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Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Etihad Airways to raise stake in Virgin Australia - The National

Etihad Airways to raise stake in Virgin Australia - The National:

"
James Hogan, the chief executive of Etihad Airways, left, with John Borghetti, his counterpart at Virgin Blue Holdings, announce the partnership between the two companies in 2010. Sergio Dionisio / Bloomberg News
Etihad Airways is moving to raise its stake in Virgin Australia after getting the green light from regulators to increase its 10 per cent share in Australia's second-biggest carrier.

It signals the importance of the carrier to Etihad in generating traffic between Australasia and Europe through its Abu Dhabi base.

"We applied for and received Foreign Investment Review Board approval to increase our previous stake of 10 per cent in Virgin Australia to 19.9 per cent," Etihad said in a statement. "We may purchase shares to increase our shareholding where it is prudent to do so, and will provide notice in accordance with regulatory disclosure requirements.""

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ADCB ends Moody's contract - The National

ADCB ends Moody's contract - The National:

"Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank has terminated its contract with Moody's Investors Service only months after settling a lawsuit with the credit ratings agency.

The capital's second-biggest lender, which lost millions on bad bets before the financial crisis that were given investment grade ratings by Moody's and other ratings agencies, cut ties earlier this week.

"On 15 July 2013 Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank… terminated its agreement with Moody's Investors Service to provide ratings services to ADCB, ADCB Finance (Cayman) Limited, ADCB Islamic Finance (Cayman) Limited and any other subsidiaries of ADCB," the bank said in a statement."

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Dubai Investments revives plan to issue $300m sukuk - The National

Dubai Investments revives plan to issue $300m sukuk - The National:

"Dubai Investments, which holds stakes in more than 40 businesses from property to glass, is reviving a sale of Islamic debt after an emerging-market rout forced it to delay the offer, its chief executive officer said.

A unit of the Dubai-based company obtained a credit rating from Standard & Poor's, allowing it to target lower borrowing costs, Khalid bin Kalban said by phone on July 15. Sukuk sales in the Arabian Gulf plunged last month after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke suggested the regulator may start trimming its bond-buying programme if the US economy improves.

Yields on Gulf Cooperation Council Shariah-compliant bonds, which jumped to a 16-month high of 4.23 per cent on June 26, according to HSBC/Nasdaq Dubai indexes, have since fallen to 3.77 per cent on Tuesday after Mr Bernanke pledged stimulus would remain accommodative. That compares with a yield of 4.1 per cent for non-Islamic debt."

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Qatar shares at 4-week peak as QNB jumps to new high

Qatar shares at 4-week peak as QNB jumps to new high:

"The Qatar Exchange’s benchmark index climbed 0.4% to a five-week peak yesterday.

QNB rose 1.8% to a new all-time high. The lender last week posted a 24% increase in second-quarter profit, beating estimates.

QNB is among Doha bluechips expected to draw in additional foreign buyers after index compiler MSCI upgraded Qatar to emerging market status."

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Cabinet to sell 40 oblast and city gas utility companies

Cabinet to sell 40 oblast and city gas utility companies:

"At its July 15 session, the cabinet adopted a decision to privatize 39 gas utility companies, State Property Fund head Oleksandr Ryabchenko says.
Investors will be able to buy blocking and controlling stakes in these companies.
The privatization is to be held in autumn, the official says.
Ukraine’s largest owner of gas utility companies is Dmytro Firtash, an insider of the Yanukovych team. "

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NBU predicts further reduction in current account deficit - ForUm

NBU predicts further reduction in current account deficit - ForUm:

"The tendency of reduction in the current account deficit will be observed in the second year-half as well, head of the methodology, analysis and forecasting of the balance of payments department of the National Bank of Ukraine Serhiy Nikolaichuk told a round table "The state budget, debt and balance of payments: current realities and perspectives by the end of the year", ForUm correspondent reported.

According to Nikolaichuk surplus of reserve balance of payments this year totaled 3.3 billion U.S. dollars, while over the same period last year was only $ 400 million. It is related to investment and debt capital inflow in Ukraine, as well as to fundamental factors such as reduction in the current account deficit.

For five months in 2013, according to Nikolaichuk, the current account deficit narrowed to U.S. $ 3.1 billion, while for the same period in 2012 it amounted to 4.2 billion U.S. dollars. Reducing the current account deficit is observed in such an important article, as the balance of trade in goods. This is associated with a fairly sharp decline in imports by 12%, compared to last year."

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Abu Dhabi's Etihad says working towards Jet deal deadline | Reuters

Abu Dhabi's Etihad says working towards Jet deal deadline | Reuters:

"
Etihad Airways is working towards meeting a July 31 deadline to win regulatory approvals on its planned $379 million purchase of a stake in India's Jet Airways (JET.NS), the Abu Dhabi-based carrier said on Wednesday.

Etihad, which is on an acquisition drive, agreed in April to buy a 24 percent stake in Jet in a deal that would provide India's largest carrier with a deep-pocketed global partner as well as cash to help pay off debts.

But political concerns and scrutiny by Indian market regulators have delayed the deal and it risks missing a so-called "long-stop" date of July 31, before which regulatory approvals had to be secured."

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.:Middle East Online::Kuwait 2013/2014 budget projects deficit of 2.9 billion dinars:.

.:Middle East Online::Kuwait 2013/2014 budget projects deficit of 2.9 billion dinars:.:

"OPEC member Kuwait said on Wednesday it has issued the 2013/2014 budget, with spending projected at 21.0 billion dinars ($73.7 billion), slightly short of last year's record expenditure of 21.2 billion dinars.

The budget, issued by the emir in a decree because parliament is dissolved, projects a deficit of 2.9 billion dinars ($10.2 billion), much smaller than last year's estimated shortfall of $26 billion, the finance ministry said.

Kuwait's fiscal year runs between April 1 and March 31."

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Ukraine Agrees With Gazprom on Ensuring EU-Bound Gas Transit - Businessweek

Ukraine Agrees With Gazprom on Ensuring EU-Bound Gas Transit - Businessweek:

"Ukraine’s NAK Naftogaz Ukrainy and OAO Gazprom (GAZP) have come to a “mutual understanding” on how to ensure the stable transit of natural gas to European customers, according to Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister Yuriy Boyko.

A “viable” plan for avoiding transit “problems” during the cold winter months was worked out at a meeting between Naftogaz and Gazprom officials, Boyko said late yesterday in televised remarks on Channel 5.

The meeting was held during Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov’s meeting with Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev in Sochi on July 12."

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Ukraine's investment attractiveness index grows

Ukraine's investment attractiveness index grows < News < Home:

"Ukraine's investment attractiveness index drawn up by the European Business association increased to 2.16 in the second quarter of this year, after falling to a minimum figure of 2.12 in the first quarter.

According to the latest report issued by EBA, "there is no room for the index to drop any further and the situation should improve"."

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Blavatnik Puts $400M Into German Firm | Business | The Moscow Times

Blavatnik Puts $400M Into German Firm | Business | The Moscow Times:

"Russian-born billionaire Len Blavatnik, ranked 44th in the Forbes Rich List with a fortune of $16 billion, has invested about $400 million in German venture capital firm Rocket Internet, the Financial Times reported Wednesday.

Founded in 2007 by German brothers Alexander, Marc and Oliver Samwer, Rocket Internet has financed and built one of the biggest online fashion stores in Latin America, along with multiple businesses projects in Russia, Asia and the Middle East, the British newspaper reported.

The company said Tuesday it had attracted an extra $400 million in funding, bringing the total raised since the start of last year to $1.8 billion. Blavatnik, who sold his stake in TNK-BP for $7 billion in March, has provided much of that new capital, the paper said."

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Ukranian News - Manufacturing Output 5.7% Down In June

Ukranian News - Manufacturing Output 5.7% Down In June:

"In June 2013, manufacturing output fell by 5.7% against June 2012, the State Statistics Service has reported.
Herewith, in June 2013 manufacturing output rose by 1.6% over May 2013.
In January-June 2013, manufacturing output fell by 5.3% year-over-year.
As Ukrainian News earlier reported, in May 2013 manufacturing output declined by 9.3% over May 2012.
In 2012, manufacturing output fell by 1.8% over 2011."

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Israeli Diamonds in the Dubai Diamond Exchange | Al Akhbar English

Israeli Diamonds in the Dubai Diamond Exchange | Al Akhbar English:

"
A customer looks at gold jewellery displayed in a store at the Gold Souq in Dubai in this 16 January 2008 file photo. (Photo: Reuters - Jumana El Heloueh)
While the Arab press is reporting that Arab expatriates are facing deportation from Gulf countries, including Dubai, the Israeli daily Maariv ran an extensive report on the current honeymoon between Israeli diamond dealers and the Gulf emirate, where they travel frequently on their Israeli passports, without any issues.

The Israeli newspaper quoted one of those dealers as saying that they are “known to all people,” and that they are “welcome to come (to Dubai) anytime they wish.” The Israeli newspaper quoted one of those dealers as saying that they are “known to all people,” and that they are “welcome to come (to Dubai) anytime they wish.” The newspaper identified some Israeli dealers who frequent the Dubai Diamond Exchange (DDE) by name.
Many diamond dealers from Dubai, also according to Maariv, take part in conferences in Israel. A few weeks ago, there were news reports that Peter Meeus, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the DDE, would head a delegation of diamond dealers from Dubai to take part in an International Diamond Week event in the Jewish state in late August. This has stirred nothing short of a storm among BDS groups worldwide."

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Russia’s vodka tax: backfiring | beyondbrics

Russia’s vodka tax: backfiring | beyondbrics:

"
The Kremlin’s campaign against alcohol abuse is taking its toll on Russia’s vodka industry.

As soaring taxes on liquor have put the country’s favourite tipple beyond the reach of ordinary people, sales of legally produced vodka have plunged this year – and the Russian drinks market is awash with moonshine.

Production of vodka in Russia totaled 30.3m deciliters (800,441 gallons) in the first half of 2013, a fall of 28.3 per cent from the first half of last year, the Russian state statistics service reported this week. The decline has been accelerating since the start of the year when the government hiked taxes on hard liquor by 25 per cent and increased the minimum price of a half-litre bottle of vodka to Rbs170 ($5.25) from an earlier Rbs125."

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Warsaw’s new airport: no Wizz | beyondbrics

Warsaw’s new airport: no Wizz | beyondbrics:

"
Poland’s flat countryside hasn’t been regularly visited by elephants since mammoths disappeared at the end of the last ice age, but a new elephant has appeared not far from Warsaw – a white one.

That would be the problem-plagued Modlin airport about 40km north-west of Warsaw. This week it was dealt a body blow by Hungary’s low-cost Wizz Air airline, which announced it would not be returning to Modlin after the airport was forced to close for more than half a year to rebuild its runway.

The airport, a converted air base which opened last year, was supposed to serve low-cost airlines that were upset with the high costs charged by Chopin international airport, the Polish capital’s main hub. Built at a cost of 450m zlotys ($140m), it pulled in Wizz and rival Ryanair but almost immediately ran into trouble."

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Russian Investment Unexpectedly Contracts in June - Bloomberg

Russian Investment Unexpecetdly Contracts in June - Bloomberg:

"Russian fixed-capital investment (RUZ1CANY) unexpectedly fell the most since February 2010, adding to signs that the economy is failing to gain momentum.
Investment dropped 3.7 percent in June from a year earlier, the Federal Statistics Service in Moscow said by e-mail today. The median estimate of 16 economists in a Bloomberg survey was for a 0.5 percent increase. Unemployment (RUUER) also unexpectedly rose to 5.4 percent from 5.2 percent in May.
Economic growth in the world’s largest energy exporter is stumbling to the weakest pace since a 2009 contraction as the European Union struggles to exit a recession and China’s slowdown saps demand for Russian exports of oil, gas and metals. Russia, which is preparing to welcome Group of 20 finance chiefs for a summit in Moscow this week, has put the issue of long-term investment as a source of growth on the agenda for its G-20 presidency."

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MIDEAST STOCKS-Dubai up as Air Arabia jumps to near 5-yr high | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Dubai up as Air Arabia jumps to near 5-yr high | Reuters:

"Dubai-listed budget carrier Air Arabia surged to a near five-year high on Wednesday, leading a rally on the emirate's bourse ahead of UAE second-quarter earnings.

Air Arabia jumped 8.3 percent to reach its highest level since October 2008 and was also the biggest gainer and top trader on the market.

"Air Arabia has been our favourite pick since the beginning of the year because it's a defensive stock that also has a high growth story," said Marwan Shurrab, fund manager and head of trading at Vision Investments."

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Sofaz Boosts 2012 Investments in Emerging-Market Stocks, Bonds - Bloomberg

Sofaz Boosts 2012 Investments in Emerging-Market Stocks, Bonds - Bloomberg:

"Azerbaijan’s State Oil Fund increased investment in emerging markets and lower-rated bonds last year to boost returns as the Caspian Sea nation cut crude production for a third year.
The fund raised its emerging-markets holdings to about 14 percent in 2012 from 9.5 percent the year before, the Baku-based Sofaz, as it’s known, said today on its website. The European Union remained the largest destination for its investments at the end of the year, it said.
Purchases of Turkish and Russian bonds contributed to a “significant rise” in debt holdings rated A or lower, Sofaz said. Investments in bonds with the highest AAA rating accounted for almost 33 percent of Sofaz’s holdings, down from 36 percent the previous year, and AA-rated notes fell to 11 percent from 14.3 percent in 2011, it said."

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NIC Hits Seven-Month Low as Quarterly Profit Drops: Riyadh Mover - Bloomberg

NIC Hits Seven-Month Low as Quarterly Profit Drops: Riyadh Mover - Bloomberg:

"National Industrialization Co. (NIC) tumbled to the lowest level in more than seven months after quarterly profit slumped 48 percent, dimming the outlook for petrochemicals stocks in the Arab world’s biggest economy.
Shares of the company known as NIC retreated 2.3 percent to 25.4 riyals, the lowest since Nov. 28, at the close in Riyadh. The stock was the biggest decliner on the Tadawul All Share Petrochemical Industries Index, which slid 0.8 percent. Saudi Basic Industries Corp. (SABIC), the world’s largest petrochemicals company, fell 0.5 percent to 94 riyals, the lowest since July 7.
NIC’s net income for the three months through June declined to 303 million riyals ($81 million) from 580 million riyals in the year-earlier period, the company said in a statement today. The results were affected by a drop in the titanium dioxide industry’s profit margins, triggered by a decrease in sales prices and an increase in production costs, NIC said."

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Egypt Bond Yields, Default Risk Rise as Islamists Shun Cabinet - Bloomberg

Egypt Bond Yields, Default Risk Rise as Islamists Shun Cabinet - Bloomberg:

"Egypt’s benchmark bonds fell, pushing the yield to a week high, after Islamists boycotted the transitional government and called for renewed protests. The country’s default risk advanced for a third day.
The yield on the government’s 5.75 percent notes due in April 2020 increased seven basis points, or 0.07 percentage point, to 8.54 percent, the highest on a closing basis since July 10, at 2:25 p.m. in Cairo, according to prices compiled by Bloomberg. Five-year credit default swaps climbed 50 basis points to 725, according to CMA data.
Interim President Adly Mansour yesterday swore in a team of 34 ministers which didn’t include any Islamists. The Muslim Brotherhood rejected the new cabinet and vowed to escalate protests to demand the reinstatement of former President Mohamed Mursi. The army forced Mursi out of office on July 3, triggering a wave of violent clashes that have left 57 dead and hundreds injured in the past two weeks. Police clashed with hundreds of Mursi supporters in Cairo today."

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Higher tariffs for international and domestic passenger rail transportation come into force

Higher tariffs for international and domestic passenger rail transportation come into force:

"Tariffs for passenger transportation by rail in all categories of cars, except for sleeping wagons, Intercity+ trains and commuter trains, on domestic and international routes were changed from July 16, 2013.

According to the press service of Ukrzaliznytsia, the cost of tickets on internal routes rose by 10%, and those on international routes by 5%.

Thus, the cost of rail transportation on domestic routes in second class and compartment cars grew by 10%, and at the next stage - from October 1 - the cost will increase by another 10%."

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Deposits at Saudi banks reach SR1.3 trillion | Arab News

Deposits at Saudi banks reach SR1.3 trillion | Arab News — Saudi Arabia News, Middle East News, Opinion, Economy and more.:

"Deposits in the Saudi financial system reached SR1.3 trillion by the end of May, adding SR70.5 billion YTD. Growth in the depositary base continues to provide opportunities to expand the financing capabilities of the banking system, according to a report by the National Commercial Bank (NCB).
The largest portion of deposits are in the form of demand deposits, of which only 8.5 percent are contributed by government entities. Given businesses and individuals' varying need for the most liquid type of deposits, their demand, time and savings, and foreign currency deposits are distributed at 74.1 percent, 17.5 percent, and 8.3 percent, respectively during May.
Meanwhile, the government's long-term priority is apparent as time and savings deposits represent 47.7 percent of their total deposits while demand and foreign currency deposits hold 23.8 percent and 28.5 percent, respectively. Collectively, demand deposits increased by 20.0 percent annually, outpacing time and savings deposits which rose by 7.3 percent Y/Y as interest rates remain low, the NCB report said."

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UAE billionaire NRI buys Indian bank stake - Emirates 24/7

UAE billionaire NRI buys Indian bank stake - Emirates 24/7:

"UAE-based Indian businessman M A Yousuf Ali has increased his presence in the Indian banking sector by purchasing a 4.47 per cent stake in a private bank in the southern state of Kerala from Dubai-based Emirates Financial Services, a subsidiary of Emirates NBD

Speaking to Emirates 24|7, M A Yousuf Ali said the transaction was completed last week. He said he is keen to support Kerala-based Indian banks as he wants to have a strong presence in Kerala.

A month after a controversy erupted in Kerala about his Bolghatty Convention Centre project in Kochi and the opening of India’s largest shopping mall ‘Kochi Lulu’, Yousuf Ali seems to be showing his financial muscle power by purchasing shares in leading Kerala banks like Catholic Syrian Bank (CSB)."

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UPDATE 1-Bahrain sovereign fund Mumtalakat 2012 net loss narrows | Reuters

UPDATE 1-Bahrain sovereign fund Mumtalakat 2012 net loss narrows | Reuters:

"Bahrain sovereign fund Mumtalakat said on Wednesday its net loss for 2012 narrowed by 32.9 percent as improved performance by its financial services and telecommunications portfolio partly offset lower revenue from its aluminium unit.

One of the smaller sovereign wealth funds in the Gulf region, it had $7.1 billion of assets under management at the end of September. It holds stakes in 40 firms in the kingdom's non-oil sector, including Bahrain Telecommunications Co (Batelco) and Aluminium Bahrain (Alba).

Mumtalakat made a net loss of 181.7 million dinars ($482 million) in 2012, it said in a statement, versus a net loss of 270.6 million a year earlier."

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India’s new rules on FDI: for real? | beyondbrics

India’s new rules on FDI: for real? | beyondbrics:

"
India’s policy makers have dealt a surprise one-two, as they attempt to stem the depreciation of the rupee, finance the country’s unsustainable current account deficit and prop up the economy all at once.

The Reserve Bank of India announced a slew of monetary tightening measures on Monday that immediately propped up the rupee but raised concerns around their impact on India’s already slowing economy. Another announcement late on Tuesday provided a counterweight, as limits on foreign direct investment were further relaxed.

But are these reforms all they’re cracked up to be?"

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Doha residential transactions at three-year high - bi-me.com

Doha residential transactions at three-year high - Business Intelligence Middle East - bi-me.com - News, analysis, reports:

"Residential sales transactions in Q2 2013 reached a three-year high according to the latest Asteco Qatar report, led by increased freehold purchase demand in prime areas such as Pearl-Qatar and boosted by developer participation at May’s Cityscape Qatar real estate investment and development showcase.

While the number of transactions increased, price points held fast at Q1 2013 levels. Prime market developments including Viva Bahriya-Pearl and Porto Arabia-Pearl registered per square metre direct sales prices of up to QAR 16,000 and QAR 15,000 respectively on average, with average resale values per square metre topping out at QAR 15,000 and QAR 12,000 respectively.

“Qatar’s infrastructure development is gaining pace, which in turn is bringing more expatriates into the country as the population grows, and this is raising the profile of the local real estate market in the region and internationally,” said Jed Wolfe, Managing Director, Asteco Qatar."

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Russian economy becomes biggest in Europe | Russia Beyond The Headlines

Russian economy becomes biggest in Europe | Russia Beyond The Headlines:

"According to data published by the World Bank in July, Russia is fighting the global economic crisis much more successfully than most developed countries. Based on GDP adjusted for purchasing power parity (PPP), Russia jumped ahead of all the EU nations in 2012, including Germany, which is number six in the world.
Ahead of Russia in the top five were the United States, China, India and Japan. The World Bank data substantiated the IMF rankings published in late 2012, even though the IMF rankings put Russia in sixth place, slightly behind Germany.
July's World Bank rankings of GDP adjusted for PPP further confirm the noteworthy level of the Russian economy, experts say. According to IMF data on nominal GDP, Russia rose from ninth to eighth place."

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Egypt's floundering economy

Egypt's floundering economy:

"The rights and wrongs of President Morsi's overthrow – and its political repercussions – continue to dominate discussion of Egypt. But beyond the turmoil on the streets, and attracting far less attention so far, is the country's floundering economy.

At some point, someone will have to take the economy in hand and make some tough decisions. Whether anyone is actually capable of doing so in the current circumstances is an open question."

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Debt issuance by Middle Eastern lenders surges 40% in first half - FT.com

Debt issuance by Middle Eastern lenders surges 40% in first half - FT.com:

"Middle Eastern debt issuance surged 40 per cent in the first half of 2013, the strongest period on record, according to new data released by Thomson Reuters.
Debt raised reached $26bn, including $20.8bn of investment grade corporate debt in the first two quarters of the year, accounting for around 80 per cent of debt capital markets activity.
In a further sign of a brighter outlook for the financial sector, debt capital markets underwriting earned banks $102m, more than double the income of the same period last year, and the best first-half performance ever, the report said."

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Law firms aim to cash in on Gulf mega-projects - FT.com

Law firms aim to cash in on Gulf mega-projects - FT.com:

"International law firms are seeking to cash in on the growing number of mega-projects and related business disputes in the Gulf, even as corporate deals work remains weak in the wake of the financial crisis.
Baker Botts of the US this week hired an entire group of 14 lawyers from Norton Rose Fulbright in Dubai to further strengthen its energy and arbitration teams, in a big bet on the Middle East as a growth market.
While some law firms have in the past found the Middle East a volatile region commercially, many see opportunities in the Gulf because of its continued appetite for industrial and infrastructural investments that are generating an increasing number of legal battles."

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Naftogaz plans to prolong $2 b loan of Gazprombank for 5 years

Naftogaz plans to prolong $2 b loan of Gazprombank for 5 years:

"National joint-stock company Naftogaz Ukrainy plans to prolong by five years a loan of $2 billion issued to the holding by Russian Gazprombank, Naftogaz Ukrainy Head Yevhen Bakulin told reporters in Kyiv on Wednesday.

"We're planning to prolong [the loan] for five years. We're working on this," he said.

Bakulin also noted that the Ukrainian parliament has to pass a draft law on granting government guarantees to prolong the loan."

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UAIndex volume soars as bond default looms for Agroton - Ukraine Business Online

UAIndex volume soars as bond default looms for Agroton - Business - News - Ukraine Business Online:

"In spite of a massive negative sell-off of Agroton shares, the UAIndex managed to eke out a +0.92% gain in Tuesday’s trading, closing at 4,173.37. The erratic performance of Agroton stocks for weeks and its 36% one-day collapse raise serious questions as to the company’s ability to survive.

The most significant result on Tuesday’s Best Performing Companies list was turned in by Milkiland, up +2.07% on trade of 473,809 shares.

Agroton claimed the dubious honor of taking both the Worst Performing and Volume Leader titles on Tuesday as its stock value collapsed by almost -36% on trade of 616,520 shares.

We are likely to learn more when the results of today’s trading are in and we are able to determine how much further Agroton might decline before the bottom-feeders come on to the scene."

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Qatar agrees to supply LNG

Qatar agrees to supply LNG:

"Expressing a friendly gesture, Qatar has agreed to supply 500mcfd Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) to Pakistan to resolve energy issue, TheNation learnt reliably.
But at the same time, it has out-rightly declined to construct LNG terminal at Karachi.
The sources privy to the development told that a special meeting held here in the premises of the ministry under the chair Petroleum & Natural Resources Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi to discuss major development regarding import of LNG from Qatar to Pakistan after farmer’s willingness to supply LNG to the later. Officials of the ministry attended this very important meeting, which has prepared three-point framework. The petroleum ministry would dispatch a summary on three-point framework to the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the federal cabinet for its approval. The meeting seriously discussed the nitty gritty of the construction of LNG terminal if LNG is imported. The meeting also talked about exemption from PPRA rules to bring imported LNG to Pakistan through constructing LNG terminal. However, Ogra has so far declined to give exemption of licence for the construction of LNG terminal, sources added.  "

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Qatar Islamic Bank Q2 Net Profit Drops 2.9% » Gulf Business

Qatar Islamic Bank Q2 Net Profit Drops 2.9% » Gulf Business:

"Qatar Islamic Bank (QIB), the Gulf Arab state’s largest sharia-compliant bank by assets, reported a 2.9 per cent drop in second-quarter net profit on Tuesday.

Net profit for the three months to June 30 was 339 million riyals ($93.1 million), it said in a bourse filing, versus a profit of 348.9 million riyals in the second quarter of 2012.

Despite the fall, the earnings beat estimates of seven analysts polled by Reuters who had on average expected a net profit of 324.8 million riyals."

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Ukraine Agrees With Gazprom on Ensuring EU-Bound Gas Transit - Businessweek

Ukraine Agrees With Gazprom on Ensuring EU-Bound Gas Transit - Businessweek:

"Ukraine’s NAK Naftogaz Ukrainy and OAO Gazprom (GAZP) have come to a “mutual understanding” on how to ensure the stable transit of natural gas to European customers, according to Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister Yuriy Boyko.

A “viable” plan for avoiding transit “problems” during the cold winter months was worked out at a meeting between Naftogaz and Gazprom officials, Boyko said late yesterday in televised remarks on Channel 5.

The meeting was held during Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov’s meeting with Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev in Sochi on July 12."

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Welcome to the July QFINANCE Executive Briefing

"The Asian Development Bank points out that local currency bond markets are growing at a fast pace across Asia. By the end of 2012 East Asia's local currency bond market had reached $6.5 trillion in value, with corporate bond issuance up 4.2% in the third quarter of the  year and up a further 6.2% in the fourth quarter. East Asia includes China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, South Korea, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. The bonds are being bought by both domestic investors and foreign investors, with foreign holdings in Indonesia, for example reaching 33% of government bonds outstanding. Growth is being driven partially by domestic investors but also by foreign investors hunting greater yields than those provided by sovereign debt in Europe, the UK, and the US. However, investors need to keep an eye on the mid-term prospects for various countries in the region when taking a position and insofar as they are investing in corporate bonds, they need to understand why some Asian companies have trouble turning growth into profit. On the sovereign debt side, both China and India clearly still have issues to work through."

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Live chart: Public social spending - YouTube

Live chart: Public social spending - YouTube:

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Remittance outflow from Oman to be US$7.4bn: World Bank - Oman - Muscat Daily

Remittance outflow from Oman to be US$7.4bn: World Bank - Oman - Muscat Daily:

"India, Bangladesh and Pakistan are the major beneficiaries of remittances sent from Oman, with outward remittances for 2012 estimated to be about US$7.3-7.4bn, according to the World Bank.

Speaking to Muscat Daily from Washington, Dilip Ratha, manager, Migration and Remittances Unit, World Bank, said, “The total outward remittance flows from Oman for 2011 were about US$7.2bn. Of this, 67 per cent went to India and 13 per cent to Bangladesh.”

Meanwhile, Pakistan was the third highest recipient, receiving about 7 per cent and 6.5 per cent of the outflows from Oman in 2011 and 2010 respectively."

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A Structurally Sick Economy

A Structurally Sick Economy:

"Not much happened in the financial markets overnight. Europe was in the red on renewed concerns over the health of the peripheral nations of Portugal, Spain and Greece. The US backed off a little as everyone awaits ‘the man’ tomorrow, the US dollar was weak and gold was up a little bit…but still below the important US$1,300 threshold.

In short, nothing to see here.

But two data points did catch our eye and go some way towards explaining just what is going on in the world at the moment. They represent an ideological battle of sorts…Keynes versus Hayek, hard money versus soft."

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Neil Smith, Ukraine and Russia Investor, Comments on Trends in Russia - Press Release - Digital Journal

Neil Smith, Ukraine and Russia Investor, Comments on Trends in Russia - Press Release - Digital Journal:

"Neil Smith Ukraine and Russia investor and owner of Eastern Beverage Company, is paying close attention to the Russian market as vodka production is impacted by black market activity. With one of the divisions of his company (Russian Vodka Holding) based in Russia, Smith is extremely interested in how sales of black market vodka are affecting his organization's revenue. Although a recent article published by RT.com cites a dip in legal vodka production by 30 percent, Smith reports that activity at the Eastern Beverage Company is strong due to a solid leadership structure and modern production techniques.
According to the article, "Production volumes have been declining since the beginning of the year, business daily Kommersant reports. The drop was 30.3 percent in January, 25.8 percent in February, 22.1 percent in March, and 17.9 percent in April. Spirits producers attributed the decline to large stocks made at the end of 2012 before a record increase in the excise tax, according to Kommersant [...] The illegal market has been boosted by smuggled vodka from neighboring Kazakhstan, part of the Customers Union, says the vice president of the Russian Standard Igor Kosarev.""

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Harrods Seeks to Be All Things for All People: Retail - Bloomberg

Harrods Seeks to Be All Things for All People: Retail - Bloomberg:

"
Harrods luxury department store in London, on June 24, 2013. Harrods, which has more than 1 million square feet (90,000 square meters) of selling space, isn't concerned about the outlook for spending on luxury goods
Anne Long hasn’t set foot inside Harrods in years, and the self-proclaimed shopaholic from west London doesn’t miss it at all.
“I don’t even think about Harrods. It’s for tourists, not locals,” said Long, a 68-year-old retired businesswoman who prefers to do her jewelry and fashion shopping at rival Selfridges.
For many British shoppers, the 164-year-old Harrods evokes a bygone era when Sigmund Freud, Oscar Wilde and members of Britain’s royal family walked its aisles and the retailer introduced England’s first “moving staircase.” Today, its dress code still bans flip-flops, Bermuda shorts and “unkempt clothing,” and there’s a bespoke stationery service on the second floor. Now, a push is on to update the stuffy image of Europe’s largest department store."

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Kuwaiti consumers go on spending binge as government writes off interest on $2.6bn in loans - The National

Kuwaiti consumers go on spending binge as government writes off interest on $2.6bn in loans - The National:

"Kuwaiti consumer lending is climbing at the fastest pace in more than four years after the state agreed to write-off interest on US$2.6 billion in loans, fueling a spending binge on products from mobile phones to cars.

Bank loans to individuals grew 13.3 per cent in the year to April, the latest figures available and the highest level since November 2008, according to the central bank. That compares with a 5 per cent increase in the UAE, home to the Middle East's shopping hub of Dubai. Consumer lending in Kuwait outstripped companies, which rose 1.7 per cent in the period."

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Strong second-quarter profit growth at United Arab Bank - The National

Strong second-quarter profit growth at United Arab Bank - The National:

"United Arab Bank's (UAB) earnings swelled as its loan book grew by the most in two years.

The Sharjah-based lender, which expects by January to have doubled its branch network compared with two years ago, reported net profits for the first half of Dh260 million.

The results are equivalent to net profits of Dh139.8m for the second quarter, an increase of 18.2 per cent. "Strong growth has been generated by each of our business units," said Paul Trowbridge, the bank's chief executive."

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Banks have a plan to manage debt | GulfNews.com

Banks have a plan to manage debt | GulfNews.com:

"It is essential for the health of the economy that banks extend credit to businesses and governments that can be used for investment and to expand their services.
However, too much exposure to a single company or government entity can potentially be risky for banks. It is a golden rule of business and investment that holdings be diversified and risk is spread as widely and as cost-effectively as possible. One of the causes of the persistent European financial crisis was the large exposure of financial institutions to the debts of governments which were unable to service their loans when they experienced economic problems. These concerns are behind efforts by the UAE Central Bank to restrict lending by commercial banks to state-linked entities and to increase the liquid assets financial institutions must hold to cope with any sudden withdrawal of funds or volatility in the financial system."

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RBI goes for short term rate hike to stem rupee rout | GulfNews.com

RBI goes for short term rate hike to stem rupee rout | GulfNews.com:

"
India’s boldest attempt yet to stem a rout in the rupee delivered only a modest lift in the currency but sent bond and stock prices tumbling on Tuesday, sparking concern that the unexpected measures inflict too much pain for limited gain.
Late on Monday, the Reserve Bank of India raised short-term borrowing costs, restricted funds banks could access and said it would drain cash from the market via a 120 billion rupees ($2 billion) bond sale as it sought to create demand for the rupee , which hit a record low last week.
The steps make it harder to speculate in the rupee and are intended to attract foreign inflows needed to fund a record current account deficit, but markets were not convinced."

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NBAD launches 1 billion euro French CD programme | GulfNews.com

NBAD launches 1 billion euro French CD programme | GulfNews.com:

"National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD), the emirate’s biggest lender said on Tuesday it has launched a €1 billion French Certificate of Deposit (CD) programme which offers greater diversification to institutional investors and corporate treasuries.
“The maximum amount to purchase under this program is 1 billion euro. The interest rate depends on maturity period (from 1 day to 1 year), and the currency it is issued under. The rate would be aligned with other short-term papers issued by NBAD, such as Euro-CP or London CD,” NBAD said in a statement.
It added: “The multi-currency CD is issued under the STEP (Short Term European Papers) label, giving the program eligibility as collateral for European Central Bank operations. The CD, which is offered in euro, British pounds, US dollars and Swiss francs, is a short-term program with a maturity of up to 365 days.”"

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Weapons services firm lands UAE deal - BelfastTelegraph.co.uk

Weapons services firm lands UAE deal - BelfastTelegraph.co.uk:

"A BELFAST-based company which helps the police, military and security firms keep a handle on their equipment is making big sales in the UK and Middle East.

DM Innovations offers services including intellectual property protection, product development, prototyping and manufacturing and licensing. It has secured orders to supply a coiled lanyard product to customers in the United Arab Emirates and Scotland.

The company has offices in Titanic Quarter Belfast and uses manufacturing and prototyping facilities in China and Taiwan."

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UPDATE 1-Oman's Bank Dhofar aims for merger talks with smaller peer | Reuters

UPDATE 1-Oman's Bank Dhofar aims for merger talks with smaller peer | Reuters:

"Oman's Bank Dhofar has approached smaller peer Bank Sohar with a view to merging to create Oman's second-largest bank, Dhofar said on Tuesday, sending shares in both banks higher.

Bank Sohar could not immediately be reached for comment. Bank Dhofar said in its bourse filing that the deal would be dependent on Sohar being interested, as well as on both sets of shareholders and sector regulators agreeing.

The new entity would have total assets worth 4.13 billion rials ($10.73 billion), according to first-quarter financial statements, and a market capitalisation of around $1.76 billion."

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Seawater and solar grow crops in the desert - CNN.com

Seawater and solar grow crops in the desert - CNN.com:

"
The violet plant, Limonium axillare, takes salt up from the soil and excretes it through its leaves, a process that could be used to desalinate soil.
In the scorching desert of Qatar, scientists are showing that saltwater can be used to help grow crops.
A one hectare research initiative known as the Sahara Forest Project -- modest in size, but not in ambition -- has produced a harvest of barley, cucumbers and arugula in the last few months using a mix of ingredients not usually associated with successful agriculture: seawater and Qatar's ample supply of heat.
Conceived in Norway, the first-ever Sahara Forest Project facility launched last November to coincide with the United Nations Climate Conference e(COP18) in Doha. It implements a range of cutting-edge environmentally-friendly technologies that takes the things that Qatar has in excess -- heat and seawater -- and converts them into a range of valuable resources."

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How can the EU keep its Eastern neighbours looking Westwards? — Debating Europe

How can the EU keep its Eastern neighbours looking Westwards? — Debating Europe:


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Saudi Gazette - Saudi stock benchmark ticks up despite weak petrochem earnings

Saudi Gazette - Saudi stock benchmark ticks up despite weak petrochem earnings:

"The Saudi stock market managed to recover from 15-month low Tuesday as the benchmark Tadawul All Share Index inched up 0.05 percent to close at 7,703.25 points, though the petrochemical shares extended losses on weak quarterly earnings.

Saudi Basic Industries Corp slipped 0.5 percent. Its subsidiary, Saudi Kayan, posted below-forecast earnings, following the trend of two sister companies. Kayan, which reported a narrower loss but failed to match estimates, fell 2.6 percent.

Saudi Arabia Fertilizers Co, which missed estimates with an 11.6 percent profit decline on Sunday, slumped 4.6 percent, its third straight loss."

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Saudi Gazette - Qatar bids to become region’s finance center

Saudi Gazette - Qatar bids to become region’s finance center:

"Qatar is bidding to become the Gulf region’s financial hub, introducing a new regulatory framework for financial institutions and other initiatives to facilitate growth in the banking sector.

The MEED Qatar Banking Summit 2013, to be held on Sept. 9-11, 2013 at the Renaissance Doha City Centre Hotel, will gather over 100 senior decision-makers from leading domestic and international lenders, insurance and financial institutions to discuss the roadmap for achieving its goal of becoming a financial powerhouse in the region.

The conference is supported by Qatar Central Bank, Qatar Financial Market Authority and Qatar Financial Centre Regulatory Authority."

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Abu Dhabi: Looking to add derivatives trades | Oxford Business Group

Abu Dhabi: Looking to add derivatives trades | Financial Services | UAE: Abu Dhabi | Oxford Business Group:

"As Abu Dhabi looks to develop its capital markets, it has again raised discussions of establishing a Gulf Derivatives Exchange, while an upgrade for the UAE to emerging market status is likely to boost the bourse’s international profile and attract more institutional investors.

The GCC-wide exchange was first proposed nearly a decade ago but was shelved in the wake of the global financial crisis, in part because risky derivatives trades were viewed as a main cause of the economic collapse.

"As a result [of the crisis] we decided to re-prioritise and shift [the exchange] back to its proper time. We're not close to it now, and we're delaying it until it's the right time,” Rashed Al Baloushi, the CEO of the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX), told local media in 2010."

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Ukraine's budget deficit jumps threefold in January-June: official -- Shanghai Daily

Ukraine's budget deficit jumps threefold in January-June: official -- Shanghai Daily | 上海日报 -- English Window to China New:

"Ukraine's budget deficit jumped threefold from a year earlier in the first six months of 2013, a senior financial official said here Tuesday.

The budget gap stood at nearly 2.81 billion U.S. dollars in January-June, against 838 million dollars in the same period last year, said Tatiana Sysoeva, chief of Financial Policy Department of the Finance Ministry.

"In the first half of 2013, the budget deficit has shrunk significantly, but not so massively as expected," he told a round table here.

Ukraine's fiscal revenue in the first half of 2013 rose 0.8 percent year-on-year to reach nearly 17.8 billion dollars, he said.

Ukraine has projected its 2013 deficit at 6.3 billion dollars or 3.2 percent of the gross domestic product."

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