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Friday, 20 September 2013

Statement of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sweden Carl Bildt, chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the European Parliament Elmar Brok and Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy Štefan Füle after the meeting with the President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovich on the 20th September 2013 in Yalta

Statement of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sweden Carl Bildt, chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the European Parliament Elmar Brok and Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy Štefan Füle after the meeting with the President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovich on the 20th September 2013 in Yalta:

"
At the meeting today we have:

  • appreciated that Ukraine is taking forward work on a number of concrete issues which are relevant for the possible signature of the Association Agreement/DCFTA at the Eastern Partnership summit in Vilnius in November
  • underlined the crucial importance of progress on electoral legislation, the legislation on Prosecutor General Office and with respect to the case of Yulia Tymoshenko.
  • stressed that the time is getting short and reinforced efforts are needed to ensure "determined action and tangible progress on the benchmarks needed for the signature of the Association Agreement.
  • reaffirmed that the EU willfirmly stand by Ukraine against unacceptable external pressures linked to its determination to sign the Association Agreement/DCFTA.""


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Belarus makes room for deal with Russia in potash saga | beyondbrics

Belarus makes room for deal with Russia in potash saga | beyondbrics:

"Alexander Lukashenko, Belarus’s president, has broken his unusual reticence about the ongoing potash fight with neighbouring Russia, telling the local press that arrested Uralkali executive Vladislav Baumgertner could be extradited back to Russia as long as the Russians continue to investigate the case.

“If Russian investigators are interested in the extradition of the detained, I don’t see any special problems with it,” Lukashenko said, according to the government Belta news agency.

Bumgertner was arrested in Minsk on August 26 after being invited to visit the country’s prime minister to try to resolve a long-running dispute with Belaruskali, the government-owned Belarusian potash producer.

Belarus insists that Uralkali is in the wrong in the fight and that the company’s management had manipulated a cartel formed by the two potash companies to benefit themselves."

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Egypt’s tourist numbers just fell off a cliff | beyondbrics

Egypt’s tourist numbers just fell off a cliff | beyondbrics:

"Egypt’s problems are not exactly unknown. The question for potential tourists is whether things are so bad they should stay away.

It seems many think they should. Arrivals in August plummeted 46 per cent compared with the same month in 2012. That’s the worst drop since March 2011, when the country had just desposed president Hosni Mubarak and was in disarray.

The two charts below tell the story.

The number of arrivals in August has dipped below 600,000 for the first time in more than two years. The drop comes after a decent recovery in tourist numbers during 2012-13, as the 12 month rolling average shows.

The year-on-year figure shows that the poor July figure, when arrivals fell 25 per cent, has got far worse.


Bloomberg

Latvia: a lesson to us all? New pro and new con | beyondbrics

Latvia: a lesson to us all? New pro and new con | beyondbrics:

"
Latvia is a small country perched on the northern fringe of the European Union but its remarkable experience during the economic crisis has made it a favourite talking point among economists.

They debate whether it made sense for the country to stick with its peg to the euro and undergoing a severe internal devaluation instead of unpegging and allowing the lat to depreciate, and whether that risky choice qualifies Latvia to serve as an example to other troubled EU countries.

The latest entry into the growing Latvian crisis literature is a paper called Boom, Bust, Recovery – Forensics of the Latvia Crisisby Olivier Blanchard, Mark Griffiths and Bertrand Gruss of the IMF, which takes a close look at the Latvian experience and concludes that the country has undergone a surprisingly strong return to growth following its internal devaluation and a return to competitiveness."

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SpiceJet starts Pune-Sharjah flight; eyes pact with Air Arabia | Business Line

SpiceJet starts Pune-Sharjah flight; eyes pact with Air Arabia | Business Line:

"SpiceJet on Friday announced the launch of Pune-Sharjah flight from tomorrow, said it is in talks with Air Arabia for an “interline arrangement”.

In aviation parlance, an “interline arrangement” is a deal under which the same ticket covers different legs of the journey flown by different airlines.

“We are talking to Air Arabia for an interline arrangement (mutual transfer of passengers). The talks, however, are at a very preliminary stage,” SpiceJet Commercial Head V Raja told reporters here.

Raja said once SpiceJet and Air Arabia arrive at an understanding, passengers of the two carriers will have a seamless journey to and from India."

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Real Madrid resort plan may be moved to Abu Dhabi - Construction - ArabianBusiness.com

Real Madrid resort plan may be moved to Abu Dhabi - Construction - ArabianBusiness.com:

"A planned $1 billion Real Madrid-branded resort in Ras al-Khaimah (RAK) has been halted and the project may be switched to Abu Dhabi, a senior executive at the master developer and the club has said.
The 50-hectare attraction was to have been built on the man-made Marjan Island in RAK, 105km north of its more illustrious neighbour Dubai.
Real Madrid president Florentino Perez and former World Player of the Year Zinedine Zidane, now an assistant to coach Carlo Ancelotti, attended the glitzy project launch in March 2012.
Drawings were displayed for a 450-room hotel, a marina and yacht club and a Real Madrid museum, plus an amusement park and a 10,000-capacity stadium."

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EU Says Won’t Let Up on Ukraine as Yanukovych Vows Action - Bloomberg #Yalta2013

EU Says Won’t Let Up on Ukraine as Yanukovych Vows Action - Bloomberg:

"The European Union said it won’t loosen the conditions for Ukraine to sign a pact on closer ties as the former Soviet republic seeks ways to meet the bloc’s terms in the next two months.
“I hope nobody in Ukraine will think that now the EU is lowering the bar and leaving the conditions we set up in December behind,” Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fule said today at a conference in Ukraine’s Black Sea resort of Yalta. “I can’t see this happening.”
The 28-member bloc has said issues such as the imprisonment of ex-Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko are impeding the signing of an Association Agreement and free-trade accord at a summit in the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius in November. Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych said today that his nation still has time to resolve the “very difficult” Tymoshenko case."

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Turkey: gas licence speaks volumes about Kurdish relations | beyondbrics

Turkey: gas licence speaks volumes about Kurdish relations | beyondbrics:

"
Turkey’s energy market regulator EPDK this week awarded Turkish construction group Siyah Kalem a license to import gas from Iraq 18 months on from the company’s initial application.

The volumes are small – rising to a maximum of 3.2bn cu m per yr over the first 20 years out of a total 26 – but the fact it has been awarded at all speaks volumes about the state of relations between Turkey and Iraq, and the semi-autonomous Kurdish region of Northern Iraq.

The long delay in processing the license application follows the insistence by Turkish officials initially that Siyah Kalem should have concluded a signed and sealed contract with a gas supplier. Subsequently Ankara announced that the license would be also depended on the approval of Iraqi central government in Baghdad."

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Egypt left vulnerable after Qatari snub | @REBELECONOMY

Egypt left vulnerable after Qatari snub | REBEL ECONOMY:

"It was bound to happen sooner or later.
Egypt has returned to Qatar the $2 billion the Gulf state deposited in Egypt’s central bank after negotiations to convert the money into three-year bonds failed.
Though this represents only a quarter of the total funds Qatar has lent or given to Egypt, the decision to return the money symbolises the increasingly strained ties between Cairo and Doha following the ouster of Islamist president Mohammed Morsi in July.
Qatar had been a strong supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Morsi and his departure raised questions of whether Egypt would have to repay any of the total $8 billion in Qatar deposits and loans. Official reports suggest Egypt couldn’t reach a deal with Qatar and decided to repay the deposit rather than convert the $2 billion into bonds."

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RBI Surprises by Raising Interest Rates - India Real Time - WSJ

RBI Surprises by Raising Interest Rates - India Real Time - WSJ:

"
Punit Paranjpe/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images
Raghuram Rajan at a news conference at the RBI headquarters in Mumbai, Sept. 4.
Investors and analysts had high expectations from Raghuram Rajan, the new Reserve Bank of India governor, as he announced his first monetary policy Friday.

He delivered a policy with a twist, but not in the way the markets had wanted.

Investors had hoped that Mr. Rajan, who was thought to be pro-growth, would look at ways to get India’s economy back on track. Some economists are predicting that India’s economy will grow at less than 5% in the financial year that ends March, making it the slowest pace of growth in more than a decade.

To boost the economy, the RBI had been cutting rates till earlier this year, but a sharp summer decline in the rupee halted the central bank’s rate easing which started under former RBI governor D. Subbarao."

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Ukraine external debt decreases to 76% of GDP in 2Q13 - Ukraine Business Online

Ukraine external debt decreases to 76% of GDP in 2Q13 - Ukraine - News - Ukraine Business Online:

"Ukraine’s gross external debt decreased 1.4% (USD 1.9 bln) in 2Q13 to USD 134.4 bln, or 75.7% of GDP as of July 1, according to the National Bank of Ukraine, Concorde Capital told its clients in analysis provided yesterday.

Short-term external debt declined 1.7% to USD 62.1 bln in 2Q13, including USD 28.6 bln in long-term debt maturing through the year.

Concorde analyst Alexander Paraschiy added: “Both private sector and state organs have been paying back their debts throughout the quarter. In particular, the NBU repaid USD 717 mln and the state repaid USD 403 mln. The banking sector also returned USD 617 mln."

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UAE’s banking sector has recovered to be robust, says UAE Bank Federation chief | GulfNews.com

UAE’s banking sector has recovered to be robust, says UAE Bank Federation chief | GulfNews.com:

"The UAE’s banking sector, which suffered in the aftermath of the global financial crisis with some of the major banks reporting high non-performing loans between 2009 and 2011, have “recovered quickly” to become robust, according to Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair, Chairman of Dubai International Financial Centre Authority and Chairman of Emirates Banks Association.
He credited the UAE Central Bank and the Federal Government’s Ministry of Finance proactive steps for the fast recovery of the banking sector during his address to the assembled global delegates at SIBOS 2013 yesterday.
The Ministry of Finance had disbursed $19 billion as subordinated deposit to the UAE banks which provided the liquidity to the capital and boosted capital adequacy ratio by 5 per cent, which has now gone up to 20 per cent. The UAE Central Bank’s additional facility of $14 billion was made available to banks, which they sparingly used."

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Rail Traffic Continues to Pick up Steam | PRAGMATIC CAPITALISM

Rail Traffic Continues to Pick up Steam | PRAGMATIC CAPITALISM:

"Rail traffic showed more signs of positive economic growth this week as intermodal traffic rose 4.9% compared with the same week last year.  Total traffic was up 3.1% and the 12 week moving average in intermodal rose to 3%.  That’s the highest reading since May of this year.  The AAR has some more details:

“The Association of American Railroads (AAR) reported increased weekly rail traffic for the week ending September 14, 2013 with total U.S. weekly carloads of 296,221 carloads, up 1.5 percent compared with the same week last year. Intermodal volume for the week totaled 265,873 units, up 4.9 percent compared with the same week last year. Total U.S. rail traffic for the week was 562,094 combined carloads and intermodal units, up 3.1 percent compared with the same week last year.

Chart via Orcam Research
"

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Bahrain Refinery Expansion to Be Completed in 2019, CEO Says - Bloomberg

Bahrain Refinery Expansion to Be Completed in 2019, CEO Says - Bloomberg:

"Bahrain Petroleum Co. expects to complete in 2019 an upgrade of its only refinery that will increase its processing capacity by 35 percent, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Adel al-Moayyed said.
Bapco, as the company is known, plans to start work on upgrading the Sitra refinery in 2015 to boost its capacity to 360,000 barrels a day from 267,000 barrels currently, he said by phone yesterday.
Bapco, and Saudi Arabian Oil Co., or Saudi Aramco, are in final stages of approving work on enlarging a pipeline that carries Saudi light crude to Sitra refinery by 120,000 barrels a day to 350,000 barrels to feed the expansion, he said. The two companies are expected to sign the contract for the pipeline work by the end of this year, and complete that project in 2017, he said."

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Yemen Energy Profile: Sector In A State Of Flux - Analysis Eurasia Review

Yemen Energy Profile: Sector In A State Of Flux - Analysis Eurasia Review:

"
Yemen’s energy sector is in a state of flux. Declining oil production and frequent attacks on Yemen’s energy infrastructure have offset positive developments in the country’s natural gas sector since 2009. Yemen’s difficult security environment complicates the exploration, production, and transport of energy resources in the country, and could undermine the country’s emerging liquefied natural gas (LNG) export sector.

Yemen is not a major energy producer compared with other countries in the Middle East. Yemen’s crude oil production has never ranked in the top-30 globally, and the country used all of its natural gas production to aid in oil recovery until 2009. Nevertheless, the country’s location at the Bab el-Mandab, a key chokepoint in international shipping, makes it important in terms of international energy trade. More than 3.4 million barrels of oil per day (bbl/d) pass through Bab el-Mandab, and closure of the two-mile strait would force tankers to sail around the southern tip of Africa to reach European and North and South American markets."

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Dubai: Region’s Gold Capital - OpEd Eurasia Review

Dubai: Region’s Gold Capital - OpEd Eurasia Review:

"I have written about Dubai during the past few years both in English and Arabic. But each time I visit the city I find something new and attractive to write on.

The first thing that drew my attention as I reached the arrival lounge of the airport last week was the presence of hundreds of people at different counters. Some awaiting the issuance of visas. This particularly happens when a large number of passengers from the subcontinent arrive here forcing authorities to open special counters to handle them. With so many people thronging the counters one fears there would be endless delays that one will have to cope with patiently until his/her turn comes.

But as soon as we joined the queue I heaved a sigh of relief as I saw nearly 40 manned counters catering to the deluge of passengers with lightning speed that reminded me of Tokyo and London airports, which increase the number of counters whenever the need arises."

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Shah Deniz consortium enters in to supply agreements valued at more than $100 billion.

Shah Deniz consortium enters in to supply agreements valued at more than $100 billion.:

"The BP Plc led consortium developing Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz natural gas field has entered in to major supply agreements valued at more than $100 billion.

Alasdair Cook, BP’s Vice President for Shah Deniz Development, said that nine buyers had agreed to 25 year contracts to purchase “significant quantities” of gas, representing more than 10 billion cubic meters of gas annually from the field’s second phase starting in 2019.

“The gas contracts signed today are sensitive to market demands within Europe,” Cook said. “The way we sell the gas recognizes the needs of the countries and the companies that we are selling gas to.”

The contacts provide a significant step forwards as the consortium moves towards a final investment decision for the Shah Deniz II project planned by year end."

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Saudi Gazette - Kingdom’s strong performance in retail stocks rolls on: NCB Capital

Saudi Gazette - Kingdom’s strong performance in retail stocks rolls on: NCB Capital:

"In its updated report on the Saudi retail sector, NCB Capital, the GCC’s leading wealth manager and the Kingdom’s largest asset manager, has revealed that the strong performance of Saudi retail stocks continues unabated with the sector up more than 40 percent YTD in 2013.

“We believe rather than expectations of upward revisions in earnings estimates, the strong performance is due to multiple expansion. This is due to the strong outlook of the sector,” said Farouk Miah, CFA, Head of Equity Research at NCB Capital. “For stocks under our coverage, we expect average three year earnings CAGR of 17 percent. We remain Overweight on Extra and Shaker and Neutral on Al Hokair, Al Othaim and Jarir.”

NCB Capital remains Overweight on Extra with a PT of SR135.4 and Shaker with a PT of SR92.7. “We believe the outlook of Extra remains strong with new store openings ahead of schedule, although this comes at the price of short-term margin pressure,” said Miah. “Despite expecting some weakness in 2H13 for Shaker, we believe the longer term demand outlook remains strong with Shaker well positioned to capture this.”"

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ECONOMICS - Iraq’s new five year plan to diversify economy beyond oil

ECONOMICS - Iraq’s new five year plan to diversify economy beyond oil:

"Iraq’s government has released a five-year economic plan which will try to diversify beyond oil production and develop the industrial sector.

The plan, announced this week, faces major obstacles including a rising level of sectarian violence and political infighting within the country’s fractious coalition government.

But if implemented, it could mark a new stage in Iraq’s recovery from decades of war and international economic sanctions. So far, the recovery since the U.S. invasion of 2003 has been based almost entirely on rising oil production."

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China's dam-building: A rigged game | VIDEO