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Monday, 21 December 2009

OPEC sec-gen: Consensus is not to change output

OPEC's secretary general said Monday there is consensus within the oil-producing bloc to maintain its production targets into 2010, indicating the group plans to hold output steady when it meets in the Angolan capital.

Analysts say Tuesday's talks in Angola will instead center on members' inability to stick to production limits.

Secretary General Abdalla Salem El-Badri of Libya said prices are "very comfortable" for now, reflecting a sentiment sounded by several of the group's oil ministers in recent weeks.

Russia and Islamic World conference opens in Al Kuwait

The fifth conference of the strategic vision group “Russia and Islamic World” opened in the Kuwaiti capital on Monday. It has been organised by the Russian Council of Muftis and the Kuwaiti ministry for the affairs of waqufs and Islam.

President Yunus-Bek Yevkurov of Ingushetia addressed the conference and read a message of Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, in which he stated that Russia, which has the status of an observer in the Organisation of Islamic Conference, “is determined to develop cooperation with the Islamic world.”

Yevkurov stressed that Russia had never identified Islam, which is a religion of peace, justice and tolerance, with extremism and terrorism. “Unfortunately, acts of terrorism continue to be staged in Ingushetia. I know it from my own experience. We should pay more attention to the younger generation, so that young people would not get under the influence of the forces, which engage in destructive work under the guise of Islam,” he said.

Dubai Shares Drop for Third Day as Banks Meet Dubai World

Dubai stocks dropped for a third day as bankers involved in Dubai World’s debt restructuring said the company wouldn’t be ready to offer lenders a “standstill” agreement on $22 billion in debt.

Emirates NBD PJSC, a Dubai-government controlled lender, tumbled the most in more than a week. Deyaar Development PJSC fell the most in four days. The DFM General Index lost 0.3 percent to 1,827.52 at the close. The index has slumped 13 percent since Dubai World’s debt restructuring announcement on Nov. 25. Abu Dhabi’s benchmark index lost 0.8 percent.

The terms of government support for the state-owned holding company were not agreed upon before today’s meeting, two bankers involved in the talks said before the gathering. The lack of that accord would lead to a delay in making the standstill request, they had said. Dubai World will continue working with creditors to reach a standstill agreement on its borrowing “in an orderly way,” it said in an e-mailed statement after markets closed. The company did not present a “standstill” offer to lenders, a company spokesman said after the end of trading.

Dubai World Didn’t Ask Banks for ‘Standstill,’ Spokesman Says

Dubai World, which is seeking to restructure about $22 billion of debt, did not present a “standstill” offer to lenders at a meeting in the emirate today, a company spokesman said.

The company and its advisers presented to bankers part of the state-owned holding company’s plan to restructure its borrowings, said the Dubai World spokesman who declined to be identified because of company policy.

Dubai World said it will continue working with creditors to reach a standstill agreement on its borrowing “in an orderly way.” The company in a statement said it received assurances from the Dubai government that it will receive “financial support to cover working capital and interest expenses to ensure the continuity of key projects” if a standstill is achieved.

Dubai World, one of the emirate’s three main state-owned business groups, announced Nov. 25 it would seek to freeze or delay repaying debt until at least May 30. The company said Dec. 1 it wants to alter terms on about $26 billion of debt, including of property unit Nakheel PJSC, which is building palm tree-shaped islands off the emirate’s coast. It repaid $4.1 billion on an Islamic bond from Nakheel last week after Dubai received a $10 billion loan from Abu Dhabi.

UPDATE 1-Agility says DynCorp ditches unit, mulling options | Reuters

UPDATE 1-Agility says DynCorp ditches unit, mulling options
| Reuters

Qatalum begins primary aluminium production

Qatalum’s first electrolysis cell started production of liquid aluminium metal, yesterday marking the start of primary aluminium production in Qatar, said the company in a statement.

Qatalum, the largest aluminium plant ever launched is a 50/50 joint venture between Qatar Petroleum (QP) and Hydro, which will produce 585,000 tonnes of primary aluminium when it reaches full production capacity.

The first of Qatalum’s 704 reduction cells started operation last morning, in line with the announced production schedule. Qatalum’s Chairman, Abdulla Salatt considers this milestone a historic beginning of aluminium production from Qatar, confirming Qatalum’s ability to deliver products on time, within budget and with an excellent environmental and safety standard.

Mansouri Says Further Federal Support for Dubai to Be ‘Studied’

United Arab Emirates Minister of Economy Sultan bin Saeed al-Mansouri said further federal government support for Dubai should be “studied” properly.

“Each issue has to be studied in a proper manner, evaluated and based on that an answer will be provided at the federal level or the local level,” al-Mansouri told reporters in Abu Dhabi today. “The way we see it, this is one economy it’s not separated from each other.”

Dubai World’s debt problems will not affect the growth forecast for the U.A.E. economy next year, he said.

Dubai Holding up to scrutiny

Debt difficulties at Dubai World have prompted investors to turn their attention to another of the emirate’s big conglomerates, Dubai Holding.

Best known for signature property developments such as Jumeirah Beach Residence and high-profile investments abroad such as its 2005 purchase of the tourist attraction Madame Tussauds, Dubai Holding is one of three principal vehicles for implementing the emirate’s development strategies.

Dubai’s success last week in raising an additional US$10 billion (Dh36.71bn) from Abu Dhabi to help service debts at the companies it controls appears to have done little to alleviate concerns that Dubai Holding might follow in Dubai World’s footsteps and seek a deal with creditors to ease its debt burden.

Banks leave standby funds untouched

Banks have not yet dipped into the emergency liquidity facility the Central Bank has set up to cushion the impact of Dubai World’s debt rescheduling on the country’s banking sector.

Analysts say the reluctance of lenders to draw on the special fund suggests that the banking system has not suffered from a significant withdrawal of deposits.

The regulator pledged its support for lenders in the UAE and offered emergency funds to avert any liquidity shortages last month after an announcement that Dubai World was seeking to delay debt repayments to bondholders and creditors as part of restructuring plans.

Dubai World May Not Present Standstill Offer Yet, Bankers Say

Dubai World, which is seeking to restructure about $22 billion of debt, may be unable to present a “standstill” offer to lenders today as the terms of government support for the state-owned holding company have yet to be agreed, two bankers involved in the talks said.

The complexity of Dubai World Group and its funding structure are to blame for the delay, one banker said, citing a Dec. 18 letter from the company’s Chief Restructuring Officer Aidan Birkett about the agenda for the meeting with creditors. The meeting is unlikely to be substantive and will focus on information sharing, another banker said. Both declined to be identified because the discussions are private. A spokesman for Dubai World would not to comment.

Dubai World, one of the emirate’s three main state-owned business groups, announced Nov. 25 it would seek to freeze or delay repaying debt until at least May 30. The company said Dec. 1 it wants to alter terms on about $26 billion of debt, including of property unit Nakheel PJSC, which is building palm tree-shaped islands off the emirate’s coast. It repaid $4.1 billion on an Islamic bond from Nakheel last week after Dubai received a $10 billion loan from Abu Dhabi.

Saudi Maaden, Alcoa in $10.8 bln aluminium deal

State-run Saudi Arabian MiningCo (Maaden) (1211.SE) and U.S. aluminium giant Alcoa (AA.N) agreed on Sunday to build a $10.8 billion aluminium complex in the world's top oil exporter, targeting the Middle East from 2013.

Under the deal, the companies form a joint venture to set up a 1.8 million tonne-per-year refinery, a 740,000 tonne-per-year smelter, a bauxite mine with an annual capacity of 4 million tonnes and a rolling mill with a capacity of up to 460,000 tonnes.

The firms have yet to raise the financing for the complex mainly planned to be built in Ras Azzour on the kingdom's Gulf Coast close to Maaden's phosphate fertiliser plants.

Qatar payment surpluses to remain strong on LNG

Qatar has generated a surplus in balance of payment (BoP) totalling QR49.5bn in 2008, QNB Capital said in its latest Qatar Economic Review.

Balance of payment is an account of all transactions between one country and the other countries. Transactions are measured in terms of receipts and payments. Exports and imports are just two components in balance of payments.

Qatar’s balance of payment surpluses are likely to remain strong in the coming years on the back of increased exports of liquefied natural gas, QNB Capital said.

Bank creditors to hold Dubai World talks

Representatives of more than 90 Dubai World bank creditors are expected in the emirate on Monday for a first face-to-face meeting between the company and its banks since it told them to prepare for the restructuring of the $22bn in debts needed to keep it out of the insolvency courts.

Creditors will meet a six-strong co-ordinating committee, including HSBC and RBS, to hear Dubai World sketch out plans for its restructuring, now troubled developer Nakheel’s $4.1bn obligation on December’s sukuk will be paid off thanks to a $10bn bail-out loan from Abu Dhabi.

To meet the government’s terms for further support on the remaining $5.9bn bail-out, Dubai World is expected to ask creditors to freeze debt repayments until May next year.