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Monday, 27 February 2012

gulfnews : UAE investors look to hold assets

The number of UAE investors adopting a 10-year-plus strategy has significantly increased and that of investors choosing a short-term investment strategy continues to decline, according to the latest Friends Provident International (FPI) Investor Attitudes Report.
The study shows that UAE investors are adopting longer-term investment strategies, with the percentage of respondents opting for a ten-year-plus strategy almost doubling since the last survey conducted in the third quarter of 2011.
The trend suggests that consumers are taking responsibility for their future and saving over the longer term to achieve their financial goals, the study said.

MENA stock markets close February 27, 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)

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi hits fresh 41-mth high; most markets halt rally | Reuters

Saudi Arabia's bourse extended its rally on Monday and trading value hit a new high amid a trend of investment shift to equities, while most regional markets fell in profit-taking.

The kingdom's index rose 0.9 percent to its highest close since September 2008.

Total traded value jumped to 12.2 billion riyals ($3.25 billion), a new high in the last four years as investors pour money into equities from other asset classes on growing confidence.

Head of Bahrain sovereign wealth fund quits -

The head of Mumtalakat, Bahrain’s state holding company, has resigned after a four-year term to return to the private sector.
The move looks set to boost the Gulf state’s troubled financial sector, but it has also raised concerns about the erosion of reformists from leading government roles.

Talal al-Zain said he was proud of the achievements of his term as chief executive of the sovereign wealth fund, managing state companies such as Aluminium Bahrain and national carrier Gulf Air.

Growing expat exodus to Qatar - Telegraph

Securing the World Cup was just the beginning. Qatar is fast becoming the Middle Eastern flagship for social, financial and cultural development and a new banking hotspot.
Qatar’s booming economy and appetite for developing non-oil sectors has attracted the international spotlight, especially in light of looming regulatory changes in the United Arab Emirates, according to Guardian Wealth Management.
David Russell, chief executive officer of GWM Qatar LLC, said: “Upcoming regulatory changes to the investment fund sector in the UAE have understandably made businesses nervous. Those seeking to make the most of more tax-efficient financial hubs expect to benefit from a lucid and uncomplicated system, which Qatar currently offers."

EFG-Hermes Starts Iraq Equity Swaps to Meet Investor Demand - Businessweek

EFG-Hermes Holding SAE, the biggest publicly traded Arab investment bank, started offering an equity-swap product linked to Iraqi securities, potentially allowing investors to benefit from the nation’s recovery from decades of war and sanctions.

“Despite the prevailing risk-averse nature of investment in the Middle East and North Africa region, we have seen a high level of demand for access to this new frontier market,” said Julian Bruce, the Dubai-based director of institutional sales trading at EFG-Hermes. The product will remove “both the domestic Iraqi broker counter-party risk and the labor-intensive procedures involved in domestic execution.”

Almost a decade after a U.S.-led invasion toppled dictator Saddam Hussein, Iraq’s economy is set to expand 12.6 percent in 2012, the fastest among MENA countries, according to the International Monetary Fund. Regional markets were hurt last year amid uprisings that ousted leaders in Egypt, Libya and Tunisia and investor concern Europe’s debt crisis may spread.

UPDATE 1-Dubai's JAFZA hires Citi to weigh $2 bln bond options - sources - Finance News - London South East

Dubai's Jebel Ali Free Zone (JAFZA) has hired Citigroup to advise on options for meeting a $2 billion Islamic bond maturity this year, including the potential sale of its UK-based developer Gazeley, three sources said on Monday.

JAFZA, which runs an industrial free zone on the outskirts of Dubai, has said it aims to refinance the 7.5-billion dirhams Islamic bond which matures in November.

'Citi will for sure look at all options available to address the debt,' one of the sources said, speaking on condition of anonymity. 'If they can help sell Gazeley in this market, then it will definitely go toward helping repayment but these markets are not so conducive for asset sales.

Dubai Shares Drop Most in 2 Months on Speculation Rally Overdone - Businessweek

Dubai’s benchmark stock index retreated the most in more than two months on investor speculation this month’s rally was overdone and after the Dubai Financial Market PJSC posted its first full-year loss.

Dubai Financial Market, the only publicly traded Gulf Arab stock market, declined 4.2 percent. Aramex PJSC retreated the most in almost two months after the largest courier company in the Middle East reduced its dividend compared with 2010. The DFM General Index fell 1.3 percent, the most since Dec. 21, to 1,654.20 at the 2 p.m. close in the emirate. The measure, which entered a bull market last week, has surged 27 percent from a low in January.

“We are at the point where our markets are likely to take a breather,” said Dubai-based Ibrahim Masood, who helps manage about $400 million at Mashreqbank PSC. “Local retail are doing the buying, and none of them are the kind to buy and hold; this hot potato is in slippery hands.”

EMs boost HSBC but not by enough | beyondbrics –

Shares in HSBC fell by 2.3 per cent in morning trading on Monday, after the London-based bank reported a 6 per cent fall in underlying profits to $17.7bn for 2011. A strong rise in profits from emerging markets, especially Asia and Latin America, was not enough to offset worse-than-expected earnings in Europe and the US.

HSBC – which put a photo of a Chinese ship unloading machinery in Brazil on the front of its annual report and accounts for 2011 – could hardly be making a stronger commitment to emerging markets as it strives to meet earnings and efficiency targets. But its approach is more hard-headed than the friends-with-everyone, “world’s local bank” strategy of old.

It was a dismal year in developed markets for the bank. Underlying profits in Europe fell from $4.38bn in 2010 to $1.72bn in 2011, a fall of 61 per cent. In North America, a profit of $285m in 2010 was followed by a net loss of $870m last year (caused largely by adjustments of $970m).

Saudi Ctrl Bk To Keep Key Rates Unchanged In March - Sources -

The Saudi central bank has decided to keep its key interest rates unchanged in March, as inflation pressures remain under control, people familiar with the matter said Sunday.

Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency, or SAMA, told the kingdom's banks that it will hold its overnight reverse repo rate at 0.25% next month, and the benchmark repurchase rate at 2%, the people said.

Annual inflation in the kingdom remained unchanged at 5.3% in January versus December, data from the Central Department of Statistics and Information showed earlier this month.

Qatar Petroleum eyes Australia LNG units

Qatar Petroleum is considering investment in Australian liquefied natural gas (LNG) facilities and possibly buying into an export boom that poses the only serious challenge to its place as the world's top LNG exporter, a company official said.

'I think we are exploring all geographical places that would really achieve our business objectives and Australia definitely is an important proposition where maybe we will be able to find good investment opportunities,' Abdulrahman Al-Shaibi, director of finance at Qatar Petroleum, told Reuters on the sidelines of a conference in Dubai.

By 2020, Australia may eclipse Qatar as the world's largest LNG exporting country.

Dubai Shares Drop on Bets This Month’s Rally Overdone; DFM Falls - Businessweek

Dubai’s benchmark stock index retreated from a 10-month high on speculation a rally this month was overdone and after the Dubai Financial Market PJSC posted its first full-year loss.

Dubai Financial Market, the only publicly traded Gulf Arab stock market, declined 1.7 percent. Aramex PJSC retreated the most in almost two months after the largest courier company in the Middle East cut its dividend. The DFM General Index fell 0.4 percent to 1,670.57 at 11:28 a.m. in the emirate. The measure, which entered a bull market last week, has surged 28 percent from a low in January.

gulfnews : Takaful Emarat set to unveil Islamic fund

On March 5, Takaful Emarat will unveil the first investment fund conceived and developed in-house, which the company sees as a milestone in its fourth year of operations. All the necessary approvals have been obtained, including the crucial one from the company's Sharia board.
To be managed by Riyadh Capital, the open-ended fund — with up to 90 per cent of the investor's funds being guaranteed — has a multi-year tenure. Takaful Emarat currently has more than 70 savings and protection funds on offer, but developed by others.
This is a crucial year for the Islamic insurer, which is a joint venture between Al Buhaira National Insurance Co and Austria's Uniqa Group. At the end of the year the company will look to report its first profits, said Ghassan Marrouche, general manager.

A look beyond politics in the Arab awakening - The National

During the past year, the Arab world has gone through historic transformations. On top of the mounting death toll, the uprisings have engendered significant economic costs.

A year later, the euphoria of overnight democratic change has given way to the more pragmatic challenges of transition. Much emphasis has been placed on the political aspect of these popular revolts, and while this facet is undoubtedly of utmost importance, one should be mindful that these uprisings have also brought economic, financial and social problems yet again to the forefront.

These dimensions had a central role in triggering the desire for democratic change across the region and will help to determine the sustainability of this new Arab order.

Investcorp plans US property investments - The National

Investcorp, a Bahraini investment company, plans to spend up to US$250 million (Dh917.9m) in the US property market this year.

The asset management firm said improving economic conditions in the US and limited growth in supply were creating attractive opportunities.

"What we find interesting is there really is very little commercial construction in the United States right now," said Jonathan Dracos, the head of real estate for Investcorp.

Oman Tribune -Representatives of 19 banks form Omani Bank Association

Representatives of 19 banks in Oman signed an agreement to form the Omani Banks Association on Sunday.

Chief executive officers (CEO) from various banks attended the meeting to set up the association that will work with the Central Bank of Oman (CBO) to promote transparency in bank dealings.

It will also make sure that all banks in the Sultanate abided by local and international banking rules.

Nakheel pays back Dh202.2m to lenders as part of restructuring

Nakheel, one of Dubai's largest property developers, has paid Dh202.2 million to its lenders as part its restructuring commitments.
The payments are in line with the due date, which is scheduled for the end of this month.
"The timely discharge of the committed payments signals the successful execution of the restructured operations by Nakheel and cements the company's commitments towards successfully implementing the agreed operating plan following the completion of one of the largest and most complex restructurings in the Middle East in August 2011," a Nakheel spokesperson said.

Caseload doubles at Dubai financial court - The National

The caseload for Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) Courts' largest claims court has more than doubled so far this year as more firms rush to get disputes resolved in the free zone.

Officials say the rise is down to more awareness about the courts' capabilities after a rule change in October to widen its remit to include non-DIFC firms. Publicity surrounding a recent high-profile case has also helped attract more interest, they say.

"More people have been made aware about the DIFC Courts when they didn't know about them previously and it has become an option they never contemplated before," said Mark Beer, the DIFC Courts registrar.

gulfnews : Dubai Financial Market profit falls to Dh8m as stock trading plunges

The Dubai Financial Market (DFM) on Sunday reported a net profit of Dh8 million for 2011, compared Dh89.9 million in 2010.
The DFM Group, which includes its subsidiary Nasdaq Dubai, reported a net loss of Dh6.9 million in 2011 compared to a net profit of Dh78.9 million in 2010.
The group's total revenues declined 32 per cent last year to Dh176.5 million from Dh260.5 million in 2010. The total revenue comprised Dh119.6 million operational revenues and Dh56.9 million in investment revenues and others.

MENA stock markets close - February 26, 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)

Abu Dhabi tourism developer mulls asset sales - Real Estate -

Abu Dhabi's government-owned Tourism Development Investment Company (TDIC), builder of branches of the Louvre and Guggenheim museums, is mulling asset sales to help repay $2 billion in debt maturing in 2014, its chief financial officer said.
Shaun O'Connor said the developer had been in talks with Gulf region investors on the sales and was considering whether "to pay off or to extend" the bonds.
"We have assets on the market today to sell ... into private hands and spur investment in Abu Dhabi," he said in an interview at TDIC's headquarters on the outskirts of Abu Dhabi.

Bahrain’s Arcapita faces debt challenge -

Bahrain-based private equity investor Arcapita Bank is facing a potentially painful debt workout as it mandates advisers ahead of the March deadline for the Manama-based group to repay $1.1bn of loans.
Privately-held Arcapita, which declined to comment, owns a broad portfolio of companies in the US and Europe, including UK rail cargo company Freightliner, Irish utilities group Viridian and US women’s apparel retailer J Jill.

Recession fears return - Oil & Gas - Zawya

As the world faces its biggest oil crisis since the 1970s, politicians are blaming every one - President Obama, Iran, QE and Saudi King - for high oil prices. How about putting some blame on Israel for pushing the world into another unwanted war?
Middle East oil producers pay careful attention to petrol, or gasoline prices, in the United States.

The American driver is a gas-guzzler, a wanderer who likes to drive long distances across the breadth of the country, and it's a fact that the United States' driving season plays a huge role in determining oil prices.