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Friday, 31 December 2010

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Dubai’s Emaar Financial Services Suspends Broking Activity - Bloomberg

Emaar Financial Services LLC received the approval of the United Arab Emirates’ Securities and Commodities Authority to “temporarily suspend its brokerage license,” according to a statement published on its website.

Dubai-based Emaar Financial, a unit of Emaar Properties PJSC and Amlak Finance PJSC, will stop trading activities on Jan. 6, according to the statement, which didn’t indicate when the company expects to start up again.

Trading volumes in the U.A.E. have tumbled in 2010 to the lowest in four years, forcing some brokerages to close. Dubai amassed more than $100 billion of debt as it transformed itself into a financial hub, and a real-estate slump triggered a credit crisis in 2009.

Foreign investors target big rewards with bonds - The National

Once relatively scarce in oil-rich Gulf countries, bonds with high rates of interest are becoming an increasingly common feature of the region's investment landscape as foreign investors chase better returns in emerging markets.

Numerous issuances of high-yield debt, or bonds that come with high annual interest rates and below-investment-grade credit ratings, have taken place in the GCC this year.

They include a US$450 million (Dh1.65 billion) Islamic bond sold in February by Dar Al Arkan, a major Saudi developer, that came with a 10.75 per cent profit rate and a $500m bond from the investment firm Kuwait Projects Company at 9.4 per cent interest.

Gulf bond sales are bright economic sign - The National

A brightening global economic outlook and a shift in investor appetite towards emerging market debt helped to spur US$32.6 billion (Dh119.74bn) of bond sales in the Gulf this year.

That was down from the $42.9bn borrowed by companies and governments from investors last year, according to Bloomberg data. But it was still more than double the $15bn of bond sales in 2008 during the worst stretch of the financial crisis.

The top sellers of debt in the region this year were the Qatar Investment Authority, which sold $3.5bn of bonds in July, and the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority, which issued $3bn in April and October. Qatar Telecom and Abu Dhabi's International Petroleum Investment Company followed with $2.75bn and $2.5bn of bonds, respectively.

Bahrain overhauls its 2030 economic blueprint - The National

Bahrain is revising its economic growth strategy to reflect a decline in the importance of financial services and construction.

Both sectors acted as valuable drivers of growth in recent years as the kingdom sought to accelerate its economic diversification away from oil.

Adjustments to the strategy will also take account of a slowdown in the rate of growth of government spending.

Abu Dhabi economy to accelerate next year - The National

Abu Dhabi's economic growth will accelerate next year with the expansion of non-oil sectors expected to drive the creation of wealth in the capital, says the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Growth will be propelled by a more expansive private sector and a rising population, according to a report by the chamber.

Development in non-oil industries such as manufacturing, construction, trade and services will eclipse growth in the oil sector, the biggest component of the emirate's economy.

Etisalat DB faces India hurdles - The National

Etisalat's Indian subsidiary has paid an Dh8.1 million (US$2.2m) penalty to the Indian Government for failing to launch second-generation mobile services on time but faces further charges relating to spectrum licences the operator was awarded in 2008.

Last month, Etisalat DB was named among the companies in a government report that found the prices paid for companies were "unbelievably low" and forced Andimuthu Raja, India's telecommunications minister, to resign from his post.

The Indian government is now determining whether it should rescind some or all of the 122 spectrum licences it awarded in 2008 to nine companies for 123.9 billion rupees (Dh10.12bn). The auditor general alleged that as much as $40bn of revenue was potentially lost by the government.

UAE’s Stock Market Merger Ensnared by Politics, Technical Problems

Trading volumes are a fraction of what they were just two years ago, and broker-dealers are closing up shop for lack of business. But a merger of the three stock exchanges of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), a move that could solve many of these woes in one stroke, remains entangled in politics and technical problems.

While stock market trading across the Middle East has dropped off sharply with the onset of the global financial crisis, figures from the Arab Monetary Fund (AMF) released Thursday show that two of the UAE’s bourses shrunk the most last year: Volume on the Dubai Financial Market (DFM) plunged 61% this year and on the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX) by 51% through December 29.

Only Nasdaq Dubai, which isn’t included the AMF figures, showed some improvement this year, with the value of securities traded reaching $1.2 billion in the first 11 months, compared with $1.08 billion for all of 2009.

Dubai Holding Agrees With Lenders To Refinance $555M Loan

Dubai Holding Commercial Operations Group LLC said Thursday it has agreed with Citibank, Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC (RBS) and Standard Chartered PLC (STAN.LN) to refinance a $555 million loan.

"A consensual agreement has been reached to refinance the existing $555 million revolving credit facility by converting it into a five-year term loan at commercial terms, with effect from Dec. 30, 2010," Dubai Holding said in an emailed statement.
This comes after Dubai's other flagship state-owned conglomerate, Dubai World, agreed with lenders to restructure $26 billion worth of debt.

And The Winner Is...... — GCC Index Analysis — GCC Market Analytics

Today was the final trading session on the year for GCC markets. The Qatar market was the big winner this year, rising by almost 25%. Saudi and Muscat managed to eek out modest gains whilst Kuwait, Abu Dhabi and Bahrain finished slightly in the red for the year.

The big under-performer in 2010 was the Dubai market which fell 9.60%.

2010 Stock Market Performance: Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Saudi, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, Muscat

2010 Stock Market Performance: Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Saudi, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, Muscat
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11 for 2011: Will the Bangladesh bubble burst? | beyondbrics –

Bangladesh remains a paradox among frontier markets: its GDP growth trend is one of the most stable in the region, but it has high levels of asset price volatility. It proved to be one of the economies least affected by the global financial crisis, with GDP growth only slowing from 6.3 per cent in 2008 to 5.9 per cent in 2009 as the country benefited from the so-called “Walmart Effect” of increased demand for cut price garments in recession-hit economies.

While this was a source of some comfort and relief to policymakers, it also helped to inflate an asset price bubble. Managing this may be the biggest macro challenge for the country in 2011.

Underscoring the rush of enthusiasm for Bangladeshi equities, the DGEN, the Dhaka Stock Exchange’s benchmark index, has been up over 95 per cent in the year to date. Although it then fell almost 9 per cent in two weeks earlier this month, it remains comfortably one of the best performing stock markets in the world since 2007, outpacing both the Bric countries and the MSCI Frontier Markets Index.

End of Year Performance Report «Alpha Dinar-talking GCC finance

The trading year has ended, and we offer you below the performances of the different GCC equity markets for the year 2010:

Kuwait's Weighted index outperformed the region (given that it significantly underperformed the region in 2009), and Dubai lagged the region (Dubai debt probelms).

The best and worst performers of 2010 on the Kuwait Stock Exchange are: