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Friday, 27 January 2012

Assaf Says Saudi Arabia May Be Ready to Raise IMF Contribution - Bloomberg

Saudi Arabia’s Finance Minister Ibrahim al-Assaf said the world’s top oil exporter may be willing to increase its contribution to the International Monetary Fund.
“We have been there for the IMF for a long time; over 35 years we have been providing loans to the IMF. Also we have a large shareholding,” al-Assaf said in a Bloomberg Television interview in Davos, Switzerland. “We like to maintain that or increase it.”
“I really cannot answer exactly who is going to contribute and for that matter Saudi Arabia’s contribution,” al-Assaf said.

President Gül to visit UAE with Turkish businessmen

President Abdullah Gül will visit the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for three days, starting Jan. 29, with a hundred Turkish businessmen.
Gül will be the first Turkish president to officially visit the UAE in 15 years. The president is scheduled to visit Abu Dhabi then Dubai, where he will speak at a business forum attended by representatives from these two emirates. The Turkish businessmen accompanying the president will discuss trade deals in various sectors, including banking, energy, construction, mining and tourism, with their Arab counterparts.

Gül will also discuss with UAE President Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahyan Turkey's position on the current turmoil in Syria and Libya.

Arab Spring Stumps Davos Investors Year After Egypt Revolt - Businessweek

One year after Egypt knocked global finance off the agenda at the World Economic Forum, Arab officials returning to Davos may struggle to drum up interest in the region.

Across North Africa, where uprisings ended the autocratic rule of three men, economic growth has stalled, stock markets have slumped and Egyptian bond yields are at a record, with the nine-month treasury bill at 15.802 percent. Foreign direct investment in the Middle East and North Africa last year was the lowest since 2005.

Failure to lure investments threatens to hinder the transition to democratic rule and may spark more deadly protests, while energy-rich states, such as Saudi Arabia, may struggle to diversify their economies and cut the world’s highest youth unemployment rates.

Tunisia May Sell Debt to Qatar, Needs $5 Billion in Financing - Businessweek

Tunisian Central Bank Governor Mustapha Kamel Nabli said his country may sell $500 million in dollar-denominated treasury bills to Qatar as it seeks to secure $5 billion in external financing this year.

“It’s a private placement,” he said in an interview at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, today. Asked when he expects the sale, he said: “In two to three months.”

Tunisia, the birthplace of the so-called Arab Spring, may receive assistance from institutions such as the World Bank, the African Development Bank and the European Investment Bank, he said.

BBC News - Serco announces job losses at Hook office

Outsourcing group Serco has announced it is to cut 500 jobs, mostly at its UK head office in Hampshire.

The group, which provides back-office support for a range of public and private sector bodies, said it was overhauling its UK management.

The jobs will mainly go from its offices at Hook near Basingstoke.

Dubai lawsuit concocted: QC

SUNLAND concocted its lawsuit against two Australians it accuses of swindling it in a Dubai property deal to avoid the emirate laying bribery charges against it, a court has heard.

Peter Collinson, SC, counsel for one of the men, Matthew Joyce, told the Victorian Supreme Court that Sunland chairman Soheil Abedian and the company's Middle East head, David Brown, had a ''deliberate strategy'' to deceive Dubai authorities about the true nature of the property transaction.

Sunland alleges Mr Joyce and his friend Angus Reed duped it into paying a $14 million fee for control of a prime Dubai waterfront development site in 2007.

Dateline Davos: Where would you invest $100 today?

If you have one hundred dollars to spare, where would you invest them? Certainly, this is a bizarre question to ask Davos clientele, but I thought it would help me separate simple ideas from complicated facts. So, with a heart of steel I went roaming with this question, which, surprisingly, provided a million-dollar insight.

The first to answer my question was Marwan Boodai, the man behind Kuwait-based Jazeera Airlines. Mr. Boodai would invest $99.90 in the United States, allocating all other investments a mere 10 cents! This, I have to say, is in line with the general mood of Davos about the slow re-awakening of the American giant, which some say will partly help in shielding the avalanche expected in Europe.

But still, 99 percent fund allocation to the U.S. made me wonder whether the reason was the opportunities in the States, or the lack of them elsewhere. According to Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair, CEO of Mashreq Bank in Dubai, the latter assumption is certainly not true. The man behind one of the biggest banks in the UAE would put his $100 dollars in the GCC equity markets. Having noticed the shock on my face, he explained his rationale behind the strategy. According to Al Ghurair, two to three years back people were happy to pay three to four times the book value of GCC stocks, so right now, when many of these shares are trading below their respective book value, why on earth wouldn’t we scoop them up, knowing that many of the companies behind these stocks have been around for 30 or 40 years.

Fitch upbeat on Dubai Holding unit after $500m payment - Banking & Finance -

Fitch Ratings has revised the outlook on Dubai Holding Commercial Operations Group to stable after the Dubai Holding unit announced it had repaid a $500m bond.
The rating agency changed DHCOG's outlook from negative, saying it reflected the company's "good progress" with its non-core asset disposal programme, better than expected operating performance and reduced leverage in some sectors.
DHCOG, which owns the Jumeirah hotel chain and other investments, including a division that runs many of Dubai’s free-trade zone business parks, announced on Wednesday the full repayment of the bond which was due on February 1.

Omani bank's results disappoint analysts - The National

Oman's second-biggest bank disappointed analysts yesterday after it reported a 58 per cent drop in full-year profit amid higher expenses.

BankDhofar's net profit dropped to 13.98 million Omani rials for 2011, compared with 33.28m rials in the year earlier. A consensus of analysts polled by Bloomberg News expected the Omani lender to report a profit of 26.75m riyals.

Operating expenses rose 15 per cent to 33.4m rials as a result of the bank's ongoing legal battle with one of its main rivals, Oman International Bank (OIB). Bank Dhofar has put funding aside to comply with a court decision.

UAE Hormuz bypass pipeline faces more delay

A strategic pipeline for United Arab Emirates’ oil exports to bypass the Strait of Hormuz could face more delay due to differences with the Chinese construction company, industry sources told Reuters on Thursday.

The pipeline will have a capacity of around 1.5 million barrels per day (bpd) and give the UAE an alternative route to exporting oil via the strait, which Iran has threatened to block over western sanctions on its oil exports.

The 370-km (231-mile) Abu Dhabi Crude Oil Pipeline has undergone numerous delays, with UAE oil minister Mohammed bin Dhaen al-Hamli this month pushing back the start of operations to May or June.

Default Risks Could Sour Demand for Emerging Corporate Debt - CNBC

More emerging market companies are likely to default as the world economy slows and Western banks rein in lending, a risk that is unnerving investors who were snapping up their debt just a year ago.

Emerging market corporate bonds were the top pick for yield-hungry funds in early 2011, encouraged by firms' strong balance sheets and relatively buoyant growth in domestic demand for consumer goods and financial services within emerging economies.

As a result, emerging corporate bond issuance reached more than $180 billion last year, just shy of 2010's record levels, according to data compiled by ING.

Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank readies for a payout - The National

Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB) readied its first payout to shareholders in three years as its problems with bad debts eased last year.

The move came as signs emerge that the banking sector is starting to free itself from the debt crisis of the past few years.

The capital's second-biggest lender reported profits for the full year of Dh3 billion (US$816.7 million), up from Dh381m in 2010 and more than Dh1bn above analysts' estimates.

Dubai 'will hit targets' over debt repayments - The National

Dubai will meet its challenging schedule of debt repayments this year, one of the emirate's leading executives said at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos.

"Without a doubt, Dubai will get through that programme, I have no concern about that," said Mohammed al Shaibani, the chief executive of the flagship holding company Investment Corporation of Dubai.

He was speaking on the sidelines of the main gathering at the Swiss town, where global power brokers and opinion formers gather every year. A high-profile team from the UAE is present at the WEF.

gulfnews : Rating agencies raise Dubai Holding ratings

Prompted by the news that Dubai Holding Commercial Operations Group (DHCOG) will stick to its loan repayment commitments, leading credit rating agencies have upgraded its ratings.
Moody's Investors Service yesterday affirmed DHCOG Corporate Family Rating (CFR) at B2 and upgraded its Probability of Default Rating (PDR) and the ratings for multi-currency debt instruments issued by Dubai Holding Commercial Operations MTN Limited to B2.
Late last year, rating agency Moody's had warned that three Dubai government-related entiries (GREs) such as DHCOG was likely to face refinancing risks. DHCOG had responded by saying that it would meet its debt obligations and repay the maturing debt.

gulfnews : Abu Dhabi bond yields increase

Abu Dhabi government bond yields rose on concern Gulf states may be affected by escalating tension in Iran, reducing their discount to debt of the emirate's banks to the lowest in more than two months.
The yield gap between Abu Dhabi's 5.5 per cent bond due April 2014 and state-run National Bank of Abu Dhabi bonds of a similar maturity has fallen 22 basis points (bps) to 125 so far this year.
It had dropped to 119.6 basis points, the lowest since November 2, on January 16. That day Iran said "no country" would be able to manage the shock of it disrupting traffic through the Strait of Hormuz.

Mixed bag - Zawya

Unlike the global financial services industry, the Saudi banking sector remains in great shape and it is only expected to go from strength to strength as the government continues to support the economy.

While the Kingdom's financial services industry weathered the global financial crisis in 2008 with great wherewithal, it was the two high-profile bankruptcies in 2009 that had a more pronounced impact on the system, since these led banks to examine their portfolios more closely, and where necessary to help clients to restructure their debt profiles.

"As part of this process, clients became more reticent about taking on fresh debt and the 2009-10 period was one of weak lending growth," says Keith Savard, Chief Economist, at Samba Financial Group.