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Monday, 30 September 2013

Saudi Gazette - Aramco plans offshore fleet expansion by 2016

Saudi Gazette - Aramco plans offshore fleet expansion by 2016:

"Saudi Aramco's offshore fleet is set to grow by 50 vessels to a total of 260 by 2016, as well as a fleet renewal strategy that will see most of its tonnage replaced with new, larger, more powerful vessels in the next few years, Seatrade Communications Limited reported Monday.

Speaking at the opening of the three-day Middle East Workboat and Offshore Marine in Abu Dhabi, Nabil Khalid Al Dabal, industrial services executive director at Saudi Aramco, outlined the program as well as a number of key projects in the Middle East region.

"Our expectation is that our support requirements will increase much more than in the past, so this is a message to our colleagues here is that we see many opportunities in the Gulf as a result of our projects." Recent projects producing significant work for the offshore fleet in the Middle East include the automation of the world's largest offshore field, Safaniya, and continuing work on a number of large gas fields in the region."

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Saudi Gazette - Portfolio chiefs to inject more funds into KSA

Saudi Gazette - Portfolio chiefs to inject more funds into KSA:

"Fund managers in the Middle East are set to pump more money into Saudi Arabia over coming months but may withdraw some funds from Dubai because of concern its red-hot market has risen too fast, a Reuters survey showed.

The survey of 16 leading Middle East-based investment institutions, the first of its kind in the region, was conducted over the past 10 days by Trading Middle East, a Reuters forum for market professionals. The survey was launched in September and will be published monthly. Half of the institutions said they expected to increase their overall equity allocations to the Middle East over the next three months, while only 13 percent said they would decrease them.

Fund managers cited strong economic growth in the Gulf, which is being aided by high oil prices and consumer spending booms in many countries, as well as young and growing populations across the Middle East. For many managers, these factors outweigh jitters over geopolitical threats such as the civil war in Syria. Saudi Arabia's stock market, where the main index has risen 17 percent this year, lagging several other Gulf bourses, looks set to be the main beneficiary of this optimism in coming months."

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Saudi Gazette - GACA’s 2nd sukuk issue crosses target

Saudi Gazette - GACA’s 2nd sukuk issue crosses target:

"The General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) has concluded successfully the second tranche of sukuk. The sukuk was launched on Sept. 24 to finance expansion projects of King Abdulaziz International Airport (KAIA) in Jeddah and King Khaled International Airport (KKIA) in Riyadh.

GACA said in a press statement on Monday that the second tranche of sukuk, worth SR15.21 billion, was oversubscribed almost double by a total of 31 government funds, local banks, insurance and investment companies. This is GACA’s second issue of sukuk after its successful SR15 billion debut issue in January 2012.

The first issue was used to finance part of the SR27 billion KAIA expansion project. According to the statement, the tremendous response for the second issues shows the confidence of investors in the Saudi economy and its development projects despite the fluctuations in the global market, particularly during the last three months. "

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MURAT YETKİN - Glass just half-full in Erdoğan’s reform plan

MURAT YETKİN - Glass just half-full in Erdoğan’s reform plan:

"Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdoğan has divided his much-awaited “democratization” package into two: the steps which need changes in the current legislation through Parliament and those which need only a Cabinet decree or even a letter by a minister to be put into effect.

In that sense, the most immediate and net beneficiaries of the package will be women with headscarves who want to have a government job. Other than military and police officers, judges and prosecutors who have official outfits for the job, women in all other public fields, from teachers to defense lawyers, will be able to wear headscarves as a sign of their religious faith in Islam. This has been a sensitive issue, and which was turned into a campaign against the conservative Necmettin Erbakan government in 1996-97 by the military-led secularist bureaucratic establishment. The ruling AK Parti has been under some pressure from its grassroots for some time to provide equal opportunity for those “covered” against those “opens,” with a pinch of revanchist motivation."

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Bulgarian, Serbian Energy Ministers Back South Stream Gas Pipeline - Novinite.com - Sofia News Agency

Bulgarian, Serbian Energy Ministers Back South Stream Gas Pipeline - Novinite.com - Sofia News Agency:

"
Bulgarian Economy and Energy Minister Dragomir Stoynev met with
Serbian Minister of Energy, Development and Environmental Protection Zorana Mihaylovic in Sofia.
Photo by BGNES
Economy and Energy Minister Dragomir Stoynev has insisted that the South Stream gas pipeline project will give a boost to the Bulgarian economy.

At a meeting with Serbian Minister of Energy, Development and Environmental Protection Zorana Mihaylovic in Sofia, Stoynev noted that current government was working to overcome the delays inherited from the center-right GERB government, which had declared the South Stream gas pipeline a project of national importance to no effect.

Stoynev, as cited by the BGNES news agency, assured that Bulgaria would not take steps until the financing scheme for the pipeline project was clear, adding that the matter would be coordinated with the European Commission."

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UK shale gas to displace LNG imports, bolster power sector - Gas to Power Journal

UK shale gas to displace LNG imports, bolster power sector - Gas to Power Journal - Gas to Power Journal UK:

"
Shale gas will bolster security of supply in the UK, displace a proportion of LNG imports and underpin new gas power generation projects. Substantial volumes of shale gas production, however, are not expected to be forthcoming until the mid-2020ies, delegates at the Gas to Power Britain conference learnt.

Britain's shale gas reserves, primarily concentrated in the Bowland basin, are to amount to as much as 1,329 trillion cubic feet (tcf), enough to meet demand for 44 years. However, a plethora of legal and technical challenges are expected to impede a replication of the US shale gas revolution in the UK, forecast Michelle Hubert, senior policy adviser – energy and climate change, CBI.

The lack of public acceptability for shale gas is seen as one key impediment, especially as land owners do not have the same ownership over sub-surface, hence limiting the support for development, she outlined. Combined with this a higher population density makes extraction a more costly and difficult task in the UK than in the US where access to fields is easier."

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Iran: a historic phone call… but no rise in the rial | beyondbrics

Iran: a historic phone call… but no rise in the rial | beyondbrics:

"
Yo, Rouhani
Many Iranians have expressed disappointment that their national currency, the rial, did not strengthen over the weekend in response to the historic phone call between Iran’s president Hassan Rouhani and Barack Obama.

The reason the currency market did not reflect the public mood, analysts believe, is because the central bank is determined to curb a currency crisis and shield the market against political news in order to encourage investment, domestic production and non-oil exports.

Valiollah Seif, Iran’s central bank governor, shocked many economists and members of parliament last week when he said the rial’s parity rate against the US dollar was at its “minimum” level and that further rise in value of the national currency could not benefit the country’s economy."

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Times of Oman | News :: Oman’s Al Madina Insurance to offer 66.7m shares in IPO

Times of Oman | News :: Oman’s Al Madina Insurance to offer 66.7m shares in IPO:

"
The company has already submitted a draft prospectus with the Capital Market Authority and a final prospectus will be submitted soon. Photo - A.R. Rajkumar/Times of Oman
Al Madina Insurance Company will offer 66.7 million shares in an initial public offering soon in an attempt to change its status to a Sharia-compliant takaful firm. As per the draft takaful regulation, insurance companies have to be public firms to function as takaful companies.

The company has already submitted a draft prospectus with the Capital Market Authority (CMA) and a final prospectus will be submitted soon.

The face value of the share will be 100 baisas. The company, which has a paid up capital of OMR10 million, will increase it to OMR16.67 million through the share offer. "

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Romania cuts rates to record low – more to come? | beyondbrics

Romania cuts rates to record low – more to come? | beyondbrics:

"
Romania’s interest rates have hit a record low, but will it be enough to revive its flagging economy?

As central banks in some developed markets seem to be gearing up for tighter monetary policy, Romania’s announced a third consecutive interest rate cut on Monday, citing falling inflation, and with an eye on sluggish growth.

The National Bank of Romania (BNR) lowered its core rate by 25 basis points to 4.25 per cent, its lowest-ever rate, and may cut further before the end of the year.

“The annual inflation rate remained on a downward path, reaching 3.67 percent in August 2013 from 4.41 per cent in July due to the decline in volatile prices, of food items in particular, amid the ongoing negative output gap,” the bank said in a statement. “The annual adjusted CORE2 inflation rate dropped to 2.24 per cent in August 2013. This trend, in line with the central bank’s forecasts in the latest Inflation Report, strengthens the favourable outlook for the annual inflation rate to fall below the 2.5 per cent target in the forthcoming period.”"

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Libya's Berbers cut off gas pipeline over marginalization | Al Akhbar English

Libya's Berbers cut off gas pipeline over marginalization | Al Akhbar English:

"Members of Libya's Berber minority cut off a gas pipeline in the western Jebel Nafussa area of the country, local sources said on Monday, to protest their marginalization in the future constitution.

"Youths from Kabu, Al-Galaa, Jadu and Nalout (in western Jebel Nafussa) closed the main gas pipeline supplying Al-Ruwais, Zawiya and Misrata (electricity) stations," on Sunday, said Abdullah Sleiman, vice-president of the Nalout town council.

The closure of the pipeline is a protest "against the non-inclusion in the constitution of the Amazigh (Berber) language," said Sleiman, quoted by official news agency LANA."

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UAE emerges as a strong sovereign investment destination | GulfNews.com

UAE emerges as a strong sovereign investment destination | GulfNews.com:

"Global sovereign investors that include sovereign wealth funds and government linked investment vehicles seeking exposure to alternate asset classes are investing in the UAE, said a senior executive from Invesco, a global investment management firm.
“Recent global capital flow trends suggest that the UAE is attracting international investments into alternate asset classes. We have noticed both sovereign and private investors from around the world are attracted to asset classes such as real estate, private equity, upstream oil & gas projects and infrastructure projects,” said Nick Tolchard, Co-Chair of Invesco’s Global Sovereign Group & Head of Invesco Middle East."

'via Blog this'

Amazon eyes CEE move amid German labour disputes | beyondbrics

Amazon eyes CEE move amid German labour disputes | beyondbrics:

"
Online merchant Amazon is contemplating building a new network of logistics centres in central Europe after being hit with strikes at its German warehouses, according to the Polish press.

Amazon is looking at three locations in Poland and two in the Czech Republic, according to the Puls Biznesu paper. Officials in Poznan, in western Poland, and in Wroclaw, in the south-west of the country, confirmed to the Gazeta Wyborcza newspaper that there were plans to build logistics centres near their cities.

Amazon’s German workers have held strikes and demonstrations demanding the same level of pay as at other mail order retailers. Amazon depends on razor-thin margins to stay in business, and that US model does not sit well with unionised European workforces."

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ENOC announce new joint venture in Saudi Arabia | GulfNews.com

ENOC announce new joint venture in Saudi Arabia | GulfNews.com:

"Emirates National Oil Company (ENOC) has announced it will set up a new joint venture in Saudi Arabia with Dubai-based Tristar Transport.
Details emerged in a joint press release on Monday that stated the new venture would specialise on logistic services for Saudi’s petroleum and chemical sectors.
The new ENOC-Tristar venture will launch with an initial capital of SAR 30 million (Dh29,400 million) and target a fleet of 500 vehicles by 2017.
The venture will also operate warehousing facility storage for oils and chemicals, and an ISO tank cleaning facility."

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No compensation for unfair dismissal in the DIFC - but that's not fair - Business Intelligence Middle East

No compensation for unfair dismissal in the DIFC - but that's not fair - Business Intelligence Middle East - bi-me.com - News, analysis, reports:

"Since 2009, it has been clear that there is no statutory compensation for unfair dismissal in the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC).

However, what has been unclear (until quite recently) is whether the right to compensation could arise through other avenues, including a breach of the implied term of mutual trust and confidence, which is an overarching common law doctrine of the law of employment.

This issue has been examined in two recent decisions of the DIFC Court of First Instance and it has now become indisputable that there is in fact no compensation for unfair dismissal in the DIFC, either in statute or otherwise. This update looks at how compensation for unfair dismissal has developed in the DIFC."

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MIDEAST STOCKS-Most markets retreat on U.S. worries; Dubai has best quarter in 6 years | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Most markets retreat on U.S. worries; Dubai has best quarter in 6 years | Reuters:

"* Dubai rockets 24 pct in Q3

* Falls on Monday, but still outperforms global markets

* Saudi posts strongest quarter since early 2012

* Egypt retreats from technical resistance

* Kuwait down but blue chips still bought

By Nadia Saleem

DUBAI, Sept 30 (Reuters) - Most regional markets slipped on Monday as fears of a U.S. government shutdown spurred slight profit-taking, but Dubai's bourse booked its biggest quarterly gain in nearly six years.

Dubai's index shed 0.3 percent, easing off Sunday's near five-year high. That trimmed its third-quarter gain to 24.3 percent, its best performance since late 2007. Trading volume in the quarter was the highest in four years.

Shares in Dubai were boosted during the quarter by heavy retail investor activity after index compiler MSCI upgraded the United Arab Emirates and Qatar to emerging market status, which is expected to bring in fresh funds worth about $500 million to each country."

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Midnight mayhem: US budget battle send stocks into plummet — RT Business

Midnight mayhem: US budget battle send stocks into plummet — RT Business:

"Global stocks have slid just hours before the US government shutdown deadline expires at midnight. Market sentiment has weakened as US lawmakers have still not come to a consensus on their spending bill for the next fiscal year, which starts on Oct 1.

The Dow Jones index fell 1.00 percent, S&P 500 futures lost 0.71 percent and the NASDAQ index retreated 1.01 percent by 10:00am EST. The S&P 500 index, which has gained nearly 20 percent so far this year, has dropped 1.10 percent over the shutdown scare.

Concern over a US government shutdown spooked European and Asian floors. In morning trading, the EURO STOXX 50 and Germany’s DAX dropped 1.10 percent and France’s CAC Index fell 1.12 percent."

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UAE’s Arabtec raises 36,000 labourer wages by 20% - Construction - ArabianBusiness.com

UAE’s Arabtec raises 36,000 labourer wages by 20% - Construction - ArabianBusiness.com:

"Arabtec, the UAE’s largest listed construction firm, has raised the salaries of all 36,000 of its workers in the Gulf state by 20 percent following large-scale strikes earlier this year.
In a statement on the country’s state news agency, Arabtec said that move was part of an effort to provide an “exemplary work environment to workers”.
Labourers at Arabtec are currently paid between $160 to $190 per month, according to sources.
In May, thousands of workers employed by Dubai-based Arabtec stayed away from work for four days demanding higher wages and better working conditions in a rare example of industrial action in the UAE, where workers’ unions are illegal."

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Time for Dubai to fully exploit renminbi options | GulfNews.com

Time for Dubai to fully exploit renminbi options | GulfNews.com:

"The secret of Dubai’s success often lies in its ability to seize opportunities and act decisively before others even come to realise the existence of such potential. By virtue of its status as the leading business, financial and transshipment hub of the region, the emirate might be in the position to play a role in the growing clout of the Chinese renminbi as a settlement currency.
Renminbi is virtually becoming the ‘redback’ of Asia, mimicking the role ‘greenback’ plays in global currency transactions. Over the past few years and particularly in recent months, the Chinese currency has made solid progress in becoming a major settlement currency at least on a regional basis, if not on the global scene."

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Dubai, Abu Dhabi strong policies lure investors, experts say | GulfNews.com

Dubai, Abu Dhabi strong policies lure investors, experts say | GulfNews.com:

"There are many factors that make Dubai and Abu Dhabi attractive to investors, and chief among them are strong government policies, proximity to major markets and world-class infrastructure.
The country’s reputation as a tax-free haven, or the business-friendly and pro-investment approach of the government, has attracted investments from the world over.
According to Giyas Gokkent, group chief economist and head of research at the National Bank of Abu Dhabi, the top foreign direct investment (FDI) drivers also include the UAE’s cheap or relatively abundant energy and “elastic” labour supply.
Other comparative advantages of the two cities are the abundant sun and the sea, as well as the range of shopping centres and lifestyle facilities. With regards to foreign portfolio investments, Gokkent said, the main influences are solid economic growth, government support to major listed companies and inclusion in the MSCI emerging market index, among others."

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Guest post: Iraq on the brink? Markets tell a different story | beyondbrics

Guest post: Iraq on the brink? Markets tell a different story | beyondbrics:

"
By Mark DeWeaver and Ali Albazzaz (l)

The steadily worsening security situation in Iraq has led many to wonder whether the country is once again descending into anarchy. A recent New York Times article, for example, spoke of “new fears that Iraq is returning to the bloody sectarian violence that nearly tore the country apart in 2006 and 2007”.

Going by the news feed, casual and informed observers alike might well conclude this to be a plausible outcome. Yet home-grown Iraq Stock Exchange (ISX) investors – some of the most knowledgeable insiders around – don’t seem to think so.

Financial markets can be surprisingly good prognosticators, thanks to their ability to aggregate information held by many different people and the incentives they provide to “put your money where your mouth is”. Thus, prediction markets, where participants can bet on the outcomes of events such as presidential elections, often outperform pollsters."

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Cadogan wants to drill new well in Pokrovske area in summer 2014 » Interfax News Wire

Cadogan wants to drill new well in Pokrovske area in summer 2014 » Interfax News Wire :: Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Central Asia:

"Britain’s Cadogan Petroleum Plc with assets in Ukraine plans to drill a new exploration well in the Pokrovske area (Poltava region) in summer 2014, the company has reported on the London Stock Exchange (LSE).

An evaluation of the current exploration potential in the Pokrovske area has identified five new leads, with one in particular showing considerable potential, reads the report.

In addition, the company is planning work-overs in the Zahorianske and Pirkovske fields (Poltava region) with specialized local contractors in order to eventually start production through existing facilities.

Eni bought 30% of Pokrovskoe Petroleum B.V. and 60% of Zagoryanska Petroleum B.V. (both based in the Netherlands) from Cadogan in 2011. These two companies own licenses to develop the Pokrovske and Zahorianske oil and gas fields in Ukraine’s Dnipro-Donets basin."

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USA should push regime change in Saudi Arabia - English pravda.ru

USA should push regime change in Saudi Arabia - English pravda.ru:

"According to Dave Ottoway, writing for the Foreign Policy Research Institute, "There is practically no civil society in Saudi Arabia. The country is run by the al-Saud royal family in partnership with a highly conservative religious establishment espousing a fundamentalist theology known as Wahhabism. The alliance goes back to the mid-eighteenth century. Both the House of al-Saud and the Wahhabi religious leadership are against freedom of religion, democracy, a free press, and the public mixing of unmarried men and women. Wahhabi clerics are also against movie houses; public dancing; drinking, women's sports centers; girls exercising in schools, and women driving. We could not have a conference like this in Saudi Arabia. The women would be in another room listening on a TV monitor or, if it was an international meeting, there might be a barrier down the center. Neither the royal family nor the Wahhabi religious establishment is interested in elections. Only the chambers of commerce are allowed to have elections-businessmen who are absolutely no threat to the establishment.""

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A sluggish Friday for Ukrainian equities with one remarkable exception - Business - News - Ukraine Business Online

A sluggish Friday for Ukrainian equities with one remarkable exception - Business - News - Ukraine Business Online:

"Analysis of Friday’s trading of Ukrainian stocks in Kyiv, Warsaw and London

Concorde Capital provides more in its daily market comment:

“Ukrainian equities were in line with European sluggishness in trading on Friday, September 27. The WIG Ukraine Index of Warsaw-traded stocks slipped 0.3%, finishing the week at a 0.7% gain. The biggest decliners were sugar maker Astarta (AST PW -2.0%) and Coal Energy (-2.0%). Dairy producer Milkiland (MLK PW +1.7%) rose 5.1% in two sessions. In London, the erratic shares of Regal Petroleum (RPT LN) plunged 6.7% and Cadogan Petroleum (CAD LN) dropped 5.6%. The Ukrainian Exchange (UX) Index of Kyiv-traded stocks rose 2.4%, finishing the week at a 1.0% gain. The Index has been propped up by the skyrocketing shares of Unicredit’s Ukrsotsbank (USCB UK +47.6%), which have advanced 68.1% in four straight winning sessions.”"

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Remembering The 1973 Arab Oil Embargo - OpEd Eurasia Review

Remembering The 1973 Arab Oil Embargo - OpEd Eurasia Review:

"This fall marks the fortieth anniversary of the Arab oil embargo, a painful episode in American history that had a profound effect on both the economy and psyche of the United States. It began in mid-October 1973, following the US decision to resupply Israel with weaponry after Egypt and Syria launched a surprise attack on Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish year.

In response to President Nixon’s decision, the Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries, the Arab members of OPEC, declared an embargo and cut off oil supplies to the United States and its allies.

In the three months after the embargo was announced, oil prices quadrupled, from $3 to $12 per barrel. Yes, twelve bucks would be a monumental bargain in these days of $100-a-barrel crude, but back then it sent shock waves through developed country economies."

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A Coming Emerging Market Crisis?

A Coming Emerging Market Crisis?:

"To paraphrase writer Robert Louis Stevenson, financial markets have 'a grand memory for forgetting'.

Multiple Latin debt crises and the 1997/1998 Asian emerging market crisis have been forgotten. Now, the risk of an emerging market crisis is very real.

BRICs on Credit...

Investors have been romancing emerging markets, exemplified by the dalliance with the BRIC economies (Brazil, Russia, India and China), a term coined by Goldman Sachs' Jim O'Neill in 2001.

Slowing economic growth in developed economies following the 2007/ 2008 global financial crisis resulted in a sharp slowdown in emerging economies. To restore growth, emerging markets switched to development models more reliant on credit.

Double-digit annual credit growth drove economic activity in China, Brazil, India, Turkey and many economies in Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe."

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Russia and the EU will find a solution to Third Energy Package issues

Russia and the EU will find a solution to Third Energy Package issues:

"

Russia's Deputy Energy Minister has stated that his nation and the European Union will find a solution to the present impasse over the Third Energy Package.

Speaking in Milan on Friday at a conference hosted by Natural Gas Europe | Gas Dialogues, Anatoly Yanovsky said that negotiations will ensure a solution to the problems raised by the EU's legislative package of gas market reforms, which seeks to "unbundle" ownership of natural gas production and transmission lines such as those operated by Gazprom, and is seen as a roadblock to the development of South Stream Pipeline project.

"The South Stream pipeline represents a long term solution to ensuring a secure energy supply to all European citizens, thanks to the direct connection between customers and the most important gas reserves in the world, in Russia”, said the Deputy Minister."

'via Blog this'

Azerbaijan's ‘Eurasian' challenge - Today's Zaman, your gateway to Turkish daily news

Azerbaijan's ‘Eurasian' challenge - Today's Zaman, your gateway to Turkish daily news:

"The regional customs union (CU) is a hot topic these days across the post-Soviet area, especially since Armenia pledged to join and given Russia's ongoing pressure on Ukraine and Moldova to join. These developments have reopened the debate on Azerbaijan's position.
Currently, there are several factors that have prompted Azerbaijani political elites to start thinking about it more seriously and merely playing for time will not prevent some of the possible developments. Previously, Azerbaijani policymakers were quite sure that Baku's official standing protected them and the so-called Eurasian Union seemed a distant threat. The EU's Eastern Partnership (EaP) program has not been wildly successful, but it has helped with integration among the post-Soviet countries."

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Saudi Gazette - GCC fertilizer industry sees sustained growth

Saudi Gazette - GCC fertilizer industry sees sustained growth:

"A rapidly growing global population and planned capacity expansions are the key drivers for sustained growth for the GCC’s fertilizer producers, said industry experts at the Fourth Annual GPCA Fertilizers Convention held recently in Dubai.

Organized by the Gulf Petrochemicals and Chemicals Association (GPCA), the convention’s keynote speech was delivered by Charlotte Hebebrand, Director General of the International Fertilizer Industry Association (IFA). Hebebrand said “a key driver for fertilizer demand is an expected global population surge”.

“As global population is expected to reach 9.3 billion by 2050, food production will have to increase by 50 percent in the same period,” said Hebebrand. She predicts that the solution to ensuring that people are fed is not only increasing arable land but also increasing the yield of current cultivated land."

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ENERGY - Caspian oil producers eye entering markets

ENERGY - Caspian oil producers eye entering markets:

"
An aerial view shows artificial islands on the Kashagan
offshore oil field in the Caspian Sea, off Kazakhstan.
REUTERS photo
Caspian oil and natural gas producers have struggled to move their products to world markets, the United States Energy Information Administration (EIA) has said in a recent study about Caspian Sea Region.

“Some countries cooperate and jointly develop export capacity, while others focus on attracting enough investment to create their own routes,” it said.

The Caspian’s coastal countries, along with Uzbekistan, together have an operating crude oil refining capacity of just over 8 million barrels per day, according to Oil and Gas Journal. Russia and Iran together make up about 85 percent of this capacity. As of January 2013, the total crude oil refining capacity of the coastal countries was about 9 percent of the world’s total crude refining."

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US austerity takes hold



Iran's diplomatic shift - just hot air?



Egypt seeks more financial assistance from Arabian Gulf allies | The National

Egypt seeks more financial assistance from Arabian Gulf allies | The National:

"Egypt is in talks about further financial assistance from the GCC after receiving US$7 billion in funds from the UAE, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, the country’s central bank governor said yesterday.

The UAE had deposited $2bn with Egypt’s central bank and provided a further $1bn loan to the country, said Hisham Ramez. A further $4bn had arrived from Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, $2bn from each donor, he said on the sidelines of a gathering of Arab central bank governors in Abu Dhabi yesterday.

Asked if Egypt was seeking further funds, he said: “There are talks with the countries that are supporting us.”

Mr Ramez’s comments follow Egypt returning $2bn that Qatar had deposited with the central bank after talks soured about converting the funds into three-year bonds."

'via Blog this'

UAE banks could offer direct debit service by 'next week' | The National

UAE banks could offer direct debit service by 'next week' | The National:

"Banks are ready to introduce direct-debit payments for customers as early as next week.

The new system will revolutionise retail banking and herald the end of writing reams of post-dated cheques for car loans and other transactions.

“The introduction of the direct-debit system is a step in the right direction towards increasing the efficiency of our banking system,” the Central Bank said.

“Given our focus as a regulator we believe it is necessary to have a prudent, stronger and stable economy.”"

'via Blog this'

World still needs Old King Coal even with shift to green energy | The National

World still needs Old King Coal even with shift to green energy | The National:

"

It is paradoxical, but the world will manage the shift away from fossil fuels to renewable energy only if more fossil fuel power stations are built.

Clean coal and gas-fired plants are essential as a bridge to keep the electricity supply stable while nations build up their capacity for generating electricity from the wind, sun and biomass.

The reason is simple – countries need more power all the time, not just when there is sun and wind. In the absence of nuclear power, which many nations are moving away from after Japan’s Fukushima disaster in 2011, fossil power offers steady, reliable power regardless of the weather."

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Nothing to beat a ride on a property bubble | GulfNews.com

Nothing to beat a ride on a property bubble | GulfNews.com:

"It is hard to imagine, much less find, a better exemplar of how capital gets misallocated in a bubble than British property agent Foxtons, whose stock was publicly listed last week. Foxtons, which only three short years ago was taken over by its lenders, went public and by the end of its first trading day was worth $1.2 billion (Dh4.4 billion).
That’s a bit more than double what it sold for in 2007, just before the crash, when its founder Jon Hunt sold out to private equity firm BC Partners in a deal which was at the time widely derided as marking a market top. To put it in perspective, Foxtons is now trading for a bit more than 20 times what investors expect it to earn next year.
That implies investors believe that either it will gain market share rapidly or, as real estate agent fees are a percentage of sales and rental prices, they think London real estate will continue its stratospheric rise."

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Reverse capital dynamics shake emerging markets | GulfNews.com

Reverse capital dynamics shake emerging markets | GulfNews.com:

"Enthusiasm for emerging markets has been evaporating this year, and not just because of the US Federal Reserve’s planned cuts in its large-scale asset purchases. Emerging-market stocks and bonds are down for the year and their economic growth is slowing. To see why, it is useful to understand how we got here.
Between 2003 and 2011, GDP in current prices grew by a cumulative 35 per cent in the US, and by 32, 36 and 49 per cent in Great Britain, Japan, and Germany, respectively, all measured in dollars. In the same period, nominal GDP soared by 348 per cent in Brazil, 346 per cent in China, 331 per cent in Russia, and 203 per cent in India, also in dollars."

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Sunday, 29 September 2013

Bahrain's Arcapita eyes new investments after first Gulf Chapter 11 | Reuters

Bahrain's Arcapita eyes new investments after first Gulf Chapter 11 | Reuters:

"* New Arcapita entity eyes new deals after Chap. 11 - CEO

* Firm split in two after restructuring - one holds existing assets

* Other to manage asset sale process, complete new deals

* Targeting health, edu, logistics sectors; assets yielding 8 pct

* Brand still carries credibility with investors

* First Gulf firm to use Chap. 11 process

By David French

DUBAI, Sept 29 (Reuters) - Bahrain-based Arcapita is aiming to build a new asset management firm with a debut local deal in the logistics, education or healthcare sector as the company recovers from the first Chapter 11 bankruptcy process undertaken by a Gulf Arab entity.

The Islamic investment firm emerged from Chapter 11 on Sept. 17 after seeking court protection in March 2012 under hedge fund pressure ahead of the repayment of a $1.1 billion Islamic loan.

Under the court-approved restructuring plan, Arcapita is to be split into two entities: one which will hold the existing company assets as they are sold down to pay creditors, with a second in charge of the process' management."

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Etisalat talks for Maroc Telecom stake extended - Your Middle East

Etisalat talks for Maroc Telecom stake extended - Your Middle East:

"UAE's telecom giant Etisalat said on Sunday that the period for its binding offer and exclusive talks to buy Vivendi's 53 percent stake in Maroc Telecom has been extended tol October 31.

The Abu Dhabi-based telecom giant on July 22 made a binding offer to buy Vivendi's stake in the Moroccan operator, valuing each of Maroc Telecom's shares at 92.6 dirhams ($11.2).

The offer put the value of Vivendi's stake at 3.9 billion euros ($5.27 billion), according to Etisalat, and granted it a period of exclusivity for the acquisition until September 25.

Vivendi said in July that if approved, the sale to the Emirates Telecommunications Corp would bring in a total 4.2 billion euros ($5.67 billion) in cash, including 310 million euros dividends for 2012."

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UPDATE 1-Qatar GDP growth slows marginally to 6.0 pct in Q2 | Reuters

UPDATE 1-Qatar GDP growth slows marginally to 6.0 pct in Q2 | Reuters:

"Qatar's real growth in gross domestic product slowed slightly to 6.0 percent year-on-year in the second quarter of 2013 from 6.2 percent in the first, dampened by a drop in global oil prices, data showed on Sunday.

GDP rose 0.6 percent from the first quarter, according to the Ministry of Planning and Statistics.

Output of the mining and quarrying sector, which includes oil and gas production and accounts for more than 40 percent of GDP, rose only 1.0 percent from a year earlier.

Most other areas expanded much faster, with the financial and real estate sector growing 15.4 percent and the construction sector growing 11.4 percent as Qatar pushed forward billions of dollars worth of infrastructure projects."

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MIDEAST STOCKS-Dubai surges to 5-year high on heavy buying; Gulf mixed | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Dubai surges to 5-year high on heavy buying; Gulf mixed | Reuters:

"* Highest Dubai turnover since spike on June 3

* Retail investors bet on small-caps

* Rise in land transaction fee doesn't hurt property stocks

* Saudi large-caps sold before Q3 earnings

* Egypt fails to confirm break of technical resistance

By Nadia Saleem

DUBAI, Sept 29 (Reuters) - Dubai's shares rose to their highest level in almost five years in heavy trading on Sunday as retail investors bet on small-caps ahead of third-quarter earnings, while other regional markets were mixed.

Dubai's benchmark advanced 1.2 percent to 2,771 points, its highest finish since November 2008, taking year-to-date gains to 70.8 percent. Turnover surged to 1.3 billion dirhams ($354 million), the biggest daily value since a spike on June 3.

"We have a lot of catalysts - real estate is doing well, the Expo 2020 decision is coming up and later, people will start gearing up for the MSCI upgrade," said Amer Khan, fund manager at Shuaa Asset Management. "Political risk has dissipated and the outlook is positive.""

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Finance Ministry Plans Domestic Borrowing of $6.2Bln | Business | The Moscow Times

Finance Ministry Plans Domestic Borrowing of $6.2Bln | Business | The Moscow Times:

"The Finance Ministry may borrow 200 billion rubles ($6.19 billion) less than initially planned from domestic debt markets this year, broadly in line with current market expectations, the ministry said Friday.

Demand for local-currency emerging market debt has been subdued recently due to expectations of tighter monetary policy from the U.S. Federal Reserve.

Russia missed its third-quarter funding target for treasury bonds, placing about 177 billion rubles ($5.52 billion) out of the 270 billion rubles planned between July to September. It has placed 529 billion rubles in treasury bonds so far this year out of the 753 billion rubles on offer.

But with one of the lowest debt burdens among major world economies it is under little pressure to ensure it meets its initial target for domestic borrowing this year of 1.2 trillion rubles.

"There is a risk of not borrowing [200 billion rubles]. We have a chance to borrow, but at a high yield. That is why we would prefer to use oil revenues, rather than raising rates on the market," Finance Minister Anton Siluanov told journalists.

"

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Oman extends social insurance to self-employed citizens | GulfNews.com

Oman extends social insurance to self-employed citizens | GulfNews.com:

"Oman has extended social insurance coverage for all self-employed Omanis with a new Royal Decree on social insurance coverage.
Giving details of the measure, Shaikh Abdullah Bin Nasser Al Bakri, Minister of Manpower and Chairman of the Public Authority for Social Insurance (PASI) Board, said that the insurance coverage provided by the system isn’t confined to a specific segment of private business owner, but includes all types of self-employmed citizens such as lawyers, doctors, engineers, accountants, auditors, fishermen and the like.
He said that the PASI was continuously striving to extend the umbrella of social insurance and has gone a long way in providing social insurance for self-employed Omanis by devising legislation and mechanisms that ensure the application of the system to the target segments."

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Dubai's Al-Futtaim inks deal for Oman's biggest mall - Retail - ArabianBusiness.com

Dubai's Al-Futtaim inks deal for Oman's biggest mall - Retail - ArabianBusiness.com:

"Dubai-based Al-Futtaim said on Sunday it has signed an agreement with officials in Oman to build the country's largest retail mall.
Oman Tourism Development Company (Omran) and the Omani National Investment Funds Company SAOC (NIFCO) have signed a memorandum of understanding with Al-Futtaim for the development and management of the project in Muscat.
The mall will be located next to the proposed Oman Convention and Exhibition Centre and will be home to the first IKEA store in Muscat and other renowned global brands such as Marks & Spencer and Toys R Us, a statement said.
It added that the mall will also feature an entertainment and food court complex."

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Abu Dhabi's Al Hilal Bank eyes benchmark dollar sukuk this week | Reuters

Abu Dhabi's Al Hilal Bank eyes benchmark dollar sukuk this week | Reuters:

"Abu Dhabi government-owned Al Hilal Bank plans to issue a five-year benchmark-sized Islamic bond offering this week, a document from lead managers said on Sunday, in what would be the lender's debut debt sale.

Initial price thoughts on the dollar-denominated offering have been set at 190 basis points over midswaps, the document said. Benchmark-size is traditionally understood to mean at least $500 million.

Al Hilal, fully-owned by state fund Abu Dhabi Investment Council, is due to conclude meetings with fixed-income investors on Monday in London.

Citigroup, HSBC, National Bank of Abu Dhabi and Standard Chartered are arranging the roadshows, along with Al Hilal itself.

The unlisted bank expects net profit growth of over 40 percent this year, its chief executive said earlier in September."

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Oman looks beyond Iran sanctions for gas lifeline | Reuters

Oman looks beyond Iran sanctions for gas lifeline | Reuters:

"* Oman laying political foundations for future gas imports

* Sanctions, price disagreement, technical challenges big hurdles

* Iran liquefied natural gas exports from Oman unlikely

By Daniel Fineren

DUBAI, Sept 29 (Reuters) - If Iranian President Hassan Rouhani's dream of reaching a deal with world powers on Tehran's nuclear program in six months comes true, Oman, an important intermediary in the dispute, could be a big winner.

There have been too many false dawns in Iran's decade-old standoff with the West over Tehran's nuclear programme to bank on Rouhani's call in New York last week for a deal within 3-6 months.

But in the weeks leading up to Rouhani's first foreign trip since he became president in August, Omani officials have been visiting Tehran in a bid to buy Iranian gas in the hope that some day sanctions on Iran will be lifted and Oman can finally get the supplies it desperately needs over the Strait of Hormuz."

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Oman's Bank Dhofar CEO resigns amid merger talks | Reuters

Oman's Bank Dhofar CEO resigns amid merger talks | Reuters:

"Bank Dhofar, the Omani lender planning to merge with smaller peer Bank Sohar, said on Sunday that its chief executive Anthony Mahoney had resigned for personal reasons.

Bank Dhofar has appointed Abdul Omar Al-Ojaili as its acting chief executive, the lender said in a bourse statement. Mahoney's resignation was effective Sept. 26, it said.

In July, Bank Dhofar said it had approached Bank Sohar with a view to merging the two entities and creating Oman's second-largest bank. The new entity would have total assets worth 4.1 billion rials ($10.7 billion), according to quarterly financial statements, and a market capitalisation of around $1.8 billion.

While banking consolidation in a number of Gulf countries has long been called for, little has happened as major shareholders, often powerful local families, are reluctant to cede control unless they are offered high valuations."

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Oman may issue sovereign, Islamic bonds in 2014 -c.bank | Reuters

Oman may issue sovereign, Islamic bonds in 2014 -c.bank | Reuters:

"Oman's government may issue an international sovereign bond and an Islamic bond next year, its central bank chief Hamood Sangour al-Zadjali said on Sunday.

He said it was still too early to provide details on the size of the bonds. His comments were in line with previous remarks by government officials; the country faces increasing pressure on its state finances because of rising expenditure, which is expected to prompt it to return to the international debt market for the first time since 1997.

"The planned sovereign bond is still in discussions. We could issue next year," Zadjali told Reuters on the sidelines of a meeting of Arab central bank governors in Abu Dhabi.

Meanwhile, Oman aims to develop its fledgling Islamic finance industry, and a debut issue of sukuk by the government would be a major step towards that."

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Tenant fined for offering tuition in her home | GulfNews.com

Tenant fined for offering tuition in her home | GulfNews.com:

"Residents planning to offer any commercial activities including private tuition for students in their homes should think twice as they could face a fine.
Several property developers have confirmed that tenants living in their buildings are not allowed to carry out any commercial transactions, whether be offering tuition or babysitting, as it breaches their tenancy contract.
In a recent incident, Gulf News learned a tenant living in Muhaisnah, Bur Dubai area, was fined Dh800 by the property developer after a company representative visited the flat and discovered that she was offering classes to more than 10 students.
As a repercussion, tenants who used to babysit for their neighbours have flatly refused to do so in fear of also being slapped with a fine."

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Fake Plastic Souks: We Is Own Your House

Fake Plastic Souks: We Is Own Your House:

"
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
"Umm, excuse me? What do you think you're doing?"
"I'm grilling smoked mackerel using a portable barbecue in your living room. I would have thought that's obvious."
"I can see what you're actually doing, I suppose what I meant was why are you doing it in my property? Get out!"
"Well, it's not actually your property."
"Yes it is, I bought it from you. Dare to dream, live to love, born to breathe. Remember?  A sophisticated lifestyle bathed in the warmth of family freedom. All mine. Off plan. Freehold. "
"We don't use the F word anymore. It's nmkl pjkl ftmch. And if you read today's Gulf News, you'll see that Dubai Municipality has confirmed that developers are regarded as the owners of the buildings.""

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Stampede to complete Dubai property deals before transfer fees double | The National

Stampede to complete Dubai property deals before transfer fees double | The National:

"Property brokers are predicting a rush to seal deals this week before transfer fees double in Dubai next Sunday.

The Dubai Land Department’s new policy, which is targeting the property flipping that can sometimes inflate real estate bubbles, is putting pressure on agents to close sales ahead of schedule. Sunday is the first day the regulator will be open since it announced the fee rise on Thursday.

Other deals that rely on mortgages, which require extra time, are in danger of falling through as buyers and sellers bicker over who pays the extra fee – an extra Dh50,000 for a Dh2.5 million Dubai apartment or Dh120,000 for a Dh6 million villa.

“If people have signed the MoUs and they are not under mortgage, everybody will be rushing to finalise this week,” said Ghada Ghannam, a senior residential agent at Better Homes. “This was a shock for everyone.”"

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IMG Group seeks builders for Dubai’s Mall of Arabia | The National

IMG Group seeks builders for Dubai’s Mall of Arabia | The National:

"
The constructed frame for City of Arabia located near Global Village.
 Razan Alzayani / The National

The developer behind a US$1 billion Dubailand theme park due to open next year is preparing to seek builders for the long-awaited Mall of Arabia.

Tenders for the planned mall are set to go out next year as Ilyas and Mustafa Galadari (IMG) Group expects to open Dubai’s first theme park complex within its City of Arabia development by the middle of 2014.

The IMG Worlds of Adventure theme park will comprise the first phase of the mixed-use project City of Arabia project located on Emirates Road. The mall is part of the second phase. The overall development will also include a 12-screen cinema."

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Dubai gets its confidence back on the property front – and risk returns | The National

Dubai gets its confidence back on the property front – and risk returns | The National:

"Confidence is back in the UAE economy. With it, risk-taking on the property market is gradually coming back too – on the part of both banks and consumers.

As the Dubai authorities move to curb a second speculative bubble by doubling property transfer fees, many end-user investors are still confident that the property rebound is gaining traction.

Despite having seen the effects of the property crash that followed the last boom, buyers are hoping that recent rises in real estate values could signal a resumption of the 2006-07 property bull market, said Jean-Luc Desbois, the managing director of Home Matters, a mortgage consultancy.

Many recent mortgage buyers have been “people that missed the boom and felt they missed an opportunity,” Mr Desbois said. “People have thought ‘I don’t want to miss this opportunity’, and there’s a lot of people like that.”"

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Ukraine lobby sees sharp fall in 2014 winter wheat area - The Western Producer

Ukraine lobby sees sharp fall in 2014 winter wheat area - The Western Producer:

"Heavy rain across Ukraine, which has already slowed winter grain sowing, may slash the area under winter grains sown for 2014 to about 7.4 million acres from 20 million as originally expected, Ukrainian grain lobby UAC said on Friday.

Leonid Kozachenko, president of the Ukrainian Agrarian Confederation, told reporters that fields were too wet for seeding machines and the optimum time for sowing had passed.

Kozachenko amended the estimate he initially gave on Friday, saying that the total grain area, sowing for 2014, was likely to include six million acres of winter wheat. That is compared with the government plan of sowing about 17 million acres of winter wheat this year.

Earlier he said he expected the area under winter wheat to fall by around five million acres."

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Saturday, 28 September 2013

Saudi Gazette - SABIC Capital planned bonds get high rating

Saudi Gazette - SABIC Capital planned bonds get high rating:

"Fitch Ratings has assigned SABIC Capital II B.V.'s proposed $1 billion 2.625 percent guaranteed bonds an expected senior unsecured 'A+ (EXP)' rating. The rating is in line with Saudi Basic Industries Corporation's (SABIC; A+/Stable/F1) senior unsecured 'A+' rating.

The bonds' final rating is contingent on the receipt of final documentation conforming to information already received and further details regarding the amount and tenor of the notes.

The bonds will benefit from a direct, unconditional, general and irrevocable guarantee from SABIC (the guarantor). The guarantee will be a senior unsecured obligation of SABIC and will rank at least pari passu with all its existing and future senior unsecured and unsubordinated obligations.

SABIC Capital II B.V. (the issuer) is an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of SABIC incorporated in the Netherlands as a private limited liability company."

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R Hotels targets Dubai’s booming tourism market with Dh1.5bn investment | The National

R Hotels targets Dubai’s booming tourism market with Dh1.5bn investment | The National:

"R Hotels is planning a Dh1.5 billion expansion in Dubai as it seeks to exploit the emirate’s rapid increase in tourist arrivals.

Next month, the Ajman-based hotel arms of investment firm R Holding will open a 175-unit hotel at The Walk at Jumeirah Beach Residence, among the emerging destinations for hotel properties in Dubai.

In its first year of operations, the new hotel is expected to achieve 80 per cent occupancy and an average room rate of Dh700 to Dh900.

R Hotels owns, manages and operates two properties in Ajman and one in Dubai – all Sharia-compliant – under the Ramada brand name that belongs to the US-based Wyndham Hotel Group."

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PressTV - UAE stopped expulsion of Iranian nationals: Deputy FM

PressTV - UAE stopped expulsion of Iranian nationals: Deputy FM:

"An Iranian deputy Foreign Minister says the expulsion of Iranian nationals from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has ceased following the measures taken by Tehran.

Iran Deputy Foreign Minister for Consular, Parliamentary and Iranian Expatriate Affairs Hassan Qashqavi said Saturday that the UAE has stopped expelling Iranian nationals as of September 24.

“Persistent follow-ups by the Foreign Ministry and Iran’s Embassy in Abu Dhabi as well as our country’s ambassador and the head of Iran’s Consulate in Dubai played an effective role in such a positive and constructive decision,” Qashqavi added.

The Iranian officials hailed the Abu Dhabi’s move to stop expulsions ahead of the eighth Iran-UAE Joint Consular Committee meeting which is scheduled to be held on October 22. "

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Dubai's Majid Al Futtaim says to wait for stability in Egypt, Syria before investing | Reuters

Dubai's Majid Al Futtaim says to wait for stability in Egypt, Syria before investing | Reuters:

"Dubai's Majid Al Futtaim Holding (MAF), the sole franchisee of hypermarket chain Carrefour (CARR.PA) in the Middle East, will not pursue investments in Egypt and Syria until stability returns to the two countries, a senior company official said on Saturday.

MAF, also the only Carrefour franchisee in North Africa and Central Asia, had been in advanced talks to buy Egypt's largest supermarket chain Metro from the family-owned Mansour Group, sources told Reuters in April.

"Egypt is still unstable, we are waiting for it to settle down but we are still in negotiations. As for Syria, any investor will hold back. It's not good to move forward now with the revolution going on," Younus al Mulla, MAF's senior vice president for retail international development, told reporters at the opening of a new Carrefour hypermarket near Abu Dhabi.

MAF had also been eyeing a major investment in Syria before the 2011 uprising, and one Carrefour store in Aleppo was shut down as a result of the violence."

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Egypt seeks UAE funding for natural gas delivery | Economy | World Bulletin

Egypt seeks UAE funding for natural gas delivery | Economy | World Bulletin:

"Egypt has asked for a 1.3-billion pound funding from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to fund the delivery of natural gas to 800,000 Egyptian homes, head of the state-run Petroleum Authority Tarek al-Mula told Anadolu Agency on Saturday.
Al-Mula said the project is part of a package of projects presented by the Egyptian government to the UAE for funding in the future.
The delivery of natural gas to the 800,000 homes will cost 3.2 billion Egyptian pounds, according to the data of the Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Company (EGAS)."

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Volume in UAE markets surge | GulfNews.com

Volume in UAE markets surge | GulfNews.com:

"Last week the Dubai Financial Market General Index (DFMGI) gained 70.75 or 2.65 per cent to close at 2,736.89, just shy of the most recent 2,761.55 peak (less than one per cent away), and near the high for the week. Strength was seen in most issues with 26 advancing and only eight declining.
Volume surged to the second highest level in 10-years, yet the index was unable to advance above the recent peak. In addition, the gains in each of the past three weeks, since the rally off the most recent swing bottom, have declined sequentially, reflecting a slowing of upward momentum and overhead resistance. Three weeks ago the DFMGI gained 8.62 per cent, followed by 5.03 per cent, and then 2.65 per cent last week.
The near record volume and close near the recent peak are bullish signs, yet the decline in upward momentum a sign of uncertainty. Uncertainty as to whether the index can breakout to new highs and continue its ascent. This is similar to what happened with Emaar in early August. The stock broke out to new highs but subsequently failed to continue higher, and then dropped back down moving into a consolidation phase, where it remains."

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Russia’s GDP Shows Zero Growth, Outlook Grim – Minister | Business | RIA Novosti

Russia’s GDP Shows Zero Growth, Outlook Grim – Minister | Business | RIA Novosti:

"Russia’s GDP in the first eight months of the year grew 1.5 percent year-on-year, but seasonally adjusted month-to-month growth was zero, Economic Development Minister Alexei Ulyukayev said Saturday.
August has turned out to be “worse than July,” he told an international investment forum in the southern Russian city of Sochi. “There are no visible signs of change for the better.”
The minister also urged the Russians to prepare for a worsening unemployment situation next year due to economic stagnation.
Unemployment is expected to reach 6 percent in 2014, Ulyukayev said."

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Today's Best Emerging Market

Today's Best Emerging Market:

"What emerging market trades for less than six times earnings and pays 4%?

Here are a couple more clues about the country itself: Government debt is just 8% of the economy. (In the US, Japan and the EU, these percentages are over 100%.) And unemployment is only 6%.

The answer gets us to Rob Marstrand's favourite idea...

I met Rob in Uruguay at an investment conference where we were both speaking. We also sat on the same 'best ideas' panel, in which Rob opened with his mystery favourite emerging market.

He is the chief investment strategist for the Bonner Family Office. Marstrand is English and reminds me of Roger Moore circa 1973, when he played James Bond. Before joining the Bonner Family Office, Rob worked for 15 years at the Swiss banking giant UBS. (As with your editor, he's a former banker.)

The approach at the Family Office is pretty simple. It involves thinking 'ultra-long term' and applying a value approach. The office has an international focus, looks for big-picture trends and aims to keep costs low.

Rob favours emerging markets, but he likes one in particular. And it's the answer to the question up top.

Russia."

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Gulf Daily News » Business News » UAE planning tax on remittances abroad

Gulf Daily News » Business News » UAE planning tax on remittances abroad:

"The UAE is considering whether to impose a tax on the billions of dollars which foreign guest workers send back to their home countries every year, government and banking sources said yesterday.

It is unclear whether authorities will proceed with the tax, which would mark a major shift of policy, potentially raising costs in the economy and reducing the supply of foreign labour on which much of the UAE's boom is based.

But the proposal reflects growing concern in the UAE and other Gulf countries that they may be becoming too dependent on foreign workers and are losing too much of their wealth in the form of remittances abroad.

A circular discussing the proposal and requesting feedback was sent to some banks and financial institutions in the UAE, the sources said.

"It is a pilot project, in the initial stages. Based on the feedback from banks and others, a decision will be taken," said a Finance Ministry source."

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Daily chart: Give it back! | The Economist

Daily chart: Give it back! | The Economist:

"When bosses face pressure to return their lucre upon leaving

AFTER selling his ailing company to Microsoft, Nokia's boss, Stephen Elop, is facing calls to return some of his €18.8m ($25m) pay-off. Finns are furious; the prime minister calls the compensation "outrageous". But compared to other controversial golden handshakes–in which the bosses were under pressure to voluntarily give some of the money back–it is rather tame. The boss of UnitedHealth, William McGuire, was awarded a whopping $286m when he stepped down in 2006 (though regulators forced him to return it and about $150m more). Many bosses have had to pay back some or all of their pay-offs. For example, Stan O'Neal of Merrill Lynch eyed $216m but settled for a mere $162m. Novartis' Daniel Vasella took $3m in cash and around $2m in shares–though initially expected $78m. Wendelin Wiedeking of Porsche was pressed to give half his pay-off to charity. In Mr Elop's case, he has reportedly refused to return his compensation because he is going through a divorce.
"

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The other Yalta conference: A global elite gathering in the Crimea | The Economist

The other Yalta conference: A global elite gathering in the Crimea | The Economist:

"
NEARLY seventy years ago Joseph Stalin, Winston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt sat at the round table in Yalta’s Livadia’s palace (pictured) and carved up the map of Europe. Last weekend, their ghosts must have been disturbed by the pow-wow of politicians, thinkers and businessmen who gathered in the same palace for the annual meeting of Yalta European Strategy, trying to reshape Europe one more time.

The elegant white palace combines Neo-Renaissance style with the light subtlety of Moorish architecture. Loaded with symbolism, it is the place Viktor Pinchuk, a Ukrainian tycoon with a taste for intellectual debate, chose to set up his conference ten years ago. Hardly any speaker did not reflect on Yalta’s history. But never before have these reflections been as fitting as this year. The future of Ukraine, a country of 48m people, and of Europe was being decided in real time. The Yalta conference, now in its tenth year, was a display of fierce diplomacy, formidable brain power and the precarious position of the European Union."

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At a Qatar Project Overseen by Americans, Workers Die Almost Daily - Businessweek

At a Qatar Project Overseen by Americans, Workers Die Almost Daily - Businessweek:

"
Photograph by Qatar 2022 via Bloomberg
An artist illustration of Lusail City stadium, designed for the Qatar 2022 World Cup final
Apple (AAPL) and Nike (NKE), among American companies, have been held responsible for labor conditions at overseas factories where their products are made. Should American construction and engineering groups also be called to account for worker mistreatment at offshore projects they manage?

Britain’s Guardian newspaper reports that immigrant workers on a massive construction project in Qatar are being treated inhumanely and dying at a rate of almost one per day from on-the-job accidents and heart failure.

Parsons Corp., in Pasadena, Calif., is managing construction of the $45 billion Lusail City project near the capital city, Doha, that’s being built by Qatar’s sovereign-wealth fund to accommodate the 2022 soccer World Cup. A British unit of CH2M Hill, in Meridian, Colo., is listed on Lusail City’s website as one of three key contractors on the project. The two others are Hyder Consulting (HYC:LN) of Britain and Denmark’s Cowi."

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Guest post: Ukraine’s European challenge | beyondbrics

Guest post: Ukraine’s European challenge | beyondbrics:

"
By Vasyl Filipchuk of the ICPS and Amanda Paul of the EPC

The Yalta conference in Crimea, Ukraine, left a clear feeling of a geopolitical shift in Europe. Not the one 68 years ago at this Black Sea resort but the annual Yalta European Strategy conference organised last weekend by Ukrainian philanthropist Victor Pinchuk with the participation of Tony Blair, Bill and Hillary Clinton, Karl Bildt, Stefan Fule and many other European and global leaders and opinion makers.

Movers and shakers from both the EU and Ukraine left Yalta confident that the EU’s third Eastern Partnership summit to be held in Vilnius in November will see the signature of an EU/Ukraine association agreement.

This will not open a new round of EU enlargement but it may well alter the shape of Europe’s political and economic architecture, with the integration of former Soviet republics with the EU at the level of the European Economic Area or similar.

Predictably, but still surprisingly, Russia has reacted to Europe’s approaches to its strategic neighbour by engaging in tough rhetoric, a chocolate war and threats of trade sanctions."

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XXI Century Investments Subsidiary Extends Bank Guarantee For Ukraine Project - Finance News - London South East

XXI Century Investments Subsidiary Extends Bank Guarantee For Ukraine Project - Finance News - London South East:

"XXI Century Investments Public Limited Friday said its subsidiary Mriya-Invest has extended its exchange of bank guarantees with a subsidiary of Auchan SA, a supermarket retail chain based in France and an unnamed French DIY operator.

Mriya-Invest and Auchan SA signed an investment agreement regarding the development of the Vyrlitsa Project in Kyiv, Ukraine last year.

Earlier this year Mriya-Invest signed a separate investment agreement with a French DIY operator, established in Ukraine, also regarding the development of the Vyrlitsa Project.

XXI Centruy said the parties to the two agreements have agreed to further extend the exchange of bank guarantees up to 31 December 2013.

The stock closed at 1.75 pence Friday, down 0.12 pence or 6.7%."

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Ukraine teeters on the brink again | Reuters

Ukraine teeters on the brink again | Reuters:

"Ukraine has muddled its way through several debt crises in the past, but investors and traders are concerned that default may finally be round the corner as the country's finances deteriorate and its relations with Russia worsen.

When it was downgraded to Caa1 from B3 by Moody's on September 20, it gained the dubious honour of joining the Triple C club alongside Cuba, Ecuador, Egypt and Pakistan.

Some observers, however, are playing down the risk of default, saying the country can still find a way to make its debt payments, which amount to more than US$10bn in hard currency in the coming year.

"Fears of default and devaluation in Ukraine are almost seasonal in nature and usually peak at the end of Q3 or beginning of Q4 and get forgotten as the winter holidays approach," said Peter Attard Montalto and Dmitri Petrov, analysts at Nomura. The actual risk of default is still only moderate, they said."

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Back to the future in Yalta - FT.com

Back to the future in Yalta - FT.com:

"
Walking around the Italian garden in the Livadia Palace in Yalta last weekend, I could not help but feel the weight of history. It was here that Stalin, Roosevelt and Churchill were photographed in February 1945 as they worked out who got what at the end of the second world war.

These days Yalta continues to make history, albeit with fewer far-reaching consequences. The annual Yalta European Strategy Meeting, a sort of mini Davos with better architecture, is hosted here by businessman and philanthropist Victor Pinchuk. The Ukrainian billionaire founded the event in 2004, when he persuaded 30 people to come together to discuss and plan Ukraine’s best approach to joining the EU. These days the meeting is quite a bit bigger."

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The week ahead: Relics of war



Chance for a historic recasting of ties | GulfNews.com

Chance for a historic recasting of ties | GulfNews.com:

"The void left by the Eastern bloc since the early 1990s in terms of political, economic and military clout was well felt. Such a situation created an imbalance in geo-political equations. But Russia has since regained its influence and while China consolidated its status as an economic powerhouse.
After overtaking France and Britain earlier, the Chinese economy moved past Germany and Japan last year to occupy the second spot after the US. It will not stop at that as it seeks to overcome the US and march towards that goal one careful step after the other. In 2012 it became the biggest oil importer in the world.
India is also treading in the same direction, having achieved high growth rates (until recently). Traditional economic supremos such as the US and the EU now seem to be trying to impede this repositioning of global influence."

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