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Thursday, 19 June 2014

MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf mixed; UAE mkts rise despite Arabtec weakness | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf mixed; UAE mkts rise despite Arabtec weakness | Reuters:



"Stock markets in the United Arab Emirates continued to recover on Thursday, outperforming an otherwise weak Gulf region, while Qatar took a short-term hit from a rebalancing of the FTSE frontier market index.



Dubai's bourse was the Gulf's top performer, adding 1.6 percent and moving, for the first time in more than three weeks, in the opposite direction from Arabtec, which edged down 0.9 percent.



Arabtec, which dropped 50 percent in the last two weeks, still dominated trading volume, swinging between positive and negative territory as investors digested the surprise resignation of its chief executive Hasan Ismaik on Wednesday."



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UAE focuses on economic reform in Egypt in battle against Islamism - FT.com

UAE focuses on economic reform in Egypt in battle against Islamism - FT.com:



"The United Arab Emirates is shifting its assistance to Egypt from direct aid to private sector development as the Gulf state seeks to help build stronger economic foundations in the pivotal Arab country.



Seeing Egypt as the frontline in their battle against Islamism, Abu Dhabi and neighbouring Saudi Arabia are focusing on keeping the country financially stable through the summer.



People aware of the matter say Abu Dhabi has hired Lazard to advise Cairo on debt management as well as consultancy Strategy&, previously Booz, which is helping to develop investment strategies in various economic sectors.
"



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Dubai shares rise as traders focus less on Arabtec | GulfNews.com

Dubai shares rise as traders focus less on Arabtec | GulfNews.com:



"UAE indices extended their rally on Thursday, especially by Dubai index, as traders focused less on Arabtec shares.



Dubai‘s benchmark index closed 1.57 per cent higher at 4,593.27 points, fuelled by real estate and insurance shares. Real estate and energy shares lifted the Abu Dhabi index by 0.47 per cent to 4,803.79 points.



“The Dubai market was much more stable today. Overall volume was better and traders concentrated less on Arabtec shares,” Mohammad Ali Yasin, managing director of NBAD Securities, told Gulf News."



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IMF: Bahrain Should Tackle Government Debt, Subsidies - Middle East Real Time - WSJ

IMF: Bahrain Should Tackle Government Debt, Subsidies - Middle East Real Time - WSJ:



"Bahrain needs to fix its budget deficit and reduce government debt by introducing reforms that retarget subsidies and raise state revenues, the International Monetary Fund said after an annual consultation with the country. 




Bahrain, which has been in a state of political turmoil since tensions between its Sunni ruling class and its Shia majority erupted into civil unrest in 2011, nonetheless saw healthy economic growth last year, the IMF said in a statement. Gross domestic product expanded by 5.3%, the IMF estimated, driven by a pick-up in energy production.



But the IMF said Bahrain also needed to address a growing government budget deficit estimated at 4.3% of GDP last year."



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India plans more transparent Iran oil payments via UAE cbank - sources | Reuters

India plans more transparent Iran oil payments via UAE cbank - sources | Reuters:



"India plans to clear some pending oil payments to Iran through the United Arab Emirates central bank, three sources with knowledge of the matter said, under an interim nuclear deal that has allowed Tehran access to $4.2 billion in blocked funds globally.



The mechanism reflects a U.S. insistence that the transfers can be closely tracked. Payments would reward Tehran for cooperating in nuclear talks that, if successful, would return Iran to the international fold after decades of isolation.



Despite some signs of improving relations between Washington and Tehran, a full deal over Iran's nuclear activity remains elusive."



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Oman's economic policies spark rare protest on Twitter | Middle East Eye

Oman's economic policies spark rare protest on Twitter | Middle East Eye:



"Social media users in Oman are protesting against a decision by the government to remove price protection for around 70 products, saying that it will deepen an already severe wealth divide in the Gulf Sultanate.



Two hashtags, “Statement Denouncing The Decision Of The Council Of Ministers” and “Against The Decision By The Council Of Ministers On Consumer Protection”, have provoked more than 10,000 tweets in two days, with an Omani social media monitor describing the activity as “exceptional.”



Oman’s Council of Ministers decided on 15 June to lift price controls on dozens of products, with 23 staple items still falling under the auspices of the Public Authority for Consumer Protection."



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Iran's investors alarmed by stock market decline - Al-Monitor

Iran's investors alarmed by stock market decline - Al-Monitor: the Pulse of the Middle East:



"This week, another sharp drop in the Tehran Stock Exchange Index (TEPIX) served as a reminder that some of the structural issues in Iran’s main capital market need to be addressed.



Since the beginning of the current Iranian year (March 21, 2014) the TEPIX has dropped by 8% — a fact that has worried Iranian investors. Though this week’s sharp decline (2.5% drop on June 14 and 15) came to a halt on June 16, concerns remain that further fluctuations will undermine Iran's capital market. The most recent drop also indicates that the government’s April 2014 decision to inject some liquidity into the market was just a short-lived remedy that failed to address deeper structural shortcomings.



Market fluctuations are heavily influenced by domestic political and geopolitical events. The most recent such event has been the emerging threat from the terrorist organization the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS). Interestingly, the Iranian market has calmed down following the start of a new round of nuclear negotiations in Vienna as well as the news that Iran and the United States may collaborate to contain the ISIS threat."



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Iran still holds world’s largest gas reserves—BP « ASHARQ AL-AWSAT

Iran still holds world’s largest gas reserves—BP « ASHARQ AL-AWSAT:



"Iran still holds the world’s largest proven natural gas reserves, at 33.8 trillion cubic meters—or 18.2 percent of the world’s total proven reserves—according to a BP report published earlier this week, up from 33.6 trillion cubic meters at the end of 2012, when it overtook Russia.



The UK oil and gas giant’s “Statistical Review of World Energy” also showed that despite holding the world’s largest reserves, Iran only accounted for 0.5 percent of global natural gas production, at 166.6 billion cubic meters in 2013.



Years of crippling sanctions have stymied Iran’s oil and gas industries, leaving infrastructure and fields underdeveloped due to lack of investment and expertise."



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Interest in Saudi equity market seen increasing | Economy | Saudi Gazette

Interest in Saudi equity market seen increasing | Economy | Saudi Gazette:



"Global Investment House Saudia (Global Saudi) announced today the remarkable performance of its managed equity funds and the Asset Manager’s view on the Saudi capital market expecting increased interest and potentially enhanced liquidity.



Since the beginning of the year, the Global Saudi Equity Fund and Global Saudi Islamic Equity Fund (Al-Noor) have both outperformed their respective benchmarks reporting 17.2 percent (benchmark: 15.1 percent) and 27.5 percent (benchmark: 12.5 percent) respectively.



Launched in January 2009, The Global Saudi Equity Fund has consistently outperformed its benchmark and peers, with stock selection being the main driver. Since its inception, the fund achieved 144.9 percent return compared to the benchmark return of 105.1 percent, outperforming the benchmark by more than 39.8 percent."



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How Qatar Got So Rich So Fast [PHOTOS] - Business Insider

How Qatar Got So Rich So Fast [PHOTOS] - Business Insider:



"Lots of countries have fossil fuels, but few have done as well as Qatar to take advantage of them.



While Venezuela, Iraq, Libya, Nigeria, and others have fallen victim to the resource curse, when an abundance of resources leads to economic distortions and limited growth, Qatar has done much to reinvest energy money and diversify its economy. Support from the U.S. as well as decades of proven reserves have also fostered stability.



The tiny peninsula has  the highest per-capita GDP in the world at $98,800 — and even that number may vastly understate the actual wealth of Qatar's 280,000 citizens. Qatar has enough money to build a huge metropolis in the desert and to win the right to host the 2022 World Cup, allegedly through millions of dollars in bribes."



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Tall towers shape London's face - YouTube

Tall towers shape London's face - YouTube: ""



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UK housing bubble - YouTube

UK housing bubble - YouTube: ""



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Dubai economy expanded at fastest rate in six years in 2013 | The National

Dubai economy expanded at fastest rate in six years in 2013 | The National:



"Dubai’s economy expanded by 4.6 per cent last year, its fastest rate of growth since 2007, propelled by a solid performance spanning manufacturing to hospitality.



The economy grew to Dh325.7 billion, up from Dh311bn the year before, data released yesterday by Dubai Statistics Centre showed.



“The outlook for Dubai’s economy is positive in our view,” said Khatija Haque, the head of Mena research at Emirates NBD. “So far this year, the data has been encouraging. The UAE PMI data shows there has been a strong expansion in the non-oil sector and the recovery in the property market has underpinned positive sentiment.”"



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Arabtec’s change of guard played out on stock market | GulfNews.com

Arabtec’s change of guard played out on stock market | GulfNews.com:



"After the extreme volatility that Arabtec’s share price has been through in recent days, the manner of Hasan Ismaik’s exit as the CEO was quite subdued in its intensity.



A terse statement that he had handed in his resignation but that he will not go into any of the details as to what forced his hand was all that the media could get from Ismaik on a day when Arabtec was holding a board of directors’ meeting. The board immediately confirmed that Mohammad Al Fahim will take over the role of the acting CEO. It was in February last year that Hasan Ismaik took over from Arabtec’s long serving CEO Riad Kamal.



The share had been through a see-saw ride in recent weeks — soaring to Dh9 a share plus and dropping to just over Dh4 in a matter of days. Such a movement is unprecedented in the annals of UAE’s stock markets."



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UAE investors wait to see what will happen in Iraq, and in Arabtec | GulfNews.com

UAE investors wait to see what will happen in Iraq, and in Arabtec | GulfNews.com:



"Arabtec shares rose 1.9 per cent to Dh4.30 on Wednesday following the announcement that CEO and managing director Hassan Ismaik was stepping down.



Trading volumes on Wednesday were down in both Dubai and Abu Dhabi as turmoil in Iraq continued to depress both markets.



The Dubai Financial Market saw a total volume of 427 million trades worth a total of Dh1.3 billion. Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange saw 164 million trades worth Dh379 million."



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Poroshenko Plans Talks After Offer of Truce in E. Ukraine - Bloomberg

Poroshenko Plans Talks After Offer of Truce in E. Ukraine - Bloomberg:



"Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko will meet government officials from the country’s conflict-wracked regions as he tries to build support for his proposed unilateral cease-fire in a bid to end three months of clashes.



The meetings today in the capital, Kiev, will only include “legitimate” politicians, mayors and entrepreneurs from the Luhansk and Donetsk regions, according to a statement on the presidential website. Pro-Russian separatists indicated they’d reject a cease-fire that Poroshenko wants to call within days.



“The peace plan will begin with my decree on a unilateral cease-fire,” Poroshenko said yesterday on his website. “The cease-fire will be quite short. We expect that there will be an immediate surrender of weapons, peace and order.”"



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JPMorgan Joins Russia Bulls After Rally as Risks Fade - Bloomberg

JPMorgan Joins Russia Bulls After Rally as Risks Fade - Bloomberg:



"Russian stocks have been so volatile amid the turmoil in Ukraine that it took a bull market to convince JPMorgan Chase & Co. that it’s time to buy.



The bank’s upgrade from sell yesterday follows a 21 percent advance in the benchmark Micex Index (INDEXCF) from its bear-market low in March. Stocks are rallying as President Vladimir Putin signals that he’s willing to work with Ukraine’s new leader, reducing concern that Russia will face more sanctions. Bank of America Corp., which has had a buy rating on Russian stocks since September, reiterated its bullish view on June 17. Deutsche Bank AG strategist John-Paul Smith predicted a rebound six weeks ago.



“The two key catalysts are the fading of the Ukraine crisis and the shift in positioning,” JPMorgan analysts including David Aserkoff and Christian Kern wrote in a report on June 18. “Global emerging-market funds are underweight for the first time since 2009. The emerging-market value trade seems to be working, which should benefit Russia"



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Ruble Ends 5-Day Rout as Ukraine Bonds Jump on Cease-Fire Talks - Bloomberg

Ruble Ends 5-Day Rout as Ukraine Bonds Jump on Cease-Fire Talks - Bloomberg:



"Russia’s ruble gained for the first time in six days against the dollar and Ukrainian bonds surged as prospects grew for a cease-fire after three months of clashes. Equities in the two countries climbed.



The ruble rose 0.8 percent to 34.5425 per dollar at 6 p.m. in Moscow, when the central bank stops its market operations. The Micex Index (INDEXCF) added 0.5 percent and the Ukrainian Equities Index (UX) climbed 1.2 percent after three days of declines. Ukrainian government bonds due July 2017 rallied, sending yields down 71 basis points to 9.48 percent.



President Vladimir Putin and his Ukrainian counterpart, Petro Poroshenko, last night discussed a possible cease-fire in southeastern Ukraine. Acting Ukraine Defense Minister Mykhaylo Koval today announced a unilateral cease-fire in days, the Interfax news service reported. The nations’ assets came under renewed pressure after 49 people were killed when pro-Russian fighters shot down a military plane over the weekend."



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Billionaire Sawiris Takes Second Shot at Buying EFG-Hermes Stake - Bloomberg

Billionaire Sawiris Takes Second Shot at Buying EFG-Hermes Stake - Bloomberg:



"Egypt’s markets regulator is giving billionaire Naguib Sawiris a shot at fulfilling a promise to reinvest in his home country under the new political leadership.



The Egyptian Financial Supervisory Authority said yesterday it approved a 1.83 billion Egyptian pound ($256 million) offer by Sawiris and Cairo-based Beltone Financial Holding to buy about 20 percent of EFG-Hermes Holding SAE, the biggest publicly traded Arab investment bank. EFG-Hermes, also based in Cairo, rose 2.3 percent to 15.35 pounds yesterday, taking its gains since Sawiris’s June 5 offer to 17 percent.



It marks his second attempt to buy a stake in EFG-Hermes after the bank’s shareholders opted for a tie-up with Qatar’s QInvest LLC at the time of his first bid two years ago. EFG-Hermes’s merger plans with QInvest also failed after the banks failed to win approval from the regulator, known as EFSA."



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Half-Price Kurdish Oil Threatens Iraq Breakup With Turkish Help - Bloomberg

Half-Price Kurdish Oil Threatens Iraq Breakup With Turkish Help - Bloomberg:



"A tanker containing a million barrels of crude oil is floating around the Mediterranean, and its cargo is available at half-price. Yet if any country seizes the bargain, it may be pushing Iraq closer to disintegration.



The oil aboard the tanker is at the center of a fight over its ownership between the semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan, which pumped and shipped the crude from its territory in northern Iraq, and the central government in Baghdad, which claims the rights to all oil revenue.



Kurdish Peshmerga armed forces seized on the anarchy in northern Iraq, where militant Islamists routed the Baghdad government’s army last week, to occupy the region’s key oil hub, Kirkuk. The oil dispute has raised the possibility of the Kurdish region achieving financial self-sufficiency to go with those expanding territorial ambitions."



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