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Sunday, 8 June 2014

Bulgaria halts Russia's South Stream gas pipeline project — RT Business

Bulgaria halts Russia's South Stream gas pipeline project — RT Business:



"Bulgaria’s prime minister, Plamen Oresharski, has ordered a halt to work on Russia’s South Stream pipeline, on the recommendation of the EU. The decision was announced after his talks with US senators.



"At this time there is a request from the European Commission, after which we've suspended the current works, I ordered it," Oresharski told journalists after meeting with John McCain, Chris Murphy and Ron Johnson during their visit to Bulgaria on Sunday. "Further proceedings will be decided after additional consultations with Brussels."



McCain, commenting on the situation, said that "Bulgaria should solve the South Stream problems in collaboration with European colleagues," adding that in the current situation they would want "less Russian involvement" in the project.

"



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Dubai falls after c.bank warns on property; politics hit Kuwait | News by Country | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Dubai falls after c.bank warns on property; politics hit Kuwait | News by Country | Reuters:



"Dubai led stock market losses in the Gulf on Sunday after the United Arab Emirates central bank said it saw potential signs of a property bubble, while investors in Kuwait sold off small-cap stocks as opposition politicians called a public protest.



The Dubai benchmark fell 2.5 percent, dragged down by property and banking stocks which had outperformed the market in the last few weeks as they became part of MSCI's emerging market index at the end of May.



In the first official warning on the risks of a bubble forming in the UAE's property market, the central bank said on Sunday that residential rental yields in Dubai and Abu Dhabi could indicate growing imbalances and overheating in the country's real estate sector.



The central bank also said the banking system was not at risk, and it did not indicate it planned to take any concrete action towards the real estate market. But its warning could eventually lead to further steps to cool the market by local authorities in Dubai and Abu Dhabi."



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Times of Oman | Standard & Poor's affirms Oman’s credit ratings at A/A-1; outlook stable

Times of Oman | News :: Standard & Poor's affirms Oman’s credit ratings at A/A-1; outlook stable:



"Standard & Poor's Ratings Services affirmed its 'A/A-1' long- and short-term foreign and local currency sovereign credit ratings to the Sultanate. The outlook is stable.



The ratings are supported by Oman's strong net external and general government asset positions and prudent investment policies. They are constrained by the view of its still-nascent public institutions, the challenge of creating sufficient youth employment, and limited monetary policy flexibility.



Based on S&P's assumption that the oil price will decline to around $95 by 2017, the ratings agency expects some weakening in Oman's gross domestic product (GDP) per capita, and in its fiscal and external balances. However, S&P expects the general government's strong net asset position to be maintained at about 78 per cent of GDP in 2014-2017, while the country's net external creditor position should also remain robust at around 77 per cent of current account receipts (CARs)."



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Oman's mid-sized banks face more pain as competition bites - Banking & Finance - ArabianBusiness.com

Oman's mid-sized banks face more pain as competition bites - Banking & Finance - ArabianBusiness.com:



"Oman’s mid-sized banking as financial institutions can expect more pain in the short term as they grapple with declining margins amid increased competition and more regulation, according to the latest Moody’s report.



However, the credit ratings agency said rising loan volumes should offset the strain on profits, Muscat Daily reported.



Moody’s said Oman’s mid-sized banks - Oman Arab Bank, BankDhofar, HSBC Bank Oman and National Bank of Oman - shared similar characteristics as a result of a tight regulatory framework in the sultanate that ensured that all banks remained domestically focused, targeting the same clients and asset classes."



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Dubai Shares Drop Amid Property Warning Signs; Abu Dhabi Falls - Bloomberg

Dubai Shares Drop Amid Property Warning Signs; Abu Dhabi Falls - Bloomberg:



"Dubai stocks declined, led by construction and property companies, as a United Arab Emirates Central Bank report signaled the country’s real-estate market may be overheating. Shares in Abu Dhabi also retreated.



The DFM General Index (KWSEIDX) slid 2.5 percent, the biggest decline since May 28, to 4,972.78 at the close in Dubai. Arabtec Holding Co. (ARTC), the largest listed building contractor in the country, tumbled 6.7 percent, and Emaar Properties PJSC, developer of the world’s tallest tower, slumped 2 percent. Abu Dhabi’s ADX General Index retreated 1.1 percent to 4,997.86, the lowest since May 28.



Average rental yields in Dubai and Abu Dhabi have fallen below historical averages as real-estate prices rise, indicating that the market may be expanding too fast, the central bank said in today's report. Property and construction companies have led an equities rally in Dubai, where the benchmark index has increased more than three-fold since the start of last year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg."



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UAE Central Bank warning on rental yields absurd as mortgage rates have also fallen to historic lows « ArabianMoney

UAE Central Bank warning on rental yields absurd as mortgage rates have also fallen to historic lows « ArabianMoney:



"UAE stocks tumbled today on an ill-judged report from the central bank that said historically low rental yields mean that house prices are rising too fast. In truth with ultra low interest rates, and UAE mortgage rates down from eight to 3.5 per cent in five years, this is exactly what you would expect to happen and it is happening everywhere else in the world too.



Basically rental yields tend to reflect the cost of borrowing money to own a unit of residential accomodation. As the cost of money falls so do rental yields. It is a simple matter of arbitrage between competing asset classes. Share dividend yields are also low while prices are at all-time highs in many global bourses for exactly the same reason."



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Credit Suisse Says Having Qatar as Holder Not Enough for Deals - Bloomberg

Credit Suisse Says Having Qatar as Holder Not Enough for Deals - Bloomberg:



"Credit Suisse Group AG (CSGN), the Swiss investment bank which advised Qatar on some of its most high-profile investments, said it’s gaining deals on merit and not because of the Gulf state’s status as a key shareholder.



“We’re winning deals in a competitive environment on the basis of how strong our credentials are in a particular sector, geography or product,” Aladdin Hangari, the bank’s chief executive officer for Qatar, said in an interview. “Just having Qatar as a shareholder is not enough to win mandates.”



Qatar and Credit Suisse are boosting ties after the gas-rich nation took a stake in the bank and bought its London headquarters. Switzerland’s second-largest lender and Qatar Holding, a unit of the emirate’s sovereign wealth fund, formed Aventicum Capital Management, in 2012 to boost emerging-market investments. Hangari also heads that business."



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A capital idea - YouTube

A capital idea - YouTube: ""



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UPDATE 1-UAE c.bank: rental yields may indicate growing imbalances, overheating | Reuters

UPDATE 1-UAE c.bank: rental yields may indicate growing imbalances, overheating | Reuters:



"Residential rental yields in Dubai and Abu Dhabi could indicate growing imbalances and overheating in the country's real estate sector, the United Arab Emirates central bank said on Sunday, in the first official warning about soaring property prices.



"Current average rental yields in Dubai and Abu Dhabi are approximately 70 and 130 basis points below historical averages, which could indicate growing imbalances - overheating real estate market," it said in an annual financial stability report.



"Monitoring development in the UAE real estate markets and the banks' exposure to it remains a core financial stability priority," it added.



House prices in Dubai, which suffered a property market crash in 2008, topped the global rankings in January-March for the fourth consecutive quarter, soaring 27.7 percent from a year ago, a report by Knight Frank property consultancy said."



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Plenty of room for mortgage finance to push up Dubai house prices as cash still dominates the market « ArabianMoney

Plenty of room for mortgage finance to push up Dubai house prices as cash still dominates the market « ArabianMoney:



"If you want to know the real reason why Dubai house prices still lag behind comparable global hub cities with lower average after-tax incomes then it’s because this is still largely a cash market. Low-cost mortgage finance has driven house prices through the roof in many top cities. Is that where Dubai real estate is heading next?



It is hard to reach any other conclusion, absent a big surge in global interest rates or a collapse in oil prices that would hurt regional businesses. The index compiled by local data supplier reidin.com shows Dubai apartments have only just surpassed their 2008 peak prices while villas are trading at par value."



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UAE banks in ‘feeding frenzy’ amid property bull market | The National

UAE banks in ‘feeding frenzy’ amid property bull market | The National:



"Chris Taylor, the chief executive of Abu Dhabi Finance, is finding it tough to compete with banks that keep bringing home financing rates lower and lower amid what he describes as a “feeding frenzy”.



He is also worried that the property bull market is pricing too many end users out – the kind of buyers that are needed for long-term stability.



“What those people are saying is that I can afford the repayment but I don’t have the cash available for the deposit,” Mr Taylor said. “They say ‘I still want real estate, so what I will do is buy an apartment as an investment and I am going to rent a villa to live in’."



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GCC expected to help prop up budget of new Egyptian president Sisi | The National

GCC expected to help prop up budget of new Egyptian president Sisi | The National:



"Egypt’s new president is expected to look to the Arabian Gulf to help plug a US$9 billion foreign-exchange funding gap for the next six months to help meet its urgent food and fuel needs.



As Abdel Fattah El Sisi swears in today, economists warn that without such aid the country’s economic condition may deteriorate further in the absence of receipts from tourism and foreign investment. Following years of economic growth averaging more than 7 per cent, the country’s GDP growth dipped to 2.2 per cent in 2012, according to the World Bank.



Egypt has been battered by more than three years of unrest after the deposal of the former president, Hosni Mubarak, in February 2011. Experts say that Gulf nations will continue to extend the Arab world’s most populous country a lifeline until public finances are shored up. Saudi Arabia’s king called for a donor’s conference last week to help the beleaguered country, and the UAE has been active in helping Egypt come up with a blueprint for recovery."



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UAE markets provide renewed hope | GulfNews.com

UAE markets provide renewed hope | GulfNews.com:



"Last week the Dubai Financial Market General Index (DFMGI) ended essentially flat at 5,100.68, up 13.21 or 0.26 per cent. Volatility was low, while volume improved to a four-week high. Market breadth leaned clearly on the bullish side with 27 issues advancing, while 11 declined.



Despite the recent correction of 15.95 per cent the DFMGI has mostly stayed above its medium-term trend line, since its start from the September 2013 swing low. The index dropped below the line only briefly and quickly recovered several weeks ago. Using a 55-day exponential moving average (ema), a similar tool to a trend line, produces the same result. Each is supportive of the probability that, even though not much upward progress was made last week, the index is gaining strength. Higher volume and positive market breadth further supports this scenario. In addition, last week ended above the prior week’s high, although just barely, a short-term confirmation of underlying strength.



At the same time, the DFMGI has rallied up into the lower half of a two-week resistance zone going up to the most recent peak of 5,406.52. That zone may continue to hold an advance in the near-term. Momentum needs a pick up to get through it, with a daily close above it needed for a signal that the uptrend is continuing. Until then the uptrend line and 55-day ema are good tools to identify support areas where the index should hold above if it is to continue to gain. The 55ema is now at 4,838.71, while the low from two-weeks ago, also identifying potential support, is nearby at 4,841.54."



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IMF ready to help Egypt, Lagarde tells president-elect | GulfNews.com

IMF ready to help Egypt, Lagarde tells president-elect | GulfNews.com:



"International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde has personally congratulated Egypt’s President-elect Abdul Fattah Al Sissi and stressed the global lender remains ready to help the country, the IMF said Friday.



“IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde spoke to Egyptian President-elect Al Sissi by phone yesterday to congratulate him on his election,” a spokeswoman said in an email.



“The discussion focused on economic issues, and the managing director reiterated the Fund’s continued commitment to help Egypt and its people.”"



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Russia-Ukraine Peace Talks to Start - Bloomberg

Russia-Ukraine Peace Talks to Start - Bloomberg:



"Ukraine’s new leader, Petro Poroshenko, will start talks today with Russian President Vladimir Putin’s envoy about ending separatist violence in the former Soviet republic’s easternmost regions.



Poroshenko yesterday took the oath of office as Ukraine’s president and a day earlier discussed with Putin his proposals for the first steps toward a cease-fire. In his inauguration speech, he presented a plan to bring peace to the nation after more than six months of unrest that has pitted the U.S. and Europe against Russia in the worst standoff since the Cold War.



“I know that peace is the most important thing that Ukrainian people desire now,” Poroshenko, 48, said after taking the oath of office in the parliament building in Kiev yesterday."



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Russia-Ukraine Peace Talks to Start - Bloomberg

Russia-Ukraine Peace Talks to Start - Bloomberg:



"Ukraine’s new leader, Petro Poroshenko, will start talks today with Russian President Vladimir Putin’s envoy about ending separatist violence in the former Soviet republic’s easternmost regions.



Poroshenko yesterday took the oath of office as Ukraine’s president and a day earlier discussed with Putin his proposals for the first steps toward a cease-fire. In his inauguration speech, he presented a plan to bring peace to the nation after more than six months of unrest that has pitted the U.S. and Europe against Russia in the worst standoff since the Cold War.



“I know that peace is the most important thing that Ukrainian people desire now,” Poroshenko, 48, said after taking the oath of office in the parliament building in Kiev yesterday."



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