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Friday, 23 September 2011

Kuwait Q1 budget surplus widens to $20bn - Arab News

Kuwait’s budget surplus in the first three months of its 2011-12 fiscal year reached 5.6 billion dinars ($20.3 billion), larger than a year ago on higher than expected oil revenue and lower spending, finance ministry data showed.

The surplus accounted for 15.2 percent of the OPEC member’s gross domestic product, according to Reuters calculations. It stood at 3.2 billion dinars in the same period a year ago and at 4.2 billion in April-May.

Revenue of the world’s sixth-largest oil exporter was 7.1 billion dinars in April-June, while spending came at 1.5 billion dinars, below a projected 4.8 billion, the data showed.

Fitch affirms Abu Dhabi at 'AA', outlook stable | Alrroya

Fitch Ratings has affirmed Abu Dhabi's Long-term foreign and local currency Issuer Default Ratings (IDRs) at 'AA' with a Stable Outlook. Fitch has also affirmed Abu Dhabi's Short-term foreign currency IDR at 'F1+'. The UAE Country Ceiling is affirmed at 'AA+'.

"The affirmation and Stable Outlook reflect the continuing strength of Abu Dhabi's sovereign balance sheet, which conveys exceptional fiscal flexibility," says Richard Fox, Head of Middle East and Africa Sovereigns at Fitch. "The 2008-2009 global financial crisis was a severe stress test for Abu Dhabi, but one which left its balance sheet largely undented. Any future stress would have to have harsher consequences than this to trigger negative rating action," Fox added.

Abu Dhabi's rating is anchored by one of the strongest balance sheets of any rated country. Foreign assets, including equity investments, are estimated by Fitch at approaching $300 billion, with just $4bn of direct sovereign external debt. Sovereign net foreign assets of an estimated 167 per cent of GDP are therefore second only to Kuwait. Fitch estimates gross sovereign financial assets by the end of 2011 will be 16 per cent higher than their end-2007 level, having dipped only slightly in 2008. At current oil prices, they are forecast to rise steadily, propelled by investment returns and overall fiscal surpluses.


Abu Dhabi foreign assets set to hit Dh1.1trn - Emirates 24/7

Abu Dhabi government’s foreign assets – including equity investments – are estimated at approaching $300 billion (Dh1.1 trillion), with just $4 billion (Dh15 billion) of direct sovereign external debt, Fitch Ratings said on Friday.

Sovereign net foreign assets – which make up an estimated 167 per cent of emirate’s GDP – are second only to Kuwait.

The ratings agency estimated that gross sovereign financial assets by the end of 2011 will be 16 per cent higher than their end-2007 level, having dipped only slightly in 2008. At current oil prices, they are forecast to rise steadily, propelled by investment returns and overall fiscal surpluses.

Abu Dhabi, meet Monte Carlo | beyondbrics – FT.com

Some may say it was inevitable. Monte Carlo, known for its gambling and tax-dodging billionaires, has found a home in the oil-rich emirate of Abu Dhabi.

Tucked away on a desert island, beyond the acres of construction, the Monte Carlo Beach Club is open for business.

The club, a pool lounger’s dream, is operated by Monte Carlo SBM, which owns hotels, bars and casinos in Monaco. This is said to be their first foray in the Middle East and their debut outside Monaco.


Big financial market - but just how large? - The National

The Middle East Investment Panorama (MEIP) is an attempt to answer a simple question: what do investment advisers in GCC countries and the broader Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region want from international asset companies and life insurance companies with which they work?

Who better to answer these questions than Mr Sillitoe, the chief executive of Insight Discovery, a research company based in Dubai?

Mr Sillitoe is the former regional director of BNY Mellon, launching the bank's efforts in the Gulf first in Manama and then Dubai.

Cayman court lifts Al Sanea assets freeze - The National

A court in the Cayman Islands has lifted a freeze on the global assets of Maan Al Sanea, the Saudi businessman involved in a two-year dispute with the kingdom's Al Gosaibi family and more than 100 international banks.

The Al Gosaibis applied to have the freeze lifted after a legal action in June threw up new evidence concerning the family's claims of fraud, forgery and theft of about US$10 billion (Dh36.7bn) of their assets by Mr Al Sanea, who is related to them by marriage.

The affair has left a group of international and regional banks with about $16bn of unpaid debts and has tarnished Saudi Arabia's business reputation.

gulfnews : Majid Al Futtaim posts loss in first half

Majid Al Futtaim Holding, the operator of Carrefour stores in the Middle East, reported a first-half loss after a profit a year earlier as it wrote down the value of properties amid falling prices in Dubai.

The loss was Dh164.9 million, compared with a profit of Dh195.9 million a year earlier, the company said in a statement. The property valuation loss was Dh317.1 million, from Dh233.7 million a year earlier.

Majid Al Futtaim Holding raised $1 billion (Dh3.67 billion) from a group of banks in July to refinance debt and to boost liquidity.

Majid Al Futtaim's first-half revenue rose 9.2 per cent to Dh9.36 billion. It also booked an impairment provision of Dh287.2 million in the first half, compared with Dh4.5 million.END

gulfnews : Qatar zooms ahead with twice as much to spare as US

Qatar surpassed Luxembourg as the world's richest nation in 2010 and is set to pull away with wealth that's almost twice that of the US, latest estimates from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) show.

The ‘Chart of the Day' shows Qatar's gross domestic product per capita at $88,221 (Dh323,997) in 2010, beating Luxembourg for the top spot, according to IMF data released on Tuesday. The figure may reach $111,963 by 2016, surpassing Luxembourg's $94,621 and Singapore's $70,992, the IMF said. US GDP per capita is forecast at $55,622 in five years, from $46,860 in 2010.

Saad Group’s Al-Sanea Wins End to $9.2 Billion Asset Freeze - Bloomberg

Maan al-Sanea, founder of Saudi Arabia’s Saad Group, won dismissal of a $9.2 billion asset freeze in the Cayman Islands after Ahmad Hamad Algosaibi & Brothers Co. admitted failing to disclose evidence.

Algosaibi agreed it “breached its duty of full and frank disclosure” when it won the asset freeze against al-Sanea in 2009, the Grand Court of the Cayman Islands ruled yesterday. Algosaibi applied last month to voluntarily dismiss the freeze after it found new evidence that should have been revealed earlier. Al-Sanea still faces a fraud lawsuit filed by Algosaibi in New York and probes in Bahrain and Switzerland.

“Since AHAB started its litigation scheme over two years ago, I have been resolute in my complete rejection of its desperate claims that I somehow defrauded the Algosaibis,” al- Sanea said today in a statement, using Algosaibi’s initials.

gulfnews : Dubai can boost its fiscal standing

Investment is attracted to destinations where it is easy to do business and there is a clear regulatory environment. This is why it is important that Dubai has consolidated its business regulations into a single piece of legislation that makes it faster and easier for companies to invest in the emirate. The legislation provides for a one-stop service centre where companies can get all the necessary licences from the relevant government departments and for the promotion of investment opportunities in Dubai, among other things. Internationally, these are proven ways of boosting investment.

In terms of the legislation, the Department of Economic Development will be responsible for the regulation of all business activity outside the free zones. The law was issued by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

Dubai has many advantages as it strengthens its position as a regional and international business and financial centre. These include a good geographic location, cutting-edge transport and logistical infrastructure and a stable society focused on making economic progress.

Dubai Stands Behind Investments, Sees No DIFC, Jafza Trouble - Businessweek

Dubai, the Persian Gulf emirate that teetered on the brink of default in 2009, vowed to stand behind its “strategic investments” including those facing debt refinancing such as DIFC Investments LLC.

The government doesn’t anticipate that DIFC Investments, a unit of the emirate’s tax-free business financial center, or Jebel Ali Free Zone FZE, another business park, will have trouble refinancing bonds due next year, said Mohammed Al Shaibani, director general of Dubai ruler’s court.

“We’ll back up any strategic investment we have,” he said in an interview in Washington yesterday. “As Dubai, I have interest to back up the government entities and the government- related enterprises -- anything that’s sizable with a major benefit to the economy.”