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Monday, 7 October 2013

Serbia near bankruptcy? Not quite | beyondbrics

Serbia near bankruptcy? Not quite | beyondbrics:

"Reports of Serbia’s near-bankruptcy are exaggerated. True, the country is in a tight fiscal spot, growing slowly and in need of external help – but the apocalypse is not yet nigh. The government seems to be flagging up long-awaited cuts in the public sector. It is sweetening the pill with the announcement of a loan package worth up to $3bn from the UAE – Serbia’s new best friend – that could make a big difference to the beleaguered country.

Serbia is “virtually on the verge of bankruptcy,” Aleksandar Vucic, deputy prime minister and the government’s chief power broker, told local broadcaster Prva TV on Monday. He added that “measures for economic recovery will be tough and not populist and will affect between 300,000 and 500,000 public-sector workers,” with the aim of making savings of €200m to €300m."

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Ukraine Wintry Weather Closes Grain-Sowing Window, Martell Says - Bloomberg

Ukraine Wintry Weather Closes Grain-Sowing Window, Martell Says - Bloomberg:

"A snowstorm that hit Ukraine and southern Russia over the weekend halted crop planting, adding to the possibility of a “sharply” reduced winter-grain harvest in 2013-14, Martell Crop Projections said.
“Winter wheat is the main crop in jeopardy, but rapeseed production would also shrink from exceptionally adverse weather,” Gail Martell, who heads the Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin-based forecaster, wrote in an e-mailed report today.
Temperatures in Ukraine last week were 7 to 9 degrees Celsius (12.6-16.2 degrees Fahrenheit) below normal and mostly below freezing, delaying winter-grain development. The harvest could be reduced by a drop in planting as well as incomplete sprouting and smaller plants due to the cold, Martell wrote.
Russian producers are facing obstacles getting winter grains planted after September showers in the Black Earth, central Volga and Southern districts brought rainfall that was 150 percent to double normal, according to Martell."

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The EM world isn’t that connected | beyondbrics

The EM world isn’t that connected | beyondbrics: "A brief reminder from ITU, the UN’s telecoms agency, that for all the talk about the global internet, and how emerging economies are getting online, there is still a huge gap between the developed and developing world when it comes to internet usage.

There are still 4.4bn people not online, according to the ITU’s Measuring the Information Society report. And despite the efforts to get people connected, there are still two huge obstacles.

As the report says, there are 1.1bn households worldwide that are not yet connected to the internet, and 90 per cent of these are in the developing world.


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MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf markets mostly down, Egypt up despite clashes | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf markets mostly down, Egypt up despite clashes | Reuters:

"* Investors take profits before U.S. debt deadline, Eid break

* Mixed Q3 earnings reports trickle in

* Dubai index falls near initial technical support

* Dana Gas tumbles after downgrade

* Egyptian clashes seen less severe than in August

By Olzhas Auyezov

DUBAI, Oct 7 (Reuters) - Gulf markets mostly edged down on Monday as investors took profits ahead of long Eid holidays and the U.S. government moved into the second week of its shutdown. Egypt's market rose despite at least 53 deaths in Sunday's political violence.

The Gulf will be closed for most of next week - the time when the U.S. government and Congress must agree on raising the country's debt ceiling to avoid a default. Although most Gulf investors expect a positive resolution to the U.S. crisis, they will be unable to react to any bad news during the holidays.

Meanwhile, a handful of third-quarter earnings reports announced so far this week have been mixed."

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Emaar, Dubai Holding relaunch mega property project | Reuters

Emaar, Dubai Holding relaunch mega property project | Reuters:

"* Project first unveiled in 2008

* Then stalled by Dubai property slump

* Totals 6 million square metres in size

* No details on financing, completion date

* Two other big projects announced in Dubai today

By Matt Smith

DUBAI, Oct 7 (Reuters) - Emaar Properties and Dubai Holding, a conglomerate owned by the emirate's ruler, have joined forces to restart work on The Lagoons, a giant real estate project that was first announced in 2008 but then stalled by Dubai's property crash.

The 6 million square metre development will feature a business district, residential units and hotels, the companies said in a statement on Monday.

They gave few other details, and did not say how the project would be financed or when construction would be completed."

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Iraqi Kurds OK Abu Dhabi's Taqa Plans to Pump Oil - ABC News

Iraqi Kurds OK Abu Dhabi's Taqa Plans to Pump Oil - ABC News:

"A United Arab Emirates state-run energy investment company says Iraq's northern self-ruled Kurdish region has given it the green light to pump oil.

Abu Dhabi National Energy Co., known as Taqa, said Monday that it plans to spend more than $300 million in the first phase of a plan to pump about 30,000 barrels a day from Atrush block by early 2015.

The statement says the second phase, yet to be approved, is expected to add another 30,000 barrels a day.

Taqa is majority owned by the oil-rich government of Abu Dhabi though more than a quarter of its shares are available to the public.

It signed the deal in 2012 despite objection by Baghdad government which is in dispute with Kurds over rights to develop natural resources."

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Georgia’s prime minister and the $6bn private equity fund | beyondbrics

Georgia’s prime minister and the $6bn private equity fund | beyondbrics:

Bidzina Ivanishvili, billionaire prime minister of Georgia (pictured), has launched a much-vaunted private equity fund less than a month before key presidential elections.

The $6bn Georgian Co-Investment Fund has attracted heavyweight investors including the UAE’s Abu Dhabi Group, Turkey’s Calik Holdings and China’s Milestone Intl Holding – plus a commitment of $1bn of his own money from Ivanishvili himself. The fund’s size and governance structures raise concerns in an environment where business and politics have often been intertwined.

The GCF aims to finance projects in energy, tourism, manufacturing, agriculture, infrastructure and other areas. George Bachiashvili, its 28-year-old chief executive, said in an interview: “GCF will prioritize projects worth over $5m. It plans to hold up to 75 per cent of equity shares in investment projects for up to seven years, extendable by a maximum of two years.” The fund would then exit by selling its share to co-owners or third parties or through initial public offerings."

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UAIndex ends week with slight decline - Business - News - Ukraine Business Online

UAIndex ends week with slight decline - Business - News - Ukraine Business Online:

"Friday’s trading ended with the UAIndex composite capitalization at 4,099.94, down -0.09% for the day and +3.45% for the last 30 days.

Most impressive on the Best Performer list for Friday was Kernel, up +0.68% for the day of 36,708 shares.

The day’s bottom feeder was Ovostar, down -3.08% on very limited volume.

Friday’s Volume Leader was the poultry giant – and Ukraine’s highest market cap listing – MHP, down -0.04% on trade of 237,102 shares."

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Cityscape Tries to Mirror Dubai’s Real Estate Fortunes - Middle East Real Time - WSJ

Cityscape Tries to Mirror Dubai’s Real Estate Fortunes - Middle East Real Time - WSJ:

Property prices in Dubai have rebounded sharply in the past year
As Dubai’s real estate market plots a comeback, so too is the city’s largest annual property-industry conference. Exhibitors at Cityscape Global, which starts tomorrow, have reserved some 25,000 square meters of floor space, about 50% more than last year’s total. The number of exhibitors has also grown by about 30% to 223.

It’s a striking return to health for Cityscape, which saw a fall-off in exhibitors alongside Dubai’s tumbling property market. Prices in Dubai fell by more than half between the top of the market in 2008 and the bottom about two years later. A gradual pick-up took hold last year and has only gained pace since.

Apartment prices went up 42% on year in the third quarter, according to a recent report from Asteco, a local brokerage. Office prices have also risen, although to a more moderate degree."

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IMF gets tough with Turkey | beyondbrics

IMF gets tough with Turkey | beyondbrics:

"Too much public spending, excessive reliance on domestic demand and loose monetary policy – the International Monetary Fund has made clear its concerns about Turkey in some of its harshest criticism of the country in recent years.

Of course, Ankara has been one of the emerging markets in the eye of the storm set off by expectations of US Federal Reserve tapering. Although markets have since stabilised following the Fed’s decision to delay such a step, a big question remains how the economy will fare when the foreign funds that have fuelled it in recent years are in much shorter supply.

In this context, the Fund’s regular report, issued just in time for the IMF-World Bank meetings in Washington, could be seen either as sniping from the sidelines or as a chronicle of a downturn foretold."

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World Bank cuts Ukraine 2013 economic growth forecast to zero | Reuters

World Bank cuts Ukraine 2013 economic growth forecast to zero | Reuters:

"The World Bank expects Ukraine's economy will be flat this year following a weak first-half performance, it said on Monday, cutting its previous forecast for 1 percent growth.

The former Soviet republic's export-oriented economy, dominated by steel production, dipped into recession in the second half of 2012 due to declining global demand for metals and it continued to contract in the first half of this year.

"We expect that growth of GDP will resume in the second half of this year but it will not be enough to compensate the fall in the first half," World Bank analyst Anastasia Holovach told a news conference in Kiev.

Ukraine has been under scrutiny by ratings agencies on concerns that it could default on its debt."

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Economic review: Winners and losers in the Middle East - Your Middle East

Economic review: Winners and losers in the Middle East - Your Middle East:

The Gate - the international financial centre in Dubai
© Your Middle East

Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke sent ripples across markets when he recently reneged on a supposed certainty among financial analysts. Rather than tapering, or scaling back, the Fed’s bond purchasing program, which has buoyed markets through 2008’s fiscal storm, Bernanke left the taps untouched. As of now, the purchasing scheme that has been pumping nearly $85 billion and diluting interest rates will remain – at least until the next time Bernanke gets behind a microphone.

Needless to say, market indices were electrified at this unforeseen turn of events. Both the S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Index hit record highs, topping previous marks of 1,709.67 and 15,658.36, respectively. The fervor was eventually felt on this side of the globe, with oil futures further fueling (no pun intended) their robust rise to new weekly highs."

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▶ Trading technology: change of mindset - YouTube

▶ Trading technology: change of mindset - YouTube:

"Banks and brokers have historically kept a close guard around the technology they use, even when it holds little competitive advantage. But Steve Grob, Fidessa group strategy director, tells FT Trading Room editor Philip Stafford the mindset is changing


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Saudi women granted licenses to practice law | Arab News

Saudi women granted licenses to practice law | Arab News — Saudi Arabia News, Middle East News, Opinion, Economy and more.:

"Four Saudi women were granted licenses on Sunday by the Ministry of Justice to practice law in the Kingdom’s courts.
Up until the implementation of this decision, Saudi women who graduated from law school were previously employed as legal consultants, but were banned from practicing law in the courtroom and were not given attorney status. They also could not own and operate law firms.
Female lawyers have often complained about their inability to use their law degrees despite years of studying and, in some cases, earning a doctorate in law.
The ministry’s move could have a wide-ranging impact on Saudi Arabia’s domestic court system. Women in divorce and custody cases have long battled a system that favors fathers and husbands."

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Foreign assets at RO 6.32 billion | Oman Observer

Foreign assets at RO 6.32 billion | Oman Observer:

"Merchandise exports surge by 17 per cent to reach RO 9.4 billion — By Samuel Kutty/Amal Ragab — MUSCAT — The foreign assets of Oman stood at RO 6.324 billion at the end of June 2013 after reaching an all-time high of RO 6.628 billion in the previous month. At the same time private sector deposits of the commercial banks in the Sultanate showed a 7.6 per cent rise to reach RO 9.398 billion in the period up to June this year. In Oman, foreign exchange reserves are the foreign assets held or controlled by the CBO. The reserves are of gold or a specific currency. The foreign assets are also special drawing rights and marketable securities denominated in foreign currencies like treasury bills, government bonds, corporate bonds and equities and foreign currency loans. “The Omani economy sustained its growth momentum as reflected in the rise of the GDP and the strength of the balance sheet of the banks,” the central bank says in its latest review of banking and monetary developments in 2013.


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Islamic Economic Strategy will define Dubai before Expo 2020 and add to the city’s business appeal « ArabianMoney

Islamic Economic Strategy will define Dubai before Expo 2020 and add to the city’s business appeal « ArabianMoney:

"Last week the Government of Dubai laid out the pillars of the Islamic Economic Strategy it sees paving the way for the Expo 2020 in the city, assuming its bid is successful next month.

For the Ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum this is an important statement of his vision for the future with Dubai becoming the capital of the Islamic economy within three years. This is far more than a public relations exercise. There is going to be considerable investment in Islamic institutions and real estate for them."

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President Traian Băsescu says shale gas to bring energy independence to Romania

President Traian Băsescu says shale gas to bring energy independence to Romania:

"Romanian President Traian Băsescu announced during a television broadcast that “I have one year and a few month and I finish my mandate so I will not be in office when Romania will eventually produce its first cubic meter of shale gas or when the first cubic meter of gas from the Black Sea will be sold. I want to say something Romanians should remember: the goal of our policies in the energy field should be the energy independence. This type of independence was very important for me and as such, as the one responsible for Romania’s foreign policy, I have refused any contact with South Stream project and I wagered everything on Nabucco. Nabucco never came to be, but this does not mean we will abandon the idea of energy independence.”

Băsescu acknowledged there are environmental risks, as nothing is without risk, but Romania has already exploited shale gas, indirectly referring to Romgaz: “If we want to be truthful, we are talking about it in Romania now, but shale gas has been exploited with older technologies, at shallower depths. It was done in Romania a long time ago.”"

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Turkmenistan and the Southern Gas Corridor

Turkmenistan and the Southern Gas Corridor:


Experts at recent conferences in Washington, DC at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Jamestown Foundation and Elliott School of International Affairs focused on the prospects for the Eurasian region following withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan in 2014 and the decision of the Shah Deniz II consortium to go with the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP). They provided a post-mortem for the failed Nabucco project and barely mentioned the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) pipeline in which some hopes for post-war recovery have been invested.

At a conference panel organized by the Jamestown Foundation on Azerbaijan and the Southern Gas Corridor to Europe: Implications for U.S. and European Energy Security,"

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Qatar Petroleum Plans Global Expansion Drive » Gulf Business

Qatar Petroleum Plans Global Expansion Drive » Gulf Business:

"Qatar Petroleum (QP), the world’s largest liquefied natural gas (LNG) exporter and main source of Qatar’s huge wealth, plans to expand internationally, the Gulf state’s energy minister said on Thursday.

QP businesses account for over half of Qatar’s gross domestic product and about three quarters of export earnings, with Qatari gas exports earning around $8 billion a month.

But a self-imposed moratorium on further development of Qatar’s one big gas field is forcing QP to expand abroad to maintain market share as LNG supplies from U.S., Australian and African producers rise over the next few years.

“Our new vision is to be a world class oil and gas corporation with its roots in Qatar and a strong international presence,” Energy Minister Mohammed Bin Saleh Al-Sada said at the launch of a strategy plan."

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Abu Dhabi vs. DIFC: Battle Of The Freezones? » Gulf Business

Abu Dhabi vs. DIFC: Battle Of The Freezones? » Gulf Business:


In February this year, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahyan, president of the UAE, passed a federal decree announcing the creation of Global Marketplace Abu Dhabi (GMAD) – the emirate’s first financial free zone.

It’s safe to say the first thought on everyone’s mind was: how would it rival DIFC?

The Dubai International Financial Centre has been the region’s financial hub since its creation in 2004. Although there are zones in Bahrain and Qatar, Dubai has long been ahead of its challengers. But that could all change later this year.

Scheduled to open in the fourth quarter of 2013 on Al Maryah Island, GMAD will offer financial services from banking to fund management with an expected focus on commodities trading. It will also, like DIFC, have its own courts and financial regulator."

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The victims of Bangladesh's garment industry - YouTube

The victims of Bangladesh's garment industry - YouTube:

"More than five months after the Rana Plaza factory collapse, Bangladesh is struggling to reform its garment industry. The FT's Ben Marino meets some of the victims of the factory accident that killed more than 1,100 people.


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▶ Is the Triple-E ship a folly? - YouTube

▶ Is the Triple-E ship a folly? - YouTube:

"Nils Andersen, CEO of Maersk, discusses with Richard Milne, Nordic and Baltic corespondent, on the story behind the order of 20 Triple-E vessels, the world biggest container ships ever built.


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▶ Only rich at risk from London's bubble - YouTube

▶ Only rich at risk from London's bubble - YouTube:

"UK housing bubble fears have been exacerbated by Help to Buy. But Ed Hammond, property correspondent, tells John Authers the bubble is built on equity, not debt, and that the average home price remains below pre-crisis levels


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Health care costs more in the Arabian Gulf | The National

Health care costs more in the Arabian Gulf | The National:

"The cost of providing health benefits to employees in the Arabian Gulf is considerably higher than in Europe, Africa and elsewhere in the Middle East, according to a new report.

A survey by Mercer Marsh Benefits found that health insurance in the Gulf cost companies 6 per cent of payroll, compared with 3.9 per cent in eastern Europe and 3.3 per cent in western Europe.

“There are a number of reasons for that,” said Steve Clements, the employee health and benefits leader for the Middle East at Mercer. “In this region it’s typical that employers will offer very comprehensive healthcare benefits because of the expat population that exists here.”"

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Government decree helps push house prices in Abu Dhabi higher | The National

Government decree helps push house prices in Abu Dhabi higher | The National:

"Abu Dhabi house prices have risen by as much as 26 per cent over the past year, helped by an influx of government employees relocating to the capital and improving investor sentiment.

According to the property broker Asteco an influx of Abu Dhabi government employees moving to the capital to comply with a government housing decree and a general improvement in sentiment pushed up average house prices in the city 14 to 26 per cent over the year to September.

The news comes as the UAE real estate industry prepares to gather for the biggest property show in the region, the Cityscape exhibition, which is expected to attract an increase in exhibitor and visitor numbers on the back of soaring Dubai house prices."

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Oil price of $100-110 acceptable, Kuwait minister says |

Oil price of $100-110 acceptable, Kuwait minister says |

"Kuwaiti Oil Minister Mustafa Al Shamali said that an oil price of between $100 (Dh367, €74) to $110 per barrel is acceptable to both producers and consumers, in remarks published on Sunday.
“The acceptable and fair price for oil at this stage is $100 to $110 a barrel,” Shamali told Al Seyassah newspaper.
“These prices are good and acceptable to all parties. They help producers to complete their production and exploration projects, besides they are suitable to consumers and the global economy,” he said."

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Second Gulf Navigation vessel seized |

Second Gulf Navigation vessel seized |

"A second Gulf Navigation vessel has been seized after the company once again defaulted on loan repayments, according to Dr Sandeep Kadwe, Gulf Navigation Managing Director.
The Gulf Eyadah, one of the company’s two very large crude carrier (VLCC) vessels, was seized “late last week” in Port Bahama, Kadwe said. It is believed that the vessel is now in anchorage just outside the port.
The latest news from the apparent struggling Gulf Navigation follows the seizure of its other VLCC vessel Gulf Sheba last month in a Dutch port.
In a statement to the Dubai Financial Market (DFM) on Saturday, Gulf Navigation stated that claims made against the Dubai-based shipping company by European lenders DNB and BNP Paribas had been dismissed by a Dutch court."

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Algerians Amass Black-Market Euros as Arab Spring Drives Demand - Bloomberg

Algerians Amass Black-Market Euros as Arab Spring Drives Demand - Bloomberg:

"Across the street from the parliament, courthouse and main police station in central Algiers is the country’s biggest illegal market for foreign exchange.
“Currency, currency!” Nadir, 28, shouts out to passing cars from his spot on the curb of Port Said Square in the Algerian capital. “Come here for your currency!” He’s among dozens of money changers milling around the gardens of the sunbaked esplanade overlooking the Mediterranean, chatting on mobile phones and counting crisp dinar notes. Last week, their going rate was a record 150 dinars ($1.84) per euro, almost 40 percent more than the official price."

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