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Monday, 4 April 2011

Aluminium Bahrain says raw materials reach smelter | Metals & Mining | Reuters

Aluminium Bahrain ALBH.BH is not having problems getting raw materials from ports and its smelter is operating normally, it said on Monday despite weeks of unrest and a government crackdown on protests.

Market talk had suggested the company was having difficulties getting raw materials to the facility, which is one of the world's biggest aluminium smelters, producing around 860,000 tonnes of metal annually.

"Alba have experienced no issues in getting raw material through ports in Bahrain," the company told Reuters in an e-mailed answer to questions.

CityCenter secures funding | Washington Business Journal

A $700 million investment by Qatar's sovereign wealth fund will jump-start Hines/Archstone's long-planned CityCenterDC project, the developer said Monday.The massive mixed-use project, scheduled to break ground Monday afternoon, will rise on 10 acres between New York Avenue and H, Ninth and 11th streets NW.

The investor, Qatari Diar Real Estate Investment Co., is the real estate investment branch of Qatar's Qatari Investment Authority. The group will provide all of the equity for the project.

MENA stock markets close - April 4, 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)

Oil Climbs to 30-Month High on Libya; Kuwait Says Price Too High - Businessweek

Oil climbed to the highest level in 30 months in New York on speculation that U.S. economic growth may support demand and a protracted conflict in Libya will curtail supply.

Futures advanced a third day after an April 1 report showed the U.S., the world’s largest crude consumer, added more jobs than economists forecast last month. Prices are too high and “worrying,” the chief executive officer of Kuwait Petroleum Corp. said today. Forces loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi bombed an oil field south of the city of Ajdabiya, Al Jazeera television reported, heightening concern output losses from Africa’s third-largest producer may continue.

“It’s becoming increasingly clear that the situation in Libya may be prolonged,” said Christopher Bellew, senior broker at Bache Commodities Ltd. in London. “The more one looks at uprisings in the Middle East, the more one realizes they will not be easy to resolve. At the same time, oil demand is relatively inelastic to higher prices.”

Outlook raised for Saudi Arabia - The National

The Saudi Arabian economy is likely to expand 5.5 per cent this year on higher oil output and state spending, Banque Saudi Fransi said, raising its earlier forecast of 4.2 per cent.

"The rise in oil output, coupled with greater state spending commitments has also heightened the prospects for higher GDP growth this year," Chief Economist John Sfakianakis of the Riyadh-based bank wrote in an e-mailed report today.

The bank also increased its inflation forecast to 5.6 per cent from 5.1 per cent on account of higher public expenditure.

Charges Hit Reliance Communications, Unitech Stocks - India Real Time - WSJ

The weekend move by India’s federal investigations agency to file formal charges in connection with the alleged rigging of spectrum licensing in 2008 may be an important step towards cleaning up the telecom sector.

But in the meantime it’s left some of India’s top phone companies rather unpopular on the exchanges on Monday, even though the firms named by the Central Bureau of Investigation for allegedly having benefited from a flawed process were no surprise.

Shares of Reliance Communications Ltd. closed down 2.2% at 109.15 rupees ($2.4), Unitech Ltd. was down 1.3% at 41.30 rupees ($0.92) and DB Realty closed down 2.3% at 113.80 rupees in a strong Mumbai market. - ‘Irreplaceable’ Riyadh’s oil market risks

The oil market is learning to live with a fat-tail risk it never imagined: Saudi Arabia.

The kingdom is central to the energy market: it produces about 12 per cent of the world’s oil – only Russia comes close in size – and accounts for more than three-quarters of spare production capacity.

In short, Riyadh is irreplaceable.

Damas extends date for $108.9 mln payment by founders - Maktoob News

Jeweller Damas International said on Monday that it has extended the payment date for 400 million dirhams ($108.9 million) owed by its founders, the Abdullah brothers, by a month.

The Dubai-based jeweller said in a statement to Nasdaq Dubai that the agreement that expired on March 31 was extended until April 30.

The statement said the Cascade agreement, that provides the legal framework for liquidation of the assets of the Abdullah Brothers Group, has yet to be finalised as all parties did not sign the agreement.

Dubai property for sale or rent falls by 40% as oversupply shrinks « ArabianMoney

Last June ArabianMoney did a search on the website and found 32,000 properties for rent or sale. Today that total is a little over 19,000, a 40 per cent drop in vacant property in nine months. Most significantly the number of units available for sale is down by more than half to 4,900.

Is the great property oversupply story being exaggerated? Probably not because there are many projects coming up to completion, and there are other towers that are completed and have not been put on the market.

gulfnews : Syria to get $200m in loans from Arab funds

The Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development and the Saudi Fund for Development will give loans worth more than $200 million (Dh734 million) to finance a power project in Syria, the Syrian finance ministry said.

The ministry will sign an agreement for a loan of 30 million Kuwaiti dinars ($108 million) with the Kuwait-based AFESD and another 375 million Saudi riyals ($100 million) agreement with the Saudi fund this week, it said on its website on Sunday.

The loans, due to fund a power generation project in the eastern province of Deir Ez-Zor, will be signed during meetings of Arab finance ministers in Damascus on Wednesday and Thursday.

gulfnews : India charges three firms for sale of 2G spectrum

Executives of three Indian companies, including billionaire Anil Ambani's Reliance business group, and a former telecommunications minister face charges over a sale of second-generation mobile phone spectrum.

Investigators filed charges Friday, setting the stage for trials in what may be India's biggest case of political corruption. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh agreed in February to a parliamentary probe of the licence sales, after opposition protests paralysed legislation.

"If licences are cancelled, then spectrum could suddenly become available again, and that would definitely help the sector," said Kunal Bajaj, head of Analysys Mason India Pvt., a telecommunications strategy consultancy in New Delhi.

Etisalat chases foreign deals - The National

Etisalat continues to pursue expansion overseas in Asia and Africa, despite the recent failure of its US$12 billion (Dh44.07bn) takeover of its Kuwaiti rival Zain and its decision to pull out of a bid for Syria's third mobile licence.

Potential new markets for Etisalat include Iraq, Lebanon and mobile services for Sudan, where it already has landline operations.

Analysts predict the company's operations outside the UAE will continue to grow, with one forecasting the proportion of its revenues from abroad will increase to 30 per cent by 2015, up from 23 per cent last year.

Full: Fine balance in Middle East needed with long view in mind - The National

Recent events in the Middle East have led to a range of short-term responses from governments, especially increased expenditures to relieve cost-of-living pressures and to create jobs.

But medium to longer term fiscal policy matters still require major reform to be sustainable.

At present, there are two global phenomena at play that have profound impacts on budgets in the Middle East.

Middle East and North Africa region faces mixed fortunes - The National

Sulaiman al Mazroui, an executive with the UAE's banking champion Emirates NBD, is quick to point out the significance of the turmoil engulfing parts of the Middle East.

"We are witnessing the biggest changes in the region since the decline of the Ottoman empire," Mr al Mazroui told an audience last week at Dubai's Capital Club.

In the space of a couple of months, old certainties about the Arab world have been swept away, along with some of the rulers who have dominated the region for decades.

gulfnews : Al Waleed still tops Arab billionaires with $19.6b

Thirty-four wealthiest Arabs now control $127 billion (Dh466.09 billion), up from $115 billion last year, according to Forbes Arabia magazine.

The list largely keeps out political leaders and most royals, except a few who increased their fortunes through business.

Saudi billionaire Prince Al Waleed Bin Talal tops the list despite his decline in the Forbes worldwide ranking of top billionaires to 26th rank with a fortune amounting to $19.6 billion.
This list is considered the main indicator of wealth throughout the world.

CBI finds Dubai link to Swan Telecom - The Times of India

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has found a Dubai link to Genex Exim Ventures which picked up stake in Swan Telecom.

The company, which is suspected of having been used to route kickbacks received by former telecom minister A Raja in the 2G scam, had subscribed to 1.3 crore shares of Swan Telecom on December 17, 2008 — the same day on which UAE's Etisalat got 11.3 crore shares for a 45% stake.

Investigators found that the Rs 380 crore paid by Genex for the stake was arranged through ETA Star Infrastructure that had an account with Oriental Bank of Commerce's Goregaon branch in Mumbai. It was also traced that on December 17, 2008, ETA Star received Rs 380 crore from Dubai-based Al Waha Investment. The sum was routed by Al Waha through its account in Mashreq Bank, Dubai, to ETA Star's Mumbai account.

gulfnews : Bahrain’s future as international financial centre remains intact

Bahrain may be grabbing the world headlines for all the wrong reasons, but its financial services industry is relying on its track record of resilience to outmanoeuvre them.

"Yes, there were a few issues that we faced recently but we must move on and look ahead," said Jamal Hijres, CEO of Capinnova Investment Bank, which is wholly-owned by the Bank of Bahrain and Kuwait. "As an investment bank we will evaluate [future] deals based on future potential and accordingly go ahead… irrespective of whether it is in Bahrain or elsewhere."

"There has been a resurgence of interest in Islamic finance in the wake of the financial crisis and we are finding that conventional bankers from all over the world are keen to tap the expertise in our field. - Arab autocrats incredulous as people revolt

Bashar al-Assad’s much-trailed presidential address to Syria last week was supposed to be about reform. Instead, he repeatedly conflated the protesters who have convulsed the nation with shadowy conspirators plotting to sow sectarian strife. It was a classic of the Arab strongman genre.

As waves of revolt rip through the Arab autocracies, every ruler under threat has reached for ever more preposterous explanations. Incredulous before real people demanding real change, the Arab autocrat either sees or claims to see – it is not always clear which – a disembodied conspiracy. This pathology is not quite as odd as it seems.

For despots who have come to power through military coups and wars, and bribed, plotted and killed to stay there, how could politics not be a conspiracy theory when its leading practitioners compulsively conspire?