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Sunday, 16 September 2012

Qatar Islamic Bank Plans $500-$750 Million Islamic Bond Sale - Bloomberg

Qatar Islamic Bank (QIBK) plans to raise $500 million and $750 million with the sale of Islamic bonds after the board approved a $1.5 billion sukuk program today, the lender said at a shareholders’ meeting in Doha today.
The Shariah-compliant bank hired HSBC Holdings Plc, Standard Chartered Plc, QInvest LLC and Deutsche Bank AG to manage the issuance, the bank said. The proceeds from the sale will be used for local projects, it said.

Fund file: an African growth story | beyondbrics

The public debate about the ethics of investing in farmland is being ignored by serious investors who seem to have had no qualms about buying up large tracts of land in Africa, according to a report in Monday’s FTfm.

It could be that they were following the advice of Jeremy Grantham, co-founder of asset manager GMO , who recently recommended a 10 per cent strategic allocation to “things in the ground”. Or it could be that they simply thought it was cheap. Either way, 62 per cent of all large-scale land acquisitions since 2000 have occurred in Africa, according to the Land Matrix Partnership.

If investors had been thinking the land was cheap, some purchases might have been misguided.

Deutsche to trim Mideast investment banking staff: sources Asharq Alawsat Newspaper (English)

Deutsche Bank is cutting several senior jobs in its investment banking business in Dubai, including directors, as it cuts costs to adapt to a tougher investment banking environment globally, three banking sources said.

The German lender last week outlined plans to cut bonuses, axe more jobs and sell assets, and senior executives said expected job cuts would be "over and above" the 1,900 positions already announced.

"There are at least seven people confirmed to be leaving front office roles (in Dubai)," said a source familiar with the matter, adding the jobs were mostly in the investment banking business.

Egypt Stocks Rise as Fed Action Outweighs Protests; Dubai Gains - Bloomberg

Egypt’s benchmark index rose to the highest since January 2011, leading gains in the Middle East, as the U.S. Federal Reserve’s plan to buy mortgage securities outweighed concern over violent protests in the region.
EFG-Hermes Holding SAE rallied to the highest level since May after shareholders approved the creation of an investment bank with Qatar’s QInvest. In Dubai, Emaar Properties PJSC (EMAAR), developer of the world’s tallest tower, climbed 3.2 percent. Egypt’s EGX 30 Index surged 2.8 percent to 5,821.75, the highest since January 2011, at the close in Cairo. The DFM General Index (DFMGI) rose 1.4 percent, Abu Dhabi’s index increased 0.8 percent and the Bloomberg GCC 200 Index (BGCC200) added 0.1 percent.

MENA stock markets close - September 16, 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)

STOCKS NEWS MIDEAST-Petchems drag Saudi lower as Q3 worries weigh - Yahoo! News Maktoob

Saudi Arabia's index ends lower for a first session in four, easing from Saturday's four-month high as the feel-good factor from global market gains gives way to local apprehension about petrochemical producers' quarterly results.
Saudi Basic Industries Corp (SABIC) falls 0.8 percent, its subsidiary Saudi Arabian Fertilizers Co (Safco) drops 0.9 percent and Sahara Petrochemical slides 0.7 percent.
"All eyes are on Q3 results and investors don't expect great numbers from petrochemicals," says Hesham Tuffaha, Bakheet Investment Group's head of asset management. "Average petrochemical product prices in Q3 are below that for Q2."

EFG Hermes shareholders approve QInvest deal | Reuters

Shareholders of EFG Hermes, Egypt's biggest investment bank, reaffirmed on Sunday their approval of a planned tie-up with Qatar's QInvest after demands by the regulator for more information on the deal were met, EFG said in a statement distributed by the stock exchange.

The Egyptian Financial Supervisory Authority (EFSA) had rejected decisions approved by EFG shareholders in June because the firm had not clarified points including minority rights.

EFG and QInvest sealed the agreement in May to hive off EFG's investment banking business in a joint venture in which state-backed QInvest would hold a 60 percent stake.

EFG's shares were trading 2.6 percent higher at 1045 GMT.

Rent and other cost of living rises make expats think again about buying homes in Dubai « ArabianMoney

The latest UBS Global Cost of Living Survey shows a big jump in Dubai, particularly when the surging cost of rents is included. This is encouraging many expats to look again at buying an apartment or villa for the first time since the real estate crash four years ago.

Dubai is now the 12th most expensive city to live in when housing costs are factored into the domestic budget. That is on a parr with Frankfurt, and higher than both Rome and Chicago. Dubai is by far the most pricey city to live in the Middle East as you might expect for the commercial hub city of the region.

Emaar to build five-star Dubai hotel in first post-crisis venture | Reuters

Emaar Properties, developer of the world's tallest tower in Dubai, plans to build a new hotel in the city's high-end Downtown area, its first major hotel project since the emirate's property crisis erupted in 2009.

Emaar, which had skirted clear of its home market in the aftermath of the debt crisis, said the construction of the five-star hotel will be financed mainly through pre-sales of serviced apartments.

"The hotel we're launching today represents an opportunity to capture the interest we're seeing from Dubai, (the Gulf), Middle East, Indian subcontinent, China and Europe," Arif Amiri, chief executive of Emaar Retail, told reporters at the launch.

Kuwait desperately needs economic reform says National Bank of Kuwait | Al Bawaba

Kuwait’s large fiscal and external surpluses as a result of high oil prices should not obscure the need for the rapid execution of development projects and a much more aggressive approach to economic reforms, a report said. The common perception is that Kuwait’s economic performance has been poor in recent years, said the latest GCC Brief published by the National Bank of Kuwait (NBK).

But nominal GDP growth has in fact bounced back reasonably well in the post-crisis period. Output rose by 21 per cent per year on average between 2009 and 2011, only slightly below the pre-crisis average of 23 per cent recorded during the boom years between 2002 and 2008, the report said.

Saudi Arabia Not at Risk of Becoming Oil Importer, Analyst Says - Bloomberg

Saudi Arabia, the world’s No. 1 crude exporter, can boost its output capacity and isn’t at risk of becoming a net importer of oil, an energy analyst who advises the government said, rebutting a report by Citigroup Inc.
Mohammad Al-Sabban said a Citigroup study published on Sept. 4 assumes that Saudi Arabia will maintain its production capacity for years at the current level of 12.5 million barrels a day. Such a forecast is “unrealistic,” said al-Sabban, who also works as his nation’s chief negotiator on climate-control issues.
“The kingdom’s production capacity changed in the past, and it’s changing according to the needs of global demand,” he said yesterday by telephone from Riyadh. “It was never fixed for a very long period at a certain level.”

Carlyle Group buys back aviation firm - Transport -

Carlyle Group, the US private-equity firm in which Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala Development Company owns a 7.5 percent stake, said it will buy aircraft maintenance services company Landmark Aviation from GTCR and Platform Partners.
Carlyle has previously owned Landmark, making it one of the rare instances where a private equity firm is buying back a company after disposing of it.
While the financial details of the deal were not disclosed, sources familiar with the matter told Reuters in August that the company could be worth as much as US$700m.

Is this the end of an era for Gulf telcos? - Technology -

Long gone are the days when Middle Eastern telecommunications operators, flush with liquidity, went abroad and snapped up companies — spending over $40bn in the process — only for retrenchment to follow in the wake of the global credit crisis and the subsequent fall-out from the Dubai debt crunch.
Companies like the UAE’s Etisalat and Kuwait's Zain who spent billions to expand their reach outside their home markets were not always able to extract the value they had originally hoped for. As credit became tighter after the onset of the global debt crisis in 2008, firms had to revisit their strategies.

Iranian Rial Depressed By More Than U.S. Sanctions - Al-Monitor: the Pulse of the Middle East

Is the continuing plunge in the Iranian rial due to more than the US-led sanctions? Mohammad Ali Shabani argues that these may also have become a convenient scapegoat as President Ahmadinejad consolidates control over sectors of the Iranian economy, including its currency market.
Author: Mohammad Ali Shabani
Published on: Friday, Sep 14, 2012

Sohar-Al Ain rail line to be implemented first | Oman Observer

A 136-kilometre length of railway line connecting Sohar with the UAE border via Al Ain will be the first section of the Oman National Rail Project that has been identified for priority implementation, according to an official of the Ministry of Transport and Communications. Speaking on the concluding day of the Oman Transport Infrastructure Summit on Wednesday, the official, who is also a member of the Ministry’s Rail Working Group, disclosed that a decision to build the Sohar-Al Ain line on a priority basis was agreed between Oman and the United Arab Emirates. A 27km spur line to Buraimi will also be part of this priority package, he added.

Gulf Times – Qatari takes German firm to new Mena markets

About a decade ago, a Qatari entrepreneur with rich experience in administering the country’s leading oil and gas companies, decided to make investments in a Germany-based oilfield equipment manufacturer, which was also a major European drilling and service firm.
Although ITAG’s technology was time tested, difficult political and economic situation in Germany and Europe shook the company and threw it into bankruptcy. Calls for financial assistance were not honoured by many banks, who did not find the proposals feasible.
Believing in ITAG’s technology, technical know-how, and experience spanning more than a century, Dr Jaber al-Marri decided to invest in ITAG, founded in 1912 by Hermann von Rautenkranz, a German oil industry veteran.

Gulf markets to gain from US kick-start - The National

Arabian Gulf stock markets are likely to get a boost this week amid heightened euphoria from global markets after the US Federal Reserve said it planned additional measures to kick-start the world's largest economy, investors say.

The Fed planned to start a third round of monetary stimulus, also known as quantitative easing (QE), to boost growth and reduce unemployment through the purchase of US$40 billion worth of mortgage securities a month, the Fed chairman Ben Bernanke said on Friday.

"We saw the impact after QE1 and QE2 on developed, emerging, regional equity markets and commodities," said Sebastien Henin, a portfolio manager at The National Investor based in Abu Dhabi. "The announcement should give a new and positive catalyst for equity investors."

Iraq sets targets for oil exports - The National

Iraq plans to raise its oil exports from its current 2.6 million barrels per day (bpd) to 6 million in 2017, helped by foreign investment in the sector.

The oil-rich country has been increasing export capacity as production levels touched 2.565 million bpd last month, the highest level in more than 30 years.

Oil shipments from Iraq are expected to reach 2.9 million bpd next year, 3.5 million in 2014, 3.75 million in 2015, 5 million in 2016 and 6 million in 2016, the oil minister Abdul Kareem Al Luaibi said yesterday. Current exports are at an average of 2.6 million bpd.

Gulf start-ups surge as venture capital floods in - The National

Venture capital is flooding into the Middle East as a host of new funds set up shop, promising new hope for struggling start-ups seeking investment.

At least five new funds are in the process of scouring the Middle East for the next Facebook, Google or Aramex as investors clock on to the growing number of small businesses in dire need of funding.

The five funds - Beco Capital, Y+ Ventures, Smart Start, Envestors and Virtuvest - are looking to invest tens of millions of dollars in start-ups and small businesses in the next few years. Individual investments vary depending on the fund but could be anywhere between US$50,000 (Dh183,640) and $2 million.

Dubai exchange shifts its focus - The National

Ahmad Sharaf is an oil man. A petroleum engineer, the chairman of the Dubai Mercantile Exchange (DME) began his career in Texas before moving back to the UAE with the now de-merged ConocoPhilips a decade ago.

He has been at the helm of the DME since its launch in 2007 and, from its outset, the exchange has focused on the commodity he knows best: crude oil.

The DME is seeking to establish its futures contract as the benchmark for crude sold out of the Arabian Gulf to markets east of the Suez Canal.

GCC set to emulate impressive Asia growth record |

The financial crisis and its legacy continue to pervade the senses of all those caught up in it (pretty much everyone), and it would be easy to plough another furrow here along those lines.
Bond and sukuk markets in the Gulf, for instance, reflect the yields of US Treasuries being suppressed by the Federal Reserve, the reduced premia associated with the ‘risk-on’ trade that is characteristic of the schizophrenic, globalised market mood, and the enhanced liquidity that results from elevated oil prices which themselves result partly from the Fed’s determined easing programme.
In other words, the threat of a market bubble exists again.