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Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Ukrainian Firtash Charged by U.S. in India Mine Scheme (2) - Businessweek #EuroMaidan

Ukrainian Firtash Charged by U.S. in India Mine Scheme (2) - Businessweek:



"Dmitry Firtash, a Ukrainian businessman who amassed his fortune in Russia’s gas trade, was indicted on U.S. bribery charges tied to a $500 million Indian mining project in a case he says is politically motivated. 




Firtash, 48, allegedly conspired with five other men and met with Indian government officials as part of an effort to pay $18.5 million in bribes to facillitate the project, aimed at generating titanium product sales to firms including an Illinois-based company.



``Firtash was the leader of the enterprise,'' Chicago U.S. Attorney Zachary Fardon said today in a statement."



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Move over Heathrow. Now Dubai International is the world's No 1 airport. | Travel | The Guardian

Move over Heathrow. Now Dubai International is the world's No 1 airport. | Travel | The Guardian:



"With its boulevards of plastic palm trees, gleaming silver interior and "Zen Garden" complete with lush ferns and refreshing mist machine, Dubai International is a world away from the much-maligned Heathrow airport.



However, it is not just on pomp and glamour that Britain's flagship transport hub is being outdone. Figures for the first two months of 2014 show that Dubai has overtaken Heathrow as the airport with the largest number of international passengers in the world. It dealt with almost 2 million more in the period, and with a growth rate of 13.5%, it is likely to continue to outpace Heathrow, which remains Europe's busiest airport."



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Qatar Said to Leave Group Seeking Occidental Mideast Stake - Bloomberg

Qatar Said to Leave Group Seeking Occidental Mideast Stake - Bloomberg:



"Qatar’s national oil company has dropped out of a group of state-backed investors seeking to buy a stake in Occidental Petroleum Corp. (OXY)’s Middle East business amid a political dispute in the region, people with knowledge of the matter said.



Still interested in a joint-bid for the stake are Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala Development Co. and Oman Oil, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the matter is not public. Qatar Petroleum is weighing buying some or all of the stake on its own, and is seeking a financial adviser to help it do so, the people said.



Occidental is considering breaking up the assets and selling them to individual countries, Chief Executive Officer Stephen Chazen said last week. The split also creates the possibility of a contest for the 40 percent stake, which is expected to fetch as much as $8 billion, one of the people said. Shares of Occidental rose as much as one percent, and were up 0.7 percent at $95.58 as of 1 p.m. in New York today."



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Ukraine businessman, Indian official charged in U.S. corruption case - chicagotribune.com #EuroMaidan

Ukraine businessman, Indian official charged in U.S. corruption case - chicagotribune.com:



"Ukrainian industrialist Dmitry Firtash, a member of India's parliament, and four others were indicted by a U.S. grand jury for their suspected role in an international corruption scheme, the U.S. Justice Department said on Wednesday.



The indictment, which was returned under seal in June 2013, was made public on Wednesday, a few weeks after prosecutors said they planned to ask Austria to extradite Firtash.



Firtash, who is one of Ukraine's most influential oligarchs, Indian lawmaker K.V.P. Ramachandra Rao, and the other defendants participated in a scheme to bribe Indian government officials in order to gain access to minerals used to make titanium-based products, prosecutors said."



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Russia rethinks dividend policy in context of Ukraine | beyondbrics

Russia rethinks dividend policy in context of Ukraine | beyondbrics:



"Russia is rethinking investor friendly dividend reforms as the Ukrainian crisis weighs on its faltering economy. Rules introduced last year that would oblige state companies to put more of their profits in shareholders’ pockets may be shelved, according to a report out on Wednesday.



Russia has been pushing state companies to pay more generous dividends in an effort to improve the country’s investment image and boost interest in upcoming privatisations. Rules introduced in late 2012 setting a minimum 25 per cent pay out were a step in the right direction but, as often happens with Russian regulations, there was room for interpretation.



Russia gave state companies the “choice” of paying 25 per cent of net income calculated on the basis of their International Financial Reporting Standard accounts or 35 per cent using Russian Accounting Standards. But pressure was applied to get state companies to migrate to IFRS. Do the arithmetic and it’s not difficult to see why. In most cases state companies can get away with paying smaller dividends if they stick with RAS."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Dubai rallies on; Qatar, Abu Dhabi slow | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Dubai rallies on; Qatar, Abu Dhabi slow | Reuters:



"* Property stocks and banks lift Dubai



* Mobile operator du rises before going ex-dividend



* Abu Dhabi flat, dragged down by RAKBANK 




* But Ras Al Khaimah Ceramics up after Reuters interview 




* Telecom Egypt rises on mobile licence offer



By Olzhas Auyezov

DUBAI, April 2 (Reuters) - Dubai's bourse rose to a new multi-year high on Wednesday on the back of banking and property stocks, while markets in Abu Dhabi and Qatar slowed their advance as they neared February peaks.



Dubai's benchmark added 1.2 percent on increasing turnover, reaching its highest level since September 2008. Union Properties rose 5.7 percent and another property developer, Deyaar, surged 8.3 percent.



The emirate's property prices rose about 20 percent last year and continue to grow, boosting the profits of developers and construction firms.



"A lot of investors want to invest in speculative names, the companies that were badly hit in the previous crisis" which offer the biggest upside potential, said Sebastien Henin, head of asset management at The National Investor."



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Dubai's DAMAC launches sukuk at tight end of guidance | Reuters

Dubai's DAMAC launches sukuk at tight end of guidance | Reuters:



"Dubai's DAMAC Real Estate launched its five-year, $650 million sukuk issue on Wednesday at midswaps plus 310 basis points, at the tight end of revised guidance, a document from arrangers showed.



The size of the issue was expanded to $650 million from the originally planned $500 million. Books exceeded $2.8 billion shortly before they closed.



On Tuesday, DAMAC set initial price thoughts for the sukuk at midswaps plus the mid-300s, tightened later that day to the midswaps plus 325 bps area."



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Dubai fraud case: Emails suggest Alexander Downer was asked to lobby on behalf of Marcus Lee - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Dubai fraud case: Emails suggest Alexander Downer was asked to lobby on behalf of Marcus Lee - ABC News:



"An email exchange obtained by the ABC has raised more questions about the involvement of former foreign minister Alexander Downer in the case of two Australian property executives jailed in Dubai.



The ABC's Foreign Correspondent program revealed last night that Mr Downer, while working as a consultant for hire, had written to the country's Crown Prince in 2009 seeking bail for one of the Australians, Matt Joyce.



The approach involved a negotiation of a success fee, estimated at $60,000."



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Goldman Sachs on commodities deals - YouTube

Goldman Sachs on commodities deals - YouTube: ""



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Gulf states to invest over $730 million in tourism infrastructure in Morocco | Reuters

Gulf states to invest over $730 million in tourism infrastructure in Morocco | Reuters:



"The Arab Gulf states fund Wessal Capital will invest 6 billion dirhams ($737 million) in tourism infrastructure in the port of Casablanca, the first in a series of other similar projects planned by the Gulf states, a statement from the royal cabinet said on Tuesday.



Wessal Capital is a joint venture focused on tourism development in Morocco, created by Qatari fund Qatar Holding, the Kuwait Investment Authority's Al Ajial Investments, Abu Dhabi's sovereign wealth fund Aabar , Saudi Investment Fund and Moroccan Fund for Tourism Development (FMDT)."



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China’s first junk bond default highlights risk | beyondbrics

China’s first junk bond default highlights risk | beyondbrics:



"A manufacturer of construction materials has become the first Chinese company to default on a domestic junk bond, a state-owned Chinese newspaper said on Tuesday, compounding investor concerns over which mainland issuers could be next to miss debt repayment obligations.



Xuzhou Zhongsen Tonghao, based in the prosperous but highly indebted province of Jiangsu, was unable to meet interest payments on Rmb180m (US$29m) in bonds it sold to domestic investors last year, according to the 21st Century Business Herald, a state-owned newspaper. The missed interest payment was estimated at Rmb18m, given the 10 per cent coupon on the bond, and took place last Friday.



The missed payment, if confirmed, would become the second default in three weeks in China’s Rmb8.5tn onshore corporate bond market following the failure of Shanghai Chaori Solar Energy to make an Rmb89.8m payment on an Rmb1bn bond in March. Chaori’s bond, unlike Xuzhou Zhongsen’s, was not classified as junk."



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Dubai Rides Boom With an Eye on Bubble - WSJ.com

Dubai Rides Boom With an Eye on Bubble - WSJ.com:



"Last year, when Emaar Properties put a new Dubai residential project on the market, demand was so intense that police eventually had to intervene to control the chaos outside the company's offices.



There has been similar demand for shares of Emaar, which are publicly traded on the main Dubai exchange. The stock of the company—Dubai's largest developer best known for the world's tallest building, the Burj Khalifa—has nearly doubled in value in the past year as investors have looked for a way to participate in Dubai's latest real-estate boom.



The big question now: Will history repeat itself, sending both Dubai and Emaar into another nose dive? 




Some already are voicing concern over signs that another Dubai real-estate bubble is in the making. The country's property market famously blew up in 2009, driving some developers out of business. Emaar's shares fell by 90% between early 2008 and the beginning of 2009."



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RMB influence grows but dollar still reigns supreme - YouTube

RMB influence grows but dollar still reigns supreme - YouTube: ""



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Jafza creates platform for companies to list in UAE stock markets | The National

Jafza creates platform for companies to list in UAE stock markets | The National:



"Jebel Ali Free Zone Authority (Jafza) has opened the door for its 7,300 registered companies to add to the IPO momentum that is building in the emirates.



Jafza said yesterday it has created a new business framework enabling companies in the free zone to apply directly to the regulator to list shares on the Nasdaq Dubai exchange.



Optimism is high for new offerings and the outlook for equities is bullish. Dubai and Abu Dhabi indexes posted gains of 32 per cent and 14 per cent respectively in the first quarter of this year, carrying through last year’s momentum."



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National Bank of Fujairah stands ready for resumed Iran trade | The National

National Bank of Fujairah stands ready for resumed Iran trade | The National:



"National Bank of Fujairah (NBF) expects a boost to its business if sanctions against Iran continue to ease after a thaw in ties with the West last year.



The trade finance lender is among a handful of such specialist banks in the UAE that would get a big chunk of business from trade flows with Iran should the Islamic state return to the fold of the global economy, said Vince Cook, NBF’s chief executive.



Iran suspended part of its nuclear development work in January. The United States and Europe responded by temporarily lifting some of the sanctions that have buckled Iran’s economy in recent years – although these were still limited to a handful of industries, such as car parts and petrochemicals."



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‘Dubai will have growth and sustainability with or without the Expo’ | GulfNews.com

‘Dubai will have growth and sustainability with or without the Expo’ | GulfNews.com:



"When asked if Meydan’s plans for progress into the future, including hosting the 25th running of the Dubai World Cup, were poised to dovetail with the UAE hosting the World Expo in 2020, Al Tayer stated that his sights were fixed on the near future.



“I think we cannot lose sight of the next 12-24 months,” he stated. “We need to plan carefully. Expo 2020 is a nice added value for Dubai and the UAE, but I think that Dubai was on its way to an upturn regardless. Dubai plans for such events and has always been successful. Having the Expo in the year 2020 is just the icing on the cake. If you ask me, Dubai will have growth and sustainability with or without the Expo.”



Providing a perspective to the sudden increase in rentals, following the announcement that Dubai would host the Expo, Al Tayer reasoned, “ I don’t think it is a healthy trend to have uncapped or unreasonable hike in prices by using the Expo 2020 as an excuse."



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JPMorgan Assailed by Russia as Bank Blocks Payment - Bloomberg

JPMorgan Assailed by Russia as Bank Blocks Payment - Bloomberg:



"JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) blocked a payment involving a Russian embassy, a decision described as “illegal and absurd” by the Foreign Ministry in Moscow.



The biggest U.S. bank thwarted a remittance from the Russian embassy in Astana, Kazakhstan, to Sogaz Insurance Group “under the pretext of anti-Russian sanctions imposed by the United States,” the ministry said yesterday in a statement on its website. Sogaz lists OAO Bank Rossiya, a St. Petersburg-based lender facing U.S. sanctions over the Ukrainian crisis, as a strategic partner on its website.



Interfering with the transaction was an “absolutely unacceptable, illegal and absurd decision,” Alexander Lukashevich, a ministry spokesman, said in the statement."



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Russian Fourth-Quarter Growth Unexpectedly Quickens on Exports - Bloomberg

Russian Fourth-Quarter Growth Unexpectedly Quickens on Exports - Bloomberg:



"Russia’s economic expansion unexpectedly accelerated in the fourth quarter, driven by exports, before tension over Ukraine escalated, prompting the U.S. and its allies to impose sanctions against the country. 




Gross domestic product advanced 2 percent in October-December from the same period a year earlier, compared with a revised 1.3 percent in the third quarter, the Federal Statistics Service in Moscow said in an e-mail today. The median estimate of 8 economists in Bloomberg survey was 1.3 percent.



“There shouldn’t be much optimism as export dynamics may slow down, and the only hope will be that weak domestic demand will still be compensated by weak imports,” Dmitry Polevoy, chief economist for Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States at ING Groep NV (INGA) in Moscow, said in an e-mail."



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A Little Less Rich: Qatar Gas Dominance Challenged - Bloomberg

A Little Less Rich: Qatar Gas Dominance Challenged - Bloomberg:



"Blazing gas flares 70 meters high brighten the night sky above Qatar’s Ras Laffan Industrial City. The 295-square-kilometer complex houses the world’s largest assemblage of liquefied natural gas plants and the biggest port for LNG exports on the globe. Ras Laffan chills to a fluid more gas in a year than Canada consumes and then ships it to run electric plants and warm homes from Tokyo to Buenos Aires. The gas facilities within its grounds produce almost a third of the world’s LNG exports, Bloomberg Markets will report in its May issue.



The government takes every precaution against sabotage. Entry to the Industrial City for those who don’t work there is severely restricted; photography inside the facility is forbidden. Ras Laffan is what makes Qatar the richest nation in the world, with a per capita income for its citizens of $101,000 in 2012, according to International Monetary Fund data.



The greatest threat to Qatar’s enormous wealth is competition."



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