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Friday, 4 January 2013

Al Jazeera coverage raises tough questions - FT.com

Qatar’s Al Jazeera television station provided a great ringside seat for the “day of rage” in Cairo almost two years ago that offered the first clear sign of the threat to the rule of Hosni Mubarak, Egyptian president.
While many western media organisations were scrambling to ramp up their coverage of Egypt’s nascent revolution, Al Jazeera had gripping reports of an extraordinary protest that ended with the ruling party headquarters ablaze and the army on the streets.
Yet, mirroring the progress of the Arab uprising itself, the 16-year-old Doha-based broadcaster’s Cairo triumph has since given way to a more complicated life, as it seeks to extend its international influence by buying into the US television market.
Al Jazeera coverage raises tough questions - FT.com

The end of QE: what would it mean for emerging markets? | beyondbrics

Is it the end of the world as we know it? The dollar up more than 1 per cent against the yen, 10-year Treasury yields up 12 bp in two days to their highest in eight months… aren’t these the early warnings of the potential for a general dumping of EM assets as the QE liquidity that has sloshed around the world in search of yield starts flowing back home?

As beyondbrics touched on several times in 2012, EM sovereign debt enjoyed an unprecedentedly successful year, with record inflows into EM debt funds, major EM government bonds hitting new lows, and frontier market issues massively oversubscribed.

But the minutes of the Federal Reserve meeting released on Friday, suggesting that QE could come to an end earlier than expected in 2013, should give pause for thought.
The end of QE: what would it mean for emerging markets? | beyondbrics

Saudi Arabia secures diesel imports for this year amid rising fuel needs | Hydrocarbon Processing | January 2013

Saudi Arabia's state-run Saudi Aramco has secured diesel imports for 2013, thus boosting Asian product premiums.

The country used to be a key exporter of oil products but is increasingly importing more oil products due to strong domestic demand.

Saudi Aramco Product Trading Co., the trading arm of Saudi Aramco, has bought diesel under term contracts for 2013 from multiple suppliers including BP, Shell, and Phillips 66, Singapore-based traders say.
Saudi Arabia secures diesel imports for this year amid rising fuel needs | Hydrocarbon Processing | January 2013

Malia Group: spreading risk in the Middle East | beyondbrics

Opening the only five-star hotel in Iraq two years ago was a bold move by any standards. Throw in marketing cigarette makers in Lebanon and distributing Shell Lubricants in Iraq, and Malia Group looks like a controversial risk-taker.

Established in 1936, the Lebanese group includes twenty companies that together cover six sectors, which Malia groups as industries (making pharmaceutical, personal care products and bottled water), consumer goods distribution, solutions (which includes a technology company and advertising agency), fashion and luxury, engineering and contracting, and hospitality and real estate.

Among the brands is Pharmaline, which has a plant just north of Beirut manufacturing pharmaceuticals for companies such as GlaxoSmithKline and Merck Serono. And Ch Sarraf and Co does the marketing and sales for Clairol, Wella, Burberry and Paul Smith.
Malia Group: spreading risk in the Middle East | beyondbrics

Financial punditry reportedly criminalised in Turkey | FT Alphaville

Bloomberg states that Turkey’s new Capital Markets Law, enacted at the turn of the year, promises harsh punishment for…

“those who provide untruthful, wrong or misleading information, start rumors, or provide news, commentary, or prepare reports with the intention of influencing prices, values of capital markets instruments or investor decisions.”

So, listen up strategists and analysts: if you think your wise words might influence Turkish asset prices then you may well be in breach of the law.

Apparently, SocGen has already ceased commentary on Turkey while it reviews the new legislation.

But perhaps something has been lost in translation here. No further details were available at the Capital Markets Board of Turkey at pixel time.End

BBC News - Working Lives Qatar: Gold trader - Video

Migrant workers make up 94% of the Qatari workforce. Many, like 27-year-old taxi driver and trader Niyas Maniyoth, come from South Asian countries to make their fortunes here in Qatar.

Niyas came from Kerala in India in 2004, and he has worked his way up from the hardest, lowest rung on the employment ladder.

Working 18 hours a day in a restaurant and then driving taxis, he gradually earned enough to start his own cab company.
BBC News - Working Lives Qatar: Gold trader

BBC News - Tunisia business suffering two years after revolution - Video

It has been two years since the revolution in Tunisia which ousted the country's dictator and set in train the Arab Spring.

But things have not gone well from then.

Unemployment has risen and business leaders lack the confidence to invest in new enterprises.

Jeremy Howell reports from Tunisia.
BBC News - Tunisia business suffering two years after revolution

Government spending may boost Oman’s tiny bourse

One of the Gulf’s smallest stock markets could become one of its best-performing this year as the government spends heavily to stimulate economic growth and create jobs.
Oman’s stock index edged up just 1.2 percent last year. It outperformed Qatar and Bahrain, which fell, but lagged far behind a 19.9 percent jump by Dubai and Saudi Arabia’s 6.0 percent gain.
The Omani economy, however, can count this year on strong support from the government: Finance Minister Darwish al-Balushi announced on Wednesday a 2013 state budget that was loaded with job promotion schemes and infrastructure projects.
Government spending may boost Oman’s tiny bourse

PRAGMATIC CAPITALISM – Rail Traffic Declines to Start 2013

The first reading on rail traffic showed a modest decline to -0.1%.  The beginning of the year is usually a volatile period for rail traffic trends so it’s better to take a bit longer view here.  The 12 moving moving average remains modestly positive at 2.23%.  That’s consistent with an economy that is expanding, but still muddling through.  Here’s a bit more detail via the AAR:

“The Association of American Railroads (AAR) today reported mixed 2012 rail traffic compared with 2011.  U.S. rail intermodal volume totaled 12.3 million containers and trailers in 2012, up 3.2 percent or 374,918 units, over 2011. Carloads totaled 14.7 million in 2012, down 3.1 percent or 476,322 carloads, from 2011.  Intermodal volume in 2012 was the second highest on record, down 0.1 percent or 14,885 containers and trailers, from the record high totals of 2006.

PRAGMATIC CAPITALISM – Rail Traffic Declines to Start 2013

GrowthGate of Dubai May Invest $200 Million More in Mideast - Bloomberg

GrowthGate Capital Corp., a Dubai- based private-equity (PEY) firm with investments in companies that are valued at $1.4 billion, said it may invest an additional $200 million in businesses in the Middle East that weren’t hurt by the turmoil of the Arab Spring as difficulties raising funds abate.
“The markets that we like the most, the Gulf Cooperation Council, plus Jordan and Morocco, have gained more prominence after the Arab Spring and we think that they hold the most promise for private equity,” Karim Souaid, managing partner of Dubai-based GrowthGate, said in an interview on Dec. 31. “The private-equity ecosystem in these countries is at its best, and that’s political stability, economic prospects, middle class, demographics, purchasing power and rule of law.”
GrowthGate of Dubai May Invest $200 Million More in Mideast - Bloomberg

Kuwait cracks down on money laundering | Al-Shorfa

Kuwait has issued strict new measures to combat money laundering and the financing of terrorist organisations, Kuwait's al-Rai reported Thursday (January 3rd).

Under new instructions issued by the Ministry of Trade, store owners, their partners and workers will be required to check the identity of clients and ensure no illegal transactions are conducted through their businesses.

All transactions which exceed 3,000 Kuwaiti dinars ($10,626) must be recorded, and ledgers and inventory books including details of all transactions must be kept for at least 10 years.
Kuwait cracks down on money laundering | Al-Shorfa