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Friday, 3 February 2012

Russian gas: under pressure | beyondbrics –

Arctic temperatures in Russia have forced Gazprom to divert gas supplies away from European markets to serve a surge in energy demand on the home front. At least that’s what the European Union is saying.

Gazprom (GAZP:MCX) claims it is exporting even more gas than usual to help Europe through an abnormally cold snap as freezing winds blow west from Siberia. It says that if there are any shortages they are caused by Ukraine filching EU-bound gas from transit pipelines.

In other circumstances this could be a nightmare scenario for Europe that depends on Gazprom for about one fifth of its gas supplies. Most Russian gas exports are transported through Ukrainian pipelines leaving Europe vulnerable when Moscow and Kiev spar over transit terms.

Abu Dhabi: A measured approach | Oxford Business Group

The real estate market in Abu Dhabi is continuing to undergo a period of correction, with prices flat, slower demand and more supply expected to come to market in 2012. But while the market is expected to remain subdued in the near future, new real estate laws anticipated in 2012 could improve the situation in the longer term.

In this environment, it is scarcely surprising that Aldar Properties, an Abu Dhabi-based developer that has been involved in major projects in the emirate, has turned to the government for an injection of funds.

In late December the government of Abu Dhabi stepped in to support Aldar, agreeing to purchase certain assets and waive some loans. Under the terms of the deal – which is worth about Dh16.8 ($4.6bn) – the state will purchase these assets from Aldar, including Central Market, a city centre redevelopment, as well as homes that are part of the company’s Al Raha Beach development.

Mideast Crude Little Changed Before Saudi Pricing Announcement - Bloomberg

Middle East crude premiums were little changed before the scheduled announcement from Saudi Arabia on its official prices.
Abu Dhabi’s Murban (PGCPMURB) crude was assessed at 8 cents below its listed selling price for the second day, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
No deals were done in the Dubai partials market, with buyers and sellers apart by 10 cents a barrel, according to a survey of traders who monitor the Platts pricing window. South Korea’s SK Innovation Co. (096770) offered to sell at $109.80 a barrel while Trafigura Beheer BV bid $109.70.

Govt pulls out of Dubai Group debt talks

The Dubai government has walked away from talks about a $10 billion debt restructuring of Dubai Group, leaving the firm, part of the ruler of the emirate's personal empire, to deal directly with creditors and dashing hopes of a state-backed rescue.

Dubai's Supreme Fiscal Committee (SFC), the high-level group that oversaw Dubai's finances during the 2009 debt crisis and is headed by the ruler's uncle, had been helping Dubai Group address debt issues that have left interest unpaid for more than a year.

But in a letter this week, Dubai Group told the banks' committee of unsecured creditors that the SFC had ended its involvement in negotiations, and that no financial support would be coming from the government, according to two sources who have seen the letter.

Saudi Economy: Jadwa February 2012 Chartbook

Click thru headline to access PDF report

The Jadwa Investment firm in Riyadh introduced the “Saudi Chartbook” to provide a quick, chart-based briefing on the key developments and trends in the Saudi economy and stock market. SUSRIS is pleased to provide the summary from the February Saudi Chartbook and a link to the complete report, rich with illuminating charts and graphs. SUSRIS thanks Jadwa Investment’s Chief Economist, Brad Bourland, Head of Research, Paul Gamble and Associate Research Director Gasim Abdulkarim, for providing this insightful report for your consideration.

Invest in Saudi Arabia - Thomas Kostigen's Impact Investor - MarketWatch

Saudi Arabia is further opening its investment markets to foreigners — and the word is: buy.

With strong fundamentals, little to no debt, and effective dividends, Saudi companies are compelling investment opportunities. But that’s not all.

Saudi Arabia is going big into the solar and water industries — and there will be myriad ways to capitalize on making the kingdom more sustainable. As it stands, Saudi Arabia burns its excess oil, much of it going to power electricity. That’s right: they still burn oil for power; insane.

gulfnews : Ajman Bank profit up 75%

Ajman Bank on Thursday reported a net profit of Dh7 million for 2011, up 75 per cent from the Dh4 million profit reported in 2010.
The bank achieved strong growth in income from its core activities, with total income increasing 27 per cent to Dh246.2 million from Dh194.4 million.
The growth in total income was fuelled by an increase of approximately 73 per cent in income from Islamic financing and a doubling of income from investment securities. The bank's net income for 2011 was Dh179.9 million, up 14.5 per cent from Dh157 million the previous year.

gulfnews : Gulf Capital seeks control of Reach

Abu Dhabi-based private equity firm Gulf Capital is in the final stage of acquiring close to 80 per cent of regional consultancy firm Reach Group, two sources close to the transaction told Reuters.
Gulf Capital will be closing the transaction during the first quarter this year through its $533 million (Dh1.9 billion) Private Equity Fund II, one of the sources said.
The deal may be valued at around Dh100 million, according to the source. The sources did not want to be identified as the matter has not been made public yet.

gulfnews : UK gas may spike on Qatar supply

British gas prices are likely to become more volatile and prone to spikes over the next few years after the UK has moved from self-sufficiency to increasing dependence on imports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from Qatar.
The latest UK government data show Qatari LNG imports were equivalent to 52 per cent of the gas consumed over the first nine months of 2011, up from 11 per cent for 2009 as a whole.
Qatar also accounted for 85 per cent of UK LNG supplies between January and November last year, with Nigeria a weak second at just 5 per cent.

Take a look around you and be grateful for what you have - The National

Like many people in the UAE, you probably spend your weekends eating more than you should, sitting in front of the TV when you ought to be working out, or shopping when you could have saved that extra cash.

You may even have driven to Dubai to get your hands on some great deals at the Shopping Festival, or got caught in traffic on the Emirates Road with all the GCC nationals who come to visit Global Village.

While the rest of the world is worrying about whether the euro will survive as a currency, or rising unemployment or global financial meltdown, the only economic issue that really interests many residents, and especially tourists, in Dubai at about this time is the extent of the deals being offered at their favourite retailers.

U.S. May Be ‘Saudi Arabia of Natural Gas,’ But Shale Gas Rush Is Slowing – News Watch

Following on last week’s State of the Union address that supported hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking” in shale gas deposits, President Obama called the U.S. “the Saudi Arabia of natural gas” and unveiled a new proposal to provide tax breaks to boost the use of natural gas as a fuel for trucks.

But the market has a glut of natural gas due to widespread use of the drilling method, pushing prices to their lowest in a decade and deflating the shale gas rush, leading large producers to cut production to try to bring the price up.

The House of Representatives held a hearing on fracking to follow up on a recent U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) report that found fracturing fluids were the likely cause of contaminated groundwater in Pavilion, Wyo. At the hearing, a filmmaker who made the documentary “Gasland” was arrested for filming without a press credential—an action that Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) said was unprecedented.

Qatar project developer considers new financing - The National

The developer behind one of Qatar's flagship construction projects is considering seeking financing next year for part of the US$5.5 billion (Dh20.2bn) development.

Msheireb Properties, a unit of the Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community, is redeveloping a 31-hectare site in the downtown area of Doha and will seek new funding to complete the project, which is designed around green and sustainable concepts.

"So far, cash is not an issue for us," said Issa Al Mohannadi, the chief executive of Msheireb Properties. "But to be a sustainable developer, we are gearing up toward 2013 to be ready for any scenario.

gulfnews : Gulf banks need unorthodox strategy to meet refinancing

Gulf Arab companies and governments, facing over $60 billion (Dh220 billion) of maturing debt to refinance in 2012, will increasingly need to move away from relying on traditional funding and embrace "out of the box" thinking in a tough global environment.
The Gulf Cooperation Council states, most flush with cash after a year of high oil prices, are likely to succeed in handling this year's refinancing challenge without systemic crises. Governments will intervene if needed to avert big, corporate bond defaults that might destabilise markets.
But the process will not always be smooth; unfavourable market conditions, including weak real estate prices, and the uncertain outlook for the global economy mean some debtors will probably resort to restructuring liabilities in talks with creditors.

gulfnews : Gulf embraces repos as attitudes change

Smaller Gulf banks, squeezed by difficult funding conditions and flush with bond paper following the busiest period of issuance from the region on record, are increasingly exploiting the repo market to raise capital.
The banks are using repurchase agreements — contracts in which a security, such as a bond certificate, is temporarily transferred to another holder during a set period in exchange for capital — to manage liquidity as other sources of funding dry up.
Bond issuance out of the Gulf Cooperation Council has totalled $91.5 billion (Dh336.046 billion) in the last three years, according to Thomson Reuters data, with much of the paper being issued by highly rated, state-linked entities.

Realty prices underline Bahrain refinancing risk - Arab News

Bahraini financial firms face a tough task raising funding in 2012 as tensions from last year’s Arab Spring unrest fester and real estate investments show no sign of paying off.

Analysts say one option for banks in the tiny island kingdom is to look to Saudi Arabia, but getting a hearing is often a challenge because lenders there have enough local business on their hands.

The violent protests rattled Western banks operating there and equally importantly dealt a body blow to real estate prices, leading to impairments at Islamic banks in particular.

Dubai market beats regional contenders - The National

Dubai is the best-performing Gulf market so far this year as improving investor sentiment helps stocks rebound from last year's slump.

Stronger earnings, dividend payments and cheerier global markets have helped underpin a rally across the three biggest regional exchanges. The surge follows an abysmal performance last year as the euro-zone debt crisis and the Arab Spring meant many markets ended in the red.

"The UAE is beginning to look interesting," said Saleem Khokhar, the head of equities at the National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD). "It gives me a comfort level that companies see investors need to be rewarded which calls for a re-rating on the valuation of our markets."

AMD Puts the Brakes on Adding More Cores to Server Chips | PCWorld

Advanced Micro Devices has put the brakes on adding more cores to its server chips, stopping at 16, the company said Thursday during a financial analyst day.

AMD's new server chips code-named Abu Dhabi and due out in 2013 will have 16 cores, the same number as the existing Opteron 6200 chips code-named Interlagos that shipped last year. Servers are being redesigned to match specialty workloads and adding more cores to the Abu Dhabi chip wasn't the way to boost performance, said Lisa Su, senior vice president and general manager of Global Business Units at AMD, during a speech.

"At the end of the day, that wasn't the right answer for the customers," Su said.

Abu Dhabi, Singapore sovereign funds stock up on HDFC Bank - The Economic Times

Sovereign wealth funds of Abu Dhabi and Singapore were the buyers of HDFC Bank shares in October-December, when the stock fell almost 9%, according to shareholding data on BSE.

Abu Dhabi Investment Authority bought 4.53 crore shares, or 1.98%, and the Government of Singapore purchased 2.81 crore shares, or 1.2% of HDFC Bank, India's second-largest private lender.

Analysts said the bank's steady prospects coupled with the stock's weakness may have prompted these large investors to buy the shares. These funds did not own HDFC Bank at the end of September quarter.

Top 25 transportation projects - Zawya

Transportation is a key consumer of global energy supplies and will increase its share in the future, thanks to rising populations and greater demands for mobility via air, land and sea.

Globally, transportation soaks up a third of all energy supplies and is set to grow from 80% to 130% as the number of cars quadruple to nearly three billion by 2050.

This is of crucial importance to the Middle East on two levels. First, as a purveyor of fossil fuels, the Middle East has a huge stake in understanding global transportation trends.

12 Qatar highlights - Zawya

In the eyes of the International Monetary Fund, the greatest risk facing Qatar is a worsening of global liquidity and financing conditions.

Individual banks, especially those that rely on large wholesale funding might face liquidity pressures and either have to resort to the central bank for dollar funding or deleverage, warns the IMF, apart from in foreign reserves of the central bank and lower valuation of Qatar's external assets portfolio.

"Nevertheless, risks to banking stability appear much lower now after three rounds of bank capitalization and asset restructuring since 2008," concedes the Fund. Qatar tapped the market with a USD5 billion sovereign bond issuance at favourable yields in November.