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Thursday, 6 October 2011

MENA stock markets close - October 6, 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)

Qatar Hldg: Euro-Zone Debt Crisis Fallout May Be "Severe" For Banks -

Qatar Holding, which invests on behalf of the Arab Gulf state's sovereign wealth fund, warned Thursday that the fallout from the euro-zone debt crisis may be potentially "severe" for European banks, but said it remained committed to its investments in the sector and would continue to look for more deals.

"The banking sector has far from recovered from the 2008 meltdown," a spokesman for Qatar Holding said in an emailed response to questions from Zawya Dow Jones.

But despite a challenging environment for the industry, the wealth fund remains committed to its investments and eyes further opportunities in the sector, the spokesman said.

Kuwait Has 8.2 Billion-Dinar Budget Surplus in First 5 Months - Businessweek

Kuwait had a preliminary budget surplus of 8.2 billion dinars ($29.6 billion) in the first five months of the fiscal year ending March 31, the Finance Ministry said.

Income was 11.89 billion dinars and spending 3.74 billion dinars, according to data posted on the ministry’s website today. By law, 10 percent of revenue is saved in the Reserve Fund for Future Generations. Oil revenue was 11.34 billion dinars in the same period, the data showed.

Dubai Stocks Gain, End 7-Day Drop, on Arabtec Contract, Europe - Businessweek

Dubai shares rose for the first time in seven days after Arabtec Holding Co. won a contract in India and on investors’ optimism European policy makers will move to contain the continent’s debt crisis.

Arabtec, the United Arab Emirates’ biggest construction company, advanced the most in two months. Emaar Properties PJSC surged the most since August 29. The benchmark DFM General Index climbed 0.8 percent to 1,395.43 at the 2:00 p.m. close in the emirate, trimming this week’s decline to 2.5 percent. About 41 million shares traded today, compared with this year’s daily average of 111 million shares. The Bloomberg GCC 200 Index, which tracks the biggest 200 companies in the Persian Gulf region, rose 0.4 percent.

“Indexes in the U.A.E. are in positive territory due to a supportive global backdrop,” said Julian Bruce, equity sales head at EFG-Hermes Holding SAE in Dubai. “Arabtec news was well received but volumes are still light and buyers are still exercising caution ahead of the weekend.”

Lebanon Weathers Mideast Bond Selling as Union Buys: Arab Credit - Businessweek

Lebanon’s bonds weathered the worst performance of regional markets in a year, beating OPEC member Qatar, as investors bet that Europe’s crisis won’t affect cash- rich domestic banks holding most of the country’s debt.

The average yield on regional sovereign bonds surged 18 basis points, the most since November 2010, to 5.15 percent on Oct. 4, according to the HSBC/NASDAQ Dubai Middle East Conventional Sovereign US Dollar Bond Index, as Europe’s debt crisis prompted investors to sell riskier emerging-market notes. The yield on seven of Lebanon’s bonds fell, while rising less than 10 basis points, or 0.10 percentage point, on its other 10 notes, the data show.

“I was buying and adding more Lebanese sovereign bonds since they seem relatively strong in this environment, like a relative safe haven,” Sergey Dergachev, who helps manage $8.5 billion of emerging-market bonds at Union Investment Privatfonds in Frankfurt, said by e-mail on Oct. 4. The bonds are “supported by huge cash at Lebanese banks and still solid inflows from the Lebanese diaspora.”

Analysis - Bahrain may need Saudi help to plug budget gap | Reuters

Saudi Arabia is likely to step in and help Bahrain plug a budget hole next year if oil prices keep falling as ratings downgrades in the wake of social unrest make it costly for the island state to issue foreign debt and the Saudis seek to keep restive elements in the region in check.

Saudi troops have already been brought in this year to help quell Bahrain's worst social revolt since the 1990s, which left at least 30 dead and pushed Bahrain's economy to its first quarterly contraction in January-March since the global financial crisis in 2008.

Supporting Bahrain is strategically vital for Saudi Arabia's Sunni government given the island's proximity to regional rival Iran, which claimed Bahrain ahead of the island's 1971 independence from Britain.

Iraqi telco IPOS unlikely before mid-2012 -regulator - Maktoob News

Iraq's three mobile operators are unlikely to conduct initial public offerings until the middle of next year and will not be penalised for missing an August 2011 deadline, the country's regulator said on Thursday.

Under the terms of their licences, Iraq's three operators Korek Telecom, Zain Iraq, a unit of Kuwait's Zain , and Asiacell, a unit of Qatar Telecommunications (Qtel), were meant to launch IPOs by the end of August.

But all three of them had missed the deadline saying the fledgling Iraqi bourse was ill prepared for these listings.

HSBC, Oman International Bank in merger talks - Maktoob News

British bank HSBC Holdings and Oman International Bank are in discussions for a potential merger of HSBC'S Oman operations with the Gulf lender, OIB said on Thursday, without giving any further details of how a deal could work.

"These discussions are ongoing and no decision has been made as to whether to recommend proceeding with any transaction," OIB said in a bourse statement which did not give any further details.

HSBC was not immediately available for comment in Dubai.

UK court lifts $9.2 bln Saad asset freeze order | Reuters

Maan Al-Sanea, the founder of Saudi Arabia's Saad Group, has seen a UK court lift a freezing order on $9.2 billion worth of his assets in what his legal team called a "significant turning point" in a bitter legal battle with his in-laws.

The move by London's High Court, which follows a similar order by a Cayman court two weeks ago, leaves Al-Sanea free to claim what is expected to amount to several millions of pounds worth of legal costs as well as damages from the Algosaibi family, a London-based spokesman said.

"The lifting of the freezing injunctions obtained by the Algosaibis against Mr Al-Sanea -- both in the Cayman Islands and now in England -- marks a significant turning point in the litigation between the parties," said Louis Castellani, a lawyer at Harbottle & Lewis, who represents Al-Sanea in London.

Dubai's Arabtec scraps rights issue plan, wins India contract - Maktoob News

Dubai builder Arabtec, which struggled to collect payments during Dubai's property bust, has scrapped plans for a rights issue and a $150 million convertible bond, its chief financial officer said on Thursday.

"There is no need for it now," Ziad Makhzoumi told Reuters. "One of the advantages of the rights issue and bond was to replace short-term borrowing. But we do not need that now."

Arabtec said in January that it is considering an issue of 398.67 million shares at 1 dirhams a share to existing shareholders and would sell $150 million worth convertible bonds.

Bankers confident about CEEMEA debt outlook | Reuters

Bankers covering emerging Europe, the Middle East and Africa are optimistic the region is in relatively good shape to withstand the growing financial pressures facing its debt capital markets and that the recent sell-off is overdone.

No new deal has priced out of the region since the Republic of Serbia's $1 billion, 10-year transaction launched on September 21. That bond is now trading at 91.5 having been re-offered at 98.263 on the day of its launch.

Namibia was considering issuing its debut Eurobond this week but that deal has been delayed thanks to continued weakening of global markets.

Is HSBC getting Dubai property wrong again? « ArabianMoney

It was interesting to read the reflections of The National columnist Frank Kane on the Dubai property market after a dinner party hosted by HSBC recently. His conclusion from the event, which may or may not be the bank’s official line was that ‘Dubai still has the millstone of the property crash around its neck’.

There is indeed a gloomy school of thought among bankers that sees real estate as the big negative: the debts, the empty real estate, the drag on the future growth outlook. Yet these are the same bankers who would definitely not have advised you to buy a house in Dubai in 2002-3 when the boom first started.

Brent above $102; Libyan oilfield may be in ruins | Reuters

Brent crude held above $102 after surging in the previous session as pessimism about weaker demand was outweighed by a surprise drawdown of U.S. inventories and concerns that Libya's largest oilfield could be damaged.

Hopes of an early return of Libyan supplies to global markets after months of war were dashed after Italian oil major Eni said it feared its largest oilfield in the North African nation might be in ruins.

That statement, coupled with a fall in U.S. crude stocks to their lowest since January and hopes Europe would prop up its banking sector, supported oil prices.

gulfnews : Stability is priority for Arab Spring nations

The international community, especially the European Union, has pledged an aid package of hundreds of millions of euros in support of the Arab Spring in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya, so as to help them continue on the path to democracy and rebuild their economies.

The total amount pledged by various countries and international organisations reached $40 billion (Dh146.9 billion), including $20 billion of aid and loans to Egypt and Tunisia over the next two years, to encourage them to carry out economic reforms that help stimulate economic growth.

The promise of aid packages was made specifically to Egypt and Tunisia, before Libya joined them on the path to democracy, so as to contribute to the recovery of the economies of these countries.

gulfnews : Ranking system designed to pave way for secondary IPO market

The Mohammad Bin Rashid Establishment for Small and Medium Enterprises' latest initiative aims to pave the way for a secondary initial public offering market, Abdul Basit Al Janahi, CEO of Dubai SME, said.

SME 100, a ranking system of Dubai's top performing small and medium businesses, will help the government and other financial entities identify and develop local organisations' potential and prepare them for an IPO.

"In order to have an IPO we need to have good companies that justify the existence of a secondary market."

Sharjah oil operator Gulf Petrochem looks east - The National

Oil prices may be on the decline from their record highs on fears of a global downturn, but one small trading company based in Sharjah is undeterred.

Gulf Petrochem, which operates a small refinery in Sharjah's Hamriyah Free Zone, plans to spend US$250 million (Dh918.1m) over the next two years to build a pipeline and storage terminals in the UAE, India and Malaysia.

"We will not worry about demand being eroded," said Kalrav Dixit, the trading manager of Gulf Petrochem. "It's just a starting phase for us."

DP World sticks with Egypt plans - The National

DP World plans to increase the capacity of Sokhna port in Egypt by nearly half this year, says the company's chief executive.

The expansion of Sokhna is a vote of confidence in the port after recent labour strikes.

"It will be the end of this year … We will go from 700,000 twenty-foot equivalent container units to 1 million TEU," said Mohammed Sharaf, the chief executive of DP World. "Sokhna has all the right components of a successful port."

Another brokerage shuts its doors - The National

Another financial brokerage has shut its doors as a trading drought across local markets saps the industry of fees.

Premier Financial Services, based in Abu Dhabi, said it had received the approval of the country's stock exchange regulator, the Securities and Commodities Authority (SCA), to suspend its brokerage activities for up to six months.

"The markets are not helping," said Ahmed Al Hamed, a manager at the firm. "It was a board decision."

MIDEAST MONEY-Confused in Kuwait: market frets over new regulator | Reuters

Kuwait's stock market regulator, touted as the saviour of an exchange plagued by a lack of transparency, has created disarray with new rules and management missteps that have pushed the share index to seven-year lows and prompted staff of the bourse to threaten a strike.

The Capital Markets Authority (CMA) was formally launched in March, more than 30 years after the Kuwait Stock Exchange was established. It is meant to provide a steadying hand for the Gulf's third largest stock market in terms of capitalisation, after Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

Instead, it has been beset with problems, including controversy over reports in Kuwaiti newspapers last month saying three of its five original commissioners had been removed, allegedly for holding other jobs in violation of CMA regulations.

Sony secures Abu Dhabi funds for EMI bid -

Sony has secured financing from Abu Dhabi’s investment fund for EMI as second-round bids for the UK music company came in before a deadline last night, people close to Citibank’s $3.5bn-$4bn auction said.

Financial support from Mubadala, the Abu Dhabi investment fund, and Raine, the media investment bank, backed by Hollywood talent agent Ari Emanuel, could put Sony on a more equal footing with bidders including BMG Music Publishing, Ronald Perelman’s MacAndrews & Forbes group, Universal Music and Len Blavatnik’s Warner Music.

The Japanese electronics group reached the last stage of this year’s auction for Warner Music, but lost to Mr Blavatnik’s Access Industries as it struggled to lock down approval from its board in Tokyo and the estate of Michael Jackson, its partner in the Sony ATV music publishing joint venture.

INSIGHT-Humbled Dubai looks to real economy, Arab world | Reuters

Nearly two years after it was forced to go cap in hand to neighbour Abu Dhabi for a bailout, a chastened Dubai has ringfenced vulnerable assets, forced banks to bolster reserves and deferred debt maturities.

A more modest approach to business -- in contrast with the excesses of its earlier model -- coupled with strengths in logistics and trade, and a growing focus on its own region, mean that Dubai's dreams of being a top financial centre are still just about alive.

Luck certainly seems to be in its favour: the Gulf emirate has proven an oasis of calm amid the chaos of the Arab Spring, which saw rebellion in countries as far apart as Tunisia and Syria and, crucially, rival Bahrain.

Turmoil hits Egypt’s foreign currency reserves -

Egypt has lost a third of its foreign currency reserves since the beginning of the year as a result of the turmoil accompanying the revolution, which swept Hosni Mubarak, former president. out of power.

Foreign currency reserves fell from $29.8bn in February to $19.4 at the end of September, according to figures published by the Central Bank of Egypt. The current reserves are estimated to cover 4.8 months of imports, down from 6.9 in April 2011.

Analysts say they are worried by the deterioration in the country’s external position, which is likely to continue for as long as the transition to elected rule drags on and remains shrouded in uncertainty. The military council, now the highest political authority in the country, promised in February to leave office within six months, but according to a schedule announced on Saturday, a new president is not likely to be elected before late 2012.