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Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Ukraine's Yanukovich sees no alternative to close trade relations with Moscow | Reuters - #EuroMaidan

Ukraine's Yanukovich sees no alternative to close trade relations with Moscow | Reuters:

"Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich, speaking on television after more than two weeks of street unrest over his U-turn away from the European Union towards Russia, said on Tuesday there was no alternative to restoring trade relations with Moscow.

While asserting that Ukraine still wanted integration with the EU, he said: "We cannot talk about the future without talking about restoring trade relations with Russia.""

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New blow for the SFO after £35m fraud trial collapses - Business News - Business - London Evening Standard

New blow for the SFO after £35m fraud trial collapses - Business News - Business - London Evening Standard:

"A major anti-corruption trial brought by the Serious Fraud Office collapsed today following the intervention of the deputy prime minister of Bahrain and sudden withdrawal of key witnesses.

Billionaire Victor Dahdaleh — a Labour Party donor with ties to Tony Blair — was accused of paying more than £35 million in bribes to former managers at Aluminium Bahrain (Alba), the fourth-largest aluminium smelter in the world, in return for contracts worth more than £2 billion.

However, last week the court was told the deputy prime minister of Bahrain wrote to the head of the Serious Fraud Office and to the Attorney General, claiming all the payments made by Dahdaleh had been approved.

Today the Serious Fraud Office, which has been embarrassed by a series of high-profile failures to tackle corruption, withdrew its case after one of its witnesses, former Alba chief executive Bruce Hall, appeared to change his evidence. Accordingly, the jury returned verdicts of not guilty on all eight charges."

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▶ Swiss Clocks Ticking: Hidden US accounts soon to be revealed - YouTube

▶ Swiss Clocks Ticking: Hidden US accounts soon to be revealed - YouTube:

"


A US ultimatum to Swiss banks has yielded results - with the first alpine hideaway giving up on centuries of total confidentiality. Washington is threatening fines and even jail time for any bank that doesn't share information on American citizens. But it's thought that some, will nevertheless stay defiant. RT's business presenter Katie Pilbeam speaks with Rory Suchet about the possible ramifications of it all."

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Egypt’s Secret Swiss Bank | @REBELECONOMY

Egypt’s Secret Swiss Bank | REBEL ECONOMY:

"Nestled in the heart of downtown Cairo is the opulent headquarters of Arab International Bank, a secretive bank that has allowed kleptocrats to funnel money out of the country for decades with barely any regulatory oversight.
The bank, established in 1974 by a treaty signed by Egypt, Libya, Qatar, Oman and the UAE, is exempt from many Egyptian laws, customs duties and taxes and is testament to the once powerful nexus between the governments of the region.
However, the bank’s links to Egypt’s old guard, as well as the Qaddafi and Assad regime, led the bank to become a centre of controversy following the revolutions of 2011.
Operating free of the regulations governing other Egyptian banks, AIB was initially established to persuade Egyptians to bring their money back to the country after the death of president Gamal Abdel Nasser in 1970."

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MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi market rallies ahead of 2014 budget announcement | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi market rallies ahead of 2014 budget announcement | Reuters:

"Saudi Arabia's bourse rose for a fifth consecutive session on Tuesday and approached the year's peak as investors bought shares ahead of the 2014 budget announcement expected later this month. Regional shares were mixed with few catalysts.

Saudi Arabia's index climbed 0.5 percent to 8,399 points, its highest since Nov. 18's 2013 intraday peak of 8,425.

"The market has to break with confidence the 8,400 area on good turnover and it could very well do it as we are gearing up for the budget announcement later in the month," said John Sfakianakis, chief investment strategist at Saudi investment firm MASIC. "Also, Q4 profits are in investors' minds and that seems to be a positive driver for the market."

Saudi Arabia tends to set record budgets every year, which are conservative numbers compared to actual spending. The announcement is expected in the second half of December."

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Rostelecom Mulls $1.4Bln Share Offering to Crop Debt | Business | The Moscow Times

Rostelecom Mulls $1.4Bln Share Offering to Crop Debt | Business | The Moscow Times:

"State-controlled telecoms operator Rostelecom could sell up to 46 billion rubles ($1.4 billion) of shares in a secondary public offering of treasury stock to help it cut debt, Kommersant reported  Tuesday.

The float of a 15 percent stake could take place in the second half of 2014, with shares being offered at no less than 120 rubles each, the newspaper wrote, citing a source close to the company.

Rostelecom has said in the past that it might sell shares it acquired during several buybacks to help reduce debt.

A 2.7 percent stake of the operator was sold to Russia's state-backed private equity investment fund RDIF and Deutsche Bank for $237 million."

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The Peninsula Qatar - Qatar says no plans to issue debt on international markets in 2014

The Peninsula Qatar - Qatar says no plans to issue debt on international markets in 2014:

"Qatar has no plans to issue debt on international markets next year and will adjust as necessary its hitherto fixed offerings of local currency debt, the Gulf Arab country's finance minister said on Tuesday.

Asked if Qatar planned to issue debt on the international markets next year, Ali Sherif al-Emadi told Reuters on the sidelines of a financial conference in Doha: "No, nothing."

"We are going to focus on the local market and it will be used for monetary purposes. It is only for monetary and liquidity management. That's about it," he said in his first public comments since his appointment in June.

The OPEC member last came to the international market with a $4 billion three-tranche sukuk issue in July 2012, which attracted an order book worth more than $25 billion."

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Oligarchs hold key to Yanukovich’s grip on power - FT.com | #EuroMaidan

Oligarchs hold key to Yanukovich’s grip on power - FT.com:

"
Ukraine’s richest man Rinat Akhmetov
With thousands of citizens thronging Kiev’s streets, pitched against riot police and calling for the resignation of Ukraine’s president Viktor Yanukovich, Ukrainians residing in the UK have found a different target.
They protested this weekend outside London’s ultra-chic One Hyde Park apartment building, where Ukraine’s richest man, Rinat Akhmetov, owns a £136.6m flat. They urged him to use his influence with the president – of whom Mr Akhmetov is seen as a close ally.
“Akhmetov, discipline your pet Yanukovich!” they chanted."

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Saudi Gazette - 16 honored with Arab Woman Awards 2013

Saudi Gazette - 16 honored with Arab Woman Awards 2013:

"
Arab Woman Awards UAE 2013 winners were announced at a gala reception here.

The awards ceremony which was attended by 350 women from the seven Emirates got underway with a special video speech from the patron of the awards, Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan, Minster of Youth, Culture and Community Development in which he applauded the efforts made by Arab women everywhere and their participation in the growing economy and development of their nations.

The annual event awarded 16 inspirational women from diverse industries that included business, education, literature, entrepreneurship, art, fashion as well as the “Lifetime Achievement Award” that went to Raja Al Gurg, Managing Director of the Easa Saleh Al Gurg Group."

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Gulf leaders focus on union, Iran ties | News , Middle East | THE DAILY STAR

Gulf leaders focus on union, Iran ties | News , Middle East | THE DAILY STAR:

"Leaders of the oil-rich Gulf states meet in Kuwait on Tuesday to discuss plans to boost integration at a time of differences over a proposed union and ties with Iran.

Foreign ministers of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) on Monday night drew up a final agenda for the two-day summit, which will also tackle the Syrian conflict.

The summit follows a rare public spat between bloc leader Saudi Arabia and Oman over Riyadh's proposal to upgrade the GCC into a union -- 32 years after its establishment.

Omani Foreign Minister Yussef bin Alawi threatened that Muscat would pull out of the loose alliance if a union was announced, while Saudi Arabia, solidly backed by Bahrain, insisted it was time to move ahead."

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▶ Is the world economy revving up? - YouTube

▶ Is the world economy revving up? - YouTube:

"


John Wyn-Evans, head of investment strategy at Investec Wealth and Investment, tells John Authers the world economy is gently finding its rhythm rather than thrashing the engine. Equities should gain in 2014, he says, but not as sharply as this year"

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Gulf security sparks concerns of region’s trading partners | The National

Gulf security sparks concerns of region’s trading partners | The National:

"Security issues in the region have led to concerns in China, the US and Russia.

The three countries were among those to call for more dialogue on security issues with the GCC, intelligence sharing on terrorism and more negotiations to tackle rising threats in the Arabian Gulf.

“The Arab spring didn’t have any serious negative influence on the China-GCC relations,” said Prof Pan Guang, vice chairman of the Shanghai Centre for International Studies. “But some negative influence since the Arab uprising have been economic.”"

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GCC banks given thumbs-up by Moody’s ratings agency – not so those in wider Mena | The National

GCC banks given thumbs-up by Moody’s ratings agency – not so those in wider Mena | The National:

"The ratings agency Moody’s Investors Service is upbeat on GCC banks in 2014 amid cash surpluses, but negative on lenders in the rest of Mena which is still reeling from the economic fallout of the Arab Spring.

Moody’s said it expects the credit ratings of banks in the Arabian Gulf to remain stable next year as oil revenue propels public spending while its outlook for lenders in the deteriorating economies of Egypt and Tunisia is negative amid rising delinquencies."

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Etihad announces major India expansion | GulfNews.com

Etihad announces major India expansion | GulfNews.com:

"Etihad Airways is significantly boosting its presence into the Indian market with the addition of new flights following the approval by Indian regulators for Etihad to take a 24 per cent stake in Jet Airways.
Flights to Mumbai, New Delhi, Kochi, Bangalore, Chennai and Hyderabad will increase from seven flights per week to 14. The expansion will be progressive over the next year with new flights to Mumbai and New Delhi starting immediately, while the last of the announced expansion, Hyderabad, will commence in October 2014.
The announcement sees Etihad increasing its presence into the Indian market by 42 flights over the next 10 months with prospects for further expansions."

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Gulf firms consider bid for Occidental Petroleum Corp’s Middle East and North Africa unit | GulfNews.com

Gulf firms consider bid for Occidental Petroleum Corp’s Middle East and North Africa unit | GulfNews.com:

"Three state-owned Gulf firms are considering a joint bid for a minority stake in Occidental Petroleum Corp’s Middle East and North Africa (Mena) unit, a deal that could be worth between $8 billion and $10 billion, three banking sources said.
Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala Development Company, Qatar Petroleum and Oman Oil Co have formed a consortium and have picked Citigroup to advise them, the sources with knowledge of the matter said on Monday. They spoke on condition of anonymity as the information is not public.
Occidental, the fourth-largest US oil company, said in October it planned to sell a minority stake in its Mena operations as part of a restructuring meant to lift its valuation. On Monday two of the sources said it could sell a 40 per cent stake to the three Gulf firms."

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GCC needs faster diversification to cope with slowing oil prices | GulfNews.com

GCC needs faster diversification to cope with slowing oil prices | GulfNews.com:

"The rapid expansion of shale oil production in the US and its impact on the global oil prices are pushing Gulf countries to speed up their economic diversification efforts, according to a regional economic outlook report by ICAEW and Cebr (The Centre for Economics and Business Research).
The US is set to overtake Russia next year to become the world’s second largest producer of oil, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). To date, the US’s reduced appetite for imported oil has been countered by growing demand in emerging markets.
With the emerging economies slowing, however, demand from these markets too is likely to slacken in the short term. With a greater share of exports now being sent to these economies, Middle Eastern oil producers are increasingly exposed to the risk of emerging market slowdown."

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Ukraine Currency Forwards Slump as Interbank Rates Surge to 20% - Bloomberg | #EuroMaidan

Ukraine Currency Forwards Slump as Interbank Rates Surge to 20% - Bloomberg:

"Ukraine’s hryvnia slumped to within 0.3 percent of a one-year low in the forwards market on concern policy makers will fail to ward off a devaluation as foreign reserves sink and interbank lending rates soar.

Three-month non-deliverable forwards for the hryvnia fell 0.2 percent to 8.8544 per dollar yesterday, three days after reaching 8.885, which was the weakest level since December 2012, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The forwards, which investors use to bet on the currency’s direction, traded 7.7 percent weaker than the spot market rate, which rebounded to 8.171 per dollar yesterday.

Ukraine’s foreign reserves plunged 9 percent last month to a seven-year low as President Viktor Yanukovych’s decision to suspend talks on a European Union trade pact in favor of closer ties with Russia sparked nationwide protests. The KievPrime overnight index, which tracks borrowing costs among lenders, jumped to a one-year high of 20 percent yesterday, signaling Ukraine’s efforts to prevent a devaluation are creating cash shortages that could deepen the third recession since 2008."

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It’s Time for Ukraine’s Protesters to Bargain - Bloomberg | #EuroMaidan

It’s Time for Ukraine’s Protesters to Bargain - Bloomberg:

"The hundreds of thousands of protesters who poured into the streets of Kiev this weekend, tearing down a statue of Lenin, believe their country’s future is under threat from Russia. They are right. They also need to get off the streets.

Yes, the man they are marching against -- Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych -- runs a regime that has become increasingly corrupt. He paid a visit last week to his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, fueling speculation that the two were cutting a deal that would jeopardize Ukraine’s future as an independent, European-style democracy. Partly in response, demonstrators seized government buildings and threw up barricades around the city over the weekend. On Monday, riot police encircled the protesters, and legislators from Yanukovych’s party talked of bringing treason charges against opposition leaders.

Both sides need to compromise. Ukraine is a nation deeply divided between a pro-European West and a pro-Russian East, and the economic choices it faces have only inflamed that division: It can sign a trade agreement with either with the European Union or the Russian-dominated Eurasian Union."

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Asian Hedge Funds as Much as 42% Cheaper to Run, Survey Says - Bloomberg

Asian Hedge Funds as Much as 42% Cheaper to Run, Survey Says - Bloomberg:

"Running a hedge fund in the Asia-Pacific region can be as much as 42 percent cheaper than in the U.S. and Europe, helped by lower-than-average compensation, according to a survey by Citigroup Inc. (C)

Small funds started in the region struggle to achieve profitability and expand assets, the fourth-largest U.S. bank cautioned. Ninety-five, or 57 percent, of the 167 regional equity long-short hedge funds which began trading with less than $50 million still manage less than that amount after an average of 5.3 years in existence, it added, citing data from Singapore-based Eurekahedge Pte.

“A critical success factor in the launch of a hedge fund is the size of assets under management at launch,” Citigroup said in the regional supplement to its Business Expense Benchmark Survey. “Small fund launches in Asia have demonstrated a statistically reduced chance of accelerated assets under management growth.”"

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