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Sunday, 26 May 2013

Little to celebrate on GCC anniversary | GulfNews.com

"The GCC this month celebrates its 32nd anniversary. It must be asked, however, what exactly is the bloc celebrating?
The past three decades have only produced empty rhetoric of cooperation and unity while Gulf states in fact grow further apart.
The GCC has not only failed to streamline its political systems, perhaps the biggest of the hurdles to a union, but also its economic and defence systems. The GCC customs union, considered a major achievement for the sleepy bloc, has already been undermined by the signing of bilateral free trade agreements with foreign states and blocs by individual member states. The monetary union and currency union have been put on the back burner due to egotistical squabbling between members. The joint visa system is moving at snail’s pace, and the joint passport has all but disappeared from the agenda. The rail system, while much delayed, remains our only source of hope for cooperation."

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Kuwait oil minister's resignation accepted -media | Reuters

"The resignation of Kuwait's oil minister Hani Hussein has been accepted, local media reported, after he came under pressure from lawmakers wanting to question him over a $2.2 billion compensation payment to Dow Chemical Co .

Earlier this month the parliament speaker said some members of the cabinet had offered to resign, without giving details. Hussein's resignation was accepted on Sunday, al-Rai and al-Watan newspapers reported on their websites, citing sources.

Under Kuwait's constitution the ruling emir needs to approve any resignations. Officials at the oil ministry were not immediately available to comment on the reports.

Ministerial changes do not generally affect oil policy in the OPEC member state because it is set by a supreme petroleum council."

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Saudi Arabia May Need to Make OPEC Cut to Stabilize Prices, NCB - Bloomberg

"Saudi Arabia may need to persuade OPEC members to cut output to help keep oil prices above $100 level through the rest of the year, according to the Kingdom’s largest lender by assets National Commercial Bank.
Producers in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries need to make the cuts in the second quarter and bring production to the current official target level of 30 million barrels a day, the Jeddah-based bank, known as NCB, said in an e-mailed report today.
“While Saudi Arabia has been willing to make large cuts to production in the past, its resolve to continue will be tested if other OPEC members raise their own production during 2013,” it said. Maintaining oil prices above $100 for the rest of 2013, “may prove to be a more difficult proposition than if the Kingdom were to act unilaterally as in the recent past,” it said."

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Dubai emerges as hub for investment in Africa - FT.com

"Dubai is proving to be a window on the world for the tea growers who collectively own Kenya Tea Packers, as the company pushes to expand exports from its east African base.
The business processed its first 22-tonne consignment in the emirate’s Jebel Ali port in March last year and is seeking to use the cosmopolitan city state to sell elsewhere in the Gulf – and beyond.
“More or less, we see Dubai as a large supermarket,” said Collins Cheruiyot, Kenya Tea Packers’ managing director. “It’s an opportunity for our product to be experienced by different nationalities – without us having to do direct shipment ourselves.”"

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Jordan Plans Up to $2 Billion U.S.-Backed Bond Sale in 2013 - Bloomberg

"Jordan plans to raise as much as $2 billion in bonds backed by the U.S. government this year as the Arab country seeks to shore up public finances amid an increasing influx of refugees from war-ravaged Syria.
The kingdom is working with a syndicate of banks and aims to access the market before the end of the year, Finance Minister Umayya Toukan said yesterday, declining to identify the banks. The U.S. guarantee has helped Jordan’s $750 million Eurobonds due 2015 rally to a record this month, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
“That’s the least expensive source of financing the budget deficit,” Toukan, who was appointed to his current post March 30, said in an interview at the World Economic Forum in Jordan. The issuance will be $1.5 billion to $2 billion, he said."

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Qatar Telecom Raises $12 Billion to Buy Maroc Telecom, CEO Says - Bloomberg

"Qatar Telecom QSC raised $12 billion to finance its bid for a majority stake in Maroc Telecom SA as it seeks to expand through acquisitions, its chief executive officer said.
Qatar Telecom, which recently changed its name to Ooredoo, plans to focus on buying telecommunication operators abroad after expanding holdings in companies in Kuwait, Iraq and Tunisia last year, Nasser Marafih said in an interview at the World Economic Forum in Jordan.
“We’re aware that we’ve not done any acquisitions lately, but have increased our stake in our existing companies,” he said. “There are companies that will be available for consolidation and when they become available they will pursue them.”"

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On the line: UAE markets momentum stalls as risks increase | GulfNews.com

"Although performance was mixed for the UAE markets last week, the first signs of trouble are starting to show. This could be the beginning of an intermediate top leading to a correction going into the summer. The same can be said for leading equity markets in the U.S. Japan, Germany and the U.K. which all saw reversals during the last week."

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Where the Expat Labor Problems Start | Crossroads Arabia

"There’s no question that Saudi Arabia has had problems with illegal workers. Workers whose paperwork is ‘irregular’, to say the least, confuse and compromise the ability of Saudis to find work, repatriate hundreds of millions of Saudi Riyals to their home countries, and cost the Saudi economy dearly. The government has been taking actions to rectify the situation, but those actions have come largely at the cost of the expat worker.

What is needed, Somayya Jabarti argues in Saudi Gazette, is to identify the root of the problem: the Saudi employers who game the system and rob their expat workers. There are numerous Saudis who create phantom companies that produce no real goods or services. Instead, they act only as a clearinghouse for manpower. Using their Saudi nationality, these business owners get permission to bring in foreign workers, but then turn around and sell them to the highest bidder, all the while also taking a piece of the worker’s salaries. Go after these companies, Jabarti says, and you’ll reduce the problems of illegal workers."

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Dubai retailer MAF eyes at least $500 million from hybrid bond | Reuters

"Dubai mall developer Majid Al Futtaim Holding (MAF) is looking to raise at least $500 million from the issue of a hybrid debt sale to finance its buyout of French hypermarket chain Carrefour's (CARR.PA) stake in a regional venture.

MAF, sole franchisee of Carrefour hypermarkets in the Middle East, said last week it was buying out the company's 25 percent stake in the joint venture for $680 million.

In an investor presentation seen by Reuters, MAF said it had enough liquidity at hand to finance the purchase."

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Dubai Stocks Drop Most Since April on Growth Slowdown Concern - Bloomberg

"Dubai’s benchmark index (TA-25) declined the most in more than a month on concern slower global economic growth may hurt company earnings.
Emaar Properties PJSC (EMAAR), the developer of the world’s tallest building, retreated to the lowest in more than a week. Dubai Islamic Bank PJSC (DIB), the United Arab Emirates’ largest Shariah-compliant lender, decreased the most since May 9. The DFM General Index (KWSEIDX) lost 1.1 percent to 2,281.27 at the close in the emirate, bringing the two-day drop to 1.8 percent. Abu Dhabi’s benchmark fell 1 percent. The declines pared the gauges’ gains this year to 41 percent and 30 percent, respectively
The MSCI Emerging Markets Index (DSM) lost 1.8 percent last week, the most since the week ended April 5, after Chinese manufacturing contracted for the first time in seven months and amid concern the Federal Reserve will scale back asset purchases. The economy of Dubai, home to the world’s biggest airline by international traffic, is underpinned by trade, tourism and real-estate."

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Emirates, Etihad, Qatar: The Steady Rise of Persian Gulf Airlines, Articles | THISDAY LIVE

"The carriers of the United Arab Emirates and Qatar may emerge the dominant forces in the airline industry in the near future. Demola Ojo explains why…

Every passing day, it becomes more evident that Persian Gulf airlines like Emirates Airlines, Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways are slowly taking over from traditional European carriers like British Airways, Lufthansa, Air France and KLM as the dominant forces in the international travel industry.  Where London, Paris and Frankfurt were the traditional change-hubs in the past, today Dubai, Doha and Abu Dhabi are taking over. The inroads made by the Gulf carriers has forced the likes of British Airways and Iberia on the one hand and Air France and KLM on the other to merge and consolidate, seeking to cut costs rather than struggle on alone."

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Emaar chairman says Dubai’s economy healthy, growing again - Alarabiya.net English | Front Page

"Economic indicators in Dubai show that the Gulf emirate has recovered from the economic crisis and that its economy is growing again, Mohammed al-Abbar, Chairman of Emaar Properties told Al Arabiya on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum opened in Jordan on Saturday.
Abbar said banks are becoming more cautious in their lending policies and that the central bank is playing a leading role in advocating a favorable environment to acquiring real estate assets in Dubai.
The government of Dubai, he added, has put in place regulatory measures, including guarantees that need to be presented to banks by both buyers and developers. These measures he said have created a “healthier” real estate market."

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Lamprell takes the heat off by meeting in Dubai | Business | The Observer

"In an age where one or two shareholders have made occasional moves that might be portrayed as courageous, and posed the odd tricky question to company management, here is a public relations quandary. How does a London-listed company best stage an annual general meeting as shareholders reflect on a year in which (a) their investment has slumped by more than 60%; (b) the company has issued five (count 'em) profit warnings; and (c) one of those profit warnings came just a fortnight after two executives sold substantial stakes in the business?

The answer to that thorny problem is simple. Hold the meeting in Dubai. And on a bank holiday.

That is how the oil rig builder Lamprell will conduct its annual gathering on Monday, so if you're reading this over Sunday brunch and you fancied attending – you'll need to get a move on."

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Saudi Stock Market - Tadawul

 General Index
Intraday  3 month  
 Daily Statistics
 Date25/05/2013
 General Index7307.36
 Change (%)0.10%
 Change7.02
 T. Volume362001031
 T. Companies 163
   Advanced45
   Declined97
   Unchanged13
   UnTraded4
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Ooredoo undecided on Maroc stake bid - The National

"Ooredoo Qatar, formerly Qtel, has yet to decide whether it will buy the Moroccan government's stake in Maroc Telecom if the Qatari company wins the bid for Vivendi's stake in the North African operator.

Vivendi had yet to tell Ooredoo whether its bid for the Maroc Telecom stake had been successful, said Nasser Marafih, the group chief executive of Ooredoo, in an interview in Jordan.

Asked if Ooredoo would consider taking the Moroccan government's stake in Maroc Telecom, he said: "That's something we have to make a decision on with the government."

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Oil storage terminal in Fujairah ready for start-up - The National

"A new US$100 million oil storage terminal in Fujairah will start operations this week as the eastern emirate's strategic location attracts increased investment.

Dubai-based Emirates National Oil Company's Horizon Terminals Limited (HTL) will open the 240,000 cubic metres facility to store products such as fuel oil, naphtha, gasoline, gas oil, jet fuel and liquefied petroleum gas.

"The new oil terminal in Fujairah is of strategic importance to the energy sector of the region and in further establishing the emirate as a key regional hub in the oil and gas trade," said Saeed Khoory, Enoc's chief executive."

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Growth is Arab region's top priority - The National

"Reviving economic growth in the Arab region should be the priority to aid the transition from instability, the deputy managing director of the IMF said yesterday.
Min Zhu also called upon the international community to make good on billions of dollars in support funds pledged more than two years ago to aid Arab Spring nations.
"Growth still remains the key challenge for the region," he said at the World Economic Forum on the Middle East and North Africa in the Dead Sea, Jordan, which got under way yesterday. "We need a macro stability policy, we need a fiscal policy to carefully support growth. For example, the region is spending 9.5 per cent of GDP on subsidies. If we do energy reform we can save a lot of money for public expenditure to support growth and enhance jobs. We need fiscal policy to support spending on education and health to support long-term growth."

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Dead Sea Diary: Establishing good economies after Arab Spring | GulfNews.com

"All over the Arab world, officials are struggling to establish good governance in very difficult situations as their countries go through the political trauma of the aftermath of the revolutions of the Arab Spring. The barrage of depressing political news from these transition economies often hides the hard work which is going on in ministries and government bodies as politicians try to put their countries on the right track to stability and economic growth.
Some of the most interesting sessions at the 2013 World Economic Forum meeting on the Middle East at the Dead Sea in Jordan are looking at what new laws are being put in place to overcome the lingering political problems which make it very hard to engender either private sector or foreign trust.
These political problems take various forms: like the struggle between the Egyptian presidency and judiciary which reinforce doubts that the constitution can last; or the former militiamen in Libya who surrounded the Ministry of Interior and forced through a virulent form of the Exclusion Law which put large numbers of skilled people out of work because they had held posts under the previous regime."

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Majid Al Futtaim eyes $1b investments this year | GulfNews.com

"UAE’s Majid Al Futtaim Holding (MAF) - sole franchise of hypermarket chain Carrefour in the Gulf - said it foresaw capital investments of up to $1 billion (Dh3.67 billion) this year as it steadily expanded its foothold in the region.
This did not include a $680 million purchase of a 25 per cent minority share from Carrefour Groupe in the company announced last week that will give it full ownership of the Carrefour franchise in the region, Iyad Malas, the chief executive officer said in an interview on Saturday.
“Our capital investments could be anywhere between $600 million and $1 billion this year,” said Malas on the sideline of the World Economic Forum (WEF) on the Middle East and Africa."

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$465 million convertible bonds issued by National Bank of Abu Dhabi | GulfNews.com

"National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD), Abu Dhabi’s biggest lender by assets said yesterday it has issued $465 million senior unsecured convertible bonds, convertible into ordinary shares of NBAD. The issue was more than three times oversubscribed.
“The offering, due in 2018, was increased from an initial amount of $350 million following strong demand from investors during the book-building process,” NBAD said in a statement.
The bank said the bonds will be issued on or around June 5, 2013 at par and will carry a coupon of 1.00 per cent per annum, payable semi-annually in arrear commencing on September 12, 2013."

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$465 million convertible bonds issued by National Bank of Abu Dhabi | GulfNews.com

"National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD), Abu Dhabi’s biggest lender by assets said yesterday it has issued $465 million senior unsecured convertible bonds, convertible into ordinary shares of NBAD. The issue was more than three times oversubscribed.
“The offering, due in 2018, was increased from an initial amount of $350 million following strong demand from investors during the book-building process,” NBAD said in a statement.
The bank said the bonds will be issued on or around June 5, 2013 at par and will carry a coupon of 1.00 per cent per annum, payable semi-annually in arrear commencing on September 12, 2013."

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