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Saturday, 24 November 2012

Hala Badri named to DMI board |

By a royal decree issued by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, Hala Badri, Executive Vice President, Brand and Communications at du, has been appointed as a Dubai Media Incorporated (DMI) board member. Du congratulated Hala on her new appointment.
Commenting on her appointment, Hala said, “It is an honour to have been selected by His Highness Shaikh Mohammed for this role. I am both proud and appreciative of this opportunity to represent Emirati women on the DMI board, and I look forward to working with my fellow board members. My time with du has given me the opportunity to prove myself, and the experience to make a difference in my newly appointed position.”

Bond sales demand on course for record level - The National

Soaring investor demand for UAE and Arabian Gulf sukuk shows little sign of abating as the region heads for its most active year of bond sales on record.

National Bank of Abu Dhabi said this weekend that it had raised 500 million Malaysian ringgit (Dh600.3m) through a sale of subordinated Islamic bonds, the latest in a string of debt sales aimed at Asian investors. The 15-year sukuk was priced with a coupon of 4.75 per cent following strong investor demand, said the bank.

"This new issue, which also strengthens NBAD's capital levels, reflects the commitment of NBAD to create a yield curve in [ringgit] to meet the strong investor demand for our credit and fits in very well with our core strategy of diversifying the bank's funding sources and extending our maturity profile," said Stephen Jordan, NBAD's group treasurer.

Al Meera Holding acquires Oman’s Safeer stores

Al Meera Holding Company eying at the lucrative Omani retail market potential has signed an agreement to purchase the business and assets of the ‘Safeer’ stores in the Sultanate of Oman, a release issued by Al Meera said yesterday.
Al Meera Holding Co is a subsidiary of Al Meera Consumer Goods Co (owned 99 percent by the Company and one percent by Al Meera Central Markets Company), and Al Meera Development Company LLC (owned 99 percent by the company and one percent by Al Meera Central Markets Company).
The Omani company operates hypermarkets and supermarkets in the Sultanate;    Al Meera and its  Omani partner National Investment Funds Company SAOC (NIFCO) ,  will complete within the coming days  the incorporation of Al Meera Oman and Al Meera Market SAOC   in Oman to manage the Safeer stores, and any other purchases made in the future.

Growing food in the desert: is this the solution to the world's food crisis? | Environment | The Observer

Desert blooms: Philipp Saumweber, the founder and CEO of Sundrop,
with a tray of his “perfect” produce.
Photograph: Jonathan Margolis for the Observer
The scrubby desert outside Port Augusta, three hours from Adelaide, is not the kind of countryside you see in Australian tourist brochures. The backdrop to an area of coal-fired power stations, lead smelting and mining, the coastal landscape is spiked with saltbush that can live on a trickle of brackish seawater seeping up through the arid soil. Poisonous king brown snakes, redback spiders, the odd kangaroo and emu are seen occasionally, flies constantly. When the local landowners who graze a few sheep here get a chance to sell some of this crummy real estate they jump at it, even for bottom dollar, because the only real natural resource in these parts is sunshine.

Which makes it all the more remarkable that a group of young brains from Europe, Asia and north America, led by a 33-year-old German former Goldman Sachs banker but inspired by a London theatre lighting engineer of 62, have bought a sizeable lump of this unpromising outback territory and built on it an experimental greenhouse which holds the seemingly realistic promise of solving the world's food problems.

Oman ranks high in economic freedom | Oman Observer

Oman ranks in the top five of this year’s Economic Freedom of the Arab World report published by the Fraser Institute, Canada’s leading public policy think-tank, in partnership with the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Liberty (FNF) and the International Research Foundation (IRF) of Oman.
“We’re pleased to see Oman ranked joint 5th in the 2012 Economic Freedom of the Arab World Report, this reflects the hard work and progress we’re making as a nation with regard to developing an attractive and competitive business environment,” remarked Dr Salem bin Nasser al Ismaily, Chairman, The Public Authority for Investment Promotion and Export Development (PAIPED).
Bahrain and the UAE occupy the top two positions followed by Jordan, Kuwait, and Lebanon and Oman in joint fifth position ahead of the larger economies of Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia and Egypt.

Oman’s economy keeps gaining strength |

On 18th November, Oman celebrated its 42nd independence amidst promising economic potentials including the possibility of hiking expenditures for fiscal year 2013 by a notable 10 per cent. In retrospect, the government approved the budget for 2012 with spending of US$26 billion leaving behind projected shortfall of $3.1 billion.
The International Monetary Fund considers a price of $81 per barrel as a break-even with revenues equaling expenditures for 2012 budget. Certainly, this rate is higher than that used in preparing the budget, namely $75 per barrel.
Yet, according to Reuters, Oman has reportedly sold its oil at the rate of $113 per barrel in the period of January-July. As such, final statistics for 2012 once published are bound to be different and stronger with stronger income and thereby spending and the possibility of turning the deficit into eventual surplus.

Dubai’s mega-project to boost sector growth |

With the largest mall in the world and the largest family leisure centre in the region
planned within the city, the "Mohammad Bin Rashid City" has significant impact
on the retail and tourism sectors in the long term, analysts say.
The new Mohammad Bin Rashid City is expected to encourage public-private partnerships, increase foreign investment inflows and further boost growth in the retail and tourism sectors, top business leaders and analysts said.
“This is really a bid to make Dubai the capital of the Arab world, that’s the bottom line. It’s got the airports and the port facilities, now this is an attempt to take it to the next step, to become the equivalent of Las Vegas and become the tourism centre of the Arab world,” Dr Nasser Saeedi, former Chief Economist of Dubai International Financial Centre and former minister of economy and trade of Lebanon said.
The ambitious project could become an example of public-private partnerships (PPP) at work.

Two bidders race for Aston Martin stake -

Kuwait Investment Dar has received two competing offers for a 50 per cent stake in Aston Martin and a deal may be struck as early as this weekend, according to three people familiar with the matter.
India’s Mahindra & Mahindra and European buyout group InvestIndustrial are the final bidders in competition for a share of the storied carmaker known for its starring role in James Bond films.
The bidders have proposed a 50 per cent capital increase at Aston Martin in order to bring in new investors alongside a Kuwait-based consortium led by Investment Dar.

UAE economy to reap oil windfall gains |

The UAE economy will benefit greatly from the high oil prices during 2012 although given the investment programmes and handout schemes which were announced during 2011, much of the money has already been earmarked for spending, say experts.
“Still, Abu Dhabi — and by extension the UAE — should benefit from achieving a healthy budget surplus, despite the generous spending plans,” Samuel Cizsuk, Consultant at the UK-based KBC Process Technology Ltd told Gulf News.
“Thanks to high oil prices this year, we think that the UAE will run a fiscal surplus of around 10 per cent of GDP (gross domestic product). However, our house view is that oil prices will fall next year as the global economy (and thus oil demand) weakens. We expect oil prices to fall to $85 per barrel and, as such, think the UAE’s fiscal surplus may narrow to around 5 per cent of GDP,” William Jackson, Emerging Markets Economist at the London-based Capital Economics Ltd told Gulf News.

Saudi Stock Market close - November 24, 2012

General Index
Intraday  3 month  

* market data delayed by 20 min.
 Daily Statistics
 General Index6665.49
 Change (%)0.84%
 T. Volume117095001
 T. Companies 158

Saudi Arabian Shares Snap Longest Losing Streak in 20 Months - Bloomberg

Saudi Arabian shares rose for the first time in 11 days, snapping the longest losing streak in 20 months, as regional tensions eased and investors speculated the holiday shopping season in the U.S. will boost the economy.
Etihad Etisalat Co. (EEC), the second-largest telecommunications operator in Saudi Arabia also known as Mobily, had the biggest gain in almost three weeks, and Samba Financial Group (SAMBA), the kingdom’s second-biggest lender, jumped to a one-week high.
The Tadawul All Share Index (SASEIDX) gained 0.7 percent, the biggest advance since Nov. 6, to 6,653.74 at 2:55 p.m. The gauge fell 4.8 percent in the previous 10 days to a four-month low. The benchmark index’s relative strength index closed at 29 on Nov. 21. A reading below 30 signals an asset will rebound, according to some technical analysts. The Arab world’s biggest bourse has gained 3.7 percent this year.

European banks urge one-year delay for Basel III rules - Yahoo! News Maktoob

European banks have asked the European Commission to postpone the introduction of tougher global bank capital rules by a year to 2014 after U.S. regulators told lenders they did not expect the new regulations to take effect in 2013.
The tougher rules, known as Basel III, are the world's regulatory response to the 2007-09 financial crisis and would force banks to triple the amount of basic capital they hold in a bid to avoid future taxpayer bailouts.
The European Banking Federation sent a letter on November 21 to EU Internal Market Commissioner Michel Barnier, formally requesting a delay on the grounds that EU banks would be at a competitive disadvantage if they introduced the new rules before their U.S. counterparts.