All Is Fair In Love And War! 02 September 2022
The 2,593 real estate and properties transactions totalled US$ 2.02 billion during the week ending 02 September 2022. The sum of transactions was 320 plots, sold for US$ 477 million, and 1,720 apartments and villas, selling for US$ 967 million. The top three transactions were for land in Saih Shuaib 3, sold for US$ 46 million, one for US$ 31 million in Island 2 and the third in Saih Shuaib 4 for US$ 21 million. Al Hebiah Fifth recorded the most transactions, with 107 sales transactions worth US$ 898 million, followed by Palm Jumeirah with 60 sales transactions worth US$ 53 million, and Nad Al Shiba First, with 41 sales transactions, worth US$ 56 million. The top three transfers for apartments and villas were all apartments, one sold for US$ 211 million in Marsa Dubai, another for US$ 100 million in Business Bay, and the third sold for US$ 83 million in Burj Khalifa. The sum of the amount of mortgaged properties for the week was US$ 338 million, with the highest being for an apartment in Business Bay mortgaged for US$ 54 million. 111 properties were granted between first-degree relatives worth US$ 257 million.
Latest figures from Property Finder report that the most popular areas for residences are Dubai Marina, Downtown Dubai and Business Bay, with the top searched areas being Palm Jumeirah, Jumeirah Village Circle, and Jumeirah Lake Towers. The first three locations noted above have also witnessed the biggest increase in rentals in Q2. Meanwhile, Asteco has indicated that the biggest rental increases among all the mid to high-end properties in Q2 were Dubai Marina, Downtown and Business Bay – 23%, 24% and 21%, respectively. The following is a list of rents in the three most popular areas for apartments
|US$ k||Studio||1 B/R||3 B/R|
|Dubai Marina||10.9 – 16.3||12.3 – 27.2||28.6 – 62.3|
|Downtown||12.9 -17.7||19.1 – 27.2||42.2 – 81.7|
|Business Bay||11.6 – 15.0||13.6 – 21.8||27.2 – 46.3|
In relation to villas/townhouses, Property Finder noted that Dubai Hills Estate, Palm Jumeirah, Arabian Ranches, Damac Hills (Akoya by Damac), Mohamed bin Rashid City and Dubai Land were the most popular areas. The three areas that recorded the highest increase in rents were Dubai Hills Estate, Palm Jumeirah and Arabian Ranches – up by 42%, 41% and 30% respectively, with further details below:
|US$ k||3 B/R||5 B/R|
|Dubai Hills||45.0 – 81.7||54.5 – 122.6|
|Palm Jumeirah||81.7 – 136.3||149.9 – 258.9|
|Arabian Ranches||40.8 – 76.3||84.5 – 109.0|
There is no doubt that the rental market continues to be robust, driven by the demand for residential leases which represented 73.0% of July total rental leases, equating to 42.7k, and 5.7% higher on the year; the ratio between new and renewed leases was 56:44.
One of India’s richest industrialists, with a reported family fortune of US$ 99.3 billion, is reported to have acquired a property on Jumeirah Palm. Media reports that Mukesh Ambani, whose family base is the twenty-seven-storeyed Antilla in south Mumbai, is the buyer of an US$ 80 million beachside villa. If reports are true, the property had been bought for Anant, Ambani’s youngest son, and one of three heirs to his fortune.
DMCC’s new flagship building, Uptown Dubai, has reported that all its Grade A office space, encompassing 495k sq ft, and twenty-two floors, has been fully pre-leased, ahead of the tower’s construction completion later this year. Anchor tenants include Hisense, HIKVision and the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) and will join DMCC which will move its headquarters from nearby Al Mas Tower. Following the completion of Uptown Tower, it is expected that work on the next two commercial towers will soon start to become part of Uptown Dubai District; this location will eventually boast almost six million sq ft of Grade A commercial and residential space, a substantial number of retail and F&B outlets, approximately 2k residences, a unique central entertainment plaza, and a number of luxury hotels.
It is reported that Emirates will announce a codeshare agreement with United on 14 September at a joint event in Washington. September will also see the launch of Emirates’ latest brand ambassador, Gerry the Goose, who will extol the virtues of the benefits and services of the world’s largest international airline to choose to ‘Fly Better’. On Monday, Emirates airline announced the suspension of flights to and from the Iraqi cities of Baghdad and Basra following heavy fighting in Baghdad, in which twenty people have died, after Shi’ite cleric Moqtada Al Sadr said he would quit politics. The airline also announced that, in summer, it had carried more than ten million passengers on nearly 35k flights to 130 destinations.
Kerala Pravasi Association has asked the Delhi High Court to hear a writ petition challenging the exorbitant prices of air tickets on flights operating between Gulf countries and India. The Delhi-based political group seeks urgent interim relief concerning tariffs established by the airline or the scrapping of Rule 135(1) of the Aircraft Rules, 1937. This states that “every air transport undertaking operating by sub-rules (I) and (2) of rule 134 shall establish a tariff, having regard to all relevant factors, including the cost of operation, characteristics of service, reasonable profit and the generally prevailing tariff.” The petition to the Court noted that airlines have been charging unreasonable, excessive, and prohibitive airfares for travel from the Gulf region countries to Kerala and the rest of India. There are signs that air ticket and hotel bookings could well double next month, to US$ 545, whereas in mid-September they would be selling at US$ 272.
DXB LIVE posted that it had seen its business rise by more than 10% on comparative pre-Covid returns in H1. Activities and services relating to events organised at the DWTC resulted in record high returns and an increase in international, regional and local visitors. Involving over 450 projects of which there were 260 events and 43 exhibitions. They included, inter alia, Gulf Food, Arab Health, Med Lab, Dubai International Boat Show, Dubai Jewellery Show, and Intersec, plus six global conferences. Other events included thirty-six weddings, five graduation ceremonies and a gamut of festivals, sporting events, exhibitions and fashion shows.
After several months of rising prices last month, the UAE Fuel Price Committee reduced retail petrol prices across the board by over 13%+. Despite oil prices continuing to hover around the US$ 100 level, prices have again been lowered for September.
- Super 98: US$ 0.929 – down by 12.3% on the month and up 28.7% YTD from US$ 0.722
- Special 95: US$ 0.899 – down 15.8% on the month and up 30.5% YTD from US$ 0.689
- Diesel: US$ 1.054– down 6.6% on the month and up 51.2% YTD from US$ 0.697
- E-plus 91: US$ 0.877 – down by 16.2% on the month
Last year, Jebel Ali Free Zone generated over US$ 123.9 billion in trade, up 18.8%, year-on-year, along with an 18.6% growth in the number of new companies to over 9k. Of the new companies, sector-wise, the highest percentages were in retail/general trading – 25%, electronics/electric – 10%, and vehicle/transport – 9%. Trade-wise, there were marked improvements in electrical and machinery, followed by construction materials, consumer electronics, and auto parts and spares. 2021 also saw the launch of Yiwu Market – the first smart free-zone market in the ME, catering to retail and wholesale industries and revolutionising trade in the region by providing advanced end-to-end solutions.
For the June quarter, the Central Bank noted that the number of bank employees had increased by 2.51% to 34.3k; the split between international and national banks was 6.8k:27.5k. The number of licensed commercial banks reached sixty, comprising thirty-seven international, twenty-three national and two digital banks. Of the 582 bank branches in the country, 508 were attached to national and the balance to international banks.
Using its environmentally friendly district cooling services, Empower has posted a 41.3% hike in the number of buildings, to 1.4k, , over the last five years to 2021, and 13.0% on the year. During the period, the world’s largest district cooling services provider increased its Dubai share to 80%, with new clients being the likes of Marsa Al Arab, One Za’abeel, The Residences Dorchester Collection, Uptown and Wasl1. Emirates Central Cooling Systems Corporation has come a long way from its modest 2004 beginning of only two buildings. A further split of its services sees residential, commercial, hospitality, healthcare, and the balance with shares of 64%, 15%, 14%, 3% and 4%.
This week, the current shareholders of Taleem Holdings approved the sale of part of the school operator’s shares, in a DFM IPO; creditors and shareholders have thirty days to raise any objections. The actual percentage of shares on offer is not yet known and the Dubai-based company also advised that the book building process will be “in accordance with the allotment policy set out in the prospectus, which shall be published, and the application to list all of the company’s shares on the Dubai Financial Market”. Taaleem joins utility companies, including Empower and Salik, that have announced plans to list their shares on the DFM. In April 2021, Dubai-listed Amanat, which specialises in investments across health and education sectors, sold its entire stake in Taaleem for US$ 95 million. The company has over 1.7k teachers and 27k students, across its portfolio of twenty-six schools.
The DFM opened on Monday, 29 August, 146 points (4.4%) higher on the previous four weeks and shed 69 points (2.0%), on Friday 02 September, to 3,394. Emaar Properties, US$ 0.19 higher the previous three weeks, was up US$ 0.02 to close the week on US$ 1.68. Dewa, Emirates NBD, DIB and DFM started the previous week on US$ 0.71 US$ 3.74, US$ 1.62 and US$ 0.50 and closed on US$ 0.70, US$ 3.53, US$ 1.58 and US$ 0.47. On 02 September, trading was at 71 million shares, with a value of US$ 54 million, compared to 138 million shares, with a value of US$ 100 million, on 26 August 2022.
For the month of August, the bourse had opened on 3,338 and, having closed the month on 3,443 was 105 points (3.1%) higher. Emaar traded US$ 0.21 higher from its 01 August 2022 opening figure of US$ 1.50, to close the month at US$ 1.71. Four other bellwether stocks, Dewa, Emirates NBD, DIB and DFM started the month on US$ 0.69, US$ 3.76, US$ 1.60 and US$ 0.45 and closed on 31 August on US$ 0.70, US$ 3.64, US$ 1.60 and US$ 0.47 respectively. The bourse had opened the year on 3,196 and, having closed August on 3,338, was 142 points (4.4%) higher, YTD. Emaar traded US$ 0.38 higher from its 01 January 2022 opening figure of US$ 1.33, to close August at US$ 1.71. Four other bellwether stocks, Dewa, Emirates NBD, DIB and DFM started the year on US$ 0.00, US$ 3.69, US$ 1.47 and US$ 0.72 and closed on 31 August on US$ 0.70, US$ 3.64, US$ 1.60 and US$ 0.47 respectively.
By Friday 02 September 2022, Brent, US$ 5.04 (5.3%) higher the previous week, shed that gain and more, losing US$ 7.36 (7.3%) to close on US$ 93.44. Gold, US$ 59 (3.2%) lower the previous week, shed a further US$ 28 (1.6%), to close Friday 02 September, on US$ 1,723.
Brent started the year on US$ 77.68 and gained US$ 17.86 (23.0%), to close 31 August on US$ 95.54. Meanwhile, the yellow metal opened January trading at US$ 1,831 and has shed US$ 115 (6.3%) during 2022, to close on US$ 1,716. For the month, Brent opened at US$ 110.01 and closed on 31 August, lower at US$ 95.54 (13.2%). Meanwhile, gold opened August on US$ 1,773 and shed US$ 57 (3.2%) to close at US$ 1,716 on 31 August.
It is reported that Credit Suisse is planning a 10% redundancy, as part of a cost cutting exercise, as it takes drastic steps to recover from a string of scandals, as well as a change in tack. Switzerland’s second-biggest bank is restructuring to curtail risk-taking in investment banking and bulking up wealth management. Last month, the Zurich-based financial institution appointed Ulrich Koerner, a restructuring expert, to succeed Thomas Gottstein, as chief executive. He has been given the task of paring back investment banking and cutting more than US$ 1 billion in costs, to help the bank recover from a string of setbacks and scandals; these included a US$ 5.5 billion loss on the default of Archegos Capital Management, the closure of US$ 10 billion worth of supply chain finance funds linked to collapsed UK financier Greensill, the June Swiss conviction for failing to prevent money laundering by a Bulgarian cocaine trafficking gang, and a Q2 U$ 1.62 billion loss. The bank has dismissed speculation that it could be bought or broken up.
To help its permanent staff, known as partners, as well as its temporary and agency workers, John Lewis and Waitrose are offering staff free food from October to January. This will be a welcome move for the staff when latest reports show that soaring food costs have pushed UK inflation to 10.1% and rising at its quickest pace in over forty years. The ONS noted that food and non-alcoholic drinks were the largest contributor to rising prices in July, followed by the price of bread, cereals, milk, cheese and eggs rising the fastest, with the cost of vegetables, meat and chocolate also higher. The retailer is to recruit 10k for the upcoming festive season, as from this month, comprising 4k for both Waitrose and its supply chain and 2k for John Lewis.
Over 40k BT and Openreach staff staged fresh strike action and started a two-day strike on Tuesday, as part of an ongoing pay dispute; this comes at the same time that 115k CWU members walked out on Wednesday, following similar action a week earlier. The union confirmed that members were striking against the offered US$ 1,755 (£1,500) pay rise, offered by BT Group, equating to an average 5% pay hike and to 8% for the lower paid. There is no doubt that there will be more strikes in the coming weeks, with the worry that they will become more damaging, with Unite and Unison having submitted motions ahead of the Trade Union Congress next month which call for future walkouts to be synchronised.
More strikes on a more regular basis are occurring in the UK, with the latest being Aslef announcing that train drivers, at twelve rail companies, will strike again, as part of an ongoing dispute over pay. The walkout, the biggest strike so far, will start on 15 September, following similar action on 30 July and 13 August. The union is asking that pay rises are in tandem with inflation, with the Rail Delivery Group, which represents train operators, previously indicating that it wants to give its workers a pay rise but added “to fund it unions must recognise that as an industry that has lost 20% of its revenue, we can either adapt or decline”.
Today, after Lufthansa pilots went on strike, it had to cancel eight hundred flights, impacting 130k passengers. After wage talks collapsed, the pilots’ union, which was asking for a 5.5% hike in pay, called on its 5k pilots to stage a 24-hour walkout – the German carrier (along with other national airlines), has had to cancel thousands of flights during the summer because of strikes and staff shortages. Lufthansa noted that the union’s demand would raise staff costs by 40%, (US$ 900 million), having offered US$ 901 more in basic pay per month in two stages over an eighteen-month period, equating to an 18% higher pay for entry-level jobs and 5% more for senior positions.
Reliance Industries have announced that it plans to roll out a US$ 25.0 billion scheme to launch 5G mobile internet services in India by the end of October. Initially, it will target the major cities such as Delhi and Mumbai, but the high-speed network will be expanded throughout India by the end of 2023. Reliance chairman, multi-billionaire, Mukesh Ambani, noted that on completion, the network would be the largest in the world, and also confirmed that his company would be working with Google to develop a budget 5G smartphone; currently, the cheapest instrument retails at US$ 150. The service will be run by a subsidiary, Jio, the country’s largest mobile carrier, which last month won a US$ 19.0 billion government auction for airwaves, including 5G, despite strong opposition from the likes of Vodafone, Idea, Bharti Airtel and a fourth new entrant, Adani Data Networks. 5G is an important cog in the government’s strategy to turn India into a US$ 1 trillion economy and it is readily apparent that Mukesh Ambani wants to be the leading player in the sector. However, it has some way to go to catch China which has the highest global 5G penetration, at 84%.
This entrée into 5G also plays into Reliance’s bid to dominate the e-commerce space and this will greatly benefit from an alliance with technology giant Meta, (previously known as Facebook) which already has five hundred million users out of India’s 1.4 billion population. Reliance Retail is already the country’s fastest growing and most profitable retail business, with over 12k stores across the country, and it has the ability to go head-to-head with major online entitles such as Amazon and Walmart-owned Flipkart.
This week witnessed the death of Mikhail Gorbachev – the last Soviet leader – who became president in 1985, before the Soviet Union collapsed by 1991. During his six years in office, he introduced reforms, but was unable to prevent the slow collapse of the union – and many Russians have blamed him for the years of turmoil that ensued. At the time, the Soviet Union had been struggling to keep pace with its arch-rival, the US, and Gorbachev introduced his policy of perestroika that sought to introduce some market-like reforms to the state-run system. On the international stage, he negotiated with Ronald Reagan on arms control deals with the US, signing the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty in 1987. Furthermore, he refused to intervene when eastern European nations revolted against their Communist rulers and he also ended the decade-long bloody Soviet war in Afghanistan. He also introduced glasnost, or openness, that allowed the common people to criticise the government in a way which had been previously unthinkable. Henry Kissinger eulogised Gorbachev, commenting that he would be “remembered in history as a man who started historic transformations that were to the benefit of mankind and to the Russian people”.
It seems that Sri Lanka has finally reached a preliminary agreement with the IMF for a four-year US$ 2.9 billion loan, noting that “the objectives of Sri Lanka’s new Fund-supported programme are to restore macroeconomic stability and debt sustainability.” The agreement is subject to the crisis-hit island following through with previously agreed measures. Sri Lanka has to restructure nearly US$ 30 billion of debt, US$ 19 billion of which is with international banks, as Japan has offered to lead talks with the other main creditors, including India and China.
Lebanon suffered their 25th consecutive month of triple-digit inflation, with the July inflation figure 168% higher than a year earlier, with the index rising 7.4% on the year. By the end of the year, it is estimated that inflation will top 178% – up from 155% a year earlier. Even after four months since parliamentary elections, and political deadlock, a new Cabinet has yet to be formed, whilst the country’s economy tanks. Inflation continues unabated, whilst the Lebanese pound rate fluctuates wildly on the parallel market. In July, the cost of utilities increased six time in the month, transport costs four and half times, health care quadrupled and food/beverage three times. Last year, its public debt of over US$ 100 billion, equated to 21.2% of GDP, which fell to US$ 21.8 billion, (in 2019, it stood at US$ 52.0 billion).
This week, the yen tanked to its lowest level since 1998, trading at 139.68 before nudging to 140.03, above the key psychological level of 140, by the end of the week. The government faces a conundrum – if they were to intervene to prop up the ailing currency, there is the high risk of failure which would send the yen into a spin. With low rates continuing, (its policy rate at minus 0.10% and ten-year government bond yield target at 0.00%), and no early signs of increases in the near time, the environment is ripe for the yen to keep tumbling.
On Monday, the Indian rupee dipped to an all-time low of 80.15, to the dollar, but recovered later in the day to trade at 79.96, after a reported sale intervention by the Reserve Bank of India and driven by the Fed confirming that it would continue tightening its monetary policy until taming inflation to the its target of 2%. Last time,it sank below the 80 mark was on 20 July, but there would beno surprise to see the currency fall to as low as 82 by the end of the year, not helped by surging inflation, a global slowdown and a strengthening dollar. The question facing the market is whether the RBI will be bothered to intervene if the rupee falls much further.
In response to the impact of Covid-19, Scott Morrison decided to extend his prime ministership by appointing himself to several other ministries, including health, resources, finance, treasury and home affairs. The only trouble, with this move, was that the former Australian prime minister forgot to tell other ministers and kept the unheard-of power grab a secret. It does seem that this unprecedented and bizarre action by ScoMo was done without the knowledge of the ministers involved. He has refused to step down, rebuffing calls from within his own party, admitting, “I understand the offence that some of my colleagues particularly have felt about this. I understand that and I have apologised to them”.
In August, 315k new jobs were created in the US, as the jobless rate dipped 0.2% to 3.5% on the month; the number was 185k fewer than a month earlier – another indicator that the US economy continues to head south. The Fed Chairman, Jerome Powell, has warned that rising rates are a necessity to prevent inflation, at forty-year highs, from becoming a permanent aspect of the US economy. The knock-on effect is that higher borrowing costs impacts on spending and will invariably slow economic activity. In most of the rest of the world, a technical recession is when there are two successive quarters of contraction, but the US is an outlier in this regard and uses different measuring tools so that it is not yet in recession despite two periods of negative growth.
Last week ended badly for the global bourses, with the likes of the Dow Jones index falling 3% to 32,283, the S&P 500 down 3.4% to 4,058, the Nasdaq Composite dropping 3.9% to 12,142, Australia’s ASX shedding 4.6% and pan-European STOXX 600 index shedding 1.7%. The main drive for last Friday’s downturn was the Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell reiterating a hawkish tone to battling inflation and indicating that the Fed would raise rates as high as necessary to limit growth and tackle inflation. Since the Fed will inevitably tighten money supply, for at least the next twelve months, it was a sure deal that an index of global stock markets would fall, while short-term US Treasury yields headed in the other direction. The other winner from the Fed’s strategy saw the greenback strengthen, whilst gold prices, in response to rising rate hikes, declined. Economic 101 teaches that tight monetary policy results in slower growth, a weaker job market and reduced consumer confidence for households and businesses.
By the end of August, sterling had lost 5% in value to the US dollar in one month, driven by concerns over the state of the UK economy and the almost inevitable recession on the horizon. Sterling ended the week at US$ 1.15 and there is no reason why it should not fall further. The aftermath of the Brexit vote was in October 2016, and this was the last time the pound fell so much against the dollar – Monday will see the announcement of Liz Truss, as the new prime minister, and it will be interesting to see what happens to sterling. The pound’s weakness is also a result of a strong dollar and the feeling that it is a safer bet.
August was also not a kind month for the pound against the euro, as investors ditched UK government bonds which recorded their worst month for decades. Investors were concerned that it was becoming riskier to hold such investments. In the month, the yields, on some of those bonds have jumped the most since 1994. Last month, it was reported that its manufacturing sector shrank for the first time since May 2020. A Resolution Foundation report estimates that typical household disposable incomes are on course to fall by 10%, or US$ 3,470, over the next fifteen months, with the country expected to see “the deepest living standards squeeze in a century”.
The week the euro dipped below parity to the greenback, the Institute of International Finance consider that the currency could continue its decline, having recently dropped more than 12%, driven by historically soaring inflation, now at a record high 9.1%. Eurostat estimates that energy posted the highest annual inflation rate at 38.3%, with food, alcohol and tobacco up 10.6%. You would not think that the ECB consider a falling euro a major worry, otherwise it would have lifted interest rates more expeditiously – in July, it increased interest rates by 50 basis points, to zero, for the first time in eleven years! More of the same from the ECB is expected next week, but the central bank is well behind the inflation curve – and to catch up, it may leave the euro hanging out to dry, with every chance it dropping to US$ 0.90 over the coming months. Either way, the bloc is heading for a recession by year end, as economic indicators head lower.
There was a tenth consecutive double digit annual rise, as UK house prices rose by 10%, despite pressure on buyers’ budgets; on the month, it dipped 1% to 10%. Over the past two years, Nationwide posted that average prices have jumped by US$ 57.8k to US$ 316.6k. Despite the slowdown, the market still has greater demand from buyers than homes for sale, but there are signs that the “price” tide could be turning on the back of less consumer spend because of surging inflation and rising mortgage rates. One factor that keeps first-time buyers still interested in acquiring their first property is that rent increases are comparatively higher.
Iraqi-born Nadhim Zahawi, one of the richest politicians in the House Commons, with an estimated net worth touching US$ 120 million, was appointed Chancellor of Exchequer replacing Rishi Sunak, on 05 July. Two days later, he had withdrawn his support for Johnson and publicly called on him to resign. Last month, he was reportedly absent from office on annual leave and this week it has become known that he is in the US on a taxpayer-funded jolly, for talks on how to tackle the spiralling cost of living. This comes at a time when UK households are being battered from soaring inflation, rocketing energy bills and rising interest rates. With the UK prime ministerial announcement due on Monday, there are three certainties – Liz Truss will become the new leader, Nadhim Zahawi will no longer be Chancellor, and Rishi Sunak will be left out in the cold.
Led by Belgium, there is increasing pressure on the EU to introduce a cap on the price of gas and its decoupling from the price of electricity. Just like the UK, EU nations have been struggling with huge energy price hikes since key gas supplier Russia invaded Ukraine in February, triggering sanctions. Last Friday, the annual contracts for electricity topped US$ 991 and US$ 1,125 per MW, in Germany and France – ten times higher from one year earlier. Russia, which supplied the EU with 40% of its gas last year, has in turn restricted supplies. Austria’s Chancellor Karl summed up the bloc’s feelings saying, “we have to stop this madness that is happening right now on energy markets,” and all seem to agree that they cannot allow Vladimir Putin dictate the European electricity price every day.
Arguing that repairs were needed, Russia has completely halted gas supplies to Europe, via its Nord Stream 1 pipeline, for the next three days from Wednesday, coming when state-owned Gazprom has already markedly reduced gas exports via the pipeline that was operating at 20% capacity, equating to thirty-four million cu mt. Supplies, through the 1.2k km pipeline, were cut to 40% in June and then halved again to 20% a month later. Thirteen EU countries, which have either completely stopped receiving Russian gas or are partially cut off from the supply, await tomorrow to see whether returns production to 20%. There were concerns that Putin could extend the outage in an attempt to drive up gas prices even higher, especially after the G7 agree an “unpriced” price cap on Russian supplies. Coincidentally, on Friday the oil company announced that the pipeline will remain closed because of a “fault”. Someone should advise French Energy Transition Minister, Agnes Pannier-Runacher, who has accused Russia of “using gas as a weapon of war” that All Is Fair In Love And War!