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Sunday, 9 March 2014

Times of Oman | News :: Oman plans to divest stake in 11 state-owned companies

Times of Oman | News :: Oman plans to divest stake in 11 state-owned companies:

"Oman government is planning to divest its stake in as many as eleven state-owned companies via initial public offerings in an apparent move to spur stock market trading and pass on the benefits of corporate earnings to the nationals.

"His Excellency Darwish bin Ismail Ali Al Balushi, minister responsible for financial affairs, stated that 11 companies will be floated in the market, probably not all of them this year," Sheikh Abdullah bin Salem Al Salmi, Executive President of Capital Market Authority (CMA), told the Times of Oman in an exclusive interview.

He said that the CMA is working with the Ministry of Finance to work on a plan to decide on the companies as well as the timing for floating the issues. "So, it is easy for investors and the market (in general) to get to know which firm is coming out with an issue and at what point of time."

The Capital Market Authority  chief also noted that the state-owned companies that plan IPOs are non-listed, but declined to name the companies."

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Numerous LNG projects are coming online, a race against time.

Numerous LNG projects are coming online, a race against time.:

"On the topic of increasingly globalized LNG markets, David Ledesma, Independent Consultant and Senior Fellow, Oxford Institute for Energy Studies, showed delegates at the European Gas Conference 2014 an image of Olympic sprinters crossing the finish line to illustrate the race among various LNG players.

He said it was a tale of three phases, the first up to 2014 - “short term-ism”: natural supply disruptions causing volatility, places like Yemen or Nigeria, which had had potential militancy, disrupting gas supplies; fundamental changes in domestic demand

Mr. Ledesma remarked: “We don't in the short-term what's going to happen. I believe Angola's ready to start up – is it going to, will it work? Who knows?

Or what about the 19-20 million tons of LNG which was under construction, most of it in Australia, set to start up in 2014. Again, there was also some uncertainty.

“One thing is clear in this period: potential delays"

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Ukraine Sees Gazprom Charging 37% More for Gas in Second Quarter - Bloomberg #EuroMaidan

Ukraine Sees Gazprom Charging 37% More for Gas in Second Quarter - Bloomberg:

"Ukraine faces a 37 percent increase in the price it pays for Russian natural gas after OAO Gazprom canceled a discount and threatened to cut supplies, Ukrainian Energy Minister Yuri Prodan told reporters today.

Ukraine will pay about $368.50 per 1,000 cubic meters of the fuel in the second quarter, Prodan said. Russia agreed last year to cut the price it charges Ukraine to $268.50. Gazprom rescinded the discount last week and said Ukraine risks a repeat of 2009, when the Moscow-based company reduced shipments during a pricing dispute.

Gazprom, which supplied more than half of Ukraine’s gas last year, agreed to the discount when the nation was governed by President Viktor Yanukovych, who fled to Russia in February after three months of street protests. Russian President Vladimir Putin has refused to acknowledge Kiev’s successor government. Pro-Russian forces have taken up positions in Ukraine’s Crimea region, which will hold a referendum on March 16 on joining Russia."

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Oman court jails businessman to 15 years over bribes

Oman court jails businessman to 15 years over bribes:

"MUSCAT, March 9 (Reuters) - A court in Oman on Sunday sentenced a former executive of an engineering firm to a total of 15 years in jail for five counts of bribery in exchange for contracts from a state-owned oil company. 

The trial, part of a crackdown by the government on corruption in the Western-allied country, was the second against former managing director of Galfar Engineering and Contracting, Mohammed Ali, who was sentenced to three years in jail in January over bribes made to Petroleum Development Oman (PDO).

Ali and two other men convicted earlier this year on bribery charges -- a former executive of Galfar and a Finance Ministry official who had served as head of the tenders committee at PDO -- have appealed against the January sentence.

In the latest case, the prosecutor accused Ali of giving bribes to PDO employees to facilitate the awarding of contracts to his firm."

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MIDEAST STOCKS-Fitch upgrade boosts Saudi shares; Dubai's volume lowest since August | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Fitch upgrade boosts Saudi shares; Dubai's volume lowest since August | Reuters:

"* Fitch upgrades Saudi rating to AA

* Trading volume highest in almost two years

* Signs of shift from physical real estate to equities

* "No fresh money" in Dubai

* Qatar continues bounce after diplomatic tiff

By Nadia Saleem

DUBAI, March 9 (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia's bourse rose to a 68-month high in heavy trade on Sunday after Fitch upgraded the country, while other regional share markets were narrowly mixed because of a lack of catalysts. Dubai's trading volume fell to its lowest level since last August.

Credit rating agency Fitch raised Saudi Arabia's long-term foreign and local currency issuer default ratings to 'AA' from 'AA-', citing strong balance sheets and government efforts to combat unemployment and a housing shortage, as well as the country's labour market reforms.

"The upgrade adds to the popularity of the market for foreign investors, which boosts the morale of local investors," said Abdullah Alawi, assistant general manager and head of research at Aljazira Capital. Foreigners can only invest indirectly in the Saudi market through instruments such as swaps, but their interest has been rising."

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Retail Investors Still Dominate U.A.E. Stocks Trading – NBK Capital - Middle East Real Time - WSJ

Retail Investors Still Dominate U.A.E. Stocks Trading – NBK Capital - Middle East Real Time - WSJ:


Average Daily Trading: DFM and ADX
NBK Capital
Global emerging markets have had a turbulent start to 2014 with investors adjusting to a world with less liquidity as the U.S. Federal Reserve cuts its easy-money program.

But cash isn’t a such a problem in Persian Gulf markets, where retail investors with deep pockets have happily pushed several local markets such as those in the U.A.E. — set to be elevated by index compiler MSCI to emerging, from frontier status, in May — to multiyear highs.

Kuwait-based investment bank NBK Capital says retail investors continue to dominate trading on both U.A.E. markets: Dubai and Abu Dhabi. The contribution of international investors to total trading on the Dubai Financial Market has generally been decreasing since the start of 2013, it said, while also noting that DFM valuations are now becoming richer than those of its GCC peers."

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Dubai’s Competitive Advantage Will Not Last Forever – Experts » Gulf Business #EAFOL

Dubai’s Competitive Advantage Will Not Last Forever – Experts » Gulf Business:

"Dubai needs to diversify its economy further and attract the best talent to retain its competitive edge in the Middle East, according to experts.

Speaking at a panel discussion at Emirates Airline’s Festival of Literature, experts said that the emirate should work on retaining its competitive advantage as other countries in the region build to rival Dubai’s developments.

“Dubai has the tallest building in the world but not for long as others are building…It will happen…you have to be aware that the competitive advantage never lasts,” said Morgen Witzel, a management expert and the author of ‘Management from the Masters’.

“Start thinking about the diverse population here and see how you can leverage other markets. Think seriously about what your Expo policies should be. To me that is the road to sustainable long-term diversification.”

Dubai’s house prices plunged more than 50 per cent in 2009, causing it to nearly default on its debt as the emirate reeled from the effects of the global financial crisis."

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Venture Capital: Crimea and Punishment (E31) - YouTube #EuroMaidan

Venture Capital: Crimea and Punishment (E31) - YouTube:

"This week Katie Pilbeam examines the likelihood of economic sanctions against Russia over the political tensions in Ukraine. With the Russia-EU economic relationship being one of mutual dependence - sanctions would also bite the European economy. Plus, the CEO of Lloyds Bank gets set for a whopping $2.8 million dollar bonus in shares, as taxpayers grit their teeth with frustration. The Potash War could be set for a truce. The world's most famous blonde turns 55 - no - not Katie! And Venture Capital welcomes a new addition to the team - keep watching and all will be re-wheeled!


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Dubai’s Rising House Prices Pose Economic Risk- Expert » Gulf Business

Dubai’s Rising House Prices Pose Economic Risk- Expert » Gulf Business:

"Dubai’s rising house prices are among the largest risks to the emirate’s economy this year, an expert has said.

“One of the risks that Dubai ran back in 2008 to 2009 when its economy got really inflated was that housing prices were rising massively,” said Shady Shaher, senior economist at Standard Chartered, MENA.

“Do not underestimate the risk the housing market can pose for the economy. Housing basket is 40 per cent of total inflation basket and the largest component.

“I think it is only going to accelerate significantly in 2014. So managing growth will be the key element post crisis in Dubai and the UAE,” he said.

Real estate was one of the worst affected sectors during Dubai’s economic crash in 2009. But as the emirate’s economy has recovered so too have property prices rising around 30 per cent in 2013.

Dubai’s real estate authorities have taken various steps to stem increasing house prices. Last year, Dubai’s land department increased the property transaction fee from two to four per cent while a ruling that restricted mortgages for the purchase of property has also come into force."

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IMF is ready to provide assistance to Ukraine | @RussiaBeyond #EuroMaidan

IMF is ready to provide assistance to Ukraine | Russia Beyond The Headlines:

"14:05 March 9, 2014 Interfax

Following consultations with the Ukrainian prime ministers and representatives of the economic bloc of the Ukrainian government in Kyiv on March 6-7, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) stated its readiness to provide assistance to the people of Ukraine and support the economic program of the Cabinet of Ministers, the IMF said in a press release.

According to the document, the IMF mission, which started working in Kyiv on March 4, now continues working. The mission will determine the precise degree to which the country's economy is out of balance and will issue recommendations to the IMF administration on how to proceed on the stabilization of Ukraine's economy.

According to earlier reports, the IMF mission plans to work in Ukraine in the period between March 4 and March 14."

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Goldman Sachs plans to restart equity sales in Mena region | The National

Goldman Sachs plans to restart equity sales in Mena region | The National:

"Goldman Sachs Group, which generated one-third of its profit from trading last year, is restarting Middle East and North Africa equity sales in Dubai, according to two sources.

The fifth-largest bank in the United States by assets is hiring Veer Ramlugon as part of the plans, one of the sources said, asking not to be identified because the matter is not public.

Mr Ramlugon, who declined to comment when contacted, previously worked in Middle East equity and equity-derivative sales at Bank of America Merrill Lynch in Dubai."

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SocGen Sued in U.K. by Libyan Investment Authority - Bloomberg

SocGen Sued in U.K. by Libyan Investment Authority - Bloomberg:

"Societe Generale SA (GLE), France’s second-largest bank, was sued in the U.K. by the Libyan Investment Authority, after the sovereign-wealth fund sued Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) in January over derivatives trades.

The claims against Societe Generale exceed $1.5 billion and involve derivative transactions that took place from 2007 to 2009, a spokesman for LIA, who asked not to be identified, said in an e-mailed statement. 

The case against Paris-based Societe Generale was filed today in London, according to court records. The records don’t include more information about the case.

In its lawsuit against Goldman Sachs filed Jan. 21 in London, LIA accused the New York-based bank of making about $350 million on “worthless” derivatives trades after exerting “undue influence” on managers of the fund, the second-largest sovereign-wealth fund in Africa."

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