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Key Saudi Oil Adviser Warns on Herd Mentality

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Photo Credit: March 14, 2015, Doha, Ritz-Carlton Doha, Institute of International Finance

Photo Credit: March 14, 2015, Doha, Ritz-Carlton Doha, Institute of International Finance

Ibrahim Al-Muhanna, advisor to the Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources for Saudi Arabia, gave a keynote at the Washington, DC-based Institute of International Finance conference in Doha on March 14th. Al-Muhanna had interesting insights on oil prices, OPEC and markets. Al-Muhanna reiterated there was no political motive behind Saudi Arabia’s decision to not cut oil production during the November OPEC meeting. He dispelled the idea that Saudi Arabia was in concert with the Obama administration to hurt Russia by lowering the global price of oil. Russia is highly economically dependent on oil and natural gas exports.

An excerpt from his speech:
“Ladies and gentlemen. A few weeks ago, in Riyadh, I was at a small, private function along with the British central bank governor, Mark Carney. Mr Carney asked me two questions. First, why did the oil price drop? And the second, where is the price heading? I will tell you today what I said to him then. I do not believe the fundamentals of supply and demand justified the sudden and rapid price fall during the second half of last year. The market was balanced, and commercial stocks were within their normal range. Yes, supply was starting to increase, but demand remained strong and there was not a very sudden rise in commercial stocks.”

Al-Muhanna also said that Saudi Aramco was not in a price war with other gulf producers. He also said the wide swings in prices are not good for producers, consumers and investors in the long-run, due to the heavy requirements for the energy industry.

Near the end of his speech, Al-Muhanna was quoted saying, “As I said, I do not believe the recent huge price drop is justified only by a change in fundamentals. As with all markets, there is an element of herd mentality that can often take over. One thing that will never be in short supply is analysts predicting the worst.”

Italian ANAS and RDIF Invest and Build the Fourth Section of Moscow’s Central Ring Road

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The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) inked a deal with ANAS S.p.A. (formerly known as Azienda Nazionale Autonoma delle Strade), the Italian state highway management company, to implement a concession agreement to build and operate the fourth section of the massive Moscow Central Ring Road. The transaction expects to be finalized in the first quarter of 2019. This is the final section of Central Ring Road, which is 96.5 kilometers long. According to the RDIF, “Under the terms of the concession agreement, the cost of construction is 85.4 billion rubles, of which the concessionaire will provide 49.7 billion rubles and private investors will provide 35.7 billion rubles.”

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Follow the Money – Episode 48

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This long-form podcast was recorded on December 11, 2018. Michael Maduell dissects the latest geopolitical trends that can impact institutional investors such as pensions, sovereign wealth funds, and endowments. Maduell lends his opinion on the lawsuit of Neiman Marcus and bumps in the road for augmented reality.

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CONTENTS
1:15 Huawei, Canada, Brexit, and Macron Headache
6:30 Sovereign Wealth Fund Asset Allocation
9:58 India Gets a New Central Bank Governor
13:26 Pensions Go Bust on U.S. Retailers
17:04 Augmented Reality and Sovereign Funds
22:00 Former CalPERS CIO Goes to Morgan Stanley Investment Management
24:30 Oman Investment Fund Goes on Defense in Public Markets
25:00 Japanese Scandals and Opportunities

EPISODE 48

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The views in this media are expressed by Michael Maduell and other participants and are not reflective of the Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute (SWFI).

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Danica Pensions Sells Danica Pension Sweden

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Danica Pension sold Danske Pension Försikringsaktiebolag (publ) (also known as Danica Pension Sweden) to a group of investors for around 2.6 billion SEK. Danica Pension is part of Danske Bank A/S. Of the total amount, 2.3 billion SEK is being paid in cash, while the rest is in the form of a debt instrument from Danica Pension.

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