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Thursday, 14 August 2014

MIDEAST STOCKS-Banks lift Abu Dhabi and Egypt; Qatar rally falters | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Banks lift Abu Dhabi and Egypt; Qatar rally falters | Reuters:



"Banks lifted Abu Dhabi's share index to a near 10-week high on Thursday, while financial stocks were also the main gainers as Egypt's benchmark rose for a ninth trading day in ten.



National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD) and First Gulf Bank (FGB), Abu Dhabi's two largest lenders by market value, rose 2.1 and 2.8 percent respectively.



NBAD last month lifted its 2014 profit forecast as a buoyant economy and a surge in fee-based income helped it beat second-quarter expectations. FGB, which reported a 16 percent rise in quarterly profit in July, hit a record closing high of 18.60 dirhams on Thursday."



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Oil Giant Rosneft Requests Massive State Support to Withstand Sanctions | News | The Moscow Times

Oil Giant Rosneft Requests Massive State Support to Withstand Sanctions | News | The Moscow Times:



"Igor Sechin, the head of Russian oil giant Rosneft, has asked the government to provide the company with 1.5 trillion rubles ($41.6 billion) to help the company weather Western sanctions, business daily Vedomosti reported Thursday.



Under the plan, the state would spend money from its National Wealth Fund to buy Rosneft bonds, the paper reported, citing government sources. The paper added that Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev had asked officials to analyze the idea.



Rosneft net debt stood exactly at 1.5 trillion rubles at the end of the second quarter. The company needs to repay 440 billion rubles by year-end and another 626 billion rubles next year, according to its latest presentation."



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Credit Suisse Weighs in on Qatar’s World Cup Bid - Middle East Real Time - WSJ

Credit Suisse Weighs in on Qatar’s World Cup Bid - Middle East Real Time - WSJ:



"It hasn’t exactly been smooth sailing for Qatar since it started preparations to host the World Cup football in 2022. Ever since the wealthy Gulf state won the rights to host the tournament in 2010, it has been the subject of bribery allegations while at the same time criticism has mounted over the way the country treats its foreign labor force.



Big banks such as Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Credit Suisse CSGN.VX +1.58% are now weighing in on the debate as they measure the potential economic cost if Qatar were to be stripped of the World Cup hosting rights.



Credit Suisse in a new report predicts Qatar will inevitably suffer some short-term pain: equities could fall 20% should Qatar lose the rights to host the marquee sports event. That drop, however, could provide bargain hunters with an ideal buying opportunity, it says."



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Opinion: Russia, an economic black hole for its neighbours – beyondbrics - Blogs - FT.com

Opinion: Russia, an economic black hole for its neighbours – beyondbrics - Blogs - FT.com:



"Pity any Russians wanting to sit down to their regular Sunday lunch of kangaroo steak, medium-rare. Thanks to the trade restrictions Vladimir Putin announced last week, Australia – along with the EU, US, Norway and Canada – found its food exports to Russia blocked forthwith.



As it happens, uninterrupted access to the Russian market is not something any food producer can take for granted. Russia, Australia’s largest market for kangaroo meat, also suspended trade (on bogus health grounds) between 2009 and 2013. And while Australian kangaroo exporters may bound off happily into other markets, Moscow’s consumers will struggle to source their marsupials from Russia’s remaining trading partners.



That is a slightly extreme example of the situation at which Russia has arrived. By alienating its neighbours, Russia has deprived itself not just of Australian kangaroo meat but of Moldovan wine, Ukrainian chocolate and Georgian tangerines. Its consumers are now looking forward to finding a variety of interesting and innovative things to do with buckwheat."



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3rd 'Gas War' Looming Between Russia, Ukraine, EU | Business | The Moscow Times

3rd 'Gas War' Looming Between Russia, Ukraine, EU | Business | The Moscow Times:



"Weather forecasters promise 32 degrees Celsius in Kiev on Thursday — which makes the near-citywide absence of hot water due to a shortage of Russian gas more bearable.



But things could get much uglier in winter, when a "humanitarian catastrophe" looms, if the confrontation between Moscow and Kiev over Ukraine's rebellious eastern regions remains unresolved and Russia turns off the gas tap, analysts said. 




While political pundits say the ongoing pro-Russian insurgency in Ukraine is Moscow's last remaining leverage against Kiev, the Kremlin still has a "gas truncheon" at its disposal. Ukraine is entirely dependent on Russian gas supplies, and half of Russia's gas exports to Europe flow through its pipelines."



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60 seconds on the Japanese economy - YouTube

60 seconds on the Japanese economy - YouTube: ""



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Drop in UK wages puzzles economists - YouTube

Drop in UK wages puzzles economists - YouTube: ""



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UAE’s Al Etihad Credit Bureau will begin operations next month | The National

UAE’s Al Etihad Credit Bureau will begin operations next month | The National:



"The UAE’s nascent credit bureau will begin operations next month to help banks assess the ability of clients to pay back debt.



“The first phase, which will be launched in September, will allow banks and financial institutions to access and purchase existing and potential customers’ credit reports electronically after submitting all the necessary documents,” said Marwan Ahmed Lutfi, the chief executive of the bureau. “Customers will also have access to their credit reports through our soon-to-be-launched customer service centres.”



Al Etihad Credit Bureau had already started to ask banks to submit financial data and is collecting information from lenders."



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U.S. Tightens Sanctions, Putting More Russian Companies at Risk - Bloomberg

U.S. Tightens Sanctions, Putting More Russian Companies at Risk - Bloomberg:



"The U.S. Treasury broadened the scope of sanctions programs by revising a rule on the ownership of entities by targeted individuals that may extend the measures to at least one Russian company.



Yesterday’s change means that a firm can be sanctioned if any combination of sanctioned individuals collectively owns at least 50 percent of it, according to a notice on the department’s website. Previously, the Office of Foreign Assets Control’s so-called 50 percent rule required a single sanctioned person to own 50 percent or more of an entity for it also to be subject to sanctions.



“The change in OFAC’s interpretation will be quite significant for those companies with joint ownership by multiple sanctioned persons,” Michael Burton, a sanctions lawyer at Jacobson Burton PLLC in Washington, said in an e-mail."



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Cheese-Loving Russians Turn to Emmental as Swiss Dodge Embargo - Bloomberg

Cheese-Loving Russians Turn to Emmental as Swiss Dodge Embargo - Bloomberg:



"At Intercheese AG’s headquarters in Switzerland, the phone barely stops ringing these days. A Russian voice is usually at the other end.



Since Aug. 7, when Vladimir Putin’s government banned many food imports from nations supporting sanctions due to the country’s role in the Ukraine crisis, at least 14 Russian importers have contacted Intercheese. The reason for the surge in business: Switzerland hasn’t joined the European Union, the U.S., Canada, Australia and Norway in penalizing Russia.



“Russian importers are looking for the cheeses they can’t get from the Europeans anymore -- Mozzarella, Gouda and Edam,” said Daniel Daetwyler, managing director at closely held Intercheese. The Beromuenster-based company sold as much as 20 tons of cheese to Russia in 2013 and will increase sales to the country of the varieties most affected by the EU embargo, even though it won’t be able to meet the demand, Daetwyler said."



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Dubai Boom No Boon for Builders as Bill Delays Rise: Arab Credit - Bloomberg

Dubai Boom No Boon for Builders as Bill Delays Rise: Arab Credit - Bloomberg:



"Dubai’s two biggest builders are turning to bank borrowing to help fund projects as a rise in late payments from their customers takes the shine off a booming construction market.



Arabtec Holding PJSC, the contractor that helped push Dubai stocks into a bear market in June, said money owed by clients rose to 8.8 billion dirhams ($2.4 billion) through the second quarter from 7.2 billion dirhams at the end of 2013. Drake & Scull International (DSI), the emirate’s second-largest publicly traded builder, took two term loans totaling about 199 million dirhams in the first half, according to its financial statements.



While both builders are benefiting from rising orders, the need to borrow from banks means costly interest payments and could slow the completion of projects, according to analysts. A rapid expansion of Arabtec’s backlog has added to the company’s arrears, while delays for redesigns and cost overruns in Saudi Arabia are hurting cash flow and profitability at Drake & Scull."



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Abraaj, TPG Said Near Deal to Buy Stake in Saudi Chain Kudu - Bloomberg

Abraaj, TPG Said Near Deal to Buy Stake in Saudi Chain Kudu - Bloomberg:



"Abraaj Group and U.S. buyout firm TPG Capital are nearing a deal to buy a majority stake in Saudi Arabian fast-food chain Kudu, according to two people with knowledge of the matter.



The transaction, which is expected to be signed by early September, will value Kudu at $400 million to $500 million, the people said, asking not to be identified as the information is private. Abraaj has teamed up with TPG on the deal to benefit from the firm’s experience investing in restaurant chains, including Burger King Worldwide Inc. (BKW), the people said.



A sale of Kudu, which operates about 200 outlets in the country selling grilled chicken sandwiches, burgers and breakfasts, would be the first investment for TPG Capital in the Middle East. Fort Worth, Texas-based TPG is also among the bidders for Kuwait Food Co., the operator of KFC restaurants in the Middle East and North Africa, people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg News this week."



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