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Wednesday, 20 May 2015

American’s Parker Says U.S. Rejected Early Freeze on Gulf Rivals - Bloomberg Business

American’s Parker Says U.S. Rejected Early Freeze on Gulf Rivals - Bloomberg Business:



"Federal regulators declined to freeze expansion in the U.S. by three Persian Gulf carriers while reviewing whether they’re unfairly subsidized, American Airlines’ chief executive officer Doug Parker said



U.S. officials turned down the request by American Airlines Group Inc., Delta Air Lines Inc. and United Continental Holdings Inc. because they don’t want to take any action while the review is still going on, Parker said in an interview at Bloomberg’s New York headquarters Tuesday. “They are doing their due diligence,” he said.



The U.S. trio has complained that Emirates, Qatar Airways Ltd. and Etihad Airways PJSC have received more than $40 billion in government support, providing an unfair competitive advantage. The U.S. airlines say the gulf carriers are adding as many flights as possible while regulators decide whether to seek talks over the issue."



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Standard Chartered Tumult in Middle East as Exits Quicken - Bloomberg Business

Standard Chartered Tumult in Middle East as Exits Quicken - Bloomberg Business:



"Nowhere, perhaps, is the turmoil at Standard Chartered Plc more evident than in the Middle East, as an exodus of top managers and exits from regional businesses threaten to undermine the bank’s top five position in debt capital markets.



While Viswanathan Shankar, Dubai-based chief executive officer for Europe, the Middle East, Africa and the Americas, is the highest profile departure to date, others are rapidly following. Afaq Khan, global head of Islamic banking, Mohsin Ali Nathani, CEO for the United Arab Emirates and Hassan Jarrar, CEO for Bahrain, are all leaving or will do so, according to people with knowledge of the matter who asked not to be identified.



The departures coincide with a push by local banks to muscle in on the bank’s traditional strength as an arranger of syndicated loans and bond deals in the Gulf. National Bank of Abu Dhabi has risen six positions since the end of 2013 to second on bond transactions this year, the spot Standard Chartered held at the end of 2013, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The London-based bank is in fifth place this year. Emirates NBD, the largest Dubai bank, is another local lender also climbing the rankings, advancing to sixth so far this year, compared with ninth in 2013."



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Banks hit by record fine for rigging forex markets | Business | The Guardian

Banks hit by record fine for rigging forex markets | Business | The Guardian:



"The reputation of the banking industry took another hammering on Wednesday as the fines imposed on major banks – including Barclays and bailed-out Royal Bank of Scotland – for rigging foreign exchange markets topped £6.3bn.



The US Department of Justice accused the industry of “breathtaking flagrancy” as, along with other regulators on both sides of the Atlantic, it imposed a record $5.7bn (£3.7bn) of punishments on six banks. The new fines followed£2.6bn of penalties announced in November for manipulation of the £3.5tn a day currency markets.



Barclays was fined £1.5bn by five regulators, including a record £284m by the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority. The FCA will hand its fine to the chancellor, George Osborne. Yet Barclays’ stock market value rose by £1.5bn as a result of a 3% rise in its share price amid relief the fine was not even larger. RBS’s shares also rose 1.8%. The increases came even though the regulators said there could be more fines to come."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Oil weighs on Saudi petchems; Egypt pulls back after rally | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Oil weighs on Saudi petchems; Egypt pulls back after rally | Reuters:



"Gulf stock markets were mixed on Wednesday as oil prices failed to recover the previous day's losses, while Egypt's bourse pulled back following a broad rally prompted by a decision to delay the unpopular capital gains tax.



Brent oil fell over 3 percent on Tuesday to a one-month low of $63.95 per barrel on a U.S. dollar rally and concern about a building glut, which Goldman Sachs said would lead to a return to 2015 lows.



It rose 1.5 percent on Wednesday after strong Japanese economic growth surprised markets, but remained below $65."



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UPDATE 2-MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi Arabia slips, Egypt pulls back after rally | Reuters

UPDATE 2-MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi Arabia slips, Egypt pulls back after rally | Reuters:



"Saudi Arabia's stock market edged down in early trade on Wednesday after oil prices dropped, while Egypt's bourse pulled back following a broad rally prompted by a move to delay the unpopular capital gains tax.



Brent oil fell over 3 percent on Tuesday to a one-month low of $63.95 per barrel on a U.S. dollar rally and concern about a building glut, which Goldman Sachs said would lead to a return to 2015 lows.



It has risen 1.2 percent on Wednesday after strong Japanese economic growth surprised markets, but remains below $65."



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Drill deeper than oil for Saudi prosperity - FT.com

Drill deeper than oil for Saudi prosperity - FT.com:



"When your income is cut in half, it helps to have a few dollars on hand, but even then you will have to make changes. So it is in Saudi Arabia, whose main export — oil — fetches two-fifths less than it did a year ago. The choices now being made stand to alter the face of the kingdom.



The Saudis have amassed an enviable war chest since the last oil price slump ended at the turn of the century, recording a budget surplus in all but two of the years since 2001. Government debt has fallen from about 100 per cent of gross domestic product to almost nothing. Foreign exchange reserves are enough to satisfy import appetite for close to three years.



Still, something has to give. Saudi Arabia will register its first double-digit budget deficit this year. With the oil price seemingly stuck at $60-odd a barrel, businesses are watching for clues to what the government might do next."



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Russia: economy in tatters, or business as usual? | beyondbrics

Russia: economy in tatters, or business as usual? | beyondbrics:



"Much has been said over the last six months about the collapse of the Russian economy as a result of sanctions and the falling oil price, on top of other negative factors such as bureaucracy and corruption, high inflation, inefficiencies in production, ageing infrastructure, a failure to innovate and diversify and capital flight. A slew of economic data point to a deep recession, and US President Barack Obama describes Russia’s economy as being in tatters. No one seems to be denying the long-term negative impact on the economy; even the government expects two tough years ahead, a prediction regarded as hopelessly optimistic by many economists.



However, anecdotally at least, it doesn’t feel like a financial meltdown here in Russia.



There are no Venezuela-style food queues, or queues for foreign hard currency. Shopping centres in Moscow are buzzing with people buying western imported goods, supermarkets remain fully stocked (although the steak is now Argentinian and not Australian), new caf├ęs and other outlets are popping up everywhere and the usual temporary wooden terraces are being constructed on pavements outside restaurants to catch the summer tourist trade (these tourists being mostly Russians from other parts of the country, as has always been the case). Roads are still gridlocked, public transport still packed and the airports are overrun with Russian sun-seekers flying off to Florida, Rome, Turkey and Thailand, along with those travelling to other cities in Russia to reunite with relatives and loved ones."



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UPDATE 1-MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf markets edge up, Emaar rises ahead of Egypt unit's IPO | Reuters

UPDATE 1-MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf markets edge up, Emaar rises ahead of Egypt unit's IPO | Reuters:



"Gulf stock markets edged up in early trade on Wednesday and Emaar Properties supported Dubai's bourse after announcing its intention to float its Egyptian subsidiary.



Emaar rose 0.9 percent after saying it would float a 13 percent stake in the subsidiary and use some of share sale proceeds to fund new developments in Egypt and grow its land bank in the country.



Dubai's index climbed 0.7 percent as most other stocks were also positive."



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EU membership is in UK's national interest - CBI - BBC News

EU membership is in UK's national interest - CBI - BBC News:



"Businesses should "speak out early" in favour of remaining in a reformed European Union, the president of the Confederation of British Industry says.



Sir Mike Rake will argue at the group's annual dinner that firms "must be crystal clear that membership is in our national interest".



There are "no credible alternatives" to EU membership, Sir Mike will say."



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