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Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Saudi Arabia OPEC Governor Mufti Said to Leave by End of 2013 - Bloomberg

Saudi Arabia OPEC Governor Mufti Said to Leave by End of 2013 - Bloomberg:

"Yasser Mufti, Saudi Arabia’s governor to OPEC, is stepping down after more than a year in his post at the producer group, according to three people with knowledge of the matter.
Mufti, who serves as chairman of the board of governors for the 12-member Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, is leaving by the end of this year, the people said, declining to be identified because Mufti’s departure hasn’t been announced publicly. Officials in the media department of the Saudi Ministry of Petroleum & Mineral Resources in Riyadh didn’t answer phone calls for comment after normal business hours. Mufti didn’t answer a call to his mobile phone.
Mufti, a Saudi Arabian Oil Co. employee who was seconded to work at OPEC, will resume working at the state-run company, known as Saudi Aramco, after gaining a promotion to an unspecified role there, the people said."

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Onexim Mulls Purchase of Uralkali Stake | Business | The Moscow Times

Onexim Mulls Purchase of Uralkali Stake | Business | The Moscow Times:

"Mikhail Prokhorov's investment group, Onexim, is considering buying a stake in potash producer Uralkali, Bloomberg reported, citing three people with direct knowledge of the matter.

Speculation has mounted that Suleiman Kerimov may sell his 21.75 percent stake in Uralkali to a Russian buyer as part of a Kremlin-backed peace deal, which would also revive trading alliance with Belarus.

Prokhorov, a close former associate of Kerimov who ran in last year's presidential election, joins a long list of investors who are said to be interested in buying a stake in Uralkali from Kerimov and his partners.

Prokhorov, the owner of the Brooklyn Nets basketball team in the U.S., has not made a formal offer, Bloomberg said."

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10,000 Dubai five-star hotel rooms ‘in need of refurbishment’ | The National

10,000 Dubai five-star hotel rooms ‘in need of refurbishment’ | The National:

"Amid the recent boom in new luxury hotels in Dubai more than 10,000 hotel rooms in the emirate are now in need of revamp to the tune of around Dh325,000 each, according to estimates.

EC Harris, the global consultancy, said that more than 10,000 five-star hotel rooms in Dubai are now in need of refurbishment.

“Some of the hotel assets in Dubai are now over 15 years old and to maintain the quality of the offering, protect the brand and meet customer expectations, refurbishment programmes are becoming a requirement,” said Christopher Seymour, the head of property UAE at EC Harris."

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Iran sanctions: Why oil is where Tehran feels the pain -

Iran sanctions: Why oil is where Tehran feels the pain -

The last four years of economic sanctions by the U.S., the European Union and other western partners have ground down the Iranian economy. At this time last year, the Iranian rial had plummeted 80% from its peak, inflation had shot up, poultry and bread were in short supply and there were numerous reports of layoffs in the state manufacturing sector. But the most glaring example of the pain exerted has to be in the energy sector." 'via Blog this'

Revealed: Qatar's World Cup 'slaves' | Global development | The Guardian

Revealed: Qatar's World Cup 'slaves' | Global development | The Guardian:


Dozens of Nepalese migrant labourers have died in Qatar in recent weeks and thousands more are enduring appalling labour abuses, a Guardian investigation has found, raising serious questions about Qatar's preparations to host the 2022 World Cup.

This summer, Nepalese workers died at a rate of almost one a day in Qatar, many of them young men who had sudden heart attacks. The investigation found evidence to suggest that thousands of Nepalese, who make up the single largest group of labourers in Qatar, face exploitation and abuses that amount to modern-day slavery, as defined by the International Labour Organisation, during a building binge paving the way for 2022."

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A foot in each door: Ukraine says EU trade deal certain, Russia–led union also an option — RT Business

A foot in each door: Ukraine says EU trade deal certain, Russia–led union also an option — RT Business:

Reuters / Francois Lenoir
Ukraine President Viktor Yanukovych said his country will sign a free-trade pact with the EU, adding he wants to keep open an option of joining Russia in the Customs Union. Russia insists Ukraine cannot have both.

Speaking at Tuesday’s UN General Assembly in New York, Yanukovych stressed his country’s plan to broaden cooperation with the European Union, a snub to President’s Putin movement to bring all the former-Soviet union nations under a Eurasian customs union.

"Ukraine's European aspirations are the main pillar of the country's development,” Yanukovych said.

The Ukrainian government has already approved the draft resolution agreement with the EU which will be presented, and likely signed, at the EU summit in Lithuania on November 29."

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Time for Qatar to start shining - Transport -

Time for Qatar to start shining - Transport -


After winning its bid to host the FIFA World Cup 2022, the State of Qatar has been propelled into the global limelight. Now the race is on for the country to perfect its transportation and logistics infrastructure in time to show the world what Qatar can really deliver. Determined no longer to be overshadowed in the global logistics arena by its neighbour Dubai, the government has taken up the challenge by channelling billions of dollars into redefining the State as one of the leading logistical hubs in the region.
With its prime geographical location in between trading continents, Qatar has always held the enormous potential as a global logistics hub. “The country’s peninsular geography allows for ports such as Ras Laffan, Mesaieed and Doha to offer significant competitive trade advantages, particularly for its exports of oil and gas,” says Srinath Manda, programme-manager for transportation & logistics practice at consultants Frost & Sullivan."

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Daily chart: Zoom, sputter, aagghhh!! | The Economist

Daily chart: Zoom, sputter, aagghhh!! | The Economist:

"The biggest loss-making cars in Europe

CARMAKERS in Europe are facing a rough ride, with sales at a 17-year low region-wide. So it seems cruel of Sanford C. Bernstein, a brokerage, to remind them of their biggest commercial wrecks. Most major makers suffered billions in losses. Yet not all cars failed by accidents of poor design, ill-judged technological leaps or wildly optimistic production forecasts. VW knew its Bugatti Veyron, a quick and complex supercar made in tiny numbers, would not make money but hoped it might burnish the brand. Daimler believed it could transfer know-how from its sleek executive saloons to small cars. It did—but it brought the same high costs too: its Smart FourTwo had the biggest loss. Renault produced reasonable cars but was overly optimistic about sales. Fiat failed to compete with the VW Golf. As for tomorrow’s pile-ups? Bernstein reckons that the latest bunch of electric cars could some day join the list.


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Uralkali and CIC – will China call the shots? | beyondbrics

Uralkali and CIC – will China call the shots? | beyondbrics:

The great potash saga rumbles on. With Uralkali‘s chief executive in a Belarusian KGB cell, the global potash market paralysed by uncertainty and Belarus’s state coffers in jeopardy, China has thrown itself into the mix with a surprise decision by CIC, a Chinese sovereign wealth fund, to take a 12.5 per cent stake in the Russian miner.

On the face of it, the deal should bring the saga closer to conclusion. But don’t expect the paralysis to be lifted any time soon.

For a full recap, read Courtney Weaver’s excellent retelling of the yarn. Briefly, the normally sedate market for potash – used as fertiliser around the world – blew up in July when Uralkali and Belaruskali, the Russian and Belarusian miners, fell out and their cartel, known as BPC, fell apart. (BPC traditionally shares about 70 per cent of the global market with Canpotex, a Canadian cartel of three miners.)"

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WIG Ukraine up – UX down in Tuesday trading - Business - News - Ukraine Business Online

WIG Ukraine up – UX down in Tuesday trading - Business - News - Ukraine Business Online:

"“Ukrainian equities showed a mixed performance in trading on Tuesday, September 24. The WIG Ukraine Index of Warsaw-traded stocks rose 0.8%, fueled by demand for egg producer Ovostar (OVO PW +5.4%) and farmer Agroton (AGT PW +4.2%). KSG Agro (KSG PW +0.4%) has increased 7.4% in three straight positive sessions, while traders snapped a four-session win streak for dairy producer Milkiland (MLK PW -1.3%) during which it had gained 16.6%. In London, the erratic shares of Regal Petroleum (RPT LN) plunged 10.5% after reporting declines in first-half profit and 3Q-to-date production. Iron ore miner Ferrexpo (FXPO LN -2.6%) has fallen 6.1% in three straight negative sessions on recent selling of mining shares. The Ukrainian Exchange (UX) Index of Kyiv-traded stocks dropped 1.9%, extended its loss streak to three sessions at a 3.7% decline. It has been weighed down by engine maker Motor Sich (MSICH UK -4.3%), which has lost 7.5% in three straight negative sessions. Outside the index, Ukrtelecom fell 5.5%.”"

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Dubai's Union Properties to seek foreign ownership increase | Reuters

Dubai's Union Properties to seek foreign ownership increase | Reuters:

"Dubai developer Union Properties UPRO.DU is to seek board approval to increase the percentage of shares which foreign investors are allowed to hold in the company, its chairman said on Wednesday.

The move is part of a wider trend by companies in the United Arab Emirates and Qatar to review their often-low foreign ownership caps ahead of their admittance into the MSCI Emerging Markets Index in May.

"We are studying how much we could increase (the foreign ownership limit) to and will recommend to the board by December," Khalid bin Kalban, chairman of Union Properties, told reporters at a media event in Dubai.

At present, non-UAE nationals can own up to 15 percent of the developer, a favourite stock among retail investors on the Dubai Financial Market."

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Russia aiming for 20 percent of world LNG market by 2030 | Russia Beyond The Headlines

Russia aiming for 20 percent of world LNG market by 2030 | Russia Beyond The Headlines:

"The Russian government plans to actively promote production of hydrocarbons and the development of LNG projects, and the country aims to have a 20 percent share of the world liquefied natural gas (LNG) market by 2030, Deputy Energy Minister Kirill Molodtsov said at the Sakhalin Oil and Gas 2013 conference.

"The Russian Federation is currently the largest world power in terms of gas reserves, with 21 percent of all world reserves, produces about 19 percent of the world's gas, and also currently exports about a fifth of the world's gas. Russia is interested in taking its rightful place on the LNG market as well," Molodtsov said.

"The goal of the prospects and objectives that are being established by the federal government and our state companies is the active expansion of gas liquefaction projects. With all the prospects that we now have, we expect that Russia's share of the world LNG market should exceed the 12-13 percent that we initially planned to have by 2030. Now our target is 20 percent of the world LNG market," Molodtsov said."

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WAM | Etihad Airways will consider more equity investments if they add value, says airline's president and CEO

WAM | Emirates News Agency:

"Etihad Airways, the national carrier of the United Arab Emirates, has foreshadowed more investments in other airlines, as it continues to increase its global presence through a mix of organic growth and strategic partnerships.

Speaking today at the FVW Kongress in Cologne, Germany, the President and Chief Executive Officer of Etihad Airways, James Hogan, said the airline was currently engaged in three major transactions - the acquisition of 24 per cent of India's Jet Airways, a 49 per cent stake and management contract in Air Serbia, and increasing equity in Virgin Australia from 10 per cent to a target of 19.9 per cent. "

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Kuwait govt official quits amid claims of corruption - Politics & Economics -

Kuwait govt official quits amid claims of corruption - Politics & Economics -

"A senior Kuwaiti Government official has quit his post while detailing explosive allegations of corruption including within Ministerial ranks, it was reported.
In the latest chapter in what has been a tumultuous time in Kuwait politics, Public Authority for Housing Welfare (PAHW) director-general Subhi Al Mullah accused Minister of Housing Salem Al Othaina of breaking the law, the Kuwait Times reports.
At a press conference to announce his shock resignation, Al Mullah claimed Al Othaina had gone outside of his authority to hire managers at the PAHW. He also alleged the Minister formed a committee outside the PAHW to handle some jobs and that he illegally cancelled the allocation and distribution committees at the authority."

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Turkey starts fracking in the Thracian and Southeastern regions for shale gas

Turkey starts fracking in the Thracian and Southeastern regions for shale gas:

"Turkey has commenced 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, according to Hurriyet Daily News.

Energy Minister Taner Yıldız said that state-owned TPAO and other Turkish private firms will make more shale investments in the near future by collaborating with foreign companies, the news report added.

A delegation from the Ministry of Energy went to the United States and Canada to examine the existing wells there and to meet the representatives of the companies in the sector. Delegation members specifically examined the hydraulic fracturing operations for shale gas."

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Bahrain’s Investcorp Plans New Fund After Investing $1 Billion - Bloomberg

Bahrain’s Investcorp Plans New Fund After Investing $1 Billion - Bloomberg:

"Investcorp Bank BSC, the Bahrain-based alternative investment firm managing $10.5 billion, is planning a new buyout fund for the Middle East after almost completing investments in its $1 billion Gulf Opportunity Fund.
The new fund “could be a similar size” or smaller than the existing fund, Mohammed Al-Shroogi, president for Gulf business, said in a phone interview from Manama, Bahrain today. The Gulf Opportunity Fund has cash for one small deal, he said.
Investcorp said today it had bought a 30 percent stake in Saudi Arabia’s Theeb Rent A Car, the Kingdom’s second-biggest car rental company. The investment in Theeb, whose revenue and profit rose more than 17 percent annually over the past three years, is the fund’s fourth investment in Saudi Arabia and the tenth in the region."

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A shot in the arm for Dubai real estate - Khaleej Times

A shot in the arm for Dubai real estate - Khaleej Times:

"A new law seeking to provide an attractive investment environment and to promote the role of Emiratis in the Dubai real estate sector has been issued by His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

Shaikh Mohammed’s Law No. 07 for 2013 regarding the Dubai Land Department defines its objectives as the government entity responsible for registration as well as organisation and promotion of real estate investment in Dubai. The law aims to provide an attractive environment for investment by implementing international standards, and lists the department’s areas of specialisations, tasks and competencies to support the sector’s development efforts."

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ENERGY - Local firm to sell stake in bank to Azeri firm

ENERGY - Local firm to sell stake in bank to Azeri firm:

"Turkey’s Aksoy Holding plans to sell a majority stake of TAIB Bank, which it acquired from the Dubai Sheikh last year, to an Azeri group, the chairman of Aksoy Holding has said.

Erdal Aksoy Holding planned to increase the bank’s capital by 80 million Turkish Liras and sell its majority stake to an Azeri Bank, the Chairman Erdal Aksoy said, without declaring the name of the company.

Aksoy Holding bought Turkish subsidiary of TAIB Bank, owned by Dubai Sheikh al-Maktoum, last June. The company applied to the banking sector watchdog BDDK for a capital increase. After the BDK approves its application, Aksoy Holding is expected to accelerate sale talks with the Azeri bank. "

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Worker's rights in Qatar | openDemocracy

Worker's rights in Qatar | openDemocracy:

"The Guardian newspaper has just released a piece by Nick Cohen tackling the issue of worker’s rights in Qatar, a particularly sensitive issue in the Gulf and one that elicits strong emotions from many both inside and outside the region. Cohen has put his finger on an important issue in the country and the piece was certainly moving.

It is hard not to notice the social stratification in Qatar, and in particular the thousands of young south Asian men in blue overalls undertaking backbreaking labour in the dust and heat of the Gulf. Horrendous stories of mistreatment pervade the country of men dropping dead on building sites, or committing suicide by running in front of cars to end their misery and collect a little insurance money because they haven’t been paid.  The list goes on and on.

You don’t need to consult Human Rights Watch or Amnesty on this, all you need to do is look at the surroundings to know that there is a problem, a very serious one, and it needs to be addressed."

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Saudi Gazette - Saudi bank consumer loans rise 22% in Q2

Saudi Gazette - Saudi bank consumer loans rise 22% in Q2:

"The volume of consumer loans given by Saudi local banks rose by 22 percent to reach SR321 billion in the second quarter of the current year compared to the same period last year, latest data from SAMA (Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency) showed.

Consumer loans capture nearly 80 percent of Saudi local banks’ retail loan portfolio.

Loans given to purchase car and equipment rose to SR61.8 billion while loans for real estate stood at SR41.47 billion, SAMA report noted.

The volume of consumer loans in the first quarter stood at SR307.4 billion."

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US fertilizer efforts threaten key market for Gulf producers | The National

US fertilizer efforts threaten key market for Gulf producers | The National:

Executives in the fertilizer sector are voicing optimism about the industry’s outlook,
forecasting a 60 per cent rise in food production by 2050. Joe Brock / Reuters

The United States could become self-sufficient in fertilizer production as it ramps up shale gas production, and thus eliminate a core market for Arabian Gulf producers, the head of a global industry group warns.

North America buys 1.7 million tonnes a year of fertilizer from GCC producers, second only to East Asia. But thanks to a flood of cheap feedstock, it has announced more than 25 fertilizer projects in recent years and it has the potential to restart older plants.

Predictions of slowing fertilizer demand from India and China, and a shortage of hydrocarbon feedstock for new projects are also weighing on Gulf producers such as Abu Dhabi’s Fertil and Saudi Arabia’s Saudi Basic Industries (Sabic)."

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‘Major milestone’ for UAE’s Arabtec in new partnership with Samsung | The National

‘Major milestone’ for UAE’s Arabtec in new partnership with Samsung | The National:

Arabtec has launched a joint venture with Samsung. Silvia Razgova / The National

Arabtec Holding, associated with some of the UAE’s most prestigious building projects including the Louvre Abu Dhabi, has launched a joint venture with the engineering arm of the South Korean conglomerate Samsung.

Arabtec regards the deal as a “major milestone” in its new strategic direction to expand into more complex engineering and “big ticket” infrastructure work around the Middle East and North Africa.

The chief executives – Hasan Ismaik for Arabtec and Park Choong-heum for Samsung Engineering – signed the terms of the deal at a ceremony in Seoul yesterday."

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Diversification pays off for Apicorp with profits up almost a third | The National

Diversification pays off for Apicorp with profits up almost a third | The National:

"Profits at Arab Petroleum Investments Corporation (Apicorp), the development bank owned by Arab oil exporters, jumped by nearly a third in the first half of the year as it diversified itsinvestments into areas like shipping.

Apicorp, which is 17 per cent owned by the UAE Government, earned US$66 million during the first half of this year compared with $51m in 2012, the bank reported. Assets rose to $5.12 billion. Apicorp’s other owners are the nine other members of the Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries.

“Our strong profit growth reflects our ability to continuously expand our income streams while ensuring the optimal funding composition that supports sustainable growth,” Ahmad bin Hamad Al Nuaimi, the chief executive of Apicorp, said in a release. “We will continue to widen our investment and financing horizons by exploring new opportunities with a key focus on growing trade finance activities in the region.”"

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Abu Dhabi and Dubai's industrial developments are not in competition with each other | The National

Abu Dhabi and Dubai's industrial developments are not in competition with each other | The National:

"Growing demand for goods and services mean there is room for new industrial projects in both Abu Dhabi and Dubai, said a senior economic advisor for the Dubai Government.

Gayane Afrikian, senior economic policy advisor at the Dubai Department of Economic Development, said the two emirates would complement each other with their development.

“There is a misconception that if Abu Dhabi or Qatar or Oman are growing it’s going to be bad for Dubai,” she said during a conference in Dubai. “The bigger the pie grows the bigger the share each of the GCC countries will have.”"

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Emirates likely to issue bonds early next year |

Emirates likely to issue bonds early next year |

"Emirates, Dubai’s flagship airline, may issue bonds early next year to help raise $4.5 billion for 21 new plane deliveries in the financial year starting April 2014, a senior company official said on Tuesday.
Brian Jeffery, senior vice president for corporate treasury at the airline, said an Islamic or conventional bond issue might happen as early as January or February next year if market conditions were feasible.
“We have pretty much the same strategy for the next financial year as this year. It’s going to be a diversified structure,” Brian Jeffery, senior vice president for corporate treasury at Emirates said in an interview."

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