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Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Russia seeks to privatize its suffering ‘friend’ Greece — RT Business

Russia seeks to privatize its suffering ‘friend’ Greece — RT Business:

"Russian investors are pursuing deals to help cash-strapped Greece privatize its economy and pay off its huge debt. Russian Railways RZD may take a 100 percent state in Greek’s TRAINOSE, and Gazprom has renewed talks with state-owned gas company DEPA.

Valentina Matviyenko, the Speaker of the upper house of Russia's Parliament has expressed her government's vested interest in the Greek economy. She's traveling with a group of Russian investors looking to to get a slice of Greece's privatization.

"Our position is that would not be an acquisition of assets, but rather a support for friendly Greece at the complicated economic stage," Matvienko said.

Greece hopes privatization and expansion of the railway will help it contribute to the 19 billion euro target Greece aims to raise to cut debt. Greece has received over $315 billion (240 billion euros) since 2010 from Troika lenders. "

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Daily chart: World Bank robbers | The Economist

Daily chart: World Bank robbers | The Economist:

"The blacklist for international aid projects expands

BRIBERY, fraud and corruption are not good things. But they bedevil the World Bank's activities. So far this year the international lending organisation has debarred over 250 individuals and companies from participating in projects that it finances—as many as over the previous seven years combined. The bank invested around $200 billion in poor countries in the past five years, and conducted over 600 investigations of misconduct. Almost a third of those currently on the blacklist hail from North America. Yet this year's numbers are somewhat inflated by the inclusion of SNC-Lavalin, a large Canadian multinational construction firm. The company and its affiliates (more than 70 in North America and a further 30 around the world) were debarred in April chiefly over a $3 billion bridge project in Bangladesh. Overall, the increase in debarments is likely a sign that the World Bank is cracking down on corruption, not that it is growing.

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Dubai's DAMAC picks Deutsche, Citi for London IPO -sources | Reuters

Dubai's DAMAC picks Deutsche, Citi for London IPO -sources | Reuters:

"DAMAC Properties, a privately held Dubai property developer, has hired Deutsche Bank and Citigroup Inc to help arrange an initial public offer of its shares in London, two banking sources aware of the matter said.

The company had said in April that an IPO was one of the options being considered for the company's future growth, after Reuters reported DAMAC had reached out to banks with proposals for advisory roles.

A spokesman for DAMAC declined to comment on Tuesday, but reiterated that the company was looking at all future growth possibilities. Deutsche Bank declined to comment, while a spokesman for Citigroup in Dubai was not immediately available for comment."

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The EM sell-off: buying opportunity? | beyondbrics

The EM sell-off: buying opportunity? | beyondbrics:

EM investors appear to be polarising, between those who think the sell-off since May is a mere taster of the great unwinding still to come, and those who think it is a buying opportunity. Richard Titherington, chief investment officer for emerging market equities at JPMorgan Asset Management, is among the latter. He has made this call before and, so far, he has been right.

Back in July, Titherington told beyondbrics that the sell-off in EM equities had been overdone and that at some point they would stage a recovery. It turns out the recovery was already under way. Since June 24, the MSCI Emerging Markets index has gained 13.4 per cent, rather better than the 7.9 per cent return on the S&P 500 (see chart above)."

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MIDEAST STOCKS-Most markets slip ahead of U.S. Fed meeting | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Most markets slip ahead of U.S. Fed meeting | Reuters:

"* Gulf economies can withstand higher U.S. rates better than most

* Resumption of IPOs unlikely to dampen UAE markets

* Shrinking turnover suggests Egypt rally may end

* Saudi Arabia slips but holds above 8,000 points

* Government stake sale plan hits Omantel shares

By Nadia Saleem

DUBAI, Sept 17 (Reuters) - Most Gulf share markets declined on Tuesday, as caution ahead of the U.S. central bank meeting that may decide on cutting back monetary stimulus spurred moderate profit-taking after a strong rebound in recent sessions.

Because of its current account and state budget surpluses, the Gulf is more able than most regions to withstand any decision by the U.S. Federal Reserve to reduce stimulus at its meeting this Tuesday and Wednesday.

So Gulf markets are likely to outperform if the Fed announces a stronger-than-expected tightening of policy. Nevertheless, markets had surged over the past few days as the prospect of U.S. military action in Syria receded, so investors were happy to sell some shares on Tuesday."

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UAIndex recovery continues on Monday - Business - News - Ukraine Business Online

UAIndex recovery continues on Monday - Business - News - Ukraine Business Online:

"The UAIndex’s pace of recovery slowed slightly but continued on Monday as the Index closed up +0.43% at 4,138.06.

MHP was the most impressive on the Best Performing list, up +3.62% on trade of 62,241 shares.

Agrokultura AB topped the Worst Performing list, down -4.74% on trade of 183,214 shares. That also confirmed Agrokultura’s near bottom-feeder status on an annual basis, down -76.03% over a year, only exceeded by Agroton, down -79.02% on an annual basis.

The Volume Leader list was rather remarkable, led by Ukrproduct, up +0.11% on trade of 1,000,000 shares."

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How the Arab Spring Shook Up Oil Markets | @REBELECONOMY

How the Arab Spring Shook Up Oil Markets | REBEL ECONOMY:

"Among the first reactors to the Arab Spring back in January 2011 were the oil markets. The oil price, already volatile in the aftermath of the global financial crisis, became even more unstable as concerns that the oil supply would be choked off if the political problems of the Middle East affected global oil production.
Now, the world is dependant on a few Gulf countries, namely Saudi Arabia, to fill the supply gap. But should the Arab Spring countries, the majority of whom are not big oil producers, be a primary concern for unstable oil markets? Indeed, sometimes the oil market can be wrong, like it was on Egypt. Sometimes the oil market can prepare for the worst case scenario as it did on Syria.
Rebel Economy asked Justin Dargin, an energy and Middle East scholar at the University of Oxford, to break down the misconceptions we have about the oil market and its relation to Arab countries in transition."

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Gulf art investments – is it really such a good idea? - Your Middle East

Gulf art investments – is it really such a good idea? - Your Middle East:

"As more music festivals, theatrical performances and museum openings take place in the Middle East, their immediate economic footprints are distinctly outlined for all to see. Yet, an in-depth economic impact analysis will reveal that these benefits may be overvalued.

Ever since their stomping rise onto the international arena, media outlets have touted Qataris as profligate spenders of their seemingly boundless natural resource wealth. From popular retail outlets to professional sports teams and other highly lucrative sectors, the Qatar Investment Authority seems to have its crosshairs locked on a myriad of potential ventures, all of which are currently worth over $115 billion.

On the mounted whiteboards inside the QIA’s headquarters in Doha – where investment ideas begin their incipiency and gradually evolve into another subsection of the Fund’s portfolio – one particular item seems to stand out: artworks."

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Deal Made With EU on Gas Pipeline Use | Business | The Moscow Times

Deal Made With EU on Gas Pipeline Use | Business | The Moscow Times:

"European Union officials and Russia have agreed on a deal on the use of Germany's OPAL link to Gazprom's Nord Stream gas pipeline, a Russian energy ministry spokeswoman said.

No one from the European Commission was available for immediate comment on the deal, which ends months of talks on the OPAL pipeline that runs from the offshore section of Nord Stream through Germany to the Czech border.

A deal could help to improve tense ties between Russia and the EU, although the bigger issue of the European Commission's competition investigation into Gazprom is unresolved."

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Betting big on the “New Silk Road” | beyondbrics

Betting big on the “New Silk Road” | beyondbrics:

The Middle-Eastern Gulf states have had a huge swing towards Asia in trade but investment dinars have not followed to the same degree. Ahmad Al-Hamad is looking to change that.

Asiya Investments is part of the listed Kuwait China Investment Company and already runs about $450m in assets, more than 10 per cent of which comes from the Kuwait Investment Authority, the sovereign wealth fund.

Al-Hamad, group managing director of Asiya, reckons the Gulf States are still under-invested in Asia compared with the $320bn worth of annual two-way trade between Asia and the Gulf in 2013."

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Oman Government Plans to Sell $574 Million Stake in Omantel - Bloomberg

Oman Government Plans to Sell $574 Million Stake in Omantel - Bloomberg:

"Oman’s government, the largest shareholder in Oman Telecommunications Co., plans to sell a 19 percent stake in the nation’s biggest phone operator.
The government, which holds 70 percent, is seeking to sell the stake through public subscription to Omani individuals and institutions, the company said in a statement to the Muscat stock exchange today. The Capital Market Authority will determine the terms and conditions for the subscription and the share price after the government completes procedures to float shares and appoint a consultant, it said.
The state’s 19 percent stake is valued at 221 million rials ($574 million), according to Bloomberg calculations based on Omantel’s market value. The shares have lagged the benchmark MSM 30 Index (MSM30) this year, climbing 5.4 percent compared with a 14 advance for the measure.
The stock fell 3.1 percent to 1.55 rials at 10:28 am in Muscat."

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Ukraine: National Bank of Ukraine set limits on cash payments made by individuals - Lexology

Ukraine: National Bank of Ukraine set limits on cash payments made by individuals - Lexology:

"On 1 September 2013 Resolution No 210 of the National Bank of Ukraine (NBU) (dated 06 June 2013) came into force. This introduced new limits on cash payments made by individuals, which had not previously existed.

The new limit of UAH 150,000 (circa EUR 14,000) applies to:

  • same day transactions for the payment of goods and services from individuals to legal entities/private entrepreneurs; and
  • any payment required under sale-purchase agreements subject to notarisation (e.g. in relation to immovable property) between individuals.

All payments above the amount of the new limit should be carried out by individuals via cashless transfers:"

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UAE to announce bank exposure rules by November, says banker - English | Front Page

UAE to announce bank exposure rules by November, says banker - English | Front Page:

"The United Arab Emirates central bank is expected to announce within one or two months rules restricting the amount of exposure which banks can have to the debt of government-related entities (GREs), a top commercial banker said on Tuesday.
Abdulaziz al-Ghurair, head of the national banking industry association and chief executive of Mashreq Bank, told reporters that each bank would then discuss the time frame for its compliance with the central bank on a case-by-case basis.
“It is already finalised by the central bank. Now the central bank just has to announce it - I think in the next month, two months max. It’s already passed the board,” he said."

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Further reading: shale aplenty | beyondbrics

Further reading: shale aplenty | beyondbrics:

"Tuesday’s treats from the BB team: shale aplenty in Russia, Argentina and Algeria, yet Saudi Arabia pumps out more oil than since the 1970s; China accuses Danone of bribery; further reaction to the exit of Larry Summers; Brazil’s chilly relations with the US; and Nigeria’s sovereign wealth fund makes its first investment. Plus: former Soviet computer programmers; Sonia Gandhi; Chinese diamonds; and a Russian shoots his boozy companion after a row over Kant."

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Samsung Releases Galaxy Note 3, Gear in India in Face of Local Competition - India Real Time - WSJ

Samsung Releases Galaxy Note 3, Gear in India in Face of Local Competition - India Real Time - WSJ:

Sean Gallup/Getty Images
A photo of the new Galaxy Gear smartwatch with the Galaxy Note 3 smartphone in Berlin, Sept. 5.
Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. released its latest cellphone–tablet computer hybrid the Galaxy Note 3 N9000, and its Galaxy Gear smart watch on to the Indian market Tuesday.

The Galaxy Note 3 is priced at 49,900 rupees ($790) a piece and the Galaxy Gear at 22,990-rupees ($364) a unit.

The release comes at a time when smartphones are enjoying something of a boom in India. Shipments of the multifunction devices to the country almost tripled year-on-year to 9.3 million units during April-June, data from technology research firm International Data Corporation, headquartered in the U.S. showed. The figures indicate a strong demand for handsets that allow users to browse the Internet, listen to music, watch videos and play games on the move. Operators have recently slashed subscription fees for using the Internet on smartphones and tablet computers in the country making them a more attractive proposition."

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Ex-Soviet Programmers Take On India in $48 Billion Market - Bloomberg

Ex-Soviet Programmers Take On India in $48 Billion Market - Bloomberg:

"When Arkadiy Dobkin emigrated to the U.S. two decades ago, his first job was washing dishes. Now he employs 10,000 programmers in his native Belarus and elsewhere in eastern Europe, developing software for clients such as Barclays Plc and Expedia Inc.
Dobkin’s Epam Systems Inc. (EPAM) is among a slew of eastern European companies seeking a piece of the $48 billion global outsourcing market. The companies are building on engineering expertise grounded in the Soviet era to challenge Indian programming giants such as Tata Consultancy Services Ltd. (TCS)"

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18.6% gains for Global Saudi Equity Fund | Arab News

18.6% gains for Global Saudi Equity Fund | Arab News — Saudi Arabia News, Middle East News, Opinion, Economy and more.:

"Global Investment House-Saudia (Global Saudia) announced Monday that the Global Saudi Equity Fund has outperformed its benchmark reporting 18.6 percent for the first eight months of 2013 compared to 14.2 percent return by the benchmark.
The Global Saudi Equity Fund is today the second largest Saudi conventional equity fund and the largest equity fund in the Saudi market managed by a non-bank owned Investment Company with total assets under management exceeding $132 million and is also the only "A" rated Saudi equity fund by S&P.
Launched in January 2009, the Global Saudi Equity Fund has consistently outperformed its benchmark and peers, with stock selection being the main driver. Since its inception, the fund achieved 90.5 percent return compared to the benchmark return of 62.2 percent, outperforming the benchmark by more than 28 percent."

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Gulf Capital hires Rothschild to advise on overseas share issue | The National

Gulf Capital hires Rothschild to advise on overseas share issue | The National:

"Abu Dhabi’s Gulf Capital said on Monday it has hired an investment bank to advise it on a renewed attempt to issue shares in oil and gas services firm, Gulf Marine, on an overseas stock exchange.

The private equity firm, which owns 79 per cent of the Middle East’s largest operator of jack-up barges, tried to sell the business last year for more than US$500 million but talks collapsed due to financing issues and differences over its valuation.

Since then Gulf Capital has been preparing Gulf Marine Services - one of the biggest assets in its portfolio - for an initial public offering in a major stock exchange such as London or Singapore."

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Oil-rich states drilling deeper in exploration partnerships | The National

Oil-rich states drilling deeper in exploration partnerships | The National:

"The main three reasons why international oil companies (IOCs) are interested in partnerships with oil-rich countries are reserves, reserves and reserves.

This is no secret or wonder, as IOCs control less than 10 per cent of the world’s reserves and scour the globe in the hopes of booking reserves to push up their reserves replacement ratio (RRR). According to a recent report produced jointly by Oil Change International, Greenpeace and Platform, at least four of the largest six IOCs are dependent on the expensive and hard-to-process tar sands reserves to boost RRR rates. Tar sands account for up to 71 per cent of their total liquids additions.

This is why Mexico’s recent announcement to change the constitution to allow outside participation in the oil industry and the possibility to book reserves has been welcomed with joy by IOCs."

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Regulator calls for mergers in UAE insurance industry | The National

Regulator calls for mergers in UAE insurance industry | The National:

"The regulator of the UAE insurance industry is calling for consolidation to avoid cutthroat competition.

The call came as the watchdog yesterday unveiled a set of reforms for the industry.

“We need to introduce new laws and regulations to regulate the whole sector,” said Ibrahim Al Zaabi, the director general of the UAE Insurance Authority. “This is continuous. It doesn’t stop.”"

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GEMS Education plans to raise $500 million from stake sale |

GEMS Education plans to raise $500 million from stake sale |

"GEMS Education, a Dubai-based schools operator, is seeking to raise about $500 million (Dh1.836 billion) to fund growth by selling a stake of up to 20 per cent in the privately owned company, Chairman Sunny Varkey said on Monday.
GEMS, which employs about 11,000 staff, operates around 100 private schools across the Gulf region, home to many prosperous expatriates. Private schools in countries such as the UAE are expanding rapidly as demand surges along with economic growth.
“We are a company that is growing. We are looking to raise approximately $500 million in the near term,” Varkey said."

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Al Hilal Bank to meet investors on $500m sukuk |

Al Hilal Bank to meet investors on $500m sukuk |

"Abu Dhabi’s Al Hilal Bank is meeting with potential investors in Asia, Europe and the Middle East next week as it gears up to sell its inaugural $500 million (Dh1.836 billion) Islamic bond, chief executive Mohammad Berro said on Monday.
The bank is aiming to issue the sukuk to finance growth and broaden its funding sources as part of a $2.5 billion debt-raising program, Berro said on the sidelines of a conference in Dubai. The bond will be issued soon after next week’s roadshow, depending on market conditions, he said.
“The last step before full readiness is the roadshow, and then we will launch as soon as the market permits,” he said."

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Hungarian and Saudi airlines to open Dubai’s new airport |

Hungarian and Saudi airlines to open Dubai’s new airport |

"Internationally-based carriers, Wizz Air and Nasair, will commence inaugural passenger flights from the new airport at Dubai World Central(DWC) on October 27 2013.
According to data on Hungarian-based Wizz Air’s website, passengers will be able to fly from Dubai’s newest airport to Bucharest in Romania, Budapest in Hungry, Kiev in Ukraine, and Sofia in Bulgaria.
Saudi Arabian carrier Nasair, however still lists DXB (Dubai International) as its only destination airport on its website from October 27 onwards."

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EM currencies: hedge your bets | beyondbrics

EM currencies: hedge your bets | beyondbrics:

Emerging market currencies that were the hardest hit by the summer’s sell-off rallied on Monday after Lawrence Summers pulled out of the race for the Federal Reserve, fuelling hopes that easy monetary policy in the US will continue for longer.

The South Africa rand climbed 1.3 per cent to R9.807; the Turkish lira gained 1.4 per cent to TL2.02600 and the Indian rupee – which hit a succession of record lows earlier in August – rose 1 per cent to Rs62.83, a near one-month high.

But set aside the current rally, take the long view and the news is that little has changed. Most EM currencies are expected to weaken against the dollar over the next year or so, as the US begins tightening its monetary and raise interest rates. So how should companies and investors respond to this shifting environment? Adapt and make the most of it, says Frontier Strategy Group (FSG), a consultancy."

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First Gulf Bank may bid for Barclays' UAE retail arm - CEO | Reuters

First Gulf Bank may bid for Barclays' UAE retail arm - CEO | Reuters:

"First Gulf Bank (FGB), the United Arab Emirates' third largest bank, may look to buy Barclays Plc's retail banking operations in the United Arab Emirates, FGB's chief executive said on Monday.

The British lender has decided to sell the retail banking business following a strategic review of operations in the Gulf Arab state, it said earlier this month.

Local lenders in the UAE are expected to bid for the business, which includes credit card, mortgage, personal lending and deposit-taking operations.

"The bank is open for such opportunities. We may be doing due diligence on Barclays (UAE business)," FGB Chief Executive Andre Sayegh told reporters in Dubai.

"We're looking for synergies so if it makes sense, we'll go for it," he said."

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Qatar’s current account surplus to remain high

Qatar’s current account surplus to remain high:

Rising exports of gas-to-liquids (GTL), petrochemicals and fertilisers and higher crude prices will keep Qatar’s current account surplus high, averaging 34.1% of the GDP this year and in 2014, QNB has said in a report.

Current account surplus denotes the country’s exports outweigh imports. This translates into higher savings for the country, which are used to create more assets and retire existing debts.

In its Qatar Economic Insight, QNB said the relatively high oil prices would continue to produce large current account surpluses for the country."

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Continued support for Nabucco

Continued support for Nabucco:

Nabucco West Route (source: Wikipedia)
The Nabucco West pipeline would appear to be dead. Rejected in favour of the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline by the Shah Deniz consortium back in June, with the consortium’s website down and with consortium shareholders reading the last rites, the once-mighty project is surely buried forever.

But Nabucco shows signs of rising, Lazarus-like, from the grave. On 2 September Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz said that the pipeline from the Turkish-Bulgarian border to Austria is “still on the table” and could be realised in the future. He cited new supplies of gas due to come from northern Iraq and growing demand within Europe as signs that TAP would not, ultimately, be sufficient.

Yildiz is not the only one trying to revive Nabucco at the moment. His Azerbaijani counterpart Natig Aliyev, speaking the day after Yildiz, said that the projects “have different goals and the choice of TAP does not exclude implementation of Nabucco”. He said that if Azerbaijani gas production increases as anticipated, there will be a clear opportunity to build Nabucco in the future. Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev also said in July that Sofia would continue working for the project’s implementation."

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Kiev's luxury ghost town where millionaire buyers fear to tread | World news |

Kiev's luxury ghost town where millionaire buyers fear to tread | World news |

Deserted streets in Vozdvyzhenka, Kiev. Photograph: Oksana Grytsenko
They call it the millionaires' ghost town; dozens of brightly coloured houses in mock-19th-century style positioned elegantly in a ravine in the historical heart of Kiev.

By day, Vozdvyzhenka is popular for city walkers, wedding photo sessions and music clip shoots. But by night, the 17-hectare (42-acre) development falls quiet, its buildings dark, its street all but deserted.

Despite its prime location and agreeable facades, hardly anyone lives here. It was conceived 10 years ago as a desirable neighbourhood for the great and the good of the Ukrainian capital. But after a deep economic downturn withered Kiev in 2008 and 2009, the £85m development has lain fallow, a headache for its developers and a monument to the folly of grand designs in fragile economies."

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Saudi Gazette - Tasnee plans major stake in Dyesol

Saudi Gazette - Tasnee plans major stake in Dyesol:

Saudi Arabian industrial giant Tasnee (National Industrialization Company of Saudi Arabia) said Monday it has completed due diligence on a further $16 million strategic investment in Australia’s Dyesol, one of the world’s leading developer of dye solar cell technologies that can applied on buildings and rooftops to generate electricity.

Tasnee  is the second largest industrial company in Saudi Arabia, and the second largest producer of titanium oxide in the world. It also owns several titanium mines in Australia.

Dyesol technology creates “artificial photosynthesis” using a layer of nano-titania on glass, metal or polymer. The light that hits the layer excited electrons, which is absorbed by titania and converted into an electric current."

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Qatar-Egypt gas talks put on hold

Qatar-Egypt gas talks put on hold:

"Egypt and Qatar are not currently negotiating further natural gas deliveries as supplies of fuels from other Gulf states and the end of peak summer demand eases pressure on Cairo to reach a deal, industry sources said, according to Reuters.

Doha agreed in May to donate five cargoes of liquefied natural gas (LNG) and initial talks were held for Egypt to buy at least 13 more, but that was before the Egyptian army removed Qatar-backed Islamist President Mohamed Mursi from power in July.

“We haven’t resumed negotiations yet,” a senior Egyptian energy official said."

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Rates reshuffle: Russia’s central bank changes keys to better transparency — RT Business

Rates reshuffle: Russia’s central bank changes keys to better transparency — RT Business:

"Russia’s main lender has made the price it charges other country’s banks for one-week borrowing the key benchmark for the market. Being at 5.5% it is by far a better reflection of Russia’s inflation than the previous anchor – the 8.25% refinancing rate.

As part of the effort by the Central Bank of Russia (CBR) to cap inflation and make the country’s banking more consistent, the regulator has shifted the focuses for other market players.

From Monday on the cost of one week borrowing, rather than for a day, officially becomes the benchmark for other banks. This puts the previous official anchor – the refinancing rate – in the middle distance. The key CBR rate is used by the banks to decide on their own interest rates policy, which ultimately translates into the cost of borrowing for both companies and individuals."

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Ryanair set to enter Ukraine once Open Skies is signed -

Ryanair set to enter Ukraine once Open Skies is signed -

"Ryanair (FR, Dublin Int'l) has set its sights on entering the Ukrainian market once an Open Skies agreement between Kiev and the European Union has been finalized. As a precursor, the Irish LCC is understood to have already begun preliminary talks with airports in Kiev, Lvov and Donetsk over potential pricing and costs. With the Open Skies treaty expected to be finalized next year, the liberalization of Ukraine's skies would see further cut throat competition between two of Europe's largest LCCs; Ryanair and Wizz Air (W6, Budapest), which already has a Ukrainian subsidiary, Wizz Air Ukraine (WU, Kiev Zhulyany)."

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