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Monday, 6 January 2014

Kuwait economy in desperate need of reform - Al-Monitor: the Pulse of the Middle East

Kuwait economy in desperate need of reform - Al-Monitor: the Pulse of the Middle East:

"Kuwait is celebrating the new year while its economic files remain disrupted. The country depends on oil revenues to stimulate all of its economic mechanisms, and the Kuwaiti government owns a significant sovereign fund investing financial surpluses accumulated over the years. However, the government has yet to achieve the economic reform milestones that are much needed and necessary at this time."

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MidEast Stocks Mostly Up, But Dubai Slips on Securities Commodities Authority Crackdown - NASDAQ.com

MidEast Stocks Mostly Up, But Dubai Slips on Securities Commodities Authority Crackdown - NASDAQ.com:

"MidEast shares were mostly higher, but Dubai fell after the Securities and Commodities Authority (SCA) said it would crack down on unlicensed margin lending. That prompted some brokers to ask clients to sell shares to lower margin levels, Reuters reports.

Other markets firmed as investors bought stocks for dividends.

Dubai's main index fell 1.1% to 3,428 points, Abu Dhabi rose 1.7% to 4,456 points, Qatar added 1.1% to 10,784 points to reach the highest close since Aug 2008, Egypt slipped 0.8% to 6,801 points, Saudi Arabia eased 0.3% to 8,612 points, Oman firmed 0.5% to 6,932 points, Kuwait edged up 0.8% to 7,608 points and Bahrain gained 0.1% to 1,250 points"

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▶ Globalisation in reverse - YouTube

▶ Globalisation in reverse - YouTube:

"Before the financial crisis the interconnections between countries were growing. Ralph Atkins, capital markets editor, explains to John Authers the results of an FT study, which shows that capital retreated behind national borders during the crisis.


"

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GCC members mull joint credit reference information exchange | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT

GCC members mull joint credit reference information exchange | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT:

"Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states are considering the launch of a mechanism to share credit referencing information between their respective credit bureaus.
The idea will be discussed during the 67th GCC Banking Supervision Committee meeting due to take place on Tuesday in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

The meeting, which will host finance ministers and central bank governors from member states—which comprise Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates—will also be attended by credit bureaus from participating countries.

A source with knowledge of the situation told Asharq Al-Awsat that the mechanism, a Bahraini idea, had been almost “unanimously welcomed” by member state’s credit bureaus."

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Under Scrutiny Over Labor Record, Abu Dhabi To Relocate Workers - Middle East Real Time - WSJ

Under Scrutiny Over Labor Record, Abu Dhabi To Relocate Workers - Middle East Real Time - WSJ:

"Abu Dhabi is planning to move 80,000 low-wage workers from an industrial area outside the city center into new “labor cities”, an apparent response to reports about exploitative labor practices and poor living conditions for people working on some of the U.A.E. capital’s biggest construction projects.

The plan announced Sunday comes two weeks after the U.K.’s The Observer newspaper reported that thousands of workers helping develop Abu Dhabi’s Saadiyat Island into a cultural destination had their passports confiscated by employers and were living in unsanitary conditions.

While criticism of labor practices in the Gulf is nothing new, the scrutiny comes at a sensitive time for Abu Dhabi and other locales projecting themselves on the world stage by hosting international events and seeking economic diversification through tourism."

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Kurdish crude flowing to Turkey but exports await Iraqi approval, for now | beyondbrics

Kurdish crude flowing to Turkey but exports await Iraqi approval, for now | beyondbrics:

"Turkey appears ready to allow exports of crude oil from Iraq’s semi autonomous Kurdistan region following the conclusion of tests on an unused section of the Kirkuk-Ceyhan pipeline, which leads from the Turkish-Iraqi border to its oil export terminal at Ceyhan on the East Mediterranean coast.

Taner Yildiz, energy minister, said on January 2 that following the successful completion of tests on the pipeline the previous week, crude from the Kurdistan region was flowing and was being stored in tanks at the Ceyhan terminal.

According to Yildiz the crude arriving at Ceyhan will be stored until agreement has been reached between the Iraqi government in Baghdad and the Kurdistan regional government in Erbil over where the revenue from the crude sales will be banked and how it will be divided."

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Russian Stocks Fall Sharply on 2014 Opening | Business | RIA Novosti

Russian Stocks Fall Sharply on 2014 Opening | Business | RIA Novosti:

"Russian stock markets fell sharply Monday during the first day of trading in 2014, with one benchmark index shedding almost 4 percent.
The dollar-denominated RTS Index fell 3.77 percent to 1388.28 and the Micex Index declined 2.52 percent to 1466.15 at the close of Monday trading, according to data from the Moscow Exchange.
The falls come after Russian equities were buoyed in the last weeks of 2013 on the back of a US announcement of plans to cut back a massive bond-buying program, and by former oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky's release from prison.
Moscow’s bourse shut for four days on December 31 to mark the New Year holidays. It will also be closed on January 7, a national holiday in Russia marking Orthodox Christmas."

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UAE purchasing managers’ index dropped to 57.4 in December | GulfNews.com

UAE purchasing managers’ index dropped to 57.4 in December | GulfNews.com:

"The UAE’s purchasing managers’ index (PMI) declined to 57.4 in December, from a record high of 58.1 in November. The index, compiled by HSBC Holdings and Markit Economics, is a composite indicator of UAE’s non-oil economy based on data compiled from monthly replies to questionnaires sent to purchasing executives in around 400 private sector companies in the UAE, representing manufacturing, services, construction and retail.
“The HSBC PMI offers clear evidence that the UAE economy not only finished 2013 strongly but is well placed to carry momentum into the new year,” Simon Williams, chief economist at HSBC Middle East, said in an e-mailed statement."

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The Peninsula Qatar - Qatar Stock Exchange up 1.13pc

The Peninsula Qatar - Qatar Stock Exchange up 1.13pc:

" Qatar Exchange pursued its upswing trend on Monday adding 120.33 points 1.13 percent to advance to 10,784.49 points from 10,664.16 on Sunday.

The volume of the shares traded up to 17,021,858 from 13,077,213 on Sunday and the value of shares decreased to QR770,414,333.28 from QR900,467,610.60 Sunday.

Among the top gainers were Commercial Bank of Qatar which was up 2.10 percent to QR72.80, Qatar Islamic Bank gained 2.55 percent to QR72.30, Qatar Insurance added 5.26 percent to QR72.10 and Doha Bank up by 2.50 percent to QR61.50.

The Banking and Financial sector index was added 0.82 points while Consumer Goods and Services sector index up 0.92 points.

The industrial sector was gained 0.63 points while insurance sector rose 4.05 points."

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EFG International To Buy Falcon's Hong Kong Activities » Gulf Business

EFG International To Buy Falcon's Hong Kong Activities » Gulf Business:

"
EFG International AG has agreed a deal for Falcon Private Bank’s activities in Hong Kong including 800 million Swiss francs ($884.81 million) of assets, which the Abu Dhabi-owned group has decided to exit.

Neither the Swiss private bank nor Falcon disclosed the details of how the two businesses would be merged, including the key question over what financial enticement Falcon’s advisers, and their clients, will be given to be referred to EFG.

Falcon said in a statement on Monday it was leaving Hong Kong in favour of concentrating on the Middle East, Africa and Eastern Europe, and that its Singapore branch would serve as its private banking hub in Asia.

EFG said it expected to begin managing the lion’s share of Falcon’s assets in Hong Kong.

“We are looking forward to welcoming new clients and growing our business in Asia, alongside our new colleagues who share the same level of dedication and expertise,” said Albert Chiu, EFG’s head of Asia."

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2014: commodities - YouTube

2014: commodities - YouTube:

"Commodities have been falling for a couple of years and the correlation between stocks and the metals market has broken down. John Authers considers whether there could be an opportunity to bet against the broad consensus that commodities will suffer again in 2014.


"

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New challenges for Russia's economy in 2014 | Russia Beyond The Headlines

New challenges for Russia's economy in 2014 | Russia Beyond The Headlines:

"Experts warn that the economic forecast offered by Russia’s Ministry of Economic Development may be too optimistic.
The government needs to be prepared for decisive action in order to improve the situation, a the key negative trends which slowed Russia's economic growth in 2013 are expected to carry over into 2014.
Stagnating on the brink of recession
"The current negative growth of consumer demand will continue," said Alexey Balayev with the Economic Expert Group. Sberbank head German Gref agreed, saying "I can see no sources of finance for increasing wages or adjusting social sector salaries to inflation. Consumer lending will likely continue to decline gradually. Everything is becoming more difficult, so the situation with growth drivers is quite complicated.""

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The Peninsula Qatar - Qatari banks may post poor earnings growth

The Peninsula Qatar - Qatari banks may post poor earnings growth:

"Qatari banks are likely to witness poor earnings growth as their net interest margins (NIMs) continue to face pressure with the cost of funds, meaning interest rate paid by financial institutions for the funds that they deploy in their businesses, edging upwards in 2013 fourth quarter. Higher provisioning related to real estate exposure is also likely to continue in the quarter.

SICO Investment Bank’s quarterly result preview of GCC equities noted yesterday the bellwether Industries Qatar (IQ) is expected to deliver flat year-on-year performance mainly due to a weak fertilizer prices.

Commercial Bank of Qatar (CBQ) is expected to see higher provisioning charges due to rise in real-estate impaired loans. Doha Bank’s higher net interest income y-o-y is expected to drive earnings. Qatar Islamic Bank (QIB) is likely to see higher provisioning charges because of rise in real-estate impaired loans. QNB’s strong balance sheet growth will continue, the research note said."

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Dubai Mercantile Exchange records 36% increase in 2013 trading volumes | GulfNews.com

Dubai Mercantile Exchange records 36% increase in 2013 trading volumes | GulfNews.com:

"The Dubai Mercantile Exchange (DME), ended 2013 on a record high with its flagship DME Oman Crude Oil Futures contract posting year-on-year average daily volume (ADV) trading growth of 36 per cent with 6,355 lots per day.
The DME Oman contract consolidated its status as the Middle East’s largest physically delivered crude oil futures contract with more than 1.6 billion barrels of crude oil traded during 2013. In November 2013, DME set a new record for ADV of 7,450 lots equivalent to almost 7.5 million barrels of crude oil per day. New records in total monthly volume were also set in July 2013 with 162.4 million barrels of crude oil traded through the exchange. More than 60 companies now trade regularly through the exchange, representing all of the key stakeholders in the Asian crude oil markets as well as growing numbers of financial participants from around the world."

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SCA finalises rules on covered warrants | The National

SCA finalises rules on covered warrants | The National:

"The Securities and Commodities Authority yesterday announced that it had finalised regulations for the issuance and trading of covered warrants.

The regulations, which were finalised at an SCA board meeting last week, will come into effect when they are published in the country’s Official Gazette. That is expected to occur within a month.

The federal regulator’s chairman, Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansoori, praised the move as adding depth to the financial services sector by increasing the tools available to investors.

Covered warrants are a form of listed security issued by financial institutions that are subsequently made available for trading on stock markets."

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Rapid Dubai growth and ‘expo-euphoria’ lead to fresh bubble warnings | The National

Rapid Dubai growth and ‘expo-euphoria’ lead to fresh bubble warnings | The National:

"Forecasts for another year of rapid growth in Dubai have triggered fresh warnings about the risk of a bubble.

Expanding? Yes. Speculative? Sometimes. But is Dubai property’s market in a bubble? Not likely
Two separate reports have sounded caution after a sharp pickup across the emirate’s economy last year. Prices in the property market rose by nearly 12 per cent in the past six months, while Dubai’s stock market index was the world’s second-best performer in 2013 with a gain of 107.6 per cent.

“Winning the bid for Expo 2020 adds extra zest,” Sachin Mohindra, the portfolio manager of the GCC fund at Invest AD, an Abu Dhabi-based asset manager, wrote in a report released yesterday."

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Robin Mills: Mena reform attempts squandered globalisation’s energy | The National

Robin Mills: Mena reform attempts squandered globalisation’s energy | The National:

"In the spring of 1992, Deng Xiaoping made his famous Southern Tour, which revitalised economic reform in China. With the concurrent opening of markets in the former Soviet sphere of influence, this modern wave of globalisation offered rich rewards to those ready to ride it.

Our region was not.

The long coastline of the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) faces fast-growing Asia to the east and wealthy Europe to the north. It commands vital sea routes – the Hormuz, Gibraltar, Suez and the Bosphorus – and the easiest lines from Central Asia and the Caspian to the ocean. Its young, fast-growing population should be a demographic asset."

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Lukoil Discount Swells as Oil Plunges: Russia Overnight - Bloomberg

Lukoil Discount Swells as Oil Plunges: Russia Overnight - Bloomberg:

"Offshore receipts of OAO Rosneft and OAO Surgutneftegas fell last week, extending their discounts versus Moscow shares, as Russian equity markets open after a four-day holiday.

Global depositary receipts of Rosneft, Russia’s largest oil producer, slipped 2.5 percent in London last week, extending the discount to the company’s Moscow stock to 2.9 percent, the widest gap since January 2009. American depositary receipts of Surgut, the third-largest oil company, slid 3.7 percent to trade 3.2 percent below the local equity, the biggest gap since May. The Bloomberg Russia-US Equity Index fell for the first time in three weeks.

Oil, which together with natural gas accounts for about half of Russia’s budget revenue, dropped the most in 19 months last week as a U.S. government report showed that inventories of gasoline and distillate fuel climbed. Rosneft’s exports plunged 15 percent in December compared with the prior month, data from the Energy Ministry showed Jan. 2. Markets in Russia shut for national holiday Dec. 30 and are set to reopen today before closing for Orthodox Christmas tomorrow."

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Dirtiest Coal’s Rebirth in Europe Flattens Medieval Towns - Bloomberg

Dirtiest Coal’s Rebirth in Europe Flattens Medieval Towns - Bloomberg:

"Europe’s appetite for cheaper electricity is reviving mines that produce the dirtiest type of coal, threatening to boost pollution and raze villages that have survived since medieval times.

Across the continent’s mining belt, from Germany to Poland and the Czech Republic, utilities such as Vattenfall AB, CEZ AS and PGE SA are expanding open-pit strip mines that produce lignite. The moist, brown form of the fossil fuel packs less energy and more carbon than more frequently burned hard coal.

The projects go against the grain of European Union rules limiting emissions and pushing cleaner energy. Alarmed at power prices about double U.S. levels, policy makers are allowing the expansion of coal mines that were scaled back in the past two decades, stirring a backlash in the targeted communities."

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