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Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Saudis maintain high spending strategy -

Saudi Arabia’s record expenditure plan reflects the kingdom’s determination to continue spurring domestic growth through public spending amid a global downturn and regional political upheaval.
The world’s biggest oil exporter said on Saturday that it would spend SR820bn ($219bn) this year. It projected a surplus of SR9bn. The government did not reveal the oil price assumption, but Riyadh-based Jadwa Investment estimated it had set production at 9.6m barrels a day at $66 a barrel. Last year’s price average was about $111.5 a barrel.
Saudis maintain high spending strategy -

Jordan News Agency (Petra) |UAE deposits $250m in Central Bank of Jordan, envoy

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has deposited $250 million in the Central Bank of Jordan on December 25, the UAE Ambassador to Jordan Abdullah Al Ameri said Wednesday.

The envoy told Petra that the UAE will be paying $1.25 billion, as part of the $5 billion aid pledged by the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states to help the Kingdom address economic challenges.

The envoy said Jordan and the UAE have mutual understanding towards various regional and international issues of concern.
Jordan News Agency (Petra) |UAE deposits $250m in Central Bank of Jordan, envoy

Wealthy Gulf investors warm to Africa | Reuters

Wealthy Gulf Arab companies are boosting their investment in Africa's vast lands and untapped resources, marking a shift for investors who have traditionally directed their money towards assets in the United States and Europe.

One reason for the shift is negative: with government debt problems weighing on U.S. and European markets, those regions no longer look as attractive to some Gulf investors as they did just a few years ago.

But there are also a string of positive motives, including Africa's fast economic growth, the rise of a free-spending African middle class, and a sense that much of the continent is becoming better governed and more stable politically.
Wealthy Gulf investors warm to Africa | Reuters

Emerging economies in 2013

Global banks rethink Middle East model as deals slump | Reuters

When U.S. banking giant Citigroup Inc moved one of its top bankers, Alberto Verme, to Dubai in 2008, it was a sign of international banks' ambitions to tap economic growth in the oil-rich region.

By bringing in Verme, who at the time was co-head of Citigroup's worldwide investment banking operation, the bank became the first among its peers to station the global chief of a major business in the Middle East.

Four years later, the picture has changed dramatically. Verme is back in London as chairman of the bank's Europe, Middle East and Africa business. And like most of its peers, Citigroup has cut jobs in the region as part of a global plan to reduce costs this year. The bank still has a sizeable presence in the Middle East, but on a smaller scale than in the boom years.
Global banks rethink Middle East model as deals slump | Reuters

Etihad eyes partnership route to growth -

Etihad, Abu Dhabi’s state-owned airline, is making investments in carriers across the world as it pursues its distinctive strategy for rapid international expansion from the crowded Gulf aviation market.
While rivals such as its near-neighbour Emirates of Dubai have grown in influence by creating their own new routes, Etihad is focusing on building international partnerships through setting up code shares and taking minority stakes in other airlines in countries from Germany to Australia.
Etihad last month said it was considering a possible investment in an Indian carrier, underscoring an approach to growth that is seen by analysts as effective but hard to judge definitively because the company makes only limited financial disclosures.
 Etihad eyes partnership route to growth -

MIDEAST STOCKS-Mkts climb on cliff deal; UAE property stks up - Yahoo! News Maktoob

Dubai's market surged in the first trading session of the new year on Wednesday, boosted by a recovery in property stocks, while most other regional bourses also ended higher on the resolution to the U.S. tax talks.
Property shares in Dubai recovered from losses suffered on Monday in response to the central bank's introduction of caps on mortgage loans. Union Properties surged 8.9 percent and builder Arabtec added 7.1 percent.
"There is good sentiment in the market; Saudi was up on Tuesday, and there was good news from the U.S., which are the main reasons we are seeing the upside today," said Marwan Shurrab, vice president and chief trader at Gulfmena Investments.
MIDEAST STOCKS-Mkts climb on cliff deal; UAE property stks up - Yahoo! News Maktoob

Dubai Financial Market close - January 2, 2013

General Index
Intraday  3 month  
 Daily Statistics
 General Index1666.87
 Change (%)2.73%
 T. Volume345734001
 T. Companies 61

Dubai Financial Market

MENA stock markets close - January 2, 2013

 ExchangeStatus IndexChange  
 TASI (Saudi Stock Market)
 DFM (Dubai Financial Market)
 ADX (Abudhabi Securities Exchange)
 KSE (Kuwait Stock Exchange)
 BSE (Bahrain Stock Exchange)
 MSM (Muscat Securities Market)
 QE (Qatar Exchange)
 LSE (Beirut Stock Exchange)
 EGX 30 (Egypt Exchange)
 ASE (Amman Stock Exchange)
 TUNINDEX (Tunisia Stock Exchange)
 CB (Casablanca Stock Exchange)
 PSE (Palestine Securities Exchange)

MENA stock markets

TEXT-Fitch:Expansionary budget to support growth in Saudi Arabia | Reuters

Fitch Ratings says an expansionary 2013 budget based on a conservative oil price will support another year of healthy economic growth for Saudi Arabia and a further strengthening of the sovereign's net creditor position. However, overall growth will slow due to a decline in oil production that was already evident in recent months.

The FY13 (31 December 2012 to 30 December 2013) budget unveiled on December 29 projects record spending of USD219bn (34% of GDP), up by almost 20% on the 2012 budget. Budgeted capital spending is 28% higher than in 2012, though the government has struggled to achieve its capital spending targets in recent years. Education and healthcare remain the focus of spending, accounting for 37% of the total. Defence and security tends to be the largest single item, constituting around one-third, but is not disclosed in the budget.
TEXT-Fitch:Expansionary budget to support growth in Saudi Arabia | Reuters

STOCKS NEWS MIDEAST-UAE mkts surge after US fiscal agreement - Yahoo! News Maktoob

UAE markets surge on the first trading day of 2013 on positive global sentiment, with most bluchip stocks trading higher.
Dubai's index ends 2.7 percent higher at 1,667 points, its highest close since April 24. Real estate stocks are
the biggest gainers. Union Properties surges 8.9 percent and builder Arabtec adds 7.1 percent. Deyaar Properties rises 4.6 percent.
"Markets are reacting positively after the deal signed in the USA regarding the fiscal cliff," says Sebastien Henin,
portfolio manager at The National Investor.
STOCKS NEWS MIDEAST-UAE mkts surge after US fiscal agreement - Yahoo! News Maktoob

Oman real GDP grew estimated 8.3 pct in 2012 -minister | Reuters

Oman's gross domestic product, adjusted for inflation, grew an estimated 8.3 percent last year, faster than the government's target of 7 percent, Finance Minister Darwish al-Balushi said on Wednesday.

Balushi, speaking at a news conference on the 2013 budget, said heavy government spending had boosted growth.

The rate was considerably higher than most economists had predicted; the International Monetary Fund, for example, forecast in October that Oman would grow 5.0 percent in 2012.

Oman does not regularly release real GDP data. In 2011 its economy grew an estimated 5.4 percent, according to the IMF.END

Mideast to Beat Emerging Stocks on Yield, Templeton Says - Bloomberg

Middle East and North Africa equities are set to outperform emerging markets as higher dividends and state-funded expansion lure investors hunting for better returns, Franklin Templeton Investment Management Ltd. (BEN) said.
The Bloomberg GCC 200 Index (BGCC200) of the biggest Gulf Cooperation Council stocks rose 3.7 percent in 2012, lagging behind the 15 percent rally in the MSCI Emerging Markets Index. (MXEF) Shares in the Bloomberg GCC 200 Index, which includes the most-traded stocks in the six-nation group, offer a dividend yield of 3.88 percent, versus 2.68 percent on the MSCI Emerging Markets Index, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Mideast to Beat Emerging Stocks on Yield, Templeton Says - Bloomberg

Happy New Year, Infidels!

“Those who speak of Bankruptcy are the Bankrupt ones”
So Said Morsy to thundering applause in his speech to the newly-appointed-already-Illegal Shura Council, as he laid out his vision on the state of Egyptian economy. I couldn’t suppress my laughter as I watched him say this from a cafĂ© in Heliopolis, nor could I suppress my falling on the floor holding my belly from laughter as I heard him talk about how great Tourism is doing, and how, for the first time, our debt is only 87% of our GDP. Only.
Morsy is hilarious. It’s an undeniable fact. He is even more hilarious when he gets exposed.
Happy New Year, Infidels!

Lamprell agrees waivers to banking covenants | Reuters

Oil rig maker Lamprell (LAM.L) said it had been successful in negotiating waivers to its banking covenants and was making progress on a wider deal to provide long-term financing.

The company said its working capital position had improved significantly in recent months and it had ended the year with net cash of about $100 million due to improved revenue and tighter financial controls.

Shares in the company were up 17 percent at 0911 GMT after losing nearly two thirds of their value last year.
Lamprell agrees waivers to banking covenants | Reuters

Dubai telco du signs $100 mln financing deal | Reuters

Dubai's Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Co, or du, has signed a $100 million financing deal with Standard Chartered to shore up liquidity, the company said on Wednesday.

The financing, and other debt facilities secured recently, would give the firm flexibility to fund future growth of its business, du said in a statement on Dubai's bourse.

The statement did not provide terms such as pricing for the deal or when it matures.

In December, the company secured a $500 million club debt facility and signed a $100 million three-year loan facility with Singapore's DBS Bank.END

Qtel buys further $360 mln stake in Tunisian telco - Yahoo! News Maktoob

Qatar Telecom (Qtel), the majority state-owned telecommunications operator, has agreed with the Tunisian government to buy a further 15 percent stake in that country's operator Tunisiana for $360 million.
The purchase raises the Qatari firm's stake in Tunisiana to 90 percent, Qtel said in a statement seen on Wednesday. Wataniya, Qtel's Kuwaiti arm, already held 75 percent of Tunisiana.
The Tunisian government will retain a 10 percent holding in Tunisiana with a view to conducting a public offer of shares in future, the statement added.
Qtel buys further $360 mln stake in Tunisian telco - Yahoo! News Maktoob

TAQA buys stake in Iraqi Kurdistan oil block for $600 mln | Reuters

Abu Dhabi National Energy Co (TAQA) has bought a 53.2 percent operating interest in Iraqi Kurdistan's Atrush oil block for $600 million from General Exploration Partners (GEP) Inc.

A TAQA spokesman said on Wednesday production was expected to start in 2013 and the acquisition would be funded "from corporate resources".

GEP is a venture between privately-held Aspect Energy, which owns a 66.5 percent interest, with the remainder held by a subsidiary of Canadian group ShaMaran Petroleum.
TAQA buys stake in Iraqi Kurdistan oil block for $600 mln | Reuters

STOCKS NEWS MIDEAST-UAE mkts rise, property stocks recover - Yahoo! News Maktoob

United Arab Emirates markets rise with gains across the board as positive global sentiment lifts stocks, and
as property shares recover from losses on Monday in response to the central bank's introduction of caps on mortgage loans.
Dubai's index rises 1.1 percent to 1,641 points and Abu Dhabi's benchmark advances 0.8 percent to 2,652
points. Abu Dhabi is heading for a break of chart resistance around 2,640 points, which was support in October and November, and which the index tested and failed to break last week.
Bellwether Emaar Properties is up 1.3 percent and contractor Arabtec also up 1.3 percent. Dubai Financial Market stock advances 3.0 percent.
STOCKS NEWS MIDEAST-UAE mkts rise, property stocks recover - Yahoo! News Maktoob

UAE ends barbarous jail sentences for check fraud and frees all previous offenders « ArabianMoney

The President of the UAE Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan has issued a decree releasing all the expatriates held in prison for bouncing post-dated checks, a hang over from the 2009 recession in the Emirates that hit many debtors very hard leaving them personally liable for bad debts secured by checks signed by them.

In more normal economic times the practice of arresting and jailing debtors who bounced checks worked tolerably well, and allowed credit to be extended to a higher proportion of the largely expatriate UAE population who always posed a particular flight risk as they have another country to return to.
UAE ends barbarous jail sentences for check fraud and frees all previous offenders « ArabianMoney

My predictions for the year - via an informed hunch - The National

The "undercover economist" Tim Harford recently wrote: "The wonderful thing about a forecast is that both the forecaster and his audience feel that something profound has been expressed."

He was discussing the eruption of New Year forecasts coming in every direction, but especially in economics and finance. Everybody, it seems, is taking a stab at the level of the S&P 500, or the price of gold, or the dollar/euro rate at the end of December.

Now, I'm no economist, but I cannot resist the urge to peer into the crystal ball at least once a year.

So here, from my training in the "informed hunch, journalist gut-instinct" school of forecasting, are four predictions for 2013.
My predictions for the year - via an informed hunch - The National

Qatar Airways hits out at Lindner claims

Qatar Airways yesterday hit back at statements by German Emirati joint venture company Lindner Depa Interiors (LDI) that it had not delayed the opening of the New Doha International Airport (NDIA).
The Doha-based airline has been severely affected by the delayed airport opening – scheduled for last month – due to LDI ‘badly defaulting’ on its contract.
LDI had been awarded a $250m contract to build 19 airport lounges, work which should have been completed six months ago. The contract was terminated due to LDI defaulting, delaying the airport opening by up to 12 months, a Qatar Airways release said.
Qatar Airways hits out at Lindner claims