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Sunday, 19 April 2015

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi Arabia surges ahead of market opening to foreigners | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi Arabia surges ahead of market opening to foreigners | Reuters:



"Saudi Arabia's bourse surged on Sunday after the kingdom's securities regulator said it would open the market to direct foreign investment from June 15, while many other markets in the Middle East were weak.



The main Saudi index rose 4.0 percent, its biggest gain this year, to 9,620 points on its highest volume in 11 months. It broke minor technical resistance at the late March high of 9,377 points and stood above the 200-day average, now at 9,572 points.



It has not stayed above the average on a sustained basis since last November; a clean break above it would be longer-term bullish technically."



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Dubai poised to act as bridgehead for Iranian investment - FT.com

Dubai poised to act as bridgehead for Iranian investment - FT.com:



"When a Dubai-based financier tried to entice a US food manufacturer to set up a joint venture to produce and distribute products in Iran several months ago, the company stonewalled.



But when news broke last month that the nuclear powers had reached a framework agreement with Tehran on its nuclear programme, the producer of household name products immediately got back in touch.



“They were straight back to me, asking for proposals as soon as possible,” the financier said."



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Sale of U.S. Arms Fuels the Wars of Arab States - NYTimes.com

Sale of U.S. Arms Fuels the Wars of Arab States - NYTimes.com:



"To wage war in Yemen, Saudi Arabia is using F-15 fighter jets bought from Boeing. Pilots from the United Arab Emirates are flying Lockheed Martin’s F-16 to bomb both Yemen and Syria. Soon, the Emirates are expected to complete a deal with General Atomics for a fleet of Predator drones to run spying missions in their neighborhood.



As the Middle East descends into proxy wars, sectarian conflicts and battles against terrorist networks, countries in the region that have stockpiled American military hardware are now actually using it and wanting more. The result is a boom for American defense contractors looking for foreign business in an era of shrinking Pentagon budgets — but also the prospect of a dangerous new arms race in a region where the map of alliances has been sharply redrawn.



Last week, defense industry officials told Congress that they were expecting within days a request from Arab allies fighting the Islamic State — Saudi Arabia, the Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, Jordan and Egypt — to buy thousands of American-made missiles, bombs and other weapons, replenishing an arsenal that has been depleted over the past year."



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UPDATE 2-MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi Arabia jumps before market opens to foreigners | Reuters

UPDATE 2-MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi Arabia jumps before market opens to foreigners | Reuters:



"Saudi Arabia's bourse surged in early trade on Sunday after the regulator said it would open the bourse to direct foreign investment from June 15.



The main index rose 3.9 percent to 9,614 points, breaking minor technical resistance at the late March high of 9,377 points and standing above the 200-day average, now at 9,572 points. It has not stayed above the average on a sustained basis since last November.



The kingdom announced last July that it would permit direct foreign purchases of shares in the first half of 2015, as a way to expose companies to market discipline, diversify the economy beyond oil and create jobs."



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Sabic profit down 39% on lower oil price | The National

Sabic profit down 39% on lower oil price | The National:



"Saudi Basic Industries Corp (Sabic), one of the world’s largest petrochemicals groups, reported a 39 percent drop in first-quarter net income on Sunday that was not as large a fall as analysts had forecast.



Sabic made a net profit of 3.93 billion riyals (Dh3.84bn) in the three months ending March 31, down from 6.44bn riyals in the year-earlier period, the company said in a bourse statement.



This was above the average forecast of seven analysts polled by Reuters, who had predicted that Sabic would make a quarterly profit of 3.50bn riyals."



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IMF downgrades UAE growth forecast, says Gulf governments must cut spending | The National

IMF downgrades UAE growth forecast, says Gulf governments must cut spending | The National:



"The IMF has called on Arabian Gulf governments to cut total public spending in response to lower oil prices, as it again downgraded its growth forecast for the UAE.



GCC members must “moderate the pace of spending in the medium term” to “save resources for future generation” and achieve a sustainable fiscal situation, Masood Ahmed, the IMF’s chief economist for the Middle East, said in Washington on Friday.



This is the first time since last year’s oil price fall that the IMF has called on GCC members to reduce total planned expenditures."



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Sizing up what Iran could bring to the oil table | GulfNews.com

Sizing up what Iran could bring to the oil table | GulfNews.com:



"Iran contains some of the largest and most attractive petroleum resources in the world, so any easing of sanctions could have a major impact on oil and gas markets in the second half of the decade. Iran’s possible re-emergence as a major exporter would force a reordering of the world oil market both because of the country’s location on the cost-curve and the quality of its oil.



Iran’s proved oil reserves of 160 billion barrels, almost 10 per cent of the world total, rank it fourth after Venezuela (300 billion barrels), Saudi Arabia (265 billion barrels) and Canada (175 billion barrels), according to BP. The country also has the world’s largest proved gas reserves of almost 34 trillion cubic metres (18 per cent of the global total), putting it ahead of Russia (17 per cent) and Qatar (13 per cent).



Iran’s petroleum resources are contained in large, conventional reservoirs with excellent geological properties that make them highly productive at a relatively low cost. Oil has been produced in Iran in commercial quantities since 1908, making it one of the world’s oldest producers."



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Gulf investors need a disconnect from oil’s trends | GulfNews.com

Gulf investors need a disconnect from oil’s trends | GulfNews.com:



"It is clear that the fall in oil prices has the potential to affect GCC economies significantly. Even the most diversified countries in the region still rely heavily on oil revenues as a source of public funds – the UAE has gone the farthest towards diversification, yet Dh6 out of every Dh10 received goes to fund public wages and benefits.



But the correction in prices should not come as a surprise. While it is partly the result of reduced demand, thanks to economic doldrums in some traditional markets, it is also partly down to increased supply and it will take some time for this new supply to dissipate.



It is true that in the past the performance of capital markets in the Middle East and North Africa was closely correlated to oil prices, and indeed GCC financial markets were highly affected following Opec’s decision last November to maintain its oil market share, rather than propping up prices."



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GE Holds Talks With Sovereign Funds for Finance-Assets Sale - Bloomberg Business

GE Holds Talks With Sovereign Funds for Finance-Assets Sale - Bloomberg Business:



"General Electric Co. has held talks with “a broad geographic spectrum” of sovereign wealth funds as part of the effort to sell the bulk of its lending business, Chief Financial Officer Jeff Bornstein said.



“We’re tracking every expression of interest inbound,” Bornstein said Friday in a telephone interview, declining to identify any suitors beyond saying that they included sovereign investors, banks, private-equity firms, hedge funds and insurers. “We have multiple, multiple pages of names. I think this is going to be very competitive.”



GE and its advisers have spoken to sovereign funds in Europe -- including Norway’s $882 billion vehicle -- as well as the Middle East and Asia to gauge potential interest in the GE Capital assets, according to people familiar with the matter. A representative for the Norwegian fund declined to comment."



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Revealed: how Tories covered up pro-EU evidence in key Whitehall report | World news | The Guardian

Revealed: how Tories covered up pro-EU evidence in key Whitehall report | World news | The Guardian:



"Japanese government: “The UK, as a champion of free trade, is a reliable partner for Japan. More than 1,300 Japanese companies have invested in the UK, as part of the single market of the EU, and have created 130,000 jobs, more than anywhere else in Europe.”



BAE Systems: “Generally, we consider that the UK achieves much greater global influence by acting as part of a bloc and that the UK has been particularly successful in influencing the direction and content of EU trade policies.”



BT: “We would be concerned if the benefits – particularly in terms of market access and competitiveness, and valuable EU level action on trade and competition policy, and the single market – were to be jeopardised by a renegotiation of competences where this substantially risked unravelling the existing balance.”"



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