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Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Equities in Qatar Expected to Be Strongest Regional Performer in 2011 - Seeking Alpha

The affiliated member CFA societies for investment professionals in nine Middle Eastern countries have unveiled the full results from their first Middle East Market Sentiment Survey, tracking the views of nearly 200 CFA charterholders in the region on the outlook for markets, the importance of trust and ethics, and the role of education in professional excellence.

In the United Arab Emirates, 59% of CFA charterholders and members expect 2011 to be a year of growth for their businesses or organizations, compared to 43% of their peers elsewhere in the region. And despite political, environmental, and economic troubles seen around the region and the world, most respondents believe stocks will be the best-performing asset class this year, followed by commodities.

Still, CFA charterholders anticipate divergent performance from the region's equity markets. Stocks in Qatar are expected to be the strongest performers in 2011, followed by Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi, the venue for the Second Annual Middle East Investment Conference, which gets under way today (March 22). Conversely, respondents are the most pessimistic about Bahrain, with 74% of respondents anticipating negative or flat growth this year. In Dubai, 59% of respondents anticipate negative or flat growth. In Kuwait, the figure is 56%.

Executive Regulations of Kuwait’s Capital Markets Authority Law « Alpha Dinar- talking Gulf finance

The Capital Markets Authority (CMA) bylaws were published in Alkuwait Alyoum official government newspaper on March 13th and are now in effect. For some reason, we weren’t able to get the executive regulations of the CMA. Thanks to Abdullah from Markaz, we have a translated version of the CMA executive regulations. Enjoy 106 pages of regulations that will hopefully transform into forceful laws, adding much needed transparency and trust to our financial system.

Exectuive Regulations of Kuwait Capital Market Authority Law English

Egypt gears up for stock market reopening - Maktoob News

Egypt's stock market is poised to reopen Wednesday after a nearly two-month closure triggered by the unrest that toppled Hosni Mubarak, and analysts expected steep losses in a reflection of shaken investor confidence.

The relaunch of the Egyptian Exchange comes after the prime minister accepted the resignation of the market's chairman and appointed a new, temporary head. The move was the latest step by officials to try to ensure a smooth first few days of trading on a market whose restart was delayed several times amid fallout from the Jan. 25 uprising and ensuing labor unrest.

The decision to reopen the market was based on "taking all required procedures to guarantee its safety opening and trading," said a statement posted on the Egyptian Cabinet's website.

MENA stock markets close - March 22, 2011

Oil weakens, absorbing Libya conflict - Maktoob News

Oil prices eased on Tuesday, with Brent hovering below $115 on an anticipated slowdown in Western air strikes on Libya

Anti-aircraft fire rang out across Tripoli for a third night on Monday, but U.S. President Barack Obama, wary of getting sucked into a Libyan civil war, said the United States will cede control of the air assault in days.

Front month Brent crude was 29 cents lower at $114.67 at 1212 GMT, still within sight of a two and a half year high near $120 hit last month.

Bahrain and Oman face further credit downgrades warns S&P - The National

Bahrain and Oman's credit ratings risk further cuts says Standard & Poor's as the agency expresses doubt that cash pledges from Gulf neighbours will be enough to end political turmoil.

"Protests and political instability are in our view likely to negatively affect economic performance and depress future growth prospects," especially for Bahrain in its role as a financial hub, S&P said in a statement from London today.

"There remain questions as to whether or not GCC economic aid will be able to offset these political and reputational risks."

Egypt: goodbye, MSCI? | beyondbrics –

Egypt risks being expelled from the MSCI Emerging Markets Index if the Cairo stock exchange fails to open on Wednesday –as it has promised for the nth time since trading was suspended on January 27.

Even if the exchange keeps its promise this time there is no guarantee of safety. Any sustained lack of access for foreign institutional investors – caused, for example, by what seems the inevitable triggering of circuit breakers – will increase its chances of expulsion. Forced selling of Egyptian stocks has all the makings of a self-fulfilling prophecy.

As Neil Hume of FT Alphaville noted on Friday, expulsion matters because exchange traded funds, index funds and any passive investors benchmarked to MSCI indices would have to sell Egyptian equities.

Turkey should invest more in Mideast, business chief says - Hurriyet Daily

Chinese and Indian businesspeople are filling the gaps in Middle East markets as Turkish business leaders hesitate to invest there, according to the chairman of the All Industrialists' and Businessmen's Association, or TÜMSİAD.

"The Middle East markets are crucial for us. We should ‘re-start ourselves’ and move on to get hold of these markets,” TÜMSİAD Chairman Hasan Sert told Anatolia news agency Tuesday.

"Businessmen from China, India and some other countries are investing there today,” he said.

Abu Dhabi's Hilal Bank in profit, eyes expansion - Maktoob News

Abu Dhabi government-owned Al Hilal Bank earned its first yearly profit in 2010 and expects continued growth as it expands locally and overseas, its top executive said on Tuesday.

The Islamic lender is finalising its next three-year growth strategy that would focus on investment banking among other growth areas, said Mohamed Berro told Reuters.

"Our first year of profit was purely from operations, no one-offs. Despite the challenges, we found the market for Islamic banking is getting bigger," Berro said.

Bahrain pulls telecom license of opposition leader's firm, Bahrain Industries - Maktoob News

Bahrain has withdrawn the licenses of local telecoms and internet provider 2Connect which was founded by an opposition politician arrested last week in a security crackdown.

Bahrain's Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) said it had withdrawn all licenses of 2Connect effective March 27 in a statement late on Monday. The telecoms watchdog did not give a reason for its decision.

Bahrain's commercial registry lists Ibrahim Sharif, head of opposition party Waad, as a founder and director of the firm.

AngloGold CEO sees gold at $1,600/oz in 2012 | Reuters

Gold prices could reach $1,600 an ounce by the end of next year, AngloGold Ashanti, the world's third-largest producer, told Reuters on Tuesday.

"We think the direction for gold looks like it could continue to be quite strong on the upside," Mark Cutifani, chief executive of AngloGold Ashanti said at the Reuters Global Mining and Steel Summit.

"You could say we should breach $1,500 next year and we use (an increase of) about $100 an ounce a year on the supply side to give a sense of where the market goes over the long term," he said.

No Emaar dividend... for third year running - Emirates 24/7

Emaar Properties – for the third consecutive year — is not likely to pay dividend for 2010, the proposal for which will be discussed at the annual general meeting (AGM).

The Dubai-based developer, in the invitation sent to shareholders, said the board of directors would be discussing the proposal regarding “non-distribution” of dividend for the fiscal year 2010.

The company will hold its AGM on April 5.

RBS sees $80 billion in Gulf debt maturing this year and next | Business | STV News

Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) sees $80 billion (49 billion pounds) in debt maturing this year and in 2012 in the Gulf Arab region and Egypt, its top regional executive said on Tuesday.

"We see over the next two years, 2011-2012, $80 billion of debt that comes up for maturity both for banks and loans in the bond markets. That is GCC plus Egypt," Simon Penney, RBS's chief executive for the Middle East, said at a roundtable.

Dubai alone has about $30 billion of debt maturing over the next two years, with $12 billion of that due this year.

Abu Dhabi's Aldar Properties 'B/B' ratings affirmed on government rescue -

Standard & Poor's Ratings Services affirmed its 'B/B' long- and short-term corporate credit ratings on Abu Dhabi-based property company Aldar Properties PJSC (Aldar). At the same time, we removed the ratings from CreditWatch, where they had been placed with developing implications on Jan. 18, 2011. The outlook is stable.

The issue rating on the $1.25 billion 8.75% senior unsecured bonds due May 2014 and AED3.75 billion of al-ijarah sukuk due June 2013 has been affirmed at 'B', the same as the long-term corporate credit rating on Aldar. We have assigned a recovery rating of '4' to both of these debt issues, indicating Standard & Poor's expectation of average (30%-50%) recovery in the event of a payment default.

The senior unsecured bonds were issued by Atlantic Finance Ltd. and the sukuk al-ijarah certificates were issued by Sukuk Funding (No.2) Ltd.

RBS sees 2-4 Qatar, UAE IPOS launched in London in 2011 - Finance News - London South East

Royal Bank of Scotland expects two to four initial public offerings from firms in Qatar and the UAE to launch on the London bourse in 2011, a senior regional executive said on Tuesday.

Tom Emmet, RBS managing director and head of corporate finance and equity capital markets for the Middle East and Africa, also said the UK bank was actively involved in two Gulf region IPO deals.

'Anything between 2-4 IPOs in London this year,' he said of the prospects for listings. 'You are going to see the next ones from the UAE or Qatar.

MENA stock markets midday GMT+4 - March 22, 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)

Efficient Al Rajhi is set to broaden its scope - The National

Al Rajhi Bank, the largest provider of Islamic retail products in Saudi Arabia, is set to expand its business by focusing on lending to medium-sized companies, say analysts.

That niche "remains a relatively untapped market in Saudi Arabia", said Faisal al Azmeh, a banking analyst at NCB Capital in Riyadh. "The government's increasing efforts to develop the non-oil sector could further boost demand for corporate credit." NCB Capital initiated coverage on Al Rajhi with an outperform rating and price target of 88.7riyals a share, up almost 20 per cent from its current trading position.

Shares lost 0.3 per cent to 77.5 riyals yesterday.

Third year without dividend at GIH - The National

Global Investment House (GIH) has managed to reduce its losses as it straightens out its balance sheet - but there is still no dividend in sight for investors.

The financial services company, based in Kuwait, yesterday reported a net loss of 73.2 million dinars for last year, nearly 51 per cent less than the 148.8m dinar loss reported for the previous year. GIH attributed the improvement mostly to profit from its US$5.1 billion asset management business.

But the company' board suspended a dividend payout for the third consecutive year.

Ipic dispute delays truck giants' merger - The National

A dispute between the Man Group and Abu Dhabi's International Petroleum Investment Company (Ipic) is complicating the German truck maker's bid to merge with Scania, its Swedish competitor, it has emerged.

Ipic bought 70 per cent of Ferrostaal, Man's former industrial services subsidiary, for €450 million (Dh2.34 billion) in 2008.

But Ipic has so far refused to buy the remaining 30 per cent because of a continuing bribery investigation at Ferrostaal that began in 2009.

UAE urged to rejoin GCC currency bloc - The National

The UAE remains involved in planning the GCC monetary union and the four states within the project are still hoping it will rejoin the proposed bloc, says the Saudi Arabian central bank governor.

The comments come as economists stress the importance of the project to help the region compete with other emerging markets.

"The GCC monetary union is an absolute priority for the four countries involved," said Mohammed al Jasser, the governor of the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency, on the sidelines of the Jeddah Economic Forum.

Mideast unrest to stall regional deals » Kuwait Times Website

Political unrest plaguing the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region will delay planned deals with activity seen flat versus last year, Standard Chartered mergers and acquisitions executives said. Ralf Pilarczyk, regional head of M&A, Standard Chartered MENA and Apoorva Shah, managing director M&A, Standard Chartered, said the current unrest has quelled appetite for activity and more deals may be delayed despite the region offering immense potential over the long-term.

The deals that are on the radar right now may get announced but you may see a delay. With that in mind, activity being flat would be a possible outcome," Shah told Reuters last week. Middle East M&A values fell sharply during and after the financial crisis with buyers demanding better due diligence and sellers sticking to valuations at pre-crisis levels.

However, most bankers had been optimistic of a rebound in activity heading into 2011. The value of deal activity in the region on average was expected to rise 20 percent this year to between $28 billion and $30 billion, according to a banker's survey released earlier this year. But the unrest rocking the region has changed the landscape. The UK lender aims to build on its global footprint which spans Asia, Africa and the Middle East, the executives said, adding that more Middle Eastern institutions were lo
oking at emerging markets for deals.

Billionaires Splash Out on Middle-East Art as Dubai Fair Grows - Bloomberg

Billionaire collectors splashed out in Dubai as galleries reported stronger sales and a growing interest in Middle Eastern art.

Business at Art Dubai was better than last year, when the global economic crisis depressed sales, said dealers. Buyers shrugged off worries about political unrest and natural disasters that held back business at the world’s largest art- and-antiques fair, Tefaf, taking place in the Netherlands.

Art Dubai, a bellwether for contemporary and Middle Eastern art, this year featured 82 galleries from 34 countries. Fair organizers said “several hundred” galleries applied to participate, and 80 percent of them reapplied from last year. Artworks were priced from $5,000 to $1 million.

Moody's Downgrades Ratings Of 5 Egypt Banks; Bahrain Cautioned |

Moody's Investors Service Monday lowered the ratings of five major Egyptian banks on the likelihood that the economy will weaken, while it warned in a separate report that the escalating tension in Bahrain could mean bad news for its banks.

Also Monday, Standard & Poor's assigned negative outlooks to five Tunisian banks, saying the political and economic legacy of the ousted Ben Ali regime and the precipitous transfer of power "have, in our view, damaged Tunisia's prospects for growth, public finances, and external balance."

In a statement, Moody's announced downgrades to the foreign currency deposit ratings -- by one notch to B1 from Ba3 -- of National Bank of Egypt; Banque Misr; Banque du Caire; Commercial International Bank; and Bank of Alexandria.

Behind the $133billion Saudi Stimulus | Arabianomics

Muhammad Ibrahim of Arab News explores the most recently announced “Saudi Stimulus” package, as we will refer to it on this site henceforth. Half of that package will go to growing Saudi Arabia’s housing market, and will build 500,000 new homes for Saudis.

For a full list of the Royal Decrees announced on Friday, please see the aforementioned article. We’ll dissect these decrees and their economic importance in the coming days, but click here for the list (at the bottom of the article). - Protests take economic toll on Bahrain

As people begin to trickle back to the streets, and shops reopen their doors, Manama is tentatively regaining an air of normality after last week’s bloody crackdown on a youthful pro-democracy protest movement.

However, clashes between Shia protesters and the country’s security forces have continued in the dilapidated villages outside Manama, and the economic, commercial and reputational damage done to the aspiring business hub by the past month’s political upheaval is significant.

Bahrain will “almost definitely” suffer its worst economic downturn in three decades this year, with gross domestic product contracting about 2 per cent or even worse if the political turmoil persists, says Said Hirsh of Capital Economics.