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Thursday, 6 April 2017

International news of note on 6 April 2017: Fed to shrink balance sheet, May and Rolet pitch for Aramco IPO

Among the handful of international stories worth noting this morning:

  • The US Fed is looking to sell down some of the USD 4.5 tn in bonds and other securities it’s holding on its balance sheet. The Fed accumulated the bonds during its three rounds of quantitative easing to boost the economy after the Great Recession. The move could both impact the price of the securities the Fed would look to offload, CNBC notes, adding that some members of the Federal Reserve believe “the move itself would amount to a rate hike” — to say nothing of being largely unprecedented in size.
  • UK Prime Minister Theresa May and LSE CEO Xavier Rolet made the pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia — to Riyadh, that is, where they tried to pitch Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih on listing Saudi Aramco in London instead of on the NYSE.
  • Hmm… Wonder if they would ship any of it to Egypt? Qatar Gas and ExxonMobil are going to start drilling for gas off the southern coast of Cyprus in 2018.
  • In the wake of Tuesday’s horrific chemical weapons attack in Syria that has been blamed on Bashar Al Assad, Donald Trump has “opened the door to a greater American role in protecting the population in a vicious civil war that he has always said the United States should avoid,” the New York Times reports. “I now have responsibility, and I will have that responsibility and carry it very proudly,” CNN quoted him as saying. The incident killed 86 civilians, including 32 children. Egypt has condemned the attack.
  • Former right-wing publisher Steve Bannon has been dropped from the US National Security Council but retains the “highest level” White House security clearance and remains an advisor to US President Donald Trump in what pundits are taking as a victory for US national security advisor HR McMaster.

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