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Thursday, 31 October 2013

Minting it: UK picks up Poland’s loose change | beyondbrics

Minting it: UK picks up Poland’s loose change | beyondbrics:

"
Poles complaining about the vast amounts of tiny change clogging their wallets and pockets will have to look abroad to vent – the National Bank of Poland announced on Thursday that three of the country’s smallest denomination coins will be made by the UK’s Royal Mint.

The Mint edged out competition from the Mint of Finland, the Royal Mint of Canada and Poland’s own Mennica Polska, a listed company that until now has supplied all the bank’s coins.

The Polish press reports that the Mennica plans to file a lawsuit alleging that the Royal Mint is price dumping to win the contract. Mennica’s bid was 61m zlotys, significantly less than its previous contract, but still well above the winning price.

The three-year contract worth 54m zlotys ($18m) came in significantly below the bank’s estimate of 107m zlotys – the savings are likely to end up bolstering the government’s budget."

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Ukraine Vows to Curb Reserves Plunge as IMF Repeats Loan Demands - Bloomberg

Ukraine Vows to Curb Reserves Plunge as IMF Repeats Loan Demands - Bloomberg:

"Ukraine pledged to stem declines in its foreign reserves next year as the International Monetary Fund said it wouldn’t ease conditions for a new loan amid a third recession since 2008.
Borrowing will match or exceed the planned $7.1 billion of foreign-denominated debt repayments, Halyna Pakhachuk, head of the Finance Ministry’s department debt, said today at a Fitch Ratings conference in the capital, Kiev. If markets improve, Ukraine may sell $1 billion to $2 billion of Eurobonds in 2014 and may borrow as much as $1 billion from China, she said.
“It’s difficult for Ukraine to tap international markets now as yields exceed 10 percent, while we can borrow at no more than 9 percent,” Pakhachuk said. “That’s why we’re looking for other sources of financing.”"

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MIDEAST STOCKS-Qatari shares at 6-week high, outperform regional gains | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Qatari shares at 6-week high, outperform regional gains | Reuters:

"Qatar's shares outperformed regional markets on Thursday, rising to a six-week high as bargain hunters returned to the overlooked market, while other bourses also edged higher.

Doha's index climbed 0.8 percent to its highest level since Sept. 19. The market has been trapped in a sideways range in recent weeks due to earnings that disappointed investors.

Large-caps Qatar National Bank and Industries Qatar were the main support, rising 2.1 and 1.9 percent respectively. Earlier this month, QNB posted a 14.3 percent rise in quarterly earnings which missed estimates, while IQ reported a six percent drop in nine-month profit.

UAE markets meanwhile, struggled to make gains ahead of a long weekend. Dubai's index added 0.2 percent, trading in a tight range since hitting a five-year peak earlier this week."

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African stock exchanges: making big strides | beyondbrics

African stock exchanges: making big strides | beyondbrics:

"
There is plenty of investment appetite for African stocks among institutional investors, and the continent’s financial markets are taking notice.

Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya and Angola have all recently pushed ahead with plans to deepen and improve their financial markets. But there is still a long way to go.

Recently the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) announced bold plans to target 500 companies for initial public offerings over the next five years. The Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) unveiled technology that will offer traders speedier access to the equity market. Kenya’s main bourse is making big strides. Angola, meanwhile, has introduced new laws to govern future financial markets."

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Ukraine s economy shows signs of improvement - IMF mission| Ukrinform

Ukraine s economy shows signs of improvement - IMF mission| Ukrinform:

"Ukraine's economy shows signs of improvement, but limited exchange rate flexibility, a large budget deficit and significant losses in the energy sector remain considerable challenges.
A respective statement was made on Thursday by IMF Mission Chief for Ukraine Nikolay Gueorguiev following the mission's work in Kyiv from October 17 to October 29, Ukrinform reported.
"Ukraine's economy shows signs of improvement, but considerable challenges remain. Limited exchange rate flexibility, a large budget deficit, and sizable quasi-fiscal losses in the energy sector have given rise to a large external current account deficit and a steady loss of foreign exchange reserves," reads the statement."

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Bears rule as Ukrainian stocks decline on three major exchanges - Business - News - Ukraine Business Online

Bears rule as Ukrainian stocks decline on three major exchanges - Business - News - Ukraine Business Online:

"Concorde Capital provides more on the downturn in its daily market comment:

“Bears invaded the Ukrainian stock market on Tuesday, October 30. The WIG Ukraine Index of Warsaw-traded stocks dropped 3.3%, weighed down by more selling in its most liquid stock, grain trader Kernel (KER PW -5.0%), which is at its lowest price in more than three years. Sugar producer Astarta (AST PW -4.8%) has fallen 8.4% in four consecutive negative sessions. Outside the Index, demand for the shares of Serinus Energy (SEN PW) surged 7.7%, or 8.7% in two sessions. In London, Cadogan Petroleum (CAD LN -3.7%) has declined 5.5% in two sessions, while JKX Oil & Gas (JKX LN +0.7%) has risen 5.7% in four straight advancing sessions. The Ukrainian Exchange (UX) Index of Kyiv-traded stocks dropped 1.0%, weighed down by oil producer Ukrnafta (UNAF -2.4%); Avdiivka Coke (AVDK UK -2.2%), which has fallen 6.0% in four straight negative sessions; and Alchevsk Steel (AMLK UK -2.0%), which has decreased 6.4% in four straight losing sessions.”"

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Ukranian News - Fitch Predicts Hryvnia To Devaluate To 8.5 UAH/USD, FX Reserves To Shrink From USD 17.8 Billion To USD 12.9 Billion In 2014

Ukranian News - Fitch Predicts Hryvnia To Devaluate To 8.5 UAH/USD, FX Reserves To Shrink From USD 17.8 Billion To USD 12.9 Billion In 2014:

"Fitch Ratings, an international ratings agency, predicts the hryvnia will devaluate to 8.5 UAH/USD be the end of 2014 and the foreign-exchange reserves to shrink from USD 17.8 billion (as the agency forecasts by the end of 2013) to USD 12.9 billion (by the end of 2014), the agency has announced in a statement.
Fitch forecasts that the current account position of Ukraine's balance of payments will be negative at 7.3% of GDP in 2013 and negative at 6.2% of GDP in 2014.
Ukraine's total public-sector debt, as the agency supposes, will reach 35.7% of GDP by the end of 2013 and 41.6% of GDP by the end of 2014.
As Ukrainian News earlier reported, the hryvnia exchange rate in the interbank currency market fell by 1.4 kopeck to 8.1870 UAH/USD on Wednesday, after falling by 0.3 kopeck on Tuesday.
Since the beginning of 2013, the hryvnia has fallen by 1.7% from 8.0500 UAH/USD to 8.1870 UAH/USD in the interbank currency market.
Foreign-Exchange Reserves of the National Bank of Ukraine decreased by 0.1% or USD 16.54 million in September, amounting to USD 21,639.34 million as of September 30."

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Money mirage exposes emerging markets - FT.com

Money mirage exposes emerging markets - FT.com:

"The real problem for EM assets is illusion of abundant liquidity

If a shock was to hit Brazil, India, Indonesia – or any other emerging market country – tomorrow, how would investors react? Would asset values adjust smoothly, amid an explosion of trading flows? Or would markets instead freeze up, as liquidity evaporated?
It is not an academic question. Earlier this year, when investors started to speculate about an American “taper” – or wind-down from quantitative easing – this mere conjecture was enough to spark a dramatic gyration in the value of some emerging market assets, such as Indian or Brazilian equities."

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It’s the 80s all over again as London heads for boomtime | David McWilliams

It’s the 80s all over again as London heads for boomtime | David McWilliams:

"The 328 bus from Golders Green to Notting Hill is as much a journey through the changing ethnicities of London as it is a route home. Last night I hopped on it and watched the unfolding of the ethnic map of Europe’s biggest city and possibly the world’s most cosmopolitan metropolis, as each tribe got on an off, as we moved from area to area, from High Road to High Street.
As the bus left the predominantly Jewish Golders Green so too did the Jews who were on the bus. Indians and Chinese embarked.
The bus moved towards Kilburn. At Kilburn High Road, the bus filled up with older Irish people, immigrants from the 1950s and 1960s. Through the window, I could see the corner shops sold the ‘Limerick Leader’, the ‘Sligo Champion’, the ‘Leitrim Observer’ and, of course, ‘The Irish Post’."

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Jordan's Economic Imbalance - Al-Monitor: the Pulse of the Middle East

Jordan's Economic Imbalance - Al-Monitor: the Pulse of the Middle East:

"
Supporters of Jordan's opposition parties shout slogans demanding freedom for political prisoners,
political and economic reforms, and access to government corruption cases during a demonstration after Friday prayers in Amman, Oct. 4, 2013. (photo by REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed)

When the state began to hand over a wide spectrum of its own services and businesses — such as mines, quarries, electricity, telecommunications, transport and mail — to the private sector, it opened the door for this sector to invest in the services the state is still providing, namely education, health and housing. This was followed by radical changes in the rules of labor, relationships with the state, the relationship between communities and companies on the one hand and between the state and companies on the other. These changes, in their entirety, have weakened communities, their ability to raise their voices, their influence on public decisions related to their lives and their political and public participation. Furthermore, the standard of living and revenues have slumped as well."

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Saudi Gazette - Jumeirah Group gets $1.4b loan

Saudi Gazette - Jumeirah Group gets $1.4b loan:

"Jumeirah Group, the global luxury hotel company and a member of Dubai Holding, announced today that it has successfully raised a $1.4 billion unsecured syndicated loan priced at 2.75 percent above LIBOR due 2019.

The facility was lead arranged by Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, Dubai Islamic Bank, Emirates NBD, HSBC, Mashreq and Standard Chartered. Jumeirah Group was advised by Rothschild on the transaction.

The loan will be used for expansion plans as Jumeirah continues to grow in the years ahead as well as for general corporate purposes, at the parent level, for Dubai Holding Commercial Operations Group.

Gerald Lawless, President and Group Chief Executive Officer, Jumeirah Group, said “the pricing we have been able to achieve for this syndicated loan is a testament to the Company’s financial strength and future prospects.  This financing will support our focus on driving profitable revenues from the existing portfolio while giving us the headroom to continue our local and international expansion.  This is the first time we have raised funds through a syndicated loan and we are pleased to be supported by the highest caliber of international and local banks.”"

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Regulations must end property ‘boom and bust’ | GulfNews.com

Regulations must end property ‘boom and bust’ | GulfNews.com:

"Boom and bust economic cycles are a threat to the sustainable development of a country. The volatility makes it difficult for companies and consumers to budget and they become reluctant to spend and invest, which hinders growth. This is why the UAE Central Bank and the other relevant monetary and fiscal authorities are wary of asset bubbles, when prices increase sharply on the back of speculative demand and then collapse, often leaving people without savings or investments for later life.
To help prevent this, the Central Bank has increased the deposit required to purchase property with mortgage finance. From next month, purchasers will be required to deposit a minimum of between 20 and 25 per cent of the value of the property to secure finance. The Bank has also capped the amount that can be borrowed at between seven and eight times the borrower’s annual income."

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Arab countries need a collective will to change | GulfNews.com

Arab countries need a collective will to change | GulfNews.com:

"It is no secret the economies of Arab countries will continue to face major risks, in the short term, amidst continued regional political tensions and a slow global recovery, even among the new economic powers of the world like China. This is reflected in slow growth, high unemployment, especially among the youth, and difficult fiscal situations in many countries throughout the Middle East and North Africa.
Arab countries, particularly those in transition, face a difficult domestic and international environment, compelling them to maintain subsidies and increased wage and pension spending. This is despite the self-evident unsustainability and long-term harm to their economies such policies bring about.
Against this background, Arab countries must engage in serious and deep reforms that can set the foundation for future growth, job creation, correction of the deep distortions developed over decades of entitlement programmes, and a more competitive and merit-based environment for better private sector development."

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Kuwait PM raises questions for region | The National

Kuwait PM raises questions for region | The National:

"When the prime minister of Kuwait warns Kuwaitis that the current welfare state is “unsustainable”, his words echo across the Arabian Peninsula. Speaking at the start of the week, Sheikh Jaber Al Mubarak Al Sabah said: “Everyone must understand that the existing welfare state that Kuwaitis are used to cannot continue. It’s necessary that Kuwaiti society shifts from a consumer of the nation’s resources to a productive people.”

Those words come after the International Monetary Fund warned last year that spending levels in the country would outpace revenues from oil by 2017. This in the country that is estimated to have the second largest oil reserves in the GCC and just over a million citizens.

As in Kuwait, so in the rest of the GCC. Every GCC country uses the cushion of energy reserves to provide a range of benefits for citizens. Even those countries, such as Oman, where oil production is modest compared to, say, Saudi Arabia, offer some subsidies."

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£100m fund unveiled for Islamic technology entrepreneurs in Britain | The National

£100m fund unveiled for Islamic technology entrepreneurs in Britain | The National:

"Boris Johnson, the mayor of London, yesterday announced the creation of a £100 million fund to attract Islamic technology entrepreneurs to set up in Britain.

Mr Johnson, regarded as a possible future prime minister, unveiled the plan at the World Islamic Economic Forum in London.

“Britain is a global hub for the tech industry, while the Islamic world has young entrepreneurs with ambitious ideas,” he said.

The funding will be provided partly by the British government, and also by other Islamic countries present at the London forum."

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Middle East oil production not threatened by US shale boom | The National

Middle East oil production not threatened by US shale boom | The National:

"Middle East oil producers can relax: North America’s rising output does not threaten their status as the world’s hydrocarbons hub.

So says the industry’s consumer watchdog, the International Energy Agency (IEA).

A bounty of shale oil and a decline in American fuel consumption have helped the United States to trim oil imports and have thrown into question the importance of the country’s partners in the Middle East, where special relationships have been forged amid the world’s longest-producing fields."

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Ukraine’s Third Recession Since 2008 Confirmed on Industry Drop - Bloomberg

Ukraine’s Third Recession Since 2008 Confirmed on Industry Drop - Bloomberg:

"Ukraine’s economy slipped into its third recession since 2008 in the third quarter as industrial production plummeted.
Gross domestic product fell 0.4 percent from the previous three months after shrinking 0.5 percent in the second quarter, the state statistics committee, based in the capital, Kiev, said today on its website, citing preliminary data. GDP fell 1.5 percent from a year earlier, worse than the median estimate of 12 economists in a Bloomberg survey for 0.2 percent growth.
“The economy is in a protracted stagnation as it moves from one recession to another,” Alexander Valchyshen, head of research at Investment Capital Ukraine in Kiev, said by phone. “The government’s policy to boost economic growth has failed.”"

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Doha Bank Targets Tripling Overseas Profit Share on Asia Growth - Bloomberg

Doha Bank Targets Tripling Overseas Profit Share on Asia Growth - Bloomberg:

"Doha Bank QSC, Qatar’s fifth-largest lender by assets, aims to triple profit from overseas to as much as 30 percent of net income by 2015 as trade and investment between Persian Gulf states and Asia increase.
The bank’s expansion, excluding acquisitions, is expected to raise profit earned abroad from about 10 percent now, Chief Executive Officer Raghavan Seetharaman said in an interview in Hong Kong today.
Doha Bank joins Qatari lenders expanding overseas to compensate for limited growth prospects in a country of 2 million people. The lender is seeking branch licenses in India and China, which top its list of foreign markets to establish a foothold in, said Seetharaman."

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Doha Bank CEO on Business Outlook, China Strategy: Video - Bloomberg

Doha Bank CEO on Business Outlook, China Strategy: Video - Bloomberg: ""

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Etisalat Nigeria Says CEO Evans Resigned After Five Years - Bloomberg

Etisalat Nigeria Says CEO Evans Resigned After Five Years - Bloomberg:

"Emirates Telecommunications Corp. (ETISALAT)’s Nigerian unit said Chief Executive Officer Steven Evans resigned last month and returned home to the U.K. after leading the company for most of its five years in existence.
Chief Commercial Officer Matthew Willsher was appointed as acting CEO in his place, Chineze Amanfo, a Lagos-based spokeswoman for Etisalat Nigeria, as the company is known, said by phone today. Willsher didn’t immediately respond to an e-mailed request for comment and Evans’ Etisalat e-mail bounced back. Abu Dhabi-based parent Etisalat didn’t immediately respond to calls and e-mails seeking comment.
Evans was appointed in December 2008, two months after Etisalat began full commercial operations in Nigeria, according to Etisalat Nigeria’s website. Prior to that he was chief executive officer of London-based BT Group Plc (BT/A)’s mobile unit."

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Is Russia really going to reignite a gas war with Ukraine? - Quartz

Is Russia really going to reignite a gas war with Ukraine? - Quartz:

"Russia’s government is urging state-owned oil firm Gazprom to collect an over-due $882 million bill from Ukraine’s state-owned oil firm Naftogaz, even as the former Soviet state moves to strengthen its ties to Europe next month.

The belligerent tone and the timing has some observers nervous that Europe might see another winter like 2009, when Russia turned off the spigot bringing gas to Ukraine and, from there, to Europe. This left energy markets scrambling for new sources of winter energy, and millions of chilled consumers paying more for their heat.

But 2013 is not 2009, and there’s a low probability of another crisis as a result of the fallout from the last one. Thanks to the cheaper natural gas that has been unlocked with the application of hydraulic fracturing techniques, Europe has been able to diversify its energy sources, and Gazprom has been losing market share there. A new crisis would hurt both Gazprom’s earnings and Ukraine’s reputation as a transit hub, an outcome neither party to the conflict is interested in, according to Eurasia Group senior analyst Alex Brideau."

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Statoil's Helge Lund on extracting Arctic oil - YouTube

Statoil's Helge Lund on extracting Arctic oil - YouTube:

"Statoil chief executive Helge Lund tells Richard Milne, the FT's Nordic and Baltic correspondent, why Arctic oil will be easier to extract in Norway and eastern Canada than other parts of the polar region.


"

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Russia and shale can solve Europe’s energy problem - FT.com

Russia and shale can solve Europe’s energy problem - FT.com:

"The sooner the region realises its energy policy is a mess, the sooner it can grow, says Paolo Scaroni

The aim of European energy policy should be to combine economic growth with environmental sustainability. However, we have ended up with energy costs that hamper growth – yet greenhouse gas emissions have not fallen despite the decline in energy consumption.
The problem is that we have, so far, failed to grasp the implications of the US shale revolution for Europe. Thanks to the rapid increase in efficient non-conventional gas production, US companies pay about $3.50 per million British thermal units (mBtu) for their natural gas. That is about a third of what Europeans pay."

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Polish cargo IPO: hot stuff | beyondbrics

Polish cargo IPO: hot stuff | beyondbrics:

"Carrying cargo may appear to be dull but worthy work, but there is also a lot of money in it, as investors in PKP Cargo, the Polish rail cargo carrier, found out during the company’s Tuesday IPO.

The share price closed up 19.4 per cent at 81.16 zlotys ($26.70), up from its initial offering price of 68 zlotys.

The IPO was the largest so far this year on the Warsaw Stock Exchange, and one of the largest in Europe. The WSE is hitting new highs despite ongoing worries that the government’s tinkering with the pension system could damage pension funds that have been a key price support over the last decade."

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OGX files for bankruptcy – now what? [updated] | beyondbrics

OGX files for bankruptcy – now what? [updated] | beyondbrics:

"By Samantha Pearson and Pan Kwan Yuk

It’s the end of an era for Brazil’s Eike Batista – the end of charming investors with dazzling oil forecasts, the end of being the poster boy for Brazil’s economic promise and perhaps even the end of parking his sports car in his living room.

Batista’s oil company OGX finally filed for bankruptcy protection on Wednesday, triggering Latin America’s largest ever corporate default.

The timing of the move itself was not a surprise. After missing a $45m bond interest payment at the beginning of this month, OGX had until Thursday to renegotiate with creditors or automatically default. On Tuesday, OGX said it had failed to reach an agreement, making bankruptcy protection the inevitable next step."

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