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Saturday, 15 September 2012

UPDATE 1-Iran says signed private contracts to export oil - Yahoo! News Maktoob

Iran has signed agreements to sell four million barrels of oil through private companies, an official was quoted as saying on Saturday, in an attempt to avoid Western embargoes.
European Union and U.S. sanctions aimed at stopping Iran's nuclear programme ban all imports of Iranian oil and apply to state-run and private firms, yet Iranian officials say private sellers can sidestep those measures.
The Western measures have dented Iran's oil exports. European Union sanctions also prevent Europe's marine insurance sector, which dominates the industry, from insuring tankers carrying Iranian oil.

LVS, Wynn, MGM All Attractive for Different Reasons - LVS, MGM, WYNN - Foolish Blogging Network

Although I love casino stocks for their connections to emerging markets, I must admit that they are highly speculative and risky. Political risks aside, multiples are very elevated right now over growth prospects. Many commentators, however, are now starting to doubt some of the initial growth expectations - particularly in Macau and the Asian markets. I still recommend broadly diversifying, and here's why:

Even MGM Resorts (NYSE: MGM), which I believe has the worst risk/reward, has had simply too much of a sell-off from weakening revenue trends in Macau. In the longer-term, China is heading towards greater prosperity; but, even if it doesn't, Las Vegas should shift investors's attention to something more promising. Over the years, MGM has entered the red, bled millions, and had little clarity in site for a recovery. Now that Las Vegas is returning to normalcy, albeit slowly, MGM will be the main beneficiary in room rates and convention volumes.

Regional assistance for Bahrain’s economy |

Kuwait has emerged as the first Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) state to make good on the promised financial assistance to Bahrain. In retrospect, four GCC countries agreed in 2011 to provide financial support of $10 billion (Dh36.72 billion) each to Bahrain and Oman over a span of 10 years.
The extraordinary scheme, dubbed GCC’s ‘Marshall Plan’, was approved following outbreak of unrest in Bahrain and Oman in the first quarter of 2011. Demonstrators in both countries, notably in Bahrain, pressed the authorities to find solutions to outstanding socio-political challenges such as greater participation in decision-making and broad socio-economic problems.
The Kuwaiti financial aid amounts to $2.5 billion and to be provided in tranches of $250 million over a span of 10 years.

Saudi Stock Market close - September 15, 2012

 General Index
Intraday  3 month  
 Daily Statistics
 General Index7165.86
 Change (%)0.86%
 T. Volume218979653
 T. Companies 158

Saudi Stocks Advance on U.S. Stimulus Package, Higher Oil Prices - Bloomberg

Shares in Saudi Arabia (SASEIDX) rose the most in seven weeks after U.S. stocks advanced for a second straight week on the Federal Reserve’s plan to buy mortgage securities and on higher oil prices.
Saudi Basic Industries Corp. (SABIC), the world’s largest petrochemical maker known as Sabic, rose to the highest level since May 23. National Industrialization Co. (NIC), an industrial and manufacturing firm, climbed the most since in July 31. Etihad Etisalat Co., a Saudi telecommunications operator, gained the most in a week.
The Tadawul All Share Index gained 0.9 percent to 7,165.86, the highest level since May 13, in Riyadh at 3:30 p.m. The Arab world’s biggest stock market has increased 12 percent this year.

Kuwait''s GDP bounces back, years after global financial crisis - report - MENAFN

The recent nominal GDP figures suggest that Kuwait's economy has bounced back reasonably well in the post-crisis period, a specialized economic report showed Friday.

The report, by Kuwait National Bank (NBK), added that the growth in six out of eight non-oil sectors has been higher over the last three years than before the global financial crisis.

The common perception is that Kuwait's economic performance has been poor in recent years. But nominal GDP growth has in fact bounced back reasonably well in the post-crisis period.

Buying American in Tehran: Apples, razors and Coke - Businessweek

Even after decades of diplomatic estrangement and tightening economic sanctions, American products manage to find their way into the Iranian marketplace. The routes are varied: back channel exporters, licensing workarounds and straightforward trade for goods not covered by the U.S. embargoes over Iran's nuclear program.

It offers lessons in the immense difficulties facing Western attempts to isolate Iran's economy, which has deepening trade links with Asia where distributors serve as middlemen to funnel U.S. and other goods to Iranian merchants. But sanctions are also battering Iran's currency and driving up costs for all imports, which could increase domestic pressures on Iran's ruling system.

Although the number of Made-in-America items in Iran is dwarfed by the exports from Europe, China and neighboring Turkey, some of the best-known U.S. brands can be tracked down in Tehran and other large cities. It's possible to check your emails on an iPhone, sip a Coke and hit the gym in a pair of Nikes.

RO 7.37 billion GDP | Oman Observer

Despite adverse global developments, Omani economy continued to sustain the momentum in growth, registering a rise in gross domestic product (GDP) at current prices by 18.9 per cent to stand at RO 7,371 million during the first quarter of 2012, compared to RO 6,198 million during the same period last year. While nominal GDP emanating from the petroleum sector posted a growth of 25.7 per cent, non-petroleum sector rose by 12.4 per cent during the first quarter.
The average rate of inflation stood lower at 3.1 per cent during the first half of this year compared to 4 per cent last year. The overall fiscal balance, as well as the country’s external current account continued to improve significantly mainly due to high crude oil prices prevailing in the international market. Consistent with sustained recovery of the Omani economy, the monetary and banking indicators continued to strengthen.

Next up in the Middle East mess? Saudi Arabia’s succession fight. - The Washington Post

From afar, the kingdom of Saudi Arabia appears immune from the turmoil and uncertainty engulfing nations such as Syria, Egypt and Libya. But rather than being an oasis of stability in the Middle East, Saudi Arabia is nearing its own crisis point.

The elderly sons of Saudi Arabia’s founder, King Abdul Aziz ibn Saud, who have ruled sequentially since his death in 1953, are approaching the end of the line. And as that happens, the future of this kingdom on which the world depends for oil has never been more precarious.