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Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Halwani Gains on Bets Ramadan Feasts to Spur Sales: Riyadh Mover - Bloomberg

"Halwani Brothers Co. (HB) climbed the most in more than two weeks on bets the Saudi Arabian food producer’s sales will increase next month during Ramadan, when Muslims fast in the daytime and hold feasts in the evening.
The Jeddah-based company’s shares climbed 4.9 percent, the biggest advance since June 9, to 59.5 riyals at the close in Riyadh. The stock was the second-biggest gainer in percentage terms on the benchmark Tadawul All Share Index, which rose 0.2 percent. Volume in the stock increased to 2.1 times the three-month daily average.
Retailers in the kingdom, which is home to Islam’s two holiest sites, tend to post greater sales during Ramadan, which is set to start around July 9. The country of about 28 million people also hosts more than 10 million Muslim pilgrims throughout the year, many of whom journey to Mecca during Ramadan to perform the umrah pilgrimage. The Tadawul All Share Agriculture & Food Industries Index has jumped 19 percent this year, outpacing the main index’s 11 percent advance."

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Guest post: Russia as the world’s new bread basket | beyondbrics

"The world’s agricultural industry needs a radical shake up. Falling food production and rising demand means it is vital that the sector improves production efficiency and increases the amount of land under cultivation.

But the world’s largest producers have little, if any, land to open up and are already operating close to maximum efficiency. With 40m hectares of uncultivated tillable land, Russia has the potential to become the world’s number one cereal producer and provide the global bridge between food supply and demand.

Recent years have seen prices for staple foods soar. Hikes in grain, maize and rice in early 2008 led to social unrest and riots across Africa, South America and Asia. Although prices fell again during the global recession later that year, they have climbed steadily throughout 2009, 2010 and 2011."

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Nearly one million Ukrainians work illegally in Russia - ForUm

"Over three million people came from Ukraine to Russia in 2012 to work, to visit relatives or to study, chief of the Russian Federal Migration Service Konstantin Romodanovsky stated at an international conference dedicated to the Russian-Ukrainian relations on Tuesday.

"In particular, we registered over 10 million entries of Ukrainian citizens to Russia last year. This is a fifth of all foreigners who come to Russia," Romodanovsky said.

The annual number of those entering Russia from Ukraine is growing steadily and this tendency can be observed over the past years, Romodanovsky said, Interfax-Ukraine reported."

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MIDEAST STOCKS-Some mkts claw back early-week losses; trading thin | Reuters

"Some Middle East bourses rose on Tuesday, clawing back part of their early-week losses as bargain hunters bought back bluechip stocks, although trading volumes were thin as a summer lull deepened.

Saudi Arabia's benchmark rose 0.2 percent, extending 2013 gains to 10.5 percent.

Al Rajhi Bank added 0.4 percent and property developer Dar Al Arkan rose 1.9 percent."

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Emirates NBD Hires Standard Chartered’s Shayne Nelson as CEO - Bloomberg

"Emirates NBD PJSC, (EMIRATES) Dubai’s biggest bank, hired Shayne Nelson from Standard Chartered Plc (STAN) as chief executive officer, replacing Rick Pudner.
Nelson was the CEO of Standard Chartered Private Bank with additional responsibilities for the small- and medium-sized enterprise banking, Emirates NBD said in a statement to Nasdaq Dubai today. He was also the chairman of Standard Chartered Saadiq Islamic Banking and a director of the Standard Chartered Board for China.
Nelson’s appointment comes after state-controlled National Bank of Abu Dhabi PJSC (NBAD), the United Arab Emirates’ biggest lender by assets, in April hired Alex Thursby from Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. (ANZ) as CEO. Thursby will next month succeed Michael Tomalin, who retires after 14 years in the job."

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Hungary cuts again in spite of sell-off | beyondbrics

"The National Bank of Hungary (MNB) cut its benchmark interest rate by 25 basis points to 4.25 per cent on Tuesday. The move, the 11th consecutive monthly reduction by the monetary policy council, was largely expected by the markets, despite the recent sell-off in emerging market assets.

“Hungary’s central bank has become renowned for never missing an opportunity to trim interest rates to support the economy. Today’s rate cut shows that it still saw one, despite the extreme market volatility stemming from the Fed’s plans to scale back its programme of quantitative easing,” London-based consultant Nicholas Spiro told beyondbrics.

According to Spiro, the monetary policy council is “clearly taking the view that markets overreacted to the Fed’s plans to withdraw stimulus,” and expects, or hopes, that volatility will eventually subside. But Hungary is treading a narrow, and ever more risky line."

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LUKoil Sees Production Decline Looming | Business | The Moscow Times

"Without the large-scale application of new technologies, oil production in Russia will begin to decline in 2016-17, according to a report by LUKoil on the main trends in the development of global markets for oil and gas in the period until 2025.

A characteristic of a majority of Russian deposits is the natural drop in production with the depletion of reserves. A large amount of extraction is being done in Western Siberia. "To overcome the natural drop in extraction it is necessary to launch three to four deposits annually that are comparable to the Vankor deposit," the LUKoil report said, Interfax reported.

Only at the end of last year were licenses distributed for the development of major fields — Lodochnoye in Krasnoyarsk Territory, and Shpilman and Imilor in Khanty-Mansiysk Autonomous District. "Consequently, the opportunity to launch new major deposits in the mid-term perspective will be limited," LUKoil said."

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Ukraine to cancel limitations on imports of goods when situation with balance of payments improves, says premier

"Ukraine will cancel protectionist measures on imports of goods when the situation with the balance of payments improves, Ukrainian Premier Mykola Azarov has said.

"The limitations are of a temporary character. When the situation with the balance of payments improves, we'll cancel [them]," he said at a meeting with representative of business in Luxemburg on Tuesday.

Azarov said that the limiting measures introduced in the country have affected a very restricted number of imported products, and they have already positively influenced the country's balance of payments."

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Bahrain still hopeful about new bond issue - IFR | Reuters

"Despite volatile market conditions and the threat of a two-notch downgrade by ratings firm Moody's, the Kingdom of Bahrain (BBB/BBB) is continuing to monitor markets for a possible Eurobond issuance.

The Gulf nation completed roadshows last week ahead of a possible transaction via BNP Paribas, Citigroup, Gulf International Bank and JP Morgan.

However, the roadshows coincided with a brutal day for emerging secondary markets, as traders reacted to comments from the U.S. Federal Reserve on Wednesday night."

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Ukraine wants to meet conditions for signing association agreement with EU, says Azarov

"Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov has said that meeting the conditions for signing the Association Agreement with the European Union is in Ukraine's own interests.

"We undertake these commitments with the purpose of fulfilling them, and this fulfillment is in our own interests," he said at a press conference in Luxembourg on Monday after a meeting of the Ukraine-EU Cooperation Council.

"I would not have put my name to any single point that was inconsistent with our national interests," Azarov added."

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POLITICS - EU agrees to open new chapter with Turkey, talks to start in October

"The European Union has agreed to open a new chapter with Turkey but postponed negotiations until after the presentation of the Commission’s Annual Progress Report and a discussion of the General Affairs Council (GAC) in October.

The proposal was submitted by Germany, which suggested postponing the new round of EU membership talks with Turkey by about four months to signal the bloc’s displeasure at the crackdown on anti-government protests.

During the GAC the bloc will confirm the common position of the council on the opening of Chapter 22 and determine the date for the Accession Conference."

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Kuwait’s United Real Estate raises KD 60 million via bond

"Kuwait’s United Real Estate Co said on Monday it had raised KD 60 million ($211.9 million) in a bond sale which it would mainly use to refinance existing paper. The sale of the five-year bonds, which were issued in fixed and floating rate tranches, was oversubscribed by almost 50 percent, the company said in a statement. One tranche will pay a fixed annual rate of 5.75 percent while the other will pay 3.25 percent over the central bank’s discount rate, it said. The bonds will mature in June 2018.

The proceeds will be used to refinance a KD 40 million bond which matured this month and for general corporate purposes, United said. The joint lead managers were Kuwait’s Gulf Bank, Burgan Bank and KAMCO, a unit of Kuwait Projects Co (KIPCO). Corporate dinar-denominated issuance has dominated bond activity in Kuwait since the end of last year, and analysts see scope for the market to expand. In December Burgan Bank issued a 100 million dinar bond, the largest-ever local currency issue by a company in the Gulf Arab state."

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Rosneft Mulls Bashneft Acquisition | Business | The Moscow Times

"Rosneft is interested in consolidating its position in the Russian oil market by buying Bashneft, sources close to the oil producer's main shareholder AFK Sistema told Vedomosti.

One source said Rosneft had already performed an assessment of Bashneft with a view to buying, while another source said the state oil company had not contacted Sistema about the purchase, the newspaper reported Tuesday.

Rumors about Rosneft's interest in buying Bashneft were confirmed by a high-ranking source in the Economic Development Ministry, but he said the issue had not been discussed at the board level, nor had the company applied for bank loans to carry out the purchase."

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Abu Dhabi to Invest $1.5 Billion in UK’s Alternative Energy Sector

"The British government’s Department of Energy & Climate Change has announced that a deal will be signed on Wednesday that will see Abu Dhabi invest $1.5 billion into the UK’s alternative energy sector.

The deal, which will see around $1.5 billion invested over the next seven years, will be between the UK Green Investment Bank (GIB), a recently established institution that helps to attract foreign capital to the country’s green energy sector, and Masdar, the state owned renewable energy company."

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Ukrainian Tycoon Buys Magazine That Investigated Him - Bloomberg

"If you don’t like what the press is writing about you, buy the press. Judging from recent events, this is the approach of a Ukrainian businessman who has been the subject of investigative reporting by the Kiev edition of Forbes magazine.
The businessman in question, 27-year-old “multimillionaire from nowhere” Sergei Kurchenko, has just acquired the Forbes licensee, UMH Group. Until recently, UMH was the only large media holding in Ukraine whose owners had no potentially conflicting interests outside the media market. (Disclosure: I was editor of a UMH-owned publication,, throughout 2012.)
Observers in Kiev believe the deal has political implications in the run-up to the 2015 presidential election. In any case, it offers a study in the way media are faring under the post-Soviet authoritarian regimes. Direct suppression is not necessary when a simple change of ownership that looks like an ordinary business deal can be arranged."

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Fule: Window of opportunity for signing association agreement is limited, Brussels has no plan B

"European Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighborhood Policy Stefan Fule has said that there is no alternative to the signing of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement at Vilnius summit, adding that the window of opportunity for this is limited.

In this regard, he called on the Ukrainian authorities to take decisive actions.

The European commissioner said this at the end of the meeting of the EU-Ukraine Cooperation Council, which took place in Luxembourg on Monday."

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Meet Qatar’s Young New Ruler: Sheikh Tamim Becomes Emir Of Powerful, Oil-Rich Gulf State

"The emir of Qatar has formally announced a handoff of power to his son, marking an unusual transfer of power in the Persian Gulf region.
Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani has bestowed his old position upon the former Crown Prince Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani. The choice comes as no surprise; the al-Thani family has ruled Qatar since the 1800s, and Sheikh Tamim was the expected successor. What is unusual is the timing; in Qatar and across the Gulf, dynastic rulers often retain their posts until death.
At 61, Sheikh Hamad was already the youngest ruler of any Gulf state. His son becomes emir at the age of 33 -- about half the age of the rulers of neighboring countries."

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Qatar emir hands power to son, no word on prime minister | Reuters

Qatar's Crown Prince Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani (C) arrives at Al-Sadd Stadium for 
the final Crown Prince Cup soccer match between Qatari teams Al-Sadd and Lekhwaiya in 
        Doha May 4, 2013. Credit: Reuters/Fadi Al-Assaad
"Qatar's emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani handed power on Tuesday to his son, Crown Prince Sheikh Tamim, taking the rare step for a Gulf Arab ruler of voluntarily ceding power to try to ensure a smooth succession.

But the 61-year-old emir made no immediate mention of the public face of Qatar's assertive foreign policy, prime minister and foreign minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim, a veteran politician who had been expected also to step down.

In a seven-minute speech aired on state television, the emir said it was time for a new generation to take over following his 18 years at the helm of the small, rich state."

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UAE signals consistent economic growth |

"The UAE should be pleased with the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) prediction that it will achieve 3.6 per cent growth in its gross domestic product (GDP) this year, which is set to increase marginally to 3.8 per cent by 2015. At a time of global recession, when many of the traditional economic powerhouses are suffering from near-zero or negative growth, it is a matter of celebration that the UAE is achieving consistent economic growth. A few years ago, growth rates between 3 to 4 per cent would have seemed average, but today they are an important signal to the outside world that the UAE’s over-publicised problems are over. In addition, the quality of economic activity shows that the country is focusing on the long term."

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Dubai bond and sukuk yields soar - The National

"Dubai bond and sukuk yields spiked yesterday in the worst day of trading for the emirate's government debt in more than 18 months, with some brokers triggering margin calls for highly leveraged investors.

The yield on the Dubai Government's 10-year sukuk, launched in January with a profit rate of 3.875 per cent, soared 22.5 basis points to 4.972 per cent. Bond yields move in the opposite direction from price.

At the time it was sold, the Government was able to borrow for 10-year capital at a cheaper rate than Italy - which is now trading with a yield of 4.73 per cent."

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