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Sunday, 30 September 2012

Vale, Oman Oil Company to strengthen partnership | Oman Observer

Vale and Oman Oil Company will reaffirm their long-term partnership today in the presence of Nasser bin Khamis al Jashmi, Under-Secretary of the Ministry of Oil and Gas and Chairman of Oman Oil Company, and Jose Carlos Martins, Vale’s Executive Director for Iron Ore and Strategy. The ceremony will also be attended by Marcos Beluco, Vale’s Country Manager and Ahmed al Wahaibi, Chief Executive Officer of Oman Oil Company as well as Members of the Board.
Since establishing its Middle East Office in Muscat in 2007, the global diversified mining company has created a ‘virtual iron ore mine’ in the Sultanate, utilising its extensive world-class logistics network to set up a strategic hub for its business in the region. With sustainability underpinning all aspects of its operations, Vale maintains an Omanisation rate that is above the industry standard and has been building the capacities of the Omani youth by empowering them with the means to lead the Sultanate’s steel base in the future.

Call to make UAE trading hub for Chinese yuan - The National

The UAE should be the Middle East's trading hub for the Chinese yuan, says the head of the Dubai International Financial Centre.

Jeff Singer, the chief executive of the DIFC Authority, said financial firms should lobby the Central Bank for changes in regulations to allow for this.

He said financial firms should join together to assist transactions using the Chinese currency, also called the renminbi, as Chinese firms were eager to enter the emirate's financial free zone.

Egypt signs $1 billion Turkish loan deal - Yahoo! News Maktoob

Egypt signed a deal on Sunday to loan $1 billion from Turkey, half of the aid package Ankara promised Cairo earlier this month, Egypt's state news agency reported.
President Mohamed Mursi signed the loan agreement with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan after giving a speech at Turkey's ruling AK Party conference.
"President Mohamed Mursi and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan agreed on signing a loan worth $1 billion dollars from Turkey," MENA state news agency said, quoting Egypt's finance minister. It did not give further details of the agreement.

Dubai court calls Sunland executives

AN AUSTRALIAN businessman facing bribery charges in Dubai has been given permission to call senior executives of Gold Coast property developer Sunland to give evidence at his trial.

The Rulers Court has given Matthew Joyce, who is detained in Dubai, permission to call Sunland executive chairman Soheil Abedian and development manager David Brown.

However, a Sunland spokesman said the company had not received a request from the Dubai prosecutor to attend the hearing, which resumes on October 18.

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi rebounds; Gulf mixed on euro zone woes - Yahoo! News Maktoob

Saudi Arabia's bourse rebounded from a two-month low on Sunday despite concerns over third-quarter earnings, while other Gulf markets were mixed in cautious trade.
Bargain hunters returned to lift Saudi petrochemical stocks. Saudi Basic Industries Corp (SABIC) gained 2.2
percent, although Bakheet Investment Group expects the petrochemicals and chemicals producer to post a 33 percent year-on-year drop in profit for the quarter. Third-quarter earnings are expected to be announced next week. Yanbu National Petrochemical slipped 1.4 percent and Saudi Kayan Petrochemical shed 0.8 percent.
"Many of the traders are worried about petrochemical companies' results, especially SABIC because of lower demand from their main markets of Europe and the U.S.," said Tarik Al Mady, an independent Riyadh-based analyst.

MENA stock markets close - September 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)

Deutsche Bank says Gulf Arab bond sales to remain strong -

Bond sales from the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council will remain “strong” as companies in these countries seek a substitute for declining lending from European banks, the regional head of Deutsche Bank AG (DBK), said.

The pipeline for bond sales in the GCC is “very, very strong and I think will remain” that way, Ashok Aram, chief executive officer for the Middle East and North Africa for the bank, said at a news conference in Dubai today.

The GCC region has “relied a lot on bank loans but bank loans are going to be more constrained” as European lenders reduce debt and seek to raise capital to comply with more stringent rules, he said.

Qatar Airways has no plans to join oneworld alliance: CEO | Reuters

Qatar Airways has no plans to join the oneworld airline alliance, its Chief Executive Akbar al-Baker said on Sunday, dismissing reports that the airline had become the newest member of the group as "rumor."

Asked if the carrier would join oneworld, which includes British Airways, owned by IAG (ICAG.L), Baker said: "No, we will not. It's all rumors."

He was speaking on the sidelines of a conference in the UAE capital.

Gulf stocks 'still down' four years after crisis - Yahoo! News Maktoob

All seven stock markets in the energy-rich Gulf states failed to recover four years after the global financial crisis despite high oil prices, a Kuwaiti economic report said on Sunday.
Although major bourses in the West, where the crisis began, have recovered successfully with Dow Jones now 17.8 percent higher than its level four years ago and Germany's DAX up 15.4 percent, Gulf shares remain way behind their levels in August 2008, Al-Shall Economic Consultants said.
The stock market in Dubai, where the crisis hit the economy hard, remains the worst in the Gulf at 67 percent below its level just before the crisis, followed by Bahrain's bourse which shed 60.2 percent, Al-Shall said.

STOCKS NEWS MIDEAST-Small-caps help Dubai recover; Qatar snaps losses - Yahoo! News Maktoob

Dubai's bourse recovers early-session declines and ends higher but bluechips lag as investors remain wary of
euro zone and global growth concerns.
The emirate's index climbs 0.6 percent to 1,579 points, up for a second session since Wednesday's two-week low.
Contractor Arabtec gains 3.3 percent and Dubai Islamic Bank adds 1 percent. Emaar Properties ends flat and courier firm Aramex slips 2.5 percent, with other banks also supporting.
"It's more of a consolidation day. Volatility is high in international markets, which is causing jitters," says Marwan
Shurrab, vice-president and chief trader at Gulfmena Investments. "Even with high risk appetite after the various
stimulus packages, the volatility is affecting regional sentiment in terms of direction. The real momentum now will be from third-quarter company announcements."

Aldar, Sorouh merger news seen "within a month" - Sorouh exec - Yahoo! News Maktoob

A potential merger agreement between Abu Dhabi developers Aldar Properties and Sorouh Real Estate is expected to be announced "within a month," a senior Sorouh executive said on Sunday.
Indebted Aldar and Sorouh said in March they were in talks for a state-backed merger, creating a company with $15 billion in assets.
"We are moving (forward) in the process," Sorouh's Managing Director Abu Bakr Seddiqi al-Khoury told Reuters on the sidelines of a conference.

Investcorp to take 35-percent stake in Kuwaiti car leasing firm | Reuters

Bahrain-based Investcorp INVB.BH acquired a 35-percent stake in Kuwait's car leasing and rental firm Automak Automotive Co, marking the alternative asset manager's sixth investment through its $1 billion Gulf Opportunity Fund.

Investcorp did not give financial details of the transaction but said in a statement on Sunday that the deal will be done through a capital injection.

Co-founded in 2002 by Al Kharafi Projects Co., Automak has over 15-percent market share in Kuwait, operating a fleet of more than 4,500 vehicles and provides rental, car leasing and distribution services.

STOCKS NEWS MIDEAST-Kuwait slips from 15-wk high; Saudi rebounds - Yahoo! News Maktoob

Kuwait's index falls from Thursday's 15-week high as investors book gains, while other Gulf markets trade
flat-to-lower as euro zone woes dampen risk appetite.
Kuwait's index is 0.3 percent lower at 5,976 points, halting a rally driven by talk that government funds were buying in the market.
Telecom operator Zain falls 1.3 percent. Its Saudi affiliate Zain Saudi on Saturday said it had extended, for a second time, the maturity date of a 9.75 billion riyal ($2.6 billion) loan.
Zain Saudi's shares fall 2.8 percent, taking their losses to 9.1 percent since the announcement.

Abu Dhabi's Etihad Airways open to more stake buys: CEO | Reuters

Etihad Airways, the Abu Dhabi-based carrier which has been on a recent acquisition spree, is eyeing further investments if the right opportunity arises, its chief executive said on Sunday, adding 2012 revenue could top $5 billion for the first time.

"We see further equity investments only if it's the right opportunity, right partner, right market and right price," James Hogan, Etihad's chief executive said at an aviation conference in the United Arab Emirates' capital.

Unlisted Etihad has been on an acquisition drive in recent months, taking minority equity stakes in Virgin Australia VAX.AX and Aer Lingus (AERL.I) and raising its shareholding in Air Berlin (AB1.DE) and Air Seychelles.

UAE lenders left unsure over latest rules on banking - The National

New rules come into effect today limiting how much banks can lend to companies.

But banks are uncertain about what to do if they are already in breach of the new rules.

In April, the Central Bank capped the amount banks could lend to governments and their commercial holding companies in an effort to shield them from any financial fallout from a default at a big company.

Saturday, 29 September 2012

STOCKS NEWS MIDEAST-Saudi stocks end 1 pct down, Zain tumbles - Yahoo! News Maktoob

Saudi shares closed lower on Saturday, dragged down by petrochemicals, banks and telecommunications stocks. One reason was the weakness of global markets on Friday, when they were hit by anxiety about Spain's debt crisis.
Another reason was Zain Saudi, which plunged 6.1 percent to 10.75 riyals after it announced earlier on Saturday
that it had extended, for a second time, the maturity date of a 9.75 billion riyal ($2.6 billion) loan.
The firm said it had paid back 750 million riyals on Aug. 27 and was finalising a long-term finance agreement to replace the current loan. But Zain Saudi has been posting losses and the delay in resolving the debt challenge may have disappointed some investors.

Iran's rial currency dives to historic low - Yahoo! News Maktoob

The Iranian rial slumped on Saturday to a historic low against the U.S. dollar, according to Iranian media and currency tracking websites.
The rial fell by 3.6 percent and was trading at about 27,900 per dollar, compared with about 26,920 on Thursday and about 26,200 on Wednesday, according to Persian-language currency tracking website Mazanex. Another financial site,, had the rial at about 27,650 to the dollar on Saturday.
There was no clear reason for the latest slide in the value of the rial, which is traded in an informal market of money changers, where ordinary Iranians go to access hard currencies.

Saudi Shares Fall on Quarterly Results Outlook, Global Economy - Bloomberg

Shares in Saudi Arabia declined for a second day ahead of quarterly company financial results and on concerns that Europe’s debt crisis is worsening.
Al-Rajhi Bank (RJHI), the kingdom’s largest lender by market value, dropped for a fourth day, while Samba Financial Group (SAMBA) fell for the second day. National Industrialization Co. (NIC) slipped to the lowest level since July 25. The Tadawul All Share Index lost less than 0.1 percent to 6,874.15 in Riyadh at 12:11 p.m. Saudi companies start reporting third-quarter results this week.
“We expect a weaker morning session as third-quarter results weigh on investors’ minds,” Asim Bukhtiar, head of research at Riyad Capital, said in an e-mail. “Subdued international sentiment will guide local direction.”

Qatar Q2 real GDP rises 5 pct on an annual basis - Yahoo! News Maktoob

Qatar's second-quarter real gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 5.0 percent over the same period in 2011 and by 2.5 percent over the first quarter of 2012, the country's statistics authority said in a press release on
Saturday, citing preliminary data.
Nominal second-quarter GDP grew by 11.9 percent on the year, but dipped 1.1 percent on the quarter, Qatar Statistics Authority said.

Zain Saudi extends $2.6 bln loan maturity for second time - Yahoo! News Maktoob

Indebted telecom operator Zain Saudi has for a second time extended the maturity of a 9.75 billion riyal
($2.6 billion) loan by two months, it said in a bourse statement on Saturday.
"The firm announces that on September 26 it has received approval from lenders to extend the maturity date for the joint Murabaha by two additional months, changing the maturity date to November 28," the statement said.
The loan was initially due in July but was extended to September 27.

Dubai's Emaar sells hotel to Abu Dhabi firm -

Dubai's Emaar Properties , the builder of the world's tallest tower, has sold one of its hotel assets to an Abu Dhabi-based real estate firm for an undisclosed amount.

Eshraq Properties said in a statement on Saturday that it has acquired Nuran Marina, a serviced hotel apartment owned by Emaar and located in the up-market Dubai Marina area.

Emaar was not immediately available for comment.

Dubai's largest developer has looked to shift away from its home market where real estate prices have slumped by more than 60 percent in the aftermath of the debt crisis in 2009.

Oman to create 56,000 jobs for nationals |

Finding suitable jobs for Omanis is a source of headache for Omani authorities and likely to remain the case in the foreseeable future, based on demographic statistics. Available statistics are alarming, with nearly 43 per cent of the local population below 15 years of age.
What’s more, unemployment among Omanis was a key reason behind the outbreak of unrest in the first quarter of 2011 in the context of the Arab Spring. The fact that the socio-economic uprising erupted in the industrial town of Sohar carried an economic message.
Against this backdrop, it is not surprising that the authorities have decided to embark on a major scheme to find employment opportunities for Omanis. The ambitious plan calls for creating around 56,000 jobs — divided between 36,000 and 20,000 in the public and private sectors respectively.

Arabian Aerospace - Qatar tipped to join Oneworld alliance

Speculation is mounting that a special meeting of the Oneworld Alliance - which includes British Airways and Qantas as its members - could see the unveiling of Qatar Airways as its newest member.

Following the tie-up between Emirates and Qantas earlier in the month there were suggestions that British Airways and the Doha airline could create a similiar deal - but that was dismissed by Qatar's CEO Akbar Al Baker.
Now reports in the US media suggest that the tie up will instead be through the alliance. Qatar would be the first of the major Gulf carriers to join an alliance. Emirates has always fervantly resisted the alliance route believing it would cost them customers. Etihad has created its own mini-alliance through aquisition and code share deals.

Where Is the Qatar Wealth Fund Investing? - US Business News - CNBC

With the Federal Reserve providing extraordinary stimulus to get the economy growing again and the European Central Bank offering to buy bonds to limit the damage from the euro zone debt crisis, Qatar Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad Bin Jassim Bin Jabr al-Thani said in a CNBC interview he’s worried about what it will mean for the value of the two major global currencies.

“I believe the value of money is diminishing,” the prime minister told CNBC’s “Closing Bell.” He said that without a comprehensive strategy to deal with the problems in the U.S. and Europe the value of the dollar and euro will decline.

Dealing with the issues piecemeal also has created anxiety for investors like the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), al-Thani said.

Friday, 28 September 2012

BUSINESS - Iran buys Turkish gold via UAE, economists say

Turkey’s trade deficit fell 30 percent in August, reportedly on the back of strong gold sales to Iran even though the United Arab Emirates was the leading gold buyer from Turkey in the given period.

The trade deficit fell to $5.86 billion, according to the Turkish Statistical Institute, compared with a $7.89 billion deficit in July and a forecast of $8.10 billion in a Reuters poll.

“This data is a result of soaring gold exports, which broke a record with $2.3 billion in August,” Oyak Securities economist Mehmet Besimo─člu said on Sept. 28. “Gold exports were generally to Iran, made via the United Arab Emirates.”

American firms focus on UAE with revived energy |

Not long ago, Gulf states used to look up to the global economic powerhouses to strengthen relationship to help their economies grow. In three decades, that has changed to a certain extent.
An increasing number of US companies are now looking at Dubai and the UAE to help boost their weak economy.
“Dubai is an important economic partner for us,” Betsy Price, Mayor of Fort Worth, tells Gulf News while wrapping up her visit to the emirate. “It is a gateway for $2.5 billion (Dh9.2 billion) of exports from Dallas-Fort Worth to the UAE.”

Saudi Arabia: Tribes, Oil, Religion Unite in Serving the Royal Family - Al-Monitor

Saudi King Abdullah (R) talks with newly appointed Saudi Crown Prince Salman bin Abdel-Aziz in Taif, June 19, 2012. Abdullah has appointed his defense minister, Salman, as heir apparent, opting for stability and a continuation of cautious reforms at a time of challenges for the world's biggest oil exporter. (photo by REUTERS/Saudi Press Agency/Handout)
Many factors enable the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to calmly and coolly manage the crises and challenges that it confronts, such as distinguishing attributes that enable the mechanism of the state to operate. To that end, tremendous financial resources and — by regional standards — a stable political situation are employed to guarantee the position of the ruling family, the powerful role of the religious establishment and the weakness of the political opposition. In any case, the country's social, cultural and economic components — characterized by a broadly tribal formation, sectarian pluralism, diverse regional and cultural heritage and economic development — compel such an approach. Thanks to the balance obtained between these different unique factors, the ruling family has successfully avoided many of the challenges that have confronted it, and contained major crises that could potentially have undermined its security and stability.

Xstrata shareholders to vote on pay, deal separately - sources - Yahoo! News Maktoob

Xstrata shareholders will vote on a proposed management retention package before deciding on Glencore's $32 billion bid, two people familiar with the talks told Reuters, a structure designed to secure maximum support for
the deal.
In the coming weeks, shareholders will first vote on the 140 million pound ($226.07 million) two-year pay package aimed atretaining Xstrata's key managers. They will then vote separately on the merger, the people said.
The new proposal was a condition a group of shareholders had imposed on Xstrata board to recommend the deal, the people said. Under UK takeover rules, the deal has to be announced by Monday at the latest.

Arabia Monitor Q4 MENA Outlook - Shifting Sands, Shifting Trade: Building the New Silk Route

Click through headline to presentation.

Xstrata haggles over management as Glencore deadline nears | Reuters

Xstrata's directors, facing a Monday deadline to deliver their verdict on Glencore's $32 billion bid, are hammering out a deal they hope will ensure the miner retains control of the combined group's board, even after the exit of its veteran boss.

All sides are working towards completing an agreement and announcing the board's recommendation by Oct. 1, sources familiar with the deal said on Friday. However, the struggle to reconcile wide-ranging shareholder views, to ensure the success of the current, last-ditch attempt to merge, meant Xstrata's board could still ask for more time.

Glencore, the world's largest diversified commodities trader, bid in February for the shares in Xstrata it did not already own, launching one of the resources sector's biggest ever takeover deals. But it was forced earlier this month to raise its price - offering 3.05 new shares for every share held, up from 2.8 - in an effort to rescue the tie-up after opposition from the miner's number two investor, Qatar.

Gulf States Lay Energy Foundation in North Africa - Forbes

While the last two years have done a lot to inspire those hoping for a long overdue political evolution across North Africa, its done little to build confidence among those with their eyes on the region’s rich energy potential. If anything, the collapse of political leadership and security in the region has shifted investors into a financial holding pattern – a wait-and-see routine.

What would it take to start investing in the capitals that stretch across the Southern Mediterranean, I asked one green energy financier from London earlier this year – 20 years of calm, he replied.

UAE Faces Housing Glut

New properties coming on stream are expected to keep house prices and rents in the United Arab Emirates subdued and under pressure, it is claimed.

According to a new report from property advisor Tasweek only sought after locations in Dubai is likely to see any improvement because of the sheer number of releases in the real estate market.

Abu Dhabi is likely to see house prices and rents drop by between 2% and 10% while in Dubai less p-popular locations could see falls of 2% to 5%.

Emirates signals Kingfisher Airlines stake buy - The Times of India

Dubai carrier Emirates is believed to have signalled an early interest to acquire a stake in the troubled Kingfisher Airlines with riders that the latter hammers out long-term loan restructuring and revamp the business plan with a realistic chance of survival.

Kingfisher chairman Vijay Mallya met the consortium of lenders in Bangalore on Thursday to talk about plans to recapitalize the company after the government allowed foreign carriers to pick up 49% stake in domestic airlines. The lenders have decided to appoint SBI Capital Markets to recommend actions required to get the airline back on track.

"All that I would say is that we had a good meeting with the lenders. There are confidentiality clauses between the banks and the client, and I will not say any further," Mallya told TOI. Lenders said they have not been informed about any definitive FDI proposal by the Kingfisher management in the meeting.

Thursday, 27 September 2012

UAE: Report Highlights Need for Worker Protections | Human Rights Watch

A report by an independent monitor underscores the need for companies involved in the United Arab Emirates’ Saadiyat Island project to ensure that their projects comply with international labor standards for migrant workers.

The government-owned developer of Abu Dhabi’s high-profile Saadiyat Island project, the Tourism Development and Investment Company (TDIC), faces “significant challenges” to carry out agreed-upon minimum labor standards, says the September 23, 2012 report published by independent auditing firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). Saadiyat Island will be home to branches of the Louvre and Guggenheim Museums and a New York University (NYU) campus, and has been the focus of criticism over migrant workers’ rights.

“The concerns raised in this report by the independent monitor it appointed should serve as a wake-up call to the UAE tourism agency and government, and should alarm the cultural and educational institutions involved with the island project,” said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “In an area where exploitation has been widespread, codes of conduct are not substitutes for good laws and meaningful enforcement.”

UPDATE 2-Abu Dhabi bank sues Dubai crown prince's firm | Reuters

An Abu Dhabi bank has filed a legal claim against Dubai's Zabeel Investments, according to court papers seen by Reuters, the second time in a month a creditor has resorted to the courts to recover debt from a company owned by the emirates top royals.

Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB) filed the case on Sept. 19, claiming $107.13 million from Zabeel, owned by the crown prince of Dubai, saying it failed to meet repayment obligations.

"It's about time. People can't let things linger like this, a decision regarding the debt and restructuring had to be made," said a source familiar with the matter.

US Eximbank OKs $5.0 bln loan for Saudi petrochemical complex | Reuters

The U.S. Export-Import Bank has approved a record-breaking $4.975 billion direct loan to help build a petrochemical complex in Saudi Arabia, the bank said on Thursday.

The loan to the Sadara Chemical Company is the biggest in the bank's history, and "will support more than 18,000 American jobs across 13 states," Ex-Im Bank President Fred Hochberg said in statement.

It will allow Sadara to buy goods and services from approximately 70 American exporters, including KBR, ABB Inc, the Dow Chemical Company and more than 20 small businesses, the bank said.

U.S., Gulf countries agree to strengthen trade ties - Yahoo! News Maktoob

The United States on Thursday said it has signed a framework agreement with Saudi Arabia and other members of the Gulf Cooperation Council to explore ways to boost trade and investment with the oil-rich region.
The GCC also includes Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. Total two-way trade between the United States and the GCC totaled almost $100 billion last year, with the U.S. running about a $24 billion trade deficit.
"This important trade and investment agreement will help to grow and strengthen our economic ties with the Gulf Cooperation Council, which is a key strategic U.S. partner in the Middle East and North Africa region," U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk said in a statement.

Abu Dhabi bank takes legal action against Dubai crown prince's firm - docs | Reuters

Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank ADCB.AD has launched legal action against Zabeel Investments, which is owned by the crown prince of Dubai, to reclaim $107.13 million from the troubled firm, according to court documents seen by Reuters.

The bank, Abu Dhabi's third-largest by market capitalization, filed the action on September 19 in the Dubai International Financial Centre Courts, claiming breach of contract due to Zabeel's failure to meet repayment obligations, the document said.

Zabeel, which has hospitality, property and private equity assets, owes approximately 6 billion dirhams ($1.6 billion) to mostly local banks. Talks on restructuring the debt ground to a halt in January.

BofA expects UAE central bank to extend loan rules by 6 months -

The United Arab Emirates’ central bank may extend by six months a deadline for banks to comply with new loan rules that limit lending to governments and its entities, Bank of America’s Merrill Lynch unit said.

“We expect the start of implementation to be extended by another six months to end of the first quarter of 2013, and include exceptions that would not derail the overall Dubai government-related entities’ refinancing process,” analyst Jean-Michel Saliba wrote in research note dated today.

Banks in the U.A.E. can lend no more than 100% of their capital to local governments and the same to government- related entities known as GREs, the central bank said in April. There was no limit under previous rules, and banks were to comply with the rules by Sept. 30. The exposure of Emirates NBD PJSC (EMIRATES), the nation’s biggest bank, to sovereign loans was 130% of regulatory capital at the end of 2011, its financial statements show.

MENA stock markets close - September 27, 2012

 ExchangeStatus IndexChange  

 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)

MIDEAST STOCKS-Kuwait rallies to new 15-wk high; Gulf mkts mixed - Yahoo! News Maktoob

Kuwait's bourse rose to a fresh 15-week high on Thursday on talk of state-linked buying and on hopes the political deadlock in the Gulf state may soon reach a resolution, while other Gulf markets finished mixed.
Large-cap stocks rose in heavy trading. Telecom operator Zain climbed 1.4 percent, Kuwait Finance House
gained 2.7 percent and Gulf Bank added 1.2 percent.
Market sentiment lifted this week on talk the Kuwait government institutions are buying bluechip stocks, helping
support the market which is up 5.5 percent from August's eight-year low.

STOCKS NEWS MIDEAST-UAE mkts end slide; Qatar down again - Yahoo! News Maktoob

UAE markets rose from Wednesday's multi-week lows as bargain hunters step in, while Qatar's measure falls for a fifth session in the last six.
Dubai's index climbs 0.4 percent to finish at 1,570 points, rising from a two-week low.
Top trader Drake & Scull gains 1.2 percent, Emaar Properties ends flat and courier Aramex climbs 1.5 percent.

Dubai firm "confirm" Leeds United takeover | Calendar - ITV News

After months of speculation it has been confirmed that a Dubai-based consortium is to takeover control of Leeds United.

GFH Capital Ltd, which is a subsidiary of the Bahrain investment bank Gulf Finance House, has confirmed that it has signed an exclusive deal to acquire Leeds City Holdings, the parent company of Leeds United.

News of the deal was confirmed in a letter from GFH to the bahrain Stock Exchange.

Is Dubai kissing goodbye to banking? | Al Bawaba

Big US and European banks are cutting investment banking jobs in the Middle East as the promise of emerging markets is overshadowed by a need to slash costs and a dearth of deal activity

Institutions including Deutsche Bank, Credit Suisse and Japan's Nomura Holdings have all cut jobs in their investment banking teams for the region in recent weeks.

And where previous cuts have seen junior bankers shown the door, the recent round has included directors and, in Nomura's case, the head of its investment banking operations in Dubai.

Dubai state firm to manage troubled Zabeel-sources | Reuters

State-owned property firm Dubai Real Estate Corp (DREC) has taken over management of troubled Zabeel Investments, which is owned by the crown prince of Dubai, two sources familiar with the matter said on Thursday.

Zabeel, which has hospitality, property and private equity assets, owes approximately 6 billion dirhams ($1.6 billion) to mostly local banks.

In January, several sources involved in the process told Reuters that talks with banks to restructure Zabeel's debt had ground to a halt, with multiple loans in limbo and few assets available for sale, leaving banks facing the possibility of steep losses on their loans.

ETFs in Asia: gathering steam | beyondbrics

Exchange Traded Funds are on the march in Asia and a new listing this week in Hong Kong highlights two of the main trends investors can expect to see.

Lippo Limited, the Hong Kong investment company of Indonesia’s Riady family-run Lippo Group, listed the first Hong Kong ETF focused on solely in property in greater China – the Lippo Select HK & Mainland Property ETF.

These funds, which are meant to give investors quick and easy entry – and exit – into various kinds of investment have had a slow start in Asia, but launches have picked up recently. The chance to get direct exposure to China is expected to stimulate investor demand, while an investor base that is slowly becoming more sophisticated is leading to the first sector-specific funds – such as the Lippo property ETF.

Workers’ Remittances and investment opportunities |

Savings of expatriates in the GCC countries are very important to the economies of their countries through remittances. They are also important to the Gulf economies, especially since remittances are considerably increasing year after year as a result of the increasing number of expatriates and high living standards in the GCC.
A decade ago, a call was made to find the necessary channels to attract a proportion of these savings and invest them in the GCC countries in an attempt to reduce remittances that increase at an annual average of 10-12 per cent. Statistics show that remittances stood at $55 billion (Dh201.96 billion) last year, against $40 billion (Dh146.88 billion) registered in 2008, and thus it would be vital to re-inject part of these transfers into GCC economies.
Although some of these approaches were embraced, such as allowing expatriates to work in the Gulf stock markets and easing restrictions on real estate investing, other approaches still hold some reservation.

Paradigm shift in world energy |

The World Energy Forum 2012 will seek to form a roadmap for a new paradigm for sustainable energy that will benefit all people and promote a global adoption of safe and sustainable sources of energy that are accessible to all, Saeed Al Tayer, Vice Chairman of the Supreme Council of Energy for Dubai (SCE) and Vice Chairman of the WEF 2012 Higher Organising Committee, said in an interview to Gulf News.
Moreover, he remarked that the forum will discuss ways to achieve social equity, face global poverty challenges, and solve the issue of access to electricity for 1.5 billion people around the globe and the impact of energy on education, health and infrastructure.
The World Energy Forum will be held for the first time outside of the United Nations Headquarters in New York, under the theme, ‘A Forum for World Leaders’.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

MIDEAST WEEKAHEAD-Kuwait stocks may be supported by govt buying | Reuters

The long-drawn-out political deadlock between Kuwait's cabinet and parliament has hurt the stock market, but fund managers and analysts believe government-linked funds may have stepped in to support shares, and blue chips are reaping the benefit.

The market's index slumped to an eight-year low in mid-August, underperforming most other stock markets in the Gulf, largely because of the political situation.

Opposition legislators are boycotting parliament and accuse the government of trying to gerrymander voting districts for the next election, which could be held by the end of this year. In the meantime, much economic policy-making and many investment plans have been frozen.

The Gulf Boycotts Lebanon | Al Akhbar English

Rumors of an unofficial boycott of Lebanon by oil-rich Gulf states have the Lebanese business community on edge, with trade, tourism, and billions of dollars in remittances on the line.

While the deportation of Lebanese citizens, particularly Shia, from some Gulf countries has been going on for several years, anecdotal evidence is mounting to indicate that Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates are ratcheting up efforts to restrict Lebanese travel to the Gulf.

One Lebanese banker from Beirut tells the story of one of his relatives who was applying for a visa at the Qatari embassy in Lebanon. He checked the embassy’s website for visa requirements and began preparing his documents, including a hotel reservation in one of the hotels in Doha.

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi falls to 2-mth low; Gulf down on euro zone worries - Yahoo! News Maktoob

Saudi Arabia's bourse slumped to a two-month low on Wednesday amid a region-wide decline as opposition in the euro zone to measures aimed at resolving the region's debt crisis worsened the shaky outlook on global
economic growth.
Protesters clashed with police in Spain as the government prepared to unveil its 2013 budget on Thursday, causing a sharp rise in borrowing rates and drop in world shares.
"This continuous decline is parallel to foreign markets--the euro zone condition is back in focus and Spain's contagion crisis is affecting sentiment," said Hesham Tuffaha, head of asset management at Saudi Arabia's Bakheet Investment Group.

MIDEAST MONEY-Benghazi attack a short-term setback for Libya investment revival - Yahoo! News Maktoob

The taxi driver parked outside a luxury hotel in Tripoli says most of his business there has ground to a halt in the past two weeks.
Since an attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi on Sept. 11 killed the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans, heightening fears for the safety of Westerners in Libya, there have been fewer foreign customers requesting his services.
"There has been a change, the foreigners are much more cautious now," the driver, who did not wish to be named so as not to be recognised, said. "They won't just come up to the taxi rank, they want to be careful. Some have gone, others are staying inside the hotel. But they're not going out with us."

Islamic investment bank in Egypt wants to buy brokerage | Reuters

Cairo-based Ridge Islamic Capital is seeking to buy a local brokerage as part of its expansion plan, so that it can offer a full range of sharia-compliant financial services in the country, a company official told Reuters.

"We want to start providing sharia-compliant brokerage services during the fourth quarter of 2012," Ahmed Rizkallah, country manager of Ridge Islamic, told Reuters on Wednesday.

He said his firm was looking for an established brokerage with a solid reputation and a track record, but declined to name any possible targets or specify a potential deal size.

GDP growth target of 4-4.5% for Dubai 2012-15 still higher than most of the rest-of-the-world « ArabianMoney

Dubai will achieve GDP growth of four to 4.5 per cent for the years 2012-15, forecast chief economist of the Dubai Department of Economic Development, Dr. Mohamed Lahouel speaking to a joint meeting of the Russian, Hellenic and Italian Business Councils today.

Head of foreign investment promotion Fahad Al Gergawi also addressed the same event with a presentation of Dubai as a ’safe and unique gateway to the region for business’ with a world-class urban infrastructure. One lawyer attending told ArabianMoney his firm is now spending more time setting up companies than dealing with real estate disputes.

Nat. Bank of Fujairah to replace Barclays on UAE rate panel-sources | Reuters

National Bank of Fujairah has been chosen to replace Barclays on the panel which sets the United Arab Emirates' indicative interbank lending rates, banking sources told Reuters on Wednesday.

Barclays said in July it was withdrawing from the panel which determines the Emirates interbank offered rate (Eibor), weeks after it agreed to pay a $453 million fine to U.S and British regulators over manipulation of the London interbank offered rate (Libor).

There has been no suggestion that Barclays tried to manipulate Eibor, which is used to price financial instruments in the Gulf's top financial centre.

Sharjah: In search of FDI | Economy | UAE: Sharjah | Oxford Business Group

Stepping up efforts to attract foreign investment to its shores, Sharjah is reaching out to the global market to spur growth at home, though the emirate is facing stiff competition in an increasingly tight global market.

Spearheading this drive is the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq), a state agency established in 2009 and tasked with promoting investment and development and putting in place both infrastructure and regulations to facilitate economic growth. One key tool in achieving these goals and increasing the flow of foreign direct investment (FDI) is international road shows to showcase Sharjah’s investment appeal.

Shurooq’s most recent marketing efforts were directed at Malaysia, which is considered a good fit for Sharjah as it has enjoyed sustained economic expansion in line with that of the emirate, and is also seen as Asia’s sharia-compliant finance hub, which could boost bilateral banking and capital links.

Markets watch: new Oman banks flex muscles -

New Islamic banks in Oman are bolstering their balance sheets to challenge the country’s larger conventional lenders after the sultanate allowed sharia-compliant lending for the first time last year.

This month, Al Izz Islamic bank, Oman’s second dedicated Islamic bank, opened subscription for its initial public offering of 40 per cent of the lender. So far, it says interest has been strong.

Qatar's modern future rubs up against conservative traditions | Reuters

Qatar is spending massively to modernize its capital ahead of the 2022 World Cup, leading conservative Qataris to worry about how this will affect the Islamic nature of the Gulf state.

Trucks can be seen speeding around Doha's business district, carrying building materials for the $150 billion makeover that will give the city a new metro, airport, seaport and roads.

In the busy years leading up to the soccer tournament, Doha will see an influx of foreign companies, professionals and workers. With them will come a fresh flood of foreign cultures and lifestyles, and that is causing concern.

Saudi August Oil Output Was 9.8 Million Barrels, GOR Says - Bloomberg

Saudi Arabia’s daily crude oil production averaged 9.753 million barrels last month and its supply to the market was 9.835 million barrels, according to the Gulf Oil Review.
“Sources at the Saudi oil ministry say the kingdom will continue to produce at these levels if needed and remains committed to meeting higher customer demand,” the report said.
Maintaining price stability at about $100 a barrel is a key strategic objective for Saudi Arabia, the newsletter said, citing unidentified sources in the country’s oil ministry.

MENA stock markets close - September 26, 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)