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Sunday, 30 May 2010

Qatar to launch riyal bonds

Qatar is set to issue its first local currency bond in an effort to diversify its funding away from the US dollar, foster a domestic bond market and widen its range of monetary policy tools, the country’s finance minister said on Sunday.

The central bank will announce the sale of Qatari riyal-denominated Islamic and conventional bonds to its domestic banks on either Monday or Tuesday, Yousef Kamal, Qatar’s finance minister, told the Financial Times. Bankers familiar with the plans estimated the size of the bond sale at QR4bn ($1.1bn, €895m, £760m).

Central bank officials have for some time been calling for a domestic bond programme to mop up excess liquidity in the banking system caused by government cash injections intended to shore up the sector as the global crisis struck.

Qatar Shares Rise on Optimism Drop Overdone; Orascom Soars -

Qatar stocks rose, leading Gulf Arab markets higher, on speculation this month’s decline may have been overdone as economic growth picks up and global markets rallied as concerns over Europe’s debt crisis eased.

Industries Qatar, the second-biggest petrochemicals maker in the Middle East, surged the most in more than two months. In Abu Dhabi, Emirates Telecommunications Corp., the phone company known as Etisalat, gained after its long-term corporate credit rating was raised by Standard & Poor’s. Qatar’s QE Index gained 2.1 percent, the biggest advance since May 10, to 6,825.89. The gauge slumped 9.2 percent this month. The Bloomberg GCC 200 Index, which tracks 200 equities in the region, climbed 0.2 percent. Egypt’s EGX 30 Index surged 3.3 percent at 1:19 p.m. in Cairo.

“We continue to focus on international markets and oil, which were generally higher over the Thursday to Friday period,” said Ali Khan, head of cash-equity trading at Dubai- based Arqaam Capital Ltd. “Qatar was the worst performing market in the region month-to-date.”

TIBC banker sues Bahrain after being held for 10 months - Telegraph

The former chief executive of a Bahrain-based bank is suing the Gulf island emirate at the International Court of Human Rights (ICHR) after being held in the country for the past 10 months.

Glenn Stewart, 55, who until last July ran The International Banking Corporation (TIBC), escaped from Bahrain last week and has filed a claim with the ICHR in Geneva, claiming that he was wrongfully banned from leaving the country after TIBC defaulted on its debts in May 2009.

TIBC is at the centre of the biggest financial scandal in the Middle East, with its owners, the billionaire Algosaibi family, launching a multi-billion pound lawsuit against Maan al-Sanea, a wealthy businessman who is related by marriage to the family, accusing him of fraud.

The New Age Of Natural Gas: New Record High Production In March For The World’s #1 Producer | Daily Markets

The Energy Information Administration released new data yesterday showing that natural gas production in the U.S. reached an all-time historical monthly high in March of 2.313 trillion cubic feet, breaking the previous record of 2.28 trillion cubic feet set in March of last year by almost 33 billion cubic feet (see graph).

As I have reported previously, the U.S. is now the world’s largest producer of natural gas, having surpassed Russia’s production last year to become the new “Saudi Arabia of natural gas.” It’s all because of a breakthrough in drilling technology, involving the use of three-dimensional seismic imaging and hydraulic fracturing of shale rock, so that huge amounts of natural gas are being produced in New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, Louisiana and other states. In 2000, shale gas accounted for only about 1% of our natural gas supply, but now about 20% of gas comes from advanced shale drilling, and has helped boost production to record high levels.

The abundance of natural gas in the U.S. was completely unexpected as recently as seven years ago when Alan Greenspan was worried in 2003 that shortages of natural gas would hurt the U.S. economy. We’re in a new age of natural gas, and it’s going to be a real game-changer.