Jeff Mason is a White House Correspondent for Reuters and the 2016-2017 president of the White House Correspondents’ Association. He was the lead Reuters correspondent for President Barack Obama's 2012 campaign and interviewed the president at the White House in 2015. Jeff has been based in Washington since 2008, when he covered the historic race between Obama, Hillary Clinton and John McCain. Jeff started his career in Frankfurt, Germany, where he covered the airline industry before moving to Brussels, Belgium, where he covered the European Union. He is a Colorado native, proud graduate of Northwestern University and former Fulbright scholar.
Twitter handle: @jeffmason1
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Saudi Arabia has hit on a cheap way to spruce up the odds for its big oil producer’s initial public offering: cut its taxes. The move should deliver a sizeable uplift on Aramco’s value as it prepares to sell around 5 percent of the state-owned company to outside investors in an IPO. But it need not be a big drain on Saudi’s finances.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Glencore Chief Executive Ivan Glasenberg’s next challenge will be keeping his acquisitive instincts under control. The mining and commodities giant has recovered from its near-death experience a year and half ago. Net debt has halved to $15.5 billion and buoyant prices mean the group is once again generating mountains of cash. Resisting the urge to spend it on buying more assets is the serial dealmaker’s biggest task.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - JPMorgan and Morgan Stanley have been handed the keys to the kingdom. The U.S. investment banks are poised to lead the underwriting of Aramco's $100 billion share offering. The prized mandate has the potential to propel both to the top of investment banking league tables and unlock a stream of future work as Saudi Arabia reforms its economy and sells off its large inventory of state assets. An IPO flop, however, could be fatal for the banks' local franchises.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Mining's traumatic downturn is still fresh in the memories of BHP Billiton and Anglo American, despite their improved performance in 2016. Rising commodities prices and aggressive cost-cutting helped both companies to boost earnings and cut debt. But another investment splurge or borrowing binge is unlikely. Financial prudence remains the priority.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Iraq could wrong-foot traders betting against its agreed OPEC cuts. The cartel's second-largest producer has little to gain either financially or politically by reneging on a deal to pump less oil. True, record volumes of crude from its main southern terminals last month tell a slightly different story. But higher oil prices would be better for Baghdad than higher volumes.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - For ageing monarchs in the Gulf, handing more power to a younger generation of princes makes sense. The task of diversifying their economies away from dependence on oil exports and implementing tricky social reforms requires an infusion of vigour and fresh ideas. Expect a new breed of millennial royalty and technocrats to emerge in 2017.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Saudi Arabia's oil producer, Aramco, is its crown jewel. And jewels ought not to be given away too freely. The company's initial public offering was meant to be the centerpiece of a new economic strategy designed to wean the country off its dependence on crude oil exports. But rising oil prices could make that financially less necessary, especially since Aramco is fraught with political sensitivity.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Russia lacks the motive and the money to repair the damage in Syria. The imminent collapse of rebel forces in Aleppo, the Middle Eastern state's largest city, has been hastened by the involvement on the government side of Russia and Iran. It would be a surprise if they stayed around to rebuild shattered infrastructure.
London - (Reuters Breakingviews) - Saudi Arabia has untapped resources beyond oil. Its women are very slowly wresting freedoms in a society dominated by men, religion and petrol. The kingdom can do as much for its economy by helping more of them enter the workforce as it would if it were able to immediately and sustainably boost the price of a barrel of crude by a couple of dollars.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Saudi Arabia has untapped resources beyond oil. Its women are very slowly wresting freedoms in a society dominated by men, religion and petrol. The kingdom can do as much for its economy by helping more of them enter the workforce as it would if it were able to immediately and sustainably boost the price of a barrel of crude by a couple of dollars.