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Sunday, 11 December 2011

MENA stock markets close - December 11, 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)

Standard Chartered eyes Oman, Nigeria for Islamic banking | Reuters

Standard Chartered is in discussions with regulators to offer Islamic banking services in Oman and Nigeria, now that both countries are revamping their regulatory environments to encourage Islamic finance, the bank's global head of Islamic banking on Sunday.

Wasim Saifi said the company, which already has a strong conventional presence in both markets, was waiting for the countries to finalise their regulatory frameworks for Islamic banking but could offer the services in Oman and Nigeria as early as next year.

"We are definitely evaluating the possibility of offering Islamic banking in Oman and Nigeria," Saifi told reporters. "The opportunity is tremendous. We are in discussions with regulators."

Oman stress-tests banks for euro crisis impact

Oman has started implementing stress tests in its banking sector to limit the impact of the euro zone crisis and a feared global recession, a senior central bank official said on Sunday.

"Some banks are already doing their stress scenarios and the central bank is also conducting stress tests in the banking system," Abdulrahman Ibrahim al-Balushi, senior manager at the Banking Examination Department of Oman's Central Bank, told Reuters.

"Directly or indirectly there will be some impact in our region from the euro zone crisis. So we will tell the banks to catch up with whatever is happening on a global scale."

Dubai Shares Gain Most in Week on MSCI Optimism, Europe; Emaar Advances - Bloomberg

Dubai shares rose the most in a week amid optimism the United Arab Emirates may be upgraded to emerging-market status by MSCI Inc. (MSCI) this week and as European leaders agreed on measures to contain the region’s debt crisis.

Emaar Properties PJSC (EMAAR), the builder of the world’s tallest skyscraper in Dubai, climbed for a third day. Drake & Scull International (DSI) PJSC rose to the highest level in a month after its Saudi Arabian unit won a contract. The benchmark DFM General Index (DFMGI) advanced 0.9 percent, the biggest gain since Dec. 4, to 1,396.97 at the 2 p.m. close in Dubai. Abu Dhabi’s ADX General Index (ADSMI) gained 0.7 percent and Egypt’s EGX 30 Index (EGX30) increased 0.4 percent at 12:53 p.m. in Cairo.

U.S. stocks rose last week, sending the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index to its first back-to-back weekly gain since October, after European leaders agreed to boost a rescue fund and reports spurred optimism about the U.S. economy. The European Central Bank lowered interest rates last week and said it may do more to stimulate bank lending and fight off a recession.

Qatar Central Bank Says GCC Deal Risks Policy Tools, QNA Reports - Bloomberg

Monetary union between four Gulf Cooperation Council countries will deprive their central banks of independence and the policy tools needed to control economic turbulence, Qatar’s central bank Governor Sheikh Abdullah bin Saud Al Thani told the state-run Qatar News Agency.

The union, planned since 2001, will not allow member states to use exchange rates to rectify the trade balances between them, he said in an interview yesterday.

Sheikh Abdullah highlighted the European Union’s “latest experience that proposes that fiscally stronger countries rescue less strong countries in times of crisis,” the Qatar News Agency said.

Dubai to see 12,000 new houses by H1 2012: report - Emirates 24/7

Dubai will witness release of only 10,700 apartments and 1,300 villas during the first half of 2012, taking the total supply to 408,500 apartments and 59,000 villas, respectively, according to Asteco Property Management.

The Dubai-based real estate consultancy, in a report released on Sunday, said it expects over 5,000 units to be released in developments such as Mirdiff, International City and Dubai Silicon Oasis in the next six months. The release, however, depends on construction schedules being adhered to.

Majority of the villas, nearly 800 units, will be delivered in Dubai Green Community and Dubai Investment Park.

Bahrain pushes Islamic bank mergers to boost capital: central bank

Bahrain’s central bank has urged five Islamic banks to merge early next year as it seeks to strengthen the banks’ capital bases, a senior official said on Sunday.

Under the plan, al-Salam Bank would merge with Bahrain Islamic Bank, while CAPIVEST, Elaf Bank and Capital Management House would merge with each other.

Bahrain Islamic Bank and Salam announced in August that they were in merger talks to form Bahrain’s largest Islamic lender with assets of 1.7 billion dinars ($4.5 billion).

UAE markets up; Drake & Scull wins contract - Stocks -

Banks lifted Qatar's index to a new eight-month high, with the benchmark approaching a strong technical resistance level.

The index climbed 0.06 percent to 8,819 points, reaching its highest level since April 13.

The next resistance is at 8,880 points and support at 8,760 points, Omnia Ashawmy, head of research at Qatar Securities, wrote in a note to clients.

Economy is Egypt's main problem: U.S senator Kerry | Reuters

Egypt urgently needs a massive cash injection and should strike a deal with the International Monetary Fund as soon as possible to reassure investors, said John Kerry, chairman of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Speaking after meeting military and civilian leaders in Cairo, Kerry said he was hopeful that Egypt would emerge as a strong democracy following the unrest and uncertainty that has followed the toppling of Hosni Mubarak in February.

But he said the main priority should be to strengthen the economy.

KSA to allow limited foreign ownership of stocks |

Saudi Arabias plans to open up its stock market will limit direct foreign ownership to investors with at least $5 billion under management and allow each to hold a maximum 5 percent of a stocks issued share capital, two industry sources said.

Saudi Arabias Capital Market Authority (CMA) and Tadawul, the largest Arab bourse, have indicated to market participants the details of the proposed framework of foreign ownership.

Total direct ownership of each stock would not be allowed to exceed 20 percent of the issued share capital, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters.

gulfnews : Education is big business

The business of education in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) is growing fast and also getting more expensive.

Parents of 1.36 million expatriate students in the region shell out about $5.2 billion (Dh19 billion) in tuition fees through 4,400 private schools every year. However, this is a fraction of the region's education system, where 6.3 million students are enrolled every year in 35,000 schools, dominated by the public institutions, according to the latest report by research organisation Booz and Company.

"Private-school enrolment is expected to grow significantly in the GCC countries in the next decade, but governments and investors must overcome several key challenges in order to capitalise on the opportunities this will present," the report says.

gulfnews : Iraq denies it will cancel Exxon drilling contract

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al Maliki said on Friday that Baghdad wouldn't terminate ExxonMobil Corp's contract to develop the West Qurna-1 oil field in southern Iraq as punishment for signing a deal with the country's semi-autonomous Kurdistan region, with whom Baghdad has a long-running dispute over land and the sharing of oil resources.

"We haven't cancelled its contract in the south," said Al Maliki in an interview with the Wall Street Journal ahead of a scheduled state visit to Washington this week. "We are looking for a way for its [ExxonMobil's] other contracts in any area to be within the legal contexts, but as for cancelling its contract in the south, no."

Al Maliki also said that Exxon has "frozen" its controversial contract with the KRG, which was announced in November, and suggested that his government was willing to find a way to ultimately make the deal work if negotiations were restarted with the involvement of the Ministry of Oil.

Saudi investors signal guarded approval of EU debt agreement - The National

Saudi Arabian investors gave a tentative vote of confidence in the outcome of the European summit yesterday, but some analysts warned there were still obstacles to overcome before the crisis in the euro zone could be declared over.

The Tadawul All-Share Index in Riyadh, the only market open in the Middle East yesterday, rose 0.81 per cent to 6,302.84, its highest level since early August.

The rise followed the positive movements on European and US markets after the announcement in Brussels on Friday of a new strategy to tackle Europe's sovereign and banking debt crises.

Euro crisis threatens the Gulf - The National

Economists in the Middle East believe the euro-zone deal hammered out last week, without British involvement, does not mark the end of the European financial crisis. Volatility and uncertainty could increase in the region in the weeks ahead and harm GCC economies, they say.

On Friday, an EU summit in Brussels agreed on a package of measures to attempt to end the ongoing crisis over high levels of debt in the banking and sovereign sectors.

But Britain vetoed the possibility of a more integrated EU, backed by a new treaty, which many in the financial markets believed essential to end the crisis.

Deja vu as MSCI decision draws near - The National

A deadline approaches this week to determine whether the UAE and Qatar have done enough to secure an upgrading to "emerging market" status by MSCI Barra - with wary traders feeling a sense of deja vu.

Both countries' markets are classified as "frontier" by the index provider, largely because of undeveloped market infrastructure, despite per-capita wealth levels higher than in some developed markets.

In June, MSCI declined to upgrade either market, saying more time was needed to ensure the smooth functioning of the then newly introduced delivery-versus-payment mechanism (DvP), which ensures that payment is made the same day that an investor trades a share.

gulfnews : Benefits of upgrade may not be felt in UAE soon

Stock exchanges in the UAE may not feel the benefits of a potential upgrade to emerging market status due to low liquidity levels and problems in the Eurozone, analysts told Gulf News.

The UAE will find out in the early hours of Thursday if its upgrade application has been successful when index compiler Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI) announces the results of its latest classification review, having postponed its original decision in June.

Most analysts and investors agree an upgrade would have a significant impact in the long run as the country's three exchanges — the Dubai Financial Market, the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange and Nasdaq Dubai — would be on additional radar screens for global investors.