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Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Saudi Bishah chmn jailed for insider trading

The Chairman of Bishah Agricultural Development Co has been sentenced to three months in jail after he was found guilty of insider trading, the Saudi bourse watchdog said on Tuesday.

Market watchers said it was the first time stock market violations had led to a jail term.

The Capital Market Authority said in a statement that the Committee for the Resolution of Securities Disputes (CRSD) issued a final verdict against Najm-Eddine Ahmad Najm-Eddine Dhafer.

The watchdog said Dhafer conducted "insider trading in Bishah shares based on him being the chairman chairing the company's board". He was also fined and ordered to repay any profits made.END

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Polish shipyards sale to Qatari fund fizzles

Poland said on Tuesday it had failed to receive payment for two loss-making shipyards by a midnight Monday deadline, potentially scuppering their sale and costing the country's privatisation chief his post.

In July, Poland agreed to sell the Szczecin and Gdynia shipyards to an investor backed by Qatar's QInvest, to help end a long-running dispute with Brussels over state aid granted to the shipyards.

The investor later asked for a delay in payment of some 380 million zlotys ($129 million) until Aug. 17.

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Emirates airline denies price fixing Down Under

Emirates airline denied charges by Australian competition regulators Tuesday that it agreed with other airlines to fix prices on international air cargo.

The Dubai-based airline said in an emailed statement that it denies the allegations and plans to defend itself in a court hearing next month.

Emirates said it does not intend to make any further comments because of the ongoing legal proceedings.

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Bahrain sees new work visas plunge 40 pct

New work visas issued in Bahrain fell almost 40 percent in the second quarter, compared to the same period last year, the local Gulf Daily News reported on Monday, citing figures from the Labour Market Regulatory Authority (LMRA).

The newspaper said the LMRA issued 27,665 new visas during the quarter, down 37.4 percent on a year ago and 32.6 percent lower than the previous quarter.

The construction sector made up the largest percent of new visas at 31 percent, followed by wholesale and retail trade (22 percent) and manufacturing (18 percent).

Gulf Daily News said the number of work visa renewals jumped 11 percent to 29,334 in Q2, compared to the previous quarter.

The number of employers applying to terminate work visas dropped 5.5 percent to 18,225 in Q2, compared to the previous quarter.END

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Licence issues make Indian brokerages wary

Representatives of Indian brokerage companies in the UAE have become cautious about dealing with non-resident Indian (NRI) customers as they are not licensed to open internet trading accounts for the Indian stock market or sell Indian investment products.

This follows a police raid last week on the Muscat office of Sharekhan, an Indian brokerage firm that also operates in the UAE.

More than a dozen Indian brokerage companies and banks operate in the UAE under representative office or other licences that authorise them to market – rather than sell – Indian investment products to NRIs here.

UAE's current account surplus up on exports

A massive increase in oil exports boosted the UAE's current account surplus by nearly 13 per cent in 2008 after it plunged by nearly 45 per cent in 2007 because of high imports, official figures showed yesterday.

Despite a further increase in imports of goods and services, heavy expatriate transfers, payments for foreign oil partners and a sharp fall in investment income, the current account surplus widened to about Dh81.8 billion in 2008 from Dh72.1bn in 2007, the Ministry of Economy said in a new report.

The increase followed a sharp decline in the 2007 surplus from a record Dh132.3bn in 2006, when oil prices were relatively high and imports were low.

Rising price is a clear indication at last of progress for Dubai

The recovering price of Nakheel’s bonds is one of the clearest indications yet that Dubai is getting the upper hand on the financial crisis.

Nakheel’s debt long ago became a litmus test for Dubai’s ability to rescue its own companies. With property markets in decline, few believe Nakheel can get banks or investors to lend it the US$3.52 billion (Dh12.93bn) it needs to redeem bonds maturing four months from now. The money will have to come from Nakheel’s owner, the Government of Dubai.

Dubai has never promised it, but investors have long assumed that if Nakheel or any of Dubai Inc’s companies had trouble paying the $70bn-odd they owe, the Government would step in. And if Dubai cannot manage it, then the UAE with its vast oil revenues was standing by.

Investors bet on Nakheel payoff

Nakheel bonds rose to their highest price in more than a year this week as speculation increased that the Dubai Government-controlled developer will repay a US$3.52bn (Dh12.93bn) debt due in December.

Investors in Nakheel’s $3.52bn Islamic bond could profit handsomely if the company pays off the debt as scheduled, analysts say.

Repayment of the sukuk, which has emerged as one of Dubai’s biggest financial challenges, is becoming increasingly likely as time goes on.

Dubai stocks lead regional sell-off

Dubai shares suffered their largest one-day loss in seven weeks as a global equity sell-off and negative property news sent the trademark index almost 6 per cent per cent lower, ending a gradual recovery in prices since late June.

The Dubai Financial Market General Index ended down 5.8 per cent, while the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange General Index lost 2.4 per cent and the rest of the Gulf’s stock indexes finished the day lower.

“The market is getting its cues from the US and global markets,” said Hashem Montasser, the head of regional asset management at EFG-Hermes. “This region is very much sentiment-driven and that sentiment is set abroad. It is a reaction to what is happening in the US [and] Asia, and the oil weakness.”

Gulf exporters will need to make a clean break

Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest oil exporter, is burning close to 750,000 barrels per day (bpd) of its finest quality crude oil to make electricity for its own domestic market.

The image is arresting. Quite simply, Saudi Arabia is producing more of its most valuable export commodity than it can sell.

The kingdom’s crude output has been rising of late. It is still pumping less crude than a year ago, but not due to dwindling oil reserves or difficulties in maintaining output from ageing fields, as “peak oil” theorists had earlier predicted. In fact, the national petroleum company, Saudi Aramco, has just completed the biggest oil development programme in its history, which has had the effect of more than doubling Saudi spare production capacity to about 4 million bpd.

UAE stocks drop hard Aug 17 (Re-post)

So is the panic selling witnessed yesterday a setback on the way to June highs (for most stocks) and therefore a buying opportunity short-term and intermediate term? Or is it time to bail out?

The answers to the first questions: Maybe a setback and yes, a buying opportunity. Today or tomorrow may provide better deals for a good minimum gain of 5% for you gunslingers out there. We are in oversold territory already but oversold can last for some time. Make your trades shorter in time now, as UAE stocks are showing clear weekly swing high prices already. Selling pressure will decrease this week if the week’s highs are exceeded in the remaining sessions of the week.

The answer to the second question is NO, we have not reached Freak Out stage yet. Obviously there are some retracement levels that will have to hold, and feel free to ask for those of particular stocks.

Emirates sued over alleged price-fixing

Australia's competition regulator has started court action against Dubai airline Emirates over allegations of price-fixing in the air cargo industry.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) said on Tuesday that Emirates was the ninth airline it had sued as a result of its probe of allegations of price-fixing in the international air-freight business between 2002 and 2006.END

UAE's Mubadala denies Iran gas import talks

Abu Dhabi-based investment firm Mubadala Development Co denied Monday news reports it's in talks with the National Iranian Oil Co. over importing Iranian gas into the UAE.

"Neither Mubadala nor any of its subsidiaries is involved in discussions with the National Iranian Oil Company regarding the importation of gas to the UAE.," a Mubadala spokeswoman told the Zawya Dow Jones.

Semi-official Tehran-based Mehr News Agency had reported on Sunday that Mubadala Petroleum Services Co., a subsidiary of Mubadala Development Co., had bid to import Iranian gas.

The Mehr report said that both the NIOC and Mubadala have reached a preliminary agreement.

Iran has been in dispute with another UAE.-based company, Crescent Petroleum, over the supply of gas recently, culminating in Crescent's threatening to take the matter to international arbitration.END