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James Drummond


An Arabic speaker, the British national’s wide experience in the region includes roles as a former hedge fund correspondent and news editor in the Gulf for the Financial Times, as well as FT correspondent in Cairo and Baghdad, where he covered the aftermath of the US-led invasion. Oxford-educated Drummond is a qualified chartered accountant and anti-money laundering specialist, and has also led geopolitical risk analysis for a number of global banking and corporate institutions

James Drummond
Masoud Pezeshkian

Pezeshkian has a strong mandate – and a slew of problems

It was not supposed to be this way. Masoud Pezeshkian, the sole reformist candidate, has won the second round of Iranian presidential elections to replace Ebrahim Raisi, and the fears of conservatives in the Iranian regime have come to pass.   Conventionally, conservative candidates withdraw at the last minute ahead of a first round of voting, […]

PM Narendra Modi greets supporters at BJP headquarters in New Delhi. He took office in 2014

642 million votes counted … now India can get back to business

Narendra Modi has claimed victory in India’s election – and many in the Gulf will be delighted at the prospect of a third Modi term. The prime minister’s pro-business credentials and economically liberalising tendencies remain credible, if battered, after 10 years in office.  His Bharatiya Janata Party did not perform as well as expected, however, […]

hu jintao china gcc

Diplomacy and trade to fore as China woos GCC leaders

It’s quite a coup. Hu Jintao (still with us) must be feeling vindicated. The heads of four Arab states are in Beijing to attend the China-Arab States Cooperation Forum, which Hu founded in 2004 to bring together China and the Arab League.  Xi Jinping, Hu’s successor as leader of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), will […]

A Houthi military helicopter flies over the Galaxy Leader cargo ship in the Red Sea

BP and Equinor divert tankers from Red Sea

Two European oil and gas companies, BP of the UK and Equinor of Norway, have joined a group of shipping lines that are diverting their tankers away from the Red Sea, following missile and drone attacks by Yemen’s Houthi militants. BP said in a statement: “The safety and security of our people and those working […]

People dance on the deck of the Galaxy Leader, seized by Yemen's Houthis last month, off the coast of al-Salif

Jet fuel most exposed to Red Sea closure, analysts say

Trade analysts warned on Monday that jet fuel is the commodity most exposed to an interruption of trade in the Red Sea, as the world’s main shipping companies said that they would avoid the waterway because of missile and drone attacks.  Several container shipping lines, including CMA CGM of France, MSC of Switzerland and A.P. […]

Masked and socially distanced pupils at a Saudi school in 2021. The OECD's Pisa tests show the impact of the pandemic on education

Saudi schools ‘doing better at maths but still lagging behind’

Saudi Arabia’s schools have improved in the past few years, but are still below the international average and a long way behind the best performers, according to the OECD. Teenagers from 81 countries were tested for the OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (Pisa), which published its 2022 report on Tuesday. The tests measured the […]

Lucy Frazer is likely to conduct a public interest test on the Telegraph bid

UK regulator likely to review Telegraph bid

Lucy Frazer, UK secretary of state for culture media and sport, has written to an Abu Dhabi-backed consortium warning that that she is likely to subject its bid for a leading British newspaper group to a public interest test.  RedBird IMI, led by Jeff Zucker, a former president of CNN, has submitted a bid for […]

Saudi Arabia's new data will show which sectors are performing best when it comes to foreign direct investment laptop hands statistics

Saudi Arabia set for FDI top 20 after Misa revises measures

Saudi Arabia has reworked its methods of measuring foreign direct investment and will publish updated data in the middle of next month that will show the kingdom among the top 20 recipients globally, according to a senior official.  Historically, the central bank, still widely known as Sama, published the FDI data using statistical modelling techniques. […]

Bogus calls from fraudsters are becoming a near-daily occurrence

‘Hi, this is your bank…’ Inside the war on payment fraud

“Hello. This is the Central Bank of the UAE. We are contacting you because you need to surrender your debit card.” The call comes from a conventional mobile number while you’re on the way home from work.   Welcome to the scamdemic – claim your prize, share your one-time password, update your bank details, click […]

Workers at an oil refinery in Kerbala, central Iraq. Rising oil prices have helped the country to pay down debt

Moody’s opts to keep Iraq on lowly sovereign rating

An influential ratings agency has decided to keep Iraq on one of its lowest sovereign ratings, despite the country’s strong oil exports and recovering foreign exchange reserves. Moody’s Investor Services said in an annual review released last week that corruption and weak institutions prompted it to maintain Iraq on a Caa1 rating, which is on […]

Egypt wants to deepen cooperation with Asian partners to attract more investors, said finance minister Mohamed Al Al Maait

IMF urges Egypt to embrace flexible exchange rate

The IMF chief responsible for the Middle East and Central Asia called on Egypt on Wednesday to liberalise its exchange rate fully, amid stasis in Cairo over a series of reforms demanded by the international community. Speaking at an event in the Dubai International Financial Centre, Jihad Azour said that the Fund was in discussion […]

The UAE granted a licence to Russia's MTS Bank only weeks ago

UAE reviewing status of Russian bank MTS

The central bank of the United Arab Emirates (CBUAE) has said it is assessing the status of MTS, a Russian bank to which it gave a licence only weeks previously. Marking the first anniversary of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the US Treasury and the British foreign office said that they were sanctioning MTS Bank, […]

Venture capital firm to bring healthcare technology to the UAE

An Abu Dhabi-based venture capital firm has obtained approval from regulators to invite investors into healthcare startups in the US and elsewhere with a view to bringing specialist technology to the Middle East.  Biosis Ventures said this week it had in principle received permission from the Abu Dhabi Global Market to offer venture capital products […]

Egyptian investors look to real estate to hedge against inflation

Egyptian investors are looking to real estate as a hedge against inflation and a depreciating pound, while landlords are increasingly pricing in US dollars. Merna Arafat, an analyst at Beltone, a Cairo-based brokerage, said that many investors had begun moving into property in March this year when the government started allowing the Egyptian pound to […]

China-GCC free trade agreement in ‘final and critical’ stage

The China-GCC free trade agreement negotiations have entered the “final and critical stage”. The two sides have agreed on most issues and are putting the final touches on the agreement, according to WAM, the UAE state-owned news agency, citing a top Chinese diplomat. 200 billion reasons why the Gulf is China’s hottest trading partner UAE […]

Sony unit takes stake in Gulf concert promoter

The founders of an agency that has played a central part in revolutionising entertainment in the Gulf said on Thursday that a tie-up with New York-based Sony Masterworks will buy the operation time and space to expand and invest.  Sony has acquired 55 percent of Mac Global for an undisclosed sum, Daniel Goldberg, one of […]