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Sunday, 18 March 2012

IMF team arrives in Cairo for loan talks -

An International Monetary Fund team has arrived in Cairo for talks on a $3.2bn loan facility, seen by the government and analysts as crucial to warding off a financial crisis after more than a year of political turmoil.
The team is to start its five-day mission with talks on Monday about the proposed loan with Freedom and Justice, the main Islamist party in parliament, which is expected to lead the country’s next government.

MENA stock markets close - March 18, 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)

Dubai’s Shares Drop Most in Week on Bets Rally Overdone - Bloomberg

Dubai’s benchmark stock index retreated the most in more than a week on investor speculation this year’s rally was overdone and before the board of Emaar Properties PJSC (EMAAR) meets to discuss a dividend payment.
Emaar, developer of the world’s tallest skyscraper, dropped 1.3 percent. Dubai Financial Market PJSC (DFM), the only publicly traded Gulf Arab stock market, declined for a third day. The DFM General Index (DFMGI) fell 1.4 percent, the most since March 7, to 1,660.47 at the 2 p.m. close in Dubai. The measure has surged 23 percent so far this year. The Bloomberg GCC 200 Index (BGCC200) rose 0.3 percent.

Saudi turnover at 5-yr high; property drags Egypt lower | Reuters

Turnover on Saudi Arabia's bourse hit a five-year peak on Sunday as money poured in with stocks hitting a new three-and-a-half year high, while real estate stocks weighed on Egypt's bourse after results disappointed.

The benchmark .TASI of the Saudi bourse, the largest market in the Arab world, climbed 0.2 percent to its highest close since September 14, 2008.

Shares worth 18 billion riyals ($4.8 billion) changed hands, the highest daily value since April 2007.

Unified UAE bourse and more IPOs needed to boost liquidity and restore investor confidence « ArabianMoney

It’s tragic to read that interior design giant Depa is considering to delist from the Nasdaq Dubai as The National reports today. That would leave port operator DP World as the only active stock on that failed exchange.

Then again consider the fact that Abu Dhabi healthcare group NMC is to raise about $250 million from its initial public offering on the London Stock Exchange and not the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange.

Dubai Able to Tap Loans to Repay Debt This Year, StanChart Says - Businessweek

Dubai’s state-owned companies should be able to raise new loans to help repay about $10 billion of debt due this year, the head of Standard Chartered Plc’s (STAN) unit in the United Arab Emirates said.

The issue of government-related entities “debt remain and they still have to be worked through,” Jonathan Morris, the bank’s chief executive officer for the U.A.E. told a news conference in Dubai today. “We think the government is doing all the right things and exploring all options” and “I don’t see why” they won’t be able to roll over their debt, he said.

Investors have been concerned about the ability of DIFC Investments LLC, an owner of properties in Dubai’s financial center, to repay a $1.25 billion Islamic bond due in June as well as that of business park operator Jebel Ali Free Zone FZE, which must pay a 7.5 billion-dirham bond ($2 billion) in November. Dubai’s state-related companies have about $10.3 billion of debt maturing this year, Bank of America Corp. Merrill Lynch estimated in October.

Etisalat eyes mobile remittances in Gulf | Reuters

UAE telecoms operator Etisalat, which saw $1.8 billion moved over its network last year via money transfers, has sought regulatory approval to expand its financial services offerings in the Gulf region, home to millions of expatriates.

Mobile money services allow customers to pay bills or make remittances using SMS text messages, often at a cheaper cost than through banks or money transfer firms.

"Remittances are a huge business opportunity," George Held, director of products and services at Etisalat, told Reuters.

PE firm Abraaj set for more deals, eyes India | Reuters

Abraaj Capital, the Middle East's largest private equity firm, is set to unveil more deal-making soon and plans a major push into India.

"In the next couple of months, we will call you guys again and again because we have a robust pipeline that is reaching completion," founder and group chief executive Arif Naqvi told Reuters in an interview.

"We are in the process of completing investments - two or three investments," said the 51-year-old Pakistani who is leading Abraaj's drive to become an emerging market powerhouse.

Dubai’s Shares Drop Most in Week on Bets 2012’s Rally Overdone - Businessweek

Dubai’s benchmark stock index retreated the most in almost a week on investor speculation this year’s rally was overdone and before the board of Emaar Properties PJSC (EMAAR) meets to discuss a dividend payment.

Emaar, developer of the world’s tallest skyscraper, dropped 1.9 percent. Dubai Financial Market PJSC (DFM), the only publicly traded Gulf Arab stock market, declined for a third day. The DFM General Index (DFMGI) fell 1.4 percent, the most since March 12, to 1,659.29 at 12:07 p.m. in Dubai. The measure has surged 23 percent so far this year.

“It is a technical correction,” said Nabil Farhat, a partner at Abu Dhabi-based Al Fajer Securities. “Some investors are on the sidelines awaiting the results of Emaar’s board meeting, which could impact stocks prices.”

What do the war drums mean for Middle Eastern investors? « ArabianMoney

It is very sobering to return to Dubai and read the headline in Forbes: ‘War! It’s coming with Iran’. But this is hardly surprising, the right-wing neo-conservatives in America are preparing public opinion for what they have decided is inevitable.

Former US presidential candidate Steve Forbes knows how to beat the war drums that the powerful Israeli lobby in Washington is banging very loudly. Just as President Obama got dragged into the post-Lehman emergency economic measures, the thinking is that he will be unable to avoid siding with Israel against Iran.

gulfnews : Former Deyaar CEOs accused of corruption

A former Deyaar CEO has been accused of corruption for the fifth time.
American-Lebanese businessman Z.S. is charged with causing an intentional loss of public funds while renting a building from a former top official.
The Dubai Public Funds Prosecution said 48-year-old Z.S. and his successor as CEO of Deyaar, German M.G., deliberately lost Dh4.5 million between January 2008 and February 2010, while working for the property company which is 41 per cent owned by Dubai Islamic Bank.

gulfnews : Syria investments face uncertain future

In an unprecedented move, the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) collectively initiated economic measures to put pressure on the Syrian regime for its violent crackdown on protesters demanding comprehensive political reforms.
GCC countries are well placed to wield the stick given the deteriorating situation in Syria thanks to massive public and private investments. Running into billions of dollars, GCC investments are significant compared to the relatively small Syrian economy.
Syria's gross domestic product (GDP) amounted to $107 billion (Dh392.93 billion) on the basis of purchasing power parity but merely $65 billion in nominal terms last year. Yet, the GDP of Saudi Arabia stood at $577 billion in nominal terms in the same year.

Talks with IMF set on $3.2 billion loan for Egypt - The National

IMF officials arrive in Cairo today as the Egyptian government seeks to seal a US$3.2 billion (Dh11.75bn) loan to help to stave off a fiscal crisis.

Stock market investors are betting on a successful outcome to the talks and have pushed the main benchmark up 43 per cent so far this year.

"They need to strike a deal to avert a crisis, and time is not on their side," said Jean-Michel Saliba, an economist at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. "Egypt could manage to hold the fort until June, but if there's any more delay to a deal, the economic situation is likely to get much worse."

Depa mulls departure from Nasdaq Dubai listing - The National

Depa, the design company that fitted out some of Dubai's most prestigious buildings, is considering delisting from Nasdaq Dubai to enhance trading in its shares.

One option for the company is to move its equity listing to Singapore, according to Dubai financial sources. It might also shift to the Dubai Financial Market (DFM), the emirate's local exchange.

The sources, who declined to be named, said a move to the South East Asian trading hub was Depa's favoured option but that a listing on the retail-driven DFM was also being considered.

Saudi stock market turnover to stay high for at least 12 months |

The recent rally in the Saudi market is fuelled by investor optimism and a strong performance outlook in 2012.
Though the recent sharp increase in trading volume and value appears confusing considering only a slight improvement in most of the factors such as macroeconomic concerns and corporate outlook, we continue to believe that the markets are forward looking and hence have already discounted the potential negative news flow.
Retail participation in the speculation activity remains the primary rally driver coupled with positive news flow. Bankers and brokers have confirmed that a lot of transfers were completed from current and saving accounts to brokerage accounts.

Saudi Printing to buy into UAE plastics firm |

Saudi Printing and Packaging Company said Saturday it has signed a memorandum of understanding to buy a majority stake in a UAE-based plastics company.
Saudi Printing said in a statement to the Saudi bourse it would take a stake ranging between 73.3 percent and 80 percent in Sharjah-based Emirates National Factory for Plastic Industries, known as ENPI.
The company said it will finance the transaction through its own resources and Islamic financing.