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Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Manchester United announce sponsorships with Qatar and Emirates banks - Sports Mole

Manchester United announce sponsorships with Qatar and Emirates banks - Sports Mole:

"Manchester United have announced that they have signed new sponsorship deals with Commercial Bank of Qatar and Emirates NBD Bank.

Both banking organisations have five-year contracts with the club, who revealed today that their revenue has increased by 13.4% to £363.2m.

The North-West outfit will now become official financial services partners with the banks in Qatar and United Arab Emirates respectively.

Both organisations will be able to create United-branded debit, credit and prepaid cards as part of the deal."

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FOMC statement, 18 September 2013 – NO TAPER | FT Alphaville

FOMC statement, 18 September 2013 – NO TAPER | FT Alphaville:
It’s not a Taper Tantrum if THERE IS NO TAPER.
And neither was there a change to forward guidance. Equity markets racing higher at pixel time, as would be expected.
More to come as we make our way through it, and of course we’ll have all the commentary you need during Markets Live.
Here is the full text of the statement:
Information received since the Federal Open Market Committee met in July suggests that economic activity has been expanding at a moderate pace. Some indicators of labor market conditions have shown further improvement in recent months, but the unemployment rate remains elevated. Household spending and business fixed investment advanced, and the housing sector has been strengthening, but mortgage rates have risen further and fiscal policy is restraining economic growth. Apart from fluctuations due to changes in energy prices, inflation has been running below the Committee’s longer-run objective, but longer-term inflation expectations have remained stable.
Consistent with its statutory mandate, the Committee seeks to foster maximum employment and price stability. The Committee expects that, with appropriate policy accommodation, economic growth will pick up from its recent pace and the unemployment rate will gradually decline toward levels the Committee judges consistent with its dual mandate. The Committee sees the downside risks to the outlook for the economy and the labor market as having diminished, on net, since last fall, but the tightening of financial conditions observed in recent months, if sustained, could slow the pace of improvement in the economy and labor market. The Committee recognizes that inflation persistently below its 2 percent objective could pose risks to economic performance, but it anticipates that inflation will move back toward its objective over the medium term.
Taking into account the extent of federal fiscal retrenchment, the Committee sees the improvement in economic activity and labor market conditions since it began its asset purchase program a year ago as consistent with growing underlying strength in the broader economy. However, the Committee decided to await more evidence that progress will be sustained before adjusting the pace of its purchases. Accordingly, the Committee decided to continue purchasing additional agency mortgage-backed securities at a pace of $40 billion per month and longer-term Treasury securities at a pace of $45 billion per month. The Committee is maintaining its existing policy of reinvesting principal payments from its holdings of agency debt and agency mortgage-backed securities in agency mortgage-backed securities and of rolling over maturing Treasury securities at auction. Taken together, these actions should maintain downward pressure on longer-term interest rates, support mortgage markets, and help to make broader financial conditions more accommodative, which in turn should promote a stronger economic recovery and help to ensure that inflation, over time, is at the rate most consistent with the Committee’s dual mandate.
The Committee will closely monitor incoming information on economic and financial developments in coming months and will continue its purchases of Treasury and agency mortgage-backed securities, and employ its other policy tools as appropriate, until the outlook for the labor market has improved substantially in a context of price stability. In judging when to moderate the pace of asset purchases, the Committee will, at its coming meetings, assess whether incoming information continues to support the Committee’s expectation of ongoing improvement in labor market conditions and inflation moving back toward its longer-run objective. Asset purchases are not on a preset course, and the Committee’s decisions about their pace will remain contingent on the Committee’s economic outlook as well as its assessment of the likely efficacy and costs of such purchases.
To support continued progress toward maximum employment and price stability, the Committee today reaffirmed its view that a highly accommodative stance of monetary policy will remain appropriate for a considerable time after the asset purchase program ends and the economic recovery strengthens. In particular, the Committee decided to keep the target range for the federal funds rate at 0 to 1/4 percent and currently anticipates that this exceptionally low range for the federal funds rate will be appropriate at least as long as the unemployment rate remains above 6-1/2 percent, inflation between one and two years ahead is projected to be no more than a half percentage point above the Committee’s 2 percent longer-run goal, and longer-term inflation expectations continue to be well anchored. In determining how long to maintain a highly accommodative stance of monetary policy, the Committee will also consider other information, including additional measures of labor market conditions, indicators of inflation pressures and inflation expectations, and readings on financial developments. When the Committee decides to begin to remove policy accommodation, it will take a balanced approach consistent with its longer-run goals of maximum employment and inflation of 2 percent.
Voting for the FOMC monetary policy action were: Ben S. Bernanke, Chairman; William C. Dudley, Vice Chairman; James Bullard; Charles L. Evans; Jerome H. Powell; Eric S. Rosengren; Jeremy C. Stein; Daniel K. Tarullo; and Janet L. Yellen. Voting against the action was Esther L. George, who was concerned that the continued high level of monetary accommodation increased the risks of future economic and financial imbalances and, over time, could cause an increase in long-term inflation expectations.
And here are the new economic projections (click for pdf):
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[snap] EM assets bounce on Bernanke shock: tapering is off | beyondbrics

[snap] EM assets bounce on Bernanke shock: tapering is off | beyondbrics:

"Ben Bernanke took the world by surprise on Wednesday by saying the Fed’s $85bn a month bond-buying programme would continue unchecked.

Investors around the globe had expected at least some reduction in the Fed’s quantitative easing programme, which has done so much to buoy up the prices of emerging market assets since the financial crisis of 2008-09. US stocks and bonds surged on the news and EM currencies rose strongly against the dollar.

The Turkish lira gained 1.77 per cent; the Brazilian real, 1.69 per cent; the Polish zloty 1.41 per cent and the South African rand 1.18 per cent, all within moments of the announcement.

And for a simple illustration, here’s what happened to the Bovespa index in São Paulo:


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MIDEAST STOCKS-Markets muted ahead of Fed decision on stimulus - Yahoo News Maktoob

MIDEAST STOCKS-Markets muted ahead of Fed decision on stimulus - Yahoo News Maktoob:

"Gulf Arab bourses were little moved on Wednesday, with investors wary ahead of a likely move by the U.S. Federal Reserve to scale back its ultra-loose stimulus programme.
The Federal Open Market Committee is expected to be measured with any cuts to its $85 billion of monthly asset buying, termed Quantitative Easing (QE), while also seeking to assure investors that the day of an actual policy tightening is still distant.
"As long as the Fed doesn't take hard decisions on tapering the QE, things should be under control here," said Sebastien Henin, portfolio manager at The National Investor.
Gulf equities may see some spill over should global bourses slump, but a larger effect would be felt on fixed income markets, he added."

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Turkey’s Koc and PM Erdogan: making friends again? | beyondbrics

Turkey’s Koc and PM Erdogan: making friends again? | beyondbrics:

Let bygones be bygones
So, how are the seemingly vexed relations between Turkey’s government and the country’s biggest company, Koc Holding? Not as bad as all that, according to Mustafa Koc, the man who heads the family-controlled conglomerate.


A reminder of the apparent points of friction and why they matter:

Prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan kicked off the year by questioning and ultimately rejecting the winning $5.7bn bid – a record amount – in a tender to operate almost 2,000 km of Turkish roads and bridges. Koc, long seen as the archetype of the “white Turks”, the secular elite the Islamist-rooted Erdogan has long railed against, represented 40 per cent of the consortium that put that bid together."

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BBC News - New York office tower seized over payments to Iran

BBC News - New York office tower seized over payments to Iran:

A building at 650 Fifth Avenue is seen in the midtown Manhattan section of New York, 13 November 13, 2009.The building at 650 Fifth Avenue is in the midtown Manhattan section of New York
An office tower in Manhattan that prosecutors claim is secretly owned by Iran is to be seized by US authorities.

The seizure would be the "largest-ever terrorism-related forfeiture," the US justice department said.

Prosecutors said the Fifth Avenue building's owners funnelled rent income to Iran's state-owned Bank Melli in violation of sanctions.

One owner, the Alavi foundation, said it was "disappointed" with the ruling and planned to appeal."

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Agco joins JV and follows rivals to court Russian farmers | beyondbrics

Agco joins JV and follows rivals to court Russian farmers | beyondbrics:

Ripe for replacement
Agco, one of the biggest farm machinery makers in the US, has teamed up with a strong local partner as it follows its US rivals into the competitive Russian market. A deal signed with Oleg Deripaska’s Russian Machines group this week will see the companies join forces to build tractors and combine harvesters at a plant near Moscow as well as teach local farmers about the wonders of agro high tech.

Agco and Russian Machines will hold equal shares in a joint venture that plans to invest $100m over the next three years at a site in Golitsyno near Moscow, where a bus plant will be converted to produce agricultural machinery. Operations are expected to begin in 2014.

Russia has become an important growth market for international agricultural machinery makers as the country’s farmers struggle to modernise."

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Middle East markets – time to list? | beyondbrics

Middle East markets – time to list? | beyondbrics:

It hasn’t taken long for the recovery in Middle Eastern markets to persuade once-shy companies that now could be the time to list.

The announcement this week that the Bank of London and The Middle East would list on NasdaqDubai, which has just two actively traded stocks, signalled the first new listing in Dubai in nearly five years.

Arab markets have been outperforming other regions after years of lagging behind their peers as political concerns over widespread unrest dampened confidence. More mature institutional investor interest is still to take over from retail buying in the Gulf."

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India makes latest tweak to gold regime as confusion reigns | beyondbrics

India makes latest tweak to gold regime as confusion reigns | beyondbrics:

India’s mandarins aren’t quite done tinkering with the gold market.

This week, the government hiked customs duty on gold and jewellery from 10 per cent to 15 per cent, a move aimed both at reducing imports and protecting domestic goldsmiths ahead of the festival season.

By making imported jewellery more expensive, the measure will give a boost to local jewellers, who have been squeezed by a series of hikes to customs duties on the imported gold they use."

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Ukraine s association with EU to open up 500-mllion market for domestic farmers, agricultural minister says| Ukrinform

Ukraine s association with EU to open up 500-mllion market for domestic farmers, agricultural minister says| Ukrinform:

"After the signing of the Association Agreement between Ukraine and European Union, more than 500 million of the solvent consumers in the world will be able to buy Ukraine's agricultural produce, Minister of Agricultural Policy and Food Mykola Prysiazhniuk told reporters on Wednesday.
"For six months, Ukraine has supplied to the EU agricultural products worth USD 2.6 billion. The largest amounts of exports fell on grains, oilseeds and vegetable oils. However, subject to the signing of the Association Agreement with the EU, the range of agricultural products and their amount will be significantly expanded. After all, about 500 million Europeans will become buyers of Ukrainian agricultural products," the minister noted.
However, a necessary condition thereby will be the compliance of Ukrainian products with international standards. "According to analysts, if the agreement on a free trade area with the EU is signed, the food processing industry in Ukraine will become more attractive investment," the minister said."

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India’s dollar window: foreign banks prepare to pile in | beyondbrics

India’s dollar window: foreign banks prepare to pile in | beyondbrics:

Raghuram Rajan, India’s new central bank governor, faces a nervous few days as he waits for Federal Reserve tapering news later on Wednesday and ponders a tricky interest rate decision on Friday. But at least one of his initial wheezes, to support the rupee by attracting dollars from Indians living abroad, seems to be working out nicely – thanks in large part to the efforts of western banks.

When he took office at the Reserve Bank of India earlier this month, Rajan gave a press conference outlining a number of planned financial sector reforms. His performance was received rapturously in India – even earning comparisons with James Bond in one newspaper — while his announcements have been credited with spurring a recent recovery in the currency.

His more technical plans included a temporary currency swap window, which would allow banks to take dollars on deposit from wealthy Indians living in foreign countries and swap them into rupees more cheaply than on the open market. For global banks, this makes it much more attractive to take deposits in dollars, while offering their clients attractive Indian-level returns."

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Multinationals in emerging markets: Must try harder | The Economist

Multinationals in emerging markets: Must try harder | The Economist:

SPEAK to the boss of a big, rich-world multinational company and he will soon wax lyrical about the attractions of emerging markets. Even recent wobbles in some of these countries have not curbed vocal enthusiasm for the BRICS and other collections of high-growth markets, whose prospects have more than offset a gloomy prognosis for the maturing, growth-starved domestic markets of the developed economies. So, with the source of future profits so clearly identified, presumably such firms are doing everything possible to succeed in emerging markets?

Strangely, it seems they are not. Or so says a new report, “Playing to Win in Emerging Markets”, by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG). The consultancy polled over 150 executives from the world’s biggest multinational companies. So far, those firms have not done badly, earning on average 28% of their revenues in emerging markets. Yet nearly four-fifths of them expect to gain market share, which could be trickier."

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Ukrainians Drawn to Hryvnia as Central Bank Gets Lifeline - Bloomberg

Ukrainians Drawn to Hryvnia as Central Bank Gets Lifeline - Bloomberg:

Vincent Mundy/Bloomberg
Shoppers walk along a street in central Kiev, Ukraine.
For Dmytro Arsentiev, the 20 percent interest he gets on his hryvnia savings at Ukraine’s No. 2 bank, offers enough protection from currency swings.
“Running around hectically like a rabbit to change money isn’t profitable now,” the 63-year-old pensioner, a retired computer consultant, said by phone from Kiev, the capital. “You lose on the conversion costs.”
Ukrainians, who endured a 40 percent devaluation five years ago, are ignoring warnings from banks including Goldman Sachs Group Inc. that another is on the way as lenders offer high deposit rates and the hryvnia holds firm to the dollar. After selling the currency en masse in 2012 in anticipation of a drop after elections, they’ve been net buyers for four consecutive months, the longest streak since 2005."

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Just Falafel said to be planning Dubai IPO for 25 percent stake | Business , Middle East | THE DAILY STAR

Just Falafel said to be planning Dubai IPO for 25 percent stake | Business , Middle East | THE DAILY STAR:

Just Falafel. (The Daily Star/Hasan Shaaban)
Just Falafel, the United Arab Emirates fast-food chain planning 720 new outlets in 19 nations, is weighing the sale of a 25 percent stake in an initial public offering, two people with knowledge of the matter said.

Just Falafel, with more than 40 restaurants across the Middle East and the U.K., appointed Dubai-based boutique firm HK Advisory Services Ltd. to manage the potential listing on the Nasdaq Dubai exchange, the sources said. They declined to be identified because the matter wasn’t public. The company is seeking to conduct the IPO by the end of December, they said.

Emails to Just Falafel weren’t immediately returned."

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Goldman Sachs Loan Leads Bahrain’s Arcapita Out of Chapter 11 - Bloomberg

Goldman Sachs Loan Leads Bahrain’s Arcapita Out of Chapter 11 - Bloomberg:

"Arcapita Bank BSC, the Bahrain-based investment house that filed for Chapter 11 in the U.S. last year, exited bankruptcy after receiving a $350 million loan from Goldman Sachs International.
Under the terms of the restructuring deal, a new entity named RA Holding Corp., owned by the creditors, will realize the value of Arcapita’s investment portfolio, the bank said in a statement on its website. The Goldman Sachs-led loan will fund cash flow requirements of the new entity and pay obligations connected to the restructuring, it said.
Companies including Kuwait’s Global Investment House KSCC, Dubai World Corp. and Dubai-based Nakheel PJSC were forced to restructure billions of dollars of debt after lending evaporated and asset values plummeted during the global credit crisis. Arcapita filed for bankruptcy in March 2012 after negotiations with creditors over a $1.1 billion syndicated loan failed."

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Somaliland: a regional hub?

Published on 18 Sep 2013
Somaliland, a small, fragile economy struggles for a regional role against the odds. Katrina Manson, East Africa correspondent, reports on the new airport recently built in the capital Hargeisa

Cabinet approves draft EU-Ukraine Association Agreement - ForUm

Cabinet approves draft EU-Ukraine Association Agreement - ForUm:

"The Cabinet of Ministers has approved the draft EU-Ukraine Association Agreement, spokesman of the Cabinet Yevhen Kravets told journalists, ForUm correspondent reports.

"The government has just approved the draft agreement with the EU," he said.

This information was also confirmed by head of the EU delegation to Ukraine Jan Tombinski. "Today the Ukrainian government completed the process of approval of the Agreement. This is a very important and decisive step," he said."

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MTS to sell Ukrainian asset

MTS to sell Ukrainian asset:

Russia’s MTS has decided to dispose of its fixed line business Comstar Ukraine.
Local reports say that the latter, which currently has around 18,000 subscribers, some 7,000 of who receive an IPTV service, now accounts for less than 0.5% of MTS’ total turnover in Ukraine.
MTS has held a majority (50.91%) stake in Comstar Ukraine since October 2009 and the company is now believed to be worth in the region of UAH32 million (€2.9 million)."

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I’m worried about the hryvnia - and you should be too - Opinion - News - Ukraine Business Online

I’m worried about the hryvnia - and you should be too - Opinion - News - Ukraine Business Online:

For the last four years, Ukrainians have been able to count on at least one near constant - the spending power of their hryvnias. It’s been locked in at roughly UAH 8.1/USD, with seemingly as much logic behind it as the popular grade-school defense “because I said so.” The stability has been calming on many levels and for many people, but has always struck some (myself included) as alarming.

An apt analogy might be to the fictional hare - with Ukraine doing everything it can to prop up the hrvynia’s peg to the US dollar, while watching other more venerable regional currencies taking brief respites and being allowed to depreciate, while dropping a snide “suckers” as they race along full tilt. But now the others, the tortoises in our tale, including Russia with the ruble and Poland with the zloty, have preserved their resources and their currencies are in fact even stronger than four years ago. Meanwhile, the fuel that has supported the hryvnia all this time has dwindled - the National Bank of Ukraine’s precious stockpile of currency reserves."

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Off-plan sales flying in Dubai now the world’s hottest property market again « ArabianMoney

Off-plan sales flying in Dubai now the world’s hottest property market again « ArabianMoney:

It is astonishing to think that only four years ago the Dubai property market went through one of the worst crashes in the world during the global financial crisis. Today its real estate prices are rising by the fastest in the world, according to the Knight Frank index, and rental increases are also topping the global league table. Off plan sales are also flying again.

Who are Skai Properties? That has not stopped this unknown, new privately-owned developer from selling 98 per cent of a luxury apartment complex on the Palm Jumeirah that looks a bit like a beached cruise liner (see above), albeit in a business venture that includes the world’s largest contractor, China State Construction Engineering."

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Russia to Save $11Bln by Canceling Most Funded Pensions | Business | RIA Novosti

Russia to Save $11Bln by Canceling Most Funded Pensions | Business | RIA Novosti:

"A senior government official said Tuesday that Russia would implement a reform of retirement pension funding that would free up 350 billion rubles ($10.8 billion) for the state budget over the next three years.
Payments for state retirement pensions in Russia include two components dependent on salary and crucial for future pension size – the insurance component and the funded component.
Money from the former component goes to fund current pensions, but the government takes an obligation to pay this money back to the citizen once he or she hits retirement age. Money from the latter component actually goes into a citizen’s account in a retirement fund, which can invest the money on the citizen’s behalf."

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Saudi Gazette - SAGIA spells out 7 reasons for investing in Saudi Arabia

Saudi Gazette - SAGIA spells out 7 reasons for investing in Saudi Arabia:

"Governor and Chairman of the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA)  Eng. Abdullatif Al-Othman spelled out seven reasons to invest in Saudi Arabia in an address he delivered  at the three-day 3rd US-Saudi Business Opportunities Forum that ends today (Wednesday) at the J.W. Marriott L.A. Live.

Speakers included Dr. Tawfig Alrabiah, Minister of Commerce and Industry. In his  keynote remarks, Governor Al-Othman highlighted “Seven Reasons to Invest in Saudi Arabia”:

1. The consumer market is booming. The population is 29 million, and it’s very youthful, with 61 percent within the working age and 35 percent under age 15. The population has major purchasing power, vast demand, high rates of Internet connectivity, mobile devices, and social media use."

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Gulf Navigation off course after oil tanker seized in Rotterdam | The National

Gulf Navigation off course after oil tanker seized in Rotterdam | The National:

The very large crude carrier Gulf Sheba sits at Rotterdam after being arrested while
 unloading its crude cargo. Courtesy Rob Hendriks

Gulf Navigation has sailed into choppy waters, with one of its oil tankers forced to remain at anchor in Rotterdam pending its sale, under instruction from disgruntled creditors.

The Dubai-based company said on Monday that the Gulf Sheba had been arrested in the Dutch port while unloading its crude cargo. The arrest notice was served by the Norwegian bank DNB, an agent of the lenders for Gulf Sheba Corporation, a Gulf Navigation subsidiary, for default in repayment of interest and principal towards the end of July.

Gulf Navigation yesterday said it would hold a meeting of its board of directors on Friday to review the situation and to call an extraordinary general meeting for necessary shareholder approvals, giving no further details."

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‘World’s largest airport’ ready welcome its first passengers in Dubai | The National

‘World’s largest airport’ ready welcome its first passengers in Dubai | The National:

"Dubai’s new airport can officially welcome passengers from next month after it received the go-ahead from the General Civil Aviation Authority.

In a letter issued on Sunday, the regulator certified that Al Maktoum International Airport in Dubai World Central has met all of its requirements and is able to begin handling passengers from October 27, Dubai Airports said on Monday.

The news has long been expected, with the Saudi-based carrier Nasair and the Hungarian budget airline Wizzair ready to commence passenger services from the new airport in Dubai’s Jebel Ali district on that date."

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Emiratisation progress proves slow for UAE women | The National

Emiratisation progress proves slow for UAE women | The National:

"Today’s Emirati women are far more present in the workforce than their mothers were, but cultural constraints are limiting further growth, even during a time of stepped-up Emiratisation.

Analysts expect the number of Emirati women joining the working ranks to increase at a slow pace, given cultural expectations.

With 2013 as the Year of Emiratisation, the government is focusing on improving the technical skills of the local workforce and reducing their reliance on the public sector for jobs. Government and semi-government jobs in Abu Dhabi alone could support 352,000 Emiratis by 2030."

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Mashreq’s Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair is the bankers’ banker | The National

Mashreq’s Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair is the bankers’ banker | The National:

Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair, the executive chairman of Mashreq, has been very optimistic
about the prospects for the UAE economy. Razan Alzayani / The National

It is a lesson in business skill to watch Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair “work” a room of guests. He was at it last week with a gathering of journalists at a media roundtable, and again yesterday at a bankers’ breakfast meeting organised by Mashreqbank, of which he is chairman.

With the media, he was accessible, informative and ready with a quip or personal aside to illustrate an important point about the banking industry.

With the bankers he was rather more serious, and painstaking in his networking approach. By the end of the session in the Dubai International Financial Centre, he must have shaken the hand of almost every one of the 150 or so people present."

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Abu Dhabi investors shift focus to Zain IPO in Iraq | The National

Abu Dhabi investors shift focus to Zain IPO in Iraq | The National:

"Abu Dhabi investors are considering plans to reduce their holdings in Asiacell, Iraq’s first publicly listed mobile operator, as a second telecoms share sale in the country catches their attention.

The initial public offering of Zain Iraq next year may encourage investors to spread their bets and suck some liquidity from Asiacell in the process, say fund managers.

The National Investor, an Abu Dhabi-based investment bank, reduced its shareholding by about half from its previous investment of US$2 million made immediately after Asiacell’sinitial public offering IPO. Invest AD said it would “probably but not definitely” cut some of its own $2m shareholding to “spread the exposure across the two companies”."

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Abu Dhabi to Fujairah airline's future in doubt | The National

Abu Dhabi to Fujairah airline's future in doubt | The National:

"The future of a planned domestic airline that would operate flights between Fujairah and Abu Dhabi is in doubt, after key staff left the company.

Eastern Express first announced it would operate the service in late 2011, but ran into regulatory hurdles which delayed its launch.

Its problems were compounded when in June last year another domestic airline, Rotana Jet, launched daily services connecting the emirates."

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Qatar Index recast to be effective from Oct

Qatar Index recast to be effective from Oct:

"Al Meera Consumer Goods and Qatar Insurance will replace al khaliji and Mazaya Real Estate from the 20-stock Qatar Index.

The index recast will be effective from October 1, a spokesman of the bourse confirmed.

The other 18 entities will continue to be QNB, Industries Qatar (IQ), Ooredoo, Commercial Bank, Qatar Islamic Bank (QIB), Qatar Electricity and Water, Doha Bank, Nakilat, Barwa, Milaha, United Development Company (UDC), International Islamic, Gulf International Services, Qatari Investors Group, Vodafone Qatar, Alijarah Holding and Widam Food."

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Qatari Islamic banks seen growing to $100bn by ’17

Qatari Islamic banks seen growing to $100bn by ’17:

"Qatar’s Islamic banks’ balance sheet are expected to grow to $100bn by 2017 in view of surge in demand for local credit to finance government infrastructure and investment projects, according to global credit rating agency Standard and Poor’s (S&P).

Moreover, the country’s Shariah-principled lenders are slated to expand overseas due to a very small bankable population, it said in a report.

“We foresee Qatar’s Islamic banks continuing to grow quickly over the next five years, reaching over $100bn on the balance sheet by 2017, up from $54bn at year-end 2012,” F Timucin Engin, S&P associate director (financial institutions) said in Doha."

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