 6.3. Turkey 6.4. South Africa 6.5. Rest of Middle East & Africa 7. Competitive Landscape 8. Research Methodology & Scope Companies Mentioned Dupont Dow Chemical Company Evonik Industries Ineos Capital Ltd Basf Se Plastic Omnium Mitsui Chemicals Covestro AG Asahi Kasei Corp. Lanxess Corporation Lyondellbasell Industries Nv Sumimoto Chemical Co Ltd Momentive Performance Materials Hanwha Azdel Inc For more information about this report visit https://www.researchandmarkets.com/r/ghj6m2

Global Markets: Stocks up in holiday mood on resurgent oil

LONDON - World stocks rose in holiday-thinned trade on Monday, helped by a bounce in oil as concerns over tight supply outweighed recession fears.European stocks rallied 0.8% and Britain's FTSE rose over 1%, boosted by gains in oil and gas companies.Oil dropped $1 a barrel earlier on Monday on worries about the global economic outlook, but roared back on data showing lower output from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), and on unrest in Libya and sanctions on Russia.Ecuador's oil production has been hit by unrest recently, and a strike in Norway could cut supply this week."This backdrop of mounting supply outages is colliding with a possible spare production capacity shortage among Middle Eastern oil producers," said Stephen Brennock of oil broker PVM."And without new oil production hitting markets soon, prices will be forced higher."Output from the 10 members of OPEC in June fell 100,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 28.52 million bpd, off their pledged increase of about 275,000 bpd, a Reuters survey showed.Brent crude jumped 1.25% to $113.02, while U.S. crude rose 1.2% to $109.76 per barrel.MSCI's world equity index gained 0.38% after losing 2.3% last week.Global equities hit 18-month lows last month on anxiety about rising inflation and interest rates, but have since made minor gains.MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.34%.Chinese blue chips closed 0.7% higher, helped by a 4.65% surge in Chinese healthcare stocks. Cities in eastern China tightened COVID-19 curbs on Sunday amid new coronavirus clusters.Japan's Nikkei added 0.84%.U.S. S&P 500 futures and Nasdaq futures fell 0.4% and 0.5% respectively, however, as recent soft U.S. data suggested downside risks for this week's June payrolls report. U.S. stock markets are shut for Independence Day on Monday."Some markets are starting to find their footing but there's a lot of volatility right now," said Sebastien Galy, senior macro strategist at Nordea Asset Management.TECHNICAL RECESSIONThe Atlanta Federal Reserve's much watched GDP Now forecast slid to an annualised -2.1% for the second quarter, implying the country was already in a technical recession.The payrolls report on Friday is forecast to show jobs growth slowing to 270,000 in June, with average earnings slowing a touch to 5.0%.Minutes of the Fed's June policy meeting on Wednesday are expected to sound hawkish, however, given the committee chose to hike rates by a super-sized 75 basis points.The market is pricing in around an 85% chance of another hike of 75 basis points this month and rates at 3.25-3.5% by year end.But asset manager Nuveen sees room for optimism after sharp market falls in the first half."Beaten-down public markets offer extremely compelling upside potential in the near term," its Global Investment Committee said in its mid-year 2022 outlook on Monday.Cash Treasuries were shut but futures extended their gains, implying 10-year yields were holding around 2.88%, having fallen 61 basis points from their June peak.German 10-year government bond yields, the benchmark for the euro zone, rallied 10 basis points to 1.328% after plunging last week as investors rushed to safe-haven bonds. Bond yields move inversely to price.The U.S. dollar ticked 0.06% lower to 104.99 against a basket of currencies, moving away from recent 20-year highs reached due to its safe haven status.The euro gained 0.13% to $1.0442, heading away from its recent five-year trough of $1.0349. The European Central Bank is expected to raise interest rates this month for the first time in a decade, and the euro could get a lift if it decides on a more aggressive half-point move.The dollar gained 0.3% to 135.48 yen, after reaching a 24-year top of 137.01 last week.A high dollar and rising interest rates have not been kind to non-yielding gold, which was down 0.15% at $1,808 an ounce , after hitting a six-month low at $1,784 last week.(Additional reporting by Wayne Cole in Sydney; Editing by Sam Holmes, Shri Navaratnam and Ed Osmond)

Sri Lankan shares end lower as industrial stocks fall

Sri Lankan shares closed more than 1% lower on Monday after rising in the previous session, hurt by losses in industrial and financial stocks.At the close of trade, the CSE All-Share index was down 1.31% at 7,359.55, after falling 2.53% last week.Sri Lanka is currently facing its worst economic crisis in seven decades, unable to pay for essential imports such as fuel and medicine due to a severe shortage of foreign exchange.A top Sri Lankan minister said on Sunday the country was struggling to raise $587 million to pay for about half a dozen fuel shipments.International Monetary Fund officials will continue to hold talks with Sri Lanka for a possible $3 billion bailout package, the global lender said last week after wrapping up a 10-day visit to Colombo.On the CSE All-Share index, trading volume jumped to 109.8 million shares from 35.5 million shares in the previous session.Conglomerate Expolanka Holdings Plc and Browns Investments were the top losers on the index, declining 3.8% and nearly 4% respectively.The equity market turnover was 1.31 billion rupees ($3.65 million), according to exchange data.Foreign investors were net buyers in the equity market, purchasing 38.1 million rupees worth of shares, while domestic investors were net sellers, offloading 1.3 billion rupees worth of shares, the data showed.(Reporting by Rama Venkat in Bengaluru; Editing by Andrew Heavens)

Venture Capital Feels the Stock Market's Pain

Journal Reports: Personal InvestingThe Few Mutual-Fund Managers Who Avoided the DebacleBy

Mass PRIM allocates $150m to Sequoia China funds

Four funds managed by Sequoia Capital China have secured a commitment of up to $150 million from the Massachusetts Pension Reserves Investment Trust (Mass PRIM), according to a report by Deal Street Asia. Sequoia Capital China Seed II will get $8.2 million, while $18.8 million will be allocated to Sequoia Capital China Venture IX, $61.5 million to Sequoia Capital China Growth VII, and up to $61.5 million to Sequoia Capital China Expansion I. The allocations are part of Mass PRIM's overall $462 million commitment to private equity managers. Sequoia Capital China makes venture capital and growth equity investments in seed, early-stage, late-stage, and growth equity stage companies in China.

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