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Saturday, 18 June 2011

Qatar land grab angers bush

Buying the farm.

Where Qatar are buying.

A LARGE investment in prime Western District farmland by the Qatar government is increasing pressure for a toughening of Australia's foreign ownership rules.

Amid growing disquiet in the bush over the loss of national sovereignty, the Greens and independent senator Nick Xenophon have called for changes requiring the Treasurer to approve all foreign acquisitions of rural land above $5 million.

Assistant Treasurer Bill Shorten said he was aware of angst in some rural communities but said the Gillard government wanted to examine the scale of foreign ownership in Australia before deciding if reform was necessary.

Illustration: Matt Golding

Illustration: Matt Golding

''Once we have all the facts on the table we can then consider in detail further policy responses,'' Mr Shorten said.

Qatar-based Hassad Foods, which is the agricultural arm of the Qatar government, recently agreed to pay about $35 million for more than 8ooo hectares of sheep-grazing and cropping land in Victoria's Western District.

The secretive deal includes five homesteads around Willaura and Dunkeld, near Ararat, and is believed to be one of the largest acquisitions of Victorian pastoral land in recent history.

Saudi Stock Market close - June 18, 2011

General Index
Intraday 3 month
Daily Statistics
General Index6501.25
Change (%)-0.68%
T. Volume120546510
T. Companies 149

Saudi Shares Decline Most in a Week on Concern That U.S. Growth Is Slowing - Bloomberg

Saudi Arabian shares dropped the most in a week, led by petrochemical companies and banks, after the International Monetary Fund cut its U.S. growth forecast for 2011.

Saudi Basic Industries Corp. (SABIC), the world’s biggest petrochemicals maker, and Al Rajhi Bank (RJHI), the kingdom’s largest publicly traded lender by market value, led the losses. Banque Saudi Fransi (BSFR) fell for a fourth straight day.

The 146-company Tadawul All Share Index (SASEIDX) dropped 0.8 percent, the biggest intraday loss since June 11, to 6,499.27 at 2:15 p.m. in Riyadh, extending its monthly loss to 3.5 percent. Four shares dropped for every stock that rose.

GCC stock markets need to coordinate - Emirates 24/7

Gulf oil producers need to expand coordination among their equity markets as part of a strategy to limit the impact of external shocks on their bourses after they were seriously impacted by recent crises, according to the IMF.

The measures should also include diversification of financing sources to increase the reliance of the balance sheets of local banks by limiting their exposure to risks following the 2008 global fiscal distress and regional debt defaults, the Washington-based IMF said in a working paper this week.

The paper noted that the economies of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) demonstrate a high degree of openness, operate open capital accounts, and have very flexible labor markets, dominated by expatriates.

Abraaj Said to Hire Goldman, Merrill to Sell Stake in Turkey’s Acibadem - Bloomberg

Abraaj Capital Ltd. hired Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) and Bank of America Merrill Lynch to find a buyer for its Turkish hospital unit Acibadem Saglik Hizmetleri & Ticaret AS, according to two people with knowledge of the sale.

Abraaj, based in Dubai, plans either to sell its entire stake to a single buyer, or offer the shares on the market, said the people, who declined to be identified because the talks are private.

Acibadem’s market value is 2.25 billion liras ($1.4 billion), based on today’s closing share price. Abraaj has a 46 percent stake in Almond Holding, which owns 92 percent of Acibadem, according to data on the website of the Istanbul Stock Exchange. The stock rose 9.3 percent to 22.45 liras at 5:30 p.m. in Istanbul, extending earlier gains.

Abu Dhabi to develop aluminium project in Sarawak

Oil-rich Abu Dhabi has committed RM18.1bil to develop aluminium-related industries in Sarawak.

This is expected to create more than 40,000 skilled jobs.

The project will be jointly developed by 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) and Abu Dhabi's Mubadala Development Company (Mubadala).