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Monday, 6 February 2012

» The debt days are over-uh huh? –

Can you spot the trend? Today, Kipp’s going to take a step back from being the usual perpetrator of logic and sense in the world that we know we are. So, your challenge, should you chose to accept it, is to tell Kipp what you make of three linked stories in the local press today.
First things first, The National reports of the staunchly strong and positive stand from a spokesman from Dubai Group who claims restructuring is still a possibility despite a report suggesting the Dubai’s Supreme Fiscal Committee had walked away from the deal. Dubai Group owes $10 billion, but has refused to comment on the negotiations except to say: “Dubai Group is still in discussions with lenders and is fully committed to reaching a consensual agreement that is reasonable for all stakeholders” from a rather selective Dubai Group spokesman.
Of the $10 billion owed by Dubai Group, $6 billion is owed to banks.
Speaking of banks, Emirates 24/7 reported that the UAE has told its banks that they are not allowed to give loans out to federal departments (oh yeah, did we mention Dubai Group is owned by Ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed?) without prior consent from the cabinet.

Dubai's JAFZA in bank talks over $2 bln sukuk maturity - sources | Reuters

Dubai's Jebel Ali Free Zone is in talks with banks about how to repay its 7.5 billion dirhams ($2 billion) Islamic bond due November, with most of the liability set to be rolled over using a syndicated loan and a new sukuk, sources said.

The Dubai government-owned free zone is in talks with Dubai Islamic Bank, National Bank of Abu Dhabi and Standard Chartered about how to meet the obligation, two sources told Reuters on Monday, although the banks have not been formally appointed to any role.

While details have not been finalised, the majority of the sum will be rolled over into new facilities, with a small amount coming from internal cash reserves.

Dubai Group Said to Seek Up to 10-Year Delay in $6 Billion Restructuring - Bloomberg

Dubai Group LLC, an investment company owned by the emirate’s ruler, offered to repay creditors over five to 10 years as it seeks to restructure $6 billion of bank debt, a banker familiar with the proposal said.
Secured lenders, who are owed $3.2 billion and whose loans are backed by assets, have been offered repayment over five years, said the person, declining to be identified because the negotiations are private. Partially secured and unsecured lenders, who are owed the remaining $2.8 billion, will be paid over eight and 10 years, the banker said.
Dubai Group, controlled by Dubai Holding LLC, is one of several companies in the emirate seeking to restructure loans after property prices and asset values slumped and credit markets froze. Dubai World, one of the emirate’s three main state-owned holding companies, reached a deal in March with about 80 banks to delay payments on $25 billion of debt.

Kuwait edges towards stock exchange sell-off -

The pigeons fluttering above the heads of Kuwait’s stock traders make one thing clear: the bourse, one of the oldest in the region, needs modernisation.
Kuwait’s government plans to improve the service, relevance and efficiency of the market through a privatisation process that will see ownership shift from the state to corporate and retail shareholders.
“The thinking is that privatisation betters performance,” says Abdul Aziz al-Yaqout, regional managing partner at DLA Piper in Kuwait, the legal advisers for the process. “It opens the market for competition.”

MENA stock markets close - February 6, 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)

Dubai’s Shares Rise to 5-Month High on Bets Investors Accumulating Arabtec - Bloomberg

Dubai’s shares rose to the highest in almost five months, led by Arabtec Holding PJSC (ARTC), amid speculation investors are accumulating the company’s stock on bets it will benefit from regional infrastructure spending.
Arabtec, the United Arab Emirates’ biggest construction company, surged 9.2 percent. Drake & Scull International PJSC, the Dubai-based construction company, rose to the highest since August. Dubai’s DFM General Index (DFMGI) jumped 0.6 percent to 1,476.24, the highest since Sept. 8, at the 2 p.m. close in the emirate. Abu Dhabi’s ADX General Index (ADSMI) decreased 0.1 percent.
“Arabtec continues to surprise and there are definitely bigger volumes,” said Ahmed Talhaoui, the Abu Dhabi-based head of investment and asset management at Royal Capital PJSC. “There are stories about winning more business from Abu Dhabi airport, but that does not justify the stellar performance.”

Abu Dhabi investment firm TNI slashes jobs-sources | Reuters

Abu Dhabi-based investment firm, The National Investor (TNI), has shed more than half of its workforce and is planning more job cuts in a bid to reduce costs in response to tough financial markets, several sources told Reuters on Monday.

Like a number of rival Middle Eastern investment firms, TNI is struggling to boost revenue and remain profitable in depressed capital markets post the global financial crisis.

TNI, which operates in private equity, investment advisory and asset management businesses, had the first round of layoffs last year reducing its workforce to the current level of around 55 people the sources told Reuters.

Egypt's Efg-Hermes drops 5.7 pct after CEO travel ban | Reuters

Shares in EFG-Hermes, Egypt's biggest investment bank, plunged 5.7 percent at the opening of the market on Monday and trading was suspended after its chief executive Yasser el Mallawany was banned from leaving Egypt.

Egyptian airport authorities prevented Mallawany from traveling to the Emirates on Sunday when it was discovered his name was among a list of Egyptian officials banned from leaving the state, airport sources said.

Under stock exchange rules, shares are temporarily suspended if they rise or fall by more than 5 percent.

Qatar bourse says foreign stake onus on companies

Qatar’s bourse has done all it needs to secure an upgrade to emerging market status from index compiler MSCI and the onus is now on individual companies to address the main foreign ownership limit issue, its top executive said.

Andre Went also told Reuters in an interview that the exchange, home to the best-performing regional benchmark last year, aims to launch trade in bonds, introduce market makers and increase companies listed on the bourse.

The biggest issue facing investors in the tiny Gulf Arab state, the world’s richest country per capita, is the low foreign ownership of Qatari companies, and this prompted a snub from MSCI during its review in December when it retained the country as frontier market.

Saudi Arabia’s Operating Brokerages Decline 42%, Eqtisadiah Says - Bloomberg

The number of brokerages operating in Saudi Arabia fell 42 percent between 2010 and 2011, al- Eqtisadiah newspaper reported, without saying where it got the information.
The decline to 83 brokerages was due to lower trading volumes and an increase in competition, the Riyadh-based newspaper reported.

Egypt bans EFG-HERMES Chief Executive from traveling | Reuters

Egyptian airport authorities on Sunday prevented the chief executive of Egypt's investment bank EFG-Hermes from traveling to the Emirates when it was discovered that his name was among a list of Egyptian officials banned from leaving the state, airport sources said.

"Yasser el Mallawany was indeed prevented from traveling outside Egypt according to a decision taken by the general prosecutor," General Magdy El-Seman, manager of the passports' department at Cairo International Airport told Reuters. Another airport source who asked not to be named, said Mallawany was traveling to the Emirates.

Mallawany could not be immediately reached to comment.

Why rich investors are relocating to Dubai as a safe haven « ArabianMoney

If you go down to the Dubai Marina today you will find more than 430 yachts parked up, by far the largest assembly of such boats in the Middle East. Last year more luxury cars were sold in Dubai than at the peak of the real estate boom. Some 25,000 homes changed hands, almost exactly the amount of the supposed oversupply for the year.

So why are people moving into Dubai? Could it be the six-months of great sunny winter weather? The zero taxation of income and capital gains? The ultramodern urban infrastructure, or the cheap accommodation?

gulfnews : Islamic finance, Occupy protests and public good

There are only two ways to conquer and enslave a nation, one is by sword, the other is by debt," said John Adams, the second president of the United States.
If we expand the quote, it could include debt without collateral asset, trading of such debt, and enhancing it with leverage. There are consequences as there are market cycles.
Can Occupy Wall Street (OWS), public good and Islamic finance converge? Yes, through the lofty principals of economic justice.

gulfnews : Debate rages on when oil will peak

The discussion about the peak oil proposition is as lively as ever across the divide between proponents and opponents.
Peak oil is when the maximum rate of world oil production is reached and the rate enters terminal decline. The idea was proposed by King Hubbert in 1956. He accurately predicted that US oil production would peak between 1965 and 1970 and that world oil production would peak in 1995. However, it did not, due to the rise in oil prices and the persistent substitution of oil by other energy sources in the 1970s and 1980s, thus shifting the time when the peak would be reached.
Some analysts believe that we have already reached peak oil while others — the more optimistic analysts — suggest that the global decline will begin after 2020, with a third group suggesting that none of this will happen.

First Gulf Bank awaits a fresh start in Libya - The National

First Gulf Bank hopes to restart its operations in Libya after the UAE Central Bank lifted a freeze on the North African country's assets.

"There has been a very positive response so far from the United Nations and the UAE," a First Gulf Bank spokesman said. "We want to go back to the Libyan market but we are still waiting for a clear green light to do so."

The Abu Dhabi lender halted its operations in Libya last April to comply with UN sanctions after it opened its second branch in the country.

Dubai Group restructuring still on - The National

Dubai Group says it remains committed to reaching a restructuring deal on US$10 billion (Dh36.72bn) of debts owed to lenders.

The statement follows a report last week by Reuters that Dubai's Supreme Fiscal Committee (SFC), a senior part of the emirate's Government, had walked away from the debt talks, citing two people it did not identify.

The firm has been in discussions for more than a year with creditors to delay its debt repayments.

UAE banks find life a little less stressful - The National

The decision to strip the former Royal Bank of Scotland chief executive Fred Goodwin of his knighthood last week was a reminder that the aftershocks from the global recession have not gone away.

Mr Goodwin was knighted in 2004 but had the honour removed after he was blamed for his part in the British bank's collapse in 2008.

The action by the British government came weeks after RBS revealed it was shedding 3,500 jobs under cutbacks aimed at helping to revive the bank's fortunes.

Fall in trade claims two more Dubai brokerages - The National

Two brokerages based in Dubai have suspended operations, continuing a trend of closures during which 45 houses shut their doors last year.

Brokerages have suffered from depressed trading volumes since the global financial crisis struck in 2008, exacerbated by a decline in property values and a flight of capital spurred by the Arab Spring last year.

Tabadul for Shares and Bonds, the brokerage arm of a Lebanese lender, which also has an office in Abu Dhabi, said it would halt its operations on the back of a year of slower trading, a shortage of capital and more than Dh114 million (US$31m) owed from its clients.

Carlyle to focus on Turkey and Saudi Arabia -

Carlyle Group has installed a leadership pairing at its Middle East and north African arm as the private equity group reframes its investment strategy, focusing on the region’s main growth markets in Turkey and the Gulf.

Carlyle has promoted Can Deldag and Firas Nasir to co-heads of its regional franchise, in a move that is set to be unveiled on Monday, said people close to the US buy-out house.

The leadership change emphasises Carlyle’s focus on Turkey and Saudi Arabia, the two countries where it has struck all its deals since setting up a regional $500m fund in 2009.

Saudi Arabias tanker load capacity gains 22 |

The carrying capacity of oil tankers that docked at Ras Tanura, Saudi Arabias biggest crude-loading port, gained 22 percent in the latest week, according to ship- tracking data compiled by Bloomberg.
Vessels with a combined capacity of 10.1 million deadweight tons arrived at the facility in the week ended Jan. 28, compared with 8.29 million a week earlier. The ships would be able to haul about 74 million barrels of crude in total, assuming a conversion factor of 7.33 barrels a ton. Japan will be the largest recipient, followed by China and Singapore.
Arab Heavy, the Kingdoms cheapest oil, will be sold to Asian customers in March for $2.02 a barrel less than higher-quality Arab Light, the smallest difference since April 2010, according to a Bloomberg survey of 10 buyers in Japan, Singapore, China, South Korea and India. Aramco will announce official selling prices, which act as benchmarks for pricing in Iran, Iraq and Kuwait, on Feb. 5.

Gulf Times – Qatar budget surplus seen expanding by 10% of GDP

Qatar’s budget surplus will widen to more than 10% of the GDP in the current fiscal year, HSBC Global Research said in an estimate.
Terming Qatar as “one of the strongest growth stories in the region”, HSBC said the country’s current account surplus is also expected to have widened to just under 30% of GDP in 2011.
In its Q1, 2012 “Macro Middle East economics” HSBC estimates Qatar’s total reserves, including Qatar Investment Authority holdings, at more than $100bn.

Commercial Bank of Kuwait 2011 Net Drops 98% on Weak Economy - Bloomberg

Commercial Bank of Kuwait SAK said full-year profit plunged 98 percent on “weak” government spending.
Net income fell to 810,000 dinars ($2.9 million), or 0.6 fils a share, from 40.45 million dinars, or 31.8 fils, a year ago, the bank said in a statement to the Kuwait bourse today.
“Weak government spending and the retreating performance of the Kuwait Stock Exchange” impacted “the pace of the country’s economy and finance,” Chairman Ali al-Awadhi said in an e-mailed statement today. “A general improvement in the economic environment and working atmosphere would positively influence” the lender.

UAE liberalises rules for GCC companies

The UAE decided to allow GCC companies to open their branches in the country with the same rights as those enjoyed by national companies

The UAE on Sunday decided to allow GCC companies to open their branches in the country with the same rights as those enjoyed by national companies in a move aimed at bolstering economic integration among the six-nation group.

The cabinet meeting, chaired by His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, at the Presidential Palace in Abu Dhabi, took the decision to accord full parity to GCC companies vis-a-vis their national counterparts in setting up branches in the UAE.

Dubai will meet debt maturities in 2012, says report - Emirates 24/7

Dubai will overcome its debt maturities in 2012 with the help of internal cash flow, asset sale and market refinancing, said a report.

Lebanese Bank Audi analysts said in a report that Dubai is indeed likely to be able to manage the rollover of its 2012 debt maturities through a combination of internal cash generation, potential asset sales and market refinancing.

Investment bank JP Morgan also said in a report last month that Dubai's government-related entities (GREs) can pay down or refinance nearly $14 billion in debt maturing in 2012 with relative ease.

“The $14-billion wall of debt maturities at Dubai GREs next year is not nearly as daunting as the headline number suggests," JP Morgan analyst Zafar Nazim said in the report.

Rudd faces grilling over executives held in Dubai |

THE Foreign Affairs Minister, Kevin Rudd, will face questions in Parliament tomorrow about whether he has done enough to help two Australian executives facing bribery charges in Dubai over a 2007 property deal.
The Victorian Liberal senators Helen Kroger and Michael Ronaldson have placed on notice a series of questions about contact between Mr Rudd, the ruling royal families of the United Arab Emirates, and Sunland, the development company at the centre of the Dubai transaction.
A Victorian court has ordered Sunland to halt a civil claim it brought in Dubai against one of the executives held under house arrest in the Emirate, Matthew Joyce.

Residential market shows signs of stability in Dubai - Arab News

The year 2011 ended with mixed signals for Dubai's real estate market. Although pockets of stability and even growth were to be found these are still the exception rather than the rule. Oversupply issues remain prevalent with demand fundamentals being outpaced by the completion of new stock.

The UAE remains on solid tracks in its economic recovery as the economy grew by around 4 percent during 2011. This followed growth of 1.4 percent in 2010 and the 1.6 percent contraction in 2009. During 2012 the UAE is again expected to reach 4.0 percent growth, with Dubai likely to post similar performance, according to a report prepared by the CBRE Dubai Research Team.

A more positive mood was also reflected in the Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) from the Department of Economic Development (DED) which rose 15 points to 125 during the final quarter. Respondents were most optimistic about the economic recovery, personal finances and job creation, although escalating food prices were still highlighted as a concern.

Dubai abandons $10bn debt restructuring - Telegraph

Dubai Group, the financial services arm of Dubai Holdings, has written a letter to its creditor banks telling them that the emirate’s Supreme Fiscal Committee (SFC) had quit the negotiations and would not inject any government cash. Dubai Holdings is controlled by the emirate’s ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
The blow came in reply to a letter to Dubai Group from some of the creditor banks requesting $2bn in financial support from “the Dubai government or other equivalent quality equity”. The request was made in December by five of the six members of the bank steering committee and was signed by RBS and France’s Natixis bank.
Dubai Group reportedly plans to table a separate proposal to creditors at the end of February. A spokesperson for the stricken group, which focuses on banking, investments and insurance, told reporters it was “fully committed to reaching a consensual agreement reasonable for all stakeholders”.

Iran softens line on cutting oil to Europe -

Iran has indicated that its threat to cut oil supplies to European states in order to pre-empt a European Union oil embargo that comes into effect in July may be only a symbolic one.
Rostam Ghasemi, Iran’s oil minister, on Saturday said that any cut-off in Iranian oil supplies would target “hostile states” and should not harm European people in winter. “We will certainly cut [oil exports] to some European states,” Mr Ghasemi said, but gave no indication on timing and failed to name any of the “hostile” states to be targeted by punitive Iranian action.