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Sunday, 14 August 2011

Saudis entice Asian refiners at expense of Qatar, Oman | Al Bawaba

Top oil exporter Saudi Arabia is enticing Asian refiners to buy more of the kingdom's crude at the expense of other Middle Eastern producers that are offering more barrels on the spot market, as long-term buyers pare purchases of their grades.

Competitive pricing for Saudi crude next month is eroding demand for alternative spot cargoes of Qatari al-Shaheen and Oman crude in October, traders said on Thursday, adding pressure on price differentials to regional benchmarks. The Saudis have unilaterally raised crude production to near 10 million barrels per day (bpd) over the summer to meet increasing demand in the third quarter and help lower high prices that threaten the global economy.

Members of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries so far have voiced little concern about a drop of about $10 in Brent prices this month, while the International Energy Agency on Wednesday warned about slower growth in oil demand if economic growth falters

Credit Agricole to close Bahrain office - report | Reuters

French bank Credit Agricole CARG.PA is to close its office in Bahrain and move its staff to Dubai, International Financing Review (IFR) said on Sunday, in a blow to the Gulf kingdom's status as a regional banking hub following widespread unrest.

'While sources said that the move has been talked about for some time, they admitted that the unrest which affected the country earlier this year did have some impact on the decision,' said IFR, a Thomson Reuters service.

'However, while there have been rumours of potential departures, until now, the flow of financial institutions away from the island has been minimal at most,' IFR said in a briefing, adding that Credit Agricole did not respond to a request for comment.

Kuwait's Agility Q2 earnings drop 57 per cent, beat views | Reuters

Kuwait's Agility (AGLT.KW), the logistics firm facing U.S. fraud charges, posted a 57 percent drop in second-quarter net profit, but still slightly beat forecasts.

Net profit in the three months to June 30 was 7.83 million dinars ($28.7 million), the company said in a statement, down from 18.09 million dinars a year earlier.

Two analysts had forecast in a Reuters survey that Agility's second-quarter earnings would fall to an average of 7.4 million dinars.

The Saudis can't afford an oil price slump - Telegraph

After all, during the fallout from the credit crisis the price went much lower than it is now. The US benchmark West texas Intermediate was considerably lower. On December 23, 2008, the spot price fell to $30.28 a barrel.

The Paris-based International Energy Agency (IEA) last Wednesday lowered its global oil demand forecast by 60,000 barrels per day (bpd) for 2011.

'Overall, global oil demand is expected to average 89.5m bpd in 2011, 1.4pc higher year on year,' the IEA said.

MENA stock markets close - August 14, 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)

Mideast Shares Advance as U.S. Data Ease Recession Concerns; Israel Jumps - Bloomberg

Middle East shares advanced, sending Dubai’s index to a one-week high, as U.S. economic data eased concern the world’s biggest economy is headed for a recession, buoying investor demand for riskier assets.

Emaar Properties PJSC (EMAAR), the developer of the world’s tallest skyscraper, gained 2.2 percent and Dubai Islamic Bank PJSC (DIB) rose to the highest in more than a week. The DFM General Index (DFMGI) climbed 1 percent to 1,478.67, the highest since Aug. 7, at the 2 p.m. close in Dubai. Egypt’s EGX 30 Index (EGX30) climbed 0.7 percent in Cairo and Israel’s TA-25 Index surged 2.8 percent, the most since May 2010.

Gains in local markets were prompted “by a strong international lead from the U.S. over the weekend due to better than expected jobless claims,” said Samer Darwiche, a financial analyst at Gulfmena Investments in Dubai. “Investors want to see the open of international markets tomorrow” and the Islamic holy month of Ramadan is keeping volumes low, he said.

Global financial turmoil casts shadow over recovery of sukuk market - The National

The cost of insuring Islamic bonds has risen to a six-week high as global financial turmoil threatens a regional recovery in the sukuk market.

Uncertainty created by the market volatility combined with the traditional summer slowdown is likely to deter new sales, say analysts. 'It's sentiment driven,' said Nida Raza, the senior vice president of capital markets at Unicorn Investment Bank of Bahrain. 'Banks are pricing yields higher as they look at bond markets as a whole and are seeing the cost of risk going up.'

Islamic bonds in Dubai have dropped as investors flee lower credit-rated assets linked to concerns about an escalation of the US and European debt woes.

Egypt's EFG-Hermes says Q2 net profit 79 Mln EGP | Reuters

EFG-Hermes, Egypt's biggest investment bank, said on Sunday its net profit for the second quarter of 2011 fell 19 percent year on year as operating costs outstripped revenue growth.

Net profit fell to 79 million Egyptian pounds from 97 million pounds in the second quarter of 2010, it said in an emailed statement.

Political turmoil in Arab countries hit the region's investment banks by depressing stock markets and drying appetite for fresh capital. Analysts say the outlook remains grim.

gulfnews : High economic toll of Bahrain's unrest

Bahrain's economy continues to reel under socio-political unrest dating back to mid-February. Costs include a drop in economic activity apart from a higher budget deficit.

It emerged recently that the unrest caused economic damage of up to $2 billion (Dh7.3 billion). This is a sizable amount by virtue of equalling 9.5 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP). Bahrain has a nominal GDP of $21 billion. The comments came from a qualified person, namely Esam Fakhro, chairman of the Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI). The Chamber looks after private sector interests.

Ostensibly, the econ-omic costs relate to damage occurring to some economic sectors notably retail, hospitality and events. Reflecting the uncertainty, some locals have chosen to limit their spending to essentials, and where possible delay purchases of durable goods.

A scorecard of GCC economic integration: Integrating, not integrated -

As the GCC approaches its 30th birthday, the economic integration of the six member countries has not progressed as much as had been expected, a new study from Booz & Company reveals.

“The region has shown admirable growth in the past decade, yet that growth represents the efforts of six individual states, rather than a coherent and aligned group operating as an integrated economic entity,” said Richard Shediac, Senior Partner, Booz & Company. “More comprehensive integration has the potential to boost the region’s economy much as it did for the EU. In short, there is an opportunity cost to not integrating further.”

Booz & Company evaluated the region’s level of economic integration based on five core dimensions: the monetary union, customs and borders, intra-regional investment, joint infrastructure and knowledge cooperation. These five criteria were selected to highlight areas that GCC members declared to be priority, and in which action has already been taken, with ratings determined based on the following:

1 = Major setback to the goal or stagnation of process
2 = Minimal progress toward goal since last action
3 = Some indication of effort and progress toward the goal
4 = Substantial momentum generated toward the goal
5 = Accomplishment or near completion of the goal.

Dana lifts Abu Dhabi; Oman's Galfar jumps -

Dubai's index extended gains after a fresh set of second-quarter earnings but investors in the UAE reacted largely to a relief rally in global markets on Friday.

Property stocks, which attracted the most retail attention, led gains with bellwether Emaar Properties climbing 2.2 percent.

Drake $ Scull rose 1.7 percent after posting second-quarter net profit of AED55m on Thursday, marginally beating an analysts average forecast of AED52.8m.

Reserve Strength - Zawya

With a string of impressive economic policies, Iran has ensured that it remains a major energy supplier, despite various restrictions imposed by the western international community.

But while Iran has benefited from high oil prices, lack of major investments in the country's energy sector could hamper growth and continue to handicap the country's economic prosperity. Add to this dynamic, is Tehran's controversial nuclear programme and its divisive role in regional politics, which makes it a target for many countries around the region that are eager to hurt Iran's economy.

Iran's energy exports are set to cross more than $100-billion this year for the first time and could well hit $150-billion by 2016-17 as the country strengthens its position as a key energy player in the world despite sanctions.

Qatar Telecom Q2 net profit rises 18 pct - Maktoob News

Qatar Telecom (Qtel), the Gulf state's biggest telecom operator, said its second-quarter net profit rose 18 percent helped by positive subscriber growth at its subsidiaries abroad.

The company reported a second-quarter profit of 673 million Qatar riyals ($184.8 million), compared with 571 million riyals a year ago, it said in a statement on Sunday.

Two analysts polled by Reuters forecast second-quarter net profit of 673.3 million riyals and 773.4 million riyals respectively.

Kuwait ‘looking’ at taxes in next year’s budget

The Kuwaiti government intends to include taxes in the upcoming budget, reports Al-Watan Arabic daily quoting a reliable source.

The source disclosed the government is studying the possibility of imposing income and value added taxes. He said the government has sought assistance from the World Bank on tax-related issues, mechanism for tax collection, and ways to include taxes in next year’s financial plan.

The source added the World Bank has started conducting training courses for the concerned workers at the Ministry of Finance in preparation for the approval of the tax draft bill. The government will also launch media campaigns to raise awareness on tax collection and focus on obtaining support from the majority in the Parliament to push for the ratification of the bill. However, the source did not mention other details, such as the target date of implementation and the categories of people or firms which will be required to pay the income tax.

Oil prices signal another recession « ArabianMoney

Whenever before the cost of oil as a proportion of global GDP has hit current levels that has been a red alert for an imminent recession or meant that we are already in one. Will it be any different this time?

You can see the ‘oil expense indicator’ as a tax on business and consumers. You can see it as a natural break on consumption because oil supply is not infinite. Whatever, it means a recession.

Dubai's Emaar apartment sales income slump 85 pct in Q2 - Maktoob News

Emaar Properties , Dubai's largest developer by market value, saw an 85 percent fall in its income from apartment sales during the second quarter, as demand for real estate continues to fall in the emirate.

Revenues from sale of apartments were 265.6 million dirhams ($72.3 million)in the second quarter, compared with 1.7 billion dirhams in the same period in 2010, Emaar said in a detailed financial statement posted on the Dubai bourse on Sunday.

The builder of the world's largest tower, the Burj Khalifa, reported a 69 percent drop in second quarter net profit last month.

Asia may put GCC on slippery slope - The National

A slowdown in the Asian industrial boom could pull the rug from under oil prices.

Producers and consumers alike have lowered their forecasts for oil demand growth not only in western economies but also in the East. That threatens to send crude prices below the US$100 mark - the price floor for most of this year - analysts warn.

'While Asian demand will be significantly stronger than in other parts of the world, we do not believe this will be sufficient to avoid declines,' says Ross Strachan, the commodities economist at Capital Economics in London.

World view bleak but picture looks brighter in the Middle East - The National

As stock markets take a beating and policymakers across the world try to resuscitate economic growth, observers say a return to a global downturn would be an all-out disaster for investors, businesses and average consumers everywhere.

If consumers scale back amid higher unemployment and fear for their financial futures, businesses would suffer because of declining demand. Many companies would choose not to invest in new factories or research and development, worried that returns would not justify costs.

Declines in global markets could breed more consumer panic when investors look at their brokerage statements and find themselves poorer. Investment banks that grease the wheels of global capital would see their fortunes decline, too, with fewer mergers to advise on and less investment advice to give.

Investors search for signs of stability - The National

Regional investors will be hoping for stability to return to the markets after the worst three weeks for stocks in two-and-a-half years.

With the shock from the August 5 US credit rating downgrade behind them, investors will focus on signs that European policymakers may be able to contain the euro-zone debt crisis. The signs will come from a varying palette, including the quarterly releases of regional publicly listed companies, euro-zone data and a court hearing in the trial of Hosni Mubarak, Egypt's former president.

But getting to that stability may require the market finding a floor.