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Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Romania slashes rates to record low | beyondbrics

Romania slashes rates to record low | beyondbrics:

"In recent weeks, much has been made of Romanians’ desire to leave their country and work abroad, partly due to the weakness of Romania’s own economy. On Wednesday, the country’s central bank made an ambitious move that may help that economy, the second poorest in the EU, by cutting rates to a record low and easing reserve requirements.

The National Bank of Romania (BNR) cut its key rate by 25 basis points to 3.75 per cent in the expectation that inflation – once a bugbear – would fall to its lowest-ever levels in the first half of this year. The bank also cut its minimum reserve requirement to 12 per cent for local currency and 18 per cent for foreign currency liabilities, from 15 and 20 per cent respectively. The move follows a recent review of a €4bn IMF deal which presages fiscal tightening in the 2014 budget."

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UAE: Sharjah gets new credit rating – bond up next? | beyondbrics

UAE: Sharjah gets new credit rating – bond up next? | beyondbrics:

"Socially-conservative Sharjah, the third largest economy in the United Arab Emirates, is showing a bit of leg – financially speaking.

The emirate bans alcohol and enforces a modest dress code, marking Sharjah out from its flashier neighbour, bling-tastic tourist magnet Dubai. But the education- and culture-focused emirate has stepped out, opening its books to credit agencies. Paving the way for a potential sovereign bond, Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s on Wednesday issued it long-term sovereign credit ratings of A and A3, respectively.

That puts Sharjah on a similar creditworthiness footing to Ras al-Khaimah, the UAE’s fourth largest emirate, which issued its first bond in 2009.

The UAE capital of Abu Dhabi, as well as other oil-rich Gulf states, such as Qatar, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, enjoy higher ratings. (Unlike Abu Dhabi, the other emirates only enjoy moderate hydrocarbons revenues.)"

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Abu Dhabi to Operate Onshore Oil Fields as Concessions Expire - Bloomberg

Abu Dhabi to Operate Onshore Oil Fields as Concessions Expire - Bloomberg:

"Abu Dhabi’s 75-year oil-production agreement is expiring, leaving the largest U.S. and European oil companies without direct stakes in the onshore crude deposits of OPEC’s fourth-biggest supplier.

Abu Dhabi National Oil Co. will continue to produce and market oil from the fields through an operating unit, ending its partnership with BP Plc (BP/), Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSA), Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM) and Total SA (FP), state-run Emirates News Agency, or WAM, reported today.

The international companies are among those bidding for new production agreements that would allow them to keep pumping oil in the Persian Gulf emirate, leaving their future roles in the sheikhdom unclear. Adnoc has invited additional companies from Europe and Asia to compete for the oil-development projects. Abdulla Nasser al-Suwaidi, Adnoc’s director general, said in November the bidding process could take until January 2015"

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Is Dubai a gateway to Africa?

Is Dubai a gateway to Africa?:

"One of Africa's youngest billionaires Ashish Thakkar on the business potential he sees between the continent and the UAE.


"

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Deyaar Advances to Five-Year High on Recovery Bets: Dubai Mover - Bloomberg

Deyaar Advances to Five-Year High on Recovery Bets: Dubai Mover - Bloomberg:

"Deyaar Development PJSC (DEYAAR), the second-largest publicly traded property company in Dubai, gained to the highest in more than five years on growing investor confidence in the emirate’s real estate recovery.

Shares of the company controlled by Dubai Islamic Bank PJSC (DIB) surged 10 percent to 1.08 dirhams, the highest since November 2008, at the close in the emirate. Dubai Islamic rose 1.7 percent as the Dubai Financial Market General Index (DFMGI) advanced 2 percent.

Deyaar’s shares are benefiting from an economic recovery in Dubai, which in November won the right to host the World Expo 2020, after profit tumbled when the property market imploded in 2008. Home prices may rise 35 percent to 40 percent this year, Sultan Bin Mejren, the head of the emirate’s Land Department said in an interview on Jan. 6."

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RBI: let 3 million basic bank branches bloom | beyondbrics

RBI: let 3 million basic bank branches bloom | beyondbrics:

"Raghuram Rajan, the governor of India’s central bank, is keen on financial inclusion, an area where the country fares particular badly with around half the population without a bank account.

Perhaps one way of getting more Indian people and businesses into the financial system is to create basic banks that have no credit risk, but just take payments and deposits. Could it work?

On Tuesday, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) published a report looking into financial services for low income households and small businesses, which has suggested setting up a new type of bank to take payments and deposits. The paper was produced by a committee Rajan set up in September, made up of bigwigs from India’s financial sector."

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Videographic: Top growers in 2014

Maersk: Turning the tanker around

Not a year to be picky

Guest post: the route to better relationships with China lies along the Silk Road | beyondbrics

Guest post: the route to better relationships with China lies along the Silk Road | beyondbrics:

"By Raffaello Pantucci of the Royal United Services Institute

A gentle rapprochement is under way between China and the United Kingdom. After almost two years in a diplomatic freeze, David Cameron visited Beijing last month and made an effective play for more trade. For the UK, this is a moment to recalibrate its relationship and play a role in coaxing China towards becoming a responsible international stakeholder. One route to that end is through understanding and working with China’s ‘march westward’ strategy, which has at its heart the re-activation of the ancient Silk Road linking China to Europe."

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S&P assigns Sharjah 'A' sovereign credit rating - Banking & Finance - ArabianBusiness.com

S&P assigns Sharjah 'A' sovereign credit rating - Banking & Finance - ArabianBusiness.com:

"Standard & Poor's Ratings Services assigned its 'A/A-1' long and short-term foreign and local currency sovereign credit ratings to the emirate of Sharjah with a stable outlook on Tuesday.
The rating is supported by the government's limited fiscal risks and low government debt, and the liklihood of support from the UAE if the need arises.
"The stable outlook balances our view of Sharjah's fiscal flexibility, and the advantages of UAE membership, against its still nascent political institutions and the limited availability of timely economic data," S&P said in a statement."

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How has Iraqi city become a luxury property hot spot? - CNN.com

How has Iraqi city become a luxury property hot spot? - CNN.com:

"The rolling hills that surround the city of Erbil in northern Iraq once helped the bustling Kurdish capital earn its reputation as the Switzerland of the Middle East.
Beneath the verdant greenery which dominates this ancient landscape, however, lies the source of the region's prosperity -- lots of oil and gas.
These bountiful natural resources combined with the relative stability of northern Iraq have helped fuel a nascent luxury property boom in recent years -- no mean feat in a country that has been pummeled by three wars, brutal dictatorship and recurring sectarian tensions over the last three decades."

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Money talks: Dollars and crafts

Northern Iraq’s increasing energy success rattles Baghdad | The National

Northern Iraq’s increasing energy success rattles Baghdad | The National:

"It is no surprise that Turkey’s multibillion-dollar energy deal with the Kurdistan region of Iraq has rankled politicians in Baghdad. As security and infrastructure issues plague southern Iraq, the north is steadily becoming a global player on its own terms.

The northern Iraqi pipeline to Turkey, now operational according to a January 2 report by Reuters, will transport 300,000 barrels per day (bpd) to the Turkish export hub of Ceyhan, a figure that could eventually rise to some 2 million bpd to global markets by 2019.

The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has dismissed the very public backlash from Baghdad, pressing ahead with the pipeline and arguing that Iraq’s constitution promises the Kurds 17 per cent of the country’s total oil revenues."

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Opec’s role as global oil policeman under threat | The National

Opec’s role as global oil policeman under threat | The National:

"It has been a long time since Iran has been able to throw its weight around as an oil producer. American-led sanctions have cost Tehran as much as US$80 billion in lost oil revenues since 2012 and its rival Saudi Arabia has long controlled world prices with its dominance of Opec.

But the last meeting of oil producing nations in November was notable for its Iranian sabre rattling, with the country’s oil minister pledging to disregard Opec quotas of three million barrels per day (bpd) – regardless of the effect on global prices.

Tehran’s renewed confidence has clearly been buoyed by the thaw in Iranian-United States relations that followed the election of president Hassan Rouhani last year."

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Dubai Plans to Crack Down on Home Flipping That Fueled Bubble - Bloomberg

Dubai Plans to Crack Down on Home Flipping That Fueled Bubble - Bloomberg:

"Dubai plans new rules to control speculation on properties sold before they’re built after home prices climbed by more than 30 percent last year, the head of the emirate’s Land Department said.

The real estate authority plans to complete a review of what are known as off-plan transactions in the first quarter and may introduce new regulations in the second or third quarter, Land Department General Director Sultan Bin Mejren said in an interview. Home prices this year may rise 35 percent to 40 percent, he said.

“Transactions on off-plan properties are a little dangerous,” he said on Jan. 6. “We are now studying them and looking at ways to ensure that they don’t hurt the market.”"

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