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Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Bahrain Islamic Bank, Al Salam eye $4.5 bln merger | Reuters

Bahrain Islamic Bank and Al Salam Bank are in merger talks to form the Gulf Arab state's largest Islamic lender with assets of 1.7 billion dinars ($4.5 billion), according to a statement on the Bahraini bourse website.

'The two boards of directors ... stated that consolidation is the way forward for local banks in general and Islamic banks in particular in the aftermath of financial crisis and economic downturn and greater competitive banking environment in the region,' the statement said.

'The combined entity would have total assets of 1.7 billion Bahraini dinars and shareholders' equity of 337 million dinars. The combined entity would be the third largest domestic bank in terms of total assets and the second largest in terms of equity,' the statement added.

MENA stock markets close - August 9, 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)

Dubai Investments hit but expansion still on - The National

Dubai Investments, the largest investment company listed on the Dubai Financial Market, reported a 30 per cent drop in profits for the second quarter.

The company said it hoped to secure additional funding to expand its operations in the second half of this year.

Net income was at Dh137.9 million for the quarter compared with Dh196.3m in the same period last year.

Saudi ends at 5-month low on global economic concerns | Reuters

Saudi Arabia's index ends at a five-month low, as most shares retreat in reaction to a panic sell-off in U.S. and Asian markets on fears of a new global downturn.

The benchmark ends 0.8 percent lower at 6,009 points, its lowest close since March 7.

Bellwether Saudi Basic Industries Corp (SABIC) falls 1.3 percent and Al-Rajhi Bank drops 0.7 percent.

MIDEAST STOCKS-UAE, Qatar slump to March lows, global woes weigh | Reuters

Gulf stocks tumbled to new lows on Tuesday, led by bourses in Qatar and the UAE, as a panic sell-off in U.S. and Asian markets over fears of a new global downturn shook investor confidence.

Markets in the United Arab Emirates and Qatar fell back to their lowest levels since March, when the Middle East was hit by widespread political unrest.

Dubai's index fell 2 percent to its lowest close since March 9, raising year-to-date losses to 11.4 percent. Abu Dhabi's benchmark dropped 1.3 percent to its lowest close since March 8.

Cloudy Q3 Outlook - Zawya

As the global economy lurches from one crisis to the next, we look at the prospects for the regional economies in troubling global conditions which could slash domestic growth.

Another quarter, another headache. Gulf governments have suffered a tumultuous first two quarters of the year and were hoping for some semblance of sanity in the third quarter. At the very least, regional governments were hoping that tragic developments within the Middle East had remained isolated - Syria, Yemen and Libya - leaving other countries in relative safety and peace.

But the new global crisis with the onset of Standard & Poor's downgrade of the U.S.'s sovereign ratings and the escalating EU debt crisis could dampen growth of most regional countries.

UAE's Etisalat to see top management shake-up: Report - The Economic Times

UAE telecoms operator Etisalat is preparing for a major management shake-up that includes the retirement of its long-time chairman and the appointment of a new group chief executive, according to a report on Tuesday.

Arabian Business, citing unnamed sources, said on its website that the changes will result in the departure of several high-level executives including Chairman Mohamed Omran, who may retire later this year.

Arabian Business said an announcement to the stock exchange was expected this week.

Dubai-linked MGM Resorts rides Vegas boom to profit -

MGM Resorts International, the biggest casino operator on the Las Vegas Strip, reported better than expected second- quarter earnings as it took control of a Macau joint venture and a recovery strengthened in Nevada.

Net income was $3.44bn, or $6.22 a share, boosted by a $3.5bn gain from consolidating Macau on its books. That compares to a loss of $883.5m, or $2 a share, a year earlier when earnings were hit by CityCenter development writedowns, the Las Vegas-based company said Monday.

Macau is booming while Las Vegas stages a broad-based recovery from its steepest gambling and convention decline. Room rates have increased at most of MGM’s 10 Las Vegas Strip resorts and visitors are spending more on food and entertainment as tourists and conventions return. MGM took a controlling stake in its Macau joint venture in the quarter, consolidating onto its books a resort in the world’s biggest gambling market, where casino betting surged 58 percent last year and 45 percent in the six months ended June 30.

Persian Gulf Bonds Attract Investors Amid Flight From Europe: Arab Credit - Bloomberg

Qatar, the world’s fastest growing economy, and Abu Dhabi are luring bond investors keen to cut their exposure to markets closer to Europe’s debt crisis.

Yields on Qatar’s sovereign dollar-denominated bonds touched record-lows last week, while the average yield on Persian Gulf notes was nine basis points off the lowest ever on Aug. 5, the HSBC/Nasdaq Dubai GCC Conventional US Dollar Bond Index shows. Sovereign bond yields of Hungary, a European Union member, had their biggest weekly jump since April and Polish debt yields also rose, according to data compiled by JPMorgan Chase & Co.

“I have started in the last three weeks to reduce my exposure to Eastern European countries” and buy into “fundamentally strong countries with solid public finances,” Sergey Dergachev, who oversees $8.5 billion in emerging-market debt at Union Investment Privatfonds in Frankfurt, said by e- mail yesterday. Dergachev said he has been buying Qatar and Abu Dhabi bonds.

Iran says discovers 495 bln cubic metre gas field - Maktoob News

Iran has discovered a new onshore gas field with 495 billion cubic metres of gas that it estimates is worth $133 billion, Deputy Oil Minister Ahmad Qalebani told a news conference on Monday.

The field, dubbed Madar, is east of the port city of Assalouyeh, Qalebani said. An estimated 80 percent of the gas is recoverable, he added.

'The estimate of gas condensates in the field is 1.5 billion barrels from which 658 million barrels are recoverable,' Qalebani told reporters at a press conference.

Bahrain economy lost up to $2 bln due to unrest -report - Maktoob News

Bahrain's economy has lost up to $2 billion due to political unrest that hit the Gulf Arab state in February, the head of the country's chamber of commerce was quoted on Monday as saying.

The small non-OPEC oil producer was thrown into turmoil in February when protesters, mostly majority Shi'ites, took to the streets demanding democratic reforms in the Sunni-ruled state.

The island kingdom's worst unrest since the 1990s was put down in March in a government crackdown that called in troops and police from neighbouring Arab countries.

Double whammy hits recovery - The National

The double impact of the US rating downgrading and the euro-zone debt crisis risk damaging the Gulf's recovery from the global downturn.

Fiscal woes in the developed world are already taking their toll on the price of oil, the region's biggest export.

Oil prices slid more than 3 per cent during trading yesterday. The September Brent contract on London's futures exchange was down to US$105.77 a barrel.

Dubai Opts for $4 Billion Repayment Over Refinancing as Economy Recovers - Bloomberg

Dubai, which was on the brink of a default in 2009, will repay $4 billion of loans this month as the Persian Gulf business hub opts for repayment over refinancing after economic growth accelerated.

Investment Corp. of Dubai, one of the emirate’s three main state-owned holding companies, will repay the loans when they mature on Aug. 21, the Dubai Government Media Office said in an e-mailed statement today. “The maturing obligation will be repaid from internal sources derived principally from cash dividends received from ICD’s operating subsidiaries.”

Investment Corp. of Dubai began raising a $2.8 billion loan to help repay the $4 billion facility, two bankers familiar with the plan said May 11. Citigroup Inc. (C), HSBC Holdings Plc (HSBA) and Emirates NBD PJSC were coordinating the conventional tranche, while Standard Chartered Plc (STAN) and Mashreqbank PSC (MASQ) were leading the Islamic portion, they said.

Stock market plunge shows no sign of stopping just yet « ArabianMoney

After the worst day for global stock markets since December 2008 there is no sign of a halt to the selling today with stock futures pointing to an even lower opening and few bargain hunters are to be seen.

Even the Fed is thought too worried by the crash to intervene for fear that its intervention might fail or encourage investors to think things are even worse than they are being told.