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Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Just don’t blame it all on the Egypt revolution |

"Some two years into Egypt’s grassroots revolution, the country’s economy is in a worrisome downward spiral. A growing number of people, inside and outside of the country, are starting to blame the revolution itself for derailing an economy that was growing, reducing its external debt burden, and maintaining a comfortable cushion of international reserves.
Blaming the revolution is the wrong approach to Egypt’s current economic woes. Yet its appeal to some is understandable, given that the country’s economic situation has continued to worsen over the last few months.
Growth is anaemic, unemployment is high, and new investment has fallen off dramatically – all of which complicate already difficult financial, social, and political conditions. The result is a growing threat of several vicious circles at once."

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GCC states urged to drop US dollar peg |

"Qatar and other Gulf states should consider moving to a more flexible exchange rate from long-entrenched pegs to the US dollar, to better manage inflation risk in the next decade, a senior Qatar central bank official said on Tuesday.
He cited Singapore’s currency regime as an example that Gulf states could adopt.
Gulf Arab countries embraced fixed exchange rate regimes to stabilise their currencies and import low inflation from overseas. But their economic cycles have diverged from the United States in recent years as Asia became the Gulf’s dominant trade partner."

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GCC nations, Mena oil exporters face growth decline |

"Gulf countries and other oil exporters from the Middle East and Africa are expected to face a deceleration in economic growth this year, according to the latest update of the regional economic outlook from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
The region’s oil-exporting countries achieved robust growth of 5.7 per cent in 2012 on account of the almost complete restoration of Libya’s oil production and strong expansion in GCC countries.
“For the region as whole economic growth is projected to fall to 3.2 per cent in 2013, as oil production growth pauses in the context of subdued global oil demand. However, non-oil growth continues at healthy rates of about 4.5 percent on average,” said Masood Ahmad, director of the IMF’s Middle East Department."

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Qatar banks size up UAE and global investments - The National

"Qatar's banks are making plans for significant capital investments in the UAE and around the globe, as its sovereign wealth fund takes two large stakes in major global banks.

Qatar National Bank, the Middle East's biggest lender, and Doha Bank are targeting UAE companies to grow their lending books.

Qatar's sovereign wealth fund has also taken stakes in Deutsche Bank and VTB, respectively Germany's biggest bank and Russia's second-biggest bank, it was revealed this week."

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You can file cases in Dubai Courts online - Khaleej Times

"Dubai Courts has officially launched three innovative online services aimed at saving time and effort, and facilitating the work of litigants.
The services are online registration of cases, access to the archive of case files and pro bono legal advice, according to a press statement from the Dubai government on Tuesday."

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Dubai Stocks Fall Most in a Month on Concern Rally Is Overdone - Bloomberg

"Dubai shares declined the most in more than a month on investor bets gains this year are overdone and as stocks in Europe and Asia retreated from a five-year high. Abu Dhabi’s gauge also decreased.
Emaar Properties PJSC (EMAAR), the developer of the world’s tallest building, slid the most in more than four weeks. Emirates NBD PJSC (EMIRATES), the United Arab Emirates’ second-biggest bank by assets, lost 1.6 percent. Dubai’s benchmark DFM General Index dropped 0.9 percent, the most since April 18, to 2,319.35 at the close in the emirate. The measure is still up 43 percent this year and two days ago closed at the highest since October 2009. Abu Dhabi’s benchmark declined 0.4 percent, trimming the gain for the year to 33 percent.
Shares on Dubai’s benchmark trade at an average price-to-book value of 0.94, the highest since 2009, and compared with 0.69 at the end of last year. In Europe, the Stoxx Europe 600 Index (DFMGI) slipped 0.5 percent at 12:24 p.m. in London, as remarks by a Federal Reserve official fueled concern the central bank may reduce stimulus measures."

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MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi up for fifth session; regional mkts mixed | Reuters

"Saudi Arabia's bourse rose for a fifth straight session on Tuesday as renewed buying momentum in bluechips drove the index higher. Other regional markets were mixed.

Saudi Basic Industries Corp (SABIC), the world's largest chemicals producer, gained 1.6 percent, helping lift the sector's index by 1 percent.

Banking and petrochemical shares have underperformed the market for most of 2013 but are now catching up due to attractive valuations, according to analysts. Some concerns however, remain."

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VTB finds 'tricky' main SPO buyer: Qatar — RT Business

"Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund will become the main purchaser in VTB’s secondary public offering, buying $1 billion of the available $3.3 billion shares. It may prove to be a difficult shareholder for Russia’s second largest lending bank.

The Sovereign Fund of Qatar is aiming to secure a business partnership in order to develop new joint projects. After the purchase it will control 5 percent of the bank’s shares, according to Financial Times, which stated sources close to the deal.

The Russian government currently holds 75.5 percent of the bank, and has mandated that its stake remains above 60 percent. VTB expects the Kremlin stake to fall to 60.93 percent.Some Russian analysts are skeptical about business relations with the Qatar Foundation, which has a reputation for being a difficult banking partner."

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IMF Urges Dubai to Regulate Property Market | Fox Business

"Dubai should regulate the pace of its real estate market rebound to prevent another boom-bust scenario, a senior official at the International Monetary Fund said on Tuesday.

Dubai's property market bubble burst spectacularly in late 2008, sending prices down as much as 60% in some areas of the city, as the financial crisis sent the global economy into a tailspin. But since then, the real estate sector has come roaring back to life as Dubai's trade and tourism-inspired recovery takes hold.

According to Jones Lang LaSalle, average sale prices of apartments and villas in Dubai rose about 18% in the first quarter of this year."

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IMF Not Concerned About Dubai Ability to Repay Debt, Ahmed Says - Bloomberg

"The International Monetary Fund said it isn’t worried about Dubai’s ability to meet its financial obligations after the emirate that almost defaulted in 2009 successfully managed to reschedule payments.
“So far the government-related entities have managed debt rescheduling from 2009 quite successfully,” Masood Ahmed, the head of the fund’s Middle East and Central Asia department, said in Dubai today.
Dubai’s government redeemed a 3.3 billion dirham ($898 million) liability that matured in April, and three state-linked companies paid or refinanced $3.75 billion of debt last year, bolstering investor confidence. The emirate is committed to repaying its debts, and will do “whatever we have to do,” Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, head of the emirate’s Supreme Fiscal Committee, said in an interview May 8."

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Abu Dhabi's TAQA denies London bourse move - Markets -

"Abu Dhabi National Energy Company (TAQA) has said it is looking at ways to improve the liquidity of its shares but had not taken any steps to remove a barrier to foreigners holding its stock.
Abu Dhabi newspaper The National said on Monday that TAQA was considering a dual listing on the London stock exchange and an opening up of its free-float of shares domestically to foreign investors.
TAQA is 75 percent owned by the Abu Dhabi government, while foreigners are currently not allowed to trade in the remaining stock listed on the Abu Dhabi stock market."

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Qatar National Bank Group gets nod for India subsidiary - The Economic Times

"The Qatar National Bank (QNB) Group has announced that it has received all regulatory approvals to establish a fully owned subsidiary under the name of QNB (India) Private Limited, which is expected to commence its operations during the 3rd quarter of 2013.

"QNB(India) will take the role of extending consultancy and advisory services in the field of investment and finance for the Middle East companies that are willing to establish businesses and/ or invest in India," the bank said.

"As part of its international expansion strategy, QNB Group is seen to always seek presence and competition in leading markets. The Indian economy is the tenth-largest in the world by nominal GDP ( Gross Domestic Product) and the third-largest by PPP (Purchasing Power Parity)," the statement said."

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IMF calls for more Middle East reforms as oil revenues fall -

"The IMF has reiterated calls for economic reform across the Middle East and North Africa as states in political transition after the Arab spring struggle to maintain economic stability and the oil-exporting Gulf faces a dip in hydrocarbons revenues.
In its annual regional economic update, the IMF on Tuesday said a moderate increase in oil-importing countries’ economic growth would “not be sufficient to begin making sizeable inroads into the region’s large unemployment problem”."

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Kuwait bourse extends rally; UAE markets slip off multi-year highs | ArabNews

"Kuwait's bourse extended sharp year-to-date gains in heavy trading, while profit-taking weighed on bourses in the UAE and other markets were mixed.
Kuwait's index rose 1.3 percent to hit a fresh 46-month high, trading 111 million dinars ($387.9 million).
Companies owned by one of Kuwait's largest merchant families rose after a favorable court ruling."

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Oman’s GDP grew by 5% in 2012 | ArabNews

"Oman’s real GDP expanded steadily over the past few years, with an estimated growth rate of 5.0 percent in 2012, which was lower than government’s target of 7.0 percent and was almost close to the IMF forecast. Oil and gas continue to dominate the Omani economy, contributing more than half of the nominal GDP and almost two-third of net fiscal revenue. However, Oman has successfully executed its diversification strategy as nonoil GDP grew 5.4 percent in 2011 from 3.1 percent in 2009, according to Gulf Investment House's review of the Oman economy.
The nonoil sector’s contribution to GDP rose considerably from 52.7 percent in 2001 to 72.2 percent in 2011. Factors such as high domestic demand, an expansionary fiscal policy and growth in the nonoil economy would bolster economic growth to average 5.1 percent over 2013–17."

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