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Thursday, 17 January 2013

UK house haven wavering

Calm in the eurozone has come at a cost to the havens. James Mackintosh, investment editor, points to the sliding Swiss franc and sterling, and warns the premier haven of choice, London property, could be next.

Algeria attack sends energy prices higher - FT.com

Crude oil and European gas prices firmed as the attack by militants on BP’s gas plant in Algeria raised uncertainty about the future of a leading supplier of energy to the region.
Algeria is the ninth-largest global gas producer and fifth-largest exporter, accounting for 11 per cent of the European gas market. The gas is imported mainly through Spain and Italy, and the In Amenas field produces 9bn cubic metres of gas a year, accounting for about 2 per cent of total European demand.
Algeria attack sends energy prices higher - FT.com

Abu Dhabi ‘back in the spending mood’ - FT.com

Abu Dhabi is pushing forward with a $90bn five-year spending spree on housing, schools, infrastructure and leisure projects, becoming the latest Gulf monarchy to showcase big spending on its citizens since the “Arab spring” uprisings.
While the individual elements of the plan had been flagged up previously, their presentation this week as one package underscores the scale of the planned investment.
A prominent Emirati businessman said the government appeared to be “back in the spending mood” – providing a “major stimulus” to an economy that had been in the doldrums.
Abu Dhabi ‘back in the spending mood’ - FT.com

Qatar Bank to Complete Talks Over Alternatifbank in March - Bloomberg

Commercial Bank of Qatar is continuing talks to acquire 75 percent of Alternatifbank AS (ALNTF) and plans to complete discussions in March, the company said.
Alternatifbank, Turkey’s 17th-largest lender with 7.9 billion liras ($4.5 billion) in assets as of Sept. 30 according to the Banks’ Association of Turkey, jumped as much as 4.6 percent and rose 2.1 percent to 2.44 liras at 3:41 p.m. in Istanbul.
Investors from the Middle East, Russia and Asia are boosting their holdings in Turkey, attracted by rising profit and growth in loans. Qatar National Bank said last month it may target stakes in the country’s major lenders. Bank of Tokyo- Mitsibushi UFJ Ltd. is in the final stages of a license application, Mukim Oztekin, head of the industry regulator, said in December. Russia’s OAO Sberbank bought Turkish bank Denizbank AS (DENIZ) from Belgium’s Dexia SA in June for $3.53 billion.
Qatar Bank to Complete Talks Over Alternatifbank in March - Bloomberg

Egypt’s pound: how low will it go? | beyondbrics

Another day, another central bank dollar auction, and another slide in the value of the Egyptian pound to new lows. Where will it stop? After the market panic of early January, a disorderly devaluation seems to be off the cards for now – that’s according to the new governor of the central bank and several economists who spoke to beyondbrics.

Thursday’s auction was the eleventh since the central bank initiated the practice at the end of December in an effort to manage the decline of the currency by controlling access to dollars. After it sold $72.9m on Thursday the pound fell a further 0.3 per cent to reach 6.6 to the dollar, contributing to a total weakening of 6.3 per cent since the first auction on December 30.
Egypt’s pound: how low will it go? | beyondbrics

Frontier markets: looking for gold | beyondbrics

Investors in EM equities have done well from the recent global rally, with gains in the $-based MSCI emerging markets index of 7 per cent since December 1 and nearly 13 per cent since September 1.

But the big winners have been the smaller frontier markets. Argentina tops the list with a 28 per cent advance since December 1, followed by Romania on 27 per cent and Serbia on 23 per cent. The sceptics might say, ‘So, what?’ Little bourses tend to be more volatile than their larger fellows. But Citi’s Andrew Howell thinks he has spotted an interesting and potentially profitable change.

Howell says there could be a pattern in these outsized gains, with at least four possible drivers.
Frontier markets: looking for gold | beyondbrics

TODAYonline | Business | Sembcorp in S$245m expansion in UAE

A Sembcorp Industries joint venture will invest US$200 million (S$245 million) to expand its desalination capacity in the United Arab Emirates, it said on Thursday as it signed a 20-year water purchase agreement with the Abu Dhabi Water & Electricity Company,

The joint venture, Emirates Sembcorp Water & Power Company, owns and operates the Fujairah 1 Independent Water and Power Plant (IWPP), one of the world's largest operating hybrid desalination plants, in the UAE. Sembcorp holds an effective 40 per cent stake in the joint venture and will fund its portion of the investment from internal resources, it said.

The expansion, which is expected to be completed in the first half of 2015, will increase the Fujairah 1 IWPP's seawater desalination capacity by 30 million gallons per day.
TODAYonline | Business | Sembcorp in S$245m expansion in UAE

UPDATE 1-UAE economy grew some 4 pct in 2012, seen steady in '13 | Reuters

The United Arab Emirate's economy is estimated to have grown by around 4 percent in 2012, little changed from the previous year, and a similar clip is seen in 2013, its Economy Minister said on Thursday.

"I am waiting for the (gross domestic product) figures (from last year) ... but the estimate will be hovering around plus 4 percent," Sultan bin Saeed al-Mansouri told reporters on the sidelines of a ministry event.

"I think this year will be the same as there are no major changes, changes in oil prices or the general situation of the world economy so that is an indication it will hover around the same percentage," he said.
UPDATE 1-UAE economy grew some 4 pct in 2012, seen steady in '13 | Reuters

Emirates welcomes interim approval for partnership with Qantas | Emirates

Emirates on Thursday welcomed the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCCs) decision to grant interim authorisation for the proposed Emirates and Qantas partnership.
The partnership still remains subject to final authorisation from the ACCC, a decision on which is expected in March.
“The interim approval clears the way for Emirates and Qantas to be geared up to provide customers with a unified experience from day one,” said Tim Clark, President, Emirates Airline. “The Emirates and Qantas partnership will provide customers unparalleled access to the respective networks and services including the A380 experience.”
Emirates welcomes interim approval for partnership with Qantas | Emirates

Dubai Financial Market close - January 17, 2013

General Index
Intraday  3 month  
 Daily Statistics
 Date17/01/2013
 General Index1774.92
 Change (%)1.93%
 Change33.61
 T. Volume300196453
 T. Companies 61
   Advanced20
   Declined4
   Unchanged4
   UnTraded30
Dubai Financial Market

MENA stock markets close - January 17, 2013

 ExchangeStatus IndexChange  
 
 TASI (Saudi Stock Market)
 
7018.52-0.98%  
 
 DFM (Dubai Financial Market)
 
1774.921.93%  
 
 ADX (Abudhabi Securities Exchange)
 
2765.82-0.14%  
 
 KSE (Kuwait Stock Exchange)
 
6139.30.18%  
 
 BSE (Bahrain Stock Exchange)
 
1081.40.51%  
 
 MSM (Muscat Securities Market)
 
5806.49-0.01%  
 
 QE (Qatar Exchange)
 
8621.730.51%  
 
 LSE (Beirut Stock Exchange)
 
1181.840.08%  
 
 EGX 30 (Egypt Exchange)
 
5661.42-0.51%  
 
 ASE (Amman Stock Exchange)
 
2034.980.38%  
 
 TUNINDEX (Tunisia Stock Exchange)
 
4734.380.14%  
 
 CB (Casablanca Stock Exchange)
 
8914.20.19%  
 
 PSE (Palestine Securities Exchange)
 
469.710.22%  
MENA stock markets

Dreamliner: it’s an EM problem, too | beyondbrics

While most of the coverage of the grounded Boeing 787 Dreamliner has focused on Japan and the US, the problem is worldwide, from Poland to Chile (via Ethiopia).

So who has the aircraft on order? Which airlines have already got them – and how big are their fleets?

In fact, of the airlines that taken delivery of Dreamliners, most are in emerging markets. There are five EM-based airlines: Qatar Airways, LOT Polish Airlines, LAN Airlines (of Chile), Ethiopian Airlines and Air India. The three developed-market airlines are the Japanese carriers All Nippon Airways and Japan Airlines, plus United Airlines of the US, according to data from Boeing.
Dreamliner: it’s an EM problem, too | beyondbrics

Dubai Shares Jump to 2010 High as Recovery Spurs Profit Optimism - Bloomberg

Dubai stocks rose to the highest level in more than two years as the emirates’ biggest companies prepare to report full-year earnings that investors expect will improve amid an economic recovery.
Dubai Financial Market PJSC, (DFM) the only publicly traded Gulf Arab stock market, surged 6 percent. Emaar Properties PJSC, (EMAAR) the developer of the world’s tallest skyscraper, rose to a one-week high. The benchmark DFM General Index (DFMGI) jumped 1.9 percent to close at 1,774.92, the highest level since November 2010 and taking this week’s gain to 1.1 percent. About 392 million shares were traded today, more than double the 12-month daily average.
Dubai’s economy is recovering after a property market crash that started in 2008 sent home prices tumbling more than 65 percent. The economy expanded 5 percent in 2012, the fastest pace since 2007, according to government forecasts. The emirate, which was on the verge of a default in 2009, witnessed a pickup in tourism, with hotel and restaurant industries growing 16 percent in the first half, government data show.
Dubai Shares Jump to 2010 High as Recovery Spurs Profit Optimism - Bloomberg

Qatar's QNB prints $322 mln Swiss franc bond | Reuters

Qatar National Bank, the Gulf state's largest lender, has printed a 300 million Swiss franc ($322.44 million) bond, a document from sole bookrunner UBS said on Thursday.

The two-year floating rate note was issued the previous day at a spread of 40 basis points over 3-month Swiss franc Libor (London interbank offered rate), the document, seen by IFR Markets, a Thomson Reuters unit, said.

QNB, rated A+ by Standard & Poor's, hopes to complete the purchase of the Egyptian unit of France's Societe Generale in the next two months, despite a currency crisis gripping the north Africa country, its chief financial officer said on Wednesday.

The Qatari bank, 50 percent owned by the gas-rich Gulf state's sovereign wealth fund, the Qatar Investment Authority, issued $2 billion in dollar-denominated bonds in 2012. ($1 = 0.9304 Swiss francs)End

QFC announces rules to enhance regulatory framework - Business Intelligence Middle East - bi-me.com - News, analysis, reports

The QFC Regulatory Authority has today released  rules covering 3 areas of regulation:  Corporate Governance,  Anti-Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism (“AML/CFT”) and Islamic finance windows.

These final rules follow the conclusion of an industry consultation process, which started in September 2012.  The rules support the Regulatory Authority’s commitment to keep its rules aligned with international regulatory standards for insurance and banking supervision respectively.
QFC announces rules to enhance regulatory framework - bi-me.com

Qatar Airways grounds Boeing Dreamliner fleet | Reuters

Qatar Airways' new Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft is parked after its first arrival at Zurich Airport 
in Zurich, January 14, 2013.
Credit: Reuters/Michael Buholzer
Qatar Airways, the largest customer for the Boeing (BA.N) 787 Dreamliner in the Middle East, has grounded its entire fleet of five 787s until the safety of the plane is confirmed.

The airline said in a statement on Thursday it was following instructions from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and Qatar's Civil Aviation Authority.

The FAA grounded Boeing's newest commercial airliner on Wednesday, saying airlines would have to demonstrate that lithium-ion batteries were safe before the planes could resume flying. It gave no details on when that might happen. Other national regulators have followed suit.
Qatar Airways grounds Boeing Dreamliner fleet | Reuters

Abu Dhabi’s Etisalat Interested in Vivendi’s 53% Maroc Stake - Bloomberg

Emirates Telecommunications Corp. (ETISALAT), the biggest phone company in the Middle East, said it is interested in buying Vivendi SA (VIV)’s stake in Moroccan carrier Maroc Telecom as it aims to expand in Africa.
The Abu Dhabi-based company, also known as Etisalat, submitted a “preliminary expression of interest” for Vivendi’s 53 percent stake in Maroc, according to a statement to the local stock market today. Others have also expressed interest in the stake, the company said.
Etisalat joins companies including KT Corp. (030200), South Korea’s second-largest mobile-phone carrier, in expressing interest in the Moroccan carrier. Maroc’s Paris-listed shares has a market capitalization of 8.4 billion euros ($11.2 billion).
Vivendi’s shares climbed 0.8 percent to 16.67 euros in Paris today.End

IMF sees rising inflation in Qatar amid construction boom - Zawya

Qatar's economic outlook remains rosy, helped by strong growth in the non-hydrocarbon sector and a well-capitalized banking system, but inflation will rise over the next few years as construction booms and the population expands, the International Monetary Fund said.

Inflation will rise from 3% in 2013 to 5% in 2016, the IMF said in a report on the Qatari economy issued Wednesday, echoing warnings from the country's planning board last month about inflationary pressures.

"As infrastructure-related construction activities pick up, as the demand-supply situation in the real estate market converges, and as the expatriate population increases, inflation will gradually increase from 3% in 2013 to 5% by 2016," the world lender said.
IMF sees rising inflation in Qatar amid construction boom - Zawya

Dubai plans Asian home for famed QE2 luxury liner - US News and World Report

The Dubai owners of the storied passenger liner Queen Elizabeth 2 say the ship will be moved to Asia as a floating luxury hotel.

The deal marks the latest twist in the fate of the QE2, which has been docked in Dubai since it was purchased by the state investment company Istithmar World in 2007 at the height of the city's boom. In July, plans were announced to keep the vessel in Dubai as a hotel and part of a maritime center.

A statement Thursday from Dubai officials did not give any details on the ship's destination in Asia, but a map at the port shows a route taking the vessel to China.

It said the QE2 will become a 500-room luxury hotel after undergoing checks in Dubai.End

WAM | Sharjah Islamic Bank announces net profit of AED 272 million for 2012

Sharjah Islamic Bank announced its 2012 results yesterday with net profit of AED 272.0 million, compared to 251.1 million achieved last year with an increase of 8.3%.

The balance sheet grew since December 2011 with total Assets reaching AED 18.3 billion compared with AED 17.7 billion which is 3.3%.

Net customer receivables reached AED 10.7 billion compared to AED 10.4 billion on Dec 2011 with an increase of 3.1% and customer deposits reached AED 11.3 billion, compared with AED 10.4 billion with an increase of 9.0% since Dec 2011.
WAM | Sharjah Islamic Bank announces net profit of AED 272 million for 2012

Currency crisis won't end Qatar bank's Egypt buy: CFO - Economy - Business - Ahram Online

Qatar National Bank hopes to complete the purchase of Societe Generale's Egyptian unit in the next two months and won't be deterred by the currency crisis in the north African country, it said on Wednesday.
The Gulf state's largest bank said in December it would buy the French bank's 77 per cent stake in National Societe Generale Bank, with the buyout of minority shareholders taking the price to around $2.56 billion.

Egypt has subsequently been hit by a currency crisis, with the pound dropping around 6 per cent in value against the dollar to 6.58 since the introduction of a new system of foreign currency auctions on Dec. 30.
Currency crisis won't end Qatar bank's Egypt buy: CFO - Economy - Business - Ahram Online

Oil Drops From Four-Month High on Concern Demand Growth May Slow - Bloomberg

Oil fell in New York as investors speculated a rally to the highest level in four months was exaggerated amid concern the global economic recovery may falter, curbing fuel demand.
Futures dropped as much as 0.5 percent after rising 1 percent yesterday, the most in two weeks. Singapore’s exports slid the most in 14 months in December and Australian employers unexpectedly cut payrolls, reports showed today. Crude demand is “not in good shape,” United Arab Emirates Oil Minister Mohamed Al-Hamli said as the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries reduced output to the lowest in more than a year.
“The oil market has been trying to reach new highs but is being met by profit taking,” said Ken Hasegawa, an energy trading manager at Newedge Group in Tokyo, who estimated investors have a near-term target of $95 a barrel for New York crude. “Fundamentally the market is not strong enough to get there yet, but yesterday’s news of OPEC cutting production in December was good support.”
Oil Drops From Four-Month High on Concern Demand Growth May Slow - Bloomberg

VTB Weighs Saudi Equities as Morgan Stanley Shifts From Dubai - Bloomberg

VTB Capital Plc, the investment banking unit of Russia’s second-largest lender, is considering an equities business in Saudi Arabia after starting a program that allows foreign investors to buy the nation’s shares.
“We may look at setting up in Saudi,” Makram Abboud, Chief Executive Officer for the investment bank in the Middle East and Africa, said in an interview in Dubai on Jan 15. “We re-evaluate our position every six months. We’ll see how this program goes. We strongly believe in the Saudi market.”
The bank opened its so-called dollar-denominated participatory notes program last week, a mechanism that allows foreigners to invest in Saudi shares while circumventing restrictions on direct investments. Average daily trading volume for the country’s benchmark stock index gained 74 percent last year, while Dubai’s was about half the volume it traded in 2008.
VTB Weighs Saudi Equities as Morgan Stanley Shifts From Dubai - Bloomberg

London Heathrow Staves Off Rival Hubs as Istanbul Joins Top Rank - Bloomberg

London Heathrow defended its status as Europe’s busiest airport in 2012, a year when growth rates at major hubs slowed amid the debt crisis and booming cities such as Istanbul challenged more established centers like Madrid.
Paris’s Charles de Gaulle airport attracted 61.6 million passengers last year for a 1.1 percent advance, barely more than capacity-limited Heathrow’s 0.9 percent gain to 69.9 million, while numbers at third-ranked Frankfurt rose 1.9 percent to 57.5 million. Istanbul reaped a 20 percent jump to 44.9 million.
Europe’s traditional hubs are struggling to add travelers as a sluggish economy hurts demand and rivals in the Persian Gulf grab a growing share of inter-continental transfer traffic. In 2011, Heathrow, the main base for British Airways (IAG), had increased its passenger tally 5.4 percent, with jumps of 4.8 percent at Charles de Gaulle and 6.5 percent at Frankfurt.
London Heathrow Staves Off Rival Hubs as Istanbul Joins Top Rank - Bloomberg

Can the Dubai Financial Market move higher from its 10-month high? « ArabianMoney

It’s been a great start to the year for the Dubai Financial Market with shares now trading at a 10-month high. It was almost exactly a year ago that shares on the DFM finally hit rock bottom after a fall that started way back in early 2006.

That is so far back that the index has been rebased since then making precise comparisons impossible. But on some reckonings If you back track the index that stands around 1,750 today it was around 8,000 at the peak.
Can the Dubai Financial Market move higher from its 10-month high? « ArabianMoney

Saudi Savola's fourth-quarter profit dips 17% - The National

Savola Group, the Saudi-based food conglomerate, posted a 17 per cent drop in fourth-quarter net profit, missing analysts' forecasts, mainly due to a gain it booked from land sales in the year-ago quarter.

The firm, which owns the Middle East's biggest sugar refining business, made a net profit of 413.4 million Saudi riyals in the three months ending December 31, compared with a profit of 498.6m riyals in the same period a year earlier, it said in a statement on Wednesday.

Three analysts surveyed by Reuters expected Savola to post an average profit of 456.7m riyals for the fourth quarter.
Saudi Savola's fourth-quarter profit dips 17% - The National

Noor Islamic Bank chief: UAE mortgage cap will hurt wider economy - The National

A federal credit bureau and targeted property tax would curb speculation more effectively than mortgage caps, a top Islamic banking chief said yesterday.

Hussain Al Qemzi, the chief executive of Noor Islamic Bank, told The National that the Central Bank should explore other methods of controlling property speculation rather than a recently announced increase in loan-to-value ratios.

The call came as lenders submitted a proposal to the Central Bank yesterday requesting that the 50 per cent minimum deposit for expatriates making their first property purchase be lowered to 30 per cent, according to two bankers with direct knowledge of the matter.
Noor Islamic Bank chief: UAE mortgage cap will hurt wider economy - The National

Potential challenges for natural gas | GulfNews.com

Natural gas production is increasing in Arab countries, where some states, such as Qatar and Algeria, turned to be global providers of gas supplies, and gas production has increased significantly in both the UAE and Saudi Arabia, due to the world’s growing independence on natural gas as a source of clean energy. Despite all this, gas prices have fallen considerably during the past five years, where the prices of futures contracts fell from $11.5 (Dh42.20) in June 2008 to $3.3 at present, a whopping decline of 71 per cent.
This steep decline raised many questions about the fate of the huge investments pumped into the gas industry and the volume of its expected revenues, especially since the largest portion of these investments were approved during the time of high prices before the global financial crisis — when sources of funding were easily available.
To see the prospects for the natural gas industry, it is necessary to know the potential reasons behind this decline, while oil prices have increased considerably to be stable at above $100 per barrel over the past two years.
Potential challenges for natural gas | GulfNews.com

Dubai investors put off by mortgage cap rule | GulfNews.com

New restrictions on mortgages is putting off property buyers in Dubai, realty experts told XPRESS.
The mortgage credit for expats has been capped at 50 per cent for the first property and 40 per cent for the second and subsequent units, according to a Central Bank circular issued to banks on December 31, 2012.
For Emiratis, the cap is 70 per cent for the first unit and 60 per cent for subsequent homes.
Dubai investors put off by mortgage cap rule | GulfNews.com

Times of Oman | OAB to offer Islamic products through five branches

Oman Arab Bank (OAB) is planning to launch its Islamic banking window operations through five branches across major cities of Oman this year. The bank yesterday launched an independent Islamic banking services unit under the brand name Al Yusr. "We are confident that 'Al Yusr' will provide customers with an avenue to be true to their beliefs while offering all the advantages of world class banking," said Abdul Kader Askalan, chief executive of Oman Arab Bank.

"Islamic banking seeks to promote the ideals of a prosperous society and stable economy, based on basic Islamic ideologies. The Sultanate already has a flourishing banking sector and the opening of the Islamic segment will only serve to make it more diverse," Abdul Kader Askalanadded.

The Al Yusr Islamic banking unit will have a special focus on retail, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and corporate banking segments of the market and plans to launch innovative and tailored products suitable to the needs of Omani customers.
Times of Oman | OAB to offer Islamic products through five branches: "

UPDATE 1-New subscribers help Vodafone Qatar trim Q3 loss | Reuters

Vodafone Qatar, an affiliate of Vodafone Group, reported a narrowing third-quarter loss on Wednesday as its subscriber base rose by a quarter and revenue per user grew.

Vodafone, which ended Qatar Telecom's (Qtel) domestic monopoly in 2009, made a third-quarter net loss of 87.1 million riyals ($23.92 million) in the three months to Dec. 31, according to Reuters calculations.

That compares with a loss of 122.1 million riyals in the year-earlier period. The operator's financial year starts on April 1.
UPDATE 1-New subscribers help Vodafone Qatar trim Q3 loss | Reuters

BBC News - Qatar's delicate balancing act

Some people have all the luck. Take the Qataris. There are just 250,000 of them living in Qatar, the spit of land in the Gulf that sits on top of the world's third largest deposits of natural gas.

Qatar developed its economy later than the other Gulf states, who used to look down on the country as something of a poor cousin. It was only in the 1990s that Qatar began to exploit its North Field, the single largest gas field in the world.

Since then, the once-sleepy country has changed almost beyond recognition. Qatar now tops many of the measures used to assess a country's well being.
BBC News - Qatar's delicate balancing act