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Saturday, 12 February 2011

ANALYSIS-Gulf rulers shaken by Egypt, but will weather storm | News by Country | Reuters

Gulf Arab rulers, eyeing the fall of a fellow U.S.-ally in Egypt, have lost a longheld sense of invulnerability to popular unrest and will only survive the immediate crisis if they offer concessions to their populations.

From oil behemoth Saudi Arabia to majority-Shi'ite Bahrain and sleepy Oman, Gulf governments may be forced to offer political and economic reforms to prevent unrest from reaching their shores.

But they will also not hesitate to use force to stifle dissent if needed to maintain their hold on power.

Emirates Airlines Has Big Ambitions -

BEYOND the artificial archipelagoes shaped like palm trees, not far from the tallest skyscraper in the world, stands another monument to this city-state’s stubborn ambition.

Even in this oasis of extravagance, Terminal 3 at the Dubai International Airport startles. It is not merely the world’s largest air terminal. It is the world’s largest building, period. And all 370 acres of it — all 82 moving walkways, 97 escalators, 157 elevators, 180 check-in counters and 2,600 parking spaces — were built with one very well-connected company in mind: Emirates, Dubai’s fast-growing flagship airline.

Emirates is pressing ahead with an ambitious expansion, despite the city’s financial near-collapse in 2009. Its executives, with the help of Dubai’s rulers, want to place this Persian Gulf city at the center of a transportation network linking vibrant economies like India and China to Europe and the United States.

Egypt stock exchange delays reopening till Wednesday | Reuters

Egypt's stock exchange, shut since January 27 because of political unrest, will not reopen until Wednesday, a bourse official said on Saturday.

It is the second time the government has postponed the reopening. The bourse was initially due to have started trading again on February 7 and then on Sunday, February 13.

The market regulator said last week that once it opens the exchange will suspend trade for a half hour if its broad 100-share index declines by 5 percent and for even longer if it falls by 10 percent.

Weekly Market Analysis (Week 7) — Weekly Index Review — GCC Market Analytics

The weekly market analysis pages have been updated for trading week 7 (February 12th - February 18th). Use the links below to view the individual market analysis pages:

The table below shows the market outlook based on each study.
Visit the links above to view the full analysis reports for all GCC markets.

Egypt May Need Stimulus to Create Jobs, Finance Minister Samir Radwan Says - Bloomberg

Egypt’s economy may need a stimulus package to help create jobs, Finance Minister Samir Radwan said today, after President Hosni Mubarak bowed to pressure from hundreds of thousands of protesters and stepped down.

“There is a need for a stimulus package that is very closely related to employment,” Radwan said in a telephone interview from Cairo. The government will run the daily affairs of the country until further instructions from the military council that Mubarak yesterday left in charge, he said.

More than two weeks of unprecedented protests against Mubarak’s three-decade rule left about 300 people dead, according to United Nations estimates. The turmoil hit exports, tourism and raised borrowing costs for the government.

Saudi Arabian Shares Climb as Mubarak Resignation Eases Egyptian Tensions - Bloomberg

Saudi Arabia’s benchmark stock index rose to the highest in two weeks, led by Saudi Arabian Fertilizer Co., as Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak stepped down and OPEC raised its oil demand forecast.

Safco, a unit of Saudi Basic Industries Corp., soared to the highest in more than two years. Mobile Telecommunications Co. of Saudi Arabia climbed after Bahrain Telecommunications Co. submitted an offer to acquire a stake in the company also known as Zain Saudi Arabia.

The Tadawul All Share Index gained 0.5 percent to 6,646.81, the highest intraday level since Jan. 29, at 1:21 p.m. in Riyadh. Yesterday, Egypt’s default risk dropped and the North African country’s bonds rallied.

Caymans court rejects al Sanea trial delay bid - The National

A court in the Cayman Islands has rejected a move by Maan al Sanea, the Saudi Arabian businessman caught up in one of the Middle East's long-est-running corporate scandals, to delay the start of a fraud trial.

Mr al Sanea, whose Saad Group is involved in a bitter battle with the al Gosaibi business family of Saudi, wanted to appeal to London to have the case delayed in the Caymans pending a resolution in Saudi Arabia.

But a judgment by the island's appeal court, under its president Sir John Chadwick, rejected his application last week. Courts in the Caymans, a British overseas territory, are ultimately answerable to the UK's highest court, the Privy Council.

Turkish Current Account Gap Biggest in Two Decades as Imported Goods Surge - Bloomberg

Turkey’s current-account deficit widened in December from a year earlier, posting a record shortfall for the second month in a row, the central bank said.

The deficit rose to $7.5 billion from $3.2 billion in the same month of 2009, the central bank in Ankara said on its website today. It was the widest gap since 1984 when the bank’s data series began and exceeded the median estimate of $7 billion in a Bloomberg survey of nine economists.

The shortfall is expanding as a growing economy pulls in imported goods, fuel and raw materials. At the same time, European demand for Turkish-made goods such as cars and washing machines is weak. The central bank has increased the money banks must set aside against consumer loans in the past two months to rein in demand and slow the widening of the deficit.

Mubarak's Departure Deals Setback to Saudis -

For Saudi Arabia, the departure of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak represents a diplomatic setback that could complicate its foreign policy across the Middle East, with repercussions stretching from Iraq to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Domestically, however, the kingdom appears largely insulated from the upheavals that have toppled regimes in Tunis and now Cairo. Though Saudi Arabia has seen small demonstrations, its ruling elite has headed off potential instability with carrots—including cash for poor families—and sticks waved sternly in protesters' direction.

As of late Friday, Saudi Arabia's leaders offered no official response to Mr. Mubarak's exit following more than two weeks of protests. But in public statements and conversations with U.S. President Barack Obama, King Abdullah had offered full-throated support to the longtime Egyptian strongman, who has been an important regional partner for the kingdom.

Egypt ETFs Surge, Credit Default Swaps Fall as Mubarak Resigns - Businessweek

Egypt’s default risk dropped and shares rallied as Hosni Mubarak stepped down as the country’s president and handed power to the military, bowing to the demands of protesters.

The cost of insuring Egyptian government debt fell 13 basis points to 324, according to CMA prices for credit-default swaps, tumbling from as high as 379 basis points earlier today. The Market Vectors Egypt Index ETF, an exchange-traded fund that holds Egyptian shares, gained 4.5 percent in New York. Egypt’s 5.75 percent dollar bond due 2020 rebounded, cutting the yield by 14 basis points to 6.33 percent, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

“The new blood that may come to the system may come up with new ideas that will help the economy,” said Mohammed Ali Yasin, chief investment officer at Abu Dhabi-based financial services company CAPM Investments PJSC. “You’d see an influx of liquidity in loans from regional players.”

AFP: Dubai stake in Canada stock exchange eyed warily

A Canadian official on Friday balked at the prospect of Dubai increasing its minority stake in a combined London and Toronto Stock Exchange, and possibly seizing control of the "strategic asset."

"We do business with the Middle East," Ontario Finance Minister Dwight Duncan told reporters. "I am just not sure I want them owning our stock exchange."

Canadian media said Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the billionaire ruler of Dubai, would hold a 11.3-percent stake in the combined entity, the largest single holding.

FT.coml - Egypt after the Nile Revolution

Unwillingly, and with his tin ear almost petulantly on display, Hosni Mubarak has bowed to the courageous protesters who in 18 days have brought him down after nearly 30 years of iron rule.

In Egypt, and across the Arab world, there is now no reason why western principles and pragmatism should not be aligned – at long last.

Stunned by the vigour of the youthful protests that toppled the Ben Ali regime in Tunisia and have now unravelled the Mubarak dictatorship, Washington, London, Paris and Berlin have all wobbled and waffled. Barack Obama’s administration began by describing Egypt, and its alliance with President Mubarak, as “stable”. After 10 days of turmoil, it called for an “orderly transition”.