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Sunday, 20 January 2013

Bankers refute MPs’ allegations on loans – Attempt to boost popularity | Kuwait Times

Local bankers rejected allegations made by lawmakers accusing them of resorting to inappropriate procedures which made many citizens default on their loans, and said the real goal behind proposals calling on the government to write-off the interest accrued on these loans was to increase MPs’ popularity among the voters. Al-Qabas newspaper spoke to directors of several local banks who insisted that a state fund established a few years ago to help defaulting citizens repay their debts was the best solution to the problem. “There is no justice in writing off the interests, apart from the fact that such a step would be in violation of the constitution,” said Gulf Bank Chairman Mahmoud Al- Nouri. Many have strongly suggested that granting defaulters with exclusive financial privileges by writing off the interests accrued on their loans – estimated by the Central Bank of Kuwait at KD1.7 billion – violates the constitutional principles of justice and equality. “Where is justice [in writing the interests off]? What about borrowers who have been repaying regularly?” Gulf Bank’s CEO Michelle Akkad questioned.
Bankers refute MPs’ allegations on loans – Attempt to boost popularity | Kuwait Times

Investors buy Oman Cables shares as company reports profit rise - The National

Investors bought up shares in Oman Cables Industry (OCI), an Omani cable-maker, after the company posted a 73.2 per cent rise in annual profit for last year, and offered a 70 per cent cash dividend.

OCI jumped 7.1 per cent to close at 1.323 rials, the highest level in more than two years.

"The volumes have started moving in the right direction, and the bulk of the demand is coming from the local market, while some is from the regional market," said Kanaga Sundar, the head of research at Gulf Baader Capital Markets in Muscat.
Investors buy Oman Cables shares as company reports profit rise - The National

MIDEAST STOCKS-Dubai hits 32-mth high; most regional mkts up | Reuters

Dubai's bourse rose to a 32-month closing high in heavy trade on Sunday as it tested, but failed to break, long-term technical resistance. Most regional markets also gained.

The Dubai index, buoyed by a budding recovery in the real estate market and the belief that the emirate has largely put its 2009-2010 corporate debt crisis behind it, climbed as high as 1,803 points before it finished up 1.0 percent at 1,792 points, its highest close since April 2010.

The index was testing major chart resistance between 1,778 points, the 2012 high hit in March last year, and the October 2010 peak of 1,793 points.
MIDEAST STOCKS-Dubai hits 32-mth high; most regional mkts up | Reuters

Dubai export with GCC up sharply by 51% |

The export and re-export sector in Dubai with other GCC countries rose by 51 per cent in 2012. Saudi Arabia proved to be the largest export market for Dubai, a study released yesterday by Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry said.
Exports and re-exports of the Dubai-Chamber members to GCC countries reached a total of Dh136.7 billion last year. This marked a 51 per cent growth when compared to 2011.
Saudi Arabia value of Dubai exports was clocked at Dh71.6 billion, accounting for 27 per cent of the total value of Dubai exports and 52 per cent of the total export to the GCC region. “As we see a promising opportunities in Saudi market, Dubai Chamber will set up its representative office in Saudi Arabia soon this year to promote the businesses between the two countries,” said Hamad Bu Amim, Director General of Dubai Chamber.
Dubai export with GCC up sharply by 51% |

Kuwait's Jazeera Airways raises capital by 74 pct | Reuters

Kuwait's Jazeera Airways (JAZK.KW) said on Sunday it had raised its capital by 74 percent to 42 million dinars ($149 million) through a share issue which was 2.25 times oversubscribed.

The airline issued 178 million shares priced at 100 fils each from Dec 16-31, it said in a statement. There are 1,000 fils in a dinar.

The group did not say what it would use the funds for but in the past the company has said it would use such a capital hike in order to expand its business.

The share sale is the latest in a series of capital raising measures by Kuwaiti companies. In December, Burgan Bank (BURG.KW) issued a 100 million dinar bond, the largest ever local currency issue by a company in the Gulf Arab state.End

BBC News - UAE mortgage ruling driven by new property bubble fear - video

In what is seen as an attempt to prevent another property bubble forming, the UAE central bank has put large caps on the amount of money people can borrow for a mortgage.

Expats must now have 50% of the asking price as a deposit, Emiratis must have 30%.

But while some banks have enforced the rule, others are concerned it will make economic recovery in the region more difficult - and it does not apply to cash buyers, who are largely blamed for creating the previous bubble.

Jonathan Frewin reports from Dubai.
BBC News - UAE mortgage ruling driven by new property bubble fear

Qatar Islamic Bank 2012 Profit Drops 9.5% on Higher Provisions - Bloomberg

Qatar Islamic Bank (QIBK) posted a 9.5 percent decline in profit last year as the country’s biggest Shariah-compliant lender by assets raised provisions against bad loans.
Net income was 1.24 billion riyals ($341 million), the Doha-based lender said in an e-mailed statement today. That compared with profit of 1.37 billion riyals in 2011. The mean estimate of seven analysts was for profit of 1.46 billion riyals, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
The bank raised provisions to 502 million riyals in 2012, from 194 million riyals in 2011, it said.
“Going forward, we can assume similar or low provisions, given that they already booked them,” Abdullah Amin, an equity analyst at Qatar National Bank Financial Services, said in a phone interview.End

Egypt Yields Decline as Qatar Pledges Bond Purchase; Pound Falls - Bloomberg

Egypt met its target at a treasury- bill auction as local borrowing costs dropped after Qatar pledged to buy debt. The pound retreated after the central bank’s 12th auction of dollars to banks.
The Arab country sold 3.5 billion pounds ($530 million) of nine-month notes at an average yield of 13.69 percent, according to central bank data on Bloomberg. That’s a decrease of 71 basis points, or 0.71 of a percentage point from an auction of similar-maturity bills last week, the most since September. The three-month yield fell 56 basis points to 12.88 percent, the data show.
Egypt’s cabinet is due to discuss this week selling $2.5 billion of treasury bonds to Qatar after the Persian Gulf country committed the funds as part of an aid package, Egyptian Finance Minister El-Morsi Hegazi said last week. The North African country is looking to bolster foreign currency reserves, which have lost almost 60 percent since the start of a popular revolt two years ago, after the central bank started selling dollars to banks at auction to limit their decline.
Egypt Yields Decline as Qatar Pledges Bond Purchase; Pound Falls - Bloomberg

Kuwait's China investment quota boosted to $1.2b

China's foreign exchange regulator has increased the amount Kuwait's sovereign wealth fund can invest directly in the Chinese securities markets to US$1 billion (S$1.2 billion).

The regulator awarded Kuwait an additional US$700 million quota on top of US$300 million awarded in March last year, state news agency Kuna said. Kuwait said last year it was seeking a maximum quota of US$1 billion.

The quota allows the fund to buy yuan-denominated stocks and bonds. Only five other foreign investors in China have quotas as large as US$1 billion, according to Reuters records. They are Qatar Holding, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, Norway's Norges Bank, the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation, and Singapore-based investment firm Temasek Fullerton.
Kuwait's China investment quota boosted to $1.2b

SASEIDX Quote - Tadawul All Share TASI Index - Bloomberg

Snapshot for Tadawul All Share TASI Index (SASEIDX)

Open:7,050.38Day Range:7,038.68 - 7,058.38Year To Date:+3.72%
Previous Close:7,050.3852-Week Range:6,377.99 - 7,944.361-Year:+9.13%

Index Chart for SASEIDX

  • SASEIDX:IND 7,048.81
  • 1D
  • 1M
  • 1Y
1/204am5am6am7am ET7,030.007,040.007,050.007,060.00
3:02:00 am
Interactive SASEIDX Chart

MENA stock markets close - January 20, 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

Saudi Arabia, Iraq Cut Oil Exports in November, JODI Show - Bloomberg

Saudi Arabia exported 1.7 percent less crude in November than in the previous month, while Iraq and five other OPEC producers also curbed shipments, according to the Joint Organizations Data Initiative.
The kingdom, the largest producer in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, shipped 7.15 million barrels a day in November as it reduced monthly output by 2.4 percent to 9.49 million barrels a day. Iraq, with the second-biggest producer in OPEC, trimmed its exports by 3.3 percent to 2.62 million barrels a day even as it pumped 1.7 percent more oil, data posted today on the initiative’s website showed.
Angola cut crude exports by 5.6 percent, the United Arab Emirates pared shipments by 3.1 percent, and Qatar, Ecuador and Venezuela also reduced exports, the data showed. Algeria’s shipments surged 42 percent in November to 725,000 barrels a day, while its production slipped 2.7 percent, according to the initiative known as JODI.
Saudi Arabia, Iraq Cut Oil Exports in November, JODI Show - Bloomberg

Dubai Index Rises to Three-Year High on Emaar, Property Outlook - Bloomberg

Dubai’s benchmark stock index rose to the highest level in almost three years led by Emaar Properties PJSC (EMAAR) on investor optimism a real estate recovery in the emirate is set to continue this year.
Emaar, the developer of the world’s tallest skyscraper which said it started the development of a residential project in Dubai, surged to the highest level since 2009. Union Properties PJSC (UPP), another Dubai-based developer, soared 6.3 percent. The benchmark DFM General Index (DFMGI) jumped 1 percent to 1,791.73, the highest level since April 2010, at the close in the emirate. About 551 million shares were traded today, triple the 12-month daily average.
The Emaar news “sent a positive wave across real estate companies on the DFM,” said Samer Darwiche, Dubai-based analyst at Gulfmena Investments Ltd. “If Emaar is re-launching projects, it means there is demand on real estate and thus other companies should be doing the same.”
Dubai Index Rises to Three-Year High on Emaar, Property Outlook - Bloomberg

Saudi's Mohammad Al Mojil to sue for over $100 million | Business | Reuters

Financially troubled Saudi Arabian construction company Mohammad Al Mojil Group (MMG) 1310.SE plans to start legal action to collect dues and claims worth more than 400 million riyals ($107 million), it said on Sunday.

The company said it would take legal action against the Saudi unit of Britain's Petrofac (PFC.L: Quote), Saudi Binladin Group, and South Korea's SK Engineering and Construction SKEC.UL, an affiliate of SK Holdings (003600.KS: Quote).

MMG, which is restructuring its operations after being hit by heavy losses and accumulated debt, said in a bourse statement that the legal action was coming after "all available solutions and options were exhausted".
Saudi's Mohammad Al Mojil to sue for over $100 million | Business | Reuters

UPDATE 1-National Bank of Oman Q4 profit jumps 48 pct | Reuters

National Bank of Oman, the sultanate's fourth-largest lender by market capitalisation, posted a 47.8-percent rise jump in fourth-quarter net profit on Sunday, beating analysts' expectations.

The lender made a net profit of 10.2 million rials ($26.5 million) in the final three months of 2012, according to Reuters calculations based on previous financial statements, up from 6.9 million rials in the same period in 2011.

Four analysts polled by Reuters had estimated an average fourth-quarter profit of 8.7 million rials.
UPDATE 1-National Bank of Oman Q4 profit jumps 48 pct | Reuters

Orascom Construction Sees Gates-Backed Deal Completed in 4 Weeks - Bloomberg

Orascom Construction Industries expects a transaction backed by Bill Gates for transferring the company’s shares into an Amsterdam-based unit to be concluded within four weeks, an executive said today.
OCI NV plans to absorb all local stock and global depositary receipts of Cairo-based Orascom Construction under a share-exchange offer that has attracted more than $2 billion in commitments from investors. Orascom Construction shares climbed as much as 3.7 percent to 277 Egyptian pounds before trading at 274.44 pounds as of 11:55 a.m. in Cairo. The company’s London- listed GDRs surged 4.7 percent to $41.85 on Jan. 18.
Gates’ Cascade Investment LLC joins Southeastern Asset Management and Davis Selected Advisers in what Orascom Construction said is the biggest foreign investment in Egypt since the 2011 uprising that ousted former President Hosni Mubarak. The listing on NYSE Euronext Amsterdam will help lower the company’s borrowing costs, Chief Executive Officer Nassef Sawiris said Jan. 18, after Standard & Poor’s cut Egypt’s credit rating to the same junk level as Greece.
Orascom Construction Sees Gates-Backed Deal Completed in 4 Weeks - Bloomberg

UPDATE 1-Kuwait Finance House unit Alafco mulls listing abroad | Reuters

Aircraft leasing group Alafco , a unit of Kuwait Finance House (KFH), may list some of its shares on an international exchange, according to a market filing on Sunday.

Kuwait-based Alafco said the idea came from shareholders and did not disclose the size of the stake that could be listed nor on which exchange. It plans to carry out due diligence on the proposal, the filing said.

KFH, one of the largest Islamic lenders in the Gulf Arab region, owns a 53.69 percent stake in Alafco according to its website. State-run Kuwait Airways Corporation owns 11.47 percent and private investors own the rest.End

Federal anti-corruption law in UAE expected in six months - The National

A federal law to combat corruption has been drafted and could be ratified in the first half of the year.

The law is aimed at curbing cases of misconduct involving the loss of public money. The institution's president, Dr Harib Al Amimi, president of the federal anti-corruption watchdog the State Audit Institution, said many such cases were uncovered in 2012. "All fraud cases should be referred to the federal prosecutor," he said.

Dr Al Amimi did not say how much money was involved in the cases uncovered last year. In February 2012 he announced that more than Dh1 billion had been recovered during the previous calendar year. The new law was drafted in accordance with the United Nations Convention Against Corruption, he said.
Federal anti-corruption law in UAE expected in six months - The National

Revolution in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia? - The Daily Beast

The overthrow of the Saudi royals is finally a possibility. In an excerpt from a new Brookings Institution briefing book for Obama’s second term, Bruce Riedel on what a catastrophe it would be for Obama.

Saudi Arabia is the world’s last absolute monarchy. Like Louis XIV, King Abdullah has complete authority to do as he likes. But while a revolution in Saudi Arabia is still not likely, the Arab Awakening has made one possible for the first time, and it could come in President Obama’s second term.
Revolution in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia? - The Daily Beast

Indian telecoms tempt GCC investors - The National

India's telecoms sector, which is grappling with an enormous corruption scandal, slowing revenue growth and waning profitability, could still be poised to attract fresh investment from the GCC.

A corruption case, which resulted in the supreme court's cancellation of 122 licences last year, prompted Etisalat and other telecommunications operators to leave the Indian market.

The licences were said to have been sold below their market value by the telecoms minister at the time, A Raja, who was jailed for what has been described as India's biggest scam, with an estimated loss of some US$40 billion (Dh146.92bn).
Indian telecoms tempt GCC investors - The National

Uncertainty excites foreign investors in UAE markets - The National

Hot money is returning to the local bourses.

Foreign investors bought Dh439 million worth of shares on the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX) and Dubai Financial Market (DFM) since the start of the year, market data shows. The figure is a marked increase from last year's Dh5.5m for January, and comprises 30 per cent of total shares purchased by foreign investors for all of last year.

"It's all about positive uncertainty rather than negative uncertainty," said Mohammed Ali Yasin, the managing director at National Bank of Abu Dhabi's brokerage.
Uncertainty excites foreign investors in UAE markets - The National

Dubai plans blueprint for Islamic industries - The National

Halal cosmetics, halal pharmaceuticals and charitable giving are among the areas Dubai seeks to develop as it strives to become a global "capital" for Islamic industries.

The emirate is seeking to draw the attention of local businesses towards sectors of Islamic commerce that are underserved at present, said Hussain Al Qemzi, who sits on the government committee tasked with the development of Islamic economy.

"Dubai is saying: here is a sector that has high potential, and is still not served yet," he said. "What we have to do is show the demand [for Islamic products]," he said.
Dubai plans blueprint for Islamic industries - The National

Afghanistan on the horizon as Dubai's DP World plots growth - The National

Dubai's DP World is exploring opportunities to develop ports in countries including Afghanistan and Myanmar as it aims to gain a foothold in underdeveloped markets with potential for growth.

Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan are also on the ports company's radar, said DP World.

"In all these places the infrastructure is lacking," it said. "There's a waiting period for ships. It's inefficient."
Afghanistan on the horizon as Dubai's DP World plots growth - The National

US sanction against Arab Bank Plc stands |

A US appeals court on Friday let stand a sanction against Arab Bank Plc for failing to turn over documents in a lawsuit accusing it of providing banking services to Hamas and other groups.
The ruling applies to a group of cases pending in a US federal court in Brooklyn, New York. The lawsuits were filed on behalf of US citizens and foreign nationals who were the victims, or family members of victims, of attacks in Israel and the Palestinian territories between 1994 and 2005.
Currently, more than 100 families and 700 individuals are seeking more than $1 billion (Dh3.67 billion) in damages from Jordan-based Arab Bank in the lawsuits, according to the plaintiffs’ lawyers.
US sanction against Arab Bank Plc stands |

Heritage’s unfair ranking |

Sadly and wrongly, the 2013 Index of Economic Freedom continued the practice of assigning the customary unfair ranking of most Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries. As proof, Bahrain is granted a ranking position considerably ahead of Qatar, the UAE, Oman, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.
The survey assigns ranking numbers of 12, 27 and 28 to Bahrain, Qatar and the UAE respectively. In reality, these are the best results for GCC countries amongst 174 nations ranked in the index. Happily, these three GCC economies are properly grouped in the mostly free category.
Yet Oman, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia are granted ranking numbers of 45, 66 and 82 respectively, and grouped in the moderately free category of countries. The excessively low ranking for Saudi Arabia could not be justified for a nation known for having exceptionally active private sector investors, something put on display during the annual haj.
Heritage’s unfair ranking |