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Monday, 29 February 2016

RPT-UAE bank UNB expects limited profit and loan growth in 2016 -CEO | Reuters

RPT-UAE bank UNB expects limited profit and loan growth in 2016 -CEO | Reuters:

"Union National Bank (UNB) doesn't expect to see much growth in profits or lending in 2016, its chief executive said on Monday, but the Abu Dhabi-based bank could tap the bond market this year to raise funds.

The United Arab Emirates' economy minister said last week the country would find it difficult to grow its economy by more than 3 percent this year and officials have estimated 2015 growth to be between 3 and 3.5 percent.

The impact of lower growth has already started to feed through into the earnings of some UAE banks."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-UAE up on momentum trades; Saudi stalls at chart barrier | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-UAE up on momentum trades; Saudi stalls at chart barrier | Reuters:

"Stock markets in the Middle East ended mixed on Monday as local traders chased after small and mid-cap stocks in the United Arab Emirates, while Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Qatar gave up early gains as investors booked profits.

Riyadh's index initially rose as much as 1.0 percent as the banking sector gained, but then pulled back as traders cashed out of speculative stocks and the petrochemical sector. The index ended almost flat at 6,093 points, failing to break technical resistance on the early February and end-January peaks of 6,056-6,099 points.

Saudi Basic Industries, the petrochemical giant, retreated 1.0 percent."



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US shale tells Opec: above $40, we are coming back | The National

US shale tells Opec: above $40, we are coming back | The National:

"For leading US shale oil producers, $40 is the new $70.

Less than a year ago major shale firms were saying they needed oil above $60 a barrel to produce more; now some say they will settle for far less in deciding whether to crank up output after the worst oil price crash in a generation.

Their latest comments highlight the industry’s remarkable resilience, but also serve as a warning to rivals and traders: a retreat in US oil production that would help ease global oversupply and let prices recover may prove shorter than some may have expected."



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Gmail - Iran Weekly Market Report - 25 February 2016

Gmail - Iran Weekly Market Report - 25 February 2016:

"For the first time in 2016, the Tehran Stock Exchange witnessed slight declines in its share prices on a weekly basis. The TSE All-Share Index slipped by 0.06% this week, closing at 77,840. The market benchmark’s fast growth started to slow a fortnight ago, adding just 0.5% last week. Lower pace growth in the previous week has continued as 0.84% was lost in the first two trading sessions of this week and just recovered by the end of the week. Weak performances by leading sectors in the market have inhibited growth. Last week, the Oil Products sector’s 7.5% drop hindered further gains on the main index.  However, this sector had the highest growth this week with 11.1%. The two other leading sectors, Automotive (-0.1%) and Metallic Products (+1.1%) had poor re­turns in the fourth week of February. Banking (-1.0%), the sector with second largest trade volume, continued to move minimally for the second week, recording a negative performance. Bandar Abbas Oil Refinery Co. (PNBA +12.1%) and Esfahan Oil Refinery (PNES +11.0%) pulled the Oil Products sector down last week, but were the top positive movers on the sector’s index this week. The majority of banking shares had limited week­ly changes with a slight tendency to negative returns. Also Azarab Industries Co. (AZAB -7.0%) had the highest negative effect on Metallic Products sector. Iran Khodro (IKCO +0.3%) and SAIPA Group (SIPA +5.9%), the main shares in the Automotive sector, did not follow their recent solid gains this week.

 

Looking at the TSE’s main index performance from a technical analysis perspective, cur­rent conditions suggest further potential for growth. However, the index is already in the range with limited fluctuations. The Money Flow Index indicator shows the All-Share In­dex has already left the overbought area and volume has declined slightly. The trend is still upward, with a gentler slope. The 50 day EMA is still lower than the index but the dif­ference has now declined to 8%. Chart analysis also confirms the possibility of lower pace growth under the 80,000 level. However, the index first needs to surpass a re­sistance level at 78,500.

 

The Average Daily Trade Volume (ADTV) of the market reached USD 181 million, 15% higher than last week. However, the trade volume was inflated by a block trade on SAIPA Group shares. SAIPA Investment Co. (SSAP +1.2%) bought 6% of SIPA’s shares for USD 105 million. Excluding this block trade, the weekly increase of ADTV would be only 2%. The shares with the highest daily traded values were SAIPA Group, Iran Khodro, and Mellat Bank (BMLT +3.7%), recording USD 75.8, USD 57.7 and USD 50.9 million respec­tively."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Banks bolster Saudi, Orascom Telecom lifts Egypt | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Banks bolster Saudi, Orascom Telecom lifts Egypt | Reuters:

"Banking blue chips led gains on Saudi Arabia's bourse in early trade on Monday while Egypt's market edged up, supported by high trading volumes in Orascom Telecom.

Riyadh's index was initially up by as much as 1.0 percent as the banking and petrochemical sectors gained, though after 90 minutes of trade it was only 0.3 percent higher as day traders cashed out of small and mid-tier stocks.

Samba Financial arose 3.6 percent and Arab National Bank added 1.4 percent. On Sunday, the central bank announced a housing mortgage scheme under which the government would guarantee 15 percent of payments; if it proves successful, the programme could boost business for banks."



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Mideast funds turn more positive on Saudi equities | Reuters

Mideast funds turn more positive on Saudi equities | Reuters:

"Middle East fund managers have become more positive on Saudi Arabian equities after valuations dropped and because of signs that oil prices may be bottoming out, a monthly Reuters survey shows.

Late last year, managers became bearish towards the Arab world's biggest stock market as low oil prices damaged the government's finances, making major austerity measures inevitable. In last month's survey, 29 percent said they expected to raise their Saudi equity allocations over the following three months and 21 percent to cut them.

But in the most recent survey of 14 leading fund managers, conducted over the past 10 days, 43 percent said they expected to boost their allocations to Saudi stocks - the highest figure since February 2015. Only 7 percent anticipated reducing allocations."



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Sunday, 28 February 2016

Rethink on Gulf bond sales as costs stay high | The National

Rethink on Gulf bond sales as costs stay high | The National:

"High pricing will deter regional companies and governments from selling bonds, despite facing a liquidity crunch, according to a top US money manager.

Franklin Templeton Investments expects issuers to seek out cheaper funding routes as governments grapple with rising deficits and companies seek funds for expansion or to repay old borrowings.

“If the bond market pricing remains elevated, we will see more local issuance, we will see more syndicated loans, maybe some multilateral-type funding. So I wouldn’t just take it for granted that budget deficits equals a tremendous increase in issuance,” said Mohieddine Kronfol, the chief investment officer for global sukuk and Mena fixed income at Franklin Templeton Investments."



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Bahrain does not deserve a rating downgrade | GulfNews.com

Bahrain does not deserve a rating downgrade | GulfNews.com:

"It can be argued that the credit rating agency Standard & Poor’s has been unfair with Bahrain by downgrading it two notches to BB. This translates into making fresh debt instruments issued by the government below the recommended investment level, and tantamount to junk bonds.

This is the worst ranking for any Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) country. The same rating agency grants Abu Dhabi, Qatar and Kuwait with the AA.

The new rating forced Bahrain authorities to reconsider the offer to issue bonds worth $750 million. People familiar with the issue suggest that it was originally oversubscribed. Officials felt the need to reprice the offer at a higher interest rate."



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Economy Remains No. 1 Focus for Rouhani Emboldened by Iran Polls - Bloomberg Business

Economy Remains No. 1 Focus for Rouhani Emboldened by Iran Polls - Bloomberg Business:

"President Hassan Rouhani and his allies in Iran’s new parliament will set their sights on rebuilding the economy rather than risking the ire of hard-liners by advancing more liberal political and social change.
With economic recovery hinging on foreign investment, Rouhani’s government is seeking to pass laws that would attract international oil companies and make doing business in Iran easier for foreigners. A focus on loosening political and civil liberties would risk a backlash from rivals who control powerful conservative institutions. It may also face resistance from Rouhani’s boss: Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei."



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Moody's cuts Oman credit rating two notches before bond issue | Reuters

Moody's cuts Oman credit rating two notches before bond issue | Reuters:

"Moody's Investors Service sharply cut Oman's sovereign credit rating on Saturday, just weeks before the country may launch its first international bond issue in nearly 20 years, citing damage to state finances from low oil prices.

Moody's lowered Oman by two notches to A3 and kept the rating on review for a further downgrade, saying the country, a small exporter of crude, had fewer financial reserves than its rich neighbours to cope with an era of cheap oil.

"Oman has a comparatively weaker asset cushion, with government financial assets amounting to only about three years of spending," the ratings agency said."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Oil prices buoy Gulf; Global Telecom aids Egypt | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Oil prices buoy Gulf; Global Telecom aids Egypt | Reuters:

"Major Middle East stock markets gained in active trade on Sunday after oil prices rose sharply last week. Egypt's bourse climbed on the back of Global Telecom , a favourite of foreign investors.

There is a sense that global bourses and oil prices are regaining some longer-term strength after Brent crude oil gained more than 6 percent last week. This is encouraging sharp rebounds in individual Gulf stocks that bore the brunt of panic selling early this year.

The Saudi index surged 1.9 percent to 6,092 points, testing technical resistance on the early February and end-January peaks of 6,056-6,099 points. Any break would turn it short-term bullish, triggering a right triangle formed by the highs and lows since mid-January and pointing up to around 6,850 points."



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GCC banking sector face further liquidity tightening | GulfNews.com

GCC banking sector face further liquidity tightening | GulfNews.com:

"Fiscal deficits across the GCC are seen widening further in 2016 despite fiscal reforms and spending retrenchment following the sharp decline in oil prices.

The growing fiscal gap is expected to be covered largely through domestic borrowing programme, which in effect will adversely impact banking sector liquidity across the region, according to a recent report from Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB).

“Domestic funding will remain important for covering the GCC’s fiscal deficit in 2016, though a number of member countries have indicated a greater focus on external borrowing. These will include further drawdowns of government deposits in their banking sectors, as well as borrowing from banks,” said Monica Malik, Chief economist of ADCB."



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Arab States Face $94 Billion Debt Crunch on Oil Slump, HSBC Says - Bloomberg Business

Arab States Face $94 Billion Debt Crunch on Oil Slump, HSBC Says - Bloomberg Business:

"Gulf Cooperation Council countries may struggle to refinance $94 billion of debt in the next two years as the region faces slowing growth, rising rates and rating downgrades, according to HSBC Holdings Plc.
Oil-rich GCC states have to refinance $52 billion of bonds and $42 billion of syndicated loans, mostly in the United Arab Emirates and Qatar, HSBC said in an e-mailed report. The countries also face a fiscal and current account deficit of $395 billion over the period, it said.
Expectations that these funding gaps "will be part financed through the sale of sovereign U.S. dollar debt will complicate efforts to refinance existing paper that matures over 2016 and 2017," Simon Williams, HSBC’s chief economist for the Middle East, said in the report. "With the Gulf acting as a single credit market, the refinancing challenge will likely be much more broadly felt" and "compounded by tightening regional liquidity, rising rates and recent downgrades," he said."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Petchems lift Saudi, Global Telecom aids Egypt | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Petchems lift Saudi, Global Telecom aids Egypt | Reuters:

"Petrochemical stocks led Saudi Arabia's stock market higher in early trade on Sunday after oil prices rose sharply last week, while Egypt's bourse rose on the back of Global Telecom, a favourite of foreign investors.

The Saudi index gained 1.2 percent to 6,048 points in the first 45 minutes as Saudi Basic Industries and the petrochemical sector as a whole both surged 2.1 percent.

Alujain Corp, an industrial investment company focused on petrochemicals, jumped 5.7 percent despite reporting a 36 percent drop in last year's net profit."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf rises on bargain-hunting as global mood improves | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf rises on bargain-hunting as global mood improves | Reuters:

"Stock markets in the United Arab Emirates and Qatar rose in early trade on Sunday as investors bought stocks that had been beaten down to multi-year lows this year.

There is a sense that global bourses and oil prices are regaining some longer-term strength after Brent crude oil gained more than 6 percent last week.

This is encouraging sharp rebounds in stocks that bore the brunt of panic selling early this year. One of the leading such stocks is Dubai construction firm Drake & Scull, which rose 6.3 percent to 0.44 dirham in early trade on Sunday. It was the market's most heavily traded stock."



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Ali al-Naimi, shepherd in the fields of black gold - FT.com

Ali al-Naimi, shepherd in the fields of black gold - FT.com:

"A
visit to Ali al-Naimi’s oak-panelled office in Riyadh is a journey through history. The world’s most powerful oil man is known to show guests the totems of his long career, from the rock formations that have blessed the kingdom, to pictures of the dignitaries he has met over two decades of diplomatic management of the forces of supply, demand, and speculation.
At 81, the diminutive Mr Naimi has seen it all; so much of it, in fact, that he is said to be ready for retirement. Instead he has found himself at the centre of one of the biggest, and perhaps most daunting struggles of his long tenure at the head of the Saudi oil ministry."



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Friday, 26 February 2016

Introduction of VAT in UAE and Gulf region ‘likely to hit economic growth’ | The National

Introduction of VAT in UAE and Gulf region ‘likely to hit economic growth’ | The National:

"Value added tax (VAT) will bring in around $6.5 billion to the UAE’s coffers, but will likely hit the Gulf’s economic growth, economists said.

Gulf ministers this week signalled agreement on a 5 per cent tax on consumption to be introduced across the region by 1 January 2019.

The UAE’s finances have been hit as the oil price, on which the government depends for more than 60 per cent of revenues, scrapes 12-year lows. That has led the government to cut public spending by more than 20 per cent – and look to new taxes – as it attempts to close a budget deficit expected to swell to double digits this year."



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Homaid Al Shemmari expected to be named interim head of energy in place of Sultan Al Jaber at Mubadala | The National

Homaid Al Shemmari expected to be named interim head of energy in place of Sultan Al Jaber at Mubadala | The National:

"The shift to new leadership of the UAE’s energy sector is a strategic move that has been in the works for some time, even though the new generation must quickly step in and demonstrate an ability to chart a course through a volatile global landscape.

An economic and political shake-up of sorts has happened this month, including a younger group taking the reins at some of the country’s key energy assets.

The industry is now undergoing a sea change as oil prices languish near US$30 a barrel, having plummeted about 70 per cent during the past 18 months, and as international companies shelve hundreds of billions of dollars of upstream projects."



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UAE, Germany yet to renegotiate agreements blocking Berlin flights | GulfNews.com

UAE, Germany yet to renegotiate agreements blocking Berlin flights | GulfNews.com:

"Several months after German officials offered to restart negotiations over the country’s air services agreement with the UAE, both parties are yet to meet to talk over the matter, according to a spokesman from the German embassy at the UAE.

Air services agreements allow airlines to operate commercial services between two countries. Under the agreements currently in place between the UAE and Germany, UAE-based airlines such as Etihad Airways and Emirates can fly to multiple German cities but not Berlin.

Asked about updates on whether Etihad and Emirates may be allowed to fly to the capital, Tilman Enders, deputy head of Germany’s mission to the UAE, said, “That would require new negotiations, which we have actually offered way back in August, but the idea was not picked up. I think it’s too sensitive for me to tell you [who didn’t pick up the idea] because it is a very complicated issue, but you can deduct from what I said …"



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Roll up! The oil rig giveaway | Short View - YouTube

Roll up! The oil rig giveaway | Short View - YouTube: ""



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Thursday, 25 February 2016

MIDEAST STOCKS-Markets end mixed in modest volumes | Energy & Oil | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Markets end mixed in modest volumes | Energy & Oil | Reuters:

"Stock markets in the Middle East were mixed on Thursday with small and mid-sized stocks, favoured by local retail investors, attracting the most trading volume in Saudi Arabia while blue chips were the main drag in the United Arab Emirates and Qatar.

Riyadh's index added 0.6 percent in modest turnover with Saudi Basic Industries adding 1.1 percent. Among smaller stocks, Tihama Advertising and insurer Alinma Tokio Marine jumped 2.1 and 4.9 percent respectively.

Abdulmohsen Al Hokair Group closed up 0.4 percent, but well off its session high, after the tourism company announced a cash dividend of 1.25 riyals per share for the second half of 2015, taking the total for last year to 2.5 riyals per share, in line with 2014 payouts."



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Brexit debated: Would leaving damage the UK? | FT Comment - YouTube

Brexit debated: Would leaving damage the UK? | FT Comment - YouTube: ""



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Oil refineries' booming profits set to slow this year | Reuters

Oil refineries' booming profits set to slow this year | Reuters:

"Oil refiners are set to enjoy another year of robust profits as feedstock prices remain low, but new plants and slower global growth mean 2016 will not be a boom year.

The 70 percent drop in crude oil prices since mid-2014 sparked a worldwide boom in demand last year, as drivers in the United States, China and India bought more cars and took more road trips.

Refineries operated at full throttle throughout 2015 and booked the strongest profits in years as demand surged 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd), or more than 2 percent from the previous year."



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Brexit debated: Impact on UK economy - YouTube

Brexit debated: Impact on UK economy - YouTube: ""



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Stumbling Sterling | Authers' Note - YouTube

Stumbling Sterling | Authers' Note - YouTube: ""



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi, Egypt up in early trade but volumes low | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi, Egypt up in early trade but volumes low | Reuters:

"Saudi Arabia's stock market rose in early trade on Thursday as local traders accumulated shares in small and mid-cap stocks, while Egypt edged up in thin trading volumes.

Riyadh's index added 0.7 percent with Tihama Advertising and insurer Alinma Tokio Marine each jumped over 5.0 percent.

Abdulmohsen Al Hokair Group added 2.6 percent after the tourism company announced a cash dividend of 1.25 riyals per share for the second half of 2015, taking the total for last year to 2.5 riyals per share, in line with 2014 payouts. Some other Saudi firms have been cutting dividends as the economy slows and funding becomes more difficult."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf edges down in early trade as blue chips weigh | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf edges down in early trade as blue chips weigh | Reuters:

"Gulf stock markets edged down in early trade on Thursday as blue chips dropped, with trading volumes in Dubai focused on volatile stocks favoured by local traders.

Dubai's index rose as much as 0.4 percent in the opening minutes but was 0.1 percent lower after 90 minutes. Builder Drake & Scull continued to attract heavy activity, rising 1.2 percent; it is up over 30 percent since Feb. 1. But construction firm Arabtec was down 0.9 percent after initially trading up.

Abu Dhabi's benchmark was initially up 0.1 percent in quiet trade but failed to hold onto gains as blue-chip banks were sold off, and the index fell 0.1 percent."



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Persian Gulf Rail Deadline to Be Re-Set Amid Oil Price Plunge - Bloomberg Business

Persian Gulf Rail Deadline to Be Re-Set Amid Oil Price Plunge - Bloomberg Business:

"Development of a 1,350-mile (2,170-kilometer) railroad network along the Persian Gulf linking Kuwait with the Indian Ocean is likely to be delayed as the six nations involved review budgets for the project because of the drop in oil prices.
The completion target date of 2018 is unfeasible, and the Gulf Cooperation Council member countries will meet in the Saudi capital of Riyadh next month to set a new deadline, United Arab Emirates Minister of Infrastructure Development Abdulla Belhaif Al Nuaimi said. The regional scope would remain unchanged, he said.
“All of us agreed” at a regional meeting last year to fix a new date, and “we have asked all the ministers to come up with a realistic program," Al Nuaimi said Wednesday at a Dubai press conference."



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Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Dubai hotel revenues drop 6% on few tourists, cheap oil | GulfNews.com

Dubai hotel revenues drop 6% on few tourists, cheap oil | GulfNews.com:

"Business isn’t looking very good for many hotels in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

A new benchmark study released by global accountancy firm Ernst & Young (EY) on Wednesday showed that premium and budget hotels across the UAE recorded a slowdown in revenues during the last three months of 2015.

The decline has been attributed to the fall in the influx of holidaymakers from key markets, coupled with less liquidity, low oil prices, currency fluctuations and uncertain macroeconomic conditions."



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It’s official: VAT will arrive in the UAE by 2018 | The National

It’s official: VAT will arrive in the UAE by 2018 | The National:

"Value added tax will be introduced to the UAE from 2018 at a rate of 5 per cent, while studies into a possible corporation tax are also under way.

Obaid Humaid Al Tayer, the Minister of State for Financial Affairs, said that the government was in the initial stages of examining the social and economic impact of such a tax as well as how it might affect competitiveness.

He made the disclosure at a press conference with Christine Lagarde, the IMF’s managing dir­ector, in Dubai. He said: “There is no time frame for implementing this tax and no law or draft law has been stipulated.”"



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Saudi Arabia refuses to cut oil output as ‘no trust’, Iran says freeze is ‘ridiculous’ | The National

Saudi Arabia refuses to cut oil output as ‘no trust’, Iran says freeze is ‘ridiculous’ | The National:

"Saudi Arabia said it won’t cut oil production because it doesn’t trust other countries to join in, insisting instead that high-cost producers ought to bear the burden of reducing the current surplus.

“We are not banking on cuts because” there is “less than trust” that “countries are going to deliver even if they promise,” Saudi oil minister Ali Al-Naimi said in Houston Tuesday. The market will eventually rebalance because high-cost producers will have to “lower costs, borrow or liquidate” to cope with the slump in oil prices, Al-Naimi said, adding that he doesn’t know when the current price rout will end.

“It may sound harsh, and unfortunately it is, but it is the most efficient way to rebalance markets,” Al-Naimi told the IHS CERAWeek conference, an annual gathering of the North American oil industry. “Cutting low cost production to subsidise higher cost supplies only delays an inevitable reckoning.”"



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Oil's retreat halts Gulf equity rally | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Oil's retreat halts Gulf equity rally | Reuters:

"Most Middle Eastern stock markets fell on Wednesday after oil prices pulled back sharply, interrupting a rally that had been built to a large extent on hopes that crude had bottomed out.

As Brent crude fell back below $33 a barrel, the Saudi stock index dropped 1.3 percent to 5,942 points, retreating from close to technical resistance at the February and January peaks of 6,056-6,098 points.

The petrochemical sector led the market down with Saudi Basic Industries losing 2.1 percent. Second-tier speculative stocks also tumbled. Saudi Paper, which had jumped 8.1 percent in unusually heavy trade on Tuesday, tumbled 8.1 percent on Wednesday."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi weighed down by petrochemical sector, Egypt sags | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi weighed down by petrochemical sector, Egypt sags | Reuters:

"The petrochemical sector was the main drag on Riyadh's stock index in early trade on Wednesday after oil extended its decline, while Egypt's benchmark retreated as investors' mood soured.

The Riyadh index was down 1.2 percent in the first hour as Saudi Basic Industries, the largest listed petrochemical stock, shed 2.4 percent. Brent oil futures were trading below $33 a barrel.

The Saudi retail sub-sector index fell 1.1 percent with Al Othaim Markets, a supermarket chain, down 0.9 percent although the board recommended a cash dividend of 2.00 riyals per share for 2015, up from 2014 and above NCB Capital's forecast of 1.75 riyals."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Declines in oil prices weigh on UAE, Qatar stocks | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Declines in oil prices weigh on UAE, Qatar stocks | Reuters:

"Steep declines in oil prices have dampened investor sentiment, sending stock markets in the United Arab Emirates and Qatar lower in early trade on Wednesday.

Dubai's index fell 1.0 percent to 3,160 points in the first hour as investors booked profits close to chart resistance at the late December peak of 3,189 points.

Emirates NBD, the largest lender by market value, fell 4.1 percent after adding 2.6 percent on the previous day. The shares go ex-dividend on Wednesday. On Tuesday, Goldman Sachs raised its recommendation for the stock to "buy" from "neutral"."



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Brexit debated: ‘Disaster for the City’ | FT Comment - YouTube

Brexit debated: ‘Disaster for the City’ | FT Comment - YouTube: ""



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Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Brexit debated: How good is Cameron’s deal | FT Comment - YouTube

Brexit debated: How good is Cameron’s deal | FT Comment - YouTube: ""



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Saudi Arabia Inflation Accelerates Most in More Than 3 Years - Bloomberg Business

Saudi Arabia Inflation Accelerates Most in More Than 3 Years - Bloomberg Business:

"Inflation in Saudi Arabia accelerated the most in more than three years in January after government subsidy cuts drove up transportation and commodity prices.
Consumer prices rose an annual 4.3 percent, up from 2.3 percent in December, the General Authority for Statistics said on its website. That’s the most on an annual basis since October 2012. Consumer prices went up 1.9 percent on the month, according to the authority."



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Mubadala Is Said to Explore SR Technics Sale, Satellite IPO - Bloomberg Business

Mubadala Is Said to Explore SR Technics Sale, Satellite IPO - Bloomberg Business:

"Mubadala Development Co., the Abu Dhabi investment fund, is considering the sale of Swiss aircraft-maintenance business SR Technics and an initial public offering of Yahsat Satellite as the emirate reviews its largest state-owned companies, according to four people with knowledge of the matter.
The government-backed fund has held talks on the possible transactions with banks and any deal will depend on market conditions, the people said, asking not to be identified because the talks are private. Mubadala is also seeking the sale of a stake in U.S. chipmaker Globalfoundries Inc., one of the people said.
Abu Dhabi is reviewing its largest state-owned companies as a slump in oil pressures the emirate’s finances, people with knowledge of the matter said in November. The capital of the United Arab Emirates and source of about 6 percent of the world’s proven oil reserves may also tap the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority wealth fund and issue local and foreign debt to bridge a deficit wrought by lower crude prices, according to Fitch Ratings.
"



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Oil prices fall 2 percent on doubts potential output cap will erode glut | Reuters

Oil prices fall 2 percent on doubts potential output cap will erode glut | Reuters:

"Oil futures fell more than 2 percent on Tuesday, eroding some of the previous day's gains, over doubts a potential production freeze will have any impact on a supply glut.

Big oil exporters Saudi Arabia and Russia have proposed to freeze output at January levels, which were near record highs, only if other producers also do the same.

"If they freeze production at January levels when you're already over supplied by around a million barrels per day it just prolongs that situation of oversupply," said Energy Aspects' analyst Dominic Haywood."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Major indexes lose steam at chart resistances | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Major indexes lose steam at chart resistances | Reuters:

"Major Middle Eastern stock markets rose in early trade on Tuesday but then lost steam just below technical resistances, showing many investors remain nervous about unstable oil prices.

Rises in oil and global equities markets over the past several days have helped to create a feeling that the worst may be over for Gulf bourses; this sentiment has been seen in rising trading volumes.

But confidence has not completely returned, and Saudi Arabian data on Tuesday underlined pressures on the economy from low oil prices. After the government raised gasoline prices in late December as an austerity step, annual inflation jumped to 4.3 percent in January - the highest since the data series began in September 2012 - from 2.3 percent in December."



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Brexit debated: 'EU and UK better off' | FT Comment - YouTube

Brexit debated: 'EU and UK better off' | FT Comment - YouTube: ""



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Risk on | Authers' Note - YouTube

Risk on | Authers' Note - YouTube: ""



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Monday, 22 February 2016

Mideast Defense Spending Seen Flat Due to Oil by IHS Jane's - Bloomberg Business

Mideast Defense Spending Seen Flat Due to Oil by IHS Jane's - Bloomberg Business:

"The oil price slump means that growth in defense spending in the Middle East will slow, even though Gulf Arab states have been drawn into wars in Yemen, Syria and Iraq, IHS Jane’s said in a report.
After growing swiftly between 2012 and 2014, defense spending in the region is expected to be little changed at $170 billion over the next two years as budgetary pressures come up against security concerns, Craig Caffrey, principal analyst at IHS Jane’s, said in a report Sunday.
“2015 saw the first defense budget cuts for a decade as oil prices crashed,” Caffrey said. “We saw the first marginal cuts in 2015, but, those cuts are now expected to deepen in 2016 as states are forced into pursuing fiscal consolidation with more vigor.”"



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UAE banks' liquidity with c.bank comfortable -official | Reuters

UAE banks' liquidity with c.bank comfortable -official | Reuters:

"Commercial banks in the United Arab Emirates are maintaining very comfortable levels of liquidity with the central bank, Saif Hadef al-Shamsi, the central bank's assistant governor for monetary policy and financial stability, said on Monday.

Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of an economic conference, Shamsi was responding to a question about local banks' concern over tightening money market liquidity due to low oil prices.

"I am saying banks' liquidity with the central bank is very comfortable," Shamsi said. "This is measured by CD (certificates of deposit) holdings with the central bank," which exceed 120 billion dirhams ($32.7 billion), he added."



'via Blog this'

MIDEAST STOCKS-Robust volumes push major bourses higher | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Robust volumes push major bourses higher | Reuters:

"Strong trading volumes helped lift major stock markets in the Middle East on Monday as investors were encouraged by the recovery in oil prices and firmer global bourses.

Riyadh's stock index gained 1.7 percent, lifted by the petrochemical sector, which jumped 3.5 percent. Saudi Basic Industries (SABIC), the largest listed petrochemical producer, rose 3.9 percent. Brent oil futures were trading above $34 a barrel when the bourse closed.

Most small and mid-cap stocks in the insurance sector climbed as local traders accumulated shares. Insurers SABB Takaful and AlAhli Takaful surged 9.6 and 4.0 percent respectively."



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Saudi Arabia leads surge in arms imports by Middle East states | World news | The Guardian

Saudi Arabia leads surge in arms imports by Middle East states | World news | The Guardian:

"The international transfer of weapons to the Middle East has risen dramatically over the past five years, with Saudi Arabia’s imports for 2011-15 increasing by 275% compared with 2006–10, according to an authoritative report.

Overall, imports by states in the Middle East increased by 61%; imports by European states decreased by 41% over the same period. Britain sold more weapons to Saudi Arabia than to any other country. Saudi Arabia is also the biggest US arms market and buys more American arms than British, the report shows."



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Cost of Brexit would outweigh the benefits, says credit ratings agency Moody's - Politics live | Politics | The Guardian

Cost of Brexit would outweigh the benefits, says credit ratings agency Moody's - Politics live | Politics | The Guardian:

"The cost of Brexit would outweigh the benefits, the credit ratings agency Moody’s has warned. And it says Britain could have its credit rating lowered, leading to higher borrowing costs for the government, if it votes to leave the EU. Here is the Press Association story.

 The economic costs of a decision to quit the European Union would outweigh the benefits, credit ratings agency Moody’s has warned.

A Brexit could have a negative effect on the UK’s credit rating, potentially pushing up the cost of Government borrowing, and may lead to a “prolonged period of uncertainty”, Moody’s said.

The agency welcomed the announcement of the June 23 vote as a way of addressing the issue quickly but said the result was “too close to call”.

“We consider it positive that the referendum will take place as soon as June, as a lengthy period of uncertainty on the part of firms and investors would damage the UK’s economic growth prospects,” senior vice president Kathrin Muehlbronner said.

“That said, the outcome of the referendum remains wide open. In our view, a decision to leave the EU would be credit negative for the UK economy.”

The firm said “the economic costs of a decision to leave the EU would outweigh the economic benefits” and “unless the UK managed to negotiate a new trade arrangement with the EU that preserves at least some of the trade benefits of EU membership, the UK’s exports would suffer”.

A vote to leave “would likely lead to a prolonged period of uncertainty, which would negatively affect investment”, Moody’s warned.

The firm said it would assign a “negative outlook” to the UK’s current Aa1 rating following a vote to exit.

Asked for the PM’s response to the warning from Moody’s, David Cameron’s official spokeswoman said: “The prime minister has been very clear of the risks of uncertainty of a vote to leave, and that a vote to remain is in the interests of both our economic and national security.”"


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Get ready for taxes, Christine Lagarde tells UAE and other Gulf nations | The National

Get ready for taxes, Christine Lagarde tells UAE and other Gulf nations | The National:

"It’s time for the Gulf to start taxing its citizens, Christine Lagarde told an audience of finance ministers at the Arab Fiscal Forum in Abu Dhabi today.

Calling tax powers “the lifeblood of modern states”, Ms Lagarde called on Gulf states to bring in VAT, place a “greater emphasis” on corporation tax, property tax, and excise duties. The region should also ready itself for personal income taxes, she said.

“Higher government revenues would create much-needed fiscal room for manoeuvre, and allow for more spending on … infrastructure, healthcare and education,” Ms Lagarde said."



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Mena oil exporters lose over $340b from oil slump | GulfNews.com

Mena oil exporters lose over $340b from oil slump | GulfNews.com:

"Oil-exporting countries in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) lost more than $340 billion in oil revenue from their budget in 2015, amounting to 20 per cent of their combined gross domestic product, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF)."



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Sovereign Wealth Funds May Sell $404 Billion of Equities - Bloomberg Business

Sovereign Wealth Funds May Sell $404 Billion of Equities - Bloomberg Business:

"Sovereign wealth funds may withdraw $404.3 billion from global stock markets this year if crude prices stay between $30 to $40 per barrel as oil-rich nations seek to shore up their finances, according to the Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute.
The value of listed equities held by the world’s largest wealth funds will probably drop to $2.64 trillion this year, from about $3.04 trillion at the end of 2015, the Las Vegas-based SWFI said in an e-mailed report sent Monday. Withdrawals are set to approximately double from last year, when sovereign funds sold about $213.4 billion of equities, it said.
"The era of petrodollar-filled wheelbarrows being dumped into giant vats seems to be numbered," according to the Institute. "Commodity wealth funds have to be concerned about the state of their country’s finances, since many were created to either be stabilization funds, intergenerational savings vehicles or a combination thereof.""



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FT Pub Quiz: What has the EU done for Britain? | FT World - YouTube

FT Pub Quiz: What has the EU done for Britain? | FT World - YouTube: ""



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi, Egypt advance as oil, global markets recover | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi, Egypt advance as oil, global markets recover | Reuters:

"Stock markets in Saudi Arabia and Egypt advanced in early trade on Monday after oil prices rebounded moderately, helping lift international bourses.

Riyadh's index edged up 0.6 percent as the petrochemical sector rose 0.9 percent with its largest constituent, Saudi Basic Industries, gaining 0.7 percent. Brent futures were up 2.3 percent at $33.76 a barrel.

"A confirmation of a bullish trend in stock markets will only come when we see hard evidence that oil prices have healed," said a Dubai-based analyst."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-UAE markets nudge higher but blue chips hurt Qatar | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-UAE markets nudge higher but blue chips hurt Qatar | Reuters:

"Stock markets in the United Arab Emirates edged up in quiet, early trade on Monday but Qatar slipped, weighed down by blue-chip real estate and utility companies.

Dubai's index was up 0.5 percent with GFH Financial , the most heavily traded stock, rising 2.8 percent, heading for its seventh straight session of gains. It has been rising sharply since Abu Dhabi Financial Group's capital markets arm, Integrated Capital, said on Wednesday it had increased its stake in GFH to 10 percent from 7.4 percent.

Construction firm Arabtec added 1.7 percent after it surged 8.3 percent on Sunday. The company reported a net loss of 360 million dirhams ($98.02 million) for the three months to Dec. 31, which was a deterioration from a year earlier but an improvement from the previous quarter."



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Sunday, 21 February 2016

Sovereign wealth funds pull at least $46.5b from asset managers | GulfNews.com

Sovereign wealth funds pull at least $46.5b from asset managers | GulfNews.com:

"Asset managers suffered record outflows from sovereign wealth funds in 2015 and have been warned to expect even greater redemptions this year as the oil price collapse drives governments to raid their state-owned investment vehicles.

State funds pulled at least $46.5 billion from asset managers in 2015 - far greater than the sovereign outflows recorded at the height of the financial crisis - in a bid to prop up their economies, according to figures given exclusively to FTfm by eVestment, the data provider.

The outflows have dented profitability at many of the world’s largest investment companies, including BlackRock, Aberdeen Asset Management, State Street and Franklin Templeton."



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OPEC's Path From Oil Freeze to Output Cuts Is Far From Clear - Bloomberg Business

OPEC's Path From Oil Freeze to Output Cuts Is Far From Clear - Bloomberg Business:

"Saudi Arabia said its accord with Russia to cap oil production was “the beginning of a process,” but the path from a freeze to the output cuts needed to eliminate a global surplus is far from clear.
When Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi suggested that the agreement in Doha was a prelude to “other steps,” he fanned hopes that the kingdom’s resistance to production cuts was finally weakening. Oil’s recovery from a 12-year low last month was fueled by speculation that major producers were finally building a coalition that could work to end the glut.
The problem with using a production freeze as the bedrock for deeper cooperation is that none of the parties involved have to make any effort to comply."



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Abu Dhabi’s Biggest Bank Says U.S. Oil Prices May Drop to $20 - Bloomberg Business

Abu Dhabi’s Biggest Bank Says U.S. Oil Prices May Drop to $20 - Bloomberg Business:

"Oil prices may drop to near $20 a barrel this year as the global glut of crude persists into 2017, Abu Dhabi’s largest lender said.
U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude should trade in a range between $25 a barrel and $45 a barrel for the rest of the year, “although a very brief spike down towards $20 is possible,” the National Bank of Abu Dhabi PJSC wrote in its Global Investment Outlook 2016 report on Sunday. Prices at the lower end of the range will stimulate demand growth, it said.
“For at least the next few years there do appear to be solid fundamental reasons why oil prices are likely to remain in a trading range,” NBAD analysts wrote in the report. Producers have sold less of their crude this year through forward transactions than in past years, and forward-selling would likely accelerate if prices rallied much above $40 a barrel, the bank said.
"



'via Blog this'

Mideast Defense Spending Seen Flat on Cheap Oil by IHS Jane's - Bloomberg Business

Mideast Defense Spending Seen Flat on Cheap Oil by IHS Jane's - Bloomberg Business:

"The oil price slump means that defense spending in the Middle East will flatten despite an increase in tensions as Gulf Arab states wage war in Yemen and conflicts deepen in Syria and Iraq, IHS Jane’s said in a report.
After growing swiftly between 2012 and 2014, defense spending in the region is expected to be little changed at $170 billion over the next two years as budgetary pressures come up against security concerns, Craig Caffrey, principal analyst at IHS Jane’s, said in a report Sunday.
"2015 saw the first defense budget cuts for a decade as oil prices crashed," Caffrey said. "We saw the first marginal cuts in 2015, but, those cuts are now expected to deepen in 2016 as states are forced into pursuing fiscal consolidation with more vigor.""



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf loses steam as optimism over oil producer deal fades | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf loses steam as optimism over oil producer deal fades | Reuters:

"Most Gulf stock markets edged down on Sunday after oil prices pulled back on Friday, as optimism faded over a proposed deal among crude producers to cap output. A rise in shares of Commercial International Bank buoyed Egypt's bourse.

Officials in some oil producing nations are still talking up the deal. Russia's energy minister said on Saturday consultations should be concluded by March 1, so there could be further surges in oil and equities prices before that date.

However, Brent crude pulled back 3.7 percent on Friday to $33.01 a barrel, showing expectations among many traders that the deal - if it goes ahead - will do little or nothing to reduce massive oil supplies already in the market."



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Iran Weekly Market Report - 18 February 2016 - rupertbu@gmail.com - Gmail

Iran Weekly Market Report - 18 February 2016:

"Investors saw slower growth this week due to mixed performances by various sectors on the Tehran Stock Exchange. The TSE All-Share Index recorded its lowest increase in six weeks and closed at 77,888. This point is only 0.5% higher than last week’s closing mark. The latest gain is in contrast to the average weekly return of the main index since the start of January 2016, which has been +3.7%. The top three performers among the sec­tors were IT, Automotive and Metallic Products which recorded 17.6%, 13.5% and 12.5% weekly increases respectively. The IT sector in particular experienced higher growth this week as its average weekly return in the first six weeks of 2016 has been 3.4%. Automo­tive and Metallic Products sectors maintained their recent performance as top sectors. Oil Products, Industrial Conglomerates and Base Metals recorded the weakest returns among the major sectors as they declined by 7.5%, 3.6% and 2.4% respectively. The Oil Products sector fell after four weeks of continuous growth. The sector’s average weekly return during the first six weeks of 2016 has been +7.3%. Bandar Abbas Oil Refinery Co. (PNBA -9.5%) and Esfahan Oil Refinery Co. (PNES -9.2%) have played significant roles in pulling the sector’s index down.  On Monday, PNES released its Q3 report showing a 26% drop in projected net earnings, coming down to IRR 6210 billion (approx. USD 179 million). Share prices in the Oil Products sector have moved in contrast to crude oil prices in global markets. This week the prices of WTI Crude Oil, OPEC Basket Price and Brent Crude went up by 15%, 8.6% and 4.9% respectively.
 
By Technical Analysis perspective, the All-Share Index’s performance during the third week of February was not strong enough to push the market benchmark above the minor resistance at 78,500. At the same time, the index managed to stay above 76,500 as the market did not experience a significant sell off. On Sunday, the TSE’s main index dropped to 76,594 but quickly bounced back to the 77,000 level over the next few days. The 50 day EMA is still lower than the index by 11%, confirming the index’s uptrend in the midterm. This can be converted to a longer term uptrend by breaking through 78,500 and moving forward to 89,500. However, in the short term the index may experience sluggish growth, before rocketing up to its all-time high of 89,500.
 
The TSE30, the index of the thirty largest companies by market capitalization, slipped by 0.24% to close at 3,274. This is the first negative return of the top 30s in 2016. The poor performances of Oil Products, Base Metals and Banking shares affected the TSE30 in­dex the most. Eghtesad Novin Bank (NOVN +26.2%), Iran Khodro (IKCO +20.0%) and Informatics Services Corp. (INFO +18.4%) recorded the highest growth among the top 30s this week."



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Dubai needs to update finance laws to compete | The National

Dubai needs to update finance laws to compete | The National:

"Dubai must overhaul its legal framework and issue more debt if it is to compete with the conventional and Islamic capital markets of its foreign rivals, according to a study from Deloitte and the Dubai Economic Council.

This is just the latest call for Dubai to issue new regulations in order to develop its capital markets.

The IMF and the industry body the Islamic Financial Services Board have both said that the UAE needs to update its regulatory environment to help the growth of its domestic Islamic finance industry."



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Gulf oil dilemma drives tax reforms to shore up deficits | The National

Gulf oil dilemma drives tax reforms to shore up deficits | The National:

"The oil price slide is driving tax reforms across the region as Arabian Gulf economies seek to shore up a potential US$700 billion deficit.

All six Arabian Gulf states are planning to introduce Value Added Tax (VAT) collectively. Various other tax reforms are also underway.

The IMF warned in October that Gulf states would have a combined fiscal deficit between 2015 and 2019 exceeding $700bn if they did not undertake reforms."



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There’s a new world order to talk about at the Davos of Energy | GulfNews.com

There’s a new world order to talk about at the Davos of Energy | GulfNews.com:

"The Saudis may go public, Opec’s in disarray, the US is suddenly a global exporter, and shale drillers are seeking lifelines from investors as banks abandon them.

Welcome to oil’s new world order, full of stresses, strains and fractures. For leaders gathering in Houston this week at the IHS CERAWeek conference — often dubbed the Davos of the energy industry — a key question is: what will break first? Will it be the balance sheets of big US shale companies? The treasuries of Venezuela and Nigeria? The resolve of Saudi Arabia, whose recent deal with Russia to freeze output levels offered the first hint of a rethink?

After watching prices crash through floor after floor in the worst slump for a generation, the industry is eager for answers. Insiders say it’s not too hard to visualise what markets might look like after the storm — say five years down the line, when today’s cost-cutting creates a supply vacuum that will push up prices. But it’s what happens in the meantime that’s got them scratching their heads."



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UAE markets at critical juncture | GulfNews.com

UAE markets at critical juncture | GulfNews.com:

"Last week the Dubai Financial Market General Index (DFMGI) jumped 111.41 or 3.74 per cent to close at 3,092.89. There were 29 advancing issue and only seven declining, while volume improved to a two-week high.

The high for the week was 3,106.48, right where two trend lines converge, the long-term uptrend line starting from the 2012 low and the downtrend line started from the July-2015 highs, together creating an important resistance area. That high was close to where the DFMGI closed, but still below the prior week’s high of 3,124.69, generating an inside bar or inside week. This is where the high-to-low range of the current week is contained within the range of the prior week. It represents a certain amount of indecision as there was no progress on either the upside or downside of the trend.

If the index can get above the two-week high and stay there it will then be above the two trend lines, a sign of strength, but not enough by itself to clear the road higher. What happens thereafter is of greater significance. Potential resistance of the 200-week simple moving average (sma) is at 3,162.81, followed by the December swing high at 3,188.83. That swing high needs to be exceeded on a daily closing basis before there is an indication that there could be more upside in the foreseeable future. At that point the downtrend price structure would be violated as there would no longer be a series of low swing highs and lower swing lows, the definition of a downtrend. "



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi, Egyptian stocks firm in early trade | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi, Egyptian stocks firm in early trade | Reuters:

"Saudi Arabian stocks were firm in early trade on Sunday as retail investors bought second-tier stocks, encouraged by last week's gains, while strength in Commercial International Bank buoyed Egypt.

The Saudi index was up 0.5 percent after an hour of trade as Middle East Paper surged 7.6 percent and Al Tayyar Travel climbed 4.0 percent.

A 1.3 percent rise in Commercial International Bank helped Egypt's stock index gain 0.8 percent, while Egyptian Iron & Steel surged 8.9 percent. However, most stocks among Egypt's 10 most actively traded barely moved."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf markets edge down in early trade | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf markets edge down in early trade | Reuters:

"Gulf stock markets edged down in early trade on Sunday after oil prices pulled back on Friday, as prospects for a deal among crude producers to cap output faded.

The Dubai stock index was 0.2 percent lower after 45 minutes as Emaar Properties lost 1.1 percent.

However, construction firm Arabtec climbed 3.7 percent after it reported a net loss of 360 million dirhams ($98.02 million) for the three months to Dec. 31, compared with a loss of 94.4 million dirhams a year earlier."



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Friday, 19 February 2016

UAE's Aster DM Healthcare plans stake sale via listing, private deal | Reuters

UAE's Aster DM Healthcare plans stake sale via listing, private deal | Reuters:

"United Arab Emirates-based Aster DM Healthcare is seeking to sell a minority stake this year either through a stock market flotation or a deal with a private investor, its chairman told Reuters on Thursday.

The company runs hospitals, clinics and pharmacies across the Gulf and India and is benefiting from a booming healthcare market in the UAE and other areas of the Gulf due to the introduction of mandatory health insurance schemes. A growing and increasingly wealthy population also means that cases of lifestyle diseases such as diabetes are rising sharply.

This has attracted significant interest from both public and private investors: shares in NMC Health, a UAE-based competitor of Aster DM, have risen nearly fourfold since listing in London in 2012, while the sector has seen a number of mergers and acquisitions. The biggest was the recent $2.2 billion takeover of Al Noor Hospitals, another UAE competitor, by South Africa's Mediclinic International."



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Sweett Group Told to Pay $3.3 Million in U.K. Bribery Case - Bloomberg Business

Sweett Group Told to Pay $3.3 Million in U.K. Bribery Case - Bloomberg Business:

"Sweett Group Plc, the first company to be convicted under new U.K. bribery laws, was ordered to pay about 2.3 million pounds ($3.3 million) at a sentencing hearing in London.
The U.K. construction company was accused of paying bribes to win contracts in the Middle East and pleaded guilty to the charge in December. The penalties issued by Judge Martin Beddoe Friday included a 1.4 million-pound fine and the return of about 850,000 pounds in benefits derived from the illegal payments.
The outcome is a rare victory for the U.K. Serious Fraud Office, which had faced criticism in recent years for failing to secure any corporate convictions under new U.K. bribery laws enacted in 2011. The change saw all major businesses invest millions of pounds on revamping their compliance procedures."



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Thursday, 18 February 2016

EU court ruling on Iranian bank paves way for claims against UK | World news | The Guardian

EU court ruling on Iranian bank paves way for claims against UK | World news | The Guardian:

"Bank Mellat, an Iranian firm whose assets were frozen due to alleged involvement in nuclear proliferation, has won a European Union court ruling paving the way for claims against the UK.

The decision by the EU court of justice in Luxembourg that the bank should not have been targeted will bolster its claim against the UK government for billions of pounds worth of compensation.

The case was brought against the European council, the grouping of the EU’s 28 member states, which froze the funds of a number of Iranian financial entities from 2010 to combat Iranian activities that could have led to the country developing nuclear weapons. The UK government appeared in support of the council."



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UAE debt defaults could mount and spread to indi­vidual borrowers, warns EFG Hermes | The National

UAE debt defaults could mount and spread to indi­vidual borrowers, warns EFG Hermes | The National:

"The investment bank EFG-Hermes is warning that the fallout sparked by SME debt delinquencies may spread to indi­vidual borrowers as the strain from the weakening economy increases.

While the bank’s fourth-quarter earnings grew compared with the third quarter, they were largely propped up by one-off gains and increases in non-interest income, said Shabbir Malik, the author of a report released on Thursday.

More worryingly, banks are putting aside more cash to cover any nasty surprises this year, he said.

"



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Struggling UAE brokers under further pressure as Securities and Commodities Authority cuts commissions | The National

Struggling UAE brokers under further pressure as Securities and Commodities Authority cuts commissions | The National:

"The Securities and Commodities Authority (SCA) has announced a 17 per cent cut in the commission on share transactions paid to brokerages.

The regulator said an overhaul to the commission structure on share transactions, will lead to an increase in commissions paid to the regulator, while that paid to brokerages will decrease. Under the new regime, the SCA will receive a 0.05 per cent commission on each share transaction, compared with 0.025 per cent previously.

The increase in commission to the regulator will be funded by a reduction in the commission payable to brokers, which will fall by 17 per cent to 0.125 per cent from 0.15 per cent."



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Norway Opens Wealth Fund to Buying Iranian Government Bonds - Bloomberg Business

Norway Opens Wealth Fund to Buying Iranian Government Bonds - Bloomberg Business:

"Norway opened its $810 billion wealth fund to Iranian government bonds as the Middle Eastern nation emerges from almost a decade of international sanctions following a deal to curb a nuclear program.
Norway has had sanctions in place on investing in Iranian government bonds since January 2014 as part of a ban that now will include only North Korea and Syria, according to a statement from the Finance Ministry in Oslo. The ban was lifted as Iran met its initial obligations under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the ministry said.  
“As part of this easing the prohibition against buying Iranian government bonds falls away,” Norway said."



'via Blog this'

U.A.E. Central Bank Foreign Assets Decline $12 Billion - Bloomberg Business

U.A.E. Central Bank Foreign Assets Decline $12 Billion - Bloomberg Business:

"The United Arab Emirates central bank’s foreign assets fell by $12 billion in January from the previous month as the Arab world’s second-biggest economy grapples with falling oil prices and bets against its currency.
Foreign assets declined to 296.9 billion dirhams ($81 billion) from 341.1 billion dirhams, according to data posted on the central bank’s website. Cash, bank balances and deposits with banks abroad dropped almost 30 percent to 122.2 billion dirhams, while investments in held-to-maturity foreign securities and other foreign assets increased, according to the data.
Oil producers in the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council, which includes Qatar, Kuwait and the biggest Arab economy of Saudi Arabia, are seeing their public finances deteriorate as crude prices hover near 12-year lows. Net foreign assets of the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency, the kingdom’s central bank, have fallen in the 11 months to December as the country sought to bridge its budget deficit."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf markets rise on oil hopes, ignore debt downgrades | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf markets rise on oil hopes, ignore debt downgrades | Reuters:

"Gulf stock markets rose on Thursday amid hopes for a global deal to prop up oil prices, as investors largely ignored sharp downgrades of the credit ratings of three nations in the region.

Late on Wednesday, Standard & Poor's cut Saudi Arabia by two notches to A- from A+, while Bahrain lost its investment grade status; Oman was lowered to the last rating above junk status.

The downgrades underlined the damage to state finances in the region from cheap oil, and the likelihood that governments will have to pay more in future to fund themselves. After the markets closed, the Bahrain government cancelled a $750 million bond sale in response to S&P's decision."



'via Blog this'

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi rises sharply on oil price hopes, Egypt firm | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi rises sharply on oil price hopes, Egypt firm | Reuters:

"Saudi Arabia's stock market rose sharply in early trade on Thursday on hopes for a global agreement to prop up oil prices, while Egypt's bourse was firm.

The Saudi index gained 1.5 percent in the opening minutes, heading for its fourth straight day of gains, as the biggest petrochemical maker, Saudi Basic Industries, climbed 2.9 percent.

Jabal Omar Development rose 3.4 percent after saying it had signed an agreement with the Ministry of Finance to defer payments on a 3 billion riyal ($800 million) loan; it had missed a first payment on the loan in January."



'via Blog this'

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi, other debt downgrades may dampen markets | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi, other debt downgrades may dampen markets | Reuters:

"Downgrades of the credit ratings of three Gulf oil exporters may dampen stock markets in the region on Thursday, offsetting strength in oil prices and global equity markets.

Brent oil futures are just above $35.0 a barrel, having surged more than 7 percent overnight after Iran endorsed the idea of oil producers capping their output to support prices. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan is up 1.7 percent on Thursday morning.

However, Iran did not explicitly say on Wednesday that it would restrain its own output, and many analysts still doubt that the agreement will make much difference to oil prices."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf stocks rise on higher oil, global gains | News by Country | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf stocks rise on higher oil, global gains | News by Country | Reuters:

"Gulf stock markets rose in early trade on Thursday in response to strength in oil prices and global equity markets, though they quickly came off their highs.

The Dubai index was up 1.1 percent at 3,092 points after an hour of trade, but pulled back after nearing minor technical resistance at the February peak of 3,125 points. Second-tier property stocks were major gainers with Deyaar , the most heavily traded stock, up 2.0 percent.

GFH Financial gained 2.4 percent. It had risen 1.4 percent on Wednesday after Abu Dhabi Financial Group's capital markets arm, Integrated Capital, said it had increased its stake in GFH to 10 percent. Previously its stake was 7.4 percent, according to bourse data."



'via Blog this'

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Iran gives oil freeze plan cautious welcome - FT.com

Iran gives oil freeze plan cautious welcome - FT.com:

"Iran on Wednesday cautiously welcomed an initiative to freeze oil output by the world’s largest producers — even though Tehran itself is rushing to increase its own exports.
The Iranian response to a plan backed by Saudi Arabia and Russia helped oil prices to a 7 per cent gain on the day as traders discarded some of their scepticism about the first big effort to reverse the 18-month oil price slide."



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Abu Dhabi deficit to widen significantly in 2016, says Moody’s | The National

Abu Dhabi deficit to widen significantly in 2016, says Moody’s | The National:

"Abu Dhabi’s fiscal deficit will widen significantly in 2016, as oil prices remain lower for longer, according to Moody’s the ratings agency.

The emirate will run a fiscal deficit of 14 per cent of GDP this year, the ratings agency expects. Fitch estimates that Abu Dhabi ran a fiscal deficit of 13.2 per cent in 2015.

Major falls in oil and natural gas revenues are driving the deficits, with receipts falling from 26.6 per cent of GDP to 17 per cent of GDP from 2015. Oil revenues are expected to fall by about 41 per cent this year from their 2014 high, Fitch expects."



'via Blog this'

Iranian banks reconnected to SWIFT network after four-year hiatus | Reuters

Iranian banks reconnected to SWIFT network after four-year hiatus | Reuters:

"Global transaction network SWIFT has reconnected a number of Iranian banks to its system, allowing them to resume cross-border transactions with foreign banks after the lifting of sanctions on Tehran, a SWIFT official said.

Iran's re-entry on to the SWIFT system, four years after banks were cut off from the network, had became a political issue in the Islamic Republic in recent weeks.

Some conservative parliamentary critics of President Hassan Rouhani had complained the reconnection was not occurring fast enough and the country's nuclear deal was not delivering the expected economic benefits."



'via Blog this'

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi rises before oil meeting, Egypt firm | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi rises before oil meeting, Egypt firm | Reuters:

"Saudi Arabia's stock market rose on Wednesday before an oil producers' meeting that could help support crude prices, while Egypt's bourse was aided by a firm global tone for equities. Most Gulf markets were little changed.

Iran's oil minister was meeting his counterparts from Iraq, Qatar and Venezuela in Tehran on Wednesday afternoon to discuss a proposal for major producers to freeze output at January levels.

Even if an agreement can be reached, many investors doubt it will be respected in the long term, or that it will boost oil prices much."



'via Blog this'

Harsh economic reality drives Saudi-Russia accord - FT.com

Harsh economic reality drives Saudi-Russia accord - FT.com:

"Saudi Arabia and Russia are hardly the most obvious allies. The world’s two largest oil exporters have been locked in an increasingly fierce battle for market share. They are on opposite sides of the bloody conflict raging in Syria. Previous attempts to co-operate on oil output have ended in bickering and distrust.
But the two states have been forced together by harsh economic reality, in the shape of collapsing oil price, which led to Tuesday’s tentative agreement to freeze oil production, also backed by Qatar and Venezuela."



'via Blog this'

Break up the banks, says Minneapolis Fed chief - FT.com

Break up the banks, says Minneapolis Fed chief - FT.com:

"America’s biggest banks pose a potentially “nuclear” threat to the US economy and regulators should consider breaking them up, according to the new head of the Minneapolis Federal Reserve.
Neel Kashkari, who was a key architect of Wall Street’s 2008 bailout, said the largest US lenders remain “too big too fail”. He said in his first public comments since becoming the head of the Minneapolis Fed at the start of the year that efforts to regulate the big banks since the financial crisis had not gone far enough."



'via Blog this'

Oil ministers’ output freezing deal in Qatar explained - FT.com

Oil ministers’ output freezing deal in Qatar explained - FT.com:

"At a meeting in Doha on Tuesday, oil ministers from Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela agreed to freeze — not cut — output at the levels reported in January in an attempt to prop up prices that have cratered from $115 a barrel in mid-2014 to just above $30 a barrel today.

All of the countries have been hit hard by the decline in prices, in particular Venezuela which has been trying to marshal support for co-ordinated action to stabilise prices. The provisional “freeze” comes ahead of the next Opec ministerial meeting in June.
Russia is estimated to have pumped a post-Soviet record of 10.88m barrels a day in January, which might explain why it has been willing to sign up to a deal. Its output is already forecast to decline slightly by the end of 2016. Equally, Saudi Arabia’s production has remained close to record levels above 10m b/d for almost 12 months."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi, Egyptian markets edge up in early trade | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi, Egyptian markets edge up in early trade | Reuters:

"The Saudi Arabian stock market edged up in early trade on Wednesday before an oil producers' meeting that could help to support crude prices, while Egypt's bourse was aided by a firm global tone for equities.

Iran's oil minister was due to meet his counterparts from Iraq, Qatar and Venezuela in Tehran on Wednesday afternoon to discuss a proposal for major producers to freeze output at January levels.

Even if an agreement can be reached, many investors doubt it will be respected in the long term, or that it would boost oil prices much."



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Iran signals tough stance in oil producers' talks | Reuters

Iran signals tough stance in oil producers' talks | Reuters:

"Iran signaled on Wednesday it would take a tough line in talks among oil producers on restraining production, saying it would continue increasing its output until it reached levels seen before international sanctions were imposed.

"Asking Iran to freeze its oil production level is illogical ... when Iran was under sanctions, some countries raised their output and they caused the drop in oil prices." Iran's OPEC envoy, Mehdi Asali, was quoted as saying by the Shargh daily newspaper.

"How can they expect Iran to cooperate now and pay the price?""



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf bourses move sideways, little optimism over oil deal | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf bourses move sideways, little optimism over oil deal | Reuters:

"Gulf stock markets mostly moved sideways in quiet, early trade on Wednesday as investors held out little hope that a proposed deal among oil producers would support crude prices much.

Venezuelan Oil Minister Eulogio Del Pino and Iraqi Oil Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi were to travel to Tehran for talks with their Iranian counterpart Bijan Zanganeh on Wednesday to discuss a possible output freeze by major producers.

But Iran signalled it would take a tough line in the talks, saying it would continue increasing its output until it reached levels seen before international sanctions on Tehran were imposed."



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Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Talks about cutting oil output show Russians and Saudis feel the pain | Business | The Guardian

Talks about cutting oil output show Russians and Saudis feel the pain | Business | The Guardian:

"Imagine for a moment that the US, EU and India announced that they were willing to freeze carbon emissions at their current level on the condition China did the same. Would anybody believe that this was a serious attempt to tackle global warming?

Unlikely, in all honesty, yet the financial markets seemed to get awfully excited on Tuesday about talks between Saudi Arabia and Russia that would limit oil output at its January level provided Iran and Iraq agree to do the same.

Let’s be clear: this is not a deal to put a floor under oil prices; it is a pretty lame attempt at hoodwinking the markets into thinking a deal has been done to put a floor under oil prices."



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Abu Dhabi Recasts Government as It Grapples With Low Oil Prices - Bloomberg Business

Abu Dhabi Recasts Government as It Grapples With Low Oil Prices - Bloomberg Business:

"Abu Dhabi’s government replaced the head of its finance department and appointed a cabinet minister as general manager of state-owned oil company Adnoc as the oil producer grapples with low prices.
Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, president of the United Arab Emirates and Abu Dhabi’s ruler, issued a decree late Monday naming Riyad Al Mubarak as head of the finance department in place of Hamad Al Hurr Al Suwaidi, state-run news agency WAM reported. In a separate decree, Sheikh Khalifa appointed Sultan Al Jaber as general manager of Abu Dhabi National Oil Co., replacing Abdulla Nasser Al Suwaidi.
The reshuffle comes as the producer of 6 percent of the world’s known oil reserves may consider tapping its sovereign wealth fund and issuing local and foreign debt to bridge a deficit wrought by low petroleum prices, according to Fitch Ratings Ltd. The emirate, which has deregulated fuel prices and increased utility prices, is also looking for measures to diversify its economy away from oil, which contributes about 50 percent of its economy."



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Oil loses nearly 4 percent as hopes over Saudi, Russia deal fade | Reuters

Oil loses nearly 4 percent as hopes over Saudi, Russia deal fade | Reuters:

"Brent oil fell almost 4 percent on Tuesday, erasing early gains after top producers Russia and Saudi Arabia dashed expectations of an outright supply cut by agreeing only to freeze output if other big exporters joined them.

Benchmark Brent prices jumped briefly through $35 a barrel after Russia and Saudi Arabia agreed to keep output at January levels, in what could be the first joint OPEC and non-OPEC deal in 15 years.

Qatari energy minister Mohammad bin Saleh al-Sada said the step would help to stabilise the oil market, which has experienced price declines not seen since the early 2000s because of a supply glut."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Major indexes advance as oil, global markets recover | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Major indexes advance as oil, global markets recover | Reuters:

"A return of some risk appetite to global equity markets and a recovery in oil prices helped lift major Middle East exchanges in robust volumes on Tuesday.

Riyadh's index rose 0.9 percent to 5,740 points in heavy trade, its second straight day of gains since news that the central bank lifted local banks' maximum loan-deposit ratio to 90 percent from 85 percent to ease liquidity in the sector.

But the index came off its high of 5,848 points after Saudi Arabia, Russia, Qatar and Venezuela agreed on Tuesday to freeze their oil output at January levels, providing other major producers followed suit. Oil prices rose in anticipation of the announcement and fell back slightly afterwards.

"



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The changing face of coco bonds | FT Markets - YouTube

The changing face of coco bonds | FT Markets - YouTube: ""



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Why is Japan trading like an emerging market? I Short View - YouTube

Why is Japan trading like an emerging market? I Short View - YouTube: ""



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Rebound in oil, global equities lifts UAE but Qatar sags | Agricultural Commodities | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Rebound in oil, global equities lifts UAE but Qatar sags | Agricultural Commodities | Reuters:

"A return of some risk appetite to global equity markets and a recovery in oil prices helped lift United Arab Emirates bourses in early trade on Tuesday, while Qatar sagged after a sell-off in major blue chips.

Dubai's index rose 1.7 percent with Drake & Scull jumping 3.6 percent. Emaar Properties and DAMAC Properties added 3.1 and 2.1 percent respectively.

Over the past month Dubai's benchmark has outperformed its regional peers, but a week ago it started to lose steam as most companies have already reported quarterly earnings."



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Abu Dhabi's New Head of Oil Company Comes From Investment Side - Bloomberg Business

Abu Dhabi's New Head of Oil Company Comes From Investment Side - Bloomberg Business:

"Abu Dhabi, the Persian Gulf emirate that holds about 6 percent of global crude reserves, replaced the head of its state oil company with an executive who spent the last 10 years investing in energy as prices languish near a 12-year low.
Sultan Al Jaber was named director general of Abu Dhabi National Oil Co., succeeding Abdulla Nasser Al Suwaidi, who had the job since June 2011, state-run Emirates News Agency reported, citing a government decree. Al Jaber joins Adnoc from Abu Dhabi’s investment fund, Mubadala Development Co., where he is chief executive officer of the energy unit. He’s also a government minister."



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Oil eases off highs after four producers agree output freeze | Reuters

Oil eases off highs after four producers agree output freeze | Reuters:

"Brent crude oil futures pared gains on Tuesday after Qatar said that four of the world's largest producers agreed to freeze output at January levels, provided that other major exporters followed suit.

Qatari energy minister Mohammad bin Saleh al-Sada told a news conference that the step would help to stabilise the oil market, which has experienced price declines not seen since the early 2000s because of the pace at which supply has outstripped demand.

Analysts said that while the decision is a step in the right direction to bring supply and demand back into balance, global inventories remain near record levels and are likely to dampen any price rallies."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi heads for second day of strong gains, Egypt up | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi heads for second day of strong gains, Egypt up | Reuters:

"A recovery in oil prices coupled with the central bank's move to ease banking sector liquidity this week helped lift Saudi Arabia's stock market in early trade on Tuesday, while stronger global bourses encouraged buying in Egyptian shares.

Riyadh's index was up 1.5 percent in the early afternoon after climbing 2.8 percent at one stage. It was heading for its second day of gains in a broad-based rally as investors bought back stocks after the central bank lifted local banks' maximum loan-deposit ratio to 90 percent from 85 percent.

But the index came off its highs after Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Russia and Venezuela agreed on Tuesday to freeze their oil output at January levels providing other major producers followed suit. Oil prices rose in anticipation of the announcement and fell back slightly afterwards."



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