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Monday, 14 July 2014

Island-raffler’s debt sparks Dubai concern | Business , Regional | THE DAILY STAR

Island-raffler’s debt sparks Dubai concern | Business , Regional | THE DAILY STAR:



"Islamic bonds from Damac Real Estate Development Ltd. have become the region’s worst performers this year just three months after they were issued, amid concern Dubai’s property boom is running out of steam.



The developer, which once raffled a Caribbean island in a bid to sell more luxury apartments, was last month caught up in a selloff led by property securities that sent the local equity gauge into a bear market. The yield on Damac’s 2019 sukuk jumped 69 basis points to 5.87 percent in June, according to data compiled by Bloomberg, compared with the 10 basis-point increase to 4.17 percent for Middle East Islamic bonds on a JPMorgan Chase & Co. index. The securities have traded below their selling price since they were sold in April.



“The market is assigning an added risk to Damac because its business model is based on pure property sales without any rental income, which is very risky,” Taher Safieddine, an analyst at Shuaa Capital PSC, said by telephone. “Now they are doing brilliantly because they have a lot of handover, but once that is done, earnings may take a beating because there is no other source of income.”"



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SFO Probes Sweett Group Over Alleged UAE Bribery - Risk & Compliance - WSJ

SFO Probes Sweett Group Over Alleged UAE Bribery - Risk & Compliance - WSJ:



"Sweett Group PLC said Monday the U.K. Serious Fraud Office launched an investigation into allegations of corruption involving a United Arab Emirates-based employee that were reported last year in The Wall Street Journal.



The Journal reported in June 2013 about a 2010 meeting between two men–an executive of Cyril Sweett International Ltd., a unit of Sweett, and one from architectural firm HLW International LLP–to discuss a bribe HLW would pay to an official inside the UAE president’s personal foundation as the firm tried to score a contract to design a hospital in Morocco that the foundation was funding. 




HLW agreed to make the payment but later halted it and hired lawyers, the Journal report said, quoting a spokesman who said the firm “ran into numerous obstacles” in the region, and later closed its Abu Dhabi office and ended its relationship with the UAE president’s foundation."



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EconoMonitor : EconoMonitor » BP’s Latest Estimate Says World’s Oil Will Last 53.3 Years

EconoMonitor : EconoMonitor » BP’s Latest Estimate Says World’s Oil Will Last 53.3 Years:



"According to BP, drivers whose vehicles rely on burning oil have a little more than a half-century to find alternate sources of energy. Or walk.



BP’s annual report on proved global oil reserves says that as of the end of 2013, Earth has nearly 1.688 trillion barrels of crude, which will last 53.3 years at current rates of extraction. This figure is 1.1 percent higher than that of the previous year. In fact, during the past 10 years proven reserves have risen by 27 percent, or more than 350 billion barrels.



The increased amount of oil in the report include 900 million barrels detected in Russia and 800 million barrels in Venezuela. OPEC nations continue to lead the world by having a large majority of the planet’s reserves, or 71.9 percent."



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Major UAE Merger Likely in 6 Months | Defense News | defensenews.com

Major UAE Merger Likely in 6 Months | Defense News | defensenews.com:



"A merger between United Arab Emirates defense giants Mubadala Development, Tawazun and Emirates Advanced Investments could be completed within the next six months, according to sources close to discussions.



The three defense companies are likely to announce the creation of a new entity before the International Defence Exhibition in Abu Dhabi next year.



In April, a memorandum of understanding expressing their intent to explore “the synergy opportunities that could be created by the unification of their defense services businesses” was signed at the International Exhibition for Security and National Resilience in Abu Dhabi."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Most markets edge up but SABIC drags down Saudi | Agricultural Commodities | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Most markets edge up but SABIC drags down Saudi | Agricultural Commodities | Reuters:



"Bourses in Qatar, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates edged up on Monday while Saudi Arabia's largest listed company, Saudi Basic Industries, dragged down that market after two of its subsidiaries posted disappointing quarterly earnings. 




The Doha benchmark added 0.8 percent after slipping as much as 0.5 percent earlier in the session. Qatar Islamic Bank was among the main supports, adding 1.5 percent as it prepared to announce its quarterly results.



After trading closed, the lender posted a 15 percent jump in second-quarter net profit to 389.6 million riyals ($107 million), beating analysts' average estimate of 348.8 million riyals."



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British Business Club in Ukraine: Ukraine needs to stop ACTING like a Rich Country

British Business Club in Ukraine: Ukraine needs to stop ACTING like a Rich Country:



"Many, if not all people who visit Ukraine for the first time arrive in Kyiv. One of the big surprises for them is when they discover the high prices on the Ukraine residential property market. The overall market has not picked up since the crisis of 2009 but prices are still in what I call the ‘crazy category’



Why should property in Ukraine be more expensive than the following countries in the EU? :
Malta, Slovenia, Romania, Cyprus, Latvia, Estonia, Croatia, Lithuania, Hungary, Portugal and Bulgaria
So we can say that Ukraine is more expensive than 12 EU countries.
See: http://www.globalpropertyguide.com/Europe/square-meter-prices



What is so special about Ukraine? Some locals will claim that it is due to the demand of not enough housing stock in the first place and people just want to have their own place to live and are prepared to do anything to have their own place of residence. Some property developers would claim it is just a simple of case of supply and demand."



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Kurdish dream still swimming in a sea of ‘sharks’ - FT.com

Kurdish dream still swimming in a sea of ‘sharks’ - FT.com:



"From a compound overlooking Erbil, Taleb Murad Ali looks out at the construction sites sprawling over formerly fertile fields. They are a symbol both of the growth of Iraqi Kurdistan’s regional capital and of the challenges ahead.



“We were the breadbasket of Iraq. Now look at all that concrete . . . we’ve gone from a producing to a consuming unit,” says the agricultural adviser to the prime minister of the semi-autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government.



Economic independence has long been a mantra for Kurds, who have watched countries such as South Sudan founder without a solid development plan beyond exporting oil. But with KRG leaders openly discussing political independence as conflict embroils Iraq’s Shia and Sunni Arabs, the oil-rich region’s struggle for economic viability remains incomplete."



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Iran’s businesses fear more uncertainty as nuclear deadline looms - FT.com

Iran’s businesses fear more uncertainty as nuclear deadline looms - FT.com:



"Nuclear negotiations between Iran and the world’s six nuclear powers – the US, UK, France Russia, China and Germany – are in a race against time as they try to reach a permanent deal ahead of a July 20 deadline.



Despite the looming deadline, which was set in an interim agreement last year, the two sides remain far apart over substantial issues, notably around the scope of Tehran’s uranium enrichment capacity and the number of centrifuges it is permitted to operate.



The US has never publicly given a figure for the number of centrifuges that it would allow Iran to keep, but the administration would likely face stiff opposition from Congress if it agreed to as many as 10,000 centrifuges. Iran wants far more. Diplomats are sceptical that the two sides can close this gap without an extension of negotiations."



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Ukrainian Plane Maker Seeks New Partners to Replace Russia | News | The Moscow Times

Ukrainian Plane Maker Seeks New Partners to Replace Russia | News | The Moscow Times:



"Ukraine's national aircraft manufacturer is looking for new partners in Europe and Asia after ceasing to do business with Russia following months of political tensions.



State-owned Antonov has lost more than $100 million in business after Russia's annexation of Crimea made cooperation between the two countries impossible, Dmytro Kiva, Antonov's president and general designer, said at the Farnborough International Airshow on Monday.



"We practically don't work with them any more, the Russians. It's very sad, but because of the politics it is simply not possible," he said."



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Abu Dhabi Shares Rise to Month High on Dana’s Kurdish Cash Win - Bloomberg

Abu Dhabi Shares Rise to Month High on Dana’s Kurdish Cash Win - Bloomberg:



"Abu Dhabi stocks climbed to a more than one-month high, led by Dana Gas PJSC, after a London court ordered the Kurdish government to keep making payments to the fuel producer while an arbitration case remains unresolved.



The ADX General Index (ADSMI) rose 1.5 percent to close at 4,914.23, the highest level since June 12. Dana Gas surged 8.2 percent to 79 fils, extending yesterday’s 4.3 percent advance. First Gulf Bank PJSC (FGB) gained 2.7 percent to 17.40 dirhams, the highest since June 1.



Dana Gas said yesterday the London Court of International Arbitration ruled that the government of Iraqi Kurdistan should make regular payments while its case against the region’s administration is continuing. The company is seeking to recover more than $400 million relating to rights and a contract it signed with the regional government in 2007."



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The LIA and Libya’s struggle to move on – beyondbrics - Blogs - FT.com

The LIA and Libya’s struggle to move on – beyondbrics - Blogs - FT.com:



"News that Abdulmagid Breish has been removed from his position as chairman of the Libyan Investment Authority brings yet another tortuous diversion to the troubled institution’s management. But does it make much of a difference to the fund’s ambitions?



Breish was asked to leave his position because of an inquiry under Libya’s Political Isolation Law, a piece of legislation brought in last year that prohibits those who held high office with the Gaddafi administration from serving in senior roles in the post-revolutionary government.



Breish’s connections to the past were first published in Euromoney magazine in May. This article cited Decree 130 of 2007, a document which listed the LIA’s board of trustees at its inception in 2007 – a list that included then-prime minister Baghdadi Mahmudi (who was subsequently extradited from Tunis to Tripoli in 2012 to face trial on, among other things, misuse of public funds), the deputy prime minister, the planning minister, finance minister, central bank governor, some of Gaddafi’s bankers, Mohammad Layas – who was a CEO of the LIA under Gaddafi – and Breish himself."



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Sisi’s subsidy cuts dictated by Gulf dependence | Middle East Eye

Sisi’s subsidy cuts dictated by Gulf dependence | Middle East Eye:



"On 6 July, the day after increases in petrol and diesel prices went into effect, the two men responsible for this measure, Finance Minister, Hani Kadry Dimian and Petroleum Minister, Sherif Ismail, boarded a plane for Abu Dhabi.



This reflected the harsh reality that justifying price increases on Egyptian public is not necessarily as important as seeking to solicit Gulf Arab donors, persuading them that the billions of dollars invested in Egypt will not be swallowed up in the bottomless pit of the state’s budget deficit.
 



The price increases have been met with widespread discontent, as they have led to a spike in transport costs, which has already progressed on to increased food prices. However, the measure should not have come as a surprise. The government has been grappling with energy subsidies for decades, and the problem worsened when oil prices climbed in the mid-2000s to their current level of over $1 /barrel."



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Agronomy-Ukraine: Russian harvest underway | ht @AgronomyUkraine

Agronomy-Ukraine: Russian harvest underway:







Well what a couple of weeks that was.

I traveled a total of 4,000km across central and southern Russia looking at farming and other points of interest.

I saw the largest irrigation project in Europe; seemingly fell off the map deep in the south where Buddhist Temples and prayer wheels appeared; called in at Stalingrad and the railway station where Tolstoy died; played guitar with a distant relative of Neil Young; saw massive land areas not being farmed; saw massive land areas being farmed and then last night the World Cup final.

I will write up some of the more interesting and academic points in due course but I think a quick precis of the current farming picture might be useful.

The Russian grain harvest is well underway in the hot, dry regions south of Rostov and has started to gain momentum in the more central regions.

Crops and yields are looking good, timely rain kept the plants green and growing for longer with decent grain fill likely to boost output.

Last reported average total grain yield was 3.63mt/ha, up on last years 3.09mt/ha (we should see more up to date figures released later today).

That included wheat at 3.78mt/ha (2013 3.22mt/ha); barley 3.70mt/ha (2013 3.35mt/ha) and oilseed rape at 1.70mt/ha (2013 1.72mt/ha).

The spring crops of corn, sunflower, soya and sugar beet etc have also benefited from the rain and are growing well under hot temperatures and blue skies although they are a long way from harvest yet.

We are also still a long way from completing the grain harvest but based on what I saw on the 2014 4kkm Russian Crop Tour it looks like it might be a good year for Russian farmers.
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Asset managers M&A approaching? - YouTube

Asset managers M&A approaching? - YouTube: ""



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Analysis: UAE stock market correction in June was overdue | The National

Analysis: UAE stock market correction in June was overdue | The National:



"In June, Mena markets with the exception of Oman declined across the board, Abu Dhabi fell 13.4 per cent, Dubai 22.5 per cent, Saudi Arabia 3.2 per cent, Qatar 16.1 per cent, Egypt 1.0 per cent and Kuwait 4.4 per cent; meanwhile Oman gained 2.2 per cent.



In our view after a sustained rally over the past 18 months a correction was due. One needs to place the correction in context and it should be remembered that the recent rally in the markets was supported by strong underlying fundamentals, positive sentiment over the MSCI inclusion and interest from foreign investors. 




Catalysts for the recent correction were escalation of violence in Iraqi, margin calls and deleveraging, post-MSCI-upgrade profit-taking and concerns regarding Arabtec. Focus will be now on Q2 earnings and we don’t expect any significant negative surprises. The higher oil price remains supportive for regional economies and the UAE historically benefits from a safe haven status in the event of rising regional tensions. The real estate and construction sector in the UAE had a difficult month, with the Dubai Financial Market real estate and construction index ending down by 30.5 per cent against the DFM General Index, which was down by 22.5 per cent. Despite the decrease in share price for UAE real estate companies, at the business level the Dubai real estate market there were new projects launched, notably from Emaar, Nakheel, and Damac and they have received overwhelmingly positive responses from customers. During Cityscape, there were also new project launches in Abu Dhabi, including a number by Aldar Properties. However, it should be noted that property prices in Dubai are leveling out because of higher mortgage caps and increased transfer fees imposed by governmental bodies."



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Dubai’s New Mega-Projects Alarm Bank of America Merrill Lynch - Middle East Real Time - WSJ

Dubai’s New Mega-Projects Alarm Bank of America Merrill Lynch - Middle East Real Time - WSJ:



"As Dubai again announces one new mega-project after another, warning signs are growing that the emirate could repeat the same mistakes that nearly brought it down in 2009.



Bank of America-Merrill Lynch is worried that new plans such as the Mall of the World are reminiscent of the days preceding Dubai’s property market crash when the emirate spent billions of dollars building spectacular hotels and artificial islands off its coast. Once the economic crisis hit the region, Dubai was unable to service the vast pile of debt it had amassed in previous years to fund these projects and had to resort to its neighbor Abu Dhabi’s help and ask creditors to defer payments to stave off financial collapse.



Last week, the emirate’s ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum unveiled plans to build Mall of the World, a 4.5 million square meter project with a price tag of $6.8 billion that will contain 100 hotels, a cultural district and shopping boulevards -all temperature-controlled to ensure a steady flow of tourists even during the scorching summer heat."



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Oil industry excited about Arctic - YouTube

Oil industry excited about Arctic - YouTube: ""



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China will grow by breaking elite - YouTube

China will grow by breaking elite - YouTube: ""



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The UAE can offer Egypt guidance on tricky issue of subsidy reform | The National

The UAE can offer Egypt guidance on tricky issue of subsidy reform | The National:



"At times of crisis, the impossible becomes inevitable. Egypt’s unaffordably low energy prices had long been considered politically untouchable, even as they drained the treasury and led to rampant consumption, dried up exports and caused an electricity crisis. But now the new government under the president Abdel Fattah El Sisi has moved suddenly to increase fuel prices — prompted by its international donors, by business at home and by economic reality.



During his time as president, Anwar Sadat was nearly overthrown when he tried to reduce food and fuel handouts. Hosni Mubarak did not dare to touch them during his 30-year tenure, and his administration introduced the pricing system that is at the root of the current gas and power shortage. Mohammed Morsi’s short-lived government increased gas prices to industry but otherwise made little headway. 




But on July 4, the oil ministry announced a sudden, sharp set of price rises: the standard 92-octane petrol up 40 per cent, and diesel up 64 per cent. Electricity subsidies will be eliminated over the next five years. The new budget cuts energy subsidies from 134 billion Egyptian pounds (Dh68.63bn) in 2013-14 to 100bn pounds this fiscal year. The price increases brought complaints, strikes from taxi drivers and worries about stoking inflation."



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Saudi’s Al Rajhi Bank posts fourth straight quarterly profit drop | The National

Saudi’s Al Rajhi Bank posts fourth straight quarterly profit drop | The National:



"Al Rajhi Bank posted a fourth successive quarterly profit decline as its second-quarter earnings fell 8.2 per cent year-on-year, with Saudi Arabia’s largest listed lender hit again by higher provisioning.



The bank said it made 1.95 billion Saudi riyals in the three months ending June 30, compared with 2.12bn riyals in the same period a year earlier, citing an increase in total operating expenses for the drop without elaborating.



Saudi companies issue brief earnings statements early in the reporting period before publishing more detailed results later."



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Dana Gas says wins right to some payments from Iraqi Kurdistan | GulfNews.com

Dana Gas says wins right to some payments from Iraqi Kurdistan | GulfNews.com:



"Dana Gas, one of the largest oil and gas investors in Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdish region, said on Sunday that an arbitration tribunal had awarded it the right to receive some outstanding payments from the Kurdish government.



The Abu Dhabi-listed firm, which leads a consortium of investors, had filed an arbitration case in London last October against the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), seeking to confirm its contract rights and to obtain payments for products it had delivered.



“The companies have been successful in their application to the Tribunal for interim measures,” Dana Gas said in a statement on Sunday."



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Qatar’s Masraf Al Rayan says sells real estate firm stake to govt fund | GulfNews.com

Qatar’s Masraf Al Rayan says sells real estate firm stake to govt fund | GulfNews.com:



"Masraf Al Rayan, Qatar’s largest Islamic bank by market value, said on Sunday it had agreed to sell its 50 percent stake in Seef Lusail Real Estate Development Co to the real estate arm of the Gulf state’s sovereign wealth fund.



The bank, which did not disclose the sale price in its statement, had previously owned the company equally with Qatari Diar Infrastructure Company.



Under the agreement, it will divest a 49 per cent stake to its joint venture partner, with the remaining 1 percent sold to Qatari Diar Real Estate Investment Company. Both are units of Qatari Diar, owned by the Qatar Investment Authority."



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Aeroflot Says New Low-Cost Arm Needs Free Hand to Repel Ryanair - Bloomberg

Aeroflot Says New Low-Cost Arm Needs Free Hand to Repel Ryanair - Bloomberg:



"OAO Aeroflot said Russia must further liberalize its air-carriage rules for the airline to succeed with a plan to build a 40-plane low-cost arm that can repel European discount carriers led by Ryanair Holdings Plc. (RYA)



The Dobrolet division, which began flying a month ago and has two Boeing Co. (BA) 737-800s in service with 10 more on order, won’t purchase more jets until restrictions are eased, Aeroflot Chief Executive Officer Vitaly Savelyev said today in London. 




The government has already scrapped rules to allow the sale of non-refundable tickets and recruitment of foreign pilots, while easing the tax burden on the purchase of larger single-aisle models, Savelyev said in London. The elimination of a free-food provision is pending, and Aeroflot is pushing for a rule allowing Dobrolet to charge for bags, he said."



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Draghi Seen Delivering $1 Trillion Free Lunch to Banks - Bloomberg

Draghi Seen Delivering $1 Trillion Free Lunch to Banks - Bloomberg:



"Mario Draghi’s newest stimulus tool will hand banks more than 700 billion euros ($950 billion) of cheap funding, economists say.



The European Central Bank president’s targeted lending program for banks will boost credit for the real economy as planned, and at the same time help keep the financial system flush with cash, according to the Bloomberg Monthly Survey of 45 economists. Draghi may address the topic today when he testifies at the European Parliament in Strasbourg for the first time since elections in May.



The ECB has identified lending to companies and households as a key weakness in the euro area’s fragile recovery. The so-called TLTRO program, part of a wider package of measures announced in June, offers as much as four years of low-cost funding tied to bank lending that Draghi said this month could ultimately provide as much as 1 trillion euros."



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BRICS Fight Waning Clout With $150 Billion Deal in Brazil Summit - Bloomberg

BRICS Fight Waning Clout With $150 Billion Deal in Brazil Summit - Bloomberg:



"The leaders of five of the world’s largest emerging markets will showcase a new currency reserve fund and development bank this week. Critics say neither is enough to revive the group’s waning clout.



Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, known as the BRICS, will approve the creation for the $100 billion reserve fund and $50 billion bank at a July 15-16 summit in Brazil’s coastal city of Fortaleza and the capital Brasilia.



The initiatives are born out of frustration with a lack of participation in global governance, particularly in the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, said Arvind Subramanian, senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics. The measures aren’t big enough to boost growth or cohesion in the group as foreign investor sentiment sours and member states focus on issues close to home, such as Brazil’s elections, the conflict in Ukraine and new economic policy plans in India."



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Natural Gas Supply Gains Keep Driving Bulls From Market: Energy - Bloomberg

Natural Gas Supply Gains Keep Driving Bulls From Market: Energy - Bloomberg:



"Twelve weeks of above-average gains in U.S. natural gas supply are easing concern over winter fuel shortages and spurring speculators to cut their bets on rising prices.



Hedge funds reduced net-long positions by 8.1 percent in the week ended July 8, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission said. Bullish wagers have fallen 43 percent from February and gas dropped last week to a six-month low, wiping out an advance of as much as 53 percent after frigid weather pushed consumption to a record.



Stockpiles more than doubled from an 11-year low in March as mild weather curbed power-plant demand and output expanded for the ninth straight year. Storage rose more than 100 billion cubic feet for eight weeks in a row, the longest streak of triple-digit increases in government data going back 20 years."



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