Google+ Followers

Friday, 10 June 2011

IFC to boost funding in Mideast, N.Africa | Reuters

The World Bank's private- sector lending arm plans to increase its investments in the Middle East and North Africa despite the political turmoil that has deterred many investors, its chief executive said on Friday.

The International Finance Corporation (IFC) has set aside about $1.5 billion for 2011, but that figure could rise to $2.5 billion annually by 2014, IFC Vice President and Chief Executive Lars Thunell told Reuters in an interview.

Much of the focus is on improving education, supporting small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and bolstering infrastructure projects, thereby creating more jobs, Thunell said

Special Report- In $22 billion Saudi family feud, who knew what? - Yahoo!7

Mohammed Algosaibi often turns the palms of his hands up as he talks, as if asking for understanding.

He is trying to explain one of the biggest but least reported failures of the financial crisis. This has split his family, one of Saudi Arabia's richest, cost some of the world's biggest banks billions of dollars and is now being slugged out in courts from London to the Cayman Islands.

Some family members face travel bans linked to the case so it has fallen to the 32-year old to defend the Algosaibi empire since the 2009 collapse of two Bahraini banks left more than 100 banks including Deutsche Bank, HSBC and Societe Generale owed an estimated $22 billion.

Gasoline Sinks, Following Crude, as Saudi Arabia to Raise Output - Bloomberg

Gasoline slipped, following crude oil lower, after a report that Saudi Arabia will boost July output following a meeting June 8 in Vienna at which OPEC ministers failed to reach consensus on production quotas.

Futures declined as the Al-Hayat newspaper reported that Saudi Arabia will raise production targets to 10 million barrels a day. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries has not increased output quotas since 2007.

“That’s a very bearish thing,” said Dominick Chirichella, senior partner at the Energy Management Institute in New York. “The Saudis are saying to OPEC they can afford to have lower oil prices. They’re the only ones that have the capability to bring the market down.”

gulfnews : Let's not beat each other up: Tim Clark, Emirates

Emirates has been caught up in a struggle to convince the governments and flag carriers of various countries in order to expand its global footprint by gaining additional landing rights and frequencies into countries like Canada and Germany.

The airline's President, Tim Clark, shared with Gulf News the frustrations involved in the process and the way going forward, on the sidelines of the IATA annual general meeting in Singapore. He also shed light on Emirates' strategy for handling other industry challenges such as the forthcoming EU emissions trading scheme (ETS) and air traffic capacity issues in the Middle East.

Gulf News: European carriers as well as other global airlines are strongly blocking Emirates' growth plans into new markets. How does that worry you?

TIM CLARK: Nobody is blocking our growth. In this year we have had the French agree to more capacity. The British are unrestrictive. We have opened Madrid. Italy has seen more capacity going in. The only hiccup is when the Austrians decided that they did not want us to put the second frequency in. But of course, we are flying the second frequency now. So what can I say… we are there.


gulfnews : Gulf states plan supreme Sharia council for banks

Gulf states are working towards the creation of a single Sharia board for the region's Islamic financial institutions, said Hussain Hamed Hassan, head of Dubai Islamic Bank PJSC's Sharia committee and chairman of the Sharia Coordination Committee of the Islamic Financial Institutions in the UAE.

Speaking at the launch of Hawkamah Institute's policy brief on corporate governance of Islamic banks and Islamic financial institutions, Hassan said creation of a supreme Sharia council will help in co-ordinating the rulings of various Sharia councils and supervisory boards in the region and will reduce the possibility of differences.

The policy brief highlights the improvements required in the corporate governance of Islamic banks and financial institutions in Mena. It considers international practices and standards developed by various Islamic finance standard setting bodies in the light of the global fin-ancial crisis.

gulfnews : Gulf states plan supreme Sharia council for banks

Gulf states are working towards the creation of a single Sharia board for the region's Islamic financial institutions, said Hussain Hamed Hassan, head of Dubai Islamic Bank PJSC's Sharia committee and chairman of the Sharia Coordination Committee of the Islamic Financial Institutions in the UAE.

Speaking at the launch of Hawkamah Institute's policy brief on corporate governance of Islamic banks and Islamic financial institutions, Hassan said creation of a supreme Sharia council will help in co-ordinating the rulings of various Sharia councils and supervisory boards in the region and will reduce the possibility of differences.

The policy brief highlights the improvements required in the corporate governance of Islamic banks and financial institutions in Mena. It considers international practices and standards developed by various Islamic finance standard setting bodies in the light of the global fin-ancial crisis.

An unnecessary price spike due to Opec politics - The National

In a speech in April marking the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, its secretary general Abdalla el Badri reminded the 12 member states of Opec's initial purposes: "To safeguard their legitimate national interests and to ensure order and stability in the international oil market."

This week's meeting suggests that the two goals are increasingly difficult to reconcile. The "national interests" of some states, notably Iran, Venezuela and Libya, often diverge sharply from what many consider to be the best interests of the rest of the world. And the deadlock over production plans has only reduced the order and stability of an already-volatile world oil market.

Almost everyone agrees that the fragile global economic recovery cannot withstand an "oil shock" just now - and yet prices have been hovering above $110 per barrel. Both economics and common sense suggest that it is time for Opec to increase supply, thus easing prices, which among other benefits would help to rein in speculation.

Impairments to weigh heavily on Emaar - The National

A brokerage cut its price target for Emaar Properties shares yesterday, even before a new report showed that property prices in Dubai continue to decline.

Alembic HC Securities forecastEmaar's next three quarters would be weighed down by a Dh172 million impairment on Dubai Bank, sluggish property deliveries and a full write-down of the Islamic mortgage company Amlak Finance.

"We feel that the timing [of the impairments] may be unfavourable given the already weak earnings outlook for the year on the back of an expected slowdown in deliveries," Majed Azzam, an analyst at Alembic,told clients in a note yesterday.

London court told Al Gosaibis knew The Money Exchange was bust - The National

A foreign exchange business owned by a Saudi conglomerate that collapsed owing US$9 billion (Dh33.05bn) to more than 100 banks may have been bust for 20 years, the High Court in London heard yesterday.

Ahmad Hamad Al Gosaibi and Brothers deliberately concealed this "secret" until it defaulted on its liabilities in 2009, it was alleged.

Al Gosaibi is facing a legal battle over the repayment of $250 million in loans and interest.

Dubai Property Market Fails to Gain From Middle East Unrest, Deutsche Says - Bloomberg

Residential property prices in Dubai, the worst-performing market in the Middle East for the past three years, haven’t yet benefited from political turmoil in other parts of the region, Deutsche Bank AG said.

Home values declined 1.2 percent in May from the previous month and rents fell by 1 percent, according to Nabil Ahmed and Athmane Benzerroug, two analysts at the bank. Apartment prices dropped 1.3 percent and villas lost 1 percent.

“Despite talks of renewed interest in real estate following regional unrest, there is no visible sign of an improvement,” the analysts said in a note to investors. “Even if we believe the worst of the downtrend is now behind us, new supply, lack of homebuyers’ appetite and anemic transaction activity point to further weakness.”

SPECIAL REPORT-Qatar's big Libya adventure | Reuters

Although gas markets have faced a severe glut in the past few years, the outlook is improving fast, especially in the aftermath of Japan's Fukushima disaster and the decision by Germany to phase out nuclear power. [ID:nLDE7521NM]

"Qatar is putting energy at the forefront of its diplomacy. Libya brings them closer to Europe and to their future markets. They will be right on the Mediterranean," said the British diplomat.

With direct access to Europe, Qatar would be in a position to carve up the gas markets between itself and Russia, with which Doha enjoys increasingly friendly ties.

Nakheel creditors offering discount on $1.6bn sukuk

Some trade creditors of Nakheel are offering a potential $1.6 billion Islamic bond by the developer at a discount in the secondary market as a desperate need for cash outweighs hopes for a full repayment.

Nakheel, which is restructuring $10.9bn in debt, plans to repay 60 per cent of its outstanding debt to trade creditors through the sale of a 6bn dirhams ($1.63bn) Islamic bond, expected by the end of the first half.

But some of the developer's trade creditors have already offered the bond in the secondary market at around 80 cents to the dollar as they seek to cash out rather than wait five years for repayment.

gulfnews : Effective laws and enforcement required

The availability of luxury apartments at half-price in 2011 show that either abnormal profits are being trimmed to make up for the high default rates of the initial set of buyers or a major correction of the much deflated real estate market is getting more realistic.

A Dh2 billion project had some 80 per cent of its units sold off-plan to European and Russian investors, as well as to the well-heeled from the Middle East, before the property crash.

As more investors pulled out, the developer reverted to the Real Estate Regulatory Agency (Rera) to cancel the original contracts and then resell at half-price to synchronise with prevailing market trends. It has another implication in that even the luxury-end has not been as crisis-resistant as previously thought. The irrational appetite of genuine homeowners and speculators alike has been curbed.

Dubai's Nakheel gets over 98 pct OK to restructure | Reuters

Indebted real estate developer Nakheel [NAKHD.UL] said on Thursday it had secured over 98 percent, or near unanimous, approval for its $10.9 billion debt restructuring plan from banks.

"The company expects to secure confirmation from the remaining banks over the next few days, following which Nakheel will proceed to the completion phase of the restructuring, which will include a subsequent issuance of a sukuk (Islamic bond) to the company's trade creditors," the firm said in a statement.

Under Nakheel's restructuring proposal, trade creditors would receive repayment through 40 percent cash and 60 percent in the form of a $1.63 billion Islamic bond, expected by the end of the first half.

Analysis: Saudi Growth on Track to Impress | Arabianomics

Saudi Arabia Monetary Agency Governor Muhammad al-Jasser said Wednesday that the Saudi Arabian economy could grow up to 6 percent this year, an increase of 1.7 percent from his previous 2011 prediction, according to this report.

Views on how much Saudi Arabia will grow in 2011 seem to differ depending on the source. The publication notes that other forecasts by the IMF (7.5 percent growth) and a Reuters poll of analysts (4.5) shows the difficulty of predicting how fast a country can grow when a massive stimulus package is put into place.

In its May 2011 Saudi Arabia Economics report, Banque Saudi Fransi’s chief economist Dr. John Sfakianakis said that “growth rates of at least 6% are necessary in our view for the private sector to be in a position to engage adequately in building a more-diversified economy. Growth must exceed 6.5% per year to generate enough jobs.”

FT.com - Libya emerges as Opec’s big winner

Libya’s regime has scored a rare diplomatic success by emerging from this week’s Opec meeting with its output quota intact and its seat at the table secure despite pumping scarcely any oil.

Omran Abukraa, a former head of the Libyan electricity board and a loyal apparatchik in Muammer Gaddafi’s regime, was allowed to travel to Vienna to represent his country at Wednesday’s Opec ministerial meeting.

His presence deprived the rebel movement of an opportunity to seize Libya’s place at the Opec table. Shokri Ghanem, the oil minister, joined the rebels’ ranks when he announced his defection from the regime last month.

FT.com - Investors back Hayward’s return in oil venture

The return of Tony Hayward, the former chief executive of BP, to the corporate scene with a £1bn fundraising for an oil and gas fund has won strong backing from investors, according to people familiar with the matter.

The launch of the cash shell, Vallares, on Thursday comes just nine months after Mr Hayward left the UK oil group in the wake of the Gulf of Mexico spill. Vallares will look to buy companies in the oil and gas sector with an enterprise value of between £3bn and £8bn in emerging markets.

“We were pleasantly surprised by the extent of the support,” said Mr Hayward who was widely criticised for his handling of the BP crisis and unfortunate gaffes at the time, such as saying he wanted “his life back”. Asked if he was worried about what investors’ reaction to his participation might be, Mr Hayward would only say: “You never know until you ask but there was enthusiastic support.