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Sunday, 18 January 2009

Long term outlook and strategy still on course, says Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange

The long-term objectives of diversification, improving transparency and of leading the development of the capital markets in the GCC region remain in place for Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX) despite 2008 being a challenging year for financial markets across the globe said Tom Healy, ADX Chief Executive.

Announcing a round-up of trading and investment statistics, and achievements for 2008, Mr Healy said that last year was a mixed one for ADX, with performance for the first half of the year being exceptionally strong, but that in the second half all GCC exchanges succumbed to global events.

'The first six months of 2008 saw an unprecedented rise in the volume and value of trading on ADX, with volumes increasing by 93% compared to the same period in 2007', said Mr Healy. 'Also, the total value of equities trading for the whole of 2008 showed an increase of 32% compared to 2007, with Dhs232bn worth of shares changing hands compared to Dhs175bn the year before. Overall volumes for 2008 however dropped by 4% compared to 2007.'

Global GCC Weekly Market Report

GCC Markets’ Summary
Index
All six regional stock markets ended the week on a lower note, as profit taking pushed some GCC markets to end lower, while other markets could not reverse its bearish trend that started in 2008 on negative economic indicators. Global GCC Large Cap. 30 Index ended down by 7.07 percent. Reflecting the trend, Global GCC Investable-100 Index was also down by 7.57 percent.

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NBK Capital has funds to invest

NBK Capital finds itself in an unusual position in the present economic climate. It has money to invest.

The financier, which is the investment arm of the National Bank of Kuwait, raised US$156 million (Dh573m) in August for a fund aimed at regional mid-sized businesses, just weeks before the credit crunch hit.

“We were lucky, we raised the fund at an opportune time given the tightening of credit markets in the region,” said Amjad Ahmad, the chief executive of NBK Capital in Dubai.

Iran’s ex-PM seen as candidate

To underline his modest lifestyle Iran’s former prime minister Mir-Hossein Mousavi, who has emerged as a possible candidate for June’s presidential election on Friday, drove to a big gathering of senior supporters in the cheapest compact car in the market – a South Korean Pride.

While he did not speak and avoided eye contact to avoid questions Mr Mousavi’s rare presence at such a gathering of mainly reformists – including former president Mohammad Khatami – was considered by analysts as an indication that he was at least seriously considering campaigning for president.

A simple lifestyle was one of the main factors that helped populist president Mahmoud Ahmadi-Nejad win a landslide in 2005. Hardly any Iranian politician is seen as capable of challenging that simplicity in June other than Mr Mousavi, a premier from 1981 to 1989, who has a reputation for being honest, humble and a supporter of the masses.

S&P bullish on Mashreq's operations

Dubai: International credit rating agency Standard and Poors (S&P) has reaffirmed mashreq's A/A-1' rating citing its financial stability and credit worthiness.

The S&P report on UAE banks stated: "The rating affirmation and stable outlook on mashreq reflects the bank's relatively limited exposure to the real estate sector and stock market, its strong risk management framework and good financial profile."

Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair, CEO of mashreq, said: "mashreq is now one of the highest rated banks in the UAE and we are dedicated to maintaining our strong market position."

Dubai budget set to spur growth

In the past few months, observers have focused on the UAE, and Dubai in particular, to gauge the impact of the global financial crisis.

This attention is a result of the fact that the UAE has achieved in the past decade a unique development experiment. Dubai's economy has been diversified. Oil now contributes only 5 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP).

While some were very nervous while waiting to find out the effects of the global financial crisis, Dubai was tackling the repercussions of the crisis with great patience and wisdom.