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Friday, 13 April 2012

Outlook stable for Qatar's banking system - Arab News

The outlook on Qatar's banking system is stable, reflecting Qatar's strong macro environment and high public spending levels that will continue to sustain growth and bank lending activity over the 12-18 month outlook period, says Moody's Investors Service in a new Banking System Outlook published on Thursday. Moody's says that the stable outlook also captures (i) the banks' limited asset-quality pressures and healthy capitalization levels; (ii) a stable deposit base and significant liquidity buffers; and (iii) strong earnings potential.

The report also notes that these supportive factors are counterbalanced by (i) high levels of concentrations on both sides of the balance sheet;

(ii) the banks' dependence on the domestic economy, which is undiversified and heavily reliant on the oil and gas sector; and (iii) the credit risks relating to exposures to the construction and real-estate sector.

Exclusive: Iran ships "off radar" as Tehran conceals oil sales - Yahoo! News UK

Iran is concealing the destination of its oil sales by disabling tracking systems aboard its tanker fleet, making it difficult to assess how much crude Tehran is exporting as it seeks to counter Western sanctions aimed at cutting its oil revenues.
Most of Iran's 39-strong fleet of tankers is now "off-radar" after Tehran ordered captains in the National Iranian Tanker Co (NITC) to switch off the black box transponders that are used in the shipping industry to monitor vessel movements, oil industry, trading and shipping sources said.
"Iran, helped by its customers, is trying to obfuscate as much as possible," said a senior executive at a national oil company that has done business with Iran.

Oil Falls First Time in Three Days on China, Saudi Comments - Bloomberg

Crude fell for the first time in three days as China’s economic growth slowed to the least in almost three years and Saudi Arabia’s oil minister said the kingdom is determined to see lower prices.
Futures dropped as much as 1 percent after the National Bureau of Statistics said gross domestic product in the world’s second-biggest oil-consuming country expanded 8.1 percent in the first quarter from a year earlier. There’s no shortage of oil supply, and Saudi Arabia is working toward damping prices, Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi said today.
“The China GDP number had a thawing effect in the market,” said Kyle Cooper, director of IAF Advisors, a Houston- based consulting firm. “The Saudis want to see overall economic growth, and $100 oil has a lot of incentives for alternative energy. The Saudis don’t want to see alternatives.”

Abu Dhabi wealth fund hit by $1.1bn loss - FT.com

Mubadala, the Abu Dhabi government investment company, made a 4.2bn UAE dirham ($1.14bn) loss last year as declining financial and real estate markets led to big writedowns.
The sovereign wealth fund, which owns stakes in Carlyle Group and General Electric, is one of the few Gulf state investment vehicles to publish audited financial results. Its disclosure is a rare insight into the performance of one of the region’s most high-profile investors.

Qatar plays merger-maker at Glencore-Xstrata | Reuters

Qatar is playing merger-maker for Glencore-Xstrata. The Gulf state’s sovereign wealth fund has already proved it can act as a successful arbitrageur in M&A situations. It hasn’t revealed its intentions for the 5.5 percent stake in Xstrata built in the two months since Glencore agreed to merge with the Anglo-Swiss miner in a $90 billion deal. But the bold $2.7 billion investment could be another win.

The fund’s track record in special situations has improved. Interventions in UK retailer Sainsbury and London Stock Exchange in 2007 both backfired. But when Qatar bought 10 percent of European Goldfields last year and offered the cash-strapped miner cheap financing in return for warrants over more of the company, its interest teased out a premium bid for the entire company – and a quick buck for Qatar. The emirate is also in the money on the Volkswagen shares purchased when the car group was trying to marry with Porsche in 2009.