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Thursday, 11 October 2012

UPDATE 1-Abu Dhabi's Aabar sells 1.25 bln euro Daimler stake - Yahoo! News Maktoob

Abu Dhabi's sovereign wealth fund Aabar sold its remaining 3.07 percent stake in Daimler worth about 1.25 billion euros ($1.6 billion) on Oct. 5, the German carmaker said in a regulatory filing on Thursday.
The move, widely expected for some time, could heighten pressure on Daimler Chief Executive Dieter Zetsche, who has had to fight off calls from some investors to sell or spin off the group's commercial trucks business to concentrate on its underperforming flagship, the luxury car brand Mercedes-Benz. Amid reports the emirate was planning an exit, finance chief Bodo Uebber was forced to say late in April that the company was not a takeover candidate.
"Aabar realigned its investment in Daimler and we of course respect that," a spokesman for the carmaker said on Thursday. "We continue to be very pleased with our current shareholder structure," he added, pointing for example to the recent increase in Kuwait's stake to 7.6 percent from a previous 6.9 percent.

End of gas boom saps confidence in Qatar -

An extraordinary ten-year boom is petering out in Qatar with the state’s large-scale gas-exporting infrastructure having been completed, leaving business confidence at its lowest ebb in years.
Growth in gross domestic product in the small, gas-rich Gulf state, classified as the richest in the world on a per capita basis, has shrunk to six per cent, from 14 per cent last year.

MENA stock markets close - October 11, 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-Kuwait at 2-week low as govt blamed for slow growth | Reuters

Kuwait's index fell to a two-week low on Thursday, dropping for a third time this week, as political instability and lack of government spending keeps investors on the sidelines.

The benchmark dropped 0.4 percent to its lowest close since Sept 26. The benchmark had dropped to an 8-year low in August.

Kuwait needs to step up spending on infrastructure to boost economic growth, the head of its largest lender, National Bank of Kuwait, said on Thursday, in unusually critical comments for a Gulf business leader.

Bahrain to continue to back Gulf Air, but carrier may emerge radically changed | CAPA

Gulf Air will continue to fight another day. After months of uncertainty over the outlook for the carrier, the Bahrain Government and the National Assembly have agreed to invest additional funds to keep the carrier afloat, according to a report in the state-run Bahraini News Agency. However, even if it does get the funds, Gulf Air may emerge from its latest bailout package a radically changed entity.

At a meeting involving Bahrain’s Deputy Premier, Finance Minister, Transport Minster and the heads and chairmen of parliamentary blocs and committees and members of Financial and Economic Affairs Committees this week, it was decided that Bahrain will continue to provide long-term financial support for the airline. The Shura and Representatives councils – the two chambers of the National Assembly – have informally agreed to a Bahraini Government request to pump additional funds into the airline to allow it to settle some debts and dues.

Arab Youth, Entrepreneurs in Spotlight on Final Day of Abu Dhabi Media Summit - The Hollywood Reporter

Start-up companies from the Persian Gulf region and discussions about attitudes of young Arabs and how to address their concerns voiced in the Arab Spring were in the spotlight on the third and final day of the Abu Dhabi Media Summit on Thursday.
Antonio Campo Dall'Orto, executive vp, Viacom International Media Networks, presented some highlights from Viacom's latest research report on the millennial generation, which comprises nearly 2.5 billion, or 34 percent of the world population. It covers people born in 1981 or later, the first digital generation.
Viacom's biggest ever, the report covered 24 countries, he said.

STOCKS NEWS MIDEAST-Calls for protests weigh on Egyptian shares - Yahoo! News Maktoob

Egypt's benchmark index edges lower, weighed down by some investor concerns that calls for protests could herald fresh tension on the streets.
The Muslim Brotherhood, which propelled President Mohamed Mursi to power, called for a protest on Thursday and Friday after a court acquitted some former officials accused of ordering an attack last year on protests against Hosni Mubarak. Some other groups have called for protests on Friday against Mursi's policy failings so far in office.
The index drops 0.5 percent to 5,730 points, with heavyweight Orascom Construction Industries (OCI)
among the losers, dropping 1.5 percent. OCI is popular with foreign investors.

MIDEAST DEBT-Turkey's debut sukuk struggles after Gulf over-allocation - Yahoo! News Maktoob

Turkey's first sovereign sukuk issue was a public relations triumph but it's been a financial disappointment so far in the secondary market, showing the risks of over-allocating debt deals to a single region.
The $1.5 billion Islamic bond, maturing in 2018 and issued at a profit rate of 2.803 percent, dropped to about
98 cents on the dollar in the secondary market soon after issue in mid-September and has stayed below par since then.
Traders say bids have ranged between 99.0 and 99.5 cents in the past few days. It was bid at 99.5 cents on Thursday to yield 2.9 percent, according to Thomson Reuters data.

Dubai Limitless agrees restructuring of $1.2 bln loan - Yahoo! News Maktoob

Limitless, the indebted property arm of Dubai World, has reached an agreement with creditors to restructure a $1.2 billion Islamic loan, the company said on Thursday.
Limitless will also shortly commence a procees to transfer ownership of itself to the Dubai government from conglomerate Dubai World, it said in a statement.
Limitless has honoured all profit payments on the loan since it was signed in 2008, and will continue to make the payments under the new agreement, the company said.

Qatar lender QIIB prices $700 mln 5-yr sukuk - Yahoo! News Maktoob

Qatar International Islamic Bank priced a $700 million five-year sukuk on Thursday, at a profit rate of 2.688 percent.
HSBC Holdings, Standard Chartered and QNB Capital, a unit of Qatar National Bank were mandated
bookrunners on the deal.
QIIB launched the sukuk earlier in the day at the lower end of revised price guidance, in a reflection of healthy demand for the deal.

National Bank of Kuwait Q3 net profit rises 37 pct | Reuters

National Bank of Kuwait posted a 37-percent rise in third-quarter net profit on Thursday, beating analysts forecasts, but said government spending was insufficient and continued to pose a barrier to growth.

The Gulf state's largest lender said net profit was 108.1 million dinars ($384.6 million) in the three months to September 30, compared with 78.9 million dinars a year ago, it said in a bourse statement.

Six analysts in a Reuters poll had predicted 65.09 million dinars net profit on average.

Qatar regulator seeks to extend Islamic window ban | Reuters

Qatar's regulator has proposed extending its ban on onshore banks operating Islamic windows to include financial institutions in the Qatar Financial Centre (QFC), according to a consultation paper released this week.

Such windows allow conventional banks to offer Islamic financial services, provided that clients' money is segregated from the rest of the bank.

Last year the central bank banned Islamic windows in the onshore banking system, requiring conventional banks to close or divest their sharia-compliant businesses. Its motive was apparently to ensure a level playing field for Islamic banks.

WAM | Money Supply M0 increases to AED 55.7 billion, says UAE Central Bank

The Central Bank announced that money supply M0 (currency in circulation + currency at banks) increased by 1.1% from AED 55.1 billion at the end of July 2012 to AED 55.7 billion at the end of August 2012.

Money supply aggregate M1 (currency in circulation plus monetary deposits, i.e., current accounts and call accounts at banks) decreased by 0.5%, from AED 286.4 billion at the end of July 2012 to AED 285.0 billion at the end of August of the same year.

Money supply aggregate M2 which comprises of M1 and quasi-monetary deposits (resident time and savings deposits in Dirhams, commercial prepayments in Dirhams and resident deposits in foreign currencies), increased by 0.3%, from AED 832.5 billion at the end of July 2012 to AED 835.0 billion at the end of August of the same year.

Qatar's QIIB to price $700 mln sukuk Thursday | Reuters

Qatar International Islamic Bank (QIIB) will issue a $700 million sukuk on Thursday, arranging banks said, and has revised earlier price guidance in a reflection of healthy demand for the deal.

Price guidance for the five-year deal has been set at between 190-195 over midswaps, tighter than indicated, with order books reportedly at $2.7 billion on Wednesday afternoon.

HSBC, Standard Chartered and QNB Capital are mandated arrangers on the deal. Investor meetings concluded in London on Wednesday.

WASHINGTON, Oct. 10, 2012: AHAB Wins California Court Order Against Glenn Stewart | PRNewswire | Rock Hill Herald Online

A Los Angeles federal court on Tuesday refused to dismiss a lawsuit brought by Ahmad Hamad Algosaibi & Brothers Company (AHAB) against Glenn Stewart, an alleged key lieutenant in a $9 billion Ponzi scheme.  Stewart, who illegally fled Bahrain while under criminal investigation, now lives in Pacific Palisades, CA.

AHAB alleges that Stewart was one of the principal architects of a massive international fraud and money laundering scheme masterminded by the Saudi / Kuwaiti national Maan Al Sanea, who was entrusted by AHAB with the operation of a small financial services wing of the conglomerate, used his position to engage in billions of dollars in unauthorized borrowing, and then misappropriated the proceeds.  Stewart tried to persuade the California court that it should dismiss AHAB's lawsuit, arguing that AHAB's claims were barred under Saudi and Bahrain law, but Judge Dale Fischer of the U.S. district court rejected those contentions, describing Stewart's claim that AHAB lacked standing to sue him as "frivolous."

Dubai Losing Billions as Insecure Expats Send Earnings Abroad - Businessweek

Even after 40 years of living in Dubai, Wissam Haroun says his status there isn’t secure enough to invest his savings locally. The emirate’s rulers have an $11 billion reason to make him feel more at home.

“My long term investments here tend to be limited,” because of rules including caps on residency visas, said Haroun, a Syrian who founded Haroun Multimedia FZ LLC, a Dubai-based entertainment and technology company. A pension plan would address the needs of those looking for increased stability, he said. “I would seriously consider investing.”

Most of Dubai’s 2 million people are foreign nationals, and they send 40 percent of their salaries home, according to the World Bank. A pension plan that embraced them -- like the one offered in Singapore, another expatriate haven -- would help lower borrowing costs for an emirate that ran up $113 billion in debt then almost defaulted in 2009 after a property crash.

International arbitration in the UAE - Dubai, a two-seater city | Clayton Utz

If you are entering into contracts in the UAE, the Dubai International Financial Centre is becoming a viable alternative to Dubai or Abu Dhabi as a seat for arbitration, but comes with its own complications and teething problems.
Famous for constructing the tallest building in the world (the Burj Khalifa) and the largest shopping mall (the Dubai Mall), Dubai is an oddity in legal circles in that it has two distinct seats and legal frameworks for arbitration: Dubai itself and an "offshore" free zone within Dubai, the Dubai International Financial Centre.
The seat of arbitration (also referred to as the place of arbitration) is an important part of any arbitration agreement. In the absence of a clear statement by the parties otherwise, the seat will dictate the procedural law under which the arbitration will be run. For example a seat of London will dictate that an arbitration will be governed by English law, being the Arbitration Act 1996.

Thin volume on Dubai stock market despite Erbil deal - The National

Thin trading volumes weighed on Dubai Financial Markets Company shares, even as the bourse operator signed an agreement to help to establish a stock exchange in Erbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan.

Topic Aramex ADCB Emirates NBD Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange NBAD Dubai Financial Market
The DFM will provide technical support to the Erbil Stock Exchange, the company said yesterday.

"The development of the financial market in Kurdistan is undeniably a significant step in setting its economy for a new era of development and enhancing its capabilities to attract foreign investments," said Essa Kazim, the DFM's chief executive.

Liquidity rules threaten profits of UAE banks - The National

Profits at the UAE's biggest banks are expected to come under pressure as they struggle to comply with new Central Bankregulations taking effect next year.

Concerns around the financial sector have grown after banks failed to meet a deadline last month to implement a controversial Central Bank ceiling on lending to government companies.

But a new report from Arqaam Capital says separate liquidity regulations, intended to prepare banks for the strict new banking rules known as Basel III, will also weigh on earnings.

Iraq looms large in era of growing oil scarcity - The National

Gone are the heady days of the early oil booms, when wildcatters would stumble on rich reserves conveniently located a few metres underground.

Rapidly developed oilfields on the American plains no longer flood the market with kerosene, and it has been a while since the wells around Baku quickly pumped enough oil to satiate most of Europe's demand.

In today's world, increases in production are incremental and a cause for anxiety over whether they will meet projected increases in demand.

How Iran continues to squander billions |

In early April 2012, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad asserted that Iran had enough funds to withstand a total embargo on its oil sales for two to three years, without specifying where the country’s actual reserves stood. Since then, additional sanctions against Iran reduced oil exports by as much as one million barrels per day, or nearly 40 per cent according to the International Energy Agency.
As European member states, including Greece, Spain and Italy — significant past customers — replaced Iranian imports, it was fair to ask how much cash was coming in, and how Tehran was spending it? Both of these questions held a clue to future crises of immense proportions.
Naturally, because Iran was subjected to a wave of sanctions for decades, and because no one truly knew whether Ahmadinejad’s regular boasts that Iran had more than $100 billion (Dh367 billion) in cash was true, many speculated. What was known was that certain government contractors, state employees and even members of the Pasdaran were not paid on time.

Gitex Technology Week ramps up global influence |

Top leaders from some of the largest information and communication technology companies in the world converge in Dubai on Sunday for a five-day showcase that will encourage almost 140,000 conference attendees from 144 countries to seek innovation and redefine the future.
Now in its 32nd year, Gitex Technology Week is widely regarded as one of the world’s top three international information and communication technology (ICT) events.
”As developed economies experience a slowdown, global organisations and investors are looking to emerging markets such as the MEA for growth,” Helal Saeed Al Marri, Chief Executive Officer, Dubai World Trade Centre, said.

More cooperation needed among GCC countries in oil and gas sector |

Over the past decades, there were numerous aspects of cooperation and coordination among GCC countries, leading to making a progress in local economies and economic integration among GCC States.
Yet, cooperation in the oil and gas industry seems to be excluded from this cooperation, although the oil sector is the essence of the GCC economies.
It seems that the semi government and private sectors have decided to break this exception and conclude deals in the area of petroleum products — a very important shift that marks a promising start of greater inter-GCC coordination in this vital sector, which will consequently reflect positively on the oil and gas sector.