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Friday, 7 June 2013

Ukranian News - NBU's Foreign Reserves Down 2.8% To USD 24.5 Billion In May

"The foreign-exchange reserves of the National Bank of Ukraine according to current data reduced by 2.76% or USD 701.16 million in May, amounting to USD 24,540.64 million as of May 31.
The National Bank of Ukraine announced this in a statement.
"As of June 1, 2013, the amount of the foreign reserves had changed to the level it was at the beginning of the year, amounting to the equivalent of USD 24.541 billion," the statement said."

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Gazprom Neft Makes Record Payouts | Business | The Moscow Times

"Huge bonus checks have been handed out to board members at Gazprom Neft, as senior management and shareholders celebrate a "record year", Vedomosti reported.
Dividends of 44 billion rubles ($1.37 billion), up 27.4 percent on 2011, were approved at the annual shareholders meeting on Friday. "

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Guest post: Time to embrace EM volatility | beyondbrics

"The recent spike in the volatility of emerging market debt has rattled investor confidence in the asset class. After a promising start to 2013, valuations of EM US dollar-denominated sovereign and corporate debt have hit the proverbial wall on increasing market concern that the US Federal Reserve may begin to “taper” or slow the pace of quantitative easing measures in effect since 2009.

Many are now wondering whether a normalization of US monetary policy might produce a repeat of 1994, when emerging economies and the EM asset class collapsed following the Fed’s decision to tighten.

We believe such concerns are overblown when comparing the aggregate balance of payments strength of EM today versus the 1990s, but there is no doubt that the volatility of the asset class – whether a function of external or domestic factors or both – is poised to rise going forward, heralding a return of the “absolute return” or “opportunistic” nature of the asset class."

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Finance Ministry to Use Tax to Boost Stock Market | Business | The Moscow Times

The Finance Ministry is planning to tweak the tax system to attract long term investment to the stock market, Vedomosti reported. 
The ministry is working on draft legislation that will increase personal income tax deductions and time frames on capital gains and at the same time decrease the attractiveness of keeping money in the bank. The bill may be introduced in the State Duma in the current session.

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ViewsWire - Saudi Arabia risk: Alert - The next property bubble?

"The Saudi economy continues to power ahead, supported by a hugely expansionary fiscal stance and continued loose monetary policy. Meanwhile, despite fast-rising retail sales, surging wages, and a programme to replace expatriate workers with (more expensive) locals, inflation has remained subdued, averaging just 4% in 2012. However, fears are growing that the combination of rapid liquidity growth and a paucity of avenues to invest could result in the creation of asset bubbles, with the present boom in office construction arguably the most likely source.

The rash of building in the capital, Riyadh, and elsewhere is changing the appearance of the kingdom dramatically. The most striking example of this will be the kilometre-high, mixed-use Kingdom Tower in Jeddah, a project led by the Saudi billionaire Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal that began construction earlier this year. Meanwhile, in the capital, Riyadh, building sites pepper the sides of the two main highways—King Fahd Road and Makkah road—ranging from offices and residential blocks to massive new hospitals and universities. "

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Are we witnessing a Turkish Spring? - EIU - From Our Chief Economist

"Anti-government protests have rocked Turkey, drawing comparisons with the political upheavals in the Arab world over the past two years. However, my analysts and I believe that any Arab Spring analogy is misplaced. Turkey is not a dictatorship, even though the autocratic style of the prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, is one of the root causes of the current turbulence. The once-powerful military has remained out of the fray, and is unlikely to interfere. In addition, the polarisation of Turkish society manifest in the protests does little to diminish the strong support that the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) still enjoys throughout the country. Mr Erdogan's mandate is more secure than it appears, but his grip on power is nonetheless being questioned like never before. Political risks are rising."

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Urals Exports Plunge as Russia Refiners Keep Oil: Energy Markets - Bloomberg

"Russia’s refiners are processing so much of the country’s Urals crude that exports via the Baltic Sea have tumbled to the lowest in 20 months, driving prices close to parity with Brent.
Shipments from Primorsk, Russia’s largest port on the Baltic, will be 953,000 barrels a day in June, down from a five-year average of 1.4 million, a loading program obtained by Bloomberg showed. The grade sold for 3 cents a barrel less than Dated Brent in northwest Europe as of June 4, the smallest discount since August, when it traded at a premium.
The narrowing discount shows how refiners such as OAO Rosneft are responding to President Vladimir Putin’s drive to encourage plant upgrades and improve fuel quality via a lower export duty for oil products. Revenue from crude and gas exports account for more than half of the government budget in Russia, the world’s biggest energy producer."

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Kharkiv court refuses to close bogus case against Yulia Tymoshenko - Yulia Tymoshenko. Official Website.

"The Kyivsky District Court of Kharkiv has rejected Yulia Tymoshenko’s request to consider in her absence the motion to close the fabricated case against her involving United Energy Systems of Ukraine.

Judge Kostyantyn Sadovsky adjourned the trial until July 5 due to Yulia Tymoshenko’s absence at today’s hearing.

The court also refused to consider motions filed by Yulia Tymoshenko’s defense counsel asking the court to close the criminal case."

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Revenues from excise tax on fuel 30% down in Jan-April

Revenues from excise tax on fuel 30% down in Jan-April:

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Ukrainian state mines' losses from coal production come to Hr 6 b in Jan-May

Ukrainian state mines' losses from coal production come to Hr 6 b in Jan-May:

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Ukraine: less cash, more cards and bank transfers, please | beyondbrics

"Many Ukrainians may in for a rude shock when they return from this year’s summer holidays – thanks to a new central bank rule revealed this week.

As of September 1, hard currency cash transactions will be capped at the equivalent of $19,000. Transactions above this amount will need to be settled through banks transfers, payment cards and other electronic means.

Having long ago grown accustomed to carrying multiple plastic cards in their wallet, and wire transfers and online banking for most settlements, the average European or American may ask: what’s the big deal?"

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Millions of euro of Western support and assistance risk being wasted unless the Ukrainian government will start being active in the energy efficiency and renewable energy sectors |

"“Ukraine is stumbling forward not being able to drop opportunity fully, yet” said Dave Young, Chairman of the European-Ukrainian Energy Agency as closing remark of the 4th European-Ukrainian Energy Day “Ukraine’s Energy Market: Steps Forward or Lost Opportunity?”

Over 200 stakeholder from the energy efficiency and renewable energy sectors, among which representatives from international state institutions, diplomatic missions and policy makers, gathered together to understand what is stopping Ukraine from achieving set goals in energy saving and resources diversification.

As Mr. Kopac, Director of the Energy Community Secretariat, explained “Unfortunately, Ukraine’s market developed not in the way we expected it to. The Majority of discussions between Ukrainian government and European institutions are a formality. Ukraine is performing very poorly in the development of its laws and regulations that should attract millions of euro of investment”."

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Poland: shale investors warn against planned tough rule changes | beyondbrics

"Poland’s hopes of creating a significant shale gas industry and reducing the country’s dependence on costly Russian imports seem to be receding as companies including ExxonMobil and Marathon from the US and Canada’s Talisman exit due to a combination of poor well results and regulatory uncertainty.

On Friday, foreign and Polish companies searching for unconventional hydrocarbons such as shale gas formally declared that the government’s plans to regulate future hydrocarbons production would deter investment.

“The draft law covers both conventional and unconventional hydrocarbon exploration and production. If adopted in its current form, we believe it will create difficulties in conventional exploration processes and will discourage investment in, and as a consequence the development of, unconventional resources,” the Polish Exploration and Production Industry Organisation (OPPPW) said in a statement."

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How to invest in Russian technoparks | Russia Beyond The Headlines

"In the 2000s, the Russian government came to regard technoparks as a perfect means of fostering innovation in the country's economy. Technoparks began to spring up all over the country, thanks to numerous government programs and initiatives. Five years ago, a World Bank study confirmed that one of Russia’s provinces, the Republic of Tatarstan, had more technoparks per capita than the country which invented them — the United Kingdom."

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Gas supplies from EU are the most realistic way of diversification, says president's address

Gas supplies from EU are the most realistic way of diversification, says president's address:

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Hungary: nice surprise in output data | beyondbrics

"Another slice of good economic data from Budapest, following surprisingly strong GDP figures and improvements in the fiscal position.

On Friday, the statistical office announced that industrial output in April jumped 5.3 per cent year-on-year, and climbed 1.2 per cent on a monthly basis.

Although the working-day adjusted figure was a significantly more modest 2.7 per cent on an annualised basis, the industrial data plus the latest trade balance figures, which showed an April surplus of €700m, of €2.4bn in the first four months, were both “markedly better” than expected, according to Zoltan Torok, economist with Raiffeisen Bank in Budapest."

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EBRD channels €52.1 to major Ukrainian developer |

The EBRD is organising a financing package of up to €52.1 million to a major domestic retailer, Multi Veste Ukraine, for the construction and development of an international quality, inner-city retail centre. Up to €30 million of the total amount will be syndicated to Unicredit Bank.
The project represents a substantial investment into the regeneration and revitalisation of a currently dilapidated area of Lviv city centre and will set a benchmark for a sustainable project via its economic, energy, environmental and social standards. The new retail centre, Forum Lviv, will have a sustainable architectural design in accordance with the highest industry standards (ISO 14001), making environmental and energy efficiency issues a priority.
By supporting this deal, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development is also introducing the Netherlands incorporated Multi Corporation BV, which is a majority owner of Multi Veste Ukraine, to the Ukrainian market. Multi Corporation BV is a high-quality international real estate developer and operator, which focuses on inner city urban developments.

Ukranian News - Court Validates Settlement Agreement Between Ukraine And Vanco Prykerchenska

The Pecherskyi District Court of Kyiv on June 6 issued a ruling recognising in Ukraine the judgement by which the Arbitration Institute of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce (Sweden) on December 28, 2012 approved the amicable settlement agreement between Ukraine and Vanco Prykerchenska (British Virgin Islands) in the dispute around termination of the Production Sharing Agreement on the Prykerchensky section of the Black Sea shelf, reads the Court's ruling, a copy of which Ukrainian News Agency has obtained.
"To recognise in Ukraine the final judgment [under conditions agreed by the parties], the Arbitration Institute of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce (Sweden) handed down on December 28, 2012 in the case V (91/2008) Vanco Prykerchenska Ltd vs State of Ukraine," the ruling said.
This award can be appealed at the Kyiv Court of Appeal.

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Ukraine Sees High Demand for VAT Promissory Notes, Klymenko Says - Bloomberg

"Ukraine will offer to reimburse value-added tax to exporters by issuing them with promissory notes and sees “big demand” for the instruments, Revenue and Fees Minister Oleksandr Klymenko said.
Lawmakers may vote on a bill to introduce the notes in its second reading this week, Klymenko said yesterday in an interview in Brussels, where he presented his ministry’s tax policy to local businessmen. More than 14,000 companies operating in Ukraine have investors from the European Union, according to the head of the newly created ministry that combines the tax and customs services.
While Ukraine exited a six-month recession in the first quarter, it remains in talks with the International Monetary Fund over a third bailout in four years and posted a budget deficit of 5.1 percent of gross domestic product in the year through April, Dragon Capital (VIETENI) said June 3. The government owes exporters 5 billion hryvnia ($610 million) in VAT reimbursements, while another 10 billion hryvnia is being disputed in court, according to Klymenko."

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Guest post: anti-Erdogan protestors lack a real political agenda | beyondbrics - #direngeziparki

"Taksim is one of the least visually attractive squares in Turkey. A group of critics had been vocal, for some time, about their opposition to the renovation plan of the square. The plan was accepted unanimously at the city council receiving the support of all of the opposition parties. But critics continue to demand that Gezi Park in Taksim Square be left untouched.

The events at Gezi Park unfolded in a similar way to the events of Occupy Wall Street in New York. The police used brutal force. Masses reacting to the use of brutal police force took to the streets. When the government failed to communicate with the protesters properly, things got even worse. In a matter of 24 hours, the outcry was transformed into a protest in which the political opposition found legitimate ground to protest for the first time in the eleven years the ruling AK Party has been in power."

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Everyone in the UAE must understand the dangers of debt - The National

"New findings about the extent of household debt in the UAE shine like a warning light. Almost 60 per cent of Emirati heads of households in Abu Dhabi are in debt, according to survey results reported yesterday in The National. Another recent news report noted that over 70 per cent of Emiratis under age 30 owe money.

For any household, and especially a new one, credit can be useful, even essential. But when personal borrowing gets out of control, it can quickly become a crippling burden.

And personal borrowing grew by 17 per cent from 2011 to 2012, the UAE Central Bank has reported. A separate survey last year suggested that many Emirati families spend more than one quarter of their income in servicing their loans."

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Gulf banks debating currency peg to US dollar - The National

"Banks have reignited the debate over whether Arabian Gulf states should peg their currencies at a fixed rate to the United States dollar, after remarks from Qatar's central bank suggesting some should examine alternatives.

Last week its director of research was quoted by Reuters as saying that Gulf states should consider a more flexible exchange rate.

But Qatar's central bank governor, Sheikh Abdullah bin Saud Al Thani, said the country planned no change to its peg to the dollar. However, as financial markets became more intertwined, such a move might be considered, he told the news agency."

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Investors face hefty losses after Saudi Arabia shuts down telecom company |

"Saudi retail investors face hefty losses after a royal decree ordered the liquidation of Saudi Integrated Telecom Co (SITC), which floated its shares in an initial public offer (IPO) in 2011 but never started operations.
SITC’s failure highlights the dominance of speculative retail traders in the Saudi market, who chase rising prices with little regard for fundamental valuations.
“Investors are shocked,” said Mohammad Omran, a member of the Saudi Economic Association (SEA). “The CMA made a big mistake by allowing the IPO to go ahead.”"

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Dubai Holding to restart held projects |

"Dubai Holding is expected to successfully conclude the restructuring of the Dh36.7 billion ($10 billion) debts owed to its subsidiary Dubai Group with a number of creditors, as it awaits creditors’ response on the deal.
“I am happy to announce that the issue of restructuring the liabilities of $10 billion with the creditors attached to Dubai Group is almost behind us,” Ahmad Bin Byat, Chief Executive of Dubai Holding, told Gulf News in an exclusive interview.
Dubai Group has sent its offer to the creditors who are expected to respond in the next few weeks."

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Simon Charlton named new head of AHAB - Business Intelligence Middle East - - News, analysis, reports

"Effective June 1, Simon Charlton joined Ahmad Hamad Algosaibi & Brothers Company (AHAB) as Chief Restructuring Officer and Acting Chief Executive Officer.

Charlton, formerly of Deloitte Corporate Finance in Dubai, will be accompanied by two colleagues. Ben Jones will serve as Chief Financial Officer, to be assisted by Raef El Hassan as Deputy Chief Financial Officer. The new executive team will oversee all aspects of the company's operations and management.

In 2009, the company retained Charlton, a managing director of Deloitte, as a senior financial adviser. A subsequent Deloitte investigation of AHAB's financial position uncovered evidence that it was the victim of a massive fraud, in which Maan Al Sanea used forged documents, among other methods, to borrow from banks and financial institutions to fund a global Ponzi scheme."

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Barwa Real Estate to sell $7.1 bln of assets to Qatari Diar | Reuters

"Qatari developer Barwa Real Estate plans to sell assets worth 26 billion riyals ($7.1 billion) to the property arm of the country's sovereign wealth fund to reduce debt, the company said on Thursday.

Among the assets being sold to Qatari Diar, which owns 45 percent of Barwa, will be the Barwa Commercial Avenue, Barwa Al Sadd and Barwa City projects, along with parts of the company's investment portfolio, it said.

"The sale proceeds will be directed towards extinguishing the company's debts, reducing financing costs and improving the company's financial position," Barwa said in a statement on the Qatar bourse's website."

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Window closes on UAE bond market - The National

"The charge of UAE corporate credit has abruptly entered reverse gear, as hints that the Federal Reserve in the United States may end its monetary easing policies of the past few years sent many investors scrambling for the exit.

The HSBC/Nasdaq Dubai US Dollar Sukuk/Bond index for the UAE this week reversed moderate gains seen earlier this year with total returns turning negative, down 0.5 per cent this year. During all of 2012, the same index returned 15.1 per cent in total.

The sell-off has moved in line with a rout in US treasuries late last month after comments from the Fed chairman, Ben Bernanke, suggesting the Federal Reserve may begin "tapering" bond purchases, signalling an end to the policy known as quantitative easing."

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Quelle Surprise! US and UK to File Criminal Charges Against Small Fry for Barclay’s Libor Abuses « naked capitalism

"Now before anyone gets excited about the specter of bankers doing a perp walk, the early word in a Wall Street Journal story on criminal charges being readied against former Barclays bankers says that the prosecutions will target “midlevel traders.” This exercise thus continues the established pattern of small fry serving as human shields for managers and executives."

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[snap]: EM fund flows: a painful correction | beyondbrics

"Blimey. Looks like investors’ exit from emerging markets assets is turning into something of a stampede.

In the week to June 5, investors pulled nearly $7bn out of EM bond and equity funds, as concerns over the future of the Federal Reserve’s massive quantitative easing programme mount.

EM bond funds – which has been a major beneficiary of the glut of cheap cash unleashed by the Fed – suffered $1.5bn in outflows this week, according to investment bank reports based on data from EPFR, the research company.

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Poland’s PGE bounced into mega power project | beyondbrics

"Donald Tusk, Poland’s prime minister, said on Thursday his government would go ahead after all with a plan to create the country’s second biggest power station despite the fact that it was scrapped in April by the state-controlled utility responsible, Polska Grupa Energetyczna (PGE), due to sagging energy prices and weak demand.

“We confirm the readiness of the government to build the power plant in Opole… The government will find the funds and a way for this investment to be carried out,” Tusk said at an IPO conference in Warsaw.

PGE’s plan was to build two 900 MW units at its hard coal-fired plant at Opole, southwestern Poland, more than doubling its capacity to 3.3 GW and making it the second largest in the country. PGE, which generates 71 per cent of its electricity at cheaper but more polluting lignite-fired power plants, said the project was no longer profitable after the economy slowed in recent quarters, reducing demand for power and causing energy prices to fall."

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Ukrainian court revives case over ArcelorMittal steel mill

Ukrainian court revives case over ArcelorMittal steel mill:

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NBU decides to limit cash transactions to Hr 150,000 since September

NBU decides to limit cash transactions to Hr 150,000 since September:

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Dupont to launch $40 million seed facility in Poltava Oblast

Dupont to launch $40 million seed facility in Poltava Oblast:

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Kazakhstan Trims 2013 Budget | Business | The Moscow Times

"Kazakhstan's parliament voted on Thursday to trim spending and widen the fiscal gap of the 2013 state budget after lower prices for Kazakh metals and other mining exports dented revenues.

The Senate upper chamber of the legislature approved revised revenues of 5.228 trillion tenge ($34.5 billion), cutting the originally set income by 206.7 billion tenge ($1.37 billion)."

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Gazprom Claims EU Hampers Nord Stream | Business | The Moscow Times

"European Union regulations are hampering Gazprom's use of its Nord Stream subsea gas pipeline, the Russian firm's deputy chief executive said on Thursday, demanding full access to an inland transit link.

Gazprom would continue to pressure the EU to lift restrictions on its use of the Opal pipeline meant to transport gas from a northern German landing point for Nord Stream's Siberian gas to the Czech Republic, Alexander Medvedev said."

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