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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."



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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."



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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."



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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."



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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."



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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."



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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."



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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."



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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."



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