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Friday, 24 May 2013

Kuwait: Joining the shale rush | Energy | Kuwait | Oxford Business Group

"Kuwait has announced it is conducting studies into the viability of extracting shale gas from recently identified reserves, although any commercial operation will likely be many years off.

Despite its extensive natural gas reserves – estimated to be around 1.8trn cu metres – Kuwait is a net importer of the hydrocarbon. This is due in part to growing demand for electricity, which rises by about 6-8% each year, according to the Ministry of Electricity and Water. Planned industrial expansion, including in the gas-hungry downstream petrochemicals sector, will add to the draw upon resources.

A report prepared by online sectoral publisher in mid-April said Kuwait’s shale gas potential had only recently come into focus, due to the past concentration on conventional oil reserves. Although the report noted that data on the extent of the shale gas reserves were limited at best, it cited geologists as saying initial studies indicated substantial resources both on- and off-shore."

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Europe's sclerosis: Sleepwalking to disaster

Qatar ‘FDI outflow falls 29% in 2012’

The outward foreign direct investments (FDI) from Qatar fell 29%; while those from the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region grew 9% in 2012, according to fDi Report 2013.

“Qatar saw a decrease in outward FDI in 2012, with FDI projects overseas falling from 38 in 2011 to 27 in 2012,” said fDi Intelligence, a specialist division of the Financial Times.

The five leading source countries for FDI all remained the same for 2012, except for Bahrain replacing Qatar in fifth place, it said, highlighting Qatar Petroleum International’s $3.6bn oil refinery to be built in Cairo, Egypt."

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Dubai Hotels Struggle to Fill Jobs -

"Before graduating in June from Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management, a school in Dubai that is in academic association with the renowned École Hôtelière de Lausanne and part of the Jumeirah Group, Samuel Moult is busy filing applications to work in one of Jumeirah’s global hotels. He is hoping to get a placement in Dubai.

With the city facing a shortage of skilled labor in hospitality and tourism as the sector is poised to boom, Mr. Moult, 21, says his chances of finding a job are good.

“The industry itself, all over the world, is notorious for long, unsocial work hours and low pay, so while more and more hotels open in Dubai it’s difficult for operators to attract the right staff,” said Mr. Moult, who is British. “For me, I’m aware of all this and still find something about hotels that is fun, fast paced, and high-energy, rather than a 9-to-5 desk job, and studying hospitality in Dubai was just too good of an option for me to say no.”"

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Dubai's striking workers in their own words - Features - Al Jazeera English

"A strike by low-wage workers at Arabtec - the construction giant building the Louvre museum in Abu Dhabi, a branch campus of New York University and a series of other megaprojects - has ended after police entered labour camps and immigration services issued a series of deportation notices.

United Arab Emirates security forces converged on camps operated by Arabtec on Monday, workers told Al Jazeera, and labourers continue to receive deportation orders as part of the fallout. Arabtec workers interviewed by Al Jazeera say they earn between $102-$325 per month, and send as much as they can back to their families in Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, Nepal and other countries.

Arabtec officials have said they were paying the workers according to their contracts. Unions and strikes by foreigners - who make up more than 90 percent of the private-sector workforce - are illegal in the UAE and across the oil-rich Gulf states."

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Dubai fund ICD may raise $2bn loan target - Banking & Finance -

"Investment Corporation of Dubai (ICD), the holding company for some of the emirate's best-known companies, may increase the size of a $2bn loan after significant interest in the deal from lenders, banking sources said.
Strong demand for the loan is a sign of renewed confidence among bankers in Dubai, which is recovering from the aftermath of a real estate crash and sovereign-linked debt crisis which followed the global financial meltdown of 2008.
The loan has been marketed since mid-March, with $1.6bn of the $2bn target already pledged by the eight arranging banks, one of the banking source said."

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EM flows: the way we were? | beyondbrics

"The latest weekly figures from EPFR, the Boston-based watcher of global fund flows, give us a snapshot of market sentiment in the days running up to Ben Bernanke’s comments on Wednesday, suggesting an end of quantitative easing could finally be in sight.

They show that investors were feeling relaxed and comfortable, even as rising yields on US Treasuries pushed up yields on emerging market debt and as EM equities remained under pressure. Will that mood last?

EPFR said EM bond funds received inflows equal to 0.3 per cent of assets under management in the week to Wednesday, or about $890m in EPFR’s sample universe (which analysts say covers about one sixth the total). That was an increase on the previous week’s $820m, bringing inflows in the year to date to $22.5bn, compared with $38bn in the whole of 2012."

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Dubai-listed contractor Arabtec aiming to raise Dh2.3bn through rights issue - The National

"Arabtec is set to begin subscriptions for a Dh2.38 billion rights issue on June 9, the Dubai-listed contractor announced yesterday.

The company, which is 21 per cent owned by the Abu Dhabi investment fund Aabar, invited shareholders to buy the additional shares in the company at 27 branches of National Bank of Abu Dhabi and 17 branches of Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank across the UAE until June 23.

The news came after Arabtec, which at the beginning of the week had to deal with a strike by some workers, received final regulatory approval from the Securities and Commodities Authority to go ahead with the capital raising, which was ratified by shareholders in April."

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Small Gulf states have advantage of location - The National

"Whether it was the Roman Empire, the Caliphates, the British Empire or, most recently, what has been called the American Century, history records long cycles when a dominant economic centre defined much about the world.

In such times, a hub-and-spoke pattern of trade develops, and from the hub a dominant business culture, even a dominant language, sets the norms to which others default.

But when looking back, we tend to pay less attention to what happens during the intervals between periods of hegemony, which is unfortunate on two counts. First, these interregnums can last a long time and, for those living in them, they are not an interregnum but simply the way the world is. Second, we are entering such a time."

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.:Middle East Online::Corruption suspicions hang over Qatar takeover of French Printemps:.

"Unions at the French department store Printemps have asked authorities to open a probe into what they call opaque finances in the sale of the luxury shop chain to investors from the gas-rich Gulf state of Qatar.

"We have turned to the prosecutor because we have discovered multiple financial arrangements in the sale specifying exorbitant commissions and intermediaries which also get exorbitant sums," said Bernard Demarcq, the spokesman for the unions at the store chain.

"All this seems very opaque to us. This should be probed for possible corruption, breach of trust, money laundering and tax fraud," he added of the request submitted Tuesday."

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Saudi Gazette - Canceled tourism project: Libya ordered to pay Kuwait group $1b

"Consternation surrounds reports that an arbitration panel in Cairo has ordered Libya to pay nearly a billion dollars to a Kuwaiti company, for the loss of 90 years income from a canceled Tripoli tourism project.

Reports carried in the Kuwaiti press and picked up by Reuters said that Kuwait’s Kharafi Group,  had been given the damages in arbitration proceedings organized by the Arab League.

Since 1992 the Arab Convention on Commercial Arbitration has worked under the aegis of the League."

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Two Bahrain banks to merge |

"In the latest example of consolidation amongst financial services firms in Bahrain, two lenders there on Thursday said they plan to merge and create what would be the Gulf state’s third-largest bank by assets.
BMI Bank, in which Oman’s Bank Muscat holds a 49 per cent stake, and BMI Bank,, an Islamic lender, said they agreed in principle on a merger.
“Consolidation was the only way forward for Bahraini Banks to stay competitive and financially strong in the aftermath of the recent financial crisis and resulting economic downturn,” said BMI’s Chairman Shaikh Khalid Bin Mustahail Al Mashani and Al Salam’s head Shaikha Hessa Bint Khalifa Bin Hamad Al Khalif in a joint statement."

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