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Monday, 29 October 2012

Abu Dhabi's TAQA seeks new terms for Dutch gas transport tariffs | Reuters

Abu Dhabi National Energy Co (TAQA) said it is in talks with the Dutch government on changing the basis of gas transport tariffs to make the 4.1 billion cubic metre (bcm) Bergermeer storage facility competitive.

Bergermeer, along with a liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal in Rotterdam, is an important part of the Netherlands' plan to become a European hub for distribution of imported natural gas once the country stops exporting its own gas output in 2025.

Jan Willem van Hoogstraten, managing director of TAQA's Dutch branch, said on Monday that at present a company wanting to use storage pays twice to enter the Dutch grid - once when gas crosses into the Netherlands and once when it comes out of storage.

Kuwait's AA rating threatened by political protests-Fitch - Yahoo! News Maktoob

Fitch Ratings put Kuwait on warning that a further escalation of political protests there could put its AA sovereign credit rating under pressure for a downgrade despite the nation's strong balance sheet.
On Monday, the credit rating firm said recent popular protests over a change in the election law decreed by the ruling emir "suggests a radicalisation of the political scene."
"Prolonged political stalemate could also undermine Kuwait's rating through its impact on the economy," Fitch said in a statement.

Egypt Exchange close - October 29, 2012

General Index
Intraday  3 month  
 Daily Statistics
 General Index5893.31
 Change (%)1.73%
 T. Volume118166965
 T. Companies 444

Abudhabi Securities Exchange close - October 29, 2012

General Index
Intraday  3 month  
 Daily Statistics
 General Index2670.93
 Change (%)0.50%
 T. Volume35427786
 T. Companies 66

Dubai Financial Market close - October 29, 2012

General Index
Intraday  3 month  
 Daily Statistics
 General Index1622.1
 Change (%)-1.17%
 T. Volume58961294
 T. Companies 61

TEXT-S&P: ratings on 4 Abu Dhabi GREs unaffected by debt policy | Reuters

Standard & Poor's Ratings Services said today that the ratings on four Abu Dhabi-based government-related entities (GREs) are unaffected by the recently publicized directive on public debt policy, endorsed by the Abu Dhabi Executive Council. The entities are:

-- Abu Dhabi National Energy Co. PJSC (TAQA) (A/Stable/--)
-- International Petroleum Investment Co. (IPIC) (AA/Stable/A-1+)
-- Mubadala Development Co. PJSC (AA/Stable/A-1+)
-- Tourism Development and Investment Co. P.J.S.C. (TDIC) (AA/Stable/A-1+)

In our view, the public debt policy does not change the government's perception of the role for and link to the government of these four entities. The policy does not change our current view of the government's capacity or willingness to support these GREs in the event of their financial distress. Hence, our ratings on these entities are unaffected by the public debt policy.

Dubai prime retail and hospitality well placed for 2013, says Fitch -

Fitch Ratings says that Dubai prime retail and hospitality has been vigorous in 2012 and the agency believes the sector is well placed for 2013. However, despite some stabilisation, challenges remain for the office and residential sectors .

As per the agency's expectation, retail rentals and hospitality revenues are holding up and have shown healthy performance in 2011 and 2012 to date and have potential for a strong start in 2013. Although offices and residential prices and demand are stabilising in prime locations in Dubai, widespread recovery in these sector is still challenged over the medium term.

The performance of prime retail and hospitality was resilient in 2011 and 2012, with occupancy rate and prices holding and improving. These sectors continue to benefit from healthy tourism, partly due to the turmoil affecting some Middle East destinations and the positive impact this has had on Dubai as being a major Middle-Eastern preferred destination.

Doha Bank eyes London share sale to boost capital-sources - Yahoo! News Maktoob

Doha Bank, Qatar's fifth-largest bank by market value, is considering selling shares in London as part of a plan to boost capital by up to $1.6 billion in 2013, four banking sources said.
The lender, part-owned by the Gulf state's sovereign wealth fund, may raise about a quarter of the capital through an issue of global depository receipts (GDR) on the London Stock Exchange, with the remainder raised through a local rights issue, two of the sources said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the matter has not been made public.
A GDR is a certificate that represents a block of shares in a company. GDRs are often issued by firms in emerging market states to allow foreign investors to buy the stock more easily.

UAE bank rules restrict lending levels -

New United Arab Emirates central bank rules aimed at cutting lenders’ heavy exposure to state institutions have come into force – but the scale and size of the problem mean it could take years to resolve.
While the directive aims to protect the financial system by reducing local banks’ loans to governments and state-related entities, the latest results from some big banks suggest these credit lines are continuing to expand.
The domestic financial institutions – many of which are themselves owned by government or ruling family members – are now in talks with the central bank over how to comply with the rule changes.

Bank of Sharjah posts Dh218m net profit |

The Bank of Sharjah on Monday reported Dh218 million net profit for the first nine months of 2012, up 1 per cent compared to the corresponding period in 2011.
The increase in net income was driven by the 5 per cent increase in net interest income as the bank capitalised on its core banking activity and managed to reduce the cost of funding, mainly on customer deposits.
During the period, the bank continued to enhance its balance sheet structure with total assets increasing by 5 per cent. The increase in assets was underpinned by the growth in customer deposits.

Gulf Arab states should cut state spending growth -IMF - Yahoo! News Maktoob

Most Arab oil exporting countries in the Gulf should plan to reduce growth in government spending to make their budgets more sustainable, as their combined surplus could turn into a deficit around 2017, the International
Monetary Fund said on Monday.
"While expansionary fiscal policies helped the region weather the global financial crisis, given the healthy economic expansion currently underway, the need for continued fiscal stimulus is diminishing," the IMF said in a report. "Most GCC countries should therefore plan to reduce the growth rate in government expenditure in the period ahead."
In 2011, total state spending in the six Gulf Cooperation Council economies -- Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman and Bahrain -- jumped by some 20 percent in dollar terms, the IMF said. Governments were responding to unrest in the Middle East by boosting social spending.

Unconventional gas investment a necessity for future prosperity in the GCC -

In the GCC’s oil and gas industry, past developments have focused more on enhancing the oil sector as opposed to the gas sector.

However, with recent reports on the demand for gas both globally and domestically on the rise, as well as unconventional gas competition from the US, the GCC needs to invest significantly to capitalise on this important and profitable industry.

The IEA reported that the current 100bn cu. m. (cubic meters) annual demand for gas in the GCC is expected to rise more than 300bn cu. m. in 2020 and up to 600bn cu m by 2030.

STOCKS NEWS MIDEAST-Property stocks lift Abu Dhabi to 14-mth high; Dubai down - Yahoo! News Maktoob

Abu Dhabi's property stocks help lift the bourse to a fresh 14-month closing high as its top two developers'
advanced merger talks draw interest, while Dubai's measure slips for a third consecutive session.
Shares in Sorouh Real Estate rise 1.5 percent, while Aldar Properties ends flat. The duo account for half of the traded volumes on the exchange.
In a joint statement earlier this month, the firms said due diligence on their proposed merger was ongoing but the
discussions were at an advanced state, following a senior Sorouh executive saying an announcement would be made within a month.

Kuwait loan growth 5.4 pct in Aug

The UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Kuwait’s banking statistics showed that the aggregate loan growth for the GCC banking sector was a tad lower at 14.3% y-o-y in August 2012 vs. 14.8% y-o-y in July 2012. Though lower, loan growth in August 2012 was supported by positive credit growth across GCC states. At the time of writing, Bahrain has yet to release the August 2012 banking statistics.
Loan growth in Qatar continues to be the highest in the GCC region, which saw credit expansion of 32.7% y-o-y in August 2012 (July 2012: 38.0% y-o-y), driven by both the public and private (services and trading) sectors. Qatar’s banking sector total loans outstanding stood at QAR478.3bln in August 2012, up from QAR360.6bln a year ago. In Saudi Arabia, credit growth was marginally higher at 15.8% y-o-y in August 2012 from 15.6% y-o-y in July 2012, the second strongest in the GCC region after Qatar, supported by both consumer and corporate loans. Total loans outstanding stood at SAR952.4bln in August 2012, up from SAR822.2bln a year ago.

Qatar to buy controlling stake in Harrods Bank - Banking & Finance -

The UK's Financial Services Authority has given approval for Qatar Holding to buy a controlling stake in Harrods Bank, the private banking arm of the luxury department store, it was reported.
The investment fund of the Gulf state’s royal family has appointed a new board for the lender and plans to expand its operations, the Daily Mail said, citing a spokeswoman for Harrods Bank.
“A new board has been appointed to support this exciting development,” a spokeswoman said.

STOCKS NEWS MIDEAST-Dubai heads for 3rd-day loss; banks lift AD to 14-mth high - Yahoo! News Maktoob

Dubai's bourse declines in thin trading activity with banks and property-related stocks weighing, while Abu
Dhabi's market rises to a fresh 14-month high.
Sentiment continues to be weak after heavyweight Emaar Properties posted a quarterly profit decline and
missed estimates.
Shares in Emaar slip 0.3 percent, contractor Arabtec sheds 1.2 percent and Deyaar Development declines 0.8 percent.

Has the Time Come for a Kabul Stock Exchange? |

The project seems, at the least, ill-advised: establishing Afghanistan’s first ever stock exchange amid the uncertainties of security and the suffocating presence of official corruption. But that is exactly what two young Afghans want to do. Ahmad Bassam and his partner Sanzar Kakar, both with years of banking experience in the US — with Morgan Stanley and Merrill Lynch, respectively — hope to have a viable bourse operating by 2014, about the same time U.S. troops pull out of the country.

“Once the foreign forces withdraw, the country will still need an economy,” Bassam says, explaining his rationale for the stock exchange. “And we want to help bring the structures in place that will get us away from donor-dependence.” He and Kakar claim to be in conversation with NASDAQ to bring the U.S. exchange on board as their technology partner.

Gulf Times – UAE bank caps choke lending revival from GCC low

UAE banks will struggle to revive the Gulf Cooperation Council’s lowest loan growth as central bank rules restrict lending to the government and put caps on personal and retail credit.
Loans and advances from banks in the second-largest Arab economy grew 2.7% in the first eight months of the year, on average, down from an average of 3% in 2011, according to central bank data. That is a fifth the rate of credit expansion in Saudi Arabia and lower than Kuwait’s 3.5%. UAE interbank lending rates, used as benchmarks in loan pricing, have tumbled since July to record lows.

Gulf Times – Qatar seeks US foothold to sustain LNG dominance

Qatar is seeking to build liquefied natural gas export plants in the US as prices of the fuel have fallen from a record.
Qatar Petroleum and ExxonMobil Corp, the world’s second-biggest company, received a first permit to export natural gas from their Golden Pass import terminal in Texas, they said on October 4. LNG prices for delivery in northeast Asia, the biggest market for the gas chilled to a liquid for transport by sea, have fallen 28% since rising to a record in May, according to World Gas Intelligence.
Qatari producers are looking abroad as a moratorium limits domestic expansion and amid a boom in new projects from the US to Australia. The increased volume may help offset lower income as users from Tokyo Gas Co to Italy’s Edison seek to reduce costs under supply contracts linked to crude prices.