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Monday, 9 July 2012

Iraq weighs options for wriggling free of pipeline tangle - The National

"The ministry has all these plans with pipelines going all over the Middle East like spaghetti." Thus did one industry source describe Iraq's oil export schemes. Iraq's geographic location gives it a multitude of potential routes, but all are problematic in some way.

Last Thursday, the Kurdistan region apparently began trucking oil to Turkey in line with a cooperation agreement discussed in May. Just a day later, Taner Yildiz, Turkey's energy minister, announced studies on linking the oilfields around Basra, in Iraq's south, to the Kirkuk-Ceyhan pipeline that runs from northern Iraq to Turkey's Mediterranean coast.

gulfnews : Need to revise new banking stipulation

The rule that women cannot open or manage bank accounts for their children under 18 years of age is one that needs to be revisited.
The stipulation has been set by the UAE Central Bank and all banks in the country are obliged to abide by it. This rule stems from the fact that the UAE is a Muslim country and is in keeping with the Sharia provisions, according to the Central Bank.
Surely, there is no questioning when such a rule is applied in some cases, given the reasoning behind it.

EXCLUSIVE-RBS, others quit Dubai Group debt talks -sources | Reuters

Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS.L) and two other banks have abandoned talks on restructuring Dubai Group's $10 billion debt and threatened to bring unprecedented legal action against the investment vehicle of Dubai's ruler, sources close to the matter said.

The walkout by RBS, German lender Commerzbank (CBKG.DE) and South Africa's Standard Bank (SBKJ.J) at the beginning of June could prevent a deal for the entire restructuring just as an initial agreement is about to be circulated to other banks, five sources said.

They said the three banks had walked away and were threatening legal action to demand immediate payment, unprecedented in an emirate where banks have tended to take the best terms on offer due to an opaque legal system and to avoid jeopardising chances of winning future business.

MENA stock markets close - July 9, 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)

Egypt: stocks fall as Mursi challenges the generals over parliament | beyondbrics

Egyptian president Mohamed Mursi’s brief honeymoon with the markets seems to be over.

Egyptian stocks, which rallied on his election only two weeks ago, plunged 4.5 per cent on Monday, wiping out nearly a third of the gains of the gains made since June 24 when Mursi was confirmed as the country’s first democratically-elected leader.

The trigger was the new president’s decision on Sunday to defy the army and the courts by reconvening parliament. His Muslim Brotherhood allies on Monday announced that the assembly would meet on Tuesday – setting the scene for an immediate confrontation.

Tea with FT Middle East: Samih Toukan -

It took Samih Toukan almost a decade to turn Maktoob, the internet company he founded with partner Hussam Khoury, into an Arab internet giant. But less than three years after the $164m sale of the company to Yahoo!, Mr Toukan thinks he has built something even bigger.
The speed at which Jabbar, his new group of internet businesses, has grown says much about the rapid expansion of the Middle East’s web industry. And it also speaks to the abilities of Mr Toukan who, at 43, is by a large margin the Middle East’s most successful online entrepreneur.

Dubai property group close to debt deal -

Limitless, the property arm of Dubai state-owned conglomerate Dubai World, is nearing a deal to restructure $1.2bn in debt as it pins its hopes of a turnround on its international projects.
While Limitless suffered as a result of the Dubai property collapse, some of its most ambitious developments are outside of the Gulf emirate. As lawyers hammer out details of its plan to delay debt repayments, relaunching its overseas ventures is now central to the company’s prospects of meeting new targets.
Of particular importance is Al Wasl, a $12bn suburban development on the outskirts of Riyadh, the Saudi capital, which stalled during the financial crisis.

BP not ruled out of Abu Dhabi concessions-sources | Reuters

BP Plc has not been ruled out of tendering for Abu Dhabi's upcoming renewal of oil and gas concessions, contrary to one media report, industry sources close to the situation said on Monday.

A report in Petroleum Intelligence Weekly said last week Abu Dhabi National Oil Co (ADNOC) omitted BP when it sent invitations to existing partners of the Abu Dhabi Company for Onshore Oil Operations (ADCO) concession, to tender for renewals before deals expire in 2014.

Industry sources said on Monday BP was invited to take part but had yet to decide whether it wants to, or under what terms. "All of the existing partners were invited," an industry source close to the matter said.

Saudi Shares Drop on Earnings Concern, Politics; Dubai Retreats - Bloomberg

Saudi stocks dropped the most in almost two weeks on concern quarterly results at the kingdom’s biggest companies may miss estimates and as security forces arrested a dissident, stoking concern tensions may escalate.
Qassim Cement (QACCO) Co., a Saudi Arabian producer of the building material, fell 1.5 percent after second-quarter profit missed analysts’ forecasts. Saudi Telecom Co. (STC), the kingdom’s largest phone company, slumped the most since March 2011. The Tadawul All Share Index (SASEIDX) declined 1.4 percent, the biggest decrease since June 27, to 6,756.99 at the close in Riyadh. The DFM General Index (DFMGI) slipped 0.4 percent and the Bloomberg GCC 200 Index (BGCC200) lost 1 percent.
“Investors are waiting for results of the bigger Saudi companies, including Sabic, and are worried some may disappoint,” said Turki Fadaak, head of research at Riyadh- based Albilad Investment Co.

Valentino in exclusive talks with Qatar: sources | Reuters

London-based private equity fund Permira is in exclusive talks with the Qatari royal family over the sale of Italian fashion house Valentino and a decision is expected by the end of the month, four sources close to the talks said on Monday.

The Qataris, who also own London's Harrods department store, have been one of the world's most active investors with assets ranging from stakes in German sports car maker Porsche (PSHG_p.DE) to shares in British bank Barclays (BARC.L).

In March, Qatar Holding bought a 1.03 percent stake in luxury conglomerate LVMH.

UPDATE 1-Qatar budget surplus triples to $12 bln last FY-prospectus | Reuters

Qatar's budget surplus more than tripled to 44.5 billion riyals ($12.2 billion) in the fiscal year ended in March, double the original plan and helped by booming revenues from liquefied natural gas, a prospectus for the country's potential Islamic bond issue showed on Monday.

Qatar is the world's top exporter of liquefied natural gas and its fiscal surplus for 2011/12 was equivalent to 7 percent of 2011 gross domestic product, according to a Reuters calculation, up from the original 22.5 billion-riyal plan.

That puts the government in a comfortable position as it plans to spend more than 10 percent of GDP on average on infrastructure in the run-up to hosting the soccer World Cup tournament in 2022.

Xstrata hands Glencore more time for Qatar talks | Reuters

Glencore (GLEN.L) and rival shareholder Qatar could be granted weeks more to hammer out a deal over the terms of the commodity trader's planned takeover of miner Xstrata (XTA.L), easing speculation that the current deadlock could put the deal on ice.

Xstrata will this week set a fresh date for investors to vote on Glencore's proposed $26 billion takeover offer - probably in September to allow for the European summer break, the Olympics in London and half-year results from both the miner and the trader, sources familiar with the matter said.

Xstrata shareholders had been due to meet on July 12, but the miner was forced to delay the vote late last month after adjusting retention packages for its executives in response to shareholder outcry over mostly cash deals.

UPDATE 1-Banque Saudi Fransi Q2 profit down 2 pct on operating costs | Reuters

Banque Saudi Fransi , the lender part-owned by Credit Agricole, reported a 2-percent decline in quarterly profits on Monday, missing forecasts, due to higher operational costs.

The bank made second-quarter net profit of 757 million riyals ($201.9 million) in the three months to June 30, down from 773 million riyals in the same period a year earlier.

Analysts surveyed by Reuters had forecast, on average, profit of 806.50 million riyals.

"The reason for the decline in net income during the second quarter compared to the year earlier is the higher operating costs," the bank said in a statement to the Saudi bourse.

Glencore-Xstrata merger vote 'delayed to September' - Yahoo! News Maktoob

A shareholder vote to seal the proposed multi-billion dollar merger of Swiss commodity giants Glencore and Xstrata has been pushed back to September, press reports said on Monday.
Shareholder meetings have been postponed from mid-July amid negotiations between Glencore and Qatar Holding, one of Xstrata's largest shareholders, the Financial Times said.
A Glencore spokesman declined to comment when contacted by AFP.

Qatar eyes dual-tranche Islamic bond - sources | Reuters

The Gulf Arab state of Qatar is planning to issue a two-tranche Islamic bond, or sukuk, four sources familiar with discussions said on Monday, as it kicked-off investor meetings in Malaysia.

The world's largest liquefied natural gas exporter is holding roadshows in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore on Monday and Tuesday respectively, arranging banks said last week, following which a sukuk may be issued, subject to market conditions.

No indication of size was made available, which is usually determined depending on investor feedback and appetite.

Saudi Shares Drop on Quarterly Earnings Concerns; Dubai Retreats - Businessweek

Saudi Arabia’s benchmark stock index headed for the lowest close in a week on concern quarterly results at the kingdom’s biggest companies including Saudi Basic Industries Corp. may miss estimates.

Qassim Cement (QACCO) Co., a Saudi Arabian producer of the building material, fell 1.5 percent after second-quarter profit missed analysts’ forecasts. Saudi Telecom Co. (STC), the kingdom’s largest phone company, was set for the lowest close since February. The Tadawul All Share Index (SASEIDX) declined 0.6 percent to 6,817.73 at 11:47 a.m. in Riyadh, headed for the lowest close since July 2. The DFM General Index (DFMGI) decreased 0.2 percent and the Bloomberg GCC 200 Index (BGCC200) lost 0.5 percent.

“Investors are waiting for results of the bigger Saudi companies, including Sabic, and are worried some may disappoint,” said Turki Fadaak, head of research at Riyadh- based Albilad Investment Co.

U.A.E.’s New Mortgage Law to Be Issued This Year, Gulf News Says - Bloomberg

The United Arab Emirates’ new mortgage law will be issued before the end of this year, Gulf News reported today, citing an unidentified Central Bank official.
The new legislation will help solve issues between banks, developers and buyers. It will also differentiate between mortgage-to-own and mortgage-to-invest, the Dubai-based newspaper said today.

THE DAILY STAR :: Saudi Arabia pushes accelerator on reform

Saudi Arabia is moving at its fastest pace in years to overhaul the economy, and this time there isn't even the crunch of lower oil prices. Last year's effort to tackle unemployment, and a recent and long-expected mortgage law designed to help solve the housing problem, should help shore up stability in the absolute monarchy. These are tentative steps so far. But they go in the right direction.

Change, at least by design, is always slow in the kingdom. But his week's surprise approval of the first mortgage law, a sharia-compliant piece of legislation debated for over a decade, seems to confirm a trend. One year ago, Saudi tightened its labour laws in a bid to address the problem of the massive unemployment of nationals. In the peculiar time zone that is Saudi Arabia, this amounts to the beginning of reform.

Home loans amount to 60 to 70 percent of GDP in developed economies but no more than 2 percent in the kingdom. That proportion could rise to more than a third if the mortgage law, as expected, lowers borrowing costs and protects lenders better.

Persian Gulf Stocks: BankMuscat and Bank Sohar in Oman - Bloomberg

Abu Dhabi’s ADX General Index (ADSMI) rose less than 0.1 percent to 2,476.88, headed for the highest close since June 26, at 10:52 a.m. in the emirate. Dubai’s benchmark DFM General Index lost 0.2 percent and Oman’s MSM30 Index (MSM30) declined 0.1 percent.

Egypt index tumbles 5.5 pct after parliament ordered reconvened | Reuters

Egypt's benchmark stock index plunged 5.5 percent in early trade on Monday after the country's new president ordered parliament to reconvene, challenging the authority of the military which had ordered it dissolved.

The index had fallen to 4,633 points as of 10:40 a.m. (0840 GMT). At least half of the index's 30 stocks were suspended for half an hour after they fell by more than the 5 percent allowed under exchange rules.

Abu Dhabi’s 30% GDP growth to $224bn in 2011 will fall this year « ArabianMoney

Remarkable economic data released from the official UAE news agency WAM reveals that Abu Dhabi’s nominal GDP surged by a fraction under 30 per cent last year, mainly due to the high price of oil although the non-oil economy also joined in the expansion thanks to a clear diversification plan.

Over the past decade the city state, the leading emirate of the federation of the United Arab Emirates, saw its GDP quadruple to $224 billion with last year’s growth alone worth an additional $50 billion.

Dubai traders bullish on 2012 - Khaleej Times

The outlook for Dubai’s trading sector in 2012 is brighter compared to 2011, but slightly lower than the pre-crisis levels, a Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry survey revealed.
The survey, organised at the end of 2011 and based on a scale from one to 10, with the latter representing the highest rating, showed the average expectation rating for 2012, which was 5.8, increasing by only 0.1 from the corresponding score of 5.7 for 2011, and remaining lower than the pre-crisis levels by almost a point.
The survey’s findings came as the Dubai Statistics Centre forecast that the emirate’s non-oil trade would grow 20 per cent in 2012 to Dh1.32 trillion as exports and stronger direct foreign trade surged. In 2011, Dubai’s overall non-oil trade exceeded the Dh1 trillion mark to reach Dh1.1 trillion as foreign trade soared 21.7 per cent to Dh700.4 billion. In the first quarter, Dubai’s overall trade grew 6.6 per cent to Dh298.1 billion from Dh279.7 billion in the same 2011 period.