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Monday, 6 August 2012

New man at Menacorp says time to grow is now - The National

Depressed markets and sinking share prices led to the stockbroker NabilAl Rantisi leaving the industry last year to concentrate full time on his newly set up delicatessen, 1762, in Dubai's financial hub.

Now he has returned to his old business with plans to transform a securities firm based in the capital into a mega-brokerage.

"What happened at the top of the bull cycle was that every Tom, Dick and Harry was opening a financial services company," said Mr Al Rantisi, who has been appointed the managing director of brokerage at Menacorp.

Egypt returns to $3.2bn loan plan and invites IMF to Cairo - The National

Officials from the IMF will visit Cairo this month to open talks with Egypt's new government about a possible US$3.2 billion (Dh11.75bn) loan.

The government of president Mohammed Morsi invited the fund, based in Washington, the IMF said.

"The IMF stands ready to support Egypt and work closely with the authorities," it said. After being sworn in last week, Egypt's new cabinet has been getting to grips with the grave state of public finances. Egypt needs the cash to help avert a looming balance of payments crisis and shore up confidence in its economy to tempt back foreign investors.

BankMuscat leads Oman's Islamic boom - The National

Call it Sharia euphoria. Anything in Oman with the words "Islamic bank" in the name has been selling like hot cakes recently.

The surge comes as the sultanate eases long-standing restrictions on the rapidly growing industry and investors plough in.

BankMuscat is the latest beneficiary. Its rights issue, completed yesterday, raised 96.7 million Omani rials. The rights issue was 127.49 per cent oversubscribed - all the more remarkable given the fact Dubai Group, the bank's second-biggest shareholder, did not participate. Dubai Group is an arm of Dubai Holding. The group owns a 14.7 per cent stake in BankMuscat.

Big names drag on Dubai - The National

Dubai's stock market dipped yesterday, weighed down by Dubai Investments after the conglomerate reported a 54 per cent drop in second-quarter profit.

Dubai Investment's shares declined 4.6 per cent to 76 fils.

Net income for the company was Dh63.4 million in the quarter, down from Dh138.3m during the same period last year. Dubai Investments has the sixth-heaviest weighting on the emirate's benchmark.

US Islamic assets manager set to delist - The National

Shariah Capital, an Islamic asset management firm based in the United States, is to delist from London's Alternative Investment Market (Aim) after a seven-year string of losses.

Topic Islamic finance Finance
The hedge fund manager, which operates in the Middle East and has reported annual losses every year since 2005, said in a market message it would seek a cancellation of the shares.

"In the directors' opinion, the Aim quotation has not provided the company's shareholders with a liquid, or even semi-liquid, market for its common shares."

Regulator makes amendments to margin trading rules | GulfNews.com

The board of directors of the Securities and Commodities Authority (SCA) has introduced a number of amendments in the rules regulating the margin trading system.
The original regulations were issued as per decision No. 25/Year 2008.
The amendments were approved by the board of directors of SCA at a meeting held today under the chairmanship of Minister of Economy Sultan Bin Saeed Al Mansouri, who heads the Authority.

Dubai land transactions grow 21% to reach Dh63b in the first half of 2012 | GulfNews.com

Land transactions in Dubai grew by 21 per cent to reach Dh63 billion in the first half of 2012, an indicator of the strong performance of the emirate’s real estate industry, the Dubai Land Department said on Monday.
Sales accounted for 49 per cent of the transactions while mortgage made up 47 per cent, a report issued by the department said.

FT Alphaville » In search of liquid water (investment vehicles)

A little more than a year ago, Citi chief economist Willem Buiter said water was on its way to becoming “the single most important physical-commodity based asset class, dwaring oil, copper, agricultural commodities and precious metals”.

While we’re not quite there yet, the drought that continues to scorch US crops is providing a small preview of the future as Buiter sees it. With forecasts projecting that the US drought will get worse before it gets better, it’s worth thinking about how one is supposed to invest in something that literally falls out of the sky.

Commodities have been one of the more common-sense plays, as their supplies are being hammered by the lack of rain. Hedge funds are already projecting corn prices to continue their rise.

Oman bank lending rises 20% in H1 - Muscat Daily|Oman Newspaper

The total credit of Oman's six listed commercial banks grew by nearly 20 per cent in the first half of 2012, driven by the expansion of project-based lending to the corporate sector and government entities, along with growth in retail loan books. As local banks bolstered their loan portfolios, total loans and advances extended by the six listed banks climbed to RO11.17bn as of June 30, 2012, compared to RO9.31bn as of June 30 2011, according to the financial statements of commercial banks.

Public-private tie-ups 'key to GCC growth'

There is a vital need for the GCC countries to adopt a partnership approach between public and private sectors as an effective means of promoting national development goals in the region, according to a new study.

The GCC countries’ particular economic profiles make Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) an attractive transformation mechanism – helping governments better achieve their national development plans and introduce foreign capital into priority areas, said management consulting firm Booz & Company in its study.

An additional benefit is that, through this process, the state retains ultimate control over projects, thereby avoiding certain privatization pitfalls.

FT Alphaville » StanChart, Iran, and a Swift allegation

Standard Chartered’s New York branch operated a “front for prohibited dealings with Iran – dealings that indisputably helped sustain a global threat to peace and stability,” the US state’s department of financial services alleged on Monday.
(Click pic to enlarge for filing)

It also said that “grounds exist” to revoke the UK bank’s license to operate in New York state. Note that this case hasn’t been brought by federal authorities."



Foreign investors face Libya hurdles - FT.com

With a few thousand dollars and a dream, San Francisco native Michelle May travelled to Libya several weeks ago with a novel idea for a small business she was sure would be a hit: a yoga studio.
A Facebook page she started, “Libya’s First Yoga Studio,” quickly drew more than 1,000 followers, mostly young, hip Tripoli women seeking to get in shape and try something new. An associate told her that even if a fraction of those women attended classes, the business would take off.
But Ms May soon found to her disappointment that doing business in the new Libya required a lot more than enthusiasm and good ideas. In addition to bureaucratic hurdles, Libya’s business culture turned out to be indecipherable. She feared many people who offered to help her were actually trying to gouge her.

Investor appetite for Dubai credits compresses yields for MAF sukuk | GulfNews.com

The Islamic bonds of Majid Al Futtaim (MAF) Holding LLC, a Dubai-based family-run operator of malls and hotels, rose to the highest since their debut, buoyed by a rebound in Dubai’s tourism and real estate markets.
The yield on the 5.85 per cent sukuk due February 2017 fell 174 basis points since they were sold on January 31 to 4.1 per cent today. Average yields on sukuk from the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) dropped 106 basis points in the period to 3.23 per cent on Friday, the HSBC/Nasdaq Dubai GCC US Dollar Sukuk Index shows. MAF is rated the second-lowest investment grade at Standard & Poor’s, while Dubai’s debt isn’t ranked.
“Simply put, Majid Al Futtaim stands to benefit from a recovery in Dubai’s trade, tourism and services sectors, as well as renewed faith in the emirate’s real estate outlook,” Malek Khodr Temsah, vice president of treasury and investment at Al Baraka Banking Group BSC in Manama, Bahrain, said yesterday. “The entire Dubai credit universe continues to rally.”

BBC News - Standard Chartered bank 'in $250bn scheme with Iran'

Standard Chartered bank illegally "schemed" with Iran to launder as much as $250bn (£161bn) for nearly a decade, a US regulator says.

The New York State Department of Financial Services said that the bank hid 60,000 secret transactions for "Iranian financial institutions" that were subject to US economic sanctions.

It labelled Standard Chartered a "rogue institution".

STOCKS NEWS MIDEAST-Saudi index flat on profit-taking - Yahoo! News Maktoob

Saudi Arabia's benchmark ends near flat as profit-taking continues and the index struggles to break a critical resistance level after recent gains.
The index closes down by 0.02 percent at 6,944 points, short of a key resistance level of 6,950 points. The benchmark ends lower for its second consecutive session after Saturday's two-month high.
Market heavyweights were mixed with Saudi Basic Industries ending 0.3 percent higher but Al Rajhi Bank
and Saudi Electricity Co ending flat.

Morocco may sell $1 bln sovereign bond in October | Reuters

Morocco plans to sell at least $1 billion of sovereign bonds probably in October, a senior official source said on Sunday, after obtaining a $6.2 billion lifeline from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) aimed at reinvigorating growth.

"The bond issue will take place this year, probably in October. We can go for at least $1 billion but we may introduce some terms that can allow institutional investors from the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) to subscribe for around half the total," the source said on condition of anonymity pending an official announcement.

On Friday, the IMF approved a $6.2 billion precautionary line of credit for Morocco over two years, which it said the government would treat as "insurance" in case economic conditions deteriorated and it faced sudden financing needs.

Chart of the week: EM financial markets | beyondbrics

The closer to the centre of the chart, the higher the ranking. Our chart shows a selection of those EMs that are best performers on most measures.

The rise of emerging markets has been accompanied by rapid growth in their capital markets. But some markets have emerged more quickly than others. Chart of the week  looks at which markets have grown most quickly, and in which areas.

A recent study by CityUK of 150 emerging economies found that stock market capitalisation in emerging markets more than doubled in the last six years, as did the amount outstanding of domestic and international bonds. Bank assets increased threefold, and contracts traded on derivatives exchanges rose more than fivefold.

Growth was much faster than in the rest of the world, although EMs continue to represent a small part of the global total. They accounted for just 22 per cent of global market capitalisation in 2011, up from 9 per cent in 2005, and for 30 per cent of derivatives exchange trading, up from 12 per cent.

Bahrain Air Considers Combining With Gulf Air, Al-Watan Reports - Bloomberg

Bahrain Air, the Persian Gulf country’s first privately owned airline, is “seriously” considering a merger with local competitor Gulf Air, al-Watan reported, citing Managing Director Ibrahim Al-Hamer.
Gulf Air Chief Executive Officer Samer Majali said at a press conference last week that a merger between the two airlines is possible as the country can’t afford the existence of both carriers, the daily newspaper said.
Bahrain Air will need to buy aircraft to meet contract terms of operating a 12-plane fleet should it win a license to operate in Saudi Arabia, al-Watan cited Alhamer as saying.

NBAD arranging a benchmark, seven-year, US dollar bond | GulfNews.com

National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD.AD), the biggest lender in the UAE by market value, has mandated banks to arrange a benchmark, seven-year, US dollar bond, a banker aware of the deal said Monday.
Citigroup, JPMorgan, NBAD and Standard Chartered are the joint lead managers and bookrunners for the planned Regulation S transaction, the banker, who declined to be identified, told Zawya Dow Jones. The issue is expected to be launched in the near future subject to market conditions, the banker said.
The initial price guidance for the bond is about 200 basis points over midswaps, the banker added. Several banks in the UAE have issued bonds this year, capitalising on strong demand in debt markets, to secure funding and strengthen their balance sheets. Dubai Islamic Bank launched a $500 million Islamic bond in May, and Abu Dhabi’s First Gulf Bank sold a $500 million Islamic bond in January. Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank in April sold a bond denominated in Malaysian ringgit worth about $100 million.

UPDATE 1-UAE's NBAD picks 4 banks for 7-yr benchmark bond | Reuters

National Bank of Abu Dhabi , the largest lender by market value in the United Arab Emirates, picked four banks to arrange a benchmark-sized bond issue which could price within a day, lead arrangers said on Monday.

Initial price guidance for a seven-year, dollar-denominated deal has been given in the area of midswaps plus 200 basis points, with books closing as early as Monday, a document from the leads said.

While bond issuance in August is traditionally rare, with many in the finance sector away on vacations, the turbulent market conditions of recent months mean issuers are keen to take advantage of windows whenever they appear.

Oman's Bank Muscat $251 mln rights issue 128 pct covered | Reuters

Bank Muscat, Oman's largest lender by market value, saw its 96.7 million rials ($251.2 million) rights issue 127.5 percent covered by investors, the bank said in a bourse filing on Monday.

The lender received bids worth 123.3 million rials from 1,675 investors for the share sale, which took place between July 9-23 and was used to raise capital to fund credit growth and its upcoming venture into Islamic finance.

The issue consisted of 226.5 million shares offered at 0.427 rials per share, around a 25-percent discount to the share price when the deal was announced at the end of June.

MENA stock markets close - August 6, 2012

 ExchangeStatus IndexChange  
 
 TASI (Saudi Stock Market)
 
6943.64-0.02%  
 
 DFM (Dubai Financial Market)
 
1559.06-1.03%  
 
 ADX (Abudhabi Securities Exchange)
 
2504.76-0.25%  
 
 KSE (Kuwait Stock Exchange)
 
5732.08-0.02%  
 
 BSE (Bahrain Stock Exchange)
 
1090.49-0.48%  
 
 MSM (Muscat Securities Market)
 
5434.27-0.08%  
 
 QE (Qatar Exchange)
 
8344.870.05%  
 
 LSE (Beirut Stock Exchange)
 
1143.95-0.15%  
 
 EGX 30 (Egypt Exchange)
 
5022.02-0.25%  
 
 ASE (Amman Stock Exchange)
 
1867.610.16%  
 
 TUNINDEX (Tunisia Stock Exchange)
 
5236.74-0.35%  
 
 CB (Casablanca Stock Exchange)
 
9909.59-0.13%  
 
 PSE (Palestine Securities Exchange)
 
439.89-0.04%