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Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Lethargic markets frustrating a bold resurgence in Dubai - The National

Some time towards the end of last year, something extraordinary took place in the Gulf: the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) became the biggest wholesale banking market in the region, bigger than all the others combined in terms of the bread-and-butter business of loans and deposits.

Despite the global financial crisis, and despite (or perhaps because of) the Arab Spring, loans and deposits for DIFC financial institutions showed huge growth: in the three years to the end of last year, loans and deposits recorded about 40 per cent average annual growth.

In the first quarter of this year, loans originating in the DIFC totalled US$14.7 billion (Dh53.99bn), while deposits stood at $12.8bn.

Etisalat buys Qtel stake for $18.7m - The National

Etisalat has bought Qatar Telecom (Qtel) shares worth Dh69 million (US$18.7m) in a rights issue completed by the Qatari operator.

The UAE-based telecommunications firmsubscribed to the shares at a price of 75 Qatari riyals each, it said in a statement to the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange.

Qtel said on Monday that it had completed a rights issue worth 6.8 billion Qatari riyals (Dh6.8bn), which was fully subscribed.

UAE firms take part in Iraq auction of oil rights - The National

Abu Dhabi's Mubadala Oil and Gas and Dragon Oil of Dubai are among 47 companies set to compete for 12 blocks in Iraq's first auction of undeveloped oilfields since United States troops left the country in December.

Many countries offer such exploration contracts on a production-sharing basis, which motivates companies to make big finds and allows them to book the reserves.

But Baghdad, which says such agreements violate the 2005 constitution, is offering service contracts that pay a set fee per barrel - which some oil executives say is not enough of an inducement.

Baghdad bourse chief looks abroad - The National

The chief executive of the Iraq Stock Exchange (ISX) believes secondary listings for local companies on bourses in London and New York would eventually attract extra liquidity and boost trade.

"That is the long-term strategy," said Taha Abdulsalam, the chief of the bourse in Baghdad. "It's not going to happen overnight, but the plan is to aim to develop the same standard of bourses and companies outside."

Mr Abdulsalam said that Iraqi companies needed to improve their disclosures, and the timing of them, along with the level of corporate governance. They must also ensure controls are implemented for insiders. Companies have already adopted the International Financial Reporting Standards system, he added.

Boom year for foreign direct investment in the UAE - The National

The UAE attracted US$5.5 billion (Dh20.2bn) more in foreign direct investment last year than it invested abroad, data from the Central Bank shows.

A total of $7.7bn flowed into the economy, according to the recently released Central Bank annual report. Heading out of the UAE was $2.2bn of investment.

"It's a record net inflow since 2000 at least," said Giyas Gokkent, the chief economist at National Bank of Abu Dhabi. "You have more money coming in than going out, so it's positive for the local economy."

Mubadala in talks on refinery for alumina - The National

The owners of the world's largest aluminium smelter, which is being built in Abu Dhabi, are studying the addition of an alumina refinery to the site that could transform the emirate into a global hub for aluminium production.

Mubadala Development, a strategic investment company owned by the Abu Dhabi Government, has issued a tender to study the feasibility of developing a refinery at its existing Emirates Aluminium (Emal) smelter site in Taweelah.

That would give the operation much greater control over its own supply chain by allowing it to convert bauxite ore into alumina.

UPDATE 1-Kuwait to take $500 mln stake in UK North Sea - Yahoo! News Maktoob

Kuwait's state oil firm will pay around $500 million for a stake in a North Sea oil field owned by oil and gas explorer EnQuest Plc, the London-listed firm said.
EnQuest said on Tuesday it will farm out a 35 percent interest in its Alma and Galia oil field developments to the
Kuwait Foreign Petroleum Exploration Company (KUFPEC), a unit of the Kuwait Petroleum Corporation.
Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander said in a statement that the move was "good news for North East Scotland".

MENA stock markets close - May 29, 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)

STOCKS NEWS MIDEAST-Saudi dips as traders cash in early-day gains - Yahoo! News Maktoob

Saudi Arabia's bourse ends lowers after giving back early-session gains, which shows many investors are averse
to longer-term trading amid a volatile global backdrop.
The index ends 0.3 percent lower at 7,033 points, taking its May losses to 7 percent.
"Issues in Europe and seasonal effects of the summer and then Ramadan will slow down the market," says Faisal Al-Othman, portfolio manager at Riyadh-based Arab National Bank.

UPDATE 1-Qatar plans to boost spending by 27 pct in 2012/13 - Yahoo! News Maktoob

Qatar plans to boost government spending by 27 percent in the fiscal year that began in April, including wages, social services and infrastructure, but it expects to see a comfortable surplus, state news agency QNA reported.
Tuesday's report comes amid concerns over safety standards in the Gulf Arab state after fires broke out at an aviation college and a girls' school on Tuesday following the deaths of at least 19 foreign nationals in a blaze at an upscale shopping mall on Monday.
Qatar, the world's top liquefied natural gas (LNG) exporter, projects record high expenditures of 178 billion riyals ($49 billion) for the fiscal year, above the 140 billion planned for 2011/12.

UPDATE 1-OPEC output hits new high in May-Reuters survey - Yahoo! News Maktoob

OPEC output in May has hit its highest since 2008 as Saudi Arabia maintained high production rates despite a drop in prices and Iranian shipments did not fall substantially further ahead of an EU embargo, a Reuters survey found on Tuesday.
Supply from the 12-member Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries has averaged 31.80 million barrels per day (bpd), up from 31.75 million bpd in April, the survey of sources at oil companies, OPEC officials and analysts found.
OPEC's total is the highest since September 2008, shortly before it agreed to a series of supply curbs to combat recession and collapsing demand, based on Reuters surveys.

FACTBOX-Credit ratings moves in Middle East, N.Africa - Yahoo! News Maktoob

Standard & Poor's cut its outlook on Lebanon's long-term sovereign credit rating to negative from stable on Monday, warning that government stability and the currency peg to the dollar could be threatened if unrest in
Syria fuelled further tension.
S&P also downgraded Tunisia to junk status last week, cutting the sovereign by two notches to BB.
Middle East and North African countries have suffered a number of ratings downgrades following political unrest which started in 2011.

STOCKS NEWS MIDEAST-UAE mkts slip; Qatar retreats from 2-wk high - Yahoo! News Maktoob

Dubai's bourse ends lower for a third session in five and Abu Dhabi's index closes at a four-month trough as investors cut risk.
Dubai's heavyweights drag the market with Emirates NBD and Emaar Properties closing 1.1 and 1 percent lower respectively.
Investors are risk-averse in the current uncertainty on euro zone debt crisis with worries on the cost of shoring up Spain's banking system and the impact this could have on the finances of the euro zone's fourth biggest economy.

BBC News - Campaigners' anger over agency's shale gas report

The International Energy Agency (IEA) has infuriated environmentalists with a report on what it calls the "golden age" of gas.

The summary says gas use could grow more than 50% by 2035 if local problems with shale extraction can be overcome.

Only in the last paragraph does it say this would be inconsistent with a global temperature rise of 2C.

Bonds: Saudi issuance is important signal to companies -

Saudi Arabia, long the sleeping giant of the Islamic debt markets, is finally shaking off its torpor and has dominated global sales of so-called sukuk so far this year.
Sukuk are bonds that are structured to comply with Islamic principles and have strictures against interest. Rather than a fixed coupon, the instruments pay a “profit rate”.

INTERVIEW-World to gain from gas glut if regulation right - Yahoo! News Maktoob

A boom in unconventional natural gas over the next 20 years could see the United States and others benefit from cheaper energy while the importance of the Middle East declines, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said
on Tuesday.
Growth in shale and other newly available forms of natural gas in the United States and China could match gains made in conventional gas in Russia, the Middle East and North Africa combined, IEA Chief Economist Fatih Birol told Reuters in an interview.
"Unconventional gas will fracture the status quo, and will be a complete game changer with major geopolitical
implications," Birol said.

$3 trillion in regional assets should be managed closer to home pleads DIFC chief economist « ArabianMoney

Dubai International Financial Centre chief economist Dr Nasser Saidi explains how business is growing in the financial centre during one of the worst downturns in the history of global finance. For example, Chinese banks are using the centre as a base for their business activities in Africa.

But Dr Saidi is a man with a mission to transform capital markets in the region. He says it is madness to allow around $3 trillion in regional assets to be largely managed by institutions based outside this region and reckons it is very much in the interests of the Middle East to manage its assets closer to home. Dr Saidi says sometimes he feels ‘a lone voice in the desert’ and really more people ought to listen to his very wise words…

Dubai economy grows by 3.4 pct in 2011 | Reuters

Dubai's economy expanded by 3.4 percent in 2011, helped by strong trade flows and rising tourist numbers, Arif Obaid al-Muhairi, executive director of the Gulf Arab emirate's statistics office was quoted as saying on Tuesday.

One of seven United Arab Emirates saw its gross domestic product rise to 306.2 billion dirhams ($83.4 billion) last year from 296.1 billion in 2010, Muhairi was quoted as saying at Dubai Statistics Center's website.

Emirates airline undecided on $550 mln June bond | Reuters

Emirates, the fast expanding Gulf airline, may seek to refinance a $550 million Islamic bond maturing in June but has not ruled out repayment in cash, a senior executive said on Tuesday.

"We are currently considering whether to refinance, and by what product. Cash flow is good and we have the ability to repay if we decide," Brian Jeffery, senior vice president, corporate treasury told reporters in Dubai.

Emirates' cash balance stood at 15.6 billion dirhams ($4.25 billion) as of March 31, 2012.

Oman International Rises to Month-High After HSBC Merger Report - Bloomberg

Oman International Bank SAOG (OIBB) climbed to the highest level in a month after Al Watan newspaper said the bank’s merger with HSBC Holdings Plc (HSBA)’s operations in the Persian Gulf country is on schedule.
The shares gained 1.7 percent to 0.238 rial, the highest level since April 30, at 12:47 p.m. in Muscat. The benchmark MSM30 Index (MSM30) advanced 0.9 percent.
The Muscat-based bank will elect a new board of directors today, the newspaper said, without saying how it obtained the information. Oman’s Ministry of Commerce and Industry had halted the merger after a lawsuit, Times of Oman reported last week.

STOCKS NEWS MIDEAST-Mkts muted as wary investors eye euro zone - Yahoo! News Maktoob

Muted activity plagues most Gulf Arab markets as investors wary of turmoil in the debt-ridden euro zone opt to
sit out.
Regional bourses are also braced for the usual summer lull, deterring retail traders from trying to make a quick profit as entering and exiting the market becomes harder.
Kuwait's bourse eases away from Monday's six-week low, rising 0.3 percent to 6,232 points. Stocks had slid on renewed political instability.

Oman Bank Merger With HSBC Is on Schedule, Al Watan Reports - Bloomberg

Oman International Bank SAOG (OIBB)’s merger with HSBC Holdings Plc (HSBA)’s operations in the Arab country is proceeding on schedule, Al Watan reported, without saying how it obtained the information.
The Muscat-based bank will elect a new board of directors today, the newspaper said. Oman’s Ministry of Commerce and Industry had halted the merger after a lawsuit, Times of Oman reported last week.

Business - Capital outflows from UAE surge to Dh95b

Capital outflows from the UAE public sector entities, including sovereign wealth funds, rose to Dh95 billion in 2011 from Dh10 billion in 2010, Central Bank data suggests.
High oil prices last year boosted UAE’s total hydrocarbon exports to Dh409.9 billion, up 50 per cent from Dh274.1 billion in 2010. The country’s current account surplus rose to Dh292 billion from Dh180 billion, the recently released central bank annual report said.

Analysts said the jump in capital outflows last year likely reflected higher overseas investments by the leading sovereign wealth funds. These include Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, or Adia, which invests the emirate’s surplus oil income in overseas markets, and by other wealthy government-owned investment vehicles such as the International Petroleum Investment Co, which invests in oil and gas ventures overseas, and Mubadala Development Co, which leads the Abu Dhabi government’s diversification strategy away from the oil and gas sector.