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Sunday, 27 February 2011

UPDATE 1-UAE's Aldar gets nod for Mubadala convertible bond | Reuters

Abu Dhabi's Aldar Properties (ALDR.AD) said it secured shareholder approval to place its planned issue of convertible bond worth 2.8 billion dirhams ($762.3 million) with state-owned investment fund Mubadala.

The indebted developer was rescued by a $5.2 billion lifeline by Abu Dhabi in January and announced plans to sell properties such as the Ferrari theme park, the world's first park based on the Italian sports car and racing teams. [ID:nLDE70B0LX]

The shareholders approved issuing the convertible bonds to Mubadala along with other point on the agenda in an extraordinary general meeting on Sunday.

Saudi stocks drop 5% as two killed in Oman protests « ArabianMoney

With Facebook opening days of protest pages for Saudi Arabia and even for Qatar, news that two have been killed in protests in Oman sent Gulf stock markets tumbling on Sunday with the Tadawul down five per cent to 5,950, the lowest since June 6th.

The Dubai Financial Market closed at a new low, down 0.9 per cent, despite an initial 1.9 per cent gain on Sunday. Traders blamed low volumes and continued concerns about events in Libya and spreading unrest in the Arab world, with the only nation now not reporting trouble the United Arab Emirates where stocks in Abu Dhabi posted a rise of 0.6 per cent.

In Oman police fired tear gas at stone-throwing protesters in the industrial city of Sohar causing two deaths, according to Reuters, with demonstrations also taking place in the southern town of Salalah. Last week British Prime MInister David Cameron visited Oman thought to be among the most stable of the Gulf States.

With events now highly unpredictable traders expect continued pressure to the downside in Gulf stock markets next week. These are worrying times for the region and oil prices look set to move higher as doubts over the internal stability of the region mount.

MENA stock markets - February 27, 2011

ExchangeStatus IndexChange
TASI (Saudi Stock Market)
DFM (Dubai Financial Market)
ADX (Abudhabi Securities Exchange)
KSE (Kuwait Stock Exchange)
BSE (Bahrain Stock Exchange)
MSM (Muscat Securities Market)
QE (Qatar Exchange)
LSE (Beirut Stock Exchange)
EGX 30 (Egypt Exchange)
ASE (Amman Stock Exchange)
TUNINDEX (Tunisia Stock Exchange)
CB (Casablanca Stock Exchange)
PSE (Palestine Securities Exchange)

Mideast Shares Decline, Saudi Stocks Retreat to 6-Month Low on Libya, Oil - Bloomberg

Middle East shares fell, sending Saudi Arabia’s index to a six-month low, on concern deadly clashes in Libya that caused oil prices to surge to a more than two-year high will stall a global recovery.

Al-Rajhi Bank, the kingdom’s largest publicly traded lender by market value, dropped 4.2 percent and Saudi Basic Industries Corp., the world’s largest petrochemicals maker, tumbled to the lowest intraday level since October. Saudi Arabia’s Tadawul All Share Index slid a tenth day, slumping 4.5 percent to 5,983.5, the lowest since Aug. 25, at 2:11 p.m. in Riyadh. The measure has lost 11 percent since Tunisia’s former president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali fled the country amid protests that spurred similar uprisings in nations across the region. Oman’s measure decreased 2.8 percent as protests erupted in the sultanate.

“With no clear end to the geo-political turmoil in the region, local investors are erring on the side of caution,” said Amro Halwani, senior equity sales trader at Shuaa Capital PSC in Riyadh. “The regional uncertainty, with Libya this week’s reason to sell, has pushed fundamentals out of the picture. The surge in oil is an ongoing threat of a possible derailing in the global economic recovery, and gave investors a reason to move away from riskier assets.”

Egypt's Stock Market to Resume Trading on March 1 After One-Month Shutdown - Bloomberg

Egypt’s stock market will resume trading on March 1 after a suspension of more than a month amid a popular revolt that toppled President Hosni Mubarak’s 30-year- old regime.

Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq replaced the head of the Egyptian Financial Supervisory Authority and approved changes to trading rules aimed at limiting possible losses when the market reopens, the North African country’s Cabinet said in a statement today.

Egypt’s benchmark EGX 30 stock index slumped 16 percent in the week that ended Jan. 27. The Egyptian Exchange suspended margin trading and put in place a 10 percent circuit breaker on the daily price movement of shares, it said last week.

Saudi Pension Fund’s Investment Returns Drop 19%, Al-Watan Says - Bloomberg

Saudi Arabia’s Public Pension Agency reported a 19 percent decline in returns on its investments last year, Al-Watan reported.

Returns retreated to 12.1 billion riyals ($3.2 billion) as the fund shifted its investments from bonds into stocks, the newspaper said, citing the agency.

HSBC 'won't cut and run' as profits poised to reach £12bn -

HSBC will pledge its long-term commitment to the Middle East this week when it completes the big banks' reporting season with a near-trebling in profits.

The bank is the most geographically diverse of Britain's big four and is expected to state unequivocally that it remains committed to its Middle East operations despite the rising death toll and widespread political upheaval in Libya, Egypt and Bahrain.

The bank has a long-standing presence in the region, with operations in many countries, including Egypt, Bahrain, Algeria, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman and Iraq. It also has a representative office in Libya and an associate banking company in Saudi Arabia.

Qatar Says OPEC Can Make Up for Loss of Libyan Production - Bloomberg

OPEC can make up for the loss of any crude production from Libya, Qatari Oil Minister Mohammed Saleh Al Sada said, after prices surged last week to a two-year high.

Al Sada told reporters in Doha today there is no shortage in oil supply. Concern that political upheaval in North Africa and the Middle East would disrupt supplies drove the price of crude to $103.41 a barrel last week, the highest level since September 2008. Libya holds the largest proven oil reserves in Africa.

Al Sada’s comments echoed those of a Saudi Arabian oil official, who said on Feb. 24 there was no reason for oil prices to rise because Saudi Arabia and the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries wouldn’t allow shortages to exist. Qatar and Libya are among the 12 members of OPEC, which pumps about 40 percent of the world’s oil. Saudi Arabia is the group’s largest and most influential member.

Why is Abu Dhabi bothering with such a tiny IPO? « ArabianMoney

Today the first initial public offering since the global financial crisis goes on sale in Abu Dhabi. But you have to wonder why this tiny $18 million share listing, which is open until March 7th, is happening at all.

If the aim is to show that IPOs are still possible in the UAE – after the humiliating failure of the larger Axiom listing in Dubai in December – then there is some point to this exercise, although it still shows the weakness of the bourses in the Emirates in that they can only handle a small IPO with the backing of Abu Dhabi and all that inevitably means.

UAE Central Bank foreign assets grow by Dh35 billion - Money - Zawya

The foreign assets of the UAE Central Bank swelled by nearly Dh35 billion over the past year and most of the increase was in its investments in foreign securities, its balance sheet has shown.

From around Dh120.6 billion at the end of January 2010, the central bank's total foreign assets surged by nearly 29 per cent to Dh155.4 billion at the end of January 2011, showed the figures released this week.

The assets had gained around 12 billion in the previous year after recorded their biggest annual decline of nearly Dh169 billion in 2008.

gulfnews : Stocks still volatile as Libya burns

Turmoil in Libya and growing civilian unrest in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region will likely keep the region's stock markets under selling pressure in the week ahead, but surging international crude oil prices may limit the downward pressure, market experts say.

"The situation in Libya is very critical. The region's stock markets will continue to be under selling pressure and experience high volatility.

"There may be sideways movement within the range we saw last week," Mohammad Ali Yasin, Chief Investment Officer at CAPM Investment told Gulf News by telephone.

Days of protest threaten the age of growth - The National

Economies in the Middle East and North Africa emerged as some of the fastest growing in the world over the past decade, thanks to vast natural resources and burgeoning populations.

Yet significant foreign direct investment ineconomies of the Mena region began only in the past few years, led largely by Gulf countries.

Fast-forward to February 2011, and the region has undergone a seismic shift. New political powers are rising in countries where autocrats ruled for decades. And entire new regulatory frameworks could be in the works.

gulfnews : Insurance House reopens share sale doors in UAE

In what will be the first initial public offering (IPO) in the UAE in more than two and a half years, the Dh66 million IPO of Insurance House will open for subscription today, the company's principle founder Finance House said on Saturday.

The IPO, which closes on March 9, consists of 55 per cent of the company's authorised share capital of Dh120 million. The founder's share of capital of Dh54 million (or 45 per cent of capital) has been subscribed with Finance House taking 36 per cent of the company. The share price has been set at Dh1.00 per offer share with subscription fee of 3.5 fils per share. Insurance House shares are to be listed on the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX) at a later stage.

"It's a small IPO that has a good chance of oversubscription. The success of the IPO will be critical to the recovery of the equity markets in the UAE," Mohammad Ali Yasin, Chief Investment Officer at CAPM Investment, told Gulf News by telephone.

Held back by a poor image - The National

Yemen has attracted relatively little foreign investment in recent years, in part because of a dearth of natural resources and its fractured social and political scene.

As an insurgency continues in the country's unstable north, few major foreign companies have been willing to deploy capital there.

Widespread poverty and limited consumer spending have also diverted foreigners to other parts of the region.

Investors' darling in region - The National

With the Arab world's largest population and a central place in regional culture and commerce, Egypt has been a prime destination for foreign investment in the Middle East.

Economic reforms, a blossoming consumer base and big development projects have attracted major investments.

Regular government debt auctions, briskly traded stocks and solid economic growth also helped the case for investing in Egypt.

JPMorgan Says Dubai Support Fund May Need $2.4 Billion `Top-up' By 2012 - Bloomberg

Dubai’s financial support fund, set up to help the emirate’s state-owned companies pay back debt, may need as much as $2.4 billion extra by 2012 to pay off maturing liabilities, according to JPMorgan Chase.

“We estimate that DFSF’s cash will get exhausted later this year or early next, and will have to be ‘topped up’ by $1.3 to $2.4 billion over the next two years,” Zafar Nazim, a London-based analyst at JPMorgan Securities Ltd, said in a report to clients yesterday. “We would expect capital markets to be the primary source of such fund-raising, although some asset sales cannot be ruled out.”

Dubai roiled international markets in 2009 when it announced plans to delay $24.9 billion in debt of its state- owned holding company Dubai World. The holding company, which has interests from real estate to industry, reached an agreement with more than 70 creditor banks to delay loan payments after property prices slumped in the emirate and frozen credit markets prevented it from raising new loans to repay older ones.

Business-friendly outlook - The National

Bahrain's promotion of itself as business-friendly has led to a number of large investments from abroad in recent years, most from the Gulf.

Companies in the UAE, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia have invested heavily in Bahrain. Libya has majority ownership of Bahrain's Arab Banking Corporation, a large wholesale bank.

UAE companies' investments include Dubai Financial Group's 58.5 per cent ownership of Taib Bank and Istithmar World's ownership of 10 per cent of BMI Bank, a retail and commercial lender. Rotana Hotels, a regional hotel operator based in the UAE, also owns 7.5 per cent of the Bahrain-listed Banader Hotels. Emirates Islamic Bank owns 9 per cent of Bahrain's Khaleeji Commercial Bank.

Happy 50th Independence and 20th Liberation Day Kuwait « Alpha Dinar- talking Gulf finance would like to wish all Kuwaitis a happy independence and liberation day! Inshala when we celebrate our 100th independence day, Kuwait will have prospered even further through the hard work and collaboration of its youth.God bless Kuwait!