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Wednesday, 20 June 2012

[snap]: MSCI holds fire on South Korea; Greece could be demoted to EM | beyondbrics

So much for that upgrade. MSCI on Wednesday held fire on S Korea and Taiwan, deciding not to upgrade them from emerging to developed market status in its annual review of country classifications.

But perhaps the bigger shocker (or not depending on your point of view) is news that Greece is being added to MSCI’s review list for potential reclassification from developed to EM status. Talk about a kick in the teeth.

MSCI keeps Qatar, UAE as frontier markets | Reuters

Equity index provider MSCI on Wednesday maintained the United Arab Emirates and Qatar as frontier markets while also keeping South Korea and Taiwan in the emerging market classification, again delaying much-anticipated upgrades.

All four nations remain on review for upgrades in MSCI's next annual reclassification study, the company said in a statement posted on Reuters.

A safe course amid the property storm - The National

Shahab Lutfi is the founder and chief executive of H&H Investment and Development, which describes itself as a "boutique" Dubai property company and has just announced that it is working on the development of the Four Seasons hotel in the emirate. Mr Lutfi explains that his company has survived the property crisis in part by adapting and moving away from the extravagance of 2008, when its plans included developing a luxury villa resort on the man-made World islands off Dubai.

DP World rejects Yemen port claim - The National

Yemen's anti-corruption body has called for the cancellation of a contract with DP World, the Dubai company that operates the Port of Aden.

The Supreme National Authority for Combating Corruption urged the country's cabinet to cancel the contract, citing a breach of contractual obligations, the state news agency Saba reported yesterday.

The decision came after a panel found that DP World failed to carry out the first phase investment plan to develop the port of Aden "within the scheduled time frame".

Kurdistan stays defiant over oil - The National

The leaders of Iraqi Kurdistan say that by the end of the year they will be able to count on their books 45 billion barrels of oil reserves, enough to eclipse Libya's.

Already, they have attracted ExxonMobil and investments from Abu Dhabi and companies in the United Kingdom to pump out the riches.

And last month, Ashti Hawrami, the oil minister in the Kurdistan Regional Government, announced plans to build a pipeline to the Turkish border by the end of next year, enabling Kurdistan to cash in on exports without relying on Baghdad, which owns the only export pipeline connected to the semi-autonomous region.

Change in oversight for fund managers - The National

The Securities and Commodities Authority (SCA) has finalised plans for a shake-up of the investment management industry, under which it will assume oversight of fund managers.

Under the new regulation, SCA will become the licensing authority for investment funds, which are currently regulated by the Central Bank.

The rules will enhance transparency and oversight of funds for the mass market and could entice greater investment, said Tariq Qaqish, the deputy head of asset management at Al Mal Capital.

gulfnews : GCC’s strongest banks on Forbes list

A new list is out by Forbes Middle East ranking the 75 largest banks in the Arab stock markets, based on their performance during the year ending December 31, 2011.
The listing which includes 75 Arab banks was dominated by banks from the GCC region which made up 57 of the total list. Coming on top was QNB with total assets of $82,995 million, followed by Al Rajhi Bank of Saudi Arabia with total assets of $58,940 million.
The study included 19 countries within the Middle East and North African region, with the exception of Syria, Libya, Iraq, Mauritania, Yemen, Algeria, Sudan and Tunisia due to the political instabilities and the fact that financial data was not yet available at the time this study conducted.

Taqa’s Morocco Thermal Project Said to Borrow $12 Billion Loan - Bloomberg

Abu Dhabi National Energy Co. (TAQA), the state-controlled power and oil producer known as Taqa, signed a project finance loan of between $11 billion and $12 billion for its Jorf Lasfar thermal power plant in Morocco, according to four people familiar with the matter.
BNP Paribas SA (BNP), Standard Chartered Plc (STAN) and Societe Generale SA (GLE) arranged the facility, the people said, asking not to be identified because the details are private. Japan Bank for International Cooperation contributed $216 million to the deal to be used for import of equipment from Mitsui & Co., Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. (7011) and IHI Corp. (7013), they said.
Taqa, founded in 2005, owns stakes in businesses that generate power or produce oil and natural gas in the Middle East, North America, the North Sea and India. The Abu Dhabi- based company plans to spend $2.25 billion this year, Chief Executive Officer Carl Sheldon said in May.

MIDEAST MONEY-Gulf banks eye European rivals' Middle East assets | Reuters

As struggling European banks scale back their worldwide operations, cash-rich Gulf lenders see a chance to expand by snapping up the Middle East assets of European rivals at attractive prices.

After years of building operations in the fast-growing Middle East and North Africa region, European lenders are shrinking back due to a crippling debt crisis at home and the need to raise capital to meet regulatory requirements.

Gulf banks are keen to seize an opportunity as profitable businesses from Turkey to Egypt have been put on the block by European banks at a time when valuations are near multi-year lows due to the volatility in financial markets.

MIDEAST WEEKAHEAD-Appetite strong for Saudi IPOs despite global woes | Reuters

Saudi Arabia's market for initial public offers of shares has been the strongest in the Gulf for the last two years, and with the fifth new listing of 2012 coming up next week, analysts expect a bullish reception despite weak global equity markets.

A surge by Saudi Arabia's stock market early this year showed confidence in the local economy. The benchmark rallied 31 percent between November and April while daily trading turnover soared, hitting levels not seen since 2007, as investors shifted money from other asset classes.

Although the stock market has now dropped 14 percent from this year's peak, tracking recent weakness in global equities and oil prices, investors are still positive about corporate earnings growth in coming months, and this should support appetite for new listings.

MENA stock markets close - June 20, 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)

Egyptian refinery deal defies turmoil -

When Citadel Capital, the Egyptian private equity firm, decided to build a refinery in greater Cairo, it did not expect the financing to take five years.
First announced before the collapse of Lehman Brothers and the global economic crisis – not to mention the toppling of Egypt’s president and the 18 months of political turmoil that followed – the $3.7bn finance needed to build a diesel refinery looked as if it might never materialise.

Dubai’s Ruler Makes Changes to Some Laws for Financial Center - Bloomberg

The Dubai Financial Services Authority, the regulator of Dubai’s tax-free financial center, said Dubai’s ruler had enacted two laws that alter some provisions of the center’s markets law and regulatory law.
The Markets Law 2012, which replaces the Markets Law 2004, brings about a number of changes including modifications to prospectus disclosure, DFSA said in an e-mailed statement today. A prospectus now requires formal approval by the DFSA before an offer of securities can be made to the public, it said.
The new law also changes provisions relating to what activities constitute an offer, market misconduct provisions and corporate governance, according to the statement. The Regulatory Law Amendment Law 2012 allows the DFSA to undertake regulatory oversight of auditors within the DIFC, according to the statement.

Gulf union might do more harm than good – Global Public Square - Blogs

Ever since Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah proposed forming a political federation among the six members of the Gulf Cooperation Council, the pros and cons have been fiercely debated across the Middle East.
For many Arabs in the region, particularly Shia communities in Lebanon, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and particularly Bahrain, such a proposal suggests an attempt to form a dominant Sunni bloc that would tip the balance of power at a time when tensions are escalating between Shia and Sunni Muslims in the wake of the Arab uprisings.
Five countries in the GCC — Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates — are Sunni-dominated societies. Only Bahrain, the sixth GCC country, has a Shia majority. With the sectarian conflict in Syria escalating and spilling over into Lebanon, the violent clashes between the two sects in Iraq, and the uprising in Bahrain by a predominantly Shia opposition, the proposed political federation is likely to enflame the regional conflict.

Saudi Telecom: suspension lifted but mystery remains | beyondbrics

Some investors in the Saudi stock market breathed sigh of relief on Wednesday after the Capital Markets Authority lifted a suspension of trading on Saudi Integrated Telecom Company, known in Arabic as AlMutakamela.

The telecoms operator has been at the center of Riyadh market gossip for the past few months as bankers tried to piece together exactly why trading in its shares was halted on April 1, less than a year after its initial public offering.

Those who bought the shares in good faith were not able to sell for the entire suspension period. On Wednesday, they finally got some action. Turnover in AlMutakamela shares was the biggest on the market at 565m riyals ($150m), according to the bourse website.

UPDATE 1-Goldman Sachs upgrades Etihad Etisalat, Zain, Turk Telekom | Reuters

Goldman Sachs upgraded Saudi Arabia's Etihad Etisalat Co (Mobily) to "buy" from "neutral" citing a four-fold increase in its mobile broadband subscriber base last year.

The brokerage expects Mobily, Saudi Arabia's second-largest telecoms operator by market capitalization, to benefit from faster mobile data adoption, superior network quality, and strong consumption trends in the country.

It expects Mobily to sustain its superior returns and raised its price target on the stock to 87 Saudi riyals ($23.20) from 58.8 Saudi riyals ($15.68).

Kuwait Central Bank Sets Lenders New Governance Rules, KUNA Says - Bloomberg

Kuwait’s central bank released new governance guidelines for local lenders to follow starting July 1, state-run news agency KUNA reported today, citing Governor Mohammed al-Hashel.
The new rules are an upgrade of regulations in place since 2004 and “take into consideration the lessons learned from the recent global financial crisis,” KUNA cited al-Hashel as saying.

Libyan fund lost $1.75 bln in investments | Reuters

The Libyan sovereign wealth fund has lost $1.75 billion on financial investments in structured products managed by Goldman Sachs and Societe Generale, the fund's chairman said on Wednesday.

Mohsen Derregia, chairman of the Libyan Investment Authority, told reporters in Milan LIA needed to review these investments and how they were managed.

"Then we will talk to the investment houses and see if we can claim a refund," Derregia said.

Gulf $20 bln aid fund not yet capitalised-Bahrain | Reuters

A $20 billion fund planned by wealthy Gulf Arab states to aid Bahrain and Oman has not been capitalised yet, but Bahrain expects to receive an allocation soon, a prospectus for the country's upcoming sovereign bond issue said.

"At the date of this prospectus, the Development Fund has not been capitalised," the Bahrain government said in the preliminary prospectus, dated June 19 and seen by Reuters on Wednesday.

Foreign ministers from six Gulf Arab oil exporting countries announced the fund's creation in March 2011, in order to help Bahrain and Oman combat social unrest spreading across the Middle East.

Dubai's Emirates eyes new aircraft lease deal | Reuters

Dubai's Emirates airline EMIRA.UL, the largest customer of Airbus' A380 superjumbo, plans to lease aircraft under an arrangement with a financing firm which intends to issue bond-type certificates to fund delivery of the planes.

Doric Nimrod Air Finance Alpha (DNA2_p.L) is eyeing a possible issue of dollar-denominated Enhanced Equipment Trust Certificates (EETCs) to finance aircraft to be leased to Emirates.

Goldman Sachs Inc (GS.N) has been mandated by DNA2 to arrange investor meetings ahead of the potential issuance starting in London on June 22 before moving to the United States, according to an announcement from the bank on Tuesday.

UAE's NBQ wins delay in $250 mln Global case | Reuters

National Bank of Umm Al Qaiwain (NBQ), a bank in the United Arab Emirates, said on Wednesday it had won a delay in a $250 million judgement against it in a case involving Kuwaiti group Global Investment House .

The sum was placed with NBQ in August 2008 as the first part of Global's purchase of a 20 percent stake in the bank through a 2.36 billion dirham ($643 million) convertible bond issue.

As markets slumped in late 2008 and Global faced debt problems which forced it into a restructuring, it cancelled the planned purchase and asked for the money back. But NBQ said it was entitled to keep it.

Kuwait's Boubyan says $2.1 billion NBK offer fair; names advisor | Reuters

The board of Kuwait's Boubyan Bank (BOUK.KW) said a $2.1 billion offer by its main shareholder National Bank of Kuwait (NBKK.KW) to take full control of the Islamic lender is "fair and suitable", adding it hired an advisor to study the proposal.

Boubyan hired consulting firm Protiviti to advise on the transaction, it said in a bourse statement on Wednesday.

NBK, which owns a 47.29 percent stake in the Islamic lender, last week offered to pay 630 fils per share for the 52.7 percent of Boubyan it does not already own.

MSCI Seen Overlooking Taiwan With UAE Staying Frontier Market - Bloomberg

For the third straight year, South Korea, Taiwan, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar will all be passed over by MSCI Inc. (MSCI) for upgrades in market classifications, according to Citigroup Inc. (C)
South Korea and Taiwan haven’t addressed concerns such as creating offshore currency markets that excluded the two emerging markets from being given developed status last year, HSBC Holdings Plc analysts led by Tom Zhou wrote in a June 18 report. Eight of the top 10 brokerages in the U.A.E., a frontier market under review along with Qatar to be listed as developing markets, said the nation would be bypassed. MSCI, whose gauges are tracked by investors managing $7 trillion, is scheduled to announce results of its latest review at 10 p.m. London time.

Can the Dubai bourse ever come back to life again? « ArabianMoney

The Dubai Financial Market has dropped into another summer lull after a strong rally in the first quarter and seems to be heading back to the seven years lows of early January.

This is a seasonal trading pattern and has been the same for the past two summers. But the Dubai economy has been in recovery mode for all that time and this is starting to make local stocks look a bargain.

Still we said that last year and the year before. ArabianMoney editor and publisher Peter Cooper talks to Sandra Mergulhao from

UAE Banks Reach out to Chinese Firms

Two largest banks of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) do not only expand to China, but they also embrace the growing number of Chinese enterprises in the Gulf state.

The UAE's second largest lender National Bank Abu Dhabi (NBAD) hit the news last week, when it announced on June 1 that it had opened its first representative office in China, in the business metropolis of Shanghai. It is the second NBAD branch after the bank opened the first office in Hong Kong in 2009.

Both branches have the mission to conduct trade financing for firms from the UAE and China. Bilateral trade between the two countries hit a whopping 35.1 billion U.S. dollars in 2011, representing an annual growth of 35 percent in the last decade, data compiled by the UAE Ministry of Trade revealed.

Chevron Keeps Knocking at Turkmenistan’s Door |

Chevron Vice President Jay Pryor crept in and out of Turkmenistan like a thief in the night last week. Or he tried to anyway.

During talks with President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, members of a visiting US delegation spoke glowingly about future cooperation in sectors including the fuel and energy industry, according to a state television news report on June 14.

All the reports in Turkmen state media were impenetrable and vague, as is customary, but Pryor’s presence among other things offered a clue about their intentions.

Oman Air Revenue Advances 28% in Five Months on More Passengers - Businessweek

Oman Air increased passenger revenue 28 percent in the first five months of the year as the state- owned carrier attracted more travellers.

The Middle Eastern carrier that serves 41 destinations flew 19 percent more passengers, compared with a year earlier, it said in an e-mailed statement today. Cargo revenue rose 47 percent.

The airline plans to start flights from the Omani capital of Muscat to Tehran, Iran, on Sept. 1 and is scheduled to receive two Embraer E175 regional jets in the third and fourth quarters this year. It has orders for six Boeing Co. (BA) (BA) 737 planes for delivery in 2014-15, in addition to six 787 Dreamliners from the U.S. manufacturer planned to join the fleet starting 2015.