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Friday, 15 July 2011

Saudi Banks Emerging from Crisis: Analysts - CNBC

Saudi banks, often viewed as a benchmark for the region, have been struggling to shrug off the overhang from the 2008 financial crisis, and have been hit in particular by the more than $20 billion in loan defaults by the two family-owned businesses of Saad and Al-Gosaibi.

But despite the relentless Arabian summer heat, the latest reports on second quarter earnings sent investors into the weekend with arguably something to cheer about.

Heavyweight banks broadly met or exceeded market expectations, with the country’s largest lender, Al-Rajhi Bank, posting a SAR 1.843 billion ($491.5 million) net income, marking a 3.6 percent increase over the same period last year. NCB Capital maintained an ‘Overweight’ rating, with a target price of SAR 84.9, a more conservative estimate than the ‘outperform’, SAR 97 by Credit Suisse.

RAIL TRAFFIC TRENDS TURN NEGATIVE | PRAGMATIC CAPITALISM


The latest data on rail traffic from the AAR showed a decline in total carloads and intermodal traffic. Carloads were down -3.2% while intermodal traffic declined -0.25. This is only the second negative reading in the last 18 months. Historically, sustained downturns in rail traffic have tended to lead recessions. We’ll be keeping a close eye on this indicator in the coming months to decipher whether this is a sustained trend or a blip on the radar. The AAR has the details on this week’s report:
“The Association of American Railroads (AAR) today reported a decrease in weekly rail traffic, with U.S. railroads originating 245,574 carloads for the week ending July 9, 2011, down 3.2 percent compared with the same week last year. Intermodal volume for the week totaled 192,619 trailers and containers, down 0.2 percent compared with the same week last year.
Thirteen of the 20 carload commodity groups posted increases from the comparable week in 2010. Commodity groups posting solid increases included: iron and steel scrap, up 32.5 percent; metallic ores, up 22.9 percent; and all other carloads, up 14.6 percent. Groups posting notable decreases included: waste and nonferrous scrap, down 16.1 percent; coal, down 11.3 percent; and grain, down 10.5 percent.
Weekly carload volume on Eastern railroads was down 1.3 percent compared with the same week last year. In the West, weekly carload volume was down 4.2 percent compared with the same week in 2010.
For the first 27 weeks of 2011, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 7,784,801 carloads, up 2.5 percent from last year, and 6,048,752 trailers and containers, up 7.5 percent from the same point in 2010.”
Source: AAR

Standard Chartered eyes Piraeus Bank's Egypt unit | Reuters

Standard Chartered is considering buying Piraeus Bank's Egyptian subsidiary, a deal that would boost the Greek bank as it seeks to strengthen its balance sheet in light of the downturn facing debt-laden Greece.

Greek banks, hit by the country's sovereign debt crisis, have been looking for ways to boost their capital base to cope with a protracted recession at home that has led to a rise in non-performing loans.

'The due diligence will start in the coming days. There will be a relative strengthening of Core Tier 1, which was at 10.8 percent at the end of March,' a Piraeus Bank official said on Friday.

Gulf Times – Qatar Exchange plans to launch bond market soon

Qatar’s stock exchange may launch bond trading as early as the fourth quarter this year, a move that would boost liquidity and deepen nascent capital markets, a senior bourse official said yesterday.

“We hope that things will accelerate after Ramadan and that we can start trading bonds in 4Q this year,” Olivier Gueris, the Qatar Exchange’s chief operating officer, told Zawya Dow Jones in an interview.

The exchange, 20% owned by NYSE Euronext, is introducing measures aimed at modernising the market, as it awaits a decision due in December from influential index compiler MSCI over whether it has been upgraded from frontier to emerging market status.

AgBank says Qatar wealth fund to remain long-term investor | Reuters

Qatar's sovereign wealth fund will remain a long-term investor in Agricultural Bank of China Ltd even after its lock-up period expires on Monday, a senior executive at the Chinese lender said on Friday.

The Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) and AgBank would also maintain a strategic relationship over the long term, AgBank's secretary to the board of directors Li Zhenjiang told Reuters.

QIA is AgBank's largest non-state investor, holding 6.82 billion shares that are currently worth about $3.5 billion. Other cornerstone investors that bought into the IPO of China's No.3 bank by assets include the Kuwait Investment Authority and Standard Chartered Plc .

Achieving maturity and growth in GCC capital markets - Money - Zawya

All members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) have heavily invested the wealth garnered from their natural resources into diversifying their economies.

This has been evident in improvements made to transport and information infrastructure, as well as advancements made in services and amenities.

The most visible result of these investments has been the creation of world-class tourist destinations in several GCC states (with Dubai the stand-out example). Put together, these investments have allowed for a significant improvement in quality of life for their citizens and residents.

gulfnews : Boeing loses DAE order for 737s worth $2.8b

Boeing Co. said it has lost an order for 35 single-aisle 737s from Dubai Aerospace Enterprise (DAE), the leasing company that cancelled its remaining order from Airbus last week.

'Boeing and Dubai Aerospace Enterprise have reached an agreement to cancel the remaining (35) 737s on order.

'The cancellation is reflected on Boeing's Orders and Deliveries website. DAE has now 21 Boeing unfilled orders [15 747-8Fs and six 777s],' Boeing said in a statement emailed to Gulf News.