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Sunday, 30 June 2013

Kuwait plans $5bn investment for the UK -

"The Kuwait Investment Authority is seeking to invest as much as $5bn directly over the next three to five years in infrastructure assets mostly in the UK, echoing a similar move by Qatar, as sovereign wealth funds look for ways to boost returns amid low interest rates.
The pledge, which highlights the fund’s positive view on UK investment conditions, comes just weeks after a failed £5.3bn takeover offer for British water utility Severn Trent by the KIA and partners Borealis of Canada and Britain’s Universities Superannuation Scheme."

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Both best and worst of times for UAE stock and bond markets - The National

"It is rare that a single six-month period contains some of the best market performance in years, and also the very worst. The first half of this year meant both for some traders.

Spreads tightened dramatically in the early months of the year, allowing the Dubai Government to raise a 10-year sukuk at a cheaper rate than Italy paid at the time.

Last month, the UAE and Qatar secured a long-anticipated upgrade to MSCI Emerging Markets status, which is expected to bring at least US$800 million in inflows from passive funds that are compelled to track the index."

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Dubai's RTA abolishes Dh24 daily Salik cap from July 15 - Emirates 24/7

"Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) announced in a media statement sent to Emirates 24|7 today that it has decided to do away with the Dh24 daily cap on the Salik toll gate system from July 15, 2013.

In the statement, RTA highlighted that the decision will only affect a small segment of Salik users, and that the average tollgate user will not be impacted by this decision as 95 per cent of private vehicles do not usually pass under Salik gates more than six times a day (Dh4 per crossing).

The RTA pointed out that the aim of the resolution is to encourage motorists to use alternative routes such as Al Khail Road and Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Road, and relieve pressure on the main highways under the Salik toll system."

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US Car Makers Look to Saudi Arabia | Crossroads Arabia

"The big-three American car makers — Ford, General Motors, and Chrysler — are looking at the possibility of setting up assembly plants in Saudi Arabia, Arab News reports. The plants would serve to feed the regional Gulf market. American companies are far from the only ones looking at vehicle assembly in the Kingdom. Isuzu is moving forward on assembly plants for light trucks. The Indian giant Tata is as well. Even Jaguar-Land Rover see potential in local assembly.

I think this is going to happen. But I also think it will be interesting to see if any sort of market develops for electric vehicles. The potential for solar power generation in Saudi Arabia is considerable, to say the least, but it’s not online yet. Given the strain already being placed on the Saudi electrical grid, I suspect these vehicles are still quite some way away from becoming popular."

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UAE ranks 14th in AT Kearney FDI Confidence Index -

"The UAE moves up one place to claim 14th position in the latest A.T. Kearney Global Foreign Direct Investment Confidence Index (FDICI).

A cautiously optimistic outlook based on realigned expectations, as well as the United States returning the top of the rankings, are the themes of the 2013 A.T. Kearney FDICI, a regular measure of senior executive sentiment at the world’s largest companies.

Conducted regularly over the last 15 years by global management consulting firm A.T. Kearney, the Index provides a unique look at the present and future prospects for international direct investment flows."

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VTB Predicts $3Bln Profit | Business | The Moscow Times

"VTB expects to achieve net profit of more than 100 billion rubles ($3 billion) in 2013, the bank's deputy CEO, Herbert Moos, said at the annual shareholders meeting on Friday, Interfax reported.

"We have confirmed a plan that presupposes an increase in profit. Judging by the first quarter results, we expect that our corporate credit portfolio will grow by about 4 percent and our retail credit portfolio by 7 percent. This is profitable growth, delivering basic income," said Moos.

Previously, VTB had forecast a rise in net profit in 2013 of up to 140 billion rubles."

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Fund Outflow Leaps | Business | The Moscow Times

"The capital outflow from funds dealing in Russian shares was $285 million in the week from June 20 to 26, up from $34 million the week before, Interfax reported, citing data from Emerging Portfolio Fund Research.

This is the fifth consecutive weekly outflow after three weeks of inflow. Since the beginning of the year, $1.823 billion has been removed from such funds.

Global funds, focused on emerging markets, are also losing money, according to Uralsib Capital. Last week, these funds lost $3.7 billion, versus $1.7 billion the week before."

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A Year In Office: Morsi’s Economic Mistakes | @REBELECONOMY

"“I have made many mistakes,” conceded Egypt’s President Mohammed Morsi in a major speech last week after just one year in office.
While not elaborating on what exactly went wrong, Morsi will today be haunted by his mismanagement as thousands take part in anti-government demonstrations across the country.
Rebel Economy is glad to shed light on the economic disasters of the last year:"

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Kingdom Executive Director for Private Equity Halawani Resigns - Bloomberg

"Ahmed Reda Halawani, who steered private equity investment for Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, has resigned from the billionaire royal’s Kingdom Holding Co. (KINGDOM)
Halawani stepped down as a member of the board and the investment committee “due to personal obligations and commitments,” Kingdom Holding said in a statement on the Saudi bourse. His resignation after 17 years at the company is effective today, it said.
Halawani worked for more than 10 years as chief executive officer of Al Azizia Commercial Investment Company, one of Saudi Arabia’s best-known investment firms and a Kingdom subsidiary. Previously, he worked in private sector development for the World Bank and for Procter & Gamble Co. (PG), according to Kingdom’s website. He was one of nine board members at Kingdom."

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Egypt Stocks Rise Amid Protests After June Slump; Kuwait Drops - Bloomberg

"Egyptian shares climbed to the highest in almost three weeks on investor bets the steepest monthly drop since November was overdone even as the government faces nationwide protests.
Commercial International Bank Egypt SAE, the nation’s largest publicly traded lender, jumped 3.8 percent and Orascom Telecom Holding rose the most in a month. The EGX 30 Index advanced 1.4 percent to 4,752.22, the strongest close since June 11 and trimming this month’s retreat to 13 percent. About 45 million shares traded compared with a one-year daily average of almost 124 million."

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Construction boost for Dubai economy - The National

"Riding on the back of resurgent construction and manufacturing sectors, Dubai's economy grew by 5.3 per cent in the last quarter of 2012, as compared with the same period in the previous year.

These sectors along with transport, storage, wholesale and retail trade, property and financial enterprises contributed about 90 per cent of Dubai's GDP.

The consumer price index during the quarter fell 0.14 per cent."

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Arqaam Capital focus shifts to deals on the continent - The National

"Arqaam Capital is preparing to start making deals in Africa as it looks to become the first call for emerging and frontier market firms seeking to deal in equities, commodities and derivatives.

The Dubai-based investment bank, which has grown its staff from four to 110 personnel within the past four years, is shifting its focus to the continent as it prepares for up to 15 mergers and acquisitions deals across its growing global business.

"Within the next six to 12 months my expectation is that we'll be announcing deals in sub-Saharan Africa," said Riad Meliti, Arqaam's chief executive. "The firm currently is running 15 mandates in M&A [mergers and acquisitions]," he said. "Normally we lead in with corporate finance and then we follow up with sales, trading and research," he said."

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New laws needed for proposed Gulf Derivatives Exchange - The National

"A planned exchange for the trading of derivatives in the UAE will need new legislation to ensure adequate regulation of the industry, the head of Abu Dhabi's stock market said.

Derivatives inspire about as much fear and anxiety among financial firms and regulators as they do giddy conversations of the growth potential of an industry that is approaching a quadrillion dollars in size and growing fast.

The global financial crisis has forced years of reflection by regulators on how best to oversee the potentially combustible industry."

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Foreign listing for Abu Dhabi's Gulf Marine Services - The National

"Gulf Marine Services, the Abu Dhabi oil equipment operator, is targeting a foreign listing next year that could value the company at up to US$500 million.

The region's biggest owner of jack-up barges - rigs that can move on their own and service either an oilfield or a wind turbine - is meeting with investment banks and aims to make a final decision this week, said Duncan Anderson,the chief executive. GMS is 79 per cent owned by Gulf Capital, the local private equity firm.

"We're choosing, but we'll probably go that way to get a listing because we've got too big for our peers for a trade sale," he said in an interview at the company's headquarters in Mussafah. "The scale we've got to very much lends itself to a listing and we're looking at stock markets.""

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Middle East will feel effect as Federal Reserve turns off the tap - The National

"As the United States Federal Reserve gets ready to gradually ease off its fire hoses, governments and businesses in the Middle East and North Africa are hoping it won't lead to an outbreak of financial wildfires.

The signal from the central bank's chairman Ben Bernanke earlier this month that the Fed may start to taper off quantitative easing (QE) this year, triggered a sell-off across equities, government bonds and emerging market assets. The Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region was no exception. The general index of the Dubai Financial Market slumped the most in a year and yields on UAE credit spiked to their highest in 18 months.

While the Fed has said the stimulus withdrawal depends on the performance of the US economy, the prospect of an end to almost five years of cheap money sloshing around the global financial system is enough to strike fear into the hearts of investors."

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On the line: UAE markets look over the edge |

"The Dubai Financial Market General Index (DFMGI) plunged 138.13 or 5.85 per cent last week to close at 2,222.46, its largest one-week decline since March 2012, and a six week low. Emaar Properties, the largest index component, contributed to the fall with its biggest drop since March 2012, ending 6.14 per cent lower. Volume fell to a nine-week low but remained in the upper range of the past several years. Weakness was widespread with 27 declining issues and only four rising.
Earlier in the week the index tested a weekly support zone at 2,182 and managed to hold above it the remainder of the week with barely a bounce. That low was 12.7 per cent off the high of 2,500.56 from a month ago.
Downward pressure remains with the DFMGI likely to see further weakness given the intensity of recent selling and the overall bearish technical picture. Of course there will be short-term rallies but the immediate trend is down."

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Gulf states can do more to attract FDI |

"The scale of foreign direct investments (FDI) attracted by the six-nation GCC grouping has by and large remained the same over the past two years. The GCC attracted some $26.5 billion (Dh97.3 billion) worth of FDI in 2012.
This was highlighted in the World Investment Report 2013 released last week by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (Unctad). The report focuses on the value of investments in trade and development.
Among other things, the report cites the increasing share of the GCC in global FDI flows — from 1.7 per cent in 2011 to almost 2 per cent in 2012. However, this partly reflects a drop in worldwide capital flow, from 2011’s $1.652 trillion to $1.351 trillion last year, in large part reflecting the uncertainties in the global economy."

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BBC News - Qatar: A country of seemingly illogical contrasts

"The Emir of Qatar did something almost unheard of this week when he abdicated in favour of his son. What kind of state has 33-year-old Sheikh Tamim Al-Thani - the Middle East's youngest ruler - inherited?

"So let me get this straight," I said to Qatar's Prime Minister, at the start of our interview.

"You disapprove of many of America's policies in the Middle East, yet you are hosting the Pentagon's biggest military base in the region?""

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Saturday, 29 June 2013

BBC News - How clay shapes industry in the UAE

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Kuwait wealth fund backs British recovery - Telegraph

"The Kuwait Investment Authority (KIA) has poured more than $24bn (£16bn) into the UK across all asset classes, sectors and industries, up from $9bn a decade ago, according to management.
Bader M Al Sa’ad, managing director of the fund, said that while the current economic environment in the UK was “very challenging” he remained bullish in the long term.
“I am still convinced that the economy of Great Britain has the resilience to survive and improve,” he said."

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Sheikha Moza, matriarch of the modern Gulf -

Her name was not mentioned in the passionate tribute that her son, the newly crowned emir of Qatar, delivered to his father in his first address to the nation. Nor did she appear in the rolling television coverage of thousands of Qataris lined up under outsized chandeliers to pledge allegiance to Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani and the newly entitled “father emir.”
But Moza bint Nasser al-Missned has been at the heart of a palace drama in Doha that reached a high point this week as her husband abdicated in favour of her son, an unprecedented moment in the modern history of Gulf monarchies.
The transition not only handed the throne to her son, one of Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani’s 24 children from his three wives. It also culminated with the removal of her main rival in the Byzantine world of the Qatari court – Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim, the powerful prime minister.
With her chiselled cheekbones, her glamorous floor-length gowns, and her unconventionally public role in the deeply conservative Gulf, 53-year-old Sheikha Moza has secured her legacy as the matriarch of modern Qatar. As one of her allies says: “This is her moment.”
The abdication also means she will have to get used to a lower profile after years as the region’s most recognisable woman. Sheikh Tamim, 33, will be naming one of his two wives as consort. “I am sure she will be more in the background domestically,” says Salman Shaikh of the Brookings Doha Center. “But she will be, like her husband, a steadying influence on what’s going on.”
Some observers say the elegantly styled sheikha is behind the Qatari investment vehicle that bought Italian fashion label Valentino last year. On the global stage, she has vied for the attention of fashion journalists with first ladies such as Michelle Obama of the US and, formerly, France’s Carla Bruni.
Closer to home, she is a source of both fascination and irritation. In the Gulf, where first ladies are rarely visible, her appearance – she wears a headscarf but not a veil – and economic and social activism have shocked. She was rumoured to have interfered in government decisions, and at times to have suggested foreign investments, such as in Harrods, to Qatar’s $100bn-plus sovereign wealth fund.
She has also carved out a domestic power base through the Qatar Foundation, an education development and scientific research organisation. About 15 years ago, it launched Education City, a campus boasting branches of universities such as Georgetown and Weill Cornell, where a new generation of Arabs is seeking western knowledge in an Islamic setting.
The development drive has collided with the rigid confines of Qatar’s autocracy. In 2008 Sheikha Moza was behind the creation of a press-freedom organisation in Doha headed by Robert Ménard, former head of Reporters Without Borders. Less than a year into the job, Mr Ménard quit, slamming what he said was some Qatari officials’ resistance to the centre’s independence.
A hard worker who likes to stay fit – she is said to enjoy spinning exercise classes – the sheikha is considered forthcoming and loyal but also firm. People who have dealt with them describe her personal office and the Qatar Foundation as “snake pits” of petty politics.
In fact, she has never been a stranger to palace intrigue. Shortly after she was born in a coastal Qatari town in 1959 to a prominent merchant family, her father fell out with the emir and went into exile in Egypt and Kuwait. She is said by one source to have met the crown prince she married at 18 as he tried to broker the family’s return. It was sweet revenge for the family when he ousted his backward-looking father in a bloodless coup in 1995.
Although she is the emir’s second wife – and her allies say his third marriage was designed to stem grumbling about Sheikha Moza’s power – she has been unchallenged as first lady at a time when the tiny state has leveraged its natural gas wealth into financial and political influence in London and other cities.
Independent-minded like her husband, the sheikha went back to Qatar University to finish her sociology degree after their marriage. The partnership is said to be strong: people who meet the couple note their intellectual intimacy, as they finish each others’ sentences on matters from art to foreign affairs.
Sheikha Moza is believed to have helped persuade her husband to back Libyan rebels in 2011, when Muammer Gaddafi threatened to over-run Benghazi, a defining moment of Qatar’s more activist regional policy in recent years. Her affinity with the city was forged in exile when her father entered a business partnership with a prominent Benghazi family.
However, analysts say her son may adopt a different tone on regional conflagrations such as the Syrian war, following accusations of meddling by the Sunni-dominated state and quiet domestic concern about threats to the stability of one of the world’s richest nations.
Her greatest influence has been at home, where she and her husband led the elite that drove political, cultural and educational programmes while the nation struggled to absorb the pace of change. Some decisions associated with the sheikha have been reversed amid a popular backlash. For example, she brought in consultants who recommended making English the primary language at the country’s national university. Sheikh Tamim is credited with rolling back that decision; and, perhaps as part of preparations for the transition, he has developed a more traditional image.
Many Qataris expect the emir’s rule to stress the preservation of national identity and traditions in a country where expatriates make up 85 per cent of the population. With her victory sealed, Sheikha Moza must now adjust to the new realities as her public profile recedes. “She will have to be careful how she projects her domestic role,” says Brookings’ Mr Shaikh. “And she will be.”
The writers are the FT’s Gulf business correspondent and Middle East editor

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Azarov: Ukraine timely pays off foreign debts - ForUm

"Ukraine pays off its external obligations always on time and in full, Prime Minister Mykola Azarov said during a meeting with head of the IMF mission in Ukraine Nikolay Georgiev on Thursday, the press service of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine reports.

"Measures adopted by the government allowed stabilizing the situation related to the balance of payments. We execute all our obligations in full, and year 2013 is totally understandable for us from the point of view of obligations on foreign payments. We do not have any concern for their implementation," Azarov said.

He also noted that Ukraine has a quite difficult financial and economic situation, which is primarily associated with a decrease in demand on global markets for the traditional Ukrainian exports – metal and ore. Therefore, Ukraine was forced to take strict measures on fiscal discipline and to introduce some restrictive measures on imported products, the Prime Minister explained.

Azarov said that the government's program to enhance the economy involves 4.5 million tons of metal for use on the domestic market. According to him, in particular, it will allow to ensure the growth of the gross domestic product.

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Russia Affirmed at BBB by S&P as Putin Wait for Upgrade Drags On - Bloomberg

"Russia had its credit rating affirmed at BBB, the second-lowest investment grade, by Standard & Poor’s, dashing the government’s hopes for the country’s first upgrade in five years before a potential $7 billion bond sale.
Weak institutions and the budget’s reliance on oil revenue continue to offset the country’s robust public finances, S&P, which kept the outlook at stable, said in a statement released today. Russia was last upgraded to Baa1 at Moody’s Investors Service in July 2008.
The world’s largest energy exporter has had its ranking on hold since S&P cut it in December 2008 and Fitch Ratings did the same the next year after crude prices plunged. Russia seeks to boost the debt grade no less than two steps to A- by 2016 and another level to A by 2020, according to a government plan approved in March."

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No ongoing talks on consortium to manage Ukrainian GTS, says Gazprom CEO

"Russia's gas company Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller has said that there have been no talks recently about the establishment of a consortium to manage the Ukrainian gas transportation system, because no necessary amendments to Ukraine's laws have been made.

"No talks on the establishment of a gas transportation consortium are held. There is no reason to hold negotiations on the consortium. In order to hold substantive talks, it is necessary to make changes to the Ukrainian legislation, it is necessary to amend a dozen of laws and regulations of Ukraine. This has not been done yet," Miller said at a press conference in Moscow on Friday.

According to him, the Ukrainian counterparts first assured that this will happen within one timeframe, then the deadline was changed. "Time goes by, but nothing happens," the Gazprom CEO said.

Miller also noted that this matter was not raised during last week's talks with Ukraine."

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Qatar’s new emir: A hard act to follow | The Economist

"IF ANYONE understands the frustration of being a crown prince, it is Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani. For two decades he played second fiddle to his own father. But on a sweltering summer day in 1995 he informed Qatar’s unsuspecting emir, then on holiday in Switzerland, that his royal ruling services would no longer be required.

Sympathy with the impatience of youth may be one reason for Hamad’s announcement on June 25th that he was handing power to his 33-year-old son, Tamim. The move was unusual. Changes of power during two centuries of al-Thani rule have tended to be non-consensual, and few Arab monarchs anywhere have ever willingly abdicated (see chart). The new emir is barely half the age of his youngest fellow-sovereign in the Gulf Co-operation Council, the six-member club of oil-rich Arab states."

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Myanmar telecom deal with Qatar firm sparks ire | Arab News — Saudi Arabia News, Middle East News, Opinion, Economy and more.

"Religious tensions engulfing Myanmar spread yesterday to the world of big business: Monks and others in the Buddhist-dominated country demanded to know why a lucrative license for a new national mobile phone network had gone to a company from a Muslim nation.
Currently 7.3 million of Myanmar’s 60 million people have access to mobile phones, making it one of the least connected countries in the world, according to government statistics seen yesterday. Eager to push that number to 45 million by 2015, the former military-run nation decided to loosen its grip on the industry and award licenses to build and operate mobile networks.
Norway’s Telenor was widely seen as a favorite and there was little surprise that it was one of the two winners announced Thursday."

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Ukraine: The gas king turned media mogul | The Economist

"“I CONSIDER  the sale of Forbes Ukraine the end of the project in its current form,” wrote Vladimir Fedorin, the publication’s editor-in-chief on June 22nd. “I am convinced the buyer is pursuing one of three goals (or all three): 1) to shut journalists up before the presidential election; 2) to whitewash his reputation; 3) to use the publication for purposes that have nothing to do with the media business.” When news broke about the sale of the owner of Forbes Ukraine, United Media Holding (UMH), to Sergei Kurchenko, a secretive 27-year old multimillionaire believed to be a straw man, Mr Fedorin did not mince words.

It was Forbes Ukraine that first introduced the previously unknown Mr Kurchenko to the world. In an article titled “The Gas King of All Ukraine”, exposed how in a few months his company, GazUkraine-2009, had become one of the country's largest petroleum product importers and a liquified petroleum gas major. It also revealed ties to firms involved in gas smuggling and links between Mr Kurchenko and the son of the prosecutor general, Viktor Pshonka. Both have denied the links."

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Russia’s rating: S&P sticks | beyondbrics

"The best gamblers know when to get out of the game, rather than throwing money at a losing bet in the hope it comes good.

With that in mind, let us look at Russia – and specifically, its credit rating.

Last month, JPMorgan was hired specifically as a consultant to “promote the sovereign credit rating of the Russian Federation”, according to a finance ministry statement. It’s not known how big the contract is."

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Iraq: Iran’s Economic Gateway To the World - Al-Monitor: the Pulse of the Middle East

"The Trade Promotion Organization of Iran (TPOI) said on Monday, June 24, 2013, that 72% of Iran’s exports go to Iraq, and revealed that Iraq's imported goods from Iran increased by nearly 15% this year.
The Iranian Fars News Agency quoted TPOI deputy Kiumars Fathallah Kermanshahi as saying that “Iraq receives 72% of the total volume of Iran's foreign trade, and is ranked first as the biggest importer of Iranian goods.”
For years, the UN and Western countries have imposed a series of sanctions against Iran, which is accused of seeking to develop nuclear weapons, under cover of an alleged civil program. Yet, Tehran denies these accusations."

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Friday, 28 June 2013

India: coal and gas stocks get boost | beyondbrics

"On Friday, India’s cabinet approved the creation of an independent regulator for the coal industry and announced that the Coal Regulatory Authority Bill 2013 will now be put before Parliament.

So far, all as expected. So why have shares in Coal India jumped over 7 per cent?

The proposed regulatory body would set out the methodologies to be used in setting prices, rather than determining them directly. And its other responsibilities would include testing the quality of coal, as well as settling disputes in the industry. But it’s not revolutionary: the new body will still leave price setting powers with Coal India. And in any case, purchasers usually test the quality of the coal they are buying."

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ENERGY - BP confirms TAP to carry Azeri gas to Europe via Greece, Albania, Italy

"BP said on Friday that natural gas from Azerbaijan's vast Shah Deniz II field will flow to Europe via Greece, Albania, Italy route confirming defeat for the Nabucco West project which had proposed a pipeline to Austria.

First envisioned more than a decade ago, the project reflects a European Union push for alternatives to Russian gas imports and is expected to start flowing in 2019.

"Azerbaijan's first gas to Europe will be exported via the TAP pipeline," said Gordon Birrell, BP regional president for Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey."

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Sony says Dubai dealers sold Iran $12.8 million in equipment | Reuters

"Sony Corp said some dealers in Dubai resold about $12.8 million worth of its video equipment and medical instruments to Iranian ministries, in a move that could possibly attract U.S. penalties.

The dealers resold some equipment to Iran's broadcasting unit and health ministry, and some also planned to sell equipment to the information technology department of the country's police, the firm said in a filing with the U.S. regulator.

"If the relevant authorities were to impose penalties or sanctions against Sony, the impact of such sanctions could be material," the company said in Thursday's filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission."

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A Gauge of Investor Fear in India Goes Largely Unnoticed - MoneyBeat - WSJ

"An index that measures investor fear in India’s stock markets recently hit its highest level in nearly a year, but hardly anyone noticed. That may change if the National Stock Exchange of India receives approval to launch trading products linked to the index.

India’s VIX, modeled after CBOE’s Volatility Index, rises when stocks fall, and vice versa. The CBOE VIX is widely followed by those trying to track market sentiment, and is used as a counter-intuitive indicator of market turning points at extreme levels.

In India, few people even know what the VIX is."

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Dubai gold premium surges as airlines can’t cope with huge demand « ArabianMoney

"The restrictions on freight capacity in airlines serving Dubai, one of the world’s key gold trading centres is forcing the premium on the physical metal to record levels due to a surge in demand for the physical metal now that the paper futures price has fallen so low.

The National newspaper today quotes the MD of Kaloti Gold in Dubai, Tarek El Mdaka as saying that he cannot find a place for transporting gold on Emirates, BA and Swiss this weekend. He is bringing between 1.5 and two tonnes of gold into the city every day, and it is going straight back out to overseas buyers."

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Murdoch, Abu Dhabi group eye Financial Times - Yahoo!7 Finance Australia

"Media mogul Rupert Murdoch and Abu Dhabi's state media group are in talks to acquire the Financial Times Group for about $1.2 billion, a report said Friday.
The move would see Murdoch add the respected Financial Times name as well as 50 percent of the Economist magazine to his vast empire, which already includes the Wall Street Journal and Dow Jones.
The Edge Review, a regional political and business digital magazine based in Malaysia, said the talks had been progressing for more than a month with the owners -- London-based publishing and education giant Pearson."

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Myanmar telco auction: the good and the bad | beyondbrics

"The decision by Myanmar’s government to award two fiercely contested national mobile communications licenses to Qatar’s Ooredoo and Norway’s Telenor Mobile Communications on Thursday raised as many questions as answers among Yangon-based analysts – not least due to an eleventh-hour effort by the country’s parliament to block news of the winning bids.

At the same time, conclusion of the contest reassured a growing number of investors eyeing Myanmar that the country is capable of conducting a transparent, fair and efficient public tender.

Under decades of harsh and secretive military rule, Myanmar was known for corruption and opacity in its business dealings. The telecoms contest – the first large public tender outside the natural resources sector to include foreign companies – was widely praised by consultants and participating companies, including Sunil Bharti Mittal, head of India’s Bharti Airtel, as “world class”."

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India’s smartphone surge: look out for the local brands | beyondbrics

"India has overtaken Japan to become the world’s third largest market for smartphones, joining China and the US on the podium.

In some ways, it’s unsurprising. With a population of over a billion people India is bound eventually to be among the largest markets for pretty much anything. What is interesting is how Indians are using their phones – and the local handset makers that are seeing lightning fast growth.

The Indian market is growing rapidly with sales up 164 per cent year-on-year to 10m between January and March, according to the consultancy, Strategy Analytics. Compare that with growth of 86 per cent in China, 24 per cent in Japan and 19 per cent in the US, and a global average of 39 per cent in the same period."

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Saudi America Will Overtake Saudi Arabia As The World's Top Oil Producer Within A Decade - SFGate

"There's still some debate about whether America's shale oil boom is  merely an overnight sensation or a true-blue gamechanger — we've featured both sides here.

In a new study published by Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, former oil company executive Leonardo Maugeri predicts that for America's three largest shale oil plays — the Bakken in North Dakota and the Eagle Ford and Permian Basin in Texas — the boom should last at least another decade.

He arrives at that estimate by calculating current well densities — how many wells there are in a given acre of shale play — and improving rig efficiencies, the result of improved drilling times and lower-cost drilling methods. Plus, he writes, new infrastructure coming online will make it cheaper to invest in these plays:"

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Thursday, 27 June 2013

BUSINESS - Turkcell eye Dubai’s Tunisie Telecom stake

"Thirteen companies including Abu Dhabi-based Etisalat and Turkey’s Turkcell have expressed interest in buying Dubai Holding’s 35 percent stake in state-owned Tunisie Telecom, a government official said on late June 26.

The Tunisian government said last week that Dubai Holding, which owns the stake through its unit Emirates International Telecommunications (EIT), was considering selling out of the former monopoly Tunisie Telecom.

EIT, which paid $2.25 billion for the 35 percent holding in 2006, has hired Credit Suisse to advise on a sale, banking sources said. "

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US shale output forces change in market norms |

"Even without a relaxation of the ban on US crude oil exports, the ripples of the shale revolution have already reached Asia. Nowhere is that more obvious than in changes it has forced in the official selling prices Saudi Arabia charges to its customers.
More than half of Saudi Arabia’s crude exports head to refineries in China and the rest of Asia. Not a single barrel of US shale oil is sent to the region because of the export ban.
Nonetheless soaring output of light sweet crudes from shales in North Dakota and Texas has already profoundly affected selling prices by displacing former imports from Nigeria, Libya and other light oil producers. One result has been a sharp narrowing of the former pricing differential between light and heavy crudes, which has intensified problems for African light crude producers."

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Abu Dhabi break-even for oil at $95, says Merrill Lynch report - The National

"More measured spending has helped to bring down the Abu Dhabi Government's fiscal oil break-even price to US$95 per barrel this year, estimates Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

It follows a jump from $33 per barrel in 2007 to $121 in 2009 as the Abu Dhabi Government extended cash support to help debt-ridden Dubai, the bank said in a report released yesterday.

"Gradual fiscal consolidation though on-budget capital expenditure rationalisation and normalisation of support extended in the emirate has been bringing down the Abu Dhabi central government fiscal oil break-even price to below $100 per barrel," Jean-Michel Saliba, an economist covering Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa at BAML wrote in the report."

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Qatar Raises 2013 Growth Forecast on Hydrocarbons - Bloomberg

"Qatar raised its 2013 economic growth forecast to 5.3 percent from 4.8 percent projected in December on larger-than-expected production of oil and gas, the country’s planning agency said.
“Output of pipeline gas is expected to be higher in 2013 than projected in December and oil production is expected to fall more slowly,” the General Secretariat for Development Planning said in an e-mailed report.
The agency also raised its projection for the country’s fiscal surplus to 8.1 percent of gross domestic product from 5.4 percent, according to the report."

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LUKoil Iraq | Business | The Moscow Times

"LUKoil expects that oil production in the West Qurna-2 project in Iraq will begin in 2014, CEO Vagit Alekperov said, Interfax reported.

"Production drilling has already begun at the deposit. The first industrial oil extraction volumes are expected at the beginning of 2014," Alekperov said. Peak oil production at the site should be 60 million tons a year, he said.

LUKoil had planned to start producing oil at West Qurna-2 at the end of this year."

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Biocad Said to Seek Buyer in Sale That May Top $1 Billion - Bloomberg

"Biocad, a Russian biotechnology company that’s trying to copy some of the world’s top-selling cancer medicines, is seeking a buyer, said two people with direct knowledge of the matter.
Biocad may be valued at as much as $1 billion, according to one of the people, who asked not to be identified as the talks are private. A second person estimated its value at closer to $750 million. The closely held St. Petersburg-based company hired William Blair & Co. to organize the sale process, which is in its final stages, one of the people said.
U.S. drugmaker Pfizer Inc (PFE) (PFE). and Amgen Inc (AMGN)., the world’s biggest biotechnology company, are two of three remaining bidders, one of the people said. Like Biocad, both U.S. companies are working on so-called biosimilars, which are copies of branded biological drugs."

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MIDEAST STOCKS-Abu Dhabi's Sorouh rises in last trading day; most mkts rise | Reuters

"Abu Dhabi's Sorouh Real Estate rose on Thursday in its last trading session before being delisted as part of its state-backed merger with Aldar Properties, while all regional markets gained ahead of the weekend.

The tie-up, aimed at reviving the emirate's battered real estate sector, creates the second-largest listed property firm in the United Arab Emirates and one of the biggest in the Middle East with assets of about $13 billion.

"The merged company is attractive at this stage; the backlog of Abu Dhabi projects is strong," said Ali Adou, portfolio manager at The National Investor. "I'm bullish on the contracting, construction and cement sectors in the UAE so it's a good play to be in over the next two years.""

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Rosneft Offers to Buy Out Small TNK-BP Shareholders | Business | The Moscow Times

"Rosneft on Thursday offered to buy out small shareholders in TNK-BP Holding but said it would pay less for the stock than the price at the time of the takeover in March.

Chief executive Igor Sechin said Rosneft was not a "charity fund" when it bought TNK-BP and did not intend to buy out minority shareholders, raising complaints from them and questions from international investors about corporate governance in Russia.

Following the TNK-BP deal, Rosneft became the world's No. 1 oil producer by output, pumping 4.5 million barrels per day — nearly half of Russia's total — but its capitalization of $74 billion is a fraction of U.S. ExxonMobil's."

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Myanmar To Grant Wireless Licenses To Norway's Telenor, Qatar Telecom - Forbes

"One of Asia’s least connected countries is getting wired at last. Myanmar said Thursday that it had awarded cellular-phone licenses to Norway’s Telenor and Qatar Telecom, ending months of speculation over which foreign consortia would get the nod. Ten other bidders had sought to build out networks in Myanmar, a country of around 60 million people with less than 9% mobile phone penetration. Myanmar, also known as Burma, already has two domestic cellphone operators, but service is poor. Foreign investment in infrastructure like telecoms is seen as crucial to bring Myanmar into the modern era. The 15-year wireless licenses take effect in September and would represent the largest foreign investment in Myanmar since a semi-elected government took power in 2011, ending decades of isolationist military rule."

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Egypt Risk Jumps to Record as Political Rift Widens Pre-Protests - Bloomberg

"Egypt’s default risk soared to a record after a speech by President Mohamed Mursi failed to alleviate investor concerns ahead of planned nationwide rallies this weekend.
Five-year contracts that protect against default by the second-most indebted Arab country rose 12.5 basis points to 887.5 at 3:26 p.m. in Cairo, according to CMA prices, the highest on a closing basis since Bloomberg started tracking them in 2009. The country’s risk, among the highest 10 in the world, for the first time climbed above that of Pakistan, which has the same junk rating of Caa1 at Moody’s Investors Service.
Pro- and anti-government camps plan rallies for June 30, when Mursi marks one year in office. The president in a nationally-televised address last night blamed the nation’s crisis on an opposition that has rejected his calls for talks. Clashes between his supporters and opponents, who accuse him of consolidating power and failing to revive the economy, have injured hundreds this week and killed one person."

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Chief Who Built Biggest Arab Bank Takes Over Qatar Finances - Bloomberg

"For Ali Shareef Al Emadi, managing the finances of the world’s richest country is a job he’s already been involved in for eight years.
During that time, the chief executive officer of Qatar National Bank SAQ, who was appointed finance minister in a new Qatari government late yesterday, helped build the company into the Middle East’s biggest lender. QNB grew its assets to more than $100 billion in the period, the only Arab bank to reach that threshold, data compiled by Bloomberg show.
“Qatar National Bank closed some of the key acquisitions outside Qatar and grew significantly in size under the leadership of Ali Shareef Al Emadi,” Amol Shitole, a credit analyst with SJS in Bangalore, India, said by e-mail today. “The bank has a clear strategy in place to expand internationally by carefully selecting markets.”"

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Russia privatisation: don’t bet on it | beyondbrics

"To nobody’s great surprise, Russia on Thursday revealed that it was cutting in half its target for privatisation revenues for 2014-16.

The government blamed the financial markets. But the truth is that Russian assets are hard to sell at the best of times. The country needs the economic reforms that president Vladimir Putin has often spoken about, including at the recent St Petersburg Economic Forum, but has so far largely failed to deliver.

As Reuters reported, the State Property Agency slashed its 2014 privatisation revenue forecast to Rbs180bn ($5.5bn), down from around Rbs350bn, with similar cuts in 2015 and 2016. The revisions came with an estimate that this year’s privatisation revenues are likely to reach just Rbs60bn, or 14 per cent of their original target."

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Lukoil CEO Says No Sale as Rosneft Bid Spree Rumors Swirl | Business | The Moscow Times

"Lukoil has not received any takeover offers and does not expect one, its chief said Thursday, after it became the latest Russian oil company to face speculation that it could be a target for state oil company Rosneft.

Since its record $55 billion deal to buy TNK-BP, creating the world's largest listed oil producer and by far the largest in Russia, Rosneft has been the subject of speculation that it will embark on a fresh buying spree despite large debts.

Its powerful CEO, Igor Sechin, an ally of President Vladimir Putin, has fashioned Rosneft into an instrument of state control of the oil industry, and many industry sources believe that it could pursue more acquisitions, including large ones."

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SNC-Lavalin's UAE project was cover for suspect payments - Business - CBC News

"SNC-Lavalin says a gas project in the United Arab Emirates was used as a cover to transfer $13.5 million to unknown agents, a portion of the $56 million in questionable payments identified by the company in an internal investigation last year.

The Montreal-based based company said the amount was falsely attributed to the project even though the money went elsewhere. Another $20 million was also wrongly attributed to another project which SNC-Lavalin is refusing to identify.

"The payment in the UAE never actually happened," said spokeswoman Leslie Quinton."

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Erdogan’s ire: next up, corporate Turkey | beyondbrics

"One of the rules of thumb about understanding Recep Tayyip Erdogan is to watch what he does, not what he says. The Turkish prime minister is known for his capacity to come out with fiery rhetoric on occasion, but also for a record of reforms that outstrips most of his modern day predecessors.

Still, it may be getting harder to distinguish word and deed, particularly when it comes to Erdogan’s recent denunciations of an “interest rate lobby” hostile to Turkey and his apparent threats against the Koc group, Turkey’s biggest conglomerate.

As Erdogan has it, the interest rate lobby – which appears to refer both to foreign capital and Turkish financial groups – was partly behind the country’s recent mass protests. The Koc group, which boasts that it accounts for some 10 per cent of the country’s GDP, is an old bête noire – the epitome of the “white Turks”, or established priviliged elite, Erdogan has attacked throughout his career."

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Oman could have a low-cost carrier by first half of 2014 | Al Bawaba

"The sultanate will have at least one low-cost carrier (LCC) by the first half of 2014 with the possibility of more licences being awarded, according to Salim Nasser Said al Aufi, chief executive officer of the Public Authority for Civil Aviation.

Speaking to mediapersons on the sidelines of the Arab Aviation and Media Summit at Salalah's Hilton Hotel on Wednesday, Aufi said the Authority is studying all civil aviation services that are not currently available in Oman, including budget airlines, executive aviation and helicopter aviation.

He said, "We are looking at restructuring the aviation sector, including some of the companies. The next two-to-three years will see a lot of work and the aviation business in Oman will be changed completely.""

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Ukraine comes to agreement with new leadership of IMF mission on continuation of dialogue on new program of cooperation : Ukraine News by UNIAN

"On Wednesday, on June 26 a delegation of representatives of International Monetary Fund held a meeting with Vice Prime Minister of Ukraine Serhiy Arbuzov, during which they discussed  issues of cooperation and agreed to continue an active dialogue with a goal to come to agreement concerning a new program of cooperation
The press service of the first Vice Prime Minister disclosed this to UNIAN.
According to the report, within a framework of the meeting with first Vice Prime Minister of Ukraine Serhiy Arbuzov and ministers of economic bloc of the government was held and new head of the IMF Mission in Ukraine Nikolay Gueorguiev was introduced."

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Poll: 42% of Ukrainians support entry to EU, 31% prefer Customs Union

"A majority of Ukrainians say that entering the European Union should be the main integration direction for Ukraine, according to the poll held by the Ilko Kucheriv Democratic Initiatives Foundation and the Razumkov Center.

According to the survey's results, which were posted on Thursday, 42% of those polled support entering the EU, while 31% are for joining the Customs Union.

However, 13.5% of Ukrainians say Ukraine should join neither the EU nor the Customs Union."

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Dubai's Emirates plans new aircraft lease deal | Reuters

"Dubai's Emirates airline plans to lease new Airbus A380 superjumbo aircraft from a finance company that will issue $630 million of bond-type certificates to fund the purchase of the planes.

Emirates, one of the world's fastest-growing airlines, has been diversifying its funding strategy to expand its fleet and compete with regional peers such as Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways.

The Gulf carrier signed a similar lease deal worth $587.5 million in June last year."

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Corporate watch: Russian Towers plans to dominate telecoms landscape | beyondbrics

"Russian mobile phone operators just launched their first 4G networks and the biggest cities are due to be covered by the end of this year. The move to better technology has opened a new world of opportunity for Russian Towers, the country’s first, and to date only, independent company leasing out mobile phone base stations to what are now the biggest operators in Europe.

Peter Owen Edmunds is one of the pioneers of Russian telecoms. After leaving the British Army’s Welsh Guards he moved to St Petersburg where he was one of the founding partners in PeterStar, the first commercial fixed overlay network operator. PeterStar was set up in 1992 and blazed the trail for foreign investors into the new Russian market, and was eventually sold to Russian major mobile phone operator MegaFon in 2002."

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GCC corporate banking at peak, says The Boston Consulting Group -

"UAE. According to a recent study published by The Boston Consulting Group (BCG), GCC banks’ corporate banking divisions are at peak levels in terms of revenues and net profits and have even crossed the pre-crisis levels seen in 2008.

This impressive performance is even more apparent when compared to the same banks’ retail banking divisions, where revenues and net profits have barely touched 2008 levels.

In its Corporate Banking Benchmarking Report, BCG highlights a ‘multi-speed world’ for the corporate banking divisions of banks across the globe and highlights positive growth for GCC markets in this context."

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Tymoshenko proposes national round table for meeting criteria for signing association agreement with EU

"Former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko has offered to establish a national round table to meet the necessary criteria for signing of the Association Agreement with the EU.

"I think we should immediately set up a new organizational structure in the form of a round table or assembly, which will be working actively and publicly from now until the entry into force of the Association Agreement, including the signing and ratification of this document," Tymoshenko wrote in her article "67 Working Days?" which was published on Thursday in Ukrainska Pravda Internet newspaper.

Tymoshenko suggested naming the structure - the national round table "Understanding for the Sake of the European Future.""

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Renewables To Surpass Gas By 2016 In Global Power Mix - IEA Eurasia Review

"Power generation from hydro, wind, solar and other renewable sources worldwide will exceed that from gas and be twice that from nuclear by 2016, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said Wednesday in its second annual Medium-Term Renewable Energy Market Report (MTRMR).

According to the MTRMR, despite a difficult economic context, renewable power is expected to increase by 40% in the next five years. Renewables are now the fastest-growing power generation sector and will make up almost a quarter of the global power mix by 2018, up from an estimated 20% in 2011. The share of non-hydro sources such as wind, solar, bioenergy and geothermal in total power generation will double, reaching 8% by 2018, up from 4% in 2011 and just 2% in 2006."

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Chart of the Day: Surging Home Prices

"The US real estate market continues to surge. For some perspective, today’s top chart illustrates the US median price (adjusted for inflation) of a single-family home over the past 43 years while today’s bottom chart presents the annual percent change in home prices (also adjusted for inflation).

Today’s chart illustrates that the inflation-adjusted median home price has rarely increased more than 7.5% in one year (gray shading). When inflation-adjusted home prices did increase more than 7.5% in one year, it was often soon followed by a period of stagnant or declining prices. The exception to this occurred during the credit bubble (2001 and 2002). It is worth noting that over the past 12 months, the median price for a single-family home has shot up at the fastest pace on record.

Palestinian Stock Exchange Has Potential to Grow - Al-Monitor: the Pulse of the Middle East

"The Palestinian Capital Market Authority is increasing its efforts to protect the most important Palestinian economic bodies — such as the Palestine Stock Exchange — which have been negatively impacted by a lack of investment awareness, the internal political schism between Fatah and Hamas, and the ongoing Israeli economic siege, now entering its seventh consecutive year.
All this has prompted a flight of local capital to other Arab and international stock markets. No sooner does one enter the trading floor in a Palestinian brokerage firm than does one feel that a stillness has come over the commotion of stock trading."

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Bahrain hikes public spending despite rising deficits to buy peace - Quartz

"Bahrain is spending beyond its means to tackle continued political unrest. The tiny island kingdom’s state spending is expected to jump 11% this year to 3.62 billion dinars ($9.6 billion), including 174.2 million dinars in additional expenditure for populist measures like increased food subsidies and higher pensions for retirees. Even in 2012, Bahrain had increased its planned expenditure by 19% to placate protestors who were demanding political reforms.  The protestors, who mainly belong to the majority Shia population, are demanding greater freedoms and rights from the Sunni royal family. The largesse comes even as International Monetary Fund and Moody’s warned Bahrain that its rising budget deficits could soon get out of hand. The IMF expects Bahrain’s fiscal deficit to widen from 2.6% of GDP in 2012 to 4.2% this year, and then keep rising sharply to 8.6% in 2018. The biggest threat for Bahrain could come from a sustained decline in oil prices, since the government relies on crude sales for more than 85% of its revenue. The IMF pointed out that Bahrain needed crude prices to stay around $118 per barrel to balance its budget. "

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Gulf Daily News » Business News » Oman sukuk approved

"Oman's first corporate sukuk has received regulatory approval and the five-year, 50 million rial ($130m) private placement aims to close next month, its lead arranger said yesterday.

The sukuk will be issued by Tilal Development Company and the proceeds will be used to repay existing debt and expand the Muscat Grand Mall. If successful, the issue could pave the way for other companies in the sultanate to sell Islamic bonds.

"We have already done our roadshows and also got some commitments from pension funds locally," said Al Madina Investment's Islamic finance head Mohsin Shaikh Sehu Mohamed."

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Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Nakheel sukuk yields jump with concern over debt refinancing - The National

"Nakheel's sukuk yields spiked yesterday, as the developer discusses its options on how to refinance its upcoming debt repayments.

Yields for the developer of Dubai's man-made islands on its Islamic bonds maturing in 2016 hit their highest level since November last year. They had spiked 272.3 basis points to 10.2 per cent since May 22, when the US central bank chairman Ben Bernanke first discussed the possibility of rolling back the country's quantitative easing policy.

Bond yields move in the opposite direction from prices. Nakheel disclosed in February that it was in talks to extend a Dh8 billion loan which falls due in 2015, but reports published yesterday suggested it was talking to banks about a potential bond sale."

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HSBC tells small firms in UAE to find new lender - The National

"HSBC is putting many small business owners on notice that they have two months to find a new lender after conducting an internal review.

One 14-year customer of the bank being forced to close his account said the bank had an "obligation to service the community" and not just use them to make profits.

"HSBC has been conducting a review of all its businesses since May 2011, to meet its goal of streamlining the business and improving the return on capital. As part of this, the bank is reviewing its portfolio of small business customers in the UAE," the bank said."

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Poland: 3 options to reduce the pension-debt problem | beyondbrics

"Poland plans to reduce the role private pension funds play in the country’s hybrid pension system in order to reduce public debt as it battles an economic slowdown.

Polish stocks on the main WIG20 index rebounded from a 10-month low after the opening of trading on Wednesday once the market realised the government was not intendig to nationalise pension fund assets, the biggest investor in the local equity market.

Individual defined-contributions to private pension funds to supplement the pay-as-you-go contributions made to the social security system, ZUS, were introduced in reforms made in the late ’90s."

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Bin Nasser to Be Qatar’s Prime Minister, Al Jazeera Says - Bloomberg

"Qatar’s Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani, minister of state for internal affairs, will be named the country’s prime minister after the emir abdicated yesterday and handed power to his son, Al Jazeera reported, citing people it didn’t identify.
The new premier will replace Hamad Bin Jassim Al Thani, who led Qatar’s government since 2007 as both premier and foreign minister. Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani yesterday handed authority to the Crown Prince Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani after 18 years in power, saying the moment for new leadership had arrived. The new emir is due to address the nation at 6 p.m. local time today, according to the Qatar News Agency."

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Romance Wearing Thin but Not Over for Arctic Resource Exploitation | Business | The Moscow Times

"The high Arctic, once the irresistible frontier for oil and gas exploration, is quickly losing its appeal as energy firms grow fearful of the financial and public relations risk of working in the pristine icy wilderness.

The Arctic holds 13 percent of the world's undiscovered oil and 30 percent of its gas, and Russia's continuing passion for the precarious zone has been demonstrated by recent deals like the Total and Novatek LNG facility on Yamal, and the Exxon-Rosneft plan to expand their zone of exploration of the country's north coast.

But a series of blunders and failures there are making executives shy of such a sensitive area and turn their attention back to more conventional resources and the shale revolution."

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MIDEAST STOCKS-Qatari bourse rises after smooth leadership transition | Reuters

"Qatar's benchmark rose on Wednesday as trading resumed after a one-day holiday during which the emir handed over power to his son in a smooth transition, calming investor nerves.

Doha's index climbed 0.9 percent; its biggest one-day gain in two weeks that extended 2013 gains to 10.8 percent.

Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani said on Tuesday he was abdicating in favour of his son, Crown Prince Sheikh Tamim."

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Gazprom to Pay $1Bln to Ukraine for Gas Transit in Advance | Business | The Moscow Times

"Gazprom said Wednesday that it would pay $1 billion up front to Ukraine for gas transit to finance Kiev's purchases of gas for storage and to secure shipments to Europe in the winter of 2013-14.

Gazprom ships more than half of its gas to Europe via Ukraine. This year it aims to increase exports to Europe, where it provides a quarter of gas needs, to 150 billion cubic meters from 138 bcm last year.

The company also said its upfront payments to Ukraine's Naftogaz state energy company totaled $5.15 billion, enough to cover the transit fees until the beginning of 2015. The company's statement did not make clear whether this included the $1 billion for the coming winter."

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Egypt: markets turmoil ahead of Morsi’s address | beyondbrics

"Egypt’s Mohamed Morsi is set to make a key televised address on Wednesday ahead of planned political protests against his presidency. But the markets have already voted – and it looks grim.

The 5-year CDS rose another 13 points to hit an all time high of 821.255, suggesting that investors are braced for protests, unrest and uncertainty.

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TAP set to clinch huge Azeri gas deal -

"One of the most keenly fought battles in European energy politics has drawn to a close, after a key shareholder in the Nabucco West pipeline said the project had not been chosen to supply gas to Europe.
For the best part of a decade, Nabucco has been vying with a rival project, known as the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP), for the right to transport Azeri gas from the Caspian Sea to European consumers, in a crucial project designed to improve the security of Europe’s energy supplies.
The BP-led consortium that is developing the huge Shah Deniz II gasfield off the coast of Azerbaijan, which will supply the gas, had been due to announce on Friday which of the two projects it had chosen."

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Investors welcome news of Qatar transition -

"Qatar’s stock market lifted almost 1 per cent on the news of a power transition that replaced the country’s top leadership with a younger generation, signalling investor comfort with the move.
The Qatar Exchange rose 0.9 per cent at the close on Wednesday, outperforming other Gulf markets, most of which declined, according to Zawya, the regional data provider. The Dow Jones MENA Markets index slipped 0.3 per cent."

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Times of Oman | News :: U.A.E. Bank Cash Jumps as Deposits Outpace Lending

"United Arab Emirates banks are holding the most liquid assets in more than three years as government deposits surge and companies increasingly rely on the bond market for funding.

The combined loans-to-deposits ratio of the 51 banks operating in the second-biggest Arab economy fell to 90.4 percent in April, the lowest since at least March 2010 when it was 105.7 percent and Bloomberg began collecting the data. Increased liquidity has helped reduce the three-month interest rate by 38 basis points, to below the level of neighboring Saudi Arabia, the largest Arab economy, central bank data show.

Swelling liquidity at U.A.E. banks reflects a gradual recovery of the industry from the impact of the global credit crisis and contrasts with 2008, when the emirates government pledged $33 billion to ease funding after credit markets froze. Abundant cash at banks amid low interest rates may place them under pressure to boost lending or face a decline in profit margins, according Shabbir Malik, an analyst at EFG-Hermes Holding SAE in Dubai."

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New Emirates NBD CEO Faces Dual Challenges - Middle East Real Time - WSJ

"Shayne Nelson, the newly-appointed chief executive of Emirates NBD, takes the reins of Dubai’s largest bank at a tricky time. The lender is gearing up to play a more prominent international role through acquisitions, but is still grappling with high levels of toxic debt on its books.

One of Mr. Nelson’s most pressing tasks will be seek new pockets of revenue outside the bank’s domestic market, which many consider overbanked with around 50 local and international institutions. Currently, ENBD derives some 8% of its revenues from outside the United Arab Emirates, which it hopes to boost to 20% in the next three to five years.

And while the bank’s 31% rise in first-quarter net profit mirrors to a large degree Dubai’s own economic rebound, the lender’s non-performing loan ratio (the percentage of loans in default compared with total lending) remains perched at a lofty 14.2%. Emirates NBD expects this level to peak at between 15%-16% this year."

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EU interested in developing gas hub in Ukraine, says Ukrainian premier » Interfax News Wire :: Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Central Asia

"The European Union is interested in the development of a gas hub in Ukraine, Ukrainian Premier Mykola Azarov said at a cabinet meeting in Kyiv on Wednesday.

“At the meeting of the Ukraine-EU Council in Luxemburg, the concept of Ukraine’s role in the energy strategy was first formulated at the highest level and officially announced. The EU is interested in Ukraine being the European gas-energy hub, that is strategic gas stocks for the European market are stored in our territory and maneuvering energy facilities are located here,” he said.

Azarov stressed that the Ukrainian gas transport system (GTS) jointly with the underground storage facilities has unique and irreplaceable possibilities."

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Ukranian News - Average Monthly Wage 0.6% Up To UAH 3,300 In May

"The average monthly wage in May 2013 increased by UAH 20 or 0.6% over April to UAH 3,253, the State Statistics Service said.
The highest average monthly wage of UAH 5,013 was registered in Kyiv.
The lowest average wage of UAH 2,326 per month was recorded in Ternopil Region.
As Ukrainian News earlier reported, in April 2013 increased by UAH 21 or 0.6% over March to UAH 3,233."

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Azarov: Ukraine has to protect investors' funds - ForUm

"Ukrainian government should reliably protect the funds of investors, Prime Minister Mykola Azarov said, opening a meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers, ForUm correspondent reports.

"Investors are waiting for forecasted stable policy and reliable investment protection. Our task is to ensure this. Therefore, I instruct the Finance Ministry to accelerate the development of the agreement on avoidance of double taxation with Luxembourg. This work has been continuing for 10 years," Azarov said.

In addition, he instructed first deputy Prime Minister Serhiy Arbuzov to control the work on preparation of this agreement.

According to the Premier, investors want to learn the Ukrainian market, and such opportunity has to be provided."

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India: can foreign loans lift housebuilding? | beyondbrics

"The Indian authorities, as part of its effort to ease a chronic shortage of affordable housing, this week boosted a scheme that allows developers and housing finance companies to use overseas commercial loans to fund low-cost homes.

The central bank changed its regulations to make it easier for borrowers to qualify for such lending. But does external finance policy actually work?

The RBI has made amendments that reduce the minimum experience developers require in residential work from five to three years. And it is eliminating a requirement that housing finance companies have minimum paid-up capital over Rs500m ($8.39m) to use the external loans. And the $1bn overall ceiling on borrowing under the scheme has been extended until April 2015."

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StanChart: good news from the front | beyondbrics

"Perhaps all this turmoil in EM financial markets won’t have as much impact on their real economies as many investors seem to fear.

That’s certainly a conclusion that could be drawn from Standard Chartered Bank’s half-year trading statement on Wednesday, in which the group predicted a sharp improvement in the second quarter over the first three months of 2013 despite the “backdrop of ongoing turbulence in the global economy”. While the actual results won’t be out for a while, investors took the hint and marked the shares up 3 per cent.

Peter Sands, chief executive, said in the statement:"

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Online retailers develop the Russian market | Russia Beyond The Headlines

"Foreign online retailers have been actively developing the Russian market. Notably, the world's leading online auction,, made its website available in Russian in April 2013, in time to coincide with an advertising campaign on TV. According to an eBay source, the moves were all a part of a carefully weighed campaign to capture the Russian market.

Foreign online stores have surged in popularity on the back of appealing prices and a wide choice of goods, information available to Data Insight suggests. According to the agency, in 2012, Russians put through 5–8 million cross-border purchases for their personal use; these sales were worth roughly $1.3 billion, corresponding to 16 percent of total tangible product sales and up approximately 50 percent from the previous year."

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Dubai, Marcus Lee, Julia Gillard

"Julia Gillard has appealed directly to Dubai’s ruler to end the 4 1/2 year ordeal of Australian man Marcus Lee and his wife, in the hope the emirate’s prosecutors will drop an appeal against his acquittal on property fraud charges.

It is understood the Prime Minister’s letter to Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum was hand-delivered by a minister, Warren Snowden, and the Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates, Pablo Kang.

Mr Lee and his wife Julie told Fairfax Media in a statement on Wednesday: “After being in the Dubai court system for so long, and following the extreme disappointment on learning of the decision by the prosecutor to appeal against my full acquittal, we are encouraged by our situation now being raised at such senior levels.’’"

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Ukranian News - Ukraine's Foreign Debt 2.4% Down To USD 26.9 Billion, Domestic Debt 3.0% Up To UAH 227.6 Billion In May

"In May, Ukraine's direct foreign debt fell by 2.4% or USD 0.67 billion to USD 26.877 billion as of May 31 (against the USD 27.547 billion as of April 30), reads a statement made by the Finance Ministry.
In May, direct domestic debt rose by 3.0% or UAH 6.631 billion from UAH 220.953 billion (USD 27.643 billion) to UAH 227.584 billion (USD 28.473 billion).
In May, total direct public-sector debt increased by 0.3% or UAH 1.274 billion, from UAH 441.137 billion (USD 55.190 billion) to UAH 442.411 billion (USD 55.350 billion)."

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Ukraine eyeing 25-bln-USD shale gas investment from Chevron : Ukraine News by UNIAN

"Ukraine is hoping Chevron Corp. will invest 25 billion U.S. dollars to develop the potentially large Olesska shale gas deposit in its west, a senior energy official said Tuesday, according to Xinhua.
"This sum exceeds the amount of foreign investment that Lvov and Ivano-Frankovsk regions have attracted over the 20 years of Ukraine's independence," Volodymyr Ignashchenko, adviser to Ukraine's minister of ecology and natural resources, said during a visit to Ivano-Frankovsk city.
The Olesska deposit stretches across Lvov and Ivano-Frankovsk regions."

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Oil below $100 highlights widening gap in OPEC pain thresholds | Reuters

"Oil's fall below the $100 a barrel favoured by OPEC exposes the deepening divide between countries in the group better able to cope with a lower price and those most hurt by it, making collective action to halt any further price slide harder.

The price of oil dropped below $100 this week from a 2013 high of $119.17 in February, pressured by lacklustre demand and ample supply. While a sustained sub-$100 Brent is bearable for Saudi Arabia, it puts a strain on others such as Iran.

There is no immediate prospect of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries cutting supply to boost the price, not least because top producer Saudi Arabia - which would lead any cutback - has financial reserves that will help it endure oil at $80 or $90."

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The ending of the golden era for Qatar? « ArabianMoney

"If ever there was a hard act to follow among the Gulf leaders then it would be Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, the Emir of Qatar who bowed out gracefully yesterday in a peaceful transition of power to his son.

In his 18 years of rule the GDP of Qatar surged from $30 to $200 billion, and the nation flourished, investing in everything from Islamic art to football clubs and Harrods. Sheikh Hamad was the gas man who really delivered."

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EM capital flows: after the party | beyondbrics

"The US Federal Reserve signalled the coming end of QE only a month ago, but forecasters are already producing long-term forecasts of the possible impact on emerging markets of the expected cut in easy money.

That’s brave, given the amount of noise in the market. On Wednesday, the Institute of International Finance, the banker’s club, pitched in with a report predicting a drop in net private capital flows to EMs over the next 18 months to the lowest level since 2009. That sounds bad, given that 2009 was a grim year. But the IIF’s numbers are a bit less gloomy than its top line.

The IIF says private capital flows into EMs are forecast to fall from $1,212bn in 2012 to $1,145bn this year with a further drop to $1,112bn in 2014. That will indeed be the lowest figure since 2009, but DM-to-EM capital flows then totalled only $649bn. Since then they have been rolling along in the $1,100bn-$1,200bn range."

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Abu Dhabi stock market revives derivatives plan - The National

"Stock market officials are reviving plans for a Gulf Derivatives Exchange capable of trading the most sophisticated financial products.

The Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange is dusting off plans first mooted in 2005 but shelved after the eruption of the financial crisis, itself brought about by derivative bets gone wrong.

"What stopped us was the crisis. Immediately we said 'let's reprioritise', and we put it on the shelf," Rashed Al Baloushi, the ADX's chief executive, told The National."

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