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Monday, 18 August 2014

MIDEAST STOCKS-Kuwait Food Co falls after says no knowledge of Savola takeover talks | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Kuwait Food Co falls after says no knowledge of Savola takeover talks | Reuters:



"Shares in Kuwait Food Co (Americana) fell on Monday after the company said it had no knowledge of any talks with Saudi Arabia's Savola Group over a possible acquisition of Americana.



Americana was down 1.3 percent at 0733 GMT, resuming trading following a five-day suspension.



The stock rose 2.6 percent to a record high on Aug. 13 after Savola said in a bourse statement that it was in preliminary talks to buy Americana, but was then suspended later that day pending further information from the firm."



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Dubai and South Korea sign joint investments deal - FT.com

Dubai and South Korea sign joint investments deal - FT.com:



"Dubai and South Korea are teaming up to fund joint investments as the emirate cements its role as the business launch pad for the Middle East and Africa.



Investment Corporation of Dubai, the emirate’s state holding company, on Monday signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for an alliance with the Export-Import Bank of Korea, the official trade finance agency of South Korea.



While the agreement has a broad mandate, interest is expected to focus on sub-Saharan Africa, where Korean companies hope to tap into rising demand for infrastructure development."



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Sultan of Brunei in frame as troubled India group unloads assets – beyondbrics - Blogs - FT.com

Sultan of Brunei in frame as troubled India group unloads assets – beyondbrics - Blogs - FT.com:



"An eccentric Indian tycoon, some of the world’s most luxurious hotels and now the Sultan of Brunei. The story of one Indian company’s tortuous journey out of legal hot water has just taken another twist.



The Sultan of Brunei has emerged as the lead bidder for the Grosvenor House Hotel and other luxury properties that India’s beleaguered Sahara group has been trying to sell off in a desperate attempt to get its ‘managing worker’ out of jail. 




Subrata Roy (above), the tycoon at the head of Sahara India Pariwar, has been in jail for several months now after failing to turn up in court. The entire case centres around a dispute with the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi), the markets regulator, over $4bn that the group’s subsidiaries raised in 2008 through convertible bonds."



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"Shameful conditions of employment across #UAE" Naeem Mohaiemen - YouTube

Naeem Mohaiemen - YouTube: ""



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Forex surplus strengthens currency in Azerbaijan | CISTran Finance

Forex surplus strengthens currency in Azerbaijan | CISTran Finance:



"The Central Bank of Azerbaijan announced recently that with the country’s balance of payments surplus, demand exceeds supply in the country’s foreign exchange market, thereby strengthening the national currency.



As a result of the surplus, the CBA purchased from the foreign exchange market $1.3 billion in 2010, $4.1 billion in 2011, $1.5 billion in 2012, $2.4 billion in 2013 and $967 million in the first quarter of 2014, depositing the funds in its foreign exchange reserves.



Foreign exchange reserves increased by seven percent in the first half of this year, reaching $15.1 billion, which exceeds international standards of sufficiency, according to the CBA."



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Asian stocks stall as Ukraine sours mood, dollar sags | Reuters

Asian stocks stall as Ukraine sours mood, dollar sags | Reuters:



"Asian stocks stalled and the dollar sagged against the safe-haven yen on Monday, as another bout of tensions in the Ukrainian conflict sapped investor confidence. 




Spreadbetters are picking European shares, which already had a chance on Friday to absorb renewed tensions in the Ukraine, to fare better. They forecast Britain's FTSE to open as much as 0.4 percent higher, Germany's DAX 0.8 percent and France's CAC 0.6 percent.



MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was effectively flat, treading water through most of the day. The index had gained 2.5 percent last week, its largest weekly rise in nearly five months."



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Profits decline at Kuwait’s International Financial Advisors | The National

Profits decline at Kuwait’s International Financial Advisors | The National:



"Kuwait’s International Financial Advisors reported pared-down profits for the first half, as it closed two of its businesses.



Kuwait-listed IFA Hotels and Resorts is a part of the IFA consortium. IFA Hotels and Resorts owns IFA Hotel Investments, the owner of Fairmont the Palm and Mövenpick Hotel Jumeirah Lakes Towers, both in Dubai.



IFA reported net income of 9.9 million dinars (Dh128.3m) in the first half of this year, compared to 30m dinars in the previous year, it said yesterday."



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Why there won’t be a Middle Eastern fracking hero any time soon | The National

Why there won’t be a Middle Eastern fracking hero any time soon | The National:



"Two insightful recent books tell the story of the shale gas revolution – Gregory Zuckerman’s The Frackers and Russell Gold’s The Boom. Both view it from the vantage of the stubborn entrepreneurs who persisted against industry consensus to make hydraulic fracturing of shales work, such as George Mitchell of Mitchell Energy and Aubrey McClendon of Chesapeake. And both present it as a uniquely American phenomenon.



This interpretation raises two interesting questions. Is the shale gas boom really the creation of a few brilliant wildcatters, or was it the inevitable outcome of higher prices and advancing technology? And why has shale gas not emerged in a region with more favourable geology, such as the Middle East?



Mitchell persisted in fracking the Barnett Shale in Texas during the 1990s despite poor results and low gas prices. A senior executive at a major oil company told me in 2002 that his company would not have drilled those wells, regarding them as marginal. But in 1998, Mitchell Energy had changed its fracking formula. The new wells were cheaper and more productive."



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Russia Widens Ruble Basket to Complete Free Float by End of Year - Bloomberg

Russia Widens Ruble Basket to Complete Free Float by End of Year - Bloomberg:



"Russia is making its currency more flexible by widening the range in which it trades freely and reducing the amount of foreign exchange bought and sold by the central bank.



Russia widened the band in which the ruble trades against the target basket of dollars and euros to 9 rubles from 7 rubles previously, the central bank in Moscow said in a website statement. The regulator also abandoned all interventions while the ruble is trading in the band. It used to buy or sell $200 million per day at certain levels.



The changes are intended to help complete the switch to a freely floating ruble from the current managed rate by the end of this year, which is needed to shift to inflation targeting, the central bank said. Policy makers are loosening their hold on the ruble even as volatility rises and inflation risks increase because of Ukraine-related sanctions."



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Morgan Stanley Enabled Rosneft as No. 1 Until Crimea Grab - Bloomberg

Morgan Stanley Enabled Rosneft as No. 1 Until Crimea Grab - Bloomberg:



"Long before the Ukraine crisis ruptured U.S.-Russian relations, Vladimir Putin and his right-hand man, Igor Sechin, hosted then-Morgan Stanley (MS) Chief Executive Officer John Mack at an exclusive reception at Putin’s Novo-Ogaryovo estate outside Moscow.



According to the Kremlin, Putin thanked Mack and a few other foreign bankers at the October 2006 gathering for leading the $10 billion initial public offering of OAO Rosneft, the state-controlled oil giant headed by Sechin. He then chatted with the bankers for an hour in a formal meeting room.



Putin and Sechin have a lot more to thank Morgan Stanley for. The American investment bank helped transform state-owned Rosneft from a business the Russian government failed to sell three times in 1998 into the world’s biggest publicly traded oil producer by output. Morgan Stanley played a key role in saving it from being acquired, and Rosneft hired three consecutive chief financial officers from the bank. In 2013, Putin approved Mack’s appointment to Rosneft’s board."



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U.A.E. Margin Trade Crackdown Fans Shariah Push: Islamic Finance - Bloomberg

U.A.E. Margin Trade Crackdown Fans Shariah Push: Islamic Finance - Bloomberg:



"Brokerages in the United Arab Emirates, where the market regulator last month vowed it may create new rules to control so-called margin trading, are increasingly offering Shariah-compliant versions of the service.



Mena Corp. Financial Services LLC, an Abu Dhabi-based investment firm, signed a 50 million-dirham ($13.6 million) accord last week with Dubai-based Aafaq-Islamic Finance Company to offer Shariah-compliant margin trading, where banks and brokers lend money to investors to trade. Al Safwa Islamic Financial Services was one of five firms accredited to provide margin trading this month, the Dubai Financial Market announced Aug. 5.



“You have more and more firms acquiring licenses,” Abu Dhabi-based Fathi Ben Grira, chief executive officer of Mena Corp., said by phone yesterday. “We’re pretty convinced there will be a strong appetite.” The deal with Aafaq may grow to as much as 350 million dirhams by year-end, he said."



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Iran Lures Investors Seeing Nuclear Deal Ending Sanctions - Bloomberg

Iran Lures Investors Seeing Nuclear Deal Ending Sanctions - Bloomberg:



"On a May afternoon in Tehran, a Russian in a dark suit sits in the crowded lobby cafe of the Espinas Persian Gulf International Hotel with his Farsi translator, sipping coffee with potential Iranian partners while discussing the price of soy fiber. No sooner do they vacate their armchairs than another group of besuited businessmen takes their place, this time conversing in Italian and Farsi about industrial motors.



The Espinas, one of Tehran’s few luxury hotels, opened in 2009, just as successive rounds of sanctions over Iran’s nuclear program were drawing an ever-tighter noose around the economy. With the restrictions biting, the Espinas’s lobby, adorned with pink-granite columns and faux Achaemenid sculptures, emptied out.



Today, however, amid glimmers that sanctions will be lifted, finding a room at the Espinas isn’t easy, Bloomberg Markets magazine will report in its September issue."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Blue chips lift Saudi to 6-year peak; Mesaieed heads Qatar drop | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Blue chips lift Saudi to 6-year peak; Mesaieed heads Qatar drop | Reuters:



"Blue-chip stocks lifted Saudi Arabia's bourse to a new six-and-a-half year peak on Sunday, while other Middle East markets were mixed as low volumes led to choppy trading and a lack of clear direction.



The Saudi index rose 0.5 percent to 10,639 points, its highest finish since January 2008 and its 13th gain in the 15 sessions since authorities announced plans to allow direct foreign ownership of shares early next year. At present, foreigners can only own shares via instruments such as total return swaps.



Rohit Chawdhry, Gulf Baader Capital Markets head of asset management in Muscat, estimates foreigners' Saudi shareholdings account for less than 1 percent of market capitalisation, compared with 9 percent in Qatar and the United Arab Emirates."



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MSCI lifts weights of some Qatar stocks on foreign ownership reform | Reuters

MSCI lifts weights of some Qatar stocks on foreign ownership reform | Reuters:



"Global index compiler MSCI has increased the weightings of three Qatari companies in its emerging market index, citing changes in the way Qatar calculates ceilings on foreign ownership of its firms.



Qatar National Bank (QNB) will have its foreign inclusion factor raised to 0.13 from 0.06, Industries Qatar (IQ) to 0.13 from 0.06, and Qatar Islamic Bank to 0.25 from 0.21, according to an MSCI statement sent to its clients last week and seen by Reuters.



The changes, effective at the end of this month, will raise Qatar's total weight in the benchmark index to 0.59 percent from 0.47 percent, investment bank EFG Hermes estimated, basing its calculation on data from MSCI."



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Qatar Stocks Drop as MSCI Cancels Mesaieed Decision; Dubai Falls - Bloomberg

Qatar Stocks Drop as MSCI Cancels Mesaieed Decision; Dubai Falls - Bloomberg:



"Qatar shares declined the most in more than three weeks after index provider MSCI Inc. reversed a decision to add Mesaieed Petrochemical Holding Co. (DSM) to its emerging markets gauge. Dubai stocks also fell.



Qatar’s benchmark QE Index slid 0.7 percent, the steepest drop since July 24, to 13,416.30 at the close. Lender Masraf Al Rayan led the retreat, losing 1.3 percent. Mesaieed, which isn’t included in the index, plunged 7.8 percent to end a four-day rising streak. Dubai’s DFM General Index slipped 0.5 percent.



MSCI, whose gauges are tracked by investors managing about $9 trillion in assets, added Mesaieed to its Emerging Market Index Aug. 13 as part of a quarterly review. The index provider reversed the decision in an Aug. 14 statement posted on its website, citing the petrochemical company’s equity ownership limits. The Qatar bourse, along with those of the United Arab Emirates, was included in MSCI’s developing markets measure in June."



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Saudi bourse soars to 6-and-a-half year peak | Economy | Saudi Gazette

Saudi bourse soars to 6-and-a-half year peak | Economy | Saudi Gazette:



"Blue-chip stocks lifted Saudi Arabia’s bourse to a new six-and-a-half year peak on Sunday, while other Middle East markets were mixed as low volumes led to choppy trading and a lack of clear direction.



The Saudi Tadawul All Share Index rose 0.48 percent to close at 10,639.04 points, its highest finish since January 2008 and its 13th gain in the 15 sessions since authorities announced plans to allow direct foreign ownership of shares early next year. At present, foreigners can only own shares via instruments such as total return swaps.



Rohit Chawdhry, Gulf Baader Capital Markets head of asset management in Muscat, estimates foreigners’ Saudi shareholdings account for less than 1 percent of market capitalization, compared with 9 percent in Qatar and the United Arab Emirates."



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