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Sunday, 19 May 2013

Dubai laborers stage rare strike for more pay - Yahoo! News

"Thousands of workers employed by Dubai's largest construction firm, Arabtec, stayed away from work on Sunday to back wage demands, a rare labor protest in the Gulf emirate, where trade unions are banned, staff said.
Most blue collar workers in the Gulf Arab states are migrant laborers hired on a contract basis from South Asian countries such as India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal, and strikes are uncommon.
Migrant workers in Dubai are often employed at wages that are low by Western standards and housed in dormitory-style accommodation on the outskirts of the city, part of the United Arab Emirates, a regional business and tourism hub."

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Rising Dubai land values boost worth of Kuwait's IFA - The National

"Rising Dubai land values helped the Kuwaiti resort developer IFA Hotels & Resorts almost double the value of its investment portfolio during the first quarter of the year.

The company, which owns the recently opened Fairmont on the trunk of the Palm and the under- construction Kingdom of Sheba hotel on the crescent, said the value of the resorts it owns increased from 30.5 million Kuwaiti dinars (Dh391m) to 59.8m dinars in the year to the end of March.

IFA said the increase had been driven by a revaluation gain of 19.9m dinars of its property in Dubai and Portugal and by the reclassification of the soon-to-be-completed Kingdom of Sheba as an investment property rather than a work in progress at a value of 8.8m dinars."

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Taqa weighs dual listing with entry into London - The National

"Abu Dhabi National Energy Company, also known as Taqa, is exploring the possibility of a dual listing on the London Stock Exchange as a potential option to improve the liquidity of its shares and open up to foreign investors.

The move, complementing its current listing on the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange, would be similar to that undertaken by DP World in 2011, according to two people familiar with the matter.

In a statement, Taqa confirmed it was "exploring opportunities to enhance the liquidity of its shares traded on the ADX but has not taken any decisions in this regard"."

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Boom time for Abu Dhabi and Dubai stock exchanges - The National

"UAE markets continued their strong performance in April with Abu Dhabi 8 per cent higher and Dubai up 17 per cent. According to World Equity Index Rankings by Bloomberg, as of the end of last month, Dubai - 32 per cent higher - is ranked second and Abu Dhabi - 24 per cent higher - is ranked fifth among primary world indexes by United States dollar adjusted year-to-date performance.

Average value traded on the DFM exchange surged to US$93 million per day, recording a 36 per cent increase over the previous month. Dubai CDS spreads have declined below 200, recording the lowest level since the Dubai World crisis in 2009.

Most listed banks reported their first-quarter numbers, the aggregate profitability of UAE banks increased by 17 per cent quarter on quarter and 21 per cent year on year."

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Times of Oman | News :: International investors take out more money than they put back into Oman’s economy

"Multibillion-rial foreign projects have been proven to take more money out of the country than they put into it, and over the years, this action has created a sizeable imbalance in cash flow, which has limited Oman's economic growth.

On closer inspection, most foreign projects lean towards providing benefits to international investors rather than addressing local needs. Two decades ago, when the concept of encouraging smooth global trade was being championed by the World Trade Organization (WTO), Oman embraced it unreservedly and with good intentions. Since then, foreign investors have set up projects worth some OMR15 billion ($39 billion) in various forms.

How many nationals have been employed by these projects? According to statistics from different government agencies, they employ less than 10,000 Omanis. "

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Czech finance: Bearer beware | The Economist

"BEARER shares, an archaic financial instrument in which the only proof of ownership is the physical possession of the shares on paper, will finally be outlawed in the Czech Republic. It is high time. The opaque ownership of companies with such bearer shares is a huge problem during bidding for public contracts.

Bearer shares make it impossible to know if state officials making decisions over public tenders are shareholders in the very firms that stand to profit from the contract. In cases where prosecutors or the police suspect such wrongdoing, they cannot prove it. Bearer shares are not registered with any central authority, regulatory agency or tax office. Often the company itself is unable to track the transfer of bearer shares between owners. The financing of major Czech political parties and their related clientelist networks are often intertwined with the practice. A study earlier this year found that 14,000 out of 25,000  of the country’s joint stock companies have outstanding bearer shares."

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Saudi prince pressed Jordan to make arrest, court papers claim - FT.com

"A senior Saudi Arabian prince pressed Jordan to arrange the arrest through Interpol of a Jordanian former business partner with whom he is now involved in a bitter London legal dispute, according to a court claim by the former partner.
Prince Abdulaziz bin Mishal al-Saud lobbied Jordan’s King Abdullah to seek Faisal Almhairat’s extradition from the UK on fraud charges that the businessman denies, it is alleged in court documents.
Mr Almhairat’s claims about Prince Abdulaziz’s behaviour – part of a series of allegations the prince has rejected as false, “scandalous and outrageous” – come amid concerns over whether arrest requests issued by Interpol at the request of national authorities are open to abuse in political and commercial disputes."

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Saudi Arabia reports 73% decline in bounced checks - Alarabiya.net English | Front Page

"Saudi Arabia has seen a 73 percent drop in the number of bounced checks since 2009, following the start of a government campaign aimed at consumers and businesses.
The decline in the total value of bounced checks was even greater, falling to SR3.8 billion in 2012 from SR15bn in 2009, marking a decrease of 74.6 percent, according to a report by the Saudi Credit Bureau (SIMAH).
SIMAH also provided figures on how many personal and commercial checks bounced. From 2009 to 2012, the total number of personal bounced checks decreased by 63 percent. The total number of commercial bounced checks decreased by 67 percent within the same time frame."

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Abu Dhabi Faces Tight Deadline to Renew Onshore Oil Concession - Middle East Real Time - WSJ

"Abu Dhabi’s state oil company is under pressure to take a quick decision on which foreign companies will get concessions in one of the Middle East’s oldest oilfields.

The top decision-making body in the Abu Dhabi oil industry, the Supreme Petroleum Council, has rejected a proposal from the state-owned Abu Dhabi National Oil Co. to extend by a year the concessions in the onshore oil fields which make up more than half of the United Arab Emirates’ crude production of 2.6 million barrels a day, industry officials said last week.

The existing 75-year old concessions expire in January 2014, so the decision gives Adnoc just over seven months to decide on the new line-up of foreign partners."

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Aldar Properties, Sorouh Surge Most Since 2005: Abu Dhabi Mover - Bloomberg

"Aldar Properties PJSC (ALDAR) and Sorouh Real Estate PJSC, the Abu Dhabi companies set to merge next months, soared the most in almost eight years.
Aldar surged 15 percent, the most since September 2005, to 1.95 dirhams as trading volume of the shares jumped to almost five times the three-month daily average. Sorouh, the smaller of the two, also gained 15 percent, the most since the stock was listed in December 2005. Trading volumes soared almost six fold. The benchmark ADX General Index (ADSMI) gained 1.4 percent to the highest since October 2008. The measure has rallied 35 percent this year.
Shares in the United Arab Emirates are advancing, with Dubai’s benchmark climbing 45 percent this year, as the economy and property prices recover. Shares of Dubai-based Emirates NBD PJSC (EMIRATES) have more than doubled this year and are up 16 percent this month, while those of National Bank of Abu Dhabi are up 32 percent in 2013. Emaar Properties PJSC (EMAAR), the developer of the world’s tallest tower, gained 3.5 percent as it rose for a fourth day."

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Qatar Holding, Italy fund eying Versace - paper | Reuters

"Qatar Holding and an Italian state-controlled investment fund are interested in investing in Italian fashion house Versace, Il Sole 24 Ore said on Saturday.

The Qatar sovereign fund is "carefully looking at" Versace, the Italian daily said, citing financial sources.

The paper cited market rumours as saying the fund was flanked by FSI, the Italian strategic investment fund owned by state financing company Cassa Depositi e Prestiti."

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KUNA : Kuwait, Ukranian officials discuss economic ties - Politics - 18/05/2013

KUNA : Kuwait, Ukranian officials discuss economic ties - Politics - 18/05/2013:

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UAE trade surplus to hit $ 90.7 billion | ArabNews

"The UAE economy growth is expected to lower to 3.9 percent in 2012 after a solid 2011, when the GDP expanded 5.2 percent led by high oil prices and a 10.2 percent increase in oil production, according to a review of the UAE economy by Global Investment House.
Even as growth in oil sector is expected to slow down in 2012, the nonoil sector has continued its resurgence witnessing a 3.5 percent growth, on the strength of its services sector, manufacturing, utilities, and the recovering construction sector.
The economy is expected to grow 3.1 percent in 2013, led by nonoil sectors that would continue to see massive infrastructure spending, primarily in Abu Dhabi and Dubai."

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Vow to tidy up UAE's exchange industry - The National

"Executives within the currency exchange industry and officials at the Central Bank are keen to bolster standards in the UAE to avoid the risk of a repeat of recent "major regulatory violations" and help restore customer faith in the sector.

In the case of one firm found to be in violation, Mark Denis D'souza first knew something was wrong when his staff contacted him to tell him they hadn't been paid their wages.

His investigation soon found the source of the problem lay with the currency exchange house his firm, Fortuna Engineering, used to distribute the wages.

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Dubai targets financial crimes - Khaleej Times

"Financial crime that was detected in Dubai topped Dh200 million during last year and the first quarter of this year, according to Dubai Police’s General Department of Anti-Economic crime.
Department Director Major Salah Bu Osaiba said the police had arrested 371 suspects for involvement in those crimes — which relate to selling thousands of fake electronics and counterfeit products, using forged credit cards and money multiplication — with 130 cases coming in the first quarter of this year alone.

The General Department of Criminal Investigation Director Brigadier Khalil Ibrahim Al Mansouri said the economic department was providing protection to trademark owners who chose Dubai to be their regional hub, while the police were exerting tireless efforts to help companies which were harmed by the sale of counterfeit products. Damage came in terms of lost sales and damaged company reputations, he said."

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