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Tuesday, 12 June 2012

More on the Supposedly Out of Control JP Morgan Chief Investment Office and the “Fortress Balance Sheet” « naked capitalism

Whocouddanode? As more and more tidbits leak out about the activities of the JP Morgan Chief Investment Office, it increasingly appears to be a unit that was inadequately supervised. While that revelation is a dent to the reputation of self-styled ubermensch and alleged control freak Jamie Dimon, if he takes a few lumps in the press and otherwise can carry on as before, what difference will it make to him and the industry? Lloyd Blankfein took at least as much heat over a longer period, and he’s still firmly in place.

Despite Istanbul's splendour, Turkey's not quite on the mark - The National

We all love lists, don't we? Well, here's a list of a few reasons why Turkey will remain an "emerging" market for the foreseeable future.

Without wishing to appear ungrateful to the country where I just spent a pleasant week in the Ottoman splendour of Istanbul, I left with the impression it still had some way to go before it could fulfil its ambitions to be the "role model" for the rest of the Muslim world.

You might dismiss my observations as a tourist's gripes, but I think they're symptomatic of inherent flaws in the country's development:

Value of glittering trophies measured by tangible returns - The National

Arabian Gulf investors have always been keen on what the financial professionals describe as "trophy assets", but with mixed results.

By definition, a trophy is something you try hard to win, then lock away in a cabinet for years, perhaps taking it out now and again to polish it down and examine with pride.

A trophy asset is a bit like that, although it comes with the proviso that because it was bought for good hard cash, it will at some stage have to justify its place in the cabinet by making some kind of financial return for its owners.

Crisis leads to revamp of the rules on UAE markets - The National

UAE market officials have been rewriting regulations after the global financial crisis in an effort to ensure that investors, lenders and borrowers are able to do business in as safe an environment as possible.

Financial industry supports new rules - The National

Top fund managers and industry officials voiced support for the stock market regulator's new rules on share ownership, but said more legislation to protect minority shareholders was also needed.

The new regulations introduced by the Securities and Commodities Authority (SCA) this week require investors to notify the market immediately if they plan to purchase a shareholding in a public company of 30 per cent or greater.

Investors will have to disclose once their holdings in affiliated entities of listed stocks reaches 10 per cent and when their combined holdings in a public company reaches 5 per cent.

gulfnews : We will be the most potent hub in the world by 2015, Emirates Airline President Tim Clark says

GULF NEWS: Is Emirates’ profit going to be further down for 012-13 from last fiscal with fuel prices still volatile and the European debt crisis worsening?
TIM CLARK: No. I am hoping that we will be ahead of where we were last year. [These are] difficult times… as we have talked about the fuel, the acquisition of many aircraft coming in, opening up new routes, so we are continuing to grow according to our plan. Some years we have great [profit of] Dh5.6 billion the Emirates Group made the year before, Dh2.6bn last year. What are we going to do this year? We will see.

gulfnews : Credit, money supply growth set the tone for Oman

Oman’s economy is expected to continue to grow steadily during the second half of the year despite the Eurozone crisis, supported by the favourable oil prices, the country’s central bank governor said.
“The outlook for 2012 remains positive as [is] evident by some lead indicators like credit growth, money supply etc. The momentum of growth is likely to be sustained in the second half of 2012 despite adverse global developments,” Hamoud Bin Sangoor Al Zadjali told Zawya Dow Jones in an email interview on Monday.
In December, Al Zadjali told Zawya Dow Jones he expects gross domestic product to range between 5 per cent and 6 per cent through the year.

Jing Daily: For Dubai Luxury Retailers, Mandarin Now A Must

Alongside predictable vacations to Paris, New York and London, Chinese tourists are now venturing further afield, making them an important new tourist base in places like Dubai. Famously attractive to newly wealthy tourists from places like Russia, Chinese tourists are now among the top 20 demographics visiting the sheikdom and make up an estimated 20 percent of all foreign tourists there. As a result, Dubai’s lavish hotels and malls are moving quickly to ensure they extract as much cash from these visitors as possible.

gulfnews : Dubai officials make presentation before World Expo 2020 committee

Dubai made its second case to the organisers of the World Expo committee on Tuesday, with three more presentations to go before a final decision in made in November 2013 as to who will play host to the World Fair or Universal Expo in 2020.
The prize of holding the Expo is worth between 35 and 45 million visitors, an influx of of thousands of new businesses prior to and during the expo, representation at the fair from over 150 plus countries, and potentially billions of dollars in new economic activity.
Add the PR value of being showcased to the world for a lengthy period of six months, and the legacy of massive infrastructure projects to facilitate a World Fair and it is not hard to understand why the number of bidders has risen to an all time high of five (three has been the norm at this stage), and why emerging economies keen to showcase themselves to the world, particularly from the East, have dominated recent bids.

BBC Sport - Nottingham Forest on the brink of a takeover

Nottingham Forest's new club sponsor says a takeover of the club is imminent while the Reds chief executive Mark Arthur has admitted there is interest from more than one party.
Adam Pye, who is the managing director of new sponsor John Pye & Sons, told BBC East Midlands Today: "It is imminent we are told and so exciting.
"Hopefully we will be talking to you in 10 days time with more exciting news."

New York's Plaza Hotel set to be sold-report - Yahoo! News Maktoob

India's Sahara Group is set to buy New York's landmark Plaza Hotel for $570 million, The Times of India
reported on Tuesday.
The deal for the Plaza, the 105-year-old luxury hotel near New York's Central Park, is expected to be announced by the end of this month, The Times reported, citing a source close to the talks.
The Plaza is jointly owned by Elad Properties, an Israeli-owned real estate company, and Saudi-based Kingdom
Holdings Co, according to the hotel's website. It has been managed by Fairmont Hotels & Resorts Inc since 1999. Elad, has agreed to sell its stake to Sahara Group, the Times reported, citing a source.

Revealed: Saudi royals' secret $1bn US empire - The Independent

A secret $1bn US property empire amassed by members of the Saudi royal family is the subject of a bitter legal dispute that threatens to reveal the extent of the family's American business interests.

The oil giant BP and the British defence contractor BAE Systems are among the tenants of companies associated with Prince Abdul Aziz bin Fahd, the playboy son of the late King Fahd, according to court documents.

Lawyers for the companies are asking a judge to keep their ultimate ownership secret, but correspondence between the two sides currently remains on the record in a New York courthouse.

MENA stock markets close - June 12, 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)

DIFCI/BRIEF (URGENT) - Yahoo! News Maktoob

DIFC Investments LLC:
* Moodys affirms difci b3 rating and changes outlook to stable

COLUMN-Tumbling oil tests notional price floor: John Kemp=2 - Yahoo! News Maktoob

Bulls will argue that marginal costs put a natural floor under the market at $90-100 per barrel for Brent (and a little lower for WTI) and help re-establish the case for taking a positive view for the market in the short to medium term.
Whether it is enough to stabilise the market must remain doubtful. Gas analysts have been waiting for marginal costs to provide some price support without much luck for more than two years. It has taken 18 months to trigger a substantial supply response, and even that may not be enough to clear the glut.
So the fact oil prices are approaching long run marginal costs does not eliminate short-term downside risk. Anyone who thinks prices cannot fall further should review the history of gas predictions. But it might just might indicate that most of the downward correction has been completed, with further falls starting to curb supply growth.

Dubai Stocks Snap Five-Day Gain on Spain Debt Risk - Bloomberg

Dubai’s shares snapped a five-day rally, leading a drop among Persian Gulf markets, as optimism that the bailout of Spain’s banks will stem Europe’s financial crisis faded, cutting demand for riskier assets.
Emaar Properties PJSC (EMAAR), developer of the world’s tallest skyscraper in Dubai, fell 1 percent. Arabtec Holding (ARTC) PJSC, the United Arab Emirates’ largest construction company, dropped the most in more than a week. The benchmark DFM General Index (DFMGI) decreased 1 percent, the biggest retreat since June 3, to 1,468.82 at the 2 p.m. close in the emirate. The Bloomberg GCC 200 Index (BGCC200) and Saudi Arabia (SABIC)’s gauge declined 0.9 percent.
Spanish bond yields surged the most in four months yesterday in the first trading after the government sought a bailout of 100 billion euros ($125 billion) for its banks. European officials have struggled to control the debt crisis that began in Greece at the end of 2009. The MSCI Emerging Markets Index (MXEF) retreated as much as 1 percent, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index yesterday lost 1.3 percent in New York. Futures rose 0.4 percent today.

Islamic Corporation launches $600 mln food fund - Yahoo! News Maktoob

The Islamic Development Bank (IDB) is partnering with Dutch asset manager Robeco to launch a $600 million food and agriculture fund to invest in projects that promote steady food supply, an issue widely seen as a
catalyst for the Arab Spring rebellions.
Food prices grabbed the attention of world leaders after their spike to record highs in February 2011 helped fuel the Arab Spring in the Middle East and North Africa, pushing the issue to the top of the agenda of policymakers responsible for the region.
The Saudi-based fund will make private equity investments in food and agriculture projects as well as companies across various target countries in a sharia-compliant way.
It will be run by a joint venture between the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD), a unit of the IDB, and Robeco, a subsidiary of Dutch bank Rabobank.

STOCKS NEWS MIDEAST-UAE, Qatar mkts slump as oil, global worries weigh - Yahoo! News Maktoob

Dubai's index ends lower for a first session in six since last week's four-month low as early-morning losses on Asia markets spur local investors to book gains.
Emaar Properties drops 1 percent, telecoms operator du slides 1.3 percent and Dubai Financial Market dips 2 percent.
The index falls 1 percent to 1,469 points, trimming its 2012 gains to 8.5 percent.
"The correlation between our markets and global markets is huge, which is understandable because there's no major regional news for investors to trade on," says Samer al-Jaouni, General Manager of Middle East Financial Brokerage Co.

EFG Hermes says QInvest deal is legally binding | Reuters

A tie-up between Egyptian investment bank EFG Hermes and Qatar's QInvest, approved by EFG shareholders on June 2, is legally binding and can only be reversed through legal action, EFG said on Tuesday.

After EFG announced plans to fold its main investment banking operation into a joint venture controlled by QInvest, a group of Egyptian and Gulf Arab investors made a buy-out approach for EFG that the bank's management has rebuffed.

"With the approval of the company's general assembly of the agreement signed with QInvest, the agreements have become binding on the two parties," EFG said in a statement. Backing out of the QInvest deal would amount to a breach of contract, it said.

Buyers left out in the cold over Nakheel legal battles - Real Estate -

Investors in two Nakheel projects have been unable to gain ownership of their completed apartments for nearly two years due to ongoing legal battles between the state-backed developer and third party contractors, Arabian Business has learned.
Sao Paula Development, the owner of one of the islands on ‘The World’ manmade development, is currently suing Nakheel, claiming the state-owned master developer backed out of an agreement to transfer the funds it had paid into plots in Jumeirah Village.
The plots were originally reserved by a third party firm named Diamond Developers, who is a joint plaintiff in the case. Due to the ongoing legal battle, more than 250 investors in the project have been unable to gain ownership of their units until the case is resolved.

Turkey started talks on oil purchases from Saudi Arabia-min | Reuters

Turkey has begun talks with Saudi Arabia on long-term crude oil purchases, Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz said on Tuesday after news that the United States will exempt Turkey from financial sanctions because it cut purchases of Iranian oil.

Yildiz also said Turkey remained one of the countries with the highest levels of trade with Iran and that it aimed to increase trade volumes.

Abu Dhabi seeks investors for aluminum hub

Abu Dhabi wants to create a downstream aluminum hub in its new industrial complex as part of the UAE's efforts to diversify beyond oil and gas, a senior official in charge of the strategy told Reuters in a New York interview.

Talks with prospective investors are under way, with automotive parts manufacturers in the United States, India, Japan and Europe interested in setting up shop in the massive Khalifia Industrial Zone (Kizad) in Abu Dhabi, said Khaled Salmeen, executive vice president, industrial zones at Abu Dhabi Ports Company (ADPC). ADPC owns Kizad.

The government hopes to woo them with zero taxes and import/export duty exemptions, ample and low-cost power supplies and molten aluminum from the nearby Emirates Aluminum (Emal) smelter, he said.

UAE amends stock ownership rules in transparency move - Yahoo! News Maktoob

The United Arab Emirates' market regulator unveiled a major overhaul of stock ownership rules in the Gulf Arab state, in a bid to force more disclosure in takeover deals and boost transparency.
The new regulations by the Securities and Commodities Authority (SCA) requires buyers to inform the stock market if they intend to buy 30 percent or more of a listed company in the UAE. It was not clear when the guidelines would come into effect.
The regulator can reject proposed transactions if it deems them to be against the interests of shareholders or the economy.

Dubai's JAFZA to issue $650 mln 7-yr sukuk this week - leads - Yahoo! News Maktoob

Dubai government-owned Jebel Ali Free Zone plans to launch and issue a $650 million seven-year Islamic bond or sukuk this week, and books are now open, arranging banks said on Tuesday.
Profit rate guidance for the sukuk is indicated at between 7 and 7.25 percent.
Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, National Bank of Abu Dhabi, Citi, Dubai Islamic Bank, Emirates NBD, Samba Financial Group and Standard Chartered are bookrunners on the deal.

UPDATE 1-US court rejects Alcoa bid to dismiss Bahrain bribe case | Reuters

A U.S. federal court on Monday rejected aluminum maker Alcoa's bid to dismiss a racketeering lawsuit related to its shipments to Aluminium Bahrain (Alba), according to a written ruling in the case.

In the lawsuit, filed in Pittsburgh federal court in Pennsylvania, Alba accused Alcoa of conspiring with businessman Victor Dahdaleh to orchestrate bribes in Bahrain and to overcharge Alba for alumina, a material used to make aluminum.

Alcoa had argued that the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, known as RICO, could not be applied to the case because it involved foreign entities.