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Thursday, 22 May 2014

Saudi Arabia Panics Amid U.S. Oil Glut

Saudi Arabia Panics Amid U.S. Oil Glut:

"An old rumor started up again this week, but was largely overshadowed by the mammoth gas deal between China and Russia.

This time it came from Saudi Arabia…

On Monday Bloomberg reported that Saudi Arabia’s ambitious $109 billion solar energy plans have been taken over by Saudi Aramco, the state-run oil company who's estimated value runs as high as $10 trillion.

Now, I say it's an “old” rumor mostly because this story has been covered by news outlets and bloggers for a few years. Fact is, the Saudis' have been anxiously looking for a way to increase oil exports, and transitioning a large portion of their grid to solar would be a welcome relief to their soaring oil consumption.

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Abu Dhabi Tycoon Swoops For Travelex Takeover

Abu Dhabi Tycoon Swoops For Travelex Takeover:

"The founder of one of the Middle East's biggest foreign currency providers is in talks to buy Travelex in a deal that would result in the abandonment of a £1bn London initial public offering (IPO).

Sky News can reveal that Travelex is in advanced talks with Dr Bavaguthu Shetty, the boss of UAE Exchange, about a sale that would value the British-based company’s equity and debt at between £800m and £1bn.

The discussions could yet falter, but insiders said on Thursday that a deal could be announced within days if they progress as expected.

If the takeover negotiations do collapse, Travelex would move quickly towards formally announcing a stock market listing, a source said."

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Brits jailed as Interpol takes ‘debt collector’ role for Gulf States - rights group — RT News

Brits jailed as Interpol takes ‘debt collector’ role for Gulf States - rights group — RT News:

"UK residents go to jail and lose jobs over unpaid loans as Interpol has started issuing ‘red notices’ – their strongest criminal alert – over unfunded checks, which are a criminal offense in states with sharia law, a rights group has found.

The Fair Trials International has labeled the International Criminal Police Organization a ‘debt collector’ for countries like Oman, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. The UK-registered charity has stated that by this, Interpol’s services are being ‘misused’.

The rights group wrote a letter to Interpol’s Secretary General, Ronald K. Noble, urging safeguards to be put in place “so that its Red Notice system focuses on bringing serious international criminals to justice rather than wrecking the lives of normal people who have provided blank cheques as security, a common practice in a number of countries across the region,” said a statement published on the group’s website. "

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Guest post: despite gas deal, Russia’s economy is wilting – beyondbrics - Blogs -

Guest post: despite gas deal, Russia’s economy is wilting – beyondbrics - Blogs -

"Russia may have completed decade-long negotiations to sell gas to China in a deal worth US$400 bn over the next 30 years, but the agreement barely begins to paper over the all-too-obvious cracks in Russia’s weakening economy. Moscow’s stock market reacted positively to the deal, but it is down 4.8% year-to-date. Elsewhere, all other indicators of economic prosperity in Russia have decreased since the start of 2014.

Russia is more dependent on the global economy than it ever has been. And it seeks even greater dependency – as President Putin made clear in his opening remarks to the St Petersburg International Economic Forum earlier today. On the one hand, dependency brings with it obvious benefits. On the other, it leaves a country much more open to the vagaries of investor sentiments and perceptions of political risks as well as expected economic returns.

Some analysts (including me) argued that if Russia was going to “pay a price” for destabilising Ukraine then – while US and EU sanctions were important – it was likely to happen through a natural market reaction. And so it has proven."

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SpiceJet close to selling some overseas slots to Qatar Airways - The Economic Times

SpiceJet close to selling some overseas slots to Qatar Airways - The Economic Times:

"Gulf carrier Qatar Airways is likely to invest in the debt-ridden SpiceJetBSE 3.03 % by purchasing its parking slots overseas, sources said. Officials of the state-run Qatar Investment Promotion Authority are likely to meet the top brass of SpiceJet shortly, they added. The Kalanithi Maran-promoted domestic airline had earlier this week said it was in "advanced stage of discussions" with an overseas entity for capital infusion.

"A team of officials from Qatar Investment Promotion Authority is scheduled to meet the SpiceJet management in a day or two to discuss investment plans of Qatar Airlines," a source told PTI. Sources further said Qatar Airways has evinced interest in buying some of the SpiceJet's overseas slots as part of its strategy to enter the country's aviation market.

"Considering that another Gulf carrier Etihad, which has acquired 24 per cent equity in Jet AirwaysBSE 1.18 %, had also bought Jet's three prime slots at London's Heathrow Airport for USD 70 million prior to the signing of the deal, such a transaction is possible," the source added."

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Russia’s Blockbuster Gas Deal Makes It Look Weak |

Russia’s Blockbuster Gas Deal Makes It Look Weak |

"The politics of energy are getting ever more interesting following the signing of a historic 30 year gas deal between China and Russia. The deal has been portrayed as Putin’s revenge for Western sanctions imposed following the conflict in the Ukraine. He’s sending a message that Russia has other options aside from exporting its natural resources to Europe. (The U.S. is increasingly energy independent and doesn’t need Russian gas.) The photo-op of Chinese president Xi Jinping and Putin downing a shot of vodka following the deal close was classic.

But it’s not time to click glasses quite yet. In fact, I’d argue that the China deal makes Russia–and Putin–look weaker, not stronger. For starters, as a recent Capital Economics report on the topic points out, “while the headline figure of $400 billion seems large” given that it’s 20 percent of Russia’s current GDP, that take is spread out over 30 years. That means we’re talking about $13 billion in additional annual export revenues for Russia–less than a quarter of what they typically export to Europe. Selling to China isn’t going to mean that sanctions won’t hurt. Europe remains Russia’s most important energy market."

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MIDEAST STOCKS-Qatar rebounds from 3-wk low as traders target mid-caps | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Qatar rebounds from 3-wk low as traders target mid-caps | Reuters:

"Qatar's index ended a six-session losing streak to rebound from a three-week low on Thursday as investors bought back sold-off mid-cap stocks, while other Middle East markets were mixed.

Doha rose 2.6 percent to 13,008 points. It had slumped since May 13's all-time high, but Thursday's increase - its largest in eight months - puts it 1.3 percent below that milestone.

Vodafone Qatar and Islamic lender Masraf Al Rayan accounted for about half of all shares traded on the index. They climbed 2.9 and 3.8 percent respectively. 

Qatar and Dubai, which hit a six-year high earlier this month, are the Gulf's top performing markets in 2014.

That surge led Credit Suisse to cut its rating on United Arab Emirates' markets to underweight from neutral, also reducing Qatar to neutral from overweight."

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Hungary’s budget Wizz Air plans IPO, expansion – beyondbrics - Blogs -

Hungary’s budget Wizz Air plans IPO, expansion – beyondbrics - Blogs -


Almost ten years to the day after its first flight, Wizz Air, a low-cost airline centered on central and eastern Europe (CEE), said on Thursday that it plans to raise €200m by listing on the London Stock Exchange in June to raise funds to expand its operations.

Jozsef Varadi, Wizz Air chief executive, speaking via video to a press conference in Budapest, said Wizz Air Holdings, the parent company based in the Channel Islands, would use the cash to strengthen its balance sheet and expand operations. 

The airline sees considerable potential for further growth in its core CEE market, given that the ‘propensity for air travel’ in the region is currently just 0.36 seats per capita, compared to the western European averages of 1.58 seats per capita.

“Wizz Air is the largest low-cost carrier in central and eastern Europe. The basis of our business model is to offer the lowest fares possible, and in 2014 our average ticket price was barely above €47. We think that this sort of price stimulates the market and ensures future growth,” Varadi said."

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Guest post: frontier markets – more profitable, less volatile – beyondbrics - Blogs -

Guest post: frontier markets – more profitable, less volatile – beyondbrics - Blogs -

"In the last months, some isolated events such as the suspension of the Nigerian Central Bank governor, Lamido Sanusi, and the outbreak of the Ukrainian conflict, have set the alarm bells ringing. Frontier markets could be a bubble about to explode.

Though, the reality in this diverse set of countries is far away from the forecasts of the doomsayers. In the case of Ukraine, whose weight in the MSCI FM – the frontier market index – is negligible (0.1%), the stress prompted by the Russian occupation has not shaken investor confidence. The PFTS Index, the benchmark index of the Ukrainian stock exchange, has gained a 36.3 per cent since the beginning of the year and a 39.1 per cent since May 2013.

In the case of the largest African economy, whose weight in the MSCI FM is close to 15 per cent, the story is pretty much the same. Despite Sanusi’s suspension, widespread corruption and some recent restrictive decisions by the Nigerian Central Bank, the Nigerian Stock Exchange All-Share Index (NSE ASI) – has risen by 11.7 per cent since May 2013, despite having fallen by 6.7 per cent this year."

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Etihad's secret Abu Dhabi royal family loan revealed

Etihad's secret Abu Dhabi royal family loan revealed:

"Etihad Airways received massive financial support from the royal family of Abu Dhabi contrary to long-standing denials, documents obtained by Fairfax Media show.

The state-owned airline had access to a secret, interest-free $US3 billion ($3.3 billion) loan from the Abu Dhabi ruling family that required no repayments until 2027, according to documents prepared for prospective financiers.

Etihad chief executive James Hogan has repeatedly denied that the airline is subsidised.

"We are a government-owned ­carrier but we have been established and have to run as a commercial business. We get no state-funded handouts," he said at Washington's International Aviation Club in 2009."

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Is the Russia-China Gas Deal for Real—or Just Fumes? - Businessweek

Is the Russia-China Gas Deal for Real—or Just Fumes? - Businessweek:

"After negotiating for 15 years, China and Russia appear to have finally struck a deal to get into the natural gas business together and build a pipeline linking the two countries. Under the terms of the 30-year pact, China will secure the natural gas it needs to fuel its economy (and help clean its air), while Russia gets to diversify away from its testy relationship with Europe. Chances are that Russia won’t ever have to worry about being sanctioned by China.

As it has been since the late 1990s, the major sticking point in the talks was the price China would pay to buy Russia’s gas. China was always willing to invest upfront cash in return for a cheaper price. Russia was always happy to take that cash, but it never wanted to give China too great a deal, lest its other customers expect similar prices. In the end, it looks as though China will commit as much as $25 billion in advance payments to help Russia build the pipeline and develop its gas fields in Siberia.

What about that price? In announcing the deal, Russia’s de facto gas czar, Alexey Miller, chief executive officer of the state-controlled gas giant Gazprom (GAZP:RM), declined to say exactly what Russia would charge China, referring to the final price as a “commercial secret.” Still, in laying out details of the deal, he offered some clues. Miller says that under the agreement, Gazprom will annually sell 38 billion cubic meters of natural gas to China for 30 years, for a total value of $400 billion."

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UAE’s real estate recovery is supported by solid fundamentals: S&P |

UAE’s real estate recovery is supported by solid fundamentals: S&P |

"Real estate prices in the UAE are showing signs of stabilisation after strong growth in the past two years, particularly in Dubai, according to global credit rating agency Standard & Poor’s.

The rating agency believes a big drop in prices is unlikely in the short term, and that’s good news for the country’s banks, which have large loan exposures to the real estate sector.

“The residential sector real estate prices are near the 2008 peak with fewer empty units in the market. With strong economic growth and population growth supporting the sector, the recovery looks healthy,” said Tommy Trask, Director of Corporate Ratings at Standard & Poor’s."

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Dubai’s developers put squeeze on speculators |

Dubai’s developers put squeeze on speculators |

"Dubai’s developers are finally getting a firm grip on speculators when it comes to off-plan purchases. And the formula they are using is quite simple — make sure that the property buyer is committed to an at least 30 per cent payment before he can think of selling. In some cases, the threshold limit could be set at 40 per cent.

It was the master-developers who were first to come in with such stricter requirements, from the second-half of last year, on when an off-plan property could be released into the secondary market. But such was the demand for Dubai property among investors, most of them outright cash buyers, that these provisions did not make much of a dent at the time. It is not the case now.

More private developers are anchoring their sales and purchase agreements (SPA) with the 30-40 per cent requirement."

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Africa's lion market - YouTube

Africa's lion market - YouTube: ""

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Are banks being fined enough? - YouTube

Are banks being fined enough? - YouTube: ""

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Erdogan polarises Turkey - YouTube

Erdogan polarises Turkey - YouTube: ""

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Tony Hayward, Ex-BP CEO, Gets His Life Back as Kurdish Pipeline Opens - Bloomberg

Tony Hayward, Ex-BP CEO, Gets His Life Back as Kurdish Pipeline Opens - Bloomberg:

"Erbil, the regional capital of Iraqi Kurdistan, has all the trappings of an oil boomtown. It bristles with construction cranes. Land Cruisers and Range Rovers with tinted windows ply the busy streets. Oil workers and briefcase-bearing foreigners crowd into the Divan Erbil Hotel’s piano bar. 

At the foot of the 8,000-year-old Citadel -- which claims to be the oldest continuously inhabited town in the world -- currency traders in the central market swap dollars, euros and Turkish liras for Iraqi dinars out of glass boxes on the sidewalk. Shoppers flock to Erbil’s Family Mall, which features stores such as French hypermarket operator Carrefour SA (CA) and Spanish clothing chain Mango.

With the opening of a new oil pipeline this year, the boom is getting a boost, Bloomberg Markets magazine will report in its June issue. Crude that used to be transported by truck across the rugged, mountainous terrain of the three northern provinces known as Iraqi Kurdistan began flowing in stages through the pipeline in January."

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Russia-China Deal Seen Damping LNG Prices as Output Rises - Bloomberg

Russia-China Deal Seen Damping LNG Prices as Output Rises - Bloomberg:

"China’s deal to buy natural gas from Russia after a decade of talks risks making tanker shipments of the fuel less competitive as new projects target Asian markets.

The accord for supplies from eastern Siberia means liquefied natural gas export projects are less likely to be built as the additional Russian pipeline gas pressures prices, according to Societe Generale SA and Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. The agreement gives China greater leverage when negotiating LNG contracts, said Trevor Sikorski, head of natural gas, coal and carbon at Energy Aspects Ltd. in London, a consultant.

“It could potentially have an impact on the volume of LNG that China needs to import and impact on the level of the spot price for LNG in Asia,” David Ledesma, an independent consultant who has been working in the LNG sector for more than 20 years, said yesterday in an interview in Amsterdam."

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