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Sunday, 10 April 2011

Dubai’s First REIT May List in Emirate Within a Year, DIFC Says - Bloomberg

Emirates REIT, Dubai’s first real- estate investment trust established in November 2010, may list on Nasdaq Dubai within a year, an official at the Dubai International Financial Centre Authority said.

“That could happen easily within one year,” Marwan Ahmad Lutfi, deputy chief executive officer, told reporters at an Islamic insurance conference in Dubai today. Emirates REIT is a joint venture between Dubai Islamic Bank PJSC (DIB) and France’s Eiffel Management, which is based in the DIFC and governed by the Dubai Financial Services Authority.

The DIFC, a tax-free business park in the United Arab Emirates’ financial hub, is in talks with a number of “top- tier” banking institutions and financial advisors on starting Islamic REITs. “You’ll start to hear about them more and more” in the next few quarters, he said.

Saudi ready to pump 12.5 mln bpd oil if needed - Gulf source | Reuters

Top oil exporter Saudi Arabia would have "no problems" producing at its claimed 12.5 million barrels per day (bpd) capacity if the market needed the oil, a senior Gulf source told Reuters on Sunday.

The official dismissed doubts raised by some analysts over the kingdom's stated spare capacity as the work of speculators trying to manipulate oil prices as fighting in Libya has disrupted production in the North African OPEC nation.

"First traders used the peak oil theory to drive the market up and since that didn't work now they are saying that Saudi can't use its full capacity, which is completely not true," the senior Gulf source said.

MENA stock markets close - April 10, 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)

Fars News Agency :: Iran, UAE Sign Gas Deal

(Awaiting for this to be validated!)

Tehran and Abu Dhabi officials have inked an agreement on export of Iran's rich gas reserves to the United Arab Emirates, an official revealed on Sunday.

"Based on the agreement, Iran's gas will be exported from the Salman field to the UAE at a price five times more than Qatar's exported gas," an official close to the gas talks between Tehran and Abu Dhabi told FNA today.

The official also announced that the gas deal was signed by the two sides three months ago but the Iranian oil ministry has not yet implemented the contract.

Dubai Stocks Reach Highest Level in Almost Two Months as Gulf Markets Rise - Bloomberg

Dubai shares rose to an almost two- month high on bets quarterly profits will beat expectations and as the emirate’s bonds climbed to the highest on record last week after Dubai World and creditors signed a debt accord.

Egypt’s EGX 30 Index dropped 1.4 percent at 1:12 p.m. in Cairo after protesters clashed with security forces over the weekend. The DFM General Index (DFMGI) climbed 0.9 percent to 1,569.8, the highest since Feb. 16, at the 2 p.m. close in Dubai. The Bloomberg GCC 200 Index (BGCC200) of the region’s stocks gained 0.2 percent and Abu Dhabi’s index rose 0.4 percent. Emaar Properties PJSC (EMAAR), builder of the world’s tallest tower, advanced 1.3 percent. Emirates NBD PJSC (EMIRATES), the United Arab Emirates’ biggest bank by assets, rallied to the highest since 2009.

“Banks in particular are expected to report better numbers for the first quarter,” said Julian Bruce, equity sales head at EFG-Hermes Holding in Dubai. “Positive sentiment regarding Dubai bonds now that Dubai World has achieved quorum on its debt restructuring is spilling over into equities.”

Abu Dhabi's Mubadala Plans to Increase Spending to $16.3 Billion This Year - Bloomberg

Mubadala Development Co., an Abu Dhabi government-owned investor with stakes in Carlyle Group and General Electric Co., plans to boost spending to about 60 billion dirhams ($16.3 billion) this year, according to a bond prospectus obtained by Bloomberg News.

The company will deploy a "substantial" portion of capital and investment expenditure over 2011 to 2015 on Advanced Technology Investment Co., Mubadala GE Capital, Masdar, real- estate, oil and gas, and public-private partnership projects, according to the document. The group spent an average 16.4 billion dirhams over the last three years, it said.

Abu Dhabi, home to more than 7 percent of the world’s proven crude reserves, is seeking to diversify from oil by investing in industries such as real estate and aerospace. Mubadala hired banks to arrange meetings with investors starting April 6 in London, according to a banker involved in the deal. Meetings took place in Abu Dhabi and Dubai today.

ADIB cautious on credit growth, to book provisions - Maktoob News

Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank expects to post single-digit credit growth in 2011 and the lender will continue to book provisions going forward, its chief executive said on Sunday.

ADIB, the second biggest Islamic bank in the United Arab Emirates, is studying the impact of new central bank rules that will limit loans to individuals and service charges, Tirad Mahmoud told reporters in Abu Dhabi.

The central bank has capped personal loans at 20 times the salary or the monthly income of a borrower with a repayment period set at 48 months, it said in a statement last month

Bahrain's Arcapita exits Indian investment MedPlus - The Economic Times

Bahrain-based Islamic investment firm Arcapita exited its Indian healthcare investment in MedPlus Health Services with returns of more than 60 percent over its own expectations, a company statement said on Sunday.

Arcapita sold its stake in the Indian company to a consortium of private equity investors after becoming the largest shareholder in MedPlus in 2007 in a transaction valuing the company at $72 million.

The statement did not give a figure for the sale amount. The private equity firm maintains a positive outlook on India for investment opportunities, it said. "Throughout India, we continue to see opportunities in each of our asset classes of private equity, real estate and infrastructure," Chief Executive Officer Atif Abdulmalik , said in the statement.

MidEast investment bank fees plunges in Q1; unrest weighs, UAE Economy - Maktoob News

Investment banking fees in the Middle East slumped in the first-quarter as political unrest in the region kept investors away from capital markets and crippled appetite for deals, data from Thomson Reuters showed.

Total investment banking fees for the first-quarter plunged 58 percent to $48.8 million compared with $116.3 million for the previous year.

Many countries in the Middle East North Africa (MENA) region has been plagued by violent political unrest which has forced investors to remain on the sidelines and cancel deal plans.

Cluttons Middle East: Dubai's residential market 'stable' Q1 2011 - Zawya

Cluttons, the real estate specialist that has enjoyed a dedicated presence in the Middle East since 1976 today issues its market report for Dubai's residential sector in Q1 2011.

According to the report, residential sale transactions in Dubai saw a natural increase in January and February. This was aided by the fact that Dubai is witnessing some positive activities; resurgence of available finance for property investments, as mortgage lenders such as Barclays, Standard Chartered and Gulf Finance continue to fight for market share offering competitive terms to a wider range of credit worthy clients. As well as offering mortgage rates for as low as 4.99%, banks are slashing arrangements fees and timescales to process approvals in an attempt to attract the limited market available.

Other positive activity concerns those projects which were once on hold and now have resumed construction, as cheaper build costs allow developers to finish construction, a more favourable alternative than the costly return of investors' capital. Although project completion includes the possibility of increasing mortgage defaults down the line for investors whose payments are tied to construction milestones, Gulf Finance has stated that clients facing financial hardship will be afforded the opportunity to rework their payment schemes without facing criminal prosecution under Dubai's strict debt laws, which have in the past encouraged defaulters to flee the Emirate. Although these are reasons for caution, it appears that the market is learning from past mistakes.

Upheaval in Mideast means gusher for oil companies | Seattle Times Newspaper

If you're in the oil business, chaos pays.

With allied warplanes bombing Libya, Saudi troops in Bahrain, and fleets of Japanese nuclear reactors idled by earthquakes and a tsunami, the price of a barrel of West Texas Intermediate-grade crude oil has soared in the past three months.

"The rising tide lifts all ships. All oil companies will make more money than anyone estimated just two months ago," said Fadel Gheit, oil analyst with Oppenheimer.

Just the start of a long decline for Bahrain? « ArabianMoney

Bankers putting a brave face on the unrest and subsequent military clampdown of the past few months in Bahrain told The National newspaper that damage to the local economy is in the range of $2-3 billion, and that surging oil prices would help cover this gap.

But the real danger to Bahrain is that its reputation as a safe place for regional banking is in tatters. Many executives have fled to Dubai with their wives and children worried about the men-on-the-streets with guns and tanks at the school gates.

gulfnews : Regional markets likely to be range-bound

The regional stock markets are likely to be range-bound in the week ahead as the benefit of higher international oil prices, the mainstay of the region's exports, continues to be offset by the prevailing political uncertainty in the region, say experts.

They say continuing unrest in Libya, Syria, Yemen, Egypt and Algeria is forcing foreign institutional investors to stay away from some of the regional stocks, which otherwise look lucrative due to their attractive valuations.

"Oil prices have moved higher, but the political risks in the region are still prevalent. In the week ahead I expect no major moves. I expect more activity in individual companies in anticipation of first-quarter financial results," Anastasios Dalgiannakis, head of trading at Dubai-based Mubasher Financial Services, told Gulf News by telephone.

gulfnews : Major players in takaful industry reassessing their strategies

As the takaful industry continues to build critical mass as the fastest growing component in the global insurance market, major players in the industry are reassessing their strategies and are focusing on capitalising on emerging new growth opportunities. More than 350 industry leaders in the global takaful industry will be gathering at the sixth annual World Takaful Conference (WTC 2011) which will be held today and tomorrow at the Dusit Thani Dubai hotel.

"The theme for this year's WTC focuses on managing risk, innovating products and driving growth in the global takaful industry, which will be vital in fully realising and effectively capturing the tremendous potential in the international Sharia-compliant insurance industry," David McLean, managing director of the World Takaful Conference, said.

The World Takaful Conference 2011 will begin with an inaugural address by Marwan Ahmad Lutfi, deputy chief executive officer and head of business development at the Dubai International Financial Centre Authority and will be followed by a keynote plenary session.

Firms venture into unknown territory - The National

Mesirow Financial is a financial services firm that manages US$51 billion (Dh187.32bn) for institutional clients and is based in Chicago. It recently signed an agreement with Mubadala Development, a strategic investment company owned by the Abu Dhabi Government, to open a joint venture in the capital this year. Michael Zehfuss, a senior managing director who heads Mesirow's client management globally, talks about how the deal will change the investment landscape.

How will the new venture bring something unique to the region?

There's a hole in that there's not a viable or existing platform like this in the region. Then you take Mubadala's strength, and our track record of performing very well during numerous cycles over 21 years with a very thoughtful risk management-based approach on both currency and commodities - that package is very, very different.

What kind of advice will be offered?

The product offering is going to look very similar to what we do globally for our clients in three categories. One client type is where institutions and companies have currency and commodities exposure, and they're seeking to eliminate risk, so we just take risk out of the portfolio or operating business. The other client type has currency or commodities risk to be managed, but the client seeks active risk management. The third type would be if a client is looking for absolute return from different sources of liquid investment strategies.

Business standstill hits Bahrain economy - The National

Billions of dollars have been wiped off the value of Bahrain's economy in the month of protests that brought business there to a virtual standstill, top banking executives in Manama say.

"Definitely there is an impact on growth … but the impact cannot be more than 10 to 15 per cent impact of Bahrain's GDP," said Yousif Taqi, the chief executive of the sharia-compliant Al Salam Bank in Manama.

"As a financial centre there will be challenges for the government. I'd be surprised if it was more than 15 per cent."

Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi Says Crude Market Balanced, SPA Reports - Bloomberg

Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi said oil supply and demand is balanced and crude prices are rising due to speculation and fears over supply, the official Saudi Press Agency reported today.

Saudi Arabia has excess capacity to cover any supply shortage or surge in demand, said al-Naimi.

Kingdom investors cheer Zain deal plan - The National

Shares in Saudi Arabia's Kingdom Holding Company (KHC) rose yesterday as the company said it would begin conducting due diligence to acquire a stake in Zain's telecommunications operations in the kingdom.

The move comes just weeks after Etisalat's failed bid to buy a controlling stake in Zain, based in Kuwait, for US$12 billion (Dh44.07bn).

Zain said on Thursday it had "signed a non-binding term sheet" over the sale of a 25 per cent stake in Zain Saudi Arabia to KHC and its partner Bahrain Telecommunications (Batelco).

gulfnews : Nasdaq/ICE's NYSE merger move holds lessons for UAE

The financial world is closely monitoring the bid by Nasdaq OMX Group (Nasdaq) and IntercontinentalExchange Inc. (ICE) to take over the NYSE Euronext (NYSE) exchange, for $11.3 billion (Dh41.42 billion) in cash and stocks, to foil an earlier bid by the Deutsche Boerse (DBX) to buy the NYSE for nearly $10 billion.

The Nasdaq/ICE bid, if successful, will merge the three biggest equity and options exchanges and the 14th derivative exchange (ICE) in the US together, to form (if it gets regulatory approvals and passes competition scrutiny) the biggest exchange in the World for equity and options trading (Nasdaq/NYSE) and the fourth largest derivative exchange (ICE/NYSE).

This will even affect exchanges in the GCC, where Bourse Dubai has a share in Nasdaq and the Qatar exchange has a share in NYSE.

Damas mulls quitting India - The National

Damas, the jewellery retailer, is considering quitting India, the world's biggest gold market, after pulling out of Pakistan.

The move would put an end to plans for 100 stores across the subcontinent and a major joint venture.

"We are looking at our business in Pakistan and India, our relationship and the way we entered the country," said Ibrahim Belselah, the chairman of Damas. "Within our new corporate governance, it's not the best route to do business because we want to be absolutely transparent."