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Thursday, 20 March 2014

Kuwait Regulator May Delay Enforcement Of Governance Rules » Gulf Business

Kuwait Regulator May Delay Enforcement Of Governance Rules » Gulf Business:



"Kuwait’s market watchdog may extend a year-end deadline for listed companies to comply with new corporate governance rules if it finds there are “real obstacles”, the regulator said, after meeting with the commerce minister.



The Capital Markets Authority (CMA) issued the regulations in June 2013, giving companies until the end of 2014 to implement them.



The rules include separating the positions of chairman and chief executive, prompt disclosure of information to the market, and the setting up of internal controls and risk management.



Some corporate executives and investors have welcomed the effort to stamp out suspicious activities and potential conflicts of interest, and several major listed companies have changed their corporate structures accordingly."



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Qatar spending jumped 33% in first half of 2013 | GulfNews.com

Qatar spending jumped 33% in first half of 2013 | GulfNews.com:



"Qatar’s government spending rose nearly 33 per cent to 93.2 billion riyals ($25.6 billion, Dh94.02 billion) in the first half of this fiscal year, speeding up after a slow start to soccer World Cup 2022 projects, data showed on Thursday.



Expenditure in April-September accounts for a little over 44 per cent of the record 210.6 billion riyals Qatar plans to spend in the 2013-14 fiscal year.



The rate of increase compared with the same period a year ago is the fastest since at least 2008, preliminary finance ministry data released by the central bank showed.



The world’s top liquefied natural gas (LNG) exporter spent 70.3 billion riyals in the same period of the previous 2012-13 fiscal year. Qatar’s fiscal year ends in March."



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Iran Marks Persian New Year With a Looming Economic Crisis | TIME.com

Iran Marks Persian New Year With a Looming Economic Crisis | TIME.com:



"This Friday, on the day Iranians celebrate Nowruz, or Persian New Year, Iran's government will enact massive cuts to food and energy subsidies that will hit Iranian consumers hard and may make things difficult for Iranian President Hassan Rouhani



In the seven months since Hassan Rouhani took office as President of Iran, his country’s economy has taken a slight turn for the better. Inflation dropped from 43 percent to 33 percent, while an interim agreement with world powers on Iran’s nuclear program produced some relief from sanctions and access to a portion of previously blocked oil revenues."



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“TIMCHENKO, Gennady… Geneva, Switzerland” | FT Alphaville #EuroMaidan

“TIMCHENKO, Gennady… Geneva, Switzerland” | FT Alphaville:

There’s a familiar name on the latest Specially Designated Nationals List in the US sanctions against Russia…
TIMCHENKO, Gennady (a.k.a. TIMCHENKO, Gennadiy Nikolayevich; a.k.a. TIMCHENKO, Gennady Nikolayevich; a.k.a. TIMTCHENKO, Guennadi), Geneva, Switzerland; DOB 09 Nov 1952; POB Leninakan, Armenia; alt. POB Gyumri, Armenia; nationality Finland; alt. nationality Russia; alt. nationality Armenia (individual) [UKRAINE2]…
Gennady Timchenko is therefore also an EU national on Thursday’s list.
But Mr Timchenko will be better known to financial markets as the co-founder of the privately-held trading house, Gunvor Group, the fourth largest crude oil trader in the world after Glencore, Vitol, and Trafigura. Mr Timchenko also owns a stake in Novatek, the Russian gas producer.
There’s a bank on the list for the first time:
BANK ROSSIYA (f.k.a. AKTSIONERNY BANK RUSSIAN FEDERATION), 2 Liter A Pl. Rastrelli, Saint Petersburg 191124, Russia; SWIFT/BIC ROSY RU 2P; Website www.abr.ru; Email Address bank@abr.ru [UKRAINE2].
Bank Rossiya is privately-held and has an interesting history.
In Putin’s Russia, risk prices you.
Update – More from the US Treasury
Gennady Timchenko is one of the founders of Gunvor, one of the world’s largest independent commodity trading companies involved in the oil and energy markets. Timchenko’s activities in the energy sector have been directly linked to Putin. Putin has investments in Gunvor and may have access to Gunvor funds.
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Qatar to reschedule 15 percent of planned projects, say sources « ASHARQ AL-AWSAT

Qatar to reschedule 15 percent of planned projects, say sources « ASHARQ AL-AWSAT:



"Qatar is likely to reschedule about 15 percent of its planned building projects for coming years and go over budget, amid a push to complete preparations for the 2022 World Cup soccer tournament, sources familiar with government policy said.



After it won the right to host the World Cup in 2010, the tiny nation, with a population of about 2.1 million, announced plans for a raft of projects that would transform it over the following 15 years. They include a new airport, roads, port facilities, railways, stadiums and other infrastructure.



The government has not released a comprehensive, detailed schedule of its construction plans, but analysts estimate they will cost between 140 billion and 200 billion US dollars through the early 2020s, paid for with the country’s vast natural gas wealth. This is expected to provide a bonanza to the foreign construction firms that will do much of the work."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Egypt climbs on large-caps; banks weigh on Oman, Abu Dhabi | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Egypt climbs on large-caps; banks weigh on Oman, Abu Dhabi | Reuters:



"* Egyptian turnover is third-highest this year



* Dubai uptrend continues, but with new drivers



* Abu Dhabi falls after ADCB goes ex-dividend



* Bank Muscat drops on bond conversion



By Olzhas Auyezov

DUBAI, March 20 (Reuters) - Egyptian investors continued to scoop up blue chips and property stocks on Thursday, driving up the market on increased volume, while banking shares dragged down Abu Dhabi and Oman.



Egypt's bourse rose 2.1 percent, with the major gainers including Commercial International Bank, Global Telecom and Telecom Egypt as well as several property developers. Trading volume was the third largest this year.



Ali Adou, portfolio manager at The National Investor, said the rally was mainly driven by a stabilising political environment in Egypt and the central bank's move last week to ease the repatriation of profits by foreigners.



"Also, valuations in Egypt are attractive compared to other emerging markets," he said."



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Police Seize Russian Factory of Ukrainian Confectioner Roshen | The Moscow Times #EuroMaidan

Police Seize Russian Factory of Ukrainian Confectioner Roshen | The Moscow Times:



"Police have seized a chocolate factory in the Russian city of Lipetsk belonging to Ukrainian confectioner Roshen, Ukraine's Foreign and Economic Ministries said Thursday.



A company spokeswoman said that the police's presence at the factory was the result of a criminal case being opened against Roshen in Russia, though the suspected crimes are unknown, Reuters reported. She added that the company's Russian accounts were frozen last week.



A statement from the Ukrainian ministries said that Russian riot police had taken control of the facility on Wednesday without producing any documents and that Roshen executives had not received any official warnings.



The ministries added that the seizure of assets in Russia violates international law and the principle of private property, also cautioning that the episode "set a dangerous precedent, which could backfire.""



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Guest post: Ukraine’s debt — now comes the interesting bit | FT Alphaville #EuroMaidan

Guest post: Ukraine’s debt — now comes the interesting bit | FT Alphaville:



"When your creditor takes some of your territory — can you make that territory take some of your debt? Mitu Gulati, a law professor at Duke University, last wrote for us on Russia’s $3bn Ukrainian bond. With Russia reinforcing its annexation of Crimea, Mitu considers Ukraine’s options with its debt after the secession.



___________



From the standpoint of international financial law, now comes the interesting bit.

One of the murkier aspects of public international law relates to the allocation of the debts of a previously unified country that either breaks apart voluntarily (see the USSR, Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, etc) or involuntarily (see Pakistan/Bangladesh circa 1971). Although breakups and combinations of political units have been going on for millennia, the legal principles governing the allocation of the debts of a previously unified state remain inconsistent.*"



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Price tag for Russian gas to Ukraine could rise to $500 — RT Business #EuroMaidan

Price tag for Russian gas to Ukraine could rise to $500 — RT Business:



"The price of Russian gas to Ukraine could rise to $500 per 1,000 cubic meters, as future developments in relations between Moscow and Kiev remain vague.



From April 1 the price Ukraine pays for Russian gas will go up to $360-$370 per 1,000 cubic metres, after Russia cancelled the discount agreed in late December, Pavel Zavalny, the head of Russian Gas Society told Izvestia newspaper.



In the worst case scenario, and Ukraine decides to take over Russian property, as well as new threats from radical nationalists, the price could jump to as high as to $500, the paper added.



Such a price rise may take place if the Kharkov agreement of 2010 is cancelled. Under its terms, Russia allowed a $100 discount to Ukraine for keeping its fleet in the Crimea, Izvestia quotes its source in Gazprom as saying."



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Exclusive: GrowthGate Capital plans Dubai IPO for logistics firm | Reuters

Exclusive: GrowthGate Capital plans Dubai IPO for logistics firm | Reuters:



"Buyout firm GrowthGate Capital plans to take freight-forwarding company Able Logistics Group public in Dubai around the end of this year, a senior GrowthGate executive told Reuters, in a sign of growing strength in the region's equity markets.



"We aim to make it this year or early next year," Haythem Macki, a partner at GrowthGate, said. "The market is ready for it - there's a lot of liquidity now."



Macki said the share sale was expected to take place on Dubai Financial Market (DFM), the bigger of Dubai's two stock exchanges, which has not seen any initial public offerings since the global financial crisis hit the region in 2009."



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Growth of Qatar's Islamic banks falls - Banking & Finance - ArabianBusiness.com

Growth of Qatar's Islamic banks falls - Banking & Finance - ArabianBusiness.com:



"Asset growth rates at Islamic banks in Qatar have dropped to just above those of their conventional peers, cutting a large lead which the industry held in previous years and suggesting the impact of a regulatory ban on Islamic windows is fading.



Qatar's central bank took the industry by surprise in 2011 when it announced conventional banks would no longer be allowed to run Islamic windows, which are sections of banks that operate according to sharia principles.



Islamic banking services could only be offered by separate, dedicated institutions. This prompted several conventional banks such as HSBC to close their Islamic businesses in Qatar."



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US Advises Funds to Warn Investors About Russian Risk – Report | Business | RIA Novosti #EuroMaidan

US Advises Funds to Warn Investors About Russian Risk – Report | Business | RIA Novosti:



"MOSCOW, March 20 (RIA Novosti) – US financial officials have contacted investment funds with Russian assets and advised them to inform clients about potential risk associated with the crisis in Ukraine, the Reuters news agency reported Thursday.



The commission began counseling investment companies weeks ago, advising them to clearly communicate risks with investors and warning them to have a clear plan of action in case of continued volatility in the Russian stock market, Reuters said citing informed sources.



Russian stocks lost an average of 14 percent of their value in the first half of the month, which analysts largely attributed to the political crisis in Ukraine. Stocks rebounded this week 6.6 percent following a referendum in Ukraine’s Crimea Sunday that saw voters overwhelmingly support reunification with Russia."



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March Cyber Risk Wednesday: Risk and Resilience for the Financial Sector - YouTube

March Cyber Risk Wednesday: Risk and Resilience for the Financial Sector - YouTube: ""



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Bond bears waste little time - YouTube

Bond bears waste little time - YouTube:



"With the Fed still purchasing $55bn of Treasury and mortgage bonds each month, policy remains very accommodative, but should the economy gather pace during the Spring, bond yields, which move inversely to prices, are likely to turn substantially higher.



"



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Gulf Marine Services shares gain up to 4% on London debut | The National

Gulf Marine Services shares gain up to 4% on London debut | The National:



"Shares of Gulf Marine Services, the latest UAE company to list abroad, gained as much as 4 per cent on their first day of public trading in London.



By midafternoon, the offshore vessel provider was trading at 151.25 pence a share, an overall increase of 12 per cent over Friday’s flotation to a limited circle of investors. The IPO values the company at US$787.1 million, below the company’s upper range estimate of $1 billion.



“We’ve gone for a premium listing and it was as successful as we hoped,” said Duncan Anderson, the chief executive. “The actual position was effectively 100 per cent oversubscribed.”"



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OECD tax investigation focuses on MNCs with Mena branches | The National

OECD tax investigation focuses on MNCs with Mena branches | The National:



"Global multinationals in the Middle East and North Africa are bracing themselves for a planned investigation into the taxes they pay in the region.



Rules being drafted by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) will target companies that try to cut the amount of tax they have to pay by shifting profits from highly-taxed nations to those with a lower tax rate."



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DP World profit leaps 26.6 per cent in 2013 | GulfNews.com

DP World profit leaps 26.6 per cent in 2013 | GulfNews.com:



"DP World reported on Thursday a 26.6 per cent increase in net profits for 2013 to $604 million, compared to $555 million in 2012.



The board of DP World is now recommending a total dividend of $190.9 million, or 23 US cents per share. A 10 per cent increase in the ordinary dividend.



The Dubai-headquartered global terminal operator stated that growth was due to strong performances from operational terminals although it faced capacity constraints with a number of key locations.



The company’s revenue in like-for-like terms jumped 3.6 per cent to $3.073 billion, powered by a 4.6 per cent increase in container revenue per TEU (twenty-foot equivalent units).



“Our portfolio remains well positioned to capitalise on the significant medium to long-term growth potential of this industry due to our continued focus on the faster growing markets and stable origin and destination cargo. This positioning combined with our ability to add new capacity will enable us to deliver both earnings growth and shareholder value over the long term,” stated Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, DP World Chairman."



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Och-Ziff Falls After Disclosing Sovereign-Related Probe - Bloomberg

Och-Ziff Falls After Disclosing Sovereign-Related Probe - Bloomberg:



"Och-Ziff Capital Management Group LLC (OZM), the hedge-fund firm run by Daniel Och, fell after saying U.S. regulators are investigating whether it broke bribery laws in accepting an investment from a sovereign wealth fund.



Och-Ziff received subpoenas starting in 2011 from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission as part of a probe into possible violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, the New York-based company said in a regulatory filing yesterday. The Justice Department has requested information from Och-Ziff as part of the same investigation, according to the filing. Its shares fell the most in more than a month.



The sovereign fund referenced by Och-Ziff in its filing is the Libyan Investment Authority, according to a person with knowledge of the matter who asked not to be identified because they weren’t authorized to speak publicly. Regulators have been investigating how the LIA made investment decisions before the toppling of Muammar Qaddafi’s regime in 2011."



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JPMorgan, HSBC Said Planning to Bid for $4 Billion Saudi IPO - Bloomberg

JPMorgan, HSBC Said Planning to Bid for $4 Billion Saudi IPO - Bloomberg:



"JPMorgan Chase & Co. and HSBC Holdings Plc (HSBA) are among banks planning to compete for a role in the largest Saudi Arabian share sale in at least 12 years, according to five people with knowledge of the matter.



The banks will vie with local lenders including Banque Saudi Fransi (BSFR) and Gulf International Bank to be appointed as financial adviser on the sale of a 15 percent stake in Jeddah-based National Commercial Bank, the people said, asking not to be named as the information isn’t public. NCB, as the lender is known, sent out a request for proposals to banks to manage the initial public offering earlier this week, the people said.



The first Saudi bank IPO since 2008 could raise about 16 billion riyals ($4.3 billion) based on NCB’s profits and trading values of other Saudi banks, according to Asim Bukhtiar, head of research at Riyad Capital, the investment-banking unit of Riyad bank. That would surpass the 15 billion-riyal offering by Saudi Telecom Co. (STC) in 2002, according to data compiled by Bloomberg."



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Dubai Banking Analysts Seen Earning Double Bonus of London Peers - Bloomberg

Dubai Banking Analysts Seen Earning Double Bonus of London Peers - Bloomberg:



"Junior bankers in the United Arab Emirates are reaping almost 36 percent more salary than their counterparts in London, with bonuses almost double those paid in the U.K. capital, compensation data provider Emolument said.



Fixed salaries at the analyst level in the U.A.E. average $91,000, compared with $73,000 in London, the group said in an e-mailed statement. Bonuses in the U.A.E., which consists of sheikhdoms including Dubai and Abu Dhabi, averaged $27,000 compared with $14,000. At the associate level, fixed pay in the U.A.E. was $107,000, compared with $108,000 in London, while U.K. bonuses of $40,000 were about 29 percent higher than in the U.A.E.



Dubai, which teetered on the brink of default in 2009, is rebounding as equity and property markets soar. Banks including Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Renaissance Capital are boosting teams in the region and hiring bankers from competitors."



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