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Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Saudi Shares Rise Most in Three Weeks on Earnings, Europe Bets - Businessweek

Saudi Arabian shares rose the most in almost three weeks on bets third-quarter earnings will beat estimates and amid speculation European policy makers are examining measures to shield banks from the debt crisis.

Saudi Arabian Fertilizer Co., a unit of Saudi Basic Industries Corp., rose 3.2 percent. Jarir Marketing Co. rallied to the highest since July as profit at the kingdom’s biggest retailer of books and personal electronics beat expectations. The Tadawul All Share Index gained 0.6 percent, the most since Sept. 17, to 6,002.09 at the 3:30 p.m. close in Riyadh. The measure lost 1.8 percent this week. The Bloomberg GCC 200 Index added 0.1 percent and oil gained.

The STOXX Europe 600 Index rallied 1.9 percent at 1:55 p.m. in London. The S&P 500 increased 2.3 percent yesterday, reversing losses in the final hour of trading, after the Financial Times quoted Olli Rehn, European Union commissioner for economic affairs, as saying there’s an “increasingly shared view” that the region needs a coordinated approach to halt the debt crisis. Belgian Prime Minister Yves Leterme said a “bad bank” for troubled assets with government guarantees will be set up for Dexia SA.

Saudi Arabia's Al Rajhi is far richer than ruling Al Saud family - Emirates 24/7

Al Rajhi is the richest family in Saudi Arabia, controlling nearly SR46.3 billion ($12.3 billion) at the end of September and far outpacing the ruling Al Saud family, newspapers in the Gulf Kingdom said on Wednesday.

Al Saud’s wealth was put at around SR32.9 billion ($8.7 billion) at the end of September to maintain its position as the second richest families in the world’s dominant oil power, the report showed.

Citing estimates by the Saudi Al Joman economic consulting centre, the report showed Al Rashid is the third wealthiest family in the Kingdom, with around SR5.77 billion ($1.53 billion). It was followed by Al Akeel family, with a wealth of SR3.77 billion ($one billion) and Al Hakeer with SR2.68 billion ($714 million).

MENA stock markets close - October 5, 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)

Investors see upside of Gulf’s low liquidity -

The Dubai Financial Market, Dubai’s main stock exchange, turned over only $8m on Sunday, its lowest level since August 2004, according to EFG-Hermes, the investment bank.

Middle East markets have had a rough ride this year as political unrest has spread across the region, hurting investor confidence and causing international buyers to withdraw. Fears over the global economy have not helped.

“Poor liquidity in Gulf markets is a prevailing theme,” says Julian Bruce, director of equity sales at EFG-Hermes in Dubai. “There is no incentive to make new allocations against such an uncertain backdrop – and sellers are reluctant to offload at such low levels unless forced to do so, preferring to try to ride out the storm.”

Turkey M&A Outdoes BRICs as Economic Boom Attracts Goldman Sachs, Diageo - Bloomberg

Turkey is having its best year for takeovers since 2008, recording better growth than any of the largest emerging markets as Europe’s fastest-expanding economy lures buyers from Diageo Plc. (DGE) to Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS)

The value of transactions involving Turkish targets has increased 59 percent annually to $8.8 billion, the highest level since Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. failed in September 2008, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Deals dropped this year in Brazil, India and China, while mergers and acquisitions grew 50 percent in Russia, the data show.

Turkey’s $735 billion economy grew 8.8 percent in the second quarter, faster than India’s and more than four times the euro zone’s expansion, as credit growth spurred consumer demand. The central bank has taken the most aggressive steps in emerging markets this year to guard the economy against a global slowdown, cutting interest rates three times since December while borrowing costs rose in the so-called BRIC nations.

Qatar's QNB sees net profit jump 27 pct | Reuters

Qatar National Bank (QNB), the Gulf Arab state's largest lender, reported a 26.7 percent jump in quarterly net profit on Wednesday, buoyed by an overall increase in loans and advances and financing activities during the course of the year.

The bank made a third-quarter net profit of 1.9 billion riyals ($521 million), according to Reuters calculations, compared with 1.5 billion riyals in the same period last year.

Reuters calculated the net profit figure from the company's previous financial statements.

Dubai settles lawsuit as recovery beckons -

Dubai has settled a high-profile legal court case that threatened to worsen its reputation as the emirate seeks a period of growth and consolidation after years of recriminations over its property market collapse.

According to court documents, the investment arm of the government-owned Dubai International Financial Centre, the emirate’s offshore financial centre and a significant strategic asset, has settled out of court with Bisher Barazi, its former chief financial officer. DIFC Investment has agreed to pay costs regarding Mr Barazi’s claim for unpaid salary and other benefits.

The settlement of the case, which had been set to go to a potentially embarrassing public trial at the DIFC courts, comes amid a round of political changes in the emirate as former executives who had been sidelined for their role in Dubai’s boom-to-bust stage a political comeback.

Emaar may seek refinancing options: Rasmala - Emirates 24/7

UAE investment bank Rasmala on Wednesday cut the target price of Dubai-based real estate giant Emaar Properties on what it termed “weak international handovers outlook.” The bank, however, maintained a ‘Buy’ rating on the firm “as valuation looks attractive at current levels and Emaar currently trades near our recurring income portfolio valuation of Dh2.44”.

In addition, the bank said that it reckons Emaar will seek refinancing options to service Dh12.2 billion worth of debt repayments, planned capital expenditure and interest payments between now and the end of next year. “Emaar has debt repayments of about Dh6.7bn over 2H11-2012. We expect the company to incur capex of Dh2.6bn on its projects and operating expenses and interest cost of Dh2.9bn in the same period. Thus, the total cash requirement is Dh12.2bn in 2H11-2012,” analyst Saud Masud at Rasmala wrote in the report.

“We expect Emaar to generate Dh7.7bn cash from its operations, which along with existing cash and FDs would result in a total liquidity of Dh12.9bn. Considering a minimum dividend payout of 10 per cent (Dh0.6bn), we estimate a total near-term refinancing requirement of about Dh1bn, although Emaar has denied recent media reports that the company is looking at financing options,” the investment bank said.

Habtoor Group resumes AED1bn Palm hotel project -

Dubai-based conglomerate the Habtoor Group will resume work on an AED1bn hotel project on the Palm Jumeirah, its chairman has said.

The project, which will be funded by the Habtoor Group, will be the first of several announcements to be made before the end of the year, Khalaf Al Habtoor told Arabian Business.

“The Habtoor Group and I are committed to participating [in Dubai real estate] and meeting my commitments by adding more projects, which we are going to announce soon. I’m going to say before the end of the year. This is the first of it and this is not the biggest, this is the warm-up,” he said.

Corporates in Oman poised to float sukuk: Times of Oman

Oman’s corporate sector is expected to come out with sukuk or Islamic bond issues to meet their funding requirements, once the market watchdog Capital Market Authority (CMA) issues regulations.

Sukuks, which are Sharia-compliant debt instruments backed by assets, are popular instruments for mopping up funds from the market in the Gulf region.

“With the government allowing Islamic banking activity in the country, I think the sukuk issue also will be floated in the country soon,” Ahmed bin Saleh Al Marhoon, director-general of the Muscat Securities Market (MSM) told ‘Times of Oman’, on the sidelines of Second Oman Capital Market Forum here yesterday. CMA will come out with certain regulations for issuing sukuks, he added.

Gulf states, emerging markets defy slowdown - Money - Zawya

Economies in the developed world may be slowing but the outlook for emerging markets and major oil-producing countries is still positive, experts said on Monday.

Countries like Qatar, the UAE and Saudi Arabia are showing some resilience and look fairly decoupled from the global economy.

Brad Bourland, chief economist at Jadwa Investment, said that while the West is struggling with sovereign debt and bank troubles, emerging market countries including the Middle East are enjoying higher economic growth.

Mashreq chief slams mind-set of 'greed' - The National

A top UAE banker has attacked the greed culture within the country's financial system as bad-loan provisions in the sector approach Dh50 billion (US$13.61bn).

Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair, the chief executive of the Dubai bank Mashreq and a former Speaker of the Federal National Council, said the time had come for lenders to put customers ahead of profits.

"I think banks did a terrible job in servicing the client, everywhere including Mashreq," he said.

Gulf telecoms race to roll out 4G - The National

Gulf telecommunications companies are lining up to roll out 4G mobile networks, following the launch of the high-speed services in the UAE and Saudi Arabia.

High-speed mobile internet - which allows for the streaming of videos and viewing high-definition YouTube clips on the go - is tipped as a key source of income for telecoms companies, given the declining revenues from voice calls reported by the industry as a whole.

At least four regional operators are considering the launch of the next-generation services, which provide mobile download speeds of more than double the best connection offered by existing 3G networks.

Despite assurances, let us have a plan B - The National

In normal circumstances, you would have to admire the sangfroid of the Central Bank of the UAE.

While the world financial crisis grows, while the euro zone teeters on the brink of meltdown, and while new fears surface about the strength of the US economy, the Central Bank's board holds its collective nerve.

The directors' reassurances that all is well with the UAE financial system will go some way towards calming regional fears of another bout of "western disease" spreading to the Middle East.

Profit for Moroccan bank, but much risk - The National

Morocco's Attijariwafa Bank is expected to report big profits this year from its expansion, but questions remain if there is much upside left in the stock price.

The bank has been using income from its domestic operations to expand in Africa.

It has subsidiaries in Tunisia, Ivory Coast, Senegal, Mauritania, Mali, Cameroon, Gabon and Congo Brazzaville, plus branches in Europe catering mainly to Moroccan expatriates.

UAE banks tipped to ride out euro crisis - The National

The Central Bank has dismissed fears local lenders could suffer aftershocks from any European banking crisis.

The comments yesterday came even as concerns mounted over the health of some European lenders amid expectations of a Greek default.

The UAE's banks are "in a good position" and "should not be negatively impacted by the recent turmoil in international markets", the Central Bank's board of directors said, according to Dow Jones.

Lax Law Gives U.S. Subsidiaries an Opening to Sell to Iran: View - Bloomberg

“U.S. and international officials appear to agree that the sanctions have not, to date, hurt Iran’s economy to the point at which the core Western goals on Iran’s nuclear program can be accomplished.”

That was the conclusion of a report last month by Kenneth Katzman of the Congressional Research Service, a nonpartisan group that writes policy and legal analysis for lawmakers.

A prime example of the porousness of the sanctions can be found in November’s issue of Bloomberg Markets magazine, which focuses on the business ethics of the petrochemical conglomerate owned by Charles and David Koch, the billionaire brothers who are big donors to conservative political causes. Starting in the 1990s and until at least 2007, a Koch Industries Inc. subsidiary with offices in Italy and Germany circumvented the U.S. embargo by selling millions of dollars of equipment to Iran’s oil industry.

Homeowners a step closer to 'strata law' power - The National

Homeowners in Dubai have moved a step closer to full control of managing their own properties and resolving the thorny issue of service charges.

By early next month, owners' associations will be allowed to open their own bank accounts, independent of developers.

The move is almost the final stage in the lengthy process of creating owners' associations with the legal authority to negotiate contracts for upkeep, cleaning, security and other services in all freehold property in Dubai.

Wataniya plans Qatar dual listing by year-end - Arab News

Kuwait's National Mobile Telecommunications Co. (Wataniya), which is majority-owned by Qatar Telecommunications (Qtel), plans to launch a dual listing on the Doha exchange by the year-end, its chief executive said on Tuesday.

"(The) Qatar listing is still on the cards, but has taken a bit of time because of issues between the exchanges. They have asked for more information," Scott Gegenheimer told reporters on the sidelines of a conference. "It's planned before the year-end."

The dual listing is meant to give Qataris access to the company's stock without going to the Kuwaiti market, said Gegenheimer.

UAE business activity picks up, says HSBC

The UAE’s non-oil private sector expanded at a faster pace in September after slowing to a 15-month low in August, a purchasing managers’ survey showed on Tuesday.

The HSBC UAE Purchasing Managers’ Index, or PMI, which measures the performance of the OPEC member’s manufacturing and services sectors, rose to 52.11 points from August’s 50.95, the survey of 400 private sector firms by Markit Economics and HSBC Bank showed. A PMI reading above 50 indicates expansion in the sector, while one below suggests decline.

New orders in the sector increased at a faster pace during the month, helped mainly by favourable business conditions, company expansions into new markets and competitive pricing. The order growth led to a notable increase in production during the month."