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Saturday, 29 December 2012

New airline operating licences in Saudi may take 3-6 months | Reuters

Foreign airlines may need about three to six months to obtain operating licences letting them enter Saudi Arabia's domestic aviation market, a spokesman for the General Authority for Civil Aviation (GACA) said on Saturday.

GACA announced on Friday that Qatar Airways and Bahrain's national carrier Gulf Air had become the first foreign airlines to obtain carrier licences under which they would be able to run local and international flights in the kingdom.

Fourteen foreign and local companies had applied for the licences, which mark a major reform of the aviation market in Saudi Arabia, the biggest Arab economy and by far the largest country in the Gulf geographically.

UAE trade to reach Dh3.60tr in 2012 |

  • Image Credit: MEGAN HIRONS MAHON/Gulf News
  • The overall trade values have grown further during the second half of 2012 and is expected to reach Dh3.60 trillion, increasing by 15 per cent by year-end
The UAE non-oil Foreign Trade witnessed a tangible improvement during 2012. It is expected to grow by 15 per cent amounting to Dh3.60 trillion according to year-end results, Abdul Rahman Al Saleh, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Foreign Trade, told Gulf News.
“The total value of UAE’s non-oil foreign trade in the first half of 2012 touched Dh718.4 billion compared to Dh646.6 billion for the same period in 2011, recording an increase by Dh71.7 billion, up by 11.1 per cent,” he said.
However, the overall trade values have grown further during the second half of 2012 and is expected to reach Dh3.60 trillion, increasing by 15 per cent by year-end, Al Saleh said.

STOCKS NEWS MIDEAST-Saudi closes slightly up after budget announced - Yahoo! News Maktoob

Saudi stocks closed slightly higher on Saturday after the government announced a 2013 state budget which analysts said was likely to support continued strong economic growth next year.
The market declined early on in response to a drop in global oil prices on Friday, but rebounded after the budget details were released. The government plans to spend 820 billion riyals ($219 billion) in 2013, 19 percent higher than the 690 billion riyals earmarked for 2012.
Analysts said actual spending in 2013 would probably exceed the 853 billion riyals that the government actually spent this year. The budget announcement was not a surprise, but it was seen as mildly positive for domestic demand-related stocks. Budget spending will focus on education, health and transport and communications.

Saudi Stock Market close - December 29, 2012

 General Index
Intraday  3 month  
 Daily Statistics
 General Index6877.06
 Change (%)0.15%
 T. Volume146394650
 T. Companies 158

UAE’s aluminium exports grow 102% in H1 2012 |

The UAE’ total exports of aluminium and its products rose by 102 per cent($ 1.5 billion) during the first half of 2012 in comparison with the same period in 2011, a study released today by the Ministry of Foreign Trade (MoFT) has revealed.
The growth is a continuation of previous increases of 56 per cent and 42 per cent in 2010 and 2011 respectively.
The study also revealed that UAE exports of aluminium products have achieved a competitive global edge and were capable of reaching 124 countries — especially in Asia and Europe — due to their production according to international standards and their high purity, as well as their widespread and intensive use in the automobile and aircraft manufacturing industry in the European Union.

Saudi Arabia budgets for increase in 2013 spending | Reuters

Saudi Arabia's government plans to spend 820 billion riyals ($219 billion) in 2013, up 19 percent from the 690 billion riyals of expenditure for which it budgeted in 2012, state television quoted the finance ministry as saying on Saturday.

Next year's budget plan envisages revenues of 829 billion riyals, compared to 702 billion riyals in the original plan for 2012, the report said.

Full details of the budget for next year are expected to be released later on Saturday. Analysts say the Saudi government traditionally makes conservative projections for both spending and oil revenues, leaving room for actual expenditure and budget surpluses to come in larger than initially forecast.

STOCKS NEWS MIDEAST-Saudi shares little changed, budget hopes to support - Yahoo! News Maktoob

Saudi stocks are little changed in early trade after opening slightly lower in response to the drop of oil prices on
Oil prices settled lower on Friday after U.S. data showed a sharp rise in gasoline inventories and as investors worried that U.S. budget negotiators may not reach a deal in time to avert a fiscal crisis that could erode oil demand.
The all-share index is up 0.1 percent to 6,876 points. Shares in petrochemical giant Saudi Basic Industries (SABIC) drop 0.3 percent.

Qatar Air launches $600m airport legal claim - Construction -

Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker.
Qatar Airways said on Saturday it will file a $600m legal claim against German Emirati joint venture construction company Lindner Depa Interiors (LDI) for causing a significant delay to the opening of the New Doha International Airport by up to a year.
The Gulf carrier said in a statement that LDI had undertaken to complete the construction of 19 airport lounges by the summer of 2012 in a contract worth over $250m, but failed to complete the project on time.
The $15.5bn airport was due to have opened this month but has now been put back to the second half of 2013.

UAE's TAQA said to eye Turkish coal field deal - Energy -

Turkey is set to sign a major coal field and power plant development agreement with Abu Dhabi Energy Company, also known as TAQA, it has been reported.
A spokesman for TAQA told Platts that the Afsin-Elbistan field deal is likely to be agreed on January 3.
Platts reported that the agreement will cover the renovation of an existing 1,400MW power plant as well as the construction of up to 7GW of new generating plant.

First trains delivered for UAE rail network - Transport -

Etihad Rail, the developer and operator of the UAE's national railway network, has announced that it has received its first shipment of wagons.
The vehicles will be used in stage one of the rail project linking Shah and Habshan to Ruwais in the Western Region, the company said in a statement.
Dr Nasser Saif Al-Mansoori, CEO of Etihad Rail, said: "The timely arrival of the wagons is yet another indicator of the rapid progress being made on this strategic national project.

Banking Special: Bahrain Remains Challenged » Gulf Business

The Bahrain banking sector continues to face the challenges of ongoing political issues connected to the unrest, which has undermined the financial sector and slowed economic expansion. Moreover, both banks and the banking sector continue to face challenges still linked to the global financial crisis. The onshore commercial banks are experiencing slow growth due to the lacklustre economic performance whilst some offshore banks are still facing financing difficulties.

Economic growth in 2012 is likely around three per cent, the lowest in the Gulf Cooperation Council. Growth is assisted by an economic development package from the GCC which began this year. This provides up to $10 billion over 10 years to protect spending on social and physical infrastructure from oil price movements, thus enabling the government to reduce the amount of borrowing required for capital projects.

Whether higher development spending will help ease social and political strains remains uncertain. Higher political risk perceptions, if they persist, will likely make it harder to generate the private sector growth required to absorb the expanding Bahraini workforce over the coming years.

Government to Raise Electricity Prices | Impatient Bedouin

Today, an article appeared in the Jordan Times that announced (buried in the third paragraph) that the government intends to raise electricity prices. The article states that “The government’s programme includes comprehensive reforms in the electricity sector through further increases in electricity tariffs and diversification of energy sources.” Raising prices is easy, diversification is easier said than done. To this point, the only “diversification” that has been made recently is a commitment by Iraq to supply 60,000 tonnes of heavy fuel instead of 30,000 tonnes, as well as increased imports of Iraqi gas. The reality is that Jordan remains as dependent on Egyptian natural gas as ever, and the contract under which Egypt commits to supply Jordan with 240 million cubic feet of gas per day expires in 2019.