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Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Ukraine to Ease Capital Controls as Bailout Buoys Hryvnia - Bloomberg #EuroMaidan

Ukraine to Ease Capital Controls as Bailout Buoys Hryvnia - Bloomberg:

"Ukraine plans to phase out capital controls as a potential $17 billion International Monetary Fund rescue buoys the hryvnia, a document obtained by Bloomberg News shows.

The Natsionalnyi Bank Ukrainy will draw up a plan by the end of July to gradually cancel curbs on foreign-currency sales imposed in February, according to an April 22 letter of intent to the Washington-based lender, obtained by Bloomberg. The bank won’t set new restrictions or expand the existing limits, according to the document, which covers economic policy and is signed by officials including Premier Arseniy Yatsenyuk.

“We aim to maintain the implementation of a flexible foreign-currency policy,” the Ukrainian officials said in a memorandum attached to the letter. “In exceptional cases, the NBU may sell a limited volume of foreign currency to help restrict devaluation expectations.”


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UAE’s RAK Ceramics says big shareholder to sell 30.6% stake - Al Arabiya News

UAE’s RAK Ceramics says big shareholder to sell 30.6% stake - Al Arabiya News:

"Ras Al Khaimah Ceramics said on Tuesday that its founding shareholder had agreed to sell 30.6 percent of his stake in the company to Samena Limestone Co, a company incorporated under the laws of the Cayman Islands.

Sheikh Saud bin Saqr al-Qasimi, a member of the ruling family of Ras Al Khaimah, which is one of the seven United Arab Emirates, has agreed to sell 250 million shares in the company, RAK Ceramics said in a bourse statement.

The ruling family had been exploring a sale of shares in RAK Ceramics, sources had told Reuters in March. The sale still needs UAE regulatory approvals.


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MIDEAST STOCKS-Most Gulf markets weak; Dubai gains in muted trade | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Most Gulf markets weak; Dubai gains in muted trade | Reuters:

"First-quarter results from large-cap companies weighed on bourses in Abu Dhabi and Qatar on Tuesday, while Dubai edged higher in muted trade.

Abu Dhabi's bourse slipped 0.4 percent as shares in National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD) fell 1.7 percent. NBAD, UAE's largest lender by market value, reported a flat first-quarter profit on Monday and warned that competition was beginning to be squeeze margins.

Shares in another large lender, First Gulf Bank, slid 0.9 percent.

Food and beverage firm Agthia Group gained 2 percent after posting a 32 percent rise in first-quarter profit. The firm earned 49 million dirhams ($13.34 million) in the period, while EFG Hermes had forecast its profit at 42.3 million dirhams.


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Standard & Poor's Bombards Russia With Downgrades | News | The Moscow Times

Standard & Poor's Bombards Russia With Downgrades | News | The Moscow Times:

"After cutting Russia's credit rating to near-junk status last week, Standard & Poor's has turned its downgrade gun on the country's blue chips, major cities and regions, lowering ratings and slapping negative outlooks on companies including Gazprom, Rosneft and VTB bank.

Besides raising the cost of borrowing and damaging the Russian economy, S&P's offensive may end up undermining the position of Western ratings agencies in Russia, feeding a conviction among some that the system is rigged against Russia and energizing plans for a Russian credit rating agency.

Citing skyrocketing capital outflows, the hazards created by the crisis in Ukraine and Western sanctions and an oncoming recession, S&P on Friday cut Russia's foreign currency sovereign debt rating from BBB to BBB-, one notch above junk status. Applying a negative outlook, the agency hinted at further downgrades to come.


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MENA military spending to reach $920 billion by 2020: study | Al Akhbar English

MENA military spending to reach $920 billion by 2020: study | Al Akhbar English:

"Military spending between 2014 and 2020 in the Middle East and North Africa will total $920 billion, IHS Global Insight said in a forecast Tuesday.

The US-based consulting firm did not give an overall breakdown at the end of a forum it hosted in Dubai, but said $27 billion will have been injected into the economies of the Arab nations of the Gulf by 2020 from defense deals via offsets.

Offsets are agreements in which a supplier agrees to buy products from the party to whom it is selling, in order to win the buyer as a customer and offset the buyer's outlay.

Guy Anderson, senior principal analyst at IHS Jane's Aerospace, Defence and Security, said Saudi Arabia will gain most from its offset program with $12.6 billion to be added to the OPEC kingpin's economy from such deals by 2020."

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Turkey strategic transit route for European energy markets with Ukraine crisis - ENERGY

Turkey strategic transit route for European energy markets with Ukraine crisis - ENERGY:

"Turkey is emerging as a strategic transit route for natural gas due to the uncertainty surrounding Ukraine following the country’s internal upheaval, according to experts speaking at an April 28 energy conference in Washington.

Senior energy experts discussed Turkey’s energy policy, the importance of natural gas to the Turkish economy, the prospects for Turkey as a gas transit and emerging trading hub, and the energy dimensions of Turkish-U.S. relations, in a Brookings session entitled “Turkey’s Energy Security Calculus: Aspirations and Realities.”

Gareth Winrow, an independent energy expert and a former professor with Istanbul’s Bogazi├ži University, said Turkey had become more important as an alternative energy route to Europe since the violent political turmoil engulfed Ukraine.

Turkey imports three-quarters of its energy and 98 percent of its natural gas, of which Russia supplies 60 percent. Turkey serves as a natural geographical bridge between Europe and Asia, and endeavors to become an energy hub, through which Eastern energy can be supplies to global markets – largely European."

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MSCI to cut weightage of eight major Qatar, UAE stocks - Emirates 24/7

MSCI to cut weightage of eight major Qatar, UAE stocks - Emirates 24/7:

"International equity index compiler MSCI will cut the weightings of eight major Qatar and UAE stocks when it upgrades the countries to emerging market status in May, according to a document seen by Reuters.

The document, sent by MSCI to financial firms at the end of last week, said the weightings of those stocks – four in Qatar and four in the UAE – would be reduced “as they may pose accessibility issues to international institutional investors”.

Repeated calls to MSCI’s London offices for comment were not answered on Monday.

MSCI decided last year to lift Qatar and the UAE to emerging market from frontier market status at the end of May 2014. On May 14, it is to announce the final list of constituents of its revised emerging market index.

This is expected to attract fresh foreign money to the two countries; some analysts have estimated each country could draw over $2 billion. Significant amounts of new money have already started arriving."

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UPDATE 1-China secures Abu Dhabi oil field deal | Reuters

UPDATE 1-China secures Abu Dhabi oil field deal | Reuters:

"China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) has secured the rights to produce and export oil from Abu Dhabi, helping China secure more fuel for its rapid economic growth.

State-run CNPC has expanded over the past decade to over 30 countries around the globe to help secure supplies of the oil and gas that China needs to sustain its economic growth.

Under the latest deal granted by the president of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), China's biggest energy company will help develop several onshore and offshore fields in Abu Dhabi and take a share of any oil produced, UAE state news agency WAM said.

"It's a typical concession, meaning you pay the royalty and then you get the JV (joint venture) share of production," a senior source at CNPC told Reuters."

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BBC News - Has wealth made Qatar happy?

BBC News - Has wealth made Qatar happy?:


Oil and gas have made Qatar the richest country in the world - rich enough to be ready, apparently, to spend $200bn (£120bn) on stadiums and infrastructure for the 2022 World Cup. But has virtually limitless wealth brought the country happiness?

It's still cool enough to sit outside in Qatar's capital, Doha. In another few weeks it will be too hot and most people - those who don't have to work outside - will be retreating indoors to the comfort of air-conditioning.

For now, though, families relax in the afternoon sun on the waterfront Corniche. The view has changed beyond recognition in the last few years. Glass and steel towers rise like an artificial forest from what was once a shoreline of flat sand."

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IHS report says a Chinese economic slump could drop oil price to $50 | The National

IHS report says a Chinese economic slump could drop oil price to $50 | The National:

"A hard landing for the Chinese economy would crimp growth in the Middle East through a fall in oil prices, new research has found.

IHS, a US-based information and analytics provider, said there was a one in four chance that Chinese growth would fall as low as 3 or 4 per cent a year in the coming three to five years, dragging oil prices down to as low as US$50 per barrel.

“A hard landing in China would mean the Middle East would experience weaker exports, lower tourism and business activity and probably a resurgence of risk aversion by global companies due to this new deterioration of the global economic situation, just at the moment when they thought the situation was finally improving,” said the IHS chief economist, Nariman Behravesh."

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NBAD first quarter profit down but ‘momentum continues’ | The National

NBAD first quarter profit down but ‘momentum continues’ | The National:

"National Bank of Abu Dhabi, the biggest publicly traded bank in the UAE, said its first-quarter profit dropped 0.3 per cent year-on-year as interest rates at an eight-year low and competition for consumer clients lowered margins.

While NBAD has had the biggest profit among banks in the first three months of the year, the growth has bucked the trend of what has been buoyant quarterly advances for banks including First Gulf Bank and Emirates NBD, Dubai’s biggest bank.

NBAD’s net income fell to Dh1.406 billion from Dh1.409bn in the first quarter of last year, the Abu Dhabi-based lender said."

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Etihad to inject fresh capital into Air Berlin |

Etihad to inject fresh capital into Air Berlin |

"Etihad Airways is to inject fresh capital into Air Berlin as it tries to stem the losses of its troubled equity partner.

In a statement on Monday, Etihad said it will purchase €300 million (Dh1.5 billion) in convertible bonds from Air Berlin, while the German carrier will issue another €150 million bond for “general corporate financing purposes.”

Etihad said it supports Air Berlin’s restructuring plans, which includes the appointment of a Chief Restructuring Officer, and reaffirmed that it is investing in the German carrier for the long-term."

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DP World gross volumes up 10.5% in Q1 |

DP World gross volumes up 10.5% in Q1 |

"DP World handed 14.3 million TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) in the first quarter of 2014 across its global portfolio of container volumes, marking a 10.5 per cent year-on-year growth, the ports operator said in a statement on Monday.

It added that gross volumes grew by 11.6 per cent on a reported basis as new volumes from London Gateway and Embraport in Brazil contributed to the portfolio.

“First-quarter growth was largely driven by an improved performance from our Asia Pacific, India and UAE terminals, with Europe continuing to show signs of improvement. The UAE delivered a very strong quarter handling 3.6 million TEU, representing growth of 17 per cent,” stated DP World chairman Sultan Ahmad Bin Sulayem."

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Russia Recession Risk Seen Rising on Sanctions - Bloomberg

Russia Recession Risk Seen Rising on Sanctions - Bloomberg:

"Russia faces a fifty-fifty chance of recession, the highest since Bloomberg started to track the measure, as the crisis in Ukraine raises the risk of further sanctions, according to a survey of economists.

The probability of a recession over the next 12 months rose to 50 percent, the highest since the first such Bloomberg survey in June 2012, according to the median estimate of eight economists surveyed before the U.S. and the European Union announced their latest salvo of sanctions yesterday. The gauge was at 45 percent last month.

Russia’s annexation of Crimea a month ago prompted the U.S. and EU sanctions, threatening to tip the $2 trillion dollar economy into a recession. Capital outflow amounted to $50.6 billion in the first three months of 2014 from $27.5 billion a year earlier. That compares with $63 billion in all of 2013."

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Brain Drain Blights Iran’s Economy as Investors Wait in Wings - Bloomberg

Brain Drain Blights Iran’s Economy as Investors Wait in Wings - Bloomberg:

"Drawing on a cigarette at his flat in central Tehran, Araz Alipour counts on one hand his college friends who have chosen to build a career in Iran.

“Easily 90 percent of them have gone overseas,” the 29-year-old software developer said, reflecting on a middle-class flight that has seen many of the nation’s best scientists and engineers leave. “Of my 45 university classmates, I guess maybe five are left.”

Photographs of new cars, homes and expanding families posted on Facebook and Instagram document some of the tens of thousands of Iranian lives transplanted each year, mainly to Europe and North America. Seyyed Hassan Hosseini, deputy chief of Iran’s National Elites Foundation, said on April 20 that over the past two years at least 40 percent of top-performing students in science and engineering left the Persian Gulf nation."

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Davis’s X2 Said to Study BHP Assets Bid With Abu Dhabi Support - Bloomberg

Davis’s X2 Said to Study BHP Assets Bid With Abu Dhabi Support - Bloomberg:

"Former Xstrata Plc Chief Executive Officer Mick Davis is studying making a bid for BHP Billiton Ltd. thermal coal and nickel assets after raising funds from investors including Abu Dhabi’s sovereign wealth fund, according to a person with knowledge of the matter.

Davis’s X2 Resources is weighing an offer for the BHP assets after raising as much as $3.75 billion from five investors last month, said the person, who asked not to be named as the information isn’t public. 

There is no certainty that X2 will make an offer to BHP, and the world’s largest mining company hasn’t said it has identified any operations that it wishes to sell."

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