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Saturday, 7 June 2014

Saudi prepares to launch first sovereign wealth fund - Your Middle East

Saudi prepares to launch first sovereign wealth fund - Your Middle East:

"Saudi Arabia is preparing to launch its first sovereign wealth fund to manage budget surpluses from a rise in crude prices estimated at hundreds of billions of dollars, state media reported Saturday.

The central bank has managed investment of the kingdom's foreign currency reserves until now, much of it in US Treasury bonds.

The consultative Shura Council is due to discuss a draft law for the National Reserve Fund in meetings Monday and Tuesday in Riyadh, state news agency SPA reported.

The report gave no indication of whether any change in investment strategy was envisioned."

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Iran Air eyes fleet growth plans post-sanctions « ASHARQ AL-AWSAT

Iran Air eyes fleet growth plans post-sanctions « ASHARQ AL-AWSAT:

"Iran Air will need at least 100 passenger jets once sanctions against the country are lifted and will find it easier to do business with companies that co-operated during the current window for sanctions relief, the head of the airline said. 

However, in the absence of a long-term deal easing the country’s economic isolation, Iran’s flag carrier will turn instead to Russia and China as alternative suppliers, Farhad Parvaresh, chairman and managing director of Iran Air, said.

The comments, in a rare interview with foreign media on the sidelines of an airline conference this week, come as Iran and six nations prepare to resume negotiations on a final deal aimed at ending a decade-old dispute over Tehran’s nuclear program."

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Qatar: Too rich for its own good | The Economist

Qatar: Too rich for its own good | The Economist:

"HE WAS living proof that some people have all the luck. During the 18-year reign of Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, which ended last year, Qatar’s population quadrupled. Its GDP grew sixfold to $200 billion, making its 2m-odd people the richest per person on Earth. The emirate’s Al Jazeera satellite channel, though it enraged many, was the most influential in the region. Its brash promotion of revolution with a Muslim Brother flavour looked prescient as friendly new Islamist governments sprouted in the Arab spring. Even the emir’s bid to bring the world’s biggest sporting event to his sweltering little state came off when in 2010 the international football body, FIFA, picked Qatar to hold the World Cup in 2022.

Sheikh Hamad quit when he was ahead, abruptly abdicating last June in favour of his son Tamim, now 34. Poor fellow. Barely a week into his reign Egypt’s army tossed out the Muslim Brotherhood government that Qatar had boosted to the tune of $8 billion. Neighbours in the Gulf, led by the looming giant next door, Saudi Arabia, began to squeeze the upstart emirate. Angered by Qatar’s dabbling in revolution, its hosting of exiled dissidents and by the leaking of old tapes said to capture top Qatari officials saying rude things about the Saudis, they withdrew ambassadors and threatened to shut their air space to Qatar."

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S&P holds Saudi credit rating at AA-/A-1+ - Your Middle East

S&P holds Saudi credit rating at AA-/A-1+ - Your Middle East:

"Standard and Poor's on Friday held its sovereign credit rating for Saudi Arabia, the world's top crude exporter, at AA-/A-1+ with a positive outlook.

"In our view, Saudi Arabia's government and external balance sheets remain strong and provide an ample buffer to withstand external shocks, including a drop in oil prices," S&P said in a statement.

"We are therefore affirming our 'AA-/A-1+' sovereign credit ratings on the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia," the agency said."

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Qatar in talks with Centrica over UK power plant investment - Telegraph

Qatar in talks with Centrica over UK power plant investment - Telegraph:

"Qatar is in talks with Centrica over investing in UK power plants, under plans to expand its partnership with the British Gas owner.

Speaking at an event in London, Mohammed bin Saleh Al-Sada, Qatar’s energy minister, and Sam Laidlaw, Centrica chief executive, both declined to comment on rumours that Qatar was trying to build a major stake in Centrica or considering a takeover bid.

But Al-Sada said it was “discussing some projects” in the UK energy sector with Centrica, citing “a lot of common interest and values between the two companies”.

Centrica signed a cooperation agreement with Qatar Petroleum International in 2011, which has so far focused on projects in North America. Last year it also signed a £4.4bn liquefied natural gas supply deal with Qatargas."

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Dubai realty still packs punch for GCC investors |

Dubai realty still packs punch for GCC investors |

"The pace of transactional activity in Dubai’s realty space may have slackened in the last five months, but there is still enough going around to keep Gulf-based investors interested. A significant plus is the fact that Dubai has the ready properties — cutting across all categories — for investors to pile in.

Recently, PineBridge Investments Middle East, with its regional headquarters in Bahrain, completed the first close of a GCC-targetted real estate fund after raising more than $140 million (Dh514 million). It is targetting an eventual close of $200 million. The first investment was in a property housing a school in Dubai. Other real estate categories in the emirate are being looked at.

“There are a number of opportunities to invest in specialist real estate assets that generate stable returns and unlock capital for business owners in the GCC,” said Talal Al Zain, CEO of PineBridge Investments Middle East. “The target sectors — logistics, social infrastructure and community retail — are key contributors to economic growth and development of the region, as well as for job creation.”"

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Has Draghi opened the floodgates? - YouTube

Has Draghi opened the floodgates? - YouTube: ""

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Bashneft Readies $1 Billion Share Sale in Moscow or London - Bloomberg

Bashneft Readies $1 Billion Share Sale in Moscow or London - Bloomberg:

"OAO Bashneft, the oil producer controlled by Russian billionaire Vladimir Evtushenkov, is preparing to raise at least $1 billion in a share sale in London or Moscow later this year.

While no decision has been taken on whether or where the sale will go ahead, the company will be ready should market conditions allow, Chief Executive Officer Alexander Korsik said in an interview yesterday. The sale, designed to increase the stock’s liquidity, may comprise shares held by Evtushenkov’s Sistema group or new shares, he said.

The choice between London or Moscow will be guided by financial considerations and not politics, Korsik said. The Russian government is encouraging businesses to raise money in home markets after President Vladimir Putin’s decision to annex Crimea prompted the imposition of U.S. and European Union sanctions on some Russian businesses and individuals."

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