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Monday, 12 May 2014

Ukraine, EBRD Sign Anti-Corruption Initiative -

Ukraine, EBRD Sign Anti-Corruption Initiative -

"Ukraine's government has launched an anti-corruption initiative with international organizations, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, one of the signatories of the agreement, said Monday.

The Ukraine Anti-corruption Initiative aims to improve the country's investment climate and to strengthen its economic outlook by ensuring greater accountability and transparency, as well as a more effective of rule of law.

Since its appointment in early March, the new government of Ukraine has been promising to fight corruption, which is among the highest in post-Communist countries.

A recent improvement in Ukraine's rankings in the World Bank's Doing Business Survey still leaves the economy at number 112, showing how much more work has to be done to attract much-needed capital and technology, the EBRD said"

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Money talks: May 12th 2014 - YouTube

Money talks: May 12th 2014 - YouTube: ""

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Simple in Seattle - YouTube

Simple in Seattle - YouTube: ""

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MIDEAST STOCKS-Qatar makes fresh breakthrough; other mkts recover | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Qatar makes fresh breakthrough; other mkts recover | Reuters:

"Qatar's bourse continued to conquer new highs on Monday while markets in the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia recovered from the previous day's profit-taking.

The Doha benchmark rose 0.6 percent to a new all-time closing high of 13,067 points. The measure closed just below the 2005 intra-day high of 13,069 but set a new intra-day peak of 13,080 points earlier in the day.

Ali Adou, portfolio manager at The National Investor, said the two major factors driving growth in Qatar's market were valuations and the performance of the UAE markets, especially Dubai, which this month will, together with Qatar, move to the emerging market index compiled by MSCI.

Although Qatar trades close to the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) average in terms of price-to-earnings ratio, the massive spending planned by its government could justify higher multiples, Adou said."

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Dubai hotel occupancy climbs to pre-crisis levels | The National

Dubai hotel occupancy climbs to pre-crisis levels | The National:

"Dubai hotel occupancy levels climbed back to their pre-crisis peak last month despite an increase in supply over the past seven years as business travel lifted demand.

Hotels experienced a 2.2 per cent rise in occupancy to 84.8 per cent for the month and an 11.4 per cent increase year-on-year in the average daily rate to Dh1,065, according to STR Global. 

A growth in demand spurred occupancy levels to a seven-year high last month. 

“With a rising level of economic confidence in the market, business travel is again on the rise and the hotels in Dubai are enjoying substantial demand as a result,” said Grant Salter, the director of tourism, hospitality and leisure industry at Deloitte Middle East."

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Russia: Historic 30-yr gas deal with China set to be signed next week — RT Business

Russia: Historic 30-yr gas deal with China set to be signed next week — RT Business:

"A historic, long-term deal for the delivery of Russian gas to China that has been 10 years in the making is 98 percent ready, Russia’s Deputy Energy Minister Anatoly Yanovsky has said. All that’s needed are the two countries’ signatures, he added.

"We hope that the negotiations will be completed as scheduled," Reuters quoted Yanovsky as saying.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is due in the Chinese capital next week where the nations are widely expected to sign the deal. The contract’s been in the making for the last 10 years and in March 2013 resulted in signing of a delivery memorandum between Russia’s Gazprom and China’s CNPC. The terms of the pipeline delivery contract outline Russia’s intention to supply China with 38 billion cubic meters of gas per annum for 30 years, starting in 2018."

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RusAl to Change Terms of $3.6Bln Debt | News | The Moscow Times

RusAl to Change Terms of $3.6Bln Debt | News | The Moscow Times:

"Aluminum giant RusAl said it expects to reach an agreement with lenders soon to revise the terms of its $3.6 billion syndicated debt, as it struggles to repay its loans amid depressed aluminum prices.

The loss-making company also called on major producers, including in China, to cut aluminum output to aid a recovery in prices.

The world's biggest aluminum producer won a deal with lenders in April to defer the repayment dates of syndicated facilities by three months until July 7.

"We are currently finalizing the terms with the remaining banks and we hope to close the deal in the next couple of months," Deputy CEO Oleg Mukhamedshin told reporters in Hong Kong, where the company has its primary listing, after its annual meeting."

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Monitoring body needed for UAE bourses - Emirates 24/7

Monitoring body needed for UAE bourses - Emirates 24/7:

"A leading UAE businessman has called for the creation of a body to monitor the local stock market to ensure more accurate data, warning that lack of transparency by companies will only discourage foreign investors.

Khalaf Al Habtoor, chairman of Al Habtoor Group, one of the region’s largest family business conglomerates, said the UAE has a strong economy and financial system but added this is not enough to lure in foreigners into its bourses.

“We need more compliance by companies listed on the UAE bourse…in this respect, we need to have an autonomous body to monitor the bourse to ensure safe dealings and protect the rights of the investors,” he told Emirates24|7.

“We need to have a more organised bourse if we want global investors to continue investing their funds here…investors need to have confidence in our market if a listed company releases its financial results or makes an announcement…we should work to develop our market in order to compete with such leading markets as New York, London, Paris, Frankfurt and key Asian markets.”"

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Bahraini prince could be tried for torture in Britain | Al Akhbar English #Bahrain

Bahraini prince could be tried for torture in Britain | Al Akhbar English:

"Relations between the kingdoms of Britain and Bahrain are witnessing the first legal engagement in their history, although they are not yet tense. The UK Supreme Court in London ruled last Friday to lift the prohibition on publicizing the name of the Bahraini prince who is accused of torture.

There is also speculation that Bahraini authorities and the accused prince do not want to be legally accountable

After two years of extreme secrecy, the court hearing did not need more than 20 minutes to respond to the demands of the legal team, which filed a lawsuit against the head of the Royal Guards in the Bahrain Defence Forces Prince Nasser bin Hamad bin Issa al-Khalifa, the king of Bahrain's fourth son.

The press can now mention the prince's name, after he was charged with several counts of torture against opponents of his father's rule. The court will hold another hearing next October to consider whether the prince enjoys diplomatic immunity or not, and whether it prevents his arrest and trial inside the UK."

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Central Bank to hunt for Russian officials’ illegal foreign assets — RT Russian politics

Central Bank to hunt for Russian officials’ illegal foreign assets — RT Russian politics:

"The Russian president has charged the Central Bank and the government with the task of developing a working scheme allowing enforcement of the ban on civil servants’ and officials’ foreign assets through cooperation with foreign banks.

The presidential order was prepared after the United States, the EU and several other nations imposed sanctions on a group of Russian officials and top executives in state owned companies. According to the decree, the government and the Central Bank must find a way to receive information from foreign financial institutions or government instances, the Izvestia daily reported.

The newspaper’s unnamed source in the government has stressed that the main objective of the move was to uncover the civil servants who were dodging the ban on foreign assets as the sanctions make such people vulnerable to court action in in foreign jurisdictions, which is against the government’s desires."

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Emirates not looking for stake in Qantas - Your Middle East

Emirates not looking for stake in Qantas - Your Middle East:

"Emirates is not planning to buy a stake in Australian airline Qantas, a report said Monday, despite the government moving to loosen foreign ownership restrictions on the struggling carrier.

Canberra wants to alter ownership rules to allow greater foreign investment in the national airline, to help Qantas raise much-needed capital and put it on a more even footing with domestic competitors.

But Emirates chairman Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed al-Maktoum said his company, the Middle East's largest airline whose profits surged 43 percent in 2013, had no plans to buy a stake.

"As we stated when the partnership began, neither airline is looking to take an equity stake in the other," Sheikh Ahmed told the Australian Financial Review.


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Saudi Arabia Promises to Offset Oil Shortages Caused by Ukraine Crisis | News | The Moscow Times

Saudi Arabia Promises to Offset Oil Shortages Caused by Ukraine Crisis | News | The Moscow Times:

"Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi said Monday the world's top oil exporter was willing to supply markets with more crude oil if rising tensions between Russia and the West over Ukraine cause a shortage.

Russia's military intervention on Ukraine's Crimean peninsula and its aftermath in eastern Ukraine have rattled oil markets for the last few months, keeping benchmark Brent futures near $108 a barrel after hitting $112.39 on March 3, the highest this year.

"We are willing to supply any shortage which may arise," Naimi said. He said the kingdom's current output is around 9.6 million barrels per day, or bpd, while it has a capacity of 12.5 million bpd.

Saudi Arabia produced 9.66 million bpd of crude in April, up from 9.566 million bpd in March, an industry source familiar with the matter said. It supplied 9.650 million bpd to the market, up from 9.533 million bpd in March."

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Expert warns GCC megaprojects could cost 80% more than budget | Economy | Saudi Gazette

Expert warns GCC megaprojects could cost 80% more than budget | Economy | Saudi Gazette:

"With more than $2.5 trillion worth of projects in prospect in the years to 2030, the GCC is set to enjoy one of the greatest construction booms the world has ever seen. 

But there are risks as well as rich prizes for those bidding for major projects in the region, said Anthony Holmes, director of the UK’s Institute for Infrastructure Studies and an internationally recognized authority on the economic impact of megaprojects.

“The chances of there being problems with the region’s megaproject program are enormous,” Holmes said. “Elsewhere in the world, these projects tend to go 40-80 percent over budget. International experience has also shown that big projects don’t get delivered on time.”"

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UK fraud office steps up probe into Barclays’ dealings with Qatar -

UK fraud office steps up probe into Barclays’ dealings with Qatar -

"Bob Diamond, John Varley and other senior members of Barclays’ former management are set to be questioned under caution by the UK’s Serious Fraud Office, in an acceleration of its probe into alleged corrupt arrangements in Qatar as part of the bank’s emergency cash call in 2008.

For Barclays, which launched a restructuring plan last week to improve profitability, the news is an unwelcome reminder of the issues hanging over the bank.


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Deutsche Börse analysts: Russians increasingly worse off because of Ukraine |

Deutsche Börse analysts: Russians increasingly worse off because of Ukraine |

"A Deutsche Börse-owned research company says consumer sentiment in Russia has been going down steadily since the start of the year because of the Ukraine crisis, and that a survey taken last month showed a further decline.

Household finances, short-term business conditions and the spending climate in Russia are all affected by developments in the neighbouring country and their international fallout, German bourse-owned MNI Indicators argues, predicting inevitable further economic woes in Russia this year.

Consumer confidence edged down by a further 0.7% from March to April, according to MNI Indicators, which bases its calculations on monthly surveys. This was the third consecutive monthly fall and left optimism almost 11% down since the start of 2014, the firm said in a report.

Each survey is based on a minimum of 1,000 telephone interviews in cities across Russia, with each interviewee selected randomly by a computer."

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Dubai’s Shuaa Capital reports fourth consecutive profit rise | The National

Dubai’s Shuaa Capital reports fourth consecutive profit rise | The National:

"Shuaa Capital, Dubai’s oldest investment bank, reported a fourth consecutive quarterly profit amid a rebound in capital markets.

Net profit increased to Dh8.2 million from a loss of Dh5.9m in the same period the previous year, it said. Revenues increased 77 per cent to Dh64m as net fees and commissions advanced 135 per cent to Dh15.8m from Dh6.7m. Shuaa released its unaudited first quarter results on April 13.

“We are seeing an improved investment banking pipeline and a larger pool of companies wanting to go public, improving the possibility of more transactions being executed by Shuaa,” said Sheikh Maktoum bin Hasher Al Maktoum, the executive chairman of Shuaa Capital. "

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Analysis: UAE bourses charging upwards | The National

Analysis: UAE bourses charging upwards | The National:

"Market sentiment remains quite bullish as economic growth continues to accelerate and the UAE cements its position at the top of the global equity market leader board.

UAE bourses were strong last month. Abu Dhabi’s index gained 1.8 per cent and Dubai’s benchmark measure rose 11.9 per cent. And as the UAE becomes a part of the MSCI Emerging Market index on June 2, this is likely to drive performance in the short term.

There were two new IPOs – Emirates Reit and Marka – both of which were heavily oversubscribed, indicating strong investor appetite for new issues."

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Dubai International to become low cost carrier hub: executive |

Dubai International to become low cost carrier hub: executive |

"Dubai International will be a low cost carrier airport with flydubai as its anchor tenant when Emirates moves in 2024 to Al maktoum International at Dubai World Central (DWC), said a Dubai aviation industry executive.

Khalifa Al Zafein, Executive Chairman of Dubai Aviation City Corporation (DACC), said flydubai will split its operations between Al Maktoum International and Dubai International over the next decade. The Dubai discount carrier will then move all operations back to Dubai International to make room for Emirates, he said.

Al Zafein’s comments, which came on the sidelines of the Airport Show on Sunday, confirm a report by Bloomberg last week quoting a leaked study that recommended Emirates shift its hub to Al Maktoum International in 2024."

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Sberbank Leads Best Russian Weekly ADR Gain in 10 Months - Bloomberg

Sberbank Leads Best Russian Weekly ADR Gain in 10 Months - Bloomberg:

"Russian equities surged the most last week in 10 months, led by OAO Sberbank, as President Vladimir Putin’s pledge to withdraw troops from the Ukraine border spurred speculation the crisis may be easing. 

The Bloomberg index of the most-traded Russian stocks in the U.S. surged 5.2 percent last week, its biggest advance since July, as American depositary receipts of Sberbank, the country’s biggest lender, jumped 14 percent to a one-month high. OAO Gazprom, the world’s biggest producer of natural gas, posted the biggest weekly gain since December 2011.

With U.S.-listed Russian stocks trading near the lowest valuations since 2009 after a 19 percent plunge this year, investors from Aberdeen Asset Managers Ltd. (ADN) to Skagen AS said they have been buying. Putin on May 7 pledged to pull back troops amassed at the Ukrainian border and urged separatists in Ukraine’s south and east to postpone votes on regional autonomy. Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said that a dialogue aimed at preserving national unity would start this week."

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Dubai to Sell Mauser to Clayton, Dubilier for $1.7 Billion - Bloomberg

Dubai to Sell Mauser to Clayton, Dubilier for $1.7 Billion - Bloomberg:

"Dubai International Capital LLC, the private equity unit of Dubai Holding, agreed to sell German industrial packager Mauser to Clayton, Dubilier & Rice for about $1.7 billion.

Mauser, which DIC acquired in 2007 in a deal that valued the company at about $1.1 billion, had consolidated revenue of more than $1.6 billion, DIC said in an e-mailed statement.

“Mauser has been a very successful investment for DIC, providing a return of approximately double our equity invested,” Chief Executive Officer David Smoot said.

The Mauser sale is the largest asset disposal by Dubai since it teetered on the brink of a default in 2009. The emirate is accelerating asset sales as it seeks to repay billions of dollars of debt accumulated by state-owned companies in a spending binge to make the city a trade and tourism hub."

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Erdogan Courts Gulf’s Billions After Wrong-Way Bet on Egypt - Bloomberg

Erdogan Courts Gulf’s Billions After Wrong-Way Bet on Egypt - Bloomberg:

"Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is seeking to limit the economic costs of picking the losing side in the regional power struggle over Egypt.

Turkish officials are courting investors from the oil-rich Arab monarchies that have backed Egypt’s new military rulers with billions of dollars in aid. The push shows how Erdogan’s fury over the ouster of his Islamist ally Mohamed Mursi is balanced by the growing importance of the region for Turkish exporters and companies such as airport operator TAV Havalimanlari Holding AS. (TAVHL) 

The Abu Dhabi National Energy (TAQA) Co., known as Taqa, froze a $12 billion power project in Turkey after Mursi’s fall, while Turkish exports to Egypt have declined. Efforts to repair the damage include visits to the Gulf by President Abdullah Gul and Finance Minister Mehmet Simsek, as well as a real-estate and energy conference for Arab investors in Istanbul."

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