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Monday, 23 September 2013

Abu Dhabi’s Foreign Assistance Steals Spotlight - Al-Monitor: the Pulse of the Middle East

Abu Dhabi’s Foreign Assistance Steals Spotlight - Al-Monitor: the Pulse of the Middle East:

"In order to understand Abu Dhabi’s regional and international financial-assistance programs, one must consider another aspect of the story that is little discussed. Abu Dhabi’s internal assistance program is perhaps where the real story lies. Although Abu Dhabi’s foreign assistance is widely known, the internal dynamics of the UAE are not as clear to outside observers. Abu Dhabi, the UAE’s capital, sits on vast oil reserves that it has used prudently to the benefit of others. In fact, Abu Dhabi is the world’s only federal capital that almost entirely subsidizes the budget of the rest of the country, and without collecting any income taxes whatsoever.

In the 1970s, Abu Dhabi was essentially the sole contributor to the budget of the UAE, with Dubai stepping in in the early 1980s when petroleum revenues had fallen and the UAE suffered its first budget deficit. This contribution from Abu Dhabi to its federal partners over the past 42 years easily amounts to several tens of billions of dollars and exceeds the foreign-assistance numbers."

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Mixed reactions to delay Dutch delay on shale gas drilling

Mixed reactions to delay Dutch delay on shale gas drilling:

"A Dutch government move to delay a decision on allowing shale gas drilling was hailed by local communities but "regretted" by energy boosters.

Netherlands Economic Affairs Minister Henk Kamp announced last week the Cabinet would take 1 1/2 more years to study the potential effects of hydraulic fracturing on the environment before allowing Britain's Cuadrilla Resources to drill test wells in the central province of Flevoland.

In a Wednesday letter to the House of Representatives in The Hague, Kamp said more time is needed to study the entire range of possible shale gas sites in the country before approving the licenses, the Dutch daily Volksrant reported."

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The battle for Bulgaria: A waiting game



Dubai gold trade hurt by new Indian import tariffs | Reuters

Dubai gold trade hurt by new Indian import tariffs | Reuters:

"* Dubai gold exports trade seen down 60 pct, dealers say

* Rising scrap supply in India weighing on imports

* Gold smuggling into India expected to increase

By Clara Denina

LONDON, Sept 23 (Reuters) - Indian measures to discourage gold imports is shutting the door on top exporter Dubai, where trade activity has fallen by as much as 60 percent over the past two months, dealers said.

With gold the most expensive non-essential item on India's import bill, the country's government, in moves to curb a bulging current account deficit, hiked the duty on gold bullion imports three times this year to a record 10 percent, while increasing the import duty on gold jewellery to 15 percent.

Pakistan also suspended a duty-free gold import arrangement in August after purchases soared in the first half and topped $514 million in July alone, citing smuggling into India. The ban was lifted in September, but trade has remained subdued."

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VC backer of Google and PayPal heads for Dagestan | beyondbrics

VC backer of Google and PayPal heads for Dagestan | beyondbrics:

"
Most investors steer clear of Russia’s troubled North Caucasus, where law enforcers are battling an Islamist insurgency. Except, that is, for rich Dagestanis who want to support their troubled homelands. Among them is Ziyavudin Magomedov (pictured), billionaire founder of Russia’s Summa group, who has encouraged a leading US business incubator to scout for innovative talent in Dagestan.

Plug & Play, a California-based start-up incubator that helped the founders of Google and PayPal launch their businesses began operations in Makhachkala, the capital of Dagestan last week.

The US group will provide budding entrepreneurs in Dagestan with training and connections with high technology and venture capital experts in Silicon Valley.

Summa, which controls a vast empire of transport, logistics, oil and telecoms assets in Russia, will take responsibility for managing infrastructure and local resources at the Plug & Play venture in Makhachkala."

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Sedmoi Kontinent Plans $4Bln Sale | Business | The Moscow Times

Sedmoi Kontinent Plans $4Bln Sale | Business | The Moscow Times:

"Alexander Zanadvorov, the owner of upper tier supermarket chain Sedmoi Kontinent, is preparing to sell the chain's managing company along with the rights to rent 130 of its 160 stores for a 15-year period.

The deal could be worth between $2.4 billion and $4.05 billion — a record in the retail sector.

X5 Retail Group, which recently conceded pole position on the Russian market to Magnit, will buy the chain, Kommersant reported Monday. The two parties are preparing to formalize the deal, a source said.

Sedmoi Kontinent, which will retain all rights to the chain's trademarks, will be sold for a symbolic sum. All real estate belonging to Sedmoi Kontinent will be spun off into separate companies that will remain in Zanadvorov's hands, and it is here that the money will be made."

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Potash row: Belaruskali needs a lifeline | beyondbrics

Potash row: Belaruskali needs a lifeline | beyondbrics:

"
Belaruskali, Belarus’s state-owned potash miner, has been badly hit by its nearly two-month-long dispute with Uralkali, its former Russian business partner. Its exports are paralysed, it has been forced to cut back its mining operations and, as a result, it is in pressing need of financial support.

That could involve debt restructuring. German Gref, chief executive of Russian bank Sberbank, told reporters on Friday that Belaruskali was in talks with the bank about a possible change to the repayment schedule of a $1bn loan agreed at the end of 2012.

“We are considering the potential possibility of changing the loan repayment schedule… There is temporarily a difficult situation, because of the cancellation of their [Belaruskali’s] agreement with Uralkali. I think the situation will gradually stabilise and they will be able to get back on track with the schedule of repayment,” Gref said."

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UAIndex ends week in negative territory but still well above 4,000 - Business - News - Ukraine Business Online

UAIndex ends week in negative territory but still well above 4,000 - Business - News - Ukraine Business Online:

"Friday’s trading closed at 4,129.51, down -1.68% for the day, but with positive averages still in place for the weekly and 30-day averages.

On the Best Performing list Agrokultura AB turned in the most impressive performance, up +4.13% on trade of 78,762 shares.

On the Worst Performing list, Kernel had the greatest impact, down -2.56% on trade of 184,917 shares, which also snagged the Volume Leader prize for the day."

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Qatar Petroleum unit picks banks for $880 million IPO: sources | Reuters

Qatar Petroleum unit picks banks for $880 million IPO: sources | Reuters:

"Qatar Petroleum QATPE.UL, the state-owned energy firm, has picked two banks to help arrange an initial public offer of shares in one of its units, an issue which could be worth around 3.2 billion riyals ($880 million), two banking sources said.

Mesaieed Petrochemical Holding Co may conduct the IPO on the Qatar stock exchange before the end of this year, subject to necessary approvals being granted, one of the sources said, speaking on condition of anonymity as the information isn't public. It would be Qatar's first IPO in three years.

Qatar National Bank QNBK.QA has been chosen to manage the offer while Deutsche Bank (DBKGn.DE) will act as financial adviser, the two sources said. Qatar Petroleum declined to comment."

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MIDEAST STOCKS-Retail investors boost Gulf; Egypt up after Brotherhood ban | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Retail investors boost Gulf; Egypt up after Brotherhood ban | Reuters:

"Active trading by retail investors boosted Gulf stock markets on Monday while Egypt rose after a court banned the Muslim Brotherhood from carrying out any activities in the country.

Saudi Arabia was closed for a national holiday but across much of the Gulf, individual investors speculated actively ahead of third-quarter earnings announcements expected next month.

"Retail investors are very active in the market, targeting the penny stocks and the highly liquid names," Sebastien Henin, portfolio manager at The National Investor, said of Dubai."

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Kalashnikov switches to private hands in $41mn deal — RT Business

Kalashnikov switches to private hands in $41mn deal — RT Business:

"
Russian President Vladimir Putin reviews examples of the small arm weapons during a working visit to OJSC 'Kalashnikov Concern' in Izhevsk. (Sergey Guneev / RIA Novosti)
Russia’s largest weapons producer has struggled to be profitable in the post-Cold War years, and now 49 percent of the Kalashnikov Group will be sold to private buyers for nearly $41 million.

Despite three years of trying to overcome Kalashnikov's debts, state shareholder Rostec will sell its 49 percent stake to private investors, Vedomosti newspaper reports. The reported buyers are two businessmen affiliated with the Russian operator of airport link Aeroexpress, Alexey Krivoruchko, and part owner Andrey Bokarev.

Bokarev is also the co-owner of TransMashHolding, a rail and transport company, as well as Kuzbassrazrezugol, a coal company, and Moscow Metro Department.

It was conditional the investors be Russian nationals, and the two men have already pledged to invest an additional $78 million over the next two years to pay off debt of the AK-47 producer, which makes up 95 percent of Russia's light weapons. "

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X5 Drops on Seventh Continent Acquisition Report: Moscow Mover - Bloomberg

X5 Drops on Seventh Continent Acquisition Report: Moscow Mover - Bloomberg:

"X5 Retail Group NV, the food retailer owned by Russian billionaire Mikhail Fridman, fell in London trading after a report that it may acquire Moscow-based competitor Seventh Continent.
The shares fell as much as 3.1 percent and were down 2 percent at $16.38 per depositary receipt as of 11:42 a.m.
Seventh Continent owner Alexander Zanadvorov is seeking at least $2.4 billion for the chain, which had sales of about $2 billion last year, Kommersant reported."

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Only Known Iraq Billionaire Hires Women Defying Hussein - Bloomberg

Only Known Iraq Billionaire Hires Women Defying Hussein - Bloomberg:

"
Iraqi Billionaire Faruk Mustafa Rasool.
Source: Faruk Group Holding
Faruk Mustafa Rasool first saw a mobile phone in 1998 while he was lying in a London hospital bed recovering from quadruple heart bypass surgery. Ignoring his doctors’ advice to rest, he started figuring out how to bring the device to his native Iraq.
Faruk was soon smuggling phones and transmitters over the Turkish border into his hometown of Sulaymaniyah, in Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdish region, according to his friend Shwan Taha. He built one of the country’s first wireless networks, something that once could have gotten him thrown in prison. Saddam Hussein banned mobile phones to isolate and better control the citizens of his totalitarian state."

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U.S. Ambassador: Signing of EU-Ukraine Association Agreement to Be Positive Signal for American Investors Wanting to Work in Ukraine @GeoffPyatt

U.S. Ambassador: Signing of EU-Ukraine Association Agreement to Be Positive Signal for American Investors Wanting to Work in Ukraine:

"
An exclusive Interfax-Ukraine interview with U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt

Question: How do you see the current investment climate in Ukraine, what do U.S. companies operating in the country come up against in this respect, and what do they complain about most often?

Answer: Let me speak about both the opportunities they see, and the challenges they identify. On Friday [September 13, 2013] I attended an event together with President Yuschenko [ex-president of Ukraine Viktor Yuschenko] to open a large new Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) restaurant. That's part of an investment by a group of Americans that will rise to millions of dollars as they open what they hope will be about a hundred new restaurants of various brands over the next two years."

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Guest post: Romanian privatisations to boost equity market | beyondbrics

Guest post: Romanian privatisations to boost equity market | beyondbrics:

"
By Lucian Anghel

The Bucharest Stock Market (Bursa de Valori Bucharesti – BVB) has never played a big role in Romania’s economy; nor has it been the focus of much international attention.

But, after a period of turbulence, during which the country has suffered political storms and frenetic general elections, that could all be about to change.

At the macro level, Romania has done its homework. In the first seven months of this year, the budget deficit amounted to just 0.98 per cent of GDP, against the annual target of 2.3 per cent, and the current account was in surplus.

Public debt was 36.7 per cent of GDP in April 2013, a level that many larger European economies should envy, and economic growth for two consecutive years has been at 1 per cent: modest, perhaps, but Romania is at least on the right track – and it should be remembered that these results follow a vital, but politically difficult fiscal consolidation in 2012, an election year."

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Belaruskali asks a deferral of the loan - Charter'97 :: News from Belarus

Belaruskali asks a deferral of the loan - Charter'97 :: News from Belarus - Belarusian News - Republic of Belarus - Minsk:

"Russia’s Sberbank in talks with Belaruskali about possibility of refinancing $1-billion loan.

Sberbank of Russia is in talks with Belaruskali about the possibility of refinancing a $1-billion loan owed by the Belarusian potash giant, Sberbank President German Gref told reporters in Moscow on Friday.

“We are considering the potential possibility of changing the loan repayment schedule,” Mr. Gref said. “The Belarusian side has reaffirmed its commitment to all obligations. They are temporarily in a difficult situation now because of the breakup of their alliance with Uralkali. I think the situation will gradually stabilize and they will be able to get back on track with the schedule. We are now in talks with them as to how we can change the schedule of payments.”"

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Azarov says Russian experts wrong: There will be no default in Ukraine » Interfax News Wire

Azarov says Russian experts wrong: There will be no default in Ukraine » Interfax News Wire :: Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Central Asia:

"Ukraine is not facing a threat of default, and the hryvnia will remain stable, Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov has said.

“What is most surprising is that domestic experts don’t exaggerate these risks and consider them small, but foreign experts, especially the so-called Russian experts, have recently become more active. And I’ve recently received a number of statements that Ukraine is facing a threat of default and some weakening. But I can upset these Russian experts a little bit – nothing will collapse,” he said in an interview with the Russia 24 television channel.

Azarov said that the stability of the national currency would be preserved due to the prudent financial and monetary policies conducted by the Ukrainian authorities."

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Russia adds pressure to Ukraine with predictions of default | beyondbrics #Yalta2013

Russia adds pressure to Ukraine with predictions of default | beyondbrics:

"
Sergey Glazyev piles on the pressure
An advisor to Russia’s president warned that Ukraine’s already troubled economy would need a $35bn bailout to avoid default if it signs a free trade and association pact with the EU this November, in a clear sign of fresh pressure on Kiev to back away from western integration and instead join a Moscow-led customs union of former Soviet republics.

Speaking this weekend at the 10th annual Yalta European Strategy conference sponsored by Ukrainian billionaire Victor Pinchuk, Vladimir Putin’s aide Sergey Glazyev (pictured above) said Ukraine’s trade balance would turn catastrophically negative as local producers would struggle to compete with higher quality EU goods flooding the country.

Glazyev reiterated previous Russian threats to permanently introduce tighter controls and possibly trade barriers at the Ukrainian border, explaining that such measures would be needed to protect EU goods from further flowing into Russia via Ukraine."

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Dubai to host Arab world’s first British Business Centre - Khaleej Times

Dubai to host Arab world’s first British Business Centre - Khaleej Times:

"Dubai will host the Arab world’s first British Business Centre that was launched on Monday in the presence of UK Trade and Investment Minister Lord Stephen Green.



Dubai and Abu Dhabi will have the business centres in the first quarter and fourth quarter respectively. The Dubai Centre will be created under the auspices of Dubai Economic Department in partnership with SME Dubai and FDI Dubai.

The business centre format to house up to 50 UK SME companies on ‘hot desk’ basis with office infrastructure and support."

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Ukraine Downplays EU Pact Concerns | Business | The Moscow Times

Ukraine Downplays EU Pact Concerns | Business | The Moscow Times:

"
Wikimapia
The ban on the products of Ukrainian chocolate producer Roshen is an issue that aggravates bilateral relations.
Ukraine's prime minister sought Saturday to calm Russian fears over Kiev's plans to sign a free trade pact with the European Union, but a Kremlin official repeated threats of retaliatory action.

Officials from Ukraine and its old Soviet master, Russia, clashed at an international gathering in the Black Sea resort of Yalta over Kiev's plans to sign landmark agreements in November with the EU on political association and free trade.

Moody's Investor Service cut Ukraine's sovereign credit rating on Friday, partly because of concern over relations with Russia.

Russia says it fears its market could be flooded by competitive EU goods entering Ukraine free of import duties and being re-exported across the long border with Russia."

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Dubai Marina property prices 31.1 per cent below the historic market high


Dubai stock market chief appointed governor of Dubai International Financial Centre in surprise move « ArabianMoney

Dubai stock market chief appointed governor of Dubai International Financial Centre in surprise move « ArabianMoney:

"The well respected CEO of the Dubai Financial Market, Essa Kazim has been appointed governor of the Dubai International Financial Centre. This is the Dubai financial freezone that has struggled to make headway since its launch almost a decade ago, and fallen behind local rivals like the extremely successful Dubai Multi Commodities Centre.

Some 75,000 people now live and work in the DMCC compared to only 15,000 in the DIFC where many office towers stand empty, while he DMCC is going to build the world’s tallest commercial tower to accomodate future growth."

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Lombard Odier banker: Russia’s slowdown has nothing to do with “middle income trap” | EmergingMarkets.me

Lombard Odier banker: Russia’s slowdown has nothing to do with “middle income trap” | EmergingMarkets.me:

"Swiss bank Lombard Odier’s investment chief has brushed aside a common theory that blames Russia’s current economic slowdown on a “middle income trap”, a situation where a rapidly developing economy practically stalls when incomes reach a certain level.

The source of the problem are balance of payments (BOP) dynamics, Paul Marson argued at a press breakfast in Moscow last week in comments requested by EmergingMarkets.me.

BOP deficits in the West that had been precipitated by the world financial crisis brought about BOP surpluses in emerging markets, including Russia, while today’s contracting Western deficits mean shrinking surpluses in emerging market countries, he explained."

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Arab States Need Industrial Policy Reform - Al-Monitor: the Pulse of the Middle East

Arab States Need Industrial Policy Reform - Al-Monitor: the Pulse of the Middle East:

"While industrial policy has received much attention in the economic discourse of Arab countries since the 1960s, real industrial development has often occupied a secondary position in exchange for preserving the continuation of existing political balances.

Economic privileges were granted and profits were distributed without taking into account economic efficiency. Looking at the experiences of Algeria, Egypt and Morocco, it is clear that a distorted industrial policy led to a misallocation of labor and capital between industrial activities instead of improving productivity in the long term. This policy led to an increased tendency toward a rentier economy, and resulted in huge costs incurred by governmental budgets. These came in the form of non-performing loans and the bankruptcy of state banks and industrial projects. 

The performance of Arab countries has significantly differed from that of other emerging market economies, which have witnessed over the past two decades a rapid growth in private investment, industrial production and a diversity of manufactured products with a heavy focus on technology. The employment challenges faced by Arab countries – in light of the demographic transitions they have witnessed – reveal the weaknesses that afflict this non-diversified economic model, which is primarily based on the extraction and export of raw materials, agricultural and traditional activities, and some value-added industries that depend first and foremost on non-skilled labor."

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In Conversation with the World Bank's Vice-President for MENA | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT

In Conversation with the World Bank's Vice-President for MENA | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT:

"
World Bank vice president Inger Andersen. (Asharq Al-Awsat)
On her recent trip to London to attend the G8 Deauville Partnership Investment Conference, Ms. Inger Andersen, the vice-president for the Middle East and North Africa at the World Bank, spoke with Asharq Al-Awsat about the economic challenges facing the Middle East.
Ms. Andersen, an eloquent speaker of Arabic, has a great understanding of the Middle East, and a passion for the many countries of the region that she has visited. While the countries for which she is responsible make an expansive list, including the Arab world and Iran, she is currently quite concerned with Syria and the disastrous humanitarian consequences the war there has on its people and on neighboring countries."

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South Stream does not qualify for priority EU funding

South Stream does not qualify for priority EU funding:

"
Günther Oettinger (Wikipedia)
The EU Energy Commissioner has stated that the South Stream Pipeline project, which plans to move Russian gas to European markets through Southerm and Central Eastern European nations, does not qualify for EU priority funding.

In remarks at the conclsuion of recent meetings of EU energy ministers in Vilnius, Günther Oettinger said that South Stream did not meet the criteria for receiving the designation of a "Project of Comon Interest," which would allow for accelerated planning approvals, as well as potential funding from the EU.

"South Stream is an addition, but it does not give us access to any new sources of energy and it does not increase the competitiveness of the energy market in European Union," commented Oettinger."

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ENERGY - Turkey seeks Canada, US aid on shale gas reserves

ENERGY - Turkey seeks Canada, US aid on shale gas reserves:

"
Turkey’s state-run energy company TPAO will focus on shale
gas reserves in the Thracian region and Southeastern
Anatolia, says Taner Yıldız. AA photo
Turkey has begun to carry out hydraulic fracturing operations to extract shale gas from the wells in the Thracian and southeastern regions, where 4.6 trillion cubic meters of reserves have been detected.

Energy Minister Taner Yıldız said there was shale gas potential in the Thracian, southeastern Anatolian, and inner Anatolian regions.

“[Turkey’s state-run energy company] TPAO had been working to extract the oil and the gas deeper there, which cannot be extracted in traditional ways, for the last four years. The company specifically focuses on the Thracian region and southeastern Anatolia. The operations will start in the old wells there to make them productive again by means of the hydraulic fracturing methods by the end of this year,” Yıldız said. "

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Dubai-based oil services company NPS Energy seeks sale | The National

Dubai-based oil services company NPS Energy seeks sale | The National:

"The Dubai-based oil services firm NPS Energy, which tried to sell itself to Norway’s Aker Solutions last year, has once again initiated a sale process to find a buyer, hoping to fetch up to US$700 million, sources aware of the matter said.

Aker agreed to buy NPS Energy for about $460m in May last year, including $110m in debt, but the deal collapsed in November after the two parties failed to reach a final agreement.

A formal sale process for the business was initiated earlier this year, the sources said, speaking on condition of anonymity as the matter was not public."

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Dubai Financial Market chief Essa Kazim appointed as DIFC governor | The National

Dubai Financial Market chief Essa Kazim appointed as DIFC governor | The National:

"
Essa Kazim has been appointed as the governor of the
Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC). Paulo Vecina/The National
 

Essa Kazim, the chief executive of the Dubai Financial Market, was yesterday appointed as the governor of the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC).

Starting on January 1, he will replace Abdullah Saleh as the governor of the emirate’s financial free zone.

“This step falls within Dubai’s keenness to continue to bring fresh blood into Dubai’s system by making way for more exceptional and visionary national competencies that have proved their professional worth,” Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President of the UAEand Ruler of Dubai, was quoted as saying by the state news agency Wam.

Mr Kazim is also the chief executive of Borse Dubai, the holding company for the DFM and Nasdaq Dubai. The DFM General Index rose 0.5 per cent yesterday to close at 2,681.47 points."

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Gulf Navigation to sell vessels following seizure | GulfNews.com

Gulf Navigation to sell vessels following seizure | GulfNews.com:

"Gulf Navigation is set to expand its tanker operations and sell off its crude carrier fleet after one of its vessels was seized in Holland earlier this month.
In a statement to the Dubai Financial Market (DFM), the Board of Directors said they would recommend its shareholders vote in favour of selling its only two very large crude carrier (VLCC) vessels.
The Board of Directors met on Friday to discuss the seizure of its Gulf Sheba crude carrier vessel in the port of Rotterdam.
The vessel was confiscated more than a week ago by Norwegian bank DNB, a agent for the lenders of the vessel, after Gulf Navigation defaulted on repayments."

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GCC growth to slow to 4% in 2013 | GulfNews.com

GCC growth to slow to 4% in 2013 | GulfNews.com:

"The economic growth of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries is expected to slow down to 4 per cent this year, according to Euler Hermes.
Global economic trends and the influence of GCC countries in the international market will be discussed on Monday at the Trade Credit Insurance Summit in Dubai, according to a report to be released in conjunction with the event.
Ludovic Subran, Chief Economist at Euler Hermes International Trade Observatory is expected to highlight the changes in the global economy and expectations for regional growth."

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