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Sunday, 29 May 2011

True grit helps Dubai settle down - The National

Dubai World asked its banks for some breathing-space more than 18 months ago while it started talks to extend repayment of about US$25 billion (Dh91.82bn) of debt.

Because the company is government-owned and a central player in Dubai's development, Dubai World's problems sent tremors through global markets and put investors on notice that the emirate, like other places where easy lending fuelled unsustainable asset-price bubbles, needed a little help.

Dubai had already lined up $10bn of loans from the Central Bank to help to keep companies deemed strategically important in business. But the Dubai World restructuring was nevertheless a seminal event in the UAE's post-financial-crisis narrative.

MENA stock markets close - May 29, 2011

ExchangeStatus IndexChange
TASI (Saudi Stock Market)
6754.820.05%
DFM (Dubai Financial Market)
1545.420.72%
ADX (Abudhabi Securities Exchange)
2607.530.36%
KSE (Kuwait Stock Exchange)
6356.2-0.28%
BSE (Bahrain Stock Exchange)
1351.33-0.60%
MSM (Muscat Securities Market)
5952.6-0.46%
QE (Qatar Exchange)
8375.04-0.30%
LSE (Beirut Stock Exchange)
1372.32-0.45%
EGX 30 (Egypt Exchange)
5548.062.52%
ASE (Amman Stock Exchange)
2177.63-0.09%
TUNINDEX (Tunisia Stock Exchange)
4116.440.61%
CB (Casablanca Stock Exchange)
12154.50.45%
PSE (Palestine Securities Exchange)
490.550.44%

UAE exchanges say stock trading system upgraded, meets MSCI criteria - bi-me.com

The United Arab Emirates stock exchanges said market participants are now ready to use an upgraded trading system, meeting criteria for emerging market status for the nation within the MSCI Inc. (MSCI) index.

“As of today, members and custodians can execute trades based on this internationally acclaimed model” that “went live” on April 28, the Dubai Financial Market (DFM) PJSC said in an e-mailed statement.

The Abu Dhabi exchange fully implemented the new settlement system today, said a senior official at the bourse who declined to be identified because the matter hasn’t been made public.

U.A.E. Shares Rise, Abu Dhabi Snaps Six-Day Drop as Oil Rises; Aldar Gains - Bloomberg

Abu Dhabi’s shares rose, ending a six-day drop, after leaders of the Group of Eight nations said the global economy is strengthening, outweighing concern Europe’s debt crisis is worsening. Oil advanced.

[bn:WBTKR=ALDAR:UH]
Aldar Properties PJSC (ALDAR), [] Abu Dhabi’s biggest real-estate developer by market value, advanced a second day. In neighboring Dubai, Emaar Properties PJSC (EMAAR), builder of the world’s tallest skyscraper, increased 2.3 percent. The ADX General Index (ADSMI) climbed 0.2 percent to 2,604.56 at 1:09 p.m. in Abu Dhabi. The DFM General Index (DFMGI) gained 0.3 percent, trimming the loss for the month to 5.9 percent. Israel’s benchmark index advanced.

“The gain in commodities is being priced in,” said Haissam Arabi, chief executive officer at Gulfmena Alternative Investments in Dubai. Volumes are low as the summer season begins, he said.

Dubai shares up; Renaissance weighs on Oman - ArabianBusiness.com

Construction and property stocks led Dubai's index DFM higher, but Oman's bourse slipped to a fresh 17-month low.

Emaar Properties gained 1 percent after its Saudi affiliate Emaar Economic City received $1.33bn loan from the kingdom's finance ministry to speed up construction of a project.

Contractor Arabtec, which is active in Saudi Arabia, added 2.4 percent

Saudis wash their hands of the al Gosaibi affair - The National

Observers of the Middle East's longest-running financial scandal, the confrontation between the al Gosaibi family and Maan al Sanea in Saudi Arabia, have been puzzled by one thing above all others: the attitude of the Saudi authorities.

The affair involves allegations of financial crime in two of the kingdom's biggest and most venerable trading groups. The sums involved are eye-watering: up to US$10 billion (Dh36.73bn) was allegedly stolen by Mr al Sanea - a charge he has rigorously denied. The liabilities of the two groups to more than 100 local, regional and international banks amount to about $20bn.

The affair, which has dragged on for more than two years, has undoubtedly damaged Saudi Arabia's reputation in the business world.

UAE's bankers to play by new rules - The National

A top banker describes the industry's reaction to the implementation this month of Central Bank rules on retail lending as "anger, denial, then grudging acceptance".

Such has been the concern among banks in the UAE the Central Bank has now set up a retail banking committee, formed to consult regularly with the industry over future regulation.

But the gnashing of teeth among lenders has given way to concern, with some banks saying the new regulations will force the most radical shake-up of the industry in years. The initial effect appears to have been to cause credit growth to stall, with personal loans to residents barely budging between February and March, according to the most recent data from the Central Bank.

UAE Securites and Commodities Authority roots out more vilations - The National

Stock market trading violations almost doubled in the UAE last year as the country's regulator boosted enforcement efforts.

"This is part of our efforts to build confidence among investors by enhancing transparency and fairness in our markets," the Emirates Securities and Commodities Authority (SCA) said.

The SCA uncovered 209 violations against brokerage companies through inspection visits and monitoring trading activities, up from 113 the previous year.

UAE mulls plan to buy Chinese currency - The National

The UAE Central Bank has held talks about buying Chinese assets as it mulls diversifying some of its foreign exchange reserves away from the US dollar.

At present almost all the regulator's Dh183.1 billion (US$49.85bn) of foreign currency assets are denominated in dollars.

Any purchase of yuan-denominated bonds, equities or other assets would open the way for a greater use of the Asian giant's currency in trade and investment between China and the UAE.

Did Kuwait lose out on Dow Chemical deal? » Kuwait Times

Did Kuwait really lose out on the Dow Chemical Company deal? Sadly, yes. With all the official talk doing the rounds about Kuwait transforming into a financial hub, we have ended up losing a joint venture with a company like Dow Chemical. What a waste!

When the Dow Chemical Company officially opened its office in Kuwait, I was so happy to see a company of its stature, with a technologically strong position attempt to make a successful market presence here. The interest it displayed in emphasizing bilateral ties between its investments and partnerships with Kuwait, was promising at least initially. Naturally, I thought having an office in Kuwait would work toward strengthening the existing partnership relationship, as much as to develop the com
pany's investment in the petrochemical sector. For many years , Dow Chemical Company has operated in Kuwait through the EQUATE Petrochemical Company. It was a partnership that set a great example as a joint venture project with Petrochemical Industries Company (PIC) of Kuwait.

The Dow Chemical Company filed a lawsuit against the state-run Kuwait Petrochemical Company(KPC). The company entered into another alternative agreement with ARAMCO company to build its factories in Al-Jubail, Saudi Arabia instead. I do not think it has lost as much as Kuwait has. Apart from the penalty and the lawsuit that this country face, our reputation on doing business has been tarnished. We failed to commit to the agreement signed and suffer from a lack of vision on setting up our strategies.
These are the kind of losses that we have sustained.

Morocco, Jordan membership would test Gulf economies - Arab News

The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) is considering extending membership of the six-nation political and economic grouping to Morocco and Jordan as a means of contending with the region's evolving political landscape. Moving forward with this proposal would most notably lead to the creation of a new axis of geo-political influence in the Middle East. The main impetus for the proposed inclusion of Morocco and Jordan is now mainly political in nature. We do not foresee any market impact in the coming months as a result of this debate. Yet the economic implications of integrating two oil-importing states into the energy-rich bloc would be immense and demand careful assessment as to whether economic harmonization can be achieved.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman and Bahrain form the world's biggest oil-exporting region, and in addition to setting foreign policy objectives within the GCC, they are moving toward achieving mobility of labor, capital, and goods and services. It is unclear whether the GCC is considering full membership for one or both Jordan and Morocco, or whether it would create a new tier of membership focused on their mutual political and military interests. Although the timeline is not clear and the process of integrating Jordan and Morocco could take some time, an association agreement could be one way forward.

Neither Jordan nor Morocco holds substantial oil wealth, setting them apart from Gulf Arab states, which rely on oil exports for the majority of their public revenues. As net oil importers, Jordan and Morocco are more economically diversified and unlike their GCC counterparts, their governments face fiscal deficits this year, in a large part due to the rising cost of energy that has been a boon for Gulf Arab states. The two countries thus have a lot to gain from membership in the GCC, which would facilitate greater foreign direct investment, boost trade, commerce and labor mobilization. Agriculture, which accounts for around 16 percent of the country's GDP and employs around 42 percent of the working population, could offer additional opportunities for investment for the GCC in their search of agricultural investments abroad. Jordan's manufactured exports to the wider region, as well as beyond, could receive a boost from GCC investors. Investment in the tourism sector could also be set to gain in both Morocco and Jordan.