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Friday, 2 August 2013

Why I buy stocks - Chuck Jaffe - MarketWatch

Why I buy stocks - Chuck Jaffe - MarketWatch:

"KIEV, Ukraine (MarketWatch) — The question was so simple it startled me: “Why do you take the chance?”

I was speaking to a group of journalists at a program presented by the Foundation for Effective Government here this week, discussing risk, investments and the workings of the market, when someone wanted an explanation for why anyone in America — but specifically me — puts my money into stocks.

What had become eminently clear was that they — the journalists, and to a much greater extent the people in Ukraine (at least everyone I talked with, from cab driver to hotel clerk to tour guide, shopkeeper and more) — do not take that chance."

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Turkey: pity the poor refiner | beyondbrics

Turkey: pity the poor refiner | beyondbrics:

"It’s difficult not to feel sympathy for the management of Tupras, Turkey’s sole oil refiner.

For the past two years the company has been walking the tightrope between the Turkish and US government positions on its crude imports from Iran, which at their peak of 9.25 million tonnes in 2011 accounted for more than half of the crude it processed.

On the one hand, the Turkish government seemed content to accept the crude at a small discount on market prices which it could then pass on to Turkish consumers, and at the same time gain some leverage in Tehran. On the other, the US has continually pressed for Turkey to join the international embargo and end crude imports from Iran."

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Dubai borrowers seek to cash in on recovery | Reuters

Dubai borrowers seek to cash in on recovery | Reuters:

"Several of Dubai's government-related entities want to cash in on the improvement in sentiment towards Dubai Inc by asking existing creditors to give them better rates or by turning to the bond markets.

Companies such as Emaar Properties, Nakheeland Jebel Ali Free Zone Authority all want to renegotiate loan contracts that were drawn up at a time when there was substantial concern about the future of Dubai.

"A lot of these deals were signed when spreads were higher and market conditions were less favourable. Some Dubai GREs now have the option to issue bonds and sukuk [at better rates] instead," said Ahmad Alanani of the fixed income desk at boutique investment firm Exotix."

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Lithuania: fracking gets trickier | beyondbrics

Lithuania: fracking gets trickier | beyondbrics:

Shale gas and oil have more than usual appeal for Lithuania, where the government is eager to reduce its dependence on imports from Russia.

But a combination of environmental protests and government plans to hike royalties to the highest level in the world are creating daunting obstacles to investment. Chevron, the US oil major, could be the first to baulk at the new barriers.

At issue is a tender for the exploration and production of non-traditional hydrocarbons in the Silute-Taurage block in the western part of the country, bordering on the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad. The tender appears to have hit stalemate.


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Turkey’s Karadeniz: taking power to the people who need it | beyondbrics

Turkey’s Karadeniz: taking power to the people who need it | beyondbrics:

"As the French author Victor Hugo put it: “All the forces in the world are not as powerful as an idea whose time has come.”

Hugo died long before electricity became commonplace in Europe’s major cities, but his aphorism could easily be applied to electricity itself – and even to Turkey’s Karadeniz Holding, which has come up with a novel and successful means of taking power to parts of the world where existing supply has problems meeting growing demand.

Simply: take one cargo ship, bulk carrier, barge or similar craft; remove unnecessary cargo handling equipment; and install generators and transformers in the hold.

Next, dispatch your newly created “Powership” to anywhere with a ready supply of fuel oil or natural gas and a ready market for electricity.

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The week ahead: Experimenting with drugs

World Bank could issue $800 m to Ukraine if cooperation with IMF renewed, says economy ministry

World Bank could issue $800 m to Ukraine if cooperation with IMF renewed, says economy ministry:

"The World Bank could issue systemic loans to finance the national budget worth a total of $800 million to Ukraine if the country renews cooperation with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), according to the Web site of the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade.

According to the report, World Bank Director for Belarus, Ukraine and Moldova Qimiao Fan said this at a meeting with Economic Development and Trade Minister Ihor Prasolov.

According to Prasolov, the government intends to continue its dialogue with the IMF about the beginning of a new Stand-By Arrangement, and is counting on the support of the World Bank in preparing new systemic projects to finance the national budget and implement structural reforms."

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WIG-Ukraine and UX indices begin August underwater

Concorde Capital provides more information Ukrainian stock activity in its daily market comment:

“Ukrainian equities kicked off the new month sliding deeper into volatility on Thursday, August 1. The WIG Ukraine Index of Warsaw-traded stocks declined 0.9% despite gains in Europe and Russia. Leading the declines was a particularly volatile stock, farming company Agroton (AGT PW -6.5%), which has had sharp hikes and drops recently. Investors were gloomy on the Index’s most popular stock, grain trader Kernel (KER PW -2.1%), which has fallen 5.3% in three straight losing sessions. In positive activity, the typically volatile shares of Coal Energy (CLE PW) surged 23.8%, extending their gain to 46.2% in three straight positive sessions. Beyond the Index, traders remained upbeat on Serinus Energy (SEN PW 3.5%), putting its two-day jump at 15.6% after the company announced it found a potential oil deposit. In London, shares of egg producer Avangard (AVGR LI +5.6%) extended their roller coaster ride. Robust Chinese purchasing manager data fueled demand for iron ore miner Ferrexpo (FXPO LN +2.8%). An oasis of stability was the Ukrainian Exchange (UX) Index of Kyiv-traded stocks, which slid 0.1%. Its biggest mover was Raiffeisen Bank Aval (BAVL UK +1.2%).”

Guest post: Romania – so far, so good but more must be done | beyondbrics

Guest post: Romania – so far, so good but more must be done | beyondbrics:

Positive developments in Romania are turning the country into something of an investor darling.

With economic growth in the first quarter of 2.2 per cent year-on-year, Romania was one of the best performing economies in the EU. Full-year, economic expansion of at least 2 per cent looks perfectly feasible, making Romania a star performer among its regional peers.

What’s behind the good news?"

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India FDI in retail: what’s changed? | beyondbrics

India FDI in retail: what’s changed? | beyondbrics:

India has long struggled with its rules on foreign direct investment, especially in retail. There have been street protests over retail giants such as Walmart entering the country, as small retailers worry about the impact. And the reforms have been something of a mess, prompting as many questions as answers.

So did amendments announced on Thursday to FDI policy in retail clarify anything?

Three clauses of India’s “consolidated FDI policy” were amended. The changes to the April 5 FDI document are subtle, but taken together could help allay foreign investors’ concerns – and some of those of Indian retailers. Perhaps."

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Naftogaz Subsidies Bleed Ukraine as Yanukovych Options Dwindle - Bloomberg

Naftogaz Subsidies Bleed Ukraine as Yanukovych Options Dwindle - Bloomberg:

"Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych sees state-run NAK Naftogaz Ukrainy delivering energy independence. International lenders see the company as a money pit that posted losses for six of the past eight years.
Naftogaz, Ukraine’s biggest employer with 175,000 workers, received more than $6 billion of subsidies in domestic bonds from 2009 to 2012 as regulated gas prices and expensive Russian energy imports led to losses. Handouts to the company, whose pipelines carry about 25 percent of Europe’s gas imports, prevented Ukraine from balancing its budget over the past decade in a nation whose graft ranking is on par with Syria, according to data compiled by Berlin-based Transparency International."

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Ukraine to sign natural gas production deal with foreign consortium : Ukraine News by UNIAN

Ukraine to sign natural gas production deal with foreign consortium : Ukraine News by UNIAN:

"Kiev is planning to sign a production- sharing agreement (PSA) for gas exploration with a group of companies led by the U.S. energy giant Exxon Mobil and the Royal Dutch Shell in autumn, Ukrainian senior official said here Thursday, according to Xinhua.
"We are working and there is progress. We expect to sign the PSA by the mid-fall,"the Adviser to the country's Minister of Ecology and Natural Resources Volodymyr Ignashchenko told journalists.
Kiev picked the consortium, which also includes Romania's Petrom Company and Ukraine's state-run Nadra firm, to explore the Skifska gas field in the Ukrainian part of the Black Sea in August, 2012.
The Skifska gas field with estimated reserves of 250 million cubic meters of gas is expected to produce at least 3 billion cubic meters annually.
The project, whose total cost has been estimated by the government at 10 billion U.S. dollars, may help Ukraine reduce its heavy dependence on gas imports from Russia, which cost around 400 dollars per 1,000 meters in the third quarter of 2013."

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Iran's top Asian clients slash further oil imports - The National

Iran's top Asian clients slash further oil imports - The National:

"Iran's top four oil clients have cut their imports from the Middle Eastern nation by more than a fifth in the first six months of the year, but are soon to face increased pressure from the United States to reduce shipments still further.

The cuts by China, India, Japan and South Korea point to the United States' and European Union's success in reducing Tehran's vital oil cash flows as they try to force Iran to halt a disputed nuclear programme. Oil shipments from Iran are down about 60 per cent on average compared to pre-sanction levels.

US lawmakers now want to further toughen the measures that have cost Iran billions of dollars a month in lost revenue, with a goal to squeeze exports to a trickle."

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Tabreed cools off debt while quarterly profits rise by 37% - The National

Tabreed cools off debt while quarterly profits rise by 37% - The National:

"Tabreed, the world’s largest district cooling company, reduced debt and increased profits by more than a third in the second quarter in spite of lower sales.

Net profit at the company, which is partially owned by Mubadala, increased 37 per cent to Dh79.4 million during the three months from April compared with the same period the previous year, while group revenues fell 6 per cent to Dh278m.

Tabreed, which provides chilled water-based cooling to buildings and developments such as Dubai’s Metro, said the reduction in revenues was part of its long-term strategy to wind down its less profitable non-core businesses such as pipe manufacturing."

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Mena takes a prominent role in accelerating adoption of renewable energy |

Mena takes a prominent role in accelerating adoption of renewable energy |

Solar project at Masdar City, Abu Dhabi. There are over 100 projects in the region which would witness a 450 per cent increase in non-hydro renewable energy generating capacity.
The Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region is rapidly developing its abundant renewable energy resources due to strong demographic growth, rapid urbanisation, and an expanding economy, which had enabled the countries to experience a strong growth in demand for energy and electricity, the (Mena) Renewables Status Report by World Future Energy Summit, shows.
“Signs suggest a significant shift in the region’s diversification efforts over the next decade, especially in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries with new investment in renewables in the region totaling Dh10.6 billion ($2.9 billion) by end of 2012, an increase of almost 40 per cent over 2011 and a 650 per cent increase from 2004 with entrance of some of the world’s largest energy players, especially national and international oil and gas companies, into the solar market,” the report revealed.
The report showed there are over 100 projects under development, in the region which would witness a 450 per cent increase in non-hydro renewable energy generating capacity in the next few years.

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Dubai Islamic Bank net profit up 25 per cent in first half of year |

Dubai Islamic Bank net profit up 25 per cent in first half of year |

"Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB) recorded a net profit of Dh739 million in the first half of this year, up 25 per cent from Dh592 million during the same time a year ago.
Net profit for the second quarter of this year reached Dh437 million, up 31 per cent from compared to Dh334 million registered during the corresponding time last year.
Net revenue for the first half of the year amounted to Dh2.1 billion, an increase of 10 per cent from Dh1.9 billion recorded during the same period in 2012."

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Potash’s $20 Billion Market Transformed by Uralkali - Bloomberg

Potash’s $20 Billion Market Transformed by Uralkali - Bloomberg:

"For the first time in eight years, the $20 billion global market for the crop nutrient potash is set to become freely traded.
In a surprise announcement yesterday, OAO Uralkali (URKA), the biggest supplier of the commodity, said it decided to end production restrictions that underpinned global prices and suspend a venture with a Belarusian miner that controlled exports from the former Soviet Union.
Shares of Uralkali and its biggest competitors -- Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan Inc., Mosaic Co. (MOS) and Israel Chemicals Ltd. (ICL) -- fell for a second day. They tumbled as much as 24 percent yesterday as investors anticipated supply overwhelming demand."

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Egypt Unexpectedly Cuts Rate for First Time Since 2009 - Bloomberg

Egypt Unexpectedly Cuts Rate for First Time Since 2009 - Bloomberg:

"Egypt’s central bank unexpectedly lowered its benchmark interest rate for the first time since 2009 in a bid to revive economic growth amid political unrest.
The Monetary Policy Committee, headed by Governor Hisham Ramez, lowered the overnight deposit and lending rates by 50 basis points, or 0.5 of a percentage point, to 9.25 percent and to 10.25 percent, according to a statement on its website. All six economists in a Bloomberg survey had forecast the central bank would keep the deposit rate unchanged."

'via Blog this' | As Armenia Walks Tightrope Between Russia And EU, Public Opinion May Be Shifting | Partnerstwo Wschodnie | Eastern Partnership (EaP):

Armenians protest a rise in public-transport fares in Yerevan on July 28, just one sign that the usual attitude toward Moscow may be changing the South Caucasus country.
For nearly a week now, several dozen youth activists have held a nonstop sit-in outside the office of Yerevan's mayor, protesting a rise in public-transit fares and demanding the dismissal of the officials who implemented them. 

The sit-in comes in the wake of much larger protests against the price rise, which the government says became necessary after Russia sharply increased rates for natural gas.

The simmering tensions prompted an unusually prickly comment from Razmik Zohrabian, deputy chairman of the ruling Republican Party, who told RFE/RL's Armenian Service that the protesters "are being used to cause trouble in Armenia."

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BBC News - US embassies to shut on Sunday over 'security threat'

BBC News - US embassies to shut on Sunday over 'security threat':

"The US will close a number of embassies and consulates, mostly in the Middle East, on Sunday in response to an unspecified threat, officials say.

A state department spokeswoman said the order applied to any embassy or consulate normally open on Sunday.

In the Muslim world, Sunday is a work day. In other parts of the world US diplomatic offices are shut on Sunday."

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Saudi Gazette - Dubai Investments PJSC net profit surges 116% in first half of 2013

Saudi Gazette - Dubai Investments PJSC net profit surges 116% in first half of 2013:

"Dubai Investments PJSC, the largest investment company listed on the Dubai Financial Market, says that its net profit in the first six months of 2013 has surged by 116 percent compared with the similar period last year.

The company reported a net profit of AED370 million in the six-month period ending June 30, compared with AED 171 million in the first half of 2012. Consolidated total income for the first half of 2013 was higher at AED1.29 billion, as against AED 1.12 billion in the same period last year.

The company also announced that its total assets until June 30, 2013 stood at AED12.58 billion, while net worth increased to AED8.6 billion. The annualized return on share capital achieved for the period was 20.7 percent, with 9 percent for the entire 2012."

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