Monday, June 12, 2017

Qatar banks face headwinds; Tech shares keep falling; 'No' as the new key to success

1 Qatar banks face headwinds (Issac John in Khaleej Times) The sanctions imposed on Qatar by the UAE and several other Arab countries might result in an outflow of external funding for Qatari banks, which are already under mounting pressure amid worsening cash crunch, lower credit rating and hike in cost of funding, financial analysts said.

Following the recent breakup of diplomatic, trade and transport links with Qatar by Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, Egypt, Libya and Yemen, the creditworthiness of the Gulf state has became vulnerable to a potential risks. These include domestic political risks, a spike in government debt, significantly higher contingent liabilities, and scarce external funding sources, credit analysts said.

S&P Global Rating, however, noted that Qatari banks' current liquidity profiles should help them absorb a moderate drop in external funding. Overall, Qatari banks' net external debt totalled about $50 billion at the end of April 2017.

Garbis Iradian, chief economist, Mena, at the Washington-based Institute of International Finance, said while the Qatari banking sector is well positioned, with a capital adequacy ratio of 16.1 per cent and non-performing loans to total loans of 1.2 per cent at the end of 2016, risks and uncertainty from the sanctions by neighbouring countries could have serious repercussions.

2 Tech shares keep falling (Dominic Rushe in The Guardian) Shares in technology companies – the driver behind recent record stock market gains – has kept falling as investors worried the sector was running out of steam.

Technology stocks have done far better than the rest of the market this year and they were trading close to all-time highs before Friday’s drop. The S&P 500 technology index shed 2.7% on Friday for one of its worst days of the year.

The climb has made fortunes for investors, and for tech entrepreneurs. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has seen his net worth soar by almost $20bn in the past five months to $85.2bn. Bezos’s fortune is closing in on that of Bill Gates, the co-founder of Microsoft, whose net worth is $89.3bn, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

3 ‘No’ as the new key to success (Lucy Kellaway in Straits Times/Financial Times) No is the new yes. It is the most fashionable answer for successful people. There is even a How To Say No colouring book for adults, as well as books of more niche interest, like Say No To Arthritis.

Yet last week "no" reached cult status. In a blog post for the Harvard Business Review, a management coach suggested that it is not enough simply to say no, we must also start celebrating whenever we do so.

No is thus granted the same giddy status as failure, which everyone has been doggedly celebrating for a decade at least. The Museum of Failure was opened last week in Sweden; give it a year or two and the Museum of No is bound to follow.

On the Entrepreneur website is a blog post that argues saying no is good, as it creates space for junior people to step up. And declining things at work allows you to spend more time at home tending to your family.

I can think of something even better about it. If enough people were to say no to pointless things often enough it would lead to a more efficient allocation of resources. If we all refused boring meetings and events, eventually the penny would drop and people would stop arranging them.

The main difference between yes and no is that one is easy and the other hard. Yes can be said by any old fool, while no requires character, commitment and courage. Saying no gets easier as you get older.

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