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Thursday, 30 January 2014

Shell: comforting times

Qatar Energy Profile: Largest Exporter Of Liquefied Natural Gas In World - Analysis Eurasia Review

Qatar Energy Profile: Largest Exporter Of Liquefied Natural Gas In World - Analysis Eurasia Review:



"Qatar is the largest exporter of liquefied natural gas (LNG) in the world, and the country’s exports of LNG, crude oil, and petroleum products provide a significant portion of government revenues.



Like many of its neighbors, Qatar relies on its energy sector to support its economy. According to the Qatar National Bank (QNB), Qatar’s earnings from its hydrocarbons sector accounted for 60% of the country’s total government revenues over the past five fiscal years (through fiscal year 2012-13). The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimates that Qatar earned $55 billion from net oil exports in 2012, and QNB estimates that the oil and natural gas sector of Qatar accounted for 57.8% of the country’s gross domestic product in 2012."



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EconoMonitor : Thoughts From Across the Atlantic » Turkish Monetary Policy at the Crossroads

EconoMonitor : Thoughts From Across the Atlantic » Turkish Monetary Policy at the Crossroads:



"The Turkish lira has been declining in value for eight months, and the drop has accelerated recently. The decline of the lira has been part of a broader decline in emerging market currencies. However, the depreciation of the Turkish lira has been more extreme. Following the latest drop in the value of the lira, the Turkish central bank made a surprisingly large increase in interest rates on January 28th. The increase was publicly opposed by Prime Minister Erdogan, who has attributed attempts to raise rates to a vague “interest rate lobby”. The disagreement on interest rate policy between the central bank and the prime minister can be interpreted as an attack on central bank independence, although Mr. Erdogan publicly acknowledged the Bank’s independence. The move by the central bank also illustrates the limits on central bank influence imposed by the Policy Trilemma."



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Dubai Back To Being Islamic Capital Of Real Estate - Forbes

Dubai Back To Being Islamic Capital Of Real Estate - Forbes:



"We’ve all seen pictures of the man-made palm tree island off the coast of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.  It sticks out into the Persian Gulf like a spectacle, or better yet a reminder of what oil wealth and human ingenuity can accomplish.



The palm is known as Palm Jumeirah Island, built by Dubai government-owned real estate developer Nakheel in 2005, is not for the middle class.  A house on the “trunk” of that island will cost over $1 million.  A two bedroom, 1,700-square-foot apartment in the Tiara Residences will set you back a cool $1.44 million. 




Supposedly this is what can happen when your government is so rich, it’s main objective — to create jobs, bring in foreign talent, create a multi-cultural futuristic city — is more important than making money.  At least at first."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi, Abu Dhabi bourses buck Gulf downtrend | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi, Abu Dhabi bourses buck Gulf downtrend | Reuters:



"* Saudi banking index up 2.6 pct



 * Abu Dhabi lender FGB climbed 3.1 pct, lifting bourse



 * Global cues weigh on other Gulf mkts



 By Nadia Saleem

DUBAI, Jan 30 (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi bourses bucked a downbeat Gulf trend as earnings and dividend disclosures lured buyers, while other markets tracked a sell-off across global equities.



Saudi banking shares rallied, moving the sector's index up 2.6 percent - its biggest one-day gain in more than four months - after Riyad Bank proposed to double its capital to 30 billion riyals ($8 billion) through bonus shares issued.



Shares in Riyad Bank surged 9.2 percent to their highest since June 2008."



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UAE and Qatar set for a new challenge after MSCI markets upgrade | The National

UAE and Qatar set for a new challenge after MSCI markets upgrade | The National:



"When it kicks in operationally in May, the upgrade of the stock exchanges of the UAE and Qatar to emerging market status will mark a long-awaited milestone for both nations – exposing them to billions of dollars of assets under management from across the world.



But it will also be a milestone for the listings body MSCI. This country and Qatar are the first markets to be upgraded from frontier to emerging since the former status was established in 2007. In this way, the Dubai Financial Market (DFM), Abu Dhabi Stock Exchange and Doha Securities Market are trailblazers.



There has been much speculation on how the upgrade will affect the markets of Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Doha but on the surface the numbers look good. While MSCI Frontier attracts US$2.7 billion worth of funds, MSCI Emerging tracks some $1.4 trillion and the UAE and Qatar will now be ranked alongside such economic giants as Brazil, Russia, India and China."



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Saudi Arabia to give Egypt up to $4 bln in additional aid-report | Reuters

Saudi Arabia to give Egypt up to $4 bln in additional aid-report | Reuters:



"Saudi Arabia is expected to give Egypt up to $4 billion in additional aid in the form of central bank deposits and petroleum products, state-run Al Ahram newspaper reported on Thursday.



Citing an unnamed ministerial source, the newspaper said the package would be worked out during a visit next week to the kingdom by Egypt's interim prime minister Hazem el-Beblawi."



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A Russia investor's wish list for 2014 | Russia Beyond The Headlines

A Russia investor's wish list for 2014 | Russia Beyond The Headlines:



"Russia suffered a poor economic performance in 2013 and the government is desperate to avoid a repeat in 2014. Realizing the goal of returning growth back towards the 3% level will require fiscal and monetary policy changes and faster progress with the reform agenda. With that in mind, an investor’s wish list from the government for 2014 would include:



• Greater efficiency in budget spending, and a shift of resources towards growth-boosting projects and away from nonproductive areas such as defense spending;



• The initiation of cuts to the Central Bank’s benchmark interest rate, and a big cut in the commercial bank’s average lending rate to small businesses;



• An increase in infrastructure spending;



• Greater determination to meet OECD membership conditions, which means improving investors’ perception of Russia, of risk and of the business environment;



• An improvement in corporate governance, especially among state-run companies."



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Vodafone Qatar Q3 Net Loss Narrows » Gulf Business

Vodafone Qatar Q3 Net Loss Narrows » Gulf Business:



"Vodafone Qatar, an affiliate of Vodafone Group, reported a narrowing third-quarter loss on Thursday, Reuters calculations show, helped by a growth in its customer base.



Vodafone, which ended Ooredoo’s domestic monopoly in 2009, made a net loss of QAR53.2 million ($14.61 million) in the three months to Dec. 31, Reuters calculated based on nine-month figures provided by the company. That compares with a loss of QAR87.1 million in the prior-year period. The operator’s financial year starts April 1.



Analysts polled by Reuters on average forecast Vodafone Qatar would make a quarterly loss of QAR72.7 million."



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Gulf carriers like Emirates, Qatar Airways and Etihad slash fares to draw hub traffic from India - The Economic Times

Gulf carriers like Emirates, Qatar Airways and Etihad slash fares to draw hub traffic from India - The Economic Times:



"Gulf carriers which aggressively increased flights to the west in the last two years are now undercutting each others' ticket prices to get the biggest chunk of their hub traffic from India.



For instance, Emirates started this year with discounted ticket fares up to travel in June on destinations as Zurich, London, New York and Houston from Mumbai. The economy class fares under the scheme were Rs 42,099, about a 5%-7% cut on its earlier fares.



The announcement was the premium carrier's seventh since February 2013. Other offers during the year included Mumbai-Dubai business class tickets as low as Rs 57,590. "



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Frankfurt Gas Forum session on commercial prospects and geopolitical risks of East Med gas

Frankfurt Gas Forum session on commercial prospects and geopolitical risks of East Med gas:



"Exactly what will the Vasilikos LNG terminal mean for Cyprus? That question was answered by Nicos Kouyialis, Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, Cyprus, at the Frankfurt Gas Forum in a session dedicated to the commercial prospects and geopolitical risks of Eastern Mediterranean deep offshore gas. 



“Of course we'd like to see Cyprus become an energy hub," he said. "We've taken an important decision, the only one so far, which is the construction of the LNG plant, and this will be the first step in our strategy of becoming an energy hub."
 



Mr. Kouyialis conceded that Cyprus' internal market was very small for the consumption of natural gas. “So we definitely have to look to the external markets – the European market and others in the rest of the world.”"



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Arrest of Billionaire Highlights Political Divisions in Iran - NYTimes.com

Arrest of Billionaire Highlights Political Divisions in Iran - NYTimes.com:



"While international sanctions have made life a struggle for many Iranians, they were a big break for businessman Babak Zanjani, who made a fortune helping the government evade the restrictions on oil sales. He also made enemies.



A $40,000 watch on his wrist and a Tehran football club for a plaything, Zanjani shuttled to meetings on private jets, arranging billions of dollars of oil deals through a network of companies that stretched from Turkey to Malaysia, Tajikistan and the United Arab Emirates, he said last autumn.



"This is my work - sanctions-busting operations," he told Iranian current affairs magazine Aseman.



Under the conservative presidency of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the 39-year-old Zanjani was good enough at his work to amass a fortune of $10 billion - along with debts of a similar scale, he told Aseman - until he was arrested late last month."



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Russell Napier on the implications of Turkey's troubles

Arabian Gulf energy still vital to the US, says former CIA director David Petraeus | The National

Arabian Gulf energy still vital to the US, says former CIA director David Petraeus | The National:



"The US may be becoming an energy superpower but it still considers oil and gas from the Arabian Gulf as vital, according to the former director of the US Central Intelligence Agency.



David Petraeus, the chairman of the KKR Global Institute and former commander of the US Central Command, said that while the energy boom had extended to Canada and Mexico, the Arabian Gulf’s oil and gas still fuelled the US’s trade partners and would for the foreseeable future.



He was speaking at a lecture on the forthcoming North American decades at the Emirates Centre for Strategic Studies and Research last night."



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Bumper UAE bank dividends may be on the way | The National

Bumper UAE bank dividends may be on the way | The National:



"UAE bank shareholders are set to reap bumper dividends after the country’s biggest banks added billions of dirhams in fourth-quarter profits.



A slew of double-digit earnings increases from the UAE’s largest lenders has capped a year defined by rebounding consumer confidence, rising spending and surging property prices.



The Abu Dhabi-based lender First Gulf Bank said yesterday it planned to distribute a 100 per cent dividend, which translates to Dh1 a share, after its profit gained 15 per cent in 2013."



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Regional blocs urged to play positive role in trade promotion | GulfNews.com

Regional blocs urged to play positive role in trade promotion | GulfNews.com:



"Sultan Bin Saeed Al Mansouri, UAE Minister of Economy, on Wednesday called upon regional trade blocs across the world to contribute positively towards the promotion of trade and investment.



Speaking at a session on the ‘Emergence of New Mega-Trading Blocks and their Impact on Global Trade’ at the Partnership Summit 2014 here, Al Mansouri said bilateral and regional trade arrangements should be complementary to the multilateral trading system, adding that they can never be a substitute to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) regulations.



He added that the UAE is pursuing a trade policy based on economic openness and trade liberalisation that has elevated its position from being a regional player to becoming a major international contributor to trade and investment."



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Dubai’s debt management will be key to sustainable growth | GulfNews.com

Dubai’s debt management will be key to sustainable growth | GulfNews.com:



"Finding appropriate funding options and managing the debts of Dubai government and government-related entities (GREs) will not only be key to the success of Expo 2020 but will result in longer term economic benefits from the event, Monica Malik, chief economist of EFG Hermes said.



Private-sector credit growth in the UAE is expected to accelerate between 2014 and 2020. Between 2014 and 2020 both consumption and investment demand will drive the credit growth with larger credit demand coming from the corporate sector.



With already high levels of credit exposures many GREs have, and new credit exposure limits set for these entities by the central bank, analysts say many GREs will have to look for alternative funding options outside of the banking system."



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Yale Grad Trusts in Bank of Baghdad to Help Deliver Iraq Returns - Bloomberg

Yale Grad Trusts in Bank of Baghdad to Help Deliver Iraq Returns - Bloomberg:



"For Grant Felgenhauer, a money manager whose hedge fund owns $110 million of Iraqi equities, the 15 explosions that reverberated across the country in a single day earlier this month weren’t a reason to stop buying.




“The Iraq that is unfolding in Baghdad is not the Iraq you read about in the headlines,” Felgenhauer, a portfolio manager at Euphrates Iraq Fund Ltd., said in a Jan. 16 phone interview from the nation’s capital. “The opportunities offered by Iraqi equities overshadow anything else we see in the world today.”



The Yale University graduate, who formerly traded Russian stocks at Bill Browder’s Hermitage Capital Management in Moscow, returned 28 percent last year with bets on Iraqi shares such as Bank of Baghdad, compared with a 9.5 percent decline for Iraq’s ISX General Index. That helped make New York-based Euphrates the fourth-best performing emerging-market fund managing more than $50 million in 2013, outpacing gains at rivals such as BlackRock Inc., according to data compiled by Bloomberg."



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Russia Raises Stakes for Ukraine as Yanukovych Digs In - Bloomberg | #EuroMaidan

Russia Raises Stakes for Ukraine as Yanukovych Digs In - Bloomberg:



"Russia ramped up pressure on Ukraine with a threat of withholding aid until it forms a new cabinet as President Viktor Yanukovych refused to drop conditions for pardoning protesters, prolonging the country’s crisis.



As President Vladimir Putin warned that Russia would hold aid to Ukraine until the country has a new government, lawmakers in Kiev haggled for 12 hours over amnesty proposals after a string of concessions by the administration. A day after accepting his prime minister’s resignation, Yanukovych pushed through a bill that requires activists to relinquish seized buildings before their comrades in custody are freed.



Yanukovych, 63, is facing calls to resign in protests that have spread from the capital to other cities since his rejection of a European Union association pact in November. The demonstrations turned deadly last week and the turmoil has reignited a tug-of-war between Russia and Europe for influence in the nation of 45 million people. The opposition vowed to stay on the streets."



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