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Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Austerity measures won't save Egyptian economy - Al-Monitor: the Pulse of the Middle East

Austerity measures won't save Egyptian economy - Al-Monitor: the Pulse of the Middle East:



"Just over a month after the implementation of the new state budget, the economic crisis is still lingering in Egypt — despite the Egyptian government’s adoption of strict austerity measures such as the unexpected raising of fuel prices, which was reflected in food prices and public transportation fees. This has challenged the government's position in the eyes of a population that ousted the Muslim Brotherhood over accusations that it was leading Egypt into bankruptcy."



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Gazprom May Cut Dividends Up to 44% on Ukrainian Debt, VTB Says - Bloomberg

Gazprom May Cut Dividends Up to 44% on Ukrainian Debt, VTB Says - Bloomberg:



"OAO Gazprom (OGZD), the world’s largest natural-gas producer, may cut the dividend it hands out from this year’s earnings by as much as 44 percent because of unpaid bills from Ukraine, according to brokerage VTB.



The Russian state-run gas exporter said today its first-half profit according to Russian accounting standards, used to calculate dividends, sank 38 percent to 155 billion rubles ($4.3 billion) because of a 179 billion-ruble provision for bad debts. Gazprom made the provision mainly because of Ukraine, the company’s spokesman Sergei Kupriyanov said by text message.



“Risk to dividends crystallized,” VTB Capital in Moscow said in an e-mailed note. “In the very worst case,” Gazprom’s 2014 dividend, which would be paid out to shareholders next year, may fall to 4 rubles a share from 7.2 rubles, analysts led by Dmitry Loukashov said in the note."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Kuwait Food hits record high after Savola starts takeover talks | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Kuwait Food hits record high after Savola starts takeover talks | Reuters:



"Shares in Kuwait Food Co (Americana) hit a record high on Wednesday after Saudi Arabia's Savola Group said it was in preliminary talks to acquire the firm. But Middle East markets were mostly lacklustre as a summer lull deepened. 




Shares in Americana, majority owned by the al-Kharafi family, rose 2.6 percent while National Investment Co - another Kharafi company - climbed 5.3 percent. 




Savola, a producer of cooking oil, sugar and other foodstuffs, said in a statement to Riyadh's bourse that it had started preliminary talks on a potential acquisition of the Kuwaiti manufacturer, which has a market capitalisation of about $4.4 billion. Savola's shares added 0.7 percent."



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Russian Shares Rise as Fears of Russia Invading Ukraine Ebb | News | The Moscow Times

Russian Shares Rise as Fears of Russia Invading Ukraine Ebb | News | The Moscow Times:



"Russian shares rose strongly on Wednesday, reflecting a recovery in global risk appetite and investors' hopes that international tensions over Ukraine would ease despite confusion about a Russian aid convoy.



The dollar-denominated RTS index closed up 1.8 percent at 1,220 points. Its ruble-based peer MICEX was also 1.8 percent higher at 1,398 points.



"The local market is rising stronger than could be expected given the external backdrop," Nord Capital analyst Vitaly Manzhos commented in a note. "Probably the reason for the rise is the current weakening influence of the geopolitical factor [Ukraine].""



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Iraqi oil bottlenecks bigger obstacle than unrest: IEA - ENERGY

Iraqi oil bottlenecks bigger obstacle than unrest: IEA - ENERGY:



"Fighting in Iraq threatens Baghdad’s oil exports less than structural bottlenecks, but an Islamic offensive near the north oil hub of Kirkuk is “worrisome,” the IEA has said.



“The situation on the ground is highly fluid and infrastructure bottlenecks in the south, rather than the humanitarian disaster in the north, may remain the biggest hurdle to Iraq’s ability to deliver the supply growth expected from it,” the International Energy Agency said.



The analysis in its monthly report was written as U.S. air strikes appeared to help Kurdish peshmerga fighters push back an advance by Islamic State (IS) fighters on the crucial Bai Hassan oil field in northern Iraq."



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First signs of IPOs in the UAE since market recovery, strong activity in the GCC - bi-me.com

First signs of IPOs in the UAE since market recovery, strong activity in the GCC - Business Intelligence Middle East - bi-me.com - News, analysis, reports:



"The initial public offering (“IPO”) market in the Gulf Cooperation Council (“GCC”) in the second quarter (“Q2”) of 2014 started off and ended on a high, with a total of seven IPOs, compared to two in Q1 2014.



The quarter witnessed its first IPO in April with the UAE based company, Emirates REIT (CEIC) Limited, listing on NASDAQ Dubai Limited and raising USD 201 million. Also in April, Marka PJSC, a UAE based company, listed on the Dubai Financial Market (the “DFM”) raising USD 77 million.



The Saudi Arabian Stock Exchange, Tadawul, witnessed three IPOs in Q2 2014 by Umm Al Qura Cement Company, Abdulmohsen AlHokair Group for Tourism and Development Co and Al Hammadi Company for Development and Investment raising USD 73 million, USD 220 million and USD 168 million, respectively."



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Abu Dhabi's TAQA Says No Bond Issue Until 2017 At Earliest » Gulf Business

Abu Dhabi's TAQA Says No Bond Issue Until 2017 At Earliest » Gulf Business:



"Abu Dhabi National Energy Co (TAQA) does not plan to make a new issue of bonds before 2017 at the earliest, the company said on Wednesday as it announced second-quarter earnings.



“The company expects to pay 2016 maturities from improved operational cash flow and asset sales and does not intend to return to the bond market until 2017, at the earliest,” it said in a statement.



Noting that it had refinanced a $1.2 billion bond in April at attractive pricing, TAQA said it had available liquidity of $5 billion at the end of June, including $1.1 billion of cash in hand."



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Qatar Shares Climb to 10-Week High Before MSCI Index Review - Bloomberg

Qatar Shares Climb to 10-Week High Before MSCI Index Review - Bloomberg:



"Qatar stocks rose to the highest since June on speculation index provider MSCI Inc. will increase the country’s weighting on a gauge tracked by investors managing about $9 trillion in assets.



MSCI will announce its latest review today, and Qatar’s weight on its Emerging Markets Index is expected to increase to 0.57 percent from 0.46 percent, according to Cairo-based investment bank EFG-Hermes Holding SAE. Qatar’s benchmark QE Index advanced 1.8 percent, the biggest jump in six weeks. Lender Masraf Al Rayan led gains, adding the most in more than a month, while Industries Qatar Q.S.C. surged 3.5 percent.



The country’s stock market, along with those from the United Arab Emirates, was included in the developing markets’ index in June. A weighting change could attract as much as $97 million of additional investment to Qatar’s bourse, mainly into Industries Qatar and Qatar National Bank SAQ, EFG-Hermes said in a note today."



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Live chart: The lucky left - YouTube

Live chart: The lucky left - YouTube: ""



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Business - Moody’s Investors Service upgrades 3 Abu Dhabi firms

Business - Moody’s Investors Service upgrades 3 Abu Dhabi firms:



"Global ratings agency Moody’s Investors Service on Tuesday upgraded credit ratings of three Abu Dhabi companies, citing strong government support for these state-owned entities.



The ratings agency, which earlier this year had praised Abu Dhabi’s economic stability and prudent wealth management, upgraded all the long-term issuer ratings to Aa2 for the International Petroleum Investment Company, or Ipic, from Aa3, for Mubadala Development Company from Aa3 and for the Tourism Development and Investment Company, or TDIC, from A1.



Moody’s also affirmed the P-1 short-term ratings for the Ipic and Mubadala. The outlook on all ratings is stable."



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Guest post: turmoil laps around the Gulf, but prospects remain bright – beyondbrics - Blogs - FT.com

Guest post: turmoil laps around the Gulf, but prospects remain bright – beyondbrics - Blogs - FT.com:



"Gaza, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Egypt are all part of a region which has been consumed by anarchy, violence and destruction since 2011. But there is another part of the Middle East which is a striking contrast to all that: the Gulf. Many outsiders think it’s only a matter of time before the turmoil that has swept other Arab countries also engulfs the rulers of the Arab Gulf. They’ve been thinking that for close to a century.



The economies of the Gulf oil exporters are expanding. Over the last decade vast wealth has been accumulated which affords the Gulf countries a level of resilience that few in the emerging markets can match. Gulf currencies which are pegged to the greenback have offered additional stability. The elevated level of oil prices – at above $100 per barrel – is providing oil producing countries with a fiscal cushion. Thus, even as many other emerging markets try to find an equilibrium, Gulf countries will continue to do well and accumulate more reserves while sustaining high spending.



Many outsiders have an image of a country frozen in time. The great giant of the emerging markets has finally awakened. Saudi Arabia’s recent announcement of the partial opening its $550bn stock-market to foreign institutional investors by the first half of 2015 is a key emerging market play over the next few years. Strong growth in domestic demand, firm macroeconomic fundamentals and ongoing economic reforms would allow for growth of the middle class. According to the OECD, the total middle class population is forecast to grow from less than 20m today to 40m by 2050. With reserves at around 90 per cent of the country’s $750bn GDP and public debt that is less than 3 per cent of its economic size, Saudi Arabia is well placed to weather regional political turmoil and a prolonged correction in oil prices."



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China Reins In Its Ambitions for Shale Gas | MIT Technology Review

China Reins In Its Ambitions for Shale Gas | MIT Technology Review:



"China is finding it harder than it expected to unlock a shale gas boom like the one in North America, calling into question its lofty goals to use natural gas to help clean up its air and control the growth of greenhouse gas emissions. Citing complicated geology and high production costs, the Chinese government has cut its ambitious 2020 target for shale gas development roughly in half.



In 2013 China became the third biggest user of natural gas behind the United States and Russia, consuming 166 billion cubic meters (bcm). By 2019, the International Energy Agency expects China’s annual natural gas consumption to grow 90 percent, to 315 bcm. Half of that increase is expected to be supplied by domestic gas production, which would come from multiple sources, including shale reserves.



That IEA estimate for gas consumption is much lower than the production target China had set for itself: 420 bcm of natural gas annually by 2020, with hydrofracturing, or fracking, being used to get 60 to 80 bcm from shale."



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Is volatility back in US markets? - YouTube

Is volatility back in US markets? - YouTube: ""



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Chinese property faces bumpy road - YouTube

Chinese property faces bumpy road - YouTube: ""



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Prosecutors target Deutsche co-chief - YouTube

Prosecutors target Deutsche co-chief - YouTube: ""



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Goldman Sachs and Qatar National Bank to arrange $800m loan for Travelex acquisition | The National

Goldman Sachs and Qatar National Bank to arrange $800m loan for Travelex acquisition | The National:



"Goldman Sachs and Qatar National Bank (QNB) are arranging a US$800 million loan to help Abu Dhabi-based entrepreneur BR Shetty acquire a majority stake in foreign exchange operator Travelex, he said on Tuesday.



“The jumbo transaction has been finalised, we are happy with the terms,” Bavaguthu Raghuram Shetty said, adding that the financing was expected to be completed by September or October.



QNB declined to comment, while Goldman Sachs did not immediately respond to a request for comment."



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Emirates Reit senior executive scales heights of UAE property business | The National

Emirates Reit senior executive scales heights of UAE property business | The National:



"Take a deep breath, tiptoe towards the edge, and then look down. It’s an incredible view. 




Sylvain Vieujot has done that a few times in his business career.



For a while, he was a senior executive at the management company that owned the Eiffel Tower in Paris; then looked at the vertiginous environment of the Dubai property market in 2006, when prices were soaring skywards towards the crash of 2009; then, as deputy executive chairman and co-manager of Emirates Real Estate Investment Trust (Reit), he was part of a team that began to scale the heights of the local property business again last year, with the first listing on a Dubai stock market for five years."



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Emirates secures $425m Islamic loan | GulfNews.com

Emirates secures $425m Islamic loan | GulfNews.com:



"Emirates have secured a $425 million sharia-compliant loan from a group of UAE banks to finance the acquisition of two Airbus A380 aircraft.



Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (Adib), Commercial Bank of Dubai (CBD) and Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB) were the joint book runners and initial mandated lead arrangers in the transaction, Adib said in a statement on Tuesday.



Emirates used the loan to take delivery of its 50th A380 in Hamburg last month, according to Adib. The aircraft is scheduled to enter into service sometime in early August, Emirates previously said."



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Standard Chartered blames lower profits to margin compression | GulfNews.com

Standard Chartered blames lower profits to margin compression | GulfNews.com:



"Standard Chartered Bank on Tuesday attributed decline in its UAE profits to heightened competition and margin compression in all major lines of business.



The bank last week reported a $35 million decline in its UAE operating profits to $289 million as it posted a flat operating profit of $442 million for the Middle East North Africa and Pakistan (MENAP) region.



“The decline [in profits and revenues] has been in line with our expectations. There is a lot of competition in the market. Margins have been under pressure across all business lines despite high volumes. Lower margins have been translated into lower profits,” said Mohsin Ali Nathani, CEO of Standard Chartered UAE."



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Millionaires Dig Dirt as Czech Farm Boom Spawns Fund - Bloomberg

Millionaires Dig Dirt as Czech Farm Boom Spawns Fund - Bloomberg:



"Martin Burda gave up managing $8.1 billion of securities at the Czech investment arm of Erste Group (EBS) Bank AG for something that’s produced better returns than stocks and bonds: dirt.



Burda, 43, last month helped start Cesky Fond Pudy, the first investment company targeting Czech farmland. A second fund is raising money as soaring agricultural profits drive a surge in land values that contrasts with the country’s stagnant stock market and near-zero yields on government bonds.



“Czech farmland is among the least expensive in Europe and it offers a conservative investor something that’s very hard to come by these days: safety and a good yield,” Burda said in an Aug. 8 interview in Prague. “Profitable farmers mean upward pressure on land prices.”"



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EU’s East Braced for Sanctions Pain With GDP Set to Slide - Bloomberg

EU’s East Braced for Sanctions Pain With GDP Set to Slide - Bloomberg:



"The European Union’s biggest eastern economies are flagging as escalating sanctions against Russia and retaliation from President Vladimir Putin exacerbate the euro area’s stuttering recovery from a record slump.



Poland probably grew 0.5 percent from the previous three months in the second quarter, less than half the pace of the January-March period, according to a Bloomberg survey. Czech expansion probably slowed to 0.3 percent from 0.8 percent, while Hungary’s decelerated to 0.7 percent from 1.1 percent, separate surveys show. The three nations report the data tomorrow.



The worst standoff in more than two decades between Russia and its former Cold War foes is curbing trade in the EU’s ex-communist members and threatening the euro region’s revival. As Russia responds to sanctions by banning food from the EU, Germany, the east’s No. 1 export market, is facing a first economic contraction in two years and crumbling confidence."



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World Awash in Oil Shields Markets From 2008 Price Shock - Bloomberg

World Awash in Oil Shields Markets From 2008 Price Shock - Bloomberg:



"Fighting across Iraq, Libya, Ukraine and Gaza, and an accelerating economy, should mean higher oil prices. Yet crude is falling.



Six years ago, oil soared to a record $147 a barrel as tension mounted over Iran’s nuclear program and the world economy had just seen the strongest period of sustained growth since the 1970s. Now, West Texas Intermediate, the U.S. benchmark price, has traded below $100 for 10 days and Brent, the European equivalent, tumbled to a 13-month low yesterday.



What’s changed is the shale fracking boom. The U.S. is pumping the most oil in 27 years, adding more than 3 million barrels of daily supply since 2008. The International Energy Agency said yesterday that a supply glut is shielding the market from disruptions. Bank of America Corp., Citigroup Inc. and BNP Paribas SA conc"



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Property stocks boost Egypt; soft oil price dampens Saudi | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Property stocks boost Egypt; soft oil price dampens Saudi | Reuters:



"Property stocks led Egypt's main share index to a six-year high on Tuesday, while soft international oil prices ended an 11-day rising streak for Saudi Arabia's stock market.



The main Egyptian benchmark rose 0.4 percent, its sixth gain in seven sessions, to 9,274 points, bringing its gains to 87 percent since the army ousted president Mohamed Mursi in July 2013.



SODIC, Egypt's third-largest listed property developer, jumped 9.5 percent, while its larger rivals Talaat Moustafa and Palm Hill Development Co gained 1.0 and 2.1 percent respectively."



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