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Wednesday, 13 July 2011

MENA stock markets close - July 13, 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)

Abu Dhabi's FGB Q2 profit up 13 pct; beats estimates | Reuters

First Gulf Bank (FGB), UAE's second largest lender by market value, posted a 13 percent rise in second quarter net profit, beating analysts' forecasts, helped by a rise in net interest income.

The lender, majority owned by Abu Dhabi's ruling family, made a net profit of 890 million dirhams ($242.5 million) for the three month period ending June 30, compared with 787 million dirhams in the prior-year period.

Analysts polled by Reuters had estimated an average profit of 885.3 million dirhams for the second-quarter.

25 Top MENA Banks - Zawya ht

The list of the largest financial institutions in MENA based on The Banker data reveal a tough year for regional banks and how they still lag in many areas compared to their global peers.

The number of Middle East banks in the 2011 edition of The Banker Top 1,000 World Banks 2011 slipped to 83 from 90 in the 2010 rankings.

Saudi Arabia's National Commercial Bank retained its position as the region's biggest bank in terms of Tier 1 Capital with $8.313 billion, but it is only the 121st biggest bank in the world, according to The Banker rankings. Still, NCB improved its overall position of 126th las
t year.

Masdar Capital's funds manage global assets worth over US$540 million -

Masdar Capital, one of the five integrated units of Masdar, said today it is growing into one of the leading players in the global clean technology investment space, deploying funds globally and building a diverse international portfolio in the five years since its inception.

Updating media at a briefing in Abu Dhabi, Alex O’Cinneide, Director and Head of Investments at Masdar Capital, said: “We seek to grow and expand our status as a global player in the cleantech investment arena and are looking to be a major force for renewable investment globally. Our efforts in building an asset management business headquartered in Abu Dhabi with strong international investors are beginning to pay off. The growth of this sector will increasingly provide them and us with opportunities and we believe an excellent return profile.”

Industry statistics suggest that annual investment in the global clean energy sector registered a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 23% during 2004-2009, and is forecast to increase three-fold by 2030.

Egypt seen struggling to finance spending this year | Reuters

In a display of financial independence, Egypt's military rulers last month turned down an offer of $3 billion from the IMF but budget pressures may force the country to take the money after elections later this year.

To avoid tapping International Monetary Fund cash, the government has revised the budget that began on July 1 by cutting forecast spending by 24 billion Egyptian pounds, vowing to fund its deficit from domestic resources and foreign aid.

Economists and diplomats say the numbers do not add up, and that Egypt may not have enough money to cover projected spending over the financial year, which ends on June 30, 2012.

Dubai Shares Snap Two-Day Drop as Oil Rises; China Growth - Bloomberg

Dubai’s stocks snapped a two-day decline as oil advanced and China’s economic growth beat estimates, buoying demand for riskier assets amid Europe’s efforts to contain a debt crisis.

Emaar Properties PJSC (EMAAR), developer of the world’s tallest skyscraper, advanced 1 percent. Dubai Islamic Bank PJSC (DIB), the United Arab Emirates’ biggest bank complying with Shariah rules, gained the most in almost a week. The DFM General Index (DFMGI) rose 0.4 percent, the most since July 10, to 1,539.24 at 12 p.m. in Dubai. The measure had slumped 2.2 percent in the previous two days. The Bloomberg GCC 200 Index (BGCC200) increased 0.1 percent, while MSCI Emerging Markets Index gained 0.8 percent after a 1.9 percent slump yesterday.

“We followed global markets on the downside the previous two trading days and today we are seeing some relief” in Asian markets, said Humam al-Shamaa, economic adviser at Abu Dhabi- based Al-Fajer Securities LLC. “Volumes are low and the market is being driven by speculators. The markets will continue to be affected by the European debt crisis and U.S. developments.”

Egypt index buoyed by army statement, global rebound | Reuters

Egypt's main index rose 2.7 percent in early trade, buoyed by the ruling army's efforts to defuse political tensions and helped up by a recovery on international markets on Wednesday, traders said.

Investment and capital market analyst Nader Khedr said the market was lifted by several items, including the appointment by private equity firm Citadel Capital of a financial adviser to provide guidance on possible acquisition offers.

'The market has also been boosted by the statement of the military council yesterday and the commencing of negotiations regarding the cabinet reshuffle,' he added.

Abu Dhabi's Etihad H1 rev up 28 pct, aims to break even in '11 | Reuters

Abu Dhabi's Etihad Airways said its revenues grew by 28 percent to $1.72 billion in the first half of the year, as the unlisted carrier looks to break even in 2011.

Etihad, which began operations in 2003, said in a statement on Wednesday that it saw a 2 percent reduction in cost per available seat kilometre despite soaring oil prices.

Seat factor -- the percentage of available seats that are filled during a specific period -- increased to 72.9 percent from 72.5 percent seen in the first half of 2010, while passenger numbers rose 14 per cent to 3.8 million, James Hogan, chief executive of Etihad said in the statement.

gulfnews : A craving for ‘Made in UAE' stamp

Mohammad Asif Jaber likes his food and fashion. As CEO of Alif Investments, he is presiding over the simultaneous expansion of his group's interests in casual dining and ethnic fashion retail in the UAE and then, incrementally, into some of the other Gulf markets.

One would have thought these in itself would ensure Jaber has lots on his plate to work with. But you will not have Jaber subscribe to that informed opinion.

'I believe the time is right for the group to get into light industrial activity in the UAE and that's been occupying a lot of my time and attention these days,' said Jaber. 'The ‘Made in the UAE' stamp attached to my products is something that I crave.

gulfnews : Asset quality of UAE banks to remain under pressure

Asset quality of leading UAE banks will remain under pressure compared to their regional peers during the current year and could linger on into next year, according to Mohammad Hawa, banking analyst with Credit Suisse.

'UAE banks are yet to experience the peak in their non-performing loans [NPLs] to 8.4 per cent, on our estimates for 2011 and will have to adjust to stricter regulatory measures mainly on consumer lending and fees,' Hawa said in a report.

The NPL ratio for 6 leading UAE banks Credit Suisse covers stood at 7.2 per cent and the provision coverage stood at 51 per cent in 2010.

gulfnews : NBAD issues 10 billion yen Samurai bond

The National Bank of Abu Dhabi, has issued its inaugural yen-denominated samurai bond, the first ever by a Middle Eastern financial institution.

NBAD's issuance of the 15-year, 10 billion Japanese yen (Dh54.7 million) Samurai bond is part of the bank's strategy in diversifying its funding sources and to extend its liability profile.

'We are very pleased to again be the market leader from the GCC in terms of our issuance platform and see this as a major breakthrough. This shows the commitment we have to our well publicised diversification strategy,' said Stephen Jordan, the Senior Vice President and the General Manager of Liquidity Management & Interest Rates Product Group at NBAD's Financial Markets Division.

Middle East needs a new revolution in youth employment - The National

As the Arab spring celebrated throughout the world comes into the heat of summer, many analysts and policymakers are watching events unfold and wondering how to stabilise the shifting seas they see before them. There can be little doubt that the calls for change in the largely youth-led uprisings reflect a demand for dignity and freedom from a generation that will no longer be ignored.

Gallup has been working with Doha-based Silatech to study the opinions of young people (aged 15 to 29) each year in 20 countries in the Arab League and the Somaliland region of Somalia. Through our work, it is clear that the most important catalyst for sustaining change and turning the tide for young people is a focus on job creation. If we can get young people working and integrated into the economies of their home countries, we can give them the dignity they deserve and show them the respect they have earned.

Inequity and injustice overshadow the economic and social realities that ordinary Arabs face in their daily lives. In Egypt and Tunisia, the only two nations that have successfully overthrown their former leaders, GDP has consistently increased over the past five to eight years. Traditionally, classical economics would see this increase as a positive sign of growth. Over the same period, however, Egyptians and Tunisians reported rapidly declining wellbeing in Gallup worldwide research, underscoring the vast inequalities in these two economies.

Al Rajhi leads the way among Saudi banks - The National

Al Rajhi, the Middle East's largest lender by market capitalisation, set the tone for what is shaping up to be a jubilant earnings parade for Saudi Arabian banks.

Al Rajhi posted net profit of 1.84 billion riyals in the three months to the end of June, compared with 1.78 billion riyals in the same period last year.

The bank also said its board recommended a dividend of 1.25 riyals for the first half of this year, keeping in line with a regular cash dividend it has distributed for the past few years.

Oil Drops From Three-Day High on Rising U.S. Crude Supplies, Europe Crisis - Bloomberg

Oil declined from a three-day high in New York as investors bet that increasing U.S. crude supplies and signs that Europe’s debt crisis is spreading indicated demand for raw materials may falter.

Futures fell as much as 0.9 percent after the American Petroleum Institute said crude inventories rose for the first time in six weeks. An Energy Department report today may show supplies shrank. Prices also dropped after Ireland joined Portugal and Greece as the third euro-area nation to have its credit rating reduced to below investment grade.

“There’s still concern around the euro-zone,” said Ben Westmore, a minerals and energy economist at National Australia Bank Ltd. in Melbourne, who predicts oil in New York will average $113 a barrel in the third quarter. “The crude market hasn’t improved much in terms of those supply dynamics. Demand is still pretty sluggish.”

Brickbats for Kuwait's NBK follow bouquets - The National

National Bank of Kuwait won plaudits for avoiding lending to troubled investment companies - unlike some of its rivals - but its conservative approach is winning few fans these days.

NBK posted a 4.4 per cent decline in net profit for this year's second quarter to 65.8 million Kuwaiti dinars from last year's second quarter. Analysts had been hoping for profit of 82.1m dinars, according to data from Bloomberg News.

'That's way below what we expected,' said Naveed Ahmed, a financial analyst at Global Investment House.

gulfnews : Indian partner's legal actions are baseless: Etisalat

UAE telecommunications major Emirates Telecommunications Corporation (etisalat) said on Tueasday its Indian mobile phone joint venture partner Majestic Infracon Private Limited has brought proceedings against it and various group companies before the Company Law Board in India and various individual directors.

Etisalat, whose Indian joint venture is grappling with a telecommunications licensing scandal, did not say what the proceedings were, but called them 'wholly baseless'.

'This is a cynical tactical move by parties charged with major corruption offences to shift attention away from their own situation and to disrupt the proper running of Etisalat DB to the detriment of its shareholders and customers,' etisalat said in a statement.

Gulf Times – Asset quality of Qatar’s banks rising; Dubai remains a concern

The asset quality of rated banks in Qatar and Saudi Arabia is improving but remains a concern in the UAE, according to Credit Suisse.

“Qatar and Saudi Arabian banks continue to exhibit high asset quality, with 2010 NPL (non-performing loans) ratios of 1.7% and 2.4% respectively, while UAE banks (7.2%) continue to reel with exposure to Dubai’s GREs (government-related enterprises),” Credit Suisse said in a report.

Finding that the larger issue with the UAE banks is that their NPL ratios are likely yet to peak, it said “we estimate the average NPL ratio is likely to increase to 8.4% in 2012.” The UAE banks also have the lowest coverage ratio of 51% in 2010 compared with more “reassuring” levels of Saudi Arabia (120%) and Qatar (101%).

Iraq initials Shell’s $12.5bn gas project -

Royal Dutch Shell’s long-standing plan to capture and refine gas in south Iraq has moved a step closer following the approval by the country’s state-owned gas company.

In a statement the Anglo-Dutch energy company, which would own 44 per cent of the venture, confirmed that the project had been “initialised” by Iraq’s South Gas Company, which owns a 51 per cent stake, and by Japan’s Mitsubishi Corporation, which has 5 per cent. The $12.5bn investment project now has to be approved by Iraq’s cabinet.

The joint-venture, named the Basrah Gas Company, would collect and process raw gas from Iraq’s southern Rumaila, Zubair and West Qurna 1 oilfields which are currently being flared.