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Sunday, 8 September 2013

Dubai businessmen go on hunger strike over debt crimes -

Dubai businessmen go on hunger strike over debt crimes -

"A group of businessmen have gone on hunger strike in Dubai’s main jail to protest against their continued incarceration for writing cheques that bounced.
Twelve inmates from India, Pakistan and the Gulf, who have spent years behind bars for failing to honour debts during the global financial crisis, are likely to be joined by other men of different nationalities over the next few days, one of the hunger strikers said.
The 12 have written to public prosecutors to complain that their sentences were handed out in “bad faith” and as a result of improper application of the law."

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MIDEAST STOCKS-Bargain hunters lift most regional mkts, Syria shadow remains | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Bargain hunters lift most regional mkts, Syria shadow remains | Reuters:

"Dubai's shares led a regional recovery on Sunday as bargain hunters returned to pick up stocks battered over the last two weeks but the spectre of a possible military strike on Syria ensured trading remained volatile.

Dubai's index climbed 1.5 percent, rallying from a two-month low and snapping a four-session losing streak which had seen the bourse lose 10.1 percent of its value.

The retail-dominated market continued its recent volatile trading pattern, with investors holding stocks for shorter periods given the higher risk premium created by the geopolitical overhang.

Frothy mid-cap shares that were hardest hit in the recent selling led gainers; Union Properties and Air Arabia climbed 4.1 and 4.3 percent respectively."

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Qatar Airways in BA partnership deal - Transport -

Qatar Airways in BA partnership deal - Transport -

Qatar Airways has announced an immediate partnership with British Airways between the airlines’ frequent flyer programmes.
Qatar Airways Privilege Club members and British Airways Executive Club members are now able to earn miles, and can begin redeeming miles as of October 1, 2013 on each other’s flights, it was announced on Sunday.
“The benefit partnering with British Airways brings to our customers is the added opportunity to earn Qmiles,” said Akbar Al Baker, Qatar Airways CEO."

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Central Bank Seeks to Reduce Bond Vulnerability | Business | The Moscow Times

Central Bank Seeks to Reduce Bond Vulnerability | Business | The Moscow Times:

"The Central Bank is seeking market makers for the domestic treasury bond market because a rising share of foreign investors makes the assets more vulnerable to global risk aversion, a deputy minister said.

The financial regulator warned in July that it saw risks from foreign investors' growing role in the domestic treasury bond market and may "react" if their share rises above 40 percent.

Foreign participation in the market has risen rapidly since February, when Russia allowed the international settlement system Euroclear to settle the bonds, known as OFZs. Foreigners' share is now close to 30 percent.

While external surpluses and low debts have helped shield Russia from the intense market pressures generated by signals the U.S. Federal Reserve could soon begin to run down its supply of cheap money, the yield on Russia's 10-year treasury bond, now 7.7 percent, is just below a one-year high."

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Aeroflot Might Place 10% Stake on Moscow Exchange in 2014 | Business | The Moscow Times

Aeroflot Might Place 10% Stake on Moscow Exchange in 2014 | Business | The Moscow Times:

                                                                                                                                               Andrei Makhonin / Vedomosti
Analysts say that placing the stake in London instead of Moscow could be better for reaching more investors.
State-controlled airline Aeroflot may place a stake of 10 percent on the Moscow Exchange next year, as part of the government's privatization plans, Kommersant newspaper reported on Friday.

Aeroflot is one of the companies pinpointed by Russia to be sold in its much-delayed and pared-back privatization plan, originally launched in 2010. According to its latest plans, the government aims to reduce its 51.17 percent stake in the airline to 25 percent plus one share.

The Russian government recently halved its privatization target for next year.

Kommersant reported that the Aeroflot share sale could raise up to $200 million and cited the head of the state property agency, Olga Dergunova, as saying the sale should take place on the Moscow Exchange next year."

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In France, Qatar funds get a 'red carpet'

In France, Qatar funds get a 'red carpet':

The Champs-Elysees lures millions of tourists every year to enjoy shopping at the Elysees 26 mall, poker at the Aviation Club, plush cars and futuristic architecture in the Citroen showroom or the show at Lido.

But for all their Parisian charisma, none of these attractions are French-owned. They belong to the royal family of Qatar, a resource-rich emirate about 5,000 km away.

Over the past few decades the buildings have helped bolster Qatar's global portfolio of trophy assets, including London's Harrods and Singapore's Raffles Hotel.

The latest French addition was a chain of upscale malls under the Printemps banner, bought by a fund controlled by Qatari royals in August for 1.7 billion euros ($2.23 billion)."

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Dubai's DAE ends tie-up talks with BBA Aviation | Reuters

Dubai's DAE ends tie-up talks with BBA Aviation | Reuters:

"Dubai Aerospace Enterprise (DAE), owner of U.S.-based engine repair and maintenance business StandardAero, said on Sunday it was no longer in talks with British aircraft services firm BBA Aviation (BBA.L) to merge parts of its business.

The two firms had said in late August that they had started talks to merge some of their assets, after media reports said that BBA was looking at a 2.7 billion pound ($4.2 billion) tie-up with Arizona-based StandardAero.

"Dubai Aerospace Enterprise announced today it is no longer in discussions with BBA Aviation about a potential combination of certain parts of its business," DAE said in an emailed statement.

DAE, which specializes in aircraft maintenance and leasing, gave no further details on why the discussions had ended."

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Abu Dhabi employees in fix over losing Dubai life | Reuters

Abu Dhabi employees in fix over losing Dubai life | Reuters:

Buildings are seen at Sowwah Square on Marayah Island in Abu Dhabi's 
new central business district May 7, 2013.
Credit: Reuters/Ben Job
When American Stephen Perry lost his job at a bank in Dubai following the emirate's debt crisis in 2009, he was lucky to be hired by one of neighboring Abu Dhabi's government firms.

He didn't move house, so it didn't disrupt his wife's job or the kids' schooling, despite the daily 130-kilometer (80 mile) commute each way. That was still better than the nearly 200 kms he used to put up with in the United States, and he considered it a price worth paying to keep the liberal, cosmopolitan lifestyle in Dubai.

But now Perry is in a dilemma and might not be able to manage the commute after all.

Last September, Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, a federation of seven Gulf emirates, told state employees that if they lived outside its city limits they would not be eligible for housing allowance, which accounts for about a third of their salaries."

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Cash-strapped Gitanjali plans mega push into Dubai - The Economic Times

Cash-strapped Gitanjali plans mega push into Dubai - The Economic Times:

"Cash-strapped jewellery and diamond major Gitanjali GemsBSE 3.03 %, which already nets over 40 per cent of its revenue from overseas markets, is increasing its focus in the Gulf region.

The Mehul Choksi-promoted, city-based company is already present in leading global markets like the US, Japan, China and the UAE among others.

"We are increasing our presence in the Gulf market. The plan is to open seven more stores in Dubai alone over the next seven-eight months. Already we have 10 shop-in-shops in the city, being run under the Paris Gallery brand," Gitanjali Exports Corporation chief executive Sanjeev Agarwal told PTI recently in Dubai. "

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Qatar Stocks Gain on Bets Two-Week Drop Overdone; Dubai Climbs - Bloomberg

Qatar Stocks Gain on Bets Two-Week Drop Overdone; Dubai Climbs - Bloomberg:

"Qatar’s benchmark index rose the most in three weeks on investor speculation declines in the past two weeks were overdone. Dubai shares also advanced.
The QE Index (DSM) climbed 0.8 percent, headed for the biggest gain since Aug. 19, to 9,274.78 at 11:37 a.m. in Doha. The measure lost 9 percent in the previous two weeks. All but one of the 20 companies in the gauge increased today, with meat processor Qatar Meat & Livestock Co. rising 1.2 percent. Telephone operator Ooredoo QSC was poised for the biggest surge since Aug. 14. Dubai’s DFM General Index gained 0.9 percent after tumbling 7.4 percent last week.
Declines in the past weeks, triggered by concern the U.S. would take military action against Syria after the government’s alleged use of chemical weapons, had left Qatar’s benchmark at a price-to-book value of 1.6 on Sept. 5, the lowest since May 16. The Standard & Poor (SPX)’s Index erased almost all its gains Aug. 6 amid an escalation in tension over Syria."

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Kuwait's real estate and investment sectors booming to record levels | Al Bawaba

Kuwait's real estate and investment sectors booming to record levels | Al Bawaba:

"The real estate sales in Kuwait registered a solid 72 per cent year-on-year (y/y) growth in July to hit a six-year high of KD426 million ($1.48 billion), said a report.

The sales in the residential sector for the month soared to KD191 million, up 35 per cent y/y, according to the data compiled by the National Bank of Kuwait.

Continuing its trend from previous months, the increase came on the back of a jump in the average transaction size, which went up 36 per cent y/y, while the number of transactions was almost flat on the year, said the country's top lender in its report."

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Times of Oman | News :: Economy to touch $95b

Times of Oman | News :: Economy to touch $95b:

"The Sultanate's economy is projected to reach $95 billion by 2018, with the industrial sector emerging as the fastest growing sector with a significant contribution to the country's gross domestic product (GDP), according to a study conducted by a leading global management consultancy firm.

The Sultanate's GDP at the current prices soared by 11.6 per cent to $77.5 billion in 2012 from $69.5 billion last year, according to data released by the National Centre for Statistics and Information.

The country's Minister Responsible for Financial Affairs Darwish bin Ismail bin Ali Al Balushi expects the economy to grow by six per cent during the current year."

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Saudi Gazette - Saudi bank loan defaults fall to SR16.7 billion in H1

Saudi Gazette - Saudi bank loan defaults fall to SR16.7 billion in H1:


Stalled loans in Saudi banks have decreased to SR16.7 billion during the first half of this year compared to SR20.4 billion during the same period last year, Okaz Arabic daily reported Saturday.

An economic study on stalled loans and the effect on banks have shown that the stalled loans in the Saudi Investment Bank have decreased from SR1.7 billion to SR345 million only. Al-Jazirah, Inma and Al-Fransi banks were more affected.

Nonetheless, citizens who have stalled in payment of bank loans criticized the way some banks deal with them in demanding settlement of loans in case of delay in payment due to circumstances."

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Saudi Gazette - Libya oil exports at 10% of their pre-war levels

Saudi Gazette - Libya oil exports at 10% of their pre-war levels:

"Libyan officials say oil exports have plunged to less than 10 percent of their pre-war levels, falling to just 150,000 barrels per day. The drop has been blamed on protests by oil facility guards who word for the Defense Ministry. Libya was exporting 1.6 million barrels before the 2011 war.

An official at Libya's National Oil Corporation said exports were at 150,000 barrels per day on Saturday. He spoke anonymously in line with regulations.

The corporation's website said this week that losses from recent strikes and protests had reached more than $5 billion."

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BBC News - Expat Indians in UAE cash in on low rupee - VIDEO

BBC News - Expat Indians in UAE cash in on low rupee:

"The falling value of the rupee is causing turmoil in India, causing capital to fly out of the country and forcing up the price of imported basic goods.

However, expatriate Indians in the Gulf are having a field day from it.

Money remitted to India by workers in the UAE has become much more valuable when converted into rupees and many are now choosing the moment to feed major savings back to India.

Jeremy Howell reports on the winners and losers of India's currency collapse."

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China’s CNPC Inks Deal For $5 Billion Stake In Kazakhstan Caspian Shelf Eurasia Review

China’s CNPC Inks Deal For $5 Billion Stake In Kazakhstan Caspian Shelf Eurasia Review:

China’s CNPC has signed a deal with Kazakhstan’s Kazmunaigaz (KMG) to purchase an 8.33 percent stake worth $5 billion in the Kashagan oil and gas field on the Caspian shelf, the head of KMG said Saturday, September 7, according to RIA Novosti.

“After completing all the procedures, the Chinese side has become an 8.33 percent shareholder,” KMG’s head Sauat Mynbayev said after a signing ceremony. “The value of the deal is around $5 billion, but in addition to the sales price there are a range of conditions, namely the Chinese will finance a share in KMG for second-phase investment. Let’s say, the first part of the second phase – this is around $3 billion only on the part of KMG, the total amount is around six times more,” he added.

“KMG now has a 16.8 percent share in Kashagan,” he said. “This is half the investment KMG is obliged to finance in accordance with its share obligations. In addition, a pipe works will be built, as well as an industrial complex for oil equipment in Aktau, and some social facilities in Astana,” Mynbaev added."

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GCC economies get moving on competitiveness |

GCC economies get moving on competitiveness |

"The recent 2013-14 Global Competitiveness Report published by the World Economic Forum confirms that some GCC countries must do more to score on this key economic parameter. In fact, the Global Competitiveness Index (GCI), an integral part of the report, gives Qatar and Bahrain rankings of 13 and 43 respectively while, interestingly enough, only the UAE and Kuwait succeeded in improving their rankings among GCC states.
Conversely, Bahrain’s ranking suffered a setback, dropping eight notches in a single year to fare the worst among GCC states. This whole negative scenario adds urgency to resolving the country’s socio-political crisis, which erupted in February 2011 with adverse effects for its economic fortunes as well.
The report ranks Qatar as the 13th most competitive economy in the world and the best within Middle East and North Africa region. The economies ahead of it in the pecking order are Switzerland, Singapore, Finland, Germany, the US, Sweden, Netherlands, Hong Kong, Japan, Britain, Norway and Taiwan."

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Dubai: Duped forex investors demand money back |

Dubai: Duped forex investors demand money back |

"Disgruntled investors of a Dubai-based foreign exchange (forex) company said they had had enough of the company executive’s lies and threats and demanded their money back on Friday.
A group of MMA Forex investors trooped to the Al Ghusais police station to lodge a complaint against its company chief executive Malek Noureed Awan, who they said is responsible for their financial troubles.
The company was shut down by Dubai Police’s Criminal Investigation Department six months ago following allegations of fraud.
On August 24 Gulf News had reported that around 200 MMA Forex investors had been waiting to claim their money from the company since October last year."

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On the road to recovery after meltdown |

On the road to recovery after meltdown |

"When Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy on September 15, 2008, very few people in the UAE’s real estate and construction sectors took note, let alone understood its significance and possible consequences.
Most property developers and brokers in Dubai were, in fact, busy finalising new projects and sales campaigns ahead of the annual Cityscape Global exhibition and conference that usually takes place in the first week of October.
Those were the last few weeks of the unprecedented property boom that had swept the entire UAE – led by Dubai. The real estate community had little time to breathe and note anything beyond their projects and sale campaigns."

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Gulf telcos race to get slice of mobile money market - The National

Gulf telcos race to get slice of mobile money market - The National:

"Arabian Gulf phone companies are racing to deliver better mobile money services.

The UAE-based operator Etisalat plans to offer its own mobile money service, Flous (money in Arabic) in all 15 of its markets. Flous enables customers to pay credit card bills, pay for parking or tickets and buy other services from the operator. It works across a range of connected devices and not just telephones.

Most recently the company launched Flous in the west African nation of Togo, working alongside local banks and MasterCard. It is already available in Egypt."

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India the next frontier for Emirates Airline - The National

India the next frontier for Emirates Airline - The National:

"Emirates Airline plans to boost its flights to India as the UAE’s two big carriers bid for more seats.

Emirates wants to increase its flights to India to five times daily for each of its destinations in the country. Etihad also plans to ramp up operations in India through its planned US$600 million investment in Jet Airways.

Under the deal, Etihad would acquire a 24 per cent share of Jet and be the first foreign airline to invest in India’s aviation sector.

“We have reached the maximum utilisation of rights,” said Sheikh Majid Al Mualla, the senior vice president of commercial operations for the Gulf, Middle East, Iran and Central Asia for Emirates"

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UAE sets oil and gas targets higher with $37bn in energy projects - The National

UAE sets oil and gas targets higher with $37bn in energy projects - The National:

Of the 5.2 billion cubic feet of gas sold in the UAE this year, about 37 per cent
will be from imports through the Dolphin gas project in Qatar, above.
The Government plans about $25bn worth of investment in domestic gas production. Courtesy Total

The UAE Oil & Gas Greenfields Projects conference starts tomorrow in Abu Dhabi as the Emirates undertakes the highest value oil and gas projects in the Arabian Gulf.

The UAE is set to grapple with technological challenges, deadlines and expensive gas projects amid continued costly energy subsidies. The Emirates currently has US$37.45 billion worth of oil and gas projects under execution out of a total Gulf figure of $89.95bn, based on data from Meed Projects, as it undertakes huge projects to boost both oil and gas production.

The UAE ranks third in the Gulf, with $28.36bn of as-yet unawarded oil and gas projects, according to Meed Projects."

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Presidents, Oligarchs and Potash: Russia’s Trade War With Belarus · Global Voices

Presidents, Oligarchs and Potash: Russia’s Trade War With Belarus · Global Voices:

Kerimov meets with President Lukashenko in March 2013. YouTube screenshot.
At first glance, there are no truer friends than Russia and Belarus. The two states are united by a common history and have strong ethnic and linguistic links. Russia has long subsidized her neighbor with cheap oil and gas, which has kept Belarus’ Soviet-era manufacturing industry from keeling over. For Russia's Vladimir Putin, Belarus is a key linchpin in a new “Customs Union“, a geopolitical block he hopes can become a major, Russian-led, international force."

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