Ground-breaking test bed for new offshore Wind Technologies

Ground-breaking test bed for new offshore Wind Technologies

Clean Technica in an article dated April 10th, 2018 by reported that the world’s most powerful wind turbine, the first of two 8.8 megawatt (MW) turbines, has been successfully installed at Vattenfall’s European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre off the coast of North East Scotland, which is set to be a ground-breaking test bed for new offshore wind technologies.

Vattenfall is a leading European energy company, that for more than 100 years has electrified industries, supplied energy to people’s homes and modernised our way of living through innovation and cooperation.

World’s Most Powerful Wind Turbine Installed At Vattenfall’s European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre


 

The European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre (EOWDC) in Aberdeen Bay, Scotland, was conceived as a 92.4 MW, 11 turbine offshore wind test and demonstration facility. The project was initially caught up in a protracted legal battle with none other than then-real estate magnate Donald Trump — who promptly lost all legal challenges to prevent the construction of an offshore wind farm he considered would be an eyesore for members of his nearby Trump International Golf Club.

Since then, however, progress has proceeded rapidly, and the hopes of many have come to fruition with the creation of a next-generation testbed for new offshore wind technologies, such as the recently demonstrated suction bucket jacket foundations — which I maintain are cooler than they sound. Supported by the massive 25,000 tonne Asian Hercules III floating crane (seen below), the foundations for the EOWDC are being installed using a new method of securing the massive towers to the seafloor that is faster, more environmentally friendly and quiet, and much easier to uninstall if and when necessary.

Now, the next phase of construction has resulted in the installation of one of two wind turbines which have been specifically enhanced to increase their output by modifying their internal power modes. Specifically, the two turbines have been increased from 8.4 MW to 8.8 MW, which in turn increases EOWDC’s output to 93.2 MW, and as such it will generate 70% of Aberdeen’s domestic electricity demand while displacing 134,128 tonnes of CO2 annually. This is the first time an 8.8 MW wind turbine has been installed for commercial application.

It might not sound a lot — an increase of 0.4 MW — but the EOWDC is intended to serve as a demonstration facility, first and foremost, and testing the application of these incremental increases to wind turbine output could yield significant benefits. Two wind turbines modified such may only increase overall output by 0.8 MW, but a wind farm made up of 100 of these turbines would benefit from a 40 MW increase, simply by modifying existing turbines.

“The turbines for the EOWDC, Scotland’s largest offshore wind test and demonstration facility, help secure Vattenfall’s vision to be fossil fuel free within one generation,” said Gunnar Groebler, Vattenfall’s Head of Business Area Wind. “The EOWDC, through its innovative approach to cost reduction and pioneering technologies, leads the industry drive towards generating clean and competitive wind energy power – one that will reinforce Scotland’s global energy status.”

The V164-8.4 MW and V164-8.8 MW wind turbines were manufactured and modified by MHI Vestas, and have an enormous tip height of 191 meters, with 80 meter blades.

“The first turbine installation is a significant achievement and credit to the diligence and engineering know-how of the project team and contractors,” added EOWDC project director at Vattenfall, Adam Ezzamel. “For it to be one of the 8.8MW models makes it an even more momentous moment because it further endorses the EOWDC as a world-class hub of offshore wind innovation.

“We are very excited by the cutting-edge technology deployed on all the turbines and it is remarkable that just one rotation of the blades can power the average UK home for a day.”

The news was unsurprisingly met with appreciation from UK environmental groups as well.

“Scotland is home to approximately 25% of Europe’s offshore wind resource and projects like Vattenfall’s European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre in Aberdeen promise to harness this potential on a massive scale,” said Stephanie Conesa, Policy Manager at Scottish Renewables. “This ground-breaking facility leads Aberdeen’s ongoing transition from fossil fuels to renewables, and reinforces Scotland’s global energy status.

“As the windiest country in Europe with some of the deepest waters, we should be proud of Scotland’s burgeoning offshore wind industry,” Conesa added. “With many more promising offshore wind sites on our doorstep, we hope to see similar facilities deployed in Scottish waters in future so we can fully utilise our country’s natural resources.”

“The installation of the first of these powerful turbines at Aberdeen Bay is another milestone in Scotland’s renewables story,” added Gina Hanrahan, Acting Head of Policy at WWF Scotland. “Offshore wind, which has halved in cost in recent years, is critical in the fight against climate change, helping to reduce emissions, keep the lights on and create thousands of jobs across the Scotland and the UK.

“Developments like this have an important role to play in securing the Scottish Government’s target to meet half of all Scotland’s energy demand from renewables by 2030.”

via April 11 Energy News

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International Students in Britain and the English language requirements

International Students in Britain and the English language requirements

In the United Kingdom, all universities state their English language requirements in writing, speaking, listening and reading and have them checked through various tests with the minimum grade overall, and usually the minimum grades required specifically tailored for each course.  International Students in Britain and the English language requirements are a problematic that is recurrent at every start of a new academic year.

The reasons are various.

The affluence of worldwide candidates coupled with the ever-increasing university costs have over the years been the influencing factors of this seeking higher mastery levels of the English language from each and every one.

We republish this article of Bobby Pathak, Heriot-Watt University not only because of the great majority of the MENA’s youth obvious interest in universities of the United Kingdom but to also try and lend a hand to all. .

Do international students in Britain need better English skills?

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Shutterstock

 

The start of the academic year is fast approaching, with new students from across the UK looking forward to starting university with a mix of trepidation and excitement.

The UK is also a popular place for international students to study, given that it has some of the best universities in the world. This means that many UK students studying at a British university will be joined in their lectures by students from around the world.

The latest UK Council for International Student Affairs report shows that Chinese students studying at UK universities have far exceeded any other nationality since 2013. The same report also reveals that China is the only country showing significant increases compared with other non-EU countries where recruitment is virtually stagnant.

For many of these students from China, this may be the first time they are educated in only English. And there is the expectation that these students will be able to fully understand and keep up with other students.

Language ability

Having adequate English language skills is important to international students, as there’s no point in them turning up on their first day only to realise they don’t understand the curriculum. In the same way, this proficiency is also important to native English speakers – given that many courses require an element of group work and seminar discussions. Universities don’t want to accept students who will ultimately fail their course either.

International students are offered a place at UK universities on the condition that they have a certain level of English language proficiency. This is checked through a UK Home Office approved test known as the Secured English Language Test.

International students can sometimes struggle with the language.
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In theory, students sit the test, pass and then look forward to starting their new life in a new country. But things get problematic when students do not achieve the required score. In this case, universities may then offer an additional pre-sessional programme of English language study at an extra cost to the student. If completed successfully, this allows these students onto their chosen course.

So far, so good. But the the problem here is that many students do not actually take the Secured English Language Test at the end of their pre-sessional programme. This means that it’s never categorically known if, by the end of the summer course, a student’s language proficiency is at the level originally required by the university.

Testing times

That said, it’s not in the interest of universities to set a student up for failure. But surely if the entry requirement of a university course is a certain grade in the Home Office exam, then the same exam should be given at the end of these programmes. This would help to maintain a level playing field for all students on the course.

As someone who works on these pre-sessional programmes as an assistant professor, I believe there is clearly a value in teaching English for academic purposes. These sessions are also a time when nonnative learners can get a sense of the UK’s academic culture along with the conventions they will be expected to follow – something some UK students would also benefit from, too.

International students need to be made to feel welcome.
Shutterstock

But of course, the point of the programmes is about getting students up to a certain standard of English. Perhaps then the answer is for the Home Office approved tests to be changed to better reflect what is being covered in university pre-sessional programmes.

What this all boils down to is that universities must make sure they are doing enough to support international students. And this support is particularly important given the outcome of the EU referendum and the UK’s apparent fixation with immigration. In this way, the numbers speak for themselves – international students wanting to come and study in the UK is no longer something universities can simply take for granted.

Bobby Pathak, Assistant Professor (Pre-Sessional) English for Academic Purposes, Heriot-Watt University

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

7 Must Have Student-Collaboration Apps

7 Must Have Student-Collaboration Apps

An article of The Tech Edvocate written by Matthew Lynch and published on Aug 09, 2017 gives an idea on how education has evolved into increased depth mainly through more reliance on digital computation. This calls on diverse and bespoke application software. In the author’s opinion, these number 7 must have student-collaboration Apps that are the most used ones for the specific capabilities of each.

Would this article apply to the MENA region as well ?

7 Must Have Student-Collaboration Apps, Tools, and Resources

Collaboration in the classroom helps students process and deepen knowledge. Students also develop important real-world skills like problem-solving, communication, teamwork, and leadership.

When you choose the right tools, incorporating technology can further enhance student collaboration and learning outcomes. Here are seven of the best student-collaboration apps, tools, and resources for you to try this school year.

  1. Google Apps for Education

With Google Docs, students can share and collaborate on documents. Color-coded icons show who is typing or editing what in real time.

Google Hangouts facilitates small group discussions, and it’s compatible with any device. Students can also create presentations together with Google Slides or collaboratively build diagrams using Google Drawings.

  1. Debate Graph

Students can participate in group debates or build collaborative brainstorms on any complex topic. Subject maps and spider graphs can be saved and presented to the class or scored by the teacher.

  1. TalkBoard

According to Forbes, it’s an “indispensable tool for illustrating collaborative ideas on the fly.” Students can visually express and build on ideas using iPads.

This app can be particularly excellent for language learners, autistic students, and visual learners.

  1. Padlet

Essentially a virtual bulletin board, Padlet is perfect for collaborative discussions. Teachers or students start by posing an open-ended question. Students respond with words, images, audio, or video. All responses appear on the original “wall” in real time, and students can comment on one another’s posts.

  1. Twiddla

Twiddla calls itself a “meeting platform” where students can collaboratively mark-up graphics, photos, webpages, and uploaded documents. Students may opt to brainstorm on a white canvas or create mind maps as well.

  1. TodaysMeet

This very easy-to-use backchannel tool allows teachers to create a chatroom for the class. Students can ask questions, respond to questions, have collaborative discussions, or provide feedback on your lesson. The site also has a polling feature.

  1. Wikispaces Classroom

WikiSpaces Classroom gives you and your students a safe, private network for having discussions, collaboratively editing pages, and completing group projects. There are pre-built templates for a variety of projects, but students can also work from a blank slate.

You can track all student progress in real time and immediately communicate feedback to your students, whether they’re at home or in your classroom.

These apps, tools, and resources can all be quickly and easily implemented to enhance communication and collaboration in your classroom.

The post 7 Must Have Student-Collaboration Apps, Tools, and Resources appeared first on The Tech Edvocate.

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Algeria to fully play a major role in the region

Algeria to fully play a major role in the region

It is bound to reforms of diversifying its economy and modernising its business environment.

A visit of Johannes Hahn, Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations in Alger, Algeria today and tomorrow is notably to reiterate the EU support to the country in differentiating its economy.  This is in a way to acknowledge that Algeria to fully play a major role in the region, it is bound to reform.
So as per the European Commission, ahead of the mission, Commissioner Hahn said: “The European Union will continue to support Algeria in its efforts to diversify its economy and modernise its business environment. The EU-Algeria Partnership Priorities adopted earlier this year put a strong emphasis on economic matters. It is now time to translate these priorities into concrete actions and reforms“.

Taking up the ideas made at my Conference at the European Parliament on “the Maghreb facing geostrategic challenges” and after some concern about Algeria breaking off the agreement with the European Union, Algerian officials were clear. These have reiterated that there is no question of that happening but it is rather negotiating for a win-win partnership.

Cooperation for shared prosperity

At different visits both in Algiers and in Brussels, the Algerian and European parties reaffirmed the common determination to enhance relations proclaimed ambitions. The will would be to “densify” this cooperation, according to the Algerian Minister of Foreign Affairs, for whom “assessment called for by the Algeria does not call into question the agreement, but try to fully use it in a more positive interpretation sense of its provisions allowing a re-balancing of the cooperation links.

As per the European Union side’s ‘constructive’ discussions, I received an official invitation from the EU’s Ambassador of the European Union to Algiers to join in as an independent international expert for a working dinner on the occasion of the 3 day visit (July 19 through 21, 2017) of the European Commissioner in charge of the European neighbourhood policy and the enlargement negotiations, Johannes HAHN.

Thankful but sadly unable to honour this invitation for personal reasons, I nonetheless received from friends in Brussels a copy of the EU proposals to the Algerian Government. The terms of the Association Agreement stipulate that “the will to intensify political dialogue of high level, in a context of revitalisation of relations of cooperation, through the joint assessment of the implementation of the association agreement and the definition of the priorities of the partnership, adopted during last March 13 Association Council on the revised European neighbourhood policy.”

My view has as always been that Algeria and the EU have for objective to consider ways and means of implementing all conclusions of the joint assessment of the agreement including diversification of the Algerian economy and promotion of exports of nonhydrocarbon and productive investments.

According to the EU side, promising bilateral relationship in the field of energy, in business and trade activity, has an unexplored, even if potentially encumbered by red tape and persistent political decisions. However, the situation in the country remains dependent on the evolution of the oil markets and oil exports related revenues, recalling that energy cooperation, based on a specific Protocol, would be at the center of the cooperation with the EU.

It is as such, that the Council of Ministers as of October 6, 2015 considered necessary to reassess both economic and commercial aspects of the Association Agreement with the EU that have not achieved the expected objectives of the European investment in Algeria.

While article 54 of the Agreement for the promotion and protection of investments stipulates that cooperation is the creation of a favourable climate to investment flows and is realized through the establishment of harmonized and simplified procedures of the mechanisms of co-investment (especially between small and medium-sized enterprises) as well as devices for identification and information on investment opportunities favourable to investment flows and establishing a legal framework promoting investment, its protection, avoid double taxation and promote technical assistance actions of promotion and guarantee of domestic and foreign investment.

Algéria with Europe Trade 

The official 2016 exports balance sheet show a decline to $28.88 billion in 2016 against $34,66 billion in 2015, or a fall of 16.7 percent. Non-oil, marginal exports fell to $2.063 billion in 2016 against $2.582 billion in 2015 (-20,1%); over 50% of these being made up of derivatives of hydrocarbons.

As far as imports are concerned, these also declined but at a lower rate to $46.72 billion in 2016 against $51.7 billion in 2015, down 9.62% giving a trade balance deficit of about $18 billion before adding all services and legal transfers of capital.

Trade recorded during the first quarter of 2017, $15.42 billion in total imports and $11.92 billion in exports, an increase of 36.94% compared to the same period in 2016.

From geographical distribution point of view, the members of the EU are the major trading partners of Algeria that imports for 49.21% of its products and exports 68.28% mainly hydrocarbons.

In 2016, according to the Algerian Customs, China in 2016 was the leading trading partner of Algeria, with a market share of close to 18%. France came second with a share of 10.15%, followed by Italy with 9.93%. Spain and Germany were respectively in the 4th and 5th position in this ranking.

For 2016, Algeria’s customers were Italy with a market share of 16.55% of the exports and  Spain coming second followed by the United States and France.

During the first four months of 2017, Italy was the main customer with a share of 18.01% followed by the 12.02% of Spain and France’s 10.89%.

China, which is the main supplier, has shipped 20.47 percent of imports, followed by France with 8.49% and Italy with 7.02%. If China is the big beneficiary of Algerian imports, the deficit in trade between the two countries is huge between 2007 and 2016 while official reviews were always headed towards Europe.

Deepen the reforms

In order for Algeria to negotiate, it implies some change in the prevailing bureaucratic tendencies of the Algerian State that are incongruous today in the 21st century.  It is no more the State’s role to invest but rather to play a role of regulator like reconciling economic efficiency with a deep social justice; the economic operators being driven by the logic of profit.

The concerns being certainly legitimate because tariff cuts produced a drop in the short-term depending on sources of between $1.5 and 2 billion a year as a result of the EU’s tariff relief.

The situation of Algeria as mono exporter does not help, so are the majority of the OPEC countries; these are members of the WTO. The great challenge for Algeria would definitely be to accelerate the overall reform so as to allow it pull some comparative advantages of its insertion in the internationally institutionalised division of labour.

To benefit from the positive effects of the agreement with Europe towards a possible WTO membership, there is need to first tidy up the Algerian economy but for that, there are obstacles to a fully comprehensive reform of all its segments.

Any operational analysis should connect the progress or the refusal to the reforms by analyzing strategies of the social presence of each tendency; the Government’s policy forces happen to be lying fluttered between two conflicting social forces. On the one hand, partisans of the logic of rentier as supported by proponents of import and on the other, those of the informal sphere that is unfortunately dominant and with a minority entrepreneurial logic.

This might explain how Algeria finds itself in this interminable transition, neither in competitive social market economy nor in an administered economy; progress of reforms being inversely pro portional to the oil price and the value of the Dollar and reforms being tentatively made with inconsistency when the oil price drops. This explains also that despite successive devaluation of the Dinar, to meet the reality of deficit budget and boosting inflation imported, 5 dinars in 1974 a Dollar to 120 Dinars a Dollar in 2017, it has been impossible to boost non-oil exports showing that blocking is systemic.

GDP growth rate is directly and indirectly at 80% through the building and infrastructure development sectors and so is the employment rate, all as pulled by public expenditure through the oil and gas exports revenues which gives wealth creation companies of public or private wealth (often in debt with respect to public banks) a negligible part. Infrastructure being only a means towards an end, the recent experience of Spain that bet on this segment must be carefully meditated by the Algerian authorities. So, in order to attract any investment, the Algerian Government should implement regulatory mechanisms to attract promising investors and avoid for as much as possible any changes in the legal frameworks and any bureaucratic administrative actions that are not only not transparent but source of demobilization and potentially scaring investors whether they are local or international.

Without chauvinism, Algeria has potential options for moving on and unlike some pessimistic forecasts predicting a worst-case scenario for year 2020, it, subject to good governance and a reorientation of its economic policy, has the ambition of its choice.

It can become a player in determining the stability of the Mediterranean region and Africa, conditioned by its economic and social development within regional spaces, analysis supported in my international interviews including Radio France International (RFI) of 27/02/2016 and by the American Herald Tribune of December 28, 2016 and Radio International Mediterranean Midi1 of January 14, 2017.

Successful structural reforms allowing Algerian recovery is possible, but for this, a reform of all structures must be intended to encourage value-added creation investment from the overhaul of all land and property estates, finance, customs, tax, administration and a renewed social welfare regulation systems. There is urgency to specific objectives and a new institutional organization in order to give greater coherence to the management.

In summary, Algeria for the United States of America and for Europe is politically a major player in the region’s stability whereas economically although it holds significant potential, it realistically has little export options outside its hydrocarbon resources to both Europe and Africa in the light of the embryonic state of the productive sector?

Let’s avoid rushing to conclusions by giving a total of $7 billion accumulated losses over several years and thus mislead the public opinion. Customs duties shortfalls as a result of the Association agreement with the EU (with the Dinar being devalued by 20% in 2017) were accounted to be $1.27 billion in 2015 and 1.09 billion in 2016.

Contradictory debates in association with all components of society, tolerating the different sensitivities and the need for social cohesion seem to be the only way to overcome the present multidimensional crisis, because the social adjustments could eventually be painful. The macroeconomic framework seeming to be relatively stabilized in Algeria could be fleeting without deep structural reforms, the decline in the price of hydrocarbons and the risk after the exhaustion of the Reserves Fund that of foreign exchange reserves between 2019 and 2020.

ademmebtoul@gmail.com

Meet Youssef Chraïbi, MOM at ENGIE

Meet Youssef Chraïbi, MOM at ENGIE

ENGIE is a global energy player and an expert operator in the three businesses of electricity, natural gas and energy services. The Group develops its businesses around a model based on responsible growth to take on the major challenges of energy’s transition to a low-carbon economy: access to sustainable energy, climate-change mitigation and adaptation, security of supply and the rational use of resources. ENGIE today invites us to Meet Youssef Chraïbi, MOM at ENGIE.  We would like to believe that Youssef is a very representative member of the MENA originated youth that are emerging in numbers these days.

Here is below extract of this interesting article and in case of its appreciation, let us wish this young man all the best in his present and forthcoming endeavours.

Meet Youssef Chraïbi, Market Operations Manager at ENGIE

An IT and technology enthusiast ever since he was a boy, Youssef Chraïbi has followed his passion through his studies and then in his varied professional experiences. He has proved himself to be highly versatile, taking on posts in a number of different divisions and departments, with responsibilities on both a national and international level. Currently he is meeting a new challenge, running the ENGIE Group start-up, NextFlex. Read about his career to date.

When you are open-minded, change is always an opportunity

Trained in electrical engineering, Youssef began his career in computing before becoming an energy contract specialist and then into a start-up intrapreneur. To put it another way, he’s multi-talented!

Youssef describes himself as a “greedy learner”. Insatiably inquisitive, he was interested in everything, especially if it was related to his main passion: energy. His appetite for knowledge took him to the National Institute for Applied Sciences in Lyon, and then briefly to Alstom. Youssef then took advantage of an academic exchange with the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden, to complete his studies, specializing in renewable energies. But to understand how his career then developed, you have to go back a few years.

A born analyst

By age 11, Youssef, already a confirmed geek, was developing his first app. “I designed a program to calculate the sale price of a slice of cake based on the cost of the ingredients. This allowed us to show enough profit to buy prizes for participants in games.” The ease with which Youssef could cope with software issues explains why he chose to join Gaz de France’s Major Infrastructures division once he had completed his doctorate. He took charge of the management of a portfolio of customer applications and coordinated a team of ten tech specialists. He found out all about the many facets of the energy industry, particularly the gas sector, through the prism of information technology. Among the fifteen or so customer applications for which he was responsible, he maintained the application monitoring the levels of LNG terminals which governs the movements of methane tankers. “It was a job I really liked, particularly because there was a very rich human component, with many different people involved.” After working in applications for two years, Youssef was given the chance to go below the surface to explore the lower depths. For a long time he had wanted to get up close and personal with servers and data centers. The Infrastructures and Production department gave him the chance. It was at a time when a new logistical organization was being implemented. Youssef was given a free hand to physically determine the servers needing to be deployed and the resources required to manage them. He specified the infrastructures that were indispensable for the operation of Group applications, not only for specialist operations but also for the software systems used for office applications, HR, payroll, etc. “It did take me away from energy as such, but as I knew the industry I could determine the critical points more easily.” He started out alone, but within twelve months he was heading a team of fifteen.

Return to energy

By 2010, Youssef had built up a solid reputation as a project manager in information systems, but he had a radical change of business and of entity. No more IT! He was now in charge of the Supply Management team for France, as part of the Energy Management business unit. “What I really love is change and learning a new business! It’s like opening a new book!” His role consisted in operational management of framework contracts for energy supply, and monitoring them on a day-to-day basis. And when Energy France became Energy Europe, Youssef was on the front line! Three entities merged and he took charge of a department spread over France and Belgium. There were more team-members; management took on an international dimension; the stakes were on a different scale. Youssef implemented a new organization and new systems.

New markets

Now part of NextFlex, Youssef is facing a new challenge. This in-house start-up is one of the first four projects in the incubation program launched by the ENGIE Group to explore new energy markets. The offer consists in promoting flexibility on the electricity market. “Unlike gas, which can be stored, the electricity market is always balanced. Production must precisely match consumption at a given moment. NextFlex supplies solutions, offering flexibility to heavy consumers.” Users such as manufacturers, hospitals and shopping centers, who are paid a fee in compensation, sign contracts undertaking to reduce part of their electricity consumption when necessary, generally for a period of several hours. NextFlex attaches a value to this flexibility in dealings with such players as RTE (the French power grid operator). Youssef and his two colleagues do everything. “We have to identify customers, perform tests, define tailored contractual agreements, run the system on a day-to-day basis, maintain relations with RTE and with our technology partners in the United Kingdom, and so on. I also handle customer service and support.” To develop this new business he is able to call upon Group resources, particularly those of ENGIE Ineo and ENGIE Cofely, which both operate throughout France.

Team-work

Youssef is very much a people person. “I used to manage a department of 40 people. It was my role to drive them always to do better, to ensure that each person could progress at his or her level.” His team-playing spirit owes a lot to playing volleyball. “In football and basketball, there’s room for individual brilliance, but in volleyball it’s all team-work.” In Grenoble, where he is now based, Youssef has discovered a new hobby: capoeira. His many professional and personal projects include developing NextFlex, of course, but also expressing himself through his photographs, having a rich family life and investing himself in education programs. “Education is the key to the development of a society.” He also teaches junior high students about energy through the ENGIE internal network, and he is working on an educational project with a school in Grenoble.

“I like the start-up mode very much. It encourages autonomy, accountability and a search for different modes of management.”

 

General Elections in the United Kingdom and the GCC

General Elections in the United Kingdom and the GCC

This article of Jameel Ahmad, Vice President of Corporate Development and Market Research at FXTM and BA (Hons) degree in Business Studies with Accountancy and Finance from the University of the West of England published on AMEinfo of May 31st, 2017  is pertinently about the General Elections in the United Kingdom and the GCC.  It was the UK Prime Minister who called for these elections for next Thursday, in fact three years earlier than scheduled.
The reasons were to obviously strengthen the hands of the eventual winner who will be deemed to negotiate the Brexit with the European Union.
These elections might however affect all countries, starting of course with those of the EU but also those of the GCC; object of this article of Jameel Ahmad. 

GD93WH London, UK. 13th July, 2016. Theresa May addressing the worlds press on her first day as prime minister in Downing Street. Credit: Eye Ubiquitous/Alamy Live News

Could the upcoming UK election represent a risk to GCC markets?

With the OPEC meeting now in the past, investor attention has shifted towards the United Kingdom and the upcoming General Election scheduled for 8 June. Although the market currently appears calm ahead of the event, this event it does represent a risk for emerging assets and this will include those markets in the UAE and GCC region.

With investors currently positioning in favour of Theresa May being declared victorious next week, there is a risk that investors are heavily under-pricing any other potential outcomes at present. The largest risks to emerging market assets are generally when potential outcomes are heavily underpriced, and recent history from the EU Referendum last June is a kind reminder of what can happen when investors are caught on the wrong side of the trade. If recent history does indeed repeat itself then investors are more likely than not going to divert into “risk-off” mode, where riskier assets like the stock markets and emerging assets suffer from low attraction and safe-haven assets like Gold and the Japanese Yen surge from buying demand.

Politics to continue influencing the Pound’s direction

After suffering its heaviest week of losses so far in 2017, the British Pound is attempting to consolidate around 1.28 against the US Dollar. I personally think that politics will continue to influence the direction of the British Pound and I believe that there is further momentum for the currency to fall with the UK General Election being a little over a week away. In general, the markets do not like uncertainty and this is the recurring theme for the UK at present with another election around the corner and ongoing Brexit uncertainty continuing to dominate news headlines.

My view is that even following the dip lower from the 2017 highs above 1.30 is that the financial markets are still underpricing the risk of an unexpected outcome to the election next week. Investors in general stacked their cards heavily in favour of Theresa May being declared the winner following the unexpected calling of a snap election, but opinion polls are currently showing that the race to win the election is going to be close. I can’t help but think that recent history could be repeating itself with the markets currently underpricing the risk of an outcome that could differ to what the markets expect, which is a Conservative victory on 8 June.

USD JPY – a game of politics vs economics

The British Pound is not alone in being underpinned to political risk, with politics vs. economics being the name of the game when it comes to trading the USDJPY. I believe that politics will continue to dictate the direction of this pair as we head into the second half of 2017, and I am actually favouring towards the Japanese Yen covering further ground against its counterparts on the back of safe-haven buying.

A lack of optimism around the likelihood that President Trump will be able to push forward with his legislative reforms will put the spotlight firmly on Washington, and I think that this will result in further pressure on the USD. Any further market uncertainty in the United States will eventually lead to investors being lured back into the safe-haven appeal of the Yen.

EUR USD – facing near-term selling pressure

The likelihood that the ECB will repeat its dovish rhetoric during its Central Bank meeting in June is encouraging traders to enter selling positions on the Eurodollar after the pair reached new 2017 milestone highs above 1.12 last week. Despite economic data around Europe continuing to improve confidence that the economy has turned a corner, the market is swaying towards the belief that the ECB will repeat in June that the economy still requires ECB stimulus and this could result in the Eurodollar slipping further towards 1.10.