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Monday, 7 November 2011

Hajj: the business of spirituality | beyondbrics – FT.com

This year’s Hajj, the Muslim religion’s most important event of the year, saw up to 3m devout, roughly 2m of whom come from abroad, worshipping in Saudi Arabia. The Arab world’s largest economy faced a huge logistical task to cater and care for this mass of humanity.

Happily, the economic benefits those pilgrims brought with them were just as a big. According to some estimates, the Saudi economy enjoyed a injection of more than $30bn from the five-day holiday which ended on Sunday.

The Hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam and one that every Muslim is supposed to perform once in their lifetime if both physically and financially able. That edict translates into millions of Muslims every year descending upon Mecca, swelling its population of about 1.5m to triple its normal size.



Doha Bank Considers 2012 Acquisition in Emerging Market - Businessweek

Doha Bank QSC, Qatar’s fifth-largest lender by market value, may make an acquisition before the end of 2012 as part of a broader plan to expand, Chief Executive Officer Raghavan Seetharaman said.

“It could be in Turkey, it could be emerging markets, we are looking at other options,” Seetharaman said in an interview in Dubai yesterday. “We are going to grow, and it’s a goal in line with the overall financial stability of Qatar.”

Qatar, the world’s biggest exporter of liquefied natural gas, forecasts its economy may expand by about 16 percent this year, helped by fuel exports. Doha Bank reported a 10 percent jump in third-quarter profit last month to 308 million riyals ($85 million). Qatar National Bank SAQ, the country’s largest lender, had a 31 percent increase in the period.

Shake-up in markets to boost new investment - The National

The stock market regulator is planning a shake-up of trading in a move to entice foreign investors back to the Emirates.

The Securities and Commodities Authority (SCA) will consult with banks and brokerages until November 17 on the new regulations, which will cover market making, securities lending, the provision of liquidity and short selling, the regulator said in a statement on its website.

Offering more sophisticated instruments would attract international investors and their money to the UAE's markets, said Georges Elhedery, the regional head of global markets at HSBC Middle East.

Egypt turns to Islamic finance for $400m loan to close deficit - The National

Egypt has received an offer of a US$400 million (Dh1.46 billion) loan from an arm of the Islamic Development Bank to help pay for food andpetroleum as it races to close a budget gap after turning down emergency financing from the IMF.

The official Mena news agency reported on Saturday that the funds would be provided by the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation, an organisation funded by 56 countries in the Muslim world to develop Sharia-compliant funding for commerce.

Egypt has struggled to raise financing since rejecting in June an IMF funding package worth $3bn, a deal it had struck only weeks earlier.

Global goals fuel Qatar's ambition - The National

The emirate's sovereign funds are flexing their muscles and investing in established institutions, from football to high finance, writes Colin Randall, foreign correspondent

When Paris Saint-Germain began the French football season full of the expectation that hefty Qatari investment brings, Antoine Kombouaré, the coach, asked to be judged after five games as his team promptly stumbled to defeat on the opening day.

A look at the Ligue 1 table three months later, with PSG in first place unless last night's results produced shocks, vindicates his plea for patience, and also the notion that investment in sport is generally matched, sooner or later, by achievement.