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Thursday, 16 January 2014

Minister Silvan Shalom to attend Abu Dhabi energy conference next week | JPost | Israel News

Minister Silvan Shalom to attend Abu Dhabi energy conference next week | JPost | Israel News:

"Energy, Water and National Infrastructures Minister Silvan Shalom will be leading an Israeli delegation to Abu Dhabi to attend a conference focused on renewable energy, his spokesman confirmed to The Jerusalem Post on Thursday night.

Shalom will be attending the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) Fourth Assembly, held at the St. Regis Hotel on Saadiyat Island from January 18 to 19, as part of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week. He follows in the footsteps of former energy and water minister Uzi Landau, who traveled to a similar Abu Dhabi conference on January 16, 2010, and became the first minister to visit the United Arab Emirates. Israeli is one of 123 member states of IRENA, an intergovernmental organization focused on renewable energy development based in Abu Dhabi."

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Kuwait opens a massive can of worms - Blogs - ArabianBusiness.com

Kuwait opens a massive can of worms - Blogs - ArabianBusiness.com:

"Kuwait celebrated its golden jubilee in 2012 with a massive fireworks display which was only recently overtaken by Dubai’s New Year’s Eve record-breaking extravaganza.
While the Gulf state has avoided the sort of Arab Spring violence which has beset Bahrain, Egypt and parts of Oman, it has struggled to gain real long-term political stability. The government and parliament have fallen in and out of power and political scandals have been rife.
However, the Kuwait has now been beset with a scandal that could be its biggest challenge since the Gulf War in the 1990s.
More than 40,000 foreign workers in Kuwait have been stripped of their visas after authorities claimed they were issued by illegal visa traders. Investigations found about 1000 companies illegally operating as visa distributors. It is estimated there are about 100,000 workers illegally resident in the country."

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CY Heathrow slot sale to Qatar flops after leak | Cyprus Mail

CY Heathrow slot sale to Qatar flops after leak | Cyprus Mail:

"CYPRUS Airways was dealt an unexpected blow yesterday, when the deal to sell one of their timeslots in Heathrow Airport to Qatar Airways fell through.

The Gulf airline reportedly turned to a better offer from another cash-strapped aviation company, after details of the 20m euro deal with Cyprus Airways were leaked to the local media last week.

Nyras, an aviation solution company that was brokering the deal between the two carriers, sent a letter to the Cyprus Airways board, scolding them for not keeping the details of the agreement under wraps. Nyras noted that Qatar Airways probably had a better deal by a company that sold its timeslot cheaper.

The aviation consultant also said that the Qatari executives were put off by the leak, citing a clause in the contract specifically asking for confidentiality by all interested members."

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UAE confident, seeking investors, hopes to gain from Iran sanction easing | euronews, economy

UAE confident, seeking investors, hopes to gain from Iran sanction easing | euronews, economy:

"The United Arab Emirates says it is back on track after a corporate debt crisis and property price slump.

The Gulf state – which is pushing for the easing of international economic sanctions against its neighbour Iran and hoping to benefit from that – is keen to attract foreign direct investment (FDI) and denies that the economy there is at risk from a property bubble, particularly in Dubai.

The Trade Undersecretary at the Economy Ministry, Abdulla Al Saleh, told euronews: “The UAE is one of the major attractive markets for FDI and if you look at the UAE, it is considered to be one of the 10 top countries that will attract investments in 2014 and 2015, according to UNCTAD (United Nations Conference on Trade and Development) estimates. Anyone who can talk about [is concerned about] a bubble for the UAE market will miss opportunities to invest here.”

Brussels and Washington are to ease some sanctions against Iran in return for inspections of its nuclear facilities."

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MIDEAST STOCKS-Property-related shares lift UAE; regional shares mixed | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Property-related shares lift UAE; regional shares mixed | Reuters:

"Markets in the United Arab Emirates rose on Thursday as investors bought property-related stocks ahead of quarterly earnings, while regional bourses were mixed.

Dubai builder Arabtec jumped 4.9 percent, leading trading volumes to hit its highest close since September 2008.

Analysts polled by Reuters on average forecast Arabtec will post a 151 percent rise in earnings.

Dubai's index rose 1.2 percent in its sixth consecutive gain to reach a new five-year high.

"UAE markets are taking their natural course - people are focused on earnings, which will dictate market direction in the coming weeks," said Amer Khan, head of asset management at Shuaa Asset Management.

Abu Dhabi's Aldar Properties surged 8.3 percent to 3.25 dirhams, its highest level since June 2010. Naeem Holding estimates Aldar's fourth-quarter profit will increase by 48 percent."

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Qatar's Masraf Al Rayan says buys Islamic Bank of Britain | Reuters

Qatar's Masraf Al Rayan says buys Islamic Bank of Britain | Reuters:

"Masraf Al Rayan, Qatar's largest sharia-compliant bank by market value, said on Thursday it had completed its acquisition of Islamic Bank of Britain (IBB).

Al Rayan did not disclose the terms of the purchase.

IBB was majority-owned by another Qatari lender, Qatar International Islamic Bank, which had been in discussions with Al Rayan over a sale since mid-2012.

Al Rayan said in a bourse filing it had received approval from investors holding 95 percent of IBB's share capital for the sale. The British regulator has approved the deal, the statement added."

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EconoMonitor : EconoMonitor » Is Iraq’s House Too Divided for Oil?

EconoMonitor : EconoMonitor » Is Iraq’s House Too Divided for Oil?:

"During trading on the London stock exchange Wednesday, stock in Genel Energy took a nose dive after it announced imminent exports of Kurdish oil from Turkey. While western Iraq is in the hands of al-Qaida, recent trends suggest there’s no safe investment refuge even in the Kurdish north.

Genel Energy, led by former BP boss Tony Hayward, said exports of crude oil from its operations in the Kurdish region of Iraq are “expected to commence in the near future.”

Last week, the Kurdistan Regional Government of Iraq announced it expected 2 million barrels of its crude oil would be exported from the Turkish sea port of Ceyhan by month’s end. That volume should double by the end of February and eventually top the 10 million barrel mark by December."

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Guest post: Apple’s EM stumbling blocks | beyondbrics

Guest post: Apple’s EM stumbling blocks | beyondbrics:

"The App Store has recently celebrated a milestone, achieving $10bn in app sales since its inception. Something certainly remarkable, but how far will this success stretch beyond the western world? With the western market reaching saturation, there are swathes of potential new customers in markets including Latin America, Asia and sub-Saharan Africa who are eager for mobile content.

But can Apple and other players emulate their success further afield?

The ‘Trojan horse’ model that Apple employed in the west, rapidly growing the App Store whilst leaving mobile operators out of the game, will encounter one major stumbling block in emerging markets: the App Store is locked inside very expensive devices that aren’t affordable for a high proportion of consumers. For those who can look past the price point, once you’ve reached the App Store rich with thousands of applications, you need banking facilities to access the content. "

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Russian M&A Activity Down 50% in 2013 | Business | The Moscow Times

Russian M&A Activity Down 50% in 2013 | Business | The Moscow Times:

"Merger and acquisition transactions involving Russian companies reached $52.8 billion in 2013, less than half result of the previous year and the lowest level since 2009, Thomson Reuters said in its annual analysis of investment banking in Russia released Thursday.

In the fourth quarter M&A transactions involving Russian targets totaled $16.9 billion, 25 percent less than during the previous quarter, the report said.

At the same time, investment banking fees reached $198 million during the fourth quarter of 2013, a 55-percent increase from the third quarter. The annual volume of investment banking fees collected by Russian banks was $805.5 million, an increase of only 3 percent over the previous year.

State-controlled investment bank VTB Capital topped the Russian investment banking fee ranking last year, raking in $97.8 million or 12.1 percent of the overall volume."

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Exclusive: Dubai Group signs $10 bln debt restructuring deal - sources | Reuters

Exclusive: Dubai Group signs $10 bln debt restructuring deal - sources | Reuters:

"
The Emirates Towers, which house the headquarters of Dubai Group, are seen on Sheikh Zayed road in Dubai May 9, 2013.
CREDIT: REUTERS/AHMED JADALLAH
Dubai Group has signed a $10 billion debt restructuring deal, two sources with knowledge of the matter told Reuters on Thursday, bringing an end to the last major hangover from the emirate's 2009 financial crisis.

Dubai state-linked entities borrowed heavily from banks to fund a spree of acquisitions during the boom years of 2006-08.

But as credit markets dried up following the global financial crisis and a local real estate bubble burst, they found themselves unable to manage their obligations and were forced to renegotiate tens of billions of dollars of debt.

Dubai Group, the investment vehicle owned by the emirate's ruler, signed the restructuring deal on Wednesday, the sources said, speaking on condition of anonymity as the information is not public."

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EconoMonitor : EconoMonitor » Sovereign Wealth Funds Are Coming Home

EconoMonitor : EconoMonitor » Sovereign Wealth Funds Are Coming Home:

"Followers of this blog have read several recent pieces on the changing landscape of investment finance in developing countries, particularly in natural resource-rich countries. We have approached the rise of development banks partially filling the void left by the retrenchment of international banking. We have also highlighted how  less tax avoidance on extractive industries can be obtained and how that would make a huge difference in terms of resources available for local investment in those countries, provided that appropriate policies are put into place. Furthermore, we have pointed out the emergence of new forms and contracts of resource-backed investment finance, including a redirection toward home in asset acquisition made by developing countries’ Sovereign Wealth Funds.

I have invited three colleagues who have been studying the subject more closely to write the short piece below. Hope you will enjoy it as much as I did."

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Source: UAE, Iran Reach Accord on Disputed Hormuz Islands | Defense News | defensenews.com

Source: UAE, Iran Reach Accord on Disputed Hormuz Islands | Defense News | defensenews.com:

"
The United Arab Emirates and Iran have reached an agreement on the three disputed islands near the Strait of Hormuz, according to a high level UAE source.

According to the source, UAE and Iranian officials have engaged in secretive talks with the help of the Omani government over the past six months.

“A deal has been reached and finalized on the Greater and Lesser Tunbs,” the source said. “For now, two of the three islands are to return to the UAE while the final agreement for Abu Musa is being ironed out.”"

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Housing boom, ex London | FT Alphaville

Housing boom, ex London | FT Alphaville:

"The latest RICS survey shows that house prices are continuing to boom in the UK.

This is despite the fact that the net balance of surveyors reporting house price gains edged down from 58 per cent in November 2013, which was the highest since 2002, to 56 per cent in December. As Citi’s Michael Saunders notes the overall rate remains very high and consistent with house price gains of at least 10-15 per cent year-on-year, especially since the reading for house price expectations is the highest since 1999.

What’s more interesting, however, is that the boom is no longer as London/South-East centric as it has been."

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The specifics of Russian private banking | Russia Beyond The Headlines

The specifics of Russian private banking | Russia Beyond The Headlines:

"The Russian private banking market first emerged in the mid-1990s, simultaneously with the first private businesses. At the time, very few banks would foray into the segment because the country's banking sector was still in its early days.
 But that situation has since changed, and now almost all the major Russian retail banks run private banking operations. The segment is notoriously tight-lipped, making it difficult to appraise its size.
Different estimates put the private banking market's current value at $20 million to $25 billion, noting that the figure grows by some 25 percent every year. To qualify for private banking services in Russia, a client must own between $45,000 and $900,000.
There are anywhere between 75,000 and 180,000 dollar millionaires in Russia, whose combined assets could reach as high as $350 billion. "

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Aim fails to climb - YouTube

Aim fails to climb - YouTube:

"The FTSE Aim all-share index after 18 years remains in negative territory, while smaller companies quoted elsewhere have risen more than three-fold. Paul Marsh, of the London Business School, explains his research into this conundrum to John Authers


"

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Political turmoil could impact Mena economy | GulfNews.com

Political turmoil could impact Mena economy | GulfNews.com:

"The World Bank on Tuesday said in a report that political turmoil will adversely impact the developing economies of the Middle East and North Africa, which remain depressed.
According to the World Bank’s twice-yearly “Global Economic Prospects”, political turmoil in Egypt, stalemate in Tunisia and an escalation of the civil war in Syria, with spill overs to neighbouring Lebanon and Jordan, have weakened activity in the oil importing countries.
“At the same time, security setbacks, strikes, infrastructure problems, and in the case of Iran, international sanctions, have negatively affected oil exporting countries,” the report states."

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Saudi King Sees Egypt Too Big to Fail Under Sympathetic Generals - Bloomberg

Saudi King Sees Egypt Too Big to Fail Under Sympathetic Generals - Bloomberg:

"When Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah held talks with Secretary of State John Kerry on Nov. 4, his main concern wasn’t U.S. policy toward Iran’s nuclear program or Syria’s war as the visitors had expected: it was Egypt.

The king, 89, insisted that Egypt was too important to be allowed to fail, according to two people familiar with the talks, who requested anonymity because they weren’t authorized to speak to the media. Abdullah is already acting to make sure it doesn’t, joining other Gulf monarchs to pledge $15 billion in aid since Egypt’s army under Abdelfatah al-Seesi ousted Islamist President Mohamed Mursi in July."

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Davos Defenders of Globalization Fight to Show 2014 Is Not 1914 - Bloomberg

Davos Defenders of Globalization Fight to Show 2014 Is Not 1914 - Bloomberg:

"Davos, the spiritual home of globalization, is having to defend its vision.

As the Swiss ski resort prepares to host its next who’s who of decision-makers on Jan. 22-25, the World Economic Forum’s abiding belief that “improving the state of the world” is compatible with closer integration has taken a beating.

The financial crisis that struck in 2008 raised questions about whether globalization was more of a threat than a boon, Bloomberg Businessweek reports in its Jan. 20 issue. Even as recession recedes, its ravages are visible and countries are more inclined to protect trade and their financial markets than become vulnerable again. Charles Collyns, who was assistant U.S. Treasury secretary for international finance, puts it bluntly, saying “globalization has stalled.”"

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