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Monday, 31 March 2014

Qatar’s QNB Said to Hire McKinsey to Advise on Egypt Bank Growth - Bloomberg

Qatar’s QNB Said to Hire McKinsey to Advise on Egypt Bank Growth - Bloomberg:

"Qatar National Bank, the nation’s largest lender, hired McKinsey & Co. to help formulate a strategy for its Egyptian business as it seeks to boost operations, two people with knowledge of the matter said.

The company is helping the state-controlled lender devise a five-year plan for Qatar National Bank Alahly, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private. QNB is working to increase profitability and market share in Egypt, according to one of the people.

QNB bought 97 percent of the lender in March last year from Societe Generale SA (GLE) for $2.45 billion. The Doha-based bank is seeking to expand in Egypt, a country with a population 40-times greater than Qatar’s, even as relations between the two nations deteriorate after the military-backed overthrow of Mohamed Mursi’s Muslim Brotherhood government last July."

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Ukraine wants to regain control of Odessa refinery - minister | Reuters #EuroMaidan

Ukraine wants to regain control of Odessa refinery - minister | Reuters:

"The Kiev government wants control of the Odessa oil refinery to return to Ukrainian hands, interior minister Arsen Avakov said on Monday.

Russian newspaper Kommersant said earlier this month that the refinery's previous owner, Vetek, transferred the plant to Russia's VTB bank after failing to repay the loan which it had received to buy it from Lukoil last year.

Avakov said the refinery was now controlled by a Russian bank, which he did not name.

Vetek is owned by tycoon Serhiy Kurchenko who amassed a large fortune under the presidency of Viktor Yanukovich, who was removed from power last month.

Ukraine's prosecutor general issued a warrant for Kurchenko arrest earlier this month, on suspicion of stealing state property."

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Funds still attracted by China's potential - YouTube

Funds still attracted by China's potential - YouTube: ""

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Converging Interests May Lead to Cooperation Between Israel and Gulf States -

Converging Interests May Lead to Cooperation Between Israel and Gulf States -

"Looking for a potential bright spot in the roiling upheaval of the Middle East, American and Israeli officials meeting in Jerusalem on Monday held out the hope of growing security cooperation between Israel and its Arab neighbors in the Persian Gulf.

That idea, basically unthinkable a few years ago, could be more plausible now because of widespread worry over Iran’s nuclear program, coupled with chaos in Syria and turmoil in Egypt. Even though Saudi Arabia and other gulf countries have long viewed Israel as the Arab world’s biggest adversary, the rise of threats they all share in common is creating a new urgency to find common ground, the officials said. 

Emerging from meetings with his Israeli counterparts on Monday, Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that discussions included “an outreach to other partners who may not have been willing to be partners in the past.”"

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Times of Oman | News :: Oman Oil eyes Oxy’s assets in the Sultanate

Times of Oman | News :: Oman Oil eyes Oxy’s assets in the Sultanate:

"Oman Oil Company, the Sultanate's investment arm, is interested in buying Occidental Petroleum's assets in the country, said a senior official at the Ministry of Oil and Gas.

Occidental (Oxy), which plans to sell its Middle East assets, recently said that it may break up the assets in the Middle East region to sell it to individual countries, rather than its earlier plan to sell it to a consortium, due to the recent political tensions.

Earlier, state investment firms of Oman, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar formed a consortium to buy the US firm's assets in the Middle East, which is estimated to cost around $8 billion. "

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UPDATE 1-Kuwait's Burgan Bank says to raise capital this year | Reuters

UPDATE 1-Kuwait's Burgan Bank says to raise capital this year | Reuters:

"Kuwait's Burgan Bank wants to raise more capital this year to comply with the Basel III banking industry regulations while any acquisitions were unlikely to come soon, the lender's chief executive said on Monday.

The increase, which may happen in the third or fourth quarter of this year, could be "pure capital" or perpetual bonds or both, CEO Eduardo Eguren said, depending on discussions with regulators and shareholders.

"We are discussing this with the central bank," he told reporters on the sidelines of the bank's annual general meeting.

"I know that we may need to increase capital by 20, 30 percent for sure," he said, without giving an exact figure."

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MIDEAST STOCKS-Egypt extends profit-taking bout; Qatar, Bahrain rise | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Egypt extends profit-taking bout; Qatar, Bahrain rise | Reuters:

"* Ex-dividend Raysut Cement drags down Oman

* Omantel also falls as govt starts discounted public offer

* Batelco gains on relaxed price regulations

* Qatar climbs on blue chips, still offers some dividends

By Olzhas Auyezov

DUBAI, March 31 (Reuters) - Egypt's bourse posted its biggest percentage loss in seven months on Monday as local investors continued to book profits on positions built in anticipation of former army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi's run for president.

The main Cairo index tumbled 3.6 percent to 7,805 points, dropping for a third session in a row, as all but two of its 30 consituent stocks closed in the red and trading volume surged again after declining on Sunday.

The market has dropped 8.0 percent over three days. It is still up 15.1 percent year-to-date, having surged on hopes that Sisi, seen by many investors as the best guarantor of stability, would run in this May's elections.

When Sisi finally did announce his candidacy last week, investors started booking profits; the move was amplified by an earnings report by EFG Hermes, which swung to a net loss in 2013 because of one-off charges."

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An outsider’s take on what makes Dubai tick |

An outsider’s take on what makes Dubai tick |

"Visitors to Dubai are often left wonderstruck by its achievements. For most of them, it presents a culture shock beyond description and negates all that they have been conjuring up in their minds about the place.

Whether it is the infrastructure, quality of life, sense of security or even the way people dress, the initial reaction is one of disbelief and it takes a while for reality to set in.

For some visitors, particularly those from the developing world, the Dubai experience has an inspirational dimension that sets them thinking about what they have been missing in their own countries. It is a stark reminder of how their own governments frittered away great opportunities for progress, although hardcore patriots among them would insist that Dubai is quite an ‘unreal’ place and that what is possible here may not be practical elsewhere, given the scale and the depth of problems as well as the burden of history inherited by their countries through the ages."

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Varieties of Value - YouTube

Varieties of Value - YouTube: ""

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Sanctions Gain Plan: China looks to profit in West-Russia jab fest - YouTube

Sanctions Gain Plan: China looks to profit in West-Russia jab fest - YouTube: ""

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S&P expects Ukraine crisis will gradually de-escalate | #EuroMaidan

S&P expects Ukraine crisis will gradually de-escalate:

"The base-case scenario for the further relations between Russia, Ukraine and their international partners will be a trend for a gradual de-escalation of the crisis, reads a report of Standard & Poor's.

S&P said that there is a large likelihood that all conflict issues will be settled.

With the said scenario, Russia's GPD growth will moderately slow in 2014, to 1.2%, and in 2015 it will gradually improve to 2.2%, S&P said.

S&P expects that the ruble will stabilize at the current lower levels, the capital outflow will slow to a modest pace and the inflation pressure will gradually weaken."

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Former Soros Manager Sets Up Frontier Markets Firm in Dubai - Middle East Real Time - WSJ

Former Soros Manager Sets Up Frontier Markets Firm in Dubai - Middle East Real Time - WSJ:

"When money managers set up in the U.A.E., they’re usually either investing in the region or trying to tap the Middle East’s large pools of capital for funds that look elsewhere. Ahmad Zuaiter, however, is doing something a little different: using Dubai as a geographically central base from which to invest in frontier markets globally.

Mr. Zuaiter, who managed money for George Soros until 2011, has been working for more than a year on a new firm called Jadara Capital, based in the Dubai International Financial Centre. He’s now raising money for Jadara’s maiden fund, which will invest in stocks in frontier markets from Argentina to Vietnam and is expected to launch in May or June.

“Most of the asset management firms, particularly in the DIFC, tend to be asset-gathering focused,” Mr. Zuaiter said. “The predominant funds are the ones that export capital out of here. They’re geared toward gathering assets and then finding a product and putting assets in and selling that product. We’re the opposite, in a sense.”"

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Capital begins to return to Arab nations despite problems of political instability -

Capital begins to return to Arab nations despite problems of political instability -

"The world may be recovering from the financial crisis, but the Middle East’s attempts to lure investment have lagged behind during three years of political unrest.

Global foreign direct investment rose 11 per cent in 2013 to $1.46tn, a level comparable with the pre-crisis average, according to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development. West Asia, however, was the only region to witness a fifth consecutive year of declining FDI in 2013, falling another 20 per cent to $38bn.

Saudi Arabia, the largest Arab recipient, faced a decline of 19 per cent to $9.9bn; Unctad said: “The worsening political instability in many parts of the region has caused uncertainty and negatively affected investment.”"

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Qatar Spending To Rise 3.7% To $60bn In 2014/15 » Gulf Business

Qatar Spending To Rise 3.7% To $60bn In 2014/15 » Gulf Business:

"Qatar plans to increase government spending by 3.7 per cent to QAR218.4 billion ($59.98 billion) in the 2014/15 fiscal year, the QNA state news agency said on Sunday, quoting from a budget approved by the Gulf state’s ruler.

The OPEC member state expects a record QAR225.7 billion in revenues, up from QAR218 billion in the previous year’s budget, the agency said. The calculations are based on an assumed oil price of $65 a barrel, QNA added.

The budget is “the largest in the history of the state of Qatar,” Finance Minister Ali Sherif al-Emadi said, according to the agency.

Qatar, the world’s top liquefied natural gas (LNG) exporter, is expected to implement a massive infrastructure building programme in preparation to host the 2022 World Cup soccer tournament."

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Etihad Credit Bureau ready to launch services |

Etihad Credit Bureau ready to launch services |

"Al Etihad Credit Bureau, a federal government company that provides UAE credit reports, announced that it is operationally ready, and prepared to launch its services in line with government directives and the law.

The announcement came after the bureau had completed all necessary testing that ensure law compliance.

The official operational launch will take place once the bureau’s by-laws have been published in the Official Gazette.

The bureau has completed the final steps of its pre-operational phase, including an intensive security audit of the system, penetration testing, and a complete system review. The pre-launch phase also included signing agreements with all the UAE’s financial institutions for the submission of credit data to the bureau."

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Dubai’s office realty yields catching up fast |

Dubai’s office realty yields catching up fast |

"Dubai’s property upturn is no longer just about residential — yields on its commercial property have firmed up at around the 5 per cent mark which could entice investors to give it a serious thought. At a 5 per cent yield for an office in the central business district, Dubai compares favourably against the likes of Munich and Frankfurt (4.5 and 4.7 per cent respectively) and London City (3.75-4.75 per cent) among cities within Europe, Middle East and Africa (Emea), according to Knight Frank’s new report on global capital flows.

Within the Emea territory, Johannesburg’s central business district yields tops, at 8-9 per cent. An improving real estate demand has also driven up yields in Madrid and Barcelona, to 6 and 6.25 per cent respectively.

This year, global transactions on commercial property should be in line for a “at least” 15 per cent growth and take the total past $600 billion (Dh2.2 trillion). Last year, the gross of $536.7 billion was the highest on commercial realty since 2007, Knight Frank records."

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Dashed Ikea Dreams in Ukraine Show Decades Lost to Corruption - Bloomberg #EuroMaidan

Dashed Ikea Dreams in Ukraine Show Decades Lost to Corruption - Bloomberg:

"Almost half of Ukrainians say they desire Ikea products more than any other global brand, yet the largest home-furnishings retailer hasn’t been able to crack the market in a decade of trying. The reason: it won’t pay a bribe.

As Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk’s government rushes to fend off Russia’s expansion and raise the $35 billion it says it needs to avoid default, the country of 45 million faces the more basic problem of rampant graft that no leader has been able to tackle in 23 years of independence.

Stuck between the European Union and its former imperial master Russia, Ukraine has emerged as the most corrupt country on the continent, according to Transparency International. That and “incompetent” leadership are the reason a nation endowed with most of the ingredients needed to create a vibrant economy fell so far behind its peers, according to analysts including Erik Nielsen, chief global economist at UniCredit SpA (UCG) in London."

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Top Saudi IPO Adviser Sees Two Big Years Ahead for Listings - Bloomberg

Top Saudi IPO Adviser Sees Two Big Years Ahead for Listings - Bloomberg:

"Saudi Fransi Capital, the top adviser for initial public offerings in the kingdom since 2012, expects the pace of share sales in the Gulf’s largest stock market to accelerate as equity valuations improve.

“The Saudi market is looking for new issuances and I think we’re going to have two big years for IPOs,” Chief Executive Officer Yasir Al-Rumayyan said in a March 27 phone interview from Riyadh. “Our deal pipeline is really big,” he said, declining to give more details on specific deals.

Saudi Arabian companies are joining counterparts across the Gulf planning to raise funds as asset values and investor demand increase. The investment banking arm of Banque Saudi Fransi (BSFR), a lender part-owned by Credit Agricole (ACA), has advised on 7 equity offerings worth 8.4 billion riyals ($2.4 billion) since 2011, surpassing global banks such as JP Morgan Chase & Co and HSBC Holdings Plc (HSBA) on equity advisory work in the kingdom."

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