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Thursday, 5 June 2014

MIDEAST STOCKS-Egypt jumps on Beltone offer for EFG Hermes stake, Qatar bounces | Agricultural Commodities | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Egypt jumps on Beltone offer for EFG Hermes stake, Qatar bounces | Agricultural Commodities | Reuters:

"Egypt's bourse led gains in the region on Thursday after several investors represented by Beltone Financial Holding offered to buy a large stake in EFG Hermes, the country's biggest investment bank.

The Cairo index jumped 4.7 percent in its biggest daily gain since July 2013, when the market was celebrating the ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Mursi. EFG Hermes surged 7.1 percent to 14.48 pounds and all constituent stocks were up. 

Shares in Beltone, which offered to buy a 20 percent stake in EFG Hermes on behalf of a group of investors at 16.00 pounds per share, soared their daily limit of 10.0 percent. The stock is not part of the main index.

Beltone said it would take 1 percent of EFG Hermes, but did not say who the other investors were. Sources told Reuters they included Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris."

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Master of microfinance - YouTube

Master of microfinance - YouTube: ""

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The ECB moves - is it enough? - YouTube

The ECB moves - is it enough? - YouTube: ""

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Meet manufacturing's latest recruit - YouTube

Meet manufacturing's latest recruit - YouTube: ""

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Switzerland freezing $1bn in assets of former Ukrainian and Egyptian presidents — RT Business

Switzerland freezing $1bn in assets of former Ukrainian and Egyptian presidents — RT Business:

"Swiss authorities have frozen the assets of ousted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich and intend to block those of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, as part of an ongoing effort to clean the country's coffers of corrupt money. 

Government officials have secured $187 million in assets belonging to Ukraine's ousted leader Viktor Yanukovich and his inner circle, following suspicions of money laundering.

The authorities are closely working on recovering around $782 million belonging by Mubarak and his entourage, says Reuters."

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Shredded: The pimp and the whorehouse of debt | @Ian_Fraser

Shredded: The pimp and the whorehouse of debt | Ian Fraser:

June 5th, 2014
51X7rpKpfcL._It has been nearly two years in the making, but Shredded: Inside RBS The Bank That Broke Britain was published by Birlinn today. It’s a look at the Icarus like ascent of RBS under former chartered accountant Fred “The Shred” Goodwin, and examines many aspects of the bank’s spectacular rise and fall which have never before come under the microscope.
Unlike some earlier books about the RBS catastrophe, it contains a forensic analysis of the reasons for the bank’s failure, how former chief executive Fred Goodwin successfully blunted regulation by getting No 10 Downing Street to intervene on his behalf, and an array of new anecdotes illustrating Goodwin’s despotic leadership style.
The book also lifts the lid on the astonishing failure of the UK government (as well as the UK’s regulatory and prosecutorial authorities, and the bank’s supremely complacent non-executive directors) to do anything change the bank’s rotten culture since handing it a £45.5bn bailout in October 2008.
Everybody I spoke to at the bank insists that the bank’s corporate culture deteriorated markedly under Stephen Hester, CEO from October 2008 to September 2013, and that things have got even worse since Kiwi Ross McEwan took the reins in October last year.
Among other things, I reveal that the government’s decision to introduce a top tier of superannuated City investment bankers both at UK Financial Investments and at the top of the bank was unlikely ever to bring the changes that the bankwhich also owns NatWest, Coutts, Ulster Bank, Citizens Financial, Adam & Company and a range of other financial brandsso desperately required.
The epitome of the cultural and ethical failures at the bank include the fact its investment banking arm, now due to be largely shut down, was only able to thrive by cheating and that it continued to rig various benchmarks, swindling investors and counterparties, for many years after the bailout. Then there is the bank’s mendacious approach to litigation and of course the ongoing mega-scandal of the “financial terrorism” inclicted on scores of thousands of business customers by RBS, NatWest and Ulster Bank’s global restructuring group, know internally as the “grim reaper group“.
As you may know, GRG has a track record of kneecapping viable business customers to which the bank has for some reason taken a dislike—or to whose assets it has taken “a shine”—before killing them off in a variety of ways in order to enable the bank to effectively make off with their assets. 
However this is not a book about the catastrophic failure(s) of one bank, or the reasons for these failure(s). It is really a book about what went wrong with banking and the financial system from the mid 1980s 0nwards. It details the catalogue of political, regulatory and ideological failuresincluding blind faith in free markets, blindness to risk, wilful blindness to rampant financial fraud and the love of debtthat culminated in the collapses of October 2008. I also say that the post-crisis attempts at sorting things out have been so inadequate that another collapse is almost inevitable.
There has been a fair amount of media coverage of the book in the build-up to the launch, including this excellent article by Tom Harper and Nick Kochan in last Sunday’sIndependent on Sunday. The piece, which describes Shredded as “an explosive new book” was the most read and most shared article on the entire Independent website on Sunday and most of Monday.

RBS could fail due to ‘£100bn black hole’ – with British taxpayers in line to lose their entire £45bn stake

There has also been some coverage in the Mail on SundayMailOnlineITV NewsThe HeraldDaily Record and elsewhere, with significant further coverage planned for this weekend. There has  also been an article in ValueWalk in the US, and last but not least my appearance on the Keiser Report, recorded on Monday, 2nd June. My 12-minute interview with Max starts at 12 minutes 30 seconds. Max comes out with some superb lines including that Fred Goodwin was a “pimp” strutting his stuff as he lured randy males into RBS’s “whorehouse of debt”.
The book can be ordered from and numerous other websites. It can also be purchased in most leading bookshops from today. An e-book will be available in a few weeks. 
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U.A.E. Urges Egypt ‘Fiscal Consolidation’ to Help Economy - Bloomberg

U.A.E. Urges Egypt ‘Fiscal Consolidation’ to Help Economy - Bloomberg:

"The United Arab Emirates, which is backing Egypt with billions of dollars in aid, said its ally needs to shore up public finances and invest in infrastructure to revive an economy battered by unrest.

Sultan Al Jaber, the U.A.E. minister of state overseeing assistance to Egypt, also urged institutions such as the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank to show flexibility in dealing with the new leadership in Cairo. Saudi Arabia, supported by the U.A.E., has called for a donor conference to help revive an Egyptian economy stuck in the worst slowdown in two decades.

Al Jaber’s remarks come as Egyptian President-elect Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi prepares to take office next week, inheriting an economy suffering from record unemployment and one of the highest budget deficits in the region. El-Sisi, the former military chief who led the ouster of Islamist President Mohamed Mursi in July, has pledged to restore order and revive economic growth."

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Egyptian Shares Rise Most in World as EFG Stake Fuels Optimism - Bloomberg

Egyptian Shares Rise Most in World as EFG Stake Fuels Optimism - Bloomberg:

"Egyptian stocks advanced the most in the world as investors said they will buy a stake in the country’s biggest investment bank and Saudi Arabia called to raise funds for the nation’s battered economy.

The EGX 30 Index gained 4.7 percent, the biggest jump since July 2013, to close at 8,498.65 in Cairo. That’s the best performance among more than 90 gauges tracked by Bloomberg globally. EFG-Hermes Holding SAE added 9.9 percent after Beltone Financial Holding, Beltone Capital and New Egypt Investment Fund, owned by billionaire Naguib Sawiris, said they’re seeking to buy 20 percent of the bank.

Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah this week called for an international effort to boost economic aid to Egypt after his ally, former army chief Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, won a presidential election in the Arab world’s most populous state. The nation’s benchmark stock index has gained 6.7 percent in two days."

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Emaar Mall Unit Hires Banks for Sukuk Before $2.45 Billion IPO - Bloomberg

Emaar Mall Unit Hires Banks for Sukuk Before $2.45 Billion IPO - Bloomberg:

"Emaar Malls Group LLC, owner of one of the world’s biggest shopping malls, plans a debut sale of Islamic bonds after raising $1.5 billion from a loan last month.

The company will hold meetings with fixed-income investors in Asia, Europe and the Middle East from June 8, it said in a statement to the Dubai bourse today. Dubai Islamic Bank PJSC (DIB), Emirates NBD Capital Ltd., First Gulf Bank PJSC (FGB), Mashreqbank PSC (MASQ), Morgan Stanley, National Bank of Abu Dhabi PJSC, Noor Bank and Standard Chartered Plc will arrange the meetings and a dollar-denominated Reg-S sukuk may follow, Emaar said.

Emaar Malls, owned by Emaar Properties PJSC (EMAAR), the developer of the world’s tallest skyscraper in Dubai, has the second-lowest investment grade rating from Moody’s Investors Service. The rating reflects the company’s stable recurring cash flows and is underpinned by the success of the Dubai Mall, a popular tourist attraction, Moody’s said in a note on June 2."

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Multi-Billion Rosneft Loan Goes Ahead Without Lloyds and HSBC | News | The Moscow Times

Multi-Billion Rosneft Loan Goes Ahead Without Lloyds and HSBC | News | The Moscow Times:

"A $1.5 billion to $2 billion loan involving BP and Russian oil giant Rosneft is going ahead, bankers said Thursday, even after arranging banks Lloyds and HSBC pulled out as unease grows among some Western lenders about funding Russian deals.

However, they said it was unclear whether the British-based banks would be replaced or the remaining lead arrangers, Deutsche Bank and Bank of China, would push on with completing the syndicated oil-prepayment loan on their own. 

"There is an extensive bank group including Japanese, Chinese and European banks. The issue is not replacing the money … it is whether we will replace the mandated lead arranger roles," a banker close to the deal said."

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Too Many Ports, Not Enough Trade in the Middle East - Middle East Real Time - WSJ

Too Many Ports, Not Enough Trade in the Middle East - Middle East Real Time - WSJ:

"Capacity at seaports and airports in the Middle East is growing faster than regional trade, potentially jeopardizing the viability of billions of dollars worth of new investment in transportation infrastructure.

Government-led investment in regional logistics and transport has taken off in the past decade, driven by energy-rich Gulf Arab countries trying to carve out a niche as trading posts between Africa and Asia.

Dubai, a city on the southern edge of the Gulf, has been a regional hub for a long time – its Jebel Ali port accounts for about half the region’s seaport capacity – but many of its neighbors are now trying to use their wealth to copy its success."

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Lots of circuses, not enough bread: EM’s failure to reform and invest – beyondbrics - Blogs -

Lots of circuses, not enough bread: EM’s failure to reform and invest – beyondbrics - Blogs -

"Last week, Alexander Lukashenko, president of Belarus, bafflingly announced he would sign a decree that would return to the status quo in 1861 and reinstate serfdom. When it comes to backsliding on economic modernisation, Mr Lukashenko is clearly a world-beater.

Yet other emerging markets, while not actually going backwards, have shown little enthusiasm in recent years for bold policy moves to streamline regulation, tackle corruption, improve the legal environment and, most particularly, build the infrastructure needed for a modern economy.

While by no means infallible, the World Bank’s Doing Business report does give a rough guide to the ease of doing business in any particular economy, and it is striking how low are the ratings for some big emerging economies. For the BRICS, for example, South Africa ranks relatively highly at 41st out of 189 countries, but Russia is 92nd, China 96th, Brazil 116th and India 134th."

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Saudi Arabia to excavate 500,000oz of gold - Al Arabiya News

Saudi Arabia to excavate 500,000oz of gold - Al Arabiya News:

"Saudi Arabian Mining Company (Maaden) is planning to excavate 500,000oz of gold across the Kingdom, including in Madinah region, announced its president and CEO Khalid Al-Mudaifer at the Mining Investment Opportunities Forum here on Tuesday.

He said Maaden is also considering introducing downstream operations to the Madinah region.

“In other parts of the Kingdom, we are moving beyond upstream to successfully develop every mineral in the value chain. What will distinguish our operations in the future is the progression of our strategies from evaluating known mineral sources to discovering new mineral resources,” Al-Mudaifer said."

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Iran-UAE trade talks another sign of Gulf thaw - Al-Monitor: the Pulse of the Middle East

Iran-UAE trade talks another sign of Gulf thaw - Al-Monitor: the Pulse of the Middle East:

"On June 1, a trade delegation consisting of the ministers of agriculture and infrastructure, the heads of the chambers of commerce of the seven Emirates in the UAE and their accompanying business representatives visited Iran. This was the first high-level UAE trade delegation to Tehran after an eight-year absence. The UAE business delegates represent five sectors: oil and gas, banking, food industry, automotive traders and investment companies. The trip coincided with the official visit to Iran by the emir of Kuwait as well as the presence of a Qatari delegation in the southern port of Bushehr, all signs of improvement in the relations between Tehran and Iran’s southern neighbors.

For the better part of the past two decades, the United Arab Emirates — more specifically, Dubai — has been among Iran’s top trading partners. In fact, Dubai became the natural trading platform for international exports to Iran that would be re-exported through the emirate. The partnership was not just based on geographical vicinity, but also on common historical roots (many migrant families who founded Dubai originated in Iran’s southern provinces) and also on a growing presence of an Iranian trading community in the UAE. Thousands of Iranian businesses are represented in the UAE, which points to the breadth of the trade relations. In the early 2000s, Dubai also benefited enormously from Iranian investments in the local real estate market. In 2010, the trade volume between the two stood at $20 billion, rising to $23 billion in 2011 and then dropping to $17 billion in 2012 and $15 billion in 2013."

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How Dubai Became One Of The Most Important Aviation Hubs In The World

How Dubai Became One Of The Most Important Aviation Hubs In The World:


Photo credit: Kamran Jebreili/AP
From the balcony of Stewart Angus’ office overlooking Dubai International Airport it isn’t obvious why Dubai has become one of the world’s most important cities in aviation–and a dangerous rival to many of Asia’s premier airports and carriers. Sure, there’s the big, six-year-old terminal dedicated to Emirates Airlines. An Airbus A380 taxis to the gate. Cars speed along a highway while the city’s ever soaring skyline stretches in the distance.

But Dubai handled 66.4 million passengers last year, making it the seventh-busiest airport in the world. This year it should pass Tokyo, London’s Heathrow, Los Angeles and Chicago’s O’Hare, and climb to third place–behind only Beijing and Atlanta. As recently as 2006 it wasn’t in the top 30. “The success is Dubai’s location–it’s Europe’s most easterly hub and Asia’s most westerly hub,” explains Angus, a seasoned Brit who has worked for the Emirates Group for 19 years and oversees international business for the group’s Dnata ground-services unit.

Long an important stop on the trade routes between Europe and Asia, the United Arab Emirates is a key point on aviation’s new Silk Road. With no snow to shovel off runways and no unions to strike–and within an eight-hour flight from two-thirds of the world’s population–Dubai has swiftly become a perfect air link. And that’s allowed government-owned Emirates Airlines, along with other Gulf carriers such as Qatar and Etihad, to shave off huge amounts of traffic from Singapore Airlines and Cathay Pacific. Today East Asia, Australia and New Zealand is Emirates’ biggest market, making up 29% of the airline’s revenue last year."

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Aldar repays $1.25bn bond, slashes interest payments | The National

Aldar repays $1.25bn bond, slashes interest payments | The National:

"Aldar Properties has repaid a US$1.25billion bond helping the Abu Dhabi based developer to slash annual interest payments by Dh700 million compared with last year.

The bond, which matured at the end of May 2014 and which carried an initial annual interest cost of 10.75 per cent was repaid using company cash reserves and existing loan facilities which carry an annual interest cost of 1.7 per cent, Aldar said in a statement today.

Aldar’s overall cost of borrowing has fallen 70 per cent from Dh1 billion a year to Dh300 million the company said while its weighted average cost of debt has fallen has fallen from 5.8 per cent before the bond repayment to 2.8 per cent."

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Dana Gas keeps its distance on Iranian gas dispute | The National

Dana Gas keeps its distance on Iranian gas dispute | The National:

"Dana Gas has distanced itself from reports that an international arbitration panel has found in favour of its parent company in its long-running dispute with Iran over an ill-fated gas supply deal.

Reports on Tuesday suggested that National Iran Oil Company (NIOC) was liable to pay Crescent Petroleum several billion dollars in compensation as part of proceedings initiated in 2009.

A source with knowledge of the situation said yesterday that an arbitration panel had indeed found in Crescent’s favour, declining to give further details about when the award was made and what amount was payable by NIOC."

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Dubai Islamic Bank buys 25% of Indonesia’s Bank Panin |

Dubai Islamic Bank buys 25% of Indonesia’s Bank Panin |

"Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB) has completed the purchase of a 24.9 per cent stake in Indonesia’s Bank Panin Syariah from its parent firm, an executive at Bank Pan Indonesia was quoted as saying on Wednesday.

DIB, the largest Islamic bank in the UAE, said last month that it was in talks to buy 25 per cent of Indonesia’s only listed sharia-compliant lender, which it would jointly manage and operate with Bank Pan Indonesia."

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Mobile Wallet is launched in UAE |

Mobile Wallet is launched in UAE |

"The UAE Banks Federation (UBF) on Wednesday formally launched the implementation of the Mobile Wallet project.

The project, comprehensive digital payment solution, first unveiled in February, has been developed by a special committee of nine member banks under the Chairmanship of Tirad Al Mahmoud, CEO of Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank.

The project is expected to be implemented over next year in a number of phases. The UBF is co-ordinating the project with banks such as Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, Adib, Commercial Bank of Dubai, Emirates NBD, Mashreq, National Bank of Abu Dhabi, Standard Chartered and First Gulf Bank.

The Mobile Wallet is the financial component of the Smart Government initiative. Smart Government has identified over 90 services provided by government departments requiring digital payment. The Mobile Wallet has been designed to allow these to be made from a purpose-designed platform that interfaces with all banks operating in the UAE."

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Bahrain sovereign fund Mumtalakat swings to 2013 profit |

Bahrain sovereign fund Mumtalakat swings to 2013 profit |

"Bahraini sovereign fund Mumtalakat swung back into profit in 2013 because of an improved performance at Gulf Air and lower impairment losses, it said on Wednesday. The fund, fully owned by the Bahraini state but run on a commercial basis, made a net profit of 82.7 million dinars ($219 million) in 2013 compared with a net loss of 181.7 million dinars in the previous year, a statement to Reuters said.

The return to profit was driven “by significantly lower impairment losses and improved operating performance across portfolio companies, in particular Gulf Air”, it added."

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Deutsche Bank’s Qatari Backer Said to Have Sought Funding - Bloomberg

Deutsche Bank’s Qatari Backer Said to Have Sought Funding - Bloomberg:

"The man who is providing Deutsche Bank AG with a 2.1 billion-euro ($2.9 billion) cash infusion, and a vote of confidence, held talks with banks about getting a loan to finance the investment and to hedge it.

Former Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad Bin Jassim Bin Jabr Al Thani was approached by banks offering loans to fund the purchase as well as derivatives to protect him from losses on the shares he purchased, said four market participants who asked not to be identified because they weren’t authorized to speak publicly. Two of the participants said they were told Qatar National Bank agreed to provide a $2 billion margin loan.

An official at Sheikh Hamad’s office in Doha declined to comment on the talks, as did representatives for Qatar National Bank and Frankfurt-based Deutsche Bank."

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Qatar’s World Cup-Stoked Rout Attracting Bargain Hunters - Bloomberg

Qatar’s World Cup-Stoked Rout Attracting Bargain Hunters - Bloomberg:

"The worst Qatar stock rout in nine months is creating a buying opportunity for some of the biggest Middle East investors, who say they’re undaunted by speculation the country will lose the right to host the 2022 World Cup.

Emirates NBD PJSC, whose wealth management division oversaw about $2.1 billion at the end of 2013, says it’s looking to add stocks because any impact on corporate earnings from the loss of the World Cup would be minor. Doha’s Al Rayan Investment LLC is also boosting equity holdings while Qatar National Bank Financial Services, the country’s second-biggest brokerage, is recommending investors buy shares of “fundamentally strong” companies.

For all the focus on the World Cup probe, the investors say the nation’s economic expansion and natural gas reserves will help rekindle the rally in one of the world’s top-performing markets this year. The QE Index has sunk 4.1 percent, wiping out $5.1 billion in stock market value, after Britain’s Sunday Times reported June 1 that officials got more than $5 million to help Qatar win the rights. The nation’s bidding committee denies wrongdoing."

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