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Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Egyptian bourse leads world this year -

What is the best performing stock market in the world this year? The unlikely answer is Egypt’s colonial-era art nouveau bourse, the oldest in the Arab world.
Local investors and a smattering of emerging market funds have snapped up shares in the country’s blue-chip companies. After a dreadful 2011, when Egypt’s revolution and economic and financial turmoil wiped out almost half the benchmark EGX30 index’s market capitalisation, the index has risen nearly 40 per cent this year.

Mohamed Ebeid, head of brokerage at EFG-Hermes, Egypt’s largest investment bank, says the rally has been driven largely by a tentative improvement in the political outlook.

Saudi's Maaden to invest $5.6 bln in phosphate project | Reuters

State-controlled Saudi Arabian Mining Co (Maaden) plans to invest 21 billion riyals ($5.6 billion) in a phosphate project as part of a new industrial city in the country's north, the company's chief executive was quoted on Tuesday by Saudi state media as saying.

Saudi Arabia's cabinet approved in its weekly cabinet on Monday the establishment of a new industrial city in the country's north -- Waad Al-Shimal City for Mining Industries in which the new project in Umm Wual would be located.

Maaden said recently the preliminary feasibility study to exploit phosphate deposits at Umm Wual proved viable.

Dubai: banks back in town | beyondbrics –

For Dubai, the Arab spring has been a boon, in finance as much as tourism. Dubai’s financial centre says financial houses, including some from the competing banking hub of strife-torn Bahrain, are taking advantage of Dubai’s status as a safe port amid the storm of regional unrest.

The Dubai International Financial Centre says several banks are relocating staff to the centre, helping the tax-free financial hub grow by seven per cent to 848 companies last year.

Companies such as Credit Agricole, ABN Amro’s asset management arm and Nomura have already moved staff from Bahrain to Dubai, or are in the process of doing so.

RLPC-UAE's Etisalat seeks $2 bln syndicated loan -bankers | Reuters

United Arab Emirate's largest telecommunications company Etisalat is seeking a syndicated loan of up to $2 billion for general corporate purposes, bankers close to the deal said.

The deal is expected to carry a three-year tenor, but this is subject to change, the bankers added.

Etisalat was not immediately available to comment.

UPDATE 1-Saudi boosts market monitoring ahead of foreign open | Reuters

Saudi Arabia's regulator adjusted stock ownership guidelines in a bid to boost transparency on Tuesday, as the Middle East's biggest bourse takes gradual steps toward opening up to direct foreign investment.

Foreign buyers of Saudi stocks currently do so through swap arrangements with an authorized entity in the kingdom making the ultimate owner unknown. Under the new guidelines, the actual owner of the stock will now be identified.

The move will help the regulator impose ownership limits when the market eventually opens up, using the Qualified Foreign Institutional Investor (QFII) route.

Egyptian equities: wishful thinking? | beyondbrics –

Egypt’s stock market is a paradox. Political tensions are getting worse, the economy is deteriorating and foreign exchange reserves are falling dangerously low. And yet equities are up nearly 40 per cent, the biggest gain in the world for 2012.

Clearly investors are betting that the closer the country edges to economic collapse, the greater the chances of the politicians seeing sense and the IMF leading an early bail-out. But what if they’re wrong?

The scope for disappointment is, to put it mildly, considerable. Even after Tuesday’s profit-taking, which saw the EGX30 index slip 1.7 per cent, the market is up 39.8 per cent on the year, in both local currency and dollar terms.

Dubai Financial Market close - February 21, 2012

General Index
Intraday 3 month
Daily Statistics
General Index1596.26
Change (%)1.74%
T. Volume220488302
T. Companies 64

MENA stock markets close - February 21, 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)

In Emirates competition... JPost - Features - Insights & Features

For much of the past decade Abu Dhabi Emiratis have looked somewhat askance at their neighbors in Dubai who embarked on a mission to build the world’s tallest buildings, the greenest golf courses and the largest shopping malls.

“I know more than a few Emiratis who see what’s happening in Dubai and think of the hadith in the Qur’an about the end of days,” an Emirati businessman told The Media Line and asked not to be identified to protect his Dubai construction contracts. “The hadith says, ‘There will be no Judgment until very tall buildings are constructed.’”

Notwithstanding dark predictions of Dubai’s doom, the Emirati’s sentiment illustrates the gulf between the two emirates’ approach to economic diversity.

DIFC firms add more than 1,000 staff during the year of the Arab Spring « ArabianMoney

Companies trading in the Dubai International Financial Centre added more than 1,000 staff last year partly because of transfers from neighboring alternative locations like Bahrain which were hit by the Arab Spring protests.

The DIFC has a working population of 11,000 down from 14,000 three years ago before the global financial crisis. Around three-quarters of the office space owned by third parties in the zone is currently vacant when one million square feet recently completed in the Index Tower, Park Towers and Emirates Financial Towers is added to the year-end total.

Abu Dhabi Shares Rise to 5-Month High on Etisalat Dividend Plan - Businessweek

Abu Dhabi’s shares rose to the highest in almost five months after Emirates Telecommunications Corp. proposed a dividend for 2011 and on investor bets the emirate’s spending plans would support real-estate companies.

Sorouh Real Estate Co., the emirate’s second-largest developer, advanced 0.9 percent. Emirates Telecommunications, the United Arab Emirates’ biggest phone company known as Etisalat, rallied 2.3 percent. Abu Dhabi’s ADX General Index rose for a third day, gaining 1 percent to 2,528.3, the highest intraday level since Oct. 3, at 11:30 a.m. in the emirate. The Bloomberg GCC 200 Index was little changed.

Etisalat, the company with the heaviest weighting on the benchmark index, helped lead today’s gains “and buying momentum has been driven by real-estate stocks after the government announced spending plans last month,” said Sebastien Henin, who helps oversee $100 million at The National Investor in Abu Dhabi.

Egypt to sell short-term dollar debt in March: report | Reuters

Egypt plans to offer U.S.-dollar certificates of deposit (CD) to Egyptians living abroad at the beginning of March to help it raise foreign currency, al-Borsa newspaper on Tuesday quoted Finance Minister Mumtaz al-Saeed as saying.

Egypt has said it is looking to sell CDs as well as Islamic sukuk instruments and land sales to Egyptians living abroad to help plug an external financing shortage estimated at $11 billion over the next 18 months.

The country's balance of payments deficit has widened dramatically during the economic and political turmoil of the last year.

CME Raises Stake in Dubai Mercantile Exchange in Recapitalization Plan - Bloomberg

CME Group Inc. (CME), the world’s largest futures exchange owner, raised it stake in the Dubai Mercantile Exchange as part of a recapitalization arrangement.
CME Group’s Nymex division will increase its stake to 50 percent from 25 percent, while Oman Investment Fund will hold 29 percent, according to a PRNewswire statement released today. Dubai Mercantile will receive “significant new funds,” Chief Executive Officer Thomas Leaver said in a conference call, without providing further financial details.
A unit of Dubai Holding LLC, one of the emirate’s three main holding companies, will retain 9 percent, while 12 percent will be held on a non-voting basis by investors including Vitol Group of Cos., Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSA), JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM), Morgan Stanley (MS), Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) and Concord Energy Inc.

Oman likely to promulgate bankruptcy, insolvency laws: Times of Oman

Oman is looking at the possibility of promulgating bankruptcy and insolvency laws, said Abdullah Salem Al Salmi, acting executive vice-president of Capital Market Authority.
Participating at the sixth GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) Regulators’ Summit that began yesterday at the Ritz Carlton Bustan Palace Hotel, Abdullah Salem Al Salmi said, “Oman certainly needs such laws. The idea is there and we are at the discussion level taking inputs from different sources and hopefully, in a short span of time, bankruptcy and insolvency laws would be in place.”

Bankruptcy is a situation in which an organisation falls short of cash to repay its debt or has liabilities that exceed its assets.
The two-day GCC Regulators’ Summit in Oman is organised by Thomson Reuters Governance, Risk & Compliance, in association with Oman Centre for Corporate Governance of the Capital Market Authority (CMA).

Oman plans to award four oil blocks to multinational firms:

The Oman government is all set to sign agreements with multinational oil companies for developing three to four oil blocks on production sharing agreement, a top-level official at the Ministry of Oil and Gas said here yesterday.

“We are planning to sign additional three to four agreements for developing oil blocks with international companies. These blocks were tendered last year and most of the negotiations are over now,” Nasser bin Khamis Al Jashmi, undersecretary at the Ministry of Oil and Gas, told media on the sidelines of PDO’s annual press briefing.

gulfnews : London bets on UAE trade to turn wheels of economy

The last year has been a period of political and economic upheaval across the Gulf, Europe and indeed the world.
Despite this turbulence, however, bilateral relations between the UAE and the UK are stronger today than ever before.
In the last 18 months alone, Her Majesty The Queen, the Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary have all among others made high-profile visits to the federation. And the Duke of York travelled to the UAE late last year to help celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Union.

Travelodge ownership hangs in balance - The National

The future of Dubai International Capital's (DIC's) ownership of the budget chain Travelodge hung in the balance last night amid speculation that two New York hedge funds are trying to prise the company away from the Dubai firm.

The hotel chain, based in the UK, has been undergoing a debt restructure. Reports out of the UK have stated that the hedge funds GoldenTree Asset Management and Avenue Capital, which have underwritten a loan facility of £60 million (Dh349.5m), are set to take control of the hotel chain.

DIC's response suggested it was only certain that it retained ownership for now, which raises questions about changes that may take place in future.

GCC needs to find alternatives to the Strait of Hormuz - The National

Ever since the Iranian Revolution, Gulf policymakers have looked nervously at the Strait of Hormuz, through which a fifth of the world's oil passes.

Yet the focus on assuring oil transit through these narrow waters needs to be supplemented with some straightforward alternatives.

During the 1984-1988 so-called Tanker War, part of the conflict between Iran and Iraq, 546 vessels were damaged in the Gulf, eventually prompting a US naval response.

Telecoms royalty fees make investing tricky - The National

Telecoms operators pay royalties to the Government, with Etisalat paying half of net profit. But the annual charges vary for du, whose share was recently raised. Ben Flanagan reports.

The UAE telecommunications market is one of the richest in the world but is also one of uncertainty for investors.

Shareholders in the operator du were spooked this month by the decision by the federal Government to slap a 5 per cent tax on its revenues from last year.

Saudis May Raise Feedstock Cost for Petrochemical Makers in 2013 - Bloomberg

Saudi Arabia may raise prices next year for ethane and methane gas used to produce petrochemicals, according to Al Rajhi Capital, the investment arm of the kingdom’s biggest bank by market value.
Clients such as Saudi Basic Industries Corp. (SABIC), the world’s largest petrochemical maker, may pay $1.25 per million British thermal units for the feedstocks starting in 2013, compared with the current price of 75 cents per million Btu, Al Rajhi Capital said in a report today.
The Saudi oil ministry decided to keep gas prices unchanged this year for petrochemical manufacturers at 75 cents per million Btu and has not indicated when it may adjust prices, Jeddah-based NCB Capital said in a report on January 30.

UPDATE 1-Etisalat eyes restructure to cut costs | Reuters

UAE telecoms operator Etisalat may restructure its operations to cut costs, the company said on Monday, as it tries to arrest falling profits.

The board of the former monopoly, which operates in 17 countries in the Middle East, Africa and Asia, also proposed a 60 percent dividend for 2011, the same as 2010.

The company said its board had discussed restructuring and outsourcing options.

Business : UAE may become 1st Gulf state to issue yuan bonds

Emirates NBD, the largest bank in the UAE by assets, is likely to be the first bank from the Gulf to issue yuan-denominated bonds amid a growing appetite among global fund managers to tap the nascent market for the so-called “dim sum” bonds.
Emirates NBD said on Monday that it has mandated Emirates NBD Capital Limited, HSBC and Standard Chartered Bank to arrange investor meetings in Hong Kong and Singapore ahead of the proposed CNH, or Offshore Chinese Renminbi, denominated bond, under the bank’s $7.5 billion medium-term notes programme. The roadshows kick off tomorrow.

The bank said in a statement that the yuan — also known as the renminbi — bond issue would be subject to market conditions.

RLPC-DIC may hand Travelodge keys to lenders | Reuters

Dubai International Capital is likely to hand the keys of British budget hotelier Travelodge to lenders including Golden Tree Asset Management and Avenue Capital, which are in talks to provide a new 60 million pound ($95 million) loan, lending sources said on Monday.

DIC, the private equity group backed by state-owned conglomerate Dubai Holding, is unlikely to stump up any fresh cash after writing its 400 million pound investment down to nothing, the sources said.

"DIC is working closely with the company and lenders to ensure that the right financing structure is in place for the business going forwards. DIC wrote off this investment in 2008, so is not facing any further losses on this investment," a spokeswoman for DIC said.

Stimulants urged to boost GCC bourses - Emirates 24/7

Stock markets in Gulf oil producers need to introduce stimulants as part of a series of measures aimed at upgrading their performance and preventing sharp fluctuations following one of their largest declines in 2011.

The government-controlled Emirates Industrial Bank (EIB) made the proposal, which it said must include cutting the government stake in listed shares and attracting capital from sovereign wealth funds (SWFs) in the region.

The Dubai-based EIB suggested incentives along with other measures following what it described one of the most difficult years in the performance of the bourses in the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) in 2011.

Dubai bourse dips from Sunday high - The National

The Dubai Financial Market General Index fell 0.14 per cent yesterday after starting the week in bull-run territory.

Among the companies that ended the trading day in negative territory were Aramex, which fell 1.53 per cent, and Dubai Islamic Bank, which declined 1.35 per cent. Du dropped 1.32 per cent.

The index had begun the week on a high note, rising 3.6 per cent on Sunday.