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Thursday, 6 January 2011

Qatar's Barzan Gas Project to Cost $8.6 Billion to Develop, Minister Says - Bloomberg

The Barzan gas project in Qatar will cost $8.6 billion to develop, Qatar’s Oil Minister Abdullah bin Hamad al-Attiyah said in Doha today.

Barzan will produce 1.4 billion cubic feet a day, Saad al- Kaabi, Qatar Petroleum’s director of oil and gas ventures, said. State-run Qatar Petroleum owns 93 percent of the project, while Exxon Mobil Corp. owns the remainder. Barzan’s first production train is to start in 2014 and the second in 2015.

Dubai Shares Snap Three-Day Decline on Global Growth Optimism, Oil Price - Bloomberg

Dubai’s shares rose, snapping a three-day loss, as U.S. reports signaled a broadening global economic recovery. Oil traded above $90 a barrel.

Arabtec Holding Co., the United Arab Emirates’ biggest construction company, increased 2 percent after the Chief Financial Officer told CNBC Arabiya he expects earnings to improve. Emaar Properties PJSC, builder of the world’s tallest skyscraper, rose the most in a week and Gulf Navigation Holding, a shipper of oil and chemicals, advanced 2.3 percent. The DFM General Index climbed 1.2 percent to 1,668.68 at the 2 p.m. close in Dubai, bringing the gain for the week to 2.3 percent.

“Stronger oil and gains in international markets” are helping push local stocks up, said Tarek Lotfy, head of equities at Dubai-based Arqaam Capital Ltd.

Kuwait Airways eyes end-March privatization - Ahram Online

Kuwait Airways
Kuwait Airways privatization by the government will take place in March 2011. (photo: Reuters)
State-owned Kuwait Airways will be privatized by the end of March, the chairman 
of the Gulf Arab carrier was quoted as saying in a Kuwait newspaper on Wednesday.
Hamad al-Falah told Arabic language daily al-Nahar that "the transformation procedures 

are in the final stages."
Last August, Kuwait appointed Citigroup Inc., Ernst & Young and aviation services 

firm Seabury to handle the privatization of its national carrier.

Bahrain plans to spend $14bn in 2011-2012 - ArabianBusiness.com

Bahrain plans to spend BHD5.3bn ($14.06bn) over the next two years and needs an oil price of $97-$100 per barrel for its budget to break even, the finance ministry said in a statement on Thursday.

The statement said the country expects revenues of $11.67bn based on an oil price estimate of $80 per barrel for its two year draft budget for 2011 and 2012.

It said that about half of spending will be on subsidies, including for gas and electricity.

FT.com / Financials - Gulf equities in need of momentum

Will the Gulf stock markets continue to underwhelm, or will investors see a more pronounced turnround this year?

The region’s markets overall continued to recover some of their financial crisis-induced losses last year, but they remain well below their peaks. Furthermore, trading volumes have withered as local investors largely continued to shy away. But some factors indicate that the future looks somewhat brighter.

Qatar, the fastest-growing economy in the region, unsurprisingly did well last year, with a 25 per cent gain. However, Saudi Arabia, the largest market in the Gulf, disappointed with only an 8 per cent rise, while Abu Dhabi, Bahrain and Dubai continued to drift downwards in 2010.

Saudi Stocks: 2010 Winners & Losers — Saudi Analysis , Saudi Stock Market Analysis — GCC Market Analytics

Saudi was the second best performing market after Qatar in 2010. The Tadawul Index rose by 8%,

The table below shows the 2010 percentage returns for Saudi stocks.




Loehmann's of Istithmar Wins Disclosure Approval, Clears Way for Plan Vote - Bloomberg

Loehmann’s Holdings Inc., the discount clothing retailer, can send its reorganization plan to creditors for a vote, less than two months after it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Robert Gerber said at a hearing in Manhattan today that he will approve the company’s disclosure statement, which describes the reorganization, after Loehmann’s agreed to some changes. Gerber set Feb. 7 for a hearing on confirmation of the plan.

“With the modifications that have been agreed to, the disclosure statement will be approved,” Gerber said. That approval means the company can have creditors vote on the plan.

Yemen Plans First Sukuk Offering to Fund Budget Deficit: Islamic Finance - Bloomberg

Yemen, the poorest country in the Middle East, plans to sell $500 million of local currency Islamic bonds for the first time to fund the budget deficit and spur the Shariah-compliant finance industry.

The central bank may offer sukuk in the domestic market from the first quarter, Deputy Finance Minister Jalal Yaqoub said in a telephone interview Dec. 29 from Sanaa, the capital. The government is seeking technical assistance on the sale from the International Monetary Fund. Tadhamon International Islamic Bank, the largest Islamic bank in Yemen, and Cooperative & Agricultural Credit Bank said they will participate in the sale.

“The issuance of the sukuk will create investment opportunities and diversify banks’ portfolios, both Islamic and conventional banks,” Masood Ahmed, director of the IMF’s Middle East and Central Asia Department, said in a telephone interview from Washington Jan. 4. “It will help the government to diversify the sources of budget financing.”

Qtel buys mobile phone firm Tunisiana for $1.2bn - The National

Orascom Telecom, the largest telecommunications operator in the Arab world, has completed the sale of its Tunisian unit to Qatar Telecom (Qtel).

Qtel agreed to purchase Orascom's 50 per cent holding in Orascom Telecom Tunisie, also known as Tunisiana, for US$1.2 billion (Dh4.4bn) in November, with the Egyptian operator looking to shed assets before one of the largest telecoms mergers in recent years.

Tunisiana was previously 50 per cent owned by Wataniya Telecom, a subsidiary of Qtel based in Kuwait. It will now gain full ownership of the company.

Ban on Riad Kamal reveals markets watchdog's new teeth - The National

The six-month ban on share buying for Riad Kamal, the chief executive of Arabtec Holding, took many market-watchers by surprise.

While the UAE Securities and Commodities Authority (SCA) has quietly taken action over trading infractions in the past, the decision to ban one of the country's most high-profile businessmen illustrates the SCA's changing approach to market regulation.

The SCA, created 10 years ago, has been quietly honing its laws and regulations over the past three years in preparation to take a greater role in the country's financial markets, according to people familiar with its plans.

Argentina eyes GCC investments in food - Arab News

Argentina, with a sophisticated agro-based industry, offers rare opportunities to the Bahraini and GCC investments in agriculture sector especially when the region is seeking investments for food security.

‏"Argentina will welcome investment from Bahrain in its agricultural sector so it can guarantee its own food security," Ignacio Rossi Sammartino, deputy head of mission of the Commercial Section at the Argentine Embassy, told Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) board members.

‏“The agro-industrial sector is a very attractive area for investment cooperation benefiting the two countries in light of the growing global demand for food,” said Sammartino. “Argentina firmly believes that it is beneficial to Manama as well as Buenos Aires to achieve greater cooperation and joint investments due to the strong economies of both countries."

The American Dream - Viva Las Vegas Style - Reader Commentary - PatriotPost.US

With every New Year's resolution, optimism and even the expectation that the future will get better has long been a staple within the popular culture. By nature, people want to believe in a better society. The American Dream means different things to diverse people, but it always had a vision for great achievements and daring exploits. America was great because she dared to forge an independent and freedom loving country.

Las Vegas is the kind of region that evokes strong and varied reactions. Many people see Vegas as freedom and a state of mind, while others curse it as a Sodom and Gomorrah, den of iniquity. Yet when you strip away the glitz, glamour and gambling, you get down to the real guts of the metropolis -- MONEY.

The casinos may have a license to coin chips that translate into cash, but the overarching experience of the facade generates a broad base economy that has little respect for the fiat paper notes that pass for legal tender. The saying "What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas" really applies to the money you bring when you visit. Lately this huge cash cow machine moos not because it is content, but because the feed supply doesn't meet the obligations and indebtedness of this dreamscape.

gulfnews : Dubai bourse trade fell 65.3% last year

The Dubai Financial Market said that the total number of shares traded on the bourse slipped 65.3 per cent last year from 110.7 billion shares in 2009 to 38.4 billion shares in 2010.

The value of shares traded last year was down 59.8 per cent to Dh69.7 billion, compared to Dh173.5 billion in 2009. Overall the Dubai Financial Market General Index was down 9.6 per cent at 1,630.5 on the last trading day of the year compared to 1,803.6 on the last trading day of 2009.

The year-end statistics from the exchange showed market capitalisation fell in 2010 by 6.6 per cent to Dh199.1 billion compared to Dh213.2 billion at the end of the previous year.

FT.com - Kuwait and Iran stand firm on oil output

Two of Opec’s leading members, Iran and Kuwait, have denied that oil prices exceeding $90 per barrel were damaging the global economy, saying there was no need to increase supply.

A barrel of ICE February Brent crude oil rose $1.97 to $95.50 on Wednesday, hovering inside what the International Energy Agency has called a “dangerous zone” for the world’s economic health. Nymex February West Texas Intermediate, the US benchmark, rose 92 cents to $90.30 a barrel.

Opec’s oil ministers chose to keep production quotas unchanged during their most recent meeting, held in Ecuador on December 11. The club’s members are not set to meet again until June 2 – and two of their number signalled that there remained no need for a change of policy.