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Saturday, 1 October 2011

Dubai property recovery delayed by global economic woes

A recovery in Dubai’s battered property market, limping gradually to life after an economic slump, will be slowed but not derailed by renewed global financial woes and a European sovereign debt crisis.

House prices in the emirate’s once-booming property sector are unlikely to show a clear upward trend until at least 2014 as demand for property remains muted amid growing uncertainty, analysts said. Two years ago, industry watchers were expecting the bust to last until at least 2011.

Dubai, famed for such extravagant projects as the world’s tallest tower and lavish hotels, had shown small signs of recovery with house prices rising in certain areas and the number of transactions rising.

Greek PM welcomes Qatar investments | Reuters

Investments from Qatar in Greece show trust in the debt-choked country's economy, Prime Minister George Papandreou said on Saturday after meeting Qatar's Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani.

A senior official at Greek building firm Ellaktor (HELr.AT) told Reuters on Saturday that Qatar Holdings had signed a deal to buy a 10 percent stake in London-based European Goldfields from Ellaktor and will invest another $600 million in the mining company.

Speaking to reporters after the meeting with the emir, Papandreou did not mention any specific deals.

Qatar Holdings to invest $1 billion in European Goldfields | Reuters

Qatar's sovereign wealth fund will invest $1 billion in European Goldfields (EGUq.L) (EGU.TO) including $600 million to finance operations in Greece, where the London-based firm has a permit to mine gold, the fund's head said on Saturday.

It was the second major investment in Greece by the Gulf state in two months. Qatar struck a deal in August to provide funding for a merger of two of the recession-hit country's largest banks.

Greece, which is in dire need of private investment as its worst recession in four decades is seen extending into next year, has long sought to convince the wealthy emirate to invest in its private and public companies.

Cancer of corruption - Zawya ht @alifarabia

Years after the removal of strongman Saddam Hussein, Iraq continues to struggle and show patchy progress. And while economic and political progress is wildly uneven, the cancer of corruption appears to be ever-present and is entrenching itself firmly in the political machinery of the country, undoing much of the painfully slow progress of the past few years.

As early as 2006, analysts had warned that corruption was like a 'second insurgency' in the country, more difficult to dislodge than the terrorists and militant groups that roam the country, and their worst fears have come to pass as corruption has a great threat to the stability of the country.

The International Crisis Group (ICG) highlights the souring mood among the Iraqi citizens who are frustrated by their government's lack of commitment and the crippling corruption that appears to be embedded in government institutions, and bring "with it the type of chronic abuse, rampant corruption and growing authoritarianism that is the inevitable result of failing oversight."

Iraq, oil, Iraq oilfield, Iraq drilling, drilling, oil drilling, oilfield services | alifarabia

Oil services and drilling in Iraq may only be currently a $600 million to $800 million market but there is a good likelihood that it could develop into a $6 to $8 billion market, according to Barclays Capital.

“We believe the run rate by year-end will be close to $1.5 billion. There are about 30 rigs drilling currently and NGP believes the rig count could ultimately surpass 300 rigs,” noted BarCap. “The scope of work being performed today is largely limited to workovers, with most drilling campaigns yet to commence. The future of the market lies in the integrated services model, in NGP’s opinion and ours. Service companies are not looked at with the same disdain as oil companies; however, there is an intense focus on cost controls due to cultural mindset.”

BarCap believes Iraq represents one of the largest multi-year growth stories for the oil services industry this decade. Companies that are able to execute and mitigate the political and security pitfalls in Iraq will be rewarded in our opinion.

Saudi Stock Market close - October 1, 2011

General Index
Intraday 3 month
Daily Statistics
General Index6116.71
Change (%)0.07%
T. Volume190906389
T. Companies 150

Qatar Holding in Talks Over European Goldfields Stake, Sky Says - Bloomberg

A Qatari sovereign wealth fund is holding talks to invest $1 billion in European Goldfields Ltd. (EGU), the London-listed company behind one of the biggest gold-mining projects in Greece, Sky News said, without citing anyone for the information.

Qatar Holding LLC, owner of the department store Harrods, is poised to sign a deal that will give it a big shareholding in European Goldfields, which is listed on the London and Toronto stock exchanges, according to the Sky News website.

The deal could be announced as early as today and, assuming it goes through, will be confirmed in a statement on Oct. 3, Sky said. Qatar Holding and European Goldfields were both unavailable for comment, Sky said.

Greek PM to meet Qatari leader about investments - Sacramento News

The Greek government says Prime Minister George Papandreou is to meet the ruler of Qatar to sign an investment agreement.

A government statement says the meeting between the premier and Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani is expected to start early Saturday evening. Other Qatari officials also will be present.

The statement does not specify the nature of the agreement, but state TV NET said it would be "an investment in northern Greece."

Something fishy when gold prices go down but bullion sales hit the record books « ArabianMoney

It was an odd week for gold with ArabianMoney getting reports directly from top bullion dealers in Texas, Australia, Hong Kong and Dubai that the demand for gold surged last week at the same time that prices sold down as low as $1,530 compared with $1,923 earlier last month.

If the price of a commoditiy is falling that is usually because demand is down or supply is up or some combination of the two. Now admittedly the flash-crash in the gold price at the end of the previous week brought out the bargain hunters with Hong Kong housewives queuing outside the jewelers on Monday morning.

gulfnews : Meraas venture gives event a boost

The news that the developer Meraas is to build a Dh2 billion mall, three times the size of Dragon Mart, in just 30 months, certainly raised a few eyebrows in the halls of Dubai's exhibition centre as Cityscape moved into its final day.

With project delays and cancellations spreading across the UAE, a healthy dose of urgency can almost make one nostalgic for the old days, when concepts translated into bricks and mortar at speeds that would make US or European developers' eyes water.

That said, there are few countries that understand doing things quickly as well as China, and a place where fishing villages have become sprawling urban metropolises in decades. It is also a country that understands supply and demand, with citizens looking for their rung on the property ladder and a burgeoning real estate market that grows by the day. All the more important is the fact that Meraas's new venture has Chinese cash behind it, a fact that will reassure anybody who may have been sceptical about the successful financing — or indeed, economic case — for a mega-mall project in a city with more than its fair share of mega-malls. Say what you like about the Chinese government, but it is a canny investor, and unlikely to throw billions into a project that makes no sense.

gulfnews : Months of turmoil deal a heavy blow to fragile Yemen economy

The small gold shop of Saeed Al Amoudi has been closed for 52 days. His shop lies in Yemen's southern port city of Mukalla which is the epicentre of both the protests that seek the Yemen president's ouster and others who call for the secession of the southern Yemen state.

"As you can see, there is no gold on display. The shop has been closed for nearly two months because of fears of looting. We are afraid that the rallies may turn violent," he said.

Unlike in other cities where the southern secessionists are out of favour, in Mukalla they enjoy great leverage and organise mass protests.

Oil Falls, Caps Biggest Quarterly Slump Since 2008 on Bets Demand to Drop - Bloomberg

Oil capped the largest quarterly drop since the 2008 financial crisis by tumbling to a one-year low as signs of slowing growth in China, the U.S. and Germany heightened concern that fuel demand will weaken.

Futures dropped 3.6 percent after China’s purchasing managers’ index fell for a third month while German retail sales declined in August and U.S. consumer spending slowed. Prices tumbled 17 percent from the end of June, the biggest quarterly decline since the 56 percent plunge during the last three months of 2008.

“The Chinese PMI and the German retail sales numbers are what started the ball rolling down and then personal income pushed it further,” said Gene McGillian, an analyst and broker at Tradition Energy in Stamford, Connecticut. “We’ve had some pretty disappointing economic data.”

Oman Tribune - Sultanate’s key bank rates softened in first 7 months of 2011

The deposit and lending rates among the banks in the Sultanate softened during the first seven months of the year, a Central Bank of Oman (CBO)monetary report said on Friday.

The weighted average interest rate on rial deposits, which include demand, savings and time deposits of all sectors, declined from 1.988 per cent in July 2010 to 1.427 per cent in July 2011, the report added.

The weighted average rial lending rate decreased from 7.039 per cent to 6.490 per cent during the same period.

Gulf nations bolster oil investments to $739.6b

Huge new investments by Iran and Saudi Arabia have boosted the total value of planned projects in the Gulf petroleum sector to an estimated $739.6 billion until September this year despite a marginal rise in shelved projects, according to a latest study by the Kuwait Financial Centre, or Markaz.

This represents an increase of about $12.5 billion since August 2011, but an increase of only about $3.5 billion since the end of the second quarter 2011, Markaz Research said.

The number of major petroleum projects planned over the next decade stood at 725, a minor decrease of one project over the month.