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Thursday, 4 October 2012

Qatar Said to Be Close to Buying Stake in Batista’s AUX - Businessweek

Eike Batista, Brazil’s richest man, plans to announce as soon as this month the sale of a 49 percent stake in his AUX gold business to Qatar for about $2 billion, a person with direct knowledge of the negotiations said.

The announcement will probably come at the end of this month or the beginning of November, according to the person, who asked not to be identified because the matter is private. Qatar Mining Co. may make the acquisition, though the government is also considering using its sovereign fund, the Qatar Investment Authority, the person said.

EBX Group Co., Batista’s Rio de Janeiro-based holding company, decided to sell a stake in AUX, which mines for gold in Colombia, after shelving plans to take the company public. Batista told reporters on June 21 that he had sold 49 percent of the business, without disclosing the buyer or the price. He said the acquirer wasn’t a gold company.

MIDEAST DEBT-Robust demand helps Gulf banks secure low yields - Yahoo! News Maktoob

Deals from two major banks this week have reopened the Gulf debt market after an extended summer lull, and highlighted the lower yields that investors in the region are settling for as liquidity continues to far outstrip supply.
Qatar Islamic Bank returned to the market on Wednesday after two years away with a $750 million, five-year
sukuk at a profit rate of 2.5 percent. Order books for the sukuk were $6 billion.
This followed an oversubscribed conventional deal from Abu Dhabi's First Gulf Bank earlier in the week, which
secured the bank's lowest-ever yield and coupon.

MENA stock markets close - October 4, 2012

 ExchangeStatus IndexChange  

 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)

MIDEAST STOCKS-Market reforms help Dubai hit 5-mth high - Yahoo! News Maktoob

Dubai's index hit a fresh five-month high on Thursday after the market regulator announced reforms aimed at boosting liquidity.
Other Gulf markets were mixed, with some investors taking positions ahead of third-quarter earnings while others preferred to cut risk on the final day's trading before the weekend.
Late Wednesday, the United Arab Emirates' regulator said it had approved rules to allow lending and borrowing of securities, short selling and the introduction of market makers.

HSBC to scale back Islamic business - Yahoo! News Maktoob

HSBC Holdings is to significantly scale back the presence of its global Islamic banking operations, it said on Thursday, as part of a wider restructuring at the U.K.-based bank.
The bank will focus its Islamic finance business on customers in Malaysia and Saudi Arabia and keep a limited
presence in Indonesia, the bank said in a statement.
Except for wholesale banking operations, it will no longer offer Islamic products in the United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Singapore and Mauritius, it added.

STOCKS NEWS MIDEAST-Market reforms help Dubai hit new 5-mth high - Yahoo! News Maktoob

Dubai's index reaches a fresh five-month closing high after the market regulator approved reforms aimed
at boosting liquidity.
Late Wednesday, the regulator said it had approved long-awaited rules to allow lending and borrowing of securities, short selling and the introduction of market makers.
"These reforms have been long-awaited and should increase liquidity in the medium term," says Kanaga Sunder, Gulf Baader Capital Markets head of research in Muscat.

Qatar's QIIB picks banks for potential Islamic bond | Reuters

Qatar International Islamic Bank has mandated banks for a potential Islamic bond, or sukuk, issue, arranging banks said on Thursday, with roadshows slated to begin on October 7.

HSBC, Standard Chartered and QNB Capital will arrange the investor meetings in the Middle East, Asia and Europe after which a dollar-denominated Reg S sukuk may follow, subject to market conditions.

QIIB is the third largest Islamic bank by assets in the Gulf Arab state, and is rated A- by Fitch and A3 by Moody's.

Dubai's Zabeel Investments in $956 mln bank debt deal - report | Reuters

Indebted Zabeel Investments, which is owned by Dubai's crown prince, has reached a $956-million debt deal with lenders, according to al-Khaleej newspaper on Thursday.

The Arabic-language daily, citing an unnamed senior banking source, did not give further details on the agreement which it said was for more than 3.5 billion UAE dirhams ($952.90 million) in bank debt.

"Zabeel Investments has succeeded in settling its debt," the newspaper quoted the source as saying.

Abu Dhabi fund Mubadala swings to profit in H1 2012 - Yahoo! News Maktoob

Mubadala, the Abu Dhabi government's investment vehicle, swung to a profit in the first-half of 2012 helped by lower impairment losses and higher revenue at its key businesses.
The state-owned fund, which has stakes in General Electric and private equity firm Carlyle, posted a first-half profit of 851.5 million dirhams ($231.83 million)compared with a loss of 1.2 billion dirhams for the same period last year.
Unlisted Mubadala, which earlier in the year bought a $2 billion stake in Brazil's EBX Group, saw its revenues rise by 18 percent to 16 billion dirhams from 13.5 billion dirhams in the year-ago period, it said in a statement on Thursday.

Abu Dhabi-owned Falcon to buy C.Suisse arm Clariden Leu (Europe) | Reuters

Falcon Private Bank, a Swiss-based wealth manager owned by Abu Dhabi fund Aabar Investments, has agreed to acquire Clariden Leu (Europe), a fully-owned subsidiary of Credit Suisse, a statement from Falcon said on Thursday.

No financial details of the transaction was provided. The acquisition is expected to close in the first-quarter of 2013, the Falcon statement said.

London-based Clariden Leu (Europe) had assets under management of over 2 billion Swiss Francs ($2.13 billion) as of August 31, 2012.

UBS acted as financial adviser to Falcon Private Bank.

THE DAILY STAR :: Calm restored in Tehran after currency protests

Calm returned to central Tehran on Thursday, a day after it was rocked by unprecedented protests over Iran's plunging currency, but all money-changers and most shops were closed, witnesses told AFP.

The Grand Bazaar -- the normally bustling commercial heart of the city -- was mostly shuttered, with mainly streetside shops open. Inside, the historic maze was eerily quiet on what should be a very crowded day for Tehranis, whose weekend falls on Thursday and Friday.

In the nearby traditional money-changing district, police patrolled past locked exchange bureaux.

Iran Bazaar Strikes signal Misery, not Sanctions 'Victory' | Informed Comment

On Wednesday, the Tehran covered bazaar was closed, and the traditional market in some other cities such as Mashhad also went on strike, with demonstrators protesting the collapse of the Iranian currency, the rial. Until last November, the rial was about 10,000 to the dollar. Then it fell to 12,000. Last summer it hit 16,000. Some merchants were offering 35,000 to the dollar on Wednesday and expected the rial to decline further.

Although the US, the EU and Israel’s government will gloat that ‘sanctions are working,’ it is unclear that any such thing is true.

True, Western sanctions on Iran have gone beyond mere boycotts to a kind of financial blockade, in which obstacles are being placed in the way of Iran selling its petroleum to third parties, especially in Asia.

Iranians Abandon Meat for Bread as Rial Drop Fires Protests - Bloomberg

Iran’s freefalling currency is turning meat into a luxury, sparking overnight price surges and spurring shoppers to stockpile goods.
“Most of my customers just look at products behind the window and pass,” said Behrouz Madani, 42, who owns a butcher shop in northwest Tehran. “I see them going to the next store, which is a bakery, to feed their families with bread.”

Iraq sets bar lower on oil output and looks to attract foreign firms - The National

Iraq is looking to reduce its ambitious crude production targets, and is working to improve the terms offered to international oil companies (IOCs) bidding for contracts in the country.

Baghdad was contemplating a target of 9.5 million barrels per day (bpd) of crude by 2020, said a senior government figure, in a significant departure from the previously held ambition of pumping 12 million bpd within the next five years.

The government was considering options ranging from 6 million to 12 million bpd by 2020, laid out in a strategy paper drawn up by the consultancy Booz & Co, said Thamir Ghadhban, the top energy adviser to the Iraqi prime minister.

How to form an Arab single currency? |

Over the past 50 years, the Arabs failed to achieve the desired economic progress due to inactive economic cooperation, thus leading to accumulation of many ineffective decisions and recommendations, which were later placed on the shelves and cabinets of Arabic League’s offices.
Lately, the Arab League, however, decided to study the possibility of setting up an Arab single currency, based on a proposal submitted by the Arab Importers and Exporters Union.
The question arises here on which basis the Arab League has adopted this proposal, which sounds an emotional and inapplicable one rather than an approach based on sound, objective and scientific grounds through which the Arabs can build on in their quest to launch such a single currency.

SCA introduces new regulations |

The UAE market regulator, the Emirates Securities and Commodities Authority (Esca) has approved the introduction of the market marker system along with three other new regulations including lending, borrowing and short-selling of securities, a move that may boost trading on the country’s stock markets and increase its chances of securing an upgrade by index compiler MSCI Inc.
The move was taken at Esca’s meeting chaired by Sultan Bin Saeed Al Mansouri, Minister of Economy and Esca Chairman.
Al Mansouri stressed the importance of market maker in supporting UAE’s financial markets — one of the main pillars of the national economy, as well as in maintaining market balance and helping attract more foreign investments.

Dubai, Abu Dhabi move in opposite direction in rents, prices |

Dubai’s property market which returned to growth earlier this year, continues its upward climb with the villa market continuing to outperform the apartment sector in the third quarter, most analysts and reports say.
The recent figures from Dubai Economic Department (DED) state that Dh22 billion of foreign investment has been injected into the real estate sector in the first half of 2012 alone, with Indian, Pakistani, Iranian and Russian investors dominating the scene.
“The Dubai residential market will remain fragmented during the final quarter and into 2013 with mixed patterns of growth and decline still apparent depending on the location and product,” says Matthew Green, Head of Research & Consultancy, UAE Middle East Research, CBRE. “Rental rates now appear to be fixed on an upward curve in the majority of sub-markets although for many districts and secondary locations, these increases remain modest at this stage.”

Gulf Times – Qatari banks’ lending growth healthy: S&P

The outlook for lending growth remains healthy for Qatari banks, Standard & Poor’s said in its latest ‘Middle East outlook’.
For banks in Qatar and elsewhere in the GCC region, funding profiles have improved visibly in the past few years on the back of declining balance sheet growth, said Timucin Engin, credit analyst at Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services.
The outlook for lending growth in Kuwait and the UAE remains limited, but like Qatar it is healthy for Saudi Arabia and Oman, he said.

Middle East Tensions And The SAR 12m Forward Rate - Business Insider

An important shift is developing in Saudi Arabian currency derivatives markets as Iran becomes engulfed in populist protests amid hyperinflationary pressures and armed conflict breaks out between Turkey and Syria, heightening concerns about tensions in the Middle East.
The 12-month forward rate on the Saudi Arabian riyal – or the difference between how many riyals traders think a dollar will be able to buy a year from now and how many riyals a dollar can buy today – has been hovering just above zero for the past two weeks.
In other words, as pointed out by BNP's Bartosz Pawlowski, traders are expecting the riyal to depreciate against the dollar. Or to think about it another way, people are betting that in a year, people expect that the dollar will be able to buy more riyals than that dollar is able to buy right now.