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Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Total to Focus Gulf Chemicals on Saudi Arabia, Qatar - Bloomberg

Total SA, Europe’s third-biggest oil company, said it’s not interested in expanding its chemical business in the Persian Gulf beyond Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

“We are not looking for any other country at the moment apart from Saudi Arabia and Qatar,” Francois Cornelis, Total’s president of chemicals, said in an interview today at a petrochemicals conference in Dubai.

Saudi Aramco is seeking global partners to develop specialized chemicals products from its refineries, Aramco’s Chief Executive Officer Khalid al-Falih told the conference. He wants to see chemical and petrochemical sales from the region grow fivefold to $200 million in the next decade.

Jump in Abu Dhabi bank deposits may be cash for Aldar, UAE Industries - Maktoob News

Abu Dhabi bank deposits jumped this quarter, with most of the new cash coming from Abu Dhabi's government, prompting speculation it may be creating a rescue fund for struggling developer Aldar Properties.

Bankers and analysts said on Wednesday the sudden rise in deposits may signal an imminent move by the government, which owns a 25.4 percent stake in Aldar and lent the builder a hand in March.

Shares in Aldar, which has posted four straight quarterly losses, rose 5 percent to a five-week high of 2.51 dirhams on talk government support may be coming soon.

Axed Axiom IPO seen as wrong deal, wrong time, UAE Industries - Maktoob News

Axiom Telecom's abrupt cancellation of its IPO two days before listing is likely more a reflection of the Dubai retailer's own qualities than the state of the local new issues market as a whole.

The offering would have been the first in the United Arab Emirates in two years and had been taken by some market players as a signal that the dormant IPO market was reviving.

But some investors were long unconvinced about the Dubai retailer's business model and planned use of sale proceeds, analysts said.

Kuwait's KFH repays $250 mln of murabaha deal early, Kuwait Industries - Maktoob News

Kuwait Finance House (KFH), the country's biggest Islamic lender, said on Wednesday it made an early payment of $250 million that was due in March 2011.

"KFH paid an early instalment worth $250 million that was due next March, as part of a murabaha financing deal with several international and regional banks worth $850 million," KFH said in a statement.

The murabaha deal, secured in 2006, was aimed at financing the lender's expansion plans and future projects, KFH said. It did not name the lenders.

Aldar Shares Advance to a One-Month High on Abu Dhabi Funding Speculation - Bloomberg

Aldar Properties PJSC rose the most in more than eight months as investors expect government support for Abu Dhabi’s largest developer to be “shareholder friendly,” Daman Investments PSC said.

The shares gained 7 percent, the most since March 28, to 2.45 dirhams at the 2 p.m. close in Abu Dhabi. Aldar has lost 51 percent this year.

“We have said before we will give the framework in the fourth quarter,” Chief Financial Officer Shafqat Ali Malik said in a telephone interview today, declining to provide details. Aldar said Nov. 9 it is in the “final stages of discussions” with the Abu Dhabi government regarding the company’s funding requirements and expects to reach a “framework” by the end of the year.

Qatar Shares Rise to Two-Year High; Aldar Gains on Financing Speculation - Bloomberg

Qatar shares gained to the highest in more than two years, led by banks, on optimism government spending on infrastructure will boost economic growth after the country won the rights to host the soccer World Cup in 2022.

Masraf Al Rayan, Qatar’s second-largest lender complying with Islamic law, jumped 9.2 percent and Qatar Islamic Bank increased to the highest in more than a year. The QE Index advanced 1.8 percent to 8,779.49, the highest since Sept. 2008, at the 12:30 p.m. close in Doha. Aldar Properties PJSC surged the most in more than eight months on speculation funding for the company will be “shareholder friendly,” Daman Investments PSC said. That pushed Abu Dhabi’s benchmark 0.5 percent higher.

Qatar, projected by the International Monetary Fund to have the world’s fastest-growing economy this year, plans to more than double the number of hotel rooms, build nine stadiums and refurbish three others as well as construct a rail and metro network for the tournament. Moody’s Investors Service estimates that the country will spend about $57 billion over the next decade for infrastructure developments related to the World Cup.

gulfnews : DIC, banks in debt deal talks

Dubai International Capital, the investment arm of Dubai Holding, remains locked in negotiations with banks over extending the deadline for a $1.25 billion (Dh4.58 billion) loan that matured November 30 as part of efforts to secure a larger debt restructuring deal about double the loan size, a company spokesperson said on Tuesday.

"We are in a de-facto extension period whilst we seek to achieve a long-term consensual agreement," the spokesperson told Zawya Dow Jones without providing any further details.

DIC in May asked lenders for a three-month extension on some of its debts that would allow it to implement a "consensual longer-term plan," which was later extended until November 30.

Palestinians Lure Local Banks With First Sukuk Bill Sale: Islamic Finance - Bloomberg

The Palestinian central bank is attracting local banks to its first sale of Islamic bills, part of a plan to jumpstart the Shariah-compliant finance industry.

Palestine Islamic Bank, the largest Shariah-compliant bank in the territories with $364 million of assets, will submit a bid for as much as $10 million, and Arab Islamic Bank said it probably will participate. The Palestine Monetary Authority is seeking to sell as much as $50 million of sukuk maturing in about 18 months to local banks next year in what would be the central bank’s first debt offering, Governor Jihad al-Wazir said in an interview in Ramallah on Nov. 25.

“There is strong demand for such an instrument because Palestine is a mainly Muslim area and many individuals hesitate to deal with conventional banking,” Mahmoud Al-Ram’ah, general manager of Palestine Islamic Bank, said in a telephone interview from Ramallah on Dec. 2. “Our liquidity is high. We have been pushing to invest in a government sukuk.”

Massive Saudi property development switches focus

King Abdullah Economic City, the master-planned development under construction on Saudi Arabia's Red Sea coast, is reconfiguring its plans to focus on more low and middle-income housing, says the developer.

'With the financial crisis we don't have as much demand and we're not developing as fast,' said Fahd al Rasheed, the chief executive of the developer Emaar, The Economic City, a joint venture with Emaar, the developer based in Dubai, and the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority.

King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC), north of Jeddah, is planned to cover more than 168 square kilometres and house more than 2 million people, clustered around a new industrial district, schools, commercial space and the Red Sea's biggest port. It is scheduled for completion in 2025."

Global Arab Network | From Kuwait to Oman - Gulf Railway to be Completed by 2017 | Industry

GCC Secretary General Abdulrahman Al-Attiyah said the railway linking the six Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) would be completed in 2017, with the railway stretching from Kuwait to Oman.

Answering a KUNA question after the conclusion of the 31st GCC summit, Al-Attiyah said next year's summit would witness economic feasibility studies and research about the "vital and important project." The multi-billion-dollar 2,117-kilometer-long railway project, to carry passengers and cargo, would pass through all six GCC countries in a drive to facilitate movement of citizens and goods with least possible cost.

Al-Attiyah had attended his last summit that was held in Abu Dhabi. He will be replaced by Dr. Abdullatif Al-Zayyani of Bahrain as of next April. (KUNA)

IPOs suffer as market volumes in UAE plunge

The volume of shares traded has fallen by more than half in each of the UAE's three bourses in the past year, a critical lack of liquidity that claimed its latest victim in Axiom Telecom's cancelled share sale.

According to research by The National, the average daily volume of trade on the Dubai Financial Market (DFM) is down 65 per cent in the year to date compared with the same period last year. The Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange and NASDAQ Dubai are each off 52 per cent.

The declines are even more pronounced compared with the markets' boom years of 2005 and 2006.

gulfnews : Nasdaq Dubai's share trading value up

The value of equities traded on Nasdaq Dubai increased by 37 per cent to $97 million (Dh356 million) in November, compared to $71 million during the same period last year, the exchange said on Tuesday.

The increase comes after Nasdaq Dubai outsourced its trading, settlement, clearing and custody functions for equities to Dubai Financial Market (DFM) in July 2010, as part of a strategy to increase trading of its equities by individual investors and merge them in one liquidity pool with institutional investors.

Nasdaq Dubai was the best performing stock exchange in the UAE in November, measured by percentage change of traded value from November 2009, the exchange said.

GCC Market Analytics: Qatar Stocks: Year-to-Date Returns

With the Qatar market performing so strongly I'm taking a closer look a what stocks have been driving the market. In the last post I looked at relative strength. In this post I'm focusing on pure returns. In short, which Qatar stocks have risen the most and should have been in our portfolios this year.

The first chart below shows the year-to-date return for each Qatar stock.

Qatar Stocks: Year-To-Date Returns

Not surprisingly, a good portion of Qatar stocks have risen by 20 per cent or more so far this year. The charts below show the year-to-date price performance for the top ten returning Qatar stocks.



Excellent returns but also lots of significant drawdowns along the way for many of the above stocks. Which just goes to show, even where you end up picking a winner there's still plenty of volatility to endure in order to capture the big returns.

Axiom pullout a wake-up call for Dubai | beyondbrics: News and views on emerging markets | FT.com

Axiom Telecom’s decision to cancel its initial public offering in Dubai - what would have been the first in two years - casts a shadow over plans for future listings in the emirate, not least the debt-laden government’s privatisation programme.

In spite of Dubai’s reviving economic confidence, the opening of debt markets and the proposed asset sales, the mood in the local equity markets is decidely gloomy.


From the outset, plenty were sceptical about this issue from the region’s largest phone distributor, which is 40 per-cent-owned by Dubai World, the troubled company controlled by the emirate’s ruler.