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Sunday, 1 April 2012

Saudi growth to slow to 6pc in 2012 - Economy and Planning Minister - Yahoo! News UK

Current indicators suggest Saudi Arabia's economic growth will slow to 6 percent in 2012, the kingdom's Economy and Planning Minister Mohammed al-Jasser said on Sunday.
"Of course we're still at the beginning, but the signs... are that it will be 6 percent if the indicators remain as they
now are," Jasser told reporters in Riyadh.
The world's top oil exporter recorded growth of 6.8 percent last year amid soaring oil prices.

Kuwait penniless in 2020? | Kuwait Times

Reports are being circulated about the possibility of Kuwait going penniless in 2020, and the country’s inability to meet its commitments in that year. This is dangerous talk and no citizen can go past it. So what about officials in the government, National Assembly or any official media that is responsible for informing the citizen about basic information related to life and future? Nobody cared about this rumor and failed to comment on it. Also, MPs did not ask for a public discussion of this issue. In fact, the lack of movement by the government through instant and serious measures can tantamount to neglect of constitutional duty.

I found out that one of the reports prepared by former British Prime Minister Tony Blair about the future of Kuwait, touches on this subject. Also, there was news from an official of an international bank who commented on the rise of Kuwait government’s expenditure, and the possibility that Kuwait may face financial difficulties in 2020, bearing in mind that this employee does not represent the bank. Despite that, the mere spread of such talk about a state’s finances and its liquidity in a relatively short time, calls for a quick response from official authorities.

gulfnews : Qatar's oil product exports set to grow

In the Argus Mideast Gulf and Indian Ocean Oil Conference, held between March 21-23, which I talked about in my column last week there was an excellent presentation by Abdul Aziz Al Meer, CEO of Tasweeq in Qatar.
Tasweeq (the Arabic word for marketing) is the sole official oil products marketing arm of Qatar. It was established in 2007 and authorised to buy products from all producing entities in Qatar and market them on its own.
However, in 2009 it became an agent of Qatar Petroleum in crude oil sales and local marketing of products.

gulfnews : WTO urges UAE to liberalise trade regime

The World Trade Organisation (WTO) yesterday urged the UAE to liberalise its foreign investment regime and scrap laws that give local companies a monopoly in the sale and distribution of foreign branded goods.
In a statement following the conclusion of the UAE's second Trade Policy Review (TPR) with the WTO — six years after the first review in 2006 — WTO officials stressed that changes to the Commercial Companies and Commercial Agencies Law were still needed.
"They [WTO members] encouraged the UAE to speed up the promulgation of its new law on the liberalisation of foreign investment and modernise the business environment," said Eduardo Munoz, the chairman of the WTO's Trade Policy Review Body.

Qatar-backed Canary Wharf developer plans housing push - Real Estate - ArabianBusiness.com

Songbird Estates, the company that controls east London’s Canary Wharf, plans to build more homes in the financial district to take advantage of a “widely anticipated shortage” in the UK capital.
Canary Wharf Group, in which Songbird has a 69 percent stake, has an 11 million square foot (1m sqm) development pipeline that may result in GBP£200m (US$267 million) of profits for Canary Wharf, Harm Meijer, an analyst at JPMorgan Chase & Co, said in a note.
Canary Wharf’s plans may be changed to allow more housing at its Wood Wharf, Heron Quays West and Newfoundland sites, Songbird said. Canary Wharf’s joint venture to redevelop most of Royal Dutch Shell’s London headquarters near Waterloo station will also include homes. The average value of a London home rose 1.3 percent to 455,159 pounds this month, Rightmove said in a report released March 19.

Kuwait bourse says suspends trade in 19 more firms | Reuters

Kuwait's stock exchange said it had suspended trading in the shares of 19 more companies on Sunday after they failed to report earnings on time.

The companies - several involved in real estate - join 12 other firms which were suspended earlier this year.

The new companies on the list included investment group Al-Ahlia Holding and International Financial Advisors .

Dubai Drydocks looks to debt tribunal - FT.com

Dubai’s Drydocks World is considering applying for insolvency protection at a special tribunal in the emirate to push through its $2.2bn debt restructuring proposals against any creditor objections, people close to the company said.
The ship overhaul company, a unit of the government-owned conglomerate Dubai World, could as early as Monday apply under what is called Decree 57 to the Dubai World Tribunal, after persuading a significant majority of lenders to back its restructuring proposal, the people add.
If Drydocks goes ahead with the filing, it would become the first Dubai World company to use the tribunal to push through its debt proposals, which include extending debt maturities over five years.

MENA stock markets close - April 1, 2012

 ExchangeStatus IndexChange  
 
 TASI (Saudi Stock Market)
 
7835.150.67%  
 
 DFM (Dubai Financial Market)
 
1663.820.91%  
 
 ADX (Abudhabi Securities Exchange)
 
2552.97-0.00%  
 
 KSE (Kuwait Stock Exchange)
 
6146.6-0.30%  
 
 BSE (Bahrain Stock Exchange)
 
1152.450.18%  
 
 MSM (Muscat Securities Market)
 
5702.140.21%  
 
 QE (Qatar Exchange)
 
8790.730.01%  
 
 LSE (Beirut Stock Exchange)
 
1224.310.26%  
 
 EGX 30 (Egypt Exchange)
 
5018.55-0.43%  
 
 ASE (Amman Stock Exchange)
 
1990.40.21%  
 
 TUNINDEX (Tunisia Stock Exchange)
 
4819.77-0.11%  
 
 CB (Casablanca Stock Exchange)
 
10949.20.22%  
 
 PSE (Palestine Securities Exchange)
 
486.71-0.22%  


MIDEAST STOCKS-Petchems help extend Saudi rally; Gulf mostly up - Yahoo! News UK

Saudi Arabian petrochemical stocks led gains on the bourse, which rallied for a seventh session in eight on Sunday as earnings expectations buoyed confidence and most other Gulf markets rose on an upbeat global backdrop.
Bellwether Saudi Basic Industries Corp. rose 1.6 percent, Yanbu National Petrochemical climbed 5.3 percent and National Industrialization (Tasnee) added 2.3 percent.
The kingdom's index rose 0.7 percent to its highest level since September 2008.

Earnings Propel Dubai to Best Start Since 2005 - Businessweek

Dubai’s benchmark stock index rose, extending its best start to a year since 2005, amid investor optimism corporate earnings may beat expectations as the emirate recovers from the debt crisis. Egyptian shares fell.

Gulf Navigation Holding PJSC (GULFNAV), Dubai’s only publicly traded tanker owner, climbed to the highest in week after reporting results. Dubai Financial Market PJSC (DFM) rose to the highest in two weeks. The DFM General Index (DFMGI) advanced 0.8 percent to 1,661.67 at the 2 p.m. close in the emirate, taking this year’s rally to 23 percent. The measure is the third-best performing gauge in the Middle East this year after Egypt’s and Saudi Arabia’s. The EGX 30 Index (EGX30) tumbled the most in a week amid rising political tension between the military and the dominant Islamist group.

Persian Gulf Stocks: Aamal of Qatar, Agility, Gulf Navigation - Bloomberg

Dubai’s DFM General Index (DFMGI) advanced 0.8 percent to 1,661.67 at the 2 p.m. close in the emirate. Qatar’s QE Index gained 0.6 percent. Kuwait’s measure was little changed.

Back from brink | Crain's New York Business

Bice, an institution on East 54th Street for the past quarter-century, nearly shuttered last year as a weak economy devoured its once-bustling business, saddling the pricey trattoria with a plate full of debt.
The restaurant fell behind on rent, vendors' bills and taxes. It was a bitter pill for founder Roberto Ruggeri, who had built an international empire based on the popularity and reputation of the midtown eatery, the launchpad for some 30 Bices around the world.
“I was either selling Bice or closing it,” said Mr. Ruggeri, president of the U.S. and international operations. “My financial difficulties were too great.”

Morocco royal holding's net surges 50 pct in 2011 | Reuters

An investment holding firm controlled by Morocco's royal family on Saturday posted a 50 percent rise in its net profit helped mostly by higher earnings from banking, mining, steel and sugar affiliates active mostly in the domestic market.

National Investment Co., or SNI, made a net consolidated profit of 4.3 billion dirhams in 2011 versus 2.9 billion dirhams in 2010 in comparable terms, showed financial statements published in pro-establishment newspaper Le Matin.

Through SNI, the Alaouite dynasty - that has been ruling Morocco for close to four centuries - is the biggest private stakeholder in the local economy. This position has recently sparked growing criticism, especially at the height of mass pro-democracy protests last year inspired by Arab Spring revolts.

Dubai villa prices up again while lower quality apartment and villa prices continue to fall « ArabianMoney

Dubai property is a tale of two cities at the moment with popular villa communities and some high-end apartment zones gaining sharply in value over the past six months while prices of lower quality apartments and villas in locations closer to the desert are continuing to fall steeply.

In part this is a function of supply and demand with the former in short supply, and the latter piling up by the tens of thousands of units. Estate agents Cluttons reported six month price increases of 7.2 per cent for The Lakes, and 6.4 per cent for The Meadows and Springs, all part of Emaar’s popular Emirates Living zone.

Sell stocks in May again and go away until October? « ArabianMoney

Could this be the third year in a row that stocks start with hurrah in the first quarter and then fall until the fall? Then again we have not seen such a good start to the year since 2000, just before the dot-com crash, or in fact a rally of this size since 1987 and the run-up to the October Wall Street Crash.

History does not always repeat itself but stock markets do follow patterns that chartists can work from and they provide clues about the future. The picture is often confusing but not this year. It is as plain as the nose on your face.

Reform in the works with new market laws - The National

Trading is poised for significant reforms in the months ahead, even though many of the major changes to the UAE's market structures remain works in progress.

The changes include new rules meant to improve the Emirates' chances of securing a long-anticipated upgrade by the index compiler MSCI to "emerging market" status.

The next few months are expected to involve sweeping changes in market regulation, with new rules from the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) said to be imminent.

Patience needed as backlog of Gulf IPO plans finally dusted off - The National

Companies hurried to prepare share sales during the first quarter as Dubai and Saudi Arabia's stock markets entered bull territory, the euro-zone debt crisis eased and much of the turmoil of the Arab Spring abated.

A single initial public offering in the Gulf during the first three months of the year raised US$62.4 million (Dh229.2m), according to data from Bloomberg News. Takween Advanced Industries, a plastics manufacturer in Saudi Arabia, listed on the Tadawul All-Share Index in February.

UAE food gaint profit down 25pc

Agthia Group, one of the UAE’s leading food and beverage companies, said its net profit for 2011 fell 25 per cent to Dh86 million ($23.4 million) compared to the year before mainly due to the higher soft commodity and PET prices.

Announcing the results, Agthia said the group's net sales for the year ended December 31 surged to hit Dh1.14 billion with a strong 14 per cent year on year growth.

The Emirati firm said over the last five years, it had achieved an impressive CAGR of 21.4 per cent in sales revenue and 24.3 per cent in net profits.