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Monday, 30 September 2013

Saudi Gazette - Aramco plans offshore fleet expansion by 2016

Saudi Gazette - Aramco plans offshore fleet expansion by 2016:

"Saudi Aramco's offshore fleet is set to grow by 50 vessels to a total of 260 by 2016, as well as a fleet renewal strategy that will see most of its tonnage replaced with new, larger, more powerful vessels in the next few years, Seatrade Communications Limited reported Monday.

Speaking at the opening of the three-day Middle East Workboat and Offshore Marine in Abu Dhabi, Nabil Khalid Al Dabal, industrial services executive director at Saudi Aramco, outlined the program as well as a number of key projects in the Middle East region.

"Our expectation is that our support requirements will increase much more than in the past, so this is a message to our colleagues here is that we see many opportunities in the Gulf as a result of our projects." Recent projects producing significant work for the offshore fleet in the Middle East include the automation of the world's largest offshore field, Safaniya, and continuing work on a number of large gas fields in the region."

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Saudi Gazette - Portfolio chiefs to inject more funds into KSA

Saudi Gazette - Portfolio chiefs to inject more funds into KSA:

"Fund managers in the Middle East are set to pump more money into Saudi Arabia over coming months but may withdraw some funds from Dubai because of concern its red-hot market has risen too fast, a Reuters survey showed.

The survey of 16 leading Middle East-based investment institutions, the first of its kind in the region, was conducted over the past 10 days by Trading Middle East, a Reuters forum for market professionals. The survey was launched in September and will be published monthly. Half of the institutions said they expected to increase their overall equity allocations to the Middle East over the next three months, while only 13 percent said they would decrease them.

Fund managers cited strong economic growth in the Gulf, which is being aided by high oil prices and consumer spending booms in many countries, as well as young and growing populations across the Middle East. For many managers, these factors outweigh jitters over geopolitical threats such as the civil war in Syria. Saudi Arabia's stock market, where the main index has risen 17 percent this year, lagging several other Gulf bourses, looks set to be the main beneficiary of this optimism in coming months."

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Saudi Gazette - GACA’s 2nd sukuk issue crosses target

Saudi Gazette - GACA’s 2nd sukuk issue crosses target:

"The General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) has concluded successfully the second tranche of sukuk. The sukuk was launched on Sept. 24 to finance expansion projects of King Abdulaziz International Airport (KAIA) in Jeddah and King Khaled International Airport (KKIA) in Riyadh.

GACA said in a press statement on Monday that the second tranche of sukuk, worth SR15.21 billion, was oversubscribed almost double by a total of 31 government funds, local banks, insurance and investment companies. This is GACA’s second issue of sukuk after its successful SR15 billion debut issue in January 2012.

The first issue was used to finance part of the SR27 billion KAIA expansion project. According to the statement, the tremendous response for the second issues shows the confidence of investors in the Saudi economy and its development projects despite the fluctuations in the global market, particularly during the last three months. "

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MURAT YETKİN - Glass just half-full in Erdoğan’s reform plan

MURAT YETKİN - Glass just half-full in Erdoğan’s reform plan:

"Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdoğan has divided his much-awaited “democratization” package into two: the steps which need changes in the current legislation through Parliament and those which need only a Cabinet decree or even a letter by a minister to be put into effect.

In that sense, the most immediate and net beneficiaries of the package will be women with headscarves who want to have a government job. Other than military and police officers, judges and prosecutors who have official outfits for the job, women in all other public fields, from teachers to defense lawyers, will be able to wear headscarves as a sign of their religious faith in Islam. This has been a sensitive issue, and which was turned into a campaign against the conservative Necmettin Erbakan government in 1996-97 by the military-led secularist bureaucratic establishment. The ruling AK Parti has been under some pressure from its grassroots for some time to provide equal opportunity for those “covered” against those “opens,” with a pinch of revanchist motivation."

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Bulgarian, Serbian Energy Ministers Back South Stream Gas Pipeline - Novinite.com - Sofia News Agency

Bulgarian, Serbian Energy Ministers Back South Stream Gas Pipeline - Novinite.com - Sofia News Agency:

"
Bulgarian Economy and Energy Minister Dragomir Stoynev met with
Serbian Minister of Energy, Development and Environmental Protection Zorana Mihaylovic in Sofia.
Photo by BGNES
Economy and Energy Minister Dragomir Stoynev has insisted that the South Stream gas pipeline project will give a boost to the Bulgarian economy.

At a meeting with Serbian Minister of Energy, Development and Environmental Protection Zorana Mihaylovic in Sofia, Stoynev noted that current government was working to overcome the delays inherited from the center-right GERB government, which had declared the South Stream gas pipeline a project of national importance to no effect.

Stoynev, as cited by the BGNES news agency, assured that Bulgaria would not take steps until the financing scheme for the pipeline project was clear, adding that the matter would be coordinated with the European Commission."

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UK shale gas to displace LNG imports, bolster power sector - Gas to Power Journal

UK shale gas to displace LNG imports, bolster power sector - Gas to Power Journal - Gas to Power Journal UK:

"
Shale gas will bolster security of supply in the UK, displace a proportion of LNG imports and underpin new gas power generation projects. Substantial volumes of shale gas production, however, are not expected to be forthcoming until the mid-2020ies, delegates at the Gas to Power Britain conference learnt.

Britain's shale gas reserves, primarily concentrated in the Bowland basin, are to amount to as much as 1,329 trillion cubic feet (tcf), enough to meet demand for 44 years. However, a plethora of legal and technical challenges are expected to impede a replication of the US shale gas revolution in the UK, forecast Michelle Hubert, senior policy adviser – energy and climate change, CBI.

The lack of public acceptability for shale gas is seen as one key impediment, especially as land owners do not have the same ownership over sub-surface, hence limiting the support for development, she outlined. Combined with this a higher population density makes extraction a more costly and difficult task in the UK than in the US where access to fields is easier."

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Iran: a historic phone call… but no rise in the rial | beyondbrics

Iran: a historic phone call… but no rise in the rial | beyondbrics:

"
Yo, Rouhani
Many Iranians have expressed disappointment that their national currency, the rial, did not strengthen over the weekend in response to the historic phone call between Iran’s president Hassan Rouhani and Barack Obama.

The reason the currency market did not reflect the public mood, analysts believe, is because the central bank is determined to curb a currency crisis and shield the market against political news in order to encourage investment, domestic production and non-oil exports.

Valiollah Seif, Iran’s central bank governor, shocked many economists and members of parliament last week when he said the rial’s parity rate against the US dollar was at its “minimum” level and that further rise in value of the national currency could not benefit the country’s economy."

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Times of Oman | News :: Oman’s Al Madina Insurance to offer 66.7m shares in IPO

Times of Oman | News :: Oman’s Al Madina Insurance to offer 66.7m shares in IPO:

"
The company has already submitted a draft prospectus with the Capital Market Authority and a final prospectus will be submitted soon. Photo - A.R. Rajkumar/Times of Oman
Al Madina Insurance Company will offer 66.7 million shares in an initial public offering soon in an attempt to change its status to a Sharia-compliant takaful firm. As per the draft takaful regulation, insurance companies have to be public firms to function as takaful companies.

The company has already submitted a draft prospectus with the Capital Market Authority (CMA) and a final prospectus will be submitted soon.

The face value of the share will be 100 baisas. The company, which has a paid up capital of OMR10 million, will increase it to OMR16.67 million through the share offer. "

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Romania cuts rates to record low – more to come? | beyondbrics

Romania cuts rates to record low – more to come? | beyondbrics:

"
Romania’s interest rates have hit a record low, but will it be enough to revive its flagging economy?

As central banks in some developed markets seem to be gearing up for tighter monetary policy, Romania’s announced a third consecutive interest rate cut on Monday, citing falling inflation, and with an eye on sluggish growth.

The National Bank of Romania (BNR) lowered its core rate by 25 basis points to 4.25 per cent, its lowest-ever rate, and may cut further before the end of the year.

“The annual inflation rate remained on a downward path, reaching 3.67 percent in August 2013 from 4.41 per cent in July due to the decline in volatile prices, of food items in particular, amid the ongoing negative output gap,” the bank said in a statement. “The annual adjusted CORE2 inflation rate dropped to 2.24 per cent in August 2013. This trend, in line with the central bank’s forecasts in the latest Inflation Report, strengthens the favourable outlook for the annual inflation rate to fall below the 2.5 per cent target in the forthcoming period.”"

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Libya's Berbers cut off gas pipeline over marginalization | Al Akhbar English

Libya's Berbers cut off gas pipeline over marginalization | Al Akhbar English:

"Members of Libya's Berber minority cut off a gas pipeline in the western Jebel Nafussa area of the country, local sources said on Monday, to protest their marginalization in the future constitution.

"Youths from Kabu, Al-Galaa, Jadu and Nalout (in western Jebel Nafussa) closed the main gas pipeline supplying Al-Ruwais, Zawiya and Misrata (electricity) stations," on Sunday, said Abdullah Sleiman, vice-president of the Nalout town council.

The closure of the pipeline is a protest "against the non-inclusion in the constitution of the Amazigh (Berber) language," said Sleiman, quoted by official news agency LANA."

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UAE emerges as a strong sovereign investment destination | GulfNews.com

UAE emerges as a strong sovereign investment destination | GulfNews.com:

"Global sovereign investors that include sovereign wealth funds and government linked investment vehicles seeking exposure to alternate asset classes are investing in the UAE, said a senior executive from Invesco, a global investment management firm.
“Recent global capital flow trends suggest that the UAE is attracting international investments into alternate asset classes. We have noticed both sovereign and private investors from around the world are attracted to asset classes such as real estate, private equity, upstream oil & gas projects and infrastructure projects,” said Nick Tolchard, Co-Chair of Invesco’s Global Sovereign Group & Head of Invesco Middle East."

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Amazon eyes CEE move amid German labour disputes | beyondbrics

Amazon eyes CEE move amid German labour disputes | beyondbrics:

"
Online merchant Amazon is contemplating building a new network of logistics centres in central Europe after being hit with strikes at its German warehouses, according to the Polish press.

Amazon is looking at three locations in Poland and two in the Czech Republic, according to the Puls Biznesu paper. Officials in Poznan, in western Poland, and in Wroclaw, in the south-west of the country, confirmed to the Gazeta Wyborcza newspaper that there were plans to build logistics centres near their cities.

Amazon’s German workers have held strikes and demonstrations demanding the same level of pay as at other mail order retailers. Amazon depends on razor-thin margins to stay in business, and that US model does not sit well with unionised European workforces."

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ENOC announce new joint venture in Saudi Arabia | GulfNews.com

ENOC announce new joint venture in Saudi Arabia | GulfNews.com:

"Emirates National Oil Company (ENOC) has announced it will set up a new joint venture in Saudi Arabia with Dubai-based Tristar Transport.
Details emerged in a joint press release on Monday that stated the new venture would specialise on logistic services for Saudi’s petroleum and chemical sectors.
The new ENOC-Tristar venture will launch with an initial capital of SAR 30 million (Dh29,400 million) and target a fleet of 500 vehicles by 2017.
The venture will also operate warehousing facility storage for oils and chemicals, and an ISO tank cleaning facility."

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No compensation for unfair dismissal in the DIFC - but that's not fair - Business Intelligence Middle East

No compensation for unfair dismissal in the DIFC - but that's not fair - Business Intelligence Middle East - bi-me.com - News, analysis, reports:

"Since 2009, it has been clear that there is no statutory compensation for unfair dismissal in the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC).

However, what has been unclear (until quite recently) is whether the right to compensation could arise through other avenues, including a breach of the implied term of mutual trust and confidence, which is an overarching common law doctrine of the law of employment.

This issue has been examined in two recent decisions of the DIFC Court of First Instance and it has now become indisputable that there is in fact no compensation for unfair dismissal in the DIFC, either in statute or otherwise. This update looks at how compensation for unfair dismissal has developed in the DIFC."

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MIDEAST STOCKS-Most markets retreat on U.S. worries; Dubai has best quarter in 6 years | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Most markets retreat on U.S. worries; Dubai has best quarter in 6 years | Reuters:

"* Dubai rockets 24 pct in Q3

* Falls on Monday, but still outperforms global markets

* Saudi posts strongest quarter since early 2012

* Egypt retreats from technical resistance

* Kuwait down but blue chips still bought

By Nadia Saleem

DUBAI, Sept 30 (Reuters) - Most regional markets slipped on Monday as fears of a U.S. government shutdown spurred slight profit-taking, but Dubai's bourse booked its biggest quarterly gain in nearly six years.

Dubai's index shed 0.3 percent, easing off Sunday's near five-year high. That trimmed its third-quarter gain to 24.3 percent, its best performance since late 2007. Trading volume in the quarter was the highest in four years.

Shares in Dubai were boosted during the quarter by heavy retail investor activity after index compiler MSCI upgraded the United Arab Emirates and Qatar to emerging market status, which is expected to bring in fresh funds worth about $500 million to each country."

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Midnight mayhem: US budget battle send stocks into plummet — RT Business

Midnight mayhem: US budget battle send stocks into plummet — RT Business:

"Global stocks have slid just hours before the US government shutdown deadline expires at midnight. Market sentiment has weakened as US lawmakers have still not come to a consensus on their spending bill for the next fiscal year, which starts on Oct 1.

The Dow Jones index fell 1.00 percent, S&P 500 futures lost 0.71 percent and the NASDAQ index retreated 1.01 percent by 10:00am EST. The S&P 500 index, which has gained nearly 20 percent so far this year, has dropped 1.10 percent over the shutdown scare.

Concern over a US government shutdown spooked European and Asian floors. In morning trading, the EURO STOXX 50 and Germany’s DAX dropped 1.10 percent and France’s CAC Index fell 1.12 percent."

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UAE’s Arabtec raises 36,000 labourer wages by 20% - Construction - ArabianBusiness.com

UAE’s Arabtec raises 36,000 labourer wages by 20% - Construction - ArabianBusiness.com:

"Arabtec, the UAE’s largest listed construction firm, has raised the salaries of all 36,000 of its workers in the Gulf state by 20 percent following large-scale strikes earlier this year.
In a statement on the country’s state news agency, Arabtec said that move was part of an effort to provide an “exemplary work environment to workers”.
Labourers at Arabtec are currently paid between $160 to $190 per month, according to sources.
In May, thousands of workers employed by Dubai-based Arabtec stayed away from work for four days demanding higher wages and better working conditions in a rare example of industrial action in the UAE, where workers’ unions are illegal."

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Time for Dubai to fully exploit renminbi options | GulfNews.com

Time for Dubai to fully exploit renminbi options | GulfNews.com:

"The secret of Dubai’s success often lies in its ability to seize opportunities and act decisively before others even come to realise the existence of such potential. By virtue of its status as the leading business, financial and transshipment hub of the region, the emirate might be in the position to play a role in the growing clout of the Chinese renminbi as a settlement currency.
Renminbi is virtually becoming the ‘redback’ of Asia, mimicking the role ‘greenback’ plays in global currency transactions. Over the past few years and particularly in recent months, the Chinese currency has made solid progress in becoming a major settlement currency at least on a regional basis, if not on the global scene."

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Dubai, Abu Dhabi strong policies lure investors, experts say | GulfNews.com

Dubai, Abu Dhabi strong policies lure investors, experts say | GulfNews.com:

"There are many factors that make Dubai and Abu Dhabi attractive to investors, and chief among them are strong government policies, proximity to major markets and world-class infrastructure.
The country’s reputation as a tax-free haven, or the business-friendly and pro-investment approach of the government, has attracted investments from the world over.
According to Giyas Gokkent, group chief economist and head of research at the National Bank of Abu Dhabi, the top foreign direct investment (FDI) drivers also include the UAE’s cheap or relatively abundant energy and “elastic” labour supply.
Other comparative advantages of the two cities are the abundant sun and the sea, as well as the range of shopping centres and lifestyle facilities. With regards to foreign portfolio investments, Gokkent said, the main influences are solid economic growth, government support to major listed companies and inclusion in the MSCI emerging market index, among others."

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Guest post: Iraq on the brink? Markets tell a different story | beyondbrics

Guest post: Iraq on the brink? Markets tell a different story | beyondbrics:

"
By Mark DeWeaver and Ali Albazzaz (l)

The steadily worsening security situation in Iraq has led many to wonder whether the country is once again descending into anarchy. A recent New York Times article, for example, spoke of “new fears that Iraq is returning to the bloody sectarian violence that nearly tore the country apart in 2006 and 2007”.

Going by the news feed, casual and informed observers alike might well conclude this to be a plausible outcome. Yet home-grown Iraq Stock Exchange (ISX) investors – some of the most knowledgeable insiders around – don’t seem to think so.

Financial markets can be surprisingly good prognosticators, thanks to their ability to aggregate information held by many different people and the incentives they provide to “put your money where your mouth is”. Thus, prediction markets, where participants can bet on the outcomes of events such as presidential elections, often outperform pollsters."

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Cadogan wants to drill new well in Pokrovske area in summer 2014 » Interfax News Wire

Cadogan wants to drill new well in Pokrovske area in summer 2014 » Interfax News Wire :: Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Central Asia:

"Britain’s Cadogan Petroleum Plc with assets in Ukraine plans to drill a new exploration well in the Pokrovske area (Poltava region) in summer 2014, the company has reported on the London Stock Exchange (LSE).

An evaluation of the current exploration potential in the Pokrovske area has identified five new leads, with one in particular showing considerable potential, reads the report.

In addition, the company is planning work-overs in the Zahorianske and Pirkovske fields (Poltava region) with specialized local contractors in order to eventually start production through existing facilities.

Eni bought 30% of Pokrovskoe Petroleum B.V. and 60% of Zagoryanska Petroleum B.V. (both based in the Netherlands) from Cadogan in 2011. These two companies own licenses to develop the Pokrovske and Zahorianske oil and gas fields in Ukraine’s Dnipro-Donets basin."

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USA should push regime change in Saudi Arabia - English pravda.ru

USA should push regime change in Saudi Arabia - English pravda.ru:

"According to Dave Ottoway, writing for the Foreign Policy Research Institute, "There is practically no civil society in Saudi Arabia. The country is run by the al-Saud royal family in partnership with a highly conservative religious establishment espousing a fundamentalist theology known as Wahhabism. The alliance goes back to the mid-eighteenth century. Both the House of al-Saud and the Wahhabi religious leadership are against freedom of religion, democracy, a free press, and the public mixing of unmarried men and women. Wahhabi clerics are also against movie houses; public dancing; drinking, women's sports centers; girls exercising in schools, and women driving. We could not have a conference like this in Saudi Arabia. The women would be in another room listening on a TV monitor or, if it was an international meeting, there might be a barrier down the center. Neither the royal family nor the Wahhabi religious establishment is interested in elections. Only the chambers of commerce are allowed to have elections-businessmen who are absolutely no threat to the establishment.""

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A sluggish Friday for Ukrainian equities with one remarkable exception - Business - News - Ukraine Business Online

A sluggish Friday for Ukrainian equities with one remarkable exception - Business - News - Ukraine Business Online:

"Analysis of Friday’s trading of Ukrainian stocks in Kyiv, Warsaw and London

Concorde Capital provides more in its daily market comment:

“Ukrainian equities were in line with European sluggishness in trading on Friday, September 27. The WIG Ukraine Index of Warsaw-traded stocks slipped 0.3%, finishing the week at a 0.7% gain. The biggest decliners were sugar maker Astarta (AST PW -2.0%) and Coal Energy (-2.0%). Dairy producer Milkiland (MLK PW +1.7%) rose 5.1% in two sessions. In London, the erratic shares of Regal Petroleum (RPT LN) plunged 6.7% and Cadogan Petroleum (CAD LN) dropped 5.6%. The Ukrainian Exchange (UX) Index of Kyiv-traded stocks rose 2.4%, finishing the week at a 1.0% gain. The Index has been propped up by the skyrocketing shares of Unicredit’s Ukrsotsbank (USCB UK +47.6%), which have advanced 68.1% in four straight winning sessions.”"

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Remembering The 1973 Arab Oil Embargo - OpEd Eurasia Review

Remembering The 1973 Arab Oil Embargo - OpEd Eurasia Review:

"This fall marks the fortieth anniversary of the Arab oil embargo, a painful episode in American history that had a profound effect on both the economy and psyche of the United States. It began in mid-October 1973, following the US decision to resupply Israel with weaponry after Egypt and Syria launched a surprise attack on Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish year.

In response to President Nixon’s decision, the Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries, the Arab members of OPEC, declared an embargo and cut off oil supplies to the United States and its allies.

In the three months after the embargo was announced, oil prices quadrupled, from $3 to $12 per barrel. Yes, twelve bucks would be a monumental bargain in these days of $100-a-barrel crude, but back then it sent shock waves through developed country economies."

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A Coming Emerging Market Crisis?

A Coming Emerging Market Crisis?:

"To paraphrase writer Robert Louis Stevenson, financial markets have 'a grand memory for forgetting'.

Multiple Latin debt crises and the 1997/1998 Asian emerging market crisis have been forgotten. Now, the risk of an emerging market crisis is very real.

BRICs on Credit...

Investors have been romancing emerging markets, exemplified by the dalliance with the BRIC economies (Brazil, Russia, India and China), a term coined by Goldman Sachs' Jim O'Neill in 2001.

Slowing economic growth in developed economies following the 2007/ 2008 global financial crisis resulted in a sharp slowdown in emerging economies. To restore growth, emerging markets switched to development models more reliant on credit.

Double-digit annual credit growth drove economic activity in China, Brazil, India, Turkey and many economies in Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe."

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Russia and the EU will find a solution to Third Energy Package issues

Russia and the EU will find a solution to Third Energy Package issues:

"

Russia's Deputy Energy Minister has stated that his nation and the European Union will find a solution to the present impasse over the Third Energy Package.

Speaking in Milan on Friday at a conference hosted by Natural Gas Europe | Gas Dialogues, Anatoly Yanovsky said that negotiations will ensure a solution to the problems raised by the EU's legislative package of gas market reforms, which seeks to "unbundle" ownership of natural gas production and transmission lines such as those operated by Gazprom, and is seen as a roadblock to the development of South Stream Pipeline project.

"The South Stream pipeline represents a long term solution to ensuring a secure energy supply to all European citizens, thanks to the direct connection between customers and the most important gas reserves in the world, in Russia”, said the Deputy Minister."

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Azerbaijan's ‘Eurasian' challenge - Today's Zaman, your gateway to Turkish daily news

Azerbaijan's ‘Eurasian' challenge - Today's Zaman, your gateway to Turkish daily news:

"The regional customs union (CU) is a hot topic these days across the post-Soviet area, especially since Armenia pledged to join and given Russia's ongoing pressure on Ukraine and Moldova to join. These developments have reopened the debate on Azerbaijan's position.
Currently, there are several factors that have prompted Azerbaijani political elites to start thinking about it more seriously and merely playing for time will not prevent some of the possible developments. Previously, Azerbaijani policymakers were quite sure that Baku's official standing protected them and the so-called Eurasian Union seemed a distant threat. The EU's Eastern Partnership (EaP) program has not been wildly successful, but it has helped with integration among the post-Soviet countries."

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Saudi Gazette - GCC fertilizer industry sees sustained growth

Saudi Gazette - GCC fertilizer industry sees sustained growth:

"A rapidly growing global population and planned capacity expansions are the key drivers for sustained growth for the GCC’s fertilizer producers, said industry experts at the Fourth Annual GPCA Fertilizers Convention held recently in Dubai.

Organized by the Gulf Petrochemicals and Chemicals Association (GPCA), the convention’s keynote speech was delivered by Charlotte Hebebrand, Director General of the International Fertilizer Industry Association (IFA). Hebebrand said “a key driver for fertilizer demand is an expected global population surge”.

“As global population is expected to reach 9.3 billion by 2050, food production will have to increase by 50 percent in the same period,” said Hebebrand. She predicts that the solution to ensuring that people are fed is not only increasing arable land but also increasing the yield of current cultivated land."

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ENERGY - Caspian oil producers eye entering markets

ENERGY - Caspian oil producers eye entering markets:

"
An aerial view shows artificial islands on the Kashagan
offshore oil field in the Caspian Sea, off Kazakhstan.
REUTERS photo
Caspian oil and natural gas producers have struggled to move their products to world markets, the United States Energy Information Administration (EIA) has said in a recent study about Caspian Sea Region.

“Some countries cooperate and jointly develop export capacity, while others focus on attracting enough investment to create their own routes,” it said.

The Caspian’s coastal countries, along with Uzbekistan, together have an operating crude oil refining capacity of just over 8 million barrels per day, according to Oil and Gas Journal. Russia and Iran together make up about 85 percent of this capacity. As of January 2013, the total crude oil refining capacity of the coastal countries was about 9 percent of the world’s total crude refining."

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US austerity takes hold



Iran's diplomatic shift - just hot air?



Egypt seeks more financial assistance from Arabian Gulf allies | The National

Egypt seeks more financial assistance from Arabian Gulf allies | The National:

"Egypt is in talks about further financial assistance from the GCC after receiving US$7 billion in funds from the UAE, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, the country’s central bank governor said yesterday.

The UAE had deposited $2bn with Egypt’s central bank and provided a further $1bn loan to the country, said Hisham Ramez. A further $4bn had arrived from Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, $2bn from each donor, he said on the sidelines of a gathering of Arab central bank governors in Abu Dhabi yesterday.

Asked if Egypt was seeking further funds, he said: “There are talks with the countries that are supporting us.”

Mr Ramez’s comments follow Egypt returning $2bn that Qatar had deposited with the central bank after talks soured about converting the funds into three-year bonds."

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UAE banks could offer direct debit service by 'next week' | The National

UAE banks could offer direct debit service by 'next week' | The National:

"Banks are ready to introduce direct-debit payments for customers as early as next week.

The new system will revolutionise retail banking and herald the end of writing reams of post-dated cheques for car loans and other transactions.

“The introduction of the direct-debit system is a step in the right direction towards increasing the efficiency of our banking system,” the Central Bank said.

“Given our focus as a regulator we believe it is necessary to have a prudent, stronger and stable economy.”"

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World still needs Old King Coal even with shift to green energy | The National

World still needs Old King Coal even with shift to green energy | The National:

"

It is paradoxical, but the world will manage the shift away from fossil fuels to renewable energy only if more fossil fuel power stations are built.

Clean coal and gas-fired plants are essential as a bridge to keep the electricity supply stable while nations build up their capacity for generating electricity from the wind, sun and biomass.

The reason is simple – countries need more power all the time, not just when there is sun and wind. In the absence of nuclear power, which many nations are moving away from after Japan’s Fukushima disaster in 2011, fossil power offers steady, reliable power regardless of the weather."

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Nothing to beat a ride on a property bubble | GulfNews.com

Nothing to beat a ride on a property bubble | GulfNews.com:

"It is hard to imagine, much less find, a better exemplar of how capital gets misallocated in a bubble than British property agent Foxtons, whose stock was publicly listed last week. Foxtons, which only three short years ago was taken over by its lenders, went public and by the end of its first trading day was worth $1.2 billion (Dh4.4 billion).
That’s a bit more than double what it sold for in 2007, just before the crash, when its founder Jon Hunt sold out to private equity firm BC Partners in a deal which was at the time widely derided as marking a market top. To put it in perspective, Foxtons is now trading for a bit more than 20 times what investors expect it to earn next year.
That implies investors believe that either it will gain market share rapidly or, as real estate agent fees are a percentage of sales and rental prices, they think London real estate will continue its stratospheric rise."

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Reverse capital dynamics shake emerging markets | GulfNews.com

Reverse capital dynamics shake emerging markets | GulfNews.com:

"Enthusiasm for emerging markets has been evaporating this year, and not just because of the US Federal Reserve’s planned cuts in its large-scale asset purchases. Emerging-market stocks and bonds are down for the year and their economic growth is slowing. To see why, it is useful to understand how we got here.
Between 2003 and 2011, GDP in current prices grew by a cumulative 35 per cent in the US, and by 32, 36 and 49 per cent in Great Britain, Japan, and Germany, respectively, all measured in dollars. In the same period, nominal GDP soared by 348 per cent in Brazil, 346 per cent in China, 331 per cent in Russia, and 203 per cent in India, also in dollars."

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