1. SAUDI ARAMCO’S IPO
•More than 3 years ago the IPO was first mooted was largest oil producer. Saudi Arabia’s Aramco announced its intention to float the most dramatic change to the Saudi Oil Industry since the company was nationalized in 1970’s. Aramco is the most profitable business in world with an coal reserve life of 52 years.
•The IPO is a cornerstone of Prince Mohammad’s vision 2030 plan to make the Saudi economy ready for the post- oil era.
•The state-owned oil company is supposed to determine its final launch price over the coming weeks.
•If Saudi Aramco achieves a valuation of 1.5 trillion dollars it will far exceed the market capitalization of Apple.
•Saudi Arabia is pulling out all the stops to ensure the success of Aramco’s initial public offering.
•Saudi Arabia will flow shares on the Riyadh Stock Exchange this week. State- owned oil company will be up for sale in December.
•Company hoping to raise 100 billion dollars under 2 trillion dollar valuation in what is projected to be the largest ever initial public offering.
•Aramco posted for 68 billion dollar profit for the first 9 months of 2019. A slowdown from the previous year then annual earnings totaled 111 billion dollars.
•Investors would be interested in Aramco because of its scale profitability & shareholder dividends.
•Tough political environment in Middle East is the biggest risk tied to Aramco’s core business oil.
• Skeptics say the climate crisis & geopolitical risks into the partial privatization of Saudi Aramco.
2. IRAN’S NUCLEAR ESCALATION
•Iran this week began injecting gas into centrifuges at its four-door nuclear facility rolling back another commitment under the 2015 Nuclear deal.
• In hope of pressurizing the US into lifting of sanctions that it reimposed on the country in 2018. Iran has restarted its nuclear and enrichment program.
• France, Britain, Germany and Russia called the move as grave and condemned it. Russia blame it on U.S. which pulled out the pact.
• Iran is now distancing itself from 2015 Nuclear deal. It began filling 1044 Centrifuges on Thursday, injecting Uranium gases into them.
• President Hassan Rouhani announced the move on Wednesday. Iran moved from its permitted status of research plant to an active nuclear site.
• Iran is openly violating the Nuclear deal for months by enriching Uranium at Higher concentrations and storing more of it.
• It is the fourth step taken by Iran since July in response to US sanctions reinstated by US President Donald Trump.
• On Monday Iran announced it has doubled its operation of Advanced IR6 centrifuges that can produce enriched Uranium 10 times faster than the first generation IR.
• Enrichment capacity has been 6000 operational SW in terms of enrichment units and 2660 SW has been added to it i.e. 45-46% increase within 2 months.
• Rouhani said latest step was reversible if world powers party to the accord upheld their commitments. It also gave two months deadline to his European partners to protect the Iran economy from crippling US sanctions.
• Sanctions imposed by US caused Iran’s oil export to collapse and value of its currency to plummet and sent its inflation rate soaring.
3. U.S.-CHINA TRADE DEAL
• Governments of two biggest economies have raised tariffs on billions of dollars of each other’s goods in fight over China’s Trade Surplus and Technology ambitions.
• The Chinese commerce ministry has announced on Thursday that the two countries had agreed to cancel the tariffs in phases.
• Trump said on Friday he is yet to agree and there was not a deal in place to reduce any levies on Chinese goods.
• Negotiators say that if talks progress this will be followed by a complete rollback of tariff hikes.
• UN study shows that Trade War has hurt both the Nations. It has caught US imports of Chinese goods by more than a quarter or 35 billion dollars in the first half of this year. The trade war weighs on trade world wide and threatens to depress Global economic growth that is already showing signs of slowing.
• However the sign of progress in trade talks help to ease financial market jitters lifting Wall Street to record highs but the rally did not carry over to Asia.
• Trump pointed that he and Xi Jinping would sign the agreement at an Economic Summit in Chile but the Summit was cancelled because of an ongoing political crisis and violent protests. US and China are now looking into a new location for a signing ceremony.
4. BOLIVIA VIOLENCE
• Presidential elections held on 20th of October in Bolivia. Evo Morales claimed victory in these elections. Opposition and protestors say that election results were rigged.
• The suspension prompted suspicions among the supporters of opposition candidate Carol Mesa that the result had been rigged to allow president Evo Morales who has been in power since 2006 to stay for another 5 years.
• The elections gave Morales just over 10% point lead he needed to win outright in the Presidential elections. Since then there have been protests and strikes in the country.
• In the violent protests and strike 3 people have died so far and a sizable segment of the armed forces warned that they would not crackdown on demonstrators on behalf of president Evo Morales.
•A protest leader Louis Fernando Camacho, who have been a symbol of opposition to president Morales arrived on Wednesday in La Paz where he planned to give Morales a pre-written resignation letter to sign.
• Hostilities have rammed up the elections from the organization of American States have expressed their concerns and ordered by the body is currently underway. Bolivia’s young democracy is facing a pivotal test.
5. AUSTRALIA BUSHFIRE
•Gutsy winds and heatwave have exasperated the fires in Australia many of which are in drought affected areas.
• Authorities have deployed more than 1000 firefighters and 70 aircrafts to save as many people as possible.
6. U.S. FEES HIKE
• U.S. has announced the increase of H-1B work visa application fees by $10 as part of its revised selection process.
•The U.S. citizenship and immigration services said that the non-refundable fees will support the new electronic registration system to make the H-1B cap selection process more efficient for both petitioners and the federal agency
• The H-1B program allows the companies in US to temporarily employ foreign workers in occupations that require the application of a body of highly specialized knowledge.