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Sunday, 7 July 2013

Oman LNG revenue soars to $4.3 billion | Oman Observer

"Revenues generated by Oman LNG on exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) climbed to a record $4.342 billion last year, buoyed by higher average energy prices and effective cost management, the Sultanate’s flagship LNG producer said in its Annual Report.
The figure represents a 9.56 per cent jump over the previous year’s earnings, underscoring the important role of LNG exports as a key revenue earner for the country against a backdrop of buoyant international energy prices. Net income after tax (NIAT) also grew by a healthy 9.42 per cent to reach a value of $1.950 billion for the year."

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#Egypt seeks Gulf cash as coalition cracks and opponents rally -

"Egypt’s central bank governor flew to Abu Dhabi on Sunday to drum up badly needed financial support as cracks appeared within the political coalition that backed last week’s military overthrow of the country’s first elected leader.
The Gulf trip by Hisham Ramez to solicit funds from the oil-rich United Arab Emirates came as the central bank issued an unusual public appeal for Egyptians to deposit donations to a newly opened “Support Egypt” account.
There were also signs that weeks of political unrest had done further damage to the country’s already beleaguered economy and that the instability was far from over."

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Ukraine State Oil Company In Talks to Extend Loan | Business | The Moscow Times

"Ukrainian state oil and gas company Naftogaz is in talks to extend the repayment terms of a $2 billion loan from Gazprombank, which came due last month, the government said on Thursday.

The financially troubled Ukrainian company imports Russian gas and then sells it to domestic householders for much less under a system of state subsidies.

Naftogaz pays about $1 billion a month for gas from Russian gas export monopoly Gazprom, the main shareholder of Gazprombank. At the same time, it receives money from Gazprom for shipping its gas to Europe."

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Egypt's central bank governor flies to Abu Dhabi | Reuters

"The governor of Egypt's central bank, Hisham Ramez, flew to Abu Dhabi on Sunday, officials at Cairo airport said, following Egyptian media reports Cairo was seeking financial aid from Gulf states after the ousting of Islamist president Mohamed Mursi.

Egypt's budget and balance of payments and have reached a state of crisis in the two and a half years of political and economic turmoil since veteran leader Hosni Mubarak, was toppled in a popular uprising in 2011.

Neither the governor, nor another senior central bank official were immediately available for comment."

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Storied QE2 ocean liner set to depart Dubai in October to become Asian hotel - The Washington Post

"An official involved in the transformation of the storied passenger liner Queen Elizabeth 2 into a floating hotel says the ship will set sail in October for Asia to begin the $90 million overhaul.

But full details remain under wraps. The Singapore-based group leading the project says only the QE2 will be refitted in a Chinese shipyard before being moored in an undisclosed Asian port as a 400-room hotel."

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Barry Lando - Major Blow Vs Radical Islam-Mainstream Media Missed. #Qatar #MuslimBrotherhood

Barry Lando: "If true--what may be a far more devastating—and under reported--blow against radical Islam than the killing of Osama Bin Laden, was delivered by the new the Emir of Qatar. Its significance has been picked up by a few bloggers, like Joshuapundit, but, as far as major media is concerned, so far no one seems to be paying attention.

According to Al Nahar a Lebanese station, on the evening of July 2nd, Tamim bin Hamad bin Khalifa, who has just recently taken over the throne from his father, ordered Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi to leave the country, withdrew his Qatari nationality, and, at the same time, closed all the offices of the Muslim Brotherhood.

For years Qaradawi has been one of the most strident and widely listened to voices of radical Islam and the Muslim Brotherhood."

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MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi shares up to fresh 15-mth high on Q2 optimism; Egypt down | Reuters

"Saudi Arabia's bourse rose to a fresh 15-month high on Sunday as investors bought on second-quarter earnings optimism and most other Gulf markets also rose, while Egyptian shares slipped off a one-month high.

The Saudi benchmark rose 0.6 percent to its highest level since April 2012 but trading volumes were thin in typical summer doldrums.

Most petrochemical shares gained, lifting the sector's benchmark up 0.7 percent."

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Iran to Exempt Foreign Investors From Taxes, Tehran Times Says - Bloomberg

"Iran will try to lure foreign investors with tax exemptions ranging as high as 100 percent, Iranian Deputy Economy Minister Behrouz Alishiri said.
Foreigners investing in the country’s agriculture sector won’t have to pay any taxes, and investments in industry and mining will be exempt up to 80 percent, Alishiri said yesterday, according to Tehran-based newspaper Tehran Times. He didn’t forecast how much investment the exemptions would spur.
While international sanctions have restricted foreign investment, Interior Minister Mostafa Mohammad-Najjar said in March that Iran attracted $7 billion from abroad in the Iranian year ended March 20, compared with $5 billion the preceding year. He didn’t identify the donors or their projects, and the newspaper did not say what sort of tax breaks foreign investors currently enjoy."

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Table-Qatar Q2 earnings estimates | Reuters

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Saudi Arabia still important to future oil market supplies -

"Until recently any discussion about new oil supplies began with Saudi Arabia. That is no longer the case.
In 2007 Ali Naimi, oil minister of the world’s largest oil exporter, said Saudi Arabia had identified projects to increase oil production capacity to 15m barrels a day. But in Washington this April Mr Naimi said production capacity would not increase beyond the current 12.5m b/d in the next 30 years.
The reversal stems in part from a dramatic moderation in oil demand growth since the financial crisis. But it also reflects an unexpected surge in supply from beyond its borders, particularly from the shale revolution in the US."

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S&P bashes UAE Takaful sector | Al Bawaba

"Despite rising contributions (premiums), which Standard & Poor's Rratings Services (S&P) estimates grew at over 15 per cent in 2012, the UAE Takaful sector is not performing effectively for either the fund members, through generation of reliable fund surpluses for distribution, or shareholders, through generation of profits, says S&P.

“We see that overall, Takaful fund deficits are increasing, at least in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Kuwait, thereby eroding capital strength and ultimately weakening the sector's financial strength,” said S&P in a statement. “The continuing weak performance of the Takaful insurance sector, particularly in UAE and Kuwait, cast a shadow over proceedings at the World Takaful Conference held in Dubai earlier this year."

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International arbitration clause trumps local court proceedings -

"A recent UK Supreme Court decision, Kamenogorsk Hydropower Plant JSC (Appellant) v AES Ust-Kamenogorsk Hydropower Plant LLP (Respondent) [2013] UKSC 35, may offer further protection for international arbitration.

The decision supports the proposition that parties should be bound by their agreement to submit disputes to arbitration and may prevent parties pursuing claims through local courts.

The UK Supreme Court decision may offer parties a way to:

avoid local court proceedings where there is an arbitration agreement; and
resist enforcement of local court orders against assets held in the UK.
A party may be able to obtain an order for an “anti-suit injunction” from a UK court to stop the other party from continuing with local court proceedings - even if an arbitration has not started."

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Moody's Downgrades Big State Banks | Business | The Moscow Times

"Moody's Investors Service on Friday downgraded the long-term senior debt and deposit ratings of several major Russian banks following a reassessment of the government's capacity to provide monetary support to these lenders in case of need.

The outlook on these ratings remains stable, the international ratings agency said in a statement.

The list of the affected banks includes Sberbank — from A3 to Baa1, VTB and VTB24 — from Baa1 to Baa2, and the Russian Agricultural Bank — from Baa1 to Baa3."

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Abu Dhabi Islamic arranges $360 mln facility for Gulf Marine | Reuters

"Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB) has closed a 1.32 billion dirhams ($360 million) syndicated Islamic facility for one of the largest operator's and owner of jack-up barges in the region, it said on Sunday.

The deal will help meet the financing needs of Abu Dhabi-based Gulf Marine Services (GMS) including refinancing and finance for the acquisition of two additional vessels, ADIB said in a statement.

In May, Reuters reported ADIB was arranging the facility and was close to signing the deal."

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Saudi Arabia writes off $5.3bn loans -

"The Saudi Arabian government has written off another $5.3bn in loans taken out by citizens, according to local media.
The Finance Ministry said on Saturday it had consumed loans worth SR1.84bn ($490m) that had been taken out with state-owned financial institutions by 20,792 Saudi nationals.
Finance Minister Ibrahim Al-Assaf said the ministry also would pay SR16bn ($4.3bn) in instalment payments to the Real Estate Development Fund and the state-owned Saudi Credit Bank after King Abdullah exempt nationals from making payments for two years."

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REFILE-TABLE-Saudi Arabia Q2 earnings estimates | Reuters

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LNG from Qatar: Govt going to import costly gas

"Pakistan is pressing ahead with importing LNG from Qatar on government-to-government basis despite Doha's offered volumes being lower and price higher than those in the LNG tender recently scrapped by the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC).
The ECC, sources said, has directed the Petroleum Ministry to negotiate import of 500 mmcfd LNG from Qatar, which official sources is within the realm of impossibility as Qatar is unable to offer more than 300 mmcfd LNG to Pakistan.
In March 2013, Qatar offered to provide 250mmcfd to Pakistan at $17.437/mmbtu. But this offer did not include the cost of infrastructure necessary to receive and relay LNG in Pakistan. With the infrastructure cost of at least $200 million factored in, Qatar LNG works out at $19.521/mmbtu."

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Mena IPO value rises 52% to US$2.1 billion in first half 2013 -

"MENA IPO value dropped in Q2 2013 with nine deals raising US$482.6m compared with US$1.6b raised in Q1 2013, according to Ernst & Young’s MENA Q2 2013 IPO update.

Q1 2013 experienced the highest amount of capital raised through IPOs in MENA in one quarter since 2008, bringing the total capital raised in IPO markets in MENA to US$2.1b in the first six months of this year. This is 52% higher when compared with the US$1.4b raised in the first half of 2012. Additionally, the Q2 2013 IPO capital raised was lower by 63% from US$1.3b raised in Q2 2012."

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Agility to bid for Kuwait Health Assurance stake | Reuters

"Kuwaiti logistics firm Agility plans to bid for the 26 percent stake in Kuwait Health Assurance Co being auctioned by the country's sovereign wealth fund, Agility said in a statement to Dubai bourse on Sunday.

The firm joins Kuwait Projects Co, which said on Thursday it would bid for the holding, which is being sold by Kuwait Investment Authority"

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Gulf Daily News » Business News » Bahrain's real estate sector 'is recovering'

"The initial 32 sea-facing villas on the man-made island off the coast of Muharraq, the first to be made available for sale, sold out in only three days marking a dramatic show of investor confidence both in the kingdom's economy and in the project developer.

The Seavilla project, the first residential offering at Dilmunia at Bahrain, a mixed-use development built on an island off the coast of Muharraq, consists of villas, each with its own sea frontage. The project, which is being built on a total area of approximately 20,000 square metres with a 500 metre shoreline, will take 18 months to be completed.

"Seavilla was announced on June 11 and all available units were sold out by June 15," said Ithmaar Development Company (IDC) chief executive Mohammed Khalil Al Sayed."

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Non-oil projects to lift Qatar growth: Meed

"Qatar’s oil economy is expected to grow by just 0.4% this year before shrinking by 1.1% in 2014 as the country’s LNG expansion programme has come to a halt, Meed said in its Middle East Economic Review 2013.

The main driver of Qatar’s economic growth in the coming years will be the non-hydrocarbons sector. Quoting the International Monetary Fund, Meed  said the country’s non-oil GDP growth would be 9% this year and 9.5% in 2014.

The construction sector will account for most of Qatar’s non-oil growth, the report said. The country has an “immense pipeline” of infrastructure projects estimated to be worth $183bn that it has committed to deliver ahead of the FIFA World Cup, which the country will stage in 2022."

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Expats rush to send more cash home from UAE as value of dirham soars - The National

"Business at currency exchanges surged by as much as 25 per cent after the dollar hit a three-year high, boosting the value of dirhams sent home by expatriates.

The amount of cash sent back has also risen with some expatriates even taking out loans of up to 10 times their salary in the UAE to take advantage of the greenback's strength and the weakness of Asian currencies.

Most are sending money back to India and the Philippines, while remittances to Syria and Egypt have also spiked in recent days, say local exchanges. The strong dollar has also meant that dirhams earned by British, Canadian and euro-zone expats now go further."

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Saudi Gazette - France to turn Tunisia debt into development

"France’s president proposed Friday taking at least some of Tunisia’s 1 billion euros ($1.3 billion) in debt to his country and using it for development projects.

President Francois Hollande also said France will supply Tunisia with “material” to fight terrorism, but did not elaborate.

Tunisia, the birthplace of the Arab Spring pro-democracy movement, has been hard hit economically since the revolution and has been forced to borrow from the International Monetary Fund. At the same time, security forces have been trying for several months to root out armed insurgents in a mountain area near the Algerian border. Tunisia is also vulnerable on its border with Libya, where weapons are smuggled into the country."

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BBC News - Will Qatar change under new leader? - Click thru for video

 "7 July 2013 Last updated at 00:52 GMT
Gulf leaders have traditionally held on to power until their deaths, so Sheikh Hamad's decision to give control of the world's richest country, Qatar, to his son surprised many.

So what does this mean for Qatar's economic direction? And what message does such a seemingly orderly succession send to outside investors?

Speaking to the BBC, Shadi Hamid, Director of Research, Brookings Doha Centre, suggested that the Qatar's strong economic position would not be threatened by the transition."

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