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Sunday, 13 October 2013

Gulf States Face Lack of Qualified Citizens for Energy Jobs - NYTimes.com

Gulf States Face Lack of Qualified Citizens for Energy Jobs - NYTimes.com:

"As the United Arab Emirates gears up to become the first producer of nuclear power in the Arab Gulf region and Saudi Arabia starts exploratory drilling of shale and other unconventional gas reserves, one of the biggest challenges facing the energy-exporting Gulf states is finding enough trained staff members for these novel projects — and for their conventional oil and gas industries, too.

The problem is all the more acute because Saudi Arabia, the Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, and Oman have all set targets for raising employment levels among their citizens and limiting the number of expatriate and migrant workers, under plans that have gained urgency because of the Arab Spring.

The political upheaval sweeping the Arab world has pushed Gulf governments to offer more jobs and better benefits and salaries to their citizens, to head off discontent among a growing number of young people without work."

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Expo 2020 to grow Dubai’s economy by 1% | GulfNews.com

Expo 2020 to grow Dubai’s economy by 1% | GulfNews.com:

"Expo 2020 in Dubai would boost the local economy by as much as 1 per cent — representing billions for the emirate, according to Andrew Scott, a professor of economics at the London Business School.
The government estimates 25 million tourists would visit Dubai for Expo 2020 if the emirate is successful in its bid. Business leaders from small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to largescale companies have also previously told Gulf News that the economic benefit would help grow their operations.
Scott said hosting the event would boost gross domestic profit (GDP) by half a per cent in the lead up to and following the event. Another half per cent would be added during the Expo."

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Templeton's Mobius Urges 'Fair and Equitable' TNK-BP Buyout | Business | The Moscow Times

Templeton's Mobius Urges 'Fair and Equitable' TNK-BP Buyout | Business | The Moscow Times:

"Emerging markets fund manager Mark Mobius appealed Saturday for oil company Rosneft to make a "fair and equitable" offer to buy out minority shareholders in oil company TNK-BP.

Mobius denied reports by Russian news agencies of a meeting with Igor Sechin, CEO of the state oil major, to discuss a buyout. In comments to Reuters, he said minorities had not yet, as far as he knew, received a formal offer.

Minority shareholders own 5 percent of TNK-BP Holding, a listed unit of TNK-BP. The parent company was sold by a quartet of Russian tycoons and by Britain's BP to Rosneft in a $55 billion deal that closed this spring."

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UAE agrees $5.4 billion currency swap deal with South Korea | The National

UAE agrees $5.4 billion currency swap deal with South Korea | The National:

"South Korea’s central bank said on Sunday that it had signed a bilateral, three-year currency swap deal with the UAE worth up to US$5.4 billion in a bid to strengthen trade and financial ties between the two countries.

The arrangement lets either country swap 5.8 trillion Korean won for 20 billion dirhams, or vice versa. The Bank of Korea (BOK) said the agreement expires in three years but can be extended if needed.

The currency swap agreement is the second announced on Sunday, after the Bank of Korea said it would soon sign a won-rupiah swap pact with the Indonesian central bank valued up to $10 billion."

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Kashagan Oil Field Stops Production for Second Time | Business | The Moscow Times

Kashagan Oil Field Stops Production for Second Time | Business | The Moscow Times:

"Kazakhstan's giant offshore Kashagan oilfield in the Caspian sea halted output after a gas leak was detected Oct. 9, a consortium developing it said Friday, the second stoppage there since its launch a month ago.

The leak was detected on a pipeline running from the artificial D Island to the Bolashak processing plant ashore, the North Caspian Operating Company said.

"As a preventive measure the respective part of the pipeline has been depressurised and has been flushed with nitrogen to make it accessible for inspection," it said. "No harm to people or environment was observed."

Repair work continued, it said, without giving a date for the resumption of production."

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QNB Financial Results for the nine months ended 30 September 2013 | Al Bawaba

Financial Results for the nine months ended 30 September 2013 | Al Bawaba:

"
QNB Group, the World’s Strongest Bank and the leading bank in the Middle East and North Africa, announced its results today for the nine months ended 30 September 2013. These results include the financial results of NSGB in Egypt, in which the Group concluded the acquisition of a controlling stake amounting to 97.12% in March 2013.

For the nine months of 2013 Net Profit was QR7.1 billion (USD2.0 billion), up by 14.1% compared to the same period last year.

The Group’s prudent cost control policy and strong revenue generating capability allowed it to maintain an efficiency ratio (cost to income ratio) of 20.4%, which is considered one of the best ratios among financial institutions in the region."

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CORRECTED-Malaysia and UAE tie up to boost economic ties, Islamic finance | Reuters

CORRECTED-Malaysia and UAE tie up to boost economic ties, Islamic finance | Reuters:

"The central banks of Malaysia and the United Arab Emirates signed a pact on Friday to foster closer economic ties between the two countries, including in the area of Islamic finance.

The pact signals stronger cooperation between the two financial hubs, which held a combined $181 billion in sharia-compliant banking assets as of 2011, despite growing competition for a share of Islamic business.

Governors of both central banks signed the memorandum of understanding on the sidelines of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank annual meetings in Washington."

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Egypt’s Stock Index Climbs to Highest Since 2011 as Israel Falls - Bloomberg

Egypt’s Stock Index Climbs to Highest Since 2011 as Israel Falls - Bloomberg:

"Egypt’s benchmark stock index climbed to the highest level since before the ouster of Hosni Mubarak in early 2011 on speculation political stability will spur economic growth. Israeli stocks snapped a five-day advance.
The EGX 30 Index rose 0.9 percent to 5,986.8, the highest close since Jan. 26, 2011, as about 468 million Egyptian pounds ($68 million) of shares traded, compared with a one-year daily average of 340 million pounds. Orascom Telecom Media & Technology Holding SAE jumped the most in a month, while Commercial International Bank Egypt SAE contributed the most to the index’s gain. Israel’s TA-25 Index fell 0.6 percent.
The gauge has rallied 26 percent in the second half of the year after the military ousted President Mohamed Mursi. The bourse closed for almost two months in 2011 as a popular uprising forced Mubarak out of power. The current government is overseeing constitutional amendments that should lead to parliamentary elections in the first quarter of 2014. The economy may grow 2.1 percent this year and 2.9 percent in 2014, according to the median of 16 estimates in a Bloomberg survey."

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Oman's Bank Dhofar Q3 net profit declines 10.8 pct | Reuters

Oman's Bank Dhofar Q3 net profit declines 10.8 pct | Reuters:

"Bank Dhofar, currently in talks to merge with smaller rival Bank Sohar, recorded a 10.8 percent decline in third-quarter net profit, Reuters calculated on Sunday.

Oman's second-largest bank by market value made a profit of 8.3 million rials ($21.6 million) in the three months to Sept. 30 compared to a profit of 9.3 million rials in the prior-year period, Reuters calculated from previous financial statements.

Two analysts polled by Reuters had estimated a quarterly profit of 9.2 million rials and 8 million rials respectively."

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Abu Dhabi, Kuwait see windfall from UK's Royal Mail sell-off - Banking & Finance - ArabianBusiness.com

Abu Dhabi, Kuwait see windfall from UK's Royal Mail sell-off - Banking & Finance - ArabianBusiness.com:

"Sovereign wealth funds in Abu Dhabi and Kuwait have each reportedly made a profit of nearly $30m each from their investment in the UK’s Royal Mail, after shares in the firm rocketed 40 percent above their issue price when it debuted on the London stock market on Friday.
Landsdowne, one of the world’s biggest hedge funds, and sovereign wealth funds including the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA), Kuwait Investment Authority (KIA), Singapore’s GIC and Norway’s Norges all invested in the British postal service.
The Gulf funds are believed to have injected £50 million ($79 million) each, meaning the 40 percent surge in the value of stocks gave them an instant profit of around £18m ($28.7m), sources close to the deal told the CNBC news station."

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SAUDI ARABIA: Gaslands | Emerging Markets

SAUDI ARABIA: Gaslands | Emerging Markets:

"The explosion of shale oil has some in Saudi Arabia worried that the kingdom’s main export is in danger

The billionaire Saudi investor Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal has a talent for making headlines; but only rarely has he put his head over the parapet on politically sensitive strategic issues affecting the kingdom. So when he warned in an open letter to the veteran Saudi oil minister Ali Al-Naimi made public at the end of July, that the kingdom’s oil-dependent economy was looking increasingly vulnerable to rising US energy production, many Saudis were quick to take note.

Alwaleed warned that the boom in shale oil and gas would reduce demand for crude from Opec producers. With consumers limiting their oil imports, Saudi Arabia – the world’s biggest oil exporter – would be forced to produce below its headline production capacity. And this would directly challenge the kingdom’s economy, given its near-complete reliance on oil, accounting for more than 90% of budget revenues."

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Lifting the Russian gas yoke from Ukrainian budgetary shoulders | tks @Odessablogger's Blog

Lifting the Russian gas yoke from Ukrainian budgetary shoulders | Odessablog's Blog:

"A few days ago, Ukrainian Prime Minister Azarov stated that within the next few years “Ukraine may stop buying gas altogether at that price.  That is not an empty threat”, on Rossiya 24 TV channel.

A statement no doubt based upon the current drive to increase energy efficiency, diversify energy supply and increase and expand domestic production.

It prompted this response from Natalia Timokova, spokesperson for Dmitry Medvedev, “Before making such statements, our Ukrainian partners should take into account that sanctions may be applied in any unilateral review of contract terms” – unsurprisingly."

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IMF officials give Jordan some wiggle room on reforms | News , Middle East | THE DAILY STAR

IMF officials give Jordan some wiggle room on reforms | News , Middle East | THE DAILY STAR:

"International Monetary Fund officials relaxed some fiscal and other targets for Jordan under its $2 billion loan program as the country struggles to deal with an influx of Syrian refugees and energy supply disruptions.

The IMF officials on Saturday agreed to give Jordan about $258 million, its third tranche of aid under a three-year loan program started last year to help the Middle Eastern country speed up economic reforms and boost growth.

The IMF's executive board must still sign off on the disbursal, which should happen in November."

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GCC, Morocco Ties Winter New Era - OpEd Eurasia Review

GCC, Morocco Ties Wnter New Era - OpEd Eurasia Review:

"
I write this week from Rabat, Morocco, where a new Cabinet was sworn in on Thursday, representing the second incarnation of an Islamist-led government, with a new and broader-based coalition.

At the same time in Rabat, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and Morocco cemented their newly founded “special strategic partnership” with the formation of eight new bodies to oversee their joint action plans. Four more are expected to be set up later this year.

The newly-founded GCC-Morocco partnership has largely coincided with the appointment of Abdellilah Benkirane, the chief of the moderate Islamic Justice and Development Party, as prime minister, after his party won a plurality in parliamentary elections in November 2011. His appointment by King Muhammed was seen at the time as a sign of far-sightedness, flexibility and readiness to embrace changes expressed at the ballot box."

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BBC News - What are the challenges for the Egyptian economy - video

BBC News - What are the challenges for the Egyptian economy:

"The tumultuous events that have engulfed Egypt since President Mubarak's overthrow in 2011 have significantly weakened the country's economy.

The cash reserves are depleted, unemployment is high, growth is slow, and foreign investment has almost completely vanished.

Political unrest has been on the rise again since the overthrow of Mohammed Morsi in July in a popularly-backed military coup.

BBC Arabic's Khaled Ezzelarab looks at how the new government is dealing with the economic challenges."

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Make haste slowly on GCC monetary union | GulfNews.com

Make haste slowly on GCC monetary union | GulfNews.com:

"The recent opening of the Gulf Monetary Council in Riyadh is undoubtedly a historic moment. However, this should in no way suggest that the GCC countries should speed up the process of implementation of the Gulf Monetary Union (GMU).
Among other things, the scheme in its current form suffers from an acute lacuna, with two member states, the UAE and Oman, opting to shun the planned union. If a third of the GCC’s six-member grouping decides to stay out, this is clearly a major shortcoming.
The UAE’s absence is exceptionally significant by virtue of it commanding the second largest GDP among Arab states let alone within the GCC entity. In fact, the UAE is a regional leader in trade, finance and aviation, to name a few such areas."

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