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Wednesday, 19 August 2015

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi sinks 2.5 pct, Egypt drops; valuations support UAE | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi sinks 2.5 pct, Egypt drops; valuations support UAE | Reuters:



"Most major Middle East stock
markets fell on Wednesday in response to weak oil prices, while
panic selling again gripped Saudi Arabia, causing its index
to slide 2.5 percent and bringing its losses this month
to 12.2 percent.



About $50 billion of market capitalisation has been
destroyed in Saudi Arabia so far this month as local retail
investors dump stocks.



Although the economy is still growing strongly, buoyed by
heavy government spending, cheap oil is hurting state finances
and the government began this month to sell bonds to banks to
cover its budget deficit. Some investors worry this could
tighten liquidity in the private sector over the long run."



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#UAE arrest prominent economist and pro-democracy activist | Middle East Eye

UAE arrest prominent economist and pro-democracy activist | Middle East Eye:



"The United Arab Emirates on Tuesday arrested a prominent Emirati economist who has previously supported calls for democratic reform in the oil-rich Gulf state.


State security arrested Nasser bin Ghaith at 2pm local time (1000 GMT) at his work in Abu Dhabi, activists told Middle East Eye on condition of anonymity.



He was taken to Dubai where security service agents searched his home for over four and a half hours. At 8.30pm (1630 GMT) he was taken to an unknown location by security services, where he remained as of Wednesday morning."



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Abu Dhabi Financial Group boosts equity in troubled Gulf Navigation | The National

Abu Dhabi Financial Group boosts equity in troubled Gulf Navigation | The National:



"Abu Dhabi Financial Group has lifted its stake in Gulf Navigation to 5.19 per cent and plans to hold turnaround talks with the troubled Dubai-based shipping company.



Integrated Capital, the capital markets unit of the alternative investment firm with US$3 billion in assets, bought more than 28.61 million shares.



It did not disclose the size of its equity in Gulf Navigation before the latest investment."



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Riyadh needs multi-year fiscal adjustments — IMF | GulfNews.com

Riyadh needs multi-year fiscal adjustments — IMF | GulfNews.com:



"The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has urged Saudi Arabia, which derives 90 per cent of its revenues from oil and gas, to undertake a “multi-year fiscal adjustment” to fight another round of correction in crude oil prices.



Brent crude has shed more than half of its value in the past one year, making the budgets of the GCC states more vulnerable, and the IMF feels this has increased the importance of structural reforms to switch the focus of growth to the private sector.



Over the medium term, due to continued expenditure growth, Saudi Arabia could witness a very large fiscal deficit this year and over the medium term, eroding the country’s fiscal buffers."



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Low oil prices push GCC to consider VAT | GulfNews.com

Low oil prices push GCC to consider VAT | GulfNews.com:



"The proposal by the Ministry of Finance to introduce Value Added Tax (VAT) stemmed from the fact that revenue from crude oil and other hydrocarbon products had gone down because of low oil prices, an analyst told Gulf News. 




Sanyalaksna Manibandhu, Head of Research, NBAD Securities, said the decision was expected and the next step would be potentially corporate tax and income tax.



“The revenue from crude oil and other hydrocarbon products had gone down because of the declining oil prices. Depending on how VAT and corporate tax is introduced that would obviously increase the revenue and reduce the fiscal deficit.”"



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Come and see for yourself, Iran’s Ambassador tells foreign investors | GulfNews.com

Come and see for yourself, Iran’s Ambassador tells foreign investors | GulfNews.com:



"Iran will offer foreign investors guarantees in a move to sure up economic growth when years of sanctions are expected to be lifted early next year.



“Everything is ready for investment and joint ventures … We’re capable of cooperation and [of] giving guarantees to foreign investments,” Mohammad Reza Fayyaz, the Ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Arab Emirates, said in an interview at the Embassy in Abu Dhabi on Monday.



Iran reached an agreement in July with six world powers to limit its nuclear programme in exchange for the removal of sanctions that have crippled its economy. The agreement still needs to be approved by the United States Congress and Iranian Parliament but sanctions are expected to be removed in early 2016."



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