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Thursday, 8 September 2011

MENA stock markets close - September 8, 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 STOCKS-Zain climbs on stake sale optimism, markets mixed | Reuters

Kuwait's Zain climbed to a five-week high on Thursday on talk the telecom firm was closer to a $950 million sale of its stake in Zain Saudi , as regional bourses ended mixed amid uncertainty in global markets.

Zain climbed to at its highest value since Aug. 4 after market talk it was making progress in selling its 25 percent stake in its Saudi affiliate.

"Market rumours have started again that they (Zain) have made progress in selling their stake in Zain Saudi," said Shahid Hameed, Global Investment House regional asset management head.

Qatar Most Competitive In Region, UAE Slips In WEF Ranking Again - Zawya

Qatar leaves regional competitors in the dust, rising as one of the most competitive economy in the world. But Arab Spring unkind to competitiveness of liberated Egyptian and Tunisian economies.

Another survey, another glowing review of Qatar. The World Economic Forum's Global Competitiveness Index 2011-12 finds the gas-rich state the region's most competitive and emerging as the 14th most business-friendly country in the world.

"Its strong performance in terms of competitiveness rests on solid foundations made up of a high-quality institutional framework where it ranks 14th overall, a stable macroeconomic environment (5th), and an efficient goods market (17th)," notes WEF in glowing assessment of the country.

Qatar’s Stocks Retreat on Speculation Gains Overdone, Oil - Bloomberg

Qatar’s benchmark stock index declined for the first time in three days on speculation a gain this week prompted by a decision to raise salaries and pensions for nationals was overdone.

Qatar National Bank SAQ (QNBK), the Persian Gulf country’s biggest lender by assets, retreated 1 percent. Commercial Bank of Qatar QSC fell a second time this week. The QE Index (DSM) decreased 0.4 percent, the most since Sept. 5, to 8,366.39 at the 1 p.m. close in Doha, trimming the gain for the week to 0.2 percent. The index advanced 1.1 percent the previous two trading days. The Bloomberg GCC 200 Index (BGCC200) of regional shares climbed 0.1 percent.

“The Qatari market is losing a bit of steam after two days of relatively good performance on the back of the government decision to increase government employees salaries and military salaries,” said Samer Darwiche, a financial analyst at Gulfmena Investments in Dubai. The move “is beneficial for retail; for banks with high retail exposure.”

Moody's: Outlook for Oman's banking system remains stable |

The positives include (i) Oman's improved operating environment; (ii) banks' solid capitalisation under Moody's base-case and stress-case scenarios; (iii) stable funding bases and high liquidity buffers; (iv) low levels of non-performing loans (NPLs); and (v) Moody's expectation of adequate earnings, despite higher operating costs. The negative factors affecting Omani banks are continued high credit risks due to single-party exposures, as well as the banks' limited geographic diversification and high reliance on the oil-dependent domestic economy.

The outlook expresses Moody's expectations for the fundamental credit conditions in this sector over the next 12-18 months.

"We forecast that Oman's real GDP will likely to expand by 2.9% in 2011, fueled by high oil prices and increased oil production, whilst accelerated public spending will also stimulate economic growth outside the oil sector," explains Elena Panayiotou, a Moody's analyst and author of the report.

Zain Saudi $950 mln stake sale still weeks away - bidder | Reuters

Bahrain Telecommunications is still weeks away from completing a $950 million deal to buy a quarter-stake in telecoms operator Zain Saudi , the joint bidder has told Reuters.

Kuwaiti group Zain in March agreed to sell its 25-percent stake in Zain Saudi to Batelco and Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal's Kingdom Holding .

In July, Batelco estimated the deal would be completed within eight weeks.

Gloomy HSBC reports highlights UAE and KSA economic slowdown « ArabianMoney

The widely followed Purchasing Managers Index compiled by HSBC shows the UAE economy is close to stalling, ending the recovery evident in the first half of the year.

August was a particularly bad month, even after seasonal adjustments for the summer and Ramadan, and the PMI score fell to 50.9, its lowest level in 14 months. Regional chief economist Simon Williams commented: You can’t help feeling the slowdown across developed and emerging markets is evident here’.

For Saudi Arabia its PMI score slipped by two points to 58, the lowest reading in 18 months, reflecting a slowdown in output and new orders.

Emirates Airlines’ Bonds Rise on Tourism Increase, Oil Drop: Arab Credit - Bloomberg

Emirates airlines’ notes have risen in the past month, regaining an advantage they enjoyed over Dubai’s sovereign bonds as the world’s biggest international carrier benefits from rising tourism and falling oil prices.

The extra yield investors demand to hold Dubai government’s 6.7 percent bond due 2015 over the Emirates’ note widened to 16 basis points yesterday from a discount of 22 basis points on Aug. 4, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The yield on the Dubai-owned airline’s 5.125 percent bond due 2016 fell 21 basis points, or 0.21 of a percentage point, to 5.28 percent yesterday since reaching a record 5.49 percent on Aug. 11.

“The fundamental drivers for Emirates have improved,” Ahmad Alanani, the Dubai-based head of fixed-income sales for the Middle East at investment bank Exotix Ltd., said in an interview. “The number of travelers going through Dubai Airport have hit a record high” and oil prices have dropped, he said.

gulfnews : UAE to spend Dh110m more on 2011 budget

The UAE plans to spend an additional Dh110 million on top of its 2011 budget, and to pass a new bankruptcy and public debt law before year's end, Minister of State for Financial Affairs Obaid Humaid Al Tayer told Dow Jones.

"We expect to spend an additional total of Dh110 million on enhancing the health sector," Al Tayer said.

In July, the federal government announced an increase of Dh540 million to the 2011 budget, including Dh100 million for the health sector.

Long-term view to weather the economic storm - The National

Sovereign debt threatens to burst the stitches of the world's banking system, and global financial markets are responding with alarming volatility. Even more ominous is the news that the world's biggest banks, worried of mountains of bad debt, are reportedly again growing wary of lending to each other.

And this time many governments, waist-deep in debt themselves, would be more hard-pressed to provide bailouts and stimulus spending. So a new crisis could be more severe than the one triggered by the collapse of Lehman Brothers three years ago next week.

European and US political leaders have been staring at this growing credit crisis for months like deer mesmerised by headlights, grudgingly making only minimal moves toward solving the problem.

Jobs, orders and output falter in UAE and Saudi - The National

Business activity in the UAE and Saudi Arabia dropped last month as seasonal factors and deteriorating global growth hit Gulf economies.

HSBC's headline purchasing managers' index (PMI) in the UAE fell the most since the survey began in August 2009. Output, employment and new orders all slowed. In Saudi Arabia, the index dropped to an 18-month low.

The bank said, however, that seasonal factors such as Ramadan and the summer holiday may mean the decline has been overstated.

Saudi Arabia among top 20 competitive economies of world - Arab News

Saudi Arabia has broken into the top 20 most competitive economies of the world for the first time, which also saw other Gulf countries continue their upward trend of recent years.

The Global Competitiveness Report 2011-12, released Wednesday by the World Economic Forum (WEF), put Saudi Arabia at No. 17 from No. 21 in 2010-11. Qatar (14th) solidifies its place in the top 20, followed by the United Arab Emirates (27th), Kuwait (34th) and Bahrain (37th).

Commenting on the improvement in Saudi Arabia's ranking, Jarmo T. Kotilaine, chief economist at the National Commercial Bank (NCB), said: "The ranking highlights the payoff of years of prudent policymaking and regulatory overhaul. At a time when the global storm clouds are gathering, Saudi Arabia as well as Qatar are consolidating their positions as attractive places to do business. This underscores the value of the strategic approach these Gulf economies have adopted in their policymaking.

Slowdown shows fresh evidence of hitting UAE - The National

Fears that a global economic slowdown will hit the UAE are mounting as business activity falls and the country slides in a world competitiveness ranking.

Private-sector activity was down sharply last month, new data showed. HSBC's headline purchasing managers index (PMI) score slid the most since the survey began in August 2009.

Another gloomy set of data showed the UAE fell two notches in an index of the most competitive countries in the world.

Gulf stocks turn the tables on Europe -

Earlier this year, Gulf investors with European exposure were prospering. Funds for sale in the Gulf that invested in European property and Spanish, Portuguese and French stock markets were the best-performing, returning as much as 16.5 per cent, according to report last month from Lipper, the research group.

Now the tables have turned. The European debt crisis has re-emerged to send those same markets into the doldrums. The CAC40, the main French index, and the Iberian Ibex are down 20 per cent and 17 per cent year-to-date respectively, according to Abu Dhabi-based CAPM Investment.

“Since the beginning of July, with the eurozone crisis and the US debt drama, developed markets have corrected severely and the GCC [Gulf Co-operation Council] markets are now over-performing,” says Mahdi Mattar, head of research at CAPM Investment.

Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala humbled in Carlyle IPO –

Carlyle’s IPO filing exposes Mubadala’s pain. The Abu Dhabi fund may have lost up to half the value of its $1.85 billion signature investment into the US private equity firm, despite clawing back some of the losses last year on its original 2007 punt. The final valuation will remain unclear until Carlyle prices its shares, but the outcome is unlikely to spare the emirate’s blushes.

Mubadala initially bought a 7.5 percent stake in Carlyle for $1.35 billion at the top of the cycle four years ago. Public valuations of the sector have since plummeted. And when Abu Dhabi invested a further $500 million into Carlyle last year, the emirate managed to extract a 10-year convertible bond with the same face value, paying an annual 7.25 percent coupon, as well as 2 percent equity interest — essentially thrown in for free.

But Carlyle might only be worth around $7.5 billion, according to a Breakingviews calculation based on the market capitalisation of rival Blackstone. Abu Dhabi would need to end up with about 25 percent of the entire Carlyle group to break even on its investment. Yet the IPO filing states that Mubadala will not be able to own more than 19.9 percent of the firm on a fully diluted basis.

Arab spring gets only fraction of funds -

Tunisia and Egypt have received only a fraction of funds promised by the international community to support their transition to democracy, according to the two countries’ finance ministers.

In May, western and Arab countries and multilateral agencies said they would provide $20bn to support economic reform in Egypt and Tunisia through 2013. The funds were part of a $40bn package including $10bn of bilateral support from western governments and $10bn from Gulf states.

“As of today, [we have received] nothing,” Jalloul Ayed, Tunisia’s finance minister, said during a meeting of Arab finance ministers on Wednesday. Mr Ayed will press for the funds to be disbursed at this weekend’s G7 meeting in Marseilles.