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Wednesday, 19 March 2014

MIDEAST STOCKS-Blue chips lift Kuwait, Egypt; Gulf muted | Reuters

REFILE-MIDEAST STOCKS-Blue chips lift Kuwait, Egypt; Gulf muted | Reuters:



"* Kuwait's NBK, Zain gain on MSCI index reshuffle expectations



* Kuwait likely to get fund inflows once UAE, Qatar are upgraded



* Large-caps, property stocks rise in Egypt



* Dubai's Emaar retreats, but Arabtec rallies after Q4 results



* Other markets edge lower



By Olzhas Auyezov

DUBAI, March 19 (Reuters) - Kuwait blue-chip stocks rose on Wednesday on expectations they would soon have a larger weighting on MSCI's frontier market index, while Egyptian investors sought large-caps that had lagged recent rallies.



These trends helped these two markets outperform an otherwise soft region.



National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) and mobile operator Zain, gained 3.2 percent and 1.5 percent, dominating Kuwait local trading as the index rose 1.1 percent.



Analysts believe Kuwaiti blue chips will have a bigger weighting on MSCI's frontier market index and consequently will attract more foreign investors when the United Arab Emirates and Qatar are upgraded to the emerging markets in May."



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Are plans for Crimean oil and gas sale in Russia’s interest? | Russia Beyond The Headlines

Are plans for Crimean oil and gas sale in Russia’s interest? | Russia Beyond The Headlines:



"The speaker of the Crimean parliament, Vladimir Konstantinov, has announced plans by the Crimean authorities to fully nationalize the assets of Black Sea gas company Chernomorneftegaz and then sell them to a Russian state company, possibly Gazprom. "These are our deposits and we shall fight for them," he said in a recent interview with news agency RIA Novosti. At the same time, Konstantinov suggested that "oil and gas production should be dealt with by Russia and Gazprom, as it is not our story.""



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Dubai Plans to Set Up World’s First Shariah-Compliant Ex-Im Bank - Middle East Real Time - WSJ

Dubai Plans to Set Up World’s First Shariah-Compliant Ex-Im Bank - Middle East Real Time - WSJ:



"The government of Dubai is considering setting up an export and import bank, the first time such a body would be established according to Islamic finance principles, to further strengthen trade flows in and out of the emirate.



Dubai’s Department of Economic Development on Wednesday said it has enlisted Noor Investment Group to conduct a feasibility study for the Ex-Im bank project, which would adhere to shariah-compliant rules. Islamic finance avoids charging and receiving interest and also bans investing in sectors such as gambling that are deemed unethical according to religious norms.



“It is worth mentioning that Dubai Exim Bank will be the first sharia compliant bank of its kind in the whole world,” noted Ahmed Al Janahi, deputy chief executive of Noor Investment Group.



To establish a shariah-compliant institution fits in with Dubai’s wider push to become a capital of the global Islamic economy, an ambition the emirate’s ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum spelled out last year."



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Spotlight cast on how wealthy in the Middle East spend their cash | The National

Spotlight cast on how wealthy in the Middle East spend their cash | The National:



"There is nothing so fascinating as other people’s money. We seem to have an endless appetite for rich lists and power lists, all predicated on the fact that the wealthy are intrinsically interesting.



Khaled Sifri understands that, and also understands, as the head of Emirates Investment Bank (EIBank), the importance of what the bankers call “high net worth individuals” in the financial industry, and in the role they play in the economy.



That is why Mr Sifri commissioned the bank’s first survey of the investment habits of some of the wealthier individuals in the region. The EIBank’s GCC Wealth Insight Report, published yesterday, is a fascinating look at how the well-off see the regional and global investment scene, and how they intend to make their money work for them."



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UAE tops HSBC’s global trade confidence index | GulfNews.com

UAE tops HSBC’s global trade confidence index | GulfNews.com:



"The UAE has scored the highest in the HSBC Trade Confidence Index (TCI) with the near-term trade prospects of the country viewed as very favourable based on a survey of 5,800 exporters, importers and traders from small and mid-market enterprises.



The HSBC Trade Confidence Index survey is conducted in 23 markets and is the largest trade confidence survey globally. It takes the views on trade volumes, risk to suppliers, need and access to trade finance, impact of exchange rates and regulation.



Confidence among businesses in the UAE on the short-term outlook for trade has reached an all-time high since 2009 — jumping nine points to 141, according to the latest HSBC Trade Confidence Index."



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Firtash Seeking Funds to Get Out of ‘Political’ Custody - Bloomberg #EuroMaidan

Firtash Seeking Funds to Get Out of ‘Political’ Custody - Bloomberg:



"Dmitry Firtash, the Ukrainian billionaire held on a U.S. warrant in Vienna, said he needs a few days to raise a record 125 million-euro ($174 million) bail to get out of custody he criticized as politically motivated.



“The reason for my detention in Vienna last week was without foundation and I believe strongly that the motivation was purely political,” Firtash, 48, said in a statement e-mailed by his spokesman. “My detention will seriously threaten many Ukrainian jobs and destroy my business.”



Firtash was jailed March 12, days before Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula voted to join Russia in a ballot rejected as “illegal” by the U.S. and the European Union. U.S. authorities allege he paid bribes and formed a criminal organization. The Vienna criminal court now has to decide on a U.S. extradition request for Firtash.



Firtash probably won’t be released on bail before March 21, his spokesman, Daniel Kapp, said via e-mail. Vienna’s criminal court on March 14 set the highest bond ever fixed in Austria, surpassing the 100 million euros banker Julius Meinl V had to pay in 2008."



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Russian Stocks Rally as Putin Says No Plans to Divide Ukraine - Bloomberg

Russian Stocks Rally as Putin Says No Plans to Divide Ukraine - Bloomberg:



"Russian stocks rallied after President Vladimir Putin said he wasn’t seeking to split up Ukraine following the Crimea region’s admission to the Russian Federation. The Finance Ministry pulled its sixth bond auction this year after borrowing costs climbed.



The Micex Index (INDEXCF), which slumped into a bear market last week, closed up 4.1 percent at 1,335.86, the strongest two-day gain since May 2010. Yields on government bonds due February 2027 fell 14 basis points to 9.22 percent. The ruble slipped 0.1 percent to 42.7758 against Bank Rossii’s target basket of dollars and euros.



Russia wishes no harm to Ukraine and has no ambitions in other regions, Putin said today, before asking lawmakers to approve Crimea’s accession. Markets climbed yesterday as investors wagered European Union and U.S. sanctions targeting Russian and Ukrainian officials would have little impact."



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Dubai’s Thuraya Seeks Partners for Satellite Expansion in U.S. - Bloomberg

Dubai’s Thuraya Seeks Partners for Satellite Expansion in U.S. - Bloomberg:



"Thuraya Telecommunications Co., the Dubai-based provider of mobile-satellite services in Europe, Australia and Asia, is looking to expand to the U.S., Chief Executive Officer Samer Halawi said.



Thuraya is talking with financial backers and may consider buying spectrum or satellites to start a service in the U.S., he said. The company may also seek agreements to attach its equipment to satellites owned by providers that already have U.S. coverage, Halawi said in an interview. Shareholders of Thuraya, a private joint-stock company, include Boeing Co., Third Point LLC and Jefferies Group LLC.



A U.S. expansion would help Thuraya increase its customer base, boosting profit margins, Halawi said. The company, which serves clients in the government, oil and gas and other industries, booked $122 million in sales last year, and expects to reach $200 million in revenue by 2018, he said. It should become profitable within two years, he said."



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