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Thursday, 26 July 2012

Chinese lead way as visitor numbers rise - The National

More than 1.1 million people came to stay in the capital in the past six months, 14 per cent more than in the same period last year, according to the Government.

The increase was led by Chinese visitors, the number of whom grew by 84 per cent even as the figures for guests from the United States, the United Kingdom and France dipped by several percentage points, Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authoritysaid yesterday.

Hotels made US$631 million (Dh2.31 billion) in revenue, a slight rise on the same time last year.

Food producer Agthia posts appetising results - The National

Profits at Agthia surged almost 60 per cent in the second quarter on the falling cost of sales after the Abu Dhabi Government increased subsidies to the food producer.

Net income rose to Dh28.8 million (US$7.84m) in the quarter from Dh18.1m in the same period a year earlier. Agthia's compensation from the emirate amounted to Dh144.24m.

"The purpose of the compensation was to partially reduce the impact of increased and volatile global grain prices on food retail prices for the consumers in the Abu Dhabi emirate," Agthia said in a regulatory filing to the Abu Dhabi bourse yesterday.

Crisis is over for the UAE, says Sheikh Mohammed - The National

Turmoil is ripping through the euro zone and growth is flagging elsewhere in the world but for the UAE, the crisis is over, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, said yesterday.

Sheikh Mohammed chose the occasion of his annual iftar with the press to make his confident estimation of the economic situation.

"The crisis is behind us now," he told a group of foreign and local media at a ceremony at the Atlantis hotel.

When governments won’t govern, central banks must |

The global economic crisis that started in 2008 is far from over, and we might not have seen the worst. Still, it’s not too early to think about how our response to the crisis might put the economy on course for the next one.
The defining feature of policy since the Great Recession began has been a fundamental shift in what we ask of elected governments on one side and unelected central banks on the other. Governments have failed, and are still failing, to get fiscal policy right. So, with varying degrees of reluctance, central banks have had to step in with quasi-fiscal measures, such as buying long-term government debt or absorbing risks previously borne by the private sector.
This reassignment of duties is no mere technicality. It’s a momentous and troubling development.

DPG, Emaar complete Dubailand land deal |

Dubai Properties Group (DPG), a member of Dubai Holding, has finalised a land transaction in its Dubailand district with Emaar Properties PJSC (Emaar).
The plot is located on Al Qudra road adjoining the Arabian Ranches development, Emaar’s fully-established master-planned community and will be developed by Emaar as a mixed-use neighbourhood.
The agreement, which was finalised between DPG’s Group CEO Khalid Al Malik and Emaar’s Managing Director, Ahmad Al Matrooshi. “I am pleased to have signed this agreement with Emaar, which is a sign of confidence in the attractiveness of Dubailand as an investment opportunity. We currently have a strong pipeline of investor projects, and we will continue to work with our partners to further develop and enhance services for the benefit of both residents and visitors,” said Al Malik.

MARKET REPORT: Lamprell losing streak runs on | This is Money

Just when fund managers began to think that it was safe to dip their toes back into the water and that the worst was definitely over for Lamprell, wham! The Dubai-based oil rig maker rolls out its third disastrous profit warning this year and the shares crash 38.5p or 31 per cent to 84.75p after touching an all-time low of 67p.

Not only did it forecast its first-ever loss as a public company, because of higher costs and delayed deliveries, but it worryingly said it would be seeking waivers from its lenders.

Lamprell had forecast a loss of between £10m and £13m in June, but it now expects additional costs from delayed deliveries of wind farm installation vessels to push it to a loss of £29m for the period.

No talks for IPIC to boost stake -OMV CEO in paper - Yahoo! News Maktoob

There are no plans at this stage for Abu Dhabi's state-owned fund International Petroleum Investment Co to raise its 24.9 percent stake in Austrian energy group OMV, OMV's chief executive told a newspaper.
"There are no talks at all about changing anything. These are all just rumours," Gerhard Roiss said in an interview with Der Standard that was released ahead of publication on Friday.
The Austrian government in February dismissed IPIC's request for permission to raise its OMV stake to at least 25 percent.
Austrian law requires non-European investors to get advance approval to increase stakes in strategic groups like OMV to above 25 percent.

MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf mkts mixed; Etisalat lifts Abu Dhabi after strong Q2 | Reuters

Gulf markets ended mixed on Thursday in lackluster trade with telcom operator Etisalat helping lift the Abu Dhabi index after strong quarterly results.

In the United Arab Emirates, Etisalat's shares rose 0.7 percent. The telco reported a 17-percent rise in profits in the second-quarter, beating estimates.

Chief Executive Ahmad Julfar told Reuters Etisalat may increase its holding in Saudi Arabia's operator Mobily.

Buffett $3 Billion Dow Preferred Stake May Be Repaid - Bloomberg

Warren Buffett’s investment in Dow Chemical Co. (DOW), which generated $255 million a year for his Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (BRK/A), may be redeemed with proceeds the chemical maker will get as part of a legal dispute with Kuwait.
Dow Chief Executive Officer Andrew Liveris said on a conference call today that the award may be used to improve the company’s finances. Asked about preferred shares, which include $3 billion held by Berkshire and $1 billion that were sold to Kuwait’s sovereign wealth fund, the CEO said, “that’s the balance sheet, and I would say it’s included.”
Dow sold the securities to help fund the 2009 purchase of Rohm & Hass Co. The preferred shares pay an 8.5 percent annual dividend. The yield is about 4 percentage points higher than on Dow’s 30-year notes due in 2041, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Emirates NBD closes Islamic Alternatives Strategies Fund: MENA Fund Manager

Emirates NBD Asset Management is closing its Islamic Alternatives Strategies Fund following the withdrawal of a major investor, Mena FM can exclusively reveal.

In a letter to investors, which was seen by Mena FM, Emirates NBD Bank told clients: “Although the board has stated that it regrets the decision, directors feel that ‐ post withdrawal of the major investor ‐ the fund size will be insufficient to allow it to be run in an efficient manner consistent with the best interests of remaining investors.”

The underlying investments in the fund are being liquidated for the pricing point at the end of July 2012 and proceeds will be remitted to investors in the penultimate week of August, according to the letter.

MENA stock markets close - July 26, 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)

STOCKS NEWS MIDEAST-Dubai bluechips rise; Etisalat lifts Abu Dhabi - Yahoo! News Maktoob

Investors buy Dubai bluechips but trading is thin ahead of the weekend, while positive reaction to earnings lifts
Abu Dhabi telco Etisalat. Dubai's Emaar Properties gains 1.3 percent, up for a third straight session.
Contractor Arabtec rises 1 percent and heavyweight lender Emirates NBD advances 2.7 percent.
The emirate's index rises 0.6 percent to close at 1,510 points.

Egypt's EFG Hermes confident of QInvest deal by October | Reuters

Egyptian investment bank EFG Hermes expects a planned tie-up with Qatar's QInvest to go ahead before October, the company said on Thursday, after Egypt's financial market regulator suspended the deal.

The Egyptian Financial Supervisory Authority (EFSA) rejected decisions approved by EFG shareholders last month because the firm did not clarify points including minority rights, state news agency MENA reported on Wednesday.

The head of the watchdog was quoted as saying that EFG must provide the required information and reconvene shareholders for the deal to be completed.

INTERVIEW-Gulf Arabs shouldn't delay single currency-Qatar official - Yahoo! News Maktoob

Gulf Arab oil exporters should learn from the euro zone debt crisis but press on with their own monetary union project, a senior official from Qatar's central bank said on Thursday.
"I think that the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) countries should benefit from the euro experience and continue with the GCC monetary union project without a delay," Khalid Alkhater, Director of Research and Monetary Policy at the bank, told Reuters.
"The monetary union is a strategic long-term project for these countries, not only economically, but it should be also politically," he said in rare public comments by a Gulf central bank official.

Brain Drain In Middle East Shows Signs Of Reversing - OpEd Eurasia Review

The best and brightest men and women from the Middle East have often gone on to work for the world’s largest multinational companies in Europe or the United States. On a local level, this “brain drain” has proved difficult for the economies of Arab countries, many of which are already struggling. Today, however, many Arab students and young graduates no longer dream about working for Google or Yahoo in the United States or Europe, but instead seek to become innovative leaders in their own countries.

Young Middle Eastern professionals have become more concerned with proving their creativity and skills on their own turf. From Libya to Lebanon there is a “reverse brain drain” among young workers, with individuals returning from abroad. Others have decided not to leave in the first place. This new generation of entrepreneurs is showing the world that they are capable of creative innovation at home.

UPDATE 1-Qantas in Emirates tie-up talks, shares soar - Yahoo! News Maktoob

Struggling Qantas Airways is moving closer to an alliance with Dubai's flagship carrier Emirates, a newspaper reported on Thursday, sending the Australian airline's shares surging 8 percent.
Any tie-up could help Qantas' loss-making international division by giving it access to greater numbers of passengers from Emirates' hub in the Middle East as well as cutting aircraft and other costs.
A final form of the deal could vary from a straightforward code-share arrangement to a more global revenue-sharing deal, the Australian Financial Review reported, citing unidentified sources. There was no mention of a capital alliance.
Qantas said in a statement it was in talks with number of airlines, including Emirates, about potential alliances but said it would not give further details.

FUND VIEW-Daiwa Asset sees investor demand for Turkish bond funds - Yahoo! News Maktoob

Daiwa Asset Management, Japan's second largest money manager, expects high yields will attract retail money into bond mutual funds that invest in countries such as Turkey, while many investors will also seek shelter in
Japanese bond funds.
The yen's appreciation and weakness in global share prices stemming from Europe's debt crisis have hit the performance of Japanese investment trust funds, a type of mutual funds known as toushin, which prompted big outflows until March.
The industry is seeing more inflows now, but the outlook may be tough with the yen regaining strength and euro zone's debt crisis worsening, Makoto Shirakawa, the president of Daiwa Asset, told Reuters in an interview.

TEXT-Fitch affirms Kuwait at 'AA'; outlook stable | Reuters

Fitch Ratings has affirmed Kuwait's Long-term foreign and local currency Issuer Default Ratings (IDR) at 'AA'. The Outlooks on both ratings are Stable. Fitch has simultaneously affirmed Kuwait's Country Ceiling at 'AA+' and Short-term foreign currency rating at 'F1+'.

Kuwait's 'AA' ratings are primarily supported by its strong sovereign net foreign assets (SNFA), estimated by Fitch at USD323bn in 2011 (equivalent to 191% of GDP). These result from double-digit budget surpluses registered every year since 1999 thanks to receipts from the country's large oil reserves (6.1% of total world oil reserves). However, exposure to the oil sector (half of GDP, 83% of government revenue and 78% of CXR) is a vulnerability, given oil price volatility and regional geopolitical threats. Difficulties in reaching agreement at the political level have frustrated efforts to diversify away from oil.

Gulf Daily News » Business News » Qatar firm's Egypt deal suspended

Egypt's financial regulator has suspended a joint venture deal between Egyptian investment bank EFG-Hermes and Qatar's QInvest, approved by shareholders on June 2, the state news agency MENA said yesterday.

"The Egyptian Financial Supervisory Authority (EFSA) Authority approved the shareholder assembly in form but refused it in terms of content, procedures and decisions," its head Ashraf El Sharkawy was quoted as saying.

EFSA has rejected decisions made at EFG annual meeting last month because the firm did not clarify points regarding the deal, including the fate of minority rights after it is completed, he said.