Friday, 30 September 2011
In an interview with beyond brics in New York this week, we wondered what a central banker does without those fundamental powers?
Al-Wazir had an well-worn answer: “When people think of a central bank, they think that the only tool you have is interests rates, but really you have three.”
UAE billionaire expresses readiness to invest in South Sudan - Sudan Tribune: Plural news and views on Sudan
South Sudan became an independent state on 9 July 2011 and still lacks infrastructure and basic services after years of underinvestment and more than two decades of civil war with North Sudan.
On Thursday a Dubai billionaire, Sheikh Buti Saeed Al Ghandi, led a delegation to Juba to assess the investment potentials.
The charges, filed yesterday, stem from payments allegedly made to secure a German submarine order a decade ago, AFP reported, citing a judicial source.
Ipic paid almost US$700 million (Dh2.57 billion) for a 70 per cent stake in Ferrostaal in 2009 from the German lorry maker MAN. But the company later tried to rescind the deal after German authorities launched an investigation the following year and allegations of bribery emerged. Ipic and MAN are still in a legal fight over the deal in Germany, and Ipic recently hired Morgan Stanley to evaluate the investment.
The bank is one of five that won an order against the Al Gosaibis to repay a total of US$250 million (Dh918.2m) in June, but yesterday a London judge gave HSBC priority over the others to seek repayment of some of its debts from five properties owned by the Al Gosaibis in London's Mayfair district.
The family owes HSBC about US$80m. The other banks are BNP Paribas, British Arab Commercial Bank, Arab Banking Corporation, and Crédit Agricole.
"We have created a taskforce to focus on financial recoveries for the company," said Anan Fakhr Al Deen, CEO of Damas International Limited. "We have concluded several agreements to recover funds from different sources that were owed to us. This is a positive step in our ongoing restructuring and we are ensuring that we allocate sufficient resources to recover outstanding dues owed to us," he said.
“Salaries (for QNB employees) were increased after the government’s announcement,” one source said.
Earlier this month the Qatar government hiked salaries, pensions and benefits for its state and military employees by 60 percent, in a move seen as an attempt to help preserve stability in the state.
In an address at the outset of the signing ceremony of a series of co-operation agreements and memorandums of understanding in Tunis on Wednesday night, the Prime Minister said “such participation is to help the brothers in Tunisia for the development of what they seek to develop, especially for work in the centre and south of the country”.
Talking about the agreements signed between the two countries, he said that in addition to those agreements, new ideas for investment and co-operation between Qatar and Tunisia in the political, economic and social issues are under discussion.
Loans rose 0.5 percent in August from July to 1,056.8 billion dirhams ($288 billion), while deposits dropped 3.2 percent 1,078.4 billion dirhams, the data said. Specific provisions for bad loans rose 1.7 percent in August from July to 49.2 billion dirhams, the data showed.
“Things domestically have improved and normalized to an extent,” said Marios Maratheftis, Dubai-based chief economist for the Middle East at Standard Chartered Plc. “We had loans exceeding deposits for a long time, that was worrisome as it was a sign that banks did not really have room to resume credit growth.”
The facility, which consists of a five-year tranche and an eight-year amortising loan, is being arranged by Dubai Islamic Bank , National Bank of Abu Dhabi and Standard Chartered , four sources told Reuters.
Emaar, the Gulf's largest listed developer, is using four of its Dubai malls as collateral for the deal, two of the bankers said.
As Abu Dhabi continues its efforts to diversify production away from the oil and gas sector, a slew of multi-billion dirham projects is set to transform the capital city's infrastructure and production outlook.
Currently, only 45 per cent of Abu Dhabi's GDP comes from non-oil contributions, but infrastructure developments in the air and on the ground will aim to reverse this trend so that these industries contribute at least 60 per cent of the produce within the next two decades.
In the past decade, when oil exceeded $100 a barrel, the Gulf’s oil producers went shopping. Abu Dhabi bought English soccer club Manchester City and New York’s iconic Chrysler Building, and Qatar acquired a stake in Porsche and bought British shopping emporium Harrods. Now priorities have changed. Members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, poised to earn an unprecedented $1 trillion from oil this year, are investing in their citizenry. Gulf nations have pledged $150 billion to fund social programs and put a damper on public dissent, which led to the overthrow of rulers in Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya, and spread to Yemen and Syria.
These commitments give the petrostates plenty of incentives to prop up oil prices. According to BNP Paribas, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states will need to keep oil at more than $80 a barrel to afford their promises.
Saudi Arabia is spending $43 billion on its poorer citizens and religious institutions. That includes the creation of 60,000 jobs at its Interior Ministry and generous support for the Ministry of Islamic Affairs and the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice, which was promised after clerics backed a ban on protests.
Thursday, 29 September 2011
Brian Jeffrey, senior vice president of corporate treasury, told Arabic language daily al-Bayan, that the airline was considering the new bonds to finance aircraft purchases, given funding challenges faced by European banks.
Emirates, which issued a $1 billion bond in June, said diversifying funding options is always on the table.
"The new Qatar is Australia because final investment decisions (FIDs) have already been taken," Broggi said, referring to the five sanctioned projects and several more that are expected to reach FID in 2011-2012.
A moratorium on expansion in Qatar until 2015 is further expected to boost Australia's chances of taking the top spot.
The 16-year loans will pay an interest of between 100 basis points to 150 basis points over benchmark rates besides fees, said the bankers, who declined to be identified because the information is private. Qatar Petroleum sent out request for proposals for the loan to about 50 local and foreign banks and may complete signing documents over the next four to six weeks, the bankers said. One basis point is one hundredth of a percent.
The loans will be followed by a bond offering, with a total fund-raising of $5 billion planned, the bankers said.
Boston Consulting Group has issued a report arguing that, at its current rate of expansion, Emirates will become the world’s biggest wide-body carrier by 2015. Its regional competitors, Etihad of Abu Dhabi and Qatar Airways, won’t be far off the top 20. But BCG warns that turbulence will increase as they boost their long-haul operations in an increasingly competitive international market.
Dubai’s ‘Aerotropolis’ strategy – a city flourishing around the busy east-west air corridor it serves – has developed as fast as the city’s debt and real estate woes pulled the emirate back from its hubristic rise over the past decade.
|TASI (Saudi Stock Market)||6112.37||-0.26%|
|DFM (Dubai Financial Market)||1431.71||-0.47%|
|ADX (Abudhabi Securities Exchange)||2533.41||-0.05%|
|KSE (Kuwait Stock Exchange)||5833.1||-0.27%|
|BSE (Bahrain Stock Exchange)||1165.75||-1.48%|
|MSM (Muscat Securities Market)||5602.29||-0.17%|
|QE (Qatar Exchange)||8393.92||-0.34%|
|LSE (Beirut Stock Exchange)||1233.93||-0.28%|
|EGX 30 (Egypt Exchange)||4137.35||1.04%|
|ASE (Amman Stock Exchange)||1991.6||-0.87%|
|TUNINDEX (Tunisia Stock Exchange)||4664.2||-0.04%|
|CB (Casablanca Stock Exchange)||11338.7||0.03%|
|PSE (Palestine Securities Exchange)||488.2||1.10%|
The following shares were active in the Persian Gulf region. Stock symbols are in parentheses.
Mobile Telecommunications Co. (ZAIN KK) dropped the most since May 15, losing 3.1 percent to 940 fils. Kingdom Holding Co. and Bahrain Telecom Co. (BATELCO BI) abandoned plans to buy a 25 percent stake of the Kuwaiti phone company’s Saudi Arabian unit. Bahrain Telecom, or Batelco, rose 0.5 percent to 0.4 dinar in Manama trading.
"Currently, we can only act with a view to the short term, longer term forecasts cannot be maintained in view of the insecure situation in Europe and the United States," Qatar Holding chief executive Ahmad Mohamed Al-Sayed was quoted as saying in an interview.
"This situation dwarfs everything that the continent has seen in the past 50 years ... "It remains to be seen whether all the various states truly decide in favour of a common future."
The privately-held firm set up a banks' committee earlier this year to thrash out a debt deal after it announced talks with lenders to discuss the terms of its facilities.
“We are not restructuring, we are just rescheduling some existing debts,” Fatima Al Jaber told Arabian Business on the sidelines of the Leaders in Construction Summit in Dubai.
“All brokerage firms will not be allowed to carry out such trading. Brokerage firms are required to get a separate licence for collateral trading (or margin trading) from the CMA. They have to apply for it,” Abdullah bin Salem bin Abdullah al Salmi, executive vice-president of the Capital Market Authority (CMA) told Times of Oman.
Margin trading allows investors to borrow money from a broker to purchase stocks, using their investment as collateral.
Kingdom and Bahrain Telecom "concluded that the terms and conditions as set out in its non-binding offer could not be met to its satisfaction,’’ they said in separate statements today. “This follows a period of due diligence and discussions with Zain Group and other stakeholders.”
Kingdom and Bahrain Telecom, known as Batelco, had agreed in principle to pay $950 million in cash for the stake in Zain Saudi, controlled by Kuwait’s Zain Group. In addition, Zain Saudi would have paid $250 million of debt to Zain Group after the transfer of ownership, Zain Group said on March 16.
During a roundtable discussion hosted by the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, top businessmen in the UAE said that the high cost of hiring staff, paying wages and rents was a significant obstacle.
"Despite Dubai's appealing conditions and promising growth, the high operating costs of businesses is among the emirate's main challenges [and] should be monitored very closely," said Mohideen Bin Hindi, the chairman of the Dubai Retail Business Group.
States beset by revolutionary fervour are witnessing reduced consumption as their economies falter amid uncertainty – even if, in the longer term, political change could bring deeper, more exciting markets for global retailers.
The divergent fortunes are most apparent in the Middle East and north Africa’s two largest consumer markets, Egypt and Saudi Arabia.
Gulf rulers are sending the world an unequivocal message – their countries will remain an exception to the Arab awakening. As the winds of change blow through the Middle East and north Africa, Gulf states are behaving as if it’s business as usual, pursuing small, incremental political reforms that would be deemed irrelevant, if not insulting, in other parts of the region.
In Bahrain, where a Shia uprising was crushed this year, the authorities held a by-election last weekend to replace Shia members who had withdrawn from parliament in protest at the harsh security crackdown. They portrayed the exercise as a confirmation of the al-Khalifa family’s commitment to political reforms.
Next door in the United Arab Emirates another election was held, this one to a federal national council that has a purely advisory role and in which half the members are, in any case, appointed. The election was billed as a step forward because the number of citizens entitled to take part was significantly increased.
Bahrain has started to receive funds from the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council as it seeks to spend its way out of a slowdown caused by political unrest which is blighting its services-orientated economy.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Essa Al Khalifa, chief executive of the Economic Development Board, says “a significant portion of the GCC funds” have arrived in the past few weeks, referring to the first elements of a $1bn tranche expected this year.
“We are spending on infrastructure, a lot on housing. We are looking at private public partnerships. There are a number of initiatives in the pipeline aimed at encouraging economic growth through social improvement,” he says.
Options contracts grant investors the right to buy or sell at a fixed price within a defined period or on a predetermined date.
They are used to offset the risk of currency fluctuations. Investors can also make speculative bets using the contracts or explore arbitrage opportunities to benefit from different exchange rates.
Middle East retail, top retail locations, Abu Dhabi Mall, Seef Mall, Raya Mall, Landmark Doha | alifarabia
This downward trend was in sharp contrast to the growth seen in other emerging markets. Not surprisngly, some of the countries most affected by the Arab revolt saw the most severe declines. Bahrain’s retail rents fell 26.7% during the period, while Syria saw a 16.7% decline.
Meanwhile, UAE (3.0%) and Qatar (2.2%) registered more modest falls. Rental uplift was confined to Lebanon (5.2%) – where values in the top shopping areas of Beirut proved resilient to external factors.
Wednesday, 28 September 2011
With equity prices across the world tumbling, Qatar has been one of the few markets to post even modest gains this year, second only in the MSCI frontier stock market index to the tiny exchange of Trinidad and Tobago. The main Qatar stock index is up about half a percentage point this year, while almost all other markets have fallen.
The Gulf country, which is sitting on huge gas reserves, got a boost last year from its surprise victory in the competition to host the 2022 soccer World Cup. But Qatar's spending on infrastructure for the championship is only part of a broader state spending programme by one of the world's fastest-growing economies.
Oil policy officials in the capitals of OPEC's Gulf Arab price doves Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates are relaxed and won't be losing sleep if prices fall further.
One senior official in the region told Reuters those producers are unlikely to reduce supplies to try to stem a decline in oil prices unless crude falls below USD 90 a barrel for a sustained period.
|TASI (Saudi Stock Market)||6112.37||-0.26%|
|DFM (Dubai Financial Market)||1438.41||-0.69%|
|ADX (Abudhabi Securities Exchange)||2534.7||-0.36%|
|KSE (Kuwait Stock Exchange)||5849.1||-0.08%|
|BSE (Bahrain Stock Exchange)||1183.25||-1.41%|
|MSM (Muscat Securities Market)||5611.71||-0.63%|
|QE (Qatar Exchange)||8422.25||0.05%|
|LSE (Beirut Stock Exchange)||1237.41||-0.43%|
|EGX 30 (Egypt Exchange)||4094.64||-3.58%|
|ASE (Amman Stock Exchange)||2008.99||-0.10%|
|TUNINDEX (Tunisia Stock Exchange)||4666.2||0.02%|
|CB (Casablanca Stock Exchange)||11304.2||-0.59%|
|PSE (Palestine Securities Exchange)||482.9||0.70%|
Emirates will begin daily services from Dubai to Dallas starting Feb. 2 and to Seattle from March 1 and may add U.S. cities including Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Philadelphia and Washington, President Tim Clark said today in an interview.
Passenger numbers at Emirates have surged fivefold in a decade, making it the world No. 1 by international traffic. Hubs in Paris, Frankfurt and London are already under pressure as the carrier diverts long-haul passengers through Dubai, and Clark said the U.S. market could be targeted using Airbus SAS’s A380 superjumbo, of which it has 90 on order offering 45,000 seats.
"The current European sovereign debt crisis, and its expected impacts on European banks, gives new impetus to aircraft investment opportunities for Middle East investors," Boeing said in a statement.
European banks have long been investors in aircraft but Boeing is now worried about an "expected pullback" from these lenders, it added, as fears mount about their exposure to indebted countries in the euro zone.
Gross domestic product in Saudi Arabia, the largest Arab economy and the world's top oil exporter, is expected to expand 4.5 per cent in 2012 after 6.2 per cent this year, according to the median forecast of 16 analysts surveyed between September 14 and 27.
The country's central bank governor reined in his expectations for growth on Wednesday, saying he was "optimistic" that the economy would grow at an annual rate of up to five per cent this year and next compared to a previous forecast for this year of around six per cent.
Dubai’s stocks are poised for the lowest close in almost seven months, led by Emaar Properties PJSC, as oil declined and amid concern Greece’s effort to cut its deficit won’t be enough to prevent a default.
Emaar, developer of the world’s tallest tower, declined 0.7 percent. Aramex PJSC, the Middle East’s largest courier company, headed for the biggest drop in almost a week. The DFM General Index lost 0.5 percent to 1,441.42, poised for its lowest close since March 8 at 12:32 p.m. in the emirate. The measure is headed for its fourth quarterly drop, retreating 5 percent since the end of June. About 25 million shares traded in Dubai today, compared with this year’s daily average of 113 million shares.
“Our markets are lacking leadership, and what we’re seeing in the rest of the world is increasing the fear factor,” said Mohammed Ali Yasin, chief investment officer at Abu Dhabi-based financial services company CAPM Investments PJSC. “We have been defensive in the face of volatile global markets, but it’s worrying that we’re not seeing the same rebounds here that we see there.”
Saad Investments Company Ltd., which is being liquidated in the Cayman Islands, won the asset freeze in the High Court in London after claiming there was a risk al-Sanea would spend the money before paying potential damages. The unit also claimed al- Sanea failed to return hundreds of documents he removed from its legal offices in Geneva two years ago.
“There is a risk of dissipation in this case” and a “failure to cooperate with the liquidators,” Saad Investment’s lawyer, Stephen Atherton, said of al-Sanea, one of Saudi Arabia’s richest men. The company also claims al-Sanea removed $60 million at the time he took the documents.
The sum can be drawn upon to part-finance the commercial debt tranche which the consortia will have to put forward as part of their bids for the Hassyan 1 project.
The 1,500-megawatt Hassyan-1 power plant will be the first in Dubai to be built as an Independent Power Producer (IPP), whereby the producer sells its output to the utility, with the project to be financed as a public-private partnership (PPP).
The changes mean both countries are still far from Western concepts of democracy and nearby revolutions, but the reforms have financial benefits too.
It is easy to pick holes. The right of Saudi women to vote and be part of municipal councils renders them as powerless as their male counterparts: elections only fill half the seats, which have limited powers to start with.
The Qatar Financial Centre (QFC), categorised as transnational specialists, continued to be ranked 30 in the world, but improved its ratings by 39 points from the previous index.
However, Dubai was ranked 36, slipping eight positions from the previous index although it gained 17 points, according to the GFCI, which covers 75 financial centers around the world. The index is based on five over-arching areas of competitiveness: people, business environment, infrastructure, market access and general competitiveness.
VW’s goal to combine with Porsche by the end of 2011 has been held up by lawsuits in the U.S. and an investigation by German prosecutors linked to Porsche’s botched effort to buy VW.
“If there’s now a different way, we may as well try to help to make it happen,” Ahmad Mohamed Al-Sayed, chief executive officer of the foreign investment arm of the Gulf country’s sovereign wealth fund told reporters in Berlin today.