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Monday, 7 January 2013

Algeria, Qatar ink steel plant deal - FRANCE 24

Algeria and Qatar on Monday signed eight accords, including for the construction of a steel plant, during a visit to the north African country by Qatari Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani.

The agreement to jointly build a steel plant in Bella, 300 kilometres (190 miles) east of Algiers was signed in the presence of Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika and the emir of Qatar, Algeria's state-run APS news agency reported.

The OPEC countries, both major producers and exporters of natural gas, also signed a memorandum of understanding for the production and marketing of fertilizer.
Algeria, Qatar ink steel plant deal - FRANCE 24

Nakheel issues US$33 million in third tranche of trade creditor sukuk - Business Intelligence Middle East - bi-me.com - News, analysis, reports

Nakheel today completed another milestone by issuing the third tranche of its trade creditor sukuk. The sukuk programme was established on 25 August 2011, with the first tranche of AED3.8 billion (US$1.03 billion) launched at the time.

Today’s issuance of AED121 million (US$33 million) brings the total amount issued to AED4.148 billion, and further underpins Nakheel’s commitment towards successfully implementing its revised business plan and the settlement of trade creditor claims.

In addition to the issuance of the sukuk and payment of all profits due on the sukuk to date, Nakheel has made payments totalling around AED10 billion to various trade creditors and contractors since November 2009, when its restructuring process commenced.
Nakheel issues US$33 million in third tranche of trade creditor sukuk - bi-me.com

UPDATE 1-Iran oil export revenues down 45 pct since March-ISNA | Reuters

Iran's earnings from oil have slumped by 45 percent since last March and are not likely to rise over the next three months, Iranian Oil Minister Rostam Qasemi told a parliamentary budget committee on Monday, according to Iran's ISNA news agency.

Qasemi has until now played down any impact of Western restrictions on oil sales but he told Iranian MPs that sales volumes had fallen by 40 percent over the last nine months while earnings had dropped 45 percent, ISNA quoted a budget and planning committee spokesman as saying.

Iranian officials do not expect any improvement in oil earnings before the end of the current Iranian year in late March and foresee only a modest rise in exports after that.
UPDATE 1-Iran oil export revenues down 45 pct since March-ISNA | Reuters

Lebanon: Gulf Arabs Sell Off Local Properties | Al Akhbar English

Major investors and real estate owners started to put up their properties for sale. (Photo: Bilal Jawich)
Starting a year ago, Gulf Arabs who own a substantial amount of real estate in Lebanon started selling off their property, ahead of what appears to be a full economic withdrawal driven by political motives.

Lebanese real estate agents have noted that beginning a year ago, Gulf Arabs – be they property investors, owners, or regular tourists in Lebanon – began to slowly withdraw from the country.

Even though the local real estate market has declined over the past few years, it has not prevented Gulf citizens from selling off their properties.
Lebanon: Gulf Arabs Sell Off Local Properties | Al Akhbar English

Kurdistan’s vast reserves draw oil majors - FT.com

For decades, the rugged hills of northern Iraq were the sole preserve of sheep herders and the Kurdish militia known as peshmerga. Now they play host to some of the largest oil and gas companies in the world, drawn by its estimated 45bn barrels of oil.
“We are driving over huge reserves,” says Richard Lowe, drilling manager for oil explorer Gulf Keystone, as he crosses Iraqi Kurdistan’s oil-rich northern corner.
Kurdistan’s vast reserves draw oil majors - FT.com

Move to consolidate Omani pension funds | Oman Observer

The government is exploring efforts to consolidate major Omani pension funds into an integrated fund with a view to enhancing their performance and yields, according to Darwish bin Ismaeel al Balushi, Minister Responsible for Financial Affairs.
The move will help bring together potentially billions of Omani rials in assets, currently distributed among eight major pension funds, into a single consolidated fund.
“There are ongoing negotiations by the government with eight pension funds on how we can contribute to improving the performance of investments and enhance returns. Both sides — the government and the pension funds — are also of the conviction that if the funds are merged together, it will amount to a large fund that can help attract better talent, with the right expertise and qualifications to manage the investments and assets belonging to the individual funds.
Move to consolidate Omani pension funds | Oman Observer

IMF visits Egypt to discuss loan as economic crisis worsens | beyondbrics

A senior IMF official was meeting with the Egyptian government on Monday to discuss a stalled $4.8bn loan deal, as renewed political turmoil pushed the country closer to economic crisis.

Top of the mission’s mind will be whether the government still has the capacity to implement economic reform as the central bank struggles to run a managed devaluation of the Egyptian pound that risks slipping out of control.

News reports suggested a sense of urgency. “We will attend many meetings with the Egyptian government today. The technical team will come later. All details will be discussed in these meetings today,” said Masood Ahmed (pictured), the IMF’s Middle East and Central Asia director, according to Reuters. Ahmed was due to meet President Mohamed Morsi later in his visit.
IMF visits Egypt to discuss loan as economic crisis worsens | beyondbrics

Daily chart: Undue credit | The Economist

The misery continues for banks in the developed world

BANKS have gained some time and flexibility in meeting the Basel III liquidity requirements, now that the rules will come into effect four years later and the definition of a "high-quality liquid asset" has been expanded. But prospects for the banking industry are grim in 2013, especially for banks in the developed world. Squeezed by sluggish economic growth, strict new regulations and seemingly endless litigation, profits will remain elusive. American banks will be somewhat less stingy than in recent years, although loans will grow by only 4% in 2013. European lenders will cut credit lines, hoard funds, and generally hunker down as the region’s sovereign debt crisis rumbles on. Japan’s banks will also lend less. By contrast, banks in emerging markets will benefit from a flood of customers joining the formal financial system for the first time, as well as burgeoning demand for advisory and investment-banking services from maturing companies. Rising incomes and consumption in emerging markets will give many consumers the confidence to start borrowing.

Green light for delayed Kuwait Airways privatisation - Transport - ArabianBusiness.com

Kuwait’s National Assembly committee for financial and economic affairs has approved the privatisation of Kuwait Airways, state news agency KUNA reported.
“The approval was taken after both the Minister and Kuwait Airways Corporation (KAC) chairman gave written statements obliging them to present a three-year action plan,” Communications Minister Safa Al Hashem said.
The committee also discussed the carrier’s fleet, accidents, malfunctions, delays and employees’ benefits, he added.
Green light for delayed Kuwait Airways privatisation - ArabianBusiness.com

Turkey wants to purchase gas from Qatar | Economy | World Bulletin

Turkish Energy and Natural Resources Minister Taner Yildiz on Monday said that "Turkey currently purchased natural gas from five countries and that they wished to see Qatar as the sixth country from which Turkey purchased natural gas."
Minister Taner Yildiz on Monday met with his Qatari counterpart Muhammad Salih al-Sada in Qatar's capital, Doha.
The two ministers replied to questions of press corps after their tete-a-tete meeting which was closed to the press corps.
Turkey wants to purchase gas from Qatar | Economy | World Bulletin

NBAD Soars on Bets Mortgage Caps to Be Delayed: Abu Dhabi Mover - Businessweek

National Bank of Abu Dhabi PJSC surged to a seven-year high on bets lenders in the United Arab Emirates will convince the central bank to delay the implementation of new caps on mortgage lending.

Shares of the U.A.E.’s second-biggest bank by assets soared 3.7 percent to 11.35 dirhams, the highest level since April 2006, at the close in Abu Dhabi. The stock was the biggest gainer on the emirate’s benchmark ADX General Index (ADSMI), which slipped 0.2 percent. In neighboring Dubai, Emirates NBD, the country’s biggest bank by assets, rallied 2.8 percent.

U.A.E. banks will ask the central bank to delay the plan announced at the end of last year by 30 days, two bankers familiar with the matter said yesterday. The rules limit mortgages for expatriates to 50 percent of property value for a first home, while U.A.E. citizens can finance as much as 70 percent via home loans. There were previously no restrictions and some banks gave loans of as much as 90 percent of the property value.
NBAD Soars on Bets Mortgage Caps to Be Delayed: Abu Dhabi Mover - Businessweek

Qatar Exchange close - January 7, 2013

 General Index
Intraday  3 month  
 Daily Statistics
 Date07/01/2013
 General Index8669.02
 Change (%)0.38%
 Change32.58
 T. Volume3393086
 T. Companies 42
   Advanced22
   Declined11
   Unchanged6
   UnTraded3

Qatar Exchange

MENA stock markets close - January 7, 2012

 ExchangeStatus IndexChange  
 
 TASI (Saudi Stock Market)
 
7014.90.15%  
 
 DFM (Dubai Financial Market)
 
1691.82-0.14%  
 
 ADX (Abudhabi Securities Exchange)
 
2705.67-0.15%  
 
 KSE (Kuwait Stock Exchange)
 
6021.960.13%  
 
 BSE (Bahrain Stock Exchange)
 
1054.99-0.86%  
 
 MSM (Muscat Securities Market)
 
5770.32-0.20%  
 
 QE (Qatar Exchange)
 
8669.020.38%  
 
 LSE (Beirut Stock Exchange)
 
1170.940.03%  
 
 EGX 30 (Egypt Exchange)
 
5733.97-0.01%  
 
 ASE (Amman Stock Exchange)
 
1995.850.50%  
 
 TUNINDEX (Tunisia Stock Exchange)
 
4652.74-0.03%  
 
 CB (Casablanca Stock Exchange)
 
9258.81-0.14%  
 
 PSE (Palestine Securities Exchange)
 
468.57-0.07%  
MENA stock markets

Bahrain News Agency | KFH-Bahrain Announces Completion of First Ever Three-Way Islamic Bank Merger

Kuwait Finance House-Bahrain (“KFH-Bahrain”) today announced that the new year heralded the successful closing of the merger between three Bahrain-based Islamic banks, Elaf Bank, Capital Management House and Capivest, creating a strengthened financial institution with a total equity of approximately $340 million and total assets in excess of $400 million spanning the Middle East and North Africa, Europe and Asia.

As Transaction and Lead Advisor, KFH-Bahrain, after having initiated discussions with the three banks in late 2011, worked closely with them to create a robust merged entity that is able to better compete in the dynamic and growing global Islamic banking and investment industry. The expertise and services of the banks are highly complementary, laying the groundwork for a smooth integration process. Furthermore, with a larger capital base, the newly created institution will be better positioned to participate in larger investments and projects and to quickly and more effectively capitalize on a broader set of available opportunities both across the MENA region and globally.
Bahrain News Agency | KFH-Bahrain Announces Completion of First Ever Three-Way Islamic Bank Merger

Dubai real estate market witnessing selective recovery, says Jones Lang LaSalle - bi-me.com

Jones Lang LaSalle, the world's leading real estate investment and advisory firm, has released its fourth quarter (Q4) 2012 Dubai Real Estate Overview report. In summary, it concludes that the Dubai real estate market is witnessing a selective recovery as optimism has returned over the second half of 2012.

Commenting on the report, Craig Plumb, Head of Research at Jones Lang LaSalle in MENA said: “2012 ended with a flurry of new project announcements as increased confidence has returned towards real estate.  While there has been a recovery in rents and prices in the residential, retail and hotel sectors during 2012, this improvement remains focused on a relatively small number of projects.

As we move into the New Year with renewed optimism, we are likely to see a broader based recovery in 2013 but this recovery will remain challenged by the current over supply and high vacancy levels. The recent UAE Central Bank announcement about caps on mortgage loan-to-value ratios shows that government authorities are concerned about market stability and want to avoid any rapid increase in real estate prices”.
Dubai real estate market witnessing selective recovery, says Jones Lang LaSalle - bi-me

Premium Bahrain property slumps by half over unrest - Real Estate - ArabianBusiness.com

Real estate values in two of Bahrain’s biggest business hubs, Seef and Juffair, have fallen by 50 percent since unrest in the kingdom began nearly two years ago, according to a report from a local government official.
According to Gulf Daily News, the report, which was written by Manama Municipal Council vice chairman Mohammed Mansoor, said that it would take two years for the market to recover fully due to a lack of demand.
The research stated that the value of land and property set aside for investment in the two areas has slumped to BHD100 (US$265) per sqft since the start of unrest in February 2011, while only a few investors had pushed ahead with development projects.
Premium Bahrain property slumps by half over unrest - Real Estate - ArabianBusiness.com

A future scenario with oil prices dominated by ‘above-ground’ factors | FT Alphaville

Veteran economist and oil analyst Phil Verleger in his latest note has roundly criticised everyone who forecast in recent years that oil prices would keep rising forever; which he says includes just about everyone who has an opinion about oil prices.

He highlights the work of Morris Adelman, an MIT economist who’s little known these days — unjustly, according to Verleger:

Yet for years Morry was one of the most influential economists focusing on oil. His mistake was rejecting the consensus view that world resources were exhaustible while calling Harold Hotelling’s theories irrelevant. His views doomed him to temporary oblivion.
A future scenario with oil prices dominated by ‘above-ground’ factors | FT Alphaville

Bahrain's Arcapita sells stake in London care facilities | Reuters

Arcapita ARCAB.UL, a Bahrain-based investment firm, said on Monday it has sold its 80-percent interest in a joint venture controlling five London senior care facilities to U.S.-based Healthcare REIT (real estate investment trust).

Arcapita is in the midst of a Chapter 11 bankruptcy process, which it entered into in March 2012 due to pressure from hedge funds to repay a $1.1 billion (685.4 million pounds) sharia-compliant loan facility.

No value was given for the transaction but Atif Abdulmalik, Arcapita's chief executive officer, was quoted in the statement as saying the exit delivered a 2.8-times cash on cash return for investors.
Bahrain's Arcapita sells stake in London care facilities | Reuters

Positive start to new year ensured by new exports - The National

Record growth in new orders helped to propel a measure of business confidence to its strongest level in 20 months in December, ensuring the economy entered the new year on a positive note.

Healthy exports growth and a surge in job creation also sustained the pickup within HSBC's purchasing managers index (PMI) survey of the non-oil private sector.

"While the UAE will still likely lag some of its neighbours, the economy enters 2013 at its most positive in five years," said Simon Williams, the chief economist for Middle East and North Africa at HSBC.
Positive start to new year ensured by new exports - The National

UAE most connected country in Arab world - The National

The UAE is the most connected country in the Arab world and is in the top 25 globally, according to the DHL 2012 Global Connectedness Index, published yesterday.

That puts it only three places behind the United States in the flow of trade, capital, information and people.

However, the index also shows that the world today is less globally connected than it was in 2007.
UAE most connected country in Arab world - The National

Saudi GDP drops 6.8% in 2012 | GulfNews.com

  • Image Credit: AP
  • An oil facility in Jubail, about 600 km from Riyadh. The kingdom ramped up production in 2011 to make up for disruptions in Libyan output.
Saudi Arabia’s gross domestic product growth slowed to 6.8 per cent in 2012 compared with the 8.5 per cent growth in 2011, data from the Central Department of Statistics and Information, or CDSI, showed on Sunday.
The statistics department has revised the 2011 GDP figure upward to 8.5 per cent from the earlier 7.1 per cent. The world’s largest crude exporter saw growth in the oil sector slow to 5.5 per cent in 2012 compared to 10.4 per cent in 2011 when the Kingdom ramped up production to make up for disruptions in Libyan output.
GDP growth in the government sector was at 6.3 per cent in 2012 compared with 8.7 per cent in the previous year while the private sector grew at 7.5 per cent compared with 7.8 per cent in 2011. Last month the Kingdom released its budget for 2013 which included plans to boost spending on education by 21 per cent and increase outlays on health care and social affairs by 16 per cent.
Saudi GDP drops 6.8% in 2012 | GulfNews.com

Trade through Abu Dhabi ports drops | GulfNews.com

The total value of Abu Dhabi’s non-oil merchandise trade in September 2012 was Dh11.7 billion, of which Dh9.2 billion (78.4 per cent of total) was imports, Dh1.2 billion (10.5 per cent of total) was non-oil exports of and Dh1.3 billion (11.1 per cent of total) was re-exports, according to Statistics Centre — Abu Dhabi’s (SCAD) monthly report on non-oil merchandise trade through the ports of the Emirate of Abu for the month of September 2012.
“Total non-oil merchandise trade dropped by Dh242 million (2.0 per cent) in September compared with August 2012, with non-oil exports retreating by Dh948 million (43.3 per cent) while imports advanced by Dh478 million (5.5 per cent) and re-exports by Dh227 million (21.0 per cent) over the same period of time,” the report said.
A year on year comparison (September 2012/2011) shows a decrease of Dh160 million (1.3 per cent) in total trade, with imports decreasing by Dh1.1 billion (11.0 per cent), while non-oil exports increased by Dh684 million (122.5 per cent) and re-exports by Dh297 million (29.3 per cent), over the same period.
Trade through Abu Dhabi ports drops | GulfNews.com

Investment banks facing slump in emerging markets | GulfNews.com

Already struggling at home with weak revenues and tough new capital and leverage requirements, investment banks are now also facing a slump in their once most promising business — emerging markets.
Fees are plummeting because of a sharp decline in first-time share listings and mergers across such economies.
Given the shaky economic outlook and weak equity valuations it is hardly surprising that global deal-making volumes are taking a hit. But the slump in emerging markets, an area banks had most hoped would drive growth, is especially precipitous.
Investment banks facing slump in emerging markets | GulfNews.com

BBC News - Qatar: regional backwater to global player

Known for being unknown'; such was Qatar, the tiny Persian Gulf state that often appeared merely as an appendage to its neighbour Saudi Arabia. Members of Qatar's ruling Al Thani family had so often deferred to Riyadh for fear of causing tension or attracting undue attention to themselves.

Quiet and inoffensive was the modus operandi of the Qataris for so long. Rich in oil and gas, they were poor in manpower and the state resources necessary to defend themselves against the region's dominant powers.

But the Emirate has seen a remarkable transformation in recent years.

BBC News - Qatar: regional backwater to global player