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Sunday, 13 May 2012

MENA stock markets close - May 13, 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 set for tie-up with Samsung Life -

Dubai is set to team up with Samsung Life Insurance to launch an ‘alliance’ focused on emerging markets, reinforcing efforts by the emirate to act as a launch pad for Asian companies seeking to move into the Middle East.
Investment Corporation of Dubai, which oversees the emirate’s corporate assets, is set to sign a memorandum of understanding on Monday with South Korea’s largest life insurer.
One person close to ICD said the partnership – which could later be turned into a joint venture – would concentrate on selling life insurance products to the Middle East and north Africa, where penetration levels are low. Expansion into other emerging markets, including sub-Saharan Africa, could then follow.

Etisalat Nigeria: lack of power, sabotage affects service | Reuters

Etisalat Nigeria, an affiliate of the No. 2 Gulf Arab operator Etisalat, said a lack of reliable electricity and sabotage were to blame for poor service after the regulator fined telecom firms for failing to meet quality targets.

Etisalat Nigeria, Airtel Nigeria, Globacom and MTN Nigeria, a unit of South's Africa's MTN, were fined a total of 1.17 billion naira, according to local media reports.

Etisalat Nigeria said fines averaged $2 million per operator for "non-compliance with the quality of service targets set by the regulator", according to an emailed statement.

IMF concerned about Kuwait's finances-central bank | Energy & Oil | Reuters

Kuwait's recent wage hikes have raised concerns about the sustainability of its public finances, its central bank governor told the state news agency KUNA, citing a preliminary report from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The IMF said Kuwait's fiscal stimulus had helped non-oil sectors to recover from the global financial crisis, Governor Mohammad al-Hashel was quoted as saying by KUNA.

"But elements of the fiscal stimulus, such as the increase in wages in the state budget for the financial year (2012-2013) raised concern about the sustainability of public finances in the medium term ... and management of public finances in the short-term," the report said.

Fasting for justice in Dubai - Features - Al Jazeera English

A Belgian man jailed in Dubai for writing cheques which bounced is in a critical condition as a result of a weeks-long hunger strike, according to a member of his family.

Olivier Loeb, a 51-year-old businessman, is one of at least 17 foreigners currently refusing food in protest at their imprisonment and to draw attention to the United Arab Emirates' (UAE) bounced-cheque laws.

The other hunger strikers, who are made up of British, Irish, Lebanese, Bahraini, and Saudi nationals, are serving sentences up to 46 years.

Noor Inks 44 Million-Dinar Debt Accord With Kuwait Finance House - Bloomberg

Noor Financial Investment KSCC signed an agreement with Kuwait Finance House (KFIN) to reschedule loans of 44 million dinars ($158 million), according to a statement filed on the Kuwait Stock Exchange today.
The reorganized amount, to be converted to long-term loans from short-term loans, accounts for 28 percent of Noor’s total debt, Noor said in the statement. The Kuwait-based investment company said it has rescheduled 75 percent of its total debt and is in talks with other lenders for similar agreements.

Oman budget surplus widens to $2 bln in Jan-Feb | Reuters

Oman booked a budget surplus of 768 million rials ($2 billion) in the first two months of 2012 as robust oil prices boosted revenue, finance ministry data showed on Sunday.

The surplus is equivalent to about 2.7 percent of the sultanate's 2011 nominal gross domestic product, according to Reuters calculations. The country posted a surplus of 467 million rials in January.

Analysts polled by Reuters in March expected the non-OPEC oil producer to post a fiscal surplus of 5.0 percent of GDP in 2012 thanks to high crude prices, up from 3.5 percent last year.

Abu Dhabi fund Aabar now owns 53-percent stake in Arabtec -

Abu Dhabi fund Aabar Investments has acquired a 53-percent stake in Arabtec Holding , a market official said on Sunday, effectively taking control of the builder after a failed $1.7 billion bid two years ago.

The state-owned fund, which owns stakes in high-profile names such as German carmaker Daimler , commodities trader Glencore and Italy's UniCredit , had been buying up shares in recent weeks through subsidiaries and raised its stake to 10.45 percent last month.

An official at the Dubai Financial Market said trade done on May 6, and settled on May 8, had lifted Aabar's position to 53 percent. The new shareholder structure will be updated on the bourse's website on Monday.

Saudi Economy to Expand 3.9% in 2012 on Non-Oil Sector, NCB Says - Bloomberg

Saudi Arabia’s economy will expand 3.9 percent this year and growth will quicken to 4.4 percent in 2013, National Commercial Bank said.
The government will have a fiscal surplus of 317.4 billion riyals ($84.6 billion), or 14 percent of gross domestic product, with an average crude oil price of $105 a barrel for Arab Light this year, the Jeddah-based bank said yesterday in an e-mailed report. Saudi Arabia will produce an average of 9.4 million barrels a day of oil in 2012, it said.
“Growth in non-oil sectors, particularly construction, manufacturing and wholesale and retail trade, will also remain robust this year, mainly due to strong private and public investment and consumption spending,” the bank said. “Strengthening of domestic demand is reflected in a rise in private-sector credit and the double-digit growth in merchandise imports.”

Qatar to Revive Tunisia Investment With Refinery, Al Sharq Says - Bloomberg

Qatar is sending a delegation to Tunisia tomorrow to discuss investing in a $2 billion refinery project through state-run Qatar Petroleum, Al Sharq said, citing Tunisia’s Industry Minister Mohamed Lamine Chakhari.

Dubai Shares Set for Lowest Close in Three Months on Europe, Oil - Businessweek

Dubai stocks led a drop in the Persian Gulf, set for the lowest close in three months, after oil slumped on concern that Europe’s debt crisis will worsen and as China’s industrial growth unexpectedly slowed in April.

Arabtec Holding Co. (ARTC), the biggest builder in the United Arab Emirates by market value, fell 1.7 percent. Emaar Properties PJSC (EMAAR), developer of the world’s tallest skyscraper, retreated for the eighth time in nine days. Dubai’s DFM General Index (DFMGI) decreased 0.9 percent to 1,501.15, set for the lowest close since Feb. 12, at 10:43 a.m. in the emirate. The Bloomberg GCC 200 Index (BGCC200) slipped 0.1 percent.

NPCC Targets Abu Dhabi’s $7 Billion in Oil Projects This Year - Bloomberg

National Petroleum Construction Co., an Abu Dhabi government-controlled oil-services company, is focusing on bidding for the $7 billion in energy projects being tendered in the emirate this year, according to the company’s chief executive officer.
“We are looking at Abu Dhabi for sure,” Chief Executive Officer Aqeel Madhi told reporters in Abu Dhabi on May 9. “It’s our biggest market.”
The company is bidding for two of the construction packages being tendered by Zakum Development Co., which plans to raise output from Upper Zakum, the world’s fourth-largest oil field, Madhi said. It’s also bidding for projects offered by Abu Dhabi Marine Operating Co., which plans to develop the offshore Umm Lulu and Nasr fields.

Saudi Arabia To Register SR 317.4 Billion Surplus On Oil Revenues

The increase in oil revenues will fuel another year of twin surpluses, with the fiscal and current account balances expected to register 14.3 percent and 31.3 percent to GDP, respectively, says a new report from the National Commercial Bank (NCB) unveiled yesterday.

The Kingdom’s real GDP growth is expected to rise by 3.9 percent, largely driven by the vibrant nonoil sector and partially due to the increase in oil production, the report said. With Saudi crude oil prices expected to average around $ 105/bbl this year, it said the fiscal account will be in surplus at 14.3 percent of GDP, a substantial SR 317.4 billion.

The current account surplus is expected to grow further as hydrocarbon exports offset the increase in imports. The report said growth in nonoil sectors, particularly construction, manufacturing and wholesale and retail trade, will also remain robust this year, mainly due to strong private and public investment and consumption spending.

Nerves jangle over wave of turmoil - The National

Investor fears could prove hard to calm after last week's turmoil on the global markets.

Nerves have been frayed by roller-coaster rides in Asia and Europe following the results of elections in France and Greece, which pushed the MSCI World Index of global equities down 1.7 per cent.

Last week, both the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange General Index and the Dubai Financial Market (DFM) General Index fell for their second week in a row.

Generous Emiratis also need to save for those rainy days - The National

Another month has passed and neither I nor my friends have won the monthly Dh1 million (US$272,500) draw from one of the leading UAE banks.

However, the thrill of waiting for the announcement of the winner's name at the beginning of every month is exciting enough. It is nice to see that many of the draw winners were Emiratis, which proves that they are saving more than they have in the past.

As Emiratis, we are not exactly the number one savers in the world. We are generous and love the finer things in life, which unfortunately drowns some of us in bank debt.

UK retailers find Gulf is irresistible - The National

A major British retailer is expanding across the Gulf, joining a host of peers from the United Kingdom seeking respite from weak sales at home.

M&Co, a Scottish fashion retailer with nearly 300 stores across the UK, will roll out its brand in Dubai and throughout the Gulf.

"We are launching the M&Co brand in the UAE and specifically in Dubai," said Lee Braid, the company's international franchise manager. "Our plan is to open 12 stores in the UAE over the next five years and 30 around the Gulf."

Emirati hiring freeze is a wake-up call, but not the solution - The National

It was probably the most extreme solution yet regarding the challenge of encouraging more Emiratis to enter the private sector. At the 8th Emiratisation Congress last week, Essa Al Mulla, the executive director of the Emirates National Development Program, called on the Government to stop recruiting nationals to the public sector for at least three years.

There was no better place to raise the much-debated public versus private sector conundrum that seems to have haunted the UAE employment market for as long as anyone can remember. But this Emiratisation conference was a little different, and a little bolder.

Mr Al Mulla's statement was the most talked about issue for several days. It does make you wonder: have things got that bad with regards to private-sector employment of Emiratis? Considering that the Development Program's only mandate is to increase the number of Emiratis in the private sector, Mr Al Mulla's opinion should be a reliable indicator about progress so far. By the looks of things, we are at rock bottom.

Saudi says $100 per barrel great price for oil | Reuters

Top oil exporter Saudi Arabia sees $100 per barrel as a great price for crude, Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi said on Sunday.

International Brent crude settled at $112.26 on Friday. The price is well off a peak of over $128 in March, but traded mostly above $100 since early 2011. That has kept fuel costs high and threatened to derail a fragile global economy.

"A $100 price is great," Naimi told Reuters ahead of an industry event in Australia.