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Sunday, 5 August 2012

Venture to boost downstream projects | Oman Observer

Duqm Refinery and Petrochemical Industries Company (DRPIC) held its first Board of Directors’ meeting in Abu Dhabi at International Petroleum Investment Company’s (IPIC) headquarters. Ahmed bin Salim al Wahaibi, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Oman Oil Company (OOC), was appointed Chairman while Khadem bin Abdullah al Qubaisi, Managing Director of IPI, was chosen as Vice Chairman of DRPIC Board of Directors.
Other announcements include Christopher Wszolek assigned as project director, and that Shaw Energy andChemicals Limited selected as the Project Management Consultancy. The Board also approved the company’s budget for 2012. Ahmed bin Salim al Wahaibi said that the steps taken by the Board of Directors marks the start of work on the project and that the pace from now on will accelerate the join co-operation towards realising the objectives of the joint investment between OOC and IPIC.

Qtel strategy pays off despite profits fall - The National

Strategic expansions at Qatar Telecom (Qtel) are reaping higher revenues even though a boost to the company's bottom line is yet to materialise.

Qatar's biggest telecommunications company reported quarterly net profits of 640.7 million Qatari riyals in its latest earnings statement, a dip of 11.2 per cent compared with the same period a year earlier. The results beat analysts' estimates despite the dip.

Foreign-exchange losses were again Qtel's Achilles heel with the depreciation of the Indonesian rupiah and the Algerian dinar weighing on earnings. Profits have fallen during three out of the past four quarters. A change of strategy for Qtel this year has seen it seek out opportunities in new markets and expand its range of services including business-to-business services, e-finance and mobile health, which has led to increased capital expenditure. There is evidence the new plan is working. During the second quarter, revenues rose to 8.3 billion riyals, a 4.6 per cent increase over the same period a year earlier.

Signs look better for Muscat exchange's future - The National

Improved relations between analysts and companies needed

Oman may not yet be known as a centre of investor relations excellence but local industry leaders say the market is slowly improving.

The biggest challenge lies at the interface between companies and the analysts seeking to assess them, said Ahmed Humaidi, the head of the fledgling chapter of the Middle East Investor Relations Society.

All eyes on Oman's Islamic finance - The National

Oman investors could not get enough of Bank Nizwa when the country's first Islamic lender listed its shares in June.

The initial public offering was oversubscribed 11 times as the novelty of a new listing appealed to investors on the smallest of Arabian Gulf exchanges. The share sale also sparked hopes of a rebound in sentiment on the Muscat Securities Market.

Now the fledgling bank is being watched closely by investors as the country reverses its policy on Islamic finance and starts to court new Sharia-compliant equity and debt issues for the first time. It also wants to encourage conventional debt listings.

Hundreds of Emiratis sign up for vocational courses in Abu Dhabi - The National

Hundreds of young Emiratis signed up for massively expanded vocational training courses yesterday as an alternative to university.

By 8.30am, half an hour before the doors opened, several young women were waiting at the front doors of the Jazira Institute. The men were as eager, also gathering half an hour before registration opened at 12.30pm.

Jazira is one of four campuses run by Abu Dhabi Vocational Education and Training Institute. Next month it will open new branches in Sharjah, Ajman and Fujairah.

Total bank deposits decreased by 1.6% during the month of June |

The UAE Central Bank today said that money supply (currency in circulation + currency at banks) decreased by 1.3 per cent from Dh53.8 billion at the end of May to Dh53.1 billion at the end of June.
In a statement, the apex bank said money supply aggregate M1 (currency in circulation plus monetary deposits) increased by 0.9 per cent to Dh284.3 billion in June, compared to a month earlier. Money supply aggregate M2, which comprises M1 and quasi-monetary deposits, decreased by 0.6 per cent to Dh827.1 billion at the end of June, compared to May, it added.
“June and July are slower compared to other months. The central bank figures indicate less liquidity in the system, it also means capital outflows or remittances out of the system have been more pronounced,” Dubai-based economist Nasser Saidi told Gulf News by telephone.

Dubai prepares required submissions for the UAE World Expo 2020 bid |

The UAE has commissioned two global consultancies to develop a real estate strategy and project cost analysis for the Dubai Trade Centre — Jebel Ali, the country’s proposed site for the 2020 World Expo in Dubai.
Through public tender, consultants Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) and Mace have been selected for the project, the Higher Committee for Hosting the 2020 World Expo in Dubai, said in a statement on Sunday.
The UAE is bidding for the World Expo 2020 to be held in Dubai and part of the bid requirements is submitting plans for the real estate use on the site.

Islamic lenders take advantage of falling costs |

Islamic syndicated lending in Europe, the Middle East and Africa rose to a four-year high in 2012 as companies from Dubai’s DIFC Investments LLC to Saudi Arabia’s Etihad Etisalat take advantage of falling borrowing costs.
Shariah-compliant transactions have climbed to $8.37 billion (Dh30.74 billion) this year, led by Etihad Etisalat’s 10 billion-riyal ($2.67 billion) deal in February, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. State-controlled DIFC Investments raised $1.04 billion to help settle a $1.25 billion Islamic bond. This year’s lending compares with $5.2 billion in the year-earlier period and $11.9 billion for the first seven months of 2008, before the real-estate crash shut the market. Non-Islamic loans from the region declined 40 per cent this year to $434 billion.
The increase in syndicated transactions parallels the development of the Islamic bond market in an industry that is set to expand to $2.8 trillion by 2015, according to the Kuala Lumpur-based Islamic Financial Services Board. The three-month London-interbank offered rate, which is typically used as a benchmark for dollar-denominated debt, fell to 0.443 per cent yesterday, the lowest in almost nine months.

UAE business activity edges up slightly in July |

Business activity in the UAE’s non-oil private sector edged up slightly in July from the previous month, but the growth of export orders fell sharply, a purchasing managers’ survey showed on Sunday.
The HSBC UAE Purchasing Managers’ Index, which measures the performance of the manufacturing and services sectors, rose to 53.4 points last month from 53.2 in June.
The adjusted index remains above the 50-point mark which separates growth from contraction, the survey of 400 private sector firms showed.

Oil's big players raise the stakes in Iraqi Kurdistan Asharq Alawsat Newspaper (English)

Iraqi Kurdistan's crude oil is plentiful and easy to get at, rare among undeveloped energy resources. The man managing it, a former North Sea engineer and consultant turned politician, knows how to attract investment.
But the companies working there under contracts with the semi-autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) are not getting much out, and they are not getting paid, all because of a dispute over control with the national government in Baghdad.
Despite the row, rooted deep in the tinderbox politics of Iraq, ever bigger oil companies are moving into the northern region, angering Baghdad with their seal of corporate approval for a government that is seeking more autonomy in one of the most volatile parts of the world.

MIDEAST STOCKS-Real estate continues to drive UAE positivity - Yahoo! News Maktoob

Markets in the United Arab Emirates gained on Sunday on positive sentiment towards the country's property sector, as encouraging second-quarter numbers fuel buying, with Dubai's index rising for a fifth straight session
to a fresh 13-week high.
Dubai's index rose 1.6 percent to its highest close since May 3, buoyed by further advances in real estate-linked
Heavyweight Emaar Properties gained 1.2 percent, hitting a new 15-month high. Other gainers included Arabtec, up 1.7 percent, and Deyaar Development, which registered its largest one-day gain since March 11, jumping 14.8 percent to a 15-week high.

Sudan and South Sudan end oil dispute -

Sudan and South Sudan have reached an agreement on oil after months of wrangling that brought the two rivals back to conflict and risked sanctions.
The pair continued talks after the expiry of a UN-endorsed African Union deadline on August 2, announcing the deal at the weekend.
“This is definitely something to be happy about, this is the first agreement the two countries ever made since the separation which is satisfactory to both sides. It’s the beginning of reconciliation and developing good neighbourly relations,” Sabir Hassan, head of Sudan’s economic negotiation team, told the Financial Times on Saturday.

Qatar Petroleum’s Samurai may mean trickle, not flood of Gulf yen bonds |

Qatar Petroleum (QP) is set to sell its maiden yen-denominated bond this week in a deal that would raise the profile of Middle East credits among Japanese investors. But the bond may herald a trickle rather than a flood of yen issues from the Gulf.
State-owned QP aims to raise around $1 billion (Dh3.67 billion)-equivalent with a privately placed, 10-year bond guaranteed by the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC), pricing on Thursday, a source with knowledge of the deal, who declined to be named because of the matter’s sensitivity, said.
It would be a rare international offering from QP, whose only dollar-denominated deal was back in 2006. The bond would be just the third yen-denominated financial instrument known to be issued by a Gulf entity.

UPDATE 1-Kuwait's KIPCO positive on second half; Q2 profit up 0.9 pct | Reuters

Kuwait Projects Company (KIPCO), the country's largest investment company, said it was positive about its outlook for the latter half of 2012 after reporting a 0.9-percent increase in second-quarter net profit on Sunday.

Net profit in the three months to June 30 rose to 8.58 million dinars ($30.42 million), a bourse statement said, compared to 8.50 million dinars in the same period last year.

KIPCO said its financial services business was showing improvements while its real estate and media sectors were also meeting the company's expectations for 2012.

AFP: Kuwait 2011-2012 income, surplus at record high

OPEC member Kuwait has posted record budget surplus and revenues in the 2011-2012 fiscal year that ended on March 31 on the back of high oil output and price, an economic report said on Sunday.
The oil-rich Gulf state posted a historical budget surplus of 13.2 billion dinars ($47 billion) for the 13th consecutive fiscal year, the Al-Shall Economic Consultants said in a report citing official figures.
The previous highest surplus of 9.33 billion dinars ($33.2 billion) was posted in the 2007-2008 fiscal year when oil prices skyrocketted to a record $147 a barrel.

New UAE investment fund rules will only help Qatar, say analysts | Al Bawaba

New UAE investment fund rules could hurt the country’s ambitions to become a more important financial center, analysts said, adding that Qatar could reap the benefits.

The new rules from the Securities and Commodities Authority (SCA) will apply to firms based in Dubai’s financial tax-free zone. They include minimum capital requirements for new domestic funds and guidelines on promoting and offering foreign funds in the UAE.

Much of the latter is done by firms in the Dubai International Financial Center (DIFC), the emirate’s free zone business hub which houses global banks and investment firms.

UPDATE 1-Dubai Investments Q2 net profit drops 54 pct | Reuters

United Arab Emirates conglomerate Dubai Investments, which has been looking at opportunities to divest some of its businesses, posted a 54 percent decline in second-quarter net profit on Sunday as revenue dropped.

The company, in which sovereign fund Investment Corp of Dubai (ICD) owns 11.5 percent, reported a net profit of 63.4 million dirhams ($17.3 million) in the second quarter compared to 138.3 million dirhams in the same period in 2011, according to the quarterly balance sheet released on Dubai's bourse.

Revenue for the quarter dropped to 630.3 million dirhams from 728.8 million dirhams, a 13.5 percent fall. The company posted a gain on the fair value of investment properties of 28.3 million dirhams, compared to 113.1 million dirhams in the second quarter of 2011.

Dubai Shares Rally to 3-Month High on U.S. Jobs as Egypt Gains - Businessweek

Dubai stocks rose to the highest level since May after companies in the United Arab Emirates reported results that beat estimates and U.S. employment data boosted global stocks and oil prices.

Emaar Properties PJSC (EMAAR), developer of the world’s tallest skyscraper, increased to the highest in more than a year. Air Arabia PJSC (AIRARABI), which may this week post an increase in profit, rallied 0.9 percent. The DFM General Index (DFMGI) rose 1.6 percent to 1,575.32 at the close in the emirate, the highest since May 3. Abu Dhabi’s gauge advanced 0.1 percent. About 117 million shares were traded in Dubai, compared with the 12-month daily average of 140 million shares.

“Investors are encouraged by the earnings reported by real estate developers and banks,” said Nabil Farhat, a partner at Abu Dhabi-based Al Fajer Securities. “Also, the positive momentum in international equity markets is helping boost confidence.”

MENA stock markets close - August 5, 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)