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Thursday, 6 May 2010

Dubai Stocks Decline on Dubai World Debt Risk, Global Slump

Dubai shares fell to the lowest in a week on concern Dubai World will stop paying interest on loans starting this month, and as stocks slid globally as a deepening debt crisis in Europe’s threatens to slow an economic recovery. Dubai Islamic Bank PJSC, the United Arab Emirates’ largest Islamic lender, dropped the most in more than two weeks after it said first-quarter profit slumped 46 percent. Emaar Properties PJSC, the developer of the world’s tallest skyscraper, retreated for a third time this week. The DFM General Index lost 0.7 percent to 1,723.28 as of 12:38 p.m. in Dubai, bringing the decline for the week to 0.9 percent. The Bloomberg GCC 200 Index of 200 companies in the gulf region slipped 0.2 percent to the lowest in two weeks.

“The focus here remains on the Dubai World process and possible implications for banks and trade creditors,” said Ali Khan, head of cash-equity trading at Dubai-based Arqaam Capital Ltd. “The backdrop to international markets remains weak.”

Asian stocks slumped, dragging the MSCI Asia Pacific Index down the most in three months and erasing its 2010 gain amid fears European government debt levels and efforts by China to crack down on property speculation will hurt the global recovery. The MSCI Emerging Markets Index declined 1.4 percent and the MSCI World Index retreated to the lowest in more than two months.

British bankers trapped in Bahrain for ten months

Three British bankers have been unable to leave Bahrain for ten months after being placed under investigation in relation to the collapse of a Saudi bank.

The three were senior executives at Awal Bank, which collapsed last July. They remain on its payroll at the request of the bank’s administrators.

Alistair MacLeod, Anthony James and Cliff Giddings were forced to surrender their passports on July 30 last year. They remain under criminal investigation by Bahrain’s Public Prosecutor as part of a wider inquiry into the collapse of Awal but have not been charged.

Saudi Arabia set to become major aluminum exporter

Five years from now, Saudi Arabia is set to become a major aluminum exporter once the three mega smelter projects worth more than $10 billion start producing nearly 2.4 million tons, the National Commercial Bank (NCB) said in a study.

At present, the Kingdom’s aluminum industry is concentrated in the downstream sector, the study said.

More than 110 companies make up the sector, which processes various types of imported aluminum products to produce aluminum fixtures for construction, kitchens, cooking utensils and other aluminum-related applications, the study on Saudi Arabia’s aluminum industry noted.

Dubai World Said to Stop Paying Interest on Loans as of May 1

Dubai World won’t pay interest on outstanding loans starting this month as the state-owned holding company waits for lenders to agree to the $14.2 billion debt restructuring proposal, two bankers familiar with the plan said.

Interest accrued on the loans as of May 1 will be added to the new rolled-over loans offered to creditors, the bankers said, declining to be identified because the negotiations are yet to be completed. Creditors of Nakheel PJSC, Dubai World’s real-estate unit, will continue to be paid interest, according to a letter by law firm Allen & Overy to Nakheel creditors.

A separate coordination committee of Nakheel’s creditors has also been set up to negotiate with the real-estate company, the letter from the law firm says. A group of seven banks including Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc, HSBC Holdings Plc and Standard Chartered PLC, is currently negotiating the debt deal with Dubai World on behalf of more than 90 lenders.