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Monday, 8 July 2013

Qatar asks Pakistan to build LNG terminals

"Qatar has assured Pakistan of making LNG available to it at favourable volumes and price provided that Islamabad first builds LNG terminals to receive the import on its own, a senior Pakistani government official told the media yesterday.

Shahbaz Sharif, who is the younger brother of Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and the chief minister of the Punjab province, arrived in Doha early yesterday from China on a one-day visit firstly to convey Pakistan’s congratulations on the smooth transition of power in Qatar; and secondly to move the stalled LNG import talks forward on an urgent basis.

Sharif was accompanied by two senior officials, Federal Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Federal Minister for Water and Power Khawaja Asif."

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Deal to help UAE sell arms in Europe - The National

"The British defence ministry is drafting a deal to help UAE military technology companies sell goods to the European Union.

Phillipa Harvey, of the ministry's UAE Strategic Partnership, said the Government had asked for its military products to be marketed in the UK as part of a possible Eurofighter Typhoon deal.

Ms Harvey said the partnership, announced by British prime minister David Cameron last year during a visit, would help UAE defence contractors to navigate EU law and comply with the Nato standard requirements."

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State Shipping Giant Goes for New York IPO | Business | The Moscow Times

"State-owned shipping giant Sovcomflot has chosen the New York Stock Exchange for its upcoming sale of 25 percent of the company's stock, Vedomosti reported.

The decision was agreed by the company's management and the IPO organizer, Deutsche Bank, and has been approved by First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov and the Federal Property Management Agency, a source close to the Sovcomflot's management said.

"Most shipping companies' stocks are traded in New York [Stock Exchange], where the demand for such securities is the highest," the source said."

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80% cash buyers a major strength for the new Dubai real estate boom « ArabianMoney

"Booming Dubai real estate sales and among the highest price rises in the world this year have largely been down to an inflow of cash buyers into the market.

Total bank finance for all property in the UAE of just $42 billion has actually been falling with total outstanding mortgages in decline, the UAE Central Bank reported this week.

Buyers are coming from a very wide sweep of nations. Sure there are the rich exiles from Egypt, Syria and Libya. But more important in the local market are Russians, Iranians, Indians and Pakistanis, with the British rather less so these days."

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BBC News - France's Total acquitted in Iraq oil-for-food scandal

"A French court has cleared oil company Total, its chief executive and over a dozen other defendants of corruption charges related to the UN's oil-for-food programme in Iraq.

The company had been accused of bribing Iraqi officials to secure oil supplies while Saddam Hussein was in power.

The UN programme permitted Iraq to sell limited quantities of oil in return for humanitarian supplies."

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Auto makers hope Russian government will step in as sales slide | beyondbrics

International auto makers looking to Russia to offset sluggish sales in Europe had better think again. Sales of new passenger cars and light commercial vehicles dropped by a precipitous 11 per cent year on year in June and are down an overall 6 per cent for the first half of 2013.

“It’s obvious that, as a whole, the Russian car market is not in the best of shape at this point,” said Joerg Schrieber, chairman of the AEB’s Automobile Manufacturers Committee, in a statement. “The question is now whether the market can do better in the second half of the year.”

Some 241,346 new cars and light commercial vehicles were sold in Russia in June 2013, or 31,254 less than in the same month of 2013, the Association for European Businesses said on Monday."

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Egypt: mixed signals from the markets | beyondbrics

"Egypt’s turmoil has turned violent, with the 40-plus deaths of supporters of the deposed Islamic president. The Muslim Brotherhood has called for an uprising.

Markets are no more stable. On Friday, rating agency Fitch weighed in, downgrading the country’s foreign credit rating. The EGX30 share index has fallen 3.6 per cent on Monday. Yet at the same time, bond yields and the price of default insurance, which had previously surged, have come back down to levels prior to the ousting of Mohamed Morsi. The markets seem as confused as the people.

First, the Fitch downgrade. The agancy last assessed Egypt’s foreign currency ratings back in January, downgrading it to ‘B’. This time it has moved the country down another notch to ‘B-’. In its statement, Fitch said:"

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MIDEAST STOCKS-Egypt sinks 3.6 pct as political crisis deepens | Reuters

"Egyptian stocks fell sharply on Monday as the country's political crisis deepened, with violence on the streets blocking efforts to form a new government following the ouster of president Mohamed Mursi.

At least 51 people were killed when, according to Islamist demonstrators enraged by the military's overthrow of Mursi, the army opened fire during morning prayers at the Cairo barracks where he is being held. The military said it was repelling an attack by "a terrorist group".

The markets have become partly inured to such violence, and although Mursi's Muslim Brotherhood leadership called for an uprising against the army, many analysts doubt the body as a whole has the will or the public support for such a campaign."

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Dubai could raise $1 bln from telecoms stake sales -J.P. Morgan | Reuters

"Dubai Holding could raise almost $1 billion from the sale of its minority stakes in two telecoms firms, J.P. Morgan said in a research note, part of a strategy by state-linked companies to sell assets to repay the emirate's debt pile.

The conglomerate, owned by the ruler of Dubai, is among a group of state-linked companies trying to recover from a 2009 property crash. The firms face debt repayments of about $50 billion over the next three years.

Dubai Holding's unit Emirates International Telecommunications LLC (EIT), has put its 26-percent stake in mobile phone retailer Axiom Telecom and 35-percent stake in Tunisie Telecom on the block, sources aware of the matter told Reuters in June."

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EP: release of Yulia Tymoshenko is a key condition for Ukraine’s association with the EU - Yulia Tymoshenko. Official Website.

Yulia Tymoshenko’s release and judicial reform are necessary if the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement is to be signed, says MEP Elmar Brok, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the European Parliament.

"It is increasingly clear that signature in November of the Association Agreement with Ukraine, followed by a fast track ratification process, is possible when three clear conditions are met - the immediate release of Yulia Tymoshenko, progress on broader judicial reform with urgent priority focused on the Office of the General Prosecutor and electoral reform, and, finally, the swift holding of elections for the mayor of Kyiv," MP Elmar Brok said on July 5 following his meeting with Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite in Vilnius.

Lithuania took over the Presidency of the Council of the European Union on July 1. The Eastern Partnership summit, at which the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement may be signed, will take place in Vilnius on November 28-29, 2013."

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Kliuyev: Well for shale gas production costs $5 million - ForUm

"Construction of a well for shale gas costs about $ 5 million, deputy head of the Party of Regions Serhiy Kliuyev said during a roundtable at the Gorshenin Institute, ForUm correspondent reports.

The MP added that in this way the formation of the basic "bush" from 6 wells costs about $ 30 million "In Ukraine, the cost of extraction of unconventional gas is not yet clear, but in the U.S. costs about $ 100 per 1.000 m3 - our gas is 4 times more expensive. There 250 billion m3 of shale gas is mined annually, which is 40% of the total gas production. In many ways, this is the second "gold rush" for U.S., an energy boom," the MP said.

In turn, the former energy and coal industry minister Serhiy Yermylov said that the United States use environmentally sound technologies for extracting shale gas, which are constantly being improved. "We see a good example in the U.S., when the nation found a way out of the situation, being before dependent on gas supplies from the outside. This example can be applied in our country," the expert stated.

MP Taras Kutovyi noted that companies Shell and Chevron will set the highest standards of unconventional gas production in Ukraine. "

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Egypt Shares Slide the Most in a Month on Deadly Clashes - Bloomberg

"Egypt’s stock index dropped the most in almost a month and the benchmark bonds declined after dozens were killed in clashes between the military and supporters of deposed Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi.
The benchmark EGX 30 Index decreased 3.6 percent, the biggest retreat since June 12, to 5,123.06 at the close in Cairo as all but two stocks declined. Commercial International Bank SAE led the drop, losing 3.7 percent on volume of 1.7 times the three-month daily average. The yield on the 5.75 percent bonds due in April 2020 jumped 27 basis points to 9.34 percent at 2:38 p.m. in Cairo, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Shares and bonds reversed last week’s gains after at least 42 people were killed and more than 300 wounded in fighting outside the Republican Guard headquarters in Cairo, a main security installation. The army said pro-Mursi protesters opened fire, while the Muslim Brotherhood, from which Mursi hails, said the attacks were unprovoked. Egypt’s stock index rallied 14 percent last week as the military ousted Mursi."

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JPMorgan Touts Nakheel Saying Default Doubtful: Islamic Finance - Bloomberg

"JPMorgan Chase & Co. is advising clients to buy Nakheel PJSC’s Islamic bonds after last month’s record slump as new projects boost the Dubai developer’s earnings, while government backing makes a default improbable.
State-run Nakheel’s 4.27 billion dirhams ($1.2 billion) of sukuk yielded 9.88 percent at 12:30 p.m. in Dubai, down seven basis points this month, after surging 179 basis points in June. That’s more than twice the average gain in yields on corporate Islamic debt tracked by HSBC/Nasdaq Dubai indexes. JPMorgan listed Nakheel in a July 4 research note as its “top overweight recommendation” among Dubai real-estate debt."

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Guest post: lessons for Egypt and Arab world lie in Asia | beyondbrics

By Jean-Pierre Lehmann of IMD

Many of us are unlikely to mourn the departure of Mohamed Morsi from Egypt’s presidency. Though to some his forced exit may appear a blow to democracy, to others it heralds the termination of what was becoming a fundamentalist Islamist regime. Egypt, it seems, will not become another Iran – or at least not immediately.

But it is fair to ask: what on earth is going on in the Arab world? It is going in the opposite direction to much of the planet.

Virtually everywhere, including recently in sub-Saharan Africa, countries are becoming more engaged in the global market economy, poverty is decreasing, middle classes are emerging, health is improving, and women are being empowered. One must not of course exaggerate. We have not reached destination Utopia yet. But on balance things in much of the world have been improving over the last 20-30 years and there is reason to believe the trends will continue."

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India: moving crowdfunding online | beyondbrics

"Crowdfunding may be the new fashionable financing option in the global start-up scene but it’s a well-established practice in India. In 1976, director Shyam Benegal financed his film Manthan by collecting Rs2 each from thousands of Indian farmers, whose cause was presented in this story about a rural milk co-operative.

Like Manthan, most examples of crowdfunding in India have occurred offline. But now green shoots are emerging in online, too.

Crowdfunding, as its name suggests, happens when a project is financed by a group of individuals contributing a relatively small amount each. Recently, this has been co-ordinated online, with entrepreneurs posting pitches on the web. They could be seeking finance for pretty much anything, from social enterprise to technology start-ups and arts projects. Kickstarter is one well-known online service in the US and beyond."

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Libya's Sharara oilfield to resume operations: source | THE DAILY STAR

"Libya's major Sharara oilfield will resume operations after an agreement was reached with the armed group that had shut it down last month, a senior Libyan oil source said on Monday.

The field, which can pump around 350,000 barrels per day, was shut as an armed group objected to the naming of another group of guards to help supervise security at the facility, sources familiar with the matter said last week.

The sources said the group that was originally part of the force guarding Sharara had forced the shutdown."

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Ukraine almost doubles gas imports from Poland, Hungary - ForUm

"In June of 2013, the gas transportation system of Ukraine received 262.7 million cubic meters of natural gas from Poland and Hungary, which is almost twice or by 124.8 million cubic meters more than in May, the central dispatch department of PJSC "Ukrtransgas" reports.

According to the company, the increase in imports of natural gas occurred due to the increase in transit from Hungary, which amounted to 137.8 million cubic meters in June of this year."

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Abu Dhabi's Etihad Airways sees revenue soar by 7% -

"Etihad Airways said on Monday that its total revenue for the second quarter grew 7 percent year-on-year, with passenger revenue also up, despite a tough global economy.
Total revenue for the three months to June 30 was $1.33 billion, up from $1.25bn in the same period of 2012, a statement from the Abu Dhabi-based carrier said.
Passenger revenue in the second quarter was up 8 percent year-on-year at $921 million.
Air fare yields were slightly lower for the quarter, compressed by price competition, the statement added."

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TABLE-Oman Q2 earnings estimates | Reuters (click thru to view)

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Abu Dhabi culls expat jobs at key government department -sources | Reuters

"The administrative arm of Abu Dhabi's top government department, the General Secretariat of the Executive Council (GSEC), has dismissed most of its expatriate employees, sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.

It was not clear exactly how many employees were affected, but the sources said the number could be around 40-70 people. The sources declined to be named because the decision has not been officially announced.

The GSEC declined to comment when contacted by Reuters. Abu Dhabi is the largest and wealthiest emirate in the United Arab Emirates; the GSEC is the administrative body which develops and executes Abu Dhabi's strategic plans and policies."

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Mortgage lender Tamweel to delist from Dubai bourse | Reuters

"Sharia-compliant mortgage lender Tamweel said on Monday its shareholders had approved the company's delisting from the Dubai stock exchange, paving the way for its acquisition by Dubai Islamic Bank.

Dubai Islamic Bank said in January it planned to acquire all of Tamweel, in which it owned 58.2 percent, through a share swap agreement which would see each Tamweel shareholder offered 10 DIB shares for every 18 Tamweel shares they held."

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Guest post: why the Tavares report is dangerous for both Hungary and Europe | beyondbrics

By Enikő Győri of the Hungarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs

As a minister of state responsible for European affairs it is becoming increasingly difficult for me to read articles about Hungary without thinking of possible conspiracies aimed against my country, or suspecting the authors and the foreign politicians they quote of complete ignorance.

This is not because I am too sensitive to criticism but because of the gross distortions which I see in so many critical statements about Hungary.

During the past two years the Hungarian government of Prime Minister Viktor Orban has been accused on several occasions of being in breach of fundamental rights, of endangering democracy and the freedom of the press, and of creating a situation where certain ethnic groups – the Roma, for example – could not feel safe."

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Arabtec's successful rights issue seen as 'pivotal moment' for company -

"In what has been described as a ‘pivotal moment’ for Arabtec Holding PJSC (“Arabtec” or the “Company”), the Company announced the successful conclusion of its Rights Issue, which raised AED2.4 billion and was nearly 30% oversubscribed by shareholders (“Rights Issue”).

Arabtec, a leading MENA construction company specialising in complex projects, will use the proceeds from the Rights Issue to advance the implementation of the Company’s growth strategy announced earlier in 2013.

Hasan Abdullah Ismaik, Managing Director and CEO of Arabtec, commented: “Our shareholders have given Arabtec the strongest vote of confidence in the Company, its people and in our expansion plans.  Our Company and employees thank them for making the Rights Issue the resounding success it is and we remain committed to enhancing   shareholder value in the short and medium term. We would also like to thank Emirates Securities and Commodities Authority and the Dubai Financial Market for their support during the Rights Issue.”"

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Ukraine expects increased wheat harvest this year : Ukraine News by UNIAN

"Ukraine anticipates a 25-percent increase in wheat output this year, Agriculture Minister Mykola Prysyazhnyuk said Friday, according to Xinhua.
"We expect to harvest about 21 million tons of wheat," Prysyazhnyuk said in a speech in the Parliament.
Prysyazhnyuk said Ukraine this year planted 27.6 million hectares of grain. He said farmers already have gathered 7.5 million tons of grain, including 4.8 million tons of wheat"

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Rupee hits another record low | beyondbrics

It’s becoming a familiar phrase: The Indian rupee has hit yet another record low, dropping below Rs61 to the dollar on Monday.

There are a few things the government could to do to stem the fall, but with an industry survey suggesting further depreciation of the rupee, the records could keep on coming.

Emerging market currencies have dropped in recent weeks after the US Federal Reserve announced plans to reduce quantitative easing. And the Indian currency has been dragged down further by soaring demand for gold imports and an unsustainable current account deficit. The recent strong US jobs data also provided another chance for rupee selling."

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The End of a Share Market Correction... or the Beginning?

"Your editor returns to his Daily Reckoning post finding that nothing and everything has changed in the markets. Our last day in the office was Friday, June 14th. The S&P ASX/200 closed at 4791 on that day. As we fire up our lazy neurons today, the market is trading at 4810, down on the day but up over the last three weeks.

The first takeaway from this is that everyone should take more holidays. It gives your brain a genuine chance to rest. You wipe out all the noise that passes for useful information. You abandon the conceit that every bit of news affects the intrinsic value of every security all the time. You breathe deeply.

And then you get back to your desk and find that things aren’t that much different. Or are they? On the surface, there are some obvious changes. Australia has a new Prime Minister. But he’s not really new. Kevin Rudd returns to the job taken from him. But like all politicians, he’s essentially the same, a dangerous sociopath eager for your approval and tax dollars."

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Russia passes money-laundering law | Russia Beyond The Headlines

"Russia’s investigators will be able to obtain statements on bank transactions and accounts held by companies and individual entrepreneurs, as well as data on operations, accounts, and deposits by individuals, only on the basis of a court order.
Russian President Vladimir Putin signed the amendment into law at the end of June. Both chambers of parliament had approved the bill.
Criminal liability for money laundering will be expanded to cover persons laundering money obtained through evasion of customs duties or taxes."

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Argentina to Get LNG Spot Cargo From Qatar at Bahia Blanca Port - Bloomberg

"Argentina, which has no long-term contracts to import liquefied natural gas, is scheduled to receive a spot cargo of the fuel from Qatar, according to ship-tracking data.
The Golar Arctic, with a capacity of about 138,000 cubic meters, is preparing to dock at the port of Bahia Blanca southwest of Buenos Aires, according to ship transmissions captured by IHS Fairplay on Bloomberg. It was scheduled to arrive on July 5.
The tanker loaded its cargo at Qatar’s Ras Laffan LNG terminal and departed on June 14, according to the data."

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Vuitton Tones Down Bling in Russia as Wealthy Go Discreet - Bloomberg

"When the Soviet Union collapsed 22 years ago, Russian women quickly cast off dowdy proletarian garb in favor of glitz such as ultra-tight sequined dresses and towering heels. Mira Duma is having none of it.
“Stuff with big and bright logos would be the last thing I buy and wear,” said Duma, a 28-year-old style maven and former editor of the local edition of Harper’s Bazaar magazine. “Today, it’s absolutely vulgar in fashion to scream.”
Duma, the daughter of former Russian lawmaker Vasily Duma, is emblematic of a new generation of Russians for whom the meaning of high fashion has shifted from flashy and expensive to understated and even more expensive."

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Egypt Stocks Drop on Premier Disagreement, Protests; Saudi Gains - Bloomberg

"Egypt’s stock index dropped the most in two weeks as political groups in the North African country disagreed over who should be interim prime minister and before another round of protests.
The EGX 30 Index fell 0.4 percent, the most since June 23, to 5,311.51 at the close in Cairo. Shares valued at about 525 million pounds ($75 million) traded compared with a six-month daily average of 304 million pounds. The measure surged 14 percent last week, the most since the week ended June 28, 2012, when the now deposed Mohamed Mursi was declared president. Commercial International Bank Egypt SAE, the nation’s biggest publicly traded lender, lost 1.1 percent."

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Russian copyright holders to set up organization to combat online piracy | Russia Beyond The Headlines

"Russian television and film production companies plan to set up an organization to combat online piracy.
"We are planning to set up an organization where all copyright holders will be represented to deal with this issue in a comprehensive and system-wise manner," Alexander Akopov, Amedia president and chairman of the Film and Television Producers Association, said at a press conference at Interfax on Friday."

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Tough challenges await next leader of Egypt's rentier state - The National

"Power cuts, driving for hours across Cairo to find fuel, foreign-exchange reserves at critically low levels, rising inflation and unemployment over 13 per cent - the Egyptian economy is in a mess.

Given these failures - quite apart from his religious goals and disdain for consensus - it is no surprise that millions came into the streets to demand the overthrow of Mohammed Morsi after a year as president."

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Lagging e-government portals prove burden for UAE competitiveness - The National

"The UAE's "fragmented" e-government portals are holding the country back in global competitiveness rankings, say experts in the field.

While the country has made one of the most rapid developments in e-government, rising five places to 25th in the Global Information Technology Report 2013, ahead of France, Spain and Oman among others, it could improve with a more robust federal electronic portal, say the experts.

Currently each emirate has its own e-government portal, initiatives and strategy. A unified federal portal exists, but progress has been slow with little interaction between government agencies."

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Saudi Gazette - RAK Airways eyes 40 new destinations by 2015

"RAK Airways has announced its strategic plan towards commercial expansion and acquiring new aircraft. Murabit Al Sawaf, President and CEO of the airline, said that the expansion plan is part of the airline’s endeavors to achieve the target of 40 new destinations around the world by the year 2015, of which five destinations will be announced shortly. Addressing a press conference at Hilton Resort & Spa Hotel in Ras Al Khaimah recently, Al Sawaf said that the carrier has completed working out a plan to operate services to four more destinations.

Al Sawaf also unveiled plans to buy new aircraft. “RAK Airways is close to inking deals with some agencies to acquire new fleet of aircraft in order to meet the requirements for its future expansions. Accordingly, new aircraft will join the fleet before the end of this year,” he said, adding that the airline is now operating its services by using two leased aircraft.

He also noted that there would be a focus on operating services to those destinations that would help in promoting the tourism sector of Ras Al Khaimah, in particular, and the United Arab Emirates, in general."

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Saudi Gazette - Saudi banks’ net profits to hit new highs in ’13

"Saudi banks are forecast to boost their net profits to the highest level in 2013 amid sharp recovery in domestic credit, Jadwa Investments said in a study.

Credit to the private sector by the Kingdom’s 12 commercial banks surged by nearly 16.5 percent in May to extend a boom in lending after near zero growth in the aftermath of the 2008 fiscal turmoil and the ensuing debt default crisis in the Kingdom, it said.

“The expansion in credit and low funding costs continue to contribute to a pick-up in bank profits,” it said, adding that in May, banks recorded a profit of SR3.2 billion, 11 percent high than in May last year, taking the year-to-May profit to SR15.7 billion."

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Qatar’s logistics industry set to grow manifold: Expert

"Powered by Qatar’s huge investments in the infrastructure and transportation sectors, Qatar’s logistics industry is set to grow in a big way. The existing roughly estimated $150m business is expected to grow manifold in the next two-five years, according to a market leader.
The growth prediction is based on Qatar’s commitment to carry out huge projects in a time-bound manner.
“The sheer size of infrastructure projects in Qatar demands the establishment of a world-class logistics set up. With over 32 major projects having been launched in Qatar, and many other in pipeline, the logistic sector is poised for a major growth trajectory,” Ali bin Abdulatif Al Misnad (pictured), President, Qatar Association of Freight and Logistics (QAFL) told The Peninsula yesterday."

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