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Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Guest post: taking a view on Ukraine amid ever-present risk from Russia | beyondbrics

Guest post: taking a view on Ukraine amid ever-present risk from Russia | beyondbrics:



"Ukraine is a fast-moving target, making any appraisal something of a work in progress. But taking the country on a stand-alone basis, I see a number of positives:



First, parliamentary elections held last weekend produced a strong majority for reform and even the prospect of a constitutional majority. Pro-EU reform parties took 70 per cent plus of the votes and could have 275 seats in parliament, and even over 300 with independents and some of the more populist/nationalist elements. As with the presidential elections, Ukrainians voted firmly in favour of a pro-western reform agenda. Extreme nationalists performed poorly, as did supporters of the former Regions regime.



Second, despite some concern over politicking for positions in the new cabinet between the For Poroshenko Party (FPP) and the People’s Front (PF) of Arseny Yatseniuk, President Petro Poroshenko again showed his remarkable ability to compromise by agreeing to cede the post of prime minister to Yatseniuk, as the PF did win the popular poll – just. This should be good for continuity, stability and reform. The FPP and PF should have around 210 seats in parliament together. With support from the liberal Self-reliance (Samopomich), moderate reform parties should command a solid majority."



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Guest post: Russia ETF inflows strong in spite of turmoil | beyondbrics

Guest post: Russia ETF inflows strong in spite of turmoil | beyondbrics:



"In spite of what you might expect to be a “perfect storm” scenario for Russian stocks, inflows of investment capital into Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) – investment funds traded on stock markets much as a stock would trade – have remained strong.



Net inflows into the 23 Russian tracking ETFs have proved buoyant in the last three months in spite of continued sanctions by the US and Europe and Moscow’s destabilising actions in Ukraine. Such inflows take 2014 net inflows into Russian ETFs past the $1bn mark (see chart), an extraordinary performance given the negative newsflow surrounding Russia.



The inflows have also come in spite of the rouble’s 25 per cent decline against the US dollar this year. Perhaps investors are drawn by the promise of bargains, and perhaps by expectations of central bank interventions to support the flagging rouble.

"



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In UAE, Tighter Regulations Lead To Real Estate Stabilization

In UAE, Tighter Regulations Lead To Real Estate Stabilization:



"Once the world’s hub of luxury high rise development, the United Arab Emirates city of Dubai has learned the hard way. Oversupply and high rents in glamorous high rises along the Persian Gulf (Arabian Gulf for the Emiratis, however) fell to the basement floors during the 2008-09 financial crisis. As a result, UAE’s two most popular cities for fancy housing projects — Dubai and Abu Dhabi –forced stricter regulations on buyers and developers. The outcome means oversupply is no longer a dire concern, and the luxury market in these two cities is much more sustainable. All of this bodes well for long term investors in this former Arabian frontier economy.



“The UAE market is headed for broader stability. Over the next few months, there will be a correction in areas seen as overvalued while at the same time there will be pockets that will maintain their upwards climb,” said Haider Khan, CEO of UAE real estate portal Bayut.com.



Thanks to tighter regulations by the U.A.E. government and a more conservative business plan from property developers, the residential real estate market of Dubai in particular is becoming more stable. Although property prices skyrocketed 35% in 2013 and rang all sorts of alarm bells at the International Monetary Fund and World Bank, 2014 has seen Dubai real estate investors take their collective heads out of the clouds."



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Ukraine Dips Into Dwindling Reserves To Pay Gazprom

Ukraine Dips Into Dwindling Reserves To Pay Gazprom:



"The money has to come from somewhere. Ukraine will pay Russian natural gas company Gazprom the roughly $4.5 billion it owes in late payments from cash it has piling up in an already dwindling foreign reserve account, the National Bank of Ukraine said on Monday.



Ukraine’s economy is once again on crisis footing. Earlier this year, it reached a deal for a $17.01 billion bailout package with the International Monetary Fund. That’s more than the country has in foreign reserves, which stood at just $16.3 billion in September, according to the IMF.



“We managed to agree with the IMF that the payments for the gas can be made from our own exchange reserves and the IMF will support us. That is why we are confident we can support all the payments to Gazprom on the recent gas agreement,” National Bank governor Valeriya Gontareva said at a press briefing in Kiev today. On the same day, Ukraine’s Energy Minister Yuriy Prodan told RIA Novosti, a Russian state owned news agency, that Kiev has still not paid for Russian gas, but aims to do so “in the near future.” That near future is less than two months away."



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Oil and politics – lessons from Norway - YouTube

Oil and politics – lessons from Norway - YouTube: ""



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Opportunity in the middle ground for the oil industry | The National

Opportunity in the middle ground for the oil industry | The National:



"The international oil industry is structured like a badly made sandwich – two thick slices of bread with not much in the middle. Supermajors and national oil companies, with valuations in the hundreds of billions of dollars, form the top; hundreds of smaller companies the bottom.



The current lack of strong, capable mid-sized companies is a historical aberration. Might it be about to change under the stress of lower oil prices?

The current lack of mid-sized multinational companies is a result of several trends over the past decade or so. The smaller majors – Mobil, Amoco, Arco and Phillips – had already merged with larger siblings around the turn of the century. In the early 2000s, flush with cash from rising prices but short of opportunities, the newly made supermajors and Asian national oil companies swallowed the last few large independents.



Lasmo, bought by Italy’s ENI in 2000, produced 200,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boepd); when acquired by Shell in 2002, Enterprise Oil was producing 245,000 boepd. The largest comparable company on the London market today, Tullow, extracts less than 80,000 boepd."



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IHS raises $2.6b in equity and debt for expansion | GulfNews.com

IHS raises $2.6b in equity and debt for expansion | GulfNews.com:



"IHS Holding, Africa’s largest phone-tower company, said on Monday it plans to raise capital by $2.6 billion (Dh9.54 billion) in equity and debt, making it the largest equity raise since 2007.



The company plans to raise $2 billion in equity and $600 million in debt to fund acquisitions, which have more than doubled the size of IHS’ tower portfolio in the last 12 months and also furthered new site build programmes.



IHS has now raised a total of $4.5 billion since 2012 and deployed the funds in establishing market-leading positions across Africa in Nigeria, Cameroon, the Ivory Coast, Zambia and Rwanda."



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Daman Investments eyes IPO in first quarter of 2015 | GulfNews.com

Daman Investments eyes IPO in first quarter of 2015 | GulfNews.com:



"Investment management firm Daman Investments said on Monday it plans to list on the Dubai Financial Market in the first quarter of 2015 and use the proceeds to scale up existing operations and pursue investment opportunities.



The company, which is into brokerage business, private equity, corporate advisory, and venture capital, plans to sell new shares equal to 55 per cent of the stake, but none of the existing shareholders plan to exit through the offering.



“The company will continue to look at investment opportunities and continue to work. We think this space is going to get more interesting, busier and broader, as the UAE is taking a more prominent position within the region and the wider world,” said Shehab M. Gargash, chairman and founder, of Daman Investments."



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Dubai Repays $1.93 Billion of Bonds Sold Before 2009 Debt Crisis - Bloomberg

Dubai Repays $1.93 Billion of Bonds Sold Before 2009 Debt Crisis - Bloomberg:



"Dubai redeemed $1.93 billion of Islamic bonds that were sold in 2009 before the emirate roiled global capital markets by seeking to freeze debt payments.



The government settled a 2.5 billion-dirham ($681 million) sukuk and a separate $1.25 billion security complying with Shariah that matured today, the state-run WAM news agency reported. The yield on Dubai’s dollar-denominated Islamic bonds due in January 2023 fell two basis points to 3.79 percent, the lowest in almost two months.



The bond payments reflect Dubai’s “commitment to repay all liabilities as per schedule,” WAM cited Abdul Rahman Saleh Al Saleh, director general of the Dubai Department of Finance, as saying. It comes after Abu Dhabi agreed in March to roll over $20 billion of its neighbor’s debt for five years, helping improve investor perceptions of Dubai’s credit worthiness."



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Saudis Cut Crude Prices to U.S. in December Amid Shale Boom - Bloomberg

Saudis Cut Crude Prices to U.S. in December Amid Shale Boom - Bloomberg:



"Saudi Arabian Oil Co. lowered the cost of its crude to the U.S., where production is the highest in three decades, deepening a selloff that sent prices to the lowest in more two years.



The state-owned producer, known as Saudi Aramco, lowered the premium for Arab Light relative to U.S. Gulf Coast benchmarks by 45 cents a barrel to the smallest since December. medium and heavy grades were also down 45 cents and extra light oil 50 cents. Aramco increased the cost to Asia and Europe.



Swelling supplies from producers outside OPEC drove oil prices into a bear market last month as global demand growth slowed. Middle Eastern producers are increasingly competing with cargoes from Latin America, North Africa and Russia for buyers, as well as with U.S. production that has jumped 54 percent in the past three years."



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Qatar, Citic Plan to Start $10 Billion Investment Fund - Bloomberg

Qatar, Citic Plan to Start $10 Billion Investment Fund - Bloomberg:



"Qatar’s sovereign-wealth fund plans to set up a $10 billion investment venture with China’s Citic Group as part of a push into Asia.



The pair signed a memorandum of understanding today for a joint fund, with the deal to be finalized in coming months, Ahmad Al-Sayed, chief executive officer of the Qatar Investment Authority, told reporters in Beijing. Each will put in $5 billion, he said.



Qatar has invested billions of dollars in China and Asia this year, including in Citic, Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. (BABA) and Hong Kong department-store owner Lifestyle International Holdings Ltd., Al-Sayed said in a statement. The Qatar fund plans to put $15 to $20 billion into the region in the next five years and will expand offices in Beijing and New Delhi, he said."



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