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Wednesday, 9 January 2013

RIGZONE - Oil Min: UAE Plans to Lift Oil Production Capacity in 2013

The United Arab Emirates plans to raise its oil production capacity to 3 million barrels a day, from the current 2.8 million, during the current year, the country's oil minister Mohammad Al-Hamli said Wednesday.

The Gulf state's crude output stood at 2.6 million barrels a day in December and it is currently producing at around the same level, Mr. Hamli told reporters at an event in Abu Dhabi.

The U.A.E is likely to become a net importer of natural gas in the next few years due to rising domestic demand, but it has no issue in securing gas supplies, he added. The country, which holds about 214 trillion cubic feet of gas with consumption pegged at around 4 billion standard cubic feet per day, has no plans to change its gas prices for industries in the country, said Mr. Hamli.
RIGZONE - Oil Min: UAE Plans to Lift Oil Production Capacity in 2013

Iran: Huge Oil Field Ours, Not Azerbaijan's | EurasiaNet.org

Iran has rejected claims that a new, potentially huge oil deposit in the Caspian Sea is in Azerbaijan's waters, while Baku remains conspicuously silent on the issue. BBC Monitoring reports, via the Iranian Students' News Agency:

The oil minister [of Iran] has rejected a claim by the Azerbaijani government to the ownership of the Sardar Jangal oil field [in the Caspian Sea]. 
As ISNA reported, asked about his opinion on the recent statement by the Azerbaijani government on the Sardar Jangal oil field and reasons behind such a claim, Rostam Qasemi said: This is a claim; we are drilling the Sardar Jangal oil field. 
He added: Sardar Jangal is a completely separate oil field and is within Iran's territory. It belongs to our country.
Iran: Huge Oil Field Ours, Not Azerbaijan's | EurasiaNet.org

MENA M&A: appearances can be deceptive | beyondbrics

Even by the standards of the region, 2012 was a turbulent year for the Middle East and North Africa, with wars, uprisings and messy post-revolutionary transitions to contend with. Despite this, it was the best year since 2008 for mergers and acquisitions, with deal value growing by 33 per cent over the year according to S&P Capital IQ.

S&P Capital IQ’s database counts both announced and closed M&As for 14 countries in the region. The growth they record is all the more interesting given that global M&A volumes fell 20 per cent in 2012 from 2011, from $2.5tn to $2tn.

While the MENA region accounts for only 1 per cent of global M&A value, it’s nonetheless a potentially useful indicator of investor sentiment in the region. The chart below shows the data for the past four years.
MENA M&A: appearances can be deceptive | beyondbrics

Abu Dhabi's TAQA signs US wind power deal - Energy - ArabianBusiness.com

Abu Dhabi National Energy Company, also known as TAQA, said on Wednesday it has agreed to buy a 50 percent interest in a wind power project in the United States.
The company said it has acquired the interest in the 205.5 megawatt Lakefield wind project located in Minnesota from a subsidiary of France-based utility Electricite de France SA (EDF) but did not disclose the value of the deal.
The fully operational wind project, located in Jackson County,consists of 137 General Electric 1.5MW wind turbines with the capacity to generate 205.5MW of emissions-free electricity for more than 68,000 homes.
Abu Dhabi's TAQA signs US wind power deal - Energy - ArabianBusiness.com

Bye-Bye, Mr. Wright: Spinneys Sacks its CEO | Al Akhbar English

Abraaj Capital, the principal investor in the supermarket retailer Spinneys, decided to let go of Michael Wright, who had served as the company’s CEO in Lebanon and the Middle East. Information indicates that the months-long discussions amongst the board of directors determined that keeping Wright as CEO was harming the company’s interests and reputation.

Sources informed Al-Akhbar that the decision was intended to appear as though it were Wright’s personal choice to retire early. Regardless of outside appearances, the decision to sack Wright is a victory for Spinneys workers who refused to submit to his “hot-tempered” style.

Regardless of outside appearances, the decision to sack Wright is a victory for Spinneys workers who refused to submit to his “hot-tempered” style.Workers insisted on exposing Wright’s widespread violations of their basic rights, as well as Spinneys practices that were illegal under Lebanese law. Wright casually used his relationships with some politicians to achieve his personal objectives, all at the expense of the 1,500 Spinneys workers in Lebanon.
Bye-Bye, Mr. Wright: Spinneys Sacks its CEO | Al Akhbar English

Dubai dealers brave pressures to continue Iran rial trade

Dubai's currency dealers are keeping their trading ties with Iran alive, providing an important conduit for Iranians to do business with the rest of the world. (Reuters)
In a drab, neon-lit office deep inside Dubai’s old downtown area of Deira, a middle-aged Iranian barks into one of six telephones on his desk and taps numbers into a calculator.

In the space of a few minutes, he juggles multiple conversations with callers wanting to buy, sell and transfer Iranian rials. It’s a tense, unpredictable job, especially given the political turbulence surrounding Iran.

The informal currency dealers of Dubai have emerged as an important link between Iran’s economy and the rest of the world, maintaining flows of money into and out of the country even as foreign governments and Tehran itself act to constrict them.
Dubai dealers brave pressures to continue Iran rial trade

Dubai economy bets on superjumbo air travel boom | Reuters

With the opening of a huge new airport terminal in Dubai this week, the wealthy emirate's economic future became more closely intertwined with the world's biggest passenger jet.

Emirates EMIRA.UL, Dubai's state-owned flagship airline, began flying from the world's first airport terminal that was purpose-built to handle Airbus A380 superjumbos.

The 528,000 square meter terminal cost over $3 billion to build and has 20 gates with double-decker bridges to move passengers on and off the twin-deck A380s.
Dubai economy bets on superjumbo air travel boom | Reuters

Islamic sukuk and the new constitution Asharq Alawsat Newspaper (English)

No sooner had the Egyptian constitution been adopted, than it was made clear that modifying it was a real possibility. This is probably why even before the constitutional referendum began, President Mohamed Mursi decided to have the opposition and experts prepare a list of the articles they believed to be defective and in need of revision by the legislature, then put to another referendum.
Sukuk or Islamic bonds are issued by the Egyptian Finance Ministry, which according to Article 4 of the Constitution needs to consult al-Azhar University, which in turn would consult Article 2, which states that the principles of Islamic law are the main source of legislation. These ‘principles’ are defined in Article 219 as those in line with authorized Islamic schools of thought and jurisprudence. Based on all this, and after consulting the Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs and senior economic experts from al-Azhar, the final decision was that these bonds do not comply with Islamic law.
Islamic sukuk and the new constitution Asharq Alawsat Newspaper (English)

Dubai tweets its global ambitions | beyondbrics

With Dubai’s economy recovering, the emirate is rediscovering its mojo. That brimming confidence has already seen the return of large-scale development projects. Now the government is moving on to big concepts.

The ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, on Wednesday oversaw the launch of an attempt to place Dubai at the centre of the ‘global Islamic economy.’

Sheikh Mohammed tweeted:

Dubai tweets its global ambitions | beyondbrics:

Abu Dhabi seeks cluster zone port tenants - FT.com

A huge new industrial zone in Abu Dhabi is touting for multinational tenants, in the latest of a wave of similar projects launched by Gulf governments as the competition to lure foreign companies grows stiffer.
While the western financial crisis is causing some US and European businesses to trim their overseas operations, the Abu Dhabi development is one of about 85 so-called cluster projects battling across the Gulf to attract companies from sectors such as the media, technology and finance.
Analysts says ventures such as the Abu Dhabi project, which is intended eventually to be two-thirds the size of Singapore, face a big test over the next few years of whether they can generate the corporate interest to match their ambitions.
Abu Dhabi seeks cluster zone port tenants - FT.com

Egypt Exchange close - January 9, 2013

 General Index
Intraday  3 month  
 Daily Statistics
 Date09/01/2013
 General Index5881.26
 Change (%)1.33%
 Change77.02
 T. Volume65649144
 T. Companies 444
   Advanced87
   Declined40
   Unchanged14
   UnTraded170
Egypt Exchange

MENA stock markets close - January 9, 2013

 ExchangeStatus IndexChange  
 
 TASI (Saudi Stock Market)
 
7126.711.04%  
 
 DFM (Dubai Financial Market)
 
1745.171.04%  
 
 ADX (Abudhabi Securities Exchange)
 
2716.77-0.22%  
 
 KSE (Kuwait Stock Exchange)
 
6065.950.38%  
 
 BSE (Bahrain Stock Exchange)
 
1065.31-0.05%  
 
 MSM (Muscat Securities Market)
 
5800.910.38%  
 
 QE (Qatar Exchange)
 
8693.890.44%  
 
 LSE (Beirut Stock Exchange)
 
1173.590.02%  
 
 EGX 30 (Egypt Exchange)
 
5866.911.08%  
 
 ASE (Amman Stock Exchange)
 
2001.150.53%  
 
 TUNINDEX (Tunisia Stock Exchange)
 
4633.09-0.03%  
 
 CB (Casablanca Stock Exchange)
 
9271.9-0.17%  
 
 PSE (Palestine Securities Exchange)
 
469.980.30%  
MENA stock markets

Dubai Plans Regulatory Council to Push Islamic Finance Industry - Bloomberg

Dubai, the second-biggest member of the United Arab Emirates, plans to create an Islamic finance council to regulate Shariah-compliant equity and fixed-income products to boost the industry’s role in the economy.
Dubai, which derives about 11 percent of economic output from financial services, wants to make Islamic finance a “core industry,” Sami Al Qamzi, director general of Dubai’s Department of Economic Development, said at a conference in the emirate today.
“The addition of Islamic industry is a priority to turn Dubai into the capital for the Islamic economy,” Al Qamzi said. The emirate will seek to encourage the development of a market for Islamic products including funds, sukuk and loans, he said.
Dubai Plans Regulatory Council to Push Islamic Finance Industry - Bloomberg

U.A.E. Trader FAL Oil Suspends Debt Talks With Lenders - Bloomberg

FAL Oil Co., a United Arab Emirates- based energy trader that’s under U.S. financial restrictions for links to Iran, suspended debt restructuring talks with lenders on Dec. 10, a company official said.
The trader of marine fuel and other refined products is working on a business plan that would allow it to resume talks with lenders later this month, said the official who is involved in the financing process and asked not to be identified by name because of company policy.
FAL Oil, based in the U.A.E. emirate of Sharjah, is seeking to revive fuel supply agreements with regional state refiners to show lenders it would be able to generate income and allow it to reach a debt repayment agreement, the official said. Companies that FAL is approaching include refiners in Sri Lanka, India and Bangladesh as well as in the Horn of Africa, the official said.
U.A.E. Trader FAL Oil Suspends Debt Talks With Lenders - Bloomberg

EA WorldView - Home - Iran Audio Feature: How Serious is the Oil Crisis? --- Scott Lucas with Monocle 24

Following the Iranian Minister of Oil's admission that oil exports fell 40% between March and December, I spoke with Monocle 24's The Briefing about the economic situation and the political consequences: could this crisis lead to the fall of the regime?

The discussion starts at the 11:16 mark.

An Expat’s outlook on economy | Kuwait Times

An Islamic nation with royal inheritance in Gulf region, Kuwait has an abundance of natural energy resources of oil and gas. Even though it is a small country with a population of nearly 3.5 million, and has more expatriates than citizens, it has oil reserves that can last for another 100 years .

The country’s industry is based on oil refining and allied projects & byproducts. Petroleum accounts for 50% of the GDP, 95% of its exports revenues and government income. After the emancipation from Iraq, Kuwait witnessed a tremendous improvement in its overall growth for two decades up to the end of 2008. Now the country is facing a major challenge as new mega projects are being delayed. These would have provided an economic stimulus to the country’s growth.

In this issue I would like to address some important factors which are slowing down the country’s economic growth, which, in turn, is leading to poor infrastructure facilities, unemployment for citizens and expatriates and, consequently, bringing down the standards of life.
An Expat’s outlook on economy | Kuwait Times

Italian ambassador made an offer the chairman could refuse - The National

Khalaf Al Habtoor, the chairman of the Al Habtoor Group, is a man of strong principles. This much shines through his recently published autobiography, a copy of which - signed by the author in my presence - I was pleased to receive after meeting him recently.

"This book was written from the heart," reads the inscription, and on dipping into it you can see what he means.

He relates an amusing story from the 1980s, when the Metropolitan hotel complex on Sheik Zayed Road was the height of ostentatious luxury in Dubai. One of the main attractions at the Met was the popular Italian restaurant Don Corleone, which pulled in the diners from miles around.
Italian ambassador made an offer the chairman could refuse - The National

Top banker's tip - look to emerging markets - The National

Omar Mirza says his company has identified promising future growth opportunities for its asset management business, especially with large pension funds, sovereign wealth funds and central banks. Christopher Pike / The National
Some Swiss banks have been having a hard time of it lately, but Omar Mirza, the managing director of the 200-year-old Geneva-based Pictet's business in the Middle East sees opportunities for growth.

Pictet opened in Dubai just as the financial crisis was brewing. How has business been since then?

We opened our representative office in Dubai in 2007, and our business continues to grow in line with our expectations. We are pleased with the client base we have developed in the Middle East during the past five years.
Top banker's tip - look to emerging markets - The National

Etihad mulls buying Alitalia’s shares in Air France-KLM: report | GulfNews.com

Abu Dhabi’s airline Etihad Airways is considering acquiring some of Alitalia SpA’s minority shares as part of a deal with Air France-KLM which already owns 25 per cent of the Italian carrier, French business newspaper Les Echos reported on Tuesday, citing unspecified sources.
Air France-KLM is currently battling to restore its profitability in the face of tough economic headwinds and intensifying competition from low-cost airlines.
As soon as the Franco-Dutch airline’s financial situation has improved, around 2014 or 2015, it would buy Etihad’s shares in Alitalia in a cash or share swap transaction, Les Echos says.
Etihad mulls buying Alitalia’s shares in Air France-KLM: report | GulfNews.com

Modus Operandi proposed by bankers | GulfNews.com

The Emirates Bankers Association’s Retail Lending Committee formulated and today is circulating guidelines to member banks in the UAE that it hopes would set a new mode of operation relating to mortgage loans, according to a banker who did not wish to be named.
The new approach is seen as the response by UAE banks to the UAE Central Bank’s new rule on mortgage caps, which, if applied, would significantly lower the amount of capital a bank can loan for property buyers in the UAE.
The bankers met on last Sunday and agreed to ask the Central Bank if the new mortgage cap ratios could be postponed one month, and until they could formulate a code of conduct. This code of conduct or guidelines would buffer risks on loan defaults and make it more difficult for speculators to artificially inflate property prices.
Modus Operandi proposed by bankers | GulfNews.com

Region’s hotels record highs and lows | GulfNews.com

Hotels in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Cairo and Sharm Al Shaikh saw a growth in occupancy and earnings in November 2012, according to a recent report by TRI Hospitality Consulting.
In its Hotstats survey for the month, the TRI noted that Abu Dhabi hotels are suffering in their overall performance.
Dubai hotels, which recorded the highest profit margins in 36 months in the region, saw occupancy rates go up 3.1 per cent to 90.8 per cent in November, according to the report.
Region’s hotels record highs and lows | GulfNews.com