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Sunday, 27 October 2013

Qatar Airways targets UAE for major flights push - Transport -

Qatar Airways targets UAE for major flights push - Transport -

"Qatar Airways announced on Sunday the addition of Sharjah and Dubai World Central as its newest routes to the UAE with 14 flights per week to each destination.
Beginning the March 1 2014, the airline will operate twice daily to Sharjah International Airport and twice daily to Dubai World Central - Al Maktoum International Airport from its hub in Doha, the carrier said in a statement.
“The ever increasing demand for flights to the UAE has provided the business case for expanding our services to Sharjah and Dubai World Central,” said Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker.
“The location of both airports will offer travellers alternative options to reach their final destination when flying to Dubai.”"

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Oil service firms rush to Saudi for busy drilling year ahead | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT

Oil service firms rush to Saudi for busy drilling year ahead | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT:

"Global energy service giants are banking on a boom in Saudi oil and gas drilling over the next few years to revive profits that are being squeezed by overcapacity in the North American market.

Schlumberger, Halliburton and Baker Hughes have all singled out Saudi Arabia as a major growth market for next year as they search the globe for better returns than the saturated US and Canadian markets offer.

Dozens of offshore and onshore rigs are being lined up for drilling in Saudi Arabia in 2014, and service companies are expanding their Saudi operations to meet buoyant demand.

“We have a very close relationship with Saudi Aramco, and the plans that we see for next year are talking about 200 rigs,” Gabriel Podskuba, area manager for the eastern hemisphere at steel pipe maker Tenaris SA, told analysts earlier this month."

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MIDEAST STOCKS-SABIC weighs on Saudi after Q3 results; most mkts up | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-SABIC weighs on Saudi after Q3 results; most mkts up | Reuters:

"Saudi Arabia's largest listed company Saudi Basic Industries Corp (SABIC) fell from a 18-month high on Sunday, weighing on the kingdom's bourse after its quarterly earnings matched estimates, while most other Middle East markets rose.

Many investors had expected a positive surprise from SABIC after two of its subsidiaries posted estimate-beating quarterly profits earlier this month.

SABIC's third quarter profit rose 2.5 percent to 6.47 billion riyals ($1.73 billion). Analysts on average forecast its profit would be 6.4 billion riyals.

"We had seen signs of improvement in petrochemical product prices in Q3 2013," said Sleiman Aboulhosn, investment analyst at ING Investments. "Overall, results were good and we expect improving demand from Asia and restocking to underpin earnings growth in Q4 2013."

Shares in SABIC fell 2.4 percent."

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Mail.Ru Posts 33% Revenue Growth | Business | The Moscow Times

Mail.Ru Posts 33% Revenue Growth | Business | The Moscow Times:

"Russian Internet group Mail.Ru reported a 33 percent rise in third-quarter revenue, helped by its search-based advertising deal with rival Yandex and booming games and social network business.

Mail.Ru said Friday its revenue totaled 6.6 billion rubles ($208 million) in July through September, up from 5 billion a year ago.

The company benefited from increased number of advertisers at Yandex which, under a deal reached earlier this year, shares advertising profits with Mail.Ru in exchange for giving Yandex's advertisers access to Mail.Ru's users.

Mail.Ru is Russia's third-biggest search site behind Yandex and Google."

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REUTERS SUMMIT-Bahrain in early stages of bank merger wave | Reuters

REUTERS SUMMIT-Bahrain in early stages of bank merger wave | Reuters:

"* Several mergers taking shape in past year

* Rasheed al-Maraj says will aim for structured series

* To make Bahrain banks more competitive regionally

* Says banking system assets now recovering steadily

* Sees Dubai's Islamic finance push as good for industry

By Mirna Sleiman

DUBAI, Oct 27 (Reuters) - Bahrain is still in the early stages of a series of bank mergers designed to strengthen the sector in the face of regional competition, the central bank governor said.

The tiny kingdom's banking industry, once the most vibrant in the Gulf, was hit hard by the global financial crisis and, since 2011, by political unrest which has deterred some foreign investment.

But Rasheed al-Maraj said there were signs of recovery in the sector, which would be aided by a central bank policy of encouraging mergers and acquisitions."

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Dubai Stocks Climb to 5-Year High on Emaar Profit; Qatar Gains - Bloomberg

Dubai Stocks Climb to 5-Year High on Emaar Profit; Qatar Gains - Bloomberg:

"Dubai’s benchmark stock index headed for the highest close in five years after Emaar Properties PJSC (EMAAR), the emirate’s biggest publicly traded developer, reported better-than-expected third-quarter profit.
The DFM General Index advanced 0.8 percent to 2,932.26, poised for the strongest close since November 2008, at 11:40 a.m. in the emirate. The measure has jumped 81 percent this year, making it the best performer among the 50 biggest equity markets globally. Emaar, which has a weighting of 20 percent in the index, climbed to the highest in two months and Drake & Scull International, (DSI) a provider of services to the real-estate industry, rose for the first time in five days. Qatar’s gauge increased 0.3 percent.
Emaar, the developer of the world’s tallest tower, reported a 50 percent increase in third-quarter profit as evidence mounts that the desert sheikhdom’s property crisis is receding. Real estate in the emirate is benefiting from a revival of Dubai’s economy, which is set to expand 4.6 percent, on average, between 2012 and 2015, more than twice the growth of the previous four years, according to government forecasts."

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Oman's Renaissance unit prices $350 mln debut bond | Reuters

Oman's Renaissance unit prices $350 mln debut bond | Reuters:

"Topaz Marine, a unit of Oman's Renaissance Services, priced its $350 million debut bond, a statement from the parent firm said on Sunday, in a rare high-yield transaction from the Gulf Arab region.

The five-year offering carried a coupon of 8.625 percent, the bourse filing from Renaissance said, adding that the issue was oversubscribed by investors. It did not elaborate.

The final interest rate was tighter than the initial guidance given on Thursday of between 8.75 and 9 percent."

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Are Plans for a New Oil Refinery in Dubai Viable? - Middle East Real Time - WSJ

Are Plans for a New Oil Refinery in Dubai Viable? - Middle East Real Time - WSJ:

"Doubts are growing over the viability of Dubai’s recently announced plan to build a new oil refinery in the emirate with China Sonangol.

The region’s top financial hub last month signed a memorandum of understanding with China Sonangol International, a joint venture between Angola’s state-owned oil company, Sonangol and Hong Kong-based New Bright International Development, to build what will be its second oil refinery. The hope is to reduce Dubai’s reliance on imported fuels and allow the desert-city to export to international markets.

The proposed refinery’s capacity and a schedule for completion weren’t disclosed in the original announcement and a project consortium has yet to be created to oversee the front-end engineering design and green-field project financing."

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National Bank of Kuwait reports net profit of $702m in nine months of 2013 | AME Info

National Bank of Kuwait reports net profit of $702m in nine months of 2013 | Middle East business & financial news | business directory & current events | AME Info:

"National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) reported net profits of $702m (KD198.6 m) for the first nine-month of 2013 compared with $809m (KD228.9m) for the same period in 2012. Adjusting for the exceptional gains of $288m recognized in 9M2012 on the consolidation of Boubyan Bank, net profits recorded a 34.7% year on year growth.
As of end of September 2013, NBK Group’s total assets reached $67.0bn (KD19.0bn) up 15.5% compared to September 2012, while total shareholders’ equity increased by 4.0% year on year to $8.7bn (KD2.46bn). Loans and advances reached $37.2bn (KD10.5bn) at September-end 2013 up 9.3% compared to September 2012 and customer deposits reached $35.5bn (KD10.0bn), up 16% compared to last year."

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Times of Oman | News :: Should the Sultanate drop rial peg to dollar?

Times of Oman | News :: Should the Sultanate drop rial peg to dollar?:

"The rial peg to the dollar was a sensible decision taken four decades ago as the United States was driving the global economy but its floundering finances and internal political bickering is forcing the once mighty nation to lose its grip on the treasury.

Oman would not be the first nation in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) if it were to drop the peg of its currency to the dollar. Kuwait did it in 2007 and so far remains the only country in the GCC to do so. Oman and its regional political allies pegged their currencies to the dollar to minimise foreign exchange volatility, encourage investments and international trade.

True, the peg to the greenback made sense then because all regional countries exported oil and there was a great need to receive payments in the once most stable currency in the world.

Many critics say that sticking to the dollar peg is as good as devaluing the rial since the US currency is losing its strength consistently against major currencies of the world. Oman and its neighbours are big buyers of the dollar dominated assets and the need to diversify its portfolio away from the US currency is very pressing."

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Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership Would Mean Cheap Gas for Europe

Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership Would Mean Cheap Gas for Europe:

"The US would literally “pour” cheap natural gas upon EU countries if Washington and Brussels sign the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, Hendrik Bourgeois, Vice-President European Affairs at General Electric and President of the American Chamber of Commerce in Bulgaria (AmCham) to the EU stated at a conference of the AmCham.

In his words it is a well-known fact that the shale revolution led to low prices in the US without precedent. If customs duties and other trade restrictions are abolished the US is capable of supplying natural gas to ports in Europe and thus reducing natural gas price in the EU, he said, as cited by the Trud daily."

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Algeria Announces Major Oil Discovery |

Algeria Announces Major Oil Discovery |

"Algeria’s energy minister says a new oil field containing an estimated 1.3 billion barrels has been discovered.

Youcef Yousfi told the state news agency Saturday that the discovery near the large oil fields in the southern region of Hassi Messaoud is one of the most important in the last 20 years.

He added the state oil company, Sonatrach, will rely on unconventional techniques to extract 50 percent of the reserves, including hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking.

The field will be exploited in the next three to four years following the necessary studies, the report added."

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Saudi Gazette - Growth opportunities seen in Gulf as world trade shifts to emerging marts

Saudi Gazette - Growth opportunities seen in Gulf as world trade shifts to emerging marts:

"Islamic trade finance in its current state is still a small sector compared to global trade finance industry as a whole, a report issued by KFH-Research, a subsidiary of Kuwait Finance House KFH about international Islamic trade finance “Reality and Growth Opportunities” said.

However, the strong capabilities for commercial growth of the countries of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, especially Middle East area and the GCC countries in particular, in addition to the increased interest in Islamic finance enable Islamic trade finance sector to be a promising sector in the near future. The report explained that the Islamic finance focuses on supporting concrete economic businesses, and commercial finance is one of businesses sectors that fit with the principles of sharia.

Therefore, sharia compliant banks are in a good position to take advantage of financial flows from Organization of Islamic Conference."

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Counting costs and benefits of Arab Spring |

Counting costs and benefits of Arab Spring |

"As the third anniversary of the Arab Spring looms, it is possibly fair to look at some economic data which contributed to this defining moment in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region’s recent history.
Put differently, it is unfair to overlook the socio-economic causes of the Arab Spring in late 2010, starting with Tunisia.
In fact, the informal economy or the economy at large served as the foundation stone of Arab Spring. Mohammad Bu Azizi in Tunisia was working as a street vendor when a municipal official and her aides decided to confiscate, harass and humiliate him on charges of doing business in a public area illegally.
In protest, he set himself ablaze and died from the horrific injuries. Subsequent public anger forced President Bin Ali to step down and to flee the country in early January 2011 after 23 years in power."

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Dubai ready for regional aviation fight |

Dubai ready for regional aviation fight |

"The opening of Al Maktoum International Airport on Sunday may not be a game changer for the aviation industry just yet but it is a sign that Dubai is not shifting in its bid to be a long-term global aviation player despite regional challenges.
The aviation industry has been largely dominated by the Gulf giants in recent years with some critics pointing to their access to a treasure chest of oil wealth. However, Kostya Zolotusky, Managing Director of Capital Markets and Leasing at Boeing Capital Cooperation recently praised the ability of Emirates and Etihad to secure funding from diverse markets in an interview with Gulf News.
The opening of Dubai’s newest airport show’s the emirate is ready for the assault from Abu Dhabi, Doha, and even Istanbul as all three cities are building new airport hubs for their strong national carriers."

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Dubai shows new wave of economic growth |

Dubai shows new wave of economic growth |

"The report Dubai Economic Outlook (DEO), Quarter 2/ 2013 issued by the Secretariat General of the Dubai Economic Council (DEC) indicated second quarter growth is better than in the first quarter of the year.
The report estimated the growth rate of real gross domestic product (GDP) to Dubai in the second quarter of 2013 by 4.7 per cent compared to the corresponding 2012 quarter. The growth was due to four sectors: wholesale and retail, transportation, manufacturing, and real estate.
Lower budget deficit
The public budget deficit decreased from Dh1.8 billion in 2012 to Dh1.5 billion in 2013 as a result of higher revenues by about 7.2 per cent from about Dh30.4 billion to Dh32.6 billion, increased government expenditure by about 5.8 per cent from Dh32.3 billion to Dh34.1 billion between 2012-2013. As a percentage of GDP, the budget deficit has dropped from about 0.6 per cent in 2012 to less than 0.05 per cent.


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First Gulf Bank taps rising demand for Sharia finance with purchase of Aseel | The National

First Gulf Bank taps rising demand for Sharia finance with purchase of Aseel | The National:

"First Gulf Bank has taken full control of Aseel Islamic Finance to tap rising global demand for Sharia-compliant finance.

The UAE’s second-biggest bank by market value raised its ownership from 40 per cent to 100 per cent in the unit through a purchase agreement, the bank said in a statement.

Previously Aldar Properties, Sorouh Real Estate and Reem Investments held stakes of 20 per cent each.

The deal is part of a wider strategy focused on enhancing the bank’s global presence, the statement said.

It means that Aseel effectively becomes the Islamic banking and finance arm of the bank."

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Regional experts see bright future for Islamic finance | The National

Regional experts see bright future for Islamic finance | The National:

"As the first World Islamic Economic Forum outside Asia starts in London on Tuesday, Islamic finance is now a major force in global economics.

Standard & Poor’s forecasts the industry will double to US$2 trillion from 2011 to 2015, aided in part, by more sukuk issuances by GCC players and the faster growth of Islamic banks.

Once considered an obscure corner of global banking, Islamic finance is now gaining traction. Here, Stuart Anderson, the managing director and regional head of Standard & Poor’s Middle East, and Timucin Engin, an associate director at S&P, talk about the challenges for the industry."

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Dubai property: Bubble fears played down by Goldman Sachs’ renewed interest | The National

Dubai property: Bubble fears played down by Goldman Sachs’ renewed interest | The National:

"Goldman Sachs’ renewed interest in the UAE’s equity markets and Dubai property stocks is creating a buzz.

On Monday the US investment bank restarted coverage of Dubai’s publicly-listed property firms. It believes that worries over the emirate’s property bubble have been overdone amid a series of regulatory curbs against speculation.

That Goldman Sachs has a view on this is notable and underscores how the 79 per cent surge in Dubai stocks this year and the property market’s rapid rebound have not escaped international investors’ notice."

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