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Thursday, 31 May 2012

Concerns for American hunger striker in Dubai | Fox News

U.S. officials are "gravely concerned" about the health of a jailed American businessman who began a hunger strike more than two weeks ago over claims he has been left in legal limbo by the United Arab Emirates, a statement said Thursday.

The U.S. Embassy in Abu Dhabi also raised questions about whether Zack Shahin — who has been held for more than four years — is being singled out for harsh treatment compared with other financial crime suspects in the UAE.

The U.S. statements reflect Washington's growing frustration with the handling of Shahin's case and raise the possibility of a rare diplomatic tiff with the UAE, a close American ally and host of important U.S. air bases and other strategic sites.

Saudi Aramco CEO: Motiva expansion cost "in range of" $10 bln - Yahoo! News Maktoob

Saudi Aramco Chief Executive Khalid Al-Falih said the total cost of expanding the Motiva Enterprises Port Arthur, Texas, refinery to 600,000 barrels per day (bpd) was "in the range of" $10 billion, double its original cost.
It is the largest investment Saudi Aramco, which is a 50-50 partner with Royal Dutch Shell Plc in Motiva, has made outside the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Al-Falih said to reporters.

MENA stock markets close - May 31, 2012

 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)

Planet Says Arranged Debt for EFG Bid, Waiting for Due Diligence - Bloomberg

Planet Investment Banking raised $650 million in debt and a “lower amount” in equity for its planned offer to take over Egyptian investment bank EFG-Hermes Holding SAE, Chief Executive Officer Ahmed El Houssieny said.
The company is backed by domestic, regional and international investors, including a member of the ruling family of Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, El Houssieny said in a telephone interview today.
“The only thing between us and a public tender offer is due diligence,” he said.

MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf markets mark heavy May losses on euro debt woes | News by Country | Reuters

Gulf bourses fell on Thursday, ensuring their worst monthly performance in over a year, as fears grew that Spanish banks may soon seek a bailout and concerns lingered over a disorderly Greek exit from the euro zone.

Doha's index dipped 0.7 percent to its lowest close since May 20 and its biggest monthly drop since February 2011.

Investors cut risk across the board, with heavyweight Industries Qatar down 1.4 percent, Commercial Bank of Qatar falling 1.3 percent and Doha Bank slipping 1.1 percent.

Zain Saudi Said to Hire Four Banks for $2.5 Billion 5-Year Loan - Bloomberg

Mobile Telecommunications Co. of Saudi Arabia, known as Zain Saudi, hired four banks for a five- year $2.5 billion loan to refinance its Islamic facility that matures in July, according to two bankers familiar with the matter.
The company, 25 percent-owned by Mobile Telecommunications Co. of Kuwait, mandated Al Rajhi Bank (RJHI), Banque Saudi Fransi (BSFR), Arab National Bank (ARNB) and Standard Chartered Plc (STAN) for the loan, the bankers said, who declined to be identified because the talks are private.
Zain Saudi will use the loan to refinance its existing $2.5 loan that matures on July 27, the bankers said.

UAE shows greatest rise of any country in global competitiveness | Emirates Competitiveness Council |

The United Arab Emirates have achieved recognisable progress in its global competitiveness ranking this year according to the IMD World Competitiveness Yearbook 2012. The UAE jumped 12 places - from 28th in 2011 to 16th - in the annual report, which ranks the world's 59 most advanced countries. UAE had the greatest ranking increase of any country surveyed.

Strong improvements in business efficiency, productivity and economic performance were the main drivers of the UAE's increased rankings. Continued modernisation of UAE's business legislation, which is fundamental to the business environment and competitiveness of the country, also contributed to the increased ranking.

"We are especially pleased with this year's results as the IMD World Competitiveness Yearbook is one of the most comprehensive annual global reports on advanced countries' competitiveness. The fact the greatest ranking improvements were in business efficiencies, namely productivity, management practices, and attitudes and values make these improvements all the more significant, given our peers." said Her Excellency Reem Al-Hashimy, Minister of State and Chairwoman of the Emirates Competitiveness Council.

Persian Gulf Stocks: Dubai Financial Market, Industries Qatar - Bloomberg

Dubai’s benchmark DFM General Index (DFMGI) rose less than 0.1 percent to 1,471.49 at the 2 p.m. close in the emirate, trimming this month’s loss to 9.8 percent. Qatar’s QE Index fell 0.7 percent.
The following shares were active in the Persian Gulf region. Stock symbols are in parentheses.
Dubai Financial Market (DFM)(DFM UH) retreated 1.6 percent to 94.5 fils, the lowest close since May 16, on bets second-quarter profit at the only publicly traded Arab stock market may drop after trading volumes slumped. The stock “is a proxy for the market,” said Samer Darwiche, a Dubai-based analyst at Gulfmena Investments Ltd. “Lower traded volume of the exchange means that second-quarter earnings will be lower than the strong first-quarter figures.”

WAM | DGCX enhances trading proposition by extending trading hours

The Dubai Gold and Commodities Exchange (DGCX) today announced an extension of its trading hours.

From June 4, the Exchange will open from 07:00 (UAE time), 1 hour and 30 minutes earlier than its previous opening time. The extended trading time will provide DGCX participants with a 30 minute window before the exchange traded currency derivatives markets open in India.

Commodity and currency futures prices are tightly linked to the prices of their underlying instruments, with futures prices highly sensitive to price movements of the underlying. This makes them much more suitable for �momentum trading' than equities. The 30 minute window between DGCX opening and the Exchange traded currency derivatives market opening in India will allow participants on the DGCX an opportunity to take positions based on overnight indicators, putting them ahead of the momentum curve.

STOCKS NEWS MIDEAST-Qatar, UAE mkts mark heavy May losses on euro worries - Yahoo! News Maktoob

The Qatar bourse marks its largest monthly loss in over a year and Abu Dhabi's benchmark extends declines amid a regional downtrend as fears grow that Spanish banks may soon seek a bailout and concerns linger over a disorderly Greek exit from the euro zone.
Doha's index dips 0.7 percent to 8,417 points, its lowest close since May 20 and its biggest monthly drop since
February 2011.
Investors cut risk across the board with heavyweight Industries Qatar down 1.4 percent, Commercial Bank of
Qatar falling 1.3 percent and Doha Bank slipping 1.1 percent.

Property handovers help Dubai's Nakheel swing to Q1 profit - Yahoo! News Maktoob

Dubai's Nakheel Properties on Thursday said it swung to a profit in the first quarter as the developer handed over more properties and it cut costs.
Nakheel, which was at the centre of a debt crisis in Dubai in 2009 when real estate prices crashed, said it made a profit of 362 million dirhams ($98.56 million)in the three months to March 31, up from a loss of 36 million dirhams in the year-earlier period.
First-quarter revenue rose 159 percent to 1.35 billion dirhams.

UPDATE 1-Lukoil-led group wins Iraq oil block bid - Yahoo! News Maktoob

A group led by Lukoil won a bid for a key oil block in the second day of Iraq's energy auction after tough contract terms led to a disappointing opening to bidding on 12 new oil and gas fields for the OPEC member nation.
Lukoil and partner Inpex Corp won the deal for the 5,500-square-km Block 10 in Muthanna and Dhi Qar provinces in the south, which executives had expected to attract bids in an auction where investors have generally shied away.
A bid from Pakistan Petroleum won gas Block 8 in Diyala and Wasit provinces in eastern Iraq. But three other blocks, 7, 5, and 4, received no bids.

Egypt's EFG Hermes receives buy-out approach | Reuters

Egyptian investment bank EFG Hermes said on Thursday a group of investors had approached it with a view to presenting a buy-out offer, confirming newspaper reports.

EFG - which is in the process of forming a joint venture with Qatar's QInvest - said it had received a letter from Planet, a group of unnamed Arab investors and Egyptian bankers, saying it was interested in buying the company. It was not clear how any buy-out would affect the QInvest deal.

"The letter did not contain any detail about the acquirers or the proposed price or any clarifying details," EFG said in a statement to the Egyptian stock exchange.

How will the eurozone financial shock impact the Gulf States? « ArabianMoney

Greece is a side show compared to what is happening in Spain. One of the world’s larger economies is about to go into cardiac arrest unless the ECB arrives soon with its bail-out to calm markets again.

For Spanish debt is getting painfully close to the seven per cent yield level when markets decide that these bonds will never be repaid and bond prices crash. Greece is already there. Smaller nations like Cyprus, Portugal and Ireland are close behind, and Italy is the giant moving closer to the edge.

Dubai govt backs $1 billion loan for DIFCI: sources | Reuters

The Dubai government will partly guarantee the $1 billion loan which DIFC Investments will use to repay its $1.25 billion Islamic bond maturing in June, two sources said on Thursday.

The government support consists of a shortfall guarantee of up to $470 million, one of the sources familiar with the matter said, speaking on condition of anonymity as the information is not public.

"There are credit enhancements involving government support," said a second source, adding the loan was set to be signed this weekend.

Millions shifted from UAE as Hastie collapsed - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

The ABC has learned that as many as 1,500 Hastie Group workers in the United Arab Emirates may have lost not only their jobs but also their entitlements in the company's collapse late last week.

Their termination entitlements are in jeopardy because more than $3 million was transferred from Dubai to Australia in the days before administrators and receivers were brought in.

The company's top three executives, who signed off on the money transfer, then left Dubai on fears they may be detained.

Analysis: Dewey's bankruptcy: Let the rumble begin - Yahoo! News Maktoob

As law firm Dewey & LeBoeuf embarks on the humbling process of working through bankruptcy, creditors and former partners are bracing themselves for a nasty court battle that could drag on for years.
Dewey, a storied firm with deep Wall Street connections, filed for Chapter 11 protection on Monday night. The firm had veered toward collapse over the last six months amid revelations of fat salary guarantees, risky loans and a culture of secrecy.
Some former partners have hired lawyers in anticipation of clawback suits by the estate. Law firms that offered positions to former partners could also get embroiled in fights over rights to client fees. Creditors ranging from banks to temp services have started jockeying for position to maximize limited payouts.

Dubai company set to buy BCCL's TimesofMoney

Bennett, Coleman and Co Ltd (BCCL), India’s largest media house and popularly known as the Times group, is again divesting its non-core businesses. Dubai based Network International LCC, one of the largest of payment solutions providers, was set to buy TimesofMoney, the digital payment services provider and remittance company of BCCL, said two people aware of the development.

According to them, this was part of a larger group restructuring, ahead of its proposed Initial Public Offer. BCCL had got investment bank UBS to advise it on finding a strategic buyer for the business. The talks have been on for a while and the formal announcement is due within the next fortnight.

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

EFG-Hermes linked to Egypt graft claims -

The Middle East’s leading investment bank is tangled up in Egyptian corruption allegations involving two sons of the deposed president Hosni Mubarak, state media reported on Wednesday.
Gamal and Alaa Mubarak, as well as the two chief executive officers and a former CEO of the Cairo-based investment bank EFG-Hermes, are being charged with corrupt stock exchange dealings worth more than $400m in connection with the 2007 sale of Al-Watany Bank of Egypt, state media said. Four others were also indicted.

gulfnews : Middle East airlines' passenger traffic increases 18.6%

Middle Eastern carriers saw passenger traffic increase by 18.6 per cent in the first four months of this year over the same period in 2011, leading the global growth in passenger demand, according to latest statistics released by the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
In April the region's airlines recorded 16 per cent growth over the corresponding period a year earlier, the global aviation body said yesterday in a statement.
"Middle East airlines' traffic growth has started to pick up pace again, recording a 16 per cent gain in passenger demand for April, after having softened in the second half of 2011," IATA said.

Builder Hastie collapses, risking 2,000 jobs in Middle East - The National

A major Australian builder with contracts across the Emirates has gone bust, threatening 2,000 jobs throughout the Middle East.

Yesterday morning creditors gathered at the Dubai office of Hastie Group in Al Quoz, hoping to learn whether they would be paid.

Hastie worked on projects worth billions of dirhams in the Gulf, including the new campus of Zayed University and Dalma Mall, both in Abu Dhabi.

IMF urges targeted Saudi investments - The National

The Saudi government can help the private sector to grow faster and create jobs through targeted investments, says a senior IMF official.

Reforms could also help to lay the foundations for economic growth in the years ahead, said Masood Ahmed,the director of the agency's Middle East and Central Asia department.

"While there has been progress on diversification, the Saudi economy remains dependent on oil exports, and growth has been driven mainly by factor accumulation," he said after an IMF mission to the kingdom this month.

From revolution to red carpet - The National

The power of the crowd was what defined the Arab Spring, as thousands of protesters successfully overturned unpopular governments in Egypt and Tunisia.

Dragon Oil wins exploration rights in Iraq - The National

Dubai's Dragon Oil is part of a consortium that has won the rights to explore for oil and gas in Iraq, the only block to be awarded at an auction yesterday in Baghdad.

In its first offer of exploration rights since the war, Iraq offered up six blocks to 47 companies - but received only two bids, including one it rejected.

The reluctance of foreign oil companies to sign up to Baghdad's tough contract terms could hamper Iraq's attempts to rebuild its postwar economy and become a powerful Opec producer.

Spectre raised of a 'major sell-off' - The National

Standard Chartered has warned that credit markets in the Gulf could undergo a "major sell-off" if Greece abandons the euro, as world markets lurched through further choppy trading sessions and the troubled European currency fell further.

The London-based bank, which generates most of its income in Asia, Africa and the Middle East, said Greece returning to the drachma would lead many emerging market indexes to fall further, even though the threat of a divorce from the euro zone has already rattled markets for many months.

"For the Asian and Gulf Cooperation Council [GCC] credit markets, we would expect a major sell-off in the event of a Greek exit from the euro area," the bank said in a research report.

Case highlights the need for a bankruptcy law - The National

It's hard to defend the actions of failed entrepreneur Simon Ford, who fled the country three years ago after the collapse of his Dubai-based business Blue Banana. Short-lived, the venture provided vouchers that could be exchanged for adventure "experiences" such as hot-air ballooning and skydiving. Yesterday's news that Mr Ford has started an online venture in the UK, and is involved with two other companies, only serves to rub salt into the wounds of his many creditors, suppliers and former employees here in the UAE.

The moral and ethical issues surrounding the swift departure of Mr Ford and his family can be debated endlessly. At the time, he vowed to repay "every last dirham" of the Dh1 million he owes - although inquiries by The National have failed to establish whether this process has begun.

Dubai investor’s plan may doom Shell’s Asian refinery hub option - Business - Manila Standard Today

Energy Secretary Jose Rene Almendras did not leave enough clues that will give away the identity of the Dubai-listed petroleum company planning to lease at least 100 hectares of land in Bataan. He neither specified the type of project the company would put up on an industrial park owned by PNOC Alternative Fuels Corp. in Bataan.

PNOC Alternative Fuels, according to Almendras, could sign a lease agreement with the Dubai company that would establish a “petroleum facility” in Bataan. PNOC Alternative Fuels, aside from developing alternative types of fuel, is mandated to develop and manage in phases a petrochemical industrial estate, in Limay and Mariveles, Bataan. The company’s estate is approximately 530 hectares in size.

Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank opens swanky London branch | Reuters

Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, the second-largest Islamic lender in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), opened its first branch in London's swanky Knightsbridge on Wednesday, targeting wealthy Gulf clients in Britain.

The President of the UAE Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan joined Prince Andrew, The Duke of York, to open the office at One Hyde Park, the 1 billion pound luxury Candy and Candy development located near the Harrods department store.

Trad Al Mahmoud, chief executive of ADIB Group, said the bank was hoping to attract clients from the UAE who use London as their base for business and personal transactions and who desire Islamic finance services, based on principles such as a ban on interest and pure monetary speculation.

Holders of Egypt bond face anxious wait -

While local and foreign investors in Egypt have been waiting almost 18 months for a new president and the accompanying economic clarity, one group of bond holders has a more volatile bet on the table as the new leader takes office.
Egypt’s first democratically elected president, to be chosen in a run-off vote, will be sworn in by the end of June. But in July, just weeks after taking office, his government is due to pay off a E£6bn ($1bn) local-currency bond.

MIDEAST DEBT-Grace period only option as UAE lending cap looms - Yahoo! News Maktoob

The United Arab Emirates' central bank will probably have to grant extensions to a September deadline for imposing a cap on bank lending to sovereign and government-related entities as some lenders will be unable to
make the adjustments in time.
The new rules, announced last month, mark the first such regulatory change in nearly two decades and have caused waves in the UAE banking sector, notably at the country's two biggest banks - Dubai's Emirates NBD (ENBD) and National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD).
Lending to governments of the seven-member UAE federation and their non-commercial entities will be capped at 100 percent of a bank's capital base and at 25 percent for lending to
individual borrowers. There is no limit at present.

FACTBOX-Key political risks to watch in United Arab Emirates - Yahoo! News Maktoob

The United Arab Emirates has escaped the popular unrest shaking the Arab world, but the case of six Islamist activists stripped of citizenship rights shows how wary the oil-producing state is about the spread of political Islam after the "Arab Spring."
Analysts say UAE decision-makers fear the Gulf Arab state is not immune to the increasing influence of Islamists in countries like Egypt, Libya, Tunisia and Morocco.
Last year, five political activists were arrested and sentenced to prison on charges of insulting UAE rulers.

MENA stock markets close - May 30, 2012

 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)

Iraqi banks can fuel vital non-oil growth -

Iraq’s banks are quietly on the move, and the consequences for the economy could be powerful and far-reaching.
In the next two years we can expect mergers and strong loan growth, and ultimately the emergence of a healthier banking industry that can fuel desperately needed growth in the non-oil sector – everything from light manufacturing to housing and retail.

UAE open to some lending limit exemptions - paper - Yahoo! News Maktoob

The United Arab Emirates' central bank could grant exemptions to some banks over planned lending limits to sovereign and state-linked entities, pushing compliance beyond the September 30 deadline, its chairman told a
local newspaper on Wednesday.
The regulator said in April's ruling it would cap lending at 100 percent of a bank's capital base to governments of the seven-member UAE federation and their non-commercial entities, and 25 percent to individual borrowers, the first such change to the rules in nearly two decades.
A number of UAE banks - including the country's big two, Dubai's Emirates NBD and National Bank of Abu Dhabi - are over the limit and have said they would discuss with the authorities about how to manage their balance sheets in light of the rule-change.

STOCKS NEWS MIDEAST-Saudi extends losses as oil prices weigh - Yahoo! News Maktoob

Saudi Arabia's market closed on sharp declines after the index broke a key technical support, with most sectors
closing lower as a drop in world shares and oil prices hits sentiment.
The kingdom's index falls 0.8 percent to 6,975 points, breaking below the key psychological level of 7,000.
"Saudi moving from near 8,000 to dipping below 7,000 seems to be the case of summer starting early - clearly investors have lost their enthusiasm a little bit," says Julian Bruce, EFG-Hermes director of institutional equity sales.
"While you see pressure on oil prices and concerns over growth elsewhere, I don't see a short-term upside, especially considering that we're going into summer and then Ramadan."

FEATURE-"Cheap" UAE gasoline: citizens and industry square up - Yahoo! News Maktoob

Emiratis' love of cheap gasoline has caused a fissure in the UAE establishment, setting a top government body, nervous of Arab Spring unrest, against national oil companies fighting to stem losses from producing underpriced
fuel for the home market.
Two years ago the United Arab Emirates considered phasing out generous subsidies that mean both citizens and the larger immigrant population only pay $0.47 for a liter of gasoline. But thoughts of raising fuel prices have been swept away by the Arab Spring that has put pressure on regimes to maintain social benefits, despite foreigners, who make up 89 percent of the population, being the biggest beneficiaries of subsidies that squeeze state coffers and fuel retailers.
This month members of the Federal National Council (FNC), which has no legislative powers, unanimously approved plans to cut gasoline prices for everyone, after complaints that citizens pay too much to fill up.

Emaar Gains as Developer Sells All Units at Project: Dubai Mover - Bloomberg

Emaar Properties PJSC (EMAAR) climbed the most in more than a week amid speculation the developer of the world’s tallest skyscraper will benefit from a recovery in real- estate demand in the emirate.
The shares advanced 1 percent, the most since May 21, to 2.91 dirhams at the 2 p.m. close in Dubai, outperforming the benchmark DFM General Index (DFMGI), which fell 0.3 percent.
Emaar said May 27 that it had sold out units at its “Panorama at the Views” development in Dubai. The company’s first-quarter profit beat estimates, jumping 44 percent to 606 million dirhams ($165 million) on increased sales of properties in Dubai, delivery of homes in Egypt, and higher revenue from malls and hotels. The developer’s profit had suffered after property prices in Dubai, which teetered on the brink of default in 2009, plunged more than 65 percent from a peak in mid-2008.

Saudi Aramco seeks $12.5 billion in debt for Dow project: PFI - Yahoo! News Maktoob

State-owned oil giant Saudi Aramco is seeking to raise $12.5 billion in debt to help finance its joint venture with Dow Chemical , according to a report in Project Finance International (PFI), a unit of Thomson Reuters.
Saudi Aramco has sent an information memorandum to local and international banks detailing the $20 billion project with Dow Chemical. The project is due to be completed in 2016, and will produce more than 3 million metric tons a year of petrochemicals.
The multi-tranche, multi-tenor financing strategy will include an export credit agency (ECA) portion, a commercial bank tranche and a capital markets part, most likely a 144a issue, open to U. S. investors, or an Islamic bond.

Mubarak sons face charges over stock market fraud - Yahoo! News Maktoob

The two sons of Egypt's ousted President Hosni Mubarak will face charges of stock market manipulation, the public prosecutor said on Wednesday, three days before a court was due to issue a verdict in a separate trial for their role in alleged corruption.
Gamal and Alaa Mubarak are already standing trial with their father in a case in which the former president is facing charges of graft, as well as complicity in the killing of protestors who rose up against him last year. The verdict in that trial is expected on Saturday.
Mubarak's eldest son, Alaa, is a businessman. His youngest son, Gamal, a former banker, was widely viewed as a being groomed for Egypt's top job until Mubarak was toppled on February 11, 2011. Both are in their 40s.

MIDEAST WEEKAHEAD-Egypt bourse awaits Mubarak verdict; Gulf cautious | Agricultural Commodities | Reuters

The verdict in the trial of ousted President Hosni Mubarak, due on Saturday, is a new cloud hanging over Egyptian stocks which were hammered this week after the country's two most divisive figures made it to the presidential election run-off.

Mubarak, 84, was charged with graft, abuse of power and ordering the killing of protesters during the 18-day uprising that ousted him on Feb. 11, 2011. Court hearings in the trial concluded earlier this year and the verdict is due on June 2.

A not-guilty verdict would probably work against Ahmed Shafiq, who was Mubarak's last prime minister, in the presidential election run-off but analysts say any violent street protests against such a verdict could work in his favour.

Dubai Shares Poised for 4-Month Low on Oil Drop, Europe Concern - Bloomberg

Dubai’s shares headed for the lowest level in four months as oil prices fell and investor concern that Europe’s debt crisis may worsen curbed appetite for riskier assets.
Shuaa Capital PSC (SHUAA), the investment bank controlled by Dubai’s ruler, plunged to the lowest level in more than three months. Gulf General Investment Co. (GGICO), a Dubai-based investment company, tumbled 6.8 percent. The DFM General Index (DFMGI) lost 0.9 percent to 1,461.88, poised for the lowest close since Feb. 2, at 12:36 p.m. in the emirate. The Bloomberg GCC 200 Index, which tracks the biggest 200 companies in the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council, fell 0.1 percent.
“Prices are falling on worries over Europe’s debt problems and falling oil prices,” said Nabil Farhat, a partner at Abu Dhabi-based Al Fajer Securities. About 49 million shares were traded in Dubai, compared with a daily 12-month average of about 140 million shares, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

Felda Secures 10 Cornerstone Investors, Including Qatar Holding, For US$3 Billion Malaysia IPO - Sources | Fox Business

Malaysian state-owned plantation firm Felda Global Ventures Holdings Bhd. has secured commitments from 10 cornerstone investors, including Qatar Holding LLC, the global investment arm of the Qatar Investment Authority, and Malaysia's Employees Provident Fund for a third of its more than $3.0 billion initial public offering, two people familiar with the matter said Wednesday.

Hong Kong-based funds firm Value Partners Group Ltd. (0806.HK) is also a cornerstone investor, another person familiar with the deal said, joining a list that includes Hong Kong-based insurance giant AIA Group Ltd. (1299.HK) and two state-run funds, the Pilgrim Fund Board and Retirement Fund Inc., the people said.

STOCKS NEWS MIDEAST-Saudi dips for day; cement stocks rally - Yahoo! News Maktoob

Saudi Arabia's bourse falls for a second day as mid-cap stocks weigh, although the kingdom's index holds above a key psychological level.
The benchmark eases 0.06 percent to 7,029 points, trimming year-to-date gains to 9.5 percent. The 7,000 level is a strong support for the index.
Telecoms operator Zain Saudi sheds 1.5 percent, down from Tuesday's five-week closing high.

UPDATE 1-Kuwait's Global Investment Q1 net loss narrows | Reuters

Global Investment House, the Kuwaiti investment firm currently undergoing its second debt restructuring in three years, saw its first-quarter loss narrow compared to the opening three months of last year, it said in a statement on Wednesday.

The company made a loss of 11 million dinars ($39.3 million) in the three months to March 31, versus a 22 million dinars loss for the same period of 2011, the statement to the Dubai stock exchange said.

The improved performance was helped by a drop in writedowns, with gains on investments recorded at 746,000 dinars versus a 10.6 million dinar loss in Q1 2011.

Ex-Zain CEO urges Gulf telcos to merge, privatize | Reuters

Gulf telecoms companies, most of which are ultimately government-controlled, must further privatize and consolidate to survive in an increasingly tough environment, the former chief executive of Kuwait's Zain (ZAIN.KW) said on Tuesday.

Saad al-Barrak led Zain's rise over the last decade, turning it from a former monopoly operator with fewer than a million subscribers to a global player with operations in 23 countries.

Outspoken and flamboyant in a sector with a dominant culture of secrecy, Barrak's strategy of expansion was imitated by rival operators, but regional telecoms firms must now adapt again, he warned, as falling voice margins weigh heavy on the bottom line.

The Times of Oman: Shares of OIB soar on board election news

Oman International Bank (OIB) will conduct an ordinary general meeting of shareholders on May 31 to elect a new board, which will include HSBC representatives.

The shareholders' meeting for electing a seven-member board will be conducted at the Al Bustan Palace Hotel. The new board will have a three year term, till the bank's annual general meeting in 2015.

Sources said that HSBC Oman will have a sizable representation on the board, in line with its proposed 51 per cent stake in the merged entity.

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Lethargic markets frustrating a bold resurgence in Dubai - The National

Some time towards the end of last year, something extraordinary took place in the Gulf: the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) became the biggest wholesale banking market in the region, bigger than all the others combined in terms of the bread-and-butter business of loans and deposits.

Despite the global financial crisis, and despite (or perhaps because of) the Arab Spring, loans and deposits for DIFC financial institutions showed huge growth: in the three years to the end of last year, loans and deposits recorded about 40 per cent average annual growth.

In the first quarter of this year, loans originating in the DIFC totalled US$14.7 billion (Dh53.99bn), while deposits stood at $12.8bn.

Etisalat buys Qtel stake for $18.7m - The National

Etisalat has bought Qatar Telecom (Qtel) shares worth Dh69 million (US$18.7m) in a rights issue completed by the Qatari operator.

The UAE-based telecommunications firmsubscribed to the shares at a price of 75 Qatari riyals each, it said in a statement to the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange.

Qtel said on Monday that it had completed a rights issue worth 6.8 billion Qatari riyals (Dh6.8bn), which was fully subscribed.

UAE firms take part in Iraq auction of oil rights - The National

Abu Dhabi's Mubadala Oil and Gas and Dragon Oil of Dubai are among 47 companies set to compete for 12 blocks in Iraq's first auction of undeveloped oilfields since United States troops left the country in December.

Many countries offer such exploration contracts on a production-sharing basis, which motivates companies to make big finds and allows them to book the reserves.

But Baghdad, which says such agreements violate the 2005 constitution, is offering service contracts that pay a set fee per barrel - which some oil executives say is not enough of an inducement.

Baghdad bourse chief looks abroad - The National

The chief executive of the Iraq Stock Exchange (ISX) believes secondary listings for local companies on bourses in London and New York would eventually attract extra liquidity and boost trade.

"That is the long-term strategy," said Taha Abdulsalam, the chief of the bourse in Baghdad. "It's not going to happen overnight, but the plan is to aim to develop the same standard of bourses and companies outside."

Mr Abdulsalam said that Iraqi companies needed to improve their disclosures, and the timing of them, along with the level of corporate governance. They must also ensure controls are implemented for insiders. Companies have already adopted the International Financial Reporting Standards system, he added.

Boom year for foreign direct investment in the UAE - The National

The UAE attracted US$5.5 billion (Dh20.2bn) more in foreign direct investment last year than it invested abroad, data from the Central Bank shows.

A total of $7.7bn flowed into the economy, according to the recently released Central Bank annual report. Heading out of the UAE was $2.2bn of investment.

"It's a record net inflow since 2000 at least," said Giyas Gokkent, the chief economist at National Bank of Abu Dhabi. "You have more money coming in than going out, so it's positive for the local economy."

Mubadala in talks on refinery for alumina - The National

The owners of the world's largest aluminium smelter, which is being built in Abu Dhabi, are studying the addition of an alumina refinery to the site that could transform the emirate into a global hub for aluminium production.

Mubadala Development, a strategic investment company owned by the Abu Dhabi Government, has issued a tender to study the feasibility of developing a refinery at its existing Emirates Aluminium (Emal) smelter site in Taweelah.

That would give the operation much greater control over its own supply chain by allowing it to convert bauxite ore into alumina.

UPDATE 1-Kuwait to take $500 mln stake in UK North Sea - Yahoo! News Maktoob

Kuwait's state oil firm will pay around $500 million for a stake in a North Sea oil field owned by oil and gas explorer EnQuest Plc, the London-listed firm said.
EnQuest said on Tuesday it will farm out a 35 percent interest in its Alma and Galia oil field developments to the
Kuwait Foreign Petroleum Exploration Company (KUFPEC), a unit of the Kuwait Petroleum Corporation.
Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander said in a statement that the move was "good news for North East Scotland".

MENA stock markets close - May 29, 2012

 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)

STOCKS NEWS MIDEAST-Saudi dips as traders cash in early-day gains - Yahoo! News Maktoob

Saudi Arabia's bourse ends lowers after giving back early-session gains, which shows many investors are averse
to longer-term trading amid a volatile global backdrop.
The index ends 0.3 percent lower at 7,033 points, taking its May losses to 7 percent.
"Issues in Europe and seasonal effects of the summer and then Ramadan will slow down the market," says Faisal Al-Othman, portfolio manager at Riyadh-based Arab National Bank.

UPDATE 1-Qatar plans to boost spending by 27 pct in 2012/13 - Yahoo! News Maktoob

Qatar plans to boost government spending by 27 percent in the fiscal year that began in April, including wages, social services and infrastructure, but it expects to see a comfortable surplus, state news agency QNA reported.
Tuesday's report comes amid concerns over safety standards in the Gulf Arab state after fires broke out at an aviation college and a girls' school on Tuesday following the deaths of at least 19 foreign nationals in a blaze at an upscale shopping mall on Monday.
Qatar, the world's top liquefied natural gas (LNG) exporter, projects record high expenditures of 178 billion riyals ($49 billion) for the fiscal year, above the 140 billion planned for 2011/12.

UPDATE 1-OPEC output hits new high in May-Reuters survey - Yahoo! News Maktoob

OPEC output in May has hit its highest since 2008 as Saudi Arabia maintained high production rates despite a drop in prices and Iranian shipments did not fall substantially further ahead of an EU embargo, a Reuters survey found on Tuesday.
Supply from the 12-member Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries has averaged 31.80 million barrels per day (bpd), up from 31.75 million bpd in April, the survey of sources at oil companies, OPEC officials and analysts found.
OPEC's total is the highest since September 2008, shortly before it agreed to a series of supply curbs to combat recession and collapsing demand, based on Reuters surveys.

FACTBOX-Credit ratings moves in Middle East, N.Africa - Yahoo! News Maktoob

Standard & Poor's cut its outlook on Lebanon's long-term sovereign credit rating to negative from stable on Monday, warning that government stability and the currency peg to the dollar could be threatened if unrest in
Syria fuelled further tension.
S&P also downgraded Tunisia to junk status last week, cutting the sovereign by two notches to BB.
Middle East and North African countries have suffered a number of ratings downgrades following political unrest which started in 2011.

STOCKS NEWS MIDEAST-UAE mkts slip; Qatar retreats from 2-wk high - Yahoo! News Maktoob

Dubai's bourse ends lower for a third session in five and Abu Dhabi's index closes at a four-month trough as investors cut risk.
Dubai's heavyweights drag the market with Emirates NBD and Emaar Properties closing 1.1 and 1 percent lower respectively.
Investors are risk-averse in the current uncertainty on euro zone debt crisis with worries on the cost of shoring up Spain's banking system and the impact this could have on the finances of the euro zone's fourth biggest economy.