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Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Qatar Said to Mull Ending $6 Billion Chemicals Project with Exxon Mobil - Bloomberg

Qatar, which signed an agreement with Exxon Mobil Corp. in January to jointly build a $6 billion petrochemicals complex, may choose a different partner for the project, an official at state-run Qatar Petroleum said.

Qatar Petroleum will select as a partner the company that makes the best proposal, said the official, who declined to be named because he wasn’t authorized to speak publicly on the issue. The Qatari energy company and Exxon Mobil have ended their agreement and Qatar is seeking new partners, Middle East Economic Digest reported, citing people close to the companies.

Qatari Energy Minister Abdullah bin Hamad al-Attiyah, speaking today outside his office in the Qatari capital Doha, declined to comment on the petrochemicals project. “I will tell you later,” he said when asked if Qatar would try to build it with a different partner.

Saudi Arabian Shares Fall on Signs of Slowing Fuel Demand in U.S., China - Bloomberg

Saudi Arabian shares lost the most in three weeks, led by petrochemical companies, after oil fell on signs that fuel demand in the U.S. and China is faltering as economic recovery slows.

Saudi Basic Industries Corp., the world’s biggest petrochemical maker, fell 1.4 percent and its unit Saudi Arabian Fertilizer Co. retreated the most in a month. The 143-company Tadawul All Share Index declined 0.9 percent, the most since July 20, to 6,264.14 at 2:07 p.m. in Riyadh. The Bloomberg GCC 200 Index of Gulf stocks slipped 0.4 percent. Crude oil, up 6.5 percent this quarter, decreased as much as 1.5 percent to $80.30 a barrel. Saudi Arabia holds one-fifth of the world’s proven oil reserves.

“There has been a change in sentiment in petrochemicals following disappointing U.S. economic data and data on Chinese imports,” said Amro Halwani, a trader at Shuaa Capital PSC in Saudi Arabia. The recent rally in crude “may be losing traction as investors remain cautious and await word on tonight’s Fed announcement.”.

WAM | Abu Dhabi Statistical Yearbook - 2010 released

Butti Ahmed Mohammed Bin Butti Al Qubaisi, Director General of Statistics Centre - Abu Dhabi (SCAD), announced today in a news conference at the centre's premises the release of the Statistical Yearbook of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi - 2010.

Al Qubaisi pointed out that the book sheds light on a whole range of development indicators in Abu Dhabi, including economic, social demographic, cultural and environmental indicators over the past five years, tracking the progress achieved under the wise leadership of HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of UAE and ruler of Abu Dhabi; and the unlimited support of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces.

During the conference, which was attended by SCAD's senior officials and a large number of media representatives, Al Qubaisi noted that Abu Dhabi Statistical Yearbook - 2010 presents about 350 statistical indicators, surpassing last year's issue by about 150 new indicators.

TAKING STOCK: Dubai's Moment Of Schadenfreude - WSJ.com

When Dubai's borrow-and-build business model imploded so spectacularly, the cries of "told you so" from Abu Dhabi could be heard far along the Sheikh Zayed motorway that connects the two cities.

But more than 12 months on, it's Abu Dhabi's property market that's now starting to creak and that emirate's stock exchange that's wilting.

You can excuse Dubai its moment of Schadenfreude.

LNG Storage Off U.A.E. May Equal Six Months of China's Average Purchases - Bloomberg

Liquefied natural gas tankers anchored off Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates may be storing the equivalent of about six months of China’s average purchases.

There are about 26 ships idled off Fujairah as of Aug. 6 with a carrying capacity of 5.6 million metric tons, said Pan EurAsian Enterprises Inc. in an e-mail yesterday, citing data from Odysseus tracking service. There may be about 2.6 million tons of the fuel in floating storage based on posted draft data, the U.S. energy consultant said.

China imported 7.63 billion cubic meters, or 5.6 million tons, last year, according to BP Plc’s Statistical Review of World Energy 2010. An oversupply of gas and weak demand have sent spot charter rates to the cheapest in five years, prompting producers and traders to take advantage of the low charges to store the fuel, according to Drewry Shipping Consultants Ltd. in June.

Oil prices prompt Air Arabia backers to bail - The National Newspaper

Investors are bailing out of Air Arabia as concerns about higher oil prices were aggravated by Sunday’s announcement of weaker results than expected at the Middle East’s largest budget airline. The shares dipped to 84 fils each yesterday and are down more than 20 per cent in the past four months.

Air Arabia on Sunday announced a 44 per cent decline in profit for the second quarter, compared with the same quarter last year.

The company attributed the drop to higher oil prices, which account for 40 per cent of its operating costs, and pressure on passenger yields. Analysts said until passenger yields improved or oil prices fell, it would be difficult for airlines to post strong earnings.

Japan concern over late payments - The National Newspaper

Late payments to Japanese contractors in Dubai have caused concern about how the country’s businesses should operate in the Middle East, Tatsuo Watanabe, Japan’s ambassador to the UAE, said yesterday.

“There have been a great amount of delinquencies,” Mr Watanabe said at the beginning of a business forum in Abu Dhabi. That, he said, “raises questions about how Japanese businesses should operate in the Middle East”.

Japanese builders on the Dubai Metro were among companies that encountered payment problems on local projects, The National reported in November."

Asia Beats Europe as Gulf's Shariah Lenders Seek Growth: Islamic Finance - Bloomberg

Al Salam Bank BSC, Bahrain’s fastest-growing lender by revenue in the past year, plans to invest $500 million of Islamic funds in Asia, joining Saudi Arabia’s Al Rajhi Group in tapping the region’s growth.

Al Salam Bank will put funds into real estate, agriculture and food in the next five years, focusing on Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore, Yousif A. Taqi, chief executive officer at the Manama-based bank, said in an interview on Aug. 5. Al Rajhi is looking to invest $200 million in Asian property, Jonathan King, director at AEP Investment Management Ltd., which is 80 percent owned by the Saudi group, said on Aug. 2 in Singapore.

“Asia is a very fertile land for Islamic banking as this is where the growth is,” said Taqi at Al Salam, adding that capital had increased to $2 billion in 2009 from the bank’s inception three years earlier. “Our existing investment in Asia is $200 million and in Europe it won’t exceed $100 million.”

Travelodge rules out sale to Whitbread | Reuters

Budget hotel group Travelodge is not up for sale and its debt-laden owner Dubai International Capital (DIC) has had no approach from Whitbread (WTB.L), CEO Guy Parsons told Reuters, scotching media speculation.

Britain's Daily Mail newspaper reported on Saturday that Whitbread (WTB.L), the owner of Premier Inn, had approached DIC, the international investment arm of the Dubai government, about a possible merger of the two businesses in a deal which would also see DIC take a shareholding in Whitbread.

Parsons said in an interview on Monday that DIC had assured him no such conversations had taken place while he believed competition issues would make a deal unlikely.