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Monday, 12 November 2012

UAE’s investment plans in Arab Spring countries still on hold

The UAE’s investment plans in Arab Spring countries are pending and still in the process to be formulated, an advisor at the Gulf state’s ministry of foreign trade has said.

Mahmood Sharif Mahmood told Al Arabiya that the UAE is waiting for the Arab Spring countries’ situation to settle before planning any solid investment projects there.

“We are currently formulating investment strategy and assessing risks in the Arab countries [affected by the Arab Spring],” he said.

Development: Towards a bona fide bazaar -

The young men live in fear. A few days earlier, police wielding batons began a crackdown near Tahrir Square in Cairo and in Alexandria, Egypt’s second-largest city. Some were arrested or beaten up. Across the Nile in Giza last month, one man died after clashes with officers.
They are not dealing in drugs, weapons or even underground politics but in counterfeit designer clothes, electrical appliances, household goods and fruit and vegetables.

Dubai doesn’t need bonds now |

The Dubai government says there is no need to issue any bonds, Shaikh Ahmad Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of Emirates Airline Group and Chairman of Dubai Civil Aviation, told media on the sidelines of the Summit on the Global Agenda.
“There is no plan to issue any bond so far, however, like any businessman we will take this chance once the market is ready for this,” he said, adding that there is no intention to capitalise the fund of the Dubai Supreme Fiscal Committee.
“Why do we have to inject more capital while our market is stable, our companies are making profit and the value of our asset is growing, as well as our assets in Europe going the same way in terms of valuation.”

EM energy: nuggets from the IEA | beyondbrics

The World Energy Outlook 2012 was published by the IEA on Monday, and rightly, the forecast that the US will become the world’s biggest oil producer by 2017 has grabbed headlines.

But tucked inside the 668 pages there are some interesting insights for emerging markets too. Beyondbrics brings you a few highlights.

- Look out Russia: here comes Iraq. The IEA says:

U.A.E. Law Restricts Online Criticism of Government, WAM Reports - Bloomberg

The United Arab Emirates issued regulations for Internet users that makes some online behavior a criminal offense punishable by imprisonment, the official Emirates News Agency, known as WAM, reported.
The publication of material that would “endanger the security of the state and its supreme interests” contravenes federal law, WAM reported. Calling for regime change, threatening the legal system and organizing demonstrations are punishable with prison sentences, it said.
The European Parliament in October called for the U.A.E. government to respect human-rights, to conduct thorough and unbiased investigations into allegations of assault and to release immediately prisoners of conscience and activists. The U.A.E. arrested more than 60 people tied to the domestic Islamist group known as Islah and some of the detainees may have been tortured and denied legal representation, the EU assembly said.
The regulation will punish those who use the Internet or information technology to offend Islam, the news service said.

Abu Dhabi prepares oil deal shortlist -

Abu Dhabi plans to draw up a final shortlist for its giant offshore oil concession as early as next month, moving a step forward in a process that is being closely watched as a sign of the balance of geopolitical power in the Gulf.
BP remains among possible contenders for the deal, despite its surprise exclusion this summer from early invitations to bid, a leading Abu Dhabi oil official said.
At stake is a giant 75-year concession that has historically been the preserve of leading western oil companies, but may now be opened to new entrants from emerging economies in Asia and elsewhere.

Arabian Aerospace - Qatar fighter choice still up in the air

The Dassault Rafale, Boeing F-15 and Boeing F/A-18E/F have been slugging it out in the Qatar heat during July, August and September with in-country evaluations taking place.
Two Armée de l’Air Rafales were deployed to Doha in July 2012 (having been sighted there on July 8), while two Super Hornets flew in from a nearby US carrier at the end of August. Finally two USAFE F-15Es were flown from RAF Lakenheath to Qatar for evaluation in early September.
These in-country evaluations are believed to have followed preliminary assessments in the US and France. Certainly Qatar conducted a Rafale technical assessment at Istres in March or April 2012.

MENA stock markets close - November 12, 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)

UPDATE 1-Egypt sees initial IMF deal this week-minister - Yahoo! News Maktoob

The Egyptian government expects to sign a memorandum of understanding with the International Monetary Fund for a $4.8 billion loan before an IMF negotiating team leaves Cairo on Wednesday, Finance Minister
Mumtaz al-Said said.
The government also plans to eliminate its subsidy on 95 octane gasoline effective as of Wednesday or Thursday, he said, a move that suggests the government wants to show it is taking active steps to close the deal.
Egypt has been drawing up an economic reform plan in part to help convince the IMF it is serious about economic reform.
Analysts say the IMF usually requires that governments take active measures before signing off on loans.

Bahrain's Gulf Air cuts Boeing 787 order; revises Airbus deal - Yahoo! News Maktoob

Bahrain's struggling national carrier Gulf Air said on Monday it has reached an agreement with Boeing to scale back its orders of the 787 Dreamliner and also revise existing orders with Airbus.
The Gulf carrier said the new agreement with Boeing allows the airline to reduce its wide-body 787s Dreamliner requirement to between 12 and 16 aircraft from 24 planes order earlier, depending on its strategic requirements.
The fleet restructuring reduces Gulf Air's long-term financial liability of approximately $5 billion by over 50
percent, Samer Majali, Gulf Air's chief executive said in an emailed statement.

UPDATE 1-Saudi Arabia's SABIC sets sights on U.S. shale gas boom | Reuters

Saudi Basic Industries Corp (SABIC) is considering investing in the United States to capitalise on the shale gas boom there, its chief executive told Reuters on Monday.

SABIC and other petrochemical producers in Saudi Arabia have been looking for additional gas supplies to fuel their expansion plans, with SABIC now casting its gaze overseas.

"We have to participate in the shale gas business and we have to participate in other sources that can also be competitive," said CEO Mohamed al-Mady, who expects a short-term slowdown in the growth of the sector in Saudi Arabia.

UPDATE 1-UAE's Air Arabia Q3 net profit jumps, beats estimates - Yahoo! News Maktoob

UAE budget carrier Air Arabia's said on Monday its third-quarter net profit more than doubled, beating analyst forecasts, as the airline carried more  passengers and benefited from easing fuel costs.
The airline said its third quarter net attributable profit was 225.8 million dirhams ($61.5 million) for the three-month period ending Sept 30, up from 99.3 million dirhams a year-ago.
Two analysts had forecast profit of 170 million dirhams and 150.2 million dirhams in a Reuters poll.
Revenue for the quarter rose to 836.2 million dirhams from 701.8 million dirhams in the prior-year period.

UPDATE 2-Emirates defies aviation gloom to double profit | Reuters

Emirates, Dubai's flagship carrier, doubled its first-half profit, carried more passengers and surged ahead with its growth plans, leaving its struggling European and Asian rivals trailing.

The government-owned airline, along with other state-backed Gulf carriers Qatar Airways and Etihad Airways, has invested in new routes as European airlines, hit by high fuel costs and a global market slowdown, cut costs and shelve growth plans.

Emirates and its home base Dubai are betting that its location - a third of the world's population is within a 4-hour flight radius - will continue to attract passenger traffic away from other global hubs such as London, New York and Singapore.

Afghanistan shortlists companies from Dubai, Kuwait, Turkey for major oil and gas project | Fox News

The Afghan government has shortlisted companies from Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates and Turkey for a major oil and gas exploration project, a step in the country's quest to reap revenues from its vast untapped mineral and energy resources.

Minister of Mines Wahidullah Shahrani said Monday that bids from Dubai's Dragon Oil, Kuwait Energy, and the Turkish Petroleum Corp. have been selected for the tender involving exploration rights in the Tajik Basin in northern Afghanistan.

The basin's oil reserves are estimated at more than 1 billion barrels.

BP hopes to agree Oman tight gas terms next year: CEO - The Economic Times

BP hopes to agree terms for the broader commercial development of its tight gas project in Oman in 2013, with a final investment decision possible towards the end of the year, the British company's chief executive said on Monday.

BP has already invested $700 million in the project in Khazzan in central Oman but has been haggling over the price it will get for selling the gas produced to Oman on its tightly-controlled domestic market.

"We are very much committed to Oman," Bob Dudley told Reuters on the sidelines of a conference in Abu Dhabi. He said BP hoped to agree gas sales agreement terms sometime next year.

U.A.E. Attracts Frustrated European Job Seekers -

STOCKS NEWS MIDEAST-Banks fuel Abu Dhabi rally; Kuwait steady after fresh protest - Yahoo! News Maktoob

Abu Dhabi's bourse makes its largest one-day gain in nine months on increased risk appetite, while Kuwait's market ends flat, witnessing limited pressure from Sunday's demonstrations against changes to electoral law.
Abu Dhabi's index finishes 1.3 percent higher at 2,706 points, its largest upward daily move since January 31.
Banks help lift the benchmark, which closes at levels last seen in July 2011.
National Bank of Abu Dhabi rises 3.4 percent to 9.81 dirhams, extending year-to-date gains to 23.2 percent. Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank rises 1.5 percent, while First Gulf Bank ends flat, having gained 37.4 percent so far in 2012.

Abu Dhabi's TAQA picks five banks for dollar bond - source | Reuters

Abu Dhabi National Energy Co (TAQA) has mandated five banks for a dollar-denominated bond issue, a company source told Reuters on Monday.

TAQA has picked BNP Paribas, Citigroup Inc, HSBC Holdings, National Bank of Abu Dhabi and Standard Chartered for the bond, the source said, without elaborating on the potential size or timeframe for the issue.

STOCKS NEWS MIDEAST-Saudi slips for fourth day; Oman's Renaissance drops - Yahoo! News Maktoob

Saudi Arabia's bourse slips for a fourth straight session since Wednesday's six-week high, while weak quarterly
earnings drags Oman's market.
Most sectors in the kingdom are lower with turnover the highest in insurance stocks.
Saudi Basic Industries Corp (SABIC) slips 0.6 percent. The world's largest chemicals producer is considering
investments in the United States to capitalise on the shale gas boom there, its chief executive officer told Reuters on Monday.

WAM | Emirates Group posts AED 2.1 billion net profit in six months

The Emirates Group today announced its half yearly results posting a AED 2.1 billion (US$ 575 million) net profit for the first six months of its current fiscal year ending 30th September, up 68 per cent from AED 1.3 billion (US$ 343 million) from 30th September 2011.

Despite continued global economic pressure and high fuel prices, the Group's revenue and other operating income rose to AED 38.2 billion (US$ 10.4 billion) an increase of 16 per cent over the last year's results. This constitutes the first time in the Group's history that revenue surpassed the US$ 10 billion mark in a six month period.

The Group's cash position on 30th September 2012 remained strong at AED 15.2 billion (US$ 4.1 billion), compared to AED 17.6 billion (US$ 4.8 billion) as of March end 2012. The AED 2.4 billion difference in the cash balance is primarily resulting from a AED 2.0 billion Sukuk bond repayment in June 2012.

UPDATE 1-Dubai sees no need to recapitalise support fund | Reuters

Dubai sees no need to recapitalise the financial support fund which provides aid to indebted state-linked companies, Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed al-Maktoum, the head of the emirate's Supreme Fiscal Committee, said on Monday.

"No, we do not need to do anything like that. All the companies are doing well," Sheikh Ahmed told reporters in response to a question.

Sheikh Ahmed did not specify how much money was left in the Dubai Financial Support Fund, saying he did not remember the exact figure.

EXPOSÉ: Qatar’s takeover of Europe - Op-Eds - Israel National News

Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal maintains a residence in Qatar, while the Taliban opened their first representation in a foreign country in its capital, Doha.

A hateful wind emanating from the small Islamic emirate is now blowing toward Europe, a wind accompanied by an ocean of poisonous, oily, bloody money - all coming from the peninsula in the Persian Gulf which today is the world’s richest country.

Slowly, Qatar is buying Europe’s assets.

Suddenly the oil rich UAE looks a safe haven from global and regional financial problems « ArabianMoney

The latest HSBC survey of 21 leading exporting nations showed traders most confident in India, Saudi, Arabia and the UAE.

As Dubai hosts the agenda sessions of the World Economic Forum this week residents of the Emirates can feel almost guilty at enjoying an economic upturn at a time when most of the world is facing a very troubled economic outlook.

You can sense the recovery in the UAE from the traffic on the roads, the difficulty in finding a seat in expensive restaurants, the crowded shopping malls or talk to the traders. In the HSBC survey 61 per cent of traders anticipated growth in their cross-border business over the next six months, while 31 per cent said trade volumes would stay at current levels.

The Times of Oman: CBO set to float RO100m bond issue next week

The Central Bank of Oman (CBO) has announced the new issue of government development bonds. The size of the new issue is fixed at RO100 million with a maturity period of five years and will carry a coupon rate of 3.25 per cent.

The issue will be open for subscription between November 17 and 29, 2012 while the auction will be held on December 3, 2012. The issue settlement date will be on December 5, 2012. Interest on the new bonds will be paid on June 5 and December 5 every year until maturity date on December 5, 2017.

Investors may apply for these bonds through the competitive bidding process only. Investors may submit bids through licensed banks operating in the Sultanate.

Kulczyk and Qatar back $700m mine project -

A group of investors led by Jan Kulczyk, Poland’s richest man, and Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund are bankrolling a $700m company investing in mineral exploration and extraction in Africa and South America, said a person close to the transaction.
The project, set to be announced this week, is expected to be managed by Lloyd Pengilly and Roger Kennedy, well-regarded bankers and minerals resources experts who left JPMorgan this year to work on their own projects. “They are supposed to be the rainmakers and the managers,” said a person familiar with the matter.

Mysteries over Saudi City court | Opinion | The Lawyer

Commercial lawyers wait to see what shape the reported Saudi ‘arbitration centre’ in London will take

On 30 October the Financial Times published an intriguing story under the headline ‘Saudis seek private court in London’.

The article describes how Saudi Arabia “plans to lobby the UK Government to set up an arbitration centre in London”, with a panel comprising leading UK lawyers and former judges, how “the Saudis aim for their largest companies, including Aramco, the state oil monopoly, contractually to stipulate the use of the London venue to settle any dispute” and how “the contracts would be written under English law”.