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Wednesday, 15 August 2012

HSBC ‘rogue regime’ dealings in spotlight -

When HSBC was called before a US Senate committee in July, the bank’s inadvertent dealings with Mexican drug cartels took centre stage.
But the 335-page investigative report into money laundering violations contained a trove of information about HSBC’s dealings in the Middle East, including Iran and Syria.
Emails between senior HSBC executives show how the Middle East arm of the bank pushed its counterparts in the US to process Iranian transactions without triggering the filter of the US Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control.

Iran costs banks more than money - The National

HSBC and Standard Chartered built substantial profits from the Middle East during the past decade as the Arabian Gulf oil trade boomed and countries embarked on multibillion-dollar diversification plans.

It is also the region where their reputations arguably have been most tarnished over the past two months.

Both banks have admitted to different degrees they were engaged in sanctions busting on behalf of Iranian clients - even if they differ on the finer points. Both banks' Dubai-based units were said to be important conduits for funds.

DFM, ADX indexes post marginal gains |

The Dubai Financial Market (DFM) index’s consolidation in the positive territory continued yesterday although the volume of trade fell ahead of Eid holidays due to lack of catalysts.
The Dubai market, of late, has been taking its direction from the sentiments prevailing on the global financial markets that have been bullish in the anticipation central banks around the world would ease their monetary policy in order to jump-start growth in a flagging world economy, a move which would give boost to riskier assets such as stocks.
The DFM index closed at 1,578.98, up 0.09 per cent. Around 95.62 million shares, cumulatively worth about Dh122.34 million were traded on the stock market. Market analysts say the Dubai market is preparing for a post-Ramadan rally.

Strategic Hotels to buy Essex House |

Luxury hotel owner Strategic Hotels & Resorts Inc has agreed to buy Manhattan hotel Jumeirah Essex House for about $375 million (Dh1.38 billion) , two sources familiar with the matter said on Tuesday.
The deal for the 509-room Art Deco hotel at 160 Central Park South was sold by Dubai-based Jumeirah and is expected to close within a month, according to one of the sources, who asked not to be identified because he was not authorised to speak about the matter on the record.
Dubai Investment Group, Jumeirah’s parent, bought the Essex House in 2005 for $423.9 million, according to real estate research and information company Real Capital Analytics.

UAE advances with US-backed nuclear plan -

The United Arab Emirates has awarded $3bn worth of contracts to provide, convert and enrich uranium, as the Gulf state pushes ahead with its US-backed plans to develop the Arab world’s first civilian nuclear program.
Abu Dhabi, the oil-rich capital, picked six companies to undertake the fuel supply work including US group ConverDyn, Canada’s Uranium One, the UK’s Urenco and Rio Tinto, Russia’s Tenex and the French energy company Areva, the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation said on Wednesday.

MIDEAST STOCKS-Dubai's Drake & Scull at week-low; Gulf mkts muted - Yahoo! News Maktoob

Dubai contractor Drake & Scull International slumped to a one-week low on Wednesday after it posted disappointing second-quarter numbers that missed forecasts, but trading on most regional markets were muted ahead of the Eid holidays.
Drake shares dropped 1.9 percent to its lowest since Aug 7.
The stock, which has gained 24 percent year-to-date, accounted for nearly half the shares traded on the emirate's bourse.

DIFC aims to benefit from power of two -

The Dubai International Financial Centre has recently announced a restructuring aimed to “enhance its role as the region’s premier investment hub”.
Under the scheme, the DIFC Authority is to split its core functions – financial markets and property management – into separate units and has appointed key executives to head up the two divisions.
The DIFC Authority will be responsible for business development and legislation. DIFC Properties will manage the centre’s real estate portfolio.

Dubai shake-up steals a governance march -

Dubai made the latest move in a sweeping management shake-up of its state-linked companies this week, announcing a number of changes at Dubai Holding’s hotel business, Jumeirah Group.
Dubai Holding, owned by the ruler of Dubai, installed a new non-executive chairman and board for Jumeirah Group, one of the emirate’s most successful domestic and international businesses.
Stephen Murphy, the former group chief executive of Virgin Group, was appointed non-executive chairman, while his predecessor Gerald Lawless was made president and group chief executive of Jumeirah, Dubai Holding said in a statement. Other appointments to the new board included executives from Hilton, the state-owned discount airline flydubai, and Dubai Holding itself.

Omani investor takes 25 pct in Bulgaria Investbank | Reuters

The chief executive of Oman's Shanfari Group of Companies has stepped in to bail out Bulgaria's Investbank, buying a 25 percent stake in the lender in return for 50 million levs ($31.50 million) in a deal approved on Wednesday.

Bulgaria's central bank had asked Investbank, majority controlled by local company Festa Holding, to boost its capital by 50 million levs to ensure its proper operation as the quality of its assets worsened.

Banking in Bulgaria, the EU's poorest country by income per head, has lagged behind swift development of lenders elsewhere in eastern Europe which has generated huge profits for Italy's Unicredit and Austria's Raiffeisen among others.

Saudi Arabia largest export market for Dubai |

Saudi Arabia largest export and re-export market for Dubai Chamber members in first half of 2012 with a total value of Dh36.3 billion, a recent study developed by Dubai chamber of commerce and Industry said.
While the study highlighted that the Value of exports and re-exports of 9,194 members during the first half of 2012 grew by 13 per cent at Dh136.2 billion in the same period of 2012.
Dubai Chamber members’ exports and re-exports to Saudi Arabia during the first six months of 2012 reached a total value of Dh36.3 billion, representing 27 per cent of overall exports, making the kingdom the largest export market while Iraq was second at Dh19.4 billion.

MENA stock markets close - August 15, 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)