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Wednesday, 12 June 2013

MIDEAST MONEY-Qatar hints at Gulf currency shifts to come | Reuters

"A statement on foreign exchange policy by Qatar's central bank governor has struck a nerve in financial markets across the Gulf, reminding investors that decades of currency stability will not last forever.

Five of the six oil exporters in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) - Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Oman and Bahrain - fix their currencies against the U.S. dollar under arrangements dating back as far as the 1970s.

But late last month, Qatar central bank chief Sheikh Abdullah bin Saud al-Thani suggested economic trends might eventually push Qatar into allowing its currency to fluctuate."

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MSCI moves: a trillion dollar decision? | beyondbrics

"As beyondbrics reported on Tuesday, index provider MSCI has rejigged its emerging market classifications. The headline grabber is that Greece has been put into the emerging market group. Up from frontier to emerging status come the UAE and Qatar. Morocco was relegated back to the frontier group.

It’s embarrassing for Greece and an overdue vote for the UAE and Qatar. But how much of a difference will it make? Potentially, quite a lot, actually.

Although there was a quick boost to local stock markets in the UAE and Qatar, the first thing to note is that the upgrades have been under review for a long time, so the decision is not a complete curveball. Also, the upgrade doesn’t take place until 2014 – plenty of time for discretionary asset managers to evaluate and shift funds over time."

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Dubai World’s Asset Disposals Seen Slow as Loan Repayments Loom - Bloomberg

"Dubai World’s plan to sell a U.K. warehouse developer owned by a subsidiary will do little to help the Middle East company’s attempt to raise about $15 billion to fund debt repayments.
Dubai World unit Economic Zones World FZE yesterday announced the sale of EZW Gazeley Ltd. to Toronto-based Brookfield Property Partners LP (BPY-U) and some institutions. Terms of the transaction weren’t disclosed. A person briefed on the situation said in April that the business was valued at about 300 million pounds ($465 million).
The proceeds of the sale will be used to pre-pay a portion of an Islamic loan, the company said. Dubai World, one of the emirate’s three main state-owned holding companies, will seek to push ahead with its own asset sales over the next two years as it needs to repay $4.4 billion dollars to creditors in 2015 and another $10.3 billion by 2018."

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BlackRock commentary on MSCI decision to upgrade Qatar and UAE - Business Intelligence Middle East - bi-me.com - News, analysis, reports

"Following the news announcement made by MSCI this evening, please find below comment from Sam Vecht, BlackRock’s head of the emerging markets specialist team and portfolio manager of the Frontiers Investment Trust.

“The MSCI decision to upgrade Qatar and United Arab Emirates from Frontier Markets to Emerging Markets on Tuesday 11 June 2013, with effect May 2014, reflects a growing realisation of how far these economies and their financial markets have developed in recent years.

“While we welcome the move, it is unlikely to have any significant near-term impact on how we manage our client portfolios. We have been broadly positive on both of these countries for the last two years as the combination of economic restructuring post financial crisis, strong earnings growth, depressed valuations, and high dividend yields offers an attractive proposition."

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Women in Egypt: Undervalued Resource | tks @REBELECONOMY

"There is no denying that women in Egypt—Egyptians and foreigners alike—face big challenges on the street, let alone at work and home.
Harassment and discrimination in and outside the workplace is common and is barring enough women from entering male-dominated sectors like manufacturing or engineering.
In a UN Women 2013 study, 99.3% of Egyptian women surveyed admitted to being sexually harassed, but  in 85% of the cases, none of the bystanders to the harassment incident intervened to help."

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Egyptian shares plunge on talk of removal from MSCI EM index | beyondbrics

"Egypt’s benchmark stock index fell 5.17 per cent on Wednesday after reports that Morgan Stanley would consider removing the economically battered nation from its basket of emerging market indices.

It was the biggest daily drop in months and underlines the market’s nervousness since Egypt’s February 2011 revolution and subsequent economic malaise. The benchmark EGX30 index is down 15.8 per cent this year.

Ten months ago, investors were gleeful about the performance of Egyptian equities, which had rebounded after the 2011 revolution on optimism generated by the country’s first-ever democratic election."

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Iraq to get $6 trillion from energy in new strategy - Your Middle East

"Iraq unveiled an ambitious energy strategy on Wednesday that aims to raise $6 trillion (4.5 trillion euros) from oil and gas sales by 2030 and massively increase local power generation, a major domestic need.

The Integrated National Energy Strategy would see Iraq invest some $620 billion in the sector over nearly 20 years in a bid to substantially increase living standards and employment levels in a country badly hit by decades of conflict and sanctions.

"The strategic goals of the plan are to meet local energy needs, maximise government revenues, encourage economic diversification and improve the standard of living and create jobs," said Thamir Ghadhban, a former oil minister and the head of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's advisory committee."

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Kuchma not sure economic agreements signed with Customs Union will be implemented

"Former Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma (1994-2005) has said he doubts that the economic component of agreements with the Customs Union countries will be implemented.

"Where is the confidence of the Ukrainian side that the Customs Union will not be in the same situation?" he told journalists in Kyiv on Wednesday, noting that economic agreements were earlier signed with a number of countries, which are now part of the Customs Union, in particular, with Russia and Kazakhstan, which subsequently did not work.

Kuchma also said that economic relations between Ukraine and Russia are currently over-politicized."

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Frontier Stocks Beat World on Dubai, Vietnam Growth - Bloomberg

"The world’s least-developed markets are proving the most resilient to the three-week selloff that has erased $1.9 trillion of global equity value.
While the MSCI All-Country World Index of shares in advanced and emerging nations has lost 3.2 percent since May 22 amid speculation the Federal Reserve will pare monetary stimulus, the MSCI Frontier Markets Index returned 0.7 percent including dividends. Thirteen of the 15 top-performing stock gauges are in frontier countries, where the mean market value of $49 billion compares with almost $19.5 trillion in the U.S."

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Qatar, U.A.E. Shares Jump as MSCI Upgrade Stokes Inflow - Bloomberg

"Qatari and United Arab Emirates shares rallied after MSCI Inc. (MSCI) upgraded both countries to emerging-market status, stoking bets foreign investors will channel more money into equities in the oil-exporting region.
Qatar’s benchmark QE Index advanced to the highest level in almost five years, while shares in Abu Dhabi, one of seven emirates that make up the U.A.E. along with Dubai, jumped the most in the world today. Following five years of review, MSCI, whose equity indexes are tracked by investors with about $7 trillion in assets, will promote the two countries from frontier-market status as of May 2014.
“It has been a long journey, but we’ve finally arrived,” said Georges Elhedery, head of global markets for the Middle East and North Africa at HSBC Holdings Plc. “Today’s decision firmly establishes the region on the emerging-markets growth map in the minds of global institutional investors.”"

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[video] Submerging markets | beyondbrics

"Emerging markets, even the new Asia tigers, have tumbled on expectations of higher US interest rates. James Mackintosh, investment editor, analyses the implications of hot money outflows for currencies and equities.
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Higher economic court postpones hearing of Swissport's counterclaim in dispute with UIA

"The Higher Economic Court on June 11, 2013 postponed the hearing of a counterclaim by Swissport International Ltd. against a ruling under which the company on April 27, 2013 lost the right of ownership of Swissport Ukraine LLC, as UIA bought the company under a court ruling, a well-informed source has told Interfax-Ukraine."

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BP Cuts Estimate of Russian Reserves | Business | The Moscow Times

"Oil major BP steeply cut its estimates of global gas reserves on Wednesday, revising Russian reserves down sharply and putting Iran at the top of the world league table.

In its benchmark annual statistical review, BP put global proven gas reserves at 187.3 trillion cubic meters as of the end of last year, down from its estimate of 208.4 trillion a year ago.

The cut of 21 trillion equals roughly seven years of global gas consumption."

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Shale: who’s got the power? | beyondbrics

"The world’s energy landscape has been split for decades between the haves – Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, Russia – and the have nots. Emerging markets had the oil and gas, by and large, and developed nations bought it off them.

So how does the new shale energy landscape shape up? The US may have decreased its reliance on oil from the Middle East thanks to shale but what of the rest of the world? Numbers out this week from the US Energy Information Administration shows that although developed countries may be dreaming of energy self-sufficiency, the reality is quite different.

The EIA’s new report on shale oil and gas covers 41 countries, up from 32 in its 2011 report. It has upped its worldwide estimate of technically recoverable resources of shale oil by over 10 times, from 32bn barrels to 345bn barrels, while its estimate of shale gas has increased by 10 per cent, from 6,622tn cubic feet to 7,299tn cu ft."

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Yanukovych says current oil and gas reserves will help Ukraine shed its energy dependence

"Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych has said that oil and gas reserves in Ukraine and an increase in their production are the foundation for Ukraine to shed its energy dependence.

"They are subject to commercial exploitation and, most importantly, they create the conditions for Ukraine's gradual withdrawal from [energy] dependence, and [promote] the diversification of supply sources," the presidential press service quoted him as saying at the beginning of a meeting with President of Chevron Eurasia Europe & Middle East Exploration & Production Company for Chevron Corp James Johnson on Wednesday.

Yanukovych said that in recent years Ukraine had made significant efforts to develop the oil and gas industry, increase domestic oil and gas production and develop cooperation with leading international companies."

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Will Lebanon’s banks cope with the crisis? - Your Middle East

"The banking sector is now the last peg holding up the tripod that is the Lebanese economy, ever since tourism and agriculture were essentially kicked out by the crisis next door. But the country’s big players in finance are also under increasing pressure.
While policymakers, both domestic and international, attempt to recalibrate this issue, Lebanon’s bankers have once again heard the calling: with great power, comes great responsibility. Valued at approximately $155 billion, this industry is currently the equivalent of over 387% of the nation’s GDP.

The sheer size of the Lebanese financial markets in relation to other sectors, combined with the increasingly bumpy sociopolitical rollercoaster surrounding the economy, was sure to attract additional regulator scrutiny at some point in the near future."

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Reviewing 22 years of modernization in Russian economy | Russia Beyond The Headlines

"In 2009, the Russian economy fell by almost 8 percent, alarming many citizens who feared a repeat of the crash in 1998, when whole branches of industry came to a standstill, the most systemically important banks went bust and candy wrappers almost became currency.
Drawing lessons from the 1990s
However, it turned out that Russia had learned the hard lessons of the late 1990s, grasping the importance of living within one's means. For 13 years, the government did not allow a budget deficit, and only last year, during the election period, did federal expenditure exceed revenues by 0.1 percent of GDP."

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Developed market status next goal for UAE: ADX chief - The National

"The head of the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange said he was thrilled with the upgrade of the UAE to emerging markets but that should not deter the stock market and the financial community from having bigger ambitions.

"We will not stop. Our ambitions are bigger. We will continue our development and look at best practices and standards globally," said Rashed Al Baloushi, the chief executive of the Abu Dhabi bourse.

"In a short while we are going to put a timeline with a strategy and objectives to tackle them one by one to attain 'developed markets' status by all the benchmarks- MSCI, Russell's, and Standard & Poor's.""

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Qatar LNG shipper Nakilat signs $917 mln refinancing deal | Reuters

"Qatar Gas Transport Co (Nakilat), one of the world's largest shippers of liquefied natural gas (LNG), signed a $917 million loan refinancing deal with Qatar National Bank, Nakilat said in a statement on Tuesday.

No details of the loan were given in the bourse statement, although it stated that Nakilat had a financing programme to fund the construction of a fleet of 25 LNG vessels.

Law firms Latham & Watkins and Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom advised Nakilat and QNB on the financing respectively, the statement added."

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Times of Oman | News :: Kuwait firms reduce debt

"Kuwaiti investment companies, whose interests include equities and real estate, cut their debt to the lowest since before the nation's credit crisis in 2008, aided by the biggest stock-market rally in eight years.

Debt to local banks of Kuwait's more than 90 investment companies such as Noor Financial Investment fell 20 per cent in the year to February to 1.82 billion dinars ($6.4 billion), the lowest since March 2007, according to central bank data. Corporate yields are also sliding, with the average yield on Kuwaiti securities declining in 2013 as those on United Arab Emirates securities gained, JPMorgan Chase data show.

The companies are being helped by a 34 per cent jump in Kuwait's $110 billion stock market this year, the world's sixth biggest gainer and second only to UAE in thhe GCC."

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Kuwait-linked group walks away from Severn Trent - Banking & Finance - ArabianBusiness.com

"The Kuwait-linked consortium wooing Severn Trent has walked away empty handed after the British water company refused to engage in talks before a bid deadline expired.
The LongRiver consortium, which had three approaches spurned by Severn Trent, said it would not table a new offer unless talks with the utility's board were forthcoming.
"We told them what we needed, they didn't do anything, that's their prerogative," a source familiar with the consortium's thinking told Reuters. "Never at any stage did they say 'If you bid X or Y that would be acceptable'.""

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S&P maintains Kuwait rating

"Standard and Poor’s (S&P) said Kuwait maintained its AA credit rating with projections the Gulf state would keep this rating in future.

S&P, in its 2012 report on Kuwait released Monday, said the country has maintained the AA rating since July 2011.

The report justified the credit rating, political and economic analyses of Kuwait, as well as analyzing foreign circumstances, financial and monetary policies."

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Qatar, U.A.E. Shares Jump as MSCI Upgrade Stokes Inflow Bets - Bloomberg

"Qatari and United Arab Emirates shares rallied after MSCI Inc. (MSCI) upgraded both countries to emerging-market status, stoking bets foreign investors will channel more money into equities in the oil-exporting region.
Qatar’s benchmark QE Index advanced to the highest level in almost five years, while shares in Abu Dhabi, one of seven emirates that make up the U.A.E. along with Dubai, jumped the most in the world today. Following five years of review, MSCI, whose equity indexes are tracked by investors with about $7 trillion in assets, will promote the two countries from frontier-market status as of May 2014.
“It has been a long journey, but we’ve finally arrived,” said Georges Elhedery, head of global markets for the Middle East and North Africa at HSBC Holdings Plc. “Today’s decision firmly establishes the region on the emerging-markets growth map in the minds of global institutional investors.”"

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Bahrain's Arcapita gets nod to repay creditors - Banking & Finance - ArabianBusiness.com

"Bahrain investment firm Arcapita Bank received approval from a US Bankruptcy Court on Tuesday for its plan to repay creditors, thought to be the first that is compliant with sharia, Islamic law.
"I'm happy to confirm the plan," said Judge Sean Lane of the US Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan. "This has been a fascinating case for me."
Under the plan of reorganisation, Arcapita will repay its only secured creditor, Standard Chartered Plc, in full. Arcapita will transfer its assets to a new holding company which will dispose of its investments over time, in an attempt to avoid a firesale liquidation."

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First Cab Off the Rank for Aussie Shale Oil and Gas

"Your editor continues to gently pound the table in favour of an Australian energy revolution. Technological advances have made enhanced oil and gas extraction possible all over the world. In practical terms, it means countries that don’t have a lot of high-quality easy-to-produce hydrocarbons can still become more energy self-sufficient, if they’re willing to embrace the technology.

But some people fear oil and gas as much as they fear change and technology, or spiders and heights. Whether Australia gets lower energy prices in the next twenty years is now a political issue. Geologically speaking, there’s no doubt the oil and gas is there. Australia may have ten times as much recoverable gas as previously thought, according to a new study from the US Department of Energy."

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Guest post: Turkey’s social and cultural divides will persist long after Taksim | beyondbrics

"Three sets of processes, each in the making for some time, have converged to result in the violence of the last few days in Istanbul and other major Turkish cities. The volatile consequencesof these processes have perhaps posed the most serious challenge to the once-unchallenged tenure in office of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The first development, by far the most profoundly unsettling for large swathes of Turkish society, has been a culture war of sorts being waged between the country’s rabid secularists on the one side and an expansive and increasingly confident religious segment on the other."

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Welcome Greece, Qatar and the UAE to the EM club | beyondbrics

"It’s been a long time coming. After putting Greece on review for a possible demotion to emerging markets status last year, MSCI went ahead and made it official on Tuesday.

In its annual review of country classification, MSCI removed Greece from its developed markets index and reclassified it as an emerging market. The Athens Stock Exchange has shed nearly 83 per cent of its value since 2008.

It was not the only country that suffered the indignity of a demotion. Morocco was relegated from an EM to a frontier market."

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