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Friday, 30 September 2011

Palestine: managing with fewer levers | beyondbrics – FT.com

If you feel sorry for Ben Bernanke (chairman of the US Federal Reserve), who is fast running out of options to save his country’s economy, spare a thought for Jihad al-Wazir. Despite being governor of the Palestinian Monetary Authority, al-Wazir has no control over interest rates or money supply.

In an interview with beyond brics in New York this week, we wondered what a central banker does without those fundamental powers?

Al-Wazir had an well-worn answer: “When people think of a central bank, they think that the only tool you have is interests rates, but really you have three.”

UAE billionaire expresses readiness to invest in South Sudan - Sudan Tribune: Plural news and views on Sudan

A group of investors from Dubai in the United Arab Emirates have expressed their readiness to invest in major projects in South Sudan.

South Sudan became an independent state on 9 July 2011 and still lacks infrastructure and basic services after years of underinvestment and more than two decades of civil war with North Sudan.

On Thursday a Dubai billionaire, Sheikh Buti Saeed Al Ghandi, led a delegation to Juba to assess the investment potentials.

Greek authorities charge 29 over Ferrostaal bribery claim - The National

Greek authorities have charged 29 people with bribery in a case involving Ferrostaal, the German industrial services company part-owned by Abu Dhabi's International Petroleum Investment Company (Ipic).

The charges, filed yesterday, stem from payments allegedly made to secure a German submarine order a decade ago, AFP reported, citing a judicial source.

Ipic paid almost US$700 million (Dh2.57 billion) for a 70 per cent stake in Ferrostaal in 2009 from the German lorry maker MAN. But the company later tried to rescind the deal after German authorities launched an investigation the following year and allegations of bribery emerged. Ipic and MAN are still in a legal fight over the deal in Germany, and Ipic recently hired Morgan Stanley to evaluate the investment.

HSBC given priority in fight for assets of Al Gosaibi business family - The National

HSBC, one of the largest creditors to the indebted Al Gosaibi business family of Saudi Arabia, faces a court battle over property owned by the family in London's wealthy West End.

The bank is one of five that won an order against the Al Gosaibis to repay a total of US$250 million (Dh918.2m) in June, but yesterday a London judge gave HSBC priority over the others to seek repayment of some of its debts from five properties owned by the Al Gosaibis in London's Mayfair district.

The family owes HSBC about US$80m. The other banks are BNP Paribas, British Arab Commercial Bank, Arab Banking Corporation, and Crédit Agricole.

gulfnews : Damas signs several deals to recover funds

Damas International Limited yesterday said it has signed several agreements to recover more than Dh337 million in outstanding payments.

"We have created a taskforce to focus on financial recoveries for the company," said Anan Fakhr Al Deen, CEO of Damas International Limited. "We have concluded several agreements to recover funds from different sources that were owed to us. This is a positive step in our ongoing restructuring and we are ensuring that we allocate sufficient resources to recover outstanding dues owed to us," he said.

Qatar National Bank raises salaries by 60% - Arab News

Qatar National Bank (QNB) has boosted salaries for Qatari employees by 60 percent in line with a recent move by the state’s government, two sources familiar with the matter said.

“Salaries (for QNB employees) were increased after the government’s announcement,” one source said.

Earlier this month the Qatar government hiked salaries, pensions and benefits for its state and military employees by 60 percent, in a move seen as an attempt to help preserve stability in the state.

Gulf Times – Qatar to participate in Tunisia bond loan

Qatar will participate in a $500mn bond loan to Tunisia, HE the Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabor al-Thani has said.

In an address at the outset of the signing ceremony of a series of co-operation agreements and memorandums of understanding in Tunis on Wednesday night, the Prime Minister said “such participation is to help the brothers in Tunisia for the development of what they seek to develop, especially for work in the centre and south of the country”.

Talking about the agreements signed between the two countries, he said that in addition to those agreements, new ideas for investment and co-operation between Qatar and Tunisia in the political, economic and social issues are under discussion.

U.A.E. Deposits Exceed Loans for 11th Month, Central Bank Says - Businessweek

United Arab Emirates’ overall bank deposits exceed loans for an 11th month in August, the central bank on its website today.

Loans rose 0.5 percent in August from July to 1,056.8 billion dirhams ($288 billion), while deposits dropped 3.2 percent 1,078.4 billion dirhams, the data said. Specific provisions for bad loans rose 1.7 percent in August from July to 49.2 billion dirhams, the data showed.

“Things domestically have improved and normalized to an extent,” said Marios Maratheftis, Dubai-based chief economist for the Middle East at Standard Chartered Plc. “We had loans exceeding deposits for a long time, that was worrisome as it was a sign that banks did not really have room to resume credit growth.”

Emaar seeks $800 mln loan backed by Dubai Mall -sources | Reuters

Dubai's Emaar Properties , builder of the world's tallest tower, is using four of its shopping malls including the Dubai Mall as collateral for an $800 million two-tranche loan, banking sources said on Thursday.

The facility, which consists of a five-year tranche and an eight-year amortising loan, is being arranged by Dubai Islamic Bank , National Bank of Abu Dhabi and Standard Chartered , four sources told Reuters.

Emaar, the Gulf's largest listed developer, is using four of its Dubai malls as collateral for the deal, two of the bankers said.

gulfnews : Abu Dhabi set to quadruple GDP

The massive infrastructure development in Abu Dhabi is expected to boost the emirate's non-oil trade and push up the real gross domestic product (GDP) from Dh382 billion in 2008 to nearly Dh1.53 trillion in 2030, senior government officials said at a conference.

As Abu Dhabi continues its efforts to diversify production away from the oil and gas sector, a slew of multi-billion dirham projects is set to transform the capital city's infrastructure and production outlook.

Currently, only 45 per cent of Abu Dhabi's GDP comes from non-oil contributions, but infrastructure developments in the air and on the ground will aim to reverse this trend so that these industries contribute at least 60 per cent of the produce within the next two decades.

The High Cost of Keeping Arab Peace - BusinessWeek

In the past decade, when oil exceeded $100 a barrel, the Gulf’s oil producers went shopping. Abu Dhabi bought English soccer club Manchester City and New York’s iconic Chrysler Building, and Qatar acquired a stake in Porsche and bought British shopping emporium Harrods. Now priorities have changed. Members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, poised to earn an unprecedented $1 trillion from oil this year, are investing in their citizenry. Gulf nations have pledged $150 billion to fund social programs and put a damper on public dissent, which led to the overthrow of rulers in Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya, and spread to Yemen and Syria.

These commitments give the petrostates plenty of incentives to prop up oil prices. According to BNP Paribas, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states will need to keep oil at more than $80 a barrel to afford their promises.

Saudi Arabia is spending $43 billion on its poorer citizens and religious institutions. That includes the creation of 60,000 jobs at its Interior Ministry and generous support for the Ministry of Islamic Affairs and the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice, which was promised after clerics backed a ban on protests.