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Thursday, 10 March 2011

Egypt: suspended trading hits brokers | beyondbrics –

After more than five weeks, it’s still unclear when Egypt’s stock exchange (pictured) will reopen. Trading was suspended on January 27, two days after the start of the protests which brought down the regime of Hosni Mubarak. Several reopening dates were set by officials,then missed.
The main reason, analysts speculate, is that the government expects the market toplummet as soon as it reopens. In the meantime, there’s frustration.
According to one brokerage executive in a major firm, the market’s closure is less of a problem for locals than for foreigners. He told beyondbrics:
The impact is being felt internationally more than locally. Those who live here, as long as the market is not going down, they are not feeling the problem.
For brokerages like us who have not been working for a month and half, this is a disaster. We are under a lot of pressure from our international investors.

U.A.E. House Prices Likely to Drop an Additional 25% to 30%, Rasmala Says - Bloomberg

House prices in the United Arab Emirates may drop an additional 25 percent to 30 percent as population growth stagnates and more properties are put onto the market, according to Dubai investment bank Rasmala.

Prices have declined as much as 55 percent from their peak in 2008 and both Dubai and Abu Dhabi, the biggest of seven sheikhdoms in the U.A.E., are affected by “a low appetite for new housing as financing remains tight and negative equity concerns linger,” analysts Saud Masud and Divya Arora wrote in a report dated today. “The good news is that much of the property correction is already accounted for.”

Both Dubai and Abu Dhabi are affected by “a low appetite for new housing as financing remains tight and negative equity concerns linger,” they wrote. “The good news is that much of the property correction is already accounted for.”

OPEC Hasn’t Called Emergency Meeting, Kuwait Minister Says (1) - Bloomberg

OPEC members haven’t called for an emergency meeting and are holding consultations to discuss the market and general situation, Kuwait’s oil minister said.

“Take it from me, OPEC did not ask” for an unscheduled meeting, Sheikh Ahmad al-Abdullah al-Sabah said today in an interview in Kuwait City. “We’re holding consultations, not for the meeting, but on the consensus of the market because of supply and demand, or the political reasons.”

Members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries are discussing whether to hold an emergency meeting and any decision on increasing production would be taken then, Sheikh Ahmad said March 8. The group currently has no meeting planned aside from a conference already scheduled for June, an OPEC official said later the same day.

Arqaam of Dubai to Help Indonesian Banks Find Gulf Investors - Bloomberg

Arqaam Capital Ltd., a Dubai-based investment bank, wants to help other Indonesian lenders find investors in the Gulf Arab region after advising PT Bank Kesawan on the sale of a stake in itself to Qatar National Bank SAQ. (QNBK)

“There is active interest from a number” of mid-tier Indonesian banks to do deals such as the Qatar National Bank investment, Tamer Nazih Makary, Arqaam’s executive director, said in an interview in Dubai yesterday. About “four to five conventional banks, and two to three Islamic banks” may be looking to sell stakes to help raise money for growth, he said.

Doha-based Qatar National Bank, the Persian Gulf country’s biggest lender by assets, took a 70 percent holding in Indonesia’s PT Bank Kesawan after becoming the standby buyer in its rights offer in January. Indonesia has more than 100 banks and the country’s central bank has prodded them to combine and boost capital after it spent 450 trillion rupiah ($37 billion) on bailouts following the 1997-98 Asian financial crisis.

MENA stock markets close - March 10, 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)

14 Stocks to Watch if Unrest Spreads to Saudi Arabia - Seeking Alpha

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration and the Oil and Gas Journal, Saudi Arabia contains approximately 260 billion barrels of proven oil reserves (plus 2.5 billion barrels in the Saudi-Kuwaiti shared Neutral Zone), amounting to around one-fifth of proven, conventional world oil reserves. Although Saudi Arabia has around 100 major oil and gas fields (and more than 1,500 wells), over half of its oil reserves are contained in only 8 fields, including the giant 1,260-square mile Ghawar field (the world's largest oil field, with estimated remaining reserves of 70 billion barrels). The Ghawar field alone has more proven oil reserves than all but 6 other countries.

Dubai's ICD takes over savings National Bonds | Alrroya

Dubai's sovereign wealth fund, Investment Corporation of Dubai (ICD) acquired a remaining 50 per cent stake in National Bonds Corp, giving it full ownership of the sharia-compliant savings scheme.

The investment arm of the Gulf Arab emirate also replaced the state-owned firm's board of directors with five new members, the company said in a statement late Wednesday.

ICD bought the 50 per cent stake from its previous local shareholders, the statement said. National Bonds' shareholders included property developer Emaar Properties, Dubai Holding and Dubai Bank, according to its website.

ICD did not disclose a value for the acquisition.

Dubai has recovered from economic downturn: ruler | Alrroya

Dubai has recovered from the economic downturn, its ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum said. Sheikh Mohammed, whose remarks were posted on his official website on Wednesday, also said that while many government agencies performed well during the financial crisis, others failed to meet expectations. "We are not in the process of holding departments accountable, what's done is done," said Sheikh Mohammed in a statement on his website.

Dubai is struggling to emerge from a crippling debt crisis which erupted openly in 2009 after its flagship conglomerate Dubai World said it would seek a $26 billion debt standstill. The Gulf Arab emirate needed a last-minute $10bon bailout from neighbour Abu Dhabi and has been busy restructuring key state-linked firms' debts. Sheikh Mohammed said the crisis required a financial regulatory system to oversee government departments but will not curb future development. "We must look forward and find ways to work freely without hindrance," he said.

Kuwait Says GCC to Set Up $10 Billion Fund for Oman, Bahrain - Bloomberg

The Gulf Cooperation Council plans to set up a fund worth more than $10 billion, Kuwait’s foreign minister said, to help the rulers of Bahrain and Oman appease popular protest movements.

The announcement will be made today in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, where ministers from the six-nation bloc are meeting, Sheikh Mohammad Al-Sabah said in an interview. He declined to give further details.

Protesters in Oman and Bahrain are calling for free elections, more housing and jobs, echoing popular movements that have swept the region in the past two months and unseated longtime rulers in Tunisia and Egypt. At least two people have been killed in clashes between demonstrators and security forces in the Omani city of Sohar, while in Bahrain, seven people have been killed in demonstrations.

FT Alphaville » The great Gaddafi cash call

By this point, the assets of the Libyan Investment Authority are frozen in just about every major financial jurisdiction. Except, of course, Libya.

So, a quick question. Is a sovereign wealth fund financing a war?

Because here’s a revelation from the NYT:

The Libyan leader Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi has “tens of billions” in cash secretly hidden away in Tripoli, allowing him to prolong his fight against rebel forces despite an international freeze on many of the Libyan government’s assets, according to American and other intelligence officials.

Colonel Qaddafi has control over the huge cash deposits, which have been stored at the Libyan Central Bank and other banks around the Libyan capital in recent years, the officials said…

The money — in Libyan dinars, United States dollars and possibly other foreign currencies — allows Colonel Qaddafi to pay his troops, African mercenaries and political supporters in the face of a determined uprising, said the intelligence officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

Mubadala offers for Dubai Aluminium stake - Maktoob News

Abu Dhabi's Mubadala has offered to buy a stake in state-owned Dubai Aluminium (Dubal), a local daily reported on Thursday, a deal that will give Dubai funds to repay debt and help consolidate the nation's aluminium industry.

Investment fund Mubadala's deal will create a new holding company which includes Emirates Aluminium Co (Emal) -- a joint venture between Dubal and Mubadala -- and will have a production capacity of 2.5 million tonnes annually, Dubal Chairman Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum was quoted as saying by the Gulf News on Thursday.

Sheikh Hamdan, who is also Dubai's deputy ruler and UAE finance minister, spoke at a news conference event to discuss Dubal's annual results.

Saudi Markets Ripe | Arabianomics

Nick Rice at FundStrategy notes that some financial houses, including BlackRock and Charlemagne, are decidedly bullish on Saudi markets.

“The Middle East crisis has thrown up “extremely compelling” valuations in Saudi Arabia and Qatar, but not necessarily in countries hit by serious unrest, according to the BlackRock Frontiers investment trust.”

The recent dip in the Saudi market on March 2nd was followed by strong gains, and the market is now up nearly 18% since that large one day loss.

Mubadala in talks to buy stake in Dubal - The National

Mubadala Development is in talks to buy a stake in Dubai Aluminium (Dubal), potentially creating one of the world's largest smelting groups.

The talks about Mubadala buying an undisclosed stake in Dubal were announced yesterday by Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid, Deputy Ruler of Dubai, after an annual general meeting to discuss the smelter's financial results for last year. Sheikh Hamdan is also UAE Minister of Finance and chairman of the Dubal board.

Mubadala, a strategic investment company owned by the Abu Dhabi Government, and Dubal are already linked through their 50-50 joint ownership of Emirates Aluminium (Emal), a smelter at Al Taweelah, Abu Dhabi.

AFP: Oil rich Qatar to grow 20 percent in 2011: IMF

The economy of oil and gas exporter Qatar -- the world's wealthiest country per capita -- will grow a breathless 20 percent in 2011, the IMF said Wednesday.

"Qatar has weathered the global financial crisis exceptionally well, reflecting the swift and strong policy response by the authorities," the International Monetary Fund said about the country of 1.7 million people.

"Growth has rebounded to 16 percent in 2010 and is projected to accelerate to 20 percent in 2011."

The Cheapest Stocks in the World - Seeking Alpha

Where will you find the cheapest stocks in the world? Dubai, according to Bloomberg News data.

The Dubai Financial Market General Index’s 13 percent drop this year has left it valued at 0.6 times book value, a 67 percent discount to the global average and the least since Bloomberg began compiling the data four years ago.

The DFM index trades for 5.7 times analysts’ 12-month earnings estimates, the lowest level worldwide and 30 percent below the average of 8.1 times during the past four years, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Companies in the index pay dividends amounting to 4.1 percent of their share prices, almost double the 2.2 percent dividend yield on the MSCI Emerging Markets Index.

INTERVIEW - Emirates drops plans for bond after unrest

A delegation enters an Airbus A380 passenger plane of Emirates Airline at the ILA International Air Show in Schoenefeld outside Berlin, June 8, 2010. REUTERS/Thomas Peter/Files
A delegation enters an Airbus A380 passenger plane of Emirates Airline at t...

Emirates, one of the Arab world's largest airline, has dropped plans for a bond to finance expansion after the uprisings in North Africa made rates more expensive, its president said.

"We tested the water and it was pretty muddy," Tim Clark told Reuters in an interview on Wednesday at the ITB travel fair in Berlin. "So, we've parked it."

The group had mandated banks for a bond issue, IFR markets, a unit of Thomson Reuters, reported last month, and it was seen likely to attract strong demand.

Dubai World's Drydocks Sued in Singapore for Not Paying Suppliers - Bloomberg

Two Singapore units of Drydocks World LLC, the ship repair unit of state-owned Dubai World, which is attempting to restructure $24.9 billion of debt, were sued in Singapore’s High Court for not paying suppliers.

Drydocks World Singapore Pte and Labroy Shipbuilding & Engineering Pte, failed to pay S$6 million ($4.7 million) for goods sold and delivered between May and December, according to four complaints filed with the Singapore High Court. The cases had their first closed hearing yesterday.

Drydocks refused repeated requests to pay Beng Hui Marine Electrical Pte, Hoe Seng Huat Pte and Z-Power Automation Pte, according to the lawsuits of the Singapore-based suppliers.

No pressure for Dubai asset sales this year - official | Reuters

Dubai is under no pressure to make asset sales this year and its flagship conglomerate Dubai World [DBWLD.UL] will sign a final agreement on its $25 billion debt restructuring next week, a top official said on Wednesday.

Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed al-Maktoum, chairman of Dubai's Supreme Fiscal Committee and an uncle of the emirate's ruler, also said Dubai's core business was strong.

"There is no pressure on us for sale of Dubai World assets," he said. "We have a period of eight years. Always the question is asked, is an asset up for sale. Anything can be sold if the offer is good and tempting."

Business : Dubai World set to sign final debt deal next week

The state-owned Dubai World will sign a final deal with its creditors to restructure around $25 billion of debt next week, Chairman Shaikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum said.

The final agreement for the restructuring will be signed within a week, Shaikh Ahmed told reporters at the ground-breaking ceremony of Standard Chartered’s new headquarters in Dubai on Wednesday.

He further said that he did not think that the group had been affected by recent turmoil across the Middle East and North Africa. There is no pressure on the company to sell its assets, he added.

Wave of Unrest Hurts Mideast Insurers -

Economic disruption caused by the wave of unrest across the Middle East is now hurting regional insurers, industry officials and analysts say, as falling stock markets cut into their investments, and rising risks — including the sovereign risk that underlies their credit ratings — undermine their financial standing.

“The impact is immediately seen in rising premium levels,” said Fareed Lutfi, the secretary general of the Coordination Commission for Gulf Insurance and Reinsurance Companies, a regulatory body for regional insurers based in the United Arab Emirates.

“And on the investment side, the political unrest has affected the quality of their portfolios,” he continued. “Insurers will be much more conservative until stability returns.”

Dubal worth around $39bn as Dubai negotiates sale to Abu Dhabi « ArabianMoney

Dubai has confirmed that the emirate is in talks to sell a stake in Dubal, the Dubai aluminum smelter that made a profit of $580 million profit last year to Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth fund Mubadala Development.

With global rivals like Alcoa currently commanding a price-to-earnings ratio of 68 that would value Dubal at around $39 billion. Profits at Dubal have doubled over the past year making it a particularly attractive time to sell such assets. - Glut of foreign labour ‘stifles incentive’

Please respect's ts&cs and copyright policy which allow you to: share links; copy content for personal use; & redistribute limited extracts. Email to buy additional rights or use this link to reference the article -

The numbers are stark. In 2009, all 829,000 jobs created in the Saudi private sector went to foreigners, while in Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, more than 94 per cent of all private sector jobs are held by foreigners.

We also know that about 40 per cent of the population in the six states of the Gulf Co-operation Council is below the age of 15 and that the national workforce is likely to increase by 50 per cent during the next five years.

This is in part due to the region’s demographic profile and in part due to greater female participation as economic pressures force more women into work.