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Saturday, 31 January 2015

Gulf states work on their economic freedoms | GulfNews.com

Gulf states work on their economic freedoms | GulfNews.com:



"Of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, the UAE made the strongest stride in the 2015 Index of Economic Freedom. The report, brought out by Heritage Foundation and Wall Street Journal stresses the importance of the private sector and investors in an economy.



The Index relies on a diverse number of variables related to the level of economic freedom, compromising in the main of the rule of law, property rights and freedom from corruption. The others relate to regulatory efficiency, specifically business, labour and monetary freedom; the extent of government role; and trade, investment and financial freedoms. In turn, each variable carries 10 points on the 100-point maximum scale.



Notably, the 2015 Index classifies three GCC economies — Bahrain, the UAE and Qatar — as being mostly free. Among other things, the three economies share fiscal and monetary policies reflecting the near absence of taxation."



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Why has Qatar Airways taken an IAG stake? - YouTube

Why has Qatar Airways taken an IAG stake? - YouTube: ""



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FirstFT – Saudi’s King Salman and US GDP - YouTube

FirstFT – Saudi’s King Salman and US GDP - YouTube: ""



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Friday, 30 January 2015

Qatar Airways takes 10% stake in British Airways-owner IAG - Your Middle East

Qatar Airways takes 10% stake in British Airways-owner IAG - Your Middle East:



"Qatar Airways on Friday said it had purchased almost 10 percent of IAG, parent of British Airways and Spanish carrier Iberia, the second European entry by a Gulf carrier.



"As part of efforts to enhance operations and strengthen existing commercial ties... Qatar Airways has acquired a 9.99 percent stake in IAG," the company said in a statement.



The airline's chief executive, Akbar al-Baker, said International Airlines Group "represents an excellent opportunity to further develop our westwards strategy.""



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Saudi Arabia’s waiting game with oil | GulfNews.com

Saudi Arabia’s waiting game with oil | GulfNews.com:



"As the ruler of a country that sits atop 300 billion barrels of oil, Saudi Arabia’s late King Abdullah was no fan of proposals to limit the burning of fossil fuels. During most of his reign, the king’s chief envoy to climate talks was a global-warming sceptic who boasted of his success at scuttling climate treaties.



But it was in the monarch’s final months that Saudi officials hit upon a more effective way to knock the clean-energy movement off its tracks: cheap gas.



Since King Abdullah’s death, Saudi officials have recommitted themselves to recent policies that have helped drive oil prices to their lowest levels in a decade. The kingdom’s efforts to manipulate oil markets are wreaking havoc with Saudi Arabia’s chief oil rivals, from Iran and Russia to the tar-sands mines of western Canada. Now energy experts are seeing evidence that the oil bust is helping Saudi Arabia achieve another long-term goal: undermining global efforts to reduce dependence on fossil fuels."



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Oil price fall leaves Gulf states with difficult reform choices - FT.com

Oil price fall leaves Gulf states with difficult reform choices - FT.com:



"Gulf states may have their political differences with Iran but they share a common taste for Persian bread, a staple through the region.



So when Iranian bakers working in Kuwaiti co-operative societies went on a five-day strike this month, public outrage grew as the price threatened to rise above eight US cents per flaky flatbread.



The industrial action, which was sparked by increases in the price of the kerosene that fires the bakers’ ovens after fuel subsidies were lifted, ended when the bakers were promised a return to subsidised rates."



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Saudi king stamps his authority with staff shake-up - FT.com

Saudi king stamps his authority with staff shake-up - FT.com:


"King Salman, Saudi Arabia’s new monarch, has announced an overhaul of key security, political and economic officials at the same time as unveiling populist cash handouts as he seeks to stamp his authority on the kingdom.



A week after taking the throne, King Salman announced investment projects including utilities investment worth SAR20bn ($5.3bn), and granted state employees a two-months’ salary bonus, among other benefits, the official Saudi news agency reported late on Thursday.



The IMF has urged Saudi Arabia, which spends about half its budget on current spending such as salaries, to restrain expenditure on wage growth, especially since oil prices have halved over the past few months."



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Dubai dealers Joyce and Reed chase Sunland’s $6m costs | The Australian

Dubai dealers Joyce and Reed chase Sunland’s $6m costs | The Australian:



"TWO men involved in a dodgy land deal in Dubai are still chasing Queensland-based developer Sunland for the $6.75 million in costs awarded to them by a Melbourne court more than a year after Sunland was ordered to pay.



Court documents filed by lawyers for Matthew Joyce — who was detained in Dubai for more than four years — and property wheeler and dealer Angus Reed show the pair are yet to receive their court-awarded costs for defending a civil suit brought against them by the company led by the Abedian family.



Sunland lost its Supreme Court case against Mr Reed and Mr Joyce, after alleging the pair hoodwinked the company into buying a prime plot of waterfront land in Dubai in 2007.

"



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Thursday, 29 January 2015

Funds turning positive on Saudi Arabia as oil stabilises -survey | Reuters

Funds turning positive on Saudi Arabia as oil stabilises -survey | Reuters:



"Middle East funds are turning
positive on Saudi Arabia's stock market because of signs that
oil prices are starting to stabilise, the latest Reuters survey
of asset managers shows.



Many fund managers became bearish on Saudi Arabia in the
past few months as the oil price plunge promised to slash the
earnings of petrochemical producers, which are heavily weighted
in the Saudi market, and triggered panic selling of overvalued
shares by local retail investors.



In the December survey, 40 percent of respondents said they
expected to cut their Saudi equity allocations in the next three
months, while 33 percent intended to raise them."



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Travelex and UAE Exchange to merge, list in Abu Dhabi by early-2017 — chairman | GulfNews.com

Travelex and UAE Exchange to merge, list in Abu Dhabi by early-2017 — chairman | GulfNews.com:



"Foreign exchange operator Travelex and UAE Exchange are poised to merge and are planning a stock market listing of the combined company on the Abu Dhabi bourse by the early part of 2017, the chairman of UAE Exchange said on Thursday.



Indian billionaire B.R. Shetty, along with Abu Dhabi private equity house Centurion Investments, agreed in May last year to buy Travelex for about £800 million (Dh4.4 billion, $1.21 billion) from its shareholders including Chairman Lloyd Dorfman and Apax Partners.



“We signed the deal today (Thursday), the acquisition is completed,” Shetty told Reuters by phone from London."



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RBS Exiting Corporate Debt, DCM Business in Middle East - Bloomberg Business

RBS Exiting Corporate Debt, DCM Business in Middle East - Bloomberg Business:



"Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc, the U.K.’s largest taxpayer-owned lender, is exiting its corporate loans and debt capital markets business in the Middle East and Africa.



The move is part of Chief Executive Officer Ross McEwan’s decision last February to make RBS a smaller, more focused bank, an RBS spokeswoman said in an e-mailed response to questions from Bloomberg News, without giving more information.



McEwan, 57, has been cutting back investment-banking operations and focusing on domestic customers to reverse six straight years of losses. Jacco Keijzer, RBS’s head of debt capital markets for the Middle East and Africa based in Dubai, left the lender earlier this month, the spokeswoman said."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Most markets pull back on weak Q4 results, dividends | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Most markets pull back on weak Q4 results, dividends | Reuters:



"Saudi Arabia's stock market pulled back on Thursday after gaining strongly earlier in the week, while disappointing dividends and earnings weighed on other Gulf markets.



The main Saudi stock index edged down 0.4 percent as some of the stocks which had driven its rally in the last few days retreated. Petrochemicals major Saudi Basic Industries dropped 2.6 percent and Samba Financial Group lost 1.0 percent. 




Telecommunications operator Zain Saudi dropped 3.4 percent after its Kuwaiti parent Zain said studies into the potential sale of its transmitter towers were in "very early stages" and no decision had been made yet on the matter. News of a potential sale had lifted both stocks on Wednesday; Zain fell 1.9 percent on Thursday."



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Ruble sinks to new record low as WTI nears $44 — RT Business

Ruble sinks to new record low as WTI nears $44 — RT Business:



"The volatile ruble has hit a fresh low against the US dollar, trading at 69 per 1 USD after the Russian currency lost 2 percent of its value in opening trading hours in Moscow.



Since the beginning of the year, the ruble has lost nearly 15 percent of its value, in tandem with plunging oil prices, which have also lost 15 percent.



Wednesday’s ruble rout is a reaction to the drop of WTI to $44.08 per barrel, the lowest price since April 2009. WTI is the North American oil benchmark.At the time of publication, WTI had edged up slightly to $44.29."



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Rebellion at Standard Chartered as Senior Staff Push for New Leadership - WSJ

Rebellion at Standard Chartered as Senior Staff Push for New Leadership - WSJ:



"Hundreds of Standard Chartered PLC’s most senior executives gathered earlier this month on Singapore’s Sentosa island to address the global bank’s dimming fortunes. From a lectern at a colonial-style resort, Chief Executive Peter Sands warned that management has just a few months to turn around the bank or risk losing the support of the board of directors, according to attendees.



Mr. Sands, credited for years with leading perhaps the world’s most successful bank, now is in danger of becoming the latest big-bank CEO to lose his job following a series of high-profile stumbles.



Standard Chartered’s two largest shareholders, which collectively control 28% of the bank’s stock, are privately pushing for new leadership, say people familiar with the matter. Customers and regulators recently have told Standard Chartered executives and board members that they are increasingly anxious about the bank’s problems, people familiar with those discussions say."



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BBC News - Shell to cut spending by $15bn over three years

BBC News - Shell to cut spending by $15bn over three years:



"Falling oil prices are forcing Royal Dutch Shell to cut back investment by some $15bn over the next three years.



Shell also said profits for the last three months of 2014 had risen to $4.2bn compared with $2.2bn in the same period a year earlier.



Full year earnings also rose to $19bn in 2014, up from $16.7bn in the previous year."



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Songbird swansong offers clarity for Canary Wharf at cheap price - FT.com

Songbird swansong offers clarity for Canary Wharf at cheap price - FT.com:



"Brookfield has settled an old score by winning the £2.6bn bid battle for Songbird, owner of Canary Wharf. In 2004, the Canadian property group was bested by investor Simon Glick and Morgan Stanley in the opening match. Its triumph in the rematch, thanks to an alliance with the Qatar Investment Authority, is a testament to its staying power. Paul Reichmann would surely have approved. He was the driving force that defied pessimists to create the development in the 1980s.



The prize is glittering: ownership of a financial hub whose skyscrapers are visible from any high point in London. With 85 per cent of the shares in the bag, the partners only need acceptances from another 5 per cent to buy out the balance and delist Songbird. They may then amalgamate the business with Canary Wharf, the estate developer in which it holds a majority stake.



The fight has been acrimonious. The board of Songbird poured scorn on a final offer of 350p per share, mustering a 381p valuation of net assets per share. Brookfield, for its part, questioned the independence of board adviser Alex Midgen, a Songbird non-executive appointed by the Glicks."



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S&P adds to bearish voices on Dubai residential property market | The National

S&P adds to bearish voices on Dubai residential property market | The National:



"Dubai home prices could fall by as much as 20 per cent this year, says a top ratings agency.



Standard & Poor’s expects the property market to suffer from increased supply and weakening investor sentiment triggered by the tumbling price of oil.



It is the latest bearish view on the emirate’s residential property market, which peaked last year."



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Moody’s sees Abu Dhabi weathering slowing economy amid weak oil prices | The National

Moody’s sees Abu Dhabi weathering slowing economy amid weak oil prices | The National:



"Abu Dhabi’s economic growth is forecast to slow this year if oil prices remain in their current range, although the credit rating agency Moody’s Investors Service said the government is in a strong position to weather the downturn.



In its latest assessment, Moody’s estimated that the emirate’s economic growth rate would slow this year – to below 3 per cent, from an estimated 4.1 per cent last year – because of a huge drop in oil revenues.



Nominal GDP – economic activity before accounting for inflation – will contract by 18 per cent this year if oil prices average US$55 a barrel, and by 25 per cent if oil prices average $40, Moody’s said. Abu Dhabi will be able to maintain spending by drawing on its vast assets and running a slight deficit (forecast to be 1.1 per cent of GDP this year)."



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Raiffeisen Scales Down More Than 20% to Avoid Cash Call - Bloomberg Business

Raiffeisen Scales Down More Than 20% to Avoid Cash Call - Bloomberg Business:



"Raiffeisen Bank International AG, eastern Europe’s second-biggest bank, will shrink by at least 20 percent to boost capital ratios and avoid a cash call that could dilute the cooperative banks that own it.



Raiffeisen, the foreign bank with the most at risk in Russia, will cut its risk-weighted assets from 79.4 billion euros ($89.6 billion) as of the end of September, the Vienna-based company said yesterday in a statement. The asset reduction will raise its core equity Tier 1 ratio, which stood at about 10 percent at the end of last year, it said.



“RBI will actively embark on a course which concentrates on strategically relevant and sustainably profitable business areas,” the bank said in the statement. “RBI comfortably fulfills all regulatory capital requirements. The Management Board of RBI emphasizes that no capital increase is planned.”"



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Gazprom Third-Quarter Net Falls 62% on FX Loss; Exceeds Estimate - Bloomberg Business

Gazprom Third-Quarter Net Falls 62% on FX Loss; Exceeds Estimate - Bloomberg Business:



"OAO Gazprom’s third-quarter profit fell 62 percent because of falling sales and a currency loss.



Net income dropped to 106 billion rubles ($1.5 billion) from 276 billion rubles a year earlier, the world’s biggest natural-gas company said today on its website. That exceeded the average estimate of 58.8 billion rubles from nine analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. The Moscow-based exporter had a foreign-exchange loss of 273 billion rubles, compared with a gain a year earlier. Third-quarter sales fell 5.9 percent to 1.13 trillion rubles.



Gazprom, which delivers about 30 percent of the European Union’s gas, faced the lowest export sales in 11 years in 2014 and cut output to a record low as Europe and Ukraine sought to diversify supplies. The company’s full-year non-cash currency loss may reach $25 billion, a risk for its dividend given sliding sales, Sberbank CIB analysts in Moscow wrote Wednesday in a note."



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Saudi Arabia’s Alhokair Planning IPO of Egyptian Malls Unit - Bloomberg Business

Saudi Arabia’s Alhokair Planning IPO of Egyptian Malls Unit - Bloomberg Business:



"Saudi Arabia’s Fawaz Alhokair Group plans to raise as much as $400 million from the sale of shares in its Egyptian malls unit, owner of one of the country’s largest shopping centers.



The family-owned group appointed CI Capital to advise on the offer, Muhanad Awad, chief executive officer of FAS Capital, the financing and investment arm of Alhokair, said in a Riyadh interview. Alhokair will sell a 25 to 30 percent stake in Egyptian Centres, which operates Cairo’s Mall of Arabia.



Proceeds from the sale will be used to fund expansion of Mall of Arabia and develop new shopping centers, he said. The company expects to raise between 2.5 billion and 3 billion Egyptian pounds ($340 million to $400 million), Awad said."



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Abu Dhabi’s Centurion Said to Plan Travelex, UAE Merger - Bloomberg Business

Abu Dhabi’s Centurion Said to Plan Travelex, UAE Merger - Bloomberg Business:



"Abu Dhabi-based Centurion Investments plans to merge Travelex Holdings Ltd. with UAE Exchange and sell a stake in the merged entity to the public, two people with knowledge of the matter said.



Saeed Bin Butti’s Centurion, which acquired a majority stake in Travelex with Bavaguthu Raghuram Shetty, is aiming for an initial public offering in 2016 and is talking to banks to appoint an adviser for the deal, the people said, asking not to be identified because the matter is private. The company will probably be listed in the United Arab Emirates, they said.



Apax Partners LLP, one of Europe’s largest private-equity firms, agreed in May to sell its majority stake in Travelex, a retail currency exchange, to Centurion and Shetty, the founder of UAE Exchange. Apax, which had been poised to take Travelex public, bought control of the chain in 2005 in a deal that valued the company at about 1.1 billion pounds ($1.7 billion)."



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Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Russia's 1st sale of floaters in decade fails after S&P cut - Chicago Tribune

Russia's 1st sale of floaters in decade fails after S&P cut - Chicago Tribune:



"Russia missed its fundraising target for a second week, raising only half of the amount planned at its first sale of floating-rate debt in more than a decade, two days after a sovereign credit-rating downgrade.



The Finance Ministry placed 2.51 billion rubles ($37 million) of the securities maturing in December 2017 at a weighted average price of 95.9602 of face value, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. It filled 24 bids, the data show, after the ministry said Tuesday it would seek to raise 5 billion rubles.



The first attempt to sell floating-rate securities since November 2004 came after Standard & Poor's cut Russia's foreign- currency rating to junk on Monday, while pushing the local- currency score to the lowest investment grade. Russia's ability to raise cash is being curtailed as European Union and the U.S. consider additional sanctions in technology, energy, defense and banking over the country's support for separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine."



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Qatar Is Set to Gain Control of London’s Canary Wharf - Bloomberg Business

Qatar Is Set to Gain Control of London’s Canary Wharf - Bloomberg Business:



"London’s Canary Wharf is set to be taken over by a Qatari-led group after a three-month stand-off in a deal that values its owner at about 2.6 billion pounds ($4 billion).



Songbird Estates Plc, which controls the financial district in London’s East End, said Wednesday it expects its biggest shareholders will accept an offer from Qatar Investment Authority and Brookfield Property Partners LP it had previously urged them to reject. Songbird said that while the 350-pence-a-share cash bid is still too low, it doesn’t expect another, higher offer will emerge.



Qatar and Brookfield have been trying to gain control of Songbird since November, when the developer rejected an initial approach. Throughout the talks, the pair have been at odds with Songbird over how to value future developments that will take years to complete and will require substantial funding."



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U.A.E. Bank Market to Get Tougher on Economy, NBAD CEO Says - Bloomberg Business

U.A.E. Bank Market to Get Tougher on Economy, NBAD CEO Says - Bloomberg Business:



"National Bank of Abu Dhabi PJSC, the biggest lender in the United Arab Emirates, said tougher market conditions lie ahead after posting a 28-percent increase in fourth-quarter profit.



“It was tough last year, competition was stiff, but there was growth, very, very good growth,” NBAD Group Chief Executive Officer Alex Thursby said on an earnings call from Abu Dhabi on Wednesday. “Now, I think we are going to have average growth and competition hasn’t gone home.”



Growth in the U.A.E., the second-biggest Arab economy, will slow to 3.1 percent this year from an estimated 4.9 percent in 2014 after a 50-percent drop in oil prices, according to estimates from HSBC Holdings Plc this month. The U.A.E. holds about 6 percent of the world’s crude reserves and has used its oil wealth to transform cities, build ports and turn the country into a tourist and financial center."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi Arabia rallies on as oil pares losses | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi Arabia rallies on as oil pares losses | Reuters:



"Saudi Arabia's stock market gained strongly for a second straight day on Wednesday as oil prices rebounded from the day's lows, reinforcing a growing perception among investors that they have found a floor.



Brent crude fell early on Tuesday after an industry report said U.S. crude stocks rose by the most in two decades last week. But it had largely recovered and traded above $49 per barrel by the time the Saudi bourse closed.



The main Saudi stock index jumped 2.6 percent to 8,913 points and trading volume reached its highest level since last May. The index faces chart resistance at its late December peak of 8,949 points; any break would point up to at least resistance on the 100-day average, now at 9,477 points."



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UPDATE 2-MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi Arabia extends gains, Egypt pulls back | Reuters

UPDATE 2-MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi Arabia extends gains, Egypt pulls back | Reuters:



"Saudi Arabia's stock market rose in early trade on Wednesday on the back of banks and petrochemicals, while Egypt's bourse retreated from a multi-year high. 




The main Saudi index added 1.5 percent as shares in Samba Financial Group surged 7.5 percent and were the main support. Two brokerages, EFG Hermes and Global, identified the stock this week as offering good value and being well positioned for the expected U.S. interest rate increase.



Petrochemicals giant Saudi Basic Industries jumped 2.7 percent as Brent crude oil, although weaker, held near $49 per barrel following comments by a senior OPEC official this week that the commodity's price may have bottomed out."



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Greece’s new government - YouTube

Greece’s new government - YouTube: ""



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Impact of lengthy low oil price - YouTube

Impact of lengthy low oil price - YouTube: ""



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Diminished expectations - YouTube

Diminished expectations - YouTube: ""



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Majid Al Futtaim announces plans to double in size | The National

Majid Al Futtaim announces plans to double in size | The National:



"Majid Al Futtaim (MAF), the company that built Dubai’s indoor ski slope in Mall of the Emirates, plans to double in size in the next five years. The company yesterday posted an 11 per cent increase in revenues to Dh25 billion last year.



“With an ambition to double the size of the business over the next five years, Majid Al Futtaim plans further investment to deliver world-class malls in the region,” the company said in a statement yesterday.



MAF is planning additional hypermarkets and supermarkets and family entertainment centres."



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UAE oil and gas sector feels jobs pinch | The National

UAE oil and gas sector feels jobs pinch | The National:



"The UAE’s oil and gas sector is feeling the squeeze from the record drop in oil prices in recent months, according to a new survey by one of the country’s largest employment consultants.



The weak jobs market in the hydrocarbon sector runs counter to the broader trend in the survey, which was conducted by Abu Dhabi-based Reach Employment, a division of the private equity firm Gulf Capital.



It found the vast majority of the 200 companies it polled were expecting to add jobs in 2015. Financial services, retail, tourism and health care were the hottest sectors and 91 per cent of those polled said they expected to hire new staff."



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For oil services industry, it is lockdown | GulfNews.com

For oil services industry, it is lockdown | GulfNews.com:



"Slammed by plunging oil prices, oil services companies which supply rigs and carry out seismic surveys face a bleak outlook of cutbacks and contract cancellations. Peer through the gloom though and possible winners as well as losers emerge.



Titans of the sector such as Schlumberger NV and Halliburton Co may have a chance to scoop up assets and know-how from rivals less able to weather the downturn, as their deeper pockets give them a major tactical advantage.



“The larger companies, which still have access to credit, can take the opportunity to regenerate their own fleets at a cheaper cost than if they had to build it themselves,” said Pascal Menges, portfolio manager for Lombard Odier’s Global Energy fund. Schlumberger was one of his top three holdings as of end-December, according to the fund fact sheet."



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Iraq Oil Surge to Fan OPEC Rivalry That Triggered Slump - Bloomberg Business

Iraq Oil Surge to Fan OPEC Rivalry That Triggered Slump - Bloomberg Business:



"The battle for customers among OPEC members that helped trigger oil’s collapse is about to escalate.



Iraqi crude production is climbing from a 35-year high as it adds growing Kurdish supplies to its exports, while southern oilfields remain unscathed by Islamic State militants. Finding buyers for the new output means offering more attractive terms than rivals in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, say Citigroup Inc., DNB ASA and Barclays Plc.



Oil’s biggest slump in six years gained momentum in October as a wave of discounts by Middle Eastern producers signaled OPEC members were intent on defending market share against booming shale output from the U.S. The price of Saudi crude for Asian buyers was cut to the lowest in at least 14 years last month, a move followed by Iraq, Kuwait and Iran."



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Oil’s Slide Triggers LNG Drop as Indian Demand Seen Rising - Bloomberg Business

Oil’s Slide Triggers LNG Drop as Indian Demand Seen Rising - Bloomberg Business:



"Oil’s slump is set to extend the biggest drop in liquefied natural gas costs in five years, spurring demand in emerging Asian economies.



LNG prices in Japan, the world’s biggest buyer of the fuel, will probably plunge 35 percent in 2015 and Indian costs will decline 33 percent, according to Energy Aspects Ltd., a London-based consultant. Costs in Asia will this year average below $10 per million British thermal units for the first time in four years as new projects in Australia and the U.S. boost supply through 2016, Bloomberg New Energy Finance said.



Most LNG in Asia is linked to crude costs with a time lag of several months, so Brent’s 49 percent drop in the second half of 2014 hasn’t fully filtered into prices. Global demand for the gas chilled to minus 170 degrees Celsius (minus 274 Fahrenheit) will rise 9.8 percent this year amid increased imports by India and southeast Asia, after climbing 0.5 percent in the first nine months of 2014, according to Sanford C. Bernstein."



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Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Saxo Faces Legal Battles With Clients After Franc Shock - Bloomberg

Saxo Faces Legal Battles With Clients After Franc Shock - Bloomberg:



"Saxo Bank A/S says it’s bracing itself for lawsuits from some clients who are unhappy with its efforts to have them cover losses on their Swiss franc accounts after the bank repriced trades retroactively.



The Danish bank set a Jan. 23 deadline for clients to respond to its estimates of how much they’d lost trading francs using borrowed funds. Saxo says talks with institutional and retail customers will probably take “a couple of months.” The bank estimates its own losses may be as high as $107 million.



“It’s not unlikely that we’ll face legal challenges,” Steen Blaafalk, Saxo’s chief financial officer and head of risk management, said yesterday in a phone interview. “If we need to debate it through such a channel, we will of course do that, but hopefully we don’t have to and we are actively working with clients to find a plan of action for repayment.”"



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Aramco Says Saudis Won’t ‘Singlehandedly’ Balance Crude Market - Bloomberg

Aramco Says Saudis Won’t ‘Singlehandedly’ Balance Crude Market - Bloomberg:



"Saudi Arabia won’t balance global crude markets on its own even as prices fall to levels that are “too low for everybody” and threaten investment needed to meet long-term demand, the head of Saudi Arabian Oil Co. said.



Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest oil exporter, has the most spare capacity in OPEC and has historically played the role of swing producer, cutting its output to raise prices and pumping more to lower them. Oil prices have dropped 55 percent in the past year as rising production from the U.S. and Russia helped global output exceed demand.



“Supply and demand and the rules of economics will govern. It will take time for the current glut to be removed,” Chief Executive Officer Khalid Al-Falih said at a conference in Riyadh. “Saudi Arabia will not singlehandedly balance the market in a downturn,” he said, reiterating government policy."



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UPDATE 2-MIDEAST STOCKS-Egypt resumes rally; Saudi Arabia extends gains | Reuters

UPDATE 2-MIDEAST STOCKS-Egypt resumes rally; Saudi Arabia extends gains | Reuters:



"Egypt's stock market turned bullish again in early trade on Tuesday after a short bout of profit-taking, while Saudi Arabia's bourse edged up on the back of banking stocks.



The Cairo benchmark rose 1.3 percent as most stocks were in the black. Property firm Medinet Nasr Housing and Development led gains, surging 5.1 percent as Egypt's central bank continued the gradual depreciation of the pound.



The pound slipped to 7.43 per dollar from 7.39 at a central bank auction on Monday, to the weakest level it has been allowed to reach since auctions began in December 2012. It was the sixth consecutive official depreciation in the past week, prompted by the gap between the black market and the official rate."



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​S&P decision is ‘groundlessly negative’ – Russian finance minister — RT Business

​S&P decision is ‘groundlessly negative’ – Russian finance minister — RT Business:



"The downgrade of Russia’s credit rating by S&P is unreasonable, as the agency didn’t consider the country’s anti-crisis plan, and the strong economy with its large reserves and extremely low public debt, said Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov.



Siluanov says he does not think the move will lead to a sharp decline in the share of non-residents holding Russian bonds.



"A very important aspect is that the rating of Russian obligations in the national currency is still at the BBB- investment grade. Therefore, there won’t be a sharp decline in the share of non-residents among the holders of Russian loan bonds," he said."



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NBAD investment head does not expect regional equities to pick up any time soon | The National

NBAD investment head does not expect regional equities to pick up any time soon | The National:



"A top NBAD executive yesterday ruled out spectacular gains in regional equity markets this year amid expectations of slower economic growth given the steep decline in oil prices.



“At this price of oil it’s difficult to be bullish,” said Gary Dugan, National Bank of Abu Dhabi’s global wealth chief investment officer and head of investment strategy. “The GCC has a period of adjustment to lower oil prices. The corporates are starting to feel it and we’ve only had it for a matter of weeks. If it goes on for months and it doesn’t seem to go away as a problem then companies will have to adjust.”



Stocks in the Arabian Gulf took a hammering in December as the price of crude oil plummeted more than 30 per cent, with many benchmark equity indexes including Dubai dropping just as much before making a partial recovery. As a result, Dubai’s main gauge pared its 2014 gains to 12 per cent and so far this year has dropped 1.4 per cent."



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Amlak on track to resume trading on Dubai bourse | The National

Amlak on track to resume trading on Dubai bourse | The National:



"Amlak Finance, the Sharia-compliant mortgage lender that completed a restructuring of US$2.7 billion worth of debt last year, is on track to resume the trading of its shares on the Dubai Financial Market in the first half of the year, the UAE Minister of Economy said yesterday.



“All of Amlak’s affairs have been put in order,” said Sultan Al Mansouri, adding that it would trade its shares again by the first half of the year.



Amlak’s stock has been suspended since 2008."



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Fujairah to emerge as oil trading hub in the region | GulfNews.com

Fujairah to emerge as oil trading hub in the region | GulfNews.com:



"Fujairah will emerge as an important oil and trading hub in the coming years with the number of facilities coming up in the port, industry experts at the Tank Storage Middle East conference said.



“Fujairah will emerge as a hub for business activity. IPIC (International Petroleum Investment Company) refinery with a processing capacity of 200,000 barrels per day will be a game changer,” said Nizam Noorali, chief operating officer of Socar Aurora Fujairah terminals.



He said a number of projects are in the pipeline at the port. “LNG terminal is coming through. There will be facilities for chemical storage, bitumen storage, crude oil storage and crude oil pipeline connectivity to the port.”"



'via Blog this'

Emaar Properties targets Q2 for $270m Egypt unit float | GulfNews.com

Emaar Properties targets Q2 for $270m Egypt unit float | GulfNews.com:



"Dubai’s Emaar Properties will submit plans to float its Egyptian unit to the North African country’s regulator “within days” ahead of an initial share sale earmarked for the second quarter, two sources aware of the matter told Reuters.



The initial public offering (IPO) of a portion of Emaar Misr is expected to be worth in excess of 2 billion pounds (Dh992 million), making it the largest flotation on the Cairo bourse since 2007.



“Within a few days, Emaar Misr will offer the documents to the stock market. The IPO will be in the second quarter, God willing,” said one of the sources, who spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity as the information isn’t public."



'via Blog this'

Oil Trades Near 6-Year Low as OPEC Fails to Turn Focus From Glut - Bloomberg

Oil Trades Near 6-Year Low as OPEC Fails to Turn Focus From Glut - Bloomberg:



"Oil extended losses to trade near an almost six-year low as OPEC’s warning that prices may surge without new investment in production failed to shift the market’s focus from more immediate signs of a global supply glut.



Futures fell as much as 0.6 percent in New York. A spike to $200 a barrel is possible without adequate spending for the long term, OPEC Secretary-General Abdalla El-Badri said. U.S. crude inventories probably rose to 402.1 million barrels last week, the most in records dating back to August 1982, a Bloomberg News survey shows before a government report on Wednesday.



Oil slumped almost 50 percent last year amid the fastest pace of U.S. crude production in more than three decades while the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries resisted calls to reduce output. Prices may drop to as low as $30 a barrel, Gary Cohn, the president of Goldman Sachs Group Inc., said in an interview with CNBC on Monday."



'via Blog this'

Investing in Russia: So Crazy, It Just Might Work - Businessweek

Investing in Russia: So Crazy, It Just Might Work - Businessweek:



"On paper, there’s no good reason to invest in Russia right now. The country’s dealing with a collapsed currency, plunging oil prices, recession, conflict in Ukraine, sanctions, and a government that’s hard to predict. The MSCI Russia Index lost almost half its value last year, and those losses could continue in 2015 and even into 2016. On Monday, as fighting in Ukraine intensified, the ruble dropped another 2.3 percent against the dollar, to its lowest level since Dec. 16. 




For the intrepid, the thrill-seeking, or the very wealthy, however, Russia still has an appeal. Since August, investors have poured $861 million into the Market Vectors Russia ETF (RSX), the largest U.S.-based Russia fund. “In investing, what is comfortable is rarely profitable,” according to investment firm Research Affiliates in a new analysis. “Investing in Russia now is definitely discomfiting, but it might pay off in the long run.”"



'via Blog this'

Dubai Displaces Heathrow as Busiest International Air Hub - Bloomberg

Dubai Displaces Heathrow as Busiest International Air Hub - Bloomberg:



"Dubai ended London Heathrow airport’s decades of dominance as the world’s top international air hub last year, buoyed by surging passenger numbers at local carrier Emirates with its record-breaking fleet of wide-body jets.



Dubai International Airport boosted passenger numbers 6.1 percent to 70.5 million last year, almost all of them traveling to or from locations outside the United Arab Emirates, according to a statement today. That took it past Heathrow, which attracted 68.09 million international travelers in 2014.



Dubai has used its location at a geographical crossroads between Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East to establish itself as a base for inter-continental transfer flights, with Emirates already the world’s No. 1 carrier by international traffic. The sheikhdom is building a new hub at Al Maktoum airport which could one day handle 200 million passengers, just as growth at Heathrow is stymied by the constraints of its two runways and political wrangling over whether to add a third."



'via Blog this'

Monday, 26 January 2015

Traders Delaying Russian Gas Imports Tap Declining EU Stores - Bloomberg

Traders Delaying Russian Gas Imports Tap Declining EU Stores - Bloomberg:



"Europe is accelerating withdrawals from natural gas inventories as traders delay imports of Russian fuel poised to fall with oil.



The amount of gas taken from storage sites in the 28-nation European Union rose 44 percent from a year earlier since the heating season started Oct. 1, Gas Infrastructure Europe data showed. Russian flows to most of Europe and Turkey slid 29 percent last month from a year earlier after falling by a quarter in November, according to OAO Gazprom in Moscow.



Russian gas supplies, usually tied to oil prices with a six- to nine-month lag, will be cheaper in the summer as crude’s 58 percent decline since June filters into long-term contracts. The collapse in oil is a “huge incentive” for traders to buy as little Russian gas as possible now in favor of future deliveries, Citigroup Inc. said in a Jan. 20 report."



'via Blog this'

Russia Credit Rating Cut to Junk by S&P First Time in Decade - Bloomberg

Russia Credit Rating Cut to Junk by S&P First Time in Decade - Bloomberg:



"Russia’s foreign-currency credit rating was cut to junk by Standard & Poor’s, putting it below investment grade for the first time in a decade.



S&P, which last downgraded Russia in April, cut the sovereign one step to BB+, according to a statement released on Monday. The grade, which is on par with Bulgaria and Indonesia, has a negative outlook. Russia’s local currency ratings were reduced to BBB-, the lowest investment grade.



The world’s biggest energy exporter is on the brink of a recession after oil prices fell to the lowest since 2009 and the U.S. and its allies imposed sanctions over President Vladimir Putin’s actions in Ukraine. The penalties have locked Russian corporate borrowers out of international debt markets and curbed investor appetite for the ruble, stocks and bonds."



'via Blog this'

Saudi CMA Says Stock Market Will Open to Foreigners as Planned - Bloomberg

Saudi CMA Says Stock Market Will Open to Foreigners as Planned - Bloomberg:



"Saudi Arabia said it’s on track to open the Arab world’s biggest stock market to foreigners in the first half of the year, confirming no change of policy since a new monarch ascended to the throne following King Abdullah’s death.



The Capital Markets Authority has issued draft laws and is assessing investor feedback before it approves the regulations and sets an official date for the lessening of restrictions on the $484 trillion exchange, governor Mohammed Al-Sheikh said at a conference in Riyadh today. King Salman pledged on Friday to maintain the oil-rich nation’s current policies and asserted all ministers will stay in their posts.



Abdullah, who on Jan. 23 passed away aged about 90, helped drive a 27 percent stock rally in the past four years with a $130 billion spending plan. The market regulator’s comments today underscore the kingdom’s commitment to its economic plans as it seeks to boost non-oil industries amid plunging crude prices. The Tadawul All Share Index rose 0.7 percent in its first day of trading following the late king’s death, the largest increase among Persian Gulf stock markets."



'via Blog this'

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi Arabia rises after smooth royal succession | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi Arabia rises after smooth royal succession | Reuters:



"Saudi Arabia's stock market rose on Monday as it traded for the first time since King Salman succeeded his brother Abdullah, who died on Friday. Other bourses in the region were neutral or negative.



After swiftly assuming power, King Salman pledged continuity in energy and foreign policies and appointed younger men as his heirs, appearing to settle the succession issue for years to come.



Investors reacted positively to the smooth succession and the kingdom's main index added 0.7 percent as most stocks closed higher."



'via Blog this'

Mobily Value Tumbles $1.83 Billion as Investors Seek Clarity - Bloomberg

Mobily Value Tumbles $1.83 Billion as Investors Seek Clarity - Bloomberg:



"Etihad Etisalat Co. (EEC) shares plunged for a second day after the Saudi phone operator posted its first loss since 2005, erasing $1.83 billion of its market value. 




The shares of the company known as Mobily declined by the daily limit for a second day, slumping 9.8 percent to 38.50 riyals at the close. The market value has slid to 29.7 billion riyals ($7.9 billion) from 36.5 billion riyals on Jan. 21, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The shares have dropped 57 percent in the past 12 months, compared with a 2.9 percent retreat for the country’s benchmark stock index.



Mobily, which suspended Chief Executive Officer Khalid Omar Al Kaf after accounting errors in November, reported a 2.28 billion-riyal loss for in the fourth quarter after a profit a year earlier. The company cited a drop in non-recurring revenue and an increase in operating expenses as reasons for loss."



'via Blog this'

Iran Stock ETF Aims to Lure Foreigners Amid Nuclear Talks - Bloomberg

Iran Stock ETF Aims to Lure Foreigners Amid Nuclear Talks - Bloomberg:



"Iran will get its first index exchange-traded fund tomorrow with the instrument’s creator betting on growing foreign demand for the nation’s stocks as it nears a deal to end sanctions over its nuclear program.



Turquoise Partners Group secured regulatory approvals for the Turquoise TSE 30 Iran Index ETF, which will mirror the TSE 30 Index of the biggest stocks by market value on the Iranian bourse, the company said yesterday by e-mail. Fundraising will start on Jan. 27 and the ETF will be listed on Iran’s main equities market, according to the e-mail.



While foreigners can invest in Iranian stocks, international sanctions hinder the process of transferring money and deter institutional funds, according to Charles Robertson, the London-based chief economist at Renaissance Capital Ltd. Iran reached an interim deal in late 2013 with global powers, yet in November negotiations were extended to July after both sides failed to come to a comprehensive agreement."



'via Blog this'

Abu Dhabi bourse CEO says most London-listed local firms agree dual-listing | Reuters

Abu Dhabi bourse CEO says most London-listed local firms agree dual-listing | Reuters:



"The chief executive of the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange said on Monday that most local companies which have floated on the London Stock Exchange in recent years have agreed to dual-list in the emirate.



Rashed al-Baloushi made the comments when speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a regulatory conference. He didn't elaborate on how many companies had agreed to dual list.



Three Abu Dhabi firms have listed in London since 2013: Al Noor Hospitals, Gulf Marine Services and NMC Health. "



'via Blog this'

The economic outlook from Davos - YouTube

The economic outlook from Davos - YouTube: ""



'via Blog this'

What now for the House of Saud? - YouTube

What now for the House of Saud? - YouTube: ""



'via Blog this'

Moderate oil prices hold the key to Saudi Arabia’s future prosperity | The National

Moderate oil prices hold the key to Saudi Arabia’s future prosperity | The National:



"The tenure of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia comprised an oil boom bracketed by slumps.



King Abdullah, whose death was announced on Friday morning, took effective power in 1995, when King Fahd was incapacitated by a stroke, although his official rule did not start until 2005. Oil prices had already been low for a decade, as Saudi Arabia had tired of defending unsustainable price levels single-handedly and decided to protect its market share.



In 1998, in the face of the Asian economic crisis, the price slumped further, briefly touching US$10 per barrel. Government debt reached $130 billion in 1999, or 120 per cent of the country’s GDP."



'via Blog this'

Dubai Islamic Bank confident on loans portfolio thanks to record profit | The National

Dubai Islamic Bank confident on loans portfolio thanks to record profit | The National:



"Dubai Islamic Bank expects its loans portfolio to grow at above average levels in 2015 after its profit rose to a record last year as financing rates fell and deposits boomed.



The lender’s ambitious target of 15 to 20 per cent growth in loans this year, more than double the average nationwide figure in recent years, comes even as economists lower 2015 forecasts for UAE economic growth amid the steepest plunge in oil prices in six years.



“Economists looked at 2014 to be a very challenging year for the right reasons and if you look the other players in the industry have hardly grown above a single digit but we’ve grown high double digits,” Adnan Chilwan, the bank’s chief executive, said at a media conference at the bank’s headquarters in Dubai yesterday."



'via Blog this'

GCC should continue to diversify from hydrocarbons-Lord Mayor of City of London | GulfNews.com

GCC should continue to diversify from hydrocarbons-Lord Mayor of City of London | GulfNews.com:



"GCC economies should continue diversifying from hydrocarbons in the backdrop of volatile crude oil prices, and the City of London can offer all sort of instruments to finance infrastructure projects in case of any short fall, Alderman Alan Yarrow, the Lord Mayor of City of London, told Gulf News on Sunday.



Crude oil prices have fallen almost 50 per cent from its of high of more than $100 per barrel last year, prompting many countries like Saudi Arabia and Oman to budget a deficit for 2015.



“I plan to discuss oil price, budgets (during my visit). We can’t have something come down from $105 to $48 without having implications on budgets. A short term fall in price in itself is not a problem. It is how long it would stay there,” Yarrow told Gulf News."



'via Blog this'

Ruble Sinks Most in 2 Weeks as Stocks Slide on Ukraine Fighting - Bloomberg

Ruble Sinks Most in 2 Weeks as Stocks Slide on Ukraine Fighting - Bloomberg:



"The ruble tumbled the most in two weeks and stocks slid for the first time in four days on concern escalating bloodshed in Ukraine will lead to tougher sanctions against Russia.



The ruble headed for its weakest close in more than a month, sliding 2.3 percent to 65.7265 by 11:28 a.m. in Moscow as oil dropped and fighting spread along a front line in eastern Ukraine between pro-Russian rebels and government troops. Bonds retreated, snapping three days of gains.



Slumping oil prices and penalties over Russia’s role in the Ukraine conflict, where the death toll has climbed to more than 5,000, have pummeled the ruble and left the economy of the world’s biggest energy exporter teetering on the brink of a recession. The U.S. will “ratchet up pressure” on Russia after a rocket attack on the port city of Mariupol on Saturday, U.S. President Barack Obama said at a news conference in New Delhi on Jan 25."



'via Blog this'

Oil Slides to Near 6-Year Low; Saudi Arabia Holds Firm Despite Supply Glut - Bloomberg

Oil Slides to Near 6-Year Low; Saudi Arabia Holds Firm Despite Supply Glut - Bloomberg:



"Oil fell to the lowest level in almost six years as signs that Saudi Arabia’s new king will maintain its production policy and rising U.S. crude stockpiles bolstered speculation that a global glut will persist.



Futures dropped as much as 2.7 percent in New York, extending a 6.4 percent slide last week. King Salman Bin Abdulaziz, who took over after the death of King Abdullah on Jan. 23, pledged to maintain the policies of his predecessor in a speech on Saudi national television. U.S. inventories climbed to 383.5 million barrels last month, the highest level for December since 1930, the American Petroleum Institute reported.



Oil slumped almost 50 percent last year as the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries resisted calls to cut output even as the U.S. pumped at the fastest pace in more than three decades. Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest exporter, has chosen not to reduce supply and count instead on lower prices to stimulate demand, according to Mohammad Al Sabban, an adviser to the kingdom’s petroleum minister from 1988 to 2013."



'via Blog this'

U.A.E. Plans to Keep Investing in Energy Amid Volatile Oil Price - Bloomberg

U.A.E. Plans to Keep Investing in Energy Amid Volatile Oil Price - Bloomberg:



"The United Arab Emirates will continue building and upgrading its oil facilities to maintain its role as a major producer amid the decline and volatility in prices, Energy Minister Suhail Al Mazrouei said.



“Many are saying because of what’s happening around us in terms of the commodity prices, companies should rethink what they invest in their infrastructure. I disagree with that,” Al Mazrouei said today in a speech at a conference in Abu Dhabi, the U.A.E.’s capital and largest emirate. “I think the investment in the infrastructure and the upgrade of infrastructure has to continue.”


The U.A.E. pumped 2.7 million barrels a day of oil in December, making it the fifth-biggest supplier in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The Persian Gulf nation can produce 3 million barrels a day, the data show, and it plans to boost capacity to 3.5 million barrels a day in 2017. Brent crude has dropped 55 percent in the last 12 months and was trading at $48.13 a barrel at 7:25 a.m. in London."



'via Blog this'

For Saudis, Falling Demand for Oil Is the Biggest Concern - Bloomberg

For Saudis, Falling Demand for Oil Is the Biggest Concern - Bloomberg:



"As the world’s oil producers wring their hands over a global glut that’s pushing down prices, evidence is mounting that Saudi Arabia is more concerned about shrinking demand.



The world’s largest exporter has chosen not to cut production, counting instead on lower prices to stimulate consumption, said Mohammad Al Sabban, an adviser to Saudi Arabia’s petroleum minister from 1988 to 2013. The Saudis are keeping an eye on investments in fuel efficiency and renewable energy, according to Francisco Blanch, Bank of America Corp.’s head of global commodity research. 




“Nobody should imagine the world will continue to demand oil as long as you have it in your fields,” Al Sabban said in an interview. “We need to prepare ourselves for that stage.”"



'via Blog this'

Sunday, 25 January 2015

MIDEAST STOCKS-Abu Dhabi, Qatar rise; property stocks weigh on Dubai | News by Country | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Abu Dhabi, Qatar rise; property stocks weigh on Dubai | News by Country | Reuters:



"Stock markets in the United Arab Emirates and Qatar were mixed in low-volume trade on Sunday as most countries in the Middle East closed their bourses following the death of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah.



His successor King Salman pledged continuity in energy and foreign policies and moved quickly to appoint younger men as his heirs. He appeared to settle the succession issue for years to come by naming a deputy crown prince from his dynasty's next generation.



Qatar's index rose 1.3 percent. Qatar National Bank was the main support, surging 3.9 percent."



'via Blog this'

UPDATE 1-MIDEAST STOCKS-UAE, Qatar edge up after ECB easing | Reuters

UPDATE 1-MIDEAST STOCKS-UAE, Qatar edge up after ECB easing | Reuters:



"Stock markets in the United Arab Emirates and Qatar edged up in early trade on Sunday after a new ruler assumed power smoothly in Saudi Arabia and the European Central Bank launched a bond-buying programme which boosted equities globally.



MSCI's emerging market index added 0.8 percent on Friday following the ECB announcement; Gulf stocks included in the benchmark were the main supports for their country indexes on Sunday.



Dubai's bourse rose 0.4 percent and shares in builder Arabtec Holding added 1.7 percent after the firm said it had won two contracts in Abu Dhabi worth 560 million dirhams ($152.5 million) combined."



'via Blog this'

Russia’s battered economy: Hardly tottering by | The Economist

Russia’s battered economy: Hardly tottering by | The Economist:



"JUDGING by the lack of economic news in Russia’s media, a crisis has arrived. Just as in Soviet days, state television does not report facts, it conceals them. The official picture is dominated by the war in Ukraine (fuelled by America), Ukraine’s economic collapse (ignored by America) and Russia’s achievements in sport, ballet and other spheres (envied by America). But whereas television does not mention the economy, ordinary Russians have been busily changing roubles into dollars, buying anything that has not gone up in price and making contingency plans.



In the first two weeks of the year, when Russia was on holiday, the rouble fell by 17.5% against the dollar. Inflation is up into double figures. The price of oil, Russia’s main export, has slid below $50 a barrel, prompting economists to revise their forecasts down. GDP is now expected to contract by between 3% and 5% this year. Russia’s credit rating is moving inexorably towards junk.



The government’s Zen-like calm betrays a lack of strategy. Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, is shown on television receiving positive reports from regional governors. Yet the fall in oil prices to below $50 a barrel will cost the state budget, which was calculated on the basis of $100 a barrel, 3 trillion roubles ($45 billion), or 20% of planned revenues, according to Anton Siluanov, the finance minister. He was already planning to lop 10% off the budget, but may now have to cut further. Even if pensions and salaries are raised by 5%, double-digit inflation means that real incomes will decline for the first time since Mr Putin came to power in 2000."



'via Blog this'

Falling oil price could mean lower fares, says Emirates Airline chief executive | The National

Falling oil price could mean lower fares, says Emirates Airline chief executive | The National:



"Emirates Airline is reviewing its fare structure as a result of the fall in global energy prices, which could eventually mean lower fares for passengers.



Sir Tim Clark, the airline president, made the disclosure at the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos.



“The oil price fall has given us the opportunity to review our whole pricing structure,” he said. “We’ve been trying to get a better handle on what’s good for us and good for the passengers."



'via Blog this'

Profit at Dubai developer Deyaar falls 43% to Dh38.7m in the fourth quarter | The National

Profit at Dubai developer Deyaar falls 43% to Dh38.7m in the fourth quarter | The National:



"Dubai’s Deyaar Development fourth-quarter profit fell 43 per cent, Reuters calculated based on major shareholder Dubai Islamic Bank’s financial statement that was published on Sunday.



Deyaar, one of the companies worst hit by Dubai’s property market collapse in 2009-2011, made a quarterly profit of Dh38.7 million in the three months to December 31, according to Reuters calculations.



This compares with a profit of Dh67.4m in the corresponding period of 2013, Reuters data shows."



'via Blog this'

Cancelled Dubai property projects list now features more than 150 developments | The National

Cancelled Dubai property projects list now features more than 150 developments | The National:



"A new list of cancelled property projects in Dubai has been published on the Dubai Courts website.



The cancellation list now extends to more than 150 projects, of which the Cancelled Real Estate Projects Committee is currently hearing 17.



The list includes a number of high profile projects, such as the Rotating Residence in Jumeirah Village."



'via Blog this'

Results point to a challenging year ahead for Saudi banks | GulfNews.com

Results point to a challenging year ahead for Saudi banks | GulfNews.com:



"Preliminary results of Saudi banks showed that the profits of the listed banks grew by about 10 per cent to hit 40.2 billion riyals ($10.7 billion) by the end of 2014, compared to 36.6 billion riyals in 2013.



While the fourth quarter numbers were mixed in terms of loan growth, interest and non-interest income, the overall trend points to further pressure on both interest and non-interest income as decline in oil prices likely to adversely impact loan growth and recent banking sector regulations to hurt fee and commission incomes.



Analysts say the year ahead in terms of operating income growth will be challenging for Saudi banks."



'via Blog this'

Sukuk issuances likely to face slowdown in 2015 | GulfNews.com

Sukuk issuances likely to face slowdown in 2015 | GulfNews.com:



"The global sukuk market is expected to face some slowdown in 2015 after reaching the second-highest year for sukuk issuance in 201, according to projections by credit rating agency Standard & Poor’s.



Sukuk issuance reached $116.4 billion in 2014 compared with $111.3 billion in2013, and despite the economic headwinds, the rating agency said it expects the total issuance to cross the $100 billion mark again in 2015.



“Supporting sukuk issuance is the still-positive economic performance of core markets such as nations in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and Malaysia, the implementation of new regulatory requirements such as the Basel III liquidity coverage ratio, and increasing interest in sukuk from countries that have not yet tapped the sukuk market looking to diversify their investor base,” said Mohamed Damak, global head for Islamic finance of S&P."



'via Blog this'

Azeri Oil Fund to Invest $500 Million in Yuan, Keep Ruble Assets - Bloomberg

Azeri Oil Fund to Invest $500 Million in Yuan, Keep Ruble Assets - Bloomberg:



"Azerbaijan’s State Oil Fund, known as Sofaz, will invest $500 million in yuan assets this year and continue to pursue real estate across Asian markets to diversify its portfolio, the fund’s executive director said.



“At the end of last year, we approved a quota to invest in the renminbi,” Shahmar Movsumov said in an interview in Davos, Switzerland, referring to the Chinese currency also known as the yuan. “We’re completing all the necessary paperwork and this year will start investing the whole amount” of $500 million.



Sofaz, established in 1999 to manage the Caspian Sea nation’s income from energy sales, started investing in gold, Australian dollars, Russian rubles and real estate in 2012, buying prime office and trade centers in London, Paris, Moscow and Seoul. The fund’s $37.3 billion of assets on Oct. 1 equaled about half of the nation’s economy."



'via Blog this'

Saturday, 24 January 2015

Why Abu Dhabi faces a balancing act in the property market - FT.com

Why Abu Dhabi faces a balancing act in the property market - FT.com:



"The view from the 74th floor of Etihad Towers, a local landmark in Abu Dhabi, reveals that for every completed apartment scheme there is a construction site in full swing.



And no wonder: the city’s population is expected to grow from about 1.3m today to 3m then 5m over the next 15 years. The figures come from “Vision 2030”, a scheme set up by the urban planning council of Abu Dhabi, capital of the United Arab Emirates.



With a large majority of its population being expats from the Middle East, Africa and western Europe, this is not a straightforward property market."



'via Blog this'

Davos fails to tackle inequality - YouTube

Davos fails to tackle inequality - YouTube: ""



'via Blog this'

Davos — the outlook for Russia - YouTube

Davos — the outlook for Russia - YouTube: ""



'via Blog this'

Oil plunge may delay new IPOs in UAE | GulfNews.com

Oil plunge may delay new IPOs in UAE | GulfNews.com:



"Plunging crude oil prices may delay the initial public offerings (IPOs) in the GCC as valuations remains compressed, market participants said.



Last year, about 6 companies got listed on the local exchange after a hiatus of 5 years in which investors poured billion of dollars looking at the underlying strength of the UAE economy. In the wider Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region, companies raised $11.5 billion in 2014 through 27 IPOs, almost four times more than the $3 billion raised in 2013 through 25 IPOs.



However, investor sentiment has taken a hit due to falling oil prices, which may trigger a delay in primary market issuances."



'via Blog this'

GCC surpluses capable of withstanding oil slump | GulfNews.com

GCC surpluses capable of withstanding oil slump | GulfNews.com:



"The sharp fall in oil prices during the last quarter and the volatility on the regional financial markets have triggered the fear of another regional economic slump.



From public policy forums to private chats, people are discussing the future of Gulf economies in the context of falling oil prices. Clearly decline in oil prices has cast doubts on the GCC governments’ ability to sustain the planned level of spending in 2015.



While few expect massive spending cuts in the short term, many analysts and policy experts say a sustained fall in oil prices over a very long period of time could force some fiscal adjustments in the region; the impact on the planned government spending will be minimal over the next two years."



'via Blog this'

Prince Alwaleed: We'll Never See Oil at $100-Plus Again: Video - Bloomberg

Prince Alwaleed: We'll Never See Oil at $100-Plus Again: Video - Bloomberg: ""



'via Blog this'

Oil Falls to Lowest Since ’09 as Saudis Signal Continuity - Bloomberg

Oil Falls to Lowest Since ’09 as Saudis Signal Continuity - Bloomberg:



"Oil fell to the lowest in almost six years on speculation the death of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia won’t signal any change in strategy for the world’s largest crude exporter.



U.S. benchmark oil futures slid 1.6 percent, reversing an initial gain of as much as 3.1 percent. Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, who succeeds Abdullah on the throne, said he would maintain his predecessor’s policies. The kingdom will not cut production to boost prices because other producers would fill in the gap, Saudi Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Al Saud said. U.S. crude inventories rose the most since 2001 last week, according to a government report on Thursday.



“There already has been a pretty well established succession plan so it’s not a big deal,” said Kyle Cooper, director of commodities research at IAF Advisors in Houston. “Supply has been very stout and demand’s not been what people had expected. It highlights the bearish sentiment in the market.”"



'via Blog this'

New Saudi King Seen Allowing Foreigners Into Stocks as Promised - Bloomberg

New Saudi King Seen Allowing Foreigners Into Stocks as Promised - Bloomberg:



"The new Saudi Arabian king’s pledge to maintain the oil-rich nation’s policies is giving money managers confidence that plans to open up the region’s biggest stock market to foreigners won’t be derailed by the royal transition.



Former monarch Abdullah -- who died yesterday at the age of 90 -- helped drive a 26 percent stock rally in the past four years with a $130 billion spending plan to boost non-oil industries. King Salman, his 79-year-old successor, said he will continue the strategy, while a royal decree signaled continuity in oil policy by affirming the minister won’t be replaced as part of the transition.



“King Salman is viewed as being pro-business and part of the reformist camp, which supports our expectation for no material change in policy,” Salah Shamma, co-head of equity asset management at Franklin Templeton Investments Middle East in Dubai, said by e-mail. Plans will be maintained, “most notably job creation and the long-term investment program, and policies to promote growth. We do not expect a change to plans to open up the market,” he said."



'via Blog this'

Friday, 23 January 2015

Ruble Colluding With Oil Brews Russian Toxic Loan Morass - Bloomberg

Ruble Colluding With Oil Brews Russian Toxic Loan Morass - Bloomberg:



"An increasingly toxic mixture of high interest rates, spiraling inflation and plunging oil means Russian banks will probably need a lot more than the $18 billion set aside last year to protect against bad loans.



Russia is facing an “extremely widespread” banking crisis in 2015, and lenders may need to boost provisions for souring debts to $50 billion should oil stay in the mid-$40s, according to Herman Gref, the head of the nation’s biggest lender, OAO Sberbank. That’s after banks increased reserves by 42 percent last year, compared with 27 percent in Turkey and 7.5 percent in Poland in the first 11 months, official figures show.



Seven of Russia’s 10 worst-performing bonds this year are from banks as policy makers raised rates by the most since 1998 to shore up the ruble, whose 47 percent slide over the past 12 months deepened the burden of loan payments for consumers and businesses. With the economy foundering after crude’s decline and sanctions over Ukraine, the ratio of bad debt will double from the third quarter of 2014 to as much as 13 percent by year-end, according to Liza Ermolenko at Capital Economics in London."



'via Blog this'

Putin Said to Shrink Inner Circle as Hawks Beat Billionaires - Bloomberg

Putin Said to Shrink Inner Circle as Hawks Beat Billionaires - Bloomberg:



"Vladimir Putin isn’t just angering leaders from Berlin to Washington. He’s irking some of his richest friends, too, by snubbing their pleas to end the conflict in Ukraine and ostracizing all but a handful of hardliners.



The ruble’s plunge has heightened opposition to Putin’s backing of the rebellion in Ukraine among his wealthiest allies, prompting the president to shrink his inner circle from dozens of confidants to a small group of security officials united by their support for the separatists, two longtime associates said.



Putin is increasingly suspicious of men who owe their wealth to their ties to him and who are being hurt the most by U.S. and European sanctions, according to the people, who spoke on condition of anonymity to avoid reprisal. The 21 most affluent people in the country lost a total of $61 billion last year, a quarter of their combined fortune, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index."



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Oil Prices Probably Won't Keep Gains Made After Death of Saudi King - Bloomberg

Oil Prices Probably Won't Keep Gains Made After Death of Saudi King - Bloomberg:



"The increase in oil prices after the death of Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah will probably be temporary amid an oversupply in the crude market.



Brent, the global oil benchmark, climbed as much as 2.6 percent and U.S. marker WTI jumped 3.1 percent after the king’s death was announced by Saudi royal court. Crown Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz, Abdullah’s half-brother who will succeed him, is seen sticking to the oil policy of the world’s biggest crude exporter.



Saudi Arabia, OPEC’s biggest producer, has led the group’s strategy of maintaining production quotas amid a 58 percent drop in crude since its peak in June. While smaller producers including Venezuela called for action to prop up prices, Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi highlighted the need to preserve market share as global demand slows and the U.S. pumps the most since 1983."



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Saudi Arabia’s New King Probably Will Not Change Current Oil Policy - Bloomberg

Saudi Arabia’s New King Probably Will Not Change Current Oil Policy - Bloomberg:



"King Salman, Saudi Arabia’s new ruler, will probably stick to the oil policy of his predecessor, the late King Abdullah, maintaining production levels to preserve market share even at the cost of depressing prices.



A key indicator will be whether Salman, 79, retains the oil minister, Ali al-Naimi, who has driven decision-making since 1995. Al-Naimi, who turns 80 this year, has said he’d like to devote more time to his other job, chairman of the science and technology university named after the late sovereign.



With production of 9.5 million barrels a day and exports of 7 million, Saudi Arabia accounts for more than a 10th of global supply and a fifth of crude sold internationally. The kingdom’s refusal to surrender market share to rising U.S. output has contributed to the worst slump in prices since the global credit crisis of 2008."



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Thursday, 22 January 2015

Poland Seeks to Free Region From Gazprom Yoke With Gas Pipelines - Bloomberg

Poland Seeks to Free Region From Gazprom Yoke With Gas Pipelines - Bloomberg:



"Poland seeks to help eastern Europe cut its reliance on natural gas from Russia’s OAO Gazprom by allowing its neighbors to use its pipelines and a sea terminal to access alternative supplies.



Poland for the first time got more gas from western Europe than from Gazprom for two days this month, proving that it can already diversify its own supplies, Jan Chadam, chief executive officer of state-owned Gaz-System SA, said Monday in an interview. New infrastructure by 2018 will allow the Warsaw-based pipeline operator to transport gas to a region that uses almost a quarter of the European Union’s total, he said.



Europe is seeking to diversify gas supplies away from Russia after they became more expensive than traded gas in western Europe. Flows from the east were threatened for a third winter since 2006 because of the conflict in Ukraine, which transports about 40 percent of Gazprom’s exports to Europe. While Poland’s coal reserves make it one of Europe’s smallest gas users, it is the only country to border both Ukraine and Germany, two of the region’s biggest consumers."



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Russian Stocks Jump Most in World as ECB Drives Risk Appetite - Bloomberg

Russian Stocks Jump Most in World as ECB Drives Risk Appetite - Bloomberg:



"Russian stocks rallied the most in the world and the ruble strengthened as the European Central Bank’s plan to expand stimulus emboldened investors to take on more risk.



The dollar-based RTS Index rose 4.5 percent, while the Micex Index (INDEXCF) extended the world’s biggest gain this year. Investors who avoided Russian assets in 2014 because of the ruble’s slide are returning as oil shows signs of stabilizing near $50 a barrel and price swings in the ruble subside. The currency climbed the most since Jan. 8 and bonds rose, sending yields to a five-week low.



The ECB’s plan to boost stimulus to 60 billion euros ($69 billion) a month is leading to a hunt for bigger returns, raising the appeal of Russia, where corporate earnings as a proportion of stock prices are about 40 percent more than emerging markets as a whole. Investors are demanding higher returns for taking on the risk that the world’s largest energy exporter will lose its investment-grade credit rating amid an oil-price slump and sanctions over the Ukraine conflict."



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Solar Power Wins Over Egypt to U.A.E. as Oil No Deterrent - Bloomberg

Solar Power Wins Over Egypt to U.A.E. as Oil No Deterrent - Bloomberg:



"Solar power is winning over Egypt to the United Arab Emirates even as lower oil costs are hurting the renewable energy industry.



Egypt this week announced plans for 4,300 megawatts of solar and wind power over the next three years, while Dubai’s government-owned utility awarded a $330 million contract to build a 200-megawatt solar plant to a group led by Saudi Arabia’s ACWA Power International. Jordan extended bids for four solar plants until Feb. 20 and Nigeria said it expects 20 percent of its 2020 power capacity will come from renewables.



The WilderHill New Energy Global Innovation Index of 105 clean-energy companies has dropped almost 20 percent since July 3 as Brent crude futures tumbled 55 percent. By comparison, solar panels are selling for about 70 cents a watt, down from more than $2 in 2010."



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Saudi’s Aramco Plans Natural Gas Production Near Jordan - Bloomberg

Saudi’s Aramco Plans Natural Gas Production Near Jordan - Bloomberg:



"Saudi Arabian Oil Co. plans to start natural gas production at a field near Jordan next year as the world’s biggest crude exporter is “investing big in gas,” Chief Executive Officer Khalid Al-Falih said.



“Results are extremely encouraging” at the field in northern Saudi Arabia, Al-Falih said at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, yesterday. The state-owned producer, known as Aramco, is exploring for gas and boosting refining capacity to free more crude for export, he said.



Middle Eastern oil producers are expanding gas exploration to meet demand for fuel in power plants and feedstock to make chemicals. Oil has dropped 55 percent in the past year as the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries led by Saudi Arabia resisted production cuts and growth in U.S. shale oil output surged to a three-decade high."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf mixed on Q4 results, oil; Egypt extends gains

MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf mixed on Q4 results, oil; Egypt extends gains:



"Gulf stock markets were mixed on Thursday, coming under pressure from some negative earnings reports but supported by stronger oil, while Egypt established a clear break of major technical resistance.



Brent crude oil gained more than 2 percent and rose above $50 per barrel on Thursday. Global equities were also strong as the European Central Bank prepared to announce a new quantitative easing program.



Saudi Arabia's index edged up 0.3 percent as petrochemicals giant Saudi Basic Industries gained 1.5 percent and a number of other stocks in the sector also rose."



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Oil price impact on business - YouTube

Oil price impact on business - YouTube: ""



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Comment: Nakheel nurses itself back to health | The National

Comment: Nakheel nurses itself back to health | The National:



"The name Nakheel still prompts a raised eyebrow from many investors in Dubai who watched the company’s dramatic fall from grace during the Dubai World crisis in 2009.



Back during the boom, the company formed one of a triumvirate of semi-state owned Dubai master developers along with Emaar and Dubai Properties Group, intent on building the city’s biggest mega-schemes.



Nakheel has been the author of some of Dubai’s most ambitious schemes. Not just the Palm Jumeirah, but two more palm tree-shaped islands at Jebel Ali and Deira. Not just the vast exotic themed Ibn Battuta shopping mall or Chinese themed Dragon Mart, but The World, a vast collection of islands shaped like a map."



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