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Friday, 28 February 2014

Ukraine Facing Financial Instability But IMF May Help Soon - SPIEGEL ONLINE #EuroMaidan

Ukraine Facing Financial Instability But IMF May Help Soon - SPIEGEL ONLINE:



"

REUTERS
Ukrainian Central Bank governor Stepan Kubiv during a press conference on Friday announcing new withdrawal limits.
Stepan Kubiv, 51, looks as earnest as one would expect for the president of a central bank. Yet in Kubiv's case, he has only held his office as the governor of Ukraine's national bank since Monday. Prior to that, he was a "commandant" of Ukraine's Euromaidan opposition movement, which managed to topple President Viktor Yanukovych. Now Kubiv must take up a different battle -- keeping his country from financial collapse.



On Wednesday, Kubiv noted that his country's foreign currency reserves had dropped from $17.8 billion (€13 billion) to $15 billion just since the beginning of February, as the national bank attempted to prop up the exchange rate of the country's currency, the hryvnia. Those efforts met with little success, and the hryvnia has fallen to a record low against the dollar."



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Why is Turkey buying more gas than it needs from Iran? - Al-Monitor: the Pulse of the Middle East

Why is Turkey buying more gas than it needs from Iran? - Al-Monitor: the Pulse of the Middle East:



"On Jan. 29, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited Tehran to bolster trade and energy ties, hoping to reach $30 billion in trade volume by the end of 2015. Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz followed up with an offer Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh promptly accepted. Under the terms of the agreement, Tehran will reduce its gas prices if Turkey doubles its gas imports — from 10 billion cubic meters (bcm) to 20 bcm. Despite the price-reduction commitment, if the gas-import volume continues to increase, Turkey could face a critical budget threat, as Turkey’s gas bills have averaged 9% higher than its consumption volume should have cost over the last six years."



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William Duff, financial supervisor, 1922-2014 - FT.com

William Duff, financial supervisor, 1922-2014 - FT.com:



"



A last official link between the Gulf’s colonial era and its commercially dynamic present, Bill Duff devoted his life to Dubai and played a bigger part than any other westerner in the early transformation of the emirate from obscure outpost into global hub.



Duff, who has died aged 91, arrived as an economic adviser in 1959 in what were called the Trucial states. His mission came at the behest of the UK, which was seeking to boost social development among its Gulf protectorates as communist and nationalist agitation grew.



Sheikh Shakhbut bin Sultan al-Nahyan, ruler of richer neighbour Abu Dhabi, vacillated – only for Dubai’s Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed al-Maktoum to hire the self-effacing Scot, with whom he instantly hit it off. That lasting partnership with the wily Bedouin leader laid the financial foundations of modern Dubai. Duff built the accounts and customs departments of the ruler’s office, taking signatory powers together with Sheikh Rashid."



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Russian retailer Lenta shares dip on London IPO debut — RT Business

Russian retailer Lenta shares dip on London IPO debut — RT Business:



"Shares in Russian hypermarket chain Lenta have dipped on the first day of trading on the London Exchange. The company only managed to raise $952 million in its IPO, short of the estimated $1 billion. 




Lenta, trading under the ticker symbol ‘LNTA:LI’ fell to $9.735 at 8:10a.m. in London, before recovering to $9.94 at 11:03a.m.



A $10.00 share price was decided on Thursday, after the company narrowed the price range twice. The original global depository receipt (GDR) range was set at $9.50-$11.00 on February 14, which would have set an upper range market capitalization at $4.95 billion. The upper limit was reduced to $10.25 on Thursday, with the company valued at $4.32 billion.



Trading on the Moscow Stock Exchange, MICEX, will begin on March 6."



'via Blog this'

Ukraine struggling to hold the hryvnia | beyondbrics #EuroMaidan

Ukraine struggling to hold the hryvnia | beyondbrics:



"

Source: Thomson Reuters


Ukraine’s central bank is doing what it can to protect the hryvnia.



The currency was trading at 9.10 to the US dollar on Friday morning, back from a low of 11 to the dollar on Thursday (it opened the year at 8.20). Reuters reported that foreign exchange reserves had fallen to $15bn from $17.8bn on February 1, as the bank intervened to reduce volatility in the exchange rate.



Reuters also reported that Stepan Kubiv, appointed as central bank governor this week, told journalists on Friday the bank would limit foreign currency withdrawals from bank deposits to 15,000 hryvnia a day.



It is a stop-gap measure at best. As Kubiv said in a statement announcing his appointment on Thursday, “the resumption of talks with foreign creditors and restoration of investors’ confidence in our country are crucial.” Anders Aslund, a former advisor to the Ukrainian government, argued in the FT that the IMF could start disbursements under a new aid package as early as next month – though there are big question marks over that.



With fresh and alarming twists to the situation coming quickly, Kubiv will have his work cut out."



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Austria to freeze assets of 18 Ukrainians: foreign ministry - ECONOMICS #EuroMaidan

Austria to freeze assets of 18 Ukrainians: foreign ministry - ECONOMICS:



"Austria will freeze the bank accounts of 18 Ukrainians following a request from Ukraine's foreign ministry and pending possible European Union sanctions, the foreign ministry said on Friday.
   



"Austria has decided to freeze possible bank accounts and assets of 18 Ukrainian citizens in Austria. This has been done on the basis of an official request by the Ukrainian foreign ministry," the ministry said.
   



It called the move "a temporary precautionary measure until EU restrictive measures enter into force".
   



After Ukraine suffered its bloodiest day since the Soviet era last week, the 28-nation EU agreed in principle to impose sanctions such as visa bans and asset freezes on unnamed senior Ukrainian officials. "



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From Tunis to Kiev - YouTube #EuroMaidan

From Tunis to Kiev - YouTube: ""



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Severstal: Plan of steel? - YouTube

Severstal: Plan of steel? - YouTube: ""



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European Parliament votes to allow Emiratis visa-free travel to Schengen Area | The National

European Parliament votes to allow Emiratis visa-free travel to Schengen Area | The National:



"The European Parliament has voted overwhelmingly to allow visa-free travel for UAE citizens to Europe.



Of the 577 members voting in Strasbourg on Thursday, 523 voted in favour of waiving visa requirements for Emiratis travelling to the 26 Schengen Area states.



The result was welcomed by UAE officials, who said it came as a result of years of efforts.



“We’ll become the first Arab country whose nationals are exempted from the Schengen visa,” said Dr Anwar Gargash, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs."



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Mubadala signs $971m deal with Brazil's Trafigura Group for Porto Sudeste iron ore port | The National

Mubadala signs $971m deal with Brazil's Trafigura Group for Porto Sudeste iron ore port | The National:



"Mubadala and Trafigura Group have completed their acquisition of a controlling stake in a Brazilian iron ore port terminal from MMX Mineração e Metálicos, in a deal worth approximately US$971 million.



Mubadala, the strategic investment company of the Abu Dhabi Government and Trafigura, the world’s second-largest metal trader, announced a deal to acquire a 65 per cent stake in Porto Sudeste from MMX in October, after signing a memorandum of understanding to that effect in September.



The deal involved Mubadala and Trafigura (through its Impala subsidiary) paying $400m for the shares in Porto Sudeste, a major iron-ore port terminal located in Itaguai, Rio de Janeiro state."



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Qantas backs Emirates partnership despite international losses | GulfNews.com

Qantas backs Emirates partnership despite international losses | GulfNews.com:



"Qantas believes the revenue-sharing agreement it signed with Emirates last year is playing a key role in strengthening its position on the European route despite international losses almost tripling.



The Qantas Group released its half-year results on Thursday, announcing a before tax loss of 252 million Australian dollars. Its international division reported an EBIT (earnings before interest and tax) loss of A$262 million, compared to A$91 million in the first half of 2013.



Qantas chief executive, Alan Joyce, stated that the results are “unacceptable and unsustainable.”



The Australian financial year runs from July 1 to June 30."



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Dubai’s gold trade caught in crossfire over weak compliance | GulfNews.com

Dubai’s gold trade caught in crossfire over weak compliance | GulfNews.com:



"While Dubai-headquartered Kaloti Jewellery Group is at the centre of certain international media reports over alleged laxness on its bullion sourcing, Dubai’s multi-billion dollar gold trade itself has been caught in the crossfire over weak compliance requirements.



This, market sources say, is “totally out of step” with reality.



In particular, the reports seem to suggest the supposed presence of “conflict area” gold washing up within Dubai’s bullion industry, and inclusive of refining, wholesale and retail operations.



Plus, there is the impression tied to the reports about less-than-secure control mechanisms on the part of the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC), the commodities hub and which is closely associated with the physical storage and the futures contracts on the metal."



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Emerging-Market ETF Rallies as Brazil’s Real Leads Gains - Bloomberg

Emerging-Market ETF Rallies as Brazil’s Real Leads Gains - Bloomberg:



"The iShares MSCI Emerging Markets Index rose to a one-month high as better-than-estimated growth in Brazil bolstered optimism the global economy is recovering. The real led gains among the world’s major currencies. 




The exchange-traded fund climbed 1.9 percent to $39.75 at the close in New York, while the MSCI Emerging Markets Index added 0.7 percent to 963.23. Brazil’s Ibovespa rallied 2.2 percent as iron-ore producer Vale SA (VALE) surged, while the real jumped to a two-month high. China’s swaps had the biggest drop in eight months as the central bank signaled cash supply is adequate. Russia’s ruble fell to a record as the nation began military exercises amid deepening tensions in Ukraine.



Brazilian shares led gains in major emerging-market equity gauges after data showed the economy in the fourth quarter grew more than forecast as an increase in investment offset a drop in industrial production. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said the central bank is likely to keep its strategy of gradually trimming bond buying even as policy makers monitor data to determine if the weakness in the economy is temporary."



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Thursday, 27 February 2014

Ukraine Pledging ‘Wide-Ranging Reforms’ in Loan Request to IMF - Bloomberg #EuroMaidan

Ukraine Pledging ‘Wide-Ranging Reforms’ in Loan Request to IMF - Bloomberg:



"Ukraine’s new leadership is pledging “wide-ranging reforms” in exchange for financial assistance, an International Monetary Fund spokesman said, citing the country’s formal request for aid today.



“The situation is urgent and we are seized of that urgency,” Gerry Rice, director of the IMF’s communications department, said in Washington. “We stand ready to help.”



IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde, in a statement earlier today, said the fund will send a “fact-finding” team to Kiev in coming days for preliminary talks with government officials.



“This will enable the IMF to make its usual technical, independent assessment of the economic situation in Ukraine and, at the same time, begin to discuss with the authorities the policy reforms that could form the basis of a fund-supported program,” she said."



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UPDATE 1-Saudi Arabia to sell 15 pct of National Commercial Bank in IPO | Reuters

UPDATE 1-Saudi Arabia to sell 15 pct of National Commercial Bank in IPO | Reuters:



"Feb 27 (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia's government plans to sell a 15 percent stake in National Commercial Bank (NCB), the country's largest lender by assets, in an initial public offer that would be the kingdom's first bank IPO since 2008.



Finance Minister Ibrahim Alassaf said the IPO plan would be submitted to the market regulator in the third quarter of this year, state news agency SPA reported on Thursday. Sovereign fund Public Investment Fund will be the seller.



The fund, which currently owns most of NCB, will also sell an additional 10 percent stake to the government's Public Pension Agency.



Alassaf did not discuss the pricing of the IPO but it is likely to be one of Saudi Arabia's biggest, since NCB has assets of $101 billion and made a net profit of $2.1 billion last year. Analysts said it would likely be one of the three largest stocks on the Saudi bourse."



'via Blog this'

Omani CEO jailed for 23 years in graft case: court | Reuters

Omani CEO jailed for 23 years in graft case: court | Reuters:



"(Reuters) - A court sentenced the CEO of state-owned Oman Oil Company to a total of 23 years in jail on Thursday for accepting bribes, abuse of office and money laundering, the most severe punishment meted out in a series of corruption trials that began last year.



The judge at the Court of First Instance in Muscat also convicted Adel al-Raisi, a former aide to the minister of the now-dissolved economy ministry, of organizing a bribe made by a senior official at a South Korea-based firm to Oman Oil Company CEO, Ahmad al-Wahaibi, and sentenced him to 10 years in jail.



The court found the vice CEO of the Korean-based LGI, named in court as Myung Jao Yoo, guilty of paying $8 million to a Caribbean-registered company owned by Wahaibi after winning a billion rial petrochemical project in Sohar Port in Oman.



Myung was also jailed for 10 years. LGI was not immediately available for comment on the court's verdict."



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Markets Feel Repercussions of Ukraine Turmoil | The Moscow Times #EuroMaidan

Markets Feel Repercussions of Ukraine Turmoil | The Moscow Times:



"Russian stocks plunged for a second day and the ruble sank to a five-year low against the dollar on Thursday, as investors took fright at unrest in Ukraine's Crimea region and saber-rattling by neighboring Russia. 




The dollar-denominated RTS index briefly shed more than 3 percent on the day, after Russian media reported that ousted President Viktor Yanukovych, wanted in Ukraine for mass murder, had been offered sanctuary in Russia.



Russian stocks rallied early but fell sharply after midday as the Russian and Ukrainian governments both issued strong statements warning against aggression.



Stock prices regained some composure later in the afternoon, bolstered by the Ukrainian parliament's approval of a new coalition government and a Russian statement that it would stick to international agreements on the use of its Black Sea Fleet. 




The RTS was down 1.95 percent at the end of the day at 1,261 points. The ruble-denominated MICEX index was down 1.4 percent at 1,448 points."



'via Blog this'

Tata Motors to set up Jaguar Land Rover plant in Saudi Arabia - The Times of India

Tata Motors to set up Jaguar Land Rover plant in Saudi Arabia - The Times of India:



"NEW DELHI: India's largest automobile company Tata Motors is exploring the possibility of setting up a manufacturing plant for Jaguar and Land Rover in Saudi Arabia, the Gulf kingdom's industry minister said on Thursday.



Addressing an India-Saudi Arabia Business Forum meeting, Saudi Arabia commerce and industry minister Tawfig Fawzan Alrabiah said the proposed plant would be the third largest for manufacturing of high-end Jaguar and Land Rover cars.



The minister said the plant is proposed to be set up eastern province of Saudi Arabia.



The forum meeting was organized jointly by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Ficci) and the council of Saudi chambers.



Alrabiah said Tata Group's other companies including Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) and Tata Steel are also having significant business engagements with Saudi Arabia and have shown commitment to expand it further. "



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Ukraine: recent history points to economic pain | beyondbrics #EuroMaidan

Ukraine: recent history points to economic pain | beyondbrics:



"If recent examples of revolution and politcal transition are anything to go by, Ukraine is in for a nasty shock in terms of economic growth.



Following a year of upheaval, GDP growth rates can weaken by between 4 to 8 percentage points the following year, according to a Capital Economics note on Thursday.



Comparing the GDP performance of Egypt and Tunisia in 2011, Ukraine in 2004 and Georgia in 2003, William Jackson of Capital notes that what the countries “all have in common is that growth slowed substantially” in the quarters following a political transition. Here’s the chart:



Source: Capital Economics
"



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Egypt rallies as Sisi reappointed; Qatar's Mesaieed tumbles | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Egypt rallies as Sisi reappointed; Qatar's Mesaieed tumbles | Reuters:



"* Egypt up on govt continuity, step towards election



* Qatar's Mesaieed falls after Wednesday's first-day surge



* Banks lift Dubai, weigh on Abu Dhabi



By Olzhas Auyezov

DUBAI, Feb 27 (Reuters) - Egypt's bourse rallied on Thursday after army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi kept his post in the new government and authorities said a draft election law would be presented this weekend.



Other markets were mixed, while Qatar's Mesaieed Petrochemical Holding dropped its daily limit of 10 percent after soaring 450 percent on its bourse debut on Wednesday.



Egypt's index rose 1.6 percent to 8,127 points as it became clear that Sisi would remain defence minister after a surprise government reshuffle.



Supported by many Egyptians, Sisi is widely expected to run for president, but the election can only be held once a new law spelling out its rules is in place.



The draft presidential election law will be handed to interim President Adly Mansour no later than Saturday for approval, according to state media."



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Dubai says has learned lessons from crisis | Reuters

Dubai says has learned lessons from crisis | Reuters:



"Feb 27 (Reuters) - Dubai has learned lessons from the global financial crisis, including the importance of budget discipline and the need to regulate its property market, its Department of Finance said in a research paper published on Thursday.



The paper may help to reassure investors in Dubai as the emirate's asset markets recover rapidly from their 2008-2010 crash, raising concern about the risk of them overheating once again.



When deteriorating global conditions caused a property bubble to burst in Dubai five years ago, prompting home prices to plunge over 50 percent, the emirate nearly defaulted on its debt and emerging markets around the world were hit."



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Ukraine's Hryvnia Obliterated - Business Insider #EuroMaidan

Ukraine's Hryvnia Obliterated - Business Insider:



"Ukraine's hryvnia dropped another 7.7% today to 11 per dollar today.



 According to Bloomberg, the currency has now dropped 19% in the past four days.



The country continues to be in chaos. Earlier today, armed men took control of a parliament building in Ukraine's Crimea region. Meanwhile, fugitive president Viktor Yanukovych remains on the run.  According to the AP, he was last seen in a hotel in Moscow. 




Ukraine's leaders are currently seeking a bailout of as much as $35 billion."



'via Blog this'

Dubai’s Kaloti Case Highlights Business Culture Clash - Middle East Real Time - WSJ

Dubai’s Kaloti Case Highlights Business Culture Clash - Middle East Real Time - WSJ:



The revelation this week that a Dubai-based gold refining company did more than $5 billion in cash transactions two years ago and imported several tons of Moroccan gold disguised as silver has ruffled feathers among regulators and auditors that oversaw the firm during that period. Yet it isn’t the first time a Dubai company has come under criticism for lack of compliance with global standards. It isn’t even the first time a local gold company has faced this kind of scrutiny.
The latest case centered on Kaloti Jewellers, which auditors at Ernst & Young last year found to be non-compliant with standards in the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre, where it is based, according to a report Wednesday by Global Witness. Global Witness found fault with Kaloti, but also with E&Y for not reporting the breaches to authorities in London and with the DMCC for changing rules covering disclosure of audits while E&Y was carrying out its examination. Kaloti responded by saying it had taken corrective action and was now in full compliance with rules, while E&Y defended its “highly professional work” and the DMCC rejected any suggestion that it acted improperly.
Wherever the truth lies, the Kaloti case speaks to something auditors, regulators and companies in Dubai and other wealthy-but-still-emerging economies have dealt with before: a many-sided corporate culture. Large foreign companies have been active here for decades, bringing with them western governance and accounting practices. Yet many local traders – even large ones that do billions of dollars of business each year – still operate according to older rules. The world of compliance and know-your-customer documents and supply chain due diligence and corporate governance is still largely foreign to the merchants in Dubai’s gold souk, for example, where trust, relationships and a profitable deal are the operative parameters of business.
Kaloti was in some sense still enmeshed in this traditional business culture. It has offices in the gold souk, where thousands of people come every day to buy or sell gold, often for cash. These days, cash deals are frowned upon because they can obscure the origin of the metal. Knowing the origin is important because of the existence in the supply chain of conflict gold from unstable areas of eastern Congo.
People in the auditing business say the disconnect between traditional and modern ways of operating often become apparent when global firms come to check the books. A Dubai-based executive at one of the major accounting firms said there was sometimes a tension in emerging markets between the need for auditors to sustain business relationships with companies and the need to do their jobs up to international standards.
Nicolai Tillisch, an executive coach and author of a book on doing business in the Gulf, said all kinds of international advisory firms have these problems. “It is a trade-off: one of the reasons why people buy their services is the global brand but on the other there are regional ways of doing business,” he said. “Audit and other firms need to be careful – the way of doing business here is simply different. “
Kaloti acknowledged in a compliance report that an initial review revealed “deviations” in that the company “did not identify risks in cash settlement transactions which was the typical modus operandi in the Dubai wholesale gold market.” It went on to say the company took steps last year to move suppliers away from cash settlements and was now fully compliant with regulations. It has also ceased dealing in Moroccan gold. No evidence was uncovered by the company or its auditors that it ever dealt in conflict gold.
The thematic background of the Kaloti case is in some ways reminiscent of the Damas International case five years ago. Damas, a jewelry retailer that unlike Kaloti was publicly traded, fell into difficulties after one of the three brothers who held a majority stake made about $165 million in transactions that weren’t authorized by its board of directors. Regulators fined the founders and replaced its board in 2010. The company restructured its debts and was taken private in 2012.
Some observers saw the problems at Damas partly as the result of a conflict between modern corporate governance and an older M.O. where owners extracting money from companies without board approval – if a board even existed – was common. As the Gulf’s business culture edges further toward modernity, more clashes between old and new could be on the horizon.
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Russia waiting for U.S. investors | Russia Beyond The Headlines

Russia waiting for U.S. investors | Russia Beyond The Headlines:



"

Alexei Ulyukayev: 'We have to create more opportunities for trade.'
Source: Michail Klimentyev / RIA Novosti
Russian Minister of Economic Development Alexei Ulyukayev paid a visit to the Washington, DC on Feb. 24-26 to discuss possibilities for increased bilateral trade and investment with his American counterparts.



In an exclusive interview for Rossiyskaya Gazeta, Ulyukayev spoke to Igor Duayevsky, Washington correspondent for Rossiyskaya Gazeta about the prospects of for increased economic cooperation between Russia and the U.S."



'via Blog this'

Business - Islamic Development Bank lists $1b sukuk in Dubai

Business - Islamic Development Bank lists $1b sukuk in Dubai:



"The Islamic Development Bank, or IDB, announced on Wednesday the listing of its $1 billion sukuk on Nasdaq Dubai, providing a vital thrust to the emirate’s resolute drive to emerge as the global capital of Islamic economy. 




The supranational lender said the main objective behind the listing on Dubai bourse today was to provide additional financial resources to support its expansion plans and to prop up Islamic economic and financial sectors within the UAE.



The listing falls in line with the IDB’s Medium Term Note Programme, which recently increased from $6.5 billion to reach $10 billion.



The IDB announcement was made at a meeting with the bank’s delegation held with Shaikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Minister of Finance. Dr Abdul Aziz Al Hinai, vice-president for Finance at IDB, led the delegation."



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Kuwait's Zain looks to up stake in Morocco telco - Technology - ArabianBusiness.com

Kuwait's Zain looks to up stake in Morocco telco - Technology - ArabianBusiness.com:



"Kuwait's Zain Group, one of the Middle East's largest telecoms operators, could seek to increase its stake in Morocco's inwi, CEO Scott Gegenheimer told Arabian Business, as well as seeking other acquisitions.



The operator, which is present in eight countries across the region, currently owns a 15.5 percent stake in inwi, but would be eager to increase its shareholding in the mobile operator.



"We think it's a very well run company, we'd love to increase our stake," Gegenheimer told Arabian Business on the sidelines of Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.



Gegenheimer added that Zain was also seeking acquisitions in North Africa, in sectors including internet service providers (ISPs) and content."



'via Blog this'

Erdogan, Turkey and the future - YouTube

Erdogan, Turkey and the future - YouTube: ""



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Petrofac predicts modest growth for the year | The National

Petrofac predicts modest growth for the year | The National:



"Petrofac’s order backlog swelled to a record high of US$15 billion last year, but the oil services provider has told investors to expect “modest to flat growth” in profits.



New orders in Abu Dhabi, Iraq and Oman helped to expand the value of its order book by 27 per cent last year compared to 2012’s $11.8bn, and so far this year the company has taken in about $3bn in new contracts, the London-listed company reported yesterday.



Profits grew by 3 per cent to $650 million, beating a Reuters poll of analyst estimates, while revenues ticked up 1 per cent to $6.3bn."



'via Blog this'

Kaloti denies Ernst & Young report over gold-sourcing compliance | The National

Kaloti denies Ernst & Young report over gold-sourcing compliance | The National:



"Kaloti Jewellery Group yesterday denied claims that its gold trade business fell short of compliance requirements, as detailed in a report by Global Witness, a UK-based NGO.



The report, issued on Tuesday, claimed that an inquiry by the accountancy firm Ernst & Young (EY) into Kaloti’s supply-chain compliance for 2012 found a number of serious failures that should have immediately been made public.



These are alleged to have included the failure to report a series of suspicious cash transactions totalling US$5.2 billion over the year and knowingly accepting four tonnes of gold disguised as silver imported from Morocco by suppliers with falsified paperwork."



'via Blog this'

Dubai gains traction reviving stalled projects | GulfNews.com

Dubai gains traction reviving stalled projects | GulfNews.com:



"Major reforms are in the offing to streamline the entry of bulk (angel) investors into stalled projects in Dubai and turn them around, according to market sources.



“There is an existing programme that’s been operating under the Dubai Land Department; but the proposed changes could make it easier for investors to come in and in the way they can commit funds in reviving projects,” said Samir Munshi, managing director of Orion Holdings. “We believe such discussions are at an advanced stage and would create a robust system that would benefit all stakeholders.”



One of the proposals, Munshi hopes, would relate to staggered payment scheduled for those investors coming on board. “Rather than have funds to clear up all outstanding payments related to a stalled project upfront, staggering them would be ideal from an investor perspective,” said Munshi."



'via Blog this'

Adnoc still looking at Dubai locations | GulfNews.com

Adnoc still looking at Dubai locations | GulfNews.com:



"Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc) Distribution is continuing discussions with Dubai officials to potentially develop up to ten service stations in the emirate, its chief executive said on Wednesday.



Abdullah Salem Al Daheri said Adnoc Distribution has already confirmed two sites but would wait until more locations were found and approved before moving ahead with the project.



Al Daheri was speaking to the media at the Abu Dhabi Air Expo.



He said that Adnoc Distribution would need to wait until five locations were approved in order to make the project feasible. Once the minimum of five locations are confirmed, Al Daheri said Adnoc Distribution will float a tender for the construction of the service stations."



'via Blog this'

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

UPDATE 3-Russia's largest banks halt new loans in Ukraine eyeing political risk | Reuters #EuroMaidan

UPDATE 3-Russia's largest banks halt new loans in Ukraine eyeing political risk | Reuters:



"Russia's second-largest bank VTB has joined Sberbank in saying it would halt new lending in Ukraine, underlining concerns over financial risks due to political turmoil in Kiev.



Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich was driven from power over the weekend after months of upheaval sparked by his decision to spurn deals with the European Union and improve ties with Russia. While the country has an interim leader, a new government is yet to be formed.



"It is hard to evaluate the risk at the moment," VTB Chief Executive Andrei Kostin said at a press conference on Wednesday.



While other foreign lenders have cut their Ukraine exposure in the five years since the 2008 collapse of Lehman Brothers - to 20 percent of Ukraine banking sector assets in 2012 from 40 percent in 2008, according to a Raiffeisen Research survey - Russian banks stayed. They now account for 12 percent of the sector..



Russia's President Vladimir Putin said that Russian banks have an estimated $28 billion of exposure to its neighbour, with Gazprombank, Vnesheconombank (VEB), Sberbank and VTB among the main creditors."



'via Blog this'

News.Az - Turkmenistan seeks gas exports to Europe via Turkey, Azerbaijan

News.Az - Turkmenistan seeks gas exports to Europe via Turkey, Azerbaijan:



"TANAP will start construction work on pipelines across the Caspian to Azerbaijan in early 2015. It is hoped that Turkmen gas will reach Turkey by 2018 and then Europe in 2019.



Turkmenistan has expressed its interest in exporting natural gas to Europe, and Turkey's state owned TANAP may prove to be the solution for this.



Speaking at the Petrol-Gas Summit in Istanbul, the head of the Turkish Energy Ministry's Transit Petrol Pipelines Office, Reha Muratoglu, said that he believes the pumping of Turkmen gas to Europe via TANAP pipelines across the Caspian Sea has now become likely.



Last year Turkey's Energu and Natural Resources Minister Taner Yildiz visited Turkmenistan, where he submitted a request for for an annual supply of 5-6 cubic meters of natural gas to TANAP.



TANAP will start construction work on pipelines across the Caspian to Azerbaijan in early 2015. It is hoped that Turkmen gas will reach Turkey by 2018 and then Europe in 2019."



'via Blog this'

Qatar has long-term commitment to UK’s energy security: al-M..

Qatar has long-term commitment to UK’s energy security: al-M..:



"

A view of the South Hook LNG Terminal. Inset: Al-Marri
Energy is a hugely politicised subject in the UK with the main industry players under mounting pressure to keep a lid on prices not just from consumers but regulators. Now a big question is looming over who should control the North Sea oil and gas supplies. With Scotland debating whether it should become an independent country, the stakes over management of the remaining reserves are rising. To the extent that Monday saw the UK cabinet convening in Aberdeen, the heartland of the oil and gas industry, in only the second such gathering in Scotland since 1921. Just a few miles away Ministers from the Scottish government held their own talks on this sensitive subject. It was a case of High Noon at the gas field."



'via Blog this'

UAE aims to ensure its billions are spent wisely in post-Morsi Egypt - FT.com

UAE aims to ensure its billions are spent wisely in post-Morsi Egypt - FT.com:



"Gulf governments have been generous in their support of Egypt’s military-backed interim government, spending billions to signal their approval of the overthrow of the Islamist president, Mohamed Morsi, last summer.



Now, having underwritten almost $7bn in aid – and helped prevent the collapse of Egypt’s beleaguered economy – the United Arab Emirates is trying to ensure that its latest tranche of $2.9bn is judiciously deployed, advocating reforms and helping to craft measures for stimulus measures that will help put the economy on track."



'via Blog this'

MIDEAST STOCKS-Qatar's Mesaieed soars on debut, Egypt retreats on political uncertainty | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Qatar's Mesaieed soars on debut, Egypt retreats on political uncertainty | Reuters:



"* Mesaieed priced at almost 3 times fair-value estimates



* Qatar retail investors dominate, institutions stay away



* In Egypt, Sisi presidential bid may not be declared soon



* Cairo index's uptrend may pause around 8,000 points



* Ma'aden surges after Saudi gold deposits found



By Nadia Saleem

DUBAI, Feb 26 (Reuters) - Qatar's Mesaieed Petrochemical Holding soared on its first day of trading on Wednesday, while Egypt's bourse retreated because of uncertainty over the timing of a hoped-for presidential bid by Field Marshal Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.



Shares in Mesaieed, a unit of state-owned Qatar Petroleum, rocketed 450 percent from their initial public offer price to close at 55.0 riyals, after touching an intra-day high of 73.90 riyals. It was Qatar's first new listing since 2010.



Because the IPO was only open to Qatari investors and a limited amount of information was released by the company, the stock has only been thinly covered by analysts. But most estimates for fair value were around 20 riyals."



'via Blog this'

Hryvna Decline Dragging Ruble Down With It | Business | The Moscow Times

Hryvna Decline Dragging Ruble Down With It | Business | The Moscow Times:



"LONDON — Ukraine's hryvna tumbled 4 percent on Wednesday to 10 per dollar as political uncertainty mounted, its weakness spilling over to the ruble, taking that currency to a fresh five-year dollar low.



Broader emerging assets however traded broadly in positive territory on the back of a smaller fall in the Chinese yuan than previous sessions.



Ukraine remains without a settled government several days after the ouster of President Viktor Yanukovych, raising concerns that the country will fail to tap outside financial support in time to repay debts as its own hard currency reserves dwindle.



The hryvna's latest fall takes year-to-date losses on the once tightly controlled unit to almost 20 percent against the dollar, more than any other major emerging currency in 2014. Bonds are also falling, with the 2017 dollar issue now having erased over half its Monday gains.



"The whole political picture in Ukraine has become even more blurred than before," said Simon Quijano-Evans, head of emerging markets research at Commerzbank in London."



'via Blog this'

EU axes Turkish growth forecasts citing political, financial risks - ECONOMICS

EU axes Turkish growth forecasts citing political, financial risks - ECONOMICS:



"The European Commission has slashed its expectations for Turkey’s economic growth in 2014 and 2015, on the grounds of “the domestic political uncertainty and the possibility of a further sell-off in Turkish assets.”



“Growth was somewhat faster than expected in 2013, but the outlook for economic activity over the next two years has deteriorated against the background of recent developments,” the Commission’s “Winter Forecast 2014” report stated.



The report projected that the country would grow 2.5 percent this year, 0.5 points below its previous forecast and 3.0 percent in 2015, trimming previous prediction by 0.8 points."



'via Blog this'

Banks Warned to Watch Out for Possible Yanukovych Transactions - NASDAQ.com #EuroMaidan

Banks Warned to Watch Out for Possible Yanukovych Transactions - NASDAQ.com:



"WASHINGTON--The U.S. Treasury warned banks Tuesday to watch out for the possibility former Ukraine president Viktor Yanukovych may try to move stolen state assets after he bolted from Kiev over the weekend in the face of escalating opposition protests.



Treasury's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network said banks need to apply "enhanced scrutiny" to transactions by either Mr. Yanukovych or his senior former government officials, to protect against "misappropriated or diverted state assets, the proceeds of bribery or other illegal payments, or other public corruption proceeds." 




The U.S. warning didn't constitute a direct allegation. But Western economists have accused Mr. Yanukovych and his government of quietly pilfering state coffers, building secret stashes of taxpayer cash over his time in power, and taking them out of the country."



'via Blog this'

Money for Ukraine? | MacroScope

Money for Ukraine? | MacroScope:
Russia’s next move remains the great unanswered question for Ukraine but there are glimmers that things might be starting to move elsewhere.
IMF chief Christine Lagarde said last night she would send a technical support team to Ukraine soon if Kiev makes a request. It can’t do so until an interim government is formed, probably tomorrow. That would be step one, but only step one, down the road to an international aid package.
The European Union’s foreign policy chief promised Ukraine’s new leaders strong international support but offered up no specifics and there will be no meaningful bailout until after elections slated for late May although EU budget commissioner Janusz Lewandowski said bridging aid of 1 billion euros might be available.
The situation is clearly urgent though the assertion from Kiev that money must come within two weeks looks overblown.
There is jockeying for position in Kiev with allies of newly freed former premier Yulia Tymoshenko trying to take key positions and opposition leader and ex-world boxing champ Vitaly Klitschko declaring he would run for president. The formation of an interim administration will be the main internal focus for now.
The initial relief rally in Ukrainian assets has fizzled out. The hryvnia never got a lift, partly because the country’s limited reserves are probably going to have to be devoted to meeting international debt payments to avoid default leaving little to defend the currency. And Monday’s Ukrainian bond rally ended abruptly yesterday and went into reverse.
The hryvnia fell more than 6 percent on the day and if it can’t be propped up by the central bank, that raises currency risk for investors. There is also the possibility of debt restructuring as with the euro zone and what conditions the IMF will apply to any help, should it be forthcoming. So the initial market view that Yanukovich’s ouster had made default much less likely has now been clouded by a range of concerns.
There are others besides. Acting president Oleksander Turchinov expressed concern about threats to the country’s unity in mainly Russian-speaking Crimea, following protests there against the leaders who have taken charge in Kiev.
Both Russia and the West, while competing for influence, have said publicly that they do not want a split. But Russian foreign minister Lavrov, who has been talking tough, is out again calling for international condemnation of “nationalist and neo-fascist” sentiment in western Ukraine and attempts by nationalists to ban the Russian language.


'via Blog this'

Mesaieed Petchem Shares Soar In Qatar Debut, Far Exceed Estimates » Gulf Business

Mesaieed Petchem Shares Soar In Qatar Debut, Far Exceed Estimates » Gulf Business:



"Shares in Qatar’s Mesaieed Petrochemical Holding Co soared 590 per cent on Wednesday in the country’s first stock market listing since 2010, far exceeding analysts’ estimates of fair value.



The shares opened at 50.0 riyals, up from their initial public offer price of 10.0 riyals, and after half an hour of trade had climbed further to 69.00 riyals.



Analysts’ valuations for the stock ranged between 18 and 21 riyals, Ahmed Shehada, head of trading at QNB Financial Services, said before the listing.



Mesaieed, a unit of state-owned Qatar Petroleum (QP), raised 3.2 billion riyals ($880 million) in an IPO of about 26 per cent of its shares. The offer, which authorities said was heavily oversubscribed, was open only to Qatari investors; foreigners can buy up to 15 per cent of the firm from the market."



'via Blog this'

GCC proves a credit to itself | The National

GCC proves a credit to itself | The National:



"In a sign of a further possible downgrade, Turkey this month had the outlook on its rating cut from stable to negative by Standard & Poor’s as concern surrounds the health of its economy. In contrast, the ratings of the GCC – excluding Bahrain – have remained relatively robust, underlining their deep reserves and stable political outlook.



Here, S&P’s John Chambers and Moritz Kraemer explain their lingering worries about the US and the euro zone, why Turkey is in trouble and how the GCC is managing to weather global rockiness."



'via Blog this'

Lagarde: IMF probably will provide additional support to Ukraine - Ukraine Business Online #EuroMaidan

Lagarde: IMF probably will provide additional support to Ukraine - Ukraine Business Online:

KYIV/LONDON, Feb 26, 2014 (UBO) – Responding to an announcement by IMF head Christine Lagarde that additional assistance for Ukraine is possible, Standard Bank chief emerging market economist Timothy Ash said:

Al Jazeera is reporting US officials as suggesting that the IMF may be willing to lend up to USD15bn in a new programme. I assume that this will be augmented with some modest additional bilateral contributions, perhaps to take the total package to perhaps USD20-25bn.

This is short of the USD35bn being called for by Ukraine's acting finance minister, but for me it is not just about the money. What is important is:

First having a solid reform coalition in place ASAP. The longer the delay in having a functioning administration and accessing international financing, the likely the larger the hole in the government, bank and external balance sheets which will need filling.

Second, having a credible reform programme in place, and assurance that a future administration will hold to this - Ukraine has a very poor track record in this respect, and the international community needs to think through how it can anchor reforms. Ukraine can help itself by carrying out fiscal adjustment, energy sector reform, FX adjustment, fighting graft (including going after assets stolen by the former regime - and the West needs to help here), which should help close fiscal and external financing gaps.

Third, somehow working to normalise the relationship with Moscow - albeit likely to be very difficult in practice. Ukraine needs to offer something in exchange for its drive for European integration - actually I have long argued for the privatisation of the gas transit system, and let the Russians pay top dollar for it! The GTS is after all worthless if Russia just opts to build pipelines around Ukraine, and even if Russian owns the pipeline - IT IS STILL IN UKRAINE, the latter fact will always ensure Ukraine has geopolitical leverage. This is Ukraine's hour of need and it needs to think creatively to get out of the vice.

Fourth, Ukraine needs an extended period of political stability, with an administration in place for an extended period and able to implement reforms.

Finally note the IMF issued a report earlier today which underlines the challenges. They warn of the risk of further downside in the UAH, but also of a double digit drop in real GDP this year - I thought that that warning was particularly stark.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The above commentary represents a personal view, is not investment advice or Standard Bank research, but may contain extracts from published research.
'via Blog this'

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Ukraine Economy Hangs on Investments From Exxon to Shell - Bloomberg #EuroMaidan

Ukraine Economy Hangs on Investments From Exxon to Shell - Bloomberg:



"The world’s largest oil companies from Royal Dutch Shell Plc to Exxon Mobil Corp. are likely to reassess deals to drill in Ukraine where political crisis is threatening a promising source of new profits as well as the country’s drive for energy independence.



Shell and Chevron Corp. signed agreements last year to drill unexplored shale formations in Ukraine, offering the chance to upgrade the country’s energy infrastructure and boost domestic production, thus reducing the amount of gas imported from Russia. Before the crisis erupted last year, Exxon, the largest U.S. oil company, was also close to signing a pact to explore the Black Sea."



'via Blog this'

MIDEAST STOCKS-UAE shares resume bull run; Qatar, Egypt slip | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-UAE shares resume bull run; Qatar, Egypt slip | Reuters:



"* Union Properties leads Dubai up on foreign ownership change



* Qatar's Nakilat falls after Q4 earnings disappoint



* Qatar Islamic Bank tumbles as it goes ex-dividend



* But strong Mesaieed Petrochemical debut expected on Wednesday



* Moody's report hits Egyptian banks



By Nadia Saleem and Raya Atallah

DUBAI, Feb 25 (Reuters) - United Arab Emirates stock markets surged on Tuesday, resuming their bullish momentum after a sluggish start to the week, while weak earnings ahead of a new share listing weighed on Qatar. Other regional markets were mixed.



Dubai's index rose 1.8 percent, taking its 2014 gains to 24.5 percent - though it has remained in a range since hitting a five-year high on Feb. 17.



Shares in Union Properties led trading volumes and jumped 5.0 percent. The firm on Monday proposed increasing the limit on foreign investors' ownership of it to 25 percent.



Firms in the UAE and Qatar are preparing for an upgrade of their markets to emerging market status by index compiler MSCI, which will take place at the end of May. This is expected to draw about $500 million worth of passive foreign funds to each market, and more money in other types of funds."



'via Blog this'

Frank Kane: Between a black rock and a hard place | The National

Frank Kane: Between a black rock and a hard place | The National:



"How should UAE and regional markets react to the news that BlackRock, the American investment institution reckoned to be the biggest asset manager in the world, has scaled back its buying of shares in Dubai and Abu Dhabi?



The company said it was reducing its exposure to UAE markets after detecting what it called signs of “speculative excess that warrants caution” in local markets. Other big global investors might feel the pressure to follow BlackRock’s example, some local market professionals fear.



The Dubai and Abu Dhabi markets experienced small declines on the day the BlackRock view was made known, but recovered the following day, suggesting that many think it a storm in a teacup."



'via Blog this'

Top UAE lawyer’s little message with big implications | The National

Top UAE lawyer’s little message with big implications | The National:



"Journalists at a casual event last week – the launch of a book jointly published by Jumeirah hotels group and the legal firm Al Tamimi & Co about doing business in Dubai – got rather more than they bargained for.



After some fairly standard comments about the emirate’s economic recovery and the improving prospects in the run up to Expo 2020, Husam Hourani, Al Tamimi’s managing partner, dropped a small bombshell into the sedate proceedings: One Dubai firm, with a minority government shareholding, was planning to seek approval for an initial public offering on the Nasdaq Dubai stock market that would kick-start the Dubai financial markets and herald a string of flotations both in the UAE and overseas."



'via Blog this'

Will Ukraine aid come quickly enough? | Brussels blog #EuroMaidan

Will Ukraine aid come quickly enough? | Brussels blog:



"

A slide from a January 2014 investor presentation
by the Ukrainian finance ministry
First of all, just how much financial trouble is Ukraine in?



Almost all major economic powers were out on Monday saying that any aid package would have to wait for a full International Monetary Fund programme. But such “stand-by agreements” can take months to negotiate – and IMF officials have made clear they want a new government firmly in place before those negotiations can begin, so that may mean we’re waiting until after May’s presidential elections.



So will Ukraine make it until then? Analysts are dubious, and the Ukrainian finance ministry’s declaration on Monday that they are seeking bilateral loans from the US and Poland in the next week or two certainly implies that they’re not sure they can make it that long either.



One key metric to watch is Ukraine’s foreign currency reserves, which for those not seeped in international finance is about as close to a national bank account for emerging market economies as you can get. If Ukraine runs out of reserves of dollars, it can’t pay any of its bills to foreign creditors – such as bondholders or gas providers – and essentially goes broke."



'via Blog this'

Ukraine: time for Gazprom to enter the stage? | beyondbrics #EuroMaidan

Ukraine: time for Gazprom to enter the stage? | beyondbrics:



"As the dust settles after the ousting of Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovich, few doubt that Moscow is ready to protect its interests in this cash-strapped country through economic levers. Gazprom, Russia’s natural gas monopoly, will be front and centre in this process.



 After he decided not, after all, to sign an association agreement with the European Union in November, Yanukovich agreed a $20bn support package with the Kremlin. As part of the deal, Gazprom cut its price to Ukraine by a third, to $268.50 per thousand cubic metres of gas.



 On Monday, Dmitry Medvedev, Russia’s prime minister, said legally binding agreements must be fulfilled. “The decision adopted in the gas sphere has concrete time periods for implementation. What will happen after these expire is a question for discussion with the leadership of Ukrainian companies and the Ukrainian government, if one emerges there,” he said."



'via Blog this'

Russian Banks Can Easily Absorb Credit Losses in Ukraine | Business | The Moscow Times

Russian Banks Can Easily Absorb Credit Losses in Ukraine | Business | The Moscow Times:



"Russian banks could easily absorb any credit losses stemming from Ukraine's crisis from their earnings this year, a managing director at credit rating agency Moody's in Moscow said.



Ukraine this week appealed for $35 billion over two years to hold up its economy following the ouster of President Viktor Yanukovych. Its economy flatlined in 2013 and the hryvna currency has slid 8 percent in three months.



"The biggest risks [to Russian banks] is that their assets in Ukraine will become nonperforming," Yaroslav Sovgyra, associate managing director at Moody's who manages a team of analysts, said.



"[Ukrainian] currency devaluation may contribute to that but the credit risk is the biggest [risk]."



Moody's estimated in a December report that the exposure to Ukraine of four Russian banks — Gazprombank, Vnesheconombank, Sberbank and VTB — was around $20 billion to $30 billion."



'via Blog this'

Cathay Pacific, Qatar Airways form strategic alliance | Plane Talking

Cathay Pacific, Qatar Airways form strategic alliance | Plane Talking:



"Oneworld alliance members Cathay Pacific and Qatar Airways have formed a strategic alliance on the route between their respective hubs Hong Kong and Doha starting 30 March.



While this is not immediately relevant to most Australian travellers, it is a reminder in terms of trade links of the importance of Hong Kong as a major capital raising market and the phenomenal growth of the Middle East economies.



The joint statement says Cathay Pacific will operate its service with an Airbus A330-300. The fleet choice of Qatar Airways has not been given, but the possibilities include A330s and Boeing 777s at this stage."



'via Blog this'

Ukraine: a few charts to bear in mind | beyondbrics #EuroMaidan

Ukraine: a few charts to bear in mind | beyondbrics:

While the focus in Ukraine has turned to government formationRussia’s response, and chase-the-president, it’s worth keeping an eye on some of the economic charts.
Here’s a run down.
1) The exchange rate
Another big devaluation on Tuesday, with the hryvnia now down to 9.7 to the dollar, a fall of 6 per cent. The formerly tightly-managed currency is normalising quickly, though it could still have far to fall.
Analysts think the hryvnia could slide as low as 11 or even 12 to the dollar. As Chris Weafer of Macro Advisory said in a note, “a level closer to 12.0 against the US$ is more realistic given current circumstances”.
Source: Reuters


2) Foreign exchange reserves
Russia’s bail out cash looks like a small blip on this chart from the IIF, which estimates that foreign exchange reserves may fall as low as $12bn by end-February.
Source: IIF
From the IIF:
Foreign exchange reserves fell precipitously to as low as $16 billion, or just two months of imports at the end of January. Reserves fell despite the accumulation of another $0.6 billion in payment arrears to Gazprom for natural gas imports from Russia since the start of 2014. Recent partial data suggest that reserves may have fallen further to perhaps $12 billion by late February as deposit withdrawals have accelerated sharply and demand for foreign exchange by residents has surged. The deferral of the second $2 billion disbursement of the Russian $15 billion bailout initially planned for late January and a slew of rating downgrades that have put Ukraine’s sovereign credit rating at a near-default level have led to a further increase in risk premia, with CDS spreads well above 1,000 bps and sovereign spreads at 800-900 points.
3) Trade partners at risk
Handy chart from Nomura:
Source: Nomura
The black and grey dots show how much each country matters to Ukraine; the pink and red bars show how much Ukraine matters to each country. There’s no getting away from the significance of Russia, both ways.
4) Russia’s gas
These two charts from Commerzbank show the EU’s reliance on Russian gas, and how it gets there.
Source: Commerzbank
As analyst Simon Quijano-Evans notes:
a complete stop to Ukrainian transit gas from Russia could only be compensated by around half, mainly through an increase in flows through the Nord Stream pipeline that goes to northern Germany from Russia. That is, of course, assuming Russia continues to supply gas to the EU.
5) Bank exposure
Who’s been lending to Ukraine? In this chart from Commerzbank, Austrian and Italian banks stand out as clearly the most exposed.
Source: Commerzbank

'via Blog this'

Protest by airlines may halve Dubai’s plea for 20,000 extra seats - The Economic Times

Protest by airlines may halve Dubai’s plea for 20,000 extra seats - The Economic Times:



"NEW DELHI: Concerns from Indian carriers on the quantum of increase in bilateral seat entitlements requested by Dubai, may result in the Emirati city getting only half of its initial request of enhancing weekly entitlements by 20,000 seats.



A top official of the civil aviation ministry told ET, that officials of various ministries met as part of an Inter Ministerial Group on Monday where a "couple" of airlines including Air India had raised concerns against Dubai's request of enhancing bilateral seat entitlements by 20,000 seats per week.



"The concerns of the Indian airlines will need to be addressed," said the official of the civil aviation ministry. "We will need to restart negotiations with Dubai and a meeting will be set up by the Joint Secretary Prabhat Kumar very soon. "



'via Blog this'

Guest post: what can the EU do to help Ukraine? | beyondbrics #EuroMaidan

Guest post: what can the EU do to help Ukraine? | beyondbrics:



"Developments over the last few days in Ukraine make it clear that Ukrainians want to live in a modern European state that enjoys the same standards as their western neighbours. It is almost forgotten today that the people who took to the streets of Kiev in November 2013 did so to protest against their government’s decision to ditch an Association Agreement with the European Union. The protest was sustained for three months, most of the time in freezing cold weather and with the protesters being exposed to the brutal use of force by security services and government-paid groups of criminals. There is no other country in Europe where people put so much passion and are prepared to sacrifice their lives for the sake of the European idea."



'via Blog this'

Money talks: February 24th 2014 - YouTube #EuroMaidan

Money talks: February 24th 2014 - YouTube: ""



'via Blog this'

Tesco and mid-market brands capture hearts and minds in UAE | The National

Tesco and mid-market brands capture hearts and minds in UAE | The National:



"The UAE’s luxury malls may have captured the headlines in 2013, but it is the middle-market sector and affordable clothing outlets that have been growing fastest.



F&F, the budget clothing line of the British supermarket chain Tesco, will open its latest store in Al Hamra mall in Ras Al Khaimah today, with a further three stores, all in Abu Dhabi – World Trade Center Mall, Bawabat Al Sharq Mall and Dalma Mall – to open before June.



“We open in RAK tomorrow and we opened in Khalidya Mall on 11 February, top line sales are about 12 per cent ahead of plan right now,” said Troy Zunckel, the general manager at F&F."



'via Blog this'

Real estate: Nakheel repays debt 18 months early | GulfNews.com

Real estate: Nakheel repays debt 18 months early | GulfNews.com:



"Nakheel has instructed the repayment of Dh2.35 billion in bank debt 18 months ahead of schedule.



The company said that the early repayment is part of a Dh6.8 billion debt due in September 2015.



The repayment reflects the company’s strong financial performance since its restructuring, as well as the strength of the local real estate market and improving economic conditions in the UAE. It also highlights investors’ growing confidence in Nakheel.



Ali Rashid Lootah, chairman of Nakheel, said that the developer continues to successfully meet, and sometimes outperform, commitments in its post-restructuring business plan."



'via Blog this'

Acting Ukraine President May Seek New Government Today - Bloomberg #EuroMaidan

Acting Ukraine President May Seek New Government Today - Bloomberg:



"Ukraine’s acting president, Oleksandr Turchynov, told parliament he expects lawmakers to vote today on a national unity government led by a prime minister people would trust.



Turchynov, an opposition politician who was elected parliament speaker Feb. 22, indicated yesterday that he expects to move quickly to fill the government vacuum so officials can seek the economic aid needed to fend off default, even as Russia questioned the legitimacy of the political transition.



“The new government’s task is to stop the country’s slide, to stabilize the currency rate, to ensure timely salary and pension payments, to win back investors’ trust and to create new jobs,” Turchynov said. “Another priority is to return to the European integration path.”"



'via Blog this'

Monday, 24 February 2014

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi at 67-mth high as property cos gain; most of region firm | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi at 67-mth high as property cos gain; most of region firm | Reuters:



"* Some money shifting from Saudi blue chips to property cos 




* Dubai recovers from profit-taking before close



* Arabtec bounces after Reuters report on Kuwait M&A



* Kuwait slumps before three-day holiday



* Egypt not worried by government's resignation



By Raya Atallah and Nadia Saleem

DUBAI, Feb 24 (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia's bourse rose to a 67-month high on Monday as investors shifted funds towards real estate shares, while most other regional markets closed on a positive note.



The Saudi real estate sector's index gained 3.7 percent; developer Jabal Omar jumped 5.5 percent. Investors tend to shift from blue chips after earnings season towards other sectors that may have more upside. 




Petrochemical shares edged up with Saudi Basic Industries Corp (SABIC) climbing 0.2 percent."



'via Blog this'

High yield HSBC? - YouTube

High yield HSBC? - YouTube: ""



'via Blog this'

EconoMonitor : EconoMonitor » Gazprom’s Next Acquisition: Algeria?

EconoMonitor : EconoMonitor » Gazprom’s Next Acquisition: Algeria?:



"Russia’s oil and natural gas state monopoly Gazprom has been offered joint venture exploration projects in Algeria, the first foreign company to be invited to work in the country. The offer was discussed at a meeting between Gazprom officials and the Algerian government earlier last week. Gazprom will participate in an international tender for the exploration and development of more than 30 prospectivehydrocarbon deposits amounting to an estimated 20 percent of Algeria’s territory. Gazprom’s overseas branch, Gazprom International, is already operating in Algeria, developing al-Assel oil and gas field in the east of the country in cooperation with Algeria’s Sonatrach. Sonatrach holds the state monopoly for natural gas exports."



'via Blog this'

Russia will honor all legally binding agreements with Ukraine - Medvedev #EuroMaidan

Russia will honor all legally binding agreements with Ukraine - Medvedev:



"Russian will honor all the agreements it signed with Ukraine, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said. 




"Those agreements which are legally binding must be honored. We are not cooperating with personalities or isolated individuals. These are inter-state relations," Medvedev said in Sochi, responding to a question posed by Interfax."



'via Blog this'

UAE Has No Plans To Tax Individuals – Finance Minister » Gulf Business

UAE Has No Plans To Tax Individuals – Finance Minister » Gulf Business:



"The UAE has no immediate plans to impose tax on individuals, Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai’s deputy ruler and Minister of Finance has confirmed.



However, the ministry has been conducting studies on the economic effects of levying taxes on companies, official news agency WAM quoted him as saying.



It is also mulling the imposition of fees for newly introduced services at federal ministries and bodies, Sheikh Hamdan said.



The ministry is also considering imposing taxes on certain harmful goods such as tobacco products. “The ministry is committed to announcing any taxes once an agreement is reached with relevant and concerned parties,” he said."



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