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Sunday, 20 March 2011

MENA stock markets close - March 20, 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)

WRAPUP 3-Saudi handouts bolster stocks, eclipse Libya fears | Reuters

Massive handouts to the citizens of Saudi Arabia, the most economically important and influential Arab country, boosted investor sentiment in the Gulf on Sunday, eclipsing regional upheaval and Western air strikes on Libya.

The index .TASI of the Saudi bourse, the largest Arab market, ended 4.5 percent higher at a one-month high, after its biggest gain since March 5, before fears of unrest spreading in the Gulf spooked investors.

WAM | Jersey Finance opens Abu Dhabi office

Jersey Finance, the representative body for the finance industry in the British Channel Island of Jersey, opened its regional office for the Gulf Co-operation Council and India in Abu Dhabi today.

To coincide with the opening of the office, the island's Deputy Chief Minister and Treasury Minister, Senator Philip Ozouf, arrived in Abu Dhabi on Saturday 19th March, on a three-day visit, leading a delegation of government and finance industry officials.

"Jersey Finance's new office in Abu Dhabi will serve to support the growth of the UAE's finance sector and will help to develop broader connections between our two nations," Senator Ozouf said in a statement to WAM. "Both Jersey and the UAE have growing reputations as world-class international finance centres. Abu Dhabi can serve as a critical hub through which Jersey can continue to develop its relationships throughout the region." "The Government of Jersey," he added, "hopes that the opening of this office will not only help to deepen the relationship that already exists between our finance industries, but also to broaden that relationship, spreading across a variety of economic sectors and also building links between the people of our two countries." Ozouf and his delegation met today with officials at the UAE Central Bank to discuss the expansion of collaboration in banking regulation and are expected to meet tomorrow with senior officials of the Ministry of Foreign Trade and the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority.

Saudi Shares Rally to One-Month High as King Boosts Spending - Businessweek

Persian Gulf shares rose and Saudi Arabia’s benchmark stock index gained to the highest in a month after King Abdullah ordered increases in spending, including $67 billion on housing, to prevent protests from escalating.

Saudi Basic Industries Corp., the world’s biggest petrochemical maker known as Sabic, rallied 4.6 percent. In Dubai, Emaar Properties PJSC, builder of the world’s tallest skyscraper, advanced to the highest in almost a month. Saudi’s Tadawul All Share Index rose 4.5 percent to 6,343.79 at the 3:30 p.m. close in Riyadh, the highest since Feb. 19. The market was closed yesterday for a holiday. The DFM General Index climbed 2.6 percent and the Bloomberg GCC 200 Index increased 2.4 percent.

“While geopolitical risks remain in Bahrain and the commencement of United Nations intervention against Qaddafi is an obvious escalation of the conflict in Libya, the situation in Saudi Arabia looks relatively positive,” said Amro Halwani, senior equity sales trader at Shuaa Capital PSC in Riyadh. “The package is expected to have an almost immediate effect on different segments of the economy.”

Saudi Arabia sees no outflows from regional strife | Reuters

Saudi Arabia's economy is reasonably insulated from the regional turmoil and the central bank has seen no abnormal capital outflows, its governor Muhammad al-Jasser said on Sunday.

Revolts have been sweeping through the Arab world since December, shaking the world's top oil exporter's neighbors Bahrain, Oman and Yemen, while raising debt insurance costs and pressuring markets across the Gulf.

When asked about the impact of the regional turmoil on the economy and capital flows, the Saudi central bank governor told reporters: "I think very little because simply, economically you have to look at what you are exporting and importing."

Oman to spend $1 bln to boost gas output | Energy & Oil | Reuters

Oman is to invest $1 billion in a field southeast of the capital to boost gas production.

Like most of its Gulf neighbours, Oman is short of the gas it needs to meet rapidly rising demand for industry and power.

"We are planning to produce 90 million cubic feet of gas per day from block 60 by the first quarter of 2013 to cater for increasing local demands," state-run Oman Oil Exploration and Production Co (OEPC) said on Sunday.

Dubai's financial regulator censures Saxo Bank unit, UAE Industries - Maktoob News

Dubai's financial regulator on Sunday said it censored the local unit of privately-held Danish lender Saxo Bank for its failure to comply with rules regarding intake of clients and anti-money laundering controls.

The Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) said in a statement that failure by Saxo Bank Dubai Limited (SBDL) increased the risk of the bank's business in Dubai being used for money laundering.

DFSA said it conducted an investigation and found that the bank referred its clients to its parent, Saxo Bank in Denmark, and did not carry out sufficient client classification according to the rules set by the emirate's financial regulator, Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC).

Oman's NBO seeks approval for $600 mln bond program - Maktoob News

National Bank of Oman (NBO), the Gulf state's second-largest lender by assets, is seeking shareholder approval for a $600 million bond programme aiming to tap international bond markets, it said on Sunday.

The $600 million Euro Medium Term Notes (EMTN) programme will allow the lender to issue bonds through public subscription or private placement in different currencies and on varying terms, NBO said in a statement to Muscat bourse.

"The total amount of bonds outstanding, as part of the program shall not exceed at any point of time USD 600 million," it said.

With $12bn Zain bid abandoned Etisalat should focus on competing with du « ArabianMoney

Etisalat has decided to drop its proposed $12 billion bid for Kuwait’s Zain mobile telecommunications company due to regional unrest and problems with due diligence. The UAE’s telecom giant says it will look elsewhere in the world for acquisitions. But really it should be focused on its domestic competition from du.

Mention the name of du to many local residents and they colour with anger. If you want to see the nearest thing to social unrest in the UAE then visit a du showroom on a busy day and watch the tempers flare. Poorly trained staff, incompetent management, simply growing too fast, all are advanced as reasons for this state of near chaos.

More volatility is certain as global financial markets go down « ArabianMoney

The one thing you can be certain about uncertainty is that it will produce greater volatility in global financial markets. The adviser to the Abu Dhabi Royal family who made a call on volatility two weeks ago at the Hedge Funds World Middle East conference is clearly more than worth his salary (click here).

So are the nuclear reactors melting down or not? Does that matter when the Japanese economy is already so disrupted? Will Libya be another Iraq for the Western allies? Will the Bahrain crackdown be the end of unrest in the Gulf States?

gulfnews : Selling pressure likely to increase on regional stocks

The region stock markets are likely to come under increased selling pressure in the week ahead due to mounting unrest in Libya and Bahrain, but markets in the UAE and Qatar offer some attractive buying opportunities which, potentially, can limit the slide if investors take longer-term bets, market analysts say.

The civil war in Libya took a significant turn yesterday when a fighter jet fell from the sky and burst into flames as explosions rang out in the rebel stronghold of Benghazi. A day earlier, the government said it was abiding by a ceasefire and no-fly zone, but violence from forces loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi have continued.

"Political risk may remain an overhang in the region. We therefore strongly prefer the relative stability of Qatar and the UAE, which enjoy strong oil prices that support overall balances and with them government commitments to invest in the diversification of their economies," said Jaap Meijer, Head of the bank team at Alembic HC.

gulfnews : World recovery 'faces powerful shocks'

The global economic recovery may be threatened by an array of "powerful shocks" including Japan's record earthquake and Europe's sovereign debt crisis, said Stephen Roach, nonexecutive chairman of Morgan Stanley Asia.

The impact of Japan's magnitude-9 earthquake, together with the euro-region's funding problems, turmoil in the Middle East, and a jump in oil prices are "worrisome" as the global economy's rebound from the recession of 2008 and 2009 remains weak, Roach said at a conference in Beijing yesterday. "When you have a weak recovery, you don't have a cushion that allows you to be able to withstand shocks," Roach said. "Right now we have a lot of shocks."

Libya Oil Chief Says Crude Production ‘Could Reach a Halt’ Due to Conflict - Bloomberg

Libya’s oil production fell to less than 400,000 barrels a day after foreign companies pulled out their staff, the chairman of the country’s state-run National Oil Corp., Shokri Ghanem, said in a televised media conference from Tripoli.

Ghanem said the North African country had no intention of breaking commitments with foreign companies and called on them to send their employees back to resume work. Libya may otherwise award new oil and gas concessions directly to companies in countries such as China, India and Brazil in order to raise production, which “could reach a halt,” he said.

Within hours of Ghanem’s remarks, war planes and naval vessels from the U.S., Canada, France, the U.K. and Italy began bombing Libyan air defenses and other military targets to enforce a United Nations-authorized no-fly zone. Earlier today, dictator Muammar Qaddafi abandoned a cease-fire he announced yesterday and ordered an attack on the rebel stronghold of Benghazi.

Saudis play trump card over jobs - The National

Viewed in isolation, Dow Chemical's decision to fund an academic research centre in Saudi Arabia has no obvious payback.

But consider there is a US$20 billion (Dh73.46bn) petrochemicals project hanging in the balance, and the US company's move begins to make sense.

Saudi Arabia is in a dance with investors over how to develop an industry that relies on its natural resource base, but unlike oil, has the potential to create thousands of jobs.