Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Saudi Stocks Soak up Brexit ‘Shock’ | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Riyadh- Saudi Stock made it through the Sunday session digesting Brexit aftermath. Stock market indices closed down on a minor 72-points loss, after experiencing a previous misfortunate 300-point plunge.

All sectors of banking, petrochemicals, cement and communication embarked on erasing early-session losses, closing down on a notably low loss, amid a total of SRfive billion in outstanding notes.

Saudi Arabia’s stock market, the region’s biggest, ended 1.1 percent lower at 6478.60, losing only 72 points. The decline coincides with global and oil markets plummeting post Brexit.

In the session a few stocks reversed market flow–Real Estate Company (SRECO) closed down at $5.7 after the High Commission for the Development of Riyadh granted the company approval for a housing project comprising 17,000 residential units.

As for the communications, ‘Navigating the Road to 2020 – Opportunities and challenges for telecom operators in the Middle East’- a recent research published by Ernst & Young(EY)- revealed that 68 percent of telecommunications C-suite respondents cite customer experience management as their top strategic priority over the next three years.

“A better customer experience can help telcos remain relevant. Every telecommunications player in the region sees customer experience as a top-three agenda item. Improving levels of customer support and personalizing the customer experience are seen as the most important routes to improving customer relationships in the Middle East. While many operators are diversifying into new growth segments and overhauling their organizational structures, better customer relationships are seen as the steadiest route to thriving in the digital era,” Wasim Khan, Partner and Chief Operating Officer, EY, said.

Regional players are even more emphatic in their focus on cost efficiencies and smart services. Three in four regional respondents cite cost control compared with one in two participants globally, while another 38 percent consider developing new services a top three strategic priority and see smart home services as a leading driver of digital revenues, compared with a global rate of 17 percent.

“Greater levels of organizational agility are critical in a world where start-ups and web giants are reshaping demand scenarios. There is proportionately greater confidence in the revenue-generating potential of TV and cloud services too,” Tim Peters, MENA Telecom Advisory Services Leader, EY, said.

Although Middle East respondents are less likely to nominate network upgrades as a strategic priority compared to their global peer group, this does not mean that capex is leveling off. In fact, 63 percent of regional players see capex trending up in the next 12 months compared with 50 percent of respondents globally.

Additionally, 43percent of local operators see internal collaboration as a leading route towards operating model improvements, while one in four believe that talent attraction and retention is a strategic priority.

“While external factors are on top of the minds of executives in the Middle East, transformation within the organization is an area that operators are prioritizing. As boundaries blur between traditional industries, telcos’ ability to widen their talent pool and collaborate across business units may be as important to their long-term health as new forms of customer engagement and smart services. New talent will be a leading factor when improving their operating model, while shorter time-to-market and big data analytics are also viewed as key competencies going forward,” commented Peters.