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Monday, 28 October 2013

Oil-rich Kuwait warns welfare state unsustainable - Your Middle East

Oil-rich Kuwait warns welfare state unsustainable - Your Middle East:

"Oil-rich Kuwait said Monday that the generous cradle-to-grave welfare system provided to its 1.2 million citizens was "unsustainable" and it was time for change.

"The fact everyone must be aware of ... is that the existing welfare state system that Kuwaitis are used to is unsustainable," Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Mubarak Al-Sabah said, presenting his government's four-year programme to parliament.

The programme up to the 2016/2017 fiscal year aims to review subsidies, charges and prices of public services, besides imposing a taxation system in a country that generates 94 percent of its income from selling oil and where individuals and corporates pay no taxes.

The government has also promised to cut public expenditure, especially current spending which includes wages, subsidies and defence spending."

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Iran tries to lure back western oil groups - FT.com

Iran tries to lure back western oil groups - FT.com:

"Iran plans to convince international companies to invest in its oilfields by offering them more lucrative contracts as part of efforts to repair its battered economy and improve the Islamic Republic’s relations with the western world.
The move comes as Tehran and Washington engage in the most constructive negotiations for several years about curbing Iran’s nuclear programme, which could pave the way for the loosening of sanctions that have crippled the oil industry, the engine of the Iranian economy."

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The Russian bellwether now pointing toward reality? | @OdessablogBlogger

The Russian bellwether now pointing toward reality? | Odessablog's Blog:

"There are several bellwethers worthy of watching when it comes to Ukraine’s possible meeting of EU conditions for the signing of the Association Agreement in exactly a month.

Naturally the first, and naturally the least clear, are the actions of the Ukrainian leadership, particularly in respect to the circumstances around Ms Tymoshenko.

That said, those of us who live in Ukraine – rather than those watch from outside and currently seem in some form of semi-controlled panic – are well aware that Ukraine is a nation that does things “just in time”."

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UPDATE 1-Dubai Holding arm plans to sell stake in Swatch-backed retailer -sources | Reuters

UPDATE 1-Dubai Holding arm plans to sell stake in Swatch-backed retailer -sources | Reuters:

"* DIC in talks with Saudi-based Al Rajhi Capital - sources

* Rivoli sale seen by year-end - sources

* Dubai has been stepping up asset sales

By Dinesh Nair and Mirna Sleiman

DUBAI, Oct 28 (Reuters) - The private equity arm of Dubai Holding, which is owned by the emirate's ruler, is planning to sell its minority stake in a luxury retailer backed by Swatch, four banking and industry sources aware of the matter said.

The unit, Dubai International Capital (DIC), is in exclusive negotiations to sell its 18 percent stake in Rivoli Group to Saudi-based Al Rajhi Capital, the investment banking and private equity arm of the kingdom's top listed lender, Al Rajhi Bank , the sources said.

The sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity, did not provide a potential value for the deal."

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Abu Dhabi gives China encouragement on oil concession | The National

Abu Dhabi gives China encouragement on oil concession | The National:

"The Supreme Petroleum Council, Abu Dhabi’s highest oil policy body, is to evaluate the possibility of awarding China a concession after “very good” progress in talks, said the UAE Minister of Energy.

China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) has evaluated a set of seven undeveloped blocks in the west of Abu Dhabi, its first tentative step towards accessing hydrocarbon reserves dominated for the greater part of the century by the western supermajors.

A concession, if awarded, would follow a strategic cooperation agreement signed by the Chinese state-owned giant and Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc) last year."

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Russia’s Alrosa: an investor’s best friend? | beyondbrics

Russia’s Alrosa: an investor’s best friend? | beyondbrics:

"
Alrosa might be considered the king of diamonds. It is the world’s largest rough diamond producer by volume, with almost 1bn carats of resources.

It’s certainly the king of privatisations, as far as 2013 is concerned. A stake of 16 per cent stake in the company was sold for $1.3bn in an IPO on Monday, making it Russia’s first state privatistion of the year.

The Russian government and the regional government of Yakutia each contributed 7 per cent to the IPO, with a further 2 per cent from the company itself."

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UK visa: Oman asks citizens to wait for official announcement from UK | GulfNews.com

UK visa: Oman asks citizens to wait for official announcement from UK | GulfNews.com:

"Sayyid Badr Bin Hamad Al Bu Saidi, Secretary-General at Oman’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, has urged citizens to wait for an official announcement regarding the easing of UK visa procedures for citizens of the country.
According to reports in London, the British government has decided to significantly ease visa application procedures for Omanis intending to visit the country for medical treatment or tourism purposes. Those who wish to study or work in the country will still need to follow the conventional procedures.
Media reports said Omanis travelling to the UK for tourism or treatment will need to send an email to the website of the British embassy in Muscat and wait for approval within 48 hours. The traveller then has to take a printout of the approval, which will be considered as a visa, when travelling to the UK. Upon arrival at any of the UK airports, fingerprints will be taken."

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MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi extends losses as earnings disappoint; most mkts dip | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi extends losses as earnings disappoint; most mkts dip | Reuters:

"Saudi Arabia's shares extended losses on Monday as earnings disappointed investors, while most other Middle East bourses retreated in profit-taking.

Saudi's retail and telecom sectors led declines after key companies' profits missed analysts' expectations.

Fawaz Abdulaziz Alhokair posted an 11.8 percent rise in second-quarter profit to 282.08 million riyals ($75.21 million), trailing a forecast average of 299.9 million riyals, despite higher sales.

Analysts blamed Alhokair's lower-than-expected profit growth on ebbing revenue growth.

NCB Capital said Alhokair's 13.5 percent revenue growth year-on-year was the lowest quarterly growth in 15 quarters."

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Morgan Stanley sees worst over for Middle East banking | Reuters

Morgan Stanley sees worst over for Middle East banking | Reuters:

"Morgan Stanley Inc (MS.N) is seeing a resurgence in investment banking activity in the Gulf Arab region and expects an end to large-scale retrenchments by global lenders as financial markets improve, senior executives at the bank told Reuters.

As the market for mergers and acquisitions (M&A), equity and debt offerings in the Middle East picks up after years of sluggish activity, the bank is targeting clients looking for advice on complex transactions that require global expertise, more than just a financial commitment such as underwriting.

"We want to lead with ideas rather than with the price of our balance sheet, and try to bring real value in areas that involve complexity - especially across international borders," said Sammy Kayello, chairman and chief executive for Middle East and North Africa (MENA) and a veteran at the bank."

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Credit Suisse sees Qatar fund in emerging markets push | Reuters

Credit Suisse sees Qatar fund in emerging markets push | Reuters:

"Qatar's sovereign wealth fund is looking at more investments in emerging markets in order to diversify beyond developed nations, said a senior executive of Credit Suisse (CSGN.VX) who is one of the top advisors to the fund.

With assets estimated by analysts at about $100-200 billion, and over a dozen potential deals on its radar every week, Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) is courted by bankers and politicians around the world.

While the fund will continue to take large minority stakes in well-established firms, it may in future place more emphasis on tangible assets such as real estate, infrastructure and commodities rather than merely financial instruments, said Aladdin Hangari, head of Credit Suisse's Qatar operations."

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Dubai bank ENBD eyes Turkey buy amid foreign expansion | Reuters

Dubai bank ENBD eyes Turkey buy amid foreign expansion | Reuters:

"Emirates NBD ENBD.DU is looking for acquisition targets in Turkey as Dubai's largest lender scouts for opportunities beyond its home market, despite an improving economic environment within the emirate, its top executive said.

ENBD, which completed in June the purchase of BNP Paribas' (BNPP.PA) Egyptian assets for $500 million, has been looking to diversify beyond Dubai after a real estate market crash in 2008-2010 severely impacted the bank.

The lender aims for 20 percent of its revenues to come from overseas markets in five years - up from 8 percent after the Egyptian acquisition - and while organic growth will play a part, another acquisition will probably be needed to meet the target."

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UAE's Etisalat posts 18% drop in Q3 net profit - Technology - ArabianBusiness.com

UAE's Etisalat posts 18% drop in Q3 net profit - Technology - ArabianBusiness.com:

"Etisalat, the Gulf's No.1 telecom operator, reported an 18 percent drop in third-quarter profit on Monday, missing analysts' estimates as capital spending and operating expenses each rose by about a third.
The UAE former monopoly, which operates in about 15 countries across the Middle East, Africa and Asiaand is in exclusive talks to buy a controlling stake in Maroc Telecom , made a net profit of AED1.83bn ($498.23 million) in the three months to Sept. 30, according to a statement to Abu Dhabi's bourse.
This compares with a profit of AED2.21bn a year earlier."

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Kuwait bourse to launch derivatives trading next year | Reuters

Kuwait bourse to launch derivatives trading next year | Reuters:

"Kuwait's stock exchange plans to launch derivatives trading in the first half of 2014 using its new Nasdaq-backed trading system, a senior stock exchange official told Reuters.

Kuwait's bourse, one of the oldest in the Gulf region, launched the "X-stream" trading system in May last year at a cost of around 18.3 million Kuwaiti dinars ($65 million), part of its biggest technical overhaul in nearly two decades.

The main aims of the Nasdaq OMX Group Inc. system were to launch the trading of financial instruments and to clamp down on dubious market activity."

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Week ends with Kernel implosion pulling WIG Ukraine into serious decline - Business - News - Ukraine Business Online

Week ends with Kernel implosion pulling WIG Ukraine into serious decline - Business - News - Ukraine Business Online:

"Friday trading even more mixed than usual

Concorde Capital provides analysis of Friday’s trading in its daily market comment:

“Disappointing earnings reported by grain trader Kernel, the second most actively traded Ukrainian stock, sent Ukrainian equities plummeting on Friday, October 25. The WIG Ukraine Index of Warsaw-traded stocks plunged 6.3% after traders sold off their shares of Kernel (KER PW -14.7%), which hit its lowest price in more than three years. Not only did FY2013 earnings disappoint, but the company reported poor earnings expectations for the following year. In London, egg producer Avangard (AVGR LI) jumped 4.0% to its highest price in more than 17 months after releasing its third quarter earnings. The Ukrainian Exchange (UX) Index of Kyiv-traded stocks slid 0.9%, pulled down by Unicredit’s Ukrsotsbank (USCB UK -2.6%). Raiffeisen Bank Aval (BAVL UK +4.7%) has surged 14.0% in four straight positive sessions.”"

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Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala energy unit eyes expansion in Africa and Asia - Energy - ArabianBusiness.com

Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala energy unit eyes expansion in Africa and Asia - Energy - ArabianBusiness.com:

"Mubadala Petroleum, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Abu Dhabi investment vehicle Mubadala, is looking to push ahead with overseas projects in Thailand and Indonesia and is aiming to start exploration work in Tanzania by the end of 2013, its CEO said.
"The East African margin is clearly an attractive exploration province,” Maurizio La Noce said of Mubadala Petroleum’s offshore work in Tanzania with UK-based partner Ophir.
“There have been a number of significant gas discoveries made, which point to a highly prospective basin. In Block 7 in Tanzania, having shot a large 3D seismic survey in 2010 and additional 2D seismic last year, we expect to spud our first exploration well before the end of this year."

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Dubai Expo Bet Spurs Property-Led Debt Rally: Islamic Finance - Bloomberg

Dubai Expo Bet Spurs Property-Led Debt Rally: Islamic Finance - Bloomberg:

"As spotless black sedans shuttled World Expo officials through Dubai’s streets last week, yields of Islamic bonds from local developers Emaar Properties PJSC (EMAAR) and Nakheel PJSC dropped to record lows.
The declines underscored growing optimism that the Middle East business hub and second-richest member of the United Arab Emirates will be named as host of the 2020 event when members of the Bureau International des Expositions vote in Paris next month. Sukuk from Emaar, developer of the world’s tallest tower, and Nakheel, which built Dubai’s artificial palm-shaped island, are rising even as regional peers retreat."

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Arab Spring Fueling Dubai Boom - Business Insider

Arab Spring Fueling Dubai Boom - Business Insider:

"Here's a fascinating nugget from SocGen strategist Kit Juckes, who just spent some time in Dubai."

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Who will grow next? - YouTube

Who will grow next? - YouTube:

"Research by Harvard's Ricardo Hausmann has found that Mexico, Zimbabwe and Egypt are well-positioned to grow. Qatar and Brazil are less well-placed, while China risks recession. In part two of a discussion with John Authers, he explains his unexpected predictions.


"

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UAE approves slightly higher federal spending for 2014 | Arab News

UAE approves slightly higher federal spending for 2014 | Arab News — Saudi Arabia News, Middle East News, Opinion, Economy and more.:

"The UAE approved a federal budget of AED46 billion ($12.5 billion) for 2014, half of which will go for development and social benefits, Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum said.
The projected federal spending of the UAE is slightly higher than the AED44.6 billion originally pencilled in for 2013.
“I requested all the ministers to efficiently spend their budgets in the interest of the citizens’ happiness and welfare,” Sheikh Mohammed, who is also Dubai’s ruler, wrote on his official Twitter account.
He did not provide a figure for revenue in the budget, which was approved as a part of a three-year federal spending plan of 140 billion dirhams for 2014-2016."

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UAE approves slightly higher federal spending for 2014 | Arab News

UAE approves slightly higher federal spending for 2014 | Arab News — Saudi Arabia News, Middle East News, Opinion, Economy and more.:

"The UAE approved a federal budget of AED46 billion ($12.5 billion) for 2014, half of which will go for development and social benefits, Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum said.
The projected federal spending of the UAE is slightly higher than the AED44.6 billion originally pencilled in for 2013.
“I requested all the ministers to efficiently spend their budgets in the interest of the citizens’ happiness and welfare,” Sheikh Mohammed, who is also Dubai’s ruler, wrote on his official Twitter account.
He did not provide a figure for revenue in the budget, which was approved as a part of a three-year federal spending plan of 140 billion dirhams for 2014-2016."

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Wheat Drops as Drier Former Soviet Union Boosts Supply Outlook - Bloomberg

Wheat Drops as Drier Former Soviet Union Boosts Supply Outlook - Bloomberg:

"Wheat declined to the lowest in more than a week, extending a weekly loss, as drier weather in parts of the former Soviet Union boosted the production outlook.
The contract for December delivery lost as much as 0.6 percent to $6.865 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade, the lowest price since Oct. 18 and was at $6.885 by 10:12 a.m. in Singapore. Futures fell 2.1 percent last week, the first drop since the period ended Sept. 13. Wheat slumped 12 percent this year as global output heads for a record 708.9 million tons, the U.S. Department of Agriculture predicts.
Production in Russia is set to climb 43 percent to 54 million tons in 2013-2014, the USDA said in September. Ukraine’s harvest may increase 40 percent, it said. Warmer conditions in the former Soviet Union will improve wheat growth, with potential showers in southern Russia unlikely to be enough to hamper late seeding, Commodity Weather Group LLC said Oct. 25. Rains and cold weather had delayed winter-crop planting in both Russia and neighboring Ukraine."

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Airspace capacity an issue for Dubai Airports and Al Maktoum International | GulfNews.com

Airspace capacity an issue for Dubai Airports and Al Maktoum International | GulfNews.com:

"Dubai Airports and Al Maktoum International are ready to hold discussions on how to manage the region’s bustling aviation sector as the region reaches closer to airspace capacity.
Over the coming years Abu Dhabi and Doha will each open their own new airports servicing their respective nationals carrier and other airlines.

With airspace capacity a challenge for not only Dubai Airports but all regional players, Griffiths said there would need to be further discussions with aviation authorities and the airports on how they will be able to cater to the expanding market."

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Sky Gardens property lawsuit in Dubai starts trial at DIFC Courts | The National

Sky Gardens property lawsuit in Dubai starts trial at DIFC Courts | The National:

"The lawsuit over the sale of Sky Gardens, one of the most notorious disputes arising from Dubai’s property crash in 2008, finally comes to trial today.

The education provider Taaleem, which brought the case against one of its shareholders, the Dubai-based investment firm National Bonds Corporation (NBC), and Deyaar Development, will be heard at the DIFC Courts.

The case concerns a series of transactions between 2008 and 2009 involving the luxury residential complex in the DIFC.

The Courts have scheduled nine days for the trial, the longest period assigned since they began operating in 2006."

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Al Maktoum International Airport in Dubai World Central on its way to becoming world's largest airport | The National

Al Maktoum International Airport in Dubai World Central on its way to becoming world's largest airport | The National:

"The first passenger flight arrived yesterday at Al Maktoum International Airport, marking a milestone in Dubai’s plan to create the world’s largest airport.

The Hungarian budget carrier Wizz Air commenced operations at Al Maktoum with a flight from Budapest, inaugurating the airport’s passenger terminal.

The airport was scheduled to open in March 2011 but that was delayed twice.

Al Maktoum “will play a vital role in the future development of Dubai as a centre for trade, commerce, transport and logistics and tourism”, said Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, the president of the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority and the chairman of Dubai Airports."

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Emerging Stocks Cap Biggest Weekly Decline Since August - Bloomberg

Emerging Stocks Cap Biggest Weekly Decline Since August - Bloomberg:

"Emerging-market stocks fell, capping the biggest weekly drop since August, as China’s money-market rates jumped and concern grew that earnings will falter. Indonesia’s rupiah posted its best week since June 2009.
The MSCI Emerging Markets Index retreated 0.3 percent to 1,027.27, extending its weekly slump to 1.4 percent. The Shanghai Composite Index (SHCOMP) slid to the lowest level in seven weeks as Great Wall Motor Co. (601633) tumbled 10 percent after earnings missed analysts’ estimates. Oil company OGX Petroleo e Gas Participacoes SA (OGXP3) sank 19 percent, pacing losses in Brazil’s Ibovespa. The rupiah strengthened the most since Sept. 19.
Stocks fell as China’s money-market rate completed the biggest weekly jump since a cash squeeze in June after the central bank refrained from injecting funds through open-market operations. More than half of the 125 companies that reported quarterly earnings in the gauge for developing nations missed sales estimates, while revenue increased by an average 2.1 percent, according to data compiled by Bloomberg."

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Sabic CFO Sees Perfect Timing for Second Debt Sale This Year - Bloomberg

Sabic CFO Sees Perfect Timing for Second Debt Sale This Year - Bloomberg:

"Saudi Basic Industries Corp. (SABIC), the world’s second-biggest chemicals maker, is planning a second foreign-currency bond sale this year as it seeks to refinance debt amid lower interest rates.
The state-controlled company will sell euro-denominated securities before the end of this year although it hasn’t decided how much money it will raise, Chief Financial Officer Mutlaq al-Morished told reporters in Riyadh yesterday. “It’s excellent timing for anybody to refinance.”
Sabic, as the company is known, last month raised $1 billion from five-year notes in its first dollar-bond deal since 2010, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The securities pay a coupon of 2.625 percent and were priced to yield 130 basis points over similar maturity U.S. Treasury securities. Orders exceeded the issue’s size by more than five times, two people familiar with the sale said at the time."

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