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Monday, 2 December 2013

Saudi Arabia hints OPEC oil output limit won't change - Your Middle East

Saudi Arabia hints OPEC oil output limit won't change - Your Middle East:

"Saudi Arabia is satisfied with current crude prices as well as global supply and demand levels, its oil minister said Monday, indicating OPEC will freeze its output ceiling.

"The market is in the best position it can be," Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi told reporters in Vienna ahead of a meeting of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries on Wednesday to decide on production.

"Demand is great, economic growth is improving," said Naimi, who represents the world's biggest producer of crude oil.

OPEC's dozen member nations from the Middle East, Africa and Latin America together produce about one-third of the world's crude and have an output ceiling of 30 million barrels per day -- slightly above current production."

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Ukraine’s Economic Future | Clarissa's Blog

Ukraine’s Economic Future | Clarissa's Blog:

"David Bellamy asks how I see Ukraine’s economic future. Unfortunately, to me it looks quite grim. Today’s massive protests in Ukraine are very similar to what we saw during the Orange Revolution of 8 years ago.

In 2005, Ukrainians managed to overturn the results of the rigged elections and place a democratically elected president in office. Sadly, that victory did not lead to any change in how everybody lived. This is why I see no reason to hope that this time protests will lead to any real transformation.

As much as it pains me to recognize this, today’s protests – as well as those of the past – share a single goal. Ukrainians are looking for a magician (or a group of them) to make everything better. Today’s conflict in Ukraine is over who those magicians will be: Russia or the EU.

However, even if either of these entities had only Ukraine’s best interests in mind (which they don’t), their actions will never be enough to repair a country where people are not reading to abandon stealing, bribery and corruption in favor of working, producing, and paying taxes."

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▶ Money talks: The young Turks - YouTube

▶ Money talks: The young Turks - YouTube:

"Our correspondents discuss the Middle-East's super-connector airlines and their imitators, the return of the hydrogen-powered car and what shale gas might do for American industry


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Armenians protest in support of Ukraine, against “USSR” | beyondbrics #EuroMaidan

Armenians protest in support of Ukraine, against “USSR” | beyondbrics:


There have been noisy and occasionally violent protests in Yerevan to mark a visit by Vladimir Putin, Russia’s president, on Monday, as shown in this video from CivilNet, a media outlet run by the Civilitas Foundation.

Reuters reported:

Some of the crowd in central Yerevan held banners declaring “Putin, go home” or “No to the USSR”, a reference to the Russian leader’s efforts to bind former Soviet republics together more closely in economic and security alliances."

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Gulf states, minus Qatar, rally Egypt investment to buoy army power | Reuters

Gulf states, minus Qatar, rally Egypt investment to buoy army power | Reuters:

"* Egypt seeking investment from its Gulf Arab friends

* Business ties with Qatar hurt by political dispute

* Shift highlights wider tussle for influence

By Rania El Gamal and Amena Bakr

DUBAI/DOHA, Dec 2 (Reuters) - With one notable exception, wealthy Gulf Arab states are encouraging investment in Egypt to help shore up its army-backed government: the absentee is Qatar, rattled by the collapse of Islamist power in the biggest Arab country.

The contrast between Qatar's reluctance and the enthusiasm shown by fellow Gulf financial powers illustrates the way politics can shape investment between the Gulf and the poorer, more populous countries of the Levant and north Africa.

The United Arab Emirates, in particular, is rallying its companies to launch or resume projects in Egypt, an Arab political heavyweight that has long received both Gulf Arab state aid and flows of private investment."

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2014: the year the fragile five fall… then rise? | beyondbrics

2014: the year the fragile five fall… then rise? | beyondbrics:

"Those worried about an EM sell-off will be cheered by Société Générale’s outlook for the coming year.

The bank reckons the currencies of the so-called fragile five EMs – Brazil, India, Indonesia, Turkey and South Africa – could drop from now until March, when the Fed is expected to start tapering. But not to worry: they should appreciate in the following three quarters as the Fed pursues a dovish policy.

First, for the avoidance of doubt, a few words about the fragile five. This group does not contain the countries with the largest trade deficits or the fewest foreign exchange reserves. Chile’s current account deficit is expected to be bigger than Brazil’s and Indonesia’s in 2013. Brazil’s central bank has a relatively large pile of forex reserves, compared with Mexico and Poland."

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Caspian Pipeline Expects Kashagan Oil by June | Business | The Moscow Times

Caspian Pipeline Expects Kashagan Oil by June | Business | The Moscow Times:

"The Caspian pipeline CPC expects to receive oil from the huge Kashagan oil field, now idle, in May or June and to boost the conduit's capacity by 50 percent next year, sources at the consortium said Monday.

Kazakhstan's Kashagan oilfield, the world's biggest crude discovery in half a century, has been out of operation since October due to a gas leak.

"We will be ready to take all the Kashagan oil when the output resumes in May-June, as expected," a source said.

A second source said the annual capacity of the Caspian Pipeline Consortium, or CPC, would increase next year to 48 million tons — almost 1 million barrels per day — from 32 million now.

Repeated delays have infuriated the Kazakh government, which has threatened to fine the NCOC consortium operating the project."

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Iran to Reassert Authority at OPEC After Nuclear Deal -

Iran to Reassert Authority at OPEC After Nuclear Deal -

"Bijan Zanganeh returns this week to the same Vienna hotel suite he last occupied eight years ago as Iranian oil minister, ready to prepare OPEC for what Tehran hopes will mark its return as the cartel's second biggest producer.

Emboldened by its nuclear deal with the West, Iranian oil negotiators led again by industry veteran Zanganeh, will seek to reassert Tehran's authority in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries at a Wednesday meeting.

Western sanctions imposed in 2012 on Iran for its nuclear program have cost it dearly, losing it billions of dollars in oil revenues and market share in OPEC - largely to its main regional political rival Saudi Arabia, and neighbor Iraq."

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Dubai economy up in 2013, no 'bubble' |

Dubai economy up in 2013, no 'bubble' |

"Dubai’s economy has been on an upswing this year so far, driven by services, transportation, logistics, retail and tourism sectors, Simon Williams, chief economist for Middle East and North Africa at HSBC told Gulf News.
The emirate has recovered from the corporate debt crisis and real estate slump which it faced in 2009 and 2010 by enhancing its position as a major destination for travel and investment from the Middle East and Europe.
Dubai’s real gross domestic product (GDP) is projected to climb 4.7 per cent in 2013, and by 4.5 per cent in 2014, according to estimates by Dubai’s Department of Economic Development (DED)."

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Dubai’s chance to rework financial commitments |

Dubai’s chance to rework financial commitments |

"With the issue of who would host Expo 2020 having been settled in Dubai’s favour, the focus has shifted to the tangible - and intangible — benefits the show will bring the host city. No one is in doubt that the multiplier effects of the huge infrastructure build-up required for holding such a mega-event will bring substantial prosperity and impetus to the local economy during the pre- and post-phases of the landmark show.
In general, experience from past expos has shown that the direct revenue generation from hosting the event would be more or less similar to the investments required for creating the necessary infrastructure, with maybe a billion or two ending up on either side of the equation. That need not, however, be the case with Dubai.
Given Dubai’s track record in optimising advantages from similar events, Expo 2020 will most likely bring much more benefits to the city and the region compared to what Shanghai in China, Yeosu in South Korea or Zargoz in Spain — venues for the past three editions of the global exposition — managed to do."

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Ukraine CDS and yields spike as ralliers call for revolution | beyondbrics

Ukraine CDS and yields spike as ralliers call for revolution | beyondbrics:

What do markets make of the weekend’s events in Kiev? Here’s what: the price of insuring against a default on Ukrainian debt in the next five years surged almost 100 basis points on Monday morning, while the price of the country’s benchmark 2020 dollar bond fell more than 2 percentage points to a two-month low of 85 cents on the dollar.

An estimated 350,000 people demonstrated in Kiev at the weekend, protesting against the government’s decision not, after all, to sign association and free trade agreements at last week’s long-awaited EU Eastern Partnership summit in Vilnius. In a reminder of the Orange Revolution that toppled the government in 2004, opposition leaders called for the prime minister and president to resign.

Reuters quoted data provider Markit as saying the cost of a five-year credit default swap on Ukrainian debt rose to 1067 basis points on Monday, up from Friday’s close of 972 bp. The price of Ukraine’s dollar bond maturing on September 23, 2020 fell to $85.84 as the yield rose to 10.73 per cent."

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Iran Forecast: Tehran Reaches Out to Gulf States - EA WorldView

Iran Forecast: Tehran Reaches Out to Gulf States - EA WorldView:

"In the latest sign of Iran’s pursuit of “engagement” with Gulf States, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif is on a trip to Kuwait and Oman to discuss regional and international issue, including the Syrian conflict and last month’s interim deal over Tehran’s nuclear program.

On Sunday, Zarif met Oman’s ruler Sultan Qaboos, saying that the Islamic Republic “accords special respect to Oman as a good neighbor.” State media say Zarif and Omani counterpart Youssef bin Alawi bin Abdullah “pledged to tackle extremism through closer cooperation”.

The two sides also discuss a pipeline project to carry Iran’s natural gas to Oman, following an agreement signed in Tehran on August 26.

US media have declared Saudi hostility to Iran’s engagement of the West, including the interim nuclear deal in Geneva on November 24, but Tehran’s officials have emphasized the possibilities of rapprochement on political and economic fronts."

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Christmas countdown: The 2013 Daily chart Advent calendar | The Economist

Christmas countdown: The 2013 Daily chart Advent calendar | The Economist:

A round-up of the year’s most popular infographics

WELCOME to our Daily chart Advent calendar, a collection of the 24 most popular maps, charts, data visualisations and interactive features published on our site over the last 12 months. You'll find one behind each door, with a new door available to open every day until Christmas Eve, when our most popular infographic of 2013 will be revealed. There's also an entirely new graphic behind door number 25—a Christmas gift to all our readers who've been good this year.
Season’s greetings from everyone at The Economist.

▶ 'Active' managers hug the index - YouTube

▶ 'Active' managers hug the index - YouTube:

"UK asset managers are not being active enough, missing out on opportunities by passively tracking market indices, but still charging high fees. Gina Miller, founding partner of SCM Private, tells John Authers about the pitfalls of closet indexing


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Four GCC countries to announce common currency by end-December |

Four GCC countries to announce common currency by end-December |

"Four Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries will announce the introduction of a common currency by the end of December, a Bahraini daily reported on Sunday.
The common currency to be announced by Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and Saudi Arabia will be pegged to the dollar, a source told Akhbar Al Khaleej.
“The decision to peg the Gulf currency to the dollar is political and is not related to the economy,” the source said.
“From an economic point of view, it would have been better to peg the new currency to a basket of currencies because the volume of trade of the Gulf states with the countries of the European Union is much larger than that of their commerce with the United States. Gulf exports of oil to the European Union are estimated to constitute about 70 per cent of European imports,” the source said."

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Informed perspective on the regional landscape | The National

Informed perspective on the regional landscape | The National:


What is the asset class and geography you are focused on?

I analyse Middle East and Africa equities and currencies from a technical perspective. I also look at commodities that have significant importance for the regional economies. My notes are distributed in the financial community, and I also work closely with the portfolio managers at Invest AD, who manage equities funds investing in the Middle East and Africa. The investment processes for the funds are based on an assessment of macroeconomic and stock-specific fundamentals, but I can often give a useful view that will supplement their thinking."

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Russia Lures Ukraine With Cheaper Gas to Join Moscow-Led Pact - Bloomberg

Russia Lures Ukraine With Cheaper Gas to Join Moscow-Led Pact - Bloomberg:

"Russia will offer cheaper natural gas to Ukraine if the government in Kiev opts to join a Moscow-led economic bloc after halting free-trade talks with the European Union, according to First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov.
Ukraine’s economic difficulties will be best resolved if it chooses integration with Russia, Shuvalov said in an interview last month in Bloomberg News’s Moscow office.
“No one other than Russia can provide Ukraine with the necessary funds so quickly and in such a quantity,” Shuvalov said. “A gas agreement could help relieve Ukraine of a huge problem. We can also give them a loan, but we will not help them without commitments on their part.”"

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Oman Oil Billionaire Building Moving Pools on Superyachts - Bloomberg

Oman Oil Billionaire Building Moving Pools on Superyachts - Bloomberg:

Jasper Juinen/Bloomberg
A newly built luxury yacht sits moored in the shipyard of Oceanco, a unit of MB Holding Co., in Alblasserdam, Netherlands, on Friday, Nov. 8, 2013
From an office overlooking the Oceanco shipyard in Alblasserdam, the Netherlands, energy tycoon Mohammed al-Barwani watched workers putting the finishing touches on a yacht that’s longer than a football field.
Once complete, the 92-meter (301-foot) vessel will feature nine bedrooms, a spa and a suite decorated with champagne-colored upholstery and a swirling zebra-stripe motif on terra cotta and eramosa-stone walls.
“We want to build bigger boats, more complicated boats,” al-Barwani, a 62-year-old billionaire who has never appeared on an international wealth ranking, said in an interview at the company’s headquarters in the Rotterdam suburb on the River Noord. “We want to be number one.”"

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Dubai Crude Premium at Highest in Two Years as Shell Buys Record - Bloomberg

Dubai Crude Premium at Highest in Two Years as Shell Buys Record - Bloomberg:

"Middle East crude for immediate delivery traded at its biggest premium in two years to later shipments last month after Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSA) bought an unprecedented number of cargoes.
The price gap between the earliest loadings of the benchmark Dubai grade and those for two months later climbed to $2.82 a barrel on Nov. 21, the widest spread since 2011, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The increase coincided with Shell’s purchase of 12 million barrels last month via the Middle East crude price-setting system conducted by Platts, a unit of McGraw-Hill Financial Inc. (MHFI)
The premium for prompt cargoes, a market structure known as backwardation, influences the level at which Middle East exporters including Saudi Arabian Oil Co. set official monthly prices for buyers in Asia, according to industry consultants KBC Energy Economics and JBC Energy GmbH. The growing spread shows how deals made in the so-called Platts window, where Shell bought 99 percent of Dubai oil contracts traded last month, can affect benchmark crude prices."

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