Tuesday, 29 March 2011
In a letter emailed to its customers, the Shariah-complaint bank said: “In those specific situations where the delivery of the property under construction has been delayed beyond the ‘expected date of delivery’ [i.e. the completion date plus the contractually defined extension period], advanced rental charges for the period following the ‘expected date of delivery’ will be waived and/or fully refunded for all eligible customers.”
The move is likely to bring respite to many who are under burden to pay large sums of money at handover time to the bank.
Guest column: Gulf states should cut foreign labour and promote local employment | beyondbrics – FT.com
Gulf countries need to wean themselves off cheap foreign labour for greater social stability.
The goals of those protesting across the Middle East vary greatly from country to country but one thing that most have in common is a sense of frustration with their economic situation, at the heart of which is a lack of suitable jobs. And one step that the authorities in Gulf countries could take is to limit the inflow of foreign workers to promote greater local employment.
The role that unemployment has played in sparking the events that ultimately led to regime change in Tunisia and Egypt has been widely discussed in the media and elsewhere. Protesting Jordanians and Omanis have not called for regime change but for a better standard of living, complaining first and foremost about a lack of employment. Even in Bahrain, unequal job opportunities between the Shia and Sunni populations are at the core of what is otherwise seen as a sectarian crisis. Countries with high unemployment rates are widely regarded in the market as possible candidates for future unrest.
|TASI (Saudi Stock Market)||6519.13||0.17%|
|DFM (Dubai Financial Market)||1555.49||-0.13%|
|ADX (Abudhabi Securities Exchange)||2634.69||0.04%|
|KSE (Kuwait Stock Exchange)||6323||0.27%|
|BSE (Bahrain Stock Exchange)||1426.57||-0.09%|
|MSM (Muscat Securities Market)||6338.76||-0.50%|
|QE (Qatar Exchange)||8398.64||0.31%|
|LSE (Beirut Stock Exchange)||1424.77||0.04%|
|EGX 30 (Egypt Exchange)||5409.43||3.01%|
|ASE (Amman Stock Exchange)||2164.76||0.47%|
|TUNINDEX (Tunisia Stock Exchange)||4410.76||-1.01%|
|CB (Casablanca Stock Exchange)||12419.2||-0.34%|
|PSE (Palestine Securities Exchange)||500.1||0.47%|
“We look forward to a brighter future based on solid financials,” Sheikh Ahmed told a meeting of 600 managers from its business units in Dubai yesterday, according to a company statement.
Dubai World’s units include DP World Ltd. (DPW), the world’s fourth-biggest port operator, ship repair company Drydocks World LLC and private-equity investor Istithmar World PJSC. Sheikh Ahmed replaced Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem as Dubai World chairman in December.
The benchmark climbed 0.2 percent to 6,519 points, nearing Sunday's six-week high.
Bluechips are mixed. Saudi Telecom Co fell 1.8 percent, but Saudi Electricity Co rose 1.5 percent.
The company, in a statement, said: “Nakheel has to date made payments of Dh4.6 billion to its trade creditors. Today’s [Tuesday] announcement marks significant progress in our recapitalisation plan, following on from the initial payments to trade creditors of Dh500,000 or less, which commenced in March 2010.”
In January, the company had said it had paid Dh3.9 billion.
The Egyptian Exchange's benchmark EGX30 index closed 3 percent higher. The index had closed up 0.75 percent on Monday, giving back much of its the gains it recorded earlier in the day as buyers stepped back to reassess the market. The gains over the week have pared down its year-to-date losses to around 24 percent.
The exchange's acting chairman, Mohammed Abdel-Salam, said the market has been performing well since it was relaunched on March 23, nearly two months after trading was halted amid protests that ousted former President Hosni Mubarak.
Libya holds more bullion as a proportion of gross domestic product than any country except Lebanon, according to the London-based World Gold Council using January data from the International Monetary Fund. The value of gold is based on the March 25 close of $1,429.74 an ounce.
“He has all that gold? It’s probably in the central bank of Libya,” said Faraj Najem, a London-based Libyan writer and historian. “He has plenty of cash and if he’s got gold, it’s even better since he can pay mercenaries in a commodity that is easily exchangeable.”
Since the start of disruptions in Libya's oil supplies, OPEC members have taken unilateral action to boost production. Saudi Arabia, the world's largest oil exporter, has produced just under 9 million barrels per day (bpd) so far in March.
"As oil exports from Libya were affected, other OPEC members stepped in including Saudi, Kuwait, Angola and the UAE," Ali Obaid al-Yabhouni told a conference in Abu Dhabi. "There is no damage report of infrastructure of Libya's oil production, so once the problems are resolved, (exports) will go back to normal."
Qatar's Masraf Al Rayan to issue up to US$1 billion Sukuk - Business Intelligence Middle East - bi-me.com - News, analysis, reports
Masraf Al Rayan is also seeking to buy a stake in a Saudi bank, he told the general meeting of shareholders late yesterday in Doha, without naming the lender.
“The aim from issuing the sukuk is to manage the balance sheet more efficiently,” he said.
Interesting findings from Goldman Sachs with regards to oil prices. This comes from a recent research report from their Commodities Research Team. In July of 2008 Goldman Sachs famously said the price of oil was not being distorted by speculators. After a 75% decline in prices they changed their tune and said speculators had in fact distorted prices. Their retraction said:
“Conversely, speculators bring fundamental views and information to the market, impacting physical supply management and facilitating price discovery. As a result, speculators have a loose relationship with price. In other words, as speculators buy, prices generally tend to rise, and vice versa. Accordingly, speculators also contributed to the extreme price movements over the last two years. For example, new data suggests that speculators increased the price of oil by $9.50/bbl on average during the 2008 run-up. Thus, speculators exacerbated the volatility that was nonetheless rooted in the fundamental imbalance.” (emphasis added)
As I’ve previously stated, I find it hard to believe that there is not a speculative element involved in the price of commodities today. This is perhaps best seen in “commercial” participants who are now speculating in the markets by hoarding or using various commodities as collateral for financing operations. Given their 2009 retraction, it’s not surprising to find that Goldman says there is a speculative premium in oil prices currently. Perhaps more surprising, is their statement that the speculative premium is too small:
Yesterday it was revealed that Deyaar, Dubai’s second largest property developer had sold property and land worth $600 million to a ‘related party’ thought to be the Dubai Islamic Bank which has a 40 per cent stake in Deyaar. Dubai Government has a 30 per cent controlling stake in the DIB.
Although the shareholders sought a 20 to 30 per cent dividend, the management argued against it, citing a Dh4 billion short-term loan repayment this year.
"We can't distribute more than 10 per cent to the shareholders as we have financial obligations that we need to meet, which I'm not sure if we will reschedule. We cannot default on loan payments," Chairman Mohammad Al Abbar said.
Financial statements show that Deyaar entered into an agreement to sell Dh1.33bn of property held for future development and land stakes worth Dh899.58 million as of December 30.
The previously undisclosed sale boosted revenuefor the year but still left the company with a Dh2.3bn loss after a major write-down of the value of its assets.
Low levels of trading have long afflicted the Bahraini market, the second-smallest in the Gulf after Muscat, but volumes have declined further recently with the unrest that has closed most of Manama's financial district and dampened investor confidence across the region.
"It will be important to bring in a strategic partner but all the options are open right now," said Fouad Rahman Rashid, the director of the Bahrain Bourse. "We have to find ways to see an improvement in liquidity [and] we are addressing this."
The global banking group's GCC business confidence index fell by two points from the previous quarter to 85.5 points, its lowest since last April's reading of 85.3 points.
Expectations for future regional trade dipped as more companies geared up to export to Asia, the index showed. About 40 per cent of surveyed respondents forecast higher trade with China over the next six months.
That's not unusual, but events of the past few months should give the locals enough to chat about for the next 20 years.
Talking points include the protests in Sohar, dissent in the public and private sectors, with even a walkout by employees in hotels such as the Shangri-La, InterContinental and Crowne Plaza.
Al Manal Development will receive Dh65 million (US$17.6m) from Mashreq to finance completion of Lakeside Residence, a partially built 35-storey tower, the Dubai Land Department announced yesterday. The financing from the bank was arranged through the department's Tayseer programme, which is aimed at boosting investment in stalled projects.
Such developments need to be registered with the department and have to meet certain requirements, including an escrow account for buyer payments, the government agency said. The projects must also be "moving forward" on their construction schedules.
They are calling for wide-ranging political reforms – but without the intensity or single-minded intent of their Egyptian counterparts who forced President Hosni Mubarak from power only last month.
“Don’t think it’s like [Cairo’s] Tahrir Square – it’s 180-degrees different,” warns one of the Kuwaiti six. “We don’t want to change our president, because we love him.”
Listed companies representing about 90 per cent of the six main Gulf states’ market capitalisation have reported that aggregate net profits rose 25 per cent to $43.1bn last year, according to Markaz, a Kuwaiti investment company.
In 2008, overall net profits tumbled by nearly half to $33.1bn, from a record $64.7bn in 2007, and recovered only a miserly 4 per cent to $34.5bn in 2009. This year, the recovery looks far healthier and more broad-based, say analysts.