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Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Egypt Economy Continues Downward Trend - Al-Monitor: the Pulse of the Middle East

Egypt Economy Continues Downward Trend - Al-Monitor: the Pulse of the Middle East:

"Egypt’s economy continues to suffer large losses in all its sectors as a result of the political disturbances after President Mohammed Morsi’s ouster on June 30. The European Union agreed to halt military exports to Egypt, after initially threatening to halt aid and terminate economic agreements with Cairo, as Egyptian officials kept their hopes confined to assistance from Gulf states, which have become the main saviors of the country’s economy."

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Nokia's value destruction - FT Lex

Poland’s Tusk: “no stagnation, no recession” | beyondbrics

Poland’s Tusk: “no stagnation, no recession” | beyondbrics:

Poland’s economic slump is over – that’s the word from Donald Tusk on Tuesday at an annual economic forum in the Polish mountain resort town of Krynica, announcing the start of an economic rebound that may also bolster the Polish premier’s sagging political fortunes.

“I have bad news for the pessimists. There will be no stagnation and no recession,” a confident Tusk told the politicians, businessmen, think tank types and lobbyists who rub shoulders at the forum.

He predicted that Poland’s economy could be growing as quickly as 2 per cent by the last quarter of this year and that growth for the year could come to 1.5 per cent – more than the World Bank’s estimate of 1 per cent. By early 2014, Tusk said the economy could be growing at more than 3 per cent."

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Ukraine: funny business in Yanukovich’s backyard | beyondbrics

Ukraine: funny business in Yanukovich’s backyard | beyondbrics:

It’s not often that a multimillionaire moves into a president’s backyard. But something along those lines is happening in Ukraine.

On Tuesday, Serhiy Klyuyev, a multimillionaire pro-presidential lawmaker, revealed that he had agreed to spend some $18m to buy into a controversial 127 hectare luxury estate within which his long time political boss, President Viktor Yanukovich, resides. It’s a situation that would be a mind-boggling in any normal country.

Located just north of Ukraine’s capital on a reservoir known as the Kiev Sea, the vast and heavily guarded Mezhyhiria compound includes all the amenities dictators in developing countries typically have within their reach. The main building is a purpose built, five-story log dacha, loaded with pompous furniture. There is a golf course and horses, an indoor tennis court and shooting range, swimming pools, fountains and a marina. (For more details and photos, see this blog post.)"

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Turkey’s $12bn coal plant project out in the cold | beyondbrics

Turkey’s $12bn coal plant project out in the cold | beyondbrics:

Arguably the announcement last week by Abu Dhabi state energy company Taqa that it would postpone a final decision on investing in developing new coal fired power plant in Turkey to next year, was less surprising than the response to the announcement from Turkish energy minister Taner Yildiz.

Commenting on the decision Yildiz expressed his hope that the decision had not been made for political reasons, pointing to the ongoing instability in Egypt and Syria.

But while it is true that Turkey’s support for Egypt’s ousted President Morsi has put it at odds with many of its Arab allies, at the same time Ankara has been solid alongside the same allies in its support for opposition to the Assad regime.

And such divided loyalties are hardly unusual in the region."

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Belarus: potash row threatens hopes of Russian funding | beyondbrics

Belarus: potash row threatens hopes of Russian funding | beyondbrics:

The behaviour of Belarus’s authorities is looking increasingly chaotic. On the one hand, law-enforcement agencies risk infuriating Moscow by arresting the chief executive of Uralkali, the Russian potash miner. On the other, the government’s financial team says it plans to appeal to Moscow for more funding.

Belarus has been locked in an escalating dispute with Russia over potash since July, when Uralkali pulled out of a joint venture cartel with Belaruskali, sending potash prices plummeting and, with them, Belarus’s national income.

The Belarusian Investigative Committee said on Monday it had filed criminal charges against Suleiman Kerimov, a Russian tycoon who is Uralkali’s biggest shareholder. Kerimov is accused of “abuse of power and official authorities” – an offence that could be punished by up to 10 years in prison and confiscation of property."

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Majid Al Futtaim said to raise US$1.5 billion loan -

Majid Al Futtaim said to raise US$1.5 billion loan - Business Intelligence Middle East - - News, analysis, reports:

"Majid Al Futtaim Holding LLC, the operator of Carrefour SA (CA) stores in the Middle East, is raising more than US$1.5 billion from a revolving credit facility to replace a loan, according to a banker familiar with the plan.

The Dubai-based company, which postponed the sale of perpetual bonds in June, is raising the five-year loan in dollars and dirhams, said the banker, who asked not to be identified because the information isn’t public yet.

The debt is priced at around 200 basis points, or 2 percentage points, above the London interbank offered rate and the unused portion will also carry a commitment fee, the banker said. About 15 banks expected to participate in the loan, he said."

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MIDEAST WEEKAHEAD-Borrowing to buy leaves UAE markets volatile, maybe vulnerable | Reuters

MIDEAST WEEKAHEAD-Borrowing to buy leaves UAE markets volatile, maybe vulnerable | Reuters:

"* Surge in retail activity supports Dubai rally

* UAE citizens heavy buyers

* Many using margin loans as leverage

* Large price swings increasing

* Questions over strictness of regulation

By Nadia Saleem

DUBAI, Sept 3 (Reuters) - A surge in lending to investors by brokerages in the United Arab Emirates has helped make Dubai the world's second-best performing market this year, but has left it prey to volatility.

Some investors have been able to make profits in the range of 40 to 60 percent this year on local stock markets but the question is whether such margin lending - borrowing with cash or holdings as security - is setting the region up for trouble.

The trend is developing as the UAE prepares for a fresh influx of money from foreign institutional investors next year after index compiler MSCI decided to upgrade it to emerging market status from June 2014.

"Cash is coming back to the market where there are big gains to be made - this year has been good," said Asem Alsaifi, manager of a 1.5 billion UAE dirhams ($408.39 million) portfolio for a private Dubai company."

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MIDEAST STOCKS-Test missile near Syria sparks region-wide sell-off | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Test missile near Syria sparks region-wide sell-off | Reuters:

"Regional shares fell on Tuesday after Israel carried out a joint missile test with the United States, rattling investors already worried that a possible military strike on Syria could trigger wider regional conflict.

Russia raised the alarm after detecting the launch of two ballistic "objects" in the Mediterranean Sea.

There were no reports of missile strikes on Syria but investors were on edge because Washington is preparing for a possible military action over what it says was a chemical weapons attack by government forces in their conflict with rebels trying to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad.

Obama has asked for support from Congress for a strike - which is not expected to take place before mid-September at the earliest.

Dubai's bourse was the hardest hit, plunging 3.7 percent to hit a seven-week low but is still up 53.4 percent year-to-date."

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Ukrainian stocks remain strong but wind from China grows cold - Ukraine Business Online

Ukrainian stocks remain strong but wind from China grows cold - Ukraine Business Online:
Regional trading analysis for Monday

Concorde Capital provides more on regional trading in its daily market comment:

“Ukrainian equities kicked off autumn on a positive note in trading on Monday, September 2. The WIG Ukraine Index of Warsaw-traded stocks crept up 0.3%, largely owing to gains made by grain trader Kernel (KER PW +1.9%). The other notable gainers were the thinly traded shares of car battery maker WESTA (WES PW +3.6%) and coal miner Sadovaya Group (SGR PW +1.9%). KSG Agro (KSG PW -1.9%) has plunged 17.1% in six straight declining sessions. Egg producer Ovostar (OVO PW -2.0%) has lost 3.6% in two sessions. Outside the Index, Serinus Energy (SEN PW) jumped 2.7%, extending its gains to 3.6% in three straight positive sessions. In London, iron ore miner Ferrexpo (FXPO LN) surged 6.7% on rising metal prices and upbeat Chinese purchasing manager data, snapping a four-session losing streak in which it lost 10.3%. The Ukrainian Exchange (UX) Index of Kyiv-traded stocks fell 1.1%, pulled down by engine maker Motor Sich (MSICH UK -5.0%).”
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Ministerial merry-go-round at Polish copper miner KGHM | beyondbrics

Ministerial merry-go-round at Polish copper miner KGHM | beyondbrics:

"Normally carousels are for children but in Poland they are enjoyed by grown-ups, particularly when it comes to top jobs in companies where the state treasury has a significant stake.

It has become a hallowed tradition in Poland for every new minister to clear out senior executives installed by his predecessor and put in his own people. Although Poland’s Civic Platform government promised to tone down the practice when it came to power six years ago,it is still going strong – as evidenced by a purge at copper miner KGHM.

In a surprise announcement on Monday evening, the company said three senior executives would be leaving – one of them, Dorota Wloch, even left the management board for “personal reasons” according to a KGHM news release. The other two heading for the exits are Wlodzimierz Kicinski, responsible for finance, and Adam Sawicki, who was keeping an eye on KGHM’s recent international acquisitions."

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Barclays decides to sell UAE retail bank after review | Reuters

Barclays decides to sell UAE retail bank after review | Reuters:

"Barclays Plc (BARC.L) has decided to sell its retail banking operations in the United Arab Emirates after conducting a review of the business, the British lender said on Tuesday.

The potential sale may impact up to 280 employees, a source familiar with the plan said, adding the lender plans to offload its retail portfolio in the Gulf Arab country, which includes credit cards, mortgages, personal lending and deposit taking operations, while keeping its two branches in Dubai.

A separate banking source confirmed that the bank was keeping its Dubai branches to service corporate banking clients."

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India Said to Consider Abu Dhabi Air Accord to Increase Flights - Bloomberg

India Said to Consider Abu Dhabi Air Accord to Increase Flights - Bloomberg:

"India will consider for approval an accord with Abu Dhabi allowing carriers in the two countries to boost flights, two government officials who have been briefed on the matter said.
The bilateral air services agreement with Abu Dhabi will be considered by the cabinet today, said the people who asked not to be identified before a public announcement. The accord will more than triple the number of seats carriers can sell on flights between the two countries to about 50,000 per week through 2015 from 13,300 a week now, the people said.
The agreement will help Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways PJSC increase services to India as it seeks to purchase a 24 percent stake in Jet Airways (India) Ltd. (JETIN) to tap travel demand in a market that’s set to become the world’s second-fastest growing by 2016. An investment by Etihad will make it the first overseas carrier to invest in an existing local carrier after India eased ownership rules last year."

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Nokia / Microsoft: it all comes down to first-time EM buyers | beyondbrics

Nokia / Microsoft: it all comes down to first-time EM buyers | beyondbrics:

"Not long ago, the future for Nokia looked merely bleak. In developed markets, Apple and others were outselling the Finnish company with advanced smartphones, leaving Nokia to play catch-up. In emerging markets, Nokia clung on to its market by selling so-called feature phones – simpler, slimmed down smartphones.

Then things got bleaker. With the advent of cheaper handsets running Android, customers in emerging markets began to buy advanced smartphones, too – and not Nokia ones. So, can Microsoft’s purchase of Nokia’s phone business pay off – and how important are emerging markets?

Nokia has seen its market share decline everywhere, not just in the developed world. Its latest geographic breakdown is stark: mobile device volumes are down in every region year-on-year by double-digit percentages.
Source: Nokia

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Qatar eyeing towers in Frankfurt, London - Politics & Economics -

Qatar eyeing towers in Frankfurt, London - Politics & Economics -

"Qatar’s ruling Al Thani family is reportedly in talks to buy a massive Frankfurt Airport office complex and one of London’s most famous office towers, the Gherkin, for a combined €1.55bn ($2.05bn).
The properties are owned by insolvent German company IVG Immobilien AG (IVG), which is seeking to sell off equity to pay down €3.2bn worth of debt accumulated during a massive expansion.
The Frankfurt office block, The Squaire, has a price tag of €850m, while the company’s trophy tower the Gherkin is worth €700m, according to Property Investor Europe magazine, which quoted German weekly business magazine WirtschaftsWoche."

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MIDEAST - Syria reconstruction would cost $73 billion: report

MIDEAST - Syria reconstruction would cost $73 billion: report:

A general view shows a heavily damaged street in Syria's
 eastern town of Deir Ezzor on August 26, 2013. AFP Photo
If the war in Syria suddenly stopped and reconstruction began today, around $73 billion would be needed to put the country back on track, a study published in Al-Watan newspaper said Tuesday.

Quoting Syrian real estate expert Ammar Yussef, the report said bombings, fighting and sabotage of infrastructure during the conflict had partially or completely destroyed 1.5 million dwellings.

The daily, which is close to President Bashar al-Assad's regime, added that reconstruction -- if it started now -- would involve 10,000 building sites, 15,000 trucks, 10,000 cement mixers and around six million workers."

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UAE Business Activity Growth Flat In August » Gulf Business

UAE Business Activity Growth Flat In August » Gulf Business:

"Business activity growth in the United Arab Emirates’ non-oil private sector remained flat in August while output rose to a six-month high, a purchasing managers’ survey showed on Tuesday.

The HSBC UAE Purchasing Managers’ Index, which measures the performance of the manufacturing and services sectors, stayed at 54.5 points last month, unchanged from July.

The adjusted index remains above the 50-point mark which separates growth from contraction, the survey of 400 private sector firms showed."

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United secure new international partner

United secure new international partner:

"Sheffield United Football Club announces today (Tuesday) that HRH Prince Abdullah bin Mosaad bin Abdulaziz Al Saud has become joint owner of the Club.

Prince Abdullah has secured a 50% interest in Blades Leisure Ltd, the holding company for Sheffield United FC, in return for which he will invest substantial new capital into the club with the aim of working with current owner Kevin McCabe and his family to achieve the Blades' return to the Premier League as quickly as possible.

The Prince becomes Co-Chairman with Kevin McCabe of Blades Leisure and Sheffield United."

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The Wrap: Cairo Bomb Shows Stability Elusive, Libya Oil Production Down 30% | REBEL ECONOMY

The Wrap: Cairo Bomb Shows Stability Elusive, Libya Oil Production Down 30% | REBEL ECONOMY:

  • EGYPT 

Egypt’s Brotherhood under legal threat as bomb hits central Cairo - Reuters
Nothing has damaged Egypt’s economy more than the threat to security and stability. The perception of risk is enough to derail an entire economy and it will continue to keep investors away. The killings of hundreds of innocent civilians in a bloody crackdown a few weeks ago only compounded this perception and made it reality.
The fear that a jihadist and extremist element may have been borne out of the military coup is materialising. An attack on a police station in central Cairo and plans for new mass protests by the Brotherhood on Tuesday shows how elusive stability is.
Though a state of emergency and a curfew has to some extent successfully shrunk the number and intensity of protests, the interim government has yet to show that it is in control (and not the army)."

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RIGZONE - Tethys Updates on Drilling Operations in Block 4 in Oman

RIGZONE - Tethys Updates on Drilling Operations in Block 4 in Oman:

"Sweden-based Tethys Oil AB, an oil and gas exploration and production company, gave an update on its operations in Oman recently.

The first appraisal well into the Lower Buah section of the B4EW4 structure on Block 4 onshore Oman confirms the presence of oil and flows more than 1,000 barrels of oil per day (bopd) from 32/64 inch choke. The B4EW4-4 well was drilled approximately 0.62 mile (1 kilometer) from the discovery well B4EW4-1. The B4EW4-1 well continues to yield good flows under the long term production test from the Lower Buah. The new well will also be hooked up to the testing equipment for a long term production test. Appraisal drilling and other work will continue on the B4EW4 structure both in the Lower Buah as well as in the other oil bearing reservoirs of the structure.

A new exploration well is in progress on a look alike structure to B4EW4 designated B4EW5. The new structure has been identified from recently completed 3D seismic and is located some 4.35 miles (7 kilometers) south of B4EW4 also in Block 4. The B4EW5 well will primarily target the Lower Buah and Khufai sections."

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Ukrainian Gas Diversification: Shale And LNG Considerations - Analysis Eurasia Review

Ukrainian Gas Diversification: Shale And LNG Considerations - Analysis Eurasia Review:

Ukraine’s current energy situation stunts its economical and political development. While domestic production expertise is highly developed, the Eastern European country is completely dependent on importing energy products from Russia, placing unsustainable financial and political stresses on the country. Ukraine’s interest in capitalizing on the shale gas and LNG revolutions open opportunities to cut overall energy costs, expand supply diversification, and reduce reliance on Russian imports.

Shale Gas

Shale gas is a newly perfected form of extracting natural gas from shale rock. It has great potential in Eastern Europe – especially in Romania, Lithuania, Poland and Ukraine have substantial reserves.

Ukraine, one of an estimated 32 countries with extractable shale reserves, has up to 1.2 trillion m3 of shale gas according to the U.S. Energy Information Agency, with an annual national gas consumption of 44 billion m3. Ukraine is attempting to produce at least 15 billion m3 of gas from shale as a preliminary goal, and is making substantial progress toward this."

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Qatar’s Petroserv enters Australian LNG sector

Qatar’s Petroserv enters Australian LNG sector:

"Doha-based Petroserv Ltd, has announced its entry into the Australian liquefied natural gas (LNG) sector through an equity investment with Queensland-based Bothar Boring.
Through this investment, which results in the establishment of Petroserv International based in Brisbane, Australia, Petroserv Ltd will combine its long history and experience of contracting in the oil and gas and infrastructure sectors in Qatar with the similar sector expertise it has identified in the Bothar group.
The investment is the first significant one by a Qatari company in the Australian oil and gas market. Under the deal, which sees Petroserv acquire a 49 percent share in Brisbane-based Bothar Boring & Tunnelling, Petroserv plans to back its investment with more funding for greater expansion into Australia’s gas sector."

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Libya turns to imports amid gas shortage - The National

Libya turns to imports amid gas shortage - The National:

"Libya has started importing extra fuel to make up for lost gas production at fields in the east, where production has been forced to a near standstill by protests.

The gas shortage is the latest woe to befall Libya's core industry, with oil production plummeting to a tenth of its capacity.

Libya is now importing three times its usual purchases of diesel and fuel oil and has begun withholding some of its production at the Wafa gasfield from its foreign joint venture partner, Eni, a National Oil Corporation official told Reuters."

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OMV buys stake in Madagascar - The National

OMV buys stake in Madagascar - The National:

"OMV, the Austrian oil producer part-owned by Abu Dhabi, has bought into offshore Madagascar in an effort to balance its exploration portfolio.

The company is taking a 40 per cent stake in a block called Grand Prix from Canada's Niko Resources for an undisclosed sum, it announced yesterday.

OMV, which will become the block's operator, is one of the biggest investors yet to arrive in the East African island nation, which produced its first oil only this year and whose leadership has been plagued by a series of coups and resignations. "Speaking about the oil industry and the political situation, it's hard to separate the two," said Simiso Velempini, an analyst with the consultancy Control Risks. "A lot of the development of oil and gas exploration has been retarded by political developments - mainly the five-year political crisis that was triggered in 2009.""

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DIFC adds 1,000 jobs in first half - The National

DIFC adds 1,000 jobs in first half - The National:

"Dubai's financial free zone approached full capacity as it added 1,000 jobs in the first half of the year.

The Dubai International Financial Centre said yesterday that the number of active registered companies in its precincts grew to 979 in the first half, a 7 per cent rise in six months. Some 1,000 new jobs were created in the centre, with 15,000 people now working in DIFC daily.

Jeff Singer, the chief executive of the DIFC Authority, said that occupancy of DIFC-owned offices in the central Gate district increased from 94 to 97 per cent. Retail space was at 99 per cent occupancy."

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