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Sunday, 9 October 2011

Analysis: Qatar unlikely to be white knight for Europe banks | Reuters

Hopes may be disappointed for an influx of money from Qatar and other rich Gulf states into battered European banks, since Gulf investors are likely to see many of the banks as too risky and out of line with their investment strategies.

As Europe's banking system has weakened over the last several months, financial markets have been abuzz with rumors and media reports about possible investments from the Gulf -- particularly from cash-rich Qatar, which has been on an international acquisitions spree.

In June, Spanish bank Santander (SAN.MC) denied a report that it was in talks on Qatar buying a stake in it. Last month, France's BNP Paribas (BNPP.PA) denied a similar report. The latest speculation centers on assets of financial group Dexia (DEXI.BR); the prime ministers of France and Belgium were meeting on Sunday to discuss breaking up the group.

MENA stock markets close - October 9, 2011

ExchangeStatus IndexChange
TASI (Saudi Stock Market)
6099.770.25%
DFM (Dubai Financial Market)
1398.280.20%
ADX (Abudhabi Securities Exchange)
2499.660.21%
KSE (Kuwait Stock Exchange)
5852.20.45%
BSE (Bahrain Stock Exchange)
1164.21-0.13%
MSM (Muscat Securities Market)
5564.340.53%
QE (Qatar Exchange)
8267.620.31%
LSE (Beirut Stock Exchange)
1209.9-1.31%
EGX 30 (Egypt Exchange)
4028.711.94%
ASE (Amman Stock Exchange)
1942.27-0.93%
TUNINDEX (Tunisia Stock Exchange)
4695.10.10%
CB (Casablanca Stock Exchange)
11373.5-0.75%
PSE (Palestine Securities Exchange)
478.98-0.04%

How U.S. Investors See MENA Opportunities | alifarabia

“Something is amiss when US Treasuries become the frontier investor’s instrument of choice.”

Fixed-income investment boutique Exotix analysts Gus Chehayeb and Gabriel Sterne went to the U.S. recently to meet MENA credit-focused clients based in New York City and Connecticut.

Here’s what they reported:

“The meetings were helpful in gauging investor appetite for the region, given the heightened risk-averse sentiment of investors to EM credits recently. Set up against collapsing EM bond prices and fund outflows, sentiment was very negative towards current market conditions in EM, albeit with some important differences within the investment community.

Du Full-Year Revenue Growth to Be Higher Than 25%, CEO Says - Bloomberg

Du, the United Arab Emirates’ second- biggest phone company, said full-year revenue growth will be higher than 25 percent, Chief Executive Officer Osman Sultan said.

The company hopes to start mobile phone number portability before the end of this year, Sultan told reporters in Dubai today.


Dubai Shares Rise on Europe Debt Optimism, Oil Rally - Bloomberg

Dubai’s shares rose to the highest in almost a week, led by Emaar Properties PJSC (EMAAR), after oil rallied amid optimism European leaders will tame the region’s debt crisis and as U.S. economic data improved.

Emaar, the developer of the world’s tallest tower in Dubai, climbed as much as 1.6 percent. Dubai Financial Market PJSC, the only Gulf Arab stock market to sell shares to the public, rose. The DFM General Index (DFMGI) gained 0.4 percent to 1,400.74, the highest intraday level since Oct. 4, at 10:53 a.m. in Dubai. Oman International Bank SAOG surged the most in two years as it said it’s in early stage talks to merge its business with HSBC Holdings Plc’s Oman operations.

“United Arab Emirates equity markets are trading positively in line with the global markets last week,” said Sherif El Zeneiny, head of equity trading at National Bank of Abu Dhabi PJSC. Oil’s gain is also helping boost Gulf markets, he said.

Emaar lifts Dubai index; Qatar up amid thin volumes - GCC - ArabianBusiness.com

Qatar National Bank was among gainers as Doha's index rose for a second day since Wednesday's six-week low, but volumes were thin, with most investors waiting for more companies to announce their quarterly earnings.

QNB climbed 0.8 percent. On Wednesday, Qatar's top lender reported a 27 percent rise in third-quarter profit as it increased lending in Qatar's booming economy.

"We don't have many buyers because most investors are waiting for more companies to announce their Q3 results," said a Doha-based trader who asked not to be identified.

Egypt says Qatar gave $500 mln to help with budget | Reuters

Egypt's finance minister, who has been negotiating with Gulf Arab states for financial assistance, said on Sunday that Qatar had given a grant of $500 million to support the budget which has ballooned as a result of political turmoil.

Hazem el-Beblawi said last week he was negotiating with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates for funds worth close to $7 billion. He also said he was considering International Monetary Fund financing that Egypt previously turned down.

Egypt's economy, which had been growing robustly before the popular uprising earlier this year, was hit hard by the protests, which prompted foreign investors to withdraw funds and saw major revenue sources like tourism suffer.

gulfnews : Dubai sees boost in business confidence

In late September, I visited Dubai as part of efforts to keep track of economic developments in the UAE. The visit provided me an opportunity to appreciate numerous signs all pointing out to steady economic progress in the emirate less than two years since the revelation of Dubai's debt. The global business community was shocked by the situation when it was uncovered in late 2009.

In reality, plenty of recently emerging evidence confirms the position of Dubai as an exceptional business hub within the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). Simultaneously, the facts substantiate Dubai's ability in overcoming challenges, no matter how difficult they may initially look like.

For instance, in September, Dubai Metro started operation of the Green Line of this pioneering project. The development means that all but two of the 47 stations are operational. In retrospect, the 29-station Red Line was opened for the general public in September 2009 not long before the revelation of Dubai's debt problem. Yet, much to its credit, Dubai succeeded in completing the project despite all odds.

Markets look for solid earnings - The National

As the earnings-reporting season enters its second week, investors are banking on stronger-than-expected third-quarter profits to trigger a rebound in regional markets after a disappointing year so far.

"We need surprises in profits rather than a sustained continuation from previous quarters," said Mohammed Ali Yasin, the chief investment officer at CAPM Investment in Abu Dhabi. "Markets are so jittery, and unless we see a rebound, we cannot expect any reversal to the continuous downward trend."

The Dubai Financial Market General Index sank to a fresh seven-month low last week, dropping 2.4 per cent to 1,395.43. The measure is down 15 per cent since the start of this year.

European Goldfields gives Qatar control option - The National

Qatar Holding has an option to take a controlling interest in European Goldfields to help it to command a presence in the global gold market, says the executive chairman of the gold miner.

The Gulf's fastest-growing economy is keen to invest in gold as it seeks to diversify its earnings away from natural gas.

The investment arm of Qatar's sovereign wealth fund signed a deal on October 1 with European Goldfields involving providing a US$750 million (Dh2.75 billion) loan for a 9.9 per cent stake, including $600m to finance gold production in Greece.

Saudis See No Reason to Raise Oil Output Capacity - WSJ.com

A senior oil executive said Saudi Arabia is unlikely to proceed with plans to raise its oil output capacity to 15 million barrels a day, as expansion plans in other producing countries such as Iraq and Brazil should be enough to satisfy world markets.

"There is no reason for Saudi Aramco to pursue 15 million barrels [of output capacity]," Saudi Arabian Oil Co. chief executive Khalid Al Falih said in an interview Saturday.

"It is difficult to see [an increase in capacity] because there are too many variables happening," he said. "You've got too many announcements about massive capacity expansions coming out of countries like Brazil, coming out of countries like Iraq. The market demand is addressed by others."

Saudi central bank not worried about inflation | Reuters

Saudi Arabia's inflation levels are not worrying and will continue to decline, the country's central bank governor Muhammad Al-Jasser said on Saturday.

"Inflation levels are not worrying. Inflation has become stable since the beginning of the year between around 4.6 and 4.9 (percent)... I expect it to continue its decline," Al-Jasser told reporters on the sidelines of a conference in Riyadh.

Analysts polled by Reuters in June expected average inflation in the country to reach 5.6 percent in 2011.

Why Qatar is bidding for big-ticket tournaments - The National

When Qatar won the right last December to host the 2022 Fifa World Cup, few doubted it had the wealth to develop its sporting capacities, but many were moved to wonder why it had bid.

Questions were raised about the suitability of the country's desert climate, the lack of Qatari competitors and its sporting traditions. Not at all deterred, Qatar last month announced its candidacy for the 2020 Summer Olympics.

The bids are an attempt to put the tiny Gulf emirate on the map, says a spokesman for the Qatar Olympic Committee.