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Monday, 26 August 2013

PressTV - Iran, Oman sign heads of agreement on gas

PressTV - Iran, Oman sign heads of agreement on gas:

"Iran and Oman have signed heads of agreement on the export of Iranian gas to the Persian Gulf state which will accelerate the implementation of previous agreements in this regard.

The heads of agreement was signed between Iran’s Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh and Omani Minister of Oil and Gas Mohammed bin Hamad Al Rumhy in the Iranian capital Tehran on Monday night.

Under the heads of agreement, both sides agreed to start the construction of the pipeline carrying Iran’s gas to Oman in a short period. "

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What foreign investors might expect from Saudi Arabia’s $400 billion stock market - Quartz

What foreign investors might expect from Saudi Arabia’s $400 billion stock market - Quartz:


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New Europe pipeline to curb Moldova's need for Russian gas | Reuters

New Europe pipeline to curb Moldova's need for Russian gas | Reuters:

"* Pipeline can provide up to one third of Moldova's needs

* Commission providing seven million euro grant

Aug 26 (Reuters) - Moldova will move closer to cutting its complete reliance on natural gas from Russia on Tuesday, with the inauguration of its first pipeline link to European Union supplies.

To curb Russia's dominance of the European energy market, the European Union has been working to diversify its own sources of gas and also those of neighbouring states.

"This is a historic day - we are celebrating that Moldova will be directly connected to the EU gas market. This will enhance its energy security and reduce its dependence from the only supplier it has now," EU Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger said in a statement ahead of Tuesday's inauguration."

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Dubai pay TV firm OSN buys Pehla Media & Entertainment | Reuters

Dubai pay TV firm OSN buys Pehla Media & Entertainment | Reuters:

"Dubai-based pay-TV network OSN on Monday said it had acquired Pehla Media & Entertainment, which offers nearly 40 channels in a variety of South Asian languages in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), for an undisclosed sum.

The region is home to millions of expatriate workers from India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh and OSN Pehla will now be available across OSN's 24-country footprint in MENA.

Pehla channels broadcast in Hindi, Urdu, Bengali, Tamil and Malayalam.

"OSN Pehla now gives us the opportunity to reach out to one of the largest demographics in MENA," David Butorac, OSN's chief executive told a news conference in Dubai."

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Taqa pulls out $12b investment from Turkey power projects | GulfNews.com

Taqa pulls out $12b investment from Turkey power projects | GulfNews.com:

"Abu Dhabi National Energy Co (Taqa) confirmed on Monday that it is withdrawing its $12 billion (Dh44.07 billion) investment in Turkey.
Taqa had signed an agreement with Turkey in January to invest $12 billion to develop coal fields in Southern Turkey.
“Taqa was supposed to invest $12 billion in the construction and modernisation of thermal power plants [TPPs] in Turkey,” a source at Taqa said.
The construction and commissioning of those thermal power plants in Turkey’s Afsin-Elbistan region would have created more than 10,000 jobs."

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Ballmer's resignation not well timed



Energy groups rethink commitment to Egypt - FT.com

Energy groups rethink commitment to Egypt - FT.com:

"For oil companies operating in Egypt, the ouster of President Mohamed Morsi and the bloody clashes that followed were so much background noise. Egypt’s oil and gas fields continued to produce as if nothing had happened.
But the oil sector’s outward complacency masks a deep disquiet. Amid spiralling economic problems, the government in Cairo is falling badly behind in its payments to foreign energy groups for the oil and gas they produce: some estimates suggest it could owe them at least $5bn. And much of that is overdue.
That has prompted some companies to reassess their commitment to the country. “They’re putting on hold any expansion in Egypt, because they’re just not getting paid,” said one senior executive at an oil company with operations there."

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Moroccan Homebuilders Singing for Sales as Cash Dries Up - Bloomberg

Moroccan Homebuilders Singing for Sales as Cash Dries Up - Bloomberg:

"Khaled is crooning about love again. This time the Algerian-born singer is telling Moroccan TV viewers of his affection for a new apartment by local real estate developer Douja Promotion Groupe Addoha SA, rather than a girl who doesn’t care.
In another TV ad, Bollywood film star Shah Rukh Khan is singing the praises of a home from Espaces Saada, a smaller builder.
Behind the catchy tunes and lavish sets, the developers don’t have much to sing about. Alliances Developpement Immobilier SA, Morocco’s second-biggest builder, and Addoha, its largest, are both asking investors to accept shares instead of dividends this month -- a first for Moroccan homebuilders -- as tighter credit hurts demand for low-cost housing and prompts the companies to hoard cash in anticipation of a lengthy slowdown."

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Russian stock market falls amid bad news from Uralkali | Russia Beyond The Headlines

Russian stock market falls amid bad news from Uralkali | Russia Beyond The Headlines:

"The Russian stock market kicked off the week on a decline, led by Uralkali (RTS: URKA) shares, which nosedived on the news that the company's CEO had been arrested.
By Monday evening, the MICEX stock index had fallen 0.4 percent to 1387.06 points, and the RTS index had decreased 0.5 percent to 1324.48 points.
The majority of benchmark stocks on the Moscow Exchange (RTS: MOEX) fell by up to 1.6 percent, led by Uralkali (-3.4 percent) and followed by Gazprom Neft (RTS: SIBN) (-2 percent).
Monday's winners were VTB (RTS: VTBR) (+0.2 percent), Novatek (RTS: NVTK) (+0.4 percent), and Rosneft (RTS: ROSN) (+0.1 percent)."

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$570M Disappeared in Gazprom Construction Projects | Business | The Moscow Times

$570M Disappeared in Gazprom Construction Projects | Business | The Moscow Times:

"Nineteen billion rubles ($570 million) spent by Gazprom on infrastructure in Russia's Far East has been squandered, because the builders used different designs and cheaper materials than specified in the plans upon which contracts were signed, Vedomosti reported.

Gazprom has built more than 70 railway bridges at a cost of more than 130 billion rubles to aid the exploitation of gas fields in the Yamal-Nenets autonomous district.

According to a Vedomosti investigation, the bridges that were built are worth an estimated 19 billion rubles — or 15 percent — less, as construction firms in up to 26 cases deviated from the agreed designs.

Many of the companies responsible for the money-saving shortcuts have links with top managers at Gazprom, Vedomosti said.

The gas monopoly has declined to comment."

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MIDEAST STOCKS-Regional bourses retreat on Syria tension | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Regional bourses retreat on Syria tension | Reuters:

"Regional markets retreated in a much-awaited profit-taking move but it was worsened by rising geo-political uncertainty after last week's reported chemical weapons attack in Syria.

U.N. inspectors on Monday travelled to a rebel-held suburb of the Syrian capital where they met and collected samples from victims of the attack, a Syrian doctor told Reuters. The visit follows calls from Western powers for military action to punish what may be the world's worst chemical attack in 25 years.

Saudi Arabia and Qatar's bourses corrected sharply.

The Saudi kingdom's benchmark fell 0.9 percent to 8,055 points, its biggest one-day drop since June 16 - the previous instance of heightened political tension around Syria on reports of the military's use of chemical weapons."

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Dubai's DAE in talks to merge some assets with BBA Aviation | Reuters

Dubai's DAE in talks to merge some assets with BBA Aviation | Reuters:

"Dubai Aerospace Enterprise (DAE), owner of U.S.-based engine repair and maintenance business StandardAero, is in talks to merge parts of its business with British aircraft services firm BBA Aviation (BBA.L), it said on Monday.

Dubai government-owned DAE said the talks were at a preliminary stage and gave no further details.

Its statement came after the Sunday Times newspaper reported BBA was holding talks with StandardAero over a 2.7 billion pound ($4.2 billion) tie-up.

The paper said DAE was seeking 1.3 billion pounds for StandardAero, which it bought six years ago."

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Uralkali Chief Detained in Belarus | Business | The Moscow Times

Uralkali Chief Detained in Belarus | Business | The Moscow Times:

"The head of Russia's largest potash producer Uralkali has been detained in Belarus, Russian news agencies reported Monday, escalating friction between the two ex-Soviet neighbors after the collapse of a joint sales pact.

Vladislav Baumgertner, also a supervisory board member at the Belarus Potash Company, or BPC, was held by the Belarussian Investigative Committee on suspicion of abusing his position and official powers, RIA Novosti reported.

Uralkali pulled out of the BPC partnership at the end of July, hitting shares in potash firms and raising the prospect of aggressive competition in a market where a few suppliers have long been able to command high prices for the soil nutrient.

The Russian company declined immediate comment, and the Belarus Investigative Committee, the country's top crime-fighting body, also could not be reached for immediate comment."

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Qatar Shares Fall Most in 19 Months After Reaching 5-Year High - Bloomberg

Qatar Shares Fall Most in 19 Months After Reaching 5-Year High - Bloomberg:

"Qatari stocks slid the most since January 2012 as some investors sold shares of the gas-rich nation after the benchmark index reached a five-year high earlier this month.
Qatar National Bank SAQ, the Gulf country’s biggest bank, fell to the lowest this month, and Qatar Gas Transport Co., an operator of vessels to transport liquefied natural gas, dropped the most since March. The QE Index fell 1.8 percent to 9,898.54 at the end of trading, trimming the gain for the year to 18 percent. The measure had closed at 10,109.5 on Aug. 22, the highest since September 2008.
Qatar’s stock market, along with those in neighboring United Arab Emirates, was upgraded to emerging-market status in June by MSCI Inc., fueling speculation foreign investors will channel more funds into these countries. The QE Index has risen 5.8 percent since the decision on June 11, compared with a 1.8 percent drop for the MSCI Emerging Markets Index."

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Iraq blames Shell for $4.6 billion lost income - Your Middle East

Iraq blames Shell for $4.6 billion lost income - Your Middle East:

"Iraq's oil ministry, struggling with sputtering output, has blamed Anglo-Dutch energy giant Shell over $4.6 billion in lost revenue due to production delays, in a letter seen by AFP Monday.

The document, dated July 21, 2013, sharply criticises the foreign energy firm for shortfalls in oil extraction at the giant Majnoon field in south Iraq, and comes as oil exports have fallen to their lowest level in 16 months even as Baghdad has looked to cement its role as a key global energy producer.

It indicates growing frustration within the government over oil exports, which account for the lion's share of state revenues -- a dispute with the northern Kurdish region has suspended expected sales from there, and sales via a pipeline through to Turkey have markedly dipped compared to previous years."

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FINANCE - Turkish Lira continues sinking amid Central Bank’s auction moves

FINANCE - Turkish Lira continues sinking amid Central Bank’s auction moves:

"The U.S. dollar continued its high flight this morning, again rising in excess of 2.00 Turkish Liras despite the Turkish Central Bank’s efforts to prevent the currency’s slide.

The Turkish currency first fell to 2.00 liras to the dollar last week before slightly increasing in value. It started today at 1.99 liras before again climbing to over 2.00 liras at 11:53 a.m.

The stock market was also flat at the opening before falling 0.23 percent. The main share index of the country, BIST 100, was also trading at 67,779 points by midday.

Turkey’s two-year bond yield also reached its highest figure since June 2012 at 10.12 percent this morning."

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Alitalia in talks with Etihad on commercial deal - report | Reuters

Alitalia in talks with Etihad on commercial deal - report | Reuters:

"Italian airline Alitalia is in talks with Etihad Airways on a commercial deal that may even lead to the Abu Dhabi-based carrier taking a stake in the money-losing Italian company, daily il Sole 24 Ore reported on Saturday.

Neither Alitalia nor Etihad could immediately be reached for comment.

Citing unnamed sources, the paper said there had been several meetings in recent weeks between managers at both companies, including recently appointed Alitalia Chief Executive Gabriele del Torchio."

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Abu Dhabi's TAQA delays $12 bln Turkey coal power plant construction | Reuters

Abu Dhabi's TAQA delays $12 bln Turkey coal power plant construction | Reuters:

"Abu Dhabi National Energy Co (TAQA), the state-owned oil explorer and power supplier, has delayed plans to start construction of coal-fired power plants in Turkey to 2014, citing other spending priorities.

Turkey's state-owned Electricity Generation Co and TAQA agreed in January on a project worth up to $12 billion to build several power plants using the lignite coal reserves of Turkey's Afsin-Elbistan region.

The project was initially planned to kick off in mid-2013, a spokesman for TAQA said on Monday."

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Dubai house prices surge by 31% in first half and rents by 11%, can this continue? « ArabianMoney

Dubai house prices surge by 31% in first half and rents by 11%, can this continue? « ArabianMoney:

"Estate agent Cluttons says that Dubai house prices surged by 31 per cent in the first half of 2013 and rents went up by an average of 11 per cent in the city. Prices fell by 50 per cent in the global financial crisis and remain 31 per cent off the peak of the boom.

Is this price spike sustainable? Normally this sort of price increase in any asset class would be seen as an unsustainable spike and an asset price bubble? Is Dubai different this time around?"

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Tap Oil Releases Manora Oil Development Update Eurasia Review

Tap Oil Releases Manora Oil Development Update Eurasia Review:

"Tap Oil Limited released Sunday  an update on the Manora oil development project in the Northern Gulf of Thailand (TAP 30% interest).

Mubadala Petroleum, the Operator of the Manora joint venture, has provided preliminary advice of an approximately 13% expected cost increase on the Manora oil development project from the cost forecast at Final Investment Decision (FID) in July 2012.

The total overall project cost of US$246 million (gross and including contingency) forecast at FID has increased to US$278 million (with a reduced contingency); a US$32 million (gross) increase. For Tap, this represents an additional cost of US$9.6 million over the US$87 million announced at FID."

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What is Shadow Banking? | PRAGMATIC CAPITALISM @cullenroche

What is Shadow Banking? | PRAGMATIC CAPITALISM:

"There is much confusion about what shadow banking is and why it might create systemic risks. This column presents shadow banking as ‘all financial activities, except traditional banking, which require a private or public backstop to operate’. The idea that shadow banking is something that needs a backstop changes how we think about regulation. Although it won’t be easy, regulation is possible.

There is much confusion about what shadow banking is. Some equate it with securitisation, others with non-traditional bank activities, and yet others with non-bank lending. Regardless, most think of shadow banking as activities that can create systemic risk. This column proposes to describe shadow banking as ‘all financial activities, except traditional banking, which require a private or public backstop to operate’.

Backstops can come in the form of franchise value of a bank or insurance company, or a government guarantee. The need for a backstop is a crucial feature of shadow banking, which distinguishes it from the “usual” intermediated capital market activities, such as custodians, hedge funds, leasing companies, etc."

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Can Temple Gold Help The Rupee? - India Real Time - WSJ

Can Temple Gold Help The Rupee? - India Real Time - WSJ:

"
Agence France-Presse/Getty Images
The Padmanabhaswamy Temple in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, where enormous quantities of gold were found in the vaults in July 2011.
At a time when nothing seems to be able to stem the Indian rupee’s decline, a novel idea to boost the currency is doing the rounds: use the tons of gold stashed away in people’s homes and in temples.

The rupee sank to an all-time low of 65.56 for one U.S. dollar on Thursday (before recovering slightly Friday,) partly on fears that India will find it tough to finance its wide current-account deficit; the gap reflects the fact that India imports more than its exports.

To lower the deficit, the Indian government has announced several steps in recent weeks to reduce its imports, such as raising the import duties on gold."

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Oman’s Sultan Qaboos in Tehran for energy talks - Alarabiya.net English | Front Page

Oman’s Sultan Qaboos in Tehran for energy talks - Alarabiya.net English | Front Page:

"
Sultan Qaboos of Oman, arrived in Iran Sunday. (File photo: AFP)
Sultan Qaboos of Oman, the only Gulf leader to maintain good relations with Tehran, arrived in Iran Sunday for a visit focused on economic and diplomatic issues, Iranian authorities said.

Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Abbas Araqchi said “the main focus of the negotiations is boosting energy and economic cooperation”.

During the two-day visit, talks will also look into “regional and international topics, particularly Egypt and Syria,” Araqchi said in comments reported by official news agency IRNA."

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Saudi Gazette - Kingdom economic growth in overdrive

Saudi Gazette - Kingdom economic growth in overdrive:

"As a significant volume of new prime office space starts to enter the Riyadh market, particularly at King Abdullah Financial District (KAFD), and the overall occupancy rate starts to rise, rental rates in general have started to edge downwards and incentives have started to become more widespread, according to the latest Saudi Arabia MarketView by CBRE, the global real estate consultancy firm.

“Headline rents offered at KAFD are high in comparison to existing market norms, but terms are flexible and there is room for negotiation on incentives.  In the existing prime office areas in the southern central areas, office rental rates are starting to come under downward pressure and new supply in these areas is forcing both lower headline rents and more generous incentive packages,” said Mike Williams, Head of Research & Consultancy, CBRE Middle East.

In contrast to both these areas a number of business park projects that have recently emerged in northern Riyadh such as Granada Business Park, ITCC and Riyadh Business Gate have proved extremely popular, notes the CBRE report."

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ECONOMICS - #Turkey Central Bank faces tough week under markets’ gaze

ECONOMICS - Central Bank faces tough week under markets’ gaze:

"All eyes are watching the course of the Turkish Lira, stock and bonds at the beginning of a post-apocalyptic week, wandering whether the tumult that was prompted with the Federal Reserve tapering plans will settle down or not.

The Turkish Central Bank ended last week on the back foot after a rate rise, and intervention on the foreign exchange market, failed again to halt a fall of the lira and share prices, and a rise of the 10-year borrowing rate.

However, as the investors are still confident that the Central Bank will find a way to push down concerns, the analysts expect the tumble to slow down. "

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.:Middle East Online::Pressure for labour reform in Qatar increases amid calls to move World Cup to winter:.

.:Middle East Online::Pressure for labour reform in Qatar increases amid calls to move World Cup to winter:.:

"Activists have stepped up calls for a boycott of the 2022 World Cup if Qatar fails to bring conditions for its majority foreign work force in line with international labour standards. The campaign seeks to exploit potential Qatari vulnerability at a time that world soccer body FIFA gears up to decide whether to move the first World Cup to be held in the Middle East and North Africa from summer to winter.

In a strengthening of the boycott campaign waged since Qatar was awarded World Cup hosting rights in late 2010 by the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), which has 175 million members in 153 countries, Anti-Slavery International this week declared its support for shunning the wealthy Gulf state.

“It would be a dreadful pity and an enormous shame on all of us if we are prepared to participate in a world cup that has been brought to us by slavery,” said Aidan McQuade, the group’s director."

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Emirates NBD, Union National Bank best picks for Shuaa manager - The National

Emirates NBD, Union National Bank best picks for Shuaa manager - The National:

"What is the asset class and geography you are focused on?

Shuaa itself is very focused on the Mena [Middle East and North Africa] region. That's our strength. We didn't do emerging markets, now we do because the UAE and Qatar are emerging markets, but prior to that our only exposure was Morocco and Egypt. We dabble in those peripheral markets, but our focus is Mena markets, that's what we know best. My background is in equities. We have around US$250 million in assets under management."

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Riyadh office rents decline - The National

Riyadh office rents decline - The National:

"Riyadh office rents are starting to fall as a construction boom in Saudi Arabia leads to a glut of new buildings coming onto the market.

Prime office rents in the Saudi capital inched downwards during the first half of the year with the cheapest prime rents falling from about 900 Saudi riyals (Dh881.44) per square metre per year in December to about 800 riyals in June, according to statistics from the property consultancy CBRE.

Areas such as King Abdullah Financial District (KAFD) were particularly affected, CBRE said, and landlords were beginning to offer significant incentives such as rent-free periods to tenants to move in as more new buildings came online."

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Ambitious gas pipeline plan is dilemma for Pakistan - The National

Ambitious gas pipeline plan is dilemma for Pakistan - The National:

"Pakistan is facing a conundrum. Led by the prime minister Nawaz Sharif, the new government is being pressed by the United States not to proceed with a US$7.5 billion gas pipeline project with Iran. But gas imported from Iran could avert the worst power crisis in Pakistan's history.

How can Mr Sharif go ahead with what is considered the country's energy lifeline, without damaging its relations with the US?

The US secretary of state John Kerry, during a recent visit to Islamabad, warned energy-deficient Pakistan that the pipeline project could invoke sanctions on the country."

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DIFC looks to Europe for bigger fund role - The National

DIFC looks to Europe for bigger fund role - The National:

"Dubai's financial free zone is seeking to attract European fund managers as capital floods into the Dubai and Abu Dhabi stock exchanges and returns outpace most other markets worldwide.

The Dubai Financial Services Association has signed agreements with 27 European states including the United Kingdom, Norway and France, allowing regulators to help each other to supervise fund managers operating in Europe and the Dubai International Financial Centre.

The latest agreements, negotiated with the European Securities and Markets Authority, will allow wealth managers in the DIFC to market alternative investments, such as hedge funds, private equity funds and real estate funds to European investors, potentially allowing them to tap into a much bigger pool of capital."

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Investors should exercise caution | GulfNews.com

Investors should exercise caution | GulfNews.com:

"Investors need to carry out strict due diligence before committing to any investment scheme — be it forex trading, savings instrument or any other money-multiplier programme that appears lucrative to them. The latest incident involving more than 200 investors with MMA Forex Online Trading Services is a classic case in point.
The company appears to have a global exposure — at least from its website. But the site does not reveal its physical address or contact details. Its CEO, Malek Naureed Awan, a UK-educated businessman, appears to have had trouble with the law a few times before this incident.
The company invites investors to invest online through its portal, without human intervention, and trade through its online platform. Its website also does not give details of any physical address or contact details — enough to raise eyebrows about its authenticity and credibility. Like most schemes, this allows investors to initially make money and lures them to invest more, before defrauding them. This has almost all the ingredients of a fraudulent scheme. Yet, investors failed to see the loopholes."

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India’s economic woes is of its own making | GulfNews.com

India’s economic woes is of its own making | GulfNews.com:

"India’s imposition of capital controls shows how the prospect of a rollback of US monetary policy is already starting a global war for capital.
India has rolled out a series of capital controls to help support the partially convertible rupee, which has been hammered 13 per cent lower so far this year and stands at an all-time low against the dollar. Besides limits on the amounts Indian individuals and business can shift out of the country, India has banned the duty-free import of flat-screen televisions by airline passengers, a move that has the feel of clutching at straws.
Financial markets have been unimpressed by the moves, which started earlier this year, accelerating a shift in the wrong direction as investors weigh the possibility of further capital controls, perhaps even the capturing of foreign money. To be sure, much of India’s problems are of its own making."

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Market regulators strengthen disclosure rules in Saudi Arabia | GulfNews.com

Market regulators strengthen disclosure rules in Saudi Arabia | GulfNews.com:

"Saudi Arabia’s Capital Market Authority on Sunday detailed strengthened requirements for disclosures made by companies listed on the kingdom’s stock market, saying it wanted to ensure transparency in the Gulf’s largest stock exchange.
The move is the latest in a series of steps to tighten regulation of the roughly $400 billion Saudi exchange ahead of any broader opening up to foreign investors. Saudi analysts and private financial executives familiar with the preparations say there has been no indication of Saudi King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud’s plans on timing of any market opening.
The measures announced by the Capital Market Authority today expand on disclosure rules first adopted in 2006 for companies listed on the Saudi stock exchange, the state-run Saudi Press Agency said."

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