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Monday, 16 July 2012

Middle East economies to outpace rest of world - The National

The IMF has revised upwards its estimate for economic growth in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) this year.

The move comes despite a backdrop of deteriorating global prospects, the multilateral lender said yesterday.

It expects the regional economy to expand this year by 5.5 per cent, up from the IMF's previous forecast in April of 4.2 per cent.

BBC News - New UAE pipeline bypasses Strait of Hormuz oil route VIDEO HERE

United Arab Bank reports another strong quarter of loan growth - The National

United Arab Bank (UAB) boosted its profits sharply in the second quarter, taking market share from crippled international lenders battling debt troubles at home but leaving itself overextended.

The lender based in Sharjah reported net profits of Dh118.2 million (US$32.1m) in the second quarter, a 64.4 per cent increase compared with the same period last year as a result of improved operating income.

UAB had captured market share as international banks refocused on their home markets and scaled back in the Middle East, said Paul Trowbridge, the bank’s chief executive. “We’ve come under the radar and we’ve taken market share from other banks.”

Surprise record sales for Majid Al Futtaim - The National

The Dubai Summer Surprises (DSS) festival this year was the best ever for Majid Al Futtaim Properties, the biggest operator of shopping malls in the UAE.

A booming tourism market, growing consumer confidence and a number of mall events meant 10 per cent more people walked through the doors of Mall of the Emirates, Deira City Centre and Mirdif City Centre, which Majid Al Futtaim (Maf) operates, during the month-long festival. DSS ran from June 14 until July 14 this year.

"It was one of the greatest months that we have ever had, especially compared to last year and the previous month," said Fuad Sharaf, the senior asset director for Maf Properties. "When you talk about Dubai as a city, I would say it's the city of excellence from all aspects."

Moody's issues loan warning on UAE's banks - The National

Banks in the UAE are significantly under-reporting the impact of US$45.9 billion (Dh168.59bn) of problem loans from big corporations, which may have allowed some lenders to report higher profits, a new report from Moody's Investors Service has warned.

A second round of restructurings of previously renegotiated debts - or possibly defaults - could also be on the way in the second half of this year, with bad debts not expected to stabilise until the middle of next year, the report said.

But tracking banks' exposure to Dubai World's $24.9bn in restructured debts, Moody's has identified three divergent accounting policies at banks, which have led to some banks reporting declines in their levels of bad debts and others reporting higher profits.

gulfnews : Oil imports in North America are here to stay

As an oilman from a producer country and region, I am always interested in what goes on around the world in these fields. I am always enthusiastic to learn that some discovery has been made somewhere else or that a certain country has increased its production or even that others have developed so much alternative energy away from oil.
This is because human existence cannot be measured by what remains of the resources of oil and gas and that life must go on after oil and gas, and coal for that matter, is no more. I consider all energy forms supportive of each other and that each must be viewed on merits rather than on its impact on unholy battle against oil and OPEC.
But I am distressed by reports that delight in certain developments that are considered to be diminishing the energy power of one region vis-à-vis others instead of considering them as an enhancement of resources for the wellbeing of all.

gulfnews : Speculators cut bullish oil wager

Hedge funds cut bullish oil wagers for the first time in three weeks as US employers added fewer jobs than forecast, spurring concern that an economic slowdown would curb demand.
Money managers reduced net-long positions by 5.1 per cent in the seven days ended July 10, according to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s Commitments of Traders report on July 13. Oil traders have trimmed wagers on rising prices by 53 per cent from a 2012 peak in the week ended February 28.
Oil has declined 12 per cent this year, trading as low as $86.58 a barrel today in New York as economic growth slowed in the US and Europe, dimming prospects for demand. The Labour Department reported on July 6 that US payrolls rose by 80,000, fewer than the 100,000 forecast by economists surveyed by Bloomberg. Crude began a three-day rally on July 11 as stockpiles fell more than estimated and the US stiffened sanctions against Iran.

gulfnews : Dubai’s residential market up slightly in Q2: Report

As the overall residential market in Dubai recorded a slight increase in supply in the second quarter of 2012, limited new office supply entered the market over the first half of the year, according to the latest report by Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL).
In its latest Dubai Real Estate Market Overview, the consultancy reveals that around 3,000 units were added to Dubai’s residential stock inventory in the second quarter of the year, bringing the current residential stock in Dubai up to approximately 344,000 units, with villas continuing to outperform the apartment sector.
The future supply in the period 2012-2014 is expected to total 41,000 units, according to the report.

gulfnews : DSS activities to continue during summer

Even as Dubai Summer Surprises (DSS) concluded last week, some of its activities have been extended during the summer to spread cheer and festivities among Dubai’s tourists and residence.
Shopping promotions and discounts will continue to offer shoppers more value for their money throughout Ramadan and Eid.
Meanwhile, Modhesh World, which attracted thousands of families to its family-friendly environment providing them with an edutainment experience through more than 40 different interactive zones and stage shows, will remain open throughout the month of Ramadan, until August 25, offering themed activities catering to the occasions of Ramadan and Eid, Laila Suhail, CEO of Dubai Events and Promotions Establishment (DEPE), said.

Zain Saudi seeks ‘second chance’ -

Zain Saudi’s SR6bn riyal ($1.6bn) rights issue closes on Tuesday as the kingdom’s third-largest telecoms operator seeks to pay off debts and reconfigure its balance sheet.
The issue, led by Saudi Fransi Capital and Al-Rajhi Capital, forms part of a financial reorganisation plan as the lossmaking operator seeks to double its market share after a deal to sell a quarter of the company failed last year.
The rights issue aims to free $200m towards the refinancing of a loan of $2.6bn due this month. The remainder will be used to enhance the company’s infrastructure, reduce dependence on network-sharing agreements with competitors and return money to founding shareholders.

India's top buyer of Iran oil turns to Azeri, Saudi | Reuters

India's biggest buyer of Iranian oil, MRPL, has bought Azeri, Saudi and Emirati crude to replace imports from Iran in July and it may halt purchases from Tehran altogether as sanctions make shipments more difficult, industry sources said on Monday.
Loss of exports to Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals (MRPL) would be a blow to Iran, which has seen
overseas sales decline by more than half from a year ago due to U.S. and European Union sanctions.
The sanctions against Iran's nuclear programme, which the West thinks is aimed at making weapons, are meant to cut the country's oil revenues.

MENA stock markets close - July 16, 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)

gulfnews : UAE bourses move in opposite direction

The Dubai Financial Market (DFM) index rose nearly 1 per cent Monday after regaining the psychological 1,500 level on Sunday due to increase a in risk appetite and traders taking position ahead of the declaration of second quarter company earnings.
However, decline in European and Asian stocks capped the upside on the market, though trading volumes increased.
Analysts say economic slowdown in the US, China and Europe will keep the market range bound, near-term. They also say second quarter company earnings would broadly set the market’s direction.

Saudi investment house weighs exit doors -

Amid the pre-financial crisis excitement that buoyed a swath of Middle Eastern private equity houses, Riyadh-based Amwal AlKhaleej was one of the earliest and highest risers.
Since its creation in 2004, the firm – whose board includes members of Saudi Arabia’s Al-Muhaidib merchant family as well as Mohammed Alabbar, the Dubai property executive – has been one of the most active, straddling sectors ranging from financial services to media and construction.
Now, in a much-changed financial world, it faces another big test: can it find a lucrative way out of investments made in the boom years when asset valuations soared?

UPDATE 1-Oman's Bank Muscat Q2 profit up 19 pct | Reuters

Bank Muscat, Oman's largest lender by market value, posted a 19-percent increase in second-quarter net profit, slightly higher than analysts' expectations.

The bank made a net profit of 35 million rials ($90.9 million) for the three months to June 30, according to Reuters' calculations, up from the 29.4 million rials in the same period last year.

Analysts polled by Reuters had estimated an average second-quarter profit of 33.2 million rials.

Dubai Shares Climbs to Two-Month High as Emaar Gains; Oman Rises - Businessweek

Dubai’s benchmark stock index climbed to the highest in more than two months amid investor speculation Emaar Properties PJSC (EMAAR)’s second-quarter earnings may beat estimates.

Emaar, the developer of the world’s tallest skyscraper in Dubai, advanced to the highest since May 1. Deyaar Development (DEYAAR) PJSC, a Dubai-based property developer, closed at the highest since June 13. The benchmark DFM General Index (DFMGI) climbed 0.9 percent to 1,516.53, the highest level since May 9, at the 2 p.m. close in the emirate. Oman’s measure gained 0.6 percent after BankMuscat SAOG, the country’s biggest bank by assets, reported a 20 percent increase in first-half profit.

The gain in Dubai is “driven by renewed buying interest in Emaar on anticipation of better second-quarter numbers,” said Julian Bruce, the Dubai-based director of institutional sales trading at EFG-Hermes Holding SAE.

Bahrain's GFH restructures $45 million debt | Reuters

Bahrain-based Islamic investment bank Gulf Finance House (GFH) said on Monday it has restructured $45 million in debt which it will pay back over the next six years.

The cash is part of a $100 million wakala-structured facility, compliant with Islamic law, that is led by the Bahrain-based Liquidity Management Centre (LMC), GFH said in a statement.

It is the second time that GFH has restructured the facility. In March 2010, ahead of a $50 million repayment, the firm said it had scheduled payments so $20 million was paid immediately and the remainder in equal half-yearly instalments until 2012.

Kuwait Energy, Dragon, Turkiye Petrolleri Sign Iraq Oil Deal - Bloomberg

Kuwait Energy Co., Dubai-based Dragon Oil Plc (DGO) and Turkiye Petrolleri AO signed an agreement in Baghdad to explore for crude in southern Iraq along the Iranian border.
The companies won rights to explore Block 9 in a May auction, bidding a fee of $6.24 a barrel. Kuwait Energy will be the project’s operator, holding 40 percent. Turkiye Petrolleri and Dragon Oil will each have 30 percent.
The service contract is one of three that the Iraqi Oil Ministry awarded at the auction. Pakistan Petroleum Ltd. (PPL) signed an agreement yesterday to begin searching for natural gas in Block 8 in eastern Iraq. Russia’s OAO Lukoil and Inpex Corp. (1605) of Japan are due to sign an agreement tomorrow for crude exploration rights in Block 10 in southern Iraq, for a fee of $5.99 a barrel. Lukoil will hold 60 percent, and Inpex the rest.

Chart of the week: Iranian oil sanctions – whose problem is it? | beyondbrics

The last few days have seen a fresh wave of US sanctions against Iran, in an attempt to put the brakes on its nuclear programme. But cutting off Iran’s oil – its biggest export – isn’t easy.

Chart of the week takes a look at which emerging markets are affected the most.

Iran is a big oil exporter at 4,321 thousand barrels per day in 2011, or 5.2 per cent of the world’s output. It also has the fourth biggest reserves of any country, with 9.1 per cent of global proven reserves.

UAE's TAQA gets $355 mln financing for Ghana project | Reuters

Abu Dhabi National Energy Co (TAQA), a state-owned oil explorer and power supplier, secured a $355 million project financing and government approval to expand its power plant in Ghana, it said on Monday.

TAQA, which is owned 75 percent by the government of Abu Dhabi, will expand the Takoradi 2 (T2) power plant's capacity from 220 megawatts to 330 megawatts, the firm said in a statement.

Japan's Mitsui & Co and Korea's Kepco will start construction of the plant this month, the statement added.

Business - New law to boost confidence in Dubai’s real estate market

Dubai’s real estate sector, currently ranked as the most transparent market in the Middle East North Africa region, is on course to get a further fillip with the enforcement of an impending law aimed at protecting investors, according to a global financial and professional services company specialising in real estate.
Dubai Land’s new law, which allows investors to cancel their contracts and get their money back in cases where developers violate the terms and conditions, is expected to boost investors confidence, Jones Lang LaSalle, or JLL, said in its half-yearly review of the property market. It will also pressurise developers to finish their projects, the review said.
Under the new law that would ensure more transparency and better regulation of the real estate market, investors can cancel their contract if the property handover is delayed for more than a year. Investors are also eligible for compensation if the handover is delayed for more than a month. Under the new law, investors will have the option to demand compensation in the event of defects in the property when it is delivered.

gulfnews : Sukuk yields at seven-year low

Islamic bond yields dropped to a seven-year low and investors predict further declines as growth in Asia and the Gulf that’s outpacing the rest of the world shores up demand for sukuk.
Average yields fell five basis points, or 0.05 percentage point, in July to 3.39 per cent, approaching the lowest level since January 2005, when they reached a record 3.33 per cent, according to the HSBC/Nasdaq Dubai US Dollar Sukuk Index.
South Korea unexpectedly cut interest rates last week, after central banks in China, the US and Europe eased monetary policy, prompting fund managers to hunt for higher-yielding assets. Sukuk sales have climbed 73 per cent in 2012 to $26.8 billion (Dh98.4 billion) from the same period last year as the decline in borrowing costs encouraged issuers such as Qatar and Dubai-based Emaar Properties PJSC to tap the market.

Xstrata Profit Slide Hurts Qatari Push for Higher Glencore Bid - Bloomberg

Qatar is demanding another $4.2 billion from Glencore International Plc (GLEN) for Xstrata Plc (XTA) at the same time that analysts are reducing profit estimates for the Swiss mining company faster than its peers.
Xstrata, due to report first-half earnings on Aug. 7, will post a 39 percent drop in net income for 2012 to $3.5 billion, according to the average of seven estimates compiled by Bloomberg in the past month. The analysts have cut their projections by an average 25 percent, or $1.2 billion, in the last 28 days. Glencore’s profit will fall 2.7 percent for the year, according to six analyst estimates made in that period.
Glencore’s 17 billion-pound ($26 billion) all-share offer was derailed when Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund, the second- largest holder, said last month it wanted the bid raised by 16 percent. Xstrata is the biggest exporter of utility-grade coal. Prices for the fuel “collapsed” in the second quarter, according to Credit Suisse Group AG, slumping about 17 percent.