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Thursday, 16 October 2014

Treasury bonds' 'flash crash' - YouTube

Treasury bonds' 'flash crash' - YouTube: ""

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Zacarias Moussaoui wants to testify on al Qaeda terror financing | Alison Frankel

Zacarias Moussaoui wants to testify on al Qaeda terror financing | Alison Frankel:

"Zacarias Moussaoui, who pleaded guilty in 2005 to conspiring in al Qaeda’s Sept. 11 attacks on the United States, says he has information about how al Qaeda financed its operations and he wants to provide it to lawyers representing terrorism victims.

After a federal jury in Brooklyn found Arab Bank liable last month for financing Hamas operations during the Second Palestinian Intifada, Moussaoui sent a handwritten letter to the clerk of the court from a super-maximum security prison in Florence, Colorado, where he is serving a life sentence. (Moussaoui said he heard about the jury verdict on Fox News.) “I want to testify against financial institutions such as Arab Bank, Saudi American Bank, the National Commercial Bank of Saudi Arabia” and several individuals, Moussaoui wrote, “for their support and financing of Usama bin Laden and Al Qaeda from the time of the Eastern Africa embassy bombing, U.S.S. Cole bombing and 9/11.”

In the letter, which was docketed Friday in the Arab Bank case, Moussaoui said that plaintiffs’ lawyers representing victims of the Sept. 11 attacks have requested permission to meet with him but that prison officials have denied the request. Moussaoui also claimed that he has previously offered to testify about al Qaeda financing in letters to the judge overseeing the Sept. 11 victims’ consolidated litigation, U.S. District Judge George Daniels of Manhattan, but that he does not know if the prison has mailed them. The docket in that case does not show any communications from Moussaoui, who was once named as a defendant by Sept. 11 victims."

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Concern Grows Over Succession of Oman’s Sultan

Concern Grows Over Succession of Oman’s Sultan:

"Oman’s 73-year-old monarch, Sultan Qaboos bin Said has been out of sight for more than three months receiving medical treatment in Germany. Some analysts fear a looming succession crisis could destabilize one of the Middle East’s most peaceful countries. Other analysts say Oman’s unsustainable economy is more worrying than the immediate future of its monarchy.

During the recent Muslim holiday, this video prayer for Sultan Qaboos was posted by someone on Twitter. “God give him good heath and extend his age,” said the woman in the video.

A few days earlier the same user tweeted: “I miss you Papa #Qaboos.”"

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Dubai resort Atlantis signs increased $1.1 bln loan deal | Reuters

Dubai resort Atlantis signs increased $1.1 bln loan deal | Reuters:

"Dubai's Atlantis, a luxury hotel situated at the top of a palm-shaped manmade island, refinanced an $880 million loan to take advantage of favourable market conditions and secure a better interest rate, the company confirmed to Reuters on Thursday.

As well as reducing the borrowing cost, the loan was also increased in size to $1.1 billion, according to banking sources. 

The facility is the latest example of state-linked entities in the emirate using improved market sentiment towards Dubai and the high amount of cash in the local banking system to lower their borrowing costs, often on loans which still had much of their existing lifespan remaining."

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Business chiefs look to future Iran opportunities -

Business chiefs look to future Iran opportunities -

"When Iran’s business elite and foreign entrepreneurs gathered in London to lay the ground for the day international sanctions are eventually eased, they received a blunt message from advertising executive Sir Martin Sorrell: the potential for investment in their country was high but the politics must be right too.

Iran was one of the last remaining places “short of Mars and the moon, where there is significant opportunity” for his company and its clients, the WPP chief executive told the 300-strong audience on Thursday. But for his company to feel comfortable doing business there, he said, Tehran would have to settle its nuclear dispute with the west and recognise Israel as a legitimate state.

Mr Sorrell’s forthright message took many in the audience aback. But Iranian delegates at the first Europe-Iran Forum – a two-day event exploring potential business opportunities in Iran, sponsored by ACL, a Tehran-based Iranian asset management company and Dentons, the multinational law firm – said the mere presence of such a leading business figure at the event was a positive sign. Many other high-profile speakers had pulled out amid criticism from pro-Israel groups."

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Morocco regulator halts trading in property group CGI-source | Reuters

Morocco regulator halts trading in property group CGI-source | Reuters:

"Morocco's market watchdog CDVM has suspended trading in property developer Generale Immobiliere (CGI) after the country's king ordered an investigation into the state-run business over customer complaints, a regulatory source said on Thursday. 

"CGI asked us to suspend its trading and its request has been approved today," said the source from CDVM.

Officials CGI and from Caisse de Depot et de Gestion (CDG), Morocco's state investment vehicle which owns CGI, did not answer calls seeking comment about the trading halt or the investigations."

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MIDEAST STOCKS-Markets bleed further, Saudi prepares for huge IPO | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Markets bleed further, Saudi prepares for huge IPO | Reuters:

"Markets across the Middle East tumbled on Thursday as global equities and oil prices continued to decline, while Saudi Arabia's drop was magnified by investors selling to prepare for a $6 billion initial public offer of shares.

Brent crude oil, which has slid more than 28 percent since June because of slow demand growth and signs that producers are not cutting output, hovered around $83 per barrel, near a four-year low.

Economists and fund managers continue to believe the oil price decline will not be disastrous for Gulf economies and markets. Governments have huge fiscal reserves that will allow them to keep spending, even though they may slow the growth in their budgets if oil prices stay low for a long period."

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Emerging economies weigh on luxury goods - YouTube

Emerging economies weigh on luxury goods - YouTube: ""

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Metals offer light in commodities gloom - YouTube

Metals offer light in commodities gloom - YouTube: ""

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Abu Dhabi Financial Group to acquire FGB brokerage unit | The National

Abu Dhabi Financial Group to acquire FGB brokerage unit | The National:

"FGB plans to sell its 45 per cent stake in a brokerage to Abu Dhabi Financial Group (ADFG).

A unit of ADFG, Integrated Financial Group, has signed an agreement to buy the FGB’s 45 per cent stake in First Gulf Financial Services (FGFS). FGB company did not disclose who holds the remaining shareholding or the value of the sale. 

ADFG is a multibillion-dollar alternative investment firm. It also owns Abu Dhabi Capital Management, which hived off its hedge fund Qannas Investments on London’s AIM market in 2012."

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Flydubai in sukuk talks |

Flydubai in sukuk talks |

"Low-cost carrier flydubai is in talks with its advisers for a potential bond issuance, the airline said on Wednesday after earlier reports the airline had pooled together banks for a debut sukuk.

“As part of the diversification of our strategy, we are in discussion with our advisers to explore the possibility of issuing a bond and we will continue to explore all financing options available to us,” the airline said in an emailed statement to Gulf News.

Reuters earlier reported, citing unnamed sources, Dubai’s low cost airline had mandated seven banks — Credit Agricole, Dubai Islamic Bank, Emirates NBD, HSBC, National Bank of Abu Dhabi, Noor Bank and Standard Chartered — to arrange a potential debut sukuk issue."

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Few silver linings for Arab Spring nations |

Few silver linings for Arab Spring nations |

"Economic and security conditions have deteriorated to unprecedented levels in the countries that went through the Arab Spring, due to the chaos caused by the seizure of power by fundamentalist groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood and Iraq’s Al Dawa Party.

This state of heightened troubled calls for a study to examine what and how this happened, and would go some way to lessen the shock suffered by the Arab people.

This column is not the place to assess the general repercussions from those events, but we need to discuss the terrible economic downturn the affected Arab countries have had to go through. The turn of events has had a catastrophic impact on the most productive sectors, which then set off the drop in GDP growth rates."

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Ruble Erases Gain as $9 Billion Intervention Fails to Stem Rout - Bloomberg

Ruble Erases Gain as $9 Billion Intervention Fails to Stem Rout - Bloomberg:

"The ruble erased its first advance in nine days as more than $9 billion in interventions failed to stem the Russian currency’s rout amid a slump in oil prices.

The ruble weakened 0.8 percent to 45.9008 versus the central bank's dollar-euro basket as of 10:28 a.m. in Moscow, headed for a record low on a closing basis. It strengthened 0.6 percent yesterday after the government said it plans to start auctioning foreign currency to address a domestic dollar and euro shortage.

Policy makers sold $2.3 billion of foreign currency on Oct. 14, taking the total spent this month to slow the depreciation to $9.3 billion. The world’s biggest energy exporter is stepping up its support for the ruble as the price of oil slumps to a four-year low in London and sanctions block companies from international debt markets. Brent crude fell for a fourth day, losing 1.1 percent to $82.86 per barrel."

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Putin Loses His Best Friend: Expensive Oil - Bloomberg

Putin Loses His Best Friend: Expensive Oil - Bloomberg:

"The decline in oil prices may be depriving Russian President Vladimir Putin of his biggest ally.

Oil has been the key to Putin’s grip on power since he took over from Boris Yeltsin in 2000, fueling a booming economy that grew 7 percent on average from 2000 to 2008.

Now, with economic growth slipping close to zero, Russia is reeling from sanctions by the U.S. and the European Union over its land grab in Ukraine, and from a ruble at a record low. Putin, whose popularity has been more than 80 percent in polls since the annexation of the Crimean Peninsula in March, may have less money to raise state pensions and wages, while companies hit by the sanctions also seek state aid to maintain spending."

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U.A.E. Bond-Issuance Freeze Spurs Calls for Deeper Reform - Bloomberg

U.A.E. Bond-Issuance Freeze Spurs Calls for Deeper Reform - Bloomberg:

"The United Arab Emirates market regulator implemented measures in June to help ignite domestic debt sales. Since then not a single borrower has issued the bonds.

To spur sales, the country needs to increase sovereign issuance to provide a benchmark for other borrowers and ensure institutional demand for the debt by reforming pension and insurance funds, according to Abdul Kadir Hussain, who oversees about $1.2 billion as chief executive officer of Mashreq Capital DIFC Ltd.

Without a developed domestic bond market the U.A.E., the Arab world’s second-biggest economy, will leave borrowers with few alternatives to bank loans. As many as 15 mostly publicly-traded companies have expressed an interest in issuing bonds and sukuk since the rules were published, the country’s Securities and Commodities Authority, or SCA, said this week. That interest has yet to translate into firm sale plans."

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Don’t Mess With Saudis in Oil Bear Market Global Shakeout - Bloomberg

Don’t Mess With Saudis in Oil Bear Market Global Shakeout - Bloomberg:

"The bear market in oil is showing the world there’s still only one country in a position to choose winners and losers in the global market: Saudi Arabia.

The world’s largest oil exporter is trying to protect its market share by keeping its production steady even as prices hit a four-year low. Energy producers in turmoil, such as Russia, Iran and Venezuela, stand to lose the most, U.S. shale drillers and other Saudi rivals will suffer and industrialized importing countries including Japan will get a boost from cheaper prices.

“Saudi Arabia is the only one in the position of putting more oil on the market when they want to and cutting production when they want to,” said Edward Chow, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic & International Studies in Washington. “Consumers win, producers lose.”"

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Dubai Health-Care Startup Plans $476 Million Gulf Spending Spree - Bloomberg

Dubai Health-Care Startup Plans $476 Million Gulf Spending Spree - Bloomberg:

"Amanat Holdings, the Dubai startup that’s selling shares to the public this month, plans to spend about 1.75 billion dirhams ($476 million) buying stakes in three to six health-care and education companies.

The company will devote 70 percent of its 2.5 billion-dirham capital to make the investments in the next 12 to 14 months, Chairman Faisal Bin Juma Belhoul said at a news conference in Dubai today. Amanat will target acquisitions mainly in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, the two largest economies in the Gulf Cooperation Council, he said.

“The company has a pipeline of opportunities that will be looked upon after incorporation,” Belhoul said. “We will be in two very attractive sectors that are underserved now.”"

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Blackstone Joins Mideast Funds for Stake in Dubai’s GEMS - Bloomberg

Blackstone Joins Mideast Funds for Stake in Dubai’s GEMS - Bloomberg:

"Blackstone Group LP (BX) is taking a stake in GEMS Education, the world’s biggest privately held schools operator, as part of a group of investors led by Dubai-based Fajr Capital Ltd.

Mumtalakat, the Bahraini sovereign wealth fund, is also part of the investment group taking a “significant” minority stake in GEMS’s emerging-markets business, covering the Middle East, North Africa and Asia, the company said today in a statement. Financial terms of the transaction weren’t disclosed. 

Acquisitions by private-equity firms in the Middle East and Africa have surged 46 percent this year to $3.6 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Buyout firms are stepping up investments in the region amid a revival in Middle East economic growth."

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MIDEAST STOCKS-Markets decline further as global gloom persists | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Markets decline further as global gloom persists | Reuters:

"Most stock markets in the Middle East continued to decline on Wednesday as global equities remained under pressure and disappointing quarterly earnings and forecasts weighed on bourses in Oman and Kuwait.

While selling of Gulf stocks in previous days was fairly indiscriminate, many oil-related shares suffered most on Wednesday as the price of Brent crude slipped to a fresh 47-month low, before recovering slightly to around $84 a barrel.

Lower oil prices are not a disaster for Gulf economies, which have little debt and large fiscal reserves that they can use to maintain government spending."

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