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Sunday, 11 March 2012

MENA stock markets close - March 11, 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)

Saudi's Almarai raises $267 mln from debut sukuk | Reuters

Saudi Arabia's Almarai Co, the Gulf's biggest dairy firm by market value, raised 1 billion riyals ($266.6 million) through a sukuk, or Islamic bond, issue on March 7, the firm said in a bourse statement on Sunday.

"Almarai successfully issued sukuk for 1 billion riyals on March 7, 2012. The orders reached 4.7 billion riyals, 4.7 times oversubscribed," the statement said.

It is the first time that Almarai has issued public debt, having begun roadshows for the offering last month.

Persian Gulf Stocks: Doha Bank, Dubai Investments, Emirates NBD - Bloomberg

Dubai’s DFM General Index (DFMGI) rallied 4.7 percent, the biggest increase since December 2009, to 1,686.66 at the 2 p.m. close in Dubai. Abu Dhabi’s ADX General Index (ADSMI) advanced 1 percent.

UAE economy grew 3.3 percent in 2011, below forecasts | Reuters

The United Arab Emirates' economy grew an estimated 3.3 percent in 2011, the economy minister was quoted as saying on Sunday, slower than analysts had expected but still more than double the pace seen in the previous year.

Economy Minister Sultan bin Saeed al-Mansouri said the UAE, one of the world's top five oil exporters, had faced unprecedented regional and global challenges last year. But he added that it was helped by the rising contribution of non-oil sectors, the ministry's website ( reported.

Analysts polled by Reuters in December had forecast the economy would grow 3.9 percent in real terms in 2011, after 1.4 percent expansion in 2010.

Drydocks Expects Lenders Support for Debt Plan, Chairman Says - Bloomberg

Khamis Juma Buamim, chairman of Dubai-based Drydocks World LLC, the Middle East’s biggest shipyard, said he is confident that lenders will accept a proposal made March 8 to restructure $2.2 billion of debt. He spoke to reporters that day about the plan.
On the debt restructuring plan
“It’s a five-year debt payment. It’s a restructuring of the debt for five years. It’s too early to talk about that (haircut on loans), I can’t comment on that. We continue to pay interest on the loans, we never stopped. We are confident that this (the restructuring) is going to be achieved in the timespan that we agreed with our lenders. We already have a working capital facility. It’s a continuation of what we agreed a year ago.
On whether Drydocks plans to sell its South East Asian business:

Leighton Abu Dhabi scandal revealed

THE year before construction giant Leighton Holdings signed a contract with Iraq that is now under investigation by the Australian Federal Police, it can be revealed that a joint venture in Abu Dhabi collapsed as a scandal erupted into certain procurement practices by at least one of Leighton's managers, who had also been the subject of police charges.

Leighton signed a $1.4 billion joint venture with Abu Dhabi-based Tourism Development & Investment Company in December 2007 to undertake contracting for various projects commissioned by TDIC, the tourism asset development arm of the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority.

Eighteen months later, the joint venture company was abandoned and both companies blamed the decision on the global financial crisis. Neither company mentioned a scandal that had resulted in an internal investigation being carried out after TDIC received a series of documents that alleged fraudulent activity by a Leighton manager, who for the purposes of this article is called NX.

UPDATE 1-UAE developers Aldar, Sorouh eye state-backed merger | Reuters

Abu Dhabi developer Aldar Properties, which has twice been rescued by the Abu Dhabi government with bailouts totalling $10 billion, may merge with local rival Sorouh Real Estate in a state-backed tie-up, the two firms said on Sunday.

Any merger decision will be made in the next three months after a joint committee assesses the matter. No further details were provided.

"Aldar and Sorouh are discussing ways to merge with the blessing of the Abu Dhabi government," said the joint statement to the Abu Dhabi bourse.

Oman's first Islamic bank to start operations in Q3

Bank Nizwa, the first dedicated Islamic bank in Oman offering Shari’a compliant products and services, has announced plans to start its operations in the third quarter of 2012.

The Islamic bank aims to launch the first IPO in the second quarter to secure the incorporation of the company.

Nazwa will open its first three branches in Muscat, Nizwa and Sohar areas of the Sultanate, said a statement from the bank.

KUNA : Kuwait''s KIA wins USD 300 mln quota in China stock market Miyoko Ishigami - Economics - 11/03/2012

Dubai Investments to Divest Three Businesses as Emirate’s Economy Recovers - Bloomberg

Dubai Investments PJSC (DIC), the owner of stakes in more than 40 companies, plans to exit some of its businesses as Dubai’s economy shows signs of recovery, Chief Executive Officer Khalid bin Kalban said.
“We have three companies under evaluation or due diligence for private placements and by summer we can decide on exits,” Kalban said an interview in Dubai on March 7. “The economy is improving and the whole dust surrounding the financial situation is settling. It’s a good opportunity to look again at divesting some of the assets.”
Dubai Investments, which operates in businesses including real estate, financial services and investments, slowed its divestment plan after the financial crisis hit Dubai late 2008. The company sold 40 percent of its private equity unit Masharie LLC for 400 million dirhams ($109 million), it said in 2008. One of the companies it will divest this year is part of Masharie, Kalban said.

Bahrain’s $238m annual interest ‘may rise’

Bahrain’s government pays BD90 million ($238.7 million) every year as interest on loans and the figure is set to increase in coming years, said the Finance Ministry.

A report from the Ministry added that the government deducts one per cent from employees' salaries against unemployment benefits to reduce the burden on the state budget.

The ministry issued the report following an attempt by MPs to draft a law making the 1 per cent cut optional, reports our sister paper Akhbar Al Khaleej.

Should Arabian investors think again about Mr Putin’s New Russia? « ArabianMoney

Anybody who backed Mr Putin in his early years as an investor has been richly rewarded with gains in equity prices of 883 per cent from 2000 to 2012. Now he is back in the Kremlin as president again, so is this another good time to invest in Mr Putin?

UFG Asset Management’s chief economist Florian Fenner answered a resounding ‘yes!’ at this week’s Hedge Funds World conference in Dubai. He was not alone. Bin Zayed Group’s Matein Khalid also reckons Gazprom is the most undervalued large energy stock in the world.

Iraq rises as Opec's balance of power shifts - The National

Sanctions against Tehran are shifting the balance of power between two long-time Opec rivals - Iraq and Iran.

The Islamic republic, Opec's top producer after Saudi Arabia, is expected to face a fall in output from today's 3.5 million barrels per day (bpd) to 3 million bpd as an EU oil embargo takes effect and sanctions by the United States aimed at Tehran's finance and energy sectors come into force in June. Analysts predict the output level could decline to 2.7 million bpd by the third quarter.

UAE markets expected again to miss upgrade by MSCI - The National

UAE financial markets will miss out on an upgrade to emerging status again this year, as investors wait for deeper changes to the indexes' rules, predicts Mark Mobius, the manager of the Franklin Templeton frontier market fund.

MSCI, a provider of investment decision support tools, is due to review the current "frontier market" status of the UAE and Qatar in June. It will be the fourth time the two countries attempt reclassification, after both failed to meet "emerging market" criteria in December.

Mr Mobius, who has five UAE and Qatari companies among his top 10 holdings in the world's largest frontier-market fund, said that regional stability kept niche investors interested in local markets but that the broader investment available to MSCI-rated emerging countries would disappoint again this year.

Traders in Dubai owed Dh1bn by Iran buyers - The National

Traders in Dubai are owed more than Dh1 billion (US$272.2 million) as the slide in Iran's currency means buyers from the country are unable to pay for goods.

Under pressure from global sanctions, the Iranian rial has fallen by about half against the dirham in black-market trading in the past four months. The depreciation is pushing up the cost of goods flowing from the Emirates to Iran.

Many exports work on a credit agreement, so shipments are dispatched with the buyer promising to pay on an agreed date in the months ahead.

Saudi oil: The threat from within - Arab News

Oil consumption in Saudi Arabia is the highest in the world, despite the fact that the economy is not heavily industrialized. According to International Energy Agency (IEA), Saudi Arabia consumes about three million barrels a day or about one billion barrels each year.

If you divide that total by a population of 27 million people, oil consumption would amount to about (40) barrels per person each year, the highest per capita in the world. To put that in perspective, that rate is more than four times the rate of oil consumption in the United States, five times the rate of South Korea, and eight times the rate of consumption in Japan!

What is more alarming is that while industrialized countries’ usage has been falling, ours has been growing. In the United States, which used to be criticized for its oil guzzling ways, per capita oil consumption has fallen from (11) barrels a day in 2005 to less than (9.5) barrels a day, a decline of about 14 percent in five years. Japan’s usage has declined from (7) barrels to around (5) barrels during the past decade, a decline of 25 percent.

Gulf Times – Qatar ‘economic resilience’ bodes well for QE investors

The strength of Qatari economy and the challenges facing it as well as recent trends in global markets, particularly the impact of European debt crisis on regional markets, were the focus of a seminar organised by Commercialbank Capital (Comcap) in Doha.
The seminar on “Global Markets Outlook 2012” held at the Commercialbank Plaza was attended by the bank’s retail and corporate investors.
Commercialbank Investment Services general manager Parvez Khan said, “2011 saw fragmentations in the world order emerge along social and economic fault lines. In particular, the lack of fiscal union in Europe appeared the root of the problem in the eurozone.

MSM bounce seen sustainable | Oman Observer

In line with the positive global sentiment, the Muscat Securities Market too witnessed an impressive turnaround. The benchmark MSM-30 index closed positive for the fifth consecutive week in a row, which is for the first time in the last one year. Turnover saw a surge of 18 per cent in the last week with the market breadth increasing by 10 per cent.
“The huge volume is a clear indication that the bounce is sustainable. More speculative money is coming into the market from holding companies”, says Sankar Kailasam, Senior Vice-President, Gulf Baader Capital Markets. At the same time lack of interest from institutional buyers raises concern. “There has not been much rise in blue chip companies. The market lacks rally in fundamental shares like banking”, he adds.

gulfnews : GCC Focus: Fostering development in Oman

Authorities in Oman are doing the right thing in the pursuit of creating job opportunities for the sultanate's locals.
Reference is made to the drive for developing new industrial parks and expanding existing ones.
Undoubtedly, industrial undertakings tend to have the capacity to create a sizable number of jobs, a primary economic goal for the country. The shortage of jobs for locals played a factor in the short civil unrest that engulfed Oman in early 2011.

Banks sharply boost provisions in Dec - Emirates 24/7

UAE banks appear to be stepping up a drive to build up bad debt provisions four years after the 2008 global fiscal distress, allocating nearly Dh2.1 billion in December, the highest monthly average in 2011.

From around Dh53.2 billion at the end of November, total provisions by the country’s 51 banks swelled to Dh55.3 billion at the end of December, showed a report issued by the Central Bank this week.

The increase boosted total provisions allocated by banks through 2011 to nearly Dh11 billion, slightly lower than the Dh11.7 billion set by banks in 2010 and the record high Dh12.9 billion during 2009.

gulfnews : UAE minister urges stronger economic ties with Canada

Sultan Bin Saeed Al Mansouri, the UAE Minister of Economy, last week made a presentation to Canadian investors on the strengths of the UAE's economy and the excellent investment climate in the country.
He was speaking to investors at a meeting organised by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Montreal.
Al Mansouri stressed the financial and diplomatic relations that have existed between the UAE and Canada for 36 years.

gulfnews : UAE stock market: Working to ensure full disclosure

Local investors have been left bemused in recent months as UAE-listed firms make sharp movements up and down the stock market for no apparent reason.
As a result, the much-bemoaned issue of a lack of transparency has once again come into sharp focus as traders question whether both the market regulator — the Securities and Commodities Authority (SCA) — and public companies are fulfilling their financial disclosure requirements.
In one of the most eye-catching instances, construction firm Arabtec Holding's share price jumped more than 128 per cent in the first two months of the year on unsubstantiated rumours, including speculation the company is on the verge of winning several key infrastructure contracts.

Dubai house price recovery among fastest in the world: Knight Frank - Emirates 24/7

Dubai’s residential real estate has not only stabilised, but house prices in the emirate rose an average 2.3 per cent in the final three months of 2011, according to global residential and commercial property consultants Knight Frank.

As per the consultancy’s Global House Price Index (GHPI), the increase in Dubai house prices during the last quarter of 2011 was particularly steep, and ranked on the last quarter’s rise of 2.3 per cent, Dubai stands at No. 12 worldwide in terms of house price appreciation among the 52 destinations worldwide where Knight Frank tracks house prices.

For the whole of last year, Dubai ranked No. 26 as per the GHPI, which tracks the performance of mainstream house prices wprldwide. Dubai house prices rose just 0.5 per cent for the entire year 2011, suggesting that they declined in the initial months of the year, and were more than countered by the last quarter surge.

Business : Dubai fall underlines risks in Gulf stock rally

A plunge in Dubai stocks this week underlined the risks behind the Gulf’s equity market rallies, although most analysts do not think Dubai’s drop marks the start of any extended downtrend.
The main Dubai index posted its largest drop in over two years on Wednesday as weak global stocks prompted traders to take profits in the emirate. The index lost 4.8 per cent to 1,608 points, reducing its gains from a seven-year low hit in mid-January to 24 per cent. 

Dubai stocks fell more than nine per cent, including property developer Deyaar and Dubai Financial Market. With stock valuations not expensive historically and Dubai’s economic outlook for this year still positive, many analysts think the market’s uptrend may resume sometime in coming weeks or months.