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Monday, 5 March 2012

gulfnews : UAE purchasing managers' index down as exports up

The UAE's purchasing managers' index (PMI), a composite indicator of the performance of the non-oil private sector, slipped slightly from 52.4 in January to 52 in February.
The index, compiled by HSBC Holdings and Markit Economics, signalled a further modest improvement in the operating conditions of the UAE non-oil private sector. Reflecting cautiously optimistic sentiment, output was up moderately despite robust expansion in new orders.
"The ‘whole economy' PMI index, which includes private sector services and manufacturing but not oil, fell in February. This is still higher than December's reading of 51.7 and above the critical 50 mark which, in theory at least, separates expansion from contraction," said Hirsh Middle East Economist in an emailed comment.

WAM | Total bank deposits in UAE up to AED1.06 trillion by December 2011

The UAE's Central Bank announced today that total bank deposits in the country increased by 1.5 percent during the month of December 2011 to close at AED 1,069.7 billion. Meanwhile, total bank loans and advances (net of provisions and interest in suspense) decreased by 0.3 percent to reach AED 1,071.0 billion and total bank assets decreased by 0.6 percent to reach AED 1,662.1 billion, at the end of December 2011.

Money supply M0 (currency in circulation + currency at banks) decreased by 2.1 percent. from AED 53.2 billion at the end of November 2011 to AED 52.1 billion at the end of December of the same year.

Money supply aggregate M1 (currency in circulation plus monetary deposits, i.e., current accounts and call accounts at banks) decreased by 0.2 percent, from AED 264.6 billion at the end of November to AED 264.1 billion at the end of December of 2011.

Anxiety mounts in Gulf over debt repayments -

A wave of looming debt maturities threatens to create more volatility in the region’s debt markets, as borrowers face a tough refinancing environment and a wall of repayments.
While not at the same scale or public prominence as the near-defaults of 2009, markets are paying close attention to the challenges of smaller issuers in the region as foreign banks retreat and company recovery plans fail to meet forecasts.

Business struggles in revolutionary Egypt -

It is mid-morning but the machines are silent in Ahmed Zeidan’s cavernous metal workshop in Shobra al-Kheima, a sprawling, traffic-congested industrial area north of Cairo.
Before the revolution, his workshop specialising in lathing metal parts for machines in nearby textile factories did a roaring business, he said. These days, however, Mr Zeidan whiles away the time drinking tea and watching television at his counter.

Aabar of Abu Dhabi Raises Shareholding in Arabtec to 5.28% - Bloomberg

Aabar Investments PJSC (AABAR), an Abu Dhabi government-controlled company, raised its stake in Arabtec Holding Co. (ARTC) to 5.28 percent, according to data posted on Dubai’s stock exchange.
The shareholding is listed under Aabar Petroleum Investments Co., which in 2008 sold its energy assets to Mubadala Development Co., an investment company owned by the Abu Dhabi government. Arabtec Chief Financial Officer Ziad Makhzoumi couldn’t be reached on his mobile telephone and Aabar officials were not immediately available for comment.
Arabtec, the biggest construction company by market value in the United Arab Emirates, has surged 120 percent this year on speculation investors are accumulating the stock amid bets it will benefit from regional infrastructure spending. That compares with a 30 percent gain in Dubai’s DFM General Index. (DFMGI)

Abu Dhabi and South Korea form oil partnership in the emirate - The National

Abu Dhabi National Oil Company has signed a contract with South Korea to exploit three virgin oilfields in Abu Dhabi and explore across a huge swath of the emirate.

Korea National Oil Corporation (KNOC) and GS Energy, a Seoul-based company, will hold 40 per cent interest in the contract, which could start pumping its first crude within two years.

"Korea and the United Arab Emirates are already working closely on projects of joint strategic importance, and today's developments see the further strengthening of that friendship through an important, and truly mutually beneficial, energy partnership between our two countries," said Minister Hong Suk Woo, who was in Abu Dhabi today for the signing ceremony.

MENA stock markets close - March 5, 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)

KUNA : Real estate company established with capital of KD 1 mln - Kuwait gazette - Economics - 05/03/2012

Kuwait Gazette announced on Monday the establishment of "Anfal Al-Khaleej" real estate company with a capital of one million Kuwaiti Dinar (KD).
The company was incepted as a closed shareholding company with a capital of KD 1 million distributed over 10 million shares each valued at 100 fils, the gazette said in its latest edition.
The company's mission is to buy and sell properties for its own interest inside and outside of the country. It also runs others' properties in accordance to the country's laws.

UAE Feb. Non-Oil Private Sector Growth Slows Modestly

The non-oil private sector in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) expanded at a slower pace in February, reflecting cautiously optimistic sentiment among entrepreneurs, data from a survey by Markit Economics and HSBC Bank showed Monday.

The purchasing managers' index (PMI) for the non-oil private sector dropped modestly to 52 in February from 52 .4 in January. A PMI reading above 50 indicates expansion in the sector, while one below suggests contraction.

New business received by firms increased sharply in February, reflecting strong demand from both the foreign market and the domestic market. Output also increased during the month, in line with the growth in new orders, though at the weakest pace in five months.

UAE Central bank reports on money supply

The UAE’s Central Bank announced that money supply M0 (currency in circulation + currency at banks) decreased by 2.1 percent. from AED 53.2 billion at the end of November 2011 to AED 52.1 billion at the end of December of the same year.

Money supply aggregate M1 (currency in circulation plus monetary deposits, i.e., current accounts and call accounts at banks) decreased by 0.2 percent, from AED 264.6 billion at the end of November to AED 264.1 billion at the end of December of 2011.

Money supply aggregate M2 which comprises of M1 and quasi-monetary deposits (resident time and savings deposits in Dirhams, commercial prepayments in Dirhams and resident deposits in foreign currencies), increased by 0.5 percent, from AED 822.1 billion at the end of November to AED 825.8 billion at the end of December 2011.

Abu Dhabi’s Shares Drop on Bets 11-Day Rally Spurred by Earnings Overdone - Bloomberg

Abu Dhabi’s benchmark stock index retreated for the first time in 12 days amid speculation a rally spurred by improved earnings at the emirate’s companies and infrastructure spending plans was overdone.
Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank PJSC (ADCB), the United Arab Emirates’ third-biggest bank, dropped 1.5 percent. First Gulf Bank PJSC (FGB), which is controlled by Abu Dhabi’s ruling family, fell the most in seven weeks. The ADX General Index (ADSMI) decreased 0.6 percent, the first decline since Feb. 16 and the most since Jan. 17, to 2,625.42 at the 2 p.m. close in the emirate. The measure advanced 6.7 percent in the eleven days through yesterday. Dubai’s DFM General Index (DFMGI) was little changed.
“We expected there to be some profit-taking after such a strong rally,” said Ziad Dabbas, a financial analyst at National Bank of Abu Dhabi PJSC, the U.A.E.’s second-biggest bank by assets. “We have mainly seen speculators in the market and we do need to see some long-term investors come in, that may happen gradually.”

Dubai’s Takaful Emarat Starts Equity Fund, CEO Marrouche Says - Bloomberg

Takaful Emarat - Insurance P.S.C., a Dubai-based Shariah-compliant life and health insurance company, started a 20 million Saudi riyal ($5.3 million) equity fund, Chief Executive Officer Ghassan Marrouche said.
“It’s a global equity investment fund that protects 90 percent of the capital,” he said in an interview in Dubai today. “The expected annual rate of return is between 3 to 5 percent.” The fund is managed by Riyad Capital, Marrouche said.
Takaful Emarat’s services include savings through investment products, personal accident benefits and mortgage insurance products.

Dubai to securitise Duty Free sales - sources - Retail -

Dubai plans to raise funds by selling debt based on future revenues at Dubai Duty Free, one of the world's largest airport retailers, according to three sources.
The Gulf Arab emirate's Department of Finance is working in tandem with the Investment Corporation of Dubai (ICD) which owns the retail operator, said the sources who spoke on condition of anonymity as the matter has not been made public yet.
Dubai is planning to raise at least US$500m from the securitisation of receipts, one banking source said, adding requests for proposals (RFP) for the transaction was sent to banks and a final mandate was yet to be announced. It was not known if the emirate has appointed any banks to advise on the deal.

UPDATE 1-Brent back near $124 on supply concerns over Iran | Reuters

Brent crude climbed to near $124 on Monday, rebounding from a drop of 2 percent the previous session as another refiner announced cuts to Iranian imports, feeding fears of a supply crunch as the West presses ahead with sanctions on Tehran.

Relief that China's 2012 growth target came in as expected at 7.5 percent reassured investors that the country would continue to propel steady demand for oil, while a delay of up to four more days in restarting Enbridge Inc's oil pipeline system in the U.S. Midwest also provided support.

As sanctions against the world's fifth largest oil exporter Iran over its nuclear programme make trade in its oil more difficult, its biggest customers including China, Japan and India are reducing imports from Tehran, even as Middle East supply risks remain.

Rashed Al Baloushi appointed CEO of Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange | Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX) |

Mr. Al Baloushi joined ADX in the year 2000 as Director of Clearance, Settlement and Depository Department. In 2007, Mr. Al Baloushi received the position of Deputy Chief Executive.

Since then, he has redefined ADX's strategy, created a more robust establishment upon which ADX can flourish, and strengthened ADX's portfolio through his constant dedication and innovation.

"We were pleased to select Rashed as CEO of ADX," said H.E. Nasser Ahmad Al Suwaidi, Chairman of the Board, "Rashed brings wide experience in growing markets. His strategic focus, together with his substantial business knowledge, will drive ADX onward. The Board has great confidence in Rashed's leadership to take ADX to the next level."

Etihad Deepens Search for Airline Partners, Bucking Gulf Trend - Bloomberg

Etihad Airways plans to intensify its strategy of growing passenger numbers via tie-ups with other carriers, bucking the go-it-alone stance of Gulf rival Emirates, Chief Executive Officer James Hogan said in an interview.
The third-largest Middle Eastern airline views signing deals and taking stakes in smaller operators serving key markets as a vital complement to spending money on planes as it builds Abu Dhabi into a hub for inter-continental travel, Hogan said.

Emirates, the largest international airline, has codeshare accords with nine carriers and no foreign holdings, while Etihad has 35 partners and is spending $400 million on stakes in Air Berlin Plc (AB1) and Air Seychelles Ltd. The difference arises because Emirates and Qatar Airways Ltd., with 11 allies, are 26 and 18 years old, respectively, and have had time to grow, whereas Etihad was founded in 2003 and needs feeder traffic, Hogan said.

Abu Dhabi's tech fund ups stake in Globalfoundries to 100 per cent - The National

Abu Dhabi’s Advanced Technology Investment Company (Atic) is fully acquiring Globalfoundries, a semiconductor chip maker, as it seeks to grow business from an expanding market of smartphones and mobile gadgets.

The deal, which was announced this morning, means Atic is acquiring the remaining equity stake of nearly 9 per cent in Globalfoundries. That stake was previously controlled by Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), a semiconductor company headquartered in the US.

Acquiring the remaining stake in Globalfoundries is “much more than symbolic”, said Ibrahim Ajami, the chief executive of Atic.

Bank Nizwa’s RO60m IPO likely in April - Times of Oman

Oman’s first Islamic bank’s (Bank Nizwa) RO60 million initial public offering (IPO) may be floated in April, even as the bank authorities are planning to unveil their programmes for the first time to the media on March 10.

Although high-ranking officials involved in setting up the bank are tight-lipped on the plans, sources at the bank’s issue manager said that Bank Nizwa will have a paid-up capital of RO150 million.

The bank’s 40 per cent capital will be offered to the public. The issue, which will be offered at a fixed price and managed by Oman Arab Bank, will open for subscription for one month.

Where are the best realty investment opportunities in the Middle East? « ArabianMoney

It might be that Saudi Arabian residential or commercial property is the best real estate investment opportunity in the Middle East. But that matters little if you are a non-Saudi and unable to buy.

Even in Qatar and Abu Dhabi foreign real estate buyers have to make do with long leases, that is not as good as freehold though London manages with leasehold. Dubai, Ras Al Khaimah and Umm Al Quwaim are the places for freehold.

gulfnews : Saudi economy posts huge surpluses

Plenty of evidence points to the phenomenon enjoying exceptional times, as evidenced by posted surpluses notably with regards to budgetary and trade accounts.
Fortunately, the authorities have opted to use part of the budgetary surpluses towards the balance of payments in order to alleviate the debt problem.
Performance of fiscal year 2011 tells a great story about the magnitude of the Saudi economy on the one hand and the sheer size of the budgetary surplus. Actual revenues more than doubled from $144 billion (Dh528 billion) to $296 billion, in turn allowing for an increase in spending from $155 billion to $214 billion.

gulfnews : A jittery oil market and rumours with intent

Oil prices have been on an upward path since the beginning of February supported by bullish and better-than-expected US economic performance where the government announced three per cent annual economic growth in the fourth quarter of 2011.
The market was also supported by positive manufacturing data out of China, and the recent agreement in the EU to bail out Greece and to agree on a new financial pact and a major fund to avoid future crisis.
But the good news stops here as oil demand in 2012 is increasingly revised downwards by all forecasters. In its February Oil Market Report the International Energy Agency (IEA) revised demand to 89.9 million barrels a day (bpd), down by 300,000 bpd from a month earlier report. The call on Opec oil in 2012 is now forecast by the IEA to be only 29.9 milion bpd, down from 30 in 2011.

Capital ship builder's revenue riding a wave - The National

Abu Dhabi Ship Building (ADSB) has announced that its contract revenue jumped by more than Dh200 million (US$54.4m) last year to Dh1.3 billion but said its profit had slipped.

The company, which yesterday posted its preliminary results for last year, reported that net profit before currency fluctuations had dropped to Dh56.4m from Dh86.3m in 2010. Earnings per share were 19.4 fils compared with 41.9 fils in 2010.

"The reduction compared to 2010 was expected," the company said in a statement to the Abu Dhabi bourse. "ADSB won a new contract for vessels' upgrades, but no other major new contract."

UPDATE 1-Qatar Telecom Q4 profit up 32 pct | Reuters

Qatar Telecom's (Qtel) fourth-quarter net profit rose 32 percent, according to Reuters calculations, but fell short of an analyst's estimate.

The former monopoly made a net profit of about 598 million Qatar riyals ($164.26 million), compared with a profit of 451.9 million riyals in the same period a year ago, Reuters calculated.

One analyst polled by Reuters forecast a quarterly profit of 723 million riyals for Qtel, which owns controlling stakes in Kuwait's Wataniya and Oman's Nawras.

Business : Confidence up on UAE economy

There is considerable optimism for the future in the UAE, with 46 per cent of those who responded to a survey voicing hopes that their personal financial situation would improve in a year’s time, while 45 per cent expecting that the country’s economy would also improve.
The Consumer Confidence Index survey conducted by the Middle East job site and YouGov, a research and consulting organisation, shows that while 46 per cent of respondents expect business conditions to become more favourable, 31 per cent hope that employment conditions will also improve.

“Despite this, only 23 per cent are optimistic that their companies will grow in terms of number of employees, with 40 per cent remaining neutral with regards to meeting staffing requirements,” the survey report said.

Small is beautiful in UAE banking sector - The National

Quirkiness is a virtue, says Paul Trowbridge, the chief executive of United Arab Bank (UAB), as he pulls out the lender's newest Islamic credit card, printed vertically rather than horizontally.

"It's a bit unusual," he says."Not everyone's got it. It's relatively understated - and it's Arabic." In a nutshell, that describes the bank's attempts to sell itself during a year of rapid expansion.

The lender based in Sharjah has tried to stand out through high-profile events such as enlisting Fabio Cannavaro, a former captain of the Italian national football team, to open its branches.

Investors in Dubai spur a new high for market - The National

Dubai's stocks surged to the highest in more than a year yesterday as retail investors flooded back to the market after signs of recovery in the global economy.

The benchmark Dubai Financial Market General Index has rallied by almost 30 per cent in the year to date, helping stocks erase losses from the sell-off triggered by last year's Arab Spring.

During yesterday's trading, the benchmark added another 3 per cent to reach 1,754.20, its highest level since November 1, 2010. In the capital, the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX) General Index also climbed, rising 0.6 per cent to 2,641.29.

gulfnews : Bahrain's Al Baraka eyes global expansion

Bahraini Islamic lender Al Baraka Banking Group aims for 15 per cent growth in net profit this year and plans to buy a 75 per cent stake in an unlisted Indonesian bank as part of its global expansion plan.
"We are in talks with Chinese shareholders of an Indonesian bank and hope to buy close to 75 per cent stake this year," Adnan Ahmad Yousuf, Al Baraka's chief executive, told Reuters in an interview.
"Our plan is to invest around $100 million in this deal," he said, declining to name the targeted bank.