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Friday, 25 May 2012

Signs of Tunisia recovery; Europe weighs: IMF | Reuters

Tunisia's economy is showing signs of revival after popular protests last year pushed it into recession but the crisis in the euro zone, its most important export market, presents risks, a senior IMF official said on Friday.

The International Monetary Fund has just completed its first review of Tunisia's economy since the "Arab Spring" popular revolution in January 2011 toppled veteran leader Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali after almost 23 years in power.

In an interview, the IMF's mission chief to Tunisia, Joel Toujas-Bernate, said the European debt crisis "is a big cloud" for Tunisia.

Nabucco: shrink or die | beyondbrics

A statement by a senior BP official this week that the Nabucco pipeline was a lost cause may not be the final word on the much-delayed project to bring Caspian gas to Europe. But the European Union is being optimistic if it thinks Nabucco is alive and kicking. If the project stands any chance of happening in the short term it will be much smaller than originally conceived.

Nabucco has been under discussion for more than a decade and is central to the EU’s plan to source gas in the Caspian region to reduce dependence on Russian supplies. Several smaller, rival projects have appeared over the years. All are competing to transport gas from the second phase of the BP-led Shak Deniz development of offshore Azerbaijan.

With a design capacity of 31bn cubic metres a year, Nabucco is the most ambitious of the projects. But so far it has failed to secure sufficient gas supplies to fill the pipeline. If Nabucco runs half empty, investors will face a poor rate of return and might try to compensate by charging shippers very high tariffs.

Dubai banks considering mortgages for overseas buyers - International Business Times

A number of Dubai banks are close to launching a new mortgage product targeted at overseas investors looking to buy property in the emirate, it is claimed.

Mortgage financing in Dubai ground to a halt after the global credit crisis caused prices to plunge by more than 60% and forced the UAE’s two biggest mortgage providers to stop lending for almost two years.

Now lenders are keen to attract more overseas buyers and new mortgage products are regarded as one of the best ways of doing this.

Kuwait: reforms ignored in blame game | beyondbrics

Another day, another minister resigns in oil-rich Kuwait.

This time it was the deputy prime minister and finance minister Mustafa Shimali, who has held the top finance job since 2007. He stepped down during a marathon 11-hour parliamentary grilling session where lawmakers quizzed him over financial irregularities in his departments. He denied the claims.

The former minister, recognisable for his incessant smoking and gravelly voice, is the latest casualty in a parliamentary push to tackle the misuse of public funds in the oil-rich state. He resigned after 10 lawmakers called for a vote of no confidence, a humiliation too far.

Oman Islamic Bank Nizwa IPO oversubscribed - source - Yahoo! News Maktoob

The initial public offering of Omani lender Bank Nizwa, the sultanate's first Islamic bank, is oversubscribed by at least 100 percent, a source familiar with the share listing said on Friday.
"The count is still ongoing but so far at least 100 percent of the IPO has been oversubscribed. The final count will be announced next week," the source told Reuters.
Bank Nizwa's one month long IPO ended on May 22. It plans to raise $156 million by selling 40 percent of its capital in an initial public offering on the Muscat Securities Market.

One Hyde Park Developer Sells Abu Dhabi Bank Site in London - Bloomberg

The developer of the One Hyde Park apartment complex in London’s affluent Knightsbridge sold the last of three retail spaces in the property for more than 17 million pounds ($26.6 million).
The 2,982 square-foot (277 square-meter) space currently occupied by Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB) PJSC, was sold to an undisclosed overseas buyer, developer Project Grande (Guernsey) Ltd. said in a statement today. The company said in February that it sought at least 21 million pounds.
One Hyde Park was developed by a venture between Christian Candy’s CPC Group and Qatar Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad Bin Jasim Bin Jaber al Thani’s closely held Waterknights. Candy conceived the 86-apartment complex with his brother, Nick. Sales of homes valued at more than 1.5 billion pounds have been completed there, Project Grande said in February. The retail space is one of three in the building, which is about 300 meters (980 feet) from Harrods department store.

Kuwait Market Regulator Sets June 30 for Investment Law - Bloomberg

Kuwait’s Capital Markets Authority said investment funds have until the end of June to comply with a law regarding ownership of securities.
The CMA “gives notice to all licensed persons of the need to settle funds investing in securities before June 30,” it said in an e-mailed statement yesterday.
The capital markets law, which places restrictions on investment funds, stipulates that funds may not own more than 10 percent of a publicly traded company, or invest more than 10 percent of the fund in one company.

Socar, Soroof Team Up for Saudi Oil Exploration, Petrochemicals - Bloomberg

State Oil Co. of Azerbaijan, or Socar, and Saudi Arabia’s Soroof International agreed to collaborate on Saudi energy projects.
Socar and Soroof will establish ventures to explore and develop oil and natural-gas fields and work on petrochemical projects, Socar said today on its website after signing a memorandum of understanding in the Azeri capital, Baku.

Egypt: Brotherhood v old regime | beyondbrics

Egyptians will have to choose between the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood and a old retainer of the Mubarak administration in next month’s run-off of the presidential election.

As officials counted votes on Friday, the Brotherhood’s Mohamed Morsi was emerging as winner of this week’s first round. Ahmed Shafiq, Hosni Mubarak’s last prime minister, appeared likely to come second. With centrist candidates falling behind, Egyptians seemed certain to face a stark choice in the second round: “revolution” or “counter-revolution”, in the words of one observer.

Assuming the official count confirms the preliminary estimates, the result will compound the uncertainty that has plagued Egypt since Mubarak’s overthrow in January 2010 – not least the economic uncertainty.

Mubadala of UAE Considers Buying Turkey’s Halkbank, Vatan Says - Bloomberg

Mubadala Development Co. PJSC, a sovereign wealth fund of the Emirate of Dubai, is considering a bid to buy state-owned Turkish lender Turkiye Halk Bankasi AS (HALKB), Vatan newspaper reported.
Mubadala officials have visited Turkey several times in the past six months and may be considering an offer of around $10 billion for the Turkish bank, Vatan reported citing unnamed banking officials.