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Saturday, 31 December 2011

Saudi Stock Market close - December 31, 2011

General Index
Intraday 3 month
Daily Statistics
General Index6417.73
Change (%)-0.01%
T. Volume195780873
T. Companies 151

Saudi Shares Fall as Oil Declines on China Demand Concern; Sabic Retreats - Bloomberg

Shares in Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest oil exporter, fell as crude declined on concern over demand from China and tension simmered on Iran’s naval exercises in the Strait of Hormuz.
The Tadawul All Share Index (SASEIDX) lost less than 0.01 percent to 6,417.73 at the 3:30 p.m. close in Riyadh, after falling the most in more than two weeks. Saudi Basic Industries Corp., the world’s biggest petrochemicals maker, retreated 0.8 percent.
Oil fell 0.8 percent to close at $98.83 a barrel yesterday as Chinese manufacturing contracted for a second month in December, spurring concern that demand from the world’s second- largest crude-consuming country may slow. Iran last week threatened to block the Strait of Hormuz, a shipping channel through which a sixth of the world’s is transported, if sanctions are imposed on its crude exports.

Capital dries up as loans by banks top deposits - The National

Bank lending in the UAE exceeded deposits for the third month running last month as an influx of capital at the start of the year continues to evaporate.

Loans increased by 0.1 per cent to reach Dh1.074 trillion (US$292.39 billion), according to data released by the Central Bank yesterday.

Deposits declined by 0.8 per cent to reach Dh1.053tn. As a result, loans exceeded deposits by Dh20.7bn, the data showed.

Tower developer in default on Dh75m loan - The National

The developer of the world's tallest residential building under construction in Dubai Marina is in default on a Dh75 million (US$20.4m) loan.

Trident International Holdings, which is building the Pentominium tower, is more than 200 days overdue on profit payments on the overdraft facility, according to Noor Islamic Bank.

Construction on the Pentominium, planned to rise to 516 metres, has been stalled since March, the bank said.

Regional markets lose $50bn of value - The National

Middle Eastern stock markets have shed more than US$50 billion (Dh183.65bn) this year as foreign investors fled the region after uprisings toppled leaders in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya.

Europe's debt crisis worsened the situation for markets that had seen tentative signs of recovery earlier in the year.

"It was probably the most volatile year I have seen in my career," said Fadi Al Said, a senior fund manager at ING Investment Management in Dubai. "Financial markets were dominated by headlines and risk aversion."

Middle East stocks plunge in 2011 on Arab Spring, eurozone woes -

Middle East markets, with the exception of Qatar, ended the year with deep losses after grappling with the Arab Spring and shaken local confidence, concerns over the global recovery and the unresolved eurozone debt crisis.

The Arab spring revolts hit Gulf bourses early in the year but they managed to recover the losses as local governments dished out large handout to stave off unrest, including US$93 billion in social spending announced by Saudi Arabia in March.

The eurozone debt crisis and a fragile state of United States economy has kept foreign investors at bay, while local investors also cut risk in equities.

Friday, 30 December 2011

Kuwait to loan Egypt $100 million in January: Official - Ahram Online

Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Nahar reported on Friday that Kuwaiti Ambassador to Egypt Rasheed Al-Hamad said that his country would provide Egyptian government with a $100 million loan next January to finance large-scale projects.

"Kuwaiti investments in Egypt were not out-flowed under any circumstance, especially in tourism's sector," the newspaper quoted Al-Hamad as saying.

Hamad added that the volume of Kuwaiti investments in Egypt exceeds $7 billion, and that Kuwait is keen to strengthen its relations with Egypt even, particularly in the economic arena.

TEXT-Fitch:Repeat of 2008-2009 unlikely for Abu Dhabi | Reuters

Fitch Ratings says that the support extended this week to property developer Aldar demonstrates that contingent liabilities remain a risk to Abu Dhabi's balance sheet. But the emirate will not be subjected to as severe a strain as in 2008 and 2009, when its strong balance sheet enabled it to deal with such contingencies, despite much lower oil prices than today.

IMF stress tests suggest that further solvency support for the emirate's banks will probably not be needed. In addition, we believe that there are limits to the amount of further support Dubai might require, as it has better identified its core liabilities and no longer seeks to prop up its entire public sector. This is in contrast to 2008-2009, when sharply lower oil prices and negative returns for sovereign wealth funds coincided with capital injections for Abu Dhabi's banks, and to bolster Dubai.

Abu Dhabi's balance sheet remains exceptionally strong, and at current oil prices foreign asset growth should pick up to over 10%. As we said in September, "foreign assets provide a substantial cushion to absorb most conceivable economic or oil price shocks."

Oman unaffected by global turmoil: IMF: Times of Oman

Oman’s economy has largely been unaffected by the recent turmoil in global financial markets and the Eurozone debt crisis because its oil exports are mainly to faster-growing Asian countries, said the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

“With about 80 per cent of Oman’s oil-dominated exports going to Asia, the impact of the European crisis will be limited as long as it does not translate into significantly lower oil prices,” the multilateral agency said, adding “While regional unrest has created additional uncertainty, Omani banks have little exposure to the Eurozone. Credit to the private sector has continued to pick up and is projected to grow by over 11 per cent in 2011.”

The IMF said given a projected 10 per cent increase in government expenditure and with some slowdown in hydrocarbon output, overall real GDP growth is projected to edge down to 5 per cent in 2012.

UAE bourses shelter from storm - The National

The UAE has outperformed emerging-market stocks this year as the country's exclusion from the MSCI Emerging Markets Index has shielded it from a heavy sell-off fuelled by the euro-zone crisis.

But a strong resurgence expected in emerging markets means there are still compelling reasons for the UAE to join the index, say analysts.

"We have largely been immune this year from some of the problems in play in the rest of the world," said Tarek Lofty, the head of asset management at Arqaam Capital. "Our markets also witnessed a lower level of activity and participation, in contrast to emerging and global markets."

Alcoa Accused of Bribing Alba Officials in Aluminum Scheme - Businessweek

Alcoa Inc. was accused of using a middleman to bribe officials at Bahrain’s state-owned aluminum producer to reap more than $400 million in illegal profit, according to new claims filed in a racketeering lawsuit.

Alcoa, the largest U.S. aluminum producer, made tens of millions of dollars in illegal payments through an intermediary to an official at Aluminium Bahrain BSC, known as Alba, and the government of Bahrain, according to court papers filed yesterday in federal court in Pittsburgh. The company also paid more than $5 million in bribes to former Alba Chief Executive Officer Bruce Hall, according to the filing.

Alba sued Alcoa in February 2008 claiming the New York- based company caused it to pay inflated prices for alumina, the principal raw material in aluminum. The case was closed after the U.S. Justice Department said it was investigating whether Alcoa made corrupt payments in Bahrain. It was reopened in November after a judge ruled that Alba could file an amended complaint and a statement laying out its racketeering case.

Major Dubai companies ‘may need bail-outs’ - Telegraph

The credit rating agency has said that five conglomerates, including Dubai’s financial services zone’s investment arm and the main electricity and water company, will “struggle” to service their vast debt piles by themselves.
In a note S&P said that the five Dubai government-related entities (GREs) it rates are “up against significant risks from the weakening global economic outlook, the Arab Spring, and the volatile equity and bond markets.” The agency added: “These risks have raised concerns as GREs face large debt maturities and refinancing needs in 2012.”
The fears will compound the outlook for global banks, some of which have a high exposure to Dubai debt. The emirate’s total debt load is about $119.8bn (£77.7bn), according to a report by Bank of America Merrill Lynch. Some $15bn needs to be repaid or refinanced in 2012, according to the bank.

Thursday, 29 December 2011

Saudi to set bourse opening rules by January 15: source | Reuters

Saudi Arabia is pressing ahead with a long-awaited plan to open up its stock market to foreigners and is now hoping to formalize its rules by January 15, a source with knowledge of the matter told Reuters.

"The dialogue is clearly intensifying, and they are looking at mid-January for publishing the term sheet for access," said the source, who declined to be identified.

The country has been considering a wider opening of its market for several years and, earlier this month, two industry sources revealed that it planned to offer a limited direct foreign ownership. At the time, sources expected this to happen by mid to late first quarter of 2012.

Qatar Holding's Stake In Lagardere Rises To 10.07% -

Qatar's sovereign-wealth fund boosted its stake in French media group Lagardere SA (MMB.FR) to 10.07% on Dec. 23, France's stock market regulator said in a filing on Thursday.

Qatar Holding LLC now holds 7.87% of the voting shares in Lagardere, the filing said.

The regulator didn't say what stake Qatar Holding held in Lagardere before Dec. 23.

Lagardere is a media group controlled by businessman Arnaud Lagardere and controls 7.5% of European Aeronautic Defence & Space Co. EADS NV (EAD.FR).

Aldar bailout: day 2 | beyondbrics –

Aldar, Abu Dhabi’s biggest developer, saw it shares jump 9.5 per cent on Thursday on the back of a massive government bailout package unveiled the day before. And Abu Dhabi’s real estate index took confidence too, bouncing some 7.5 per cent .

On Wednesday, Aldar announced it is selling assets to the government and receiving debt support to the tune of $4.6bn, after receiving a rescue package of $5.2bn in January. That brings the total amount of government aid in Aldar’s 2011 begging bowl to near $10bn. No wonder shareholders are so happy.

That figure is in line with the financial injection that neighbouring Dubai had to pump into the listing ship Nakheel in late 2009 as the business hub, the second largest emirate after oil rich Abu Dhabi, almost teetered over into default.

MENA stock markets close - December 29, 2011

ExchangeStatus IndexChange
TASI (Saudi Stock Market)
DFM (Dubai Financial Market)
ADX (Abudhabi Securities Exchange)
KSE (Kuwait Stock Exchange)
BSE (Bahrain Stock Exchange)
MSM (Muscat Securities Market)
QE (Qatar Exchange)
LSE (Beirut Stock Exchange)
EGX 30 (Egypt Exchange)
ASE (Amman Stock Exchange)
TUNINDEX (Tunisia Stock Exchange)
CB (Casablanca Stock Exchange)
PSE (Palestine Securities Exchange)

Abu Dhabi Shares Gain as Aldar Gets $4.57 Billion State Support - Bloomberg

Aldar Properties PJSC (ALDAR) surged the most in more than two years, helping to push up Abu Dhabi’s benchmark index, after the emirate’s government agreed to buy assets valued at $4.57 billion to support the company.
Aldar jumped 9.5 percent, the most since Dec. 14, 2009. Sorouh Real Estate Co., (SOROUH) the second-biggest Abu Dhabi developer, gained 7.6 percent. The benchmark ADX General Index (ADSMI) climbed 1.5 percent, the most since May 2010, to 2,402.28 at the 2:00 p.m. close in the emirate, trimming its losses this year to 12 percent. Dubai’s DFM General Index (DFMGI) rose 0.5 percent.
The agreement “shows the significant support that the government has for Aldar,” said Samer Darwiche, a Dubai-based analyst at Gulfmena Investments. “The market is taking the news very positively.”

European Banks Seek Buyers for Mideast Loans - Bloomberg

European banks, led by those from France and Belgium, are seeking to sell Persian Gulf loan books to Arab banks to help raise cash as the sovereign-debt crisis drags on, bankers familiar with the offerings said.
France’s BNP Paribas SA (BNP) and Societe Generale SA (GLE), Belgium- based Dexia SA (DEXB) and KBC Groep NV (KBC), and Italy’s Intesa Sanpaolo SpA (ISP) and UniCredit SpA (UCG) are among lenders seeking buyers for project finance and corporate loans in the region, five bankers who were approached with deals said, declining to be identified because the information is private. The offers were made over the past six months, they said.
Europe’s banks are curtailing some types of lending and selling businesses to meet regulators’ demands for higher capital as the debt crisis worsens. Banks across Europe have pledged to cut more than 950 billion euros ($1.2 trillion) of assets over the next two years, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Serco acquires Mubadala subsidiary -

Serco announced today that, to meet the increasing demand for complex facilities management services, it has acquired JBI Properties Services Company LLC (JBI).

Prior to the sale, JBI, which specialises in integrated facilities management services, was a wholly owned subsidiary of Mubadala Development Company PJSC (Mubadala).

The acquisition will build on Serco’s existing Facilities Management capabilities in the UAE which include the successful operation of Dubai Metro stations and depots, the UAE University in Al Ain and New York University currently being built on Saadiyat Island in Abu Dhabi.

Industries Qatar sells real estate stake amid grim property outlook | Reuters

Industries Qatar (IQ) sold its stake in a local real estate firm for $44 million, the Gulf Arab region's second-largest chemical producer by market value said on Thursday, as the property sector faces low demand and growing supply.

IQ had held a 34-percent stake in Fereej Real Estate Company, which was set up in 2008 in a joint venture with a Gulf International Services unit and Qatar Real Estate Co. (Alaqaria). The latter had 33-percent stakes each.

"In view of the development in the real estate segment, the company has decided to proceed with the liquidation," IQ said in a filing to the Qatar stock exchange.

WAM | UAE's CB says money supply M0 increased by 2.3% to AED 53.2b by end of Nov.

The Central Bank of the UAE on Thursday announced that money supply M0 (currency in circulation + currency at banks) increased by 2.3%. from AED 52.0 billion at the end of October 2011 to AED 53.2 billion at the end of November of the same year.

"Money supply aggregate, M1 (currency in circulation plus monetary deposits; current accounts and call accounts at banks) increased by 2.2%, from AED 258.8 billion at the end of October to AED 264.6 billion at the end of November of 2011," it said in an emailed press release.

Gulf Times – Qatar GDP jumps 40% in Q3 on gas expansion

Qatar’s nominal GDP increased almost 40% to QR164.8bn in the third quarter compared with the previous-year period on the back of expanding gas output, the Qatar Statistics Authority said yesterday.
Nominal GDP in the third quarter of 2010 stood at QR118.1bn, the QSA said.
The mining and quarrying sector, which includes the key gas and oil portfolios, rose 57% in current prices to QR98bn in the third quarter of this year compared with QR62.4bn in Q3, 2010.

Abu Dhabi Shares Rise Most in Three Weeks on Aldar State Support - Businessweek

Abu Dhabi shares advanced the most in three weeks, led by Aldar Properties PJSC after the emirate’s government agreed to buy assets valued at 16.8 billion dirhams ($4.6 billion) to support the company.

Aldar jumped 9.5 percent, the most since December 2010. Sorouh Real Estate Co. surged 7.6 percent. The benchmark ADX General Index climbed 0.8 percent, the most since Dec. 4, to 2,385.54 at 10:44 a.m. in the emirate, trimming its losses this year to 12 percent. Dubai’s DFM General Index rose 0.3 percent.

The agreement “shows the significant support that the government has for Aldar,” said Samer Darwiche, a Dubai-based analyst at Gulfmena Investments. “The market is taking the news very positively.”

$10bn Aldar bailout mirrors Abu Dhabi’s $25 billion rescue of Dubai two years ago « ArabianMoney

The second part of a $10 billion bailout of property developer Aldar by Abu Dhabi is very much a re-run of the $25 billion rescue of Dubai two years ago. In both cases a property boom went bust leaving huge debts, half-built projects and an oversupply of real estate.

The aftermath is debts that have to be rescheduled, consolidated and assets sold down. There is also a period of cutbacks and austerity that follows a period characterized by easy money and rapid growth.

South Stream About To Take Shape

Turkey is the biggest foreign buyer of Russian natural gas after Germany. Through the Russia-Turkey Blue Stream pipe under the Black Sea alone, it is receiving 16 billion cubic metres each year. Talks in Moscow Wednesday between its Energy Minister Taner Yildiz and Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin produced agreements to intensify the Blue Stream flow and also the flow of Russian natural gas to Turkey through pipelines laid across Ukraine, Rumania and Bulgaria. Both updated supply contracts will stay in force for over 20 years. The Moscow talks also brought another important result, a green light for the planned South Stream pipeline linking Russia to Southeastern Europe to cross the Black Sea economic zone of Turkey.

According to Gazprom head Alexei Miller, groundbreaking on the South Stream project is already in sight:

“Turkey’s green light is a decision of milestone significance. It means that the South Stream pipe will be built as planned, before 2016. Late 2015 should see the first deliveries through the pipe.”

Oil price falls as Saudis trump Iran threat

Oil prices fell on Wednesday, as Saudi Arabia said it will offset any loss of oil from a threatened Iranian blockade of a crucial tanker route in the Middle East.

The U.S. Navy warned that any disruption of traffic through the vital Strait of Hormuz "will not be tolerated."

On Tuesday Iran's vice president said that his country was ready to close the Strait of Hormuz — a vital waterway through which a third of the world's tanker traffic flows — if western nations embargo the country's oil because of Iran's ongoing nuclear program. The head of the country's navy added on Wednesday that his fleet can block the strait if need be. His comments came as Iran held a 10-day drill in international waters near the strategic route, which is 21 miles wide at its narrowest point.

UAE: an outsized bailout for Aldar | beyondbrics –

Abu Dhabi has again rescued struggling developer Aldar Properties with a massive US-style bailout, as a collapse in the real estate market erodes the emirate’s cultural ambitions in the Gulf.

The government has announced it will buy some prized assets from Aldar for Dh16.8bn ($4.57bn) – the second bailout this year for the developer behind Ferrari World, the world’s biggest indoor theme park. That would put government spending on the developer this year to Dh36bn.

Chavan Bhogaita, head of markets strategy unit at National Bank of Abu Dhabi, told Reuters: “the fact that these assets are being sold directly to the government is significant as it clearly shows that the company benefits from a high level of support from both the government directly and also via Mubadala,” referring to the state investment vehicle to which Aldar issued a $2.8bn convertible bond earlier this year. Twitter users reacted by describing the massive bailout as the “American Way.”

No clear answer to $15bn question - The National

Dubai's debt woes have been discussed ad infinitum. The chatter started in 2009, when Dubai World delivered a shock by announcing it would seek a standstill on debt repayments as it negotiated a restructuring.

More than two years later, nobody seems to be able to drop the issue and move on, and for good reason.

Dubai still has debt problems. Even after Dubai World finalised a US$24.9 billion (Dh91.46bn) debt restructuring this year - and even after several other companies owned by the Dubai Government made progress on their own restructurings - analysts continue to raise concerns about the emirate's financial health.

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Egypt eyes $650 million of foreign funding | Reuters

Egypt's ruling military council is set to agree to take foreign funding worth $650 million from the World Bank, European Investment Bank and other institutions, a minister said on Wednesday.

The military has previously shown reluctance to build up foreign debts because it only holds power in Egypt for a transitional period. However, some economists say worsening economic conditions mean the country may now need as much as $15 billion to stave off a full-blown financial crisis.

Planning and International Cooperation Minister Faiza Abu el-Naga told reporters that $85 million of the package, for development projects, would be a non-reimbursable grant.

PROFILE-Saudi C.Bank Governor Fahad al-Mubarak | Reuters

Incumbent: Fahad al-Mubarak

Term: Appointed December 2011

Key Facts:

-- Fahad al-Mubarak was appointed by Saudi King Abdullah to head the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA), succeeding Muhammad al-Jasser who took office in February 2009.

-- Mubarak, who comes from outside the central bank and is a private-sector, market-focused figure, was previously chairman and managing director of Morgan Stanley Saudi Arabia. He has also held the position of chairman of the Saudi stock exchange.

-- He played a role in the privatisation of Saudi Telecom and was a member of the team which discussed the partial privatisation of Saudi Arabia's National Gas Industry with international oil companies.

Dow Chemical ‘Optimistic’ on $2.5 Billion Claim Against Kuwait - Bloomberg

Dow Chemical Co. (DOW) is “optimistic” that an arbitration panel will rule favorably on its claim that Kuwait owes at least $2.5 billion for breaching a 2008 agreement to buy a stake in the company’s plastics business.
The arbitration tribunal of the International Chamber of Commerce in London is expected to rule on claims against Kuwait’s Petrochemicals Industries Co. “very soon,” Rebecca Bentley, a spokeswoman for Midland, Michigan-based Dow, said in an e-mail today.
“Nothing has diminished our position that PIC was required to close, and that PIC owes substantial damages to Dow,” Bentley said. “We remain very optimistic about the reward.”

MIDEAST STOCKS-UAE mkts rise in yr-end trade; most Gulf bourses up | Reuters

Dubai's index made its largest one-day gain in two months on Wednesday in what traders said appeared to be end-of-year window-dressing, as most regional markets edged higher.

Dubai's benchmark climbed 2.1 percent, up from Tuesday's seven-year low, supported mainly by Emaar Properties which rose 2.8 percent and heavyweight Emirates NBD which gained 3.7 percent. Illiquid stock Mashreq bank jumped 7.4 percent, in year-end sporadic trade.

"There wasn't a major reason for the shares to drop and it wasn't due to companies' performances but investor sentiment," said Marie Salem, equity trader at Al Mal Capital.

MENA stock markets close - December 28, 2011

ExchangeStatus IndexChange
TASI (Saudi Stock Market)
DFM (Dubai Financial Market)
ADX (Abudhabi Securities Exchange)
KSE (Kuwait Stock Exchange)
BSE (Bahrain Stock Exchange)
MSM (Muscat Securities Market)
QE (Qatar Exchange)
LSE (Beirut Stock Exchange)
EGX 30 (Egypt Exchange)
ASE (Amman Stock Exchange)
TUNINDEX (Tunisia Stock Exchange)
CB (Casablanca Stock Exchange)
PSE (Palestine Securities Exchange)

Abu Dhabi to pump $4.6 billion more into struggling Aldar Properties in exchange for property - Winnipeg Free Press

The state-backed developer of Abu Dhabi's Formula One circuit says the government of Abu Dhabi will pump in $4.6 billion into the cash-strapped company in exchange for waterfront property and other assets.
Wednesday's deal follows the injection of $5.2 billion in emergency funds provided by the Emirati capital to Aldar Properties earlier this year.
As part of the latest transaction, Abu Dhabi will take control of 760 villas at the company's Al Raha Beach development. Aldar is also selling a redeveloped area known as Central Market to the emirate.

gulfnews : Aldar sells Dh16.8bn in assets to Abu Dhabi government

Aldar Properties PJSC Wednesday announced unit sales, asset transfers and reimbursements with the Government of Abu Dhabi, for a total consideration of Dh16.8 billion.
Under the deal, Abu Dhabi government has purchased 760 three-, four- and five-bedroom units within the Al Bandar, Al Zeina and Al Muneera developments in Al Raha Beach for a total consideration of Dh3.5bn.
“Aldar retains ownership of the remaining inventory of units at Al Raha Beach, which are available for purchase or “rent-to-own”,” the company said in a statement.

MIDEAST DEBT-Gulf govts may aid firms' fund-raising next year | Agricultural Commodities | Reuters

Gulf Arab governments may be pressured into increasing sovereign borrowing next year to raise funds on behalf of state-linked companies, as wide credit spreads make raising corporate debt expensive.

This year, Bahrain, Qatar and Dubai issued sovereign bonds, and all paid hefty premiums demanded by investors because of the turmoil in global financial markets. Even AA-rated Qatar paid a new-issue premium of about 40 basis points on the five-year tranche of its $5 billion mega bond in November.

Corporations have faced even more scepticism from investors, so the vast majority of the Gulf's non-sovereign bond issuance this year has been by banks or top-rated government-related entities (GREs), with many other potential borrowers forced to delay issuance plans until pricing improves.

Pearl-Qatar developer's shares halted over new investor talk | Reuters

Shares in Union Development Company (UDC), the developer behind Qatar's man-made Pearl island project, were suspended on Wednesday over its plans to bring in a strategic investor, the country's financial markets authority said.

UDC said earlier this month that it had been approached to enter into "serious negotiation" to add a new Qatari shareholder through issuance of new shares.

The Qatar Financial Markets Authority ordered the trading halt to give investors "equal and sufficient" access to information related to UDC's Dec. 5 announcement. The firm said it would put the matter before an extraordinary general meeting.

Qatar Islamic Bank to buy IBQ's Islamic assets | Reuters

Qatar Islamic Bank will acquire the sharia-compliant corporate portfolio of International Bank of Qatar(IBQ), the Islamic lender said on Wednesday.

The agreement will see IBQ's Islamic corporate financing facilities and its deposit accounts transferred to Qatar's largest sharia-compliant bank by assets, according to a statement.

No value for the acquisition was given.

How fragile is Dubai's economy? | Al Bawaba

A key player in the UAE's banking sector has said "a sense of fragility" still threatened a full recovery of the country's economy. Rick Pudner, CEO of Emirates NBD, said the first quarter of 2011 had seen signs of improvement in some of the UAE's non-oil sectors but added that the country was "not entirely out of the woods yet".

International banks have laid off hundreds of thousands of employees globally, leaving the UAE less of a priority. ‘Signs are emerging of a recovery, albeit a tentative one, in banking’, said Jonathan Morris, the UAE chief executive of Standard Chartered. "I genuinely think lessons have been learnt from the crisis," he added.

Emirates NBD's forced takeover of Dubai Bank was perhaps not the type of consolidation in the sector that some in the industry had hoped for. With interest rates on deposits at historic lows and faith in banks' strength shaken by the financial crisis, many retail investors have shifted assets from banks to online trading in currencies and bullion. Over-reliance on lending to government-related entities led to the downfall of Dubai Bank, which has been recently taken over by Emirates NBD.

Jadwa says KSA needs 74 oil price to balance budget |

The kingdom will need a breakeven crude oil price of $74 per barrel to generate the funds required to meet its widening expenditure next year, Jadwa Investment said Tuesday.
The government announced on Monday yet another expansionary budget with spending marked at SR690 billion, and revenues reaching SR702 billion.
But Jadwa, a respected Riyadh-based investment firm, said in a report that it expects expenditure to again overshoot the budget, reaching SR733 billion.

EU crisis likely to hit UAE mortgage recovery in 2012 -

The debt crises in Europe and the US will make mortgage financing more difficult in the UAE next year and could hinder signs of resurgence in the sector, analysts have warned.
Official figures from the Dubai Land Department found the total value of the mortgage market in Dubai rose 45 percent to $13bn in the first eleven months of 2011, compared to the same period last year.
The value of mortgages issued was down 60 percent since the boom era of 2008.

Qatar, Abu Dhabi Appeal Grows for Banks - Bloomberg

Qatar Petroleum raised the Middle East’s biggest syndicated loan this year as banks lend to state- backed projects after the region’s political unrest and Europe’s debt crisis reduced borrowing.
The state-run energy company said Dec. 13 it completed the financing of the Barzan Gas Project with a $7.2 billion syndicated loan. Qatar, holder of the world’s third-largest natural gas reserves, is stepping up the pace of infrastructure developments as it prepares to host the 2022 soccer World Cup.
Borrowers backed by oil- and gas-rich Persian Gulf emirates such as Qatar and Abu Dhabi have secured loans even as syndicated lending in the Middle East and North Africa fell 47 percent, excluding most of the Barzan loan. Qatar and Abu Dhabi have the third-highest investment grade ratings at Standard & Poor’s. The economy of Qatar, the region’s second-biggest issuer of dollar bonds this year, will grow 19 percent in 2011, the International Monetary Fund forecasts.

Economic outlook for the UAE surprisingly bright for 2012 « ArabianMoney

ArabianMoney editor and publisher Peter Cooper talks to Sandra Mergulhao from about the outlook for the UAE economy in 2012 and looks back over the events that shaped 2011.

With record oil revenues and a year of solid recovery behind it, the prospects for the UAE seem surprisingly bright and certainly shine out from the gloomy prospects for much of the Arab world as the economic consequences of the Arab Spring continue to be negative.

However, a messy end to the eurozone crisis could send oil prices tumbling, and that relatively high possibility is missing from this slightly too rosy view of 2012.

IMF says expects January talks with Egypt | Reuters

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) said on Tuesday it planned to meet with Egyptian authorities to discuss the country's economic problems but added that any funding would have to be based on benchmarks that had broad political support.

Egypt, whose economy has been hammered by the uprising that unseated Hosni Mubarak in February, turned down a $3 billion IMF facility in June, but ministers have indicated the country may now be prepared to return to the negotiating table.

"The IMF team is looking forward to discussions in January with the authorities on their economic programme to address Egypt's difficult economic and financial situation," an IMF representative said in an emailed statement. It said it was too early to discuss specific measures.

Bahraini lender adds Libya gov as chairman | Reuters

Arab Banking Corporation (ABC) has appointed the new governor of Libya's central bank as its chairman, the Bahrain-based lender said on Wednesday.

Saddek Omar Elkaber, who took the helm at the Libyan central in October, was previously deputy chief executive at ABC's British unit, ABC International Bank.

ABC is majority owned by the Central Bank of Libya, which holds a near-60 percent stake, and Kuwait Investment Authority. It also appointed Khaled Kagigi and Sami Rais as new directors.

gulfnews : Saudi budget a balanced one

Governments must be responsive to the needs of their people, otherwise social and political instability are sure to follow.
This is why those who can afford it must invest in sustainable social and economic infrastructure development programmes. Saudi Arabia is doing this in the budget that the kingdom has announced for 2012, which will see it invest heavily in building homes and reducing unemployment. However, the country continues to be responsible in its spending plans — which will total 690 billion riyals, for the 2012 — a 17 per cent decrease in its actual expenditure for this year. This is necessary in these times when the international financial system remains persistently volatile.

gulfnews : Saudis caught off guard as growth beats target

Saudi Arabia's strong economic growth this year has been a positive surprise, finance minister Ebrahim Al Assaf said yesterday, adding that the government's plans to build hundreds of thousands of homes aimed to limit future inflationary pressures.
The ministry estimates that gross domestic product of the world's top oil exporter jumped 6.8 per cent in 2011, it said on Monday. This is the country's fastest expansion since 7.7 per cent in 2003.
"In previous years, we used to expect higher growth but it came lower. Figures this year were a happy surprise for us," Al Assaf told Al Arabiya television.

Strong appetite for Tadawul - The National

Saudi Arabia's petrochemical companies are expected to enjoy a surge in overseas interest if plans to open the kingdom's stock exchange to foreign investors come to fruition.

Market regulators in Jeddah are planning to open the Tadawul stock exchange to direct foreign investment after conducting trials. Selected foreign investors, meanwhile, are expected to be given access by the middle of next year.

"Saudi Arabia is moving towards opening their market for direct foreign ownership," said Aleksandar Stojanovski, an analyst at Deutsche Bank. "This is only a matter of when rather than if."

Someone has to see that justice is done - The National

Amna Al Owais is just one of two people from around the world to receive an honourable mention for a Young Lawyer of the Year Award from the International Bar Association. The deputy registrar and small claims tribunal registrar for the Courts at Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) discusses the challenges of rolling out a free legal advisory scheme, and how to boost the number of female Emiratis in the legal profession.

How did you end up at the DIFC Courts when you started working in law about six years ago?

The court was up and running when I was doing my master's in the UK. I got a call from a judge here, and he said "we opened a common law court and we are targeting Emiratis who have a common law background". That was a very appealing role for me. I started as a junior person, in an admin role, then was the first UAE national on the registry side.

Oil Trades Near Six-Week High on Iran Threat to Strait of Hormuz Shipping - Bloomberg

Oil traded near the highest level in six weeks after Iran threatened to block crude transportation through the Strait of Hormuz, increasing concern that global supplies will be curbed amid shrinking U.S. stockpiles.
Futures were little changed after rising for a sixth day yesterday, the longest run of advances since November 2010. Iran’s official Islamic Republic News Agency cited Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi as saying the country would bar shipments through the strait if sanctions are imposed on its oil exports. U.S. oil inventories probably dropped for a third week, a Bloomberg News survey showed before an Energy Department report this week.
“There’s been a significant decline in inventories,” said Gavin Wendt, a senior resource analyst at Mine Life Pty in Sydney. “If that trend continues, combined with the Iranian situation, it could be significant in driving oil prices even higher.”

Saudi would replace Iran crude if EU embargoes-sources | Energy & Oil | Reuters

Top oil exporter Saudi Arabia and other Gulf OPEC states are ready to replace Iranian oil if further sanctions halt Iranian crude exports to Europe, industry sources said on Tuesday.

Iran's Oil Minister Rostam Qasemi had said that Saudi Arabia had promised not to replace Iranian crude if sanctions are imposed.

"No promise was made to Iran, its very unlikely that Saudi Arabia would not fill a demand gap if sanctions are placed," an industry source familiar with the matter, who declined to be named, told Reuters.

gulfnews : Plan to list debt likely to boost Qatar bond sales

Qatar's plan to list government bonds on the country's bourse for the first time may motivate companies in the world's fastest-growing economy to sell bonds locally as Europe's debt crisis prompts its banks to lend less.
The central bank of Qatar said yesterday it would list treasury bills on the Qatar Exchange tomorrow "as a first step toward starting a secondary market." Listings of bonds and sukuk, or Islamic notes, would follow, the central bank said.
The urgency of developing Gulf credit markets has heightened as Eurozone countries seek to raise $1.1 trillion of debt in 2012, according to Deutsche Bank AG forecasts. Rather than relying on investment from Europe, borrowers may seek to lure investors in the Arabian Gulf.

UAE banks not out of woods yet - The National

The bankers populating the Dubai International Financial Centre are a rather more nervous bunch as they enter the third year since the emirate's credit bubble burst. The bravado of boom time Dubai has vanished, replaced by a sober sense of a slow recovery.

International banks have laid off hundreds of thousands of employees globally, leaving the UAE less of a priority. And lenders in the country are constrained in their ability to provide loans by bad debts that are expected to persist for years.

Signs are emerging of a recovery, albeit a tentative one, in banking,says Jonathan Morris, the UAE chief executive of Standard Chartered.

Oil price climbs amid Iranian threat -

Iran on Tuesday threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz, a chokepoint for a third of the world’s seaborne oil trade, if the west imposes oil sanctions on Tehran, causing a rise in oil prices.

The warning by Mohammad Reza Rahimi, Iran’s first vice-president, came days after Iran staged naval war exercises in the strait.

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Saudi Arabia: spend it while you can | beyondbrics –

While most western governments are by now checking ministry sofas for any loose change that might have been lost in the creases, Saudi Arabia increased spending by 25 per cent this year – and has still been able notch up budget surplus north of $81bn, or 14 per cent of the kingdom’s annual economic output.

Emboldened, the kingdom now plans to raise government spending further next year, to an all-time budget high of SR690bn next year, according to the 2012 fiscal plan approved on Tuesday. A planned SR250bn splurge on housing projects comes on top, as the money needed has already been deposited at the central bank.

It is, as Jadwa Investment, a local investment house, says in a research note – with some understatement – an “expansionary budget”.

Saudi Arabian Light Crude Prices to Fall 12% Next Year, NCB Says - Businessweek

Prices of Arabian Light oil, the major type of crude exported by Saudi Arabia, are expected to fall by 12 percent next year as demand declines, according to National Commercial Bank, the kingdom’s largest bank by assets.

Arabian Light will average $95 a barrel next year from an average 2011 price of $107.80, the Jeddah-based lender said in an e-mailed report today. This year’s price rose 39 percent from last year, according to the report.

Saudi Arabia’s average oil production may fall to 8.8 million barrels a day next year from 9.2 million as demand from Europe weakens, the bank said.

Saudi Electricity to launch transmission firm in Jan | Reuters

State-controlled Saudi Electricity Co (SEC) plans to launch a transmission subsidiary in January as it splits up into six companies to encourage competition, state news agency SPA reported on Tuesday.

After the restructuring, SEC will be a holding company and will retain full ownership of the six companies, which include four power generation firms, one firm for distribution and another one for transmission.

The cost of the restructuring programme is estimated at around 200 million riyals ($53.3 million), Ali Bin Saleh al-Barrak, SEC's chief executive told SPA.

Iran will block oil passage if sanctions applied | Al Akhbar English

Iran will block the transit of oil through the key Strait of Hormuz if the West imposes sanctions on Iranian oil exports, Iran's Vice President Ali Rahimi warned on Tuesday.

The remarks were reported by Iranian news agency, IRNA, as Iran conducts 10-day navy war games near the Strait of Hormuz.

"If sanctions are adopted against Iranian oil, not a drop of oil will pass through the Strait of Hormuz," Rahimi was quoted as saying.

MENA stock markets close - December 27, 2011

ExchangeStatus IndexChange
TASI (Saudi Stock Market)
DFM (Dubai Financial Market)
ADX (Abudhabi Securities Exchange)
KSE (Kuwait Stock Exchange)
BSE (Bahrain Stock Exchange)
MSM (Muscat Securities Market)
QE (Qatar Exchange)
LSE (Beirut Stock Exchange)
EGX 30 (Egypt Exchange)
ASE (Amman Stock Exchange)
TUNINDEX (Tunisia Stock Exchange)
CB (Casablanca Stock Exchange)
PSE (Palestine Securities Exchange)