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Sunday, 9 January 2011

Saudi sovereign debt rated as one of world’s least risky - Politics & Economics -

Saudi Arabia has been ranked as one of the world’s least risky debt sovereigns, according to the latest data from a financial research firm.

CMA Vision’s fourth quarter sovereign debt credit risk report placed the GCC giant at 10th place in the world. It is the first time Saudi Arabia has reached the top 10, and reflects the solid fundamentals behind the country’s economy despite the global recession.

The sovereign rankings show the probability of a country being unable to honour its debt obligations over a five-year period of time.

For sovereign credit default swaps, this typically includes the probability of a restructuring of debt, the CMA Vision report says.

Dubai's Shuaa Capital seeks opportunities to sell assets - Banking & Finance -

Shuaa Capital, which has AED833m ($226.8m) in its investment portfolio, is seeking opportunities to sell assets, chief executive officer Sameer Al Ansari said in Dubai on Sunday.

Shuaa private equity fund plans to announce additional real estate transaction in Riyadh in due course, he said.

Al Ansari also said the company was not asked to sell assets to help its controlling shareholder Dubai Banking Group, which is restructuring debt.

Dubai Home Prices Extended Drop in Fourth Quarter on Supply, Cluttons Says - Bloomberg

Home prices in Dubai, the property market that had the biggest reversal because of the financial crisis, fell as much as 5.1 percent in the fourth quarter from the previous three months and more declines are “unavoidable,” Cluttons LLP said.

Cluttons, a London-based property broker, said villa prices dropped 5.1 percent, while apartment values declined 2.4 percent in the fourth quarter from the third. The broker expects 35,000 homes to be completed in Dubai over the next two years. Property prices in the emirate slid by almost 60 percent from their peak in mid-2008 after the credit crisis squeezed speculators out of the market and forced banks to lend less, Ahmed Badr, analyst at Credit Suisse Group AG said today.

“As supply continues to increase, drops in values will be unavoidable,” Cluttons said. “We are continuing to see the flight to quality in both the sales and rental markets as the more desirable locations become increasingly affordable.”

Abu Dhabi Shares Advance on U.S. Growth Expectations; Aldar, Etisalat Gain - Bloomberg

Abu Dhabi’s benchmark index rose to the highest level in almost a month, as U.S. economic reports boosted confidence in the world’s largest economy and shares in Abu Dhabi’s largest real-estate developer advanced.

Aldar Properties PJSC rallied 2.9 percent after agreeing to manage a $204 million contract to expand Abu Dhabi’s Masdar campus. The ADX General Index climbed 0.4 percent to 2,764.15 at 2 p.m. in Abu Dhabi, the highest close since Dec. 12. Gains were led by telephone company Emirates Telecommunications Corp.

“Global optimism for equity markets” helped push local shares higher, said Tariq Qaqish, director and fund manager at Al Mal Capital PSC in Dubai.

OPEC may hike oil output if price hit $110 - source | Reuters

Speculation could push oil prices to rise to $110 per barrel within a few weeks, which may prompt OPEC to raise production, a member of Kuwait's Supreme Petroleum Council (SPC) said on Sunday.

"Demand will increase slightly, but this increase in price is usually technical, due to analysts' forecasts and speculations," Imad al-Atiqi, a member of the country's highest oil policy body, told Reuters in a telephone interview.

"This (increase) could be a reason to increase production so the oil market does not get worried ... especially if the rise was quick and crossed the $110," he said.

Kuwait's Agility says U.S. did not file new suit - Maktoob News

Kuwaiti logistics firm Agility said on Sunday that the latest report about a new civil case filed against the firm was not true.

"The new civil case it spoke about is not a new lawsuit against Agility, but a procedural amendment to the case that was announced in November 2009," Agility said in a statement on the Kuwaiti bourse website.

On Friday, Reuters reported that U.S. prosecutors have filed a civil suit against Kuwaiti logistics company Agility, accusing it of defrauding the government over food product contracts to the U.S. military in the Middle East worth $9.8 billion.

gulfnews : Iraq to hold fourth oil block auction

Iraq will start preparations this week to hold a fourth licensing auction to award several oil and gas exploration contracts to international companies, a senior Iraqi oil official said yesterday.

"God willing, we hope to hold the fourth bid round this year," Abdul Mahdi Al Ameedi, head of Iraq's Petroleum Contracts and Licensing Directorate said.

Ameedi, whose office engineered three rounds in the last two years that led to awarding 15 oil and gas fields, didn't say how many exploration blocks would be offered in the new auction, but said it would include oil and gas ones.

gulfnews : Qatar's World Cup: A jigsaw of pain and gain

After the euphoria created by the news of Qatar's successful 2022 Fifa World Cup bid and the high expectations of a bounty of benefits, reality may have started to sink in.

While holding opposing views on whether Qatar will benefit or not, economists are raising several questions and putting forward several scenarios. They differ about to what extent Doha will benefit and what the possible risks ahead are.

Undoubtedly, one side argues, hosting the first World Cup in the Middle East is "hugely positive" for the booming oil- and gas-rich country as well as the rest of the Arab region socially and politically.

Börse im Tiefenrausch: In Dubai herrscht Depression - Finanzen - Börse + Märkte - Marktberichte -

Mit dem Rückgang des Aktienhandels auf ein Sechs-Jahres-Tief haben die Finanzmärkte in Dubai im Krisenjahr 2010 einen Tiefpunkt erreicht. Nach Angaben der Börse Dubai Financial Market (DFM) ist der Umsatz im Handel mit Unternehmens-Anteilsscheinen demnach voriges Jahr von 173,5 Milliarden Dirham 2009 auf nur noch 69,7 Milliarden Dirham (umgerechnet 14,4 Milliarden Euro) gefallen. Dubais Leitindex sank diesen Angaben zufolge indes nur um 9,6 Prozent auf 1630,5 Punkte, während die Marktkapitalisierung sogar nur um 6,6 Prozent auf 199,1 Milliarden Dirham nachgab.

Am schlechtesten haben im abgelaufenden Jahr erwartungsgemäß die in Dubai notierten Aktien von Immobilien-Unternehmen abgeschnitten: Ihre Kurse sind um 67,3 Prozent eingebrochen. Laut DFM wurden zudem 44,2 Prozent der gehandelten Aktien von ausländischen Investoren gehandelt.

Dubai schnitt damit in der Region besonders schlecht ab - nicht zuletzt, weil das Emirat nur knapp einem Staatsbankrott entkommen war. Nur dank massiver Stützungsmaßnahmen des Haupt-Emirats Abu Dhabi war es gelungen, große Dubaier Staats-Konglomerate wie Dubai World und Dubai Holding vor dem Untergang zu bewahren.

GCC Trend Analysis Performance Review — GCC Trend Analysis — GCC Market Analytics

I've been putting out the weekly market analysis report (in some form or another) for a few months now so I thought it was time to take a periodic look at how each study has performed.

This post will look at the trend analysis performance. As quick recap the trend analysis uses three dual moving averages to determine the current short, medium and long-term trends. For each GCC market the current trend conditions are compared to previous instances. If the market has tended to increase in value during previous instances then the predicted outlook is Bullish. If the market has tended to fall the predicted outlook is Bearish whilst if there is no directional price tendency the outlook is Neutral.

On the charts below I've highlighted the trend outlooks for each GCC Index from August to December 2010. The green shaded areas denote periods when the trend analysis was forecasting a Bullish outlook. The red shaded areas denote Bearish outlook periods and the pale yellow areas are for Neutral outlooks.

Just from eyeballing the charts you can seen that the trend analysis has done a reasonable job of identifying rising and falling market moves.

For the number lovers the table below shows the actual performance figures:
The first column shows the percentage return of each GCC index during periods when the predicted outlook was Bullish. The second column is the percentage return during periods when the predicted outlook was either Neutral or Bearish. The final column shows the total percentage return for each index from August to December 2010.

The most important takeaway from these figures is that the performance of each market during Bullishoutlook periods was significantly better than the performance during the combined Bearish and Neutralperiods. This confirms that the trend analysis has managed to predict rising and falling market moves for the GCC markets. Additionally, the performance during Bullish outlook periods beat total index returns for 4 out of the 7 GCC markets. Not bad, especially over such a small period of time (Aug-Dec 2010).

In conclusion, the trend analysis looks to be working well and is successfully predicting bullish and bearish market action.