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Thursday, 5 May 2011

MENA stock markets close - May 5, 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)

UAE has met all conditions for MSCI upgrade-ADX exec | Reuters

The United Arab Emirates has met all conditions for an upgrade to coveted emerging market status from influential index complier MSCI, a senior official at the Abu Dhabi exchange said on Thursday.

"The checklist that they (MSCI) had. We got ticked in all except DvP. Now that is ticked. We are positive," said Rashed al Baloushi, deputy chief executive.

The index complier will announce in June whether it will upgrade Qatar and UAE from the 'frontier markets' category, a move that could open up the countries' bourses to multibillion dollar liquidity and drive index fund investments.

Dubai Shares Fall to Lowest in 3 Weeks on Air Arabia; Oil Drops - Businessweek

Dubai shares fell to the lowest level in three weeks, leading a decline in Persian Gulf stocks, as Air Arabia reported a drop in first-quarter earnings and oil retreated for a fourth day.

Air Arabia, the Middle East’s biggest low-cost airline, tumbled to the lowest on record. Deyaar Development PJSC, the property company partly owned by Dubai Islamic Bank PJSC, dropped for a fourth day. The benchmark DFM General Index retreated 0.4 percent to 1,611.95 at 12 p.m. in the emirate, the lowest intraday level since April 14. The measure has lost 1.3 percent this week. The Bloomberg GCC200 Index, which tracks 200 companies in the region, lost 0.2 percent.

“We have reached the end of the earnings season and the market is lacking conviction,” said Mahdi Mattar, head of research at Abu Dhabi-based CAPM Investment PJSC. “Investors don’t see any strong catalyst to push them to accumulate more.”

Soc Gen: counting the cost of Egypt | beyondbrics –

It’s one thing to measure political risk in terms of swings in currencies, stock markets and CDS spreads. It’s another to count the costs in your P&L which is what Societe Generalehas had to for its operations in Egypt, Tunisia and the Ivory Coast.

The French bank on Wednesday disclosed, in its first quarter results, €50m provisions for the three countries “undergoing political transition”. With net income of €916m, the group can take the hit. But nobody wants to lose that much in what are still peripheral markets.

Investors, who had expected considerably higher net profits of €1.06bn, marked the shares down by over 3 per cent, reducing the gain for the past 12 months to 14.8 per cent.

Egypt pound seen under pressure to weaken | Reuters

Reduced demand for Egypt's currency after three months of political upheaval has yet to be reflected in the exchange rate and this has begun to harm the economy, analysts say.

The unrest that began on January 25 chased away tourists and foreign investors and crimped exports, among Egypt's main sources of foreign exchange, and analysts say the central bank should allow the currency to depreciate to reflect the change.

Egypt drew down its foreign reserves by almost $6 billion in the first three months of this year to $30.1 billion at the end of March. It has also drawn down unofficial reserves by $7 billion.

Dubai World 'can’t afford to default', says Sheikh Ahmed -

State-owned conglomerate Dubai World can’t afford to default on its restructured $24.9bn in debt and is able to meet its credit obligations, the company’s chairman said Wednesday.

“Whatever [commitment] we have at the end of the day, we are committed to do it, and we will do it,” Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum told newswire Zawya Dow Jones.

“I don't think we can afford today, if we have anything, to default on it. It is a matter of credibility and I’m sure we will be able to demonstrate this in the coming years.”

Egypt's foreign investment slumps by $400 mln in Q1 | Reuters

Foreign investment in Egypt fell by $400 million in the first quarter compared with the same period in 2010 as political instability rattled investor confidence in the country, an official said on Wednesday.

Foreign investment in the first three months of 2011 came to $1.2 billion, Osama Saleh, the head of the General Authority for Investment (GAFI) said.

International investors withdrew funds from Egypt in the wake of a popular uprising that forced President Hosni Mubarak out of office and put a brake on economic growth.

Kuwait's Zain net profit rises 40 percent in Q1 - Zawya

Kuwaiti telecommunications giant Zain posted a 40-percent increase in net profit in the first quarter of 2011 after a boost in operating efficiency, the company said on Wednesday.

Zain posted a net profit of $251.1 million in January-March of this year compared to $179.1 million in the first quarter of 2010, it said in a statement.

"The operational efficiency drive implemented over the past 12 months has resulted in healthy growth of several key indicators," CEO Nabeel bin Salamah said.

gulfnews : GCC's current account surpluses will double

The combined external current account surplus of the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) is set to more than double this year to about $292 billion (Dh1.07 trillion) from $123 billion, the Washington headquartered Institute of International Finance (IIF), a global association of financial services firms with more than 430 member institutions, said yesterday.

The IIF yesterday published its first Arab world report, The Arab World in Transition: Assessing the Economic Impact. The report estimated that the total foreign assets of the GCC countries are $1.7 trillion against foreign liabilities of $500 billion.

"About one-half of the GCC's gross assets are held by sovereign wealth funds. Despite the turmoil in the region, we do not expect to see significant shifts in funds managed by the sovereigns as a specific response to the crisis," said Dr. George T. Abed, IIF Senior Counsellor.

Right time for Aabar's move - The National

Commodities have never been hotter, making for the perfect climate to list US$11 billion (Dh40.4bn) of shares in the world's biggest commodities trader.

Market commentators say an initial public offering (IPO) by Glencore, which values the Swiss commodities trading giant at about $61bn, will encourage a number of major mergers and acquisitions in a sector already benefiting from soaring prices.

The first of these deals could involve Xstrata, a global mining group that has sent strong signals it wants eventually to merge with Glencore.

UAE office space rentals falling in price - The National

bu Dhabi and Dubai no longer feature among the world's 10 most expensive office markets, according to a Knight Frank report.

Abu Dhabi has moved from sixth to 13th on the property company's list of the most expensive markets last year, while Dubai now occupies 12th place after ranking seventh in 2009. Lagos, Nigeria and Geneva are among the markets above the UAE cities.

London has replaced Tokyo as the most expensive office market in the world. The two markets switched spots at the top of the list from 2009, with London offices now averaging €1,067.9 (Dh5,830) per square metre, compared with €1,051 per sq metre for an office in the Japanese capital. In contrast, Dubai rents are now €550.8 per sq metre, while Abu Dhabi's are €513.1.

DRs could be valuable investment for Qatari firms: Expert

Depository Receipts (DRs) would be a very valuable instrument for Qatari companies looking to make acquisitions overseas, says Peter Gotke (pictured), Vice-President, Depository Receipts at BNY Mellon.

“DRs are used all the time for M&A (mergers and acquisitions). It is a critical instrument for the financial markets that allow companies to find new investors in markets like London or New York and increasingly is being used to find new investors in the emerging markets like India or China,” Gotke told reporters on the sidelines of the Financial Thought Leader’s Summit which opened here yesterday.

He said BNY Mellon launched the first Depository Receipts program here in Qatar over 10 years ago and it was Qtel that had taken the program. Currently we are working on a couple of mandates here in Qatar, but mandate does’nt mean we have a program tomorrow. We are working very hard to get these programs off the ground, maybe one will be launched before Ramadhan and the rest in Q3, Q4 this year,” he said.

Gulf Times – Qatar fiscal surplus will widen by 7%, finds report

Qatar’s fiscal surplus will widen to 7% of the GDP in 2011/2012 on the back of continued recovery in hydrocarbon prices, a double-digit surge in LNG export volumes’ growth as well as higher level of transfers from public enterprises, Beltone Financial Research has said in a report.

This is despite a forecast of annual average increase in expenditure of 12% in the 2011/2012 and 2012 / 2013 financial years, Beltone Financial Research said.

Qatar’s fiscal surplus in 2012-2013 will widen to 8.4% of the GDP, it said.

Qatar may draw $2 bln if bourse upgraded -BNY mellon | Reuters

Qatar would see at least $2 billion in new foreign investment should it be upgraded from frontier market to emerging market status by influential index compiler MSCI in June, a BNY Mellon vice president said on Wednesday.

"Reports we've seen indicate Qatar would benefit from at least $2 billion in new money from investors who track the MSCI index," said Dubai-based Peter Gotke.

"You'd expect these indices to attach themselves very quickly, with a significant amount of money coming in a very short timeframe, possibly within six months or even three months," Gotke said.

UAE, Qatar MSCI upgrade face issues

Foreign ownership limits in Qatar and the UAE, may stand in the way of the Gulf states' gaining emerging market status from index compiler MSCI, an executive said on Wednesday.

Manuel Rensink, regional head of MSCI, said he was 'generally positive' on the prospects of an upgrade.

The two Gulf states, rejected last year for an upgrade, have moved to address key issues cited in MSCI's 2010 review by introducing a Delivery versus Payment (DvP) settlement system.

CityCenter trims its losses in Las Vegas - The National

The multibillion-dollar CityCenter entertainment complex in Las Vegas, jointly owned by Dubai World and MGM Resorts, managed to narrow its operating losses in the first quarter of this year, MGM Resorts has reported.

The US company said its operating losses in CityCenter fell from US$119 million (Dh437m) in the first quarter of last year, including an $86m "residential inventory" impairment charge, to $6m in the same period this year. MGM Resorts said there were signs of recovery in the Las Vegas market.

"Results from joint ventures reflected record quarters at both MGM Macau and CityCenter," said Jim Murren, the MGM Resorts International chairman and chief executive. - Emaar founder eyes Africa’s commodity riches

Mohammed Ali Alabbar, chairman of Dubai real estate mammoth Emaar, has adopted a lower profile within the emirate during the past couple of years.

In the aftermath of Dubai’s real estate crash, he was sidelined by a new guard of officials less tainted by association with the emirate’s shift from boom to debt-laden bust.

Mr Alabbar has continued to guide Emaar through the emirate’s travails but, dusting himself off from the rough and tumble of politics, has looked increasingly to Africa.

Eurasia Capital launches Gulf subsidiary

Eurasia Capital, the Central Asian investment bank, is launching a subsidiary in the Gulf in a wave of expansion that has included branches of the firm springing up in three industrial centres in Mongolia.

Eurasia Capital Gulf Limited, registered in the United Arab Emirates, will be trying to persuade companies and institutions in Gulf countries to invest in Mongolia and Central Asia, the Ulaanbaatar-headquartered bank said in a statement.

Eurasia Capital, which is headed by former Renaissance Capital and Credit Suisse banker Alisher Ali, is upbeat about the growth potential of Mongolia in the coming decade due to the rich mineral resources of a land that used to be the backyard of the communist world.