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Friday, 24 February 2012

Qatar Wealth Fund Increases Stake to 8.4% in Spain’s Iberdrola - Bloomberg

Qatar Investment Authority, the emirate’s sovereign wealth fund, increased its stake to 8.4 percent in Iberdrola SA (IBE), boosting its investment in Spain’s largest electricity provider to 2.27 billion euros ($3 billion).
The fund based in Doha has surpassed all other stockholders except for Spanish construction company Actividades de Construccion & Servicios SA, which holds about 19 percent of Iberdrola, according to the utility’s annual corporate governance report covering 2011 activities released yesterday.
The Qatari fund bought its initial 6.2 percent holding in March and acquired the additional shares in a year Iberdrola fell 16 percent. That was its worst market performance since 2008, as the global economic slowdown damped demand for power and Spain slipped toward a second recession in four years.

Abu Dhabi-backed fund, UK royal in energy deal - Energy -

An Abu Dhabi-backed Islamic investment fund has teamed up with Prince Charles, the heir to the British throne, to launch a new $100m green energy venture in the UK.
Tamar Energy, an innovative company focused on producing energy from organic waste, was launched in London this week and was backed by a high profile group of international investors.
The group will be led by Lord Rothschild's investment trust RIT Capital Partners and Fajr Capital, which is backed by the government-owned Abu Dhabi Investment Council and the government of Brunei.

Shoe designer calls for national fashion council - The National

A top shoe designer has called for more investment in the country's fashion industry.

The Emirati designer Sultan Al Darmaki said the UAE should have its own fashion council to promote young talent as the country seeks to diversify its economy.

"We have a big pool of talent, but no support from the Government," said Mr Al Darmaki, who recently launched his "Darmaki" women's shoes line in London to capitalise on the city's presence in the global design industry.

Sultan Al Darmaki: Emirati follows his heart - and sole - The National

Sultan Al Darmaki tried the career expected of him, but ultimately could not ignore his lifelong passion for fashion designing. His new role designing shoes is not only influenced by the likes of Louboutin, Choo and Blahnik but also by his mother, Hadeel Al Sayegh writes

When Sultan Al Darmaki announced to his mother that he was leaving the finance world to design women's shoes, it almost knocked her off her heels.

The Emirati designer, who came from a traditional family in Al Ain, was expected to end up in finance or public relations (PR) after three years working as an executive at a government investment company.

Federal bond strategy one step closer - The National

A long-awaited strategy on how the UAE will issue federal bonds will be submitted to the Cabinet for approval within two weeks, a senior Ministry of Finance official says.

The policy will act as a forerunner before the approval of a public debt law, paving the way for the country's first federal government bonds.

Borrowing would be managed by a federal debt office being set up by the ministry.

gulfnews : Qatar raises reserve requirement for banks

Qatar's central bank raised risk reserve requirements for lenders to 2.5 per cent from 1.5 per cent, the governor said.
Banks have two years to fulfil the requirement, designed to increase bank capital and make them more risk-averse, Abdullah Bin Saud Al Thani said yesterday.
"Raising reserve requirements is what you want to do when you want to make banks more resilient," said Khalid Howladar, a Dubai-based senior credit officer at Moody's Investors Service. "In a mature jurisdiction it may be significant, but here, when you look at how pre-emptive the government was in buying assets and making capital injections, this is only one of many arrows in Qatar's quiver."

Dubai World encouraged as CityCenter fortunes improve - The National

The multibillion-dollar CityCenter entertainment resort in Las Vegas, half-owned by Dubai World, has narrowed its losses as business in the city continues its recovery from depressed conditions.

Losses at CityCenter fell to US$10.2 million (Dh37.6m) in the fourth quarter of last year compared with $38.4m in the same quarter of the previous year, MGM Resorts International reported.

The resort is jointly owned by the Dubai World subsidiary Infinity World and MGM Resorts.

Reuters: Dubai Finance Centre to Allow Transactions in Chinese Yuan

The Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), the United Arab Emirates’ financial hub, expects to permit transactions in Chinese yuan from this year, industry sources told Reuters on Thursday.

The change would represent an important step in China’s drive to encourage international use of its currency, since the UAE is one of the world’s top five oil exporters and the second largest Arab economy in the Gulf.

Nasser Saidi, the DIFC’s chief economist, said financial authorities were discussing the plan. The DIFC, which operates under special regulations, is a regional financial centre in which hundreds of international banks, asset managers, insurers, law firms and other companies are based.

gulfnews : Abu Dhabi bourse hits five-month high

The Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX) extended gains to a five-month high on Thursday, with property stocks generating the bulk of the buying interest.
The ADX added 0.17 per cent to 2,539.2, its highest close since September 27, to close a week of solid gains on the capital's index. Aldar Properties, the most traded stock by value and volume, climbed 3.77 per cent to Dh1.13 and Sorouh rose 0.9 per cent to Dh1.12.
"There is a lot of money on the sidelines at the moment and interest rates are low," said Chahir Hosni, equity sales manager at EFG-Hermes. "The Saudi market is driving gains in the region on rumours it may soon open up to foreigners while Egypt's bourse has also benefited from the improved political situation.

As Anticipation for Opening Grows, Saudi Stocks Soar - Arabianomics

Saudi Arabia is rumored to open up its stock market, also known as the Tadawul or TASI, possibly as early as Q1 2012. That has the market giddy with excitement about the flow of foreign investment, according to Bloomberg, which reported today that the TASI index “advanced to the highest level in more than three years on investor speculation the Arab world’s biggest stock market may this year open up to foreign investors.”
According to Reuters, banks and petrochemical stocks lead the growth. Al Rajhi Bank gained 1.3 percent, Riyad Bank climbed 2.8 percent and Samba Financial Group rose 1.6 percent, Reuters reported.
As we wrote in January of 2012, this year should be a year of opening for Saudi Arabia.