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Monday, 2 September 2013

Russia, UAE, To Team Up To Build Helicopter Drones - Forbes

Russia, UAE, To Team Up To Build Helicopter Drones - Forbes:

"
Russia and the United Arab Emirates plan to retrofit
 this Berkut VL light helicopter into an unmanned combat drone.
A Russian and a United Arab Emirates defense contractor are planning to jointly build an unmanned combat helicopter drone as global military’s become more sci-fi, RIA Novosti newswire reported on Monday.

Russia’s Berkut Aero will reportedly team up with the UAE’s Adcom Systems to take Russia’s Berkut VL helicopter as a model for Russia’s first-ever combat helicopter drone.  The aircraft would be stationed on a Russian aircraft carrier and fly to remote areas, Berkut Aero development director Dmitry Rumyantsev told the wire.

Adcom Systems representative Karim Badir also confirmed to RIA Novosti that the company was considering the Russian chopper as a basis for a new attack drone."

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CEE PMIs: on the up | beyondbrics

CEE PMIs: on the up | beyondbrics:

"Central Europe’s economies are showing strong signs of life, if the crop of manufacturing PMI data released on Monday is anything to go by. The region – which has become the EU’s low-cost workshop – is being lifted by the broader eurozone revival.

For Poland, the Purchasing Managers Index showed manufacturing quickening its pace in August, the second positive month following a 14-month slump. Polish PMI beat expectations, rising to 52.6 from July’s 51.1, where anything above 50 indicates an expansion.

The PMI data comes after a series of other indicators including employment, exports, retail sales and industrial production showed positive trends for the region’s largest economy."

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Guest post: Moldova’s European ambitions | beyondbrics

Guest post: Moldova’s European ambitions | beyondbrics:

"
By Iurie Leanca, Prime Minister of Moldova

Moldova has had a troubled path since gaining independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. Dogged by corruption and uncompetitive Soviet-era industry and management, at least 1m of our citizens have left the country in search of a better life.

But spurred on by our desire for closer integration with the EU, Moldova is beginning to emerge from decades of missed opportunities and relative decline.

Reflecting this, our GDP has grown by an average of 3 per cent each year since 2009 and in that same period we have reduced our budget deficit from -6.4 to -1.3 per cent of GDP in 2012."

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EM selloff overdone, says Chow of Barclays | beyondbrics

EM selloff overdone, says Chow of Barclays | beyondbrics:

"Has the EM sell-off been overdone? Koon Chow, fixed income strategist at Barclays, thinks it has. In a note on Monday titled “Peak pessimism?”, he says 14 straight weeks of outflows from EM bond funds are quite enough and it may now be too late to be adding to EM short positions or scaling up hedges. Investors, he tells beyondbrics, are more exposed to positive surprises than they are to negative ones.

That’s quite a bold call, given the amount of negative sentiment hanging over India and other big emerging markets. Stephen Jen, former head of foreign exchange at Morgan Stanley and now a founding partner at SLJ Marco Partners, told Bloomberg on Monday:

“Whatever selloff you think is reasonable, just double it… It’s the way markets trade: they overshoot.”"

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Bahrain sovereign fund Mumtalakat signs $250 mln loan refinancing | Reuters

Bahrain sovereign fund Mumtalakat signs $250 mln loan refinancing | Reuters:

"Bahrain sovereign fund Mumtalakat [BHMUT.UL] said on Monday it had signed a $250 million loan to help refinance part of a larger five-year facility.

The revolving credit facility covers about half of a $500 million five-year loan which the fund had signed in August 2008. The other half had been partly repaid and partly refinanced over the past two years, the fund said in a statement.

The loan forms part of Mumtalakat's overall financing and funding strategy, Mahmood Al Kooheji, CEO of Mumtalakat, said in the statement.

Five banks - National Bank of Bahrain NATB.BH, Gulf International Bank [GLFBK.UL], BBK BBKB.BH, Jordan's Arab Bank ARBK.AM and Dubai's Mashreq MASB.DU - provided the new loan. The statement gave no other details about the loan."

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MIDEAST STOCKS-Egypt heads declines as caution returns; most Gulf mkts down | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Egypt heads declines as caution returns; most Gulf mkts down | Reuters:

"Egypt's bourse retreated on Monday amid a wider regional decline as worries over an army crackdown against the Muslim Brotherhood worsened an already weak sentiment on geo-political risks from a potential military strike against Syria.

Regional markets recovered some lost ground on Sunday after U.S. President Barack Obama delayed an imminent military strike against Syria, saying he will seek congressional consent. Short-term profit-taking however, dragged prices back down. A strike, if approved, is not expected before mid-September.

"Although short-term pressure has faded for another week or so until there is a resolution from Congress, Egypt is correlated to regional volatility and price swings," said Islam Batrawy, deputy director of sales trading at Egypt's Naeem Brokerage."

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UPDATE 1-Dubai close to sale of Fontainebleau hotel in Miami | Reuters

UPDATE 1-Dubai close to sale of Fontainebleau hotel in Miami | Reuters:

"* Fontainebleau would be second major sale this year

* Proceeds from sale to contribute to debt repayment

* Potential deal seen in few weeks - source

By Mirna Sleiman

DUBAI, Sept 2 (Reuters) - Dubai World is close to selling its 50 percent stake in Miami Beach's landmark Fontainebleau hotel to South Florida developer Turnberry Ltd, three sources aware of the matter said.

The sale will mark an acceleration of asset sales by Dubai World, which needs the proceeds to repay debt. The state entity, which restructured $25 billion of debt in 2011, has already made one major asset disposal this year - the sale of UK logistics warehouse developer Gazeley in June.

The Fontainebleau hotel in Miami Beach in Florida became famous in the 1960s as a playground for stars such as Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley and Jerry Lewis."

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Breaking the "natural law” of gas deliveries: the mechanism of the reverse flows of natural gas in Ukraine and Europe | Eastbook - blog on EU Eastern Partnership

Breaking the "natural law” of gas deliveries: the mechanism of the reverse flows of natural gas in Ukraine and Europe | Eastbook - blog on EU Eastern Partnership:

"At the moment reverse deliveries from Europe enter Ukraine at two points: Drozdovichy, on the Polish border, and Berehove, on the frontier with Hungary. In fact, for January-July 2013 Ukraine imported 0.92 billion cubic meters (bcm) via reverse flows, although this remains a small fraction of the country’s total gas imports (which were 12.07 bcm over the same period.).

Moreover, this mechanism has been successfully used inside the EU energy market as well. European countries are gradually beginning to reduce Gazprom’s monopolistic weight, actively approaching energy diversification building new capacities enabling reverse transportation of gas and revamping existing infrastructure. All these measures are being taken in the face of strong Russian opposition, as the Kremlin views the reversal mechanism to be illegal.

By DOE (www.eia.doe.gov) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
"

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SHUAA Capital appoints David Hunt as CEO | Positions and Promotions

SHUAA Capital appoints David Hunt as CEO | Positions and Promotions:

"
SHUAA Capital psc, a financial services company, announced that it has appointed David Hunt to the role of chief executive officer.

Before joining Gulf Finance as Head of New Markets in 2011 and assuming the role of CEO Saudi Arabia in 2012, Mr. Hunt held various senior and Director-level positions at HSBC Group most recently Head of Regional Insurance at HSBC Bank Middle East.

Prior to this Mr. Hunt was Managing Director and Chairman of the Executive Committee of SABB Takaful, a publicly listed company on the Saudi Stock Exchange. He has more than 20 years financial services experience and extensive regional knowledge."

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Ukraine hailed as 'potentially huge market' for European business: theparliament.com

Ukraine hailed as 'potentially huge market' for European business: theparliament.com:

"A senior Ukrainian government minister has said that the country's much-awaited association agreement with the EU is a "once in a lifetime" opportunity on the path towards deeper European integration.

Speaking exclusively to TheParliament.com, first deputy prime minister Serhiy Arbuzov predicted a two to three per cent growth in Ukraine's gross domestic product if the agreement is signed at a summit later this year.

Arbuzov, who until recently was governor of the national bank of Ukraine, also said the EU stood to gain from any such deal as it would open up a potentially "huge market" for European businesses. "It is a win-win situation," he said, "but this is a once in a lifetime opportunity and one that we must grasp with both hands.""

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Economy minister Prasolov tells UAE businessmen about Ukraine s investment capacity| Ukrinform

Economy minister Prasolov tells UAE businessmen about Ukraine s investment capacity| Ukrinform:

"Ukraine has a number of economic advantages and offers the United Arab Emirates a pragmatic and mutually beneficial cooperation for the joint implementation of investment projects.
Minister of Economic Development and Trade Ihor Prasolov told the Arabic-language newspaper Al Bayan.
"Ukraine has a number of obvious economic advantages, among which - one of the largest markets in Eastern Europe (46 million consumers), it is world's fifth in the number of certified IT specialists, strategically advantageous geographical location, access to four European transport corridors out of ten, one third of the world's black soil," the minister said. With all this, Ukraine offers Emirates a pragmatic and mutually beneficial cooperation for the joint implementation of investment projects,” Prasolov said."

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Exclusive - Qatar bolstering wealth fund team to diversify portfolio - sources - The West Australian

Exclusive - Qatar bolstering wealth fund team to diversify portfolio - sources - The West Australian:

"Qatar's sovereign wealth fund, one of the world's most aggressive investors, is hiring senior bankers and industry executives to lessen the fund's reliance on Europe and diversify its investment portfolio, sources familiar with the plan said.

Under newly-appointed Chief Executive Ahmed Al-Sayed, the $100 billion-plus sovereign fund is scouting for opportunities in Asia and the United States. The hiring reflects a long-term objective of geographically balancing a portfolio which is now nearly 80 percent exposed to Europe, the sources said.

Al-Sayed, known as a savvy negotiator and aggressive dealmaker, took the helm at Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) in July when the newly-crowned emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, shook up the investment vehicle as part of his restructuring of the Qatari state on his father's abdication."

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DIFC says open to tie-ups with Abu Dhabi - Banking & Finance - ArabianBusiness.com

DIFC says open to tie-ups with Abu Dhabi - Banking & Finance - ArabianBusiness.com:

"Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) would be open to co-operation with Global Marketplace Abu Dhabi (GMAD), an upcoming financial free zone in the neighbouring emirate, according to DIFC’s CEO.
Announced in February by royal decree, GMAD plans to lure financial services firms to the UAE capital and will have its own regulator and courts, as well as promising zero tax and easy repatriation of profits. It is set to launch in the fourth quarter of this year.
DIFC, launched in 2004, is currently one of the region’s leading financial centres with more than 800 financial services companies and law firms currently based in the free zone."

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Déjà vu: emerging markets and 1997 | FT Long Short

Déjà vu: emerging markets and 1997 | FT Long Short: "1997 was not a great year for music lovers. True, Daft Punk burst on to the English speaking world (or at least the British top 10), and Texas, Blur and Jamiroquai were all going strong, but March alone saw Ant & Dec, Boyzone, Wet Wet Wet and the Spice Girls all near the top of the charts.

It was a far worse year for emerging markets investors, and one which is now being resurrected for comparisons like a bad best-of album. Back then, EM investors lost their shirts, and now some are losing them again, as the US Federal Reserve talks about “tapering” its bond purchases.

First, a chart for those who doubt the impact of the taper: this shows shares for each Asian emerging market, with the grey bars showing the weekly rise or fall in Treasury yields (treat this as indicative: I left off the bond yield axis as it was already looking pretty confusing).

"

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Markets remain jittery as the United States considers Syria strike - Ukraine Business Online

Markets remain jittery as the United States considers Syria strike - Business - News - Ukraine Business Online:

"“Ukrainian equities concluded a second week in the red on Friday, August 30, owing to global jitters on a U.S. invasion of Syria. The WIG Ukraine Index of Warsaw-traded stocks slid 0.9% on Friday, weighed down by KSG Agro (KSG PW -6.5%), which has plunged 15.4% in five straight losing sessions. Car battery maker WESTA (WES PW) fell 3.4% while sugar producer Astarta (AST PW -1.4%) has lost 7.1% in four straight negative sessions. The WIG Ukraine Index dropped 3.9% last week and 5.6% in August. In London, iron ore miner Ferrexpo (FXPO LN -1.2%) has fallen 10.3% in four straight declining sessions, making for a 1.7% August decrease. Investors snapped a ten-session losing streak by poultry producer MHP (MHPC LI +4.9%), which had erased 18.3% of its value. Its shares concluded August at a 15.7% loss. The Ukrainian Exchange (UX) Index of Kyiv-traded stocks slid 0.2%, pulled down by Alchevsk Steel (ALMK UK -0.8%), which has decreased 4.6% in four straight losing sessions. The UK Index dropped 3.0% last week and 5.6% in August. Outside the Index, Ukrtelecom (UTLM UK) surged 7.2%, finishing the month at a 9.7% gain.”"

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Economy minister Prasolov: Ukraine pays off public debt to IMF on time| Ukrinform

Economy minister Prasolov: Ukraine pays off public debt to IMF on time| Ukrinform:

"
Minister of Economic Development and
Trade Ihor Prasolov
Ukraine repays public debt to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on time, Minister of Economic Development and Trade Ihor Prasolov told the Arabic-language newspaper Al Bayan.
"According to the Ministry of Finance of Ukraine, the repayment of public debt in 2013 is held on time and in full. In February and in May, the government paid off the debt and interest on loans received from the IMF in the amount of USD 688 million and USD 820 million respectively. In the first five months UAH 11.6 billion were provided to pay off the debt. The repayment of the remaining amount, scheduled for this year, will be carried out in August and November 2013," the minister said.
He noted that since the beginning of the year the state budget accumulated 1.7 times more budget funds (UAH 45.7 billion) than their balance at the end of 2012 (UAH 27.1 billion).
According to the IMF, Ukraine has to pay USD 3.5 billion in 2013 and USD 1.3 billion in 2014."

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Economic Impact of US Intervention in Syria | @REBELECONOMY

Economic Impact of US Intervention in Syria | REBEL ECONOMY:

"As the world awaits the decision of whether the US will intervene in Syria’s bloody civil war, the price that country is paying is growing day by day.
Hundreds of thousands of people have been slaughtered and cities that were once cultural capitals have been annihilated. Inflation is at triple digits, GDP has literally halved and the jobless rate has quintupled.
But the key question today, and the one that President Barack Obama has brought to US Congress, is whether military-led intervention will serve as an overdue punishment and warning to Bashar Al Assad and his regime, or whether it will simply deal a final blow to the country as the Syrian regime’s allies retaliate aggressively at the expense of innocent civilians."

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Dana Gas moving toward record production | Positions and Promotions

Dana Gas moving toward record production | Positions and Promotions:

"Dana Gas has achieved gas production level in Egypt of 200 million standard cubic feet per day (equivalent of 41,500 boepd, including more than 8,000 barrels per day of associated liquids), the highest level for the company in the country in 2 years.

This represents a growth of 29% over the 2012 average. The company's core operations in the Nile Delta and its Egyptian Bahrain Gas Derivatives Company (EBGDCo) Natural Gas Liquids extraction plant in Ras Shukheir remained stable and have not been impacted by the current events in Egypt.

Dana Gas is in discussions with the Egyptian authorities on its capital expenditure plans aimed at further increasing production and at resolving the issue of outstanding payments."

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Pigs, Plants and Potatoes… Part Two | Eastbook - blog on EU Eastern Partnership

Pigs, Plants and Potatoes… Part Two | Eastbook - blog on EU Eastern Partnership:

"Russia has again banned pork imports from Belarus today, in an escalating diplomatic and trade war over the arrest of a Russian businessman, Vladislav Baumgertner, head of Russian potash company Uralkali.  Outrage over the arrest broke out after Baumgertner was arrested in Minsk airport, after being invited to talks with the prime minister, and then scandalised by footage showing him being searched in his prison cell.

As a retaliatory move, Russia announced a 25 percent drop in oil supplies to Belarus effective in September, and have threatened to extend the cuts for several months. In addition, a possible ban on various Belarusian dairy products was hinted at.

Experts are arguing its a new low for Belarusian-Russian relations, and with a precariously fragile economy, Belarus may be feeling the pain the pain of blacklisted peer, Ukraine."

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Iran Puts West in Check With Oman Gas Deal | Wall St. Cheat Sheet

Iran Puts West in Check With Oman Gas Deal | Wall St. Cheat Sheet:

"The Iranian government announced this week it secured a long-term natural gas agreement with its maritime neighbors in Oman. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani vowed to lead the country as a moderate when he was sworn in to office in early August. The Iranian Oil Ministry vowed to move the country’s oil and natural gas industries closer to the international community and the gas deal with Oman was touted as a breakthrough in a deal first discussed in 2007. Officials there vowed to move quickly on infrastructure developments. Either Iran is trying to show it’s serious about engagement or its just window dressing as usual for the Islamic republic.

Iran holds the second-largest deposits of natural gas reserves in the world and most of those reserves haven’t been developed. Its offshore South Pars gas field is considered one of the largest in the world, giving Iran the claim to the No. 3 spot in terms of natural gas production. Sanctions have curtailed some developments, though even the U.S. Energy Department said it expects Iranian natural gas production to increase in the years to come."

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Renewables-based Desalination: A Solution to MENA's Water Crisis

Renewables-based Desalination: A Solution to MENA's Water Crisis:

""You never miss the water till the well runs dry" is an old idiom that is becoming a harsh reality for the Middle East and North Africa region and globally. Water scarcity is now this century's imminent greatest problem, a clear and present danger. This is no surprise considering 85 percent of the world’s population lives in the driest half of the planet. The United Nations estimates that, already, 6 to 8 million people die annually from the consequences of disasters and water-related diseases, with a child dying from a water-related illness every 21 seconds. In developing countries, unsafe water causes 80 percent of all illness and disease, and kills more people every year than all forms of violence, including war. The situation is set to worsen. Water availability is expected to decrease in most regions, while future global agricultural water consumption is estimated to increase by 19 percent by 2050."

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UAE Investment Casualty Of Turkey’s Egypt Policy - Al-Monitor

UAE Investment Casualty Of Turkey’s Egypt Policy - Al-Monitor: the Pulse of the Middle East:

"The economic bill for Turkey’s foreign policy, which is resented by most regional countries, is slowly adding up. While exports to Syria and Egypt directly — and via Turkey to other countries — are steadily declining, the first real blow was the suspension of the United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) $12 billion investment in a coal-based energy project.

There is conflicting news on whether the investment in what is called the “biggest ever Turkish energy project” is suspended or perhaps altogether canceled. While company representatives in Turkey say the investment has been suspended, Reuters news agency quoted sources in the UAE asserting that the investment has been completely canceled."

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#UAE reiterates its support for #Egypt | GulfNews.com

UAE reiterates its support for Egypt | GulfNews.com:

"During the turbulent months of Muslim Brotherhood rule in Egypt, which ended early July, relations between the UAE and the largest Arab country soured. The Brotherhood movement thought that by dominating Egypt, it could secure similar dominance and spread its influence in other Arab states using a complicated network of followers and so-called charities that pay allegiance to the movement’s Supreme Guide.
The UAE and other Gulf states confronted those plans. They conveyed their message repeatedly to former Egypt president Mohammad Mursi’s government that they will not accept interference in their internal affairs and will not tolerate such transgression by cross-border movements. The Brotherhood, known for its arrogance, ignored those friendly messages and displayed hostility towards most Gulf governments. On July 3, the Mursi government was dissolved by the army following three days of popular anti-Brotherhood protests."

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Dana Gas says Egypt government owes it $270m | GulfNews.com

Dana Gas says Egypt government owes it $270m | GulfNews.com:

"Sharjah-based regional private sector natural gas company, Dana Gas, has said it is owed $270 million (Dh990.9 million) by the Egyptian government in back payments for the gas it produced.
“The company is conducting positive discussions with the relevant authorities and looks forward to an early resolution,” the company said last week in a statement.
The statement from Dana Gas comes at a time when Egypt, according to a Reuters report, owes at least $5 billion (Dh18.3 billion) to oil companies producing oil and gas on its territory, with half of it overdue. The report said the Egyptian government, seeking to avoid public unrest, has delayed oil payments as it struggles to meet soaring energy bills caused by high subsidies on fuel products. Some of the debts were accumulated even before President Hosni Mubarak was ousted."

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Dubai home prices 31% off 2008 peak rates | GulfNews.com

Dubai home prices 31% off 2008 peak rates | GulfNews.com:

"
  • Image Credit: Abdel-Krim Kallouche/Gulf News Archive
  • A view of Dubai Marina. FOR ILLUSTRATIVE PURPOSE ONLY
Speculation that Dubai’s property market is overheating could be misplaced — even with the steady recent gains home prices are still 31.1 per cent off their 2008 peaks, according to a new report by property consultancy, Cluttons.
“Recent IMF [International Monetary Fund] concerns about the market overheating may prove too negative,” the ‘Summer 2013’ report tracking the first six-month performance of the UAE realty notes. “An expanding economy, coupled with a rising population, currently forms the backbone of Dubai’s housing demand. However, buy-to-let investors, both from within the UAE and further afield, are also contributing to overall buyer requirements,” the report stated."

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EFG Hermes will cut costs further after posting second-quarter loss - The National

EFG Hermes will cut costs further after posting second-quarter loss - The National:

"EFG Hermes, the Middle East's leading investment bank, has vowed to push ahead with cost-cutting after reporting a second quarter loss of 29 million Egyptian pounds (Dh15.2m).

In an earnings statement released yesterday, the bank said its performance had been dented by impairment charges of 246.7m pounds, some linked to legacy investments.

The loss follows a 71.2m pound profit in the same period of last year. But the bank said it remained focused on cost cutting through reducing its head count and selling non-core assets. The aim was to reduce operating costs to 500m pounds next year."

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Public spending drives Qatari banks’ loan book growth

Public spending drives Qatari banks’ loan book growth:

"Heavy public spending has boosted Qatari banks’ loan book growth to the highest in the GCC. Banks in Qatar registered the highest growth of 23.1 percent year-on-year in the second quarter of 2013. The overall loan book growth in the region during the period is 13.9 percent.
The region’s non-interest income growth during Q2, 2013 was led by Qatari banks, up 30.6 percent year-on-year. The profitability of banks in Qatar increased by 13.4 percent during the period, Global Investment House (GIH) noted yesterday in its quarterly analysis of GCC banking sector."

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Saudi Gazette - Egypt mulls timeline for its energy debts

Saudi Gazette - Egypt mulls timeline for its energy debts:

"Egypt is preparing a timetable for repaying arrears on debts it owes to foreign oil companies to encourage them to continue investing in the country, the Petroleum Ministry said on Sunday.

Egypt owes at least $5 billion to oil companies producing oil and gas on its territory, with half of it overdue, according to corporate reports issued earlier this year.

The government, seeking to avoid public unrest, has delayed oil payments as it struggles to meet soaring energy bills caused by high subsidies on fuel products. Some of the debts were accumulated even before Mubarak was ousted."

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