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Wednesday, 1 February 2012

MIDEAST STOCKS-Dubai at 4-mth high on Q4 optimism, Egypt extends gains | Reuters

Dubai's bourse climbed to a four-month high on Wednesday, as hopes of strong earnings and rising European stocks lifted sentiment, and Egypt's market extended a rally on optimism about the political environment.

Dubai's real estate stocks led the rally, helping the emirate's bourse gain 1.2 percent to end at its highest close since Sept 22.

"There is a belief that blue chips real estate firms like Emaar will report good fourth-quarter results," said Saad al-Chalabi, technical analyst and trader at Al Ramz Securities in Abu Dhabi.

DFM, Nasdaq Dubai trading halves - Emirates 24/7

Dubai bourses – Dubai Financial Market and Nasdaq Dubai – saw their trading value halved last year due to declining activity in the equity market.

The value of shares traded during 2011 reached Dh32.1 billion compared to Dh69.7 billion during 2010, a decrease of 54 per cent. The number of shares traded decreased by 34.5 per cent to reach 25.2 billion shares during the year, compared to 38.4 billion shares traded during the previous year. The number of transactions executed during 2011 decreased by 44 per cent to reach 444,800, compared to 794,700 deals carried out the previous year.

However, the market capitalisation of Dubai Financial Market also plunged last year due to shrinking trading volume and value.

Gulf rulers must rely on constitutional power - FT.com

In October 1990, two months after the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, its government held the Kuwaiti Popular Congress in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, to which leaders of all the state’s political groups were invited.
Beyond the goals of the congress – denouncing the invasion and expressing gratitude to regional and international allies – it also aimed to renew Kuwaiti citizens’ pledge of allegiance to the House of Al-Sabah, the ruling family. The unanimous response of those attending the congress was that no such renewal was required.

FEATURE-Unrest weighs on Bahrain economy's recovery | Reuters

Bahrain's economy is rebounding on the back of heavy government spending and support from its neighbours, but a full recovery may be out of reach if anti-government protests continue.

A year after mostly Shi'ite demonstrators launched protests against Bahrain's Sunni Muslim rulers, demanding an end to sectarian discrimination and more say in government, authorities are seeking to quell discontent by doling out benefits to citizens: higher salaries, housing and better infrastructure.

But the spending has had only limited success in reviving the island kingdom's reputation as a regional banking, trading and Islamic finance hub, as unrest continues on the outskirts of the capital Manama.

MENA stock markets close - February 1, 2012

ExchangeStatus IndexChange
TASI (Saudi Stock Market)
6663.480.57%
DFM (Dubai Financial Market)
1453.531.24%
ADX (Abudhabi Securities Exchange)
2466.060.49%
KSE (Kuwait Stock Exchange)
5856.4-0.22%
BSE (Bahrain Stock Exchange)
1136.83-0.26%
MSM (Muscat Securities Market)
5560.96-0.01%
QE (Qatar Exchange)
8570.410.03%
LSE (Beirut Stock Exchange)
1165.93-0.06%
EGX 30 (Egypt Exchange)
4688.290.86%
ASE (Amman Stock Exchange)
1950.950.22%
TUNINDEX (Tunisia Stock Exchange)
4709.680.30%
CB (Casablanca Stock Exchange)
11204.7-0.06%
PSE (Palestine Securities Exchange)
477.970.38%

TEXT-S&P afrms Dubai's DIFC Investments 'B+/B' rtgs | Reuters

-- We have raised our view of the likelihood that the Dubai government would provide timely and sufficient extraordinary support to Dubai-based DIFC Investments to "very high" from "high".

-- We have lowered our assessment of DIFC Investments' stand-alone credit profile to 'ccc-' from 'ccc+' due to further delays in asset disposals and a reassessment of the likely magnitude and timing of disposal proceeds.

-- We are affirming our 'B+' long-term and 'B' short-term ratings on Dubai-based DIFC Investments LLC.

Persian Gulf Stocks: Al-Ahli Bank of Kuwait, Dubai Islamic Bank - Businessweek

Abu Dhabi’s ADX General Index advanced 0.5 percent to 2,466.06, the highest since Dec. 5, at the 2 p.m. close in the emirate. Dubai’s DFM General Index gained 1.2 percent.

Saudi Arabia Nominates Al-Moneef as Next OPEC Head, Reuters Says - Bloomberg

Saudi Arabia has nominated Majid al- Moneef to become the next secretary-general of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, Reuters reported, citing an unidentified Gulf official.
Al-Moneef is Saudi Arabia’s governor to OPEC and an adviser to the kingdom’s oil minister. OPEC Secretary-General Abdalla el-Badri’s term ends this year.

Investments in Oman's industrial estates touch $9.4bn: Minister - Muscat Daily|Oman Newspaper

H E Sheikh Saad bin Mohammed bin Said al Mardhouf al Saadi, the Minister of Commerce and Industry, said that in 2011 Oman witnessed increasing growth in its economic zones and stressed that the total investment in the industrial estates reached US$9.4bn.
While presiding over a ceremony to honour workers at Rusayl Industrial Estate, H E Saadi said that the government pays close attention to the industrial sector in general and to industrial zones in particular, as RO100mn have been allocated for developing and improving the infrastructure of several industrial estates in the coming period.

Sener says work on Abu Dhabi tram to start shortly | ConstructionWeekOnline.com

Sener, the Spanish consultant company, confirmed on Tuesday that work on Abu Dhabi’s new transport system would begin shortly.

According to a news report by 7Days, the consultant said that work on phase one of the tram project will begin in the north of city, with a 30km route linking to the city centre.

The tram system will run on two lines that will cover a total distance of 300km, while linking downtown Abu Dhabi with Al Sowwah Island, site of Abu Dhabi’s new financial centre.

Bahrain’s Chamber of Commerce Denounces Protests in Capital - Bloomberg

Essam Fakhro, chairman of Bahrain’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry, called on authorities to take all “necessary legal measures” to prevent the spread of opposition protests to the capital, Manama.
Fakhro said the chamber “strongly denounces” calls for unlicensed rallies and sit-ins in vital commercial areas, the state-run Bahrain News Agency reported late yesterday. He said such an escalation would have a “negative, destructive” impact on the economy and the country’s security.
Shiite Muslim demonstrators have stepped up their protests against the government in recent weeks, starting an anti-police campaign, dubbed Bahrain Fist, aimed at preventing security forces from entering their villages. They have also held unlicensed rallies in Manama that police have dispersed with teargas. The protests have led to road closures, disrupted traffic and trapped some staff in their offices in the capital and the adjacent Diplomatic Area, which houses the central bank, the Finance Ministry and other government institutions.

Bahrain Approves Gulf Air Restructuring, Gulf Daily Reports - Bloomberg

Bahrain’s lawmakers approved a proposal to restructure state-owned Gulf Air, Gulf Daily News reported.
The board and senior management of the unprofitable airline may be changed, the newspaper reported, without saying where it got the information.

UAE Tabreed's Q4 net profit more than doubles | Alrroya

UAE utility firm Tabreed's fourth-quarter net profit more than doubled, backed by strong performance at its core chilled water business and an increase in total capacity.

Dubai-listed Tabreed, which received funding from state-owned fund Mubadala to restructure debt last year, saw quarterly profit rise to Dh52.9 million ($14.40 million) from Dh21.1m year-ago, according to Reuters calculations.

Reuters calculated the fourth quarter profit from previous financial statements. The company reported a net profit of Dh129.8m for the nine-month period ending September 30, 2011.

Kingdom Holding sees promising returns from Riyadh mega project - Yahoo!

Kingdom Holding Company (KHC) chaired by Prince Alwaleed bin Talal has announced the commencement of the construction of "Kingdom Riyadh Land," a real estate Riyadh project.
Prince Alwaleed commented: "Riyadh mega project will bring promising returns to Kingdom Holding investors. Our Saudi real estate projects are solid anchors for Kingdom Holding's continuing profitability."
On Feb. 9, 2011, KHC announced that Omrania were awarded the design of the master plan design and infrastructure of "Kingdom Riyadh Land" that is 16M sqm. Also the contract includes provisional sums for traffic and environmental studies. As part of their service, Omrania's contract includes the coordination and approval of all master planning elements, engaging and managing the traffic impact study and environmental impact assessment sub-consultants and other studies required to complement and complete the Master Plan in the role of the local master planner, including all liaison with local authorities. In addition, Omrania will be carrying out the supervision of the infrastructure work on site at the pre-agreed rates contained in the award memo.

Iraq oil bid delay seen as positive - The National

Iraq has further delayed its latest oil exploration bidding round amid signs it is improving the terms under which international oil companies (IOCs) operate.

The country has also refrained from disqualifying ExxonMobil in spite of its move into the Kurdistan region of northern Iraq against the wishes of Baghdad.

"We have made major changes and amendments on the initial contract that concern the economic and contractual terms and the result was a new model contract," Abdul Mahdy Al Ameedi, the director of the oil ministry contracts and licensing directorate, told Reuters.

Facebook issue has investors a-twitter - The National

Global markets - not to mention social media networks - are buzzing with talk of Facebook's upcoming initial public offering (IPO).

A share sale could value the world's largest social network site at as much as US$100 billion (Dh367.32bn), according to press reports.

Facebook is reportedly looking to raise up to $10bn in the sale, which it plans to use to fight off competition from the likes of Google. The US search engine giant - one of Facebook's key rivals - last June launched a competing product called Google+.

Nawras 2011 net profit at RO 47.5m | Oman Observer

Omani Qatari Telecommunications Company SAOG (Nawras) posted a 4.2 per cent increase in revenues for the year ended December 31, 2011.
Full year earnings rose to RO 196.9 million in 2011 from RO 188.9 million for the comparative period. Post and pre-paid customer revenues in total have increased by approximately 3 per cent.
Revenues grew by 1.8 per cent to RO 50.8 million for the fourth quarter in 2011, from RO 49.9 million for the same period in 2010.

Investment banking in UAE may see more job cuts in 2012 - Emirates 24/7

Just a month into the New Year, bad news seems to be flowing in for employees in investment banks. Multinational banks, especially the ones headquartered in Europe, will likely brace for more job cuts, impacting their operations in the UAE. However, the contagion may not spread to local entities, which are likely to see 2012 as a much better year.

“I would expect to see job cuts from most of the multi-national players in the region as there is a definite trend to downsize for any bank, which is headquartered in Europe. London based banks with a presence in the Middle East will continue to question their commitment to fringe geographies such as the UAE and thus I would expect continued downsizing of multinational onshore businesses,” Shane Phillips, MENA Regional Practice Leader, Financial & Professional Services at Stanton Chase told Emirates 24|7.

Egyptian Stocks Go to First From Worst as ING Sees Bear Rally - Bloomberg

Egypt’s benchmark stock index, the worst performer in emerging markets last year, is leading gains in 2012 after the nation formed its first parliament since the ouster of Hosni Mubarak and started talks with the International Monetary Fund.
The EGX 30 Index jumped 28 percent in January, the best monthly gain in seven years and the biggest advance among 72 world stock gauges tracked by Bloomberg. Orascom Telecom Holding SAE (ORTE), the Cairo-based mobile-phone company that split into two units last month, led the rally with a 110 percent surge.
Egypt’s parliament convened on Jan. 23 for the first time since the end of Mubarak’s 30-year rule as the government negotiated a $3.2 billion International Monetary Fund loan. While stock analysts tracked by Bloomberg predict the EGX 30 will rise another 19 percent in the next year, ING Investment Management says shares may resume declines as policy makers haven’t produced plans to revive the economy. The EGX 30 is valued at 16 times earnings, a 38 percent premium over the MSCI Emerging Markets Index. (MXEF)

Dubai Islamic Bank not divesting its equity: CEO

The sponsors of Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB) Pakistan Limited has no plan to divest equity of the bank, said the bank’s top official.

“The bank’s management and its shareholders have no intentions of divesting any portion of its equity to local investors,” said Junaid Ahmed, CEO, DIB while shunning rumors about divestment of the bank at an inauguration ceremony of bank’s Learning and Development Centre on Tuesday.

The main shareholder DIB UAE was not only been supportive of current progress but also encouraged to present another aggressive strategic expansion plan for the next five years, the CEO said.

gulfnews : Gul calls for stronger trade ties between UAE and Turkey

President Abdullah Gul of Turkey yesterday called upon business leaders in the UAE and Turkey to help enhance economic cooperation.
Gul said the two countries would like to see trade increase from $5 billion (Dh18.35 billion) in 2011 to $10 billion in 2015.
"The strong political will of the two countries is enough to eliminate all obstacles and bureaucracy and pave the way for business people and investors to achieve a successful [partnership]," he said.

Aldar: Abu Dhabi’s problem child | beyondbrics | News and views on emerging markets from the Financial Times – FT.com

What to do with a real estate developer that built the world’s biggest indoor theme park (left), complete with its fastest rollercoaster, but can’t seem to make money?

That question has been bothering the government of Abu Dhabi for some time now, as it grapples with the future of Aldar, a state-owned property company that has needed just as much help as the most troubled empire-builders in neighboring Dubai.

Abu Dhabi made headlines around the world in late 2009 by bailing out Dubai and its tumbling property companies to the tune of $10bn. But its second $10bn rescue, conducted over the last year, has been less high-profile.