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Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Egypt's plan to sell debt to citizens abroad delayed - Yahoo! News UK

An Egyptian plan to sell certificates of deposit (CDs) - a form of debt - to its citizens living abroad to finance its deficit has been delayed because of technical problems over their issue in a single Gulf country, a minister said on Wednesday.
Egypt is looking for foreign currency to finance both budget and balance of payments deficits that have widened dramatically during the economic and political turmoil of the last year.
It also plans to sell parcels of land to its citizens abroad and dollar-denominated Islamic sukuk bonds to foreign
institutions to help plug an external financing shortage estimated at $11 billion over the next 18 months.

THE DAILY STAR :: UAE needs rules to help banks manage property risks - c.banker

The United Arab Emirates needs to develop rules and institutions allowing banks to control and oversee mortgages effectively, which would help manage risks and encourage property lending, the Gulf state's central bank governor said on Wednesday.

The bank asset quality in the UAE has deteriorated in the short term due to oversupply as number of completed projects entered the market and the Gulf oil producer faces several challenges to reduce the risk, Sultan Nasser al-Suweidi said.

"The UAE has several challenges. Among them is the need for banks and other financial institutions to establish policies regarding real estate financing risk and oversight," Suweidi told a conference on developing housing finance in the region.

Sardinia's Costa Smeralda to be bought by emir of Qatar - Telegraph

A portfolio of luxury properties on the stunning stretch of coastline - where former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi has a sprawling villa - is to be acquired by Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani through the Middle Eastern state’s sovereign fund, Qatar Holding.
The investment arm of the Qatari royal family is to buy Smeralda Holding, a company which owns four five-star hotels, the Pevero Golf Club, ranked as one of the top 100 courses in the world, and a marina with 700 yacht berths, according to Italian press reports.
The assets are currently owned by Tom Barrack, an American property magnate, whose Colony Capital fund bought them in 2003 for a reported €290m (£242m).

MIDEAST STOCKS: WEDNESDAY'S HIGHLIGHTS | Reuters

WEDNESDAY'S HIGHLIGHTS

EGYPT

* The index fell 1.4 percent to 4,838 points.

SAUDI ARABIA

* The index slipped 0.4 percent to 7,895 points.

DUBAI

* The measure gained 0.6 percent to 1,703 points.

ABU DHABI

* The index inched up 0.01 percent to 2,564 points.

QATAR

* The benchmark eased 0.04 percent at 8,850 points.

KUWAIT

* The measure slipped 0.3 percent to 6,159 points.

OMAN

* The index advanced 0.2 percent to 5,806 points.

BAHRAIN

* The measure fell 0.8 percent to 1,141 points.

MIDEAST STOCKS-Orascom Telecom drags down Egypt; Gulf bourses mixed | Reuters

Egypt's bourse fell on Wednesday, weighed by Orascom Telecom (OT) which declined for a fifth day over concerns the sale of a stake in its Algerian unit might take longer than expected, while trading was mixed on Gulf bourses.

OT shares slid 8.4 percent, and Cairo's benchmark index finished 1.4 percent lower.

United Arab Emirates' Al Bayan newspaper quoted Algeria's finance minister as citing disagreement between Algeria and OT's parent company Vimpelcom on the value of the deal for a 51 percent of OT's mobile phone unit Djezzy.

Majid Al Futtaim Sees Dubai Retail Sales Rising as Much as 20% - Bloomberg

Majid Al Futtaim Holding LLC, the operator of malls and hotels in the Middle East, expects retail sales to rise between 15 to 20 percent this year as more visitors shop in Dubai.
Sales at malls operated by the company, including one with an indoor ski slope, returned to levels last seen in 2008 in the first quarter, as shoppers from the Gulf, mainly Saudi Arabia, Russia and Europe traveled to the emirate, Peter Walichnowski, Chief Executive Officer Majid Al Futtaim Properties, said in a phone interview today.
Dubai’s international airport, home to the world’s largest airline by international traffic Emirates, saw passenger traffic grow 19 percent in February from a year ago to 4.56 million, it said March 27. The emirate, which has the Middle East’s largest mall and the world’s tallest skyscraper, received 9.3 million tourists last year, up 10 percent from 2010, its tourism department said March 7.

Gulf food stocks dream jolted by practical realities | Reuters

Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states are considering building group emergency food stocks, amid threats by Iran to block their main supply route, but politics and practical hurdles could prove insurmountable, food security experts say.

Three of the GCC's members - Bahrain, Kuwait, and Qatar - are almost entirely dependent on the narrow shipping lanes of the Strait of Hormuz for imported food supplies.

Although they have options outside the straits, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia also import a large share of food and other consumer goods through ports in the Gulf, with only Oman's food supplies unlikely to be unaffected by any disruption to shipping through Hormuz.

Saudi banks benefit from buoyant bourse - FT.com

Middle Eastern stock markets rallied in the first quarter of 2012, recovering most of the losses of 2011. But the region’s biggest bourse has gone a step further. Since protesters took to the streets of Cairo in January last year, the Saudi stock market has risen by more than 20 per cent and trading volumes have doubled.
Record oil earnings are the simple explanation for increased optimism in the kingdom, HSBC said in its quarterly regional economic outlook. Saudi Arabia is likely to earn more than $300bn from oil exports in 2012, more than ever before. As a result, the bank has raised its economic growth forecast for the country by a full percentage point, to 4 per cent this year.

Drydocks restructures using untested law - FT.com

If Dubai’s 2009 debt crisis was an earthquake that shook the emirate’s economic foundations, Drydocks World’s filing for insolvency protection this week was a mere aftershock.
Global markets have become used to the government and its related entities struggling to pay back the $110bn in debts they accrued in the boom days and spent with mixed results.

Abu Dhabi debt surges on oil as Qatar outperforms: Arab credit | Alrroya

Abu Dhabi and Qatar’s investment- grade bonds are extending their rally after providing the world’s best returns among similarly-rated notes in the past three years, buoyed by higher oil prices.

The yield on Abu Dhabi’s notes due 2019 fell to a record low yesterday, having returned an annual 13 per cent since they were issued in early April 2009, data compiled by Bloomberg show. Qatar’s similar-dated debt earned 12 per cent a year over that period, and the yield dropped to the lowest since September yesterday. The increase since April 2009 is the most for nations ranked Aa2, the third-highest investment grade, or above by Moody’s Investors Service. Comparable US and German debt handed equivalent annual yields of 7 per cent or less.

The emirates’ bonds, rated Aa2, are rising as crude’s jump to $103 a barrel from $52.50 in April 2009 spurs faster economic growth in the Arabian Gulf. Contracts measuring credit risk for Abu Dhabi, owner of 90 per cent of the United Arab Emirates’ oil reserves, and Qatar, the world’s top liquefied-natural-gas exporter, fell more than 50 per cent in the past three years.

UPDATE 1-Qatar National Bank Q1 net profit up 17.4 pct | Reuters

Qatar National Bank, the Gulf Arab state's largest lender by market value, reported a 17.4 percent rise in quarterly profits on Wednesday, in results that fell just shy of analyst estimates.

First quarter net profit rose to 2 billion riyals ($549.3 million) in the three months to March 31, compared with 1.7 billion riyals in the prior year period, the bank said in a statement.

An average of five analysts saw a net profit of 2.1 billion riyals, according to a Reuters survey.

Persian Gulf Stocks: Arabtec in Dubai and Saudi Arabia’s Maaden - Bloomberg

Saudi Arabia’s Tadawul All Share Index (SASEIDX) snapped a five-day rally, decreasing 0.4 percent to 7,898.21 at 1:20 p.m. in Riyadh, trimming its gain for the week to 1.5 percent. The DFM General Index (DFMGI) advanced 0.6 percent.

Saudi Industrial Development Fund doubles capital to $11bln | Reuters

Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah has doubled the capital of the Saudi Industrial Development Fund (SIDF) to 40 billion riyals ($10.7 billion) from 20 billion riyals in an effort to develop industry in the world's biggest oil exporter, its chairman Abdulrahman al-Hamidy said late on Tuesday.

The SIDF is a government-affiliated fund which grants medium- and long-term loans for private industrial projects.

"The fund started with a capital of 500 million riyals ... During the reign of King Abdullah it was raised to 20 billion in 2005 ... And now the king has approved doubling it to 40 billion riyals," al-Hamidy said in remarks published by the Saudi Press Agency.T.

Dubai market index knocks out 1,700-resistance as Bollinger Bands narrow | Finance and Economy | AMEinfo.com

With Arabtec Construction (up 3.48% at Dhs3.57) and Emaar (gaining 2.83% at Dhs3.27) rising further, the Dubai Financial Market General Index (DFMGI) closed a roller coaster trading session 0.57% higher at 1,703.30 points Wednesday, ending a four-week long sideways period. Depsite dull Asian and European markets, investors were still euphoric about Abu Dhabi's sovereign wealth fund decision from Tuesday to double its stake in Arabtec to 10.45%. Construction maintenance firm Drake and Scull International or DSI tumbled 1.90% to cose at Dhs1.03. Earlier in the day, Gulf News reported DSI's Chief Financial Officer Osama Hamdan said the firm regarded the market's share valuation as 'unfair'. The DSI CFO appealled to investors to distinguish between the Eurozone debt crisis and DSI's proactive policy to expand to foreign and stable markets like India or Algeria. Market breadth ended in the red as eight shares advanced, while 16 declined. Bollinger Bands narrow around the rising DFMGI chart, usually a bullish signal. Around 275m shares were traded, valued at Dhs587m.

MIDEAST DEBT-Foreign, local pressures boost Saudi rates | Reuters

Saudi Arabia's market interest rates are climbing as the economy booms, but the rise is as much due to international pressures as strain on banks' lending resources, and any hike of official rates probably remains distant.

The increase in interbank lending costs underlines how Saudi money markets are returning to normal since a sudden increase in government spending last year, announced in response to the Arab Spring uprisings in the region, flooded the banking system with money and pushed rates down to record lows.

The three-month Saudi Arabian Interbank Offered Rate has risen to 0.88 percent, its highest level since May 2009, from last September's low of 0.60 percent. Longer-term interbank rates up to one year have increased by slightly smaller margins, while Treasury bill yields are up in sympathy.

RPT-Abu Dhabi's Al Jaber gets 90 pct support for debt standstill - sources - Yahoo! News UK

Abu Dhabi conglomerate Al Jaber Group is close to a standstill agreement on its $1-billion plus debt restructuring of debt, with more than 90 percent of lenders agreeing to the move, two sources said on Wednesday.
Al Jaber, a family-owned group with operations in construction, aviation and retail, set up a creditor committee
last year to negotiate the restructuring.
It has not given a figure for its debt pile, believed to be more than $1 billion.
A standstill on repaying the debt is seen as a vital step in the negotiating process, allowing Al Jaber to propose new terms for the facilities under discussion without the threat of legal action being launched against it by creditors.

All but one creditor join $2.2 bln Drydocks debt plan - Yahoo! News UK

Dubai World's shipbuilding unit has gotten 98 percent of creditors signed up to its $2.2 billion restructuring plan with all but one agreeing to the terms, its chairman said.
Drydocks World said this week it will use a special tribunal, set up in response to Dubai's 2009 debt crisis, to
force recalcitrant creditors to take up its debt plan after some, including hedge funds, resisted the deal.
"We have got approvals from 98 percent of the creditors. It now looks like only one creditor remains," Khamis Juma Buamim told Reuters, declining to name the holdout.

EXCLUSIVE: Firm behind 'The World' is insolvent - ArabianBusiness.com

The master developer behind Dubai’s ‘The World’ project did not receive regulatory approval to construct the man-made islands and has been unable to complete the project because the firm is insolvent, one of the development’s largest owners said during the first hearing of a US$199m legal battle this week.
Austrian developer Kleindienst Group was sued by ‘The World’, a subsidiary of Dubai government-owned Nakheel, for breach of contract in an action lodged on June 12, a legal battle that has stopped work on the Kleindienst’s US$840m resort.
In the first hearing of the case at the Dubai World Tribunal, Kleindienst’s legal representative from Davidson & Co, Mohammed Zaman QC, claimed Kleindienst deemed the contract terminated and was planning to lodge a counterclaim against ‘The World’ in order to retrieve the cash it had so far invested in the project.

Bahrain’s budget deficit up 5-fold in 10 years

Bahrain's budget deficit has increased up to five-fold in the last 10 years, a senior government official said, adding that in 2002 the figure stood at 1.8 per cent and is expected to reach around 9.7 per cent this year.

Finance Minister Shaikh Ahmed bin Mohammed Al Khalifa warned MPs not to push unrealistic spending plans on the government and put Bahrain's economic strength in jeopardy.

Shaikh Ahmed said the government was already taking risks despite the international financial crisis in response to fresh demands for new projects.

Why a merger of Emaar Properties and Nakheel could be a win-win scenario « ArabianMoney

With Aldar Properties and Sorouh in Abu Dhabi now in the throws of a three-month merger study it is perfectly usual in financial journalism to turn attention to other similar potential mergers and whether they would make financial and commercial good sense.

Of course it all comes down to numbers. That is what merger studies are all about, a swapping of information behind closed doors and a confidentiality agreement. From that study will come a recommendation on how to proceed, if at all.

gulfnews : Oil windfall poised to boost Gulf economies

If the forecasts by leading economists are to be believed, the Gulf countries are headed for a new economic boom, largely driven by the oil windfall.
HSBC has forecast that higher oil prices will bring record revenues to the region in 2012, adding an estimated $400 billion (Dh1.47 trillion) to the assets of its producers and lifting the region's gross domestic product to $2.7 trillion.
"Oil prices have risen 20 per cent [over the last quarter], a rise which will translate, for the region's oil producers, into an additional $400 million a day in revenues. We estimate total export receipts will come in at $750 billion in 2012, taking dollar GDP [gross domestic product] for the region as a whole to $2.5 trillion and adding over $400 billion to the oil producers' already substantial foreign assets," Simon Williams, chief economist, Middle East and North Africa of HSBC, wrote in a report.

Hiring picks up on last year but caution remains - The National

Move over corporate earnings season, several new hiring and salary reports were released yesterday - showing mixed results in the Emirates.

In what may be worrisome to jobseekers, only 49 per cent of companies in the UAE said they were hiring for managerial and professional positions during the first quarter this year, down 13 percentage points from the previous quarter and led by drops in the electronics and fast-moving consumer goods sectors.

Although most local employers - 54 per cent - expect to hire over the coming quarter, that is down from 58 per cent in the last quarter, according to data from the recruitment firm Antal International.

Gulf Times – QFCA boosts board with new members

The Qatar Financial Centre Authority (QFCA) has recast its board by appointing two new members - Jacques Aigrain and Arnab Banerji - as non-executive directors.
Aigrain is chairman of LCH.Clearnet Group – a major, London-based international clearing house. His previous roles include being CEO of Swiss Re from 2006 to 2009. Banerji is chairman of Collabrium Capital, an emerging markets investment house, and his previous roles include that of senior policy advisor on economic affairs to former UK Prime Minister, Tony Blair.

Gulf Times – QFIB planning listing on Qatar bourse by Q4 to lift expansion

Qatar First Investment Bank (QFIB), which will soon be renamed Qatar First Bank, is planning to get listed at the Qatar Exchange by the last quarter of this year to further its growth and acquisition plans.
“We are working towards fulfilling all the necessary requirements to list the bank by the fourth quarter of 2012,” QFIB chairman Abdulla bin Fahad Ghorab al-Marri told the annual general assembly which gave the approval for filing of an application with the Qatar Financial Market Authority to list its shares in the QE.

Business : Business records modest growth in UAE

The private sector business activity in the UAE expanded modestly in March, after slipping to a two-month low in the previous month, data from a survey by suggests.
The HSBC UAE Purchasing Managers’ Index, or PMI, for the non-oil sector increased slightly to 52.3 in March from 52 in February. A PMI reading above 50 indicates expansion in the sector, while a reading below 50 suggests contraction.
The UAE firms saw output growth increase to 53.4 points from a five-month low of 52.5 in February, but new orders fell to a three-month low of 56.5 points in March, the survey showed.

UAE Government spending to decline - The National

Public sector spending and lending in the UAE will drop by US$5.6 billion (Dh20.57bn) this year, projects the IMF, as the government scales back its budget.

Abu Dhabi and Dubai were both looking to roll back spending, said the fund.

"Both Abu Dhabi and Dubai plan to balance their fiscal budgets accounts in the medium term," wrote the IMF in a statement concluding a visit to the country last month.

Fontainebleau leaving financial woes behind and reaping big profits - Business - MiamiHerald.com

The Fontainebleau Miami Beach brings in about $800,000 every day, or roughly $9 in revenue every second.

That sort of sales clip, disclosed in a new credit report, helps explain why South Florida’s largest resort is one the verge of borrowing nearly $600 million as it retires its past financial woes and reaps the benefits of the region’s booming tourism market.

“It’s an impressive story,’’ said Sheila Bjornstad, an analyst with Morningstar Credit Ratings LLC who helped write the report on the Fontainebleau’s planned debt sale to Wall Street investors.