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Saudi Crown Prince Discusses @realDonaldTrump , @Saudi_Aramco , Arrests: Transcript @business
Law & Politics
Bloomberg’s Senior Executive Editor for Economics, Stephanie Flanders,
and five other Bloomberg journalists spoke to Saudi Arabia’s Crown
Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud Wednesday night at a royal compound
in Riyadh. In the wide-ranging interview, the prince spoke about his
relationship with Donald Trump, his commitment to IPO Aramco, plans to
invest a further $45 billion in Softbank, energy markets and the
recent arrests in the kingdom.
Below is a full transcript of the interview.
MBS: Saudi Arabia was there before the United States of America. It’s
there since 1744, I believe more than 30 years before the United
States of America. And I believe, and I’m sorry if anyone
misunderstands that, but I believe President Obama, in his eight
years, he worked against many of our agenda – not in Saudi Arabia, but
also in the Middle East. And even though the US worked against our
agenda we were able to protect our interests. And the end result is
that we succeeded, and the United States of America under the
leadership of President Obama failed, for example in Egypt. So Saudi
Arabia needs something like around 2,000 years to maybe face some
dangers. So I believe this is not accurate.
Bloomberg: So if President Trump is doing other things that you want,
you don’t mind him saying these incredibly rude things about your
MBS: Well, you know, you have to accept that any friend will say good
things and bad things. So you cannot have 100 percent friends saying
good things about you, even in your family. You will have some
misunderstandings. So we put that in that category.
Bloomberg: I think Germany and Canada were friends, and it was less
rude what they did.
MBS: It’s totally different. Canada, they gave an order to Saudi
Arabia on an internal issue. It’s not an opinion of Canada about Saudi
Arabia as much as they are giving an order to a different country. So
we believe this is a totally different issue. Trump is speaking to his
own people inside the United States of America about an issue. And
you’ve got the answer now from me.
Bloomberg: It does seem to be his opinion that the kingdom should pay
more for its security. So do you agree with that?
MBS: Actually we will pay nothing for our security. We believe that
all the armaments we have from the Untied States of America are paid
for, it’s not free armament. So ever since the relationship started
between Saudi Arabia and the United States of America, we’ve bought
everything with money. Before two years ago, we had a strategy to
shift most of our armament to other countries, but when President
Trump became president, we’ve changed our armament strategy again for
the next 10 years to put more than 60 percent with the United States
of America. That’s why we’ve created the $400 billion in
opportunities, armaments and investment opportunities, and other trade
opportunities. So this is a good achievement for President Trump, for
Saudi Arabia. Also included in these agreements are that part of these
armaments will be manufactured in Saudi Arabia, so it will create jobs
in America and Saudi Arabia, good trade, good benefits for both
countries and also good economic growth. Plus, it will help our
Bloomberg: So we know, U.S.-Saudi relations are just as good now as
they were 24 hours ago before the President said these things?
MBS: Yes of course. If you look at the picture overall, you have 99
percent of good things and one bad issue.
Bloomberg: With President Trump it seems to be a little bit more than
MBS: One percent. I love working with him. I really like working with
him and we have achieved a lot in the Middle East, especially against
extremism, extremist ideologies, terrorism and Da’esh [Arabic acronym
for ISIS] disappeared in a very short time in Iraq and Syria, and a
lot of extremist narratives have been demolished in the past two
years, so this is a strong initiative. We worked together also,
together with more than 50 countries, to agree on one goal in the
Middle East and most of those countries are going through with that
strategy. Now we are pushing back against extremists and terrorists
and Iran’s negative moves in the Middle East in a good way. We have
huge investments between both countries. We have good improvement in
our trade – a lot of achievements, so this is really great.
Bloomberg: I think the heart of what he was saying and why he feels he
has to say it is he does want a lower oil price. Can you see why he
would be complaining about the oil price where it is at $80?
MBS: We never in the history of Saudi Arabia decided that this is the
right or wrong oil price. The oil price depends on trade – consumer
and supplier – and they decide the oil price based on trade and supply
and demand. What we are committed in Saudi Arabia is to make sure
there is no shortage of supply. So we work with our allies in OPEC and
also non-OPEC countries to be sure that we have a sustainable supply
of oil and there is no shortage and that there is good demand, that it
will not create problems for the consumers and their plans and
Bloomberg: Has he made a specific request about oil?
MBS: Yes, actually the request that America made to Saudi Arabia and
other OPEC countries is to be sure that if there is any loss of supply
from Iran, that we will supply that. And that happened. Because
recently, Iran reduced their exports by 700,000 barrels a day, if I’m
not mistaken. And Saudi Arabia and OPEC and non-OPEC countries,
they’ve produced 1.5 million barrels a day. So we export as much as 2
barrels for any barrel that disappeared from Iran recently. So we did
our job and more. We believe the higher price that we have in the last
month, it’s not because of Iran. It’s mostly because of things
happening in Canada, and Mexico, Libya, Venezuela and other countries
that moved the price a little bit higher. But Iran, definitely no.
Because they reduced 700,000 barrels and we’ve exported more than 1.5
million barrels a day.
Bloomberg: And of that, the kingdom is producing how much?
MBS: Today we are around 10.7 million if I’m not mistaken.
Bloomberg: And for the next few months?
MBS: We have spare capacity of 1.3 million without any investment. So
in Saudi Arabia we have 1.3 million to go if the market needs that.
And with other OPEC countries and non-OPEC countries we believe we
have more than that, a little bit more than that. And of course there
is opportunity for investment in the next three to five years.
Bloomberg: I think you’ve just had a meeting in Kuwait thinking about
reactivating the production in the neutral zone, so how did that go?
Bloomberg: On a separate note, we’re very interested to know whether
you’ve driven a Tesla.
MBS: Actually, we, PIF invests in a lot of companies in the United
States of America, especially in the stock market. And Tesla looked
like a good opportunity for PIF and we bought a few shares there. We
have almost 5% of the company.
Bloomberg: But have you ever driven a Tesla?
MBS: The Tesla, I never did that. I’ve seen Tesla a lot. I just rode
in one with King Abdullah of Jordan. He drove it mostly in LA. But
I’ve never driven a Tesla, but they say it’s extremely good.
Bloomberg: You didn’t ask him to have a go?
"Shapeshifting" an excerpt from HyperNormalization by Adam Curtis
Law & Politics
The Political Technologists Vladislav Surkov
In his spare time Surkov writes essays on conceptual art and lyrics
for rock groups. He’s an aficionado of gangsta rap: there’s a picture
of Tupac on his desk, next to the picture of Putin
Putin’s chief ideologue and grey cardinal, Vladislav Surkov, the
‘Kremlin demiurge’. Known also as the ‘puppetmaster who privatised the
Russian political system’, Surkov is the real genius of the Putin era.
Surkov is the real genius of the Putin era. Understand him and you
understand not only contemporary Russia but a new type of power
politics, a breed of authoritarianism far subtler than the
Which apostle held the Quaaludes? @briankoppelman
Law & Politics
17-SEP-2018 :: There are no more ‘’Quaaludes’’ and policy makers will
no longer be able to pop them
There are no more ‘’Quaaludes’’ and policy makers will no longer be
able to pop them. ‘’In prescribed doses, Quaaludes promotes
relaxation, sleepiness and sometimes a feeling of euphoria. It causes
a drop in blood pressure and slows the pulse rate. These properties
are the reason why it was initially thought to be a useful sedative
and anxiolytic It became a recreational drug due to its euphoric
Law & Politics
“He can’t make the car without losing too much money and he can’t
bring himself to cancel the program and refund everyone’s deposits,”
The upshot: Musk is trying to get himself fired, Einhorn said.
“Quitting isn’t an option because it prevents Mr. Musk from claiming
he could have fixed the problem if he stayed.”
The Road ahead is bumpy said The @WorldBank in its #AfricaPulse
The World Bank issued its bi-annual #AfricaPulse report last week.
''Economic growth in Sub-Saharan Africa is estimated to have picked up
to 2.7 percent in 2018 from 2.3 percent in 2017, barely above
population growth. The region’s economic recovery continues but at a
slower pace than expected (0.4 percentage points lower than the April
forecast), due to downward growth revisions in the three largest
economies in the region. The road ahead is bumpy''
Of course the three biggest Economies South Africa, Nigeria and Angola
[making up 50% of SSA GDP] weighed on economic activity. I found this
data point interesting
Countries with economic performance that lost steam in 2015–18
relative to 1995–2008 represent about one-third of the region’s
population and nearly 60 percent of its economic activity. Their
median rate of GDP growth decelerated from 5.4 percent per year in
1995–2008 to 1.2 percent per year in 2015–18. This group includes the
three largest countries in the region (Nigeria, South Africa, and
Angola), and has an average GDP per capita of about US$2,696. Half of
SSA [from Buhari to Lourenco to Ramaphosa] is firing blanks and all
are looking around for a Silver Bullet.
Growth in the rest of the region was broadly steady, but performance
varied across countries. Economic activity remained solid in the
fast-growing non-resource-rich countries, such as Côte d’Ivoire,
Kenya, and Rwanda, supported by agricultural production and services
on the production side, and household consumption and public
investment on the demand side. A SSA Economist has also got to be an
accomplished Meteorologist because Rains have an outsize effect on GDP
and ''well-being'' Good Rains have underpinned GDP in this part of
Africa and popped it.
During 2012–17, government debt is estimated to have increased by more
than 20 percentage points in the region. Debt rose in about two-fifths
of the countries in 2017 and was above 60 percent of GDP in one-third
of the countries. Clearly, even with the latest fashion of
super-sizing one's GDP a la Ghana and Zimbabwe, the Debt Trajectory is
not sustainable. At the end of 2017, eight countries (Chad, Eritrea,
Mozambique, the Republic of Congo, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, and
Zimbabwe) were classified as in debt distress under the World
Bank–International Monetary Fund Debt Sustainability Framework.
Additionally, the previous moderate ratings for The Gambia, Zambia,
and Ethiopia more recently were changed to high risk of debt distress.
What we know is dominoes are set to fall.
One Domino that has suddenly tipped over is Zimbabwe. Reuters reported
that People again formed long queues to fill up their cars in the
capital, with others panic-buying basic goods like cooking oil and
sugar. There are $9.3 billion of Zollars in banks compared to $200
million in reserves, official data showed, a mismatch that creates a
premium for the U.S. dollar and fans the black market. On the black
market, the premium for the U.S. dollar spiked to a new record on
Saturday, reaching 165 percent from 120 percent on Monday, traders
said That means buying $100 in cash via a bank transfer cost $265, up
from $220 earlier this week. The Government's ''Voodoo Economics''
where it spent $1.3b pump-priming the Economy ahead of the Election
[money it did not have] was the straw that broke the camel's back.
people again formed long queues to fill up their cars in the capital, with others panic-buying basic goods like cooking oil and sugar. @ReutersAfrica
“The problem is that we did not explain things. This economy is a
sentiment driven economy so we need to communicate more with the
society,” he said.
At some outlets owned by Total, attendants only served motorists with
pre-paid cards. Other outlets refused mobile payments, preferring bank
cards and cash.
Zimbabwe spends $80 million on fuel imports every month.
Mangudya told Reuters the fuel shortages had been caused by an
introduction of a 2 percent tax on electronic payments last Monday,
which meant oil firms would incur weekly bank charges of $400,000 for
fuel imports but were not allowed to pass the cost to consumers.
The companies had stopped supplying fuel as a result, Mangudya said,
but he added the situation would improve in the next 48 hours because
the government on Friday night scrapped the tax on foreign payments.
A New King for the Congo V.S. Naipaul @nybooks
The Congo, which used to be a Belgian colony, is now an African
kingdom and is called Zaire. It appears to be a nonsense name, a
sixteenth-century Portuguese corruption, some Zairois will tell you,
of a local word for “river.” So it is as if Taiwan, reasserting its
Chinese identity, were again to give itself the Portuguese name of
Formosa. The Congo River is now called the Zaire, as is the local
currency, which is almost worthless.
The man who has made himself king of this land of the three Zs—pays,
fleuve, monnaie—used to be called Joseph Mobutu. His father was a
cook. But Joseph Mobutu was educated; he was at some time, in the
Belgian days, a journalist. In 1960, when the country became
independent, Mobutu was thirty, a sergeant in the local Force
Publique. The Force Publique became the Congolese National Army.
Mobutu became the colonel and commander, and through the mutinies,
rebellions, and secessions of the years after independence he retained
the loyalty of one paratroop brigade. In 1965, as General Mobutu, he
seized power; and as he has imposed order on the army and the country
so his style has changed, and become more African. He has abandoned
the name of Joseph and is now known as Mobutu Sese Seko Kuku Ngbendu
Wa Za Banga.
As General Mobutu he used to be photographed in army uniform. Now, as
Mobutu Sese Seko, he wears what he has made, by his example, the
Zairois court costume. It is a stylish version of the standard
two-piece suit. The jacket has high, wide lapels and is buttoned all
the way down; the sleeves can be long or short. A boldly patterned
cravat replaces the tie, which has more or less been outlawed; and a
breast-pocket handkerchief matches the cravat. On less formal
occasions—when he goes among the people—Mobutu wears flowered shirts.
Always, in public, he wears a leopard-skin cap and carries an
elaborately carved stick.
These—the cap and the stick—are the emblems of his African
chieftaincy. Only the chief can kill the leopard. The stick is carved
with symbolic figures: two birds, what looks like a snake, a human
figure with a distended belly. No Zairois I met could explain the
symbolism. One teacher pretended not to know what was carved, and
said, “We would all like to have sticks like that.” In some local
carving, though, the belly of the human figure is distended because it
contains the fetish. The stick is accepted by Zairois as the stick of
the chief. While the chief holds the stick off the ground the people
around him can speak; when the chief sets his stick on the ground the
people fall silent and the chief gives his decision.
Explaining the constitution and the president’s almost unlimited
powers, Profils du Zaire, the new official handbook (of variable
price: four zaires, eight dollars, the pavement-seller’s…
it adds that even if average growth levels were to hit 4% this year, this translates into just 1% in GDP per head because of the region's high birth-rate. @Africa_Conf
Depending on how the US trade war with China and Europe plays out, its
indirect effects could further suppress demand for Africa's
commodities. Alongside trade tensions between the biggest economies,
the Bank points to the risk of higher interest rates, a strengthening
dollar and a sharp fall in commodity prices as the main external risks
facing African economies.
Extreme weather – more droughts and floods – along with ballooning
budget deficits and civil conflicts are the main domestic risks for
growth according to the Bank. It also warns about the rising costs of
servicing debt. Debtors will suffer if the dollar continues to
To accusations that they have been slow to flag worsening debt
problems in Africa, the Fund and the Bank say they have found flaws in
some financial reporting systems. In March 2016, the IMF announced the
Mozambique government had contracted over $1 billion of hidden loans
and suspended disbursements. Now, the Fund and Bank point to Zambia's
unsustainable debt burden as the next financial flashpoint in the
President Edgar Lungu's government is caught up in a similar
combination of rising debt obligations and grand corruption as well as
over-priced state procurement and massive exposure to Chinese project
The disappearance of the Journalist Jamal Khashoggi from the Saudi
consulate in Turkey is mind-boggling.
If true, this would be an abysmal new low," says @lynn_maalouf. "Such
an assassination within the grounds of the Consulate, which is
territory under Saudi Arabian jurisdiction, would amount to an
Secretary Pompeo was given short shrift today by the Chinese.
We appear to be on the cusp of another break lower in EM and Frontier
Crude which had run up beyond $86.00 a Barrel was last trading around
$83.00 a barrel.
Gold is getting creamed today.
Zimbabwe might well have tipped with Reuters reporting
''people again formed long queues to fill up their cars in the
capital, with others panic-buying basic goods like cooking oil and
sugar'' and the premium for the U.S. dollar spiked to a new record on
Saturday, reaching 165 percent from 120 percent on Monday, traders
Its been ''voodoo'' economics for a while there but spending $1.3b in
the run up to the election [money they did not have] seems to have
tipped things over ''The Edge''
The Kenya Shilling is +2.2% in 2018 which is an Outlier performance.
The @NSE_PLC All Share is currently trading at a price to earnings
ratio (P/E) of 12.4x, and a dividend yield of 4.8%
The US Dollar remains King.
The Nairobi All Share ground -0.96 points lower to close at 149.92
The NSE20 firmed +1.06 points to close at 2866.06
Equity Turnover was seriously lacklustre with just 143.5m worth of business.
N.S.E Equities - Commercial & Services
Safaricom was the most active counter and eased -1.01% to close at
24.50 and traded 4.292m shares worth 105.953m which represented 73.77%
of the total volume traded. Safaricom has corrected -18.33% since
early June and this is a ''Buy Zone''
Nation Media firmed +2.85% to close at 72.00 and traded 12,200 shares.
N.S.E Equities - Finance & Investment
KCB Group shaved off -0.65% to close at 38.50 and traded 298,000
shares with 10x the volume traded on the Sell Side. KCB trades on a
Trailing PE Ratio of 5.98.
HF Group bucked the downdraft and bounced +5.084% to close at 6.20 and
traded 75,900 shares.
Liberty Kenya was uplifted +7.6% to close at 13.45 and traded 5,700 shares.
N.S.E Equities - Industrial & Allied
KenGen closed unchanged at 6.80 and announced an 'IOT' [internet of
Things] collaboration in the Geothermal space with UNIDO and in Japan