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Friday, 30 November 2012

Kabul Bank Bailout: The Bust That Nearly Took Down Afghanistan |

The lights blinked on and off in the newly remodeled basement of the Shah Bobo Jan Palace on the grounds of the Afghan Academy of Science, and then they finally died out. At the podium, the translator joked that if Kabul Bank, Afghanistan‘s largest private bank, had not needed to be bailed out by the government, the money could have been used to rebuild andrestore the city’s power grid.

Drawing a similar conclusion, a report on the Kabul Bank crisis released Wednesday by the Independent Joint Anti-Corruption Monitoring & Evaluation Committee, also revealed new details about how a small group of men profited from fraudulent loans. It called out local authorities for succumbing to political pressure and the international community for not doing enough to stave off the catastrophe which led to a near-complete meltdown of Afghanistan’s banking system in 2010.

US votes to end Iran’s gas-for-gold trade -

The US Senate has voted overwhelmingly to increase sanctions on Iran by focusing on activities such as the country’s “gas for gold” trade with Turkey, even as data indicate the trade is continuing unabated.
The Senate voted by a resounding 94 votes to zero to broaden Iran sanctions from the oil to the natural gas sector among other steps. The measure was appended to the annual defence expenditure authorisation bill, so increasing the likelihood of swift passage.
The move came on a day when Turkish trade data indicated that Ankara continued to export hundreds of millions of dollars in gold every month, a phenomenon the Turkish government itself has linked to purchases of gas from Iran.

Investors lose confidence in Islamic bank IPOs | Oman Observer

The two Islamic banks in Oman — Bank Nizwa and Alizz Islamic Bank — have completed their integration into the Omani banking system. This integration will allow for these banks to operate properly by providing them with a comprehensive organisational framework. Moreover, the new banks will make an important contribution to the local population and the Omani economy, provided they develop and offer attractive and innovative Islamic products and services, along with effective delivery systems.
Last week, I met a certain colleague after a very long time. After we chatted about his future plans, he said: “I’m having serious misgivings about my investments in Bank Nizwa and Alizz Islamic Bank. I made thousands of Omani Rials in investments in either bank on my personal behalf, as well as on my family’s behalf. However, to date I do see any progress by either bank in launching their operations, although one of them did state before the Initial Public Offering (IPO) that it would commence full operations last September.

Saudi alliance boost for Eruma -

Shares in Eruma soared after the Aim-traded counter-terrorism group landed an ally in its bid to break into the lucrative Saudi Arabian market.
Eruma signed up Saudi Technical Support, an infrastructure group, as its “exclusive distribution partner” in the country, which Eruma said would help sales in the region.
Without the support of a Saudi company, it would take “years” to secure contracts in the country, according to Wayne Money, chief executive at the group.

FT Lex: Emerging challenge to oil majors - YouTube

CDC and Qatar Holding to invest in small French businesses | Reuters

French state-owned bank Caisse des Depots and Qatar's sovereign fund Qatar Holding LLC said on Friday they signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to co-invest in small and medium businesses in France.

The partnership will have capital of 300 million euros ($389 million) and invest in companies "engaged in sectors with high growth potential and where both Qatar Holding LLC and Caisse des Depots have common interests," the joint statement said.

Qatar Holding has been one of the most world's most active investors.

BBC News - Saudi Arabia's job creation push

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Bahrain's Gulf Air: chief executive Majali resigns - The Economic Times

Gulf Air's Chief Executive Officer, brought in to restructure the airline's operations in 2009, has resigned, the Bahrain-based firm said in a statement issued late on Thursday.

Samer Majali will remain in his job until the end of 2012. The company did not say who would replace Majali, or give reasons for his resignation.

Bahrain's flag carrier cut its order for Boeing's Dreamliner in November, and revised a deal with Airbus, part of a move to restructure its fleet as it tries to cope with a tough market.

Thursday, 29 November 2012

British industry in line for £1bn boost from Kuwait - Telegraph

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office said it was working with the Kuwaiti government to enhance Kuwait’s homeland security.
Under the agreement, the British Government would manage the project and award contracts to British companies on Kuwait’s behalf.
It is understood the partnership would be worth around £100m to £150m every year for the next seven years to the UK.

MENA stock markets close - November 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)

Dubai Shares Advance on Emaar Mall Plan, Saudi King’s Health - Bloomberg

Dubai stocks rose the most in two months after Emaar Properties PJSC (EMAAR) said it’s expanding the world’s largest mall and amid optimism the Saudi king’s health is improving after he underwent back surgery.
Emaar, developer of the world’s tallest skyscraper, gained 1.6 percent after saying it will add a new shopping boulevard, residences and hotels to the Dubai Mall. Arabtec Holding Co. (ARTC), the United Arab Emirates’ biggest publicly traded construction company, advanced the most in a week. The DFM General Index (DFMGI) climbed 1.2 percent, the biggest gain since Oct. 1, to 1,607.90 at the 2 p.m. close in Dubai, trimming this month’s decline to 0.7 percent. Dubai’s market will close beginning Dec. 2 for a two-day national holiday.
Emaar rallied to a one-month high on Nov. 25 after Dubai’s government said the company will help build a district called “Mohammed Bin Rashid City,” named after the emirate’s ruler, a plan that includes a mall surpassing the Dubai Mall in size.

STOCKS NEWS MIDEAST-Dubai stocks rise, trimming monthly losses - Yahoo! News

Dubai's index ends higher on the final day's trading in November, but Thursday's gains are not enough to prevent the measure from posting its first monthly loss since June as investors cut risk amid regional political tensions.
The benchmark climbs 1.2 percent to finish at 1,608 points, trimming November's losses to 0.7 percent. It is up 18.8 percent year-to-date.
"There wasn't any main catalyst for a downturn, but despite that we saw selling due to international and regional factors affecting local sentiment," says Marwan Shurrab, vice-president and chief trader at Gulfmena Investments.

Egypt: investors nervous as politicians prepare new constitution | beyondbrics

With Egypt on political tenterhooks on Thursday as president Mohamed Morsi prepared to address the nation, investors were understandably nervous.

Egyptian shares slumped 2.6 per cent at the opening before recovering slightly to trade 0.9 per cent down on the day, and have lost 12.3 per cent since Morsi (pictured) last week precipitated the latest crisis by assuming increased powers.

Domestic bond prices, which had held onto the gains made earlier in the year, slumped on Wednesday, with the the yield on the benchmark 10-year issue soaring from 14.86 per cent on Tuesday to 15.50 on Wednesday. On Thursday the yield eased to 15.25 per cent.

High-tech route is ‘the only way’ for petrochemicals industry - The National

The head of the world's biggest petrochemicals company yesterday urged his Arabian Gulf-based rivals to spend more on technology to strengthen the industry.

"To sustain [our] level of growth, we need to bring in change.

"The only way is by adopting a technology-driven approach to remain competitive in an ever-changing market place," said Mohamed Al Mady, the chief executive of the Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (Sabic).

Global shipyard demand starts to sink - The National

Up to 45 per cent of global shipyards will have no orders to work on at year-end, according to research by analysts at Deutsche Bank, carried out for the world's biggest shipbuilder, Hyundai Heavy Industries.

The work, published in the latest edition of the South Korean industrial giant's journal, New Horizons, also shows that global commercial ship orders were down 48 per cent year on year, in the first nine months of this year and the order backlog fell to half of the level of the first half of 2008.

Global shipbuilding has been going through a downturn for the past four years, said the research, with the downturn being felt more in the commercial shipbuilding industry, where demand is driven by fixed asset investments and growth in global trade.

Water issue critical for the GCC |

The upcoming GCC summit in Manama will discus several issues related to political and security conditions in the region. The current events, especially the situation in Syria and threats facing the Gulf, will top the summit’s agenda.
However, economic cooperation will not be given the same attention it had in the previous summits for several reasons, including challenges facing the GCC countries, requiring more intra-GCC coordination and solidarity.
Meanwhile, economic integration of the bloc will not be completely achieved, despite several achievements such as Free Trade Zone, Customs Union and the free movement of commodities and professional workers among the GCC countries.

How to turn around airlines and make them profitable |

James Hogan, President and Chief Executive Officer of Etihad Airways – the man from Down Under – is right now on top of the world. And that is for a number of reasons.
First, he has successfully turned around two airlines – Gulf Air and Etihad Airways –one after the other and made them profitable during the last nine years. Hogan made his leadership mark in 2005 when he had brought Gulf Air to the black from being years in the red following a three-year turnaround period from 2002. He then led Etihad Airways from 2006 to make it profitable last year.
These were achieved at a time when the global aviation industry has been reeling from multiple challenges such as increased competition, high oil prices, dwindling profit margins and low yield.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Zain Saudi extends 9 billion riyal loan for fifth time -bourse | Reuters

Zain Saudi extended the maturity of a 9 billion Saudi riyals ($2.4 billion) Islamic loan until December 19, it said in a bourse statement on Wednesday, making it the fifth time the loss-making telecom operator has deferred payment.

"The Company announces that it has been granted an approval from the lenders to extend the maturity date of the syndicated Murabaha facility until 19 December 2012 and could also be extended further," it said in a statement.

"The purpose of this extension is to allow the Company and its Lenders the opportunity to finalize a new long-term financing agreement to replace the existing one," it said.

Turkey-Iran: gold for gas gets US scrutiny | beyondbrics

More pressure is coming Turkey’s way over gas purchases from Iran.

After the Turkish government’s admission last week that Tehran was using revenue from gas sales to Ankara to buy gold and then shipping the metal back home, the gas-gold trade has attracted (almost certainly unwelcome) attention from the US Senate.

Reuters has reported that a group of senators are working on a sanctions package that would, among other things, end Turkey’s “game of gold for natural gas”, according to an aide. The measures could be added to a defence bill before the current US Congress breaks up; if not, the issue is very likely to be on the agenda when its successor convenes in January.

Egypt: market falls on political tension | beyondbrics

Egypt’s political leaders are raising the temperature – and the stock market is wilting in the heat.

The EGX30 index fell 4.6 per cent on Wednesday, as the Constitutional Court threw down the gauntlet to president Mohamed Morsi saying it would not intimidated after he last week unilaterally exempted all his decisions from judicial view.

The court’s declaration came as the country’s appeals courts joined the lower courts in suspending their activities in a protest strike. The stock market has now fallen 11.5 per cent since Morsi’s power grab.

Growth prospects fuel Gulf banks' capital-raising push | Reuters

As banks in much of the rest of the world struggle to shore up balance sheets ravaged by weak economies, banks in the Gulf are sucking in capital for a very different reason: to fund expansion plans.

The contrast means the Gulf banks are likely to be able to raise money cheaply and relatively easily, helping them compete as they move into markets overseas and challenge some of the big international institutions.

"Our growth rates have been phenomenal in the last few years and because of that growth, we needed to refuel after a certain stage," Tirad Mahmoud, chief executive of Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB), told Reuters after his bank raised $1 billion of capital this month.

MIDEAST MONEY-High-flying Dubai managers back in charge as crash fades | Reuters

When Dubai's ruler unveiled plans last week to build a complex housing 100 hotels and the world's biggest shopping mall, the scale of his ambitions recalled the emirate's boom half a decade ago. So did his choice of executives to lead the project.

Mohammed Alabbar, builder of the world's tallest tower, signed documents related to the project in his role as chairman of Emaar Properties, Dubai's top real estate firm.

Sitting next to him was Mohammed al-Gergawi, chairman of Dubai Holding, a conglomerate owned by the ruler. Gergawi played a central role in setting up districts housing Dubai's financial, media and information technology industries.

MENA stock markets close - November 28, 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)

Kuveyt Turk aims to become Germany's first Islamic bank in 2013-CEO - Yahoo! News Maktoob

Kuwait Finance House's Turkish unit Kuveyt Turk has applied for a German banking licence and aims to become the first Islamic bank in Europe's largest economy, Chief Executive Ufuk Uyan told Reuters in an interview.
Kuveyt Turk - which issued a $350 million sukuk, or Islamic bond, last year - is awaiting a response from German financial watchdog BaFin but hopes the application process will be completed next year, Uyan said.
"We are trying to obtain a full banking license," he told Reuters in his office in Istanbul. "We plan to open branches in Germany and if this model becomes successful we could consider going to other European countries."

BBC News - Gulf 'free zones' compete for business

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Kabul Bank: of fraud and airplane food trays | FT Alphaville

This has been a while coming… Afghanistan has just got a new independent report published into what has previously been described as a Ponzi scheme operated at Kabul Bank, the country’s biggest lender.

It’s grim, grubby stuff, detailing how the men at Kabul Bank and their friends and relatives got rich off $861m in bogus loans and sparked a bank run in 2010, while political interference has since hampered the clean-up of the mess.

STOCKS NEWS MIDEAST-Egypt tumbles as institutionals exit - Yahoo! News Maktoob

Selling pressure on Egypt's bourse drags the benchmark index to match Monday's four-month intra-day low as institutional investors look for an exit following nationwide protests.
Tens of thousands of Egyptians rallied on Tuesday against Mursi in one of the biggest outpourings of protest since Hosni Mubarak's overthrow, accusing the Islamist leader of seeking to impose a new era of autocracy.
Clashes between Mursi's opponents and supporters erupted in a city north of Cairo, spurring worries of a worsening political crisis.

STOCKS NEWS MIDEAST-UAE investors wary as mkts end mixed - Yahoo! News Maktoob

UAE markets end little changed in lacklustre trade as regional politics curb investor risk appetite, while Kuwait's bourse slips from a six-week high.
Dubai's index declines 0.2 percent to close at 1,589 points, trading within a tight range for the last eight sessions.
Property-related stocks weigh. Emaar Properties and Deyaar Development shed 0.8 and 0.9 percent respectively.

BP Sells $1.1 Billion of U.K. Oil Assets to Abu Dhabi’s Taqa - Bloomberg

BP Plc (BP/), the energy producer that’s disposing of assets in the wake of the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, sold stakes in North Sea fields to Abu Dhabi National Energy Co. (TAQA) for $1.1 billion.
Taqa, as the state-controlled power and oil company is known, will acquire interests in BP’s Harding, Maclure and Devenick fields, BP said in a statement today. The deal also includes non-operated interests in the Brae and Braemar fields. The price doesn’t include future payments dependent on oil prices and production that BP expects to reach $250 million.
BP CEO Bob Dudley is shoring up the balance sheet of Europe’s second-biggest oil company as it faces a trial over civil fines in the U.S. next year. Today’s sale brings total disposals since 2010 to about $37 billion, close to the $38 billion target.

Dubai has its 'own resources' to fund multi-billion dirham mega-projects - The National

Dubai will be able to finance some of the recently-announced raft of mega-projects out of its own resources, according to Hani Al Hamli, secretary general of the Dubai Economic Council.

“It’s true the global crisis has had a real effect on finances everywhere, but we do have our own resources and it will be achieved. It has the endorsement of Sheikh Mohammed [Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai],” he said at a conference on Dubai trade organised by the DEC and the World Bank.

In the past two weeks, the emirate has announced plans for big developments in the transport, retail and leisure sectors that will transform the city’s infrastructure.

STOCKS NEWS MIDEAST-Kuwait slips from 6-wk high; UAE mkts flat - Yahoo! News Maktoob

Kuwait's bourse falls from Tuesday's six-week high as investors book gains in small-caps, while other Gulf Arab
markets are mixed.
Aayan Leasing falls 5 percent, Munshaat Real Estate drops 6.3 percent and Gulf Investment House sheds 2 percent.
Kuwait's index dips 0.5 percent to 5,922 points, trimming year-to-date gains to 1.9 percent.

Qatar's Ahli Bank says top shareholder to sell most of stake | Reuters

Ahli Bank, Qatar's seventh-largest listed bank, said on Wednesday that its strategic partner, Bahrain's Ahli United Bank, would sell nearly all its stake in the lender.

Ahli United Bank, Bahrain's largest lender, will sell all but 1,000 of its 37.4 million shares in the Qatari firm, Ahli Bank said in a bourse filing.

The proposed sale is currently being reviewed by the Qatar central bank, the statement added. It did not say whether the sale of the stake had been agreed between all parties, or at what price it would be conducted.

Kabul Bank Sent Millions of Dollars Abroad |

Hundreds of millions of dollars from Kabul Bank were spirited out of Afghanistan — some smuggled in airline food trays — to bank accounts in more than two dozen countries, according to an independent review released on Wednesday about massive fraud that led to the collapse of the nation’s largest financial institution.

The report, which was financed by international donors, offers new details about how the men at Kabul Bank and their friends and relatives got rich off $861 million in fraudulent loans in what the International Monetary Fund has called a Ponzi scheme that used customer deposits and operated under nascent banking oversight in the war-torn country.

The report describes Kabul Bank as a sophisticated operation with one set of books for the eyes of regulators and another in the back room that logged how those running the bank and others were fattening their wallets.

Experts call for effective bank supervision |

The banking sector is the main source of risk for financial stability, said financial experts at the opening of the 8th high level meeting for the Middle East and North Africa region.
The conference, organised by the Arab Monetary Fund, the Financial Stability Institute and Basel Committee on Banking Supervision, reviewed a number of policies and initiatives to build a resilient financial system.
Dr. Abdul Rahman Al Hamidi, vice governor at the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency, said: “Reinforcement of the micro-prudential institutional soundness through effective bank regulations and supervision is of paramount importance. Therefore, supervisors have to adopt the latest techniques and best practices.”

A global leap for UAE’s aviation sector |

The year has moved on and so have airlines of the UAE. Emirates and Etihad Airways dropping their guards and joining hands with other global carriers will perhaps go down as the UAE aviation sector’s biggest feat in 2012.
Until some time ago, the legacy carriers of the UAE were happy being on their own and quite opposed to consolidation of sorts, but this year saw them embracing foreign partners quite aggressively, especially in the case of Etihad Airways.
The Abu Dhabi carrier acquired equity stakes in four airlines during the year besides signing a number codeshare deals, thereby aggressively expanding its footprint on the global map.

Dubai on white-knuckle ride to revival with Dh10bn theme-park project - The National

In a week bursting with announcements that Dubai is pressing ahead with a new phase of mega projects, experts yesterday voiced a qualified vote of confidence to the emirate's latest proposals to develop five Florida-style theme parks at Jebel Ali.

Late on Tuesday night, three years to the day since the Dubai World crisis rocked the world economy, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, announced he had approved a Dh10 billion (US$2.7bn) mega scheme to develop the five linked theme parks.

The scheme is to be built by Meraas, Sheikh Mohammed's own property and investment company, starting with Dubai Adventure Studios fun park, plans for which were announced last December and which is expected to be completed by 2014.

Active stance makes Qatar a powerful arbiter -

It is hard to know how to refer to Qatar Holding, which steered the outcome of the Glenstrata merger vote and has just sold warrants equivalent to 3 per cent of Barclays. The $100bn sovereign wealth fund does not like being called an activist, preferring “active investor”. But that term has already been claimed by stockpicking asset managers. Generally these earnest types do not make big, market-moving calls under full public scrutiny.
Qatar does. Its intervention in the $70bn merger of Glencore and Xstrata squeezed a better price from the Swiss commodities trader and indirectly triggered the resignation of the miner’s chairman. Nor did the wealth fund strictly need to sell its warrants to reduce exposure to Barclays.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Financing challenge overhangs huge Dubai projects | Reuters

Dubai is reviving massive real estate projects as its economy recovers from a corporate debt crisis, but this time around, constraints on financing are likely to slow the pace of its building boom.

Memories of the crisis will keep many investors cautious about stumping up money before projects are completed. That will leave the plans heavily dependent on bank loans and the bond markets - and the global climate is not favourable for banks.

Official announcements over the past few days have recalled the heady days of the mid-2000s, when Dubai was building some of its most flamboyant projects, including the world's tallest skyscraper and an archipelago of man-made islands.

Qatar move comes at bad time for Barclays -

Qatar Holding, the Gulf state’s direct investment arm, has chosen to take profits on its Barclays warrants at a time when the outlook for western investment banking is increasingly challenged.
The gas-rich Gulf state remains the biggest shareholder in the UK bank, with 6.7 per cent, but it decided to cash in its warrants on Monday, allowing it to make a profit without selling down its stake.

U.A.E. Mulls Allowing 100% Foreign Ownership of Companies - Businessweek

The United Arab Emirates government is reviewing a draft commercial law allowing full foreign ownership of some companies, according to an Abu Dhabi official.

“We recognize the importance of the foreign companies to have 100 percent ownership, but within specific rules and conditions,” Mohamed Omar Abdulla, undersecretary of the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development, said in an interview in Dubai today.

The measure applies to some industries outside of free zones, Abdulla said. The Abu Dhabi government and others within the U.A.E. are reviewing the draft, he said, without specifying when it will be passed. Foreigners make up about 90 percent of the nation’s 8.3 million population, according to 2010 government estimates.

Irrational exuberance, Dubai-style « parallel universe

This morning, this headline popped into my regular Dubai Google Alert:

“Dubai plans $2.7 bln theme park complex”

Excellent, I thought to myself. This is the remainder of the resurrection of Dubailand, the part that features a medley of theme parks across the size of New York City, now with a six-times-as-big replica of the Taj Mahal. But the story actually referred to an entirely new complex of theme parks, this one being beside Jebel Ali port.

The $2.7 billion development will “include an adventure park featuring Hollywood brands, a marine park, a children’s park and a night safari,” according to Reuters. “Meraas has formed partnerships with several major film studios in Mumbai to obtain content for the Bollywood Parks section, which will include a theatre showing Broadway-style musicals.”

MENA stock markets close - November 27, 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)

UAE banks prepared for Basel III |

High capital levels amongst UAE banks indicate that the UAE banks and financial institutions are unlikely to be significantly worried about stricter international rules requiring them to sustain the amount of cash they keep as reserves.
The UAE banking system is stable and has a high level of adequacy with high capital and liquidity, Sultan Bin Nasser Al Suwaidi, UAE Central Bank governor, told the Gulf News on Tuesday.
“The UAE will be applying Basel III gradually until the year 2019 and the UAE banks have no problem if Basel III is applied as they have high liquidity, no cash problems and their capital are already high,” said Al Suwaidi.

Mega project announcements leave Dubai business community unsure what to think « ArabianMoney

The Dubai business community has been left uncertain of what to think of a series of mega project announcements this week from the Ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

Some fear a return to the runaway project launches of the 2003-8 real estate boom, others think the government is launching projects that will never happen, or at least only slowly and on a much smaller scale than past mega projects.

The go ahead for the Mohammed bin Rashid City with its huge central park and the world’s largest mall has brought back worries about massive off-plan sales and property speculation. But it is a joint venture with Emaar Properties whose project roll-outs have always been cleverly timed and well executed.

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi falls to fresh 10-mth low; Gulf mixed - Yahoo! News

Saudi Arabia's bourse fell for a 12th session in 14, slumping to a fresh 10-month low on Tuesday on lingering concerns over King Abdullah's health, while other regional markets closed mixed.
Banks lead declines on the kingdom's index, which fell 1.3 percent to its lowest close since Jan. 23.
Heavyweight lender Al Rajhi Bank dropped 3.1 percent to its lowest level since July 2009. Alinma Bank
slipped 2 percent and Banque Saudi Fransi lost 1.4 percent.

Morocco seeks airline partner from Gulf or beyond | Reuters

Morocco would rather pursue a strategic partnership for Royal Air Maroc, with an airline from one of the Gulf states or beyond, than sell a stake in its flag carrier, government ministers said late on Monday.

A government source last month said that partnership proposals included the sale of a minority stake to a leading Gulf airline.

"No decision has been taken yet, but my opinion is that it is better to do a partnership rather than sell a stake," Tourism Minister Lahcen Haddad said on the sidelines of a tourism conference in Rabat.

Egypt: market stabilises – for now | beyondbrics

Egypt’s stock market seems to have stabilised since its dramatic 9.6 per cent fall on Sunday, triggered by the latest round of political turmoil. On Monday, the EGX30 index rose 2.6 per cent and was trading flat in the early afternoon, Cairo time, on Tuesday.

But the political confrontations of the last few days are a reminder that Egypt’s leaders are a long way from giving priority to the economy. The International Monetary Fund programme announced last week is anything but a done deal.

As Heba Saleh reported for the FT, president Mohamed Morsi has failed to convince the opposition legal experts of the merits of his decree last week giving his decisions immunity from judicial review.

OECD slashes 2013 growth forecast -

The OECD has slashed its forecast for growth in the world’s advanced economies in 2013 and warned that the risk of a serious global recession cannot be ruled out.
In its economic outlook, published on Tuesday, the OECD said it expected growth of 1.4 per cent next year in the group of 34 wealthy economies that make up the membership of the Paris-based organisation – down from 2.2 per cent forecast in May – and called for several of its members to step up their policy response.

IMF cautions Egypt on loan -

The International Monetary Fund said on Tuesday that finalisation of an agreement for a crucial $4.8bn loan to Egypt will depend on economic conditions in the country remaining unchanged.
In a carefully worded statement the IMF underlined that the loan would depend on the government’s ability to issue a revised budget adopting agreed tax and spending reforms, and on continued assurances from foreign partners that they would fulfil their commitments to provide additional finance.

MIDEAST DEBT-Financing challenge overhangs huge Dubai projects | Reuters

Dubai is reviving massive real estate projects as its economy recovers from a corporate debt crisis, but this time around, constraints on financing are likely to slow the pace of its building boom.

Memories of the crisis will keep many investors cautious about stumping up money before projects are completed. That will leave the plans heavily dependent on bank loans and the bond markets - and the global climate is not favourable for banks.

Official announcements over the past few days have recalled the heady days of the mid-2000s, when Dubai was building some of ts most flamboyant projects, including the world's tallest skyscraper and an archipelago of man-made islands.