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Monday, 8 October 2012

Nord Stream Starts Working At Full Capacity - OpEd Eurasia Review

Since the second branch-line of the Nord Stream Gas Pipeline (NSGP) has been commissioned, it is starting to work at full capacity. Experts say that this is one of the most successful projects in Europe, adding that its construction should continue.

The NSGP project was implemented within a record period. The decision on the construction of a new gas pipeline was made in 2005. However, the panel of investors was finely defined only in 2010. On that list were the Russian gas giant Gazprom with 51 per cent of shares, and also Germany’s Wintershall Holding and E.ON Ruhrgas, France’s GDF Suez, and Holland’s Gasunie that divided the remaining package of shares between themselves. It was exactly at that time that the coordination of project-related details was completed with the countries through the territorial waters of which it was planned to lay the pipe across the Baltic Sea bed. Once this was done, the construction of the gas pipeline started. In November of 2011 the first branch-line of the Nord Stream Gas Pipeline that linked Vyborg in Russia with Greifswald in Germany was put into operation. Now, once Russia’s natural gas is sent through a parallel pipe, it will make its way, bypassing the transit countries – Ukraine and Poland. Speaking about the opening of the second branch-line, President Putin stressed that this project is of great significance for the European Union as well as further development of its relations with Russia:

Saudi Arabia Doubles Tankers to U.S. as Motiva Unit Seen Opening - Businessweek

Saudi Arabian Oil Co. doubled the number of crude tankers booked to ship oil to the Gulf of Mexico this month as two people familiar with its U.S. refinery operations said a damaged crude unit may restart in December.

The company’s shipping unit booked eight very large crude carriers to load about 16 million barrels in October, compared with four ships a month so far this year, according to data from Athens-based Optima Shipbrokers Ltd. Motiva Enterprises LLC, which the state-controlled oil producer owns with Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSA), will open the 325,000 barrels-a-day unit as early as the first week of December, the people said Oct. 5.

The 600,000 barrels-a-day refinery in Port Arthur, Texas, halted the unit in June following contamination that caused cracks in stainless steel pipes. Repairs may be completed this month and testing will take place in November, said the people, declining to be identified because they aren’t authorized to speak for the refinery.

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi bourse hits 10-week low as oil prices weigh - Yahoo! News Maktoob

Saudi Arabia's share index hit a 10-week low and most other Gulf Arab bourses declined on Monday as slumping oil prices and a gloomy start to the week on world markets weighed on regional sentiment.
The Saudi stockmarket slipped 0.8 percent to its lowest finish since July 29 and has now shed 5 percent since hitting a four-month peak on Sept. 15.
Crude oil has fallen 9.9 percent over the same period, trading at $89.13 a barrel at 1349 GMT on Monday, while Saudi Arabia's petrochemicals index was down 0.7 percent on the day.

UAE is major Arab investor in Egypt - Khaleej Times

Egyptian Investment Minister Usama Saleh, today refuted the claims that the UAE has withdrawn its investments from Egypt in the wake of Jan. 25, Revolution.
‘The UAE has not withdrawn its investments from Egypt, but instead many UAE Companies have announced the increment of their investments in Egypt,’ the Egyptian minister said in a statement on Monday.

He reiterated that the UAE is one of the major Arab investors in Egypt, which is seeking to pump more investments into Egypt, citing that Emaar Properties PJSC, has recently announced to shed new investments of up to 12. 8 billion Egyptian pounds.

MENA stock markets close - October 8, 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)

Gulf bank gives Libya vote of confidence | beyondbrics

After weeks of political turmoil since the killing of US Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, Libya’s economic prospects received a boost of confidence with news that a Dubai investment bank was buying a local financial services company.

Arqaam Capital, which describes itself as a Dubai investment bank specialising in emerging markets, announced Sunday it had reached an agreement to purchase the entire operations of Libya’s Al Rashad Finance and Management Advisory.

Once the deal is sealed — possibly by the year’s end — Rashad will operate as the Libyan arm of Arqaam, a press release said.

STOCKS NEWS MIDEAST-Rajhi, SABIC head losers as Saudi hits 7-wk low - Yahoo! News Maktoob

Saudi Arabia's index slumps to a seven-week closing low as heavyweight bank and petrochemical stocks head declines, with a renewed slump in oil prices weighing on sentiment in the world's top crude exporter.
Al-Rajhi Bank falls 2.8 percent to a nine-month low. The Gulf's largest listed lender is forecast to post a 9
percent rise in third-quarter profit.
Saudi Basic Industries Corp (SABIC) drops 0.8 percent. The petrochemicals' index falls 0.7 percent.

Britain's gas supply prey to Qatar marketing strategy - Yahoo! News Maktoob

Britain is in danger of suffering a long-term loss of liquefied natural gas (LNG) supply as top exporter Qatar sends only left-over short-term deliveries to the UK while more and more of its LNG goes to higher paying Asian customers.
Analysts and British energy companies say the strategy rewards Qatar but puts Britain at a significant disadvantage. Britain depends increasingly on Qatar to plug a growing energy supply deficit but has so far failed to receive a supply guarantee from the Gulf producer.
Instead, Qatar is trying to lock the majority of its gas into the Asian market through signing long-term supply deals with customers in Japan, South Korea and emerging markets like China and India, where gas demand is rising fast and prices are higher.

Indian Mutual Funds, PE, wealth managers may face regulatory hurdle in UAE - The Times of India

Indian mutual funds, private equity houses and wealth managers may run into a regulatory hurdle in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), a large offshore market for financial products.

In a recent order, the UAE's Securities & Commodities Authority (SCA) has instructed distributors and investment advisors to seek its approval before selling a product.

"Prior to any promotion, an application for the promotion of foreign mutual fund units must be submitted to the SCA by the local promoter (product distributor, banks selling third-party investment products, etc) ... enclosing the documents stated in the form for each fund wishing to promote its units within the UAE," the circular said.

Abu Dhabi bank plans aggressive expansion in Asia - Businessweek

The National Bank of Abu Dhabi launched its commercial banking operations in Malaysia on Monday, and will also debut in Shanghai this week as part of its expansion in Asia.

Senior General Manager for international banking, Qamhar Ali Al Mulla, said the United Arab Emirates' top lender was a latecomer in Asia with its first branch launched in Hong Kong just three years ago.

He said the bank will launch an office in Shanghai, its first to tap China's mass market, on Wednesday and is eyeing to acquire a bank in Indonesia.

Iranian rial-ity, or when Gresham’s law goes awry | FT Alphaville

Almost everywhere, the fall of the Iranian rial is being interpreted as a huge problem for the incumbent Iranian regime — one that could bitterly undermine economic stability in the country.

Ehad Mostaque of Religare Capital Markets, however, posits a different view.

He says the dollar shortage in the “parallel” street market is actually leading to more dollar inventory being soaked up by the “official” market, improving the sector’s hold over the economy.

WAM | Etihad Airways and Air France-Klm unveil New Strategic Partnership

Etihad Airways and Air France-KLM have signed a historic agreement to codeshare on flights across the airlines' networks, the first phase of a much larger strategic partnership which commences on 28th of current month.

The wide-ranging codeshare agreement will see Etihad Airways and Air France-KLM offering joint codes on destinations in Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Australia. At the same time, Air France is announcing a new codeshare agreement with airberlin, Europe's sixth largest airline, in which Etihad Airways holds a 29.21 per cent stake.

James Hogan, Etihad Airways' President and Chief Executive Officer, said: "This deal, Etihad Airways' 40th codeshare, marks a momentous milestone for both airline groups and offers countless opportunities to develop an unrivalled commercial relationship.

Malaysia's BIMB gets nod to start Bank Islam purchase talks with Dubai - Yahoo! News Maktoob

Malaysia's BIMB Holdings Bhd has obtained approval from the country's central bank to start talks with Dubai Financial Group to buy out the latter's 30.5 percent stake in the Southeast Asian country's oldest Islamic lender, Bank Islam.
"The negotiations are to be completed on or before March 31, 2013," BIMB, which owns a 51 percent stake in Bank Islam and is Malaysia's second-biggest Sharia bank, said in a local stock exchange filing on Monday.
The negotiations will also include Malaysian Haji pilgrims fund Lembaga Tabung Haji, which owns 51.76 percent in BIMB and 18.5 percent in Bank Islam.

Singapore acts to slow property price rises, should Dubai be doing the same? « ArabianMoney

This Bloomberg TV video today explains measures being taken in Singapore to try to keep a lid on soaring property prices. With house prices back to all-time high levels this is necessary to contain local inflation. Should Dubai be doing the same?

Not really, prices in Dubai are still extremely cheap by comparison to Singapore and the market still has some way to go to recover the peak levels of 2008. Villas are almost there but the much larger apartment market is weighed down by oversupply and that will moderate price rises.

Saudi Arabia Rejects IMF's 2016 Deficit Forecast Eurasia Review

Saudi Arabia’s robust foreign currency reserves as well as the low public debt (less than 6 percent of GDP) are two important fiscal cushions in the face of volatile oil prices, a top Saudi-based economic analyst said yesterday.

Fahad Alturki, senior economist at Jadwa Investment, made the comments as Finance Minister Ibrahim Al-Assaf asserted on Saturday that the International Monetary Fund’s forecasts that Saudi Arabia’s budget surpluses will gradually decline before dropping into deficit by 2016 are a “doomsday scenario.”

Saudi Arabia is ready to tap its foreign currency reserves, equivalent to more than 100 percent of the GDP, if energy prices fall, the minister said.

DFM boosted by euphoria over plans for short-selling - The National

Shares in the company that runs the Dubai Financial Market (DFM) surged to their highest level in five months as investors bet that new regulations on short-selling will give the nation's only listed bourse a boost.

"The new regulations should increase trading volumes, which would affect DFM's bottom line," said Tariq Qaqish, the deputy head of asset management at Al Mal Capital in Dubai. "Investors are allocating their portfolios with a long-term view, in the expectation that the new regulations will help their business going forward."

DFM's shares surged 4.8 per cent to Dh1.08, the highest level since May 7. It was the most actively traded stock yesterday with more than 36.7 million shares traded. On Thursday, the Securities and Commodities Authority approved a package of regulations, including short-selling, borrowing and lending, and market-making.

Global banks jostle to tempt the rich in the Arabian Gulf - The National

The global economic slowdown and the shrinking fortunes of rich clients have shaken the wealth management industry to its core since the 2008 financial crisis.

Reflecting the uncertain outlook for the industry across the region and worldwide, Swiss Life International last month became the latest big player to announce it was withdrawing from the Dubai market.

Yet amid the gloom, financial services firms are looking at new opportunities within the GCC. Already HSBC and Barclays, two international banking giants, are bolstering their presence in the region in a bid to manage more cash from wealthy investors.

Islamic banking thrives as playing field levelled - The National

Growing demand across a number of sectors, rational pricing and innovative products are trends that are shaping the future of Islamic banking and the finance industry.

Despite continuing tensions across the Middle East and North Africa, key regions for this niche industry, Islamic finance continues to make headlines.

A well-publicised shortage of liquidity in the United States and European markets has resulted in organisations looking more towards funding from sources in the Middle East and South East Asia. There is a move towards more deals being funded from Islamic investors through the debt capital markets.

'Game-changing' deal for Etihad and Air France-KLM - The National

Etihad Airways and Air France-KLM are expected to announce a "game-changing" alliance today.

"This will be one of the biggest deals the European airline industry has seen. It is a major, multi-faceted commercial partnership that goes way beyond simple code-sharing," said an industry source last night.

If the announcement is made today, Air France-KLM is expected to confirm a separate agreement with Air Berlin, the German carrier that is 30 per cent owned by Etihad.

Iraq oil: Less ambition and more realism |

When Iraq embarked on its oil and gas licensing rounds in 2009 and 2010, the criteria for awards to develop its fields included the plateau production capacity for each field. Therefore it became important for the oil companies to set this rate at the maximum possible irrespective of Iraq’s needs, the expected conditions in the international oil market or the insurmountable logistical problems that must be faced in order to achieve such capacities.
In the euphoria, Iraq was quick and happy to announce that its production would be more than 12 million barrels a day (mbd) by 2017.
The target immediately raised many eyebrows and was described as a kind of “oil rush” and “bonanza” for the oil companies and a “wholesale” where 94 billion barrels of reserves or 66 per cent of Iraq’s are awarded to international oil companies by diminishing the role of the Iraqi operating companies especially South Oil Company. Iraqi experts were among the first to raise concern and suggested the need for revisions.

Rera to start registration of property marketing deals |

Dubai Real Estate Regulatory Authority (Rera) will start registration of property marketing deals and offers through its online property registration portal (Semsari) for real estate brokers, which aims to regulate the real estate market and eliminate the phenomenon of unlicensed brokers. Engineer Marwan Bin Galita, CEO of Rera, said the implementation of phase 2 of Semsari system is designed to manage and regulate real estate brokers registered with Rera. Simsari is an electronic web based product designed and developed by the Emirates Real Estate Solutions-an authorised agency to provide technological solutions for the real estate industry in the UAE. Approved by Government of Dubai and Dubai Land Department, Semsari was previously launched in year 2006 as the only government supported online real estate portal, and then was re-launched in August 2012.

China grants Qatar fund QFII license: report - MarketWatch

China has allowed Qatar Investment Authority to invest in its capital markets, the state-run China Securities Journal reported Monday, without saying where it obtained the information.

China Securities Regulatory Commission granted Qualified Foreign Institutional Investor licenses to a number of institutions before China's Oct. 1-7 National Day public holiday, the newspaper said. The only recipient it named was Qatar Investment Authority, which it said has applied for an investment quota of $5 billion.

The QFII program began in 2002 and is one of the few methods through which foreign investors can trade domestically listed yuan-denominated A shares. Upon receiving a license from the Commission, QFIIs must apply to the foreign exchange regulator for an investment quota, which determines the maximum amount of money they are permitted to invest.

Qatar Airways is set to announce it is joining Qantas and British Airways in ... - Sydney Morning Herald (blog)

When the first two big global alliances formed about 15 years ago, it was sold as a seamless travel experience where you could change airlines as easily as changing planes within the same airline.

Of course, it didn’t always work like that in practice. Travellers complained about missing airport lounges and other missing perks that had been promised.

It was to be a bonus for frequent flyers, who would, for the first time, be able to access global points-earning-and-burning networks. Then travellers started to read the fine print – about points earning rates on partner carriers that might be only half what they thought they were getting.