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Friday, 23 November 2012

A cooperative for the people - Khaleej Times

From a humble and small supermarket at Maysaloun, the Sharjah Cooperative Society (SCS) has grown by leaps and bounds boasting of 20 branches across the emirate. It also has an ambitious plan to set up the biggest trading and marketing complex in the UAE.

Its pioneering 20 members, chaired by Aisha Al Noman of the Sharjah Women’s Union, may not have dreamt that the SCS would grow this big in 35 years following some lean years after its establishment in 1977.

Today, the SCS has gone down in history as the first and the oldest cooperative in the UAE, and the only one in the Middle East recognised by the International Cooperative Alliance in Switzerland according to its general manager, Majid Salem Saif Al Junaid.

UAE banks have emerged stronger from the crisis |

The huge banking asset base of the UAE — to the tune of Dh1.6 trillion — is about 60 per cent higher than the country’s gross domestic product that has become the largest in the Middle East. This speaks volumes about the strong resilience of UAE banks that faced a challenging period, following the global financial crisis in 2008. They have evidently emerged leaner, agile and stronger from the crisis.
As a senior banker put it, UAE banks have got used to doing more with less — that made them smarter — and the outlook is bright. The banks have also become over-cautious in lending, from years of generous lending practices. However, in order to spearhead the economic growth, the banks should start lending now, given the changes in the economic environment. The UAE government, through the Ministry of Finance and UAE Central Bank, was quick to inject Dh120 billion soon after the crisis hit the UAE to help stabilise banks. Abu Dhabi government added Dh16 billion to support its lenders. Following the crisis, almost all the lenders made provisions for losses, restructured and streamlined their operations in order to return to growth path.

Turkey: so it IS gold for gas after all | beyondbrics

One of the strangest recent developments in Turkey has been gold sales to Iran, which have soared, so helping improve the country’s trade and balance of payments figures.

Thanks to this phenomenon, Turkey, traditionally a net importer of the metal, has racked up net gold exports of $5.5bn off the back of total gold exports of some $13bn so far this year, as Gunay Elif Girgin at Oyak Securities in Istanbul pointed out to beyondbrics.

And although direct sales to Iran itself have plummeted in recent months, that dive has coincided with a big jump in sales to the UAE, a traditional Iranian entrepot, leaving very little doubt about the ingots’ ultimate destination.

UAE'S NBAD issues $163.4 mln sukuk - Yahoo! News Maktoob

National Bank of Abu Dhabi said on Friday it had issued 500 million Malaysian ringgit ($163 million) Islamic bonds, the lender's third issuance in the Malaysian currency.
The 15-year sukuk was issued at a coupon of 4.75 percent, the bank said in a statement.

Guest post: Sawiris – Algeria must respect investment treaties | beyondbrics

Most governments in North Africa acknowledge the role of foreign direct investment in relieving poverty and encouraging economic growth – and in helping countries to respond to the challenges raised by the recent political upheavals in the region.

This is why the behaviour of the Algerian government, in threatening to rip up legal commercial agreements and investment treaties and in targeting one of the country’s largest foreign investors with a campaign of harassment and interference, is so damaging. Its actions could have a devastating impact on the business climate in Algeria and cast a shadow over the investment prospects for the whole region.

I am an international businessman and chairman of Weather Investments, which was a shareholder in Orascom Telecom Holding (OTH), a telecoms investment company.

Opec’s strategic foothold in Asia | FT Alphaville

First there was plain old commodity inventory.

Then “in-the-ground” inventory — funded by pre-pay deals — started to make an appearance. Most recently, there’s even been the tendency towards “just-in-time” inventory in energy markets.

But now, with regards to crude markets specifically, we’re seeing the emergence of extremely strategically-placed inventory.

Globalfoundaries sales pick up

Arabian chipmaker Globalfoundaries is seeing its bottom line picking up. The Abu Dhabi prince of the desert claims that its revenues will grow 31 per cent to $4.5 billion in 2012.

GlobalFoundries was spun off from AMD and is now owned by the Abu Dhabi-based Advanced Technology Investment Company (Atic).  Things are going so well for the firm it is considering an IPO in 2015, when it expects start making a profit. [Perhaps it should buy AMD now? Ed]

Ibrahim Ajami, the chief executive of Atic, also confirmed reports that GlobalFoundries was expected to make US$4.5 billion in revenues this year. The revenue of $4.5 billion equals growth of 31 per cent over last year, a pace that would establish the company as the world's fastest-growing chip firm. It is also now ranked at 15th in the top 20 foundaries in the world.

This is not bad given that the global economic environment is pants and the semiconductor industry has been quite slow.

S&P assigns ‘AA’ ratings on Qatar

Global ratings agency Standard & Poor’s (S&P) has assigned ‘AA/Stable/A-1+’ sovereign credit ratings on Qatar. The ratings on Qatar reflect S&P’s view of is high levels of economic wealth and strong fiscal and external balance sheets with modest levels of debt and large external liquidity.
Qatar is one of the wealthiest economies we rate, with GDP per capita estimated at $104,000 in 2012. Relative to peers, real GDP per capita growth has been strong in recent years, but we have anticipated a contraction from 2012 onward as the large investment progamme to boost liquid natural gas production capacity to approximately 77m tons per year tails off, S&P noted.
“Qatar’s  ratings is supported by its very wealthy economy, and strong external and fiscal balance sheets. We believe the ratings are constrained, along with those of the peer group”,it said.