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Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Business in the UAE: Improving the desert climate | The Economist

Business in the UAE: Improving the desert climate | The Economist:

"FOREIGN investment is flooding back, the malls are filling with shoppers and deals are being struck: business in the United Arab Emirates is booming once again. The IMF this month upgraded its forecast for the emirates’ economic growth in 2014 from 3.9% to 4.4%.

As memories of the crisis recede, companies are remembering the reasons that make the emirates attractive. The high income of the population, 84% of whom are expatriates, is one. Geography is another. The country is conveniently located between Europe and Asia, with two world-class airlines, Emirates and Etihad."

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UPDATE 1-Oman's Bank Muscat Q1 net profit jumps 59 pct | Reuters

UPDATE 1-Oman's Bank Muscat Q1 net profit jumps 59 pct | Reuters:

"Bank Muscat, Oman's largest lender, missed analysts' expectations despite posting on Wednesday a 59.1 percent jump in its first-quarter net profit, as it didn't repeat a one-off fraud provision that it was forced to make last year.

The bank reported a quarterly profit of 39.76 million rials ($103.3 million) in the three months to March 31 compared to 24.99 million rials in the corresponding period of 2013, a regulatory filing said.

Six analysts polled by Reuters had, on average, forecast a first-quarter profit of 41.6 million rials.

Bank Muscat's profit in the same period last year was hampered by a 15 million rial provision that it took after being caught up in one of the biggest-ever cyber fraud cases."

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News.Az - President Ilham Aliyev: TANAP is the project of the 21st century

News.Az - President Ilham Aliyev: TANAP is the project of the 21st century:


“The work in the oil-gas sector is going on successfully. The industry attracts growing investment both from domestic sources and foreign partners. The new platforms we build, the wells we dig raise our energy potential,” President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has told a meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers.

“The process of gasification also goes on successfully, and I am confident that we will achieve the desired figure shortly. Implementation of TANAP project has already begun. TANAP is the project of the 21st century. Shahdeniz-2, TANAP and TAP are the largest infrastructure projects in Europe. The tenders have already been announced. We will start the construction soon. The project was launched at the end of last year. Preparations have already started. Azerbaijan demonstrates leadership in the implementation of this project,” said the Head of State, AzerTAc reports."

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Exclusive: Bahrain's Ahli United Bank considers sale or merger - sources | Reuters

Exclusive: Bahrain's Ahli United Bank considers sale or merger - sources | Reuters:

"Ahli United Bank (AUB) AUBB.BH, Bahrain's largest lender, is evaluating a sale or a merger with a rival bank in a potential $5 billion (2 billion pounds) deal, several bankers familiar with the situation said.

A deal of this size would be the largest banking transaction in the region for the past 20 years, according to Thomson Reuters data, beating Emirates Bank's $3.7 billion acquisition of National Bank of Dubai in 2007 and Qatar National Bank's (QNBK.QA) $1.9 billion purchase of Societe Generale's Egyptian business in 2012.

It could also mark a revival of significant M&A activity in the Gulf where mergers tend to be difficult because major shareholders - often governments or prominent families - can be reluctant to cede control unless they get a generous price."

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The “Fragile Middle” – Your Guide to the FT Series – beyondbrics - Blogs -

The “Fragile Middle” – Your Guide to the FT Series – beyondbrics - Blogs -


We at the FT have this week been running a series on the “Fragile Middle”, defined as some 2.8bn middle class people in emerging economies who are vulnerable to ebbing fortunes. The issue has been provoking fresh debate on just what it means to be “middle class” in the world today.

Here is a run down on some of our thinking.

Let us know what you think in the comments field below."

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MIDEAST STOCKS-Qatar hits 6-year high, most Gulf markets edge up | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Qatar hits 6-year high, most Gulf markets edge up | Reuters:

"* Qatar index approaching major chart barrier on 2008 peak

* Vodafone Qatar jumps 10 pct daily limit

* Dubai, Abu Dhabi rise but Dubai's turnover weak

* Saudi's Sahara Petrochemical slides after Q1 earnings

* Egypt's Pioneers Holding soars before earnings report

By Olzhas Auyezov

DUBAI, April 16 (Reuters) - Qatar's bourse led gains in the Gulf on Wednesday, followed by markets in the United Arab Emirates, although trading in Dubai was thin. Weak earnings from petrochemicals weighed on Saudi Arabia.

The main Qatar index rose 1.1 percent to 12,454 points, its highest close since June 2008, although it stayed below this month's intra-day peak of 12,466 points. It is nearing major chart resistance at 12,637 points, its 2008 peak, a logical place for its uptrend to pause.

Vodafone Qatar surged its daily limit of 10 percent in heavy trade to a fresh record high of 15.41 riyals. On Sunday the company appointed a new chief business officer and a new chief technology officer from the UAE's du and Pakistan's Mobilink.

Islamic lenders Masraf al Rayan and Qatar Islamic Bank contributed most to the index's increase, adding 3.1 percent and 4.7 percent respectively."

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As Dubai Property Prices Spike, Inflation Concerns Too - Middle East Real Time - WSJ

As Dubai Property Prices Spike, Inflation Concerns Too - Middle East Real Time - WSJ:

"Dubai’s property market is poised to continue its sharp recovery throughout 2014 even as recent price spikes have sparked fresh concerns that the domestic real estate sector is overheating again and excessively pushing up the cost of living in the emirate, according to CBRE.

“The rising cost of living in the emirate is now starting to become a very real concern for many residents, with rentals having risen by an average of 45% during the past two years,” said Mat Green, Head of

Research & Consultancy UAE, CBRE Middle East.

Average Apartment Rents, 2008-1Q2014
Dubai’s apartment rents have jumped 29% in the first quarter compared to last year despite efforts by the authorities to curb speculation and excessive borrowing. CBRE expects 17000 new residential units to be delivered and says while that is still below pre-crisis levels, there is “a danger that further down the line supply could again start to exceed demand fundamentals.”"

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Working class key to EM growth - YouTube

Working class key to EM growth - YouTube: ""

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South Stream says to lay gas pipes via Black Sea in autumn | Reuters

South Stream says to lay gas pipes via Black Sea in autumn | Reuters:

"South Stream consortium plans to start laying pipes via the bed of the Black Sea from Russia to Europe this autumn, it said on Tuesday, despite scepticism over the project's viability due to strained East-West relations.

The consortium said that the first pipe was produced at Russia's OMK plant on Tuesday.

Last month, the head of Italy's oil major Eni, a stakeholder in the project, warned that the 2,400 km (1,500-mile) pipeline, led by Russia's Gazprom GAZP.MM, was in jeopardy due to Russia's actions in Ukraine. 

Besides Gazprom and Eni, the other shareholders in the project are France's EDF and Germany's Wintershall."

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The Peninsula Qatar - Qatar to invest QR664bn in infrastructure

The Peninsula Qatar - Qatar to invest QR664bn in infrastructure:

"Qatar will invest around QR664bn in infrastructure, excluding projects in oil and gas sector, in the next five years, said H E Sheikh Ahmed bin Jassim Al Thani, the Minister of Economy and Trade yesterday.  

“The building materials manufacturing sector is particularly important in Qatar in light of the unprecedented boom in the construction and real estate sector,” said the minister while addressing a conference organsised by the GCC and Yemen Building Materials Manufacturers Forum. 

“It is expected to have an exponential rate of building materials manufacturing activities to execute infrastructure megaprojects. In fact, the estimated value 

of the projects to be executed in the five coming years is QR664bn without including oil and gas projects or private sector ventures,” he said. "

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Ukraine's Economy Is Nearing Collapse | #EuroMaidan

Ukraine's Economy Is Nearing Collapse:

"It almost seems unfair to burden a country with so many problems, but while the attention of Ukraine’s government has been focused on thwarting Russian efforts to destabilize the east the economy has continued to deteriorate rapidly. In a desperate effort to head off inflation (which in March alone was over 3%) and protect the value of the Hryvnia, the Ukrainian central bank hiked its main interest rate from 6.5 to 9.5%. As reported by Bloomberg, the central bank also raised its overnight rate on refinancing loans secured with Ukrainian state securities to 14.5 percent from 7.5 percent and its rate on overnight certificates of deposit to 4.5 percent from 1.5 percent.

While these rate hikes did have some immediate impact (the Hryvnia rose about 8% against the dollar) the longer term implications are much more uncertain. What seems clear is that Ukraine just undertook a very significant amount of monetary tightening in an economy that is reeling (2014 growth had been optimistically forecast at around -3%).  While the Hryvnia might temporarily strengthen, the simple fact is that Ukraine’s already terrible economic outlook just got that much worse."

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Abu Dhabi Global Market chief sounds cooperative note on DIFC | The National

Abu Dhabi Global Market chief sounds cooperative note on DIFC | The National:

"The chairman of the Abu Dhabi Global Market said the capital’s financial centre under construction on Maryah Island has not been designed to compete with the Dubai International Financial Centre, the de facto financial hub in the Middle East.  

“We are extremely proud of the significant economic growth achieved by the UAE since its formation in 1971,” Ahmed Al Sayegh told King Juan Carlos of Spain and his delegation yesterday. “As a result, our nation can already easily sustain two financial centres, and there are ambitious plans for further economic growth. So I would like to emphasise that the Global Market and DIFC will not compete. In time, the two centres will complement each other, making the UAE the financial capital for the region.”"

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Etihad Airways revenues rise 27% in first quarter as network expands | The National

Etihad Airways revenues rise 27% in first quarter as network expands | The National:

"Etihad Airways yesterday announced a 27 per cent increase in first-quarter revenue to US$1.4 billion as contributions from its equity partners rose 23 per cent.

The airline’s codeshare and equity partners contributed $223 million compared with $182m in the same quarter last year. However, Etihad’s partners now account for 15.9 per cent of the airline’s total revenues compared with 16.5 per cent last year.

The Abu Dhabi carrier declined to provide profit or cost figures for the first quarter. Etihad stated in an annual report published last month that it had made a profit of $62m last year against revenues of $6.1bn, equating to a margin of just more than 1 per cent."

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An opportunity for both reflection and revelry as DIFC turns 10 | The National

An opportunity for both reflection and revelry as DIFC turns 10 | The National:

"Children’s 10th birthday parties, I know from experience, usually involve mini-discos and sleepovers in the case of girls, and something electronic and expensive for boys.

In the west, 10th wedding anniversaries involve the gift of something made from tin. I get this from Wikipedia, never having made that number personally in any of my nuptial forays (though there is still time.)

I doubt sleepovers, PlayStations or anything tinny will be on the agenda this coming November, however, when the Dubai International Financial Centre celebrates its first decade of existence. Knowing the DIFC, it will be something far more sophisticated, elaborate and precious than any of those."

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Dubai Islamic Bank foreign ownership limit raised |

Dubai Islamic Bank foreign ownership limit raised |

"Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB) on Tuesday announced that Foreign Ownership Limit (FOL) allowed for the bank has been increased by an additional 10 per cent post completion of all regulatory formalities. The new FOL for the bank stands at 25 per cent and will significantly enhance the liquidity available to foreign investors. Already one of the most liquid and highly traded stocks on the exchange, DIB was consistently under pressure from global investors to create additional room to allow investment by interested parties from across the globe.

“Active engagement with international shareholders has been a key focus for us in the recent past”, said Dr. Adnan Chilwan, CEO DIB. “Cognizant of the feedback received, we saw extensive demand for DIB stock from global investors and, though the bank has one of the highest free floats of nearly 60 per cent among listed entities, the Foreign Ownership room available was restricting international buyers.”"

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London retains edge with Middle East investors |

London retains edge with Middle East investors |

"London continues to attract significant attention from foreign buyers and last year the City retained the crown as Europe’s leading real estate investment market, taking 23 per cent of the entire European capital flow.

This is the highest yearly total ever seen in Europe for a single city. Middle East investors were responsible for almost a fifth of that figure. Seventeen per cent, or 5.4 billion euros, of London’s commercial real estate investment originated in the Middle East, up from 7 per cent from 2012.

With such a large proportion of its commercial real estate owned by investors from one region, is London leaving itself exposed — and can it last?

Such is the strength of demand that supply is struggling to keep up. So there is an expectation that this demand will increasingly spread out of London to other UK cities."

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FGB Sets Up $1 Billion Singapore Program to Fund Asian Expansion - Bloomberg

FGB Sets Up $1 Billion Singapore Program to Fund Asian Expansion - Bloomberg:

"First Gulf Bank PJSC (FGB), the United Arab Emirates’ third-biggest lender, said its Singapore branch set up a negotiable certificates of deposit program for as much as $1 billion to expand in Asia Pacific.

The certificates, instruments used by banks to raise money for short periods, may be issued in multiple currencies and will allow FGB to “reach out to a wider range of institutional investors,” the bank said in a statement distributed by PR Newswire today.

The Singapore branch is playing an important role in FGB’s plans to expand internationally and benefit from growing trade between Asia and the Middle East, according to today’s statement. The lender, which is controlled by Abu Dhabi’s ruling Al Nayhan family, plans to raise the contribution of profit from its international business to double digits by 2017 from 5 percent in 2012, Chief Executive Officer Andre Sayegh said last year."

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Brent Crude Falls as China Data Counters Ukraine Tension - Bloomberg

Brent Crude Falls as China Data Counters Ukraine Tension - Bloomberg:

"Brent crude fell for the first time in three days as Chinese data showing a reduced pace of economic growth countered concern that the crisis in Ukraine is escalating. West Texas Intermediate was steady. 

Futures dropped as much as 0.3 percent in London. China’s gross domestic product expanded by a seasonally adjusted 1.4 percent in the first quarter, down from 1.7 percent in the previous three months, according to the National Bureau of Statistics. Ukraine began an offensive against separatists in its restive east, recapturing an airport amid claims that Russian special forces were supporting anti-government groups.

“The headline GDP data wasn’t good,” Sijin Cheng, a commodities analyst at Barclays Plc in Singapore, said by phone today. “Also the market has been preoccupied by all the geopolitics, the tensions. Given that context, the reaction has been relatively muted.”"

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