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Monday, 9 January 2012

MENA stock markets close - January 9, 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)

UPDATE 1-Qatar National Bank Q4 profit jumps 40 pct | Reuters

Qatar National Bank (QNB), the Gulf Arab state's largest lender, reported a 40 percent jump in quarterly profit on Monday on increased lending and a surge in deposits.

The bank's fourth-quarter net profit rose to 2.1 billion riyals ($576.6 million), according to Reuters calculations, from 1.5 billion riyals a year earlier.

The lender said annual net profit jumped 32 percent to 7.5 billion riyals in 2011. It earlier reported a nine-month net profit of 5.4 billion riyals.

Qatar acquires Raffles hotels in Singapore, Paris - Real Estate -

Qatar Nationals Hotels Company (QNH) said on Monday it has taken over the ownership of two iconic Raffles properties in Singapore and Paris.
"Adding these iconic properties to our portfolio represents consistent steps of QNH's strategic expansion at the international level," said Hamad Abdulla Al Mulla, CEO of QNH.
"Through years of rich history, Raffles Hotel Singapore and Le Royal Monceau - Raffles Paris have become legendary legacies that enhance the hospitality values by building a bridge between tradition and a glorious future," he added.

Dubai continues dancing to nightlife tune -

Cirque du Soir, a circus-themed London nightspot, stepped out of the UK for the first time in November, opening a Dubai outpost that quickly captured the imagination of the city’s high rollers.
One recent reveller at the venue recalls costumed dwarfs mingling among the crowd as contortionists and scantily clad, chainsaw-wielding models performed against a burlesque backdrop.

The flamboyant “freak show” venue presents a vivid image of Dubai’s continuing role as the region’s playground.

Persian Gulf Stocks: Sabic and Saudi British Bank Are Active - Bloomberg

Saudi Arabia’s Tadawul All Share Index (SASEIDX) declined 0.4 percent, the most in more than a week, to 6,441.62 at the 3:30 p.m. close in Riyadh. Dubai’s DFM General Index (DFMGI) was little changed.

Markets down but UAE represents big potential say fund managers - The National

UAE stock-markets declined at the open on Monday, but fund managers say current valuations are attractive with the potential for big yields amid dividend payments.

EmiratesNBD, the country's biggest lender by assets, lost 2.1 per cent to Dh2.76. Aramex, the region's largest courier company, declined 2.7 per cent to Dh1.78. The Dubai Financial Market General Index lost 0.3 per cent to 1330.88 points.

"For local markets, there is an attractive payout, as last year corporate earnings rose 25 per cent on average," said Haissam Arabi, the chief executive of Gulfmena Investments in Dubai. "Prices of stocks, however, have lost more than 10 per cent."

Abu Dhabi Shares Drop Most in 3 Weeks on Earnings Bets; Etisalat Declines - Bloomberg

Abu Dhabi stocks retreated the most in almost three weeks paced by Emirates Telecommunications Corp. on speculation fourth-quarter earnings may disappoint.
Emirates Telecommunications, the United Arab Emirates’ biggest telephone company known as Etisalat, decreased 1.3 percent. National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD), the country’s second- biggest bank by assets known as NBAD, dropped the most in almost 11 months. Abu Dhabi’s ADX General Index (ADSMI) declined 1.1 percent, the most since Dec. 21, to 2,360.96 at the 2 p.m. close in the emirate. The Bloomberg GCC 200 Index (BGCC200) slipped 0.5 percent at 2:10 p.m. in Riyadh.
“There aren’t very big expectations from market participants for fourth-quarter results,” said Sebastien Henin, who helps oversee $100 million at The National Investor in Abu Dhabi. “Unless there is a major local catalyst, we expect markets to remain trading sideways.”

'Forbes - Middle East' reveals 2011 top performing economies in the Arab region -

Middle East” revealed “2011 Top Performing Economies in the Arab Region” in its 15th issue (January).

According to the study, the high oil prices, witnessed during the past year, have contributed to the achievement of profitable revenue growth in the economies of the Arab oil-exporting countries, 7 of which topped the list of “2011 Top Performing Economies in the Arab Region.”

Saudi Arabia topped the list, followed by the UAE in second place, Qatar in third place and Oman in fourth place.

Abu Dhabi Shares Drop Most in 3 Weeks on Earnings Speculation - Businessweek

Abu Dhabi stocks retreated the most in almost three weeks, led by Emirates Telecommunications Corp., on speculation fourth-quarter earnings may disappoint.

Emirates Telecommunications, the United Arab Emirates biggest telephone company known as Etisalat, declined to the lowest in two weeks. Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank PJSC, the U.A.E.’s third-largest lender by assets, decreased 2.1 percent. Abu Dhabi’s ADX General Index dropped 1 percent, the most since Dec. 21, to 2,362.68 at 12:10 p.m. in the emirate. The Bloomberg GCC 200 Index slipped 0.3 percent.

“There aren’t very big expectations from market participants for fourth-quarter results,” said Sebastien Henin, who helps oversee $100 million at The National Investor in Abu Dhabi. “Unless there is a major local catalyst, we expect markets to remain trading sideways.”

Lloyds in talks to offload UAE business, ADCB likely buyer | Reuters

Struggling British lender Lloyds Banking Group is in talks to dispose of its operations in the United Arab Emirates, with Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank emerging as the frontrunner to pick up the business, sources told Reuters on Monday.

The bank, which is 40 percent owned by the UK government, has appointed Rothschild as an adviser for the sale, two sources confirmed to Reuters on condition of anonymity.

ADCB, the third largest bank in Abu Dhabi by market capitalisation, now appears the most likely acquirer of the business as the bank looks to expand its retail banking operations in the Gulf Arab country.

Is the escalation of tension with Iran good or bad for the Gulf States? « ArabianMoney

At first blush any notion of rising tension in the Persian Gulf, or Arabian Gulf if you sit on the otherside, is obviously bad news for the Gulf States.

Iran in a corner could prove a dangerous neighbor and a naval conflict over the Straits of Hormuz is possible. Then again this would force oil prices higher and for those oil producers still able to export crude this would mean windfall revenues.

UAE's Hamli says $85-95/b oil price would encourage capacity investment | Platts News

UAE Oil Minister Mohammed bin Dhaen al-Hamli said Monday that an oil price average of $85-$95/barrel this decade would encourage the United Arab Emirates and other oil producers to invest in long-term sustainable oil production capacity in an increasingly challenging environment.

Speaking at an energy conference in Abu Dhabi, Hamli said there were still untapped offshore and onshore reserves that could be exploited while existing resources were becoming more difficult to extract. Producers will need prices to be at levels high enough to justify the investment cost required, he said.

"While it is clear that the age of easy oil is coming to an end, it is equally clear, thanks to the application of new technology, that the oil and gas industry has a long life ahead of it," Hamli said.

Khartoum bourse launches electronic trade - Yahoo!

The Khartoum stock exchange on Sunday launched a long-awaited computer trading system that will bring to an end an era of scribbling stock prices on white boards and also marks Sudan's efforts to attract more investment.
But very thin trading in the first session of the electronic system -- a gift from Oman -- highlighted the need to overhaul regulations and transparency.
None of the 40 stocks listed on the display in the new trading room moved in the first 45 minutes. Trading focused as always on government-issued Islamic bonds, known as shahamas, which changed hands for 114,036 Sudanese pounds ($38,000).

gulfnews : Gulf banks' capital ratios in good health

Gulf Arab banks will have an opportunity to boost their lending in 2012, as they enjoy relatively healthy capital ratios compared with their international peers, though growth in their loan books will be contained by concerns about continuing debt restructurings and worries about the global economy, analysts said.
As a result of the sovereign debt crisis in Europe, many international banks are reducing their exposure to emerging markets, including the Middle East. An estimated 50 per cent of bank lending in the Gulf is carried out by international lenders and their retreat offers local banks a chance to reverse several years of sluggish loan growth that followed the financial crisis in 2008 and the collapse of local real estate markets.
"The key challenge is for regional banks to fill the gap in the market left by international banks currently more focused on their home markets as a result of the global financial crisis and Eurozone debt issues," said Jon Breach, partner at BDO Corporate Finance, a financial advisory firm.

Bargain buys offer bereft stockbrokers chance of salvation - The National

You almost have to feel sorry for stockbrokers these days. When they are not being blamed for the downfall of modern society and accused of destroying all the wealth we spent the past decade of boom building up, they are taking second jobs just to try to make ends meet.

Almost half of all the brokerages in this country have closed down since the bears came in and stopped all their fun, putting hundreds of hard-working salesmen out of work.

One local broker, from a once highly active firm on the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange, revealed last week that he was still getting by on commissions he reaped in the heady days of 2006 and 2007. That means he hasn't had a meaningful quarter's returns for the best part of half a decade.

Advertising executives not convinced by growth claims - The National

Advertising executives have disputed two reports that claim the industry grew in the region last year.

In an escalating row, several of the biggest media agencies insist that advertising spending declined by 10 per cent last year.

That is despite the findings of Ipsos MediaCT, one of the region's two main advertising monitoring companies, which said spending in the Arab advertising industry grew by 9.5 per cent last year. A rival monitoring agency, the Pan Arab Research Center (Parc), last week reported a 4 per cent rise in the Arab advertising market for last year.

Saudi growth forecast to slow - The National

Saudi Arabia's economic expansion is forecast to slow by half this year as oil production drops and growth in public spending eases.

But the economy should still receive a boost from a government scheme to finance housing and further capital injections to banks.

"The budget is expansionary and the economy will be helped by more capital expenditure, so there will be housing appropriation and capital injections to lending institutions, helping to support banking sector loan growth," said Jean-Michel Saliba, an economist at Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

Gulf Times – Qatar’s petrochemical expansion plans on target

In a boost for Qatar’s petrochemical industry, the country will become a key global producer of low-density polyethylene with the inauguration of LDPE-3 at Mesaieed in the first half of this year.
LDPE-3, which is being set up by Qatar Petrochemical Company (Qapco), will have a low-density polyethylene capacity of 300,000 tonnes-per-year (tpy).
Speaking to Gulf Times yesterday, HE the Minister of Energy and Industry, Dr Mohamed bin Saleh al-Sada, said “the project is on time…on schedule”.

Upgrade of MSCI Qatar and UAE indices to give access to $3 trillion funding - Arab News

Toward the end of November and at the beginning of December last year, the stocks on the Doha Securities Market (DSM) and Dubai Financial Market (DFM) witnessed a rally. Whilst the rally was partly due to the global trend in markets, fueled by the possibility of a concrete agreement in the EU, an additional factor came into play: The possible upgrade of the Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI) Qatar and UAE indices as part of the MSCI's Annual Market Classification Review, that would give them access to funding worth $3 trillion. However, on Dec. 14, the indices were denied entry into the emerging market category, just like earlier that year and in 2010 and 2009 and the potential reclassification of these indices has been postponed again to June 2012, according to a report “The Economic Effects of an Upgrade in the Financial Market Indices of Qatar & the UAE”, prepared by Dana Al-Fakir, economist at KCIC, an investment firm specializing in emerging Asia investments.
After the MSCI decided to maintain the indices in the Frontier Market slot, the markets took a dip. Whilst the DSM suffered a minor dip, the DFM, which was more hopeful about the upgrade following through, plunged to its lowest in six weeks. A similar scenario ensued back in June of the same year. The effect of just the mere prospect of the markets joining the emerging index, illustrates the profound impact that an upgrade would have on both the Emirati and Qatari markets. The reasons for the upgrade delay this time around are almost an exact replica of those behind their denial back in June; the MSCI wants to give market players more time to fully evaluate the new delivery versus payment (DVP) models that were implemented early last year in Qatar, Dubai and Abu Dhabi. In the UAE, some glitches still need to be rectified via more regulations that will fully safeguard investor assets. In addition, foreign ownership of stocks in Qatar continues to be severely restricted, which was one of the reasons why they were less hopeful about the upgrade. Qatar needs to prop up its limits if it is to fulfill the MSCI's emerging markets prerequisite; whilst the UAE allows up to 49 percent foreign ownership of shares, Qatar only allows 25 percent, the report said.

Saudi Spending To Exceed 2012 Budget, But Surplus Likely: Fitch | alifarabia

Spending by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 2012 will likely be higher than budgeted, but the country will still run a fiscal surplus of 4% of GDP, says Fitch Ratings.

Spending growth will moderate in 2012 compared with last year. In 2011, spending growth reached 24%, the highest in a decade. The government raised public sector wages, created government jobs, injected capital into state-owned lenders and pledged more resources for housing. Capital spending – mainly on infrastructure – exceeded 12% of GDP.

Saudi budgets typically underestimate both revenue and spending. In 2002-2011, central government spending exceeded the budget by an average of 24.8%. But in each year other than 2009, oil prices lifted revenues beyond expectations, giving the government room to spend more without running a deficit.