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Friday, 18 February 2011

Bahrain: bankers didn’t sign up for blood on the streets | beyondbrics –

The Bahrain government has spent millions of dollars promoting itself as “Business Friendly Bahrain” lately. “Bullet-friendly Bahrain” more like, goes the grim joke now.
After a bloody clampdown on a peaceful Egyptian-style protestcalling for more democracy, opposition members now fear that the violence, rising sectarian tension and challenges to the ruling family will translate into an erosion of the country’s business standing.
Manama, Bahrain’s capital, was once the Gulf’s pre-eminent financial centre, primarily acting as an offshore banking hub for rich but closed-off Saudi Arabia. But in recent years it has lost momentum to Dubai, where international banks have flocked in recent years.

Bahrain Credit Risk Rises for Fifth Day as Unrest Intensifies - Bloomberg

Bahrain Credit Risk Rises for Fifth Day

Bahraini Shiites chant slogans during the funeral of Mahmud Mekki. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

The cost of insuring Bahrain’s government debt rose for a fifth day on concern political unrest will intensify throughout the Middle East as governments crack down on pro-democracy demonstrations.

Credit-default swaps on Bahrain rose 18 basis points to 304, the highest since July 2009, according to CMA. Swaps on Saudi Arabia, seen as measure of confidence in the country although they reference no debt, climbed 10.5 basis points to 137, the highest in 19 months.

Uprisings that toppled autocratic leaders in Tunisia and Egyptare spreading to Libya, Iran, Algeria and Yemen as well as Bahrain, triggering concern they may extend to Saudi Arabia, holder of one fifth of the world’s oil reserves. Clashes in Bahrain, a close Saudi ally, may intensify as protesters rally after the funeral of two men killed by security forces.

Al Baraka Egypt Bank 2010 net profit soars - Maktoob News

Al Baraka Egypt Bank more than doubled its annual net profit in 2010 to 107.1 million Egyptian pounds ($18.22 million), the bourse said on Thursday.

The Cairo-based Islamic bank, in which Bahrain's Al Baraka Banking Group (ABG) has a controlling stake, reported a 16 percent rise in net profit during the first nine months of 2010 in November.

It made annual net profit of 46.6 million pounds in 2009, the stock exchange said.

Egypt's SODIC takes cautious stance for 2011 - Maktoob News

SODIC, Egypt's third-biggest listed developer, said it was assuming zero sales for 2011 but remained optimistic about Egypt's growth prospects, after three weeks of political unrest had unnerved investors.

The high-end real estate firm, which does not fully recognise revenue until it delivers units, has cash in reserve and strong cash flows, as well as limited outstanding debt and land debt, its chief executive told Reuters.

Egypt's property sector has been a major driver of foreign investment and growth, but was hit last year by a string of legal rows over state land sales. Analysts are watching the sector to see how it fares after the political turmoil.

Gerald Celente right on revolutions « ArabianMoney

Just a few months ago Trends forecaster Gerald Celente seemed almost off his head in talking about revolution and food riots. Today he is vindicated by events in Tunisia, Egypt and even Bahrain.

Get his take on these revolutions and what they mean for the future. Mr Celente always has his own unique take on events and this interview is not a disappointment:

Emaar has not paid us even a rupee: APIIC - The Times of India

The Andhra Pradesh Industrial Infrastructure Corporation (APIIC) has informed the High Court that it was deceived by its private partner Emaar Properties of Dubai in all respects and due to this deceit, it could not receive a single rupee of income so far despite the sale of crores worth of its plots and villas.

The corporation was responding to a direction given by the HC which, while hearing a writ petition earlier, asked the corporation to file its reply to the contentions raised in the petition.

This petition was taken up based on a letter written by the state handlooms minister P Sankara Rao, who charged the authorities with conniving with private players and causing loss to the state exchequer. "We entered into an agreement with Emaar Properties of Dubai to develop the land into township, golf course and other facilities. But by keeping our corporation in dark, the Emaar properties entered into clandestine agreements with Emaar-MGF and Stylish Homes companies only with an intention to defraud us", the APIIC's general manager (law) A Rashmi said in her counter.

Bahrain: why it matters to Saudi Arabia | beyondbrics –

Bahraini army tanks take position near Pearl SquareBahrain’s military has just seized control of much of the capital after clashes between anti-government protesters and riot police. The violence has got many people outside the Middle East looking at the island state for the first time. But does it matter to business and investors?

The answer is yes. Not so much because Bahrain is a financial centre and home to the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet. But because Bahrain has the potential – belied by its tiny size – to inspire political ructions in Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest oil producer. That explains why the protests have exacerbated jitters in the Middle East’s already shaky stock markets.

The Bahrain protests are led by resentful Shia Muslims, who live in the only country in the world where a Shia majority population is ruled by a Sunni minority. They make up 60 to 70 per cent of the population and are demanding more political freedom from the ruling al-Khalifa family.

FT Tilt - Does the eurobond market like the Bahraini crackdown?(Registration)

A facetious question, for sure. But consider these two images. Are they compatible?

Tear gas in Bahrain

Price for Bahraini eurobond -- Thomson Reuters Eikon

Price for Bahraini eurobond -- Thomson Reuters Eikon

Bahrain's 2014 eurobond has hardly moved, even as the air in the kingdom has been replaced by tear gas.

As Gabriel Sterne, senior economist at frontier market specialist Exotix, points out, markets seem to be very relaxed about these vivid events.

Prices on the Eurobond maturing in 2014 have fallen just over 3% since late January, hardly a major eruption. That means that spreads over US benchmark yields have increased less than 1/3 of one percentage point (i.e. 31bp) since the one-year trough on January 18th. Spreads now stand at just 150bp above similarly-dated US treasuries. That could be a world record low for a country suffering such civil strife.

Egypt's EFG-Hermes denies holding Mubarak funds | Reuters

Egyptian investment bank EFG-Hermes said on Thursday it does not manage any portfolios for the family of President Hosni Mubarak, who was ousted last week in a popular revolt.

"EFG-Hermes Holding does not manage any funds or portfolios for the family of the former president of Egypt," the bank said in a statement released by the stock exchange.

EFG-Hermes said it had also received a statement from its executives confirming they had no direct or indirect personal or financial ties to the Mubarak family.