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Sunday, 16 December 2012

BP seeks contract revamp on Iraq oilfield -

BP is seeking to change the terms of its contract with the Iraq government for the supergiant Rumaila oilfield, in a reflection of the challenges facing western oil companies as they try to ramp up oil production in an Iraq still dogged by poor infrastructure, red tape and export bottlenecks.
Under the contract it signed with Baghdad in 2009, BP is obliged to raise output from the field, one of the world’s largest, to 2.85m barrels a day. But the company will now propose scaling back that target.
BP says it will present a suite of options to the government, ranging from a plateau production target of slightly below 2m b/d to the original objective of 2.85m b/d.

MIDEAST STOCKS-Egypt climbs to fresh 3-wk high; Gulf mkts mixed - Yahoo! News Maktoob

Egypt's bourse rallied to a fresh three-week high on Sunday as foreign investors bought into risk but Egyptians were net sellers after a vote tally showed a narrow favour for a constitution shaped by Islamists.
Cairo's benchmark index rose 2.7 percent to its highest close since Nov. 22. All stocks, except two, gained on
the bourse.
Palm Hills Development climbed 5.4 percent, Orascom Telecom and El Saeed Contracting added 0.8 and 5.1 percent respectively. The trio were the most actively traded stocks on the EGX30 index.

Iran says oil revenues down by half: paper | Reuters

Iran's oil revenues have been cut in half this year compared with last year, a newspaper quoted Iran's economic minister as saying, an admission of how deeply Western sanctions are cutting Tehran's chief source of funds.

U.S. and European Union sanctions are designed to slash oil revenues to starve Tehran of funds that might be channeled into expensive nuclear weapons programs.

Iran denies it is seeking nuclear weapons, saying its atomic program is solely for peaceful purposes.

MENA stock markets close - December 16, 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)

Commercial court established in Sharjah court |

A new court for commercial disputes where the amounts exceed Dh100,000 has been launched at the Sharjah Federal Court of First Instance (SFCFI), officials said on Sunday.
SCFI Chairman Judge Abdul Rahman Sultan Bin Taliah said the Commercial Court has been established in light of the expansion of the business sector in Sharjah.
Its administration is guided by a Steering Committee which meets court officials on a regular basis to improve workflow, review developments and follow up performance.

Kuwait's Zain Pays Saudi Unit's $231m Motorola Debt » Gulf Business

Kuwait’s Zain said on Sunday it paid 867.8 million riyals ($231.4 million) to Motorola on behalf of its unit Zain Saudi to cover costs related to a contract entered by the unit with the U.S. firm.

Zain said it made the payment on December 12 to alleviate financial burden from its Saudi unit and to support the company’s operations, it said in a bourse statement.

Zain Saudi has not made a quarterly net profit since launching operations in 2008 and extended the maturity of a 9 billion riyals ($2.40 billion) Islamic loan for another 21 days last month.

According to the statement, the amount paid covers services that Motorola had provided the Zain unit in 2009 and agreed to pay at a later stage.

STOCKS NEWS MIDEAST-Egypt rises to fresh 3-wk high; Saudi up - Yahoo! News Maktoob

Egypt's bourse rallies to a fresh three-week high as foreign investors buy into risk but Egyptians are net sellers
after a tally showed a narrow favour for a constitution shaped by Islamists.
Cairo's benchmark index rises 2.7 percent to 5,304 points, its highest close since Nov. 22.
All stocks except two gain on the bourse. Palm Hills Development climbs 5.4 percent, Orascom Telecom
and El Saeed Contracting add 0.8 and 5.1 percent respectively. The trio are the most actively traded stocks on the EGX30 index.

Saudi Arabia spending big on rail projects | Al Bawaba

Rail transportation is playing an increasing role in the Saudi transportation sector. The government has launched a number of initiatives to develop this sector through major railway expansion projects connecting the different regions of the Kingdom. Presently, the current value of executed projects is estimated at SR 50 billion, according to a report by the National Commercial Bank (NCB).

Saudi Arabia's Railway Master Plan (SRMP) shows about SR 365 billion will be invested for railway infrastructure by 2040.

The Kingdom's growing economy, on the back of high oil prices, has led to heavy investments in railway infra-structure. Nominal GDP for the Transport and Communication (T&C) sector grew at a CAGR of 9 percent between 2002 and 2011. In 2011, T&C's nominal GDP was valued at SR 69.8 billion, accounting for 3.23 percent of total nominal GDP. In 2014, this is expected to reach SR 90 billion, accounting for 3.63 percent of total nominal GDP.

Takeover deadline extended for Islamic Bank of Britain | Reuters

Islamic Bank of Britain (IBB), the country's only sharia-compliant retail lender, said a deadline for a Qatari bank to decide on a proposed takeover offer had been extended to January.

IBB is majority-owned by Qatar International Islamic Bank , which has been in discussions since June with Qatari lender Masraf Al Rayan to sell a controlling stake in the British bank.

A deadline for Masraf, the biggest Islamic bank in Qatar, to announce a firm intention to make an offer for IBB lapsed on Dec. 10; it has now been extended to Jan. 7.

STOCKS NEWS MIDEAST-Dubai hits 11-wk low; Qatar, Oman end flat - Yahoo! News

Dubai's bourse slips to an 11-week closing low, while markets in Abu Dhabi and Qatar end near-flat, as investors find little reason to add risk amid a lack of positive regional catalysts.
Emaar Properties and Dubai Investments weigh, falling 1.9 and 1.3 percent respectively. Dubai's index sheds 0.5 percent to 1,576 points, its lowest close since Sept. 27. The emirate's market is still up 16.6 percent
"There's aren't any regional catalysts until Q4 earnings...but there's room for valuations to go up further looking into 2013," says Amer Khan, fund manager at Shuaa Asset Management. "This is especially true for banking names. Many of them are trading at a very significant discount to others in the region."

UAE delays rules on large loan exposure, liquidity | Reuters

The United Arab Emirates' central bank decided to postpone implementation of new rules that cap commercial banks' lending to state-linked companies and another regulation governing banks' liquid asset ratios, it said on Sunday.

"The Central Bank Board of Directors reviewed banks' feedback on the amendments to the Large Exposures Regulation, and decided to postpone implementation of the regulation until all items of the regulation are reviewed with banks," it said in a statement.

"The Board also reviewed banks' comments on the Liquidity Regulation...The Board decided to postpone implementation until details of the requirements of the regulation are agreed."

The statement did not elaborate on when the regulations were now expected to be implemented.

BRIEF-Dubai telco du signs $100 mln loan with DBS | Reuters

* Dubai bourse says suspends trading in telco du ahead of disclosure - statement
* Dubai telco du signs $100 mln 3-year loan facility with singapore's DBS Bank
* Du says loan facility to fund co's capital investment plans

UAE markets tick up; Kuwait up after new parliament - Stocks -

UAE markets edge higher with trading volumes focused in Abu Dhabi's real estate sector.
Eshraq Properties gains 2.4 percent, accounting for the bulk of trading activity.
Small-cap Eshraq, mainly a focus for retail investors, has risen 34.4 percent so far this year.

STOCKS NEWS MIDEAST-Fresh violence in Egypt; Saudi gains to support Gulf - Yahoo! News Maktoob

Fresh violence in Egypt will weigh on investor sentiment after Islamists attacked the offices of an opposition party newspaper on Saturday, as people voted on a new constitution.
Egyptians voted narrowly in favour of a constitution shaped by Islamists and which opponents said was a recipe for deepening divisions in the nation, officials in rival camps said on Sundaym after the first round of a two-stage referendum.
The result based on unofficial tallies, if confirmed for this round and repeated in Saturday's second stage, may give Islamist President Mohamed Mursi limited cause for celebration as it shows the wide rift in Egypt at a time when he needs to build consensus on tough measures to heal a fragile economy.

Najla Al Midfa: gender diversity at the board makes good business sense - The National

Banks are alienating half their customer base by keeping women out of top jobs. That is the view of the first female bank board member at United Arab Bank (UAB). Sharjah-born Najla Al Midfa, who is also a senior manager at the Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development, says the rate of progress in the entry of women to corporate board membership has been "unacceptably slow". Here, she talks about her experiences.

Muna Al Gurg: elder sister was my role model - The National

She is one of the country's most prominent businesswomen. Besides being the director of retail at Easa Saleh Al Gurg Group, a large family-owned company, she recently acted as a judge on the UAE reality television show The Entrepreneur and sits on five boards. Here, Ms Al Gurg talks about her career.

Noura Al Kaabi: Emirati women's contribution to benefit society - The National

She is a member of the Federal National Council and the chief executive of the Abu Dhabi media free zone twofour54. Here, she talks about the federal decree requiring government entities to have women on their boards.

Almost a third of family firms in Gulf have female board members - The National

Almost a third of family-owned businesses across the GCC have one or more female board members, a study shows.

The Pearl Initiative, a private non-profit organisation set up to improve transparency and accountability in Arab countries, interviewed this month representatives from more than 100 family-owned firms as part of a report on governance practices.

Of those questioned, 32 per cent had at least one woman sitting on the board - a figure that dwarfs established economies.

Gulf investors may be spared Fed’s impact |

It was dressed up as a technical matter, but the big news of the week, affecting everyone, was arguably dramatic stuff. Which is to say it wasn’t the Opec standstill.
By any realistic reckoning the latest strategic ploy from the US Federal Reserve ramps up the financial risks, and arguably smacks of desperation. Its decision to link interest rates to unemployment data shows it believes that it can guide the real economy, as well as manage inflation, and has assumed the prerogative do so.
Washington’s preoccupation with the so-called fiscal cliff has seemingly left something of a power vacuum. Certainly the monetary authority has taken it upon itself to (literally in economic terms) take up the slack, stepping into the breach with a vengeance.

MONEY LAUNDERING: EFCC’s intelligence reports point China, Dubai as new destinations

INTELLIGENCE reports at the beginning of the year that money launderers were picking on new destinations abroad and splitting monies to be laundered among several couriers; both designed to avoid suspicion and evade arrest, got the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) huge success in intercepting most of the bulk cash couriers at various airports in the country.

Chairman of the commission, Mr. Ibrahim Lamorde, last Monday, declared that over N15.5 billion primed to be laundered abroad had been intercepted by the commission this year.

Twenty-four hours after his disclosure, the most prominent so far of the cash courier suspects, Aminu, the eldest son of the Jigawa State governor, Sule Lamido, was arrested at the Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport (MAKIA), Kano, with $50,000.

Saudi Gazette - Against all the odds, Saudi Arabia never falters in oil supplies

ATTACKS on Saudi energy infrastructure are not something new. Ever since the advent of the “war on terror,” Saudi oil and energy infrastructure has been on the radar of extremists, terrorists and enemies. A number of attempts have been made over these last few years to hit the Saudi energy infrastructure and disrupt the flow of crude from the Kingdom to the world. Even with current glut like situation, that would simply be disastrous to the global energy balance.

An attempted attack in February 2006 on the Abqaiq oil processing facility - arguably the world’s most critical oil hub through which flows some 70 percent of Saudi Arabia’s exports was thwarted by the security forces. Yet the very news of the attempted attack on the facility caused oil prices to jump by more than $2 a barrel then, underlining the pivotal role this facility plays in the Saudi crude exports.