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Friday, 4 May 2012

Van Eck Drafts Saudi Arabia ETFs

Van Eck Global, the fund provider behind the Market Vectors ETFs, filed paperwork with U.S. regulators to bring to market two single-country equities ETFs focused on Saudi Arabia; one a broad portfolio, the other a small-cap fund.

Both the Market Vectors Saudi Arabia ETF and its small-cap counterpart, the Market Vectors Saudi Arabia Small-Cap ETF will each be built to replicate as closely as possible proprietary rules-based, modified capitalization-weighted, float-adjusted indexes that tap into the Saudi Arabian market.

The funds appear to give first-of-a-kind access to the world’s most important oil-driven economy—one that is just now beginning to open up to foreign investment. The Saudi Stock Exchange, Tadawul, represents the bulk of the equity market capitalization of all the Gulf Cooperation Councils stock exchanges. Those include Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Oman, Qatar and Kuwait.

Dewey Lawyers in Moscow, Almaty Said to Join Morgan Lewis - Bloomberg

Dewey & LeBoeuf LLP’s six partners in its Russian and Almaty, Kazakhstan, offices will move to Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP, according to a person familiar with the situation.

In addition to the six partners, the firm’s associates and staff will also move to Morgan Lewis, said the person, who declined to be named because the changes haven’t been publicly announced.

Stephen Jurgenson, head of Dewey’s Abu Dhabi office, and James Simpson, a London partner, also departed today, for Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP. Simpson served as co-head of Dewey’s project finance and infrastructure practice, Pillsbury said in a statement. Jurgenson oversaw the development of the Abu Dhabi office since 2010, according to the statement.

Sovereign wealth funds return - The Deal Pipeline

In short order, the image of sovereign wealth funds went from global predator to high-profile patsy. Several of these huge, government-created investment pools bet billions of dollars on big-name financial institutions and other marquee concerns and notched equally large losses in the aftermath of the 2008 crisis. Then news pretty much stopped.

A new study by London-based research group Preqin Ltd. shows that the total value of sovereign wealth funds at the end of March topped $4.62 trillion, a more than 50% increase over 2008. That jump comes after a fairly static two years. At this time last year, sovereign wealth funds totaled a bit less than $4 trillion, Preqin estimates.

The study serves as a stark reminder that sovereign wealth funds remain a powerful force globally. That potency, many analysts maintain, will only increase over time.

Abu Dhabi: Man City 1, Carlyle 0 | beyondbrics –

Flying high from Manchester City’s big win over Manchester United this week, Khaldoon al-Mubarak, the soccer club’s chairman, will be less pleased with some of this week’s other results.

As chief executive of Mubadala, an Abu Dhabi government investment fund, he can’t have ignored the disappointing outcome of  the IPO of Carlyle Group. The US private equity company raised just $671m from investors, giving it a value of only $6.7bn – compared to $18bn when Mubadala bought a 7.5 per cent stake four years ago.

The companies sang the same tune in their official statements:

S&P sees rising market confidence in Dubai - UAE - Zawya

Standard & Poor's, a leading global rating agency, said that the Dubai government has "a clearer strategy and greater confidence" on which government related entities, or GRES, it should support with public funds.
Ratings agency, which last week rendered a blow to emerging Asian economic powerhouse India by projecting a negative outlook on its economy, said "market confidence in the Dubai government's ability to support remaining GREs in need has increased, in our opinion, given the track record of recent successful restructurings and the government's issue last week of a $1.25 billion sukuk.'
Positive projections on Dubai is in sharp contrast to its earlier outlook on the emirate given in December 2011, when it warned that Dubai GREs are "up against significant risks, although the Dubai economy is beginning to bounce back."

Analysis: Qatar can survive the global gas glut

New oil supply will weaken Qatar’s grip on energy markets by the second half of the decade, which may knock some of the swagger out of the high-spending nation, but the fallout is likely to be limited.

The emirate is used to twists in energy markets. The multi-billion dollar expansion of its liquified natural gas facilities, completed last year, was expected to cater to US demand. That market is now almost self-sufficient.

But growing demand from Asia has been further boosted by the shutdown of nuclear power plants in Japan following last year's earthquake, which increased the country's reliance on gas.

The Return of Cheap Oil Prices?

Will new energy discoveries and new technology sink oil prices? Will lower oil prices rescue the world from the Great Correction?

Maybe, say Porter Stansberry and a good number of the analysts and experts here.

We're attending an investment conference - for professionals only. It's a beautiful place for one. The island is a barrier island, mostly sand...surrounded by ocean or marshland. There is a golf courts...bocce courts... Maybe even a kangaroo court. Or an appeals court. And a royal court. Not to mention a food court.

Economy gains pace after global slowdown - The National

Private-sector business activity in the UAE is growing at its quickest rate in almost a year, in the latest sign the UAE's non-oil economy is picking up speed.

HSBC's purchasing managers' index (PMI), which measures non-oil services and manufacturing, rose to a 10-month high last month, outpacing the euro zone and China.

But growth is still short of Saudi Arabia, the top regional performer, where businesses are benefiting from a large injection of government cash.

Dubai still the land of opportunity - The National

The most stuffy and refined side of Dubai's financial services is undergoing a radical shakeup, sending large numbers of genteel private bankers to ink new drafts of their CVs in a hurry.

But local ties and some good-humoured Canadian charm go a long way, according to RBC Wealth Management, which is currently seeking to double its staff of 15 private bankers.

Private banks have found themselves facing slim pickings even as the region's oil wealth soars, and the global financial crisis that hammered family fortunes in the Gulf continues to have lingering effects.

Taib Bank investment under ED, I-T scrutiny - Home -

An investment by a unit of Taib Bank, promoted by the Bahrain government, in Anant Raj Industries Ltd has come under the scanner of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the income-tax (I-T) department for alleged violation of foreign direct investment (FDI) norms and foreign exchange violations, according to three officials familiar with the development.

Acacia Real Estate Ltd invested Rs.225 crore in 2008 to pick up a 26% stake in a mall developed by Anant Raj Industries in Delhi. Taib Bank is the principal founding shareholder in Acacia. There is no estimate available of the money that may be owed to the government.

According to ED and I-T officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, Taib Bank picked up the stake through entities based in Cyprus and Mauritius, and then sold the holding before the lock-in period of three years was over.

Middle East week ahead: signs of UAE real estate recovery still tentative | Business Recorder

A bounce in the earnings and share prices of some United Arab Emirates real estate developers suggests the worst is over for the sector, but does not indicate a full-fledged recovery because property buyers remain very cautious, analysts say.

Property prices in Dubai fell 50 percent or more in the last several years, hit by the global financial crisis and the emirate's own corporate debt problems.

But a new report by consultants Jones Lang LaSalle said Dubai saw pockets of growth in residential housing prices in the first quarter of 2012 compared to a year ago, while office rents were bottoming out.

Dubai Reconsiders Growth Ambitions -

Dubai's sky-high ambitions are coming back down to earth as its government reassesses economic development plans hatched near the peak of the boom five years ago.

Years after the emirate's economy hit a wall and its corporate flagship, Dubai World, was forced to restructure nearly $25 billion in debt, Dubai is scaling back the double-digit growth goals it set for itself in 2007.

Instead, the emirate, which boasts the world's tallest building and outlandish development projects such as a palm-tree-shaped artificial archipelago, is focusing on its economy's traditional strengths: tourism, trade, transportation and logistics.

Business - UAE banking industry fought off challenges: Al Ghurair

The UAE’s resilient banking sector has overpowered the challenges it was facing, said Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair, chairman of the Emirates Banks Association.
Al Ghurair, speaking to the annual general meeting of the EBA, commended the UAE banking sector on overcoming various challenges and its commitment to implement the highest international standards. “This includes the International and regional reports issued recently indicating healthy signs in the industry, most specifically the IMF and the World Bank and global rating agencies,” he said.

The annual report for the Emirates Banks Association showcased the resilience of the UAE Banking sector and its capability to withstand the global financial crisis, reflecting the safety of the financial sector and its success in supporting the economy. This impacting in ranking the UAE in a leading position in the global indicators, the report said.