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Tuesday, 12 May 2015

MIDEAST STOCKS-Volatile oil, Yemen concerns leave Gulf markets mixed | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Volatile oil, Yemen concerns leave Gulf markets mixed | Reuters:



"Gulf stock markets were mixed on Tuesday as oil prices swung from loss to gain and it remained unclear whether an agreed truce in Yemen would take effect and stay in place.



Saudi-led air strikes pounded the Yemeni capital Sanaa on Tuesday, hours before a five-day truce was set to begin between the alliance of Gulf Arab nations and the Iran-allied Houthi militia that controls much of the country.



Brent crude, which fell in early trade, pared losses and rose towards $66 a barrel as the Yemen conflict and a weaker U.S. dollar lifted prices."



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UPDATE 2-MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi Arabia slips, but SACO surges on listing | Reuters

UPDATE 2-MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi Arabia slips, but SACO surges on listing | Reuters:



"Bourses in Saudi Arabia and Egypt slipped in early trade on Tuesday, but retailer Saudi Company for Tools and Hardware (SACO) IPO-TOOLS.SE jumped as it started trading after an oversubscribed initial public offer.



Saudi-led air strikes pounded the Yemeni capital Sanaa on Tuesday, hours before a five-day truce was set to begin between the alliance of Gulf Arab nations and the Iran-allied Houthi militia that controls much of the country.



Yemen concerns lifted Brent oil about 1 percent towards $66 per barrel, but appeared to have dampened the mood of Gulf investors."



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Roshen stale at discussion of primary interest of potential buyers – seller's advisor

Roshen stale at discussion of primary interest of potential buyers – seller's advisor:



"The potential buyers of the Roshen confectionary corporation have not sent preliminary or final price offers, Managing Director of ICU Investment Group Makar Paseniuk has said.



ICU Investment Group acts as an advisor to the seller.



"Today the seller of Roshen did not receive any – preliminary and final – offers for the whole business via authorized advisors… We don’t know who and how much is ready to pay," he said."



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Saudi Aramco said to plan spending US$80 billion on foreign acquisitions and investments - bi-me.com

Saudi Aramco said to plan spending US$80 billion on foreign acquisitions and investments - Business Intelligence Middle East - bi-me.com - News, analysis, reports:



"Saudi Arabian Oil Co., the world’s largest oil exporter, is planning to spend between $70 billion and $80 billion on overseas acquisitions and investments during the next five years, three people with knowledge of the matter said.



The investment is part of the state-owned company’s target of spending $150 billion at home and internationally through 2019, the people said, asking not to be identified as the information is private. Saudi Aramco, as the company is known, will focus on Asia, particularly China and Korea, they said.



Saudi Aramco is expanding in refining and petrochemicals and seeking to boost ties with Asia as part of its ambition to become both the world’s largest oil and chemicals producer by the end of the decade. Last year, it bought a $2 billion stake in S-Oil Corp., South Korea’s third-largest oil refiner."



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Austria’s ruling means Ukraine will remain a country where crime pays | beyondbrics

Austria’s ruling means Ukraine will remain a country where crime pays | beyondbrics:



"Austria’s refusal to extradite Dmitry Firtash to the US is confirmation that Europe holds two contradictory positions on corruption. While the European Union urges Ukraine to fight corruption, some of its member states – such as Latvia, Cyprus (still the largest ‘foreign investor’ into Ukraine), the UK, Austria, France, Monaco and Switzerland, along with Caribbean offshore zones such as the Virgin Islands – continue to enjoy the fruits of corrupt proceeds that are laundered abroad.



Firtash, a Ukrainian gas mogul and former partner of Gazprom, had been charged in the US with involvement in an international racketeering conspiracy that allegedly paid $18.5m in bribes to government officials in India in exchange for permits to mine titanium for export to Boeing in Chicago.



Ukraine is the most corrupt country in Europe, according to the anti-corruption watchdog Transparency International. But it will remain a country where crime pays because members of its elites are never criminally convicted."



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Saudi Arabia will stick to non-intervention as oil prices rise - FT.com

Saudi Arabia will stick to non-intervention as oil prices rise - FT.com:



"As oil prices halved last year, investors and traders kept expecting Saudi Arabia to intervene. It took oil minister Ali al-Naimi and his officials months to persuade everyone that the kingdom was quite content to let market forces determine prices and clean up excess supply.



Now that oil is on the way up again — Brent at $65 a barrel has risen by nearly 50 per cent from its January low — markets are once more waiting for Saudi to act: this time to stop prices from rising too rapidly so that they do not choke off a global recovery and encourage battered US shale oil producers to redeploy rigs. Some are pointing to a surge in Saudi crude output from 9.7m barrels per day in January and February to 10.3m in March and a push to regain US market share as evidence that Riyadh is indeed turning pushy.



This view is being reinforced by a dramatic power shuffle that has forced Naimi to surrender the chairmanship of Aramco (the world’s largest oil company) and put new King Salman’s youngest son Mohammad in charge of a new Supreme Council atop Aramco, even though the 34-year old has no oil sector experience."



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IMF chief tells Oman time make 'urgent' progress on cutting subsidies | The National

IMF chief tells Oman time make 'urgent' progress on cutting subsidies | The National:



"Oman needs to make “urgent” progress on cutting subsidies and raising taxes if it is to secure its fiscal future, the IMF mission chief to the country said in an interview.



“The urgency for implementing fiscal reforms has increased,” Ananthakrishnan Prasad told The National. “Previously there was a long-term fiscal sustainability issue. Now there’s the additional challenge of financing double-digit fiscal deficits as a share of GDP over the medium term.”



Oman is set to run a fiscal deficit of 15 per cent this year and 17 per cent in 2016 as the low oil price eats into export earnings and blows a hole in the country’s budget. The country also ran a narrow deficit last year."



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Airline subsidy spat won’t be a diplomatic issue, says Minister of Economy | GulfNews.com

Airline subsidy spat won’t be a diplomatic issue, says Minister of Economy | GulfNews.com:



"The ongoing spat between UAE and US carriers over government subsidies will not develop into a diplomatic issue for Abu Dhabi and Washington DC, UAE Minister of Economy, Sultan Al Mansouri, has said.



The US’ three largest airlines, Delta, United and American, are irked by the rapid growth of the UAE’s largest airlines, Emirates and Etihad Airways, as well as Doha-based Qatar Airways. The US carriers, alleging that the growth of the three Gulf airlines was only made possible with $42 billion (Dh154 billion) in unfair state subsidies, want their government to rethink open skies agreements with the UAE and Qatar.



The spat has so far mainly played out in the media with executives from the six airlines locked in a tit-for-tat, but asked on Monday if it could become a government-to-government issue, Al Mansouri said, “No, not at all.”"



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Businesses see opportunities in Iran if sanctions are eased | GulfNews.com

Businesses see opportunities in Iran if sanctions are eased | GulfNews.com:



"As the United States and five major world powers hold talks with Iran to ease sanctions over its controversial nuclear enrichment programme, petrochemical companies see opportunities in the Islamic republic to expand their business.



A top executive of the US-based Honeywell UOP, which is involved in delivering technology to the petrochemical industry said that if sanctions are eased, there will be plenty of opportunities for companies.



“If the deal is reached, there would be a lot of potential. We started contingency plans to look at what the opportunities will be and how we would mobilise our sales and market forces. We don’t have any contacts or sales in the country but we know who the players are,” said Michael T Millard, senior vice-president and general manager of catalysts, absorbents and specialities in UOP."



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Alibaba’s Ma Forges Relationship-Building Tech Deal With Dubai - Bloomberg Business

Alibaba’s Ma Forges Relationship-Building Tech Deal With Dubai - Bloomberg Business:



"Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.’s cloud-computing subsidiary is teaming up with Dubai-based Meraas Holding LLC as the company uses its technology to extend its influence beyond China.



The joint venture of Alibaba’s Aliyun and Meraas will provide a broad swath of technology to businesses and governments in the Middle East and North Africa. Jack Ma, Alibaba’s executive chairman, and the rest of the Hangzhou, China-based multinational’s management team, laid the groundwork for the deal in a meeting last September with the ruler of Dubai, Aliyun President Simon Hu said in an interview.



The collaboration is “based on the Alibaba international strategy as well as the development of the Chinese international strategy,” Hu said. “Aliyun will export its technology capabilities and help Dubai to build its data capacity.”"



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Saudi Fuel Exports Throw Lifeline to Tankers as Refining Surges - Bloomberg Business

Saudi Fuel Exports Throw Lifeline to Tankers as Refining Surges - Bloomberg Business:



"With Arab Gulf diesel exports poised to exceed imports for the first time, owners of fuel tankers are ordering more ships.



Overseas sales of refined products from the Gulf may rise 45 percent over the next decade, outpacing a 13 percent increase in crude exports. The region will become a net exporter of diesel next year, according to JBC Energy GmbH. Scorpio Tankers Inc. is adding 15 fuel tankers to its fleet while D’Amico International Shipping SA ordered two more to meet demand it expects from longer shipping routes to service the surge.



Seeking to extract more value from their resources by processing them, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf producers will add at least 1.4 million barrels a day of refining capacity over the next five years, according to BMI Research, a unit of the Fitch Group. After meeting domestic demand they will ship the more-lucrative fuels abroad, boosting product tankers whose average rates this year are the highest since 2011."



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Standard Chartered Said to Plan Exit of SME Banking in Bahrain - Bloomberg Business

Standard Chartered Said to Plan Exit of SME Banking in Bahrain - Bloomberg Business:



"Standard Chartered Plc, the British bank that generates most of its revenue in Asia, plans to exit from its small and medium-enterprise lending business in Bahrain, according to three people with knowledge of the matter.



The lender aims to close the business gradually over the next two years and may move some of its larger SME clients to the corporate banking segment, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private. Standard Chartered remains committed to Bahrain, although it continues to review its businesses across various markets as part of its new strategy, Ramy Lawand, the bank’s Dubai-based spokesman, said in an e-mailed response to questions.



Standard Chartered is scaling back after two years of lower profit amid slower growth in Asia. A slump in the shares has led to a shakeup in top management, with Chairman John Peace, Chief Executive Officer Peter Sands, Asia head Jaspal Bindra and Viswanathan Shankar, head of Europe, Middle East, Africa and Americas, all leaving the bank or set to do so."



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