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Sunday, 19 June 2011

Qatar in talks for stake in Santander U.K. unit - MarketWatch

Qatar Holding LLC is in talks to become a key investor in one of the U.K.'s biggest banks, the Sunday Times reports, without citing sources.

Qatar Holding, which has recently expressed an interest in Spanish banks and foreign lenders, has held talks about buying a stake in the U.K. arm of Banco Santander SA STD +4.94% ahead of a planned GBP15 billion initial public offering scheduled for the end of the year, the report says.

In October, it bought a 5% stake in Santander's Brazilian unit, Banco Santander Brasil, and in February Qatar's prime minister said they were interested in investing in Lloyds Banking Group PLC (LLOY.LN) and Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC

Saudi Arabian Crude Inventories Decline 4.3 Percent in April - Bloomberg

Oil inventories in Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest crude exporter, fell 4.3 percent in April from a month earlier, according to official data.

The Middle East country had 257.7 million barrels of crude in storage within its territory in April, compared with 269.4 million barrels in March, the government figures posted yesterday on the Joint Organization Data Initiative website show.

MENA stock markets close - June 19, 2011

ExchangeStatus IndexChange
TASI (Saudi Stock Market)
6442.7-0.90%
DFM (Dubai Financial Market)
1598.79-0.14%
ADX (Abudhabi Securities Exchange)
2775.440.51%
KSE (Kuwait Stock Exchange)
6313.3-0.37%
BSE (Bahrain Stock Exchange)
1342.76-0.18%
MSM (Muscat Securities Market)
6020.67-0.01%
QE (Qatar Exchange)
8334.670.18%
LSE (Beirut Stock Exchange)
1361.930.07%
EGX 30 (Egypt Exchange)
5628.091.56%
ASE (Amman Stock Exchange)
2155.55-0.17%
TUNINDEX (Tunisia Stock Exchange)
4217.15-0.33%
CB (Casablanca Stock Exchange)
11741.5-0.64%
PSE (Palestine Securities Exchange)
499.83-0.22%

Bahrain sukuk beat Dubai as emergency lifted - ArabianBusiness.com

Bahrain’s decision to end a three- month state of emergency is restoring confidence in the island nation’s Islamic bonds.

While protests toppled leaders in Egypt and Tunisia and fighting rages in Libya and Syria, Bahrain quelled violent street protests. The yield on Bahrain’s 6.247 percent sukuk maturing June 2014 dropped 115 basis points since March 31 to 2.81 percent, approaching a four-month low reached last week. The notes returned 4 percent this quarter, compared with 3.2 percent for sukuk in Dubai, 2.5 percent for Malaysia and 1.7 percent in Indonesia.

The rally in Bahrain’s bonds may help revive issuance from the Arabian Gulf after Albaraka Banking Group, the kingdom’s biggest publicly traded lender, delayed its plan to sell sukuk until September because of political turmoil. Sales of Shariah- compliant securities from the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council dropped 20 percent to $1.9bn in 2011 from the year-earlier period, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

Dubai’s Nakheel pays $1.36bn to trade creditors

Nakheel, the real estate arm of debt-laden conglomerate Dubai World has paid AED5bn ($1.36bn) in overdue payments to its trade creditors, the company said Sunday.

The developer, which is seeking to delay some $10.5bn of debt, said last week it had won near-unanimous approval from trade creditors representing 95 percent of the debt.

“[The payment] marks significant progress in our recapitalization plan, following on from the initial payments to trade creditors of AED 500,000 or less, which commenced in March 2010,” the company said in an emailed statement.

Barwa lifts Qatar, Saudi petrochems drop

Speculators lift Qatar's Barwa Real Estate to a month high, helping support the index.

"Institutional traders are on the sidelines, waiting for the next two days," says Hani Girgis, assistant chief dealer at Dlala brokerage.

Index compiler MSCI will announce its verdict late Tuesday on whether Qatar and United Arab Emirates are included in the emerging market index.

Bahrain's Arcapita eyes more exits, sees 2011 profit

Bahrain-based investment firm Arcapita plans to exit two more of its investments in the next six months and will use funds for part repayment of a $1.1 billion loan maturing in April, its chief executive said on Sunday.

The Islamic firm will exit one investment each in the Europe and the United States, CEO Atif Abdulmalik said in an interview without specifying what assets it wants to dispose.

Arcapita, with about $7.7bn in funds under management, raised $435 million from its investment in property firm Mapletree Industrial Trust last year and sold a portfolio of senior living communities in the US for $630m in early 2011.

ADCB to net $272m in profits from RHB stake sale | Alrroya

Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB) will record a net profit of Dh1 billion ($272.3 million) from the sale of its 25 per cent stake in Malaysian lender RHB Capital, the lender said on Sunday.

ADCB signed an agreement to sell its per cent stake in RHB Capital to Aabar Investments, an Abu Dhabi investment fund, for 10.80 ringgit per share, bringing in Dh7 billion ($1.91 billion).

"After considering all related costs... exchange rates, hedging, cost of funding etc... this transaction shall contribute approximately 1 billion dirhams to the bank's overall profit," ADCB said in a bourse statement.

UAE says new investment law is ready - Emirates 24/7

The UAE has completed the drafting of a long-awaited law that could allow foreign investors to have 100 per cent ownership in some projects and is awaiting final approval before it is enforced this year, the country’s minister of economy said in remarks published on Sunday.

Sultan bin Saeed al Mansouri also told the Arabic language daily 'Al Khaleej' the UAE had overcome more than “95 per cent” of the effects of the 2008 global fiscal distress and is set to become stronger than before the crisis.

Asked about the UAE’s investments in some Arab countries hit by the current political turmoil, the minister said the government had received assurances for protection from those countries in line with signed accords.

Abu Dhabi Shares Rise to Five-Month High on Bets of MSCI Upgrade This Week - Bloomberg

Abu Dhabi’s shares advanced to the highest level in more than five months, leading a gain in the Persian Gulf, on speculation the United Arab Emirates will be upgraded to emerging market status by MSCI Inc. (MSCI) this week. Emirates Telecommunications Corp., the U.A.E.’s biggest phone company, advanced a tenth day. Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank PJSC (ADCB) climbed 1.6 percent after the bank said it will make a profit of about 1 billion dirhams ($272 million) from the sale of its stake in RHB Capital Bhd. The Abu Dhabi ADX General Index (ADSMI) increased 0.6 percent to 2,777.01, the highest intraday level since Jan. 9, at 11:06 a.m. in the emirate. Dubai’s DFM General Index (DFMGI) gained 0.5 percent and the Bloomberg GCC 200 Index (BGCC200) rose 0.1 percent.

MSCI, which classifies six of the seven Gulf markets as frontier, will decide on whether to raise the U.A.E. to emerging-market status on June 21. Stock exchanges in the country said May 29 that market participants are ready to use an upgraded trading system, the so-called delivery-versus-payment, meeting one of the criteria for an upgrade at MSCI.

“In the coming days, all investors are eyeing the MSCI decision to include the U.A.E.” in the emerging market index, said Samer Darwiche, a financial analyst at Gulfmena Investments in Dubai. “All the positivity in the market is related to that.”

UAE to toughen up money declaration rules from September | Reuters

The United Arab Emirates will require those leaving the country to declare large amounts of money from September as part of an effort to improve monitoring of suspicious cash flows, officials said on Sunday.

Dubai, a Gulf trade and finance hub, has been fighting a reputation as a haven for money laundering since the September 11 attacks of 2001 drew attention to the relative ease of moving money through the city.

"The UAE... has put in place a strong legal, regulatory and institutional framework to counter money laundering and combat terrorist financing and thereby protect its institutions from any reputation risk," Central Bank Governor Sultan Nasser al-Suweidi told a conference on the new measure.

MAN seeks Ferrostaal talks with IPIC -paper - Maktoob News

MAN plans to reach agreement with Abu Dhabi's IPIC fund over industrial services company Ferrostaal "as soon as possible" MAN Chief Executive Georg Pachta-Reythofen was quoted on Saturday as saying.

After a breakdown of relations between the two parties, IPIC has shown a willingness to negotiate, Pachta-Reythofen told German weekly Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung, according to an advance copy of its Sunday edition.

"We will hold constructive talks. Nobody can live with the (current) situation," Pachta-Reythofen told the paper in an interview.

Oil price down as eurozone debt crisis grows, bad for the Gulf States « ArabianMoney

ArabianMoney is based in Dubai so it is only to be expected that our viewpoint is biased towards what is best for the Gulf States as Dubai is the trading hub city of this region. It is simplistic but accurate to say that the oil price counts more than anything else here.

It is therefore not heart warming to hear that oil prices have dropped to their lowest in four months because of worries that the eurozone debt crisis will sharply slow the European economy and reduce demand for fuel.

GCC Focus: Reliability biggest attribute of Gulf oil

The six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) is the undisputed global leader in energy resources, a fact that should provide comfort to many stakeholders. Relying on its spare capacity, Saudi Arabia has traditionally shown the readiness to increase crude output in the event of any foreseeable drop in production due to diverse factors including political turmoil. The response to production problems facing Opec member Libya, a country boasting output of 1.5 million per day, springs to mind.

Global share

To be sure, Saudi Arabia falls behind Russia in terms of production of oil, but the kingdom stands out as the largest oil exporter. According to the recently published BP Statistical Review of World Energy, Russia and Saudi Arabia accounted for 12.9 per cent and 12 per cent of global oil output in 2010, respectively. Yet, unlike Russia, the kingdom exports a substantial portion of its output. Likewise, other GCC countries too stand out for their export capabilities, notably the UAE and Kuwait, which boast 3.3 per cent and 3.1 per cent of global oil output, respectively. Qatar and Oman account for 1.7 per cent and 1 per cent of worldwide oil output, respectively.

Dubai gets a big vote of confidence

During 2008 and 2009, Dubai went through some bad times as many in the international financial world questioned both its stability and the vision of its rulers. Now it is time to note that the international financial world has completely reversed its earlier scepticism, and last week's Dubai government bond issue was over-subscribed by a very pleasing 3.5 times. This success followed another Dubai success on the bond markets earlier this month, when Emirates airline raised $1 billion (Dh3.67 billion).

It is true that the international markets are keen to look for good emerging market bonds to buy, as they seek to diversify away from the faltering economies of Europe and North America. But despite this need to favour emerging markets, it is still important that they are eager for Dubai bonds. It is an astonishing turnaround from the savaging that Dubai received in 2009.

The intensity of the fury directed at Dubai during 2009 felt unnatural. The anger was not just about the need to reschedule many of the emirate's borrowings. It was also mixed in with a lot of jealousy at seeing how fast the emirate and the UAE as a whole had progressed, and delight at finding that Dubai could also have problems, since it seemed to have had such a good run during the beginning of the 21st century.

The leadership of Dubai and the UAE have borne their huge responsibility well in seeing the emirate and country through the crisis. The underlying fundamentals were always strong, and now the markets can see them again. Last week's government bond raised a fairly modest $500 million, but it was focused on setting a price benchmark, with a view to issuing more bonds later. But despite its new-found security, Dubai will never be able to forget the vicious way that the markets turned on it.

gulfnews : Mubadala to form joint venture for new smelter

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said on Friday that Abu Dhabi government investment vehicle Mubadala Development Co. and state-owned development company 1Malaysia Development Bhd. will form a joint-venture company to develop a $4.2 billion (Dh15.4 billion) aluminium smelter in east Malaysia.

Mubadala will also help 1Malaysia Development team up with other strategic partners to develop downstream industries including a rolling mill, a wire cabling plant, a wheel casting plant and up to 10 extrusion plants costing an additional $1.8 billion.

"All this is a strong signal of Abu Dhabi's confidence in Malaysia as a growth enabler. It opens the way for more investment from the Middle East pouring into Malaysia," Najib said.

Pressure starts to bite over subsidies

Surging prices of oil and food are putting Middle East governments in a fix.

For decades, they have used subsidies and price controls to help to keep inflation in check and protect citizens from volatility in global markets.

So tightly woven into the fabric of society have the measures become that nobody questioned the approach for many years. Instead, many consumers enjoyed the benefits of cheap electricity in their homes and offices, petrol in their cars and bread on their tables.

Legal wrangles far from over for battle-weary al Gosaibis

They were putting a brave face on it, but there can be no doubt the al Gosaibi family has been shaken by the events in the High Court in London last week.

Their attempt to disown US$250 million (Dh918.2m) of liabilities was, their own advisers concede, a difficult proposition from the start; when contradictory evidence began turning up late in the day, overlooked then found in a cupboard in Al Khobar in Saudi Arabia, the location of the family company's home and business headquarters, it was the final straw for the judge.

Their advisers say the London decision will enable them to devote more resources to the three other big actions in progress. These all involve Maan al Sanea, whom they still accuse of fraud, theft and forgery, which he denies.

Saudi share prices fall most in a week

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

The Tadawul All Share Index dropped 0.68 percent to 6,501.25 points at close.

Saudi Basic Industries Corp., the worlds biggest petrochemicals maker, and Al Rajhi Bank, the Kingdoms largest publicly traded lender by market value, led the losses. Banque Saudi Fransi fell for a fourth straight day.

Bourses may extend gains

The UAE bourses may consolidate gains this week as investors are upbeat about the possible upgrade to emerging market status from MSCI on Tuesday.

Investors are betting on a possible upgrade by the index compiler MSCI, which may boost indices and increase liquidity by attracting up to $2 billion inflows into the regional markets.

However, the financial analysts said the regional markets are likely to remain under pressure in the coming weeks due to ongoing unrest in the region, the Greek sovereign debt crisis and the slow recovery of the US economy.

gulfnews : New frontiers for the UAE

The moment regional investors have been waiting for is nigh; in just two days the UAE will find out if it has been successful in receiving an upgrade to emerging markets status by index compiler MSCI.

The upcoming announcement has acted as the key catalyst in moving the UAE's three bourses — the Dubai Financial Market (DFM), the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX) and Nasdaq Dubai — over the last few months as traders realign their positions ahead of a potential influx of liquidity into the marketplace.

MSCI (Morgan Stanley Capital International) global equity indices serve as the basis for over 400 exchange traded funds throughout the world.