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Sunday, 15 January 2012

MENA stock markets close - January 15, 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)

How will the Arab Spring affect Middle Eastern growth prospects in 2012? « ArabianMoney

The ongoing impact of the still reverberating Arab Spring protests, civil wars and revolutions on the economic outlook for 2012 was the broad theme of a seminar held in the Dubai International Financial Centre today using ‘Chatham House Rules’ that allow press reporting but not the attribution of actual quotations to individuals.

A little ironic from the champion of openness and transparency in corporate governance in the GCC, but nobody likes to be seen to be openly critical in the current environment. And so this opaqueness can actually encourage freedom of speech as commentators feel more able to speak out.

100 biggest economies - Zawya

A year after HSBC released its 2050 report which estimated that Egypt would surpass Saudi Arabia as the largest economy in the Middle East, the bank has dug deeper in its crystal ball-gazing research.

The first report limited its forecast to the world's 30 largest economies by 2050 - but has now expanded it to 100 nations and includes more Middle East nations.

And like the first edition of the report, there are a few surprises.

Risky Egypt - Zawya

Egypt is now among the ten riskiest sovereigns in the world, according to the latest report from CMA Datavision. In other words, Egypt is among the nations most likely to default on its debt.

While that does not necessarily mean that Egypt will default, its spread has risen as investors are nervous that the country could default.

"Investor concern on Egypt's potential default and drawn out political transition saw the spreads widen to 621bp and implied rating to CMA_b+. S&P also downgraded to B+ in late November," says the independent credit default spread (CDS) tracker, which rates virtually all sovereigns, and publishes a report every quarter.

Dubai Shares Decline to Lowest Since June 2004 - Bloomberg

Dubai’s benchmark stock index retreated to the lowest level in more than seven years on concern that full-year earnings may disappoint and after France and Austria were stripped of top credit ratings.
Emaar Properties PJSC (EMAAR), developer of the world’s tallest tower, fell 2.4 percent. Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Co. (DU) dropped to the lowest level in more than a month. The DFM General Index (DFMGI) lost 1 percent to 1,314.47, the lowest since June 2004, at the 2 p.m. close in the emirate. The Bloomberg GCC 200 Index slipped 0.1 percent. In Egypt, the EGX30 Index (EGX30), down 49 percent last year, climbed 1.7 percent.
“There’s some concern over earnings and momentum is very negative at the moment in United Arab Emirates markets,” said Ahmed Talhaoui, the Abu Dhabi-based head of investment and asset management at Royal Capital PJSC. “There’s no positive catalyst, so it’s difficult to see buyers coming into this environment” as European debt woes worsen sentiment, he said.

CORRECTED-Dubai World unit eyes sale of UK asset to meet debt-sources | Reuters

Economic Zones World (EZW), a unit of Dubai World, is considering the sale of its UK-based warehouse property developer Gazeley, as it looks to repay some of its debt of over $2 billion this year, three banking sources said.

Gazeley is one of the four businesses held by EZW, which operates technology, logistics and industrial parks as well as Jebel Ali Free Zone (JAFZA) under the Dubai World Group umbrella.

A potential sale of Gazeley will help EZW repay a portion of debt maturing at JAFZA, the sources said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

WAM - UAE Non-oil Trade hits AED 676.3 bln during First 9 months

UAE non-oil foreign trade has been on the go for Qs 1,2 '&' 3, 2011 compared to the same period of the previous year. Federal Customs Authority (FCA) initial statistical data indicates a year-on-year YoY 23% increase in UAE's non-oil foreign trade from January to the end of September, 2011.

According to FCA statistical data for Qs 1,2 '&' 3, 2011 indicate a non-oil foreign trade increase from AED 556.1 bln in for the same period in 2010 to AED 676.3 bln in 2011; i.e., an AED 120.2 increase.

Data on import growth reveals a 22% increase, thus moving from AED 357.1 bln in 2010 to AED 436.7 bln in 2011 for same period.

Kuwait Investment Companies Need Government Support, Union Says - Bloomberg

Kuwaiti investment companies need government intervention to overcome the effects of the economic crisis, and failing to deal with their debt may hurt banks in the country, said Asaad al-Banwan, chairman of the Union of Investment Companies.
“The continued weakness of investment companies and their inability to service their debt may cause a significantly negative impact on the performance of local banks,” al-Banwan said in an e-mailed statement today.
“Challenges of the financial crisis can be overcome by government interference, and Kuwait is not an exception,” he said. Given a lack of funding channels for investment companies, the union “sees the necessity for the government to review its stand toward the investment sector,” al-Banwan said.

UPDATE 1-Kuwait's KIPCO prices $286 mln local currency bond - lead | Reuters

Kuwait Projects Co (KIPCO), the Gulf state's largest investment company, has closed an 80 million dinars ($286 million) bond issue, one of the lead managers said on Sunday.

The offering is the first local currency transaction out of Kuwait this year and consisted of two tranches of four-year paper.

The fixed-rate piece, which made up 60.625 percent of the issue, priced at 4.75 percent, while the floating-rate portion priced at 200 basis points over the Central Bank of Kuwait's discount rate.

NCBs profit up by 23 percent in 2011 |

The National Commercial Bank (NCB) has made a profit of SR 6.012 million in 2011 registering a 27.3 percent increase over 2010, a press statement of the bank said here Saturday.
“Despite the prevailing low rates, the banks net special commission income during the year increased by 5.3 percent to SAR 8,581 million,” Sheikh Abdullah Bahamdan chairman of the bank said. “The increase in shareholders equity and customer deposits enabled the bank to increase its assets.”
Shareholders equity increased by SR 2.7 billion, or 8.3percent, to SAR 35.6 billion, while customer deposits increased by SR 10.3 billion, or 4.5 percent, to reach SAR 239.5 billion. Total assets increased by 6.7 percent to reach SR 301.2 billion. This increase was reflected in expanded lending activities, with the loan portfolio increasing by 7.7 percent to reach SR 135.3 billion.

Iran’s oil exports map « The Gulf blog

Here’s a quick and easy map from CNN showing where Iran sends its oil. I’d be more impressed, though, if it showed what percentage of oil Iran’s sales made in the countries in question.

Hat tip: ScottLucasUK

Vegas Wire: CityCenter bonds looking better -

CityCenter bonds are looking like a better bet, according to investment adviser Moody’s.
Moody’s upgraded its view of CityCenter’s roughly $1.5 billion of debt Monday, saying the prospects of increased visitation to Las Vegas this year helps the 67-acre, multiple development Strip complex.
CityCenter, anchored by the 4,004-room Aria hotel-casino, is owned 50-50 by MGM Resorts International and Dubai World, the investment arm of the Persian Gulf emirate. MGM Resorts manages the venture.
Moody’s in a note to investors said modest economic growth and higher corporate profits are likely to support rising visitation and convention attendance in 2012.

UAE Central Bank could soon cap credit card interest rates - Emirates 24/7

The UAE Central Bank has told lenders in the country to urgently supply it with reports on interest rates and fees they impose on credit cards in a move that could be a prelude to impose ceilings on such rates.

According to the Sharjah-based Arabic language daily Al Khaleej, the Central Bank made the request in a letter sent to the 23 national banks and 28 foreign units on Thursday morning, asking them to provide the information before the end of the work hours on that day.

The paper said rates on credit cards in the UAE are the highest in the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) as they range between 27 and 36 per cent compared, for example, with 18 per cent in Kuwait and Qatar.

Jadwa profit surges 18% to SR130 million - Yahoo!

Jadwa Investment, a leading Saudi Arabian investment firm, announced Saturday its revenue surpassed SR270 million ($72 million) in 2011; a more than 14 percent increase compared with 2010. Net income exceeded SR130 million, an increase of more than 18 percent from 2010, according to a press statement received here on Saturday.
Commenting on the results, Prince Faisal bin Salman, chairman of Jadwa Investment, said: “For the fifth year in a row since founding Jadwa, we have experienced volatile global and regional markets. During 2011, our industry was impacted by several major socio-political and economic events, including ‘Arab Spring’ and the European sovereign debt crisis. In this challenging environment, I am pleased to announce record revenues and profits for 2011. We are particularly delighted that Jadwa has been profitable every year since its founding.”

gulfnews : Short-term liquidity worries will affect growth of industry

Here is a multiple choice questionnaire on how the Islamic finance industry performed in the past year and what may lie ahead for it in the coming months.
1. Has Islamic finance succeeded in meeting its objectives of financial inclusion, deriving profits from doing good and distributing wealth and eradicating poverty, since its birth 40 years ago?
a. No. Today Islamic fin-ance is about providing banking services to those who can afford them. Very little attention is paid to the needs of the majority of people, who require micro-financing and funding for small and medium enterprises, among others. An Occupy Wall Street- type popular movement is needed to push the industry into prioritising these objectives.
b. Yes, but slowly. The industry has just reached $1 trillion and cannot be expected to meet all its strategic objectives while still at an embryonic stage.

gulfnews : Eurozone's rating cut likely to spark selling in Gulf

The region's stock markets are likely to come under selling pressure this week following credit rating agency Standard & Poor's downgrade of nine countries in the Eurozone — with the level of sell-off depending on how the global markets react to this development, analysts say.
"The downgrade is definitely going to be negative for all markets, including regional ones. However, their full impact will be felt only during the latter half of the week when we get to see international markets' reaction," Mohammad Ali Yasin, chief investment officer at CAPM Investment told Gulf News by telephone.
"We will probably see a strong regional markets reaction. However, it will fall short of a major sell-off as, fundamentally, economies in the region are strong and international oil prices are still close to $100 (Dh367) a barrel," he added.

Saudi Shares Gain for a Third Day as Investors Weigh Earnings Prospects - Bloomberg

Saudi Arabian shares rose for a third day, sending the benchmark index to its highest level in almost six months, as investors weighed prospects for earnings.
Almarai Co. (ALMARAI), the desert kingdom’s largest food producer, climbed to a three-week high after saying it will increase its capital. Etihad Etisalat Co. (EEC), the country’s second-largest phone company by market value, also known as Mobily, reached its highest price since October.
The Tadawul All Share Index (SASEIDX) strengthened 0.1 percent to 6,494.77, the highest level since July 24, by the 3:30 p.m. close in Riyadh. The 150-member gauge erased a drop of as much as 0.3 percent.

Saudi Arabia signs $8.2 billion rail deal with Spanish group | Business Recorder

Saudi Arabia signed a contract worth 30.8 billion riyals ($8.2 billion) on Saturday with a Spanish consortium to build a high-speed railway connecting Islam's holiest cities, Makkah and Medina, with the port city of Jeddah.

Saudi Finance Minister Ibrahim Alassaf and Transportation Minister Jobarah al-Suraisry signed the agreement with Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo and Public Works Minister Ana Pastor.

Al-Shoula consortium, which comprises Spanish companies including ADIF, RENFE and Talgo, won the project last year after a long bidding process in which it competed with a French-led group.

Banking on better payouts from Qatar - The National

Regional investors will be eyeing Qatar's banks this week.

Qatar National Bank (QNB), the country's biggest lender by assets, reported on Tuesday a 32 per cent increase in profit to 7.5 billion rials - but its proposed 40 per cent cash dividend has disappointed investors, sending the shares 5.2 per cent lower, the biggest one-day drop since 2009.

No wonder investors are eagerly awaiting the fourth-quarter earnings reports from Qatar's other banks.

A great boost to China-Arab partnership in hard times - Xinhua |

After his ongoing Nepal trip, Premier Wen Jiabao will pay an official visit to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Qatar, a tour expected to set in motion an important diplomatic push in the Gulf region.

The visit, the first overseas trip by a top Chinese leader this year, comes at a time when the world is going through the most profound and complicated changes since the Cold War.

While the international community is still trying to digest the political turbulence in West Asia and North Africa, the world economy remains fragile in the aftermath of the devastating global financial crisis and the sovereign debt mess in Europe.

gulfnews : Opportunities within the negativity of 2012 outlook

According to Sean Daykin, had of investment at the asset management arm of EmiratesNBD, the three "plausible" outlooks for 2012 fall under the headings of: "muddle through"; "re-acceleration", or, a "return to 2008" (remember Lehman Brothers — a bad thing).
The global background for painting these scenarios is the current climate of negativity, well expressed in the front cover of the New York Times' business section on January 1: a baby wearing the 2012 sash balls his eyes out at the new year accompanied by his iPhone and investment charts.
Picking through the probability of three plausible scenarios, Daykin sees the "muddle through" as the most probable (70 per cent probability). Under this scenario, politicians in the US and Europe, together with the international cadre of central banks, will "continue to come up with last minute solutions to prevent crisis. We will get closer to a long-term solution to sovereign debt as the year progresses".

Failed £285m deal sees Adelphi back on the market - The Independent

The Adelphi building off the Strand in London's West End, is expected to be put back up for sale in the next few weeks.

The Art Deco landmark was thought to have been snapped up by fund manager Perella Weinberg last year, but the deal has come unstuck due to onerous debt terms. Perella Weinberg offered £285m, slightly under the asking price. Current owner Istithmar, the Dubai government-owned investment firm, is hopeful that it can still attract similarly sized offers when agent CBRE puts the building back on the market.

gulfnews : UAE economy goes from strong to stronger

The UAE economy achieved outstanding results in 2011, reflecting steady oil prices, strengthened oil production and spillover effects of the Arab Spring. In fact, it is not easy to disagree with a recent report by Standard Chartered Bank estimating real, adjusted for inflation, economic growth of 3.8 per cent for the UAE in 2011 in the light of the three cited causes.
The notable performance partly reflects the near absence of inflationary threats. Happily, inflation remains non-threatening to the UAE economy by virtue of standing at around 1.6 per cent in 2011 and projected to edge up slightly to 2 per cent in 2012.
To be sure, oil prices continued to hover around $100 (Dh367) per barrel throughout 2011, if only because of doubts surrounding oil supplies from Libya. Still, this very case allowed Opec countries enjoying sustained oil production capacity above their quota levels to make up for lost supply. Both Saudi Arabia and the UAE were at the forefront of oil-producing countries compensating the market for the disruption of Libyan oil.

Saudi Aramco Sees Karan Gas Project Completion Ahead of Schedule - Businessweek

Saudi Arabian Oil Co. increased output from its offshore Karan natural-gas deposit and expects to reach full capacity this summer, a year ahead of schedule, Chief Executive Officer Khalid al-Falih said.

The state oil company said in July last year that Karan would reach full capacity of 1.8 million barrels a day in 2013, and would feed into the Khursaniyah processing plant. Saudi Aramco, as the company is known, originally aimed to produce 1.5 billion cubic feet a day by June this year, according to the Dhahran-based company’s 2010 annual review.

Aramco is accelerating work at the project as demand for gas in Saudi Arabia grows rapidly. With electricity consumption rising by about 8 percent a year, the country wants to produce more gas to run power plants and save valuable oil for exports.