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Saturday, 28 February 2015

Holding out hope for progress but no swift return to $100 oil | GulfNews.com

Holding out hope for progress but no swift return to $100 oil | GulfNews.com:



"It is something over forty years since US president Nixon announced that we were “all Keynesians now”. The unfortunate experience of the 1970s went on to prove the point, as governments tried in vain to offset the effects on the rest of the world of the twin, Opec-induced oil shocks of 1973/4 and 1978/9, producing the stagflationary conditions of unemployment and inflation together. Many deleterious effects have followed since that time, as today much of the West struggles again, now almost hopelessly, with deficits and compounded debt.



That’s history for you, and somehow it never goes away, as the Mayor of London Boris Johnson revelled in sharing with attendees at the Telegraph’s Middle East Congress last week in his stint marketing the event’s host city.



Warming to the theme of the benefits of openness towards talent and ideas, he treated the audience to the tale of how the same attitude ensured the longevity of Athens since its ancient rivalry with Sparta, the former striding forward with democracy and a formidable cultural legacy, the latter virtually disappearing without trace. Some listeners might also have reflected momentarily on a certain, current state of indebtedness, but that’s another story."



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Libya – proxy war for the Middle East? - YouTube

Libya – proxy war for the Middle East? - YouTube: ""



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Indian economic growth in 90 seconds - YouTube

Indian economic growth in 90 seconds - YouTube: ""



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Saudis’ Oil Price War Is Paying Off - Bloomberg Business

Saudis’ Oil Price War Is Paying Off - Bloomberg Business:



"Three months after Saudi Arabia made clear it was going to let oil prices keep tumbling, the strategy is showing signs of working.



U.S. drillers are idling rigs at a record pace, gutting investment plans and laying off thousands of workers.



Those steps highlight how the Saudi-led OPEC decision on Nov. 27 to maintain output levels and protect its market share is having the desired effect -- pushing prices down so far that they threaten to curb output in the U.S. and other non-OPEC countries. Saudi Arabia, the most powerful member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, will maintain that tack when the group next meets in June, according to some of the world’s biggest banks."



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Friday, 27 February 2015

#UAE’s deal with #Ukraine includes no weapons supplies – UAE Foreign Ministry — RT News

Dubai’s deal with Kiev includes no weapons supplies – UAE Foreign Ministry — RT News:



"The United Arab Emirates is not selling military equipment to Ukraine, despite earlier statements by Kiev officials, the UAE Foreign Ministry said.



“An agreement on cooperation in defense technologies the UAE and Ukraine signed recently does not stipulate any contracts for deliveries of weaponry to the Ukrainian side,” said Faraj Faris al-Mazrouei, adviser to UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan.



The deal was only one element in a future system of cooperation between the two countries in the field of defense technologies, RIA Novosti reported al-Mazrouei as saying, citing the Emarat Al-Yawm news portal."



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​US won’t overtake Saudi Arabia as biggest oil exporter – head of IEA — RT Business

​US won’t overtake Saudi Arabia as biggest oil exporter – head of IEA — RT Business:



"Despite being the biggest crude oil producer, the United States won’t be able to export more than the current world leader Saudi Arabia, says the new head of the International Energy Agency (IEA) Fatih Birol.



“The United States will never be a major oil exporter. Their import needs are getting less but the US is not becoming Saudi Arabia,” Birol told The Telegraph’s Middle East Congress.



“Their production growth is good to diversify the market but it will not solve the world’s oil problems,” he added."



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Next big step for UAE markets to raise their profile | The National

Next big step for UAE markets to raise their profile | The National:



"The authorities are rightly proud of last year’s upgrade of the UAE to emerging market by MSCI. Now the country should set its sights on the next visionary milestone: to become a developed market. There are good reasons to think this is possible within the next decade.



The UAE is the de facto capital of the Arab world. It is the trading, travel, logistics and banking centre of a regional market that is home to 350 million people. It is a diplomatic and defence powerhouse. It is the place most Arabs want to live, and the top tourist destination. It can and should aspire to become the benchmark and market of choice.



So how would we get there?"



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Egypt turns to Europe for investment | The National

Egypt turns to Europe for investment | The National:



"Egypt will not rely on further aid from the Gulf unless its already shaky economy worsens, a senior minister told The National, as the country looks to court billions of dollars in foreign investment from Europe.



Since the removal in 2013 of the Muslim Brotherhood president Mohammed Morsi, the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait have given Egypt more than US$12 billion.



But Hany Kadry Dimian, Egypt’s minister of finance, said at the Middle East Congress in London yesterday that the country would not seek further aid as long as the economic recovery keeps on track. The National was a media partner for the event."



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London mayor Boris Johnson expects ‘spacecraft full of bullion’ from Arabian Gulf to land in his city | The National

London mayor Boris Johnson expects ‘spacecraft full of bullion’ from Arabian Gulf to land in his city | The National:



"Arabian Gulf investors are set to snap up more prime London real estate, according to its mayor Boris Johnson, who envisages “gigantic spacecraft full of bullion” continuing to land on his city despite painfully low oil prices.



Mr Johnson, who is known for his colourful turns of phrase, said investors from the region were considering further purchases in the area used for the 2012 Olympic Games.



Qatari Diar, the Gulf state’s investment arm, and a UK-based property firm already jointly own 1,400 flats at the Olympic Village – bought for a knockdown price of £557 million (Dh3.17 billion) in 2011, in a move that caused some controversy."



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Boeing, FedEx battle back vs U.S. airlines on Gulf competition | Reuters

Boeing, FedEx battle back vs U.S. airlines on Gulf competition | Reuters:



"A push by three U.S. airlines to curb competition from Gulf state carriers has triggered a sharp response from other powerful U.S. aviation companies including Boeing Co (BA.N) and FedEx Corp (FDX.N), potentially complicating the airlines’ campaign for Obama administration support.



Delta Air Lines Inc (DAL.N), United and American Airlines have asked the White House to look into the financial statements of competitors from Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, which they accuse of receiving more than $40 billion in government subsidies since 2004.



But calls for the United States to tamper with Open Skies agreements with the Gulf nations have angered other U.S. companies that benefit from the pacts. The agreements eliminate barriers that would block some FedEx operations and slow the expansion of carriers like Emirates that have showered Boeing with orders."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf markets slip, Egypt falls on Q4 results, politics | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf markets slip, Egypt falls on Q4 results, politics | Reuters:



"Most major Gulf stock markets slipped on Thursday despite stronger oil prices, as low trading volumes indicated retail investors remained cautious.



Brent crude surged 5 percent on Wednesday, after Saudi Arabia's oil minister said oil demand was growing and data showed Chinese factories were producing more than expected.



That was positive news for the Saudi stock market, but its main index inched down 0.1 percent as trading volume remained modest and shares of telecommunications operator Mobily remained suspended following another shock revision of its 2014 earnings on Wednesday."



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Shale oil transforms rural Texas - YouTube

Shale oil transforms rural Texas - YouTube: ""



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Standard Chartered – sands of time - YouTube

Standard Chartered – sands of time - YouTube: ""



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Thursday, 26 February 2015

UPDATE 1-MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf markets mixed in thin trade | Reuters

UPDATE 1-MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf markets mixed in thin trade | Reuters:



"Gulf stock markets were mixed in early trade on Thursday as oil prices supported Qatar and Etisalat's results boosted Abu Dhabi, but Dubai retreated.



Brent crude surged 5 percent on Wednesday, after Saudi Arabia's oil minister said oil demand was growing and data showed Chinese factories were producing more than expected. It pared early losses and held above $61 per barrel on Thursday. 




Abu Dhabi's index added 0.8 percent largely because of Etisalat, the United Arab Emirates' largest telecommunications firm, which jumped 3.9 percent after posting net profit of 2.1 billion dirhams ($572 million) for the fourth quarter, a 45 percent increase year-on-year."



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A FTSE landmark that matters - YouTube

A FTSE landmark that matters - YouTube: ""



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What could prevent the Fed from tightening? - YouTube

What could prevent the Fed from tightening? - YouTube: ""



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What could prevent the Fed from tightening? - YouTube

What could prevent the Fed from tightening? - YouTube: ""



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Petrofac downgrades profit forecast to $460m | The National

Petrofac downgrades profit forecast to $460m | The National:



"Petrofac expects a lower than forecast net profit of US$460 million this year owing to fall in prices, which pushed the London-listed oil and gas company to post a 10.6 per cent drop in net profit last year.



In November, the firm forecast net profit of about $500m this year based on an average oil price of $82 a barrel, but the fall of Brent oil to less than $60 per barrel since June has lowered its forecast for this year.



“While the operating environment remains uncertain with the industry adjusting to a lower oil price environment, we are well positioned and will maintain our bidding discipline and focus on our areas of core strength,” said Petrofac. “At this stage, clients in our core onshore markets in the Middle East and North Africa are continuing to commit to ongoing investment in large strategic projects.”"



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Telegraph’s Middle East conference sheds light on region | The National

Telegraph’s Middle East conference sheds light on region | The National:



"The political stability and economic strength of Gulf Cooperation Council states are fundamental to the Middle East’s future amid turbulence in much of the wider region, Saudi Arabia’s Prince Saud bin Khalid Al Faisal told a London conference on Wednesday.



Prince Saud said western perceptions of Gulf countries were often shaped by views of the region as a whole.



While his own country stood as a stabilising force, he acknowledged that events of the past 5-10 years had been “particularly challenging”."



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Saudi’s Tanmiyat to Spend $218 Million Finishing Dubai Projects - Bloomberg Business

Saudi’s Tanmiyat to Spend $218 Million Finishing Dubai Projects - Bloomberg Business:



"Tanmiyat, a Saudi property developer and investor, plans to spend 800 million dirhams ($218 million) this year completing Dubai projects that stalled after the city’s 2008 real estate collapse.



The developer, which began work in the Persian Gulf emirate in 2006, will spend 600 million dirhams finishing a 15 million square-foot project in the Dubailand area that includes 500 villas, 12 residential buildings as well as a mall, schools and a 9-hole golf course, Tanmiyat Chief Executive Officer Muhammad Bin Odah said in an interview on Monday.



“Even with all the hardship the market went through, we still believe in Dubai,” Bin Odah said. “Nowhere else in the Middle East can compete with this city and its ability to draw buyers from different nationalities who feel comfortable enough to make it home.”"



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THE BILLIONAIRE LIFE OF Warren Buffett - Finance Money Biography (Full BBC documentary) - YouTube

THE BILLIONAIRE LIFE OF Warren Buffett - Finance Money Biography (Full BBC documentary) - YouTube: ""



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Prospects for African sovereigns in 2015 - YouTube

Prospects for African sovereigns in 2015 - YouTube: ""



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Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Gulf’s low oil price fiscal crunch - YouTube

Gulf’s low oil price fiscal crunch - YouTube: ""



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UAE stock markets finding their feet in the ‘new normal’ | The National

UAE stock markets finding their feet in the ‘new normal’ | The National:



"There appears to be a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel for UAE markets. 




It’s too early to say the bear market ushered in by the fall in oil prices last autumn is at an end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning of a revaluation of equities in the emirates.



There are signs that financial professionals are coming to terms with the “new normal” in capital markets, as they are in oil markets, and starting to get on with life again."



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Etihad Etisalat removes chief executive as errors wipe $9bn off | The National

Etihad Etisalat removes chief executive as errors wipe $9bn off | The National:



"Etihad Etisalat, the Saudi Arabian phone company that’s lost about US$9 billion of its market value in the four months after the discovery of accounting errors, said its chief executive officer has been discharged.



Khalid Omar Al Kaf’s removal is effective February 24, the Riyadh-based phone operator known as Mobily said in a statement today. The company reserves its “rights to revert against him”, it said, without giving more information. The executive had submitted his resignation on February 21, the company said.



Mr Al Kaf had been suspended since November as the company’s audit committee investigated the errors, which prompted Saudi Arabia’s market regulator to start a probe to determine if Mobily violated rules. The telecoms company reported a fourth-quarter loss of 2.3 billion riyals (Dh2.25bn) after a profit of 2 billion riyals a year earlier."



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Tuesday, 24 February 2015

MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf markets hold breath ahead of U.S. Fed report | News by Country | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf markets hold breath ahead of U.S. Fed report | News by Country | Reuters:



"Most Gulf stock markets stood nearly still on Tuesday as oil prices seesawed and investors waited for the U.S. Federal Reserve to indicate when it plans to start raising interest rates.



Brent crude oil hovered around $59 per barrel during the day, swinging repeatedly between gains and losses and giving no clear direction to equities.



U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen will deliver the central bank's semi-annual Monetary Policy Report to the Senate Banking Committee on Tuesday and it remains unclear whether she will reaffirm June as a window for a first rate hike."



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Eurozone stability amid Greece uncertainty - YouTube

Eurozone stability amid Greece uncertainty - YouTube: ""



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HSBC still ahead of banking peers - YouTube

HSBC still ahead of banking peers - YouTube: ""



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GFH shares gain after return to profit | The National

GFH shares gain after return to profit | The National:



"Shares in GFH were the hottest stock traded in the UAE yesterday after the company announced its return to profit for last year.



GFH, which last year said it was transforming itself from an investment bank to a financial group, on Sunday reported an annual profit attributable to shareholders of US$11 million for 2014, compared with a loss of $18m for 2013. “We have taken steps in 2014 to recapitalise our balance sheet, strengthen our structure and emerge as a financial group,” said Ahmed Al Mutawa, GFH’s chairman.



“We embarked upon a new strategy to create a more stable financial position through increasing the capital and enhancing the balance sheet. [In the meantime] focusing on acquisitions to enhance the financial position of the group and our co-investors through steady streams of income and opportunities for strong upside potential at exit.”"



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GCC needs fiscal reforms to deal with oil volatility | GulfNews.com

GCC needs fiscal reforms to deal with oil volatility | GulfNews.com:



"Oil revenues are critical to Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) to sustain public expenditures and economic growth; however the impact of recent sharp decline in oil prices can be managed with diligent use of accumulated surpluses and innovative fiscal management, economists and policy experts said.



Speaking at a policy symposium on developments in the global oil markets and their effects on the region’s economies, policy experts and economists said the GCC countries are not new to volatility in the oil market and this time most of these economies are better equipped to deal with the impact of oil market glut and sharp decline in prices.



“Most of the GCC countries have accumulated large surpluses during the boom years and have invested in critical infrastructure. While these countries can use the surpluses to fill the revenue gap from oil price decline, most of these countries have very low debt to GDP ratios, giving them ample fiscal head room to leverage,” said V Shankar, Group Executive Director and CEO of Europe Middle East, Africa and America of Standard Chartered."



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U.K.’s Exotix Said to Close Fixed-Income Trading Desk in Dubai - Bloomberg Business

U.K.’s Exotix Said to Close Fixed-Income Trading Desk in Dubai - Bloomberg Business:



"Exotix Partners LLP, the London-based bank expanding in frontier markets, closed its fixed-income trading desk in Dubai, two people with knowledge of the matter said.



Traders from the desk, which specialized in illiquid bonds and loans in the Gulf Cooperation Council region, have already left the bank, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because the matter is private. Equity research and operations remain in Dubai, they said. Andrew Leach, a spokesman for Exotix in London, declined to comment.



The closure comes a month after Philip Southwell stepped down as chief executive officer of Exotix in London. The bank’s Middle East and North Africa head Ahmad Alanani left in May. Alanani set up the Dubai office in 2010 and led a team of seven traders focusing on special credit and equity situations."



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Energy: Oil pumps Oil change Are low oil prices here to stay? - BBC News

Energy - BBC News:



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Oil and gas industry in 'bleak' 2014, finds survey - BBC News

Oil and gas industry in 'bleak' 2014, finds survey - BBC News:



"The UK offshore oil and gas industry has reported its worst annual performance for four decades.



Industry body Oil & Gas UK said falling oil prices and rising costs meant the sector spent and invested £5.3bn more than it earned from sales during 2014.



That outflow of cash was the biggest since massive investment in platforms in the 1970s preceded the flow of oil."



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Monday, 23 February 2015

MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf markets consolidate as oil dips; telco deal boosts Egypt | News by Country | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf markets consolidate as oil dips; telco deal boosts Egypt | News by Country | Reuters:



"Gulf equity markets were mostly soft on Monday after oil prices pulled back again, while Egypt rose on a fresh sign of foreign investor interest as foreign telecommunications firm Orange raised its stake in a local operator.



Brent crude oil dropped below $59 a barrel by 1230 GMT on worries about oversupply in North America and a strong dollar.



Oil's sharp rebound earlier this year and fourth-quarter earnings reports were the main drivers behind equity market rallies across the Gulf. With both factors largely gone, volumes dropped and markets started trading sideways this week."



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UPDATE 2-MIDEAST STOCKS-Telecoms boost Egypt, drag down Saudi Arabia | Reuters

UPDATE 2-MIDEAST STOCKS-Telecoms boost Egypt, drag down Saudi Arabia | Reuters:



"Telecommunications stocks boosted Egypt's equity market on Monday after French operator Orange said it would increase its stake in local firm Mobinil, while two major phone operators in Saudi Arabia fell as the regulator cut the fees they can charge.



Egypt's benchmark stock index rose 1.9 percent as Orascom Telecom Media and Technology (OTMT) surged 5.8 percent, while telecommunications operator Mobinil, which is not part of the benchmark, jumped its daily 10 percent limit. 




French telecommunications firm Orange and OTMT said on Monday that OTMT would sell its 5 percent stake in Mobinil to Orange for about 209.6 million euros."



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Disunited kingdom: Living standards slip - YouTube

Disunited kingdom: Living standards slip - YouTube: ""



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Disunited kingdom: Resurgent Manchester - YouTube

Disunited kingdom: Resurgent Manchester - YouTube: ""



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Sunday, 22 February 2015

Gulf’s low oil price fiscal crunch - YouTube

Gulf’s low oil price fiscal crunch - YouTube: ""



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Iraq’s economy running on financial fumes | The National

Iraq’s economy running on financial fumes | The National:



"One of the few things that has kept Iraq together is money, but as the country struggles to maintain oil exports and fragile internal negotiations, it finds itself running out of that commodity.



Now, with the onslaught of ISIL, dwindling income and a widening deficit, Iraq is at risk of sinking into further turmoil. Will it stay together as the United States and its allies hope to see, or does the country have a breaking point?



This year’s budget, passed a few weeks ago, was based on exporting 3.3 million barrels of oil per day at a price of US$56 per barrel, and foresaw a $20 billion deficit. While the price of crude has risen back up to the $60 mark, Iraq only managed to export an average of 2.53 million bpd last month, creating a $1.2bn budget shortfall in the first month alone. The forecast for February is not much better."



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US politicians push to challenge Saudi Arabia oil dominance | GulfNews.com

US politicians push to challenge Saudi Arabia oil dominance | GulfNews.com:



"US politicians are pushing to lift the country’s ban on crude oil exports, a move that if successful would challenge Saudi Arabia’s long held dominance over the global oil market.



The US banned crude exports in the 1970s when a number of Arab countries refused to sell oil to the US in protest of its support for Israel in the 1974 Arab-Israeli conflict. The ban, led by Libya, sent prices soaring and led to fuel rationing across the country remembered by iconic photos of traffic jams of cars queuing to fil up at petrol stations. Since then the US has banned oil exports to lessen its reliance on foreign oil.



But with the US producing record amounts of oil, a number of politicians from newly oil rich North Dakota recently told Gulf News the ban should be lifted."



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Canadian Oil Sands Output Growth Defies Plunge in Prices: Energy - Bloomberg Business

Canadian Oil Sands Output Growth Defies Plunge in Prices: Energy - Bloomberg Business:



"The deluge of Canadian oil that’s adding to a global glut and driving prices lower is showing few signs of slowing.



Even with crude down 52 percent since June, output will grow 3.5 percent this year from the world’s fifth-biggest producer. The Canadian dollar is near a six-year low and materials cost less, helping oil sands producers cut costs and keep pumping. Oil would have to stay between $30 and $35 a barrel for at least six months, down from about $50 now, before wells and mines are shut, according to the Canadian Energy Research Institute.



Surging North American production has contributed to a global glut, pushing U.S. supply to the highest in three decades. OPEC opted in November to maintain output to hold on to market share. Oil sands supply is growing even as the number of rigs drilling for oil in the U.S. has fallen to the lowest in almost four years. RBC Dominion Securities estimates that oil companies have cut $86 billion from spending plans."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf markets mixed after oil steadies | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf markets mixed after oil steadies | Reuters:



"Gulf equity markets were narrowly mixed on Sunday after oil prices stabilised, with low trading volumes indicating that investors remained cautious.



Brent crude oil steadied just above $60 a barrel on Friday as expectations for falling U.S. rig count numbers outweighed concerns about oversupply.



Oil's weakness earlier last week ended a rally across Gulf stock markets, prompting investors to book profits and stay on the sidelines."



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UPDATE 1-MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf markets cautiously positive after oil steadies | Reuters

UPDATE 1-MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf markets cautiously positive after oil steadies | Reuters:



"Most Gulf stock markets were neutral to positive in early trade on Sunday after supportive global and domestic news.



Brent crude oil steadied just above $60 a barrel on Friday as expectations of falling U.S. rig count numbers outweighed concerns about oversupply.



Equity markets around the world surged to record highs on the same day on the news of the long-awaited Greek debt accord and positive economic data from Europe and the United States"



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Friday, 20 February 2015

IMF vets Egypt economy | Video | Reuters.com

IMF vets Egypt economy | Video | Reuters.com:







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MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf markets fall as oil tumbles again | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf markets fall as oil tumbles again | Reuters:



"Gulf stock markets pulled back on Thursday after Brent oil fell sharply, undermining petrochemical stocks in particular and investor sentiment in general, and corporate news turned out to be mostly negative.



Brent oil fell 2.6 percent and traded below $59 per barrel by 1230 GMT after a big weekly build-up in U.S. crude inventories.



The main Saudi stock index fell 1.1 percent as Saudi Basic Industries, the kingdom's top petrochemicals producer, dropped 2.8 percent."



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Iran and west narrow gap in nuclear talks - FT.com

Iran and west narrow gap in nuclear talks - FT.com:



"World powers and Iran are making “significant” progress towards a deal to curb Tehran’s ability to build an atomic bomb — so much so that even hawks in the Israeli government consider some form of agreement increasingly possible in the coming weeks.



Negotiations have taken on a more urgent tone in recent days as a deadline edges closer. The five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany, known as P5+1, pledged to secure a broad consensus on key elements of a deal by March 31 after an original deadline passed in November and talks in Vienna collapsed.



US officials will meet their Iranian counterparts in Geneva on Friday. John Kerry, US secretary of state, and Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iran’s foreign minister, will meet on Sunday, while diplomats from the other five negotiating countries will join them next week."



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Thursday, 19 February 2015

Dubai case victim Marcus Lee has his say | The Australian

Dubai case victim Marcus Lee has his say | The Australian:



"AN Australian property executive who was trapped in Dubai for four years fighting discredited fraud claims has won the right to respond to attacks on him by MP and now Assistant Defence Minister Stuart Robert.



Marcus Lee, who spent nine months in prison after a property deal involving Dubai authorities and Queensland developer Sunland turned sour, has won the right to confirm his acquittal of all charges to the federal parliament.



In a comparatively rare development, parliament’s privileges committee — chaired by Victorian Liberal MP Russell Broadbent — granted Mr Lee leave to make a statement to the House of Representatives detailing his acquittal."



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UPDATE 2-MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi Arabia down, Egypt firms as oil slides | Reuters

UPDATE 2-MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi Arabia down, Egypt firms as oil slides | Reuters:



"Saudi Arabia's stock market fell in early trade on Thursday after oil prices tumbled, while Egypt edged up as investors made bets ahead of fourth-quarter earnings reports.



Brent oil traded below $59 per barrel as U.S. crude inventories were expected to hit record highs, while analysts said a possible rise in Saudi Arabia's output could stoke oversupply built up in the past few months.



The main Saudi stock index fell 1.3 percent as Saudi Basic Industries, the kingdom's top petrochemicals producer, dropped 3.6 percent."



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A staggered approach to reviving cancelled projects | GulfNews.com

A staggered approach to reviving cancelled projects | GulfNews.com:



"Amidst the flurry of announcements by Rera (Real Estate Regulatory Agency) updating the list of cancelled projects, the question on every vested party’s mind was: When will the monies be finally recovered?



Ever since the freehold bust in 2008, a number of projects have stalled, and Rera and the Dubai Land Department have worked with developers and investors to revive a number of these successfully. However, their numbers are still considerable and investor funds remain stuck in them. The process of recovery remains a long winded one and investors, more likely than not, will have to wait further as the projects await liquidation.



Given the construction boom the city is undergoing at present, looking abroad may offer some solutions as to expedite the process, as well as allowing for these projects to be revived."



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Saudi Arabia’s Oil Exports Fell in 2014 in ‘Tough Year’ - Bloomberg Business

Saudi Arabia’s Oil Exports Fell in 2014 in ‘Tough Year’ - Bloomberg Business:



"Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest crude exporter, shipped 5.7 percent less oil overseas last year led by a decline in China, its biggest customer in Asia, in a sign the price rout did little to revive demand.



Shipments averaged 7.11 million barrels a day, down from an 11-year high of 7.54 million barrels a day in 2013 and the lowest in three years, according to data from the Joint Organisations Data Initiative. In December, exports dropped 5 percent from November to 6.9 million barrels a day.



Crude prices fell almost 50 percent last year as the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries sought to defend market share amid a U.S. shale boom and a global glut estimated by Qatar and United Arab Emirates at 2 million barrels a day. Saudi Arabia will maintain output, Oil Minister Ali Al-Naimi said in December, according to the state-run Saudi Press Agency."



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Delta CEO’s 9/11 Comment on Open Skies Riles Gulf Carrier Chiefs - Bloomberg Business

Delta CEO’s 9/11 Comment on Open Skies Riles Gulf Carrier Chiefs - Bloomberg Business:



"Delta Air Lines Inc. triggered a backlash from Persian Gulf carriers after Chief Executive Officer Richard Anderson cited the Sept. 11 terrorists as part of his argument in a commercial dispute.



“I’m a little bit concerned that Mr. Anderson crossed the line in some of the statements he made with regard to what went on with regard to 9/11,” President Tim Clark of Dubai-based Emirates Airline told CNN on Wednesday. “And I know that has caused great offense in this part of the world, and I’m sure will be dealt with at the governmental and state level.”



Clark’s comeback added to a feud between Anderson and the gulf’s major airlines -- Emirates, Qatar Airways and Etihad Airways PJSC. Anderson told CNN on Monday that he saw a “great irony” in airlines from the Arabian Peninsula criticizing U.S. aid to domestic carriers after the 2001 attacks since many of the hijackers hailed from the region."



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Dubai Property Set to Tumble as Currency Adds to Woes - Bloomberg Business

Dubai Property Set to Tumble as Currency Adds to Woes - Bloomberg Business:



"Liam Jeffrey was surprised when a couple selling an apartment on Dubai’s Palm Jumeirah artificial island asked the property broker to cut the price by 10 percent just three weeks after they put it on the market.



“They found a property they wanted to buy in London and when they send the money back to the U.K., they make up that difference on the exchange rate alone,” said the 26-year-old broker at Smith & Ken. “They’re not losing anything and that wasn’t the case a few months ago.”



Buyers from European countries, among the most active in Dubai, are spending less because their currencies have declined against the dirham, which is pegged to the dollar. Falling oil prices and a tax on foreign property held by Indians are also pushing down home values in the emirate. A year ago, Dubai regulators took steps to cool a market where home values had been climbing at the fastest pace in the world."



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Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Credit losses and low lending to hit UAE banks’ profits this year | The National

Credit losses and low lending to hit UAE banks’ profits this year | The National:



"Profit growth at five of the UAE’s banks is expected to slow this year because of lower lending and an increase in credit losses, according to Standard & Poor’s.



Net profit growth will fall to about 5 or 6 per cent from 21.3 per cent last year, S&P said in a report yesterday.



Among the UAE’s lenders, S&P rates National Bank of Abu Dhabi, Mashreq, National Bank of Fujairah, Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank and Sharjah Islamic Bank."



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NMC Health prepares $825 million for international expansion and refinance of debt | The National

NMC Health prepares $825 million for international expansion and refinance of debt | The National:



"NMC Health is raising a US$825 million war chest to help fund the international expansion of the Abu Dhabi-based hospital operator.



It comes as UAE-based healthcare groups gear up to spend billions of dollars on developing new hospitals, clinics and laboratories.



The London-listed NMC has secured commitments from banks for the facility, which includes a $475m chunk to fund acquisitions, with the remaining $350m to be spent on refinancing debt."



'via Blog this'

UPDATE 2-MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi Arabia gains as oil firms; Egypt slips | Reuters

UPDATE 2-MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi Arabia gains as oil firms; Egypt slips | Reuters:



"Saudi Arabia's stock market rose in early trade on Tuesday as oil prices resumed their rally, while Egypt edged down after major industrial player Ezz Steel reported disappointing earnings.



Brent crude traded near $62 per barrel on Tuesday as the International Energy Agency warned of supply risks in the Middle East, although some analysts said that prices had risen too far from six-year lows hit in January.



The main Saudi stock index rose 0.9 percent, partly because of petrochemical companies, which are set to benefit from oil's rebound. Saudi Basic Industries, the biggest player in the sector, edged up 0.6 percent."



'via Blog this'

OCI eyes dual listing for construction arm split - FT.com

OCI eyes dual listing for construction arm split - FT.com:



"Orascom Construction Industries — the Egyptian conglomerate that attracted a $1bn investment from Bill Gates and a group of US investors — is to spin off its construction and engineering arm through a dual listing in Egypt and Dubai, in an attempt to capitalise on improving domestic growth prospects.



OCI — which moved its listing from Cairo to the Netherlands in 2013 after a tax dispute with the former Egyptian government following the 2011 revolution — revealed on Monday plans for a demerger of the construction unit from its other fertiliser and chemicals business.



A new listed entity, Orascom Construction, will offer about 15.8m new shares representing 15 per cent of the company to public retail investors and institutional investors in a private placement. OCI’s fertiliser arm will continue to be listed on Euronext Amsterdam as OCI NV."



'via Blog this'

Monday, 16 February 2015

Taqa in heavy weather as oil price fall bites | The National

Taqa in heavy weather as oil price fall bites | The National:



"Abu Dhabi National Energy Company, the partly privatised utility known as Taqa, made strides under new management last year to cut costs and refocus after some disastrous investments in North American natural gas.



But now it faces more pressure on its bottom line after the oil price collapse, particularly from its exposure to the North Sea, a high-cost and declining oil and gas province.



In November, Taqa’s chief operating officer, Edward LaFehr, reported that the company “delivered a robust operational performance” in the first nine months of the year, with oil and gas production hitting a record of nearly 160,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day, good steady cash from its power and water businesses and general and administrative costs down by 9 per cent. He also said more than Dh3 billion of debt had been paid off using the sales proceeds of non-core assets, including a stake in the private equity construction firm Carlyle Infrastructure Partners, some undeveloped land in Alberta, Canada, and a stake in the Abu Dhabi insurer Wataniya."



'via Blog this'

UAE stocks jump on strong crude; Damac jumps | GulfNews.com

UAE stocks jump on strong crude; Damac jumps | GulfNews.com:



"UAE stocks jumped more than 1 per cent on Sunday, buoyed by strong crude oil, with Damac Properties leading the gains in trade on the Dubai Financial Market (DFM).



The DFM General Index ended 1.53 per cent higher at 3,963.28, after hitting a high of 3,984.78, a level last seen in early January. Damac Properties ended 14.84 per cent higher at Dh2.94.



“With strong moves in crude oil prices on Friday, we saw a bounce back this morning,” said Sanyalaksna Manibhandu, Manager of Research, National Bank of Abu Dhabi Securities."



'via Blog this'

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Falciani: HCBC board 'cosied up' to criminals | @Ian_Fraser

Falciani: HCBC board 'cosied up' to criminals | Ian Fraser:



"HervĂ© Falciani is the man behind the largest leak in banking history. Speaking in February 2014, he tells film-maker Nick Francis why he had little choice but to become a whistleblower. He says what tipped him over the edge was that the board of HSBC, chaired by Sir John Bond in 1998-2006 and Stephen Green in 2006-10, was not prepared to lift a finger to stop the bank from being used as a vessel to hide $500bn of assets which “were not supposed to be there”, i.e. dirty money including the proceeds of crime, the drugs trade, cash from blood diamonds trafficking, and funds that customers were seeking to squirrel away from the tax man.



Since 2009, Falciani has been collaborating with numerous European nations by providing information relating to more than 130,000 suspected tax evaders with Swiss bank accounts – specifically those with accounts in HSBC’s Swiss subsidiary, HSBC Private Bank. On 11 December 2014, Falciani, who worked for ten years as a computer analyst at HSBC in Monaco and Switzerland, was indicted by the Swiss federal government for violating the country’s bank secrecy laws and for industrial espionage, the only person so far to have been indicted for the allegedly criminal activities of HSBC (though a few its customers have already been prosecuted in various countries)."



'via Blog this'

Qatar’s clean sweep builds UK assets portfolio | The National

Qatar’s clean sweep builds UK assets portfolio | The National:



"The Qatar Investment Authority’s most recent acquisition is only the tip of an asset-owning iceberg — one some observers are becoming concerned about. 




Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund, effectively owned by the Qatari royal family, now has control of London assets that include The Shard, Europe’s tallest office block; the Olympic Village, which is rapidly being redeveloped as a new residential district as well as sporting and leisure venues; the HSBC tower at Canary Wharf; Harrods; a stake in the Shell Centre on the South Bank; the residential redevelopment at Chelsea Barracks; half of the luxury apartment block One Hyde Park, the former US embassy in Grosvenor Square; and an emerging Thames-side development in Chelsea known as Grosvenor Waterside.



Even as market analysts were scratching their heads at the implications of the Canary Wharf deal, Qatar — in the form of Qatar Airways — confounded the City again. Just a day after country’s sovereign wealth fund emerging successfully over the Docklands estate, Qatar Airways bought a 10 per cent stake in British Airways for just over £1 billion (Dh5.56bn)."



'via Blog this'

UAE bonds pull away as cash pile beats Opec woes

UAE bonds pull away as cash pile beats Opec woes:



"The slide in oil prices since Opec kept its output targets unchanged last year is failing to curb investor appetite for United Arab Emirates debt, which has outpaced emerging markets amid a dearth of supply.



The average yield on UAE bonds declined eight basis points since the end of November, compared with a seven basis- point increase on the yield on developing-country debt, according to JPMorgan Chase & Co indexes. Bond issuance in the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council plunged 17% last year to $33.4bn as borrowers turned to the loan market for cheaper financing. Sentiment is also being bolstered by the size of the nation’s cash reserves, according to Ali Soner Guney, a fixed-income fund manager at National Bank of Abu Dhabi.



While oil sank to the lowest level since 2009 this year, the UAE’s cash reserves swelled on the back of crude prices averaging more than $100 a barrel in the three years through 2013. Abu Dhabi, the richest of the seven emirates, is home to the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, which holds assets estimated at $773bn, according to the Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute."



'via Blog this'

UPDATE 1-MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf markets rise after oil's rebound | Reuters

UPDATE 1-MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf markets rise after oil's rebound | Reuters:



"Gulf stock markets rose in early trade on Sunday after oil prices surged at the end of last week, although some stocks in Dubai pulled back after disappointing fourth-quarter results.



Oil closed higher for a second straight week on Friday after another drop in the U.S. rig count, with Brent crude hitting a 2015 high above $60 a barrel.



Also, stock markets worldwide rose on Friday on stronger-than-expected economic growth in Germany and optimism that Greece would reach a deal with its creditors."



'via Blog this'

Bluewaters project in Dubai has name challenged by UK shopping centre | The National

Bluewaters project in Dubai has name challenged by UK shopping centre | The National:



"Land Securities Group, the owner of the UK’s Bluewater shopping centre in Kent, is seeking to block a Dubai company from naming one of its developments Bluewaters, according to a person with knowledge of the matter.



The UK’s largest real estate investment trust filed a challenge to stop Meraas Holding using the name for a planned project that will include a Ferris wheel to rival the London Eye, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the information is private.



The filing was made at the Industrial Property Office, which handles trademark disputes, the person said. Meraas plans to build shops, homes and the 210-metre Ferris wheel, according to its website, and is seeking to raise a loan of about US$500 million for the project. The company is also building the Middle East’s first Legoland theme park in Dubai."



'via Blog this'

All creditors back $14.6 billion Dubai World debt deal | The National

All creditors back $14.6 billion Dubai World debt deal | The National:



"Dubai World, the state-owned company at the centre of the emirate’s 2009 financial crisis, is poised to avoid legal action after all creditors agreed to amend and extend terms on about $14.6 billion of debt.



The company has applied to withdraw its court application for Decree 57 after lenders agreed to a deal entailing the early repayment of $2.92bn due this year and the extension of debt due in 2018 to 2022, Adrian Cohen, partner at Clifford Chance and Dubai World counsel, told a tribunal hearing in Dubai today.



The court has adjourned until May 10 and will approve Dubai World’s application when the deal is finalised."



'via Blog this'

UAE seen leading mergers in the Middle East region | GulfNews.com

UAE seen leading mergers in the Middle East region | GulfNews.com:



"The UAE has topped the Middle East and North Africa region in inbound mergers and acquisitions in terms of both number of deals and value of deals according EY [formerly Ernst & Young].



“The UAE dominated as the target country with the largest number and value of inbound mergers and acquisitions deals in Mena which points to the strong confidence of international investors in the UAE,” said Anil Menon, Mena M & A and IPO Leader at EY.



According to EY’s analysis of regional M & A data, 50 acquisitions targeting UAE based companies accounting for 21 per cent of the total domestic M & A deals were announced the region last year. In value terms too, the domestic deals targeting UAE based companies accounted for $7 billion (Dh25.7 billion) or 45.7 per cent of the overall regional domestic deals."



'via Blog this'

Projects worth $200b cancelled due to low oil prices | GulfNews.com

Projects worth $200b cancelled due to low oil prices | GulfNews.com:



"Projects worth around $200 billion (Dh734.47 billion) were cancelled globally in the last three months due to falling oil prices, an oil and gas expert told Gulf News.



Christophe de Mahieu, a partner in Dubai-based Bain and Company said a lot of companies are either cancelling projects or temporarily stopping work due to the slide in oil prices.



“Drilling activity in the US is dropping like a stone. The contracts are interrupted and drilling companies have stopped drilling because of the cash flow situation."



'via Blog this'

Guest post: Ukraine must fix itself | beyondbrics

Guest post: Ukraine must fix itself | beyondbrics:



"Are things finally turning around for Ukraine? In the space of a few hours on Thursday, a cease-fire with the Kremlin-sponsored separatists was agreed in Minsk, and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) pledged $17.5bn in financial assistance to the government as part of a package from various donors totalling $40bn.



The events on Kiev’s Maidan last year opened a window of opportunity to stop the economic, social and human devastation of Ukraine by its own political elites. The popular will to stop corruption and fix the country’s political and economic institutions was palpable. Two successive governments of Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk have included a number of promising reformists, raising hopes that this time might be different.



The prospect of Ukraine’s transformation from a client state run by gangsters into a successful market democracy would set a precedent for the region – most importantly for Russia. That might be the best explanation for Vladimir Putin’s ongoing military escapade in Donbass."



'via Blog this'

Guest post: Russia, the submerging market | beyondbrics

Guest post: Russia, the submerging market | beyondbrics:



"After Vladimir Putin swept back to power in 2012, he had the air of a chess grandmaster: plotting each intricate move from the Kremlin. He swiftly annexed Crimea, suppressed opposition at home, and antagonised a seemingly vulnerable and tactically inept West at every turn.



With oil comfortably around $100 barrel – the government’s treasury was swelling and his opinion rating at home was soaring. How quickly fortunes change! Now the rouble has plummeted, Western sanctions have gripped, allies are in short supply, and a recession more bitter than a Russian winter looks set to take hold. It appears as if Vladmir Putin has spectacularly over played his hand. From an emerging market, Russia may well now be submerging.



This week’s 17-hour meeting in Minsk brought some relief to the markets as the first details of the ceasefire agreement were revealed. These include a broad ceasefire, withdrawal of heavy weapons, an amnesty for prisoners involved in fighting, lifting of restrictions in rebel areas and constitutional reforms that grant more independence to Donetsk and Luhansk by the end of 2015."



'via Blog this'

Sovereign debt reprofiling: Ukraine’s lesson for the IMF | FT Alphaville

Sovereign debt reprofiling: Ukraine’s lesson for the IMF | FT Alphaville:



"The IMF’s proposals to change its policy on sovereign debt reprofiling have divided opinion, with FT Alphaville providing a debating platform between supporters (for example here and here) and sceptics including myself (for example here and here).



The proposals are motivated by the objective of providing a fund programme breathing space to work when it is unclear if debt is unsustainable.



The idea is that if debt falls into a grey area of uncertain sustainability, the fund would lend money. But in order not to use official loans to bail out private creditors, the sovereign could consider extending maturities on all private sector bonds falling due within the life of the programme. If the programme worked, bondholders would still be paid out, albeit around three years late. If it did not, a full-scale restructuring would need to be undertaken."



'via Blog this'

Saturday, 14 February 2015

Bahrain's Arcapita: Rising from the ashes - ArabianBusiness.com

Bahrain's Arcapita: Rising from the ashes - ArabianBusiness.com:



"One of the reasons the Gulf has been so slow to introduce bankruptcy legislation is because there is still a stigma associated with the process. While some of the biggest companies and business names in the West have gone through the process, in the Arab world it is still seen as taboo and a major cultural failure.



One company that has gone through the process, come out the other side and is slowly beginning to scratch away at the doomsday perception associated with bankruptcy is Bahrain-owned, US-based firm Arcapita.



While it is headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, it is wholly owned by Bahrain-based Arcapita Bank, which was formed in 1996 and was originally named the First Islamic Investment Bank."



'via Blog this'

Friday, 13 February 2015

The HSBC scandal and the Middle East: what we know so far - tks @brian_whit

The HSBC scandal and the Middle East: what we know so far:



"Switzerland, because of its secretive banking system, has long been a haven for dictators and criminals to stash their ill-gotten gains, as well as a place where the wealthy have accounts in order to avoid – or evade – paying tax in their home countries.



Over the last few days leaked files relating to some 100,000 HSBC clients and accounts in Switzerland have been causing a huge stir in Europe, mainly because of tax-dodging by some prominent figures and HSBC's apparent connivance in it. 




The leaks also revealed billions of dollars deposited with HSBC in Switzerland by clients from the Middle East, and so far these have not received much media attention. This blog post is an attempt to compile what is known so far about the thousands of accounts which have a Middle East connection."



'via Blog this'

MIDEAST STOCKS-Second-tier stocks boost Saudi, other markets narrowly mixed | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Second-tier stocks boost Saudi, other markets narrowly mixed | Reuters:



"Second-tier stocks boosted Saudi Arabia's bourse on Thursday as oil prices rebounded from an overnight tumble, but other Gulf markets were narrowly mixed. Egypt's stock index fell but ended well off its lows.



Brent oil slid about 3 percent to below $54 a barrel on Wednesday but by the time the Saudi market closed on Thursday it had rebounded to above $56, heartening investors who have been taking the oil price as their main cue in recent months. 




The Saudi stock index ended 1.4 percent higher in moderate turnover. Construction firm Jabal Omar jumped 9.7 percent after swinging to a quarterly profit of 149.3 million riyals ($39.8 million) from a loss of 2.5 million riyals a year earlier."



'via Blog this'

Emirates executives rebuff US airlines’ claims of $40 billion in subsidies to Gulf carriers | The National

Emirates executives rebuff US airlines’ claims of $40 billion in subsidies to Gulf carriers | The National:



"Emirates Airline’s top two executives have hit back at claims by US carriers that they receive state subsidies.



Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed, the chairman of Emirates, and Tim Clark, the airline’s president, both described the US allegations as far off-base.



Their rebuttals came after the chief executives of America’s three biggest airlines – Delta, United and American Airlines – called on the US government to review the country’s air treaties with Gulf carriers. The three CEOs claimed that the foreign airlines have an “unfair advantage” of receiving government support."



'via Blog this'

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

​Russia will not restructure Ukraine’s $3bn debt – finance minister — RT Business

​Russia will not restructure Ukraine’s $3bn debt – finance minister — RT Business:



"Russia has rejected Ukraine's request to restructure its $3 billion debt said Finance Minister Anton Siluanov adding that the ministry “is waiting for this money.”



“We expect all the commitments of Ukraine to be fulfilled this year in December. Any budget income in foreign currency is important to us," Siluanov said on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Istanbul.



“Russia is not in a situation when one can easily write off foreign currency obligations,” he said. "The return of resources that were once invested in foreign currency bonds of another country is very important.”"



'via Blog this'

HSBC – too big to manage - YouTube

HSBC – too big to manage - YouTube: ""



'via Blog this'

Dollar rise: will US or Europe see better swing? - YouTube

Dollar rise: will US or Europe see better swing? - YouTube: ""



'via Blog this'

Oman and Bahrain ratings downgrades to come at high price | The National

Oman and Bahrain ratings downgrades to come at high price | The National:



"An international ratings agency downgrade of Oman and Bahrain will make it more expensive for them to borrow to finance widening fiscal deficits, analysts said. The move by Standard and Poor’s could also hit bank ratings.



S&P on Monday downgraded Bahrain’s long-term and short-term foreign and local currency sovereign rating to BBB-/A-3 from BBB/A-2, and Oman’s rating to A-/A-2 from A/A-1 because of the halving of oil prices to less than $60 a barrel since reaching last year’s peak of US$115 per barrel.



Oil prices have rebounded over the past two weeks on signs that the price slump has started to affect oil production. S&P has initiated the downgrades since it lowered its forecast for the average oil price to $55 per barrel this year, down from last year’s forecast of $80 per barrel."



'via Blog this'

Dubai’s cancelled projects seek a second chance | GulfNews.com

Dubai’s cancelled projects seek a second chance | GulfNews.com:



"Some of the 180 odd projects that the Dubai Courts have now formally adjudged as being ‘cancelled’ could still have their uses. Investors are sounding out the possibility of acquiring those cancelled projects, which stand a better chance of being revived by virtue of being in a desirable location or do not have substantial payment issues assigned to them.



“As many as 20-25 per cent of these can be revived if the right investor support levels can be found ... and they are present,” said Samir Munshi, Managing Director at Silver Heights Real Estate. “As a company, we are currently involved in reviving three such projects.”



But for that to happen, the new investors will have to clear certain guidelines set by Tanmia, the dedicated division within the Real Estate Regulatory Agency handling distressed projects in Dubai."



'via Blog this'

Occidental Agrees to $500 Million Oil Exploration in UAE - Bloomberg Business

Occidental Agrees to $500 Million Oil Exploration in UAE - Bloomberg Business:



"Occidental Petroleum Corp., one of 11 international oil companies invited to bid for rights to develop Abu Dhabi’s largest onshore fields, agreed to a $500 million exploration project in the emirate over two years.



Occidental will work with Abu Dhabi National Oil Co., the state-owned crude producer known as Adnoc, to explore for oil at the Hail and Ghasha offshore fields in the Persian Gulf, Adnoc said in a statement distributed by the WAM state news agency. The Houston-based company would have a 30 percent share in the exploration project that runs through 2017, Adnoc said.



Occidental, the second-largest independent U.S. oil producer, declined to comment when contacted Tuesday by Bloomberg."



'via Blog this'

OPEC Producers Cut Oil Prices to Asia in Battle for Market Share - Bloomberg Business

OPEC Producers Cut Oil Prices to Asia in Battle for Market Share - Bloomberg Business:



"Iraq and Iran joined Saudi Arabia in cutting their March crude prices for Asia to the lowest level in more than a decade, signaling the battle for a share of OPEC’s largest market is intensifying.



Iraq’s Basrah Light crude will sell at $4.10 a barrel below Middle East benchmarks, the lowest since at least August 2003, the Oil Marketing Co. said Tuesday. National Iranian Oil Co. lowered its official selling price for March Light crude sales to a discount of $2.10 a barrel, the lowest since at least March 2000, according to a company official who asked not to be identified because of corporate policy.



The cuts come after Saudi Arabia, the largest crude exporter, reduced pricing to Asia last week to the lowest in at least 14 years. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries left its members’ output targets unchanged at a November meeting, choosing to compete for market share against U.S. shale producers rather than support prices. Iraq is the second-biggest producer in OPEC and Iran is fourth."



'via Blog this'

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

UPDATE 2-MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi Arabia edges down after credit outlook cut; Egypt resumes rally | Reuters

UPDATE 2-MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi Arabia edges down after credit outlook cut; Egypt resumes rally | Reuters:



"Saudi Arabia's stock market edged down in early trade on Tuesday after oil prices slipped and Standard and Poor's revised to negative its outlook on the kingdom's credit rating.



Brent crude dropped 1.2 percent to $57.63 per barrel by 0835 GMT as the International Energy Agency said the United States would remain the world's top source of oil supply growth until 2020, defying expectations of a more dramatic slowdown in shale output growth.



Also, China's consumer inflation, which came in at a five-year low for January, raised worries about oil demand in the world's second-largest economy, which is also a major consumer of petrochemicals produced in the Gulf."



'via Blog this'

Dubai Holding has no plans to float firm or its units -CEO | Reuters

Dubai Holding has no plans to float firm or its units -CEO | Reuters:



"Dubai Holding, the investment vehicle of the emirate' s ruler, has no plans to list itself or any of its subsidiaries on the stock market, its chief executive said on Tuesday.



Dubai Financial Market, the emirate's main bourse, attracted a flurry of flotations late last year, most notably the 5.8 billion dirham ($1.58 billion) listing of Emaar Malls Group, as the initial public offer industry returned to life following a five-year hiatus.



But Dubai Holding and its subsidiaries, which include hotel group Jumeirah and real state developer Dubai Properties, have no plans at present to join them."



'via Blog this'

S&P lowers outlook on Saudi Arabia due to plunge in oil prices | Reuters

S&P lowers outlook on Saudi Arabia due to plunge in oil prices | Reuters:



"Standard & Poor's lowered its outlook on Saudi Arabia to "negative" from "stable" as a result of the steep decline in oil prices.



The oil-rich country's fiscal position could weaken as a result of its dependence on oil, the ratings agency said.



"We view Saudi Arabia's economy as undiversified and vulnerable to a steep and sustained decline in oil prices," Standard & Poor's said in a statement on Monday."



'via Blog this'

Electricity shortfall drains Rouhani’s growth drive - FT.com

Electricity shortfall drains Rouhani’s growth drive - FT.com:



"Plunging oil prices have already undermined Iran’s fledgling economic recovery. But another energy issue is also holding back President Hassan Rouhani’s attempts to revive the country’s underperforming industrial base: a lack of power-generating capacity.



“It is absolutely wrong to think we can achieve economic growth without having sufficient electricity production,” Hamid Chitchian, Iran’s energy minister, warned recently. “The electricity sector has consistently been weakened over the past five years and investment has dramatically decreased.”



Decades of heavy government subsidies have left Iran with high levels of energy consumption — per capita consumption of electricity is about 2,160 kilowatt hours compared with 1,300 kWh for neighbouring Iraq."



'via Blog this'

UAE stocks edge lower as Saudi outlook cut weighs | GulfNews.com

UAE stocks edge lower as Saudi outlook cut weighs | GulfNews.com:



"UAE stocks edged lower on Tuesday afternoon after reports of an outlook cut by Standard and Poor’s for Saudi Arabia. The Dubai Financial Market General Index was down 0.73 per cent to be at 3,912.65 at 12.48pm. Damac Properties extended losses by falling more than 9 per cent in trade to be at Dh2.52. The Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange General Index was 0.02 per cent lower at 4,646.02."



'via Blog this'

Marka reports loss of Dh13m, but expects return to profit this year | The National

Marka reports loss of Dh13m, but expects return to profit this year | The National:



"The retail group Marka has reported a loss of Dh13.6 million for the fourth quarter of last year, ahead of the start of operations this year.



The company expects to return to profit by the end of this year via a series of start-ups and acquisitions, its chief executive Nick Peel said last month.



Marka acquired Dubai World’s retail unit Retailcorp UAE in late December from Istithmar for Dh220m. The purchase of the company, which was not reflected in the quarterly results, gives Marka ownership of 15 sports shops in malls across the UAE, with rights to sell brands that include Nike, Reebok and adidas."



'via Blog this'

Mergers and acquisitions in the region forecast to shrug off oil slump | The National

Mergers and acquisitions in the region forecast to shrug off oil slump | The National:



"Mergers and acquisitions (M&A) in the Middle East and North Africa will continue at a healthy rate this year despite the drop in oil price and weaker growth forecast in the region’s oil exporters, the advisory services firm EY said yesterday.


“The growth of Mena M&A is expected to continue in 2015 at a normalised year on year growth rate of up to 10 per cent,” said Phil Gandier, the Mena head of transaction advisory services at EY.



“The majority of Mena M&A transactions tend to occur in consumption-led sectors such as food and beverage, retail, health care and education, which have little correlation to economic activity and changes in oil price, so the positive trend is expected to continue.”"



'via Blog this'

Standard & Poor’s affirms Abu Dhabi credit ratings despite oil plunge | The National

Standard & Poor’s affirms Abu Dhabi credit ratings despite oil plunge | The National:



"The ratings agency Standard & Poor’s on Monday night affirmed Abu Dhabi’s credit rating, which signals a vote of confidence in the emirate despite the recent fall in oil prices.



“We consider Abu Dhabi’s fiscal and external buffers to be sufficiently strong for the emirate to withstand the lower oil-price trajectory at the current rating level,” the New York-based agency said.



At the same time as it affirmed Abu Dhabi’s rating, S&P lowered its outlook for Saudi Arabia and reduced its rating for Bahrain. It held the ratings and outlook for Qatar stable."



'via Blog this'

Retiring the North Sea’s giant oilfields - YouTube

Retiring the North Sea’s giant oilfields - YouTube: ""



'via Blog this'

Monday, 9 February 2015

Qatar Airways eyes longer-term aims with IAG stake - FT.com

Qatar Airways eyes longer-term aims with IAG stake - FT.com:



"When one airline buys a minority stake in another, it is often hard to fathom what the purchaser expects to achieve.



A shareholding rarely confers the influence necessary to extract valuable synergies from the relationship. That is especially true when the buyer is foreign. Aviation remains tightly hemmed in by national ownership rules.



Nor is it an obvious way to gain commercial advantages. There are easier ways for two airlines to co-operate on routes, such as code-sharing deals (which allow passengers to travel seamlessly on either carrier’s services) and joint ventures."



'via Blog this'

Iranians seek modern lifestyle - YouTube

Iranians seek modern lifestyle - YouTube: ""



'via Blog this'

Abu Dhabi Seeking Bids for Largest Onshore Oil Fields Tomorrow - Bloomberg Business

Abu Dhabi Seeking Bids for Largest Onshore Oil Fields Tomorrow - Bloomberg Business:



"Abu Dhabi National Oil Co. is seeking final bids by tomorrow for concessions to the emirate’s largest onshore fields, said Abdullah Nasser Al Suwaidi, director general of the state-owned company.



The offers must match terms of the agreement Adnoc reached with Total SA, Al Suwaidi said at a conference in Dubai. Total is Adnoc’s first partner in a 40-year concession to fields in the biggest sheikhdom of the United Arab Emirates.



Al Suwaidi declined to say if any more bidders than Total have made final offers. The deadline is tomorrow “for those who haven’t submitted,” he said. Al Suwaidi declined to specify the terms of Adnoc’s agreement with Total, saying the fee the Paris-based company will earn for each barrel of oil it may produce is confidential."



'via Blog this'

UPDATE 2-MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi Arabia edges up, Egypt slips | Reuters

UPDATE 2-MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi Arabia edges up, Egypt slips | Reuters:



"Saudi Arabia's market rose in early trade on Monday, although at a slower pace than in the previous session when oil was rallying, while Egypt pulled back after performing very well in the last few weeks.



Saudi Arabia's stock index rose 0.4 percent and shares in Saudi Kayan Petrochemical Co jumped 2.6 percent.



The stock had surged its daily 10 percent limit on Sunday after the kingdom's oil ministry allocated more natural gas to Saudi Kayan for it to expand ethylene production at its petrochemical complex in Jubail."



'via Blog this'

EM fund managers: genuinely active or closet trackers? | beyondbrics

EM fund managers: genuinely active or closet trackers? | beyondbrics:



"How much bang do fund managers give for their investors’ bucks? It’s a question that has provoked plenty of debate in the FT recently, prompted not least by the “scandalous index cloning epidemic” in which supposedly active managers charge high fees for simply following a benchmark.



EM investors are far from immune. So they may be interested to hear of a new service offered by Copley Fund Research, which tracks the performance of 100 of the biggest global emerging market equity funds, with a combined $265bn of assets under management.



Copley promises to use two measures “to rank how active EM funds are in relation to the benchmark MSCI EM index. This is in reaction to a growing concern from investors over certain active funds charging higher fees for what is essentially a passive strategy.”"



'via Blog this'

Abu Dhabi goes global with new free zone | The National

Abu Dhabi goes global with new free zone | The National:



"With its towering glass and steel office blocks and striking architecture, walking around Abu Dhabi’s newly named financial district Abu Dhabi Global Market Square on Al Maryah Island, it is easy to draw grandiose comparisons with the early days of London’s Canary Wharf and Paris’s La Defense.



Crossing the bridge from close to the Abu Dhabi Mall on to Al Maryah Island, one is immediately struck by the soaring ultra-modern buildings of the office, hotel and shopping district that would not look out of place in major US or European cities.



Like in many international financial centres, the streets in this quarter of town are not exactly bustling with people, but a few well-heeled visitors climb in and out of luxury cars or shuffle around the upmarket boutiques."



'via Blog this'

What now for the House of Saud - FT video


Saudi Arabia’s new king faces challenging fiscal climate - FT.com

Saudi Arabia’s new king faces challenging fiscal climate - FT.com:



"When King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud became Saudi Arabia’s king last month, he followed family tradition by showering his people with money.



Bonuses were given to state employees and pensioners, and big investments in infrastructure were announced. The handouts, worth an estimated $32bn, are a political necessity in his nation, where the royal family provides services and benefits in return for loyalty.



“The bonuses are the usual practice when there’s a succession,” said Steffen Hertog, associate professor at the London School of Economics. “Although perhaps some were doubting whether it would happen because of the oil price situation.”"



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Dubai’s Real-Estate Moguls Bet on Another Property Boom - WSJ

Dubai’s Real-Estate Moguls Bet on Another Property Boom - WSJ:



"Real-estate mogul Safi Qurashi is often asked why he has stayed in Dubai after he was imprisoned here for nearly three years and came close to losing his entire business.



“Why should I leave?” The 45-year-old Briton says. “Dubai is still full of opportunity.”



Mr. Qurashi is just one of a cadre of high-profile, sometimes controversial, property magnates who built their reputation in Dubai’s last property bubble. Many are now back building weird, wonderful and some say wildly overambitious projects in another go-go era for the Middle East’s capital of bling."



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Iran's Khamenei says could accept fair nuclear compromise | Reuters

Iran's Khamenei says could accept fair nuclear compromise | Reuters:



"Iran's supreme leader said on Sunday he could accept a compromise in nuclear talks and gave his strongest defense yet of President Hassan Rouhani's decision to negotiate with the West, a policy opposed by powerful hardliners at home.



As his foreign minister met counterparties in the talks at a conference in Munich, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said he "firmly" backed a fair nuclear deal.



"I would go along with any agreement that could be made. Of course, if it is not a bad deal. No agreement is better than an agreement which runs contrary to our nation's interests," Ayatollah Ali Khamenei told Iranian air force personnel, according to official news agencies."



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Sunday, 8 February 2015

HSBC files show how Swiss bank helped clients dodge taxes and hide millions | Business | The Guardian

HSBC files show how Swiss bank helped clients dodge taxes and hide millions | Business | The Guardian:



"HSBC’s Swiss banking arm helped wealthy customers dodge taxes and conceal millions of dollars of assets, doling out bundles of untraceable cash and advising clients on how to circumvent domestic tax authorities, according to a huge cache of leaked secret bank account files.



The files – obtained through an international collaboration of news outlets, including the Guardian, the French daily Le Monde, BBC Panorama and the Washington-based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists – reveal that HSBC’s Swiss private bank:"



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