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Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Qatar To Extend Stock Market Trading Hours - WSJ.com

Qatar's market watchdog said the trading hours on the Qatar Exchange will be extended to bring it more in line with other Persian Gulf stock markets.

The Qatar Financial Markets Authority said in a statement Wednesday that trading on the Doha bourse will take place between 0630 GMT and 1000 GMT. It didn't give a starting date for the new trading hours.

According to the Qatar Exchange's website, trading currently begins at 0700 GMT and ends at 0945 GMT, Sunday through Thursday.

MIDEAST STOCKS-Arabtec weighs on Dubai index; Kuwait, Egypt up | Markets | Reuters

Dubai's index retreated for a third straight session on Wednesday, weighed down by builder Arabtec (ARTC.DU: Quote) which fell after the regulator imposed a six-month trading ban on its chief executive.

Arabtec dropped 2.5 percent, and the company's chief executive Riad Kamal said his suspension from trading in UAE markets was due to his oversight in selling shares prior to the announcement of projects. [ID:nLDE7040BB]

'Obviously we will see some short-term impact, as there is no transparency about the issue at this point,' said Robert McKinnon, ASAS Capital chief investment officer.



FT.com - Comment: Rolling back Saudi reform ruled out

Recent discussion about the royal succession in Saudi Arabia has raised the possibility that the reform process in the kingdom may stall. But the reality is that, for many years to come, such an option is not available to policymakers or rulers.

The central challenge facing Saudi Arabia is that, with a population growing by a little more than 2.3 per cent a year, and more than 34 per cent of its people below the age of 15, the labour market needs to generate more jobs for nationals.

The economy is generating work, but in 2009 for every 100 positions created only eight went to Saudis, with the balance going to foreigners. In the kingdom, as in the rest of the Gulf, labour market reforms must be introduced to escape the trap of reliance on cheap expatriate labour. The private sector in particular has to make efforts to wean itself from profit margins based fundamentally on cheap expatriate workers.

Abu Dhabi's Eshraq plans $224 mln IPO in Feb -banker | Reuters

UAE property firm Eshraq plans to sell a 55 percent stake worth an estimated $224 million in an initial public offering in February and list on the Abu Dhabi stock exchange, a banker close to the deal said on Wednesday.

The Abu Dhabi-based banker, speaking on condition of anonymity, said several UAE banks are involved in the IPO which will offers 825 million shares. Eshraq has a total capital of 1.5 billion dirhams ($408.4 million), he told Reuters.

'After the IPO, the shares will be listed on ADX,' he said.

Project on The Palm goes to Dubai World Tribunal - The National

A joint venture part-owned by the largest foreign developer on The Palm Jumeirah is seeking payment of Dh920 million (US$250.4m) from Nakheel in the Dubai World Tribunal.

The Dubai property company faces a claim over the alleged non-cancellation of a deal in the biggest case so far before the tribunal.

The claim is the second volley in an intensifying legal skirmish between Nakheel, the developer that built The Palm, and Souq Residences, the partnership behind the emirate’s Golden Mile.

Orascom Telecom Tunisiana Stake Sale May Affect Djezzy Price in Algeria - Bloomberg

Orascom Telecom Holding SAE said it concluded a deal selling its 50 percent stake in Orascom Telecom Tunisie to Qatar Telecom for $1.2 billion, a transaction that could affect the valuation of Orascom’s Algerian unit, Djezzy.

The price is 6.7 times Tunisiana’s earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, Orascom said in a statement to the Cairo bourse. The Ebitda multiple is used to evaluate acquisitions in the telecommunications industry.

“This deal could affect the valuation for Djezzy,” Ahmed Adel, telecom analyst at Cairo-based Naeem Brokerage said by telephone. “Any adviser making the valuation for Djezzy should take into consideration the region’s recent deal multiples.”

Saudi Aramco Cuts Most February Oil Prices, Increases Super Light to Asia - Bloomberg

Saudi Aramco, the world’s largest state-owned oil company, lowered official selling prices for all of its crude grades for customers in the U.S., Europe and the Mediterranean for February.

The company, the world’s biggest crude exporter, increased the formula price for Arab Super Light crude, a grade sold only to customers in Asia, and of Extra Light oil to Asia.

11 for 2011: Will Dubai default? | beyondbrics – FT.com

This post by Marios Maratheftis of Standard Chartered Bank is part of a beyondbrics series on the big questions in emerging markets in 2011.

Last year was a relatively good one for Dubai – especially when compared to the volatile 2009. The economy began to recover and, more importantly, Dubai World reached an agreement with its lenders to restructure part of its debt. These were positive developments. But one needs to remember that a significant amount of Dubai’s debt will mature in 2011.

I expect Dubai to address the maturing of this debt in three ways: first, by tapping the markets to refinance part of it; second, by selling assets; and third, by going ahead with further debt restructuring. To be sure, there are challenges ahead. But the good news is that Dubai and its lenders are adopting a pragmatic approach to deal with the emirate’s debt.

Egypt sees annualised Q4 GDP growth at 6-6.2 pct | Reuters

Egypt's economy is estimated to have grown by an annualised 6 to 6.2 percent in the October to December quarter, the cabinet's spokesman said on Wednesday, heralding its best performance since the global downturn.

'It's on the back of the recovery in Suez Canal and tourism revenue, as well as in construction,' Magdy Rady told reporters after a cabinet meeting.

Gross domestic production (GDP) growth has been gradually picking up since hitting a quarterly low of 4.2 percent in April-June 2008, climbing to 5.5 percent in July-Sept 2010.


Saudi Arabia to open world’s largest gold factory | 05 January 2011 | www.commodityonline.com

Saudi Arabia, one of the world’s largest gold consumers, said it will soon open world’s largest gold factory at Jeddah.

The factory, once operational, will employ 500 to 800 workers, thus creating jobs for young Saudis, according to Taiba for Gold & Jewels Co. Ltd, which will build the factory.

The factory is already under construction at Jeddah Industrial Estate-II, covering an area of 22,000 square meters and will become a reality by the end of this year, said the Company.

Emirates NBD set for gains after provisions - The National

With major provisioning largely behind it, Emirates NBD could increase its profit almost fivefold for the fourth quarter of last year compared with the fourth quarter of 2009, a banking analyst estimates.

Shares in the emirate's largest bank by assets rose by more than 4 per cent to Dh2.80 yesterday on the Dubai Financial Market.

Like many other regional banks, Emirates NBD had significant exposure to Dubai World and was forced to make substantial provisions in the past few quarters. All told, it would have made provisions of more than US$3 billion for last year, but the fourth-quarter figure should be only about $150 million, said Naveed Ahmed, a financial analyst at Global Investment House in Kuwait.

Why Are Economists Bullish on Saudi Arabia’s 2011 Economic Prospects | SUSRIS

As the Saudi stock market,the Tadawul All-Share Index or TASI, reaches its highest point since May of 2010, analysts are optimistic about the Kingdom’s overall economic prospects in 2011. After all, Saudi Arabia’s economy escaped much of the destabilizing financial turmoil that gripped many economies, especially in the West, since the global economic downturn of 2008. While not without its own domestic and regional challenges ahead in 2011, Saudi Arabia is positioned for strong economic performance in 2001.

One of the question marks for the Saudi economy is always the price of crude oil. Petroleum export revenues are the reason the Saudi government has the ability to invest heavily in their infrastructure growth. Oil prices rebounded in 2010, as economist John Sfakianakis of BSF discussed in his recent comprehensive analysis of the Saudi budget, “The latest jump in demand led world stocks to decline by 1.5 mbpd in Q3 and an anticipated 0.6 mbpd in Q4, supporting recent price increases. Credit Agricole CIB expects WTI prices to surpass $80 a barrel in Q4 and Q1 2011, although efforts by OPEC to increase production should prompt oil prices to return to the $70-$80 per barrel range in 2011.” The price of oil in 2011 will have a similar effect on Saudi revenues for the fiscal year but its effects on economic growth in the short term is unlikely to be substantial. Continued significant investment in major infrastructure projects is expected.

FACTBOX-Key political risks to watch in the United Arab Emirates - Yahoo! Philippines News

The cloud that still hangs over Dubai's financial future more than a year after the Dubai World debt crisis is the main risk to watch in the United Arab Emirates.

Added to that are worries about an escalation of Iran's nuclear dispute with Western powers, a long-running territorial row with Iran, and Islamist radicalism.

UAE yacht maker banks on emerging market rich | Reuters

Gulf Craft, the largest Gulf Arab yacht maker, projects modest sales growth in 2011 but hopes a new emerging market elite will spur its luxury boat business, its chief executive said.

The United Arab Emirates is home to some of the most exclusive harbors in the world. In the Dubai Marina, residents of luxury apartments look out onto a sea of gleaming yachts, while neighboring emirate Abu Dhabi has been holding an annual yacht show showcasing the latest superyachts since 2009.

But the global financial crisis and the regional disasters it triggered, such as Dubai's enormous debt woes, are still bearing down on the luxury boat industry.

FT.com / Financials - Dubai Holding looks to clear debt cloud

A year ago, Dubai was starting the arduous process of restructuring the debts of Dubai World after the conglomerate caused global markets to wobble by threatening to default.

With a $25bn restructuring proposal for Dubai World agreed last year, significant behind-the-scenes progress has been made towards resolving the $12bn debt cloud hanging over Dubai Holding, the conglomerate owned by the ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum.

Like Dubai World, Dubai Holding exploited profits of the emirate’s real-estate boom to expand into every sector of local business and make highly levered purchases of overseas assets, from Madame Tussauds to Bank Islam Malaysia.