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Thursday, 24 May 2018

MIDEAST STOCKS-Qatar market up on foreign ownership hopes, other markets flat | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Qatar market up on foreign ownership hopes, other markets flat | Reuters:

"Qatari stocks led regional gains on Thursday after the government announced it was moving ahead with a draft law to allow full foreign ownership of companies.

Qatar’s index rose 0.6 percent, despite lingering questions about how the plan differed from a similar draft law proposed in 2016. Non-Qatari investors would still be limited to 49 percent stakes in listed companies.

Gains were led by Qatar Islamic Bank, which rose 2.1 percent."



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Nasdaq Dubai's move to offer Saudi futures welcomed by market analysts | ZAWYA MENA Edition

Nasdaq Dubai's move to offer Saudi futures welcomed by market analysts | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"The announcement by Nasdaq Dubai on Monday that it will begin offering futures contracts on some of Saudi Arabia's biggest stocks has been welcomed by market participants, who have told Zawya that they expect trading in these to be more robust than the futures trades that have so far taken place with stocks in the United Arab Emirates.

Nasdaq Dubai announced on Monday that it "is preparing to launch equity futures on leading companies listed in Saudi Arabia" in the third quarter of 2018, but did not give an exact date.

It said in a press statement that futures contracts would be offered on "some of the Middle East’s largest businesses active in sectors including petrochemicals, real estate, banking and transport", but did not name the firms for whom futures contracts will be created."



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Russia and Saudi to discuss response to oil rally

Russia and Saudi to discuss response to oil rally:

"Russia and Saudi Arabia will discuss how to respond to the recent spike in global oil prices, Russia’s energy minister has said, adding that the two countries, which have brokered a global oil production deal, held a “common position”. Ahead of the US’s withdrawal from the Iranian nuclear deal, the Trump administration had held discussions with big producer countries, widely believed to have included Saudi Arabia, about stepping in to alleviate any market shortage and price spikes stemming from a drop in Iranian exports. “I think we have a common position here with our colleagues from Saudi Arabia, as before we have to look at the situation on the market, we have all the tools for responding and making decisions, so we just need to look, assess, exchange opinions - what is the current the situation, what is the forecast for three to six months,” Alexander Novak told reporters."



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UAE reboot raises concerns over ownership and tax | Arab News

UAE reboot raises concerns over ownership and tax | Arab News:

"At the iftar gathering held by the Dubai Media Office this week, all the conversation was about the big changes to the UAE’s visa and corporate structure announced a few days before, which were heralded as a “reboot” for the country’s economy and business environment.
It was on the mind of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, prime minister of the UAE and ruler of Dubai, who has taken the lead in promoting the new measures. “Do you think it will work?” he asked when an iftar guest congratulated him on the initiatives.
It would have been a brave man or woman who answered “no,” but away from the formalities, there was much talk among expatriates and Emiratis about the pros and cons of the proposals, and the challenges they present for business in the UAE."



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The Story of Malaysia's 1MDB, the Scandal That Shook the World of Finance - Bloomberg

The Story of Malaysia's 1MDB, the Scandal That Shook the World of Finance - Bloomberg:

"Malaysia’s state-owned investment fund, 1MDB, was supposed to attract foreign investment. Instead, it has spurred criminal and regulatory investigations around the world that have cast an unflattering spotlight on financial deal-making, election spending and political patronage under former Prime Minister Najib Razak. A Malaysian parliamentary committee identified at least $4.2 billion in irregular transactions related to 1MDB. Najib was ousted from power in a May general election as the scandal contributed a voter backlash, ending his party’s 61 years of rule.

1. What is 1MDB?
It’s a government investment company -- full name, 1Malaysia Development Bhd. -- that took shape in 2009 under Najib, who went on to lead its advisory board. Its early initiatives included buying privately owned power plants and planning a new financial district in Kuala Lumpur. The fund proved better at borrowing -- it accumulated $12 billion in debt -- than at luring large-scale investment."



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Saudi billionaires' pockets hit after corruption crackdown - survey | ZAWYA MENA Edition

Saudi billionaires' pockets hit after corruption crackdown - survey | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"The Middle East's billionaire population continued to rise last year, but those residing in Saudi Arabia took a hit to their income as the government rounded up key business and political figures in a crackdown on alleged corruption, according to a new report. The annual Billionaire Census produced by research consultancy Wealth-X found that the number of billionaires in the Middle East and North Africa grew to 189 (up 11.9 percent) in 2017, and that the wealth these individuals possess also grew by 2.1 percent to $474 billion. Both the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia were among the top 10 nations for billionaire populations last year (joint ninth, with 62 billionaires each), and Dubai was one of the world's top cities where billionaires reside (ranked 8th, above Mumbai but below Singapore). However, while the combined wealth of those in the UAE grew by 4.3 percent, Saudi billionaires' wealth declined by 4.4 percent."



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UPDATE 1-UAE's Mubadala to take stake in subsidiary of Russia's Gazprom | Reuters

UPDATE 1-UAE's Mubadala to take stake in subsidiary of Russia's Gazprom | Reuters:

"Abu Dhabi’s state-owned Mubadala Investment Company has acquired a 44 percent stake worth at least $271 million in an oil subsidiary of gas giant Gazprom, the Russian company said on Thursday. Middle East oil producers and Russia have forged closer ties since striking a deal to cut global crude output in a bid to remove a glut in supplies. The pact between OPEC, Russian and other producers has been implemented since January 2017. Gazprom said its board of directors had agreed to sell 44 percent of its subsidiary Gazprom Neft-Vostok to Mubadala Petroleum, which is owned by the Mubadala fund in the United Arab Emirates."



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UPDATE 1-UAE's Mubadala to take stake in subsidiary of Russia's Gazprom | Reuters

UPDATE 1-UAE's Mubadala to take stake in subsidiary of Russia's Gazprom | Reuters:

"Abu Dhabi’s state-owned Mubadala Investment Company has acquired a 44 percent stake worth at least $271 million in an oil subsidiary of gas giant Gazprom, the Russian company said on Thursday. Middle East oil producers and Russia have forged closer ties since striking a deal to cut global crude output in a bid to remove a glut in supplies. The pact between OPEC, Russian and other producers has been implemented since January 2017. Gazprom said its board of directors had agreed to sell 44 percent of its subsidiary Gazprom Neft-Vostok to Mubadala Petroleum, which is owned by the Mubadala fund in the United Arab Emirates."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf moves little early on, DXBE continues rebound in Dubai | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf moves little early on, DXBE continues rebound in Dubai | Reuters:

"Gulf stock markets moved little in early trade on Thursday but in Dubai amusement park operator DXB Entertainments continued a rebound from record lows in heavy trade. The stock has been on a downtrend for almost two years because of losses suffered by the company and worse-than-expected attendance numbers. But it rose 3.4 percent to 0.424 dirham on Thursday morning, bringing its gains over the last four days to 16.5 percent. The median target price of seven analysts covering the stock is 0.73 dirham, according to Thomson Reuters data. The strength of DXB Entertainments helped the Dubai stock index rise 0.2 percent but most of the rest of the market was sluggish. Dubai property developers surged early this week after the United Arab Emirates cabinet decided to grant residency visas of up to 10 years to investors and some professionals. But the stocks have since lost momentum because of a lack of details of the plan, and uncertainty over whether it will make much difference to demand for local property. In Abu Dhabi, the index climbed 0.3 percent as energy investment firm TAQA jumped 6.6 percent; it is up 136 percent year-to-date on the back of strong oil prices."



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The $100 a Barrel Oil Wager Comes Back to the Options Market - Bloomberg

The $100 a Barrel Oil Wager Comes Back to the Options Market - Bloomberg:

"Some options traders are betting on $100 oil again.

Whether it’s the specter of sanctions on Iran, Venezuela’s output plunge, or a momentum play on the back of the past year’s 46 percent surge in Brent, there are now the equivalent of about 93 million barrels wagering on the global benchmark hitting $100 at some point in the next 12 months."



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Qatari Lender Closes Gap on Abu Dhabi Rival in Mideast Shuffle - Bloomberg

Qatari Lender Closes Gap on Abu Dhabi Rival in Mideast Shuffle - Bloomberg:

"Qatar National Bank QPSC is no longer being punished for a boycott imposed on the country by some of its neighbors as this month’s MSCI Inc. weighting change draws passive inflows to the stock. A 36 percent rally spurred by the decision to raise the foreign ownership limit in March means QNB now trades at a similar valuation to First Abu Dhabi Bank PJSC for the first time in more than a year. FAB had become one of the shares of choice in the United Arab Emirates after a deal that created the country’s biggest lender last year. The estimated price-to-earnings ratio for the Emirati bank has slipped to 10.3, matching the level for QNB, the dominant stock in Qatar’s benchmark index."



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U.A.E. Foreign Ownership Law May Be More Limited Than You Think - Bloomberg

U.A.E. Foreign Ownership Law May Be More Limited Than You Think - Bloomberg:

"A landmark law that will allow foreign investors to own 100 percent of companies in the United Arab Emirates will be limited to specific industries deemed essential to the second-biggest Arab economy, a government official said on Wednesday.

Authorities are still weighing what industries are to be included in the law, and the decision will be based on factors such as the ability to create jobs and transfer technology, according to Abdulla Al Saleh, undersecretary for foreign trade & industry at the Economy Ministry.

Presently, foreigners can fully own a company if it’s located in a free zone. The changes, which also include offering some foreigners long-term residency permits, will take effect by the end of this year, the government said on Sunday."



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