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Sunday, 31 January 2016

Iranian energy investment could take a while, IFC says | The National

Iranian energy investment could take a while, IFC says | The National:

"The International Finance Corporation (IFC) has started discussions with companies interested in investing in Iran, but it could take between six and nine months to materialise.

“It’s definitely a country with a huge amount of potential and I think we’ll see a huge programme,” said Mouayed Makhlouf, the Mena director at IFC, adding that investment could come next year. “We need to make sure we’re investing with the right people.”

One area that will be a prime opportunity is the power sector."



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Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank Q4 net profit rises 16 per cent | The National

Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank Q4 net profit rises 16 per cent | The National:

"Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, a titan of the emirate’s banking scene, said yesterday that its net profit surged 16 per cent in the fourth quarter, defying expectations of analysts amid lower oil prices and weakening economic growth in the UAE.

The bank said it escaped the worst effects of falling oil prices in part by reducing exposure to small and medium-sized businesses, a segment that has shown the highest signs of stress and whose bad debts have hit smaller banks most keenly. At the same time, ADCB said it reduced money set aside to cover bad debts in the fourth quarter, a feat achieved only by a handful of lenders.

The bank said its profit in the last three months of the year increased to Dh1.19 billion compared to Dh1.02bn in the same period the previous year."



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Leaders chart new strategic roadmap for the UAE after oil | The National

Leaders chart new strategic roadmap for the UAE after oil | The National:

"The country’s leaders on Sunday signalled a raft of initiatives to chart the UAE’s economic direction in a world of $30 oil.

As ministers concluded a two-day retreat in Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, directed the launch of the new strategy “in the coming weeks”, with moves in four main areas: human capital, building a knowledge-based economy, government policies and community.

“The development of human capital is the global currency of the 21st century economies, and the only way to achieve sustainable development and promote the UAE’s journey towards further progress and prosperity,” Sheikh Mohammed said."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf jumps on oil price recovery, Egypt edges higher | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf jumps on oil price recovery, Egypt edges higher | Reuters:

"Gulf stock markets rose sharply for a second straight trading day on Sunday after oil prices surged at the end of last week, though the Egyptian bourse closed far from its highs on persisting concern over the risk of currency depreciation.

Oil prices rebounded to almost $36 a barrel last week, from a 12-year low close to $27, on hopes that OPEC and non-OPEC producers might eventually agree on a deal restraining oil production to boost prices.

Such a deal is by no means guaranteed, however, and even if an agreement can be reached Gulf economies are still likely to face a difficult year as governments' austerity measures are felt by companies and consumers."



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MIDEAST MONEY-Iran to expand sale of Islamic treasury bills, spur debt markets | Reuters

MIDEAST MONEY-Iran to expand sale of Islamic treasury bills, spur debt markets | Reuters:

"Iran's government plans to increase its issues of short-term Islamic bonds this year, aiming to rejuvenate the domestic debt market and help reduce local firms' reliance on loans from a debt-laden banking sector.

In the wake of the lifting of nuclear-related sanctions, authorities in Tehran are rolling out a series of initiatives to develop the country's capital markets, such as new rules covering mortgage-backed securities.

Partly because low oil prices and the economic scars of sanctions have made foreign investors wary of lending to Iranian companies, most will initially have to rely on domestic investors for their funding needs."



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Bengal seeks to regain economic lustre - YouTube

Bengal seeks to regain economic lustre - YouTube: ""



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Mideast funds anticipate rebuilding equities positions -survey | Reuters

Mideast funds anticipate rebuilding equities positions -survey | Reuters:

"Many Middle East fund managers expect to start rebuilding their regional equities holdings in the next few months and have become less bearish towards bonds, a monthly Reuters survey shows.

The survey of 14 leading fund managers, conducted over the past 10 days, does not suggest funds are heavily bullish on stocks; many see a risk of further losses as austerity policies, adopted by governments in response to low oil prices, weigh on economies.

But the survey does suggest that funds have gone so far underweight on equities that they feel there is little room to continue cutting allocations, and that the next major change in allocations will be to increase them."



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Gulf governments will have to set market pace | GulfNews.com

Gulf governments will have to set market pace | GulfNews.com:

"The year 2015 can be marked by increased volatility across asset classes on the back of series of events that unfolded from possible “Grexit” from the EU to China’s sudden devaluation, and to end the year with Fed’s policy lift-off.

The rapidly changing themes during the year also took investors by storm, as before they could absorb one, the next one was already looming in the background. The year also witnessed depletion of global forex reserves held by central banks, falling from a peak of around $12 trillion (Dh44 trillion) in the beginning of the year to $11.25 trillion, the largest drop in decades.

Heightened concerns over Chinese growth has been the most important event due to the magnitude of its contribution to world economic growth, particularly those commodity-exporting economies with large amounts of dollar-dominated debt and a reliance on Chinese demand."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf markets surge on back of oil, global bourses | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf markets surge on back of oil, global bourses | Reuters:

"Gulf stock markets rose sharply early on Sunday, with strong trading volumes suggesting some investors were returning after oil prices and global equities jumped at the end of last week.

Dubai's index surged 3.1 percent to 2,945 points in the first hour with real estate blue chip Emaar Properties jumping 4.3 percent.

The index may face resistance between 3,000 points and the late December peak of 3,189."



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Saturday, 30 January 2016

Open skies dispute between US and Gulf airlines escalates | The National

Open skies dispute between US and Gulf airlines escalates | The National:

"The war of words between Arabian Gulf airlines and their American rivals over open skies has been turned up a notch following allegations of declining traffic between the US and the Middle East.

The US airlines – American, Delta and United – claimed that bookings from Orlando, San Francisco and Chicago to the region and beyond were down by as much as 13.3 per cent following the entry of Emirates, Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways on those routes.

The claim prompted a strongly worded response from Emirates. “The latest rhetoric by the Big Three American airlines once again demonstrates how they are only concerned with their narrow interests, at the expense of consumers and the broader economic interest,” it said."



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Russia floats idea of oil output cut - YouTube

Russia floats idea of oil output cut - YouTube: ""



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Swiss investigators say US$4bn stolen from Malaysian state-owned companies | World news | The Guardian

Swiss investigators say US$4bn stolen from Malaysian state-owned companies | World news | The Guardian:

"Swiss prosecutors on Friday requested assistance from Malaysian authorities in investigating massive theft from a state-owned firm at the centre of a graft scandal.

Swiss investigators said they believed around US$4bn had been stolen from Malaysian state-owned companies, funding that was earmarked for economic and social development projects in Malaysia.

“A small portion” of the cash was transferred into Swiss accounts held by former Malaysian officials as well as current and former officials from the United Arab Emirates, the Swiss attorney general’s office said in a statement."



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Friday, 29 January 2016

Malaysia’s 1MDB may need state bailout I FT World Notebook - YouTube

Malaysia’s 1MDB may need state bailout I FT World Notebook - YouTube: ""



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Amanda Staveley sues Barclays for almost £1bn - FT.com

Amanda Staveley sues Barclays for almost £1bn - FT.com:

"Barclays has been hit with a lawsuit for nearly £1bn from Amanda Staveley, the dealmaker known for her Middle Eastern connections, over the lender’s emergency £5.8bn fundraising in 2008.
Ms Staveley’s PCP Capital Partners has sued Barclays in London, according to a court listing dated earlier this week. While it gave no details of the nature of the dispute, the bank confirmed it hinged on its capital call at the height of the financial crisis."



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Japan's negative rates in 90 seconds I FT World - YouTube

Japan's negative rates in 90 seconds I FT World - YouTube: ""



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Turquoise Newsletter - January 2016 Edition - Iran TSE PDF

Turquoise Newsletter - January 2016 Edition - PDF: "Turquoise Newsletter - January 2016 Edition"



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Gmail - Iran Weekly Market Report - 28 January 2016

Gmail - Iran Weekly Market Report - 28 January 2016:

"Summary

The Tehran Stock Exchange experienced solid growth in the last week of January 2016. This week, the TSE All-Share Index recorded positive returns for five days in a row and recorded an increase of 6.68%, closing at 71,011. It is the highest the index has closed at since December 2014. On Wednesday, the All-Share Index rose to 71,492, but then re­ceded by 0.68% in the final hours, closing at 71,011. The positive performance of the TSE’s main index was supported by most sectors this week. Among the major sectors, Automotive (+15.06%), Metallic Ore (+14.28%) and Base Metals (+9.67%) were the main movers behind TEDPIX’s weekly surge. Transportation & Logistics (-1.23%) was the only major sector which negatively affected the index. Over the last two weeks, optimism about the Automotive sector has resulted in extraordinary growth for auto companies’ shares, while Banks, the other sector affected by the sanctions, experienced lower growth this week, increasing by 8.86%. Investors placed higher values on mining and metals companies this week, following slight improvements in the prices of some global commodities. Esfahan Mobarakeh Steel Co. (FOLD +11.25%) was one of the shares that exerted the greatest influence on the TSE All-Share Index, even though the company’s projected income for the current financial year projects a sharp drop from the previous year. In an audited report published on January 19, 2016, FOLD reduced its projected net income for the financial year ending March 19, 2016 by 8% to IRR 9,422 billion (approx. USD 262 million). This is 60% lower than the previous year. The engineering company, Mapna Group (MPAN 10.3%), was also one of the other top influencers on the TSE’s main index. The unaudited 2Q reports of the company show an increase of 18% in net income, reaching IRR 2,095 billion (approx. USD 58 million). The company’s projected net income for the year ending on March 19, 2016 is IRR 6,220 billion (IRR 173 million), 3% higher than the last year.

 

A technical analysis of this week’s performance highlights that the TSE All-Share Index decisively surpassed the resistance level of 70,000, but dropped slightly after getting close to 71,500. The poor return of the index on Wednesday might mark the beginning of a slower pace of growth, though market sentiment remains bullish and the current up­trend has been supported by strong market volume. The TEDPIX is already above the 50 day EMA by around 11%, reflecting its quick surge. If the current surge continues, the index is likely to experience resistance at 76,500, a level which blocked the index’s up­trend in November 2014. Technical analysis indicators suggest there is potential for fur­ther growth, though the Money Flow Index and RSI have been signaling an overbought status for over a week. If the index falls below the 70,000 level, the current outlook could change.

 

The index of the thirty largest companies by market capitalization, the TSE30 index, rec­orded a 7.75% increase, closing at 3,036. Iran Khodro (IKCO +19.1%) experienced the highest gain among the top 30s. There is positive sentiment regarding auto companies’ ability to upscale production and widen their product range by cooperating with interna­tional auto companies. Iran Khodro and Peugeot are currently in negotiations to develop a product line of Peugeot cars inside Iran via a joint venture partnership. Peugeot cars are one of the dominant brands inside Iran with 36% of market share, assembled through IKCO’s factories. The weakest performance in the TSE30 index was recorded by Pardis Petrochemical Co. (PRDZ +0.81%). On Sunday, the company published unaudited pro­jections for the year ending September 21, 2016. PRDZ expects to earn IRR 9,966 billion (approx. USD 278 million) in net profits, showing almost no change from last year’s actual net earnings.

"



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Thursday, 28 January 2016

Iran's new golden age | FT World - YouTube

Iran's new golden age | FT World - YouTube: ""



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Al Futtaim Group eyes Iran’s growing retail market in regional expansion | The National

Al Futtaim Group eyes Iran’s growing retail market in regional expansion | The National:

"Al Futtaim Group is considering entry into Iran and expanding in Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Asia as the Dubai-based conglomerate seeks to grow its retail offering in populous markets, a company official said.

“We are closely monitoring the developments and we might enter Iran,” said Paul Delaoutre, the president of retail at Al Futtaim. “It is a very large population, 80 million people, and they are already sophisticated in their approach to fashion and they are very keen on spending money on western brands.”

The Iranian retail market grew by 30 per cent in 2014 compared with a year earlier, according to data provider and research firm Euromonitor International. Sales are forecast to grow further because of the country’s young population and high disposable income."



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Al Gosaibis seek Saudi consent to settle dispute over $6bn debt | The National

Al Gosaibis seek Saudi consent to settle dispute over $6bn debt | The National:

"The Al Gosaibi family of Saudi Arabia is to seek the blessing of the kingdom’s authorities for its proposals to settle the six-year dispute with creditors over its US$6 billion of debts by the end of this year.

Ahmed Hamed Al Gosaibi & Brothers (Ahab), the family partnership that owes the money after the collapse of its business in a storm of accusations in 2009, presented updated proposals to international claimants at a special meeting in Dubai yesterday and mapped out the steps towards implementation of the plan.

A statement from the company said: “Ahab has invited claimants into a process to agree the amounts of their claims so they may be presented to the judicial authorities in Saudi Arabia together with the settlement agreement. This will allow all parties to enter into a comprehensive agreement.”"



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Kuwait projects record deficit on falling oil income | GulfNews.com

Kuwait projects record deficit on falling oil income | GulfNews.com:

"Kuwait projected a record budget deficit for the fiscal year starting April 1 on the sliding price of oil, the finance ministry said on Thursday.

The shortfall for the 2016-2017 fiscal year is estimated at 11.5 billion dinars ($38 billion) due to a sharp decline in oil revenues, the ministry said on its Twitter account.

Spending was estimated at 18.9 billion dinars, just 1.6 per cent lower than in the current year, the ministry said."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf stocks gain and volumes grow as oil rises over $33 | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf stocks gain and volumes grow as oil rises over $33 | Reuters:

"Stocks rose in the Middle East on Thursday after Brent oil climbed above $33 a barrel, and higher trading volumes suggested some investors were returning to the markets.

Valuations have plunged in recent weeks, but many traders and fund managers believe that if Brent is above $30, investor jitters should ease enough for stock markets to stage at least a short-term rally.

Saudi petrochemical stocks made solid gains, with Saudi Basic Industries, the largest such stock by market value, jumping 4.2 percent. The sub-index added 4.2 percent, underpinning a 3.2 percent rise in Riyadh's main index to 5,880 points."



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Russia says Saudis proposing global oil production cut | Reuters

Russia says Saudis proposing global oil production cut | Reuters:

"Russia said on Thursday that OPEC's largest producer Saudi Arabia, had proposed oil production cuts of up to 5 percent in what would be the first global deal in over a decade to help clear a glut of crude and prop up sinking prices.

Benchmark Brent futures LCOc1 jumped as much as 8 percent on Thursday to nearly $36 a barrel on news of the potential deal, which if implemented would immediately reduce surplus global output exceeding demand by 1 million barrels per day (bpd). Brent was trading at $34 a barrel at 1540 GMT.

A turnaround in oil's fortunes would be welcomed by oil-rich countries where the price collapse has caused budget squeezes and political turmoil with some even forced to devalue their currencies."



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Crude Carriers Cutting Speeds as World Swims in Glut of Oil - Bloomberg Business

Crude Carriers Cutting Speeds as World Swims in Glut of Oil - Bloomberg Business:

"The world’s biggest oil companies are asking tanker operators to slow down delivery of crude amid an ever-expanding supply glut on land, Europe’s largest owner of supertankers said.
Tankers hauling 2 million-barrel cargoes are delivering them at speeds of about 13 knots, compared with a maximum of 15, Paddy Rodgers, chief executive officer of Antwerp, Belgium-based Euronav NV, said in an interview in London on Thursday. The slower speeds might result in a voyage that would normally take 40 days instead lasting 48. Shore-based supplies are getting so big that it’s probable the need for storage at sea may soon grow, he said."



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Saudi December Net Foreign Assets Drop More Than $19 Billion - Bloomberg Business

Saudi December Net Foreign Assets Drop More Than $19 Billion - Bloomberg Business:

"The Saudi central bank’s net foreign assets tumbled more than $19 billion in December as the kingdom draws on reserves amid the plunge in oil prices.
Reserves declined about 3 percent to more than $608 billion, bringing the drop in 2015 to $115 billion, according to central bank data released on Thursday.
While Saudi Arabia’s reserves remain among the highest in the world, the drop
underscores the kingdom’s struggle to cope with falling oil prices. Authorities are racing to find alternatives to revenue from crude exports to finance a budget deficit that stood at about 15 percent of economic output last year."



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Peugeot deal paves the way for French carmaker’s return to Iran - FT.com

Peugeot deal paves the way for French carmaker’s return to Iran - FT.com:

"PSA Peugeot Citro├źn on Thursday became the first western company to sign a binding contract with an Iranian group following the lifting of sanctions this year.
The French carmaker signed a joint venture with Iran Khodro to produce a range of cars, saying it expected to invest €400m over the next five years to develop facilities in the country."



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IMF and World Bank move to forestall oil-led defaults - FT.com

IMF and World Bank move to forestall oil-led defaults - FT.com:

"Officials from the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank are heading to Azerbaijan to discuss a possible $4bn emergency loan package in what risks becoming the first of a series of bailouts stemming from the tumbling oil price.
The Baku visit, which follows a currency crisis triggered by the collapse in crude, comes amid concern at the two global institutions over emerging market producers from central Asia to Latin America."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi firms as Brent settles above $30; Egypt up in modest volumes | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi firms as Brent settles above $30; Egypt up in modest volumes | Reuters:

"Saudi Arabian stocks firmed up on Thursday as oil prices held above $30 a barrel, while Egypt edged higher on modest volumes.

Brent futures were holding above $33, having risen 4 percent on Wednesday after Russian officials said they should talk to Saudi Arabia and other OPEC countries about output cuts to bolster prices.

Saudi petrochemical stocks made solid gains in early trade, with Saudi Basic Industries, the largest petrochemical stock by market value, rising 2.6 percent. The sub-index was up 2.6 percent, underpinning a 2.1 percent rise in Riyadh's bourse."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf bourses rise after Russia raises oil output issue | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf bourses rise after Russia raises oil output issue | Reuters:

"Stock markets in United Arab Emirates and Qatar rose in early trade on Thursday as oil prices held above $30 a barrel.

Brent futures surged 4 percent on Wednesday after Russian officials decided they should talk to Saudi Arabia and other OPEC countries about output cuts to bolster prices. The futures edged back down slightly on Thursday to $32.61.

Dubai's share index was up 1.2 percent with volumes picking up. The bourse jumped 2.0 percent on Wednesday."



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Key Facts About Iran's Economy as Red Carpets Replace Sanctions - Bloomberg Business

Key Facts About Iran's Economy as Red Carpets Replace Sanctions - Bloomberg Business:

"Less than a fortnight after a decade of crippling economic sanctions on Iran ended, President Hassan Rouhani is being treated to red carpets, dinners with top CEOs and billion-dollar deals in Europe.
In Italy, accords worth $22 billion covered industries from natural gas to high-speed rail, while in France Rouhani is expected to purchase Airbus Group SE jetliners and seal manufacturing partnerships with PSA Peugeot Citroen and Renault SA. The speed with which the president traveled to Europe once July’s nuclear deal finally came into force underscored the depth of Iran’s economic problems.
Here’s a look at the state of Iran’s economy, and the $102 billion budget Rouhani proposed to parliament before leaving Tehran, urging the nation to “seize the opportunity for an economic leap” forward."



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Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Bad loans catch up with UAE’s big banks | The National

Bad loans catch up with UAE’s big banks | The National:

"The growing level of non-performing loans has finally started to weigh on some of the UAE’s biggest banks after throwing some smaller rivals off kilter in recent quarters.

National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD), the UAE’s biggest bank by assets, said yesterday that its fourth-quarter profit slid 25 per cent while Mashreq, the Dubai-based lender, said income in the last quarter of the year fell about 14 per cent, as the steepest drop in crude oil prices since the financial crash of 2008 takes its toll on business confidence.

Dubai Islamic Bank, the largest Sharia-compliant lender, bucked the trend however, with income for the period gaining 38 per cent as provisions during 2015 fell from the previous year."



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Saudi Aramco dials back IPO talk | The National

Saudi Aramco dials back IPO talk | The National:

"Now that Saudi Arabia’s state oil company Aramco has taken its main asset – its oil reserves – off the table, what part of the company might it actually offer for sale to the public?

Ever since the idea of an initial public offering of shares in Aramco was floated by Mohammed bin Salman, deputy crown prince and 30-year-old son of Saudi Arabia’s King Salman, in an interview with The Economist this month, Aramco officials have been busy dialling back expectations.

The latest comments came from Aramco’s chairman, Khalid Al Falih, who took the air out of all the excited talk of a “multitrillion-dollar” flotation, although still leaving it vague what assets might actually be up for sale."



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Kuwait may issue bonds amid $100b oil-investment push | GulfNews.com

Kuwait may issue bonds amid $100b oil-investment push | GulfNews.com:

"Kuwait Petroleum Corp. is considering selling bonds to help pay for a planned investment of $100 billion over the next five years to boost oil output, echoing plans by Saudi Arabia to maintain spending on energy projects as global producers compete for market share.

State-run KPC is looking at issuing bonds and Islamic securities known as sukuk, the company’s chief executive officer Nizar Al Adsani said at a conference in Kuwait City. KPC had announced plans earlier this month to arrange a $10 billion loan to expand refineries to make cleaner-burning fuels. Kuwait, OPEC’s fourth-biggest producer, plans to expand its crude- production capacity to 4 million barrels a day by 2020, he said Tuesday.

A -Adsani’s remarks came a day after Khalid Al Falih, chairman of state-owned Saudi Arabian Oil Co., said his company, the world’s biggest producer, has formulated a new strategy in response to cheaper crude and is keeping up its investments. Together, the comments of both officials suggest that at least two of OPEC’s core Arab producers are doubling down in long-term bets on their energy assets."



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Russians want to talk to OPEC about output, pipeline chief says | Reuters

Russians want to talk to OPEC about output, pipeline chief says | Reuters:

"Russian officials have decided they should talk to Saudi Arabia and other OPEC countries about output cuts to bolster oil prices, the head of Russia's pipeline monopoly said on Wednesday, remarks that helped spur a sharp rise in world prices.

Oil futures surged more than 5 percent after the comments by Nikolai Tokarev, head of oil pipeline monopoly Transneft, which gave the strongest hint yet of possible cooperation between the top non-OPEC oil producer and the cartel to try to reverse a record glut.

Brent crude rose by over $2 to $32.95 a barrel, after a session low of $30.83. It was also boosted by U.S. demand following a blizzard."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Bourses rise as oil remains over $30; Dubai gets boost from results | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Bourses rise as oil remains over $30; Dubai gets boost from results | Reuters:

"Bourses in the Middle East advanced on Wednesday as investors nerves were quelled, for now, by Brent prices trading over $30.

Many traders and fund managers believe that if Brent trades above $30 - a level investors have been eyeing as a floor - then the region's stock markets may get a temporary boost. Brent traded at $31.61 at 1249 GMT.

Saudi's benchmark index traded up 1.1 percent to 5,699 points, but is about 200 points away from the next resistance level."



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Dubai’s DP World says CEO retires with immediate effect | The National

Dubai’s DP World says CEO retires with immediate effect | The National:

"DP World’s long-serving chief executive Mohammed Sharaf has retired with immediate effect, the Dubai-based port operator said on Wednesday.

Mr Sharaf had been CEO for 11 years and worked for the company for 23 years, a statement to the Nasdaq Dubai bourse said.

DP World’s chairman Sultan bin Sulayem will carry out the CEO’s duties on interim basis, it said."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi, Egypt rise as Brent settles above $30 | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi, Egypt rise as Brent settles above $30 | Reuters:

"Bourses in Saudi Arabia and Egypt rose in early trade on Wednesday as investors, encouraged by signs that Brent crude may settle above $30 a barrel, moved back into a market that has been hit hard by weak oil prices this year.

Many traders and fund managers believe that if Brent trades above $30 - a level investors are keeping a close eye on - then the region's stock markets may get a temporary boost. Brent traded at $31.80 at 0902 GMT.

Saudi's benchmark index traded up 1.9 percent, after closing 0.5 higher on Tuesday.

"



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Dubai, Qatar rise; banks weigh on Abu Dhabi | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Dubai, Qatar rise; banks weigh on Abu Dhabi | Reuters:

"Dubai and Qatar's stock markets rose in early trade on Wednesday following a bounce back in oil prices since those bourses last traded, while blue-chip banks weighed on Abu Dhabi.

Brent crude was at $31.74 as of 0643 GMT, down 1.1 percent for the day, but it had been trading below $30 when the Dubai and Qatar markets closed on Tuesday.

Dubai's index rose 0.9 percent in brisk early trading - volumes in the first 15 minutes were more than double those of the previous session."



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Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Abu Dhabi GREs may look abroad for funding as credit tightens at home | The National

Abu Dhabi GREs may look abroad for funding as credit tightens at home | The National:

"A number of Abu Dhabi government-related entities (GREs) are said to be exploring finance options from international lenders as sources of funding at home become more expensive.

Corporate borrowing costs are increasing as deposits in banks dwindle and interest rates rise amid the steepest drop in oil since 2008.

The state investment firms Aabar and Mubadala, as well as the telecoms operator Etisalat, are said to each be seeking between US$2 billion and $2.5bn in loans, people familiar with the situation told The National yesterday."



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Etihad Rail suspends progress on stage two network through Abu Dhabi | The National

Etihad Rail suspends progress on stage two network through Abu Dhabi | The National:

"Etihad Rail, the developer and operator of the UAE’s national rail network, yesterday confirmed it has suspended the tendering process for the second stage of the project.

The announcement comes a week after it said it would cut jobs, citing operations ­efficiencies.

“The company has suspended the current stage two tender process while it reviews the most appropriate options for the timing and delivery of this phase of the project,” Etihad Rail said."



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Canada to lift Tehran sanctions, allow Bombardier to export to Iran | Reuters

Canada to lift Tehran sanctions, allow Bombardier to export to Iran | Reuters:

"Canada confirmed for the first time on Tuesday that it plans to lift its sanctions on Tehran and said that if Airbus is allowed to sell to Iran, then its aircraft maker Bombardier Inc should be allowed to export there as well.

"If Airbus is able to do it, why (will) Bombardier not be able to do it? In which way (is it) helping Canada, or the Iranian people, or Israel, or anyone, that Canada is hurting its own industry?" Dion said in an exchange with reporters.

Asked specifically if Bombardier would be allowed to do business with Iran as soon as sanctions are lifted, Dion said: "Legitimate business, certainly.""



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi, Egypt edge up as oil rebounds; other Gulf mkts slip | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi, Egypt edge up as oil rebounds; other Gulf mkts slip | Reuters:

"Bourses in Saudi Arabia and Egypt recovered earlier losses and edged higher on Tuesday as crude prices bounced back, while other major Gulf stock markets slid.

Brent climbed 82 cents over $30 a barrel at 1218 GMT on Tuesday, lifted by hopes that OPEC and non-OPEC producers may be edging closer to a deal to tackle one of the biggest supply gluts in decades.

Traders and managers in the region believe that if Brent prices break below $30 - the new psychological barrier most investors are eyeing - then bourses will remain vulnerable to further declines."



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Return of capital controls | FT World - YouTube

Return of capital controls | FT World - YouTube: ""



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Stock markets dip as oil falls towards $30 - FT.com

Stock markets dip as oil falls towards $30 - FT.com:

"Stock markets are in retreat as a renewed slide in oil prices towards $30 a barrel rattles investors and encourages buying of gold, Treasuries and the yen.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 is down 0.9 per cent after the FTSE Asia-Pacific index shed 1.6 per cent. China’s Shanghai Composite lost 6.4 per cent and US index futures suggest the S&P 500 will lose 12 points to 1,865.
Nervousness over corporate earnings is pressing Wall Street’s benchmark — investors are particularly wary of what Apple will reveal after the closing bell on Tuesday."



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Airbus Delays Causing ‘Large Financial Impact’ for Qatar - Bloomberg Business

Airbus Delays Causing ‘Large Financial Impact’ for Qatar - Bloomberg Business:

"Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker told Bloomberg his company is expanding services to Iran at the same time as adding ultra-long haul routes with new flights to Chile’s capital Santiago and Auckland in New Zealand using Boeing Co.’s 777-LR aircraft. The Gulf carrier was scheduled to take delivery of the first Airbus A320neo by the end of last year but has faced delays due to shortcomings of the engines, Al Baker said, citing issues with performance in the region’s high temperatures. The airline will also deploy Airbus A350s on more routes this year including Phuket, Marrakesh and Lisbon, Al Baker said."



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Probe clears Malaysian PM Najib, says $681 million transfer a Saudi gift | Reuters

Probe clears Malaysian PM Najib, says $681 million transfer a Saudi gift | Reuters:

"Malaysia's attorney-general cleared Prime Minister Najib Razak of any criminal offense or corruption on Tuesday, and said a controversial transfer of $681 million into his personal bank account was a gift from Saudi Arabia's royal family.

The leader of the main opposition party denounced the findings, which came after months of pressure on Najib to resign over the scandal, saying the appointment of the attorney-general by the prime minister himself suggested a conflict of interest.

The involvement of the Saudi royal family is an unexpected twist in the saga over the mysterious funds transfer and the troubles of indebted state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), whose advisory board Najib chairs."



'via Blog this'

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi, Egypt fall as oil, global bourses decline | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi, Egypt fall as oil, global bourses decline | Reuters:

"Bourses in Saudi Arabia and Egypt fell in early trade on Tuesday as investors cashed out following a resumption in declines of global stocks and worries over further weakness in oil markets.

Brent broke below $30 a barrel in Asian trade, as fresh worries about oversupply from top producers Saudi Arabia and Iraq spooked the market.

In Riyadh the stock index fell 1.6 percent in the first half hour of trade, with petrochemical stocks weighing on the bourse."



'via Blog this'

MIDEAST STOCKS-UAE, Qatar trade lower as oil turns south | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-UAE, Qatar trade lower as oil turns south | Reuters:

"Stock markets in the United Arab Emirates and Qatar fell in early trade on Tuesday, following Asian shares lower as oil prices broke below the $30 a barrel mark.

Brent fell 3.0 percent to $29.58 a barrel in Asian trade, as fresh worries about oversupply from top producers Saudi Arabia and Iraq spooked the market.

Japan's Nikkei fell 2.3 percent while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index fell 1.9 percent, with MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan falling 1.1 percent after two days of gains since late last week."



'via Blog this'

Monday, 25 January 2016

UAE lenders’ bad debts start to weigh on financial results | The National

UAE lenders’ bad debts start to weigh on financial results | The National:

"UAE banks are starting to feel the pain from tumbling oil prices and a slowing economy.

While there have been indications of lower loan growth and rising defaults amid job cuts and reports of small businesses going bankrupt, the fourth-quarter results are starting to show the extent of the bad debt that has accumulated.

Sharjah-based United Arab Bank (UAB) yesterday said it booked a loss of Dh166 million in 2015 as bad debts piled up after years of risky lending to SMEs unravelled in the economic downturn. Union National Bank and National Bank of Fujairah also reported earnings showing sharp drops in quarterly profit as the amounts set aside for bad debt jumped."



'via Blog this'

Abu Dhabi’s Aabar seeks $2.5b to refinance loan — sources | GulfNews.com

Abu Dhabi’s Aabar seeks $2.5b to refinance loan — sources | GulfNews.com:

"Abu Dhabi state fund Aabar Investments is seeking to borrow $2.5 billion (Dh9.2 billion) from banks to refinance a loan coming due in April, sources aware of the matter said on Monday.

The firm is in talks with a small group of banks regarding the financing, the sources said, adding the talks were at the preliminary stage.

The loan will be supported by its parent company, International Petroleum Investment Co (Ipic), said two of the sources without divulging the nature of support."



'via Blog this'

What Xi's Iran Trip Tells Us About China's Middle East Plans - Bloomberg Business

What Xi's Iran Trip Tells Us About China's Middle East Plans - Bloomberg Business:

"Chinese President Xi Jinping covered a lot of ground in his first swing through the Middle East, announcing $55 billion in aid and giving a speech to the Arab League in which he vowed not to seek proxies, a thinly veiled jab at U.S. history in the region.
Xi’s most interesting stop was in Iran, where he planted a flag for Chinese business and cast his country as a more accommodating alternative to the West. As the first major world leader to visit Tehran since U.S. and European sanctions were lifted, Xi sought to present China’s commitment as long term, agreeing on Saturday to a pact pledging economic cooperation for the next quarter century. The two sides also signed a strategic partnership that covers military and security cooperation.
Such moves provide some of the clearest evidence yet of Xi’s willingness to revise China’s traditional policy of non-interference and use its economic clout to build geo-political influence. Besides offering a chance to lessen dependence on Saudi oil, Iran offers a potential partner in China’s efforts to challenge the international order."



'via Blog this'

Griffon Starts $108 Million Fund to Invest in Iranian Stocks - Bloomberg Business

Griffon Starts $108 Million Fund to Invest in Iranian Stocks - Bloomberg Business:

"Griffon Capital, a Tehran-based firm set up by a group of international and Iranian investors including Xanyar Kamangar in anticipation of Iran’s nuclear deal, is seeking to raise 100 million euros ($108.2 million) by the end of the year for a new offshore fund specializing in the country’s stocks.
Griffon’s Iran Flagship Fund, domiciled in the Cayman Islands, is an open-ended vehicle investing mainly in the Tehran Stock Exchange and Iran Fara Bourse, the company said in an e-mailed statement Monday. Griffon will start pitching the fund in the U.K. next month.
“It’s impossible to ignore a market of this size and Iran has a very compelling story,” Payam Malayeri, Griffon’s head of asset management, said by telephone from Tehran on Sunday."



'via Blog this'

MIDEAST STOCKS-Bearish sentiment thwarts mkt rally; Saudi near-flat | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Bearish sentiment thwarts mkt rally; Saudi near-flat | Reuters:

"Major Gulf bourses retreated on Monday, erasing some of the previous day's gains with investors unconvinced markets can mount a sustainable rebound.

Riyadh's index was near-flat, slipping 0.02 percent to 5,610 points as day traders booked quick profits to take its 2016 losses to 18.8 percent. It had gained 2.7 percent on Sunday after oil prices rallied late last week, but crude's renewed weakness has again sapped Saudi market confidence.

The petrochemical sector, the main influence on market direction of late, dropped 0.2 percent."



'via Blog this'

Oil falls 3 percent on swelling oversupply | Reuters

Oil falls 3 percent on swelling oversupply | Reuters:

"Oil prices fell 3 percent on Monday as Iraq announced record-high oil production feeding into a heavily oversupplied market, wiping out much of the gains made in one of the biggest-ever daily rallies last week.

Brent crude LCOc1, the global benchmark, was down 93 cents at $31.25 a barrel at 0955 GMT, losing 3 percent from its closing price on Friday, when Brent surged 10 percent.

U.S. crude CLc1 traded $1.02 lower at $31.17 a barrel.

"



'via Blog this'

Follow the Twitter feed to fat returns - FT.com

Follow the Twitter feed to fat returns - FT.com:

"It was labelled “probably the most expensive tweet ever”. In just 21 words, US presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton’s pledge on Twitter, the microblogging platform, to tackle “outrageous” price manipulation by drugmakers wiped $15bn off the value of pharmaceutical stocks last September.
It was not the first time a social media post had a big impact on markets. A bogus tweet about an explosion at the White House rapidly stripped up to $90bn off the value of US stocks, although markets recovered quickly when it became apparent the information was false."



'via Blog this'

Lionel Barber on Davos 2016 | FT Comment - YouTube

Lionel Barber on Davos 2016 | FT Comment - YouTube: ""



'via Blog this'

The ten big burning legal questions of The Address Downtown Dubai fire | The National

The ten big burning legal questions of The Address Downtown Dubai fire | The National:

"Key legal questions arising from the new year’s eve blaze are answered by construction and property lawyers Michael Lunjevich and Anthony Edwards of Dubai-based law firm Hadef & Partners."



'via Blog this'

Time to stop criminalising bounced cheque cases | GulfNews.com #UAE

Time to stop criminalising bounced cheque cases | GulfNews.com:

"It is no secret that we are facing another cycle of economic slowdown since the last quarter of 2015. Capital markets are shadowed in red, the real estate market is at a standstill and retail is struggling.

It is true that this is mainly caused by turbulence in the global economy. China’s economy is showing no signs of immediate recovery in spite of all governmental efforts.

Oil prices continue to plummet with no signs of recovery soon and Russian tourism is drying up as a result of the slowdown of the economy and devaluation of the rubble. In reality, part of the problem is of confidence in the markets rather than a cashflow issue."



'via Blog this'

Saudi banks to face further downward pressure on profits | GulfNews.com

Saudi banks to face further downward pressure on profits | GulfNews.com:

"The fourth-quarter results of leading Saudi banks show a number of these institutions are facing a squeeze on profits as both loans and deposits decline and asset quality deteriorates further.

At the close of the fourth quarter, Saudi Hollandi Bank, the kingdom’s oldest lender, reported a 2.3 per cent fall in fourth-quarter net profit on higher staffing costs and provisions for bad loans.

Saudi British Bank (SABB), an affiliate of HSBC Holdings, posted a 3.1 per cent drop in fourth-quarter net profit and Riyad Bank, Saudi Arabia’s fourth-largest lender by assets, posted a 19.7 per cent fall in fourth-quarter net profit, in line with analysts’ forecasts as Samba Financial Group, the kingdom’s third-largest bank by assets, reported flat net profit for the fourth quarter."



'via Blog this'

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi dips in early trade as investors become skittish | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi dips in early trade as investors become skittish | Reuters:

"Saudi Arabia's bourse slid in early trade on Monday, erasing some of the previous session's rebound as day traders booked quick profits and long-term investors awaited more market stability.

Riyadh's index dropped 0.8 percent. It rose 2.7 percent on Sunday.

The petrochemical sector, which has recently been the main influence on market direction, was down 0.9 percent."



'via Blog this'

MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf trades narrowly as investors remain uneasy | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf trades narrowly as investors remain uneasy | Reuters:

"Most Gulf bourses traded narrowly on Monday, with investors torn between betting on further gains following a sharp rebound a day earlier or booking some quick profits and this lack of conviction indicates the bear trend could persist.

Markets have tumbled to such an extent this year that many stocks are considered cheap by traders and fund managers, even after Sunday's rally.

"Sunday's sugar rush is winding down," said a Dubai-based trader. "Daily traders turned a quick profit and cashed out and so the markets may continue to see-saw."

"



'via Blog this'

Oil Declines After Saudi Aramco Says It's Sustaining Investments - Bloomberg Business

Oil Declines After Saudi Aramco Says It's Sustaining Investments - Bloomberg Business:

"Oil gave up its gains after the world’s biggest crude exporter said it’s keeping up investments in energy projects.
Futures dropped as much as 4.1 percent after earlier rising as much as 1.7 percent in New York. State-run Saudi Arabian Oil Co. hasn’t reduced its investment capacity amid lower crude prices and is building a marine cluster in the eastern part of the Middle East nation, Chairman Khalid Al-Falih said.
“The Saudi news surely would give a little bit of a worry that production would remain strong,” Daniel Ang, an investment analyst at Phillip Futures, said by phone from Singapore. “The main reason for oil losing steam still comes from the fact that oil markets are currently in oversupply.”"



'via Blog this'

Sunday, 24 January 2016

Iran plans to buy 114 Airbus jets on Rouhani’s Europe visit - FT.com

Iran plans to buy 114 Airbus jets on Rouhani’s Europe visit - FT.com:

"Iran is planning to sign a contract with European aircraft maker Airbus to buy 114 planes in what would be the first big deal to emerge from Tehran’s landmark nuclear pact with global powers.
The Airbus deal is the highlight of a visit to Rome and Paris this week by President Hassan Rouhani that is turning into a business bonanza.

Following the implementation of the nuclear accord last week, and the lifting of many sanctions, Mr Rouhani’s government is determined to show Iranians the economic benefits of its diplomacy."



'via Blog this'

‘Ushers and butlers’ … how fawning politicians welcomed world’s rich | UK news | The Guardian

‘Ushers and butlers’ … how fawning politicians welcomed world’s rich | UK news | The Guardian:

"Politicians are acting as “ushers and butlers” to the world’s wealthy, allowing the seemingly unstoppable construction of mansions, mega-basements and luxury apartments in London at the expense of housing for the poor and middle classes.

These are the claims made by researchers from Goldsmiths, Sheffield and York universities following a two-year study of the capital’s super-rich neighbourhoods. They conclude that London has become one of a handful of international havens for the very wealthy, thanks to central and local government kowtowing to their demands.

The deference of the UK government has facilitated the construction and extension of mega-mansions for the several thousand ultra-high net worth individuals, with assets of at least £21m, and the 80 billionaires who now live in London. This has driven up house prices, leaving the “majority of precarious white collar and manual service class workers unable to afford a mortgage”."



'via Blog this'

Europe's big banks remain wary of doing business with Iran | World news | The Guardian

Europe's big banks remain wary of doing business with Iran | World news | The Guardian:

"A week after the lifting of sanctions against Iran, major European banks are still reluctant to handle Iranian payments as they remain wary of being the first to test the reaction of US authorities.

Despite guidance issued by the US treasury aimed at reassuring Europe that it was permissible to do business with Iran, excluding a number of entities and individuals that remain blacklisted, the continent’s big banks still err on the side of caution.

The Guardian approached 10 banks this week to see if they would process Iranian payments. The majority were unwilling to disclose whether they had plans to deal with Iran, a few said there was no change in their existing policy, and the London-based Standard Chartered, which was fined £400m by the US authorities in 2012, issued a statement to make clear it was not dealing with anyone or any entity that had anything to do with Iran."



'via Blog this'

Iran marks comeback with talks to buy 160 European planes | Reuters

Iran marks comeback with talks to buy 160 European planes | Reuters:

"Iran unveiled an expanded shopping list for more than 160 European planes - including 8 superjumbos - and dangled another big order in front of Boeing (BA.N) at Tehran's first major post-sanctions business gathering on Sunday.

In a sign of Tehran's determination to compete with established carriers across the Gulf, Transport Minister Abbas Akhoondi said Iran's emergence from isolation would restore a "natural balance" in the region and urged foreigners to invest.

"I hold your hands in friendship," he told an audience of 300 airlines, suppliers, lessors and bankers at an aviation conference in Tehran."



'via Blog this'

Kuwait Plans $100 Billion Sovereign Fund, Al-Anba Reports - Bloomberg Business

Kuwait Plans $100 Billion Sovereign Fund, Al-Anba Reports - Bloomberg Business:

"Kuwait plans a new state-owned fund to manage as much as $100 billion in local assets with the goal of selling them to private investors in five to seven years, Al-Anba newspaper reported.
The new sovereign wealth fund will include local assets managed by Kuwait Investment Authority, which has been burdened by its domestic mandate and will focus more on its international portfolio, Al-Anba reported, citing unidentified officials. Stakes in local companies, as well as power and water projects, will be included in the new fund, it said.
A slump in oil is prompting energy producers across the Middle East to consider savings and project delays as they grapple with crude’s descent to near a 12 year low. Saudi Arabia’s net foreign assets dropped to $640 billion in October, the lowest level in three years, while Kuwaiti Finance Minister Anas Al-Saleh has raised the prospect of introducing income, corporate and sales taxes to compensate for lost oil revenue."



'via Blog this'

After sanctions, Iranian and foreign firms await the good times | Reuters

After sanctions, Iranian and foreign firms await the good times | Reuters:

"A decade ago, Foad Fanaei packed his belongings and left sanction-hit Iran in the hope that the family's engineering firm would thrive in Qatar.

Starting up in the Gulf Arab state proved to be hard for a 27-year-old outsider who had to grapple with Qatar's complex business laws and navigate the international financial constraints imposed over Iran's nuclear program.

Since then Fanaei has endured years of financial losses but kept the business going in the hope that one day the nuclear-related sanctions would be lifted. Cherishing the same hope, his father continued to run a parent company in Iran."



'via Blog this'

MIDEAST STOCKS-Major bourses rebound after oil, global stock markets recover | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Major bourses rebound after oil, global stock markets recover | Reuters:

"Major stock markets in the Middle East rebounded on Sunday, joining the global market rally at the end of last week as investors took solace in the bounce-back in crude oil prices.

Brent surged 10 percent to $32.18 a barrel on Friday, as bearish traders who had taken out record short positions scrambled to close them.

The benchmark S&P 500 U.S. equity index rallied 2 percent and registered its first positive week of 2016 and the MSCI All Country World Index rose 2.7 percent."



'via Blog this'

Mideast Stocks Advance After Oil Rebounds Most in Five Months - Bloomberg Business

Mideast Stocks Advance After Oil Rebounds Most in Five Months - Bloomberg Business:

"Stocks across Middle Eastern markets surged after oil prices rebounded and global equities rallied.
The DFM General Index climbed 5.2 percent, the most in more than a year, to close at 2,757.08 as traders exchanged 415 million shares, 63 percent above the 12-month daily average volume. Qatar’s QE Index and Abu Dhabi’s ADX General Index climbed 4.6 percent and 2.7 percent, respectively. Saudi Arabia’s Tadawul All Share Index soared as much as 6.8 percent before paring gains to 3.6 percent at 2:23 p.m. in Riyadh.
Oil advanced the most since August on Friday, boosting the outlook for the countries of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council, for which crude remains the biggest source of revenue. The equity advance also followed Friday’s surge in world stocks, the sharpest rally since June 2012, amid speculation central banks will expand stimulus measures to counter turmoil in financial markets."



'via Blog this'

RPT-Specialist funds pick up Iran stocks ahead of warier big investors | Reuters

RPT-Specialist funds pick up Iran stocks ahead of warier big investors | Reuters:

"Two decades after he hauled a suitcase full of cash onto the floor of the Moscow stock exchange to buy up shares in the aftermath of communism, Dominic Bokor-Ingram has taken a similar early punt on Iran.

The Briton launched a joint venture fund with Iranian investment group Turquoise Partners on Sunday, just one day after the announcement most international sanctions on Iran would be lifted in return for restrictions on Tehran's nuclear programme.

He was not alone. Clemente Cappello, CEO of London-based Sturgeon Capital, bought the first stocks for his new Iran fund in December."



'via Blog this'

IMF cuts UAE’s growth forecast for 2016 as oil prices crash | The National

IMF cuts UAE’s growth forecast for 2016 as oil prices crash | The National:

"The IMF has again cut the UAE’s growth forecast for this year on collapsing oil prices, a worsening Chinese economy and looming regional public spending cuts.

The UAE will grow at 2.6 per cent this year, a cut of 0.5 of a percentage point against the fund’s October projection of 3.1 per cent growth, and the slowest growth rate the country has experienced since 2010.

The UAE’s fiscal deficit is expected to widen to 7.5 per cent of GDP, the fund expects, but will depend heavily on what happens to the oil price this year. The IMF had forecast a deficit for this year of 4 per cent."



'via Blog this'

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi, Egypt surge more than 3 pct in early trade | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi, Egypt surge more than 3 pct in early trade | Reuters:

"Saudi Arabia and Egypt's stock markets rebounded more than 3.0 percent in early trade on Sunday, as investors took solace in the end of week rebound in oil prices and global bourses.

Saudi's index surged more than 6.0 percent in the opening minutes of trade and touched 5,834 points, before falling back to 5,680 points, but was still up 4.0 percent.

Petrochemical stocks, which have been battered by weakness in oil prices, carried the bourse higher. The sub-sector index climbed over 6.5 percent in first 10 minutes of trade."



'via Blog this'

MIDEAST STOCKS-UAE, Qatar join global equities rebound | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-UAE, Qatar join global equities rebound | Reuters:

"Major Gulf bourses soared more than 4.0 percent in early trade on Sunday, joining a global stock market rally after oil prices rocketed at the end of last week.

Dubai's index rebounded 6.4 percent in the opening minutes of trade, recouping most of last week's losses.

Arabtec and Emaar Properties jumped 10.9 and 8.5 percent respectively."



'via Blog this'

Saturday, 23 January 2016

Five reasons I think London house prices will crash - FT.com

Five reasons I think London house prices will crash - FT.com:

"This week I feel a bit embarrassed. Some readers might remember a column I wrote some years ago about buying a large house in Edinburgh. It was, I said at the time, likely to be one of the worst financial decisions ever but my family needed to nest — so we wanted to own a house.
It hasn’t turned out to be completely awful. We could probably sell it for roughly what we bought it for in nominal terms. So we are only down about 15 per cent in real (inflation adjusted) terms. I’ve made worse decisions. So that’s not the embarrassing bit. It is: we just bought a tiny studio flat in London. When I say tiny, I mean tiny. The entire thing is around the size of our family bathroom up north.

But still, given my firm and often expressed view that London property is hideously overvalued, you’ll be wondering what on earth I am thinking. The answer, once again, is domestic. I travel up and down the east coast of the UK like a yo-yo. I need somewhere to leave my “giving a talk” clothes and heels that isn’t the lost property department of Virgin East Coast rail, and somewhere to sleep when I miss the last train to Scotland. It’s a utility purchase I intend to depreciate over 20 years, not an investment."



'via Blog this'

Oil: US shale’s big squeeze - FT.com

Oil: US shale’s big squeeze - FT.com:

"In most other American cities, the sign at the Conoco station advertising petrol for $1.29 per gallon would be welcome. In Spring, Texas, a suburb on the northern side of Houston, it is a warning.
Cheap petrol is a result of the collapse in the oil price, which dropped briefly below $28 a barrel this week, a 13-year low, from $115 for Brent crude in June 2014. It has prompted a grim realisation in Houston, the capital of the US oil business, that the quick rebound many hoped for is not going to come.

Dozens of oil and gas companies went into bankruptcy last year, and tens of thousands of jobs were lost, but that was only the beginning. A reckoning is approaching that will sweep away the weaker US oil companies and force profound changes at the stronger ones. It will be a moment of truth for the North American shale revolution, which has transformed prospects for gas and oil in the US."



'via Blog this'

Iran: what's it really like? Share your pictures and perspectives | Community | The Guardian

Iran: what's it really like? Share your pictures and perspectives | Community | The Guardian:

"After years out in the diplomatic cold, Iran has officially entered the post-sanctions era.

Hassan Rouhani, Iran’s president, has hailed a “golden page” in the country’s history and a “turning point” in its economy during the first days without sanctions, amid warm reaction from international community.

Masoumeh Ebtekar, a prominent reformist figure who became Iran’s first woman vice-president when she previously served in her current office from 1997 to 2005, praised “a success of diplomacy and negotiation” as she raised hopes for a new era in bilateral relations between Tehran and Washington. "



'via Blog this'

UAE looking to scrap subsidies on electricity, gas sold to power companies | GulfNews.com

UAE looking to scrap subsidies on electricity, gas sold to power companies | GulfNews.com:

"The UAE is looking at removing subsidies on both electricity and on gas sold to companies generating power, said Energy Minister Suhail Al Mazroui, speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

“Consumers need to pay the real price. They already do so for petrol and diesel, and electricity is still to come, and we will look at the subsidised sale of gas to power providers,” he said at the Al Arabiya debate on economic reform in the Arab world.

He said that the impact on removing subsidies on domestic electricity would not be that great to the consumer as it only really applies at the higher levels of use at present."



'via Blog this'

Opec splits show at Davos as Nigeria debates with Saudi Arabia | GulfNews.com

Opec splits show at Davos as Nigeria debates with Saudi Arabia | GulfNews.com:

"Less than two months after Opec nations sparred over oil policy in Vienna, they resumed the debate at Davos.

Nigeria’s oil minister, speaking on a panel at the World Economic Forum in the Swiss resort, said the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries needs to meet soon as crashing prices force the group to reconsider its current laissez-faire policy. Saudi Arabia, represented by the chairman of its national oil company, said the kingdom won’t reverse course unless non-OPEC nations play their part in production cuts.

“If there are other producers willing to collaborate, Saudi Arabia will be willing also to collaborate,” said Khalid Al Falih, chairman of Saudi Arabian Oil Co, also known as Saudi Aramco. “But Saudi Arabia will not accept the role of — by itself — balancing a structural imbalance that is happening today.”"



'via Blog this'

Iran Signs Oil Deal With European Refiner as Sanctions End - Bloomberg Business

Iran Signs Oil Deal With European Refiner as Sanctions End - Bloomberg Business:

"Iran signed an agreement to supply crude oil with Hellenic Petroleum SA, a Greek oil refinery, in what may be the Persian Gulf producer’s first such deal with a European company since the removal of international sanctions this month.
Deliveries will begin immediately, Hellenic Petroleum said in an e-mailed statement on Friday. The agreement also includes an adjustment for a financial backlog owed to Iran’s state oil company after sanctions imposed four years ago, according to the statement. Iran’s Deputy Oil Minister Amir Hossein Zamaninia discussed potential energy co-operation with Greek Energy Minister Panos Skourletis earlier on Friday in Athens.
The oil market is bracing itself for a ramp up in supplies from Iran amid a global supply glut that pushed prices down to a 12-year low. Oil analysts surveyed by Bloomberg anticipate the nation will ship 100,000 barrels a day more crude within a month of sanctions ending, and four times that within half a year. Iran says it will boost exports by 500,000 barrels a day right away."



'via Blog this'

Friday, 22 January 2016

Japanese stock market’s wild week | Authers' Note - YouTube

Japanese stock market’s wild week | Authers' Note - YouTube: ""



'via Blog this'

China's capital flight | FT Markets - YouTube

China's capital flight | FT Markets - YouTube: ""



'via Blog this'

Austerity, Saudi-style: cheap oil nudges Riyadh toward economic reform | World news | The Guardian

Austerity, Saudi-style: cheap oil nudges Riyadh toward economic reform | World news | The Guardian:

"In the Faisaliya mall in central Riyadh, the call to midday prayers brings down the shutters on shops selling luxurious global brands and the basement mosque fills up. Customers are routinely searched at the entrance – a woman guard in a niqab, black abaya and white gloves sits by the metal detector. Cafes and restaurants have mixed “family sections” to ensure privacy. Harvey Nichols is having a holiday sale.

Business seems slow, though visitors look in vain for any serious sign of Saudi Arabia’s gathering economic crisis, born of the lowest oil revenues in decades and subsidy cuts to reduce a $98bn budget deficit – 15% of the country’s GDP. The price of petrol has just gone up by 60%, though it is still dirt cheap, and VAT and other taxes are planned – significant novelties in a country where most people have not known such things in their lifetimes.

“There isn’t much economic pressure here because we deal with rich people,” laughs Tamer, an affable Egyptian who lost his clerical job with a Saudi construction company and now sells timeshares in Dubai. Beyond the Faisaliyah’s marbled halls, however, many government projects have stopped, expenditure has been slashed and rents have risen sharply. The housing shortage is a major preoccupation.

"



'via Blog this'

Saudi Arabia's Secret Holdings of U.S. Debt Are Suddenly a Big Deal - Bloomberg Business

Saudi Arabia's Secret Holdings of U.S. Debt Are Suddenly a Big Deal - Bloomberg Business:

"It’s a secret of the vast U.S. Treasury market, a holdover from an age of oil shortages and mighty petrodollars: Just how much of America’s debt does Saudi Arabia own?
But now that question -- unanswered since the 1970s, under an unusual blackout by the U.S. Treasury Department -- has come to the fore as Saudi Arabia is pressured by plunging oil prices and costly wars in the Middle East.
In the past year alone, Saudi Arabia burned through about $100 billion of foreign-exchange reserves to plug its biggest budget shortfall in a quarter-century. For the first time, it’s also considering selling a piece of its crown jewel -- state oil company Saudi Aramco. The signs of strain are prompting concern over Saudi Arabia’s outsize position in the world’s largest and most important bond market."



'via Blog this'

Saudi Arabia says $30 oil is ‘irrational’ - FT.com

Saudi Arabia says $30 oil is ‘irrational’ - FT.com:

"Saudi Arabia has described the collapse in oil prices to below $30 as “irrational” and expects the market to recover in 2016 even as the country continues to keep production high.
Khalid al-Falih, chairman of state oil company Saudi Aramco, told the World Economic Forum in Davos that current prices could not last, with many smaller producers facing financial difficulties.

“The market has overshot on the low side and it is inevitable that it will start turning up,” said Mr Falih, predicting higher prices by the end of the year."



'via Blog this'

Russia rouble rout | FT Markets - YouTube

Russia rouble rout | FT Markets - YouTube: ""



'via Blog this'

Stock markets rally, jumbo jet production halved | FirstFT - YouTube

Stock markets rally, jumbo jet production halved | FirstFT - YouTube: ""



'via Blog this'

Saudi Arabia's King Salman marks year of change - BBC News

Saudi Arabia's King Salman marks year of change - BBC News:

"Wars in Yemen and Syria, a deadly stampede at the Hajj, mass executions, bombings in mosques, and plunging oil prices - King Salman's first year on the throne in Saudi Arabia has been anything but quiet. So how has he fared and what challenges does his country now face?
When King Abdullah died a year ago and was succeeded by his half-brother, Salman bin Abdulaziz, many predicted there would be little change in policy.
Salman was nearly 80 years old and had spent 48 years of his life as governor of Riyadh, overseeing its transformation from a provincial desert town to the plate-glass metropolis it is today."



'via Blog this'

Cladding issues could mess with Dubai property market after The Address fire | The National

Cladding issues could mess with Dubai property market after The Address fire | The National:

"How will the fire at The Address affect property prices in Dubai?

Nobody can be exactly sure how The Address fire on New Year’s Eve will affect Dubai property prices. But as high-rise building freehold owners and insurance experts become increasingly nervous about the cost implications of a government survey of all properties to ensure that they conform to the latest fire regulations, the owners of individual units are also worried.

At the very least, it is reasonable to assume that it is going to be more difficult to sell such units in the immediate future, and if they are rented out then they are not going to be as popular."



'via Blog this'

Aviation giants tread carefully in test case for post-sanctions Iran | Reuters

Aviation giants tread carefully in test case for post-sanctions Iran | Reuters:

"Freed from nuclear-related sanctions, Iran has signaled its appetite to buy more than 100 Western planes, a prospect that would usually have the giants of the $130 billion-a-year jet industry scrambling for a piece of the action.

But a muted response from both Airbus and arch-rival Boeing underscores the lingering uncertainty and complications of doing business with Tehran.

Western and Iranian officials say Iran will require at least 400 jets over a decade to replenish its ageing fleet. Of those, 100-200 are pressingly needed, and would be worth over $20 billion at list prices."



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Oil Rises in Biggest Rally Since August Amid Volatility Surge - Bloomberg Business

Oil Rises in Biggest Rally Since August Amid Volatility Surge - Bloomberg Business:

"Oil rallied in its biggest two-day advance since August after a slump to a 12-year low prompted some investors to buy back record bearish bets.
Front-month futures have jumped more than 15 percent after sliding to the lowest since 2003 on Wednesday. Earlier this month speculators’ amassed the biggest ever short position in U.S. crude amid concern that turmoil in China’s markets will curb fuel demand while an increase in exports from Iran will exacerbate a global glut. Oil may be the “trade of the year,” if it can weather the surge in the Middle East producer’s shipments, according to Citigroup Inc.
“After large directional movements like those we’ve seen over recent weeks there tends to be a corrective move in the opposite direction,” Ric Spooner, a chief analyst at CMC Markets in Sydney, said by phone. “It does look like the next couple of months could be some sort of a crunch time for oil, particularly with Iran coming back into the market and disappointing demand growth.”"



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Thursday, 21 January 2016

Crude prices to stay in $20s, says former Saudi official | GulfNews.com

Crude prices to stay in $20s, says former Saudi official | GulfNews.com:

"Crude prices may remain low at least in the short term, Mohammad A. Al Sahlawi, a former member of advisory board, Supreme Economic Council of Saudi Arabia told Gulf News on Thursday.

“Next year, prices would be prevailing at around $20s. We don’t see a major growth in demand in emerging economies like China, and supplies are expected to increase from many countries especially Iran, US,” said Al Sahlawi, who is currently a professor of economics, college of industrial management, King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals in Riyadh. “So there is less demand, more supplies, so prices would be at lower level.” He was speaking on sidelines of a financial markets conference in Dubai.

Oil prices have crashed about 75 per cent since mid-2014, hit by a perfect storm of a supply glut, weak demand, a slowing global economy and a strong dollar.

"



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Income, sales taxes proposed in Kuwait | GulfNews.com

Income, sales taxes proposed in Kuwait | GulfNews.com:

"Kuwait’s Emir Shaikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah has said that the country plans to cut heavy subsidies on fuel and power in a bid to offset a fall in oil revenues.

“We will lift subsidies and will raise the prices of petrol, electricity and water” and reduce subsidies for other services, a Kuwaiti daily quoted the Emir as telling editors of local newspapers.

Kuwait is the only member of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) that has not hiked the prices of petrol and power after income from oil plunged."



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Norway to World: We're Sitting Out the Big Wealth Fund Selloff - Bloomberg Business

Norway to World: We're Sitting Out the Big Wealth Fund Selloff - Bloomberg Business:

"The world’s biggest wealth fund won’t be joining its counterparts in a selloff that’s hurting already depressed markets.
In fact, officials who supervise the $780 billion fund haven’t even discussed the possibility of shifting strategy, according to Egil Matsen, who this week started as the new deputy central bank governor in charge of oversight of the investor.
“There’s no indication that we need to sell assets now, not at all,” Matsen said in an interview in Oslo Thursday. “The governance structure around our sovereign wealth fund is actually designed to live through such periods.”"



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Saudi Arabia intervenes to prevent currency speculation - FT.com

Saudi Arabia intervenes to prevent currency speculation - FT.com:

"Saudi Arabia has moved to damp speculation on its currency by barring domestic banks from dealing in forward contracts on the riyal as the kingdom seeks to shield its economy from the impact of the oil price plunge.
Bankers said the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority had told lenders to refrain from engaging in trades on riyal forward options, which have come under intense pressure as traders bet that the oil-dependent kingdom’s fiscal strains will trigger a departure from decades of pegging the riyal to the US dollar."



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Oil contagion I Short View - YouTube

Oil contagion I Short View - YouTube: ""



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Oil prices fall near 2003 lows on oversupply, demand worries | Reuters

Oil prices fall near 2003 lows on oversupply, demand worries | Reuters:

"Oil fell on Thursday, turning back toward 12-year lows on persistent concerns about oversupply and the outlook for demand.

Oil futures have hit their lowest since 2003 this week as investors worry that a glut of crude is combining with slowing demand due to economic weakness, especially in China.

Benchmark Brent was down 16 cents at $27.72 a barrel by 1401 GMT. Brent has lost 26 percent in January, on track for its biggest monthly fall since 2008."



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China offers financial, political support to Egypt ahead of uprising anniversary | Reuters

China offers financial, political support to Egypt ahead of uprising anniversary | Reuters:

"China signed a raft of economic deals with Egypt during a visit by President Xi Jinping on Thursday, including $1.7 billion in loans to the banking sector, and said it supports Egypt's efforts to maintain stability and set its own course.

Xi arrived in Egypt on Wednesday, the second leg of a Middle East tour, just ahead of the Jan. 25 anniversary of the 2011 uprising that ended autocrat Hosni Mubarak's 30-year rule.

Meeting Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi -- who last month warned critics not to hold protests to mark the anniversary -- Xi said China and Egypt had developed a deep friendship based on mutual respect."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Oil, global markets weigh on region but Saudi petchems rise | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Oil, global markets weigh on region but Saudi petchems rise | Reuters:

"Most Middle Eastern bourses fell on Thursday as investors remained worried by the chronic weakness of oil prices and declines in international bourses, but Saudi Arabia's stock index edged up on the back of petrochemical shares.

A petchems rally in the final hour of trade helped pull the Saudi index up 114 points from its intra-day low of 5,349 points, its lowest level since March 2011. It closed 0.1 percent higher at 5,464 points.

Saudi Basic Industries, the largest petrochemcical firm, bounced up 1.7 percent to 61.75 riyals, well off its session low of 59.50 riyals. The stock is down 19.5 percent year-to-date."



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Lagarde backed for second term, Planet Nine found | FirstFT - YouTube

Lagarde backed for second term, Planet Nine found | FirstFT - YouTube: ""



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Further dips anticipated in Dubai home prices: report | GulfNews.com

Further dips anticipated in Dubai home prices: report | GulfNews.com:

"Estate agents in Dubai seem to be in the grips of a bearish sentiment. A significant 46 per cent among their ranks feel that apartment values in Dubai could drop by up to 5 per cent in the first three months of the year, while another 5 per cent reckon the decline to be more than 5 per cent.

Thirty-three per cent, meanwhile, are keeping their fingers crossed that values would remain the same during the first three months, according to a poll conducted by the real estate consultancy Cavendish Maxwell.

With villa prices, 34 per cent of agents suggest a less than 5 per cent softening during the period, with 9 per cent insisting it could be higher. Another 43 per cent believe the status quo at the end of the fourth quarter of 2015 will be maintained."



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How Would an Aramco IPO Benefit Saudi Arabia? - Bloomberg Business

How Would an Aramco IPO Benefit Saudi Arabia? - Bloomberg Business:

"Masood Ahmed, director of the IMF's Middle East and Central Asia Department, discusses the impact of the oil glut on global markets. He speaks with Bloomberg's David Gura on "Bloomberg Markets." (Source: Bloomberg)"



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Cheap Oil Means as Many as 1,500 Middle East Bankers Seek Jobs - Bloomberg Business

Cheap Oil Means as Many as 1,500 Middle East Bankers Seek Jobs - Bloomberg Business:

"Bankers who have been dismissed in the United Arab Emirates may struggle to find work as the region grapples with the impact of oil below $30.
Banks in the country may have recently cut as many as 1,500 jobs, according to financial recruiters and Bloomberg calculations. While dismissals are taking place at international companies such as Standard Chartered Plc and HSBC Holdings Plc, local lenders, once seen as a safe-haven for seasoned expatriate bankers, have also dismissed workers. In some cases, they’ve explicitly said that expatriates will bear the brunt of the job cuts.
"Low oil prices have run through all industries in the region and hit the financial sector hard,” Trefor Murphy, managing director of recruiter Morgan McKinley in the Middle East and North Africa, said in a telephone interview. “It’s now an extremely challenged market. You’ll see an exodus of bankers.""



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi, Egypt retreat in early trade | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi, Egypt retreat in early trade | Reuters:

"Stock markets in Saudi Arabia and Egypt retreated in early trade on Thursday as investors remained worried by the chronic weakens in oil prices and declines in international bourses.

The Saudi index fell 1.8 percent in the first half-hour of trade, with the petrochemical sector dropping by the same magnitude.

"The swing factor in the markets is oil, because although technical analysis shows that the majority of stocks are in oversold territory, as long as Brent remains below $30 investors will have no confidence in any type of analysis," said a Jeddah-based portfolio manager.

"



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