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Saturday, 28 July 2012

Saudi Arabia eying boom in construction valued at $629 billion

Saudi Arabia’s construction sector is expected to go through a period of accelerated growth during the next few years, with a value of projects estimated at $629 billion.

More than $500 billion of investment opportunities in energy, transportation, education, healthcare and other vital economic sectors are among established projects, making the Kingdom a leading investment hub for construction work.

The kingdom is considered to be the region’s top economy, with a growing large young population and highly competitive business environment and national initiatives in infrastructure development.

Inflation under control in GCC economies |

The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) economies are, fortunately, not suffering from serious inflationary threats nowadays. Causes of this welcoming development include checked prices of imported foodstuffs, government subsidies, and the near absence of a rise in property rates.
The average inflation rate hovered around 4 per cent in 2011, up from 3 per cent in 2010. However, this is a far cry from inflationary pressures that prevailed in 2007 when GCC member state Qatar sustained a punishing 14 per cent inflation rate.
At any rate, inflation rates in the GCC partly reflect imported inflation. This is a reference to prices of imported goods. The rule of thumb goes that sharp rises in oil prices provide justification for petroleum-importing countries to raise prices of their exports, thereby contributing to the phenomenon of imported inflation.

Europe the focus for Gulf investors - The National

Regional investors will be eyeing cues from Europe this week as officials from the world's two biggest central banks, the US Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank, meet in Frankfurt.

It was between July 27 and the end of September last year that global markets wiped almost 20 per cent off their value. In the United States, battles in Washington heightened over the US debt ceiling, followed by a sovereign ratings downgrade. Andin Europe, signs of a worsening debt crisis were already in motion, threatening to put the brakes on the global economy.

"The global economy is still fragile and US data doesn't look quite as healthy, the drop in housing sales last week, down 1.4 per cent, does not give comfort for analysts to give a full optimistic view for the remaining of the year," said Wadah Al Taha, the chief investment officer at Al Zarooni Group, an investment company based in Dubai.

Tough competition hurts Bahrain's Batelco - The National

Bahrain Telecommunications, the state-owned operator known as Batelco, reported a 13 per cent decline in second-quarter profit as it faced fierce competition in a stagnating market.

Net income at the former monopoly fell to 18.5 million Bahraini dinars (Dh180.2m) in the quarter, from 21.3m dinars a year ago. The company has reported declining profits in seven out of eight quarters. "In our home market, Bahrain, we continue to face significant competition from other operators coupled with lack of any significant growth," Batelco's chairman Shaikh Hamad bin Abdulla Al Khalifa said.

"As a priority, we are implementing various initiatives to improve efficiencies, lower our operating cost structure and be more responsive to our customers with a full service portfolio."

Cinemas cast abroad after blockbuster home growth - The National

Cinema chains in the Emirates are looking to expand overseas after years of blockbuster growth at home.

With domestic box-office admissions forecast to be as high as 12 million this year, UAE operators are looking to markets such as Lebanon, Egypt and Qatar for future growth.

Cameron Mitchell, the chief executive of VOX Cinemas, said the chain planned to expand overseas with the launch of a branch in Beirut, as well as boosting its presence in the UAE.

Sanctions put on Iran affect sales of property - The National

Iranian investment in the Dubai property market slipped by nearly a quarter to Dh1.5 billion (US$408.3 million) in the first six months of the year from a year earlier as sanctions squeeze buyers from the embattled country.

Buyers from Iran still represented the fifth-largest group of investors by nationality in the market, with 1,036 Iranians snapping up villas and apartments, data from the Dubai Land Department show.

But the investment was likely to have been higher if it were not for the impact of western sanctions against Iran, say people familiar with the property market. Iranians are facing difficulties getting approval from banks in the UAE for mortgages or to make down payments for properties, said Hossein Haghighi, an Iranian businessman living in Dubai who owns a villa in the Springs.

UAE needs to expand free trade pacts |

International relations are at the crossroads with recent global events leading to a shift in balance of power between nations. Just as the Cold War led to a new alliance of political and strategic forces, the global financial crisis has led to restructuring economic relations and redrawing of the global economic map.
These changes include China’s rise to the position of the world’s second-largest economy last year from the fifth spot within a few years, with the removal of Japan, Germany and Britain from the centre of activity.
In turn, other countries resorted to reshape their economic and strategic relations in a manner that reflects the new balance of power. The UAE is one the first countries that seek to make the most of these changes in the balance of power at the global level.

Parent sends strong signal to Zain Saudi - The National

Debt-laden Zain Saudi Arabia, a telecommunications provider, has been given a reprieve after its parent, Kuwait's Zain Group, stepped in to save a US$1.6 billion rights issue that drew a tepid response from the market.

Shareholder Zain Group stepped in to cover the under-subscribed issue and has now raised its stake in the Saudi Arabian unit to 37 per cent, up from 25 per cent.

The fate of Zain Saudi Arabia had long been uncertain after its parent previously tried and failed to sell its stake in the company.

Saudi Stock Market close - July 28, 2012

General Index
Intraday  3 month  
 Daily Statistics
 General Index6767.81
 Change (%)1.52%
 T. Volume284564322
 T. Companies 158

STOCKS NEWS MIDEAST-Saudi stocks close higher on petchem gains - Yahoo! News Maktoob

Saudi shares close higher on Saturday, lifted by gains in the petrochemical sector after oil prices rose on Friday.
The all-share adds 1.5 percent to 6,768 points and the petrochemical inded adds 3 percent to 5,905 points.
Heavyweight Saudi Basic Industries (SABIC) gains 4 percent.
The banking index also closes higher, gaining 0.8 percent to 15,449 points.

Saudi Shares Rise Most in Almost Four Weeks on Stimulus Outlook - Bloomberg

Saudi Arabian (SABIC) equities rose the most in almost four weeks on speculation governments and central banks will take steps to contain the euro-region debt crisis and stoke economic growth.
Bank stocks gained, led by Bank Albilad. (ALBI) Al Rajhi Bank, the kingdom’s biggest lender by market value, added as much as 1.4 percent. Saudi Basic Industries Corp., the world’s largest petrochemicals maker by market value, climbed as much as 4.4 percent, the most since April 2011.
The Tadawul All Share Index (SASEIDX) rose 1.7 percent to 6,778.47 by 2:17 p.m. in Riyadh. It advanced as much as 1.8 percent, the biggest intraday increase since July 3. The measure has increased 5.6 percent this year.