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Wednesday, 22 December 2010

UAE says not changing bank reserves-paper | Reuters

The United Arab Emirates' central bank has no intention of changing the minimum reserves for banks as liquidity of banks operating in the country was good, a senior central bank official was quoted as saying on Wednesday.

The central bank of the UAE, the world's third biggest oil exporter, had no intention to modify the minimum mandatory reserves for banks at the current stage, Seif al-Shamsi, executive director for the treasury department at the UAE Central Bank, told Arabic language daily Al-Khaleej newspaper.

Lending in the UAE's banking sector have almost come to a standstill when the financial crisis and the Dubai debt crisis hit the region and the emirate's real-estate driven boom came to a halt.

MIDEAST MARKETS WEEKAHEAD-Record Saudi budget to boost stocks | Markets | Reuters

Saudi Arabia's record budget for 2011 will boost the kingdom's bourse in the long term as traders bet bumper spending will translate into higher corporate profits.

Analysts are bullish about Saudi Arabia's prospects, but some warn this year's spending -- also a record -- has had little impact on listed firms, while bank lending must also increase for the market to make a sustained rally.

'There's still a disconnect, but it probably takes time to trickle down to the private sector and with a continuation of spending it should filter through next year,' said Haissam Arabi, chief executive and fund manager at Gulfmena Alternative Investments.

India's NTPC in talks with Qatar on investment, LNG supplies - Natural Gas | Platts News Article & Story

Indian state-owned power utility NTPC Ltd is in talks with the Qatari government for LNG supplies and investment by Qatar in the company's gas-generated power projects, company sources said Wednesday.

Industry sources confirmed that the company has been in talks with Qatar about investment in NTPC's gas fired power generation project at Kayamkulam in Kerala, southern India. NTPC received intimations that Qatar would be interested in picking up a stake in the company's projects, so they could be speaking to them on gas supplies for them, sources said.

"We have initiated talks at the embassy level on getting around 1.3 million cubic meters a day of gas for our power plants," Arup Roy Choudhury, chairman and managing director of the company was quoted saying by Indian daily Daily News & Analysis.

Saudi edges up to new high; SABIC slips - Stocks -

Saudi Arabia's index TASI edged up slightly, reaching a new seven-month high in a mixed session for the bluechips.

Saudi Electricity Co climbed 1.1 percent and Samba Financial Group added 0.9 percent, but Banque Saudi Fransi dropped 0.9 percent and Saudi Basic Industries Corp (SABIC) fell 0.5 percent.

The index rose 0.06 percent to 6,610 points, its sixth gain in seven sessions and highest finish since May 12.

DP World Chmn: No Plans To Sell Company Assets Elsewhere -

DP World (DPW.DIF), majority owned by Dubai World, the Dubai government conglomerate, has no plans to sell any of its international assets after selling 75% of its Australian port interests to an infrastructure fund managed by Citigroup Inc. (C) for around 1.5 billion Australian dollars ($1.49 billion), the company's chairman said Wednesday.

"There are no plans to sell any DP World assets in other parts of the world. This transaction is not a sale but a partnership where we will have a long-term management contract," Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem said on a conference call.

"The transaction will give us the opportunity to explore new ventures in emerging markets like South Asia, Africa and South America," he added.

DP World earlier Wednesday announced it will retain a 25% interest in DP World Australia, which operates five container terminals, and continue to provide management services. The sale price includes repayment of loans owed to DP World by DP World Australia, it said.

DP World shares closed up 6.3% at $0.64 Wednesday on the Nasdaq Dubai exchange. The stock is up more than 25% since early October.

Kuwaiti Court Allows Etisalat's Due Diligence for Zain Stake to Proceed - Bloomberg

Kuwait’s commercial court allowed due diligence to proceed on Emirates Telecommunications Corp.’s planned purchase of 46 percent of Kuwaiti phone company Zain, denying a minority shareholder’s effort to halt the transaction.

Al-Fawares Holding Co., which owns 4.5 percent of Zain, sued the company and its second-largest shareholder, Al-Khair National for Stocks & Real Estate Co., as well as sale manager National Investments Co. in early December to prevent Emirates Telecommunications from gaining access to the Kuwaiti phone operator’s data.

Judges rejected the lawsuit, a court clerk, who is not allowed to be identified under national legal rules, told reporters today at the Palace of Justice in Kuwait City.

Creditor panel formed for Kuwait's Investment Dar - Bloomberg

The Kuwaiti investment firm with a majority stake in automaker Aston Martin says a new committee representing its creditors in debt restructuring talks has been formed following a fallout with the previous panel.

The company, Investment Dar, said Wednesday the new committee includes four banks from the previous group: Jordan International Bank, ABC Islamic Bank, Lloyds TSB and al-Rajhi Bank.

It said two other lenders — the Islamic Development Bank and Bank of Bahrain and Kuwait — have been added to the new committee.

Shariah-Compliant Hedging Derivatives Start in Malaysia: Islamic Finance - Bloomberg

Standard Chartered Plc and Bank Islam Malaysia Bhd. plan to offer Shariah-compliant derivatives in Malaysia that will allow investors to hedge against interest rates and commodity prices.

Standard Chartered, the U.K. bank that earns most of its profit from emerging markets, will begin selling contracts in the first quarter that provide protection from fluctuations in the cost of items such as rice and oil, according to an e-mailed reply to questions yesterday. Bank Islam Malaysia, the country’s oldest Islamic lender, will offer swaps that allow two parties to exchange different forms of payments from an underlying asset.

The lack of such Shariah products is hindering industry growth, Badlisyah Abdul Ghani, chief executive officer of Kuala Lumpur-based CIMB Bank Islamic Bhd., said in an interview on Dec. 20. The market will be limited to hedging after derivatives contributed to the global financial crisis, which resulted in $1.8 trillion of credit losses and write downs.

DP World Sells 75% Stake in Australia Unit to Citi Infrastructure, Partner - Bloomberg

DP World Ltd., the Dubai-controlled container terminal operator, raised A$1.5 billion ($1.5 billion) selling a stake in its Australian unit as its parent works to reduce debts.

Citi Infrastructure Investors and a partner agreed to buy 75 percent of the unit, which operates terminals in five Australian ports, DP World said in a statement today. The company expects regulatory approval for the transaction by the end of the first quarter.

DP World plans to use all the proceeds to repay borrowings, as parent Dubai World delayed payment on more than $30 billion of debt and unpaid bills built up by constructing palm-shaped islands off the Dubai coast, and amassing stakes in companies including luxury retailer Barneys New York Inc. and U.S. casino group MGM Mirage. The deal will also pare DP World’s reliance on Australia as pending competition from Hutchison Port Holdings Ltd. threatens its market share of about 50 percent.

Dubai tribunal rules against Nakheel on fees - Real Estate -

Nakheel, the real estate arm of troubled conglomerate Dubai World, on Tuesday lost its attempt to raise AED41m in late fees from a buyer on the offshore World development in a landmark ruling by a Dubai tribunal.

The ruling requires Nakheel to finalise a ‘consolidation agreement’, and credit nearly AED30m in downpayments on two islands to a plot in Jumeirah Village, owned by one of the claimants, Diamond Developers.

Nakheel offered these credit swaps in the wake of Dubai’s real estate crash, to enable buyers to transfer cash from unfinished or halted developments to completed real estate.

China's CNPC, Saudi Aramco sign MOU for cooperation | Energy & Oil | Reuters

China National Petroleum Corp, parent of Asia's largest oil and gas producer PetroChina , has signed an agreement with Saudi Aramco for further cooperation, the China Petroleum Daily said on Wednesday.

The memorandum of understanding (MOU) was signed during a visit by CNPC's General Manager Jiang Jiemin to Saudi Arabia on Dec. 18-21, the newspaper, which is run by CNPC, reported.

Jiang talked with Khalid A. Al-Falih, chief executive officer of Saudi Aramco, on expanding oil trading and cooperation in refining and oil engineering fields, it said.

gulfnews : Mega Islamic Bank to start with $1b

Islamic Development Bank, the Jeddah-based multilateral lender, said the Mega Islamic Bank will have an initial paid-up capital of $1 billion (Dh3.6 billion).

Mega Islamic Bank shall provide "liquidity management solutions in an effort to create an Islamic interbank market," Islamic Development Bank said in a statement.

The bank will also originate and finance large projects across Muslim countries, IDB said.

Chinese interest in Dubai properties shows large uptick - The National

Chinese investors have dramatically increased their purchases of residential property in Dubai since the collapse of prices in the emirate two years ago, an analysis of sales data shows.

In the first eight months of this year, Chinese buyers purchased Dh578 million (US$157.3m) worth of homes, a 700 per cent increase on the Dh82m figure for the same period in 2008, according to data compiled by

"Chinese people are bargain-hunters," said Saurabh Sharma, research and data manager for the company's Dubai office. "They have shifted their focus from other countries to Dubai." Chinese buyers still represent little more than 1 per cent of residential purchases in the emirate, according to the data, which were gleaned from Dubai Land Department's registration records.

Kuwait Stock Exchange mulling new market

Kuwait Stock Exchange is mulling launching an over-the-counter market in 2011 mainly for troubled listed firms, its director said yesterday.

"The management of the bourse will submit this proposal to the bourse committee in January ... and God willing it could be set up in 2011," Hamed Al Saif said.

This market will be set up for companies that trade below 100 fils per share, Al Saif said, adding that the bourse will filter the firms based on certain criteria including their financial results and core business.

2010 Year of the Middle Eastern Airlines? « Alpha Dinar- talking GCC finance

2010 saw two major interruptions in the airlines business: the Icelandic volcanic ash and the abnormally cold winter. The common theme of these two occurrences is that their both in Europe. The ash hampered travel in Europe for a week in April, while the cold and snowy winter is still affecting European airports.
Although all flights to Europe were cancelled during these two occurrences, the clear and main loser was European airlines as almost all their flights were affected. The key beneficiary of European airlines woes, in my opinion, is Middle Eastern airlines, in particular Emirates, Etihad Airlines, and Qatar Airways. As these three airlines are working to conquer the world through route expansion, the Middle East is becoming a more attractive travel hub, as weather conditions rarely hamper travel. The Middle East is becoming a better alternative for West-East travel.

Nasdaq closes $370M debt offering - Bloomberg

Nasdaq has closed an underwritten public offering of $370 million in senior notes, the exchange operator said Tuesday.

The company used net proceeds from the 5.250 percent senior notes, due in 2018, to pay down its purchase of 22.8 million of its own shares from Borse Dubai Limited, its largest stakeholder.

Nasdaq OMX Group Inc. announced the buyback last week, surprising investors because it was buying more shares than had been expected.

gulfnews : Esca recommends merger of bourses to help growth

Merging stock exchanges in the UAE is key to boosting liquidity in the country's market, the Advisory Board of Emirates Securities and Commodities Authority (Esca) said on Tuesday.

"The markets would witness significant growth if merged into one," the regulator's Advisory Board said. It also recommended the encouraging of family and private companies to list on the market.

Market intermediaries and analysts said yesterday that a merger of stock exchanges would improve the depth and sophistication of the UAE market and make it more attractive to foreign institutional investors.

Dubai property, sunrise or sunset? | beyondbrics –