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Sunday, 13 April 2014

Eastern Ukraine Violence Brings ‘Crunch Time’ for U.S.,EU - Bloomberg

Eastern Ukraine Violence Brings ‘Crunch Time’ for U.S.,EU - Bloomberg:

"The U.S. and European Union have reached “crunch time” to halt further destabilization in Ukraine and curb any further Russian expansion in the region.

Prospects for a negotiated end to the crisis were set back after camouflaged gunmen fired on government forces near Slovyansk, about 240 kilometers (150 miles) from the Russian frontier in eastern Ukraine. There were casualties on both sides. Russia requested an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council at 8 p.m. in New York.

The U.S. backed Ukraine’s accusation that Russia was behind the violence. Yet the repeated threat of additional sanctions directly targeting Russia’s economy hasn’t prevented such clashes and there’s little likelihood of a military response, according to analysts."

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MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf markets succumb to profit-taking after bumper week | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf markets succumb to profit-taking after bumper week | Reuters:

"* Most markets ease from multi-year highs

* Property stocks weigh on Dubai

* Some blue chips in Abu Dhabi buck the trend

* Most stocks down in Qatar

* Al Rajhi Bank drags down Saudi index after poor Q1 results

By Olzhas Auyezov

DUBAI, April 13 (Reuters) - Most stock markets in the Gulf fell on Sunday as investors booked profits after a particularly strong week and Saudi Arabia's Al Rajhi Bank published first-quarter earnings that missed analysts' estimates.

Dubai's bourse retreated 1.7 percent to 4,759 points after gaining 4.8 percent last week on a relatively light news flow and with most first-quarter results yet to come.

Heavyweight Emaar Properties contributed most to the decline, sliding 2.9 percent to 10.20 dirhams. Shares in most property and construction companies also dropped.

"I think basically it is profit-taking," said Sanyalak Manibhandu, manager of research at NBAD Securities. "DFM made four new 12-month highs last week - it was really pushed up on not much news.""

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Qatar lender CBQ foreign ownership limit upped to 25 pct | Reuters

Qatar lender CBQ foreign ownership limit upped to 25 pct | Reuters:

"Foreign investors can own from Sunday 25 percent of Commercial Bank of Qatar's shares, a statement from the stock exchange said, as the lender becomes the latest firm to loosen ownership restrictions prior to the country's MSCI upgrade.

Listed companies in both Qatar and the United Arab Emirates have been increasing foreign ownership caps with the aim of attracting more international capital when MSCI raises them to emerging market from frontier market status at the end of May.

The upgrade is expected to put the Gulf Arab states on the radar screens of international fund managers and bring billions of dollars of fresh money to the markets, with data showing the inflows of funds have already begun."

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Bahrain’s retail banking rebounds in asset quality and profits |

Bahrain’s retail banking rebounds in asset quality and profits |

"Solid funding, high liquidity and capital positions supported by increased government spending is expected to shore up the asset quality and profitability of Bahrain’s retail banking sector, according to analysts from rating agency Moody’s.

The rating agency has recently changed its outlook on Bahrain’s retail banking system to stable from negative. This reflects banks’ solid funding base and capital buffers, and an economic recovery driven by increased government spending and construction activity that will support banks’ profitability and asset quality.

“We have changed our outlook on Bahrain’s retail banking system to stable from negative. The outlook change reflects the banks’ solid funding, liquidity and capital positions, in addition to our expectation of further economic recovery, fuelled by increased government spending, which will shore-up banks’ profitability and asset quality,” said Khalid Howladar, Vice President-Senior Credit Officer at Moody’s."

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Dubai Stocks Drop Most in Month on Woes Rally Overdone - Bloomberg

Dubai Stocks Drop Most in Month on Woes Rally Overdone - Bloomberg:

"Dubai’s benchmark stock index fell the most in a month, tracking a decline in global markets last week, on investor concern this year’s rally was overdone given prospects for earnings growth. Saudi Arabia’s gauge dropped.

The DFM General Index tumbled 1.7 percent, the most since March 12, to close at 4,759.15 in the emirate. Dubai Islamic Bank PJSC (DIB), the United Arab Emirates’ biggest shariah-compliant bank, declined for a third day. Emaar Properties PJSC (EMAAR), had its steepest drop in a month. Saudi Arabia’s Tadawul All Share Index fell 0.9 percent, while Al Rajhi Bank plunged the most in seven months as first-quarter profit trailed analysts’ estimates.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index and the Nasdaq Composite (CCMP) capped their worst week since 2012 on concern valuations had climbed too high as earnings season starts. Technology stocks led emerging market gauges to the biggest drops in three weeks after the U.S. threatened tougher sanctions against Russia over Ukraine. Dubai’s benchmark index trades at a price to estimated earnings ratio of 18.3 compared with 10.2 for the MSCI Emerging Markets Index, according to data compiled by Bloomberg."

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Oil firms have ‘good chance’ of winning Abu Dhabi concession renewal | The National

Oil firms have ‘good chance’ of winning Abu Dhabi concession renewal | The National:

"The largest US and European oil companies have a “good chance” of winning renewals for Abu Dhabi crude-oil concessions, according to the UAE Energy Minister Suhail Mohammed Al-Mazrouei.

“Unless they aren’t aggressive in giving us value, I think they will have a very good chance,” the minister told reporters at an oil conference in Paris. “They are the best in understanding the field because they have been there for 70 years and we hope they will be among the winners.”

Exxon Mobil, BP, Royal Dutch Shell and Total lost their rights as shareholders in the company operating Abu Dhabi’s onshore oil fields after their joint venture expired"

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Business - UAE banks do great in first quarter

Business - UAE banks do great in first quarter:

"The UAE banking sector performed well during the first quarter of 2014 as total market capitalisation surged 78 per cent following an improving economy, recovering real estate market and a strong rebound in tourism and retail sectors, a report has revealed.

In terms of size, the top 18 listed banks in the UAE have a combined market capitalisation of Dh367 billion as at the end of March 2014, representing roughly 45 per cent of the UAE’s total market cap, according to a latest report from Al Masah Capital.

The investment management firm’s report ranked National Bank of Abu Dhabi, or NBAD, First Gulf Bank and Emirates NBD as the top three lenders in terms of market capitalisation, which stood firm at Dh64.4 billion, Dh63.6 billion and Dh45.9 billion, respectively. The smallest bank by market cap is Ajman Bank at Dh3.3 billion."

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Dubai Under New Scrutiny as Gold Trade Grows - Middle East Real Time - WSJ

Dubai Under New Scrutiny as Gold Trade Grows - Middle East Real Time - WSJ:

"Gold bars and jewelry worth about $75 billion came into and went out of Dubai last year, according to new statistics from the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre, by far a record for the emirate. The figures reflect Dubai’s growth as a hub for the processing, sale and export of gold, but also betoken the added scrutiny that has come with being a trading post for a metal steeped in both opportunity and controversy. 

The volume of gold trade through Dubai last year rose by 73% even as gold demand fell globally, according to the DMCC figures. The reasons behind the increase aren’t entirely clear, but it may be partly down to Iran’s recent use of Dubai as a transit point for gold bought in Turkey. Per the DMCC, Dubai has simply successfully positioned itself as a cheap and easy place for gold traders and refiners to do their work, while benefiting from good local demand.

Processing African gold through Dubai figures to be a point of emphasis for the DMCC and local gold refineries as they look for further growth in the coming years, given the continent’s geographic closeness and rich untapped mining potential. "

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Mesaieed IPO most valued in Mideast | Economy | Saudi Gazette

Mesaieed IPO most valued in Mideast | Economy | Saudi Gazette:

"The recently implemented nearly QR3.3 billion worth Mesaieed Petrochemical Holdings IPO was the largest valued offerings during the first quarter of 2014 in the Middle East, according to Thomson Reuters Deals Intelligence Middle Eastern Investment Banking Analysis on M&A activities.

In a statement, Thomson Reuters’ analysis said initial public offerings (IPO) activities in the region during the first quarter, witnessed a sharp decline of 37 percent compared to the corresponding period last year.
Nadim Najjar, Managing Director, Middle East, Africa, and Russia/CIS, said: “Middle Eastern companies raised $1bn from two IPOs during the first quarter of 2014, a 37 percent decline in IPO activity compared to $1.6 billion from the same period in 2013.”

“The larger of the two IPOs was the $905m offering from Mesaieed Petrochemical Holdings, a unit of state-owned Qatar Petroleum. It was Qatar’s first IPO since 2010. Egypt’s Arabian Cement Company raised $109m in March. As sole bookrunner on the Mesaieed Petrochemical Holdings initial offering, Qatar National Bank took first place in the Q1, 2014 Middle Eastern ECM ranking,” Najjar said."

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Kuwait’s budget remains fixated on oil revenues |

Kuwait’s budget remains fixated on oil revenues |

"For Kuwait’s new fiscal year 2014-15, which started in April, there is cautious optimism concerning revenues while retaining caution on expenditures.

Within the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), Kuwait and Qatar have their fiscal years from April to March end.

The state budget is vital for the well being of the Kuwaiti economy by virtue of constituting some 40 per of gross domestic product (GDP). In fact, its GDP of some $184 billion makes it the fourth largest within the GCC after Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Qatar. Consequently, Kuwait suffers from the phenomenon of a sizable governmental involvement in the economy."

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FDI investment in UAE reached $12b in 2013, projected to cross $14.4b in 2014 |

FDI investment in UAE reached $12b in 2013, projected to cross $14.4b in 2014 |

"Fortress Investments, a leading investment firm operating in the Middle East, says FDI investment in the UAE reached $12 billion (Dh44 billion) in 2013 and is projected to grow 20 per cent in 2014 to reach $14.4 billion.

The estimated growth rate in 2014 would represent a 260 per cent increase over 2008, which reflects huge future growth potential for the UAE economy, according to the investment firm.

“There is phenomenal investor interest in the UAE market. Dubai is now one of the most popular investment destinations among global investors. Many emerging sectors are attracting higher attention from investors, such as reality, ICT, education, tourism and entertainment,” said Hamed Mokhtar, Managing Director at Fortress Investments. “Dubai’s attraction as an investment hotspot was never greater.”"

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Ukraine Sees $7 Billion IMF Funding This Year - Bloomberg #EuroMaidan

Ukraine Sees $7 Billion IMF Funding This Year - Bloomberg:

"Ukraine will probably receive $7 billion in International Monetary Fund financing this year to support the state budget and central bank reserves, Finance Minister Oleksandr Shlapak said.

The east European nation is also seeking further funding from the Group of Seven countries, Shlapak said an interview in Washington yesterday. Of the group’s members, Canada has pledged $200 million and the U.S. has also responded, he said.

The government predicts Ukraine’s economy will shrink 3 percent in 2014, the third recession since 2008, while reserves are at a nine-year low. The country sealed a preliminary accord with the IMF last month for as much as $18 billion in loans during two years, with the agreement unlocking $27 billion in international financing. Ukraine needs about $30 billion through 2015 to “balance the situation,” Shlapak said."

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