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Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Saudi Aramco Sees Idle Oil Fields Through 2010 on Weak Demand

Saudi Aramco, the state-run oil monopoly, sees little chance of pumping crude from idle fields next year because a recovery in world demand has yet to begin, its chief executive officer said.

Saudi Arabia has idled about 4 million barrels a day, or about one third of its crude-oil production capacity, according to the oil ministry. The Dhahran-based company, the biggest exporter of unrefined crude oil, is spending $90 billion to develop new reserves and refineries over five years to 2012.

The world’s most influential oil producer is leading OPEC members cutting a record 14 percent of daily output, contributing to the 56 percent rally in crude prices since December. Global demand for oil is expected to rise by 1.27 million barrels a day, or 1.5 percent, next year, according to the International Energy Agency, not enough for Saudi Arabia to resume all of its idled fields.

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UAE stocks to move up after post-Ramadan correction

After recording an unexpected rally during the month of Ramadan, the UAE bourses – Dubai Financial Market (DFM) and Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX) – are expected to witness a correction before strengthening again on positive economic news.

An anticipated profit booking during the last week of the holy month did not occur, pleasantly surprising many analysts. The level of consumer spending during Eid usually prompts investors to cash out just before the festival.

"After Eid, there will be a correction. Finance and real estate stocks will drop, while energy and consumer staples shares will either surge or continue flat in range-bound trading. This is expected to continue until third-quarter results are posted," said Taimur Saadat, senior financial analyst at Arab Capital Markets Resource Centre.

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Proposed changes on foreign ownership may hit free zones

Rents in economic free zones may drop in response to proposed legislation that would relax foreign ownership requirements elsewhere in the country.

Free zones across the UAE have proved an effective tool in attracting foreign companies, which have been drawn by the promise of tax breaks and 100 per cent ownership of businesses they establish.

At the moment, foreign firms setting up outside these zones must have an Emirati as a sponsor and are limited to a maximum 49 per cent ownership of their businesses.

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Revitalised CityCenter is chasing 12,000 staff

Four months after the CityCenter project in Las Vegas was saved from bankruptcy by its shareholders, Dubai World and MGM Mirage, the hotel and leisure complex is embarking on a hiring spree for 12,000 staff, officials said yesterday.

The recruitment drive for jobs at ARIA Resort and Casino, Vdara Hotel and Crystals retail district would be the “single largest hiring effort in the nation”, the company said. The jobs range from bartenders and cooks to prop handlers, slot operators and manicurists.

“We’re proud to celebrate this significant milestone as we begin to extend job offers to 12,000 deserving individuals,” said Bobby Baldwin, the president and chief executive of CityCenter. “This is more than a collection of resorts; we see it as a beacon of hope for a future of renewed economic vitality in Las Vegas.”

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Investors give Dubai a boost

Unfolding efforts by Dubai to restructure its corporate holdings and manage an estimated US$85 billion (Dh312.2bn) in debt appear to be winning the confidence of investors, judging from prices for the emirate’s bonds.

Dubai Government bonds, which have been rising steadily since last month, continued to climb last week after news that the Government-owned conglomerate Dubai World had shifted assets and executives from the developer Nakheel to its investment arm, Istithmar World.

The moves sent yields on Dubai’s sovereign bonds to their lowest point this year and pushed the cost of insuring Dubai’s debt down to its lowest since this time last year.

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Al Ahli files $125 mln Saad fraud complaint

Al Ahli Bank of Kuwait, the country’s fourth biggest listed lender by market value, has filed a complaint against Saudi billionaire Maan Al Sanea and Saad Trading, Contracting and Financial Services Co. seeking $125 million in compensation for alleged breach of contract and fraud, according to documents seen by the news agency Zawya Dow Jones.

News of the Al Ahli Bank complaint comes just days after two bankers told Zawya Dow Jones that al Sanea has reached an agreement with local banks to settle about 9.7 billion Saudi riyals ($2.59 billion) in outstanding loans.

Al Ahli Bank, in a New York filing dated Sept. 15, claims Saad broke conditions of a banking facilities agreement by “concealing numerous facts and circumstances concerning their financial situation, including the simultaneous borrowing of hundreds of millions, if not billions of dollars from numerous other banks”.

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Kuwait plans $6 bln Vietnam oil venture

Kuwait affirmed its plans to complete a $6 billion joint venture refinery in Vietnam, Kuwait news agency KUNA said on Monday.

In a visit to Vietnam, Kuwait Oil Minister Sheikh Ahmad al-Abdullah al-Sabah and the Chief Executive of Vietnamese oil monopoly Petrovietnam Dinh La Thang "agreed to reinforce their cooperation toward success of the planned refinery", KUNA said.

The Nghi Son project is a 200,000 barrel per day refinery and a joint venture with Japanese refiners Idemitsu Kosan Co and Mitsui, Petrovietnam and Kuwait Petroleum International.