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Saturday, 2 June 2012

gulfnews : Sky's the limit for Emirati women

The face of the Emirati workforce is undergoing a sea change with women stepping up to the plate and holding senior positions.
This is not only due to governmental, parental and domestic support, but also because private companies are becoming more inclined to hiring women graduates as opposed to men.
Dr Maitha Al Shamsi, Minister of State and Chairwoman of the Marriage Fund, was recently quoted by UAE's official news agency, WAM, as saying that Emirati women have become a significant contributing factor towards the nation's growth and development.

To all those doubters - our Arab women are doing just great - The National ht @manar_alhinai

There is a widespread misconception in the western world that Arab women are deprived of many rights and do not play a major role in society.

I have held countless discussions with westerners intrigued to know more about Emirati women's social rights, whether they are paid the same as men for equal work, and whether they are allowed to establish and manage their own businesses.

Clarifying misconceptions is always enjoyable for me, and I love to cite some examples of great female leaders in the UAE. A recent testimony to women's active participation in the UAE's economy came two weeks ago atL'Officiel magazine's annual Arab Women Awards ceremony, which I attended.

Inheritance law in UAE is complicated by contradictions - The National

"A lawyer must ensure that the client comprehends the lawyer's advice and recommendations." That rule, or one like it, appears in most codes of conduct for legal professionals.

It seems obvious, doesn't it? But I must admit that my best efforts to ensure that my clients understand my advice have sometimes failed, and on one subject in particular. So bear with me while I try to explain why the UAE courts have decided that an important law should apply to marriage and divorce but not to inheritance.

The UAE's Sharia-based Personal Status Law (No. 5 of 2005) covers marriage, divorce and succession. Article 1 says the law applies to non-Emiratis - unless they choose their home-country's law. (It also applies to all Emiratis "except where non-Muslim Emiratis have special rules relating to their specific creed or sect".)

gulfnews : Graft and trust in Saudi Arabia

One of the by-products of regional uncertainty and the Arab Spring has been the steady rise in oil prices. And this added revenue has helped rapidly fill state coffers. Today, some of the GCC countries are putting that revenue to task in mega-billion projects across the land.
In Saudi Arabia alone, it is estimated that more than $77 billion (Dh288.8 billion) has been allocated for major projects which include the setting up of industrial cities and massive infrastructure development across the country. With that kind of money floating around, it has become very tempting to be seduced into the arms of corrupt business practices.
It should be noted that corruption has been one of the elements that served as a springboard to the Arab Spring. And we have not been immune to it. Perhaps, the most public example was brought up following the Jeddah rains in 2009 which caused the deaths of over 130 people by the resulting floods. It was determined that bribery played a major part with city officials granting housing permits illegally on city land not zoned as residential areas.

gulfnews : Employment the only answer to the economic crisis

There will not be any sustainable solution to the global economic crises unless the level of unemployment is radically reduced in both developed and emerging countries.
This is why the latest employment figures from Europe and the United States are a setback to efforts to boost the global economy. Unemployment in the Eurozone was 11 per cent in April, unchanged from March, but still the highest since records began. Spain, the Eurozone economy on the edge of bankruptcy, had the highest unemployment rate at 24.3 per cent.
In the US, the jobless rate rose to 8.2 per cent from 8.1 per cent in April, the Labour Department said. Stock markets across the world fell on the news. High unemployment means little demand for goods and services and even more fragile consumer and investor confidence. But, it is only economic expansion that will allow Europe and US to generate the revenue they need to effectively tackle their financial problems.

gulfnews : UAE banks safe from global crisis: Central Bank

The UAE banks won’t be adversely impacted by the turmoil roiling international markets, the country’s central bank said yesterday.
“The Board reviewed report of the Assistant Governor for Monetary Policy and Financial Stability Affairs, which showed that banks are in a good position and should not be negatively impacted by the recent turmoil in international markets,” the apex bank said in a statement.
Global financial markets have seen heavy selling pressure since the beginning of May as fears of a possible sovereign debt default by Greece and its exit from the Eurozone increase. The exit of Greece would most certainly mean a run on the sovereign debts and bank deposits of other heavily indebted countries in the Eurozone such as Portugal, Ireland, Spain and Italy — a possibility the European Central Bank (ECB) or Eurozone policymakers have not been able to conclusively put to rest until now.

gulfnews : Recovery still a work-in-progress

Limited infrastructure spending and the odd high-profile hotel development have not done much to lift spirits in the construction sector in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, where payment issues and stalled projects — as well as scoring contracts abroad — are forefront in the minds of contractors.
“I don’t believe there is much new project activity or meaningful new capital infusions,” said Saud Masoud, chief executive of SM Advisory Group and former real estate analyst with Rasmala.
“I think there is much development to take place, but near-term regional event risk and global economic uncertainty are keeping things from taking off.”

gulfnews : Safe haven status and new malls boost market

It can’t be brushed off as a coincidence that three fashion brands — of American, Spanish and Scottish origins — should open their first outlets in Dubai within a span of four weeks.
If anything it only reinforces the stark fact that Dubai is a melting pot for global brands and, according to a new CB Richard Ellis report, comfortably retains its position among the Top Three retail destinations in the world.
So much so, if the last two years was about the local retail sector engaging in a holding operation, this year is definitely about going for growth. This time, it will not be confined to just Dubai.

gulfnews : Consumption is lifeblood of the economy

Medically, consumption is an old-fashioned name for the disease of tuberculosis. In economics it is supposedly lifeblood itself. In most developed countries it is the main element of GDP, representing something like 60 per cent of total.
Despite the dangers of overconsumption by way of debt, the tendency to consume rather than save is valued very highly by most economists, who perceive a circular flow of income whose momentum must be sustained.
Indeed, in the Keynesian model, saving has a negative connotation, as if it were a form of anti-consumption rather than a contingency for future consumption, or indeed a necessary resource for investment.

gulfnews : Qatar’s exceptionally expansionary budget

Qatar’s budget for fiscal year 2012-13 tells a great about the country’s direction, namely racing against time to attain its potentials. Suffice to say that projected expenditures and revenues are up by 27 per cent and 26 per cent respectively compared to originally budgeted figures for 2011-12.
Like Kuwait, fiscal year in Qatar starts in April and ends in March though for no apparent significance other than historical practices. Surprisingly, Qatari authorities delayed release of the budget for the new fiscal year for several weeks without providing sufficient justification. Undoubtedly, the only undermines the country’s record of being ahead of regional countries in releasing state-controlled reports.
At any rate, the budget puts expenditures at a record $48.9 billion as opposed to $38.5 billion in fiscal year 2011-12, undoubtedly an exceptional rise in spending in a single year.

Fitness First seeks enters into company voluntary arrangement | Business | The Guardian

The country's biggest gym company, Fitness First, is set to shed nearly half its sites as it attempts to avoid falling into administration, with Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou's no-frills easyGym expected to be one of the biggest beneficiaries.

The struggling business, which has around 10,000 employees worldwide, has proposed a company voluntary arrangement (CVA) with its creditors, mainly its 120 landlords, to shrink its £560m debt.

Richard Fleming, UK head of restructuring for accountants KPMG, which is organising the deal for Fitness First, said: "We estimate that the return to compromised landlords to be within a range of 23-28p in the pound, versus less than 0.5p in the pound in administration."

EFG-Hermes Shareholders Approve QInvest Deal for Investment Bank - Bloomberg

Shareholders of EFG-Hermes Holding SAE (HRHO) voted in favor of creating an investment bank in which QInvest LLC, a unit of Qatar Islamic Bank (QIBK), will own 60 percent.
The vote was confirmed by Doha-based QInvest Chief Executive Officer Shahzad Shahbaz who said by phone today the agreement will still requires regulatory approval. EFG-Hermes shareholders approved the deal at a meeting today, two people with knowledge of the vote had said earlier, asking not to be identified because the decision hasn’t been made public. A representative at EFG-Hermes’ media department declined to immediately comment when contacted via e-mail.
QInvest will invest $250 million in the joint venture, which will will exclude EFG-Hermes’ private equity business and its stake in Lebanese commercial bank Credit Libanais SAL, the two companies said last month. EFG-Hermes has a market value of about 5.24 billion Egyptian pounds ($868 million.).

Dubai hotel revenues hit 3-year high in April - Travel & Hospitality -

Hotels in Dubai reported growth in revenues and profits while Abu Dhabi continue to experience a decline in rates and profits in April, according to the latest HotStats survey by TRI Hospitality Consulting.
Revenue per available room (RevPAR) in Dubai increased 9.4 percent to $311.12 in April, the highest level in three years, driven by a 8.6 percent growth in average room rRate (ARR) to $359.51 and a 0.6 percent rise in occupancy.
In terms of gross profits, Dubai saw a growth of 7.2 percent in GOPPAR to $265.84, significantly higher than the other GCC cities surveyed by HotStats.

Saudi Stock Market close - June 2, 2012

General Index
Intraday  3 month  

* market data delayed by 20 min.
 Daily Statistics
 General Index6675.67
 Change (%)-4.30%
 T. Volume352953054
 T. Companies 155

Saudi Arabian Shares Drop Most in 10 Months After Oil Tumbles - Bloomberg

Shares in Saudi Arabia, OPEC’s biggest oil producer, headed for the biggest slump in 10 months after crude fell to the lowest since October as employment reports in the U.S. and Europe signalled fuel demand may tumble.
Al Rajhi Bank (RJHI), the kingdom’s largest bank by market value, retreated to the lowest since January and Saudi Basic Industries Corp. (SABIC), known as Sabic, the world’s biggest petrochemical maker, slid 2.4 percent, the most since April 15. The Tadawul All Share Index (SASEIDX) tumbled 3.2 percent, set for the biggest drop since Aug. 6, to 6,753.64 at 12:24 p.m. in Riyadh. The measure lost 7.7 percent in May, the biggest monthly decline in two years.
Oil dropped 3.8 percent to $83.23 a barrel in New York after the Labor Department said American employers added the fewest workers in a year in May. Oil prices are down 24 percent from this year’s closing high in February. Brent dropped below $100 for the first time since October. Gulf Arab oil exporters, including the Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, supply about a fifth of the world’s oil.

Over 13,000 Emirati women own 20,000 companies in the UAE

The number of Emirati business women has crossed thirteen thousand, together who control over 20,000 business establishments in the country, an official disclosed.

Chairperson of the Emirates Business Women Council and of the Abu Dhabi Businesswomen Council Eng. Fatima Al Jaber said that the women could prove their capability for economic participation as a result of the economic renaissance in the country.

Woman could enter a number of new fields, which were believed to be inaccessible for women such as investment and industry, and prove her important role in the economic and social development, said Al Jaber.

In a statement made on the occasion of the Council’s participation in a Forum on the Private Sector’s role in the country’s economic growth, Al Jaber said that the Emirates Business Women Council strives to enhance the presence of women in the area of investment and economic activity.

STOCKS NEWS MIDEAST-Saudi stocks drop after oil price decline - Yahoo! News Maktoob

Saudi shares open lower on Saturday, with losses in all sectors, after oil prices declined on Friday.
Brent crude prices fell for the fourth straight day on Friday, dropping under $100 a barrel to a 16-month low.
The all-share drops 4 percent in early trading to 6,707 points and the petrochemical sector drops 4.7 percent to 5,908 points.

The Times of Oman: OIB-HSBC Oman merger 'almost complete'

Merger between Oman International Bank (OIB) and HSBC Oman to create one of the largest banks in Oman is almost complete with the re-election of a seven-member board, with four nominees from HSBC, on Thursday.

The merged entity, called HSBC Bank Oman, will be in place, once it is registered with the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, which is a normal procedure in such mergers. Also, the legal case filed by an Indian businessman against HSBC will not affect the merger, top-level officials of both banks told 'Times of Oman'.

Dr Juma Ali Juma Al Juma, board member of the bank, said the merged entity (which is operating in Oman) will take care of any such liabilities, arising from litigations under the law. Since banks are engaged in accepting deposits and lending money, such litigations are common in the financial sector.