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Monday, 2 July 2012

ENERGY - Iraq’s crude oil revenues drop

Iraq’s revenues from oil, which account for the lion’s share of the country’s income, fell in June to their lowest level in 16 months because of rising local demand, an oil ministry spokesman said on July 1.

“We exported around 72 million barrels, at a rate of 2.403 million barrels per day (bpd), during June,” spokesman Assem Jihad told AFP.

He put revenues for the month at $6.453 billion, the lowest such figure since February 2011 when the country took in $6.064 billion in oil sales.

gulfnews : UAE’s non-oil foreign trade rose by 23% in 2011

The total value of UAE’s non-oil foreign trade rose to Dh927.6 billion in 2011 compared to Dhs754.4 billion in 2010, an increase of Dh173.3 billion, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said.
“This recorded an increase by 23 per cent over 2010. Dubai came first in non-oil exports with a total trade value of Dh700.4 billion, comprising 76 per cent of the total foreign trade of the UAE in 2011,” according to NBS.
“Abu Dhabi came second for non-oil foreign trade with a total value of Dh139.4 billion, which accounts for 15 per cent of the UAE’s foreign trade in 2011. Sharjah came third with a foreign trade of Dh68.3 billion, accounting for 7 per cent of UAE’s total foreign trade,” NBS said.

Rakia turns to Europe for $500m investments - The National

Ras Al Khaimah Investment Authority (Rakia) is targeting European manufacturing companies as part of a plan to attract investments totalling US$500 million (Dh1.83 billion) this year.

Khater Massaad, the chief executive of the authority, said he had been in discussions with companies in France and Spain about potential investments in the northern emirate.

"We have been targeting European manufacturers interested in expansion in the [Arabian] Gulf region," he said.

Oil export ban and big imports expose US energy hypocrisy - The National

North Carolina is a verdant state with long, sandy beaches. Its humid summers make air conditioning desirable: in fact, its 10 million people use more electricity than Indonesia's 237 million.

"North Carolina is unique of all the states," says Daniel Fine of the New Mexico Center for Energy Policy, "of having potential natural gas but having prohibited it". Onshore shale gas exploration is banned, and drilling off North Carolina's shores has been forbidden since 1990. Last year, the governor vetoed an offshore drilling law.

North Carolina is thus a microcosm of a long-standing inconsistency in the United States' approach to energy: voracious consumption combined with restrictions on production. The assumption is that others, less squeamish about the environment, will make up the difference.

Protest lull lifts shares in Egypt - The National

Egypt's stock market rallied on its first trading day since Mohammed Morsi, the country's first democratically elected president and a former member of the Muslim Brotherhood, was sworn in.

For every stock that declined, nine advanced - with investors comforted by a lull in protests to allow enough time for the president, who was sworn in on Saturday, to begin dealing with the country's political and economic challenges.

"Egyptians have called off protests in Tahrir [Square in Cairo] for about a week to try and give the president time to resolve issues," said Marwan Shurrab, the chief trader at the asset manager Gulfmena Investments in Dubai. "This reduces the tension and spotlight on any kind of irregularities in the country that could harm the economy." The EGX 30 Index rose 5 per cent to 4,944.73.

Abu Dhabi takes place among elite projects - The National

The Abu Dhabi Vision 2030 has been named in a list of the top 100 infrastructure projects worldwide, alongside a host of other projects from the UAE and the wider Arabian Gulf.

KPMG released its Infrastructure 100: World Cities Edition, a look at the 20 best infrastructure projects in five regions around the world, at the World Cities Summit in Singapore last night.

Profiles of the Abu Dhabi's Vision 2030, Masdar City, Paris-Sorbonne University on Reem Island, and Yas Island Waste Management are all featured in the second edition of the report.

Algeria joins call by Opec hawks for oil price action - The National

Algeria has repeated calls by Opec hawks for an emergency meeting over falling oil prices as sanctions on Iranian crude came into full force.

In the days leading up to a European embargo that took effect on Sunday, Iran and Venezuela said the organisation could meet in the third quarter to address oil prices, which dipped below US$90 a barrel for North Sea Brent crude last month.

Iran has since written to Abdul Kareem Al Luaibi, the current president of Opec, to request an emergency meeting, Mohammad Ali Khatibi, the Iranian Opec governor, told Bloomberg yesterday.

UPDATE 1-Saudi Arabia approves mortgage law - state news | Reuters

Saudi Arabia has approved a draft law allowing mortgages to be sold in the kingdom, the state news agency said on Monday.

"It should help address one of the critical social issues in the kingdom - housing," James Reeve, senior economist at Samba Financial Group, said.

Housing has long been an issue in a fast-growing country of 27 million people, most of whom are under the age of 30, with a lack of low- and medium-cost housing compounded by limited finance options to help bridge the gap to home ownership.

INTERVIEW-HSBC sees top Abu Dhabi names tap bond mkt in H2 | Reuters

HSBC Holdings (HSBA.L), the top arranger of debt issues in the Middle East so far this year, sees a flurry of bond offerings in the second half, including from prime sovereign-linked Abu Dhabi names yet to tap the market in 2012, a top executive said.

Debt issuance from the Gulf Arab region has held up well so far this year, as a turn to Islamic bonds - with their specific liquidity pool - and strong local liquidity helped confound volatile markets which stymied other emerging market borrowers.

During May, the only two dollar-denominated bonds issued in emerging EMEA were both from the Middle East, while total bond issuance from the Middle East in the first half year was up 51 percent on the same period last year at $16.9 billion, according to Thomson Reuters data.

MENA stock markets close - July 2, 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)

FT Alphaville » Libor manipulation and the invisible whistle

There was a piece in the Telegraph on Sunday that may well sum up the thoughts on the Libor scandal of many who worked, or are still working, in banks. It’s called “Libor scandal: How I manipulated the bank borrowing rate“. It gives a sense of how it is that a hell of a lot of people didn’t question the manipulation of the rate.

Frankly, anyone with a Bloomberg terminal in 2008 would have been in on this, as one could see that the rates various banks had submitted did not reflect where they could fund. Deals were getting torn apart all over the place because no one could ramp up funding at a decent rate, despite what those screens said.

People knew how Libor was constructed, that it was a survey with barely a disciplinary mechanism in sight (other than being kicked off a panel, which seemed a ridiculous threat when so many were lowballing rates at the same time).

Mideast Debt Issues Surge -

Middle East borrowers have shrugged off the crisis in the euro zone, nearly doubling their debt issuance in the first half of 2012 amid a surge in Islamic bonds from oil-rich Saudi Arabia and as Dubai continued to refinance some of its indebted state companies.

Debt issuance rose to $24.3 billion in the first six months compared with $12.6 billion in the same period last year, figures from the data provider Dealogic show. About half of the region's issuance was in Islamic bonds, as the number of Shariah-compliant deals more than tripled compared with last year.

The uptick in borrowing coincides with geopolitical instability in some parts of the Middle East and as European banks scale down their presence in the region due to the euro zone crisis and to meet more stringent capital demands at home.

TEXT-S&P revises outlook on Oman to stable; ratings affirmed | Reuters


-- Economic measures and better prospects for political participation are helping address popular demands and restoring stability to the domestic political landscape, in our view.

-- We are therefore revising the outlook on our long-term sovereign credit ratings on Oman to stable from negative.

-- We view Oman's net external and general government asset positions as substantial; we are therefore affirming our 'A/A-1' long- and short-term ratings on Oman.

How developer weathered storm in paradise -

Nakheel’s chairman, Ali Rashid Lootah, says the Dubai property developer and its peers have benefited from the emirate’s criminalisation of debt, with the threat of jail boosting financial recovery for property companies and banks.
Mr Lootah, who has overseen the troubled developer since 2010, says the ability to open criminal cases against those who bounce cheques is a necessary deterrent.
Since Dubai’s property market imploded in 2009, Nakheel has written off up to Dh78.6bn ($21.4bn) from the value of its real estate assets, a 2011 bond prospectus showed. The developer was believed to have had tens of billions of dirhams in receivables from buyers, many of whom were speculators keen to make a quick buck, but whose purchases quickly halved in value.

aiCIO - Abu Dhabi, Dutch Pensions, SWFs 'Defrauded' Out of Millions on BNY Mellon FX Trades, Lawsuit Alleges

The Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, the Kuwait Investment Authority, and the Alaska Permanent Fund are among the hundreds of sovereign wealth funds, pensions, asset managers, and other financial institutions worldwide that have been cited as possibly losing millions of dollars in foreign exchange services provided by BNY Mellon, an amended complaint by the US Justice Department has claimed.

The Justice Department had sued BNY Mellon in October in federal court in New York, when claiming that the bank defrauded federally insured banks in handling foreign exchange. The amended lawsuit, filed June 6, alleges that the custodial bank generated more than $1.5 billion from its top 200 standing-instruction clients from 2007 to 2010 by charging their customers at the worst -- or nearly worst -- price point of the day.

The revenues had been allegedly earned for the price BNY Mellon assigned to clients and the more favorable rates the bank obtained trading for itself, a spokesperson at the US Department of Justice told aiCIO.

SHUAA Partners Fund returns 7.6% IRR over its vintage period -

SHUAA Capital, the leading regional financial services company, today announced that it has successfully closed its SHUAA Partners Fund 1, yielding significant returns despite the tough market conditions.

During the Fund’s vintage period, from 2005 to 2012, public equity markets in the UAE (MSCI UAE Index) posted a decline of 78%.

Following the sale of two remaining investments, SHUAA Partners Fund 1 has generated an IRR of 7.6% over its investment period.

Liner QE2 to host visitors again as hotel in Dubai - Wire -

Dubai has settled on a use for the Queen Elizabeth 2 cruise liner it bought for $100 million five years ago, with plans to turn it into a floating hotel fitted with many of the storied vessel's original furnishings.

The ship will remain in the city state's downtown Port Rashid facility to serve as a tourist magnet alongside a proposed maritime museum and an expanding cruise ship terminal complex, officials said Monday.

The plans are a twist on a more ambitious previous proposal to significantly overhaul the ship and convert it into a luxury hotel docked alongside one of the sheikdom's manmade palm-shaped islands. Developers shelved those plans when Dubai's economy tumbled into crisis.

Persian Gulf Stocks: DP World and Industries Qatar Are Active - Bloomberg

Dubai’s benchmark DFM General Index (DFMGI) rose 0.1 percent to 1,464.57, the highest since June 21, at the close in the emirate. Qatar’s QE Index (DSM) slipped 0.1 percent.

EFG Hermes suitor's takeover approach stalls | Reuters

An attempt by a group of Egyptian and Arab Gulf investors to buy the Middle East's biggest home-grown investment bank EFG Hermes has stalled after the consortium failed to secure enough EFG shares to challenge management.

Planet IB made its $1 billion approach after the Cairo-based bank announced plans to fold its main investment banking operation into a joint venture controlled by Qatar's QInvest.

EFG shareholders approved the Qatari tie-up on June 2. EFG's share price tumbled last year following a popular uprising, and the deal with the tiny, energy-rich Gulf state would give it more resources to expand its business across the region.

Qatar to issue up to $4 bln in sukuk - paper | Reuters

Qatar plans to issue up to $4 billion in Islamic bonds, or sukuk, through two companies that the Gulf state will set up through a decree issued by the Crown Prince, local daily Al Watan newspaper said on Monday.

Qatar, the world's biggest liquefied natural gas exporter, had picked Standard Chartered, Deutsche Bank , HSBC, Barwa Bank and QInvest to help arrange a new sovereign sukuk, sources told Reuters in May.

Qatar last tapped global debt markets with a $5 billion conventional multi-tranche bond in November, capitalising on investor appetite for safe havens amid market uncertainty.