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Thursday, 19 December 2013

YUSUF KANLI - Can AKP survive graft probe?

YUSUF KANLI - Can AKP survive graft probe?:

"Ministers, sons of ministers, corrupt businessmen and shoe or chocolate boxes of all sorts filled with millions of euros, dollars, liras. In any country with some degree of democratic perception, a minute slice of the alleged crime would have taken down the government, forced a “clean hands” operation and perhaps even resulted in a change across the political arena, including key players, all together.

The first impact of the scandal, and what has appeared so far to be a systematic graft, was the removal from office of several dozens of top cops in Ankara, Istanbul, İzmir and various other cities.

The government and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan did not condemn the corruption, but preferred to complain they were facing a systematic and ugly campaign by a gang with domestic and external extensions."

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▶ Taper tightrope - YouTube

▶ Taper tightrope - YouTube:

"The Fed is to taper its bond purchases from next month, but told the market interest rates would probably not rise until 2015. Stephanie Flanders, chief market strategist for Europe and UK at JPMorgan Asset Management, tells John Authers the Fed is treading the taper tightrope as well as anyone expected.


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Future of shale gas - News - The Voice of Russia

Future of shale gas - News - The Voice of Russia: News, Breaking news, Politics, Economics, Business, Russia, International current events, Expert opinion, podcasts, Video:

"Shale gas is one of the most popular themes nowadays. But in spite of the fact that much is already said about it and many scientific works are written, thanks to certain environmental groups comparing it with natural gas, in the minds of consumers shale gas looks like an alternative, cheap, though very dangerous fuel. However, it is not so in reality.
Shale gas is the same natural gas that is extracted in Russia; differences only lie in their deposits and purity of the extracted product. This gas is extracted from shale formations. In plain language, it is extracted from rock and fossil beds, which it is enough to just split and stratify. They presumably formed at the bottom of sea lagoons 450 million years ago out of plant and animal remains. These layers, in particular, are divided into flammable, clay and crystalline ones."

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Ukraine’s Yanukovich: Thanks for the bailout, Russia… want the gas pipeline now? | beyondbrics - #EuroMaidan

Ukraine’s Yanukovich: Thanks for the bailout, Russia… want the gas pipeline now? | beyondbrics:

"Viktor Yanukovich, Ukraine’s president, on Thursday said the “road is open” to bringing in Russia’s Gazprom – and possibly European companies – as partners to manage and modernise Kiev’s strategic natural gas transportation pipeline.

His comments, cautious though they may be, have fuelled lingering suspicions that a backroom deal is in place to give Gazprom a stake in the vast Ukrainian pipeline which still pumps the lion’s share of its Europe-bound exports. Such, say the rumours and claims of inside sources, was the trade-off attached to Tuesday’s $20bn bailout Yanukovich inked in Moscow.

Made during an afternoon TV interview, Yanukovich’s comments came during a simultaneously televised press conference by his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin.

Both presidents stressed during their first big appearances since Tuesday’s deal that there were no hidden strings attached."

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Dubai Stock Market Rally Reaches 100% for The Year - Middle East Real Time - WSJ

Dubai Stock Market Rally Reaches 100% for The Year - Middle East Real Time - WSJ:

Dubai has another thing to brag about: Its stock market – which has doubled in value this year.

The desert emirate’s benchmark Dubai Financial Market Index hit a fresh five-year high on Thursday – taking its gains to 100% in 2013 with just a few sessions to go as already bullish local investors happily joined the U.S. Federal Reserve-infused global afterparty.

While Thursday’s gains were mostly sentiment-driven, Dubai’s spectacular rally this year in many ways is justified.

After suffering a massive blow from the global financial crisis in 2008 — which left some key Dubai sectors such as real estate in tatters — its economy is recovering well on the back of strengthening trade and tourism. The government has also managed its immediate debt problems – restructuring much of what it owes."

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MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf shares gain as modest Fed tapering adds fuel to fire | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf shares gain as modest Fed tapering adds fuel to fire | Reuters:

"Gulf shares rose on Thursday after a modest stimulus trimming by the U.S. Federal Reserve and gains on global markets added fuel to bullish local sentiment and Egypt's bourse also climbed.

The Gulf was never very vulnerable to tighter U.S. monetary policy - its current account and budget surpluses insulate it - but a positive global backdrop aided risk appetite.

Saudi Arabia's index climbed 0.8 percent to 8,510 points - a new 63-month high and extending the breakout from the year's previous peak of 8,425 points.

The heavyweight petrochemicals and banking sectors were the main support. Saudi Basic Industries Corp and Al Rajhi Bank added 1.4 and 0.7 percent respectively."

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Guest post: Belarus gets jealous of Putin’s cut for Ukraine | beyondbrics

Guest post: Belarus gets jealous of Putin’s cut for Ukraine | beyondbrics:

By Anna Maria Dyner and Ievgen Vorobiov of PISM

The deal announced by presidents Vladimir Putin of Russia and Viktor Yanukovich of Ukraine on Tuesday could have unintended consequences elsewhere in the region. Alexander Lukashenko, president of Belarus, flew to the Winter Olympic resort of Sochi on Wednesday and will visit Moscow next week. He may want some of Russia’s largesse, too – or he may be more susceptible to rapprochement with the European Union.

The economy of Belarus is in a pitiful situation. A widening trade deficit has helped cause a current account gap expected to reach $6bn this year – $5bn more than a year ago. That deficit if half the size of Ukraine’s, a country five times more populous.

There is hug pressure on the currency. Foreign currency reserves have contracted by almost a fifth in the past six months and now cover less than two months of imports, a level considered dangerously unsustainable. Belarus, in sum, is in even worse trouble than Ukraine."

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Special Report: Why Ukraine spurned the EU and embraced Russia - Yahoo News | #EuroMaidan

Special Report: Why Ukraine spurned the EU and embraced Russia - Yahoo News:

"On September 4, Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich called a meeting of his political party for the first time in three years, summoning members to an old Soviet-era cinema called Zoryany in Kiev.

For three hours Yanukovich cajoled and bullied anyone who pushed for Ukraine to have closer ties to Russia. A handful of deputies from his Party of Regions complained that their businesses in Ukraine's Russian-speaking east would suffer if Yanukovich didn't agree to closer ties with Russia. That set him off.

"Forget about it ... forever!" he shouted at them, according to people who attended the meeting. Instead the president argued for an agreement to deepen trade and other cooperation with the European Union.

Some deputies implored him to change his mind, people who attended the meeting told Reuters. Businessmen warned that a deal with the EU would provoke Russia - Ukraine's former master in Soviet times - into toughening an economic blockade on Ukrainian goods. Yanukovich stood firm.

"We will pursue integration with Europe," he barked back, according to three people who attended the meeting. He seemed dead set on looking west."

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Fed's delicate balancing act - YouTube

Fed's delicate balancing act - YouTube:

"The FT's US Markets Editor Michael Mackenzie says there is a danger for markets that, if the economy starts to pick up, the Fed's insistence in delaying rate rises will create tension in markets, challenge policy makers and price in tighter monetary conditions


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VTB Capital to organize Ukrainian eurobonds issue in Russia's favor - Putin | #EuroMaidan

VTB Capital to organize Ukrainian eurobonds issue in Russia's favor - Putin:

"VTB Capital will organize an issue of eurobonds by Ukraine, which will be placed on the Irish Stock Exchange in favor of the Russian Federation, Russian President Vladimir Putin said at a press conference.

Putin said this was Ukraine's own suggestion. He said the choice of organizer was not that big a deal for Russia.

National Welfare Fund money that Russia plans to invest in the Ukrainian eurobonds is being placed on commercial terms with a 5% coupon rate, Putin said.

Using Fund monies, Russia might before this week ends acquire $3 billion worth of the two-year Ukrainian bonds at what should be a 5% per annum rate."

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$ 15 billion aid to Ukraine not a 'gift', Russia expects a 5% return - RT Business | #EuroMaidan

$ 15 billion aid to Ukraine not a 'gift', Russia expects a 5% return - RT Business:

"Russia's decision to invest $ 15 billion in 'brotherly' Ukraine, as well as grant a $ 7 billion gas discount was pragmatic and based on economic facts, President Putin said at his annual press conference on Thursday.

The economies of Russia and Ukraine are closely connected, with trade at $ 17 billion, and Russia's "generous gift" to Kiev, as many called it, was, in fact, a well though through and pragmatic decision for Russia, Putin told over 1,000 reporters on Thursday.

Russia expects a 5 percent return on bond investments, the President added.

On Tuesday, Russia pledged to buy $ 15 billion of Ukraine debt and provide a temporary $ 7 billion gas discount; both financial buffers that will help Kiev avoid economic collapse."

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Russian bailout could support Ukraine's rating - S&P analyst | Reuters - #EuroMaidan

Russian bailout could support Ukraine's rating - S&P analyst | Reuters: "Russia's financial support package for Ukraine, envisaging $15 billion in bond purchases and a gas price discount, could substantially ease external pressures for Ukraine and offer support for its 'B-' rating, an S&P analyst said on Wednesday.

S&P cut Ukraine's rating in November 2013, retaining a negative outlook.

"We will assess the terms and timing of the funds to be provided once we have more clarity on these issues," Trevor Cullinan told Reuters in an email.

"Standard & Poor's will also consider the implications for political stability of closer financial ties to Russia".

Russia agreed a $15 billion bailout for Ukraine and slashed the price of gas exports on Tuesday."

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Oman sees $110bn investment in oil sector in 10 years - Emirates 24/7

Oman sees $110bn investment in oil sector in 10 years - Emirates 24/7:

"Oman expects up to $110 billion to be injected into its hydrocarbon industry in the next 10 years and a large part of the funds will be pumped by the private sector, a senior Omani oil official was quoted on Thursday as saying.

Nassir bin Khamis Al Jashmi, oil ministry undersecretary, said the country had already identified 53 projects worth around $64 billion in the hydrocarbon sector, adding that 15 projects would soon be presented to the private sector.

He told an oil conference in Muscat on Wednesday that massive investment opportunities in the oil sector had been pinpointed by a committee created by the oil ministry and relevant departments in 2012 to evaluate needed ventures."

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Emerging markets take taper in their stride -

Emerging markets take taper in their stride -

"Emerging and Asian exchanges took the taper in their stride as global markets continued to react on Thursday to the US Federal Reserve’s decision to begin shrinking its monthly asset-buying programme from $85bn to $75bn.
Previous hints that the Fed was set to reduce, or taper, its purchasing programme had caused turbulence in emerging markets. But Thursday’s relative calm suggested that half a year of teasers from the US central bank had prepared the ground well.
Analysts, however, warned that the beginning of the end of easy money would mean a bumpy road ahead."

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UPDATE 2-National Bank of Kuwait CEO to retire after 30 years at helm | Reuters

UPDATE 2-National Bank of Kuwait CEO to retire after 30 years at helm | Reuters:

"* Ibrahim Dabdoub to step down as NBK chief after 30 years

* To retire following next bank AGM

* No replacement announced (Adds details, quote, background)

By Sylvia Westall

KUWAIT, Dec 18 (Reuters) - Ibrahim Dabdoub, one of the longest-serving bank executives in the world, will retire from National Bank of Kuwait next year after leading the Gulf Arab state's largest commercial lender for three decades.

Dabdoub, who guided the bank through Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in 1990-1 as well as a number of local and global financial crises, leaves the institution as one of the biggest and most respected lenders in the Middle East.

In recent years, the 74-year-old has spoken out against economic stagnation in Kuwait, voicing public concerns rare for the Gulf Arab business community, although his latest comments have been positive about signs of progress in development."

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foreign notes: Loans from IMF and EU would have been much more difficult to steal - #EuroMaidan

foreign notes: Loans from IMF and EU would have been much more difficult to steal:

"Tonight there are credible reports that the EU would have provided Ukraine with transparent financial support more or less equivalent to that which Putin apparently proposed to Yanukovych a couple of days ago.

For many months it has been quite apparent that Yanukovych was not negotiating in good faith with the EU. The ridiculous nonsense of attempting to change the law in parliament to enable Yulia Tymoshenko to be released for medical treatment abroad was merely confirmation of this.

At the beginning of December Putin and Yanukovych had a secret meeting and reached agreement on future economic ties between their two countries, in particular concerning gas purchases and loans to prop up Ukraine's ailing economy.

As will all Russia-Ukraine gas deals struck in recent years, true details will never be known..they are arranged on the principle of 'Ponyatiyka' - gang-land verbal agreements.

The latest deal will set up the president's "Family" as an intermediary in the Russian/Ukrainian gas trade - enabling them to skim off hundreds of millions of dollars every year - hence the 'cheap' gas."

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The World in 2014: Richard Branson - YouTube

The World in 2014: Richard Branson - YouTube:

"The founder of Virgin Galactic gives his thoughts on what the year 2014 will bring for the company


'via Blog this' - Ukraine bond rally rewards audacious big-name investors - #EuroMaidan - Ukraine bond rally rewards audacious big-name investors:

"A jump in prices of Ukraine's dollar bonds since Russia offered a $15 billion bailout has vindicated some of the world's biggest investors who bet billions that the high-yield, high-risk creditor could avert default.

President Vladimir Putin's promise to buy Ukrainian debt in a deal dictated more by geopolitics than economics has postponed rather than eliminated the risk of Kiev defaulting.

Nevertheless, the audacity of funds such as Templeton, Fidelity, Amundi and Goldman Sachs - all of which piled into what is easily one of the world's riskiest debts - has been rewarded.

Some even stepped up their Ukrainian bond holdings when the market was falling in the second half of this year before Putin struck the deal with Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich on Tuesday, data from Thomson Reuters company Lipper shows."

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Hindsight Capital - YouTube

Hindsight Capital - YouTube:

"Hindsight Capital is a hedge fund created by the FT's Long View. It beats all competitors each year. John Authers looks at the trades of 2013, from Greek debt to US healthcare stocks and bitcoins, that with hindsight we see we should have made


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2014: More tumult for gold? - YouTube

2014: More tumult for gold? - YouTube:

"With the global economy on the path to recovery, gold's 12-year bull run has ended. Evy Hambro, chief investment officer of BlackRock's natural resources equity team, joins FT commodities editor Neil Hume to discuss the outlook for bullion in 2014.


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Al Futtaim Group moves closer on takeover of Kenyan car retailer | The National

Al Futtaim Group moves closer on takeover of Kenyan car retailer | The National:

"Al Futtaim Group has cleared another hurdle to take over Kenya’s listed car retailer CMC Holdings as the Dubai-based conglomerate aims to tap into lucrative new African markets.

The offer to existing shareholders of CMC is now open, in what will be one of Kenya’s biggest foreign direct investment deals this year.

In September, Al Futtaim announced its intention to buy 100 per cent of the share capital of CMC at 13 Kenyan shillings per share. The acquisition will be made through its subsidiary Al Futtaim Auto & Machinery Company (Famco).

The takeover proposal has received the approval of 50.6 per cent of CMC shareholders, who have undertaken to sell their shares once the offer opened."

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Dana Gas prepares to have Turkey seize KRG assets | The National

Dana Gas prepares to have Turkey seize KRG assets | The National:

"A consortium led by the UAE company Dana Gas is prepared to convince a Turkish court to seize assets belonging to the Kurdistan Regional Government in Iraq and enforce an arbitration claim, according to a source with knowledge of the company’s plans.

Dana Gas and its consortium partners recently brought an arbitration claim against the KRG in London to clarify the amount of money they believe they are owed for work already carried out on Kurdish gasfields and on their rights to develop and market gasfields further.

As the KRG recently signed a multibillion dollar agreement to export oil to Turkey, Dana and its partners told creditors recently that they will keep open the option of enforcing a claim in a Turkish court to seize oil products from the Kurdish region until its receivables are met, the source said."

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Iraq seeks to draw GCC, foreign investor interest |

Iraq seeks to draw GCC, foreign investor interest |

"With their economic and security conditions improving, government officials in Iraq will be in Dubai next month to tackle opportunities for doing business and investing in the war-ravaged country.
Organisers of the Iraq Finance Conference said there are a number of opportunities in Iraq for investment banks, retail banks, insurance companies and other financial institutions. They said the country now proves lucrative for investments in real estate, oil and gas and electricity sectors.
Iraq is facing a huge housing shortage, with nearly two million residential units needed to be built. Some $860 million (Dh3.1 billion) has already been allocated for the construction of low-cost homes in 2014 alone, and more investments are required to put in place new infrastructure, including roads, railways, bridges and expressways."

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Erdogan Removes Police Probing Turkey Graft as Opponents Protest - Bloomberg

Erdogan Removes Police Probing Turkey Graft as Opponents Protest - Bloomberg:

"Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government transferred police chiefs involved in a corruption probe, as opposition lawmakers accused it of seeking to bury the case.

Four cabinet ministers are implicated in the investigation into alleged graft, bribery and money laundering, Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc told reporters in Ankara late yesterday. He said the number of prosecutors has been doubled to four to speed up the probe, while some police chiefs who took part without informing superiors were removed for abuse of power.

Hurriyet newspaper said 29 police officials in Istanbul and Ankara were moved to other posts, and Erdogan said the changes may extend to other provinces. Three ministers’ sons are among 84 people detained in the probe so far, Hurriyet said."

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BlackRock to Third Point Blindsided as Turkey Shares Plummet - Bloomberg

BlackRock to Third Point Blindsided as Turkey Shares Plummet - Bloomberg:

"BlackRock Inc. (BLK), the world’s biggest money manager, and billionaire Dan Loeb’s Third Point LLC. are among investors hurt by slumping Turkey stocks as a corruption probe into businessmen and politicians prompted declines.

Turkiye Halk Bankasi AS (HALKB) dropped 13 percent since its chief executive officer was detained yesterday as part of the probe, a day after a regulatory filing showed BlackRock bought 3.9 million shares. Emlak Konut Gayrimenkul Yatirim Ortakligi AS (EKGYO), Turkey’s biggest real-estate developer, posted a 12 percent two-day drop after Third Point invested $150 million last month.

Suleyman Aslan, the CEO of Halkbank, and Murat Kurum, his counterpart at Emlak Konut, were among dozens taken into custody during a probe into gold smuggling, money laundering and bribery in government tenders, state-run Anatolia news agency reported. The lira slumped and stocks dropped the most in the world after the executives were detained yesterday with the sons of three cabinet ministers by a unit of Istanbul’s police."

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