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Friday, 31 August 2012

Kuwait closes in on Athabasca deal - The Globe and Mail

Kuwait’s state-owned petroleum company has signed a preliminary deal to invest as much as $4-billion in a joint venture with Athabasca Oil Corp. to develop some of its oil sands properties in northern Alberta.

Kuwait’s Ambassador to Canada, Ali al-Sammak, confirmed in an interview that senior Kuwait Petroleum Corp. officials signed a memorandum of understanding earlier this month. A final agreement is expected in October.

Mission accomplished for Big Oil? - Opinion - Al Jazeera English

In 2011, after nearly nine years of war and occupation, US troops finally left Iraq. In their place, Big Oil is now present in force and the country’s oil output, crippled for decades, is growing again. Iraq recently reclaimed the number two position in the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), overtaking oil-sanctioned Iran. Now, there's talk of a new world petroleum glut. So is this finally mission accomplished?

Well, not exactly. In fact, any oil company victory in Iraq is likely to prove as temporary as George W Bush's triumph in 2003. The main reason is yet another of those stories the mainstream media didn’t quite find room for: the role of Iraqi civil society. But before telling that story, let’s look at what's happening to Iraqi oil today, and how we got from the "no blood for oil" global protests of 2003 to the present moment.

SocGen Says Qatar QNB Is in Talks to Buy Its Egyptian Unit - Businessweek

Qatar National Bank (QNBS) is in talks to buy a majority stake in Societe Generale SA (GLE)’s Egyptian unit as it seeks to expand overseas to boost profit.

Negotiations to buy the Paris-based company’s 77.2 percent stake in National Societe Generale Bank SAE (NSGB) are at an early stage, Cairo-based NSGB, Egypt’s second-largest publicly traded bank, said today in a statement. The holding currently has a value of about 10.8 billion Egyptian pounds ($1.77 billion), based on NSGB’s 14 billion-pound market capitalization.

Qatar National Bank said in April it had a five-year plan to make itself an “icon” in the Middle East and Africa by expansion and “diversifying income sources.” The lender said today it raised its stake in Dubai-based Commercial Bank International PCS (CBI) to 39.9 percent from 16.5 percent. NSGB rose 0.2 percent to 31.61 Egyptian pounds in Cairo before the announcement, which came after the close of trading.

Confronting the Arab Autumn and the politics of economic management |

At a time when people were hoping for the economic situation to improve following the “Arab Spring”, and that the sacrifices given would be economically justified, the opposite happened.
The economic hardships started taking on a snowballing effect, leaving more people unemployed, lowering growth rates and spiking inflation rates.
According to the Arab League, some Arab Spring countries have recorded losses of $120 billion (Dh440.4 billion). The losses are expected to rise further reaching a new record number by the end of 2012.

Middle East airlines soar ahead again to buck the global trend - The National

Middle East airlines again led the world in market growth last month, with figures for passengers and freight well ahead of all other regions despite the continuing uncertain global outlook.

The International Air Transport Association (Iata) said global traffic results showed slower growth in both air travel and freight, with overall passenger demand just 3.4 per cent higher than the same month last year. That compares with a 6.3 per cent increase in June and average growth of 6.5 per cent over the first half of the year.

Middle East carriers, however, recorded the strongest traffic growth of any region last month, of 11.2 per cent year-on-year, and a 12.4 per cent rise in capacity. Compared with June, traffic rose just 0.1 per cent, although Iata said this was down to the impact of Ramadan.

Egypt's currency trapped in a dilemma - The National

With all the debate in Egypt, the real question is not whether there should be a devaluation but whether it should be "orderly" or "disorderly".

In other words, whether the currency's decline will be "managed" or allowed to fall freely.

So far, the government's intervention has prevented a free fall but foreign reserves used to prop up the pound are not infinite.

Bears tighten grip on UAE bourses |

Dubai’s DFM index could not hold on to its rally and fell 0.50 per cent to close at 1547.82 points on selling pressure.
Among the gainers, Takaful-Em rose 5.41 per cent to close at Dh0.623, followed by Shuaa by 3.55 per cent to Dh0.642 and GGICO by 1.76 per cent to Dh0.346.
Among the losers, Mazaya fell 8.87 per cent to Dh1.13, followed by Dartakaful by 3.78 per cent to Dh0.586 and Aman by 2.77 per cent to Dh0911.

Saudi Telecom likely to refocus |

The imminent departure of Saudi Telecom Co’s head of international operations may herald a change in focus back to the Riyadh-based telco’s domestic market, as a dearth of big ticket acquisition targets, forex fluctuations and stifling offshore regulation makes expansion overseas all the more difficult, say analysts.
On Monday, Saudi Telecom, or STC, said Gassan Hasbani, the chief executive of international operations, will leave the company at the end of October. Until a new structure is identified, the international division will come under the supervision of group chief financial officer Krishnan Ravi Kumar.
Analysts said Hasbani’s departure, on top of group chief executive Saud Al Daweesh leaving earlier this year, could signal a change in strategy for the majority government-owned owned telco.