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Thursday, 6 March 2014

Ukraine Crisis May Boost Demand in Europe for LNG: Hoegh - Bloomberg

Ukraine Crisis May Boost Demand in Europe for LNG: Hoegh - Bloomberg:

"Liquefied natural gas suppliers are readying for increased demand from European countries seeking to diversify access to the fuel amid concern over Russian shipments after its military intervention in Ukraine.

Hoegh LNG Holdings Ltd. and Golar LNG Ltd. this week predicted gains from the dispute in Ukraine, the transit country for more than 15 percent of Europe’s gas use. Demand may boost the need for floating LNG import terminals such as the one Hoegh will deliver to Lithuania this year, Chief Executive Officer Sveinung Stoehle said.

“It will create an extra push in demand,” he said in an interview in Oslo yesterday. “It will put even more focus on energy independence, especially on gas. The only way you can be independent on gas is to import LNG.”

Concern over supply disruptions are showing across the gas market. Exports from Russia to Europe jumped to the highest level in three weeks as buyers built up stocks while U.K. gas prices on March 3 posted the biggest gain since 2011."

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Sovereign funds forum switches HQ | Economy | Saudi Gazette

Sovereign funds forum switches HQ | Economy | Saudi Gazette:

"The International Forum of Sovereign Wealth Funds (IFSWF) announced on Wednesday that it is switching its headquarters from Washington to London. "The decision further reinforces IFSWF's position as a significant global institution," said the group, which represents the world's top sovereign wealth funds (SWFs). Finance minister George Osborne welcomed the "great news", saying it was a "vote of confidence" for the British economy.  "I am determined to secure the UK's position as a world class business and financial cente," he added. The minister said the decision showed that London "is a leading global financial and professional services centre, and an ideal environment for international organizations." The IFSWF chose the British capital because of its "ease of access, ease of doing business, the quality of the legal and regulatory environment and wealth of skilled labour," according to a statement from Osborne's office. – AFP"

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EconoMonitor » Gazprom Threatens to Disrupt Gas Supplies to Europe #EuroMaidan

EconoMonitor : EconoMonitor » Gazprom Threatens to Disrupt Gas Supplies to Europe:

"As U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and European Union leaders threaten that harsh economic sanctions could be imposed on Russia for its intervention in Ukraine, Russian state-controlled natural gas giant Gazprom has threatened to disrupt gas supplies to Europe, turning the Ukraine crisis into a possible trade war.

“Simmering political tensions in Ukraine, that are aggravated by inadequate economic conditions, may cause disruptions of gas supplies to Europe,” Gazprom noted, before adding that it would do its utmost to reduce export risks. “We will further invest into other export-oriented projects such as South Stream and will enhance our LNG (liquefied natural gas) production and export capacity. We will also increase our access to underground gas storage facilities in Europe.”"

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EconoMonitor : EconoMonitor » A Bridge to Kiev #Ukraine #EuroMaidan

EconoMonitor : EconoMonitor » A Bridge to Kiev:

"Much of the public discussion of Ukraine’s financial needs is offtrack.  Most of the focus is on whether the IMF will do a program, and of what size.  But it will be some time before we have a government in place that can make the needed commitments (e.g., raising energy prices and putting fiscal policy on a sustainable track, reforming state enterprises and the energy sector, and addressing corruption), or sufficient clarity about the economic and political conditions that would allow a program to succeed.  The transitional government talks of being a “kamikaze government”, taking tough and unpopular measures, but that could put extraordinary stress on an already fragile coalition.  To try and rush a program would be a mistake, as it would likely be underfunded and subject to conditions the current government cannot or will not stick to.  Meanwhile, the central bank continues to lose reserves (and we don’t know how much of what is left is liquid), the government is having trouble providing basic services, and the banking system is broken."

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MidEast Stocks Mostly Rise, Qatar Tries to Smooth Over Relations with Neighboring Countries -

MidEast Stocks Mostly Rise, Qatar Tries to Smooth Over Relations with Neighboring Countries -

"Middle East stocks mostly rose, with Qatar rallying after the Qatari government appeared conciliatory in its diplomatic dispute with Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.

Those three countries decided to withdraw their ambassadors from Doha on Wednesday, saying Qatar had failed to honor a Gulf Cooperation Council agreement not to back "anyone threatening the security and stability of the GCC" - an apparent reference to Qatar's support of Islamist figures, Reuters reported.

But Qatar responded by pledging its commitment to regional security policies and saying it would not withdraw its own ambassadors, fueling hopes that the dispute could be resolved, the story said.

Meanwhile, Egyptian shares were weighed by weak earnings.

Qatar's main index jumped 2.3% to 11,607 points, Saudi Arabia gained 1% to 9,249 points, Dubai added 1.3% to 4,154 points, Abu Dhabi dipped 0.8% to 4,897 points, Egypt slipped 0.9% to 7,950 points, Kuwait added 0.4% to 7,507 points, Oman eased 0.2% to 7,118 points and Bahrain firmed 0.6% to 1,373 points."

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Open Europe blog: Could Ukrainian shale gas break Ukraine's dependence on Russia? #EuroMaidan

Open Europe blog: Could Ukrainian shale gas break Ukraine's dependence on Russia?:

Could Ukraine's shale gas turn the tables on Russia?
Ukraine is currently both dependant on Russian gas imports (60% of Ukrainian gas comes from Russia) and a major transhipment route for gas to Russia's export markets in the EU. This has historically put Ukraine in a weak position vis-a-vis its eastern neighbour. A fact underlined in the last few days when Gazprom increased the priceit charged following the change of government in Kiev, forcing Ukraine to seek emergency finance from the west.

This could however change. Ukraine has two large shale gas deposits, one (the Lubin basin) in the Ukrainian speaking west and another (the Dniper-Donets basin) in the Russian speaking east. The eastern one has, according to the energy consultancy Advanced Resources International, nearly 76 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) of potentially recoverable gas, the western basin shared by Moldova and Poland another 72.5 (Tcf). For context, the same consultancy suggests there are 26 Tcf in the UK and 136.6 Tct in Poland.
Ukraine is in the middle of Russia's export pipe line to the EU

These deposits are therefore sizeable and close to existing pipelines making both production for domestic consumption and export possible. If Ukraine could attract investment to develop these fields then it could measurably improve its energy and economic independence from Russia.

However, Ukraine should not get its hopes up quite yet. Although large in themselves the deposits are small by US standards (they have 1,161 Tcf  of technically recoverable shale) and for that matter Russian (285 Tcf). It is also unlikely they could come on stream in the near future.

The eastern gas deposit falls within 
Ukraine's Russian speaking regions
The larger, more obvious problem is political instability. The eastern basin falls exclusively in the Russian speaking part of the country and until the impasse with Russia is broken it is unlikely international energy companies would want to sink the investment needed into an unstable political environment. So if energy independence could help Ukraine escape from Russia's orbit and calm the political crisis, it cannot do so until it has settled its current dispute with Russia. Of course Russia knows this too and Ukraine's shale reserves therefore present another factor in this deeply complicated and difficult geopolitical standoff.
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Qatar rift is pivotal test for disunited Gulf families | Reuters

Qatar rift is pivotal test for disunited Gulf families | Reuters:

"A breach between Qatar and some of its Gulf Arab neighbors is a pivotal test for a three-decade-old union of monarchies formed to stand united when threatened by common enemies.

The six neighbors have struggled for years to transform their alliance from a simple security pact into an integrated economy. But plans for a customs union, integrated power grids and a joint military command remain unfinished or unrealized.

Critics of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) blame its inadequacies on petty jealousies, border disputes, or the perceived dominance of its biggest member, Saudi Arabia.

If the allies can no longer reach broad agreement on how to navigate the political troubles afflicting the region, then the main point of their partnership is in question, say analysts."

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Buoyed by Damas Exit, EFG Hermes Plans New Private-Equity Funds - Middle East Real Time - WSJ

Buoyed by Damas Exit, EFG Hermes Plans New Private-Equity Funds - Middle East Real Time - WSJ:

"Egyptian investment bank EFG Hermes is planning to raise money for new private equity funds later this year, betting that investor appetite for Middle Eastern assets is coming back after a long lull.

The sunny disposition stems in part from EFG’s sale this week of a 19% stake in Damas, a Dubai-based gold and jewelry retailer that has stores across the region. EFG sold it for $150 million, having bought it for only $84.5 million less than two years ago. The buyer, the Qatari conglomerate Mannai Corporation, has been consolidating its control over Damas and now fully owns the company.

“I think private equity has been hit over the last two or three years, which is understandable,” said Karim Moussa, the co-head of EFG’s private equity division. “The situation was not great to invest in private companies when every country was blowing up in the Middle East every couple of years. With the currency devaluation in Egypt, it wasn’t a good environment. However, it is still a key corporate finance funding element for growth.”"

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Ukraine's economy wilts under crisis but rescue hopes rise - #EuroMaidan

Ukraine's economy wilts under crisis but rescue hopes rise -

"Ukraine's government said on Wednesday "Russian aggression" in Crimea was hitting the country's economy hard but signaled growing confidence that it will secure international loans and avoid bankruptcy.

Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk painted a picture of economic catastrophe in Ukraine at a government meeting, and set out plans to give more financial independence to the regions and provide the Crimean peninsula with subsidies.

"The Russian aggression on Ukraine's territory is having political and economic consequences," he said in televised remarks sitting with his cabinet in the government headquarters in the capital Kiev.

"The presence of the Russian military on Ukraine's territory is having an extremely negative effect on Ukraine's economy.""

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StanChart -- shaken not stirred? - YouTube

StanChart -- shaken not stirred? - YouTube: ""

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Khalal Al Habtoor: Discipline and resilience prove keys to success | The National #EAFOL

Khalal Al Habtoor: Discipline and resilience prove keys to success | The National:


The self-made billionaire Khalaf Al Habtoor is the chairman of one of the most successful conglomerates in the Arabian Gulf – the Al Habtoor Group. His early ambitions were modest – to move his family out of their palm frond hut into a real house, and some day to own a shop. The small engineering company he developed in 1970 has now morphed into a modern-day global empire, encompassing hotels, property, construction, motors, publishing and education. His latest mega-project, the US$3 billion Al Habtoor City complex is set for completion in 2016. Tomorrow, Mr Al Habtoor, 64, will be discussing Dubai’s development at the Emirates Literature Festival. Here, he talks about his life as an entrepreneur and his future ambitions."

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Abu Dhabi and Dubai among cities with fast growing premium property markets | The National

Abu Dhabi and Dubai among cities with fast growing premium property markets | The National:

"Dubai and Abu Dhabi have been named as two of the world’s fast growing premium property markets, according to research by Knight Frank.

The UAE’s two largest cities took advantage of improved economic indicators and a more stable real estate market to feature in the top 10 fastest-growing property markets in the global real estate consultancy’s Prime International Residential Index (Piri). The findings were contained in its Wealth Report for 2014. 

Dubai and Abu Dhabi property prices increased last year by 17 and 15 per cent respectively, putting the cities in seventh and eighth place in the global rankings."

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UAE central bank chief warns Basel III capital rules could curb SME growth | The National

UAE central bank chief warns Basel III capital rules could curb SME growth | The National:

"The Central Bank governor yesterday warned that Basel III banking rules could curb the growth of small and medium-sized business worldwide.

“Job creation in emerging economies really depends on finding a way outside Basel III restrictions on SME financing that will not contribute to job creation and will probably contribute to creating problems in many emerging and developing economies,” said Sultan Bin Nasser Al Suwaidi at the Global Financial Markets Forum in Abu Dhabi."

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Tamweel executives jailed 10 years for Dh46m Dubai Government land plot scam | The National

Tamweel executives jailed 10 years for Dh46m Dubai Government land plot scam | The National:

"Two Tamweel executives who illegally pocketed Dh46 million by selling plots of land owned by the Dubai Government have been jailed for 10 years each.

A A, 38, who was executive director of the property developer, and A N, 44, the commercial director, were also jointly fined Dh32m and ordered to repay the same amount to Tamweel.

In 2008, the two Emiratis sold two land plots in Jumeirah Lakes Towers and made Dh28m in illegal profits. They also sold a plot at Dubai Marina and made Dh18m in illegal profit.

They denied a charge of embezzlement when they appeared at the Dubai Criminal Court on June 16 last year."

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Emerging Stocks Advance for Third Day as India’s Rupee Rallies - Bloomberg

Emerging Stocks Advance for Third Day as India’s Rupee Rallies - Bloomberg:

"Emerging-market stocks rose for a third day while India’s rupee advanced with developing-nation currencies after the country’s current-account deficit narrowed.

The S&P BSE Sensex Index (SENSEX) traded near a record high and the rupee rallied to the strongest level since Dec. 11 versus the dollar. Indonesia’s rupiah advanced to a 16-week high and South Korea’s won added 0.5 percent. Prada SpA (1913), the Italian maker of handbags, sank to the lowest level since 2012 in Hong Kong after Chinese Finance Minister Lou Jiwei said the government may impose higher taxes on luxury goods.

The MSCI Emerging Markets Index climbed 0.6 percent to 964.95 as of 1:43 p.m. in Hong Kong, poised for the highest close since Feb. 28. India’s current-account deficit in October through December shrank to the smallest in four years, a report showed after the market shut yesterday. Global equities have rebounded as concerns eased that Russia’s military intervention in Ukraine’s Crimea region will spur a broader conflict."

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Ukraine’s Revolutionary Farmers Back in Time to Sow Crops - Bloomberg #EuroMaidan

Ukraine’s Revolutionary Farmers Back in Time to Sow Crops - Bloomberg:

"On five Sundays since protests began in Ukraine, Viktor Skochko made the 600-kilometer (372-mile) round trip from his farm east of Kiev to join demonstrations in the capital that ultimately toppled the government. By each Monday, he was back preparing to sow spring crops.

“There are few smiling faces these days, and everyone is worried,” Skochko, 54, the director of Astarta Holding NV’s Dovzhenko unit in the Poltava region, said by telephone from Yareski village. “But there has been no impact so far on our operations,” said Skochko, who manages 2,900 workers on 43,000 hectares (106,000 acres). “By March 15, we will be 100 percent ready to start the planting campaign, weather permitting.”"

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