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Saturday, 19 March 2011

Saudi Stock Exchange (Tadawul)

2011-03-19 (1432/04/14) 02:05:05

As instructed by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud that today Saturday 19/3/2011 (14/4/1432) will be an official holiday all over the kingdom, The Saudi Stock Exchange would like to announce that Saturday 19/3/2011 will be a Non Trading day.

Libya says may give oil deals to China, India | Reuters

Libya is considering offering direct oil block contracts to China, India and other nations it considers friends in its month-long conflict with rebels, Libya's top oil official said on Saturday.

National Oil Corporation Chairman Shukri Ghanem said Libya's crude production had fallen to less than 400,000 barrels per day from about 1.6 million before the crisis and warned that oil exports might halt altogether if output is not restored.

"Because of the situation, we will be looking at giving direct block contracts to countries ready to come and work in the country because we want to increase production," he said.

Egypt PM sees bourse announcement soon: agency | Reuters

The Egyptian stock exchange will announce in days, and probably in the coming week, a date for reopening, the state news agency quoted Prime Minister Essam Sharaf as saying on Saturday.

The exchange has been closed since January 30, early in the 18-day uprising that toppled President Hosni Mubarak from power. Prior to that, the main index had fallen 21 percent since the start of the year.

Batelco CEO: will proceed with Zain Saudi stake buy | Reuters

Bahrain Telecommunications BTEL.BH will proceed with its joint $950 million cash bid for a stake in Zain's Saudi unit despite the end of the Kuwaiti firm's $12 billion deal with Etisalat ETEL.AD, Batelco's chief executive said on Saturday.

Batelco teamed up with Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal's Kingdom Holding 4280.SE to bid for Zain's 25 percent stake in Zain Saudi Arabia 7030.SE [ID:nLDE72F056]

"We were not buying Zain, we were buying a stake in Zain KSA and we are still interested in that," Batelco CEO Peter Kaliaropoulos told Reuters from Riyadh. "Now the question is will Zain still sell it. But we will proceed."

UAE's Etisalat walks away from $12 bln Zain deal | Reuters

The UAE telecom firm Etisalat ETEL.AD said on Saturday it would no longer pursue a deal to buy a controlling stake in Kuwaiti telecom rival Zain (ZAIN.KW) Etisalat said it had ended discussions with a unit of Zain major shareholder Kharafi Group to gather the shares to tender to its offer, the Abu Dhabi-based firm said in a statement.

"Etisalat has to announce unfortunately that negotiations ... towards acquiring a controlling stake in Zain have ended," the statement said.

The Gulf's largest telecom firm offered last September to buy a 46-percent stake in Zain, worth about $12 billion, for 1.7 dinars a share from a consortium led by Kharafi Group.

Abu Dhabi raises $4.4bn in bond sale to buy Spanish refinery despite regional unrest « ArabianMoney

The timing of Abu Dhabi’s first euro and sterling denominated bond issue last week might have been judged unfortunate given the unrest across the region and the declaration of a state of emergency in Bahrain. But the issue was ‘extremely well received’ and three times oversubscribed by 350 investors.

Perhaps Abu Dhabi partly sought to demonstrate that it is still business as usual in the Emirates. $4.4 billion was no mean sum, not that the Abu Dhabi Government needs the money at all. This is simply a financing to improve the internal rate-of-return on this purchase, something like mortgaging a house when you actually have the money available.

Jumeirah Islands investor wins Dh2.5m payout - The National

A property owner in Nakheel's Jumeirah Islands development has won a Dh2.5 million (US$680,624) cash payout from the developer, the first such award from the Dubai World Tribunal.

It was also the first time the Tribunal enforced an arbitration decision from another court, which could set a precedent for other disputes involving the developer.

The Dubai International Arbitration Centre last May ruled that Vinod Kumar Dang should be paid Dh2.5m plus interest and legal costs in a row over construction defects in a villa. The property owner then took the matter before the Tribunal to have the award verified and paid out.

Crude Oil Futures Decline as Libya Declares a Cease-Fire, Calls for Talks - Bloomberg

Oil fell after Libya said it will cease military operations against rebels and begin talks aimed at resolving the dispute that has curtailed crude shipments.

Oil dropped 0.4 percent after Muammar Qaddafi’s regime made the announcement that it’s ready to end hostilities. President Barack Obama said Qaddafi must stop violence and repression or face a military response by an international coalition. A United Nations vote yesterday cleared the way for the use of air attacks and a no-fly zone over Libya to protect civilians.

“There was a dramatic reversal after the Libyan announcement,” said Bill O’Grady, chief market strategist at Confluence Investment Management in St. Louis. “The market’s reaction is understandable because there were fears that ordinance would be in the air over Libya this weekend.”

Global Arab Network | Oman: 8.6 % increase in commercial banks assets | Finance

Total assets of commercial banks increased by 8.6 % to RO 15,685.2 million at the end of January 2011 compared to RO 14,449.6 million in January 2010. Cash on hand and deposits of commercial banks with the CBO declined to RO 678.9 million at the end of January 2011 compared to RO 1,003.5 million in January 2010. Total outstanding credit increased to RO 10,754.3 million at the end of January 2011 and accounted for 68.6 percent of total assets. On a year-on-year basis, credit growth was 8.1 percent as at the end of January 2011 compared to 6.7 percent in the previous year. While credit to Government declined by 57.3 percent due to higher realization of oil price in international markets, credit to public enterprises and the private sector increased by 66.6 percent and 5.4 percent, respectively.

Commercial banks' overall investments in securities increased by 41.2 percent to RO 2,204.4 million at the end of January 2011 from RO 1,561 million a year ago. Outstanding investments in CBO CDs increased to RO 1,535.8 million in January 2011 from RO 1,118.9 million in January 2010. Investments in foreign securities also increased by 26.8 percent to RO 203.3 million at the end of January 2011 from RO 160.3 million during the same period in 2010. Commercial banks' investment in government development bonds increased to RO 286.1 million in January 2011 compared to RO 144.1 million in January 2010.

On the liabilities side of the balance sheet, aggregate deposits (Rial Omani plus foreign currency) witnessed a year-on-year growth of 13 % to RO 10,558.6 million at the end of January 2011 from RO 9,345.9 million in January 2010. Government deposits with commercial banks increased by 23.1 percent to RO 2,308.5 million, and deposits of public enterprises rose by 18.4 percent to RO 904.1 million during the same period. Private sector deposits with commercial banks registered an increase of 8.8 percent to RO 7,229.4 million by the end of January 2011 from RO 6,646.8 million a year ago. For the first month of the year, provisional figures for net profits stood higher at RO 22.1 million at the end of January 2011 compared to RO 20.8 million a year ago.

King Abdullah, in Speech, Promises Reforms and Doles out Cash, Benefits | Arabianomics

Big news in Saudi Arabia today: King Abdullah announced a multibillion dollar package of “reforms, raises, cash, loans and apartments on Friday in what appeared to be the Arab world’s most expensive attempt to appease residents inspired by the unrest that has swept two leaders from power,” the Associated Press reports.

This package, and a previous one announced a few weeks ago, amount to some pretty impressive wealth distribution. There is something in it for nearly everyone.

In an email, Banque Saudi Fransi’s John Sfakianakis wrote:

The measures are geared to support the economic inclusiveness of the population and increase the filtering down process. Some of the measures have a direct hand out character but others such as housing and medical services are attempting to address essential sustainability issues. The announced social policies are designed to ease the burden of high property prices and housing market imbalances, while helping its young population cope with a mounting unemployment challenge. We find the additional housing benefits for those in need to be well timed and place. Some SR250 billion will be allocated for housing measures (to the General Housing Authority) as well as ordering the building of 500,000 housing units. However, we do not have any clarity about the beneficiaries of planned housing units. Also building half a million units takes time. The Real Estate Development Fund will increase the maximum facilities provided from SR300,000 to SR500,000. We believe housing is a very crucial component of the economy even if the half a million units will not be constructed in one year. The Real Estate Development Fund has received an injection of fresh capital of SR40 billion as part of the February measures.”

We will closely monitor the packages and all of the details in the coming days, but our quick analysis is that this will do wonders for Saudi Arabia’s middle class and youth.

Guest post: oil windfall gains still to come for Russia investors | beyondbrics –

With unrest in the Middle East pushing oil prices higher, there is one scenario that is not to be taken lightly – the risk of stagflation: higher inflation against a backdrop of slowing global growth.

Ten out of 11 postwar recessions in the US have been preceded by sharp increases in oil prices. Investors are right to wonder whether history will repeat itself and might be the impact on emerging markets.

Oil prices and growth seem positively correlated ie crude and GDP growth tend to rise and fall in tandem. However, uncovering the correct relationship between economic activity and oil prices is difficult.