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Saturday, 14 March 2009

Opec expects demand for its oil to shrink

Opec should err on the side of further reducing its output, the oil cartel’s monthly oil market report hinted on Friday ahead of a meeting to decide whether to make further production cuts.

The report, compiled by analysts of Opec’s secretariat, said the world economy was in a “dreadful situation” and that financial and macroeconomic indicators in the first quarter continued to paint “a very gloomy outlook across the globe.”

Opec’s pessimistic view of the world’s need for its oil was published as ministers began arriving in Vienna for a meeting on Sunday.

Saudi funds step in to boost lending

Saudi Arabia will use state investment funds to extend credit to companies in an effort to make up for banks’ reluctance to lend and stimulate an economy hit by the collapse in oil prices.

According to Ibrahim al-Assaf, finance minister, the Public Investment Fund (PIF), a huge state investment vehicle that controls shares in some of the leading companies, is stepping up its level of lending, extending the maturing of loans available to companies and providing them with a five-year grace period.

While the PIF can lend only to companies in which it owns shares, the Industrial Development Fund and a government-owned credit savings bank are increasing their funding for small and medium-sized companies.

Staking a future on Dubai hedge funds

Haissam Arabi sounds excited these days. He hopes to receive a licence for a regional hedge fund company shortly. He plans to launch this year an open- ended fund with an absolute return strategy and feels that about $20-$30 is viable enough to get started in these difficult times.

It might appear to be a contrarian move, especially now.

The global financial crisis is still unravelling. Big and small hedge funds worldwide have been badly battered and witnessed large-scale redemptions, with investors taking a much more cautious approach to investments. Although the Eurekahedge Hedge Fund Index rose 0.2 per cent through January, it's still early days to be optimistic.

Emirates studies options to revise delivery schedule for superjumbos

Emirates, the biggest customer for the Airbus A380 superjumbo, is studying options for the delivery schedule that could be revised to reflect the changing traffic patterns across its network.

"Like all airlines, Emirates continues to assess all options for its fleet and route operations," an Emirates spokesperson said in response to queries by Gulf News.

The move comes a few days after Emirates, the largest Arab carrier, reduced its services to China due to falling load factors. This trend, if it continues, could force the region's fastest-growing airline to review its expansion plan.

The Daily Show Jon Stewart vs Jim Cramer (Click for video)

Wall St riveted by comedy clash
A showdown between a comedian who has become one of America’s most challenging news commentators and a news commentator known for his comedic antics has shone the brightest spotlight on the media’s market coverage since the financial crisis began.

On Thursday night, two cable television celebrities squared off as Jon Stewart, host of The Daily Show news parody programme on Viacom’s Comedy Central channel confronted Jim Cramer, the former hedge fund manager and star of CNBC’s Mad Money programme.

Following a week of digs at the GE-owned financial news channel, blaming it for boosterish coverage of Wall Street institutions before they collapsed, Mr Stewart played the role of a prosecutor as he castigated his guest in person as a “snake-oil salesman”.