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Sunday, 31 July 2016

Value of legal cases lodged at DIFC soars to Dh3.44 billion in the first half | The National

Value of legal cases lodged at DIFC soars to Dh3.44 billion in the first half | The National:

"The value of legal cases coming before the DIFC Courts ballooned in the first half of the year as more and more businesses turned to Dubai’s English-language commercial court in an attempt to force their creditors to pay up.

Legal cases worth Dh3.44 billion were handled by DIFC Courts in the first six months of 2016, according to official figures released yesterday, 48 per cent more than the Dh2.33bn of cases handled during the same period a year earlier.


DIFC said that the biggest increase in its workload came from a huge growth in the number of enforcement cases in which DIFC judges can force parties to pay up once an award has been made against them."



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Saudi Arabia construction market has dropped 80 per cent, says Al Khodari chief | The National

Saudi Arabia construction market has dropped 80 per cent, says Al Khodari chief | The National:

"The chief executive of Saudi Arabia’s only publicly traded builder has estimated that the construction market in the kingdom has shrunk by as much as 80 per cent.

Fawwaz Al Khodari, the head of Al Khodari & Sons, also revealed the contractor has avoided bidding on some government projects because of payment delay concerns.

"The construction market has slowed down immensely," he said. "While we do not have definite numbers as statistics are sometimes contradicting, from the client base that we have been working with in the past, we believe, and are confident when we say, that construction has slowed down by at least 80 per cent," he said."



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Turkey says to back away from EU migrant deal if no visa-free travel | Reuters

Turkey says to back away from EU migrant deal if no visa-free travel | Reuters:

"Turkey would have to back out of its agreement with the European Union to stem the flow of migrants into the bloc if the EU does not deliver visa-free travel for Turks, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has said.

Visa-free access to the EU - the main reward for Ankara's collaboration in choking off an influx of migrants into Europe - has been subject to delays due to a dispute over Turkish anti-terrorism legislation and Ankara's crackdown after a failed coup.

Cavusoglu told Germany's daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung the agreement on stemming the refugee flow had worked because of "very serious measures" taken by Ankara."



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UAE telco du extends earnings slump as Q2 net profit dips 11.3 pct | Reuters

UAE telco du extends earnings slump as Q2 net profit dips 11.3 pct | Reuters:

"Du, the United Arab Emirates' No.2 telecom operator, extended its earnings slump as it reported an 11.3 percent fall in its second-quarter net profit on Sunday.

The firm, which ended rival Etisalat's domestic monopoly in 2007, had reported declining profits in the preceding six quarters, according to Reuters data.

Du made a net profit of 445.4 million dirhams ($121.3 million) in the three months to June 30, down from 502.0 million dirhams in the year-earlier period."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf bourses slip on weak oil, Egypt ends five-day rise | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf bourses slip on weak oil, Egypt ends five-day rise | Reuters:

"Stock markets in the Gulf fell on Sunday, weighed down by weak oil prices and lacklustre second-quarter corporate results over the last few weeks, while Egypt's main index pulled back on profit-taking after a strong run.

Riyadh's stock index declined 0.5 percent to a fresh 16-week closing low of 6,302 points as the petrochemical sector dropped 0.9 percent. The September Brent oil contract settled at $42.46 a barrel on Friday, down 0.6 percent on the day and 14.5 percent lower on the month.

Some major companies which reported weak earnings last week continued their downtrend with major food group Savola sinking 5.0 percent to 34.20 riyals, its lowest close since Jan. 24. On Thursday the company reported a 43.2 percent drop in second-quarter net profit and trimmed its dividend."



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Emaar Properties first half net profit rises 12% | GulfNews.com

Emaar Properties first half net profit rises 12% | GulfNews.com:

"Emaar Properties said on Sunday its net profit for the first half of 2016 rose 12 per cent to be at Dh2.475 billion as revenues grew.

Revenues for the six months to June also rose 11 per cent to be at Dh7.2 billion, the company said in a statement to the Dubai Financial Market.

Property sales in Dubai jumped 45 per cent at Dh8.854 billion in the first half, in than same period in 2015, highlighting strong investor demand."



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Aramex founder sells entire stake to Boson Ventures | GulfNews.com

Aramex founder sells entire stake to Boson Ventures | GulfNews.com:

"Fadi Ghandour, the founder of Dubai-listed logistics firm Aramex, has sold all of his holdings in Levant Logistics Holdings to Boson Ventures Corporation, a firm in the Cayman Islands that provides seed funding, according to a statement on the Dubai Financial Market on Sunday.

Levant Logistics Holdings owns 144.9 million shares in Aramex or 9.9 per cent of Aramex shares.

The deal comes days after Jaona Investment bought a stake in Aramex for Dh437.6 million and about a week after Ghandour reportedly sold his 9.9 per cent stake to a group of Gulf investors including Emaar Properties chairman Mohammad Alabbar."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf soft on oil, Q2 results | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf soft on oil, Q2 results | Reuters:

"Stock markets in the Gulf were soft in early trade on Sunday, weighed down by weak oil prices and a lacklustre set of second-quarter corporate results.

Riyadh's stock index lost 0.2 percent after 40 minutes of trade as the petrochemical sector dropped 0.4 percent. The September Brent oil contract settled at $42.46 a barrel on Friday, down 0.6 percent on the day and 14.5 percent lower on the month.

Emaar the Economic City, builder of the King Abdullah Economic City in Jeddah, dropped 2.9 percent. The company reported a 58 percent jump in second-quarter net profit to 79 million riyals ($21.1 million), but it attributed the rise mainly to cancellation of a rental contract and to changes in infrastructure cost estimates for industrial land."



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India says to bring back workers facing 'food crisis' in Saudi | Reuters

India says to bring back workers facing 'food crisis' in Saudi | Reuters:

"India said on Sunday it will send a government minister to Saudi Arabia to try to bring back more than 10,000 Indian workers who are facing a "food crisis" because they are unable to afford meals after being laid off from their jobs.

Low oil prices have forced the Saudi government to slash spending since last year, putting heavy pressure on the finances of local construction firms which rely on state contracts.

As a result, some companies have been struggling to pay foreign workers and have laid off tens of thousands, leaving many with no money for food let alone for tickets home."



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Be aware before you sign on the dotted line | The National

Be aware before you sign on the dotted line | The National:

"I got an email this week from someone who described her 20- something year-old self as a diligent but naive investor. She did what most people don’t do. She took out policies with four different providers – you know the like, so many of you have been emailing me with their names. She was the poster girl for responsible living, it seems. Except she was lied to and 10 years later is biding her time until the policies mature, in order to start afresh as she put it.


Her email included often asked questions, such as: do I know of a financial adviser who can be trusted, and what redress is there in the UAE for being missold, or in her case, deceived? It’s one of many with identical queries.

Others who got in touch were in the throes of taking out policies, and were scared that they could be ruining their financial well-being instead of enhancing it."



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Any upturn in oil prices to set off UAE project boom | GulfNews.com

Any upturn in oil prices to set off UAE project boom | GulfNews.com:

"An upturn in oil prices along with higher trading volumes with Iran could set off a recovery for the UAE in the near term. Added to this, sustained public and private sector activity in Dubai ahead of Expo 2020 should keep the momentum going, says the latest outlook on the UAE economy from Meed.

All of these should be enough to generate and sustain a $629 billion (Dh2.3 trillion) project pipeline.

The Meed report says that about $155 billion worth of major projects were under execution in the UAE by mid-2016."



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Home handovers drop further in Dubai | GulfNews.com

Home handovers drop further in Dubai | GulfNews.com:

"With each passing quarter, the number of homes that is to be delivered in Dubai this year is getting whittled down further. In its latest estimates — at the end of the second quarter — the consultancy ValuStrat reckons only 16,326 units are to be delivered during the year.

This is “half of the estimate” quoted the quarter before, a clear sign that Dubai’s developers will need to see a lot more happening on the ground — in terms of sales transactions — to get going on project deliveries. So much so, nearly 8 per cent of existing projects in Dubai will take a further two to three years to get past the completion, ValuStrat states.

And another “17 per cent have been delayed 18 months to 2 years,” it adds. If these delays do prove to be the case, it will mean two things — one, no one need worry of a glut heading in the run up to the Expo 2020 event and, two, the pressure in the residential rental space is not going to ease up in the way it did in the sales market."



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Chinese Banks With Global Dreams Eye Middle East Mega Bonds - Bloomberg

Chinese Banks With Global Dreams Eye Middle East Mega Bonds - Bloomberg:

"Bank of China Ltd. is heading down the old Silk Road marketing new goods: Debut bonds from Saudi Arabia to Kazakhstan.
In its biggest-ever foray outside Asia, the state-controlled lender is said to have landed three mandates to co-manage emerging-market Eurobonds, including the Saudi government’s international sale. China’s fourth-largest lender is one of nine underwriters hired by the kingdom, which people familiar with the plan said is seeking at least $10 billion to fill holes in its budget."



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Saturday, 30 July 2016

The Guardian view on Malaysian politics: a scandal meriting the world’s attention | Editorial | Opinion | The Guardian

The Guardian view on Malaysian politics: a scandal meriting the world’s attention | Editorial | Opinion | The Guardian:

"Malaysia’s new security law, due to come into force on Monday, would be alarming at any time. Its sweeping powers permit authorities to declare national security areas which are off-limits to protests, where individuals and premises can be searched without a warrant, and where killings by security forces need not result in formal inquests. Changes to the country’s criminal code, undermining the rights of suspects, are similarly concerning. Human rights groups warn that existing laws, including the colonial-era Sedition Act – which Prime Minister Najib Razak once vowed to repeal – have been used to detain and muzzle critics. The country’s police chief recently warned that protests by electoral reform group Bersih would be permitted only if participants avoided calling for Mr Najib’s resignation.

The government says the National Security Council Act is needed to protect the public from a mounting global terrorism threat. It is striking, however, that it becomes law as the prime minister faces growing pressure and planned protests over the multi-billion-dollar 1MDB development fund scandal, which has snowballed since emerging a year ago. Even his erstwhile patron, former premier Mahathir Mohamad, has joined forces with the opposition in an attempt to oust him."



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Friday, 29 July 2016

Flydubai's response to the leaked air safety reports | Business | The Guardian

Flydubai's response to the leaked air safety reports | Business | The Guardian:

"Flydubai rigorously adheres to all regulations set out by the regulator, the General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) and operates to the highest standards.
As part of our transparent reporting environment we investigate each of these air safety reports (ASRs) to conclusion to understand if they have any operational irregularities and any safety implications.
Policy towards fatigue: Flydubai’s policy towards fatigue is designed openly and proactively to report fatigue prior to operating the planned roster. The framework and mechanisms in place provide a blame free structure for crew to self­ report when they do not feel fit to fly."



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Airline pilots complain of dangerous fatigue in leaked documents | Business | The Guardian

Airline pilots complain of dangerous fatigue in leaked documents | Business | The Guardian:

"Airline pilots describe being pushed to the limit and warn about the impact on flight safety in a cache of leaked documents that give a unique and occasionally hair-raising insight into the aviation industry.

Crews complain about fatigue and potentially dangerous schedules at a leading budget airline, which is already under pressure following a crash on 19 March that killed 62 passengers and crew.

A bomb scare at 30,000ft, multiple bird strikes, being shone at by lasers, drunken passengers, medical emergencies – and a pilot who forgot to disengage the handbrake during take-off – are also among more than 400 air safety reports written by pilots at Flydubai during March and April of this year."



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Thursday, 28 July 2016

1MDB: The inside story of the world’s biggest financial scandal | Randeep Ramesh | World news | The Guardian

1MDB: The inside story of the world’s biggest financial scandal | Randeep Ramesh | World news | The Guardian:

"On 22 June 2015, Xavier Justo, a 48-year-old retired Swiss banker, walked towards the front door of his brand new boutique hotel on Koh Samui, a tropical Thai island. He had spent the past three years building the luxurious white-stone complex of chalets and apartments overlooking the shimmering sea and was almost ready to open for business. All he needed was a licence.

Justo had arrived in Thailand four years earlier, having fled the drab world of finance in London. In 2011, he and his girlfriend Laura toured the country on a motorbike and, two years later, they got married on a secluded beach. The couple eventually settled down in Koh Samui, a tourist hotspot, just an hour’s flight south of Bangkok. After trying out a couple of entrepreneurial ventures, Justo eventually decided that he would go into the hotel business. He bought a plot with an imposing house and began building: adding a gym, villas and a tennis court."



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RAKBank net income slumps as loans gone sour almost double | The National

RAKBank net income slumps as loans gone sour almost double | The National:

"RAKBank, the Ras Al Khaimah lender that specialises in small and medium-sized enterprises, said its second-quarter net income fell almost 45 per cent as money set aside for loans gone sour almost doubled.

Net profit attributable to the owners of the parent decreased to Dh195.7 million compared with Dh353.9m in the same period the previous year. Provision for impairment of loans and advances rose to Dh437.1m in the second quarter from Dh233.8m in the same period last year. The bank said payment defaults came from unsecured loans and loans to SMEs as well as from its commercial bank lending unit.


"Looking ahead, we expect provisions to settle down in the second half of the year as the trends we are currently seeing indicate that the worst is over for our business banking portfolio," said Peter England, RAKBank’s chief executive."



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Mubadala to buy 20 per cent stake in Bahrain’s Investcorp | GulfNews.com

Mubadala to buy 20 per cent stake in Bahrain’s Investcorp | GulfNews.com:

"Mubadala Development Company will be buying a 20 per cent stake in Bahrain-based alternative investment firm Investcorp, the two companies said in a joint statement on Thursday.

The two-step transaction sees Mubadala acquire a 9.99 per cent ownership stake immediately, with a further 10.01 per cent following necessary regulatory approvals, the companies said.

Mubadala did not divulge the value of the deal when contacted by Gulf News."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-CIB's Q2 earnings aid Egypt, blue chips weigh on Gulf | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-CIB's Q2 earnings aid Egypt, blue chips weigh on Gulf | Reuters:

"Egypt's largest bank helped carry the stock market higher on Thursday after it posted strong quarterly earnings, while weak results from blue chips weighed on some Gulf bourses.

The Cairo index rose 1.5 percent to 8,031 points, climbing above major technical resistance on the April peak of 7,944 points.

The market euphoria seen on Wednesday, when the index jumped 5.0 percent on news that Cairo was close to obtaining an International Monetary Fund loan of $21 billion, cooled as trading volume fell to less than half of the previous day's level. Seventy percent of traded shares dropped on Thursday."



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Full Show: Bloomberg Markets Middle East (07/28) - Bloomberg

Full Show: Bloomberg Markets Middle East (07/28) - Bloomberg:




"Bloomberg Markets Middle East hosted by Yousef Gamal El-Din and Angie Lau. Guests include Anita Yadav, head of fixed income research at Emirates NBD, and Firas Mallah, managing director of MENA at Bank of Montreal Global Asset Management. (Source: Bloomberg)"



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One month: on what Brexit means for markets | Auther's Note - YouTube

One month: on what Brexit means for markets | Auther's Note - YouTube: ""



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UAE's property loans improving despite price slide -IMF | Reuters

UAE's property loans improving despite price slide -IMF | Reuters:

"The quality of real estate loans in the United Arab Emirates has continued to improve despite sliding home prices, the International Monetary Fund said, in a sign that the UAE is coping better with a real estate downturn than it did in the last slump seven years ago.

Dubai's average residential real estate price plunged 11 percent in 2015 and in neighbouring Abu Dhabi prices sank 0.8 percent, the IMF said in a report on Wednesday after annual consultations with the UAE government.

But non-performing loans in the construction and real estate development industries shrank to 7.5 percent of the total at the end of March 2016 from 12.3 percent in 2013, the IMF said.

"



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MIDEAST STOCKS-SABIC weighs on Saudi index, Abu Dhabi edges up | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-SABIC weighs on Saudi index, Abu Dhabi edges up | Reuters:

"Riyadh's stock market edged down 0.4 percent on Thursday as shares in Saudi Basic Industries, the country's top petrochemical firm, fell 2.4 percent after it posted lower second-quarter profits and cut its dividend.

In Abu Dhabi, where the index was up 0.2 percent, shares in National Bank of Abu Dhabi lost 1.5 percent while First Gulf Bank gained 1.2 percent.

Both banks, which are expected to merge early next year, reported second-quarter profit drops broadly in line with expectations."



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Iran Emerges Fourth Biggest Oil Supplier to India in April-June - Bloomberg

Iran Emerges Fourth Biggest Oil Supplier to India in April-June - Bloomberg:

"India bought 34.9 million metric tons crude oil from Middle East out of total imports of 53.2 million tons during April-June, according to a statement submitted to parliament by Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on July 25.
Imports from Africa were 8.4 million tons and South America 6.5 million tons.
Shipments from top 10 suppliers to India during April-June 2016 and 12 months from April to March for 2015-16, 2014-15 and 2013-14 in million metric tons."



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Wednesday, 27 July 2016

NBAD and FGB results show pace of growth in bank sector has slowed | The National

NBAD and FGB results show pace of growth in bank sector has slowed | The National:

"National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD) and FGB said in their first earnings releases ahead of a planned merger that second- quarter profitability had waned as interest from lending slowed amid weakening economic growth and rising debt defaults.

Net income at NBAD slipped 4.8 per cent in the three months ended June 30 to Dh1.38 billion versus Dh1.44bn in the same period last year. Net interest income fell 0.2 per cent to Dh1.8bn versus Dh1.84bn as net impairment charges rose 79 per cent to Dh298 million.


Meanwhile, FGB said net income during the second quarter fell 10 per cent year-on-year, also weighed down by money set aside to cover bad debt and a drop in net interest income. Profit fell to Dh1.3bn from Dh1.45bn in the same period last year. Provisions rose 54 per cent to Dh398m compared to Dh258m a year earlier. Net interest and Islamic financing income decreased 3 per cent year-on-year to Dh1.56bn versus Dh1.6bn."



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Etisalat net profit beats expectations | GulfNews.com

Etisalat net profit beats expectations | GulfNews.com:

"Etisalat, beating analysts expectations, registered a 14.7 per cent rise in net profit for the first half to June helped by forex gains, lower financing cost and federal royalty.

The telecom major’s net profit for the six months to June jumped to Dh4.98 billion from Dh4.35 billion in the same period last year, it said in a statement on Wednesday. Revenues for the same period rose a tad to be at Dh26.178 billion as against Dh25.85 billion in the first half of last year.

“These are better than expected numbers. The forex gains, lower financing and royalty helped the bottom line even though top line was stable,” Tariq Qaqish, head of asset management at Al Mal Capital told Gulf News. “The company was able to eke out good numbers despite challenging conditions outside.”"



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Fitch Affirms 11 UAE Banks | Reuters

Fitch Affirms 11 UAE Banks | Reuters:

"Fitch Ratings has affirmed the Long- and Short-Term Issuer Default Ratings (IDR) of 11 UAE banks as part of its second 2016 peer review of the UAE banking sector. Fitch has also affirmed all 11 banks' other ratings. A complete list of rating actions is available at the end of this rating action commentary. KEY RATING DRIVERS BANKS' IDRs, SENIOR DEBT, SUPPORT RATINGS AND SUPPORT RATING FLOORS The affirmation of the banks' Long-Term IDRs, Support Ratings and Support Rating Floors, except for Emirates Islamic Bank PJSC (EI) and Commercial Bank International (CBI), reflects the extremely high probability of support available from the UAE authorities, and the government of Abu Dhabi (AA/Stable/F1+) and other emirates, if required."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Egypt jumps on IMF loan talks, oil pulls down Gulf | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Egypt jumps on IMF loan talks, oil pulls down Gulf | Reuters:

"Egyptian stocks surged on Wednesday on news that Cairo was close to agreeing an International Monetary Fund (IMF) lending programme, while weak oil prices pulled down most bourses in the Gulf.

The main Egyptian equities index climbed 5.0 percent to 7,915 points, its biggest daily gain since mid-March, in the market's heaviest trade since mid-April.

Blue chips favoured by foreign investors outperformed with Commercial International Bank, the largest listed lender, jumping 5.7 percent and Global Telecom up 6.1 percent."



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Egypt close to $7bn a year support agreement with IMF - FT.com

Egypt close to $7bn a year support agreement with IMF - FT.com:

"Egypt said on Tuesday that it was close to finalising an agreement with the International Monetary Fund for a three-year support programme with the aim of securing funding worth $7bn a year.
The announcement comes as the Egyptian pound reached a record low against the dollar on the black market this week. It has been selling for a 45 per cent premium over the official rate."



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Saudis in $1.3bn bid for Grosvenor House and Plaza hotels - FT.com

Saudis in $1.3bn bid for Grosvenor House and Plaza hotels - FT.com:

"A consortium of Saudi and UK family wealth funds has launched a $1.3bn bid for London’s Grosvenor House Hotel plus majority stakes in New York’s Plaza and Dream Downtown hotels from India’s Sahara India Pariwar group.
The offer may spark a bidding war after Sahara revealed it was in talks with Qatari investors over a potential deal."



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Turkey in Turmoil | Analysis Review - YouTube

Turkey in Turmoil | Analysis Review - YouTube: ""



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Nakheel records Dh2.95b net profit in first half of 2016 | GulfNews.com

Nakheel records Dh2.95b net profit in first half of 2016 | GulfNews.com:

"Dubai property developer Nakheel posted a net profit of Dh2.95 billion for the first half of this year, up four per cent compared to the same period in 2015.

The company did not give revenue for the period.

Nakheel handed over 1,177 units during the first six months of this year, with its retail, residential leasing and hospitality businesses all performing strongly, it said in a statement on Wednesday."



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UAE's Pacific Controls in bank talks about 1.4 bln dirhams debt | Reuters

UAE's Pacific Controls in bank talks about 1.4 bln dirhams debt | Reuters:

"Pacific Controls, a Dubai-based technology company, is in talks with banks about restructuring debts of 1.4 billion dirhams ($381 million), sources told Reuters, one of the largest firms to have to do so since the emirate's economy began to slow.

It is also set to be the highest-profile example to date of a company receiving assistance from a special mechanism set up by the United Arab Emirates' banking federation to help firms struggling to repay debt owed to more than one lender, the sources said.

Many businesses have found it hard to repay hefty debts after a cooling economy hit their balance sheets, although so far this has mostly been among small and medium sized enterprises and companies with debt issues lingering from the emirate's 2009-10 financial crisis."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf moves little, Emaar retreats from chart barrier | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf moves little, Emaar retreats from chart barrier | Reuters:

"Gulf stock markets were little moved in early trade on Wednesday, dampened by weak oil prices and mixed second-quarter earnings in Saudi Arabia, while Dubai's Emaar Properties again pulled back from major technical resistance.

The Dubai index edged down 0.2 percent as Emaar, which has since last week been testing resistance on its October peak of 7.01 dirhams, slipped 0.6 percent to 6.86 dirhams.

Logistics company Aramex dropped 0.8 percent after jumping 5.5 percent on Tuesday. After the close on Tuesday, Bloomberg reported, citing unnamed sources, that founder Fadi Ghandour had sold his entire 9.9 percent stake in the firm to Gulf investors including Emaar Chairman Mohamed Alabbar.

"



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Tuesday, 26 July 2016

MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf markets slip as Saudi hit by poor Q2 earnings | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf markets slip as Saudi hit by poor Q2 earnings | Reuters:

"Gulf stock markets mostly fell on Tuesday as soft oil prices dampened buying, while Saudi Arabia's index fell 0.7 percent on disappointing quarterly corporate results.

Etihad Etisalat (Mobily) slumped 4.2 percent after the Saudi telecommunications operator swung to a net profit of 18.8 million riyals ($5 million) in the second quarter, from a loss of 901 million riyals in the prior-year period, but fell short of estimates by analysts polled by Reuters who forecast a quarterly profit of 52.5 million riyals.

Construction firm Abdullah Abdul Mohsin al-Khodari and Sons tumbled 3.1 percent after it reported a worse-than-forecast net loss of 43.34 million riyals in the second quarter due to a slowdown in the kingdom's building sector."



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Goldman Sachs abused trust in dealings with Libyan LIA, fund's lawyer tells trial | Reuters

Goldman Sachs abused trust in dealings with Libyan LIA, fund's lawyer tells trial | Reuters:

"Goldman Sachs abused its position as a trusted adviser to Libya's sovereign wealth fund, a lawyer for the fund argued on Tuesday, in a case that has subjected the bank's dealings to a forensic degree of scrutiny.

In a trial at London's High Court, the Libyan Investment Authority (LIA) is attempting to claw back $1.2 billion from the Wall Street giant in relation to nine disputed trades carried out in 2008, arguing that the trades were secured through "undue influence" and "unconscionable bargaining".

The LIA argues the bank took advantage of its financial naivety by first gaining its trust, then encouraging it to make risky and ultimately worthless investments."



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Victory for Gulf airlines as US government ends Open Skies row with no further action | The National

Victory for Gulf airlines as US government ends Open Skies row with no further action | The National:

"The US government says talks over the Open Skies policy with Arabian Gulf carriers were constructive and ended without any formal action.

The US State Department held talks with Qatar government officials on Monday and with the UAE the week before over charges levelled more than a year ago by the three largest US airlines alleging the Gulf carriers were competing unfairly.

The State Department said, however, that while it looked seriously at the allegations it has taken no formal action."



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Gulf property markets face ‘perfect storm’ due to overbuilding, report says | The National

Gulf property markets face ‘perfect storm’ due to overbuilding, report says | The National:

"Property markets across the Arabian Gulf are facing a "perfect storm" as a result of overbuilding by its developers, and continued softening demand as market sentiment shifts on the back of lower oil prices, according to AT Kearney.

The management consultancy firm has published a new report which states that the value of projects currently in the construction phase is four times higher than the value of all developments completed within the past decade. And the value of projects at an earlier stage of development equates to about 10 years’ worth of work.


"Each year between 2016 and 2020, this pipeline would deliver anywhere between seven and 12 times the real estate value delivered yearly between 2007 and 2009," the report said."



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Turkey central bank decries ‘hasty’ ratings downgrade | GulfNews.com

Turkey central bank decries ‘hasty’ ratings downgrade | GulfNews.com:

"The Turkish central bank governor slammed ratings agency Standard & Poor’s on Tuesday for downgrading Turkey’s sovereign debt following the July 15 failed coup, calling the decision “hasty”.

Speaking at a news conference to announce the bank’s quarterly inflation report in Ankara, Murat Cetinkaya said it was still too early to assess the impact of the abortive putsch on the Turkish economy.

“To be able to understand the impact of the incident we have recently experienced in Turkey ... a sufficient amount of time needs to have passed and a sufficient amount of data and observations need to be collected,” Cetinkaya said.

"



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Q2 profit misses weigh on Saudi markets, Gulf weak | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Q2 profit misses weigh on Saudi markets, Gulf weak | Reuters:

"Stock markets in the Gulf edged down in early trade on Tuesday as soft oil prices dampened the mood while Saudi Arabia's index was dragged 0.3 percent lower by disappointing quarterly corporate results.

Etihad Etisalat (Mobily) slumped 2.1 percent. The Saudi telecommunications operator reported it had swung to a net profit of 18.8 million riyals ($5.0 million) in the second quarter from a loss of 901 million riyals in the prior-year period; analysts polled by Reuters had on average forecast a quarterly profit of 52.5 million riyals.

Construction firm Abdullah Abdul Mohsin al-Khodari and Sons tumbled 3.1 percent after it said it swung to a net loss of 43.34 million riyals in the second quarter as earnings were pressured once again by the slowdown in the kingdom's building sector. EFG Hermes had forecast a loss of 16 million riyals."



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Aramex Founder Ghandour Said to Sell Stake to Alabbar, Investors - Bloomberg

Aramex Founder Ghandour Said to Sell Stake to Alabbar, Investors - Bloomberg:

"Aramex PJSC founder and vice-chairman Fadi Ghandour sold his entire 9.9 percent stake in the logistics company to Gulf investors including Emaar Properties PJSC chairman Mohamed Alabbar, two people with knowledge of the the deal said.

The purchase was made through Alabbar Enterprises at above the market price, and the family company is buying additional shares in the Dubai-listed courier on the stock exchange, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the information isn’t public. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. advised Mohamed Alabbar on the transaction, according to two of the people. The stake is worth about 523 million dirhams ($142 million) at Monday’s closing price.

The holding will help Alabbar Enterprises build a regional, web-based business, including in fashion retail, by giving it access to a distribution company. Emaar is the biggest publicly traded real-estate company in the United Arab Emirates and the developer of Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest skyscraper."



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Monday, 25 July 2016

Third quarter critical for Dubai property | GulfNews.com

Third quarter critical for Dubai property | GulfNews.com:

"The third quarter of the year could see a further softening of property values and rents in Dubai, as the market needs more time to adjust to global currency movements and oil price shifts, says a new report from Phidar Advisory.

The consultancy continues to maintain a cautionary forecast on Dubai realty prospects in the near term while others contend the downturn is over.

The majority view now believes that a turnaround could be there from 2017 onwards and that Brexit’s impact on deal flow in the local market will be limited to the short-term."



'via Blog this'

Dubai Financial Market Q2 net profit falls 60 pct | Reuters

Dubai Financial Market Q2 net profit falls 60 pct | Reuters:

"Dubai Financial Market (DFM), the Gulf's only listed stock exchange, reported a 60 percent fall in second-quarter net profit on Monday as revenue fell.

The firm made a net profit of 53.5 million dirhams ($14.6 million) in the three months to June 30, down from 132.4 million dirhams in the year-ago period, it said in a statement.

Revenues fell to 100 million dirhams in the quarter, compared with 178.1 million dirhams in the corresponding three months of 2015.

"



'via Blog this'

MIDEAST STOCKS-UAE rebounds, banks weigh on Saudi | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-UAE rebounds, banks weigh on Saudi | Reuters:

"Gulf stock markets diverged on Monday, with the two main bourses in the United Arab Emirates recovering from losses in the previous session, while banks weighed on Saudi Arabia's index.

Riyadh's benchmark closed 0.1 percent lower, extending Sunday's 1.2 percent decline, as the banking sub-index sagged 0.7 percent. Samba Financial Group fell 0.7 percent.

But the market's other major sector, petrochemicals, edged up after Sahara Petrochemical reported that second-quarter net profit soared 746 percent to 96.4 million riyals ($25.7 million), much higher than NCB Capital's forecast of 66.8 million riyals."



'via Blog this'

Saudi’s Algosaibi signs deal with banks to restructure $6bn debt | The National

Saudi’s Algosaibi signs deal with banks to restructure $6bn debt | The National:

"Ahmad Hamad Algosaibi & Brothers signed a deal with a committee representing creditor banks to restructure about $6 billion of debt, taking it a step closer to ending a seven-year impasse over the Middle East’s biggest default.

The agreement with the five-member steering committee formally commits Algosaibi and the banks "to support the implementation of the agreed settlement terms," the Saudi Arabian company said in an emailed statement on Monday.


Algosaibi and billionaire Maan al-Sanea’s Saad Group, two family holding companies related by marital ties, defaulted on at least $15.7 billion in 2009 as the global economic crisis froze credit markets and asset prices slumped. The company made an improved offer to banks last year, guaranteeing they would recover at least 40 per cent on the debt. Algosaibi plans to pay creditors using a share portfolio, real estate assets and a minority stake in an operating business."



'via Blog this'

Gloss Comes Off Dubai as Oil Woes Spill Into Expat Promised Land - Bloomberg

Gloss Comes Off Dubai as Oil Woes Spill Into Expat Promised Land - Bloomberg:



"Kier Riemersma and his wife sat down a few months ago to make a difficult decision. The American couple, who lived in Dubai for over a decade, would wind down his real estate business and move back home to Denver, Colorado.
“Frankly, we struggled in the past year and half,” said Riemersma, 46, who had to dismiss his five employees in March. “We probably chased 20 major assignments and got only one. Most of the others we didn’t lose. The projects never progressed and simply weren’t awarded.”"



'via Blog this'

MIDEAST STOCKS-UAE firm but Saudi weighed down by petrochemicals | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-UAE firm but Saudi weighed down by petrochemicals | Reuters:

"Gulf bourses diverged in early trade on Monday with the two main bourses in the United Arab Emirates recovering from losses on the previous day but Riyadh's stock index dragged lower by petrochemicals.

Abu Dhabi's index climbed 0.4 percent with real estate developer and property rental manager Eshraq Properties , the most heavily traded stock on the bourse, adding 1.4 percent.

But real estate advisory firm JLL reported that after 18 months of relatively stable conditions, Abu Dhabi's real estate market was starting to show initial signs of weakness."



'via Blog this'

Egypt to Receive First Tranche of $1.5 Billion Saudi Loan ‘Soon’ - Bloomberg

Egypt to Receive First Tranche of $1.5 Billion Saudi Loan ‘Soon’ - Bloomberg:

"Egypt will “soon” receive the first tranche of a $1.5 billion loan from Saudi Arabia, an Egyptian minister said, a cash injection that could help to ease a dollar shortage that has weighed on economic growth.
The first payment will be about $500 million, Egypt’s Minister of International Cooperation Sahar Nasr said. The loan is one of a package of agreements worth $25 billion signed during Saudi King Salman’s visit to Cairo in April, which include a $16 billion investment fund and a plan to build a bridge connecting the two nations. A Saudi delegation will visit Egypt next week, Nasr said."



'via Blog this'

Sunday, 24 July 2016

MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf retreats as oil's fall outweighs Q2 earnings | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf retreats as oil's fall outweighs Q2 earnings | Reuters:

"Gulf stock markets declined on Sunday as sharp falls in oil prices late last week outweighed a few positive corporate earnings in Saudi Arabia.

In Egypt, investors bought shares that could benefit from any currency devaluation.

Riyadh's stock index fell 1.2 percent as losses accelerated in the final hour of trade, with four-fifths of traded stocks declining."



'via Blog this'

Qatar banks to remain stable on strong government spending | GulfNews.com

Qatar banks to remain stable on strong government spending | GulfNews.com:

"Qatar’s banking system is expected to remain stable despite the economic slowdown driven by low oil prices and the overall resilience is underpinned by the government’s continued deployment of its ample resources to maintain capital expenditure according to rating agency Moody’s.

“Banks’ creditworthiness will remain broadly resilient. This resilience will help maintain solid economic growth and create a supportive environment for the country’s banks. We expect bank earnings to decline slightly but to remain strong overall,” said Nitish Bhojnagarwala, as Assistant Vice President at Moody’s.

Although problem loans are expected to rise modestly, capital buffers will remain sound and Qatari banks will continue to display one of the best loan performances among GCC countries."



'via Blog this'

Libya oil exports threatened as NOC warns against port deal | GulfNews.com

Libya oil exports threatened as NOC warns against port deal | GulfNews.com:

"Libya’s hopes to boost crude exports have been dealt a blow after the head of the National Oil Corporation (NOC) objected to a deal between the government and local guards to reopen key ports.

In a letter seen by Reuters to UN. Libya envoy Martin Kobler and a number of oil and diplomatic officials, NOC chairman Mustafa Sanalla said it was a mistake to reward Ibrahim Jathran, head of the Petroleum Facilities Guard (PFG), for a blockade of the oil ports of Ras Lanuf, Es Sider and Zueitina.

The PFG confirmed on Friday that it would implement an agreement with Libya’s UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) to reopen the ports within days, following a visit by Kobler to meet Jathran in Ras Lanuf."



'via Blog this'

ADGM and ADX look into new exchange on Abu Dhabi’s Al Maryah Island | The National

ADGM and ADX look into new exchange on Abu Dhabi’s Al Maryah Island | The National:

"Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), the capital’s new financial free zone, and the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX), its stock market, are to explore the possibility of setting up a new financial exchange on ADGM’s Al Maryah Island site.

The groundwork for a new exchange has been laid with a memorandum of understanding between the two bodies, signed yesterday. The agreement is intended to "foster bilateral cooperation" and "supports ADX’s commitment to the growth of the financial services sector in the emirate of Abu Dhabi," a joint statement said.


Ahmed Al Sayegh, the chairman of ADGM, said: "The MoU is a strategic and symbolic extension of our close relationship with ADX, which has been an important contributing partner since the inception of ADGM, and continues to be a significant stakeholder in the development of Abu Dhabi as an international economic hub. This collaboration allows both teams to work closely in establishing the objective of an exchange in ADGM.""



'via Blog this'

UAE eases bank rules to spur SME growth | The National

UAE eases bank rules to spur SME growth | The National:

"The Government has loosened bank rules to help spur growth of small and medium-sized enterprises in the UAE, part of an ongoing effort to rationalise the bureaucracy that has stymied more rapid small business formation.

The Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation on Saturday issued a decree stating that from October of this year SMEs will no longer be required to secure a bank guarantee to be able to carry on as a going concern.


Saqr Ghobash, the Minister of Human Resources and Emiratisation, said the bank guarantee rule had been in place primarily to safeguard the payroll and protect employees’ rights."



'via Blog this'

MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf bourses soft as oil's fall outweighs Q2 earnings | Energy & Oil | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf bourses soft as oil's fall outweighs Q2 earnings | Energy & Oil | Reuters:

"Gulf stock markets were soft in early trade on Sunday as weaker oil prices at the end of last week outweighed a few positive corporate earnings in Saudi Arabia.

Riyadh's stock index edged down 0.2 percent in the first hour. Saudi Kayan Petrochemical climbed 2.1 percent after it swung to a net profit in the second quarter of 91.02 million riyals ($24.3 million), ending a run of five straight quarterly losses and beating analysts' forecast for another loss.

Alinma Bank rose 0.7 percent after reporting a 12.1 percent year-on-year rise in second-quarter net profit to 409 million riyals; the average prediction was 395.3 million riyals."



'via Blog this'

Saturday, 23 July 2016

Former Qatar Investment Authority chief: Brexit uncertainty keeps investors at bay | The National

Former Qatar Investment Authority chief: Brexit uncertainty keeps investors at bay | The National:

"Investors will remain hesitant until there is more clarity on Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union, the former head of one of the Arabian Gulf’s biggest sovereign wealth funds has said.

Ahmed Al Sayed, the former chief executive of the Qatar Investment Authority and Qatar Holding – which has invested billions in the UK in assets ranging from Barclays Bank to the iconic Harrods department store – said there would be a "wait and see" approach given the uncertainty over when the ‘Brexit’ will take place.


"Investors in general need clarity, are seeking clarity," he told The National."



'via Blog this'

Relax UAE foreign ownership rules and boost private sector role, IMF official says | The National

Relax UAE foreign ownership rules and boost private sector role, IMF official says | The National:

"The UAE should relax foreign-ownership restrictions, foster public-private partnerships and concentrate on innovation to attract more investment and cope with low oil prices, a senior IMF official has said.

While the UAE remains the most diversified economy in the region, it has to do more to continue this process, as oil prices are forecast to remain low.

"There are areas in which they [the UAE] could continue to take action," said Masood Ahmed, the IMF’s Middle East and Central Asia department director."



'via Blog this'

Oil mood falters as market mood takes a gloomy turn | The National

Oil mood falters as market mood takes a gloomy turn | The National:

"Oil prices look vulnerable again on mounting evidence that improvements in the world oil market have stalled, at least temporarily.

World benchmark North Sea Brent crude futures on Friday dropped to their lowest level since May, with a decline of 51 US cents to $45.69 a barrel, bringing the total decline from this year’s early-June high to more than 13 per cent.

There had been a sustained recovery from early January through early June as high-cost supplies from places such as North America and the North Sea had gone into decline, which ate into the huge stockpiles that had built up during a long period of overproduction."



'via Blog this'

UAE Ministry of Finance reviews IMF report | GulfNews.com

UAE Ministry of Finance reviews IMF report | GulfNews.com:

"The Ministry of Finance (MoF) has reviewed the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) Article IV Mission to the UAE report, which evaluates the UAE’s economic performance in 2016. The Executive Board of the IMF discussed the report during its last meeting, praising the country for its UAE Vision 2021, government strategies and ability to achieve economic growth. The report highlighted the strength and resilience of the UAE’s economy amid low oil prices and global economic changes. The IMF Mission visited MoF in June 2016, playing a key role in identifying the Ministry’s achievements in the implementation of prudent financial policies and solid economic methodology to drive sustainable economic growth in the UAE.

During its last meeting with the IMF’s Article IV Mission, MoF highlighted the important role played by its diverse economic and financial policies in enhancing the local economy’s ability to withstand economic pressures, maintain economic stability as well as facilitate sustainable economic growth in the country. The Ministry also discussed the implementation of important reforms including the removal of fuel subsidies and laying foundations for the introduction of VAT.

The UAE’s economy is projected to grow by 2.3 per cent in 2016, with inflation set to decrease by 3.3 per cent. The country’s currency will remain stable thanks to the financial decisions, policies and reforms implemented by government entities with regards to reducing the UAE’s dependency on oil revenues, transferring the capital to government-related entities and raising water and electricity charges."



'via Blog this'

Shurooq highlights importance of economic development in achieving sustainability | GulfNews.com

Shurooq highlights importance of economic development in achieving sustainability | GulfNews.com:

"Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq) participated in the second edition of the GCC-British Economic Forum, which took place on July 21.

Organised by the Arab British Chamber of Commerce and hosted in London, the forum saw the attendance of senior Emirati and British officials, executives, decision-makers, investors and business persons.

Held under the banner: “Vision, Challenges and Ambitions: Integration Prospects for a Better Future,” this year’s edition of the GCC-British Economic Forum provided participants with the chance to explore emerging opportunities to forge business partnerships across industry sectors and build direct networks to facilitate business. The event was supported and sponsored by the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and UK Trade & Investment — a UK government department that works with overseas investors looking to the UK as an investment destination."



'via Blog this'

Friday, 22 July 2016

Etihad should consider a touchdown in Sharjah | GulfNews.com

Etihad should consider a touchdown in Sharjah | GulfNews.com:

"The UAE is fortunate to host two of the world’s greatest airlines along with a number of airports, including the world’s busiest in Dubai. Today, Dubai Airport is a global hub that has overtaken Heathrow as the world’s busiest airport by passenger traffic. In fact, Dubai’s airport has been so successful it is running out of space.

According to senior officials, Emirates airline, the emirate’s flagship carrier, is expected to move all of its operations to Dubai’s new Al Maktoum International Airport southwards near Jebel Ali sometime “after 2020”.

The new airport will capitalise on the growing population of residents near what is known as New Dubai areas such as Jumeirah Lake Towers and Dubai Marina, and will also serve the newly named Dubai South district, located midway between Abu Dhabi and Dubai and to host the World Expo 2020. According to Paul Griffiths, Dubai Airports’ CEO, Dubai International Airport could be shut down in the future while the emirate decides to switch back to a single mega airport model."



'via Blog this'

Jitters in London luxury flat market as investors sell for 'bargain' prices | Society | The Guardian

Jitters in London luxury flat market as investors sell for 'bargain' prices | Society | The Guardian:

"The first real signs of distress in the market for luxury London apartments are starting to emerge, as investors who agreed to buy homes off-plan are starting to sell them on for less than they agreed to pay for them.

Property websites are now advertising many unfinished flats being offered for sale by the buyers who originally agreed deals with the developers.

Estate agents and developers are generally coy about how much sellers were expecting to pay on completion, but some listings reveal that people are selling at or below the original purchase price, hoping the “bargain” price might pull in a new buyer."



'via Blog this'

A Health Check on Gulf Health Care - Bloomberg

A Health Check on Gulf Health Care - Bloomberg:




"VPS owns and operates a chain of hospitals and medical centers in the U.A.E. and Oman. Bloomberg's Yousef Gamal El-Din spoke to the chief executive officer Shamsheer Vayalil and asked him for a health check of the industry in region."



'via Blog this'

Thursday, 21 July 2016

Brexit could force multibillion-pound projects to be scrapped, says NAO chief | Politics | The Guardian

Brexit could force multibillion-pound projects to be scrapped, says NAO chief | Politics | The Guardian:

"Billions of pounds worth of public projects will have to be scrapped by Theresa May because of a “tidal wave” of pressures from an impending Brexit, the head of Whitehall’s official spending watchdog has said.

The comptroller and auditor general of the National Audit Office, Sir Amyas Morse, said the government would have to treat leaving the EU as an “emergency” and that government departments would be forced to decide which plans could be cancelled or suspended.

Major projects such as the Hinkley Point C nuclear plant, a third runway at Heathrow and the ambitious HS2 rail project would have to be reassessed as the government decides which can be done without, he told the Guardian. "



'via Blog this'

IMF calls for more UAE targeted spending amid slowing growth forecast | The National

IMF calls for more UAE targeted spending amid slowing growth forecast | The National:

"The IMF has confirmed its forecast for a sharp slowdown in economic growth in the UAE this year and called for further government spending cuts to deal with the adjustment to a lower oil revenue future.

The IMF executive board report, which is the culmination of its annual review of the UAE economy, confirmed its spring forecast for non-oil economy growth this year of 2.4 per cent, down from a lowered estimate for last year’s growth of 3.7 per cent.


"Economic activity is expected to moderate further in 2016, before improving over the medium term," said the report from the IMF’s 24-member board, which is chaired by its managing director Christine Lagarde."



'via Blog this'

Open goal in English football for Middle East investors | The National

Open goal in English football for Middle East investors | The National:

"The English national football team may have proved about as effective as a melted sorbet as they crashed out to a fiery Iceland in the Euros last month but with domestic game kicking off at club level again on August 6, the country is still a world champion.

And, since Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed bought Manchester City in 2008, the Middle East’s influence over club football, particularly the English Premier League (EPL), has grown.


There has been a boom in the region’s involvement with football such as major sponsorship deals by Etihad and Emirates airlines at City and its EPL rival Arsenal, respectively, to the Iranian steel and energy magnate Farhad Moshiri’s acquisition of a controlling stake in Everton, also an EPL member. In addition, Everton’s city rivals Liverpool are attracting a lot of interest from the Middle East and there are ongoing rumours that the Anfield hierarchy have been in advanced talks over a potential takeover."



'via Blog this'

UAE tycoon Qubaisi named in billion-dollar U.S. suits | Reuters

UAE tycoon Qubaisi named in billion-dollar U.S. suits | Reuters:

"The rise and fall of Abu Dhabi tycoon Khadem al-Qubaisi, named this week in U.S. Justice Department lawsuits seeking to seize over $1 billion in assets, illustrates the unpredictability of an opaque Gulf business world fueled by huge sums of oil money.

In a few years, Qubaisi rose from obscurity to become one of the top executives in the United Arab Emirates by taking the helm of International Petroleum Investment Co (IPIC), a state-run company investing some of Abu Dhabi's petrodollars.

His fall was even faster. In April last year he was abruptly replaced as managing director of IPIC, and in subsequent months he resigned from a string of management positions and board memberships at other companies around the UAE and the region."



'via Blog this'

MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf falls on oil and earnings, Egypt hit by FX worries | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf falls on oil and earnings, Egypt hit by FX worries | Reuters:

"Most Gulf stock markets fell on Thursday amid soft oil prices and mixed corporate earnings, while Egypt was hit once again by concern about instability in the country's currency.

Dubai's index edged down 0.1 percent. Dubai Parks & Resorts surged 3.8 percent but real estate stocks were weak, with Deyaar Development dropping 1.1 percent after reporting a 17.8 percent fall in second-quarter net profit.

Blue chip Emaar Properties, which had been rallying strongly for the past two weeks, lost steam. It edged down 0.3 percent to 7.00 dirhams, failing to break major technical resistance on its October 2015 peak of 7.01 dirhams."



'via Blog this'

MIDEAST STOCKS-Markets flat to lower; Emaar loses steam in Dubai | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Markets flat to lower; Emaar loses steam in Dubai | Reuters:

"Gulf stock markets were flat to slightly softer in early trade on Thursday as blue chip Emaar Properties, which had been rallying strongly for the past two weeks, lost steam in Dubai.

Emaar edged down 0.1 percent to 7.00 dirhams, failing to break technical resistance on its October 2015 peak of 7.01 dirhams. A break would trigger a reverse head & shoulders pattern formed by the highs and lows since last August and pointing up in the long term to at least the April 2015 peak of 8.39 dirhams.

Dubai's stock index was flat. Second-tier real estate firm Deyaar Development dropped 0.7 percent after reporting a 17.8 percent fall in second-quarter net profit, though a few small, speculative stocks such as Al Salam Group Holding rose sharply."



'via Blog this'

Wolf of Wall Street film linked to money 'stolen from Malaysian fund', US claims | World news | The Guardian

Wolf of Wall Street film linked to money 'stolen from Malaysian fund', US claims | World news | The Guardian:

"The US justice department has moved to seize more than $1bn of assets allegedly acquired using funds misappropriated from the Malaysian economic development fund 1MDB, according to court papers filed on Wednesday.

The news follows a months-long international FBI probe, as well as five separate investigations around the world, and mark a step up in the investigation into up to $6bn that was allegedly skimmed from the sovereign fund and allegedly used to support the lavish lifestyles of several men connected to the Malaysian prime minister, Najib Razak.

The US attorney general, Loretta Lynch, said the funds defrauded from the Malaysian people were used to pay for luxury real estate in the US and Europe, gambling expenses in Las Vegas casinos, a London interior designer, more than $200m in artwork by artists including Van Gogh and Monet, and the production of films including the Oscar-nominated The Wolf of Wall Street."



'via Blog this'

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Mashreq reports Dh1.1b first-half profit | GulfNews.com

Mashreq reports Dh1.1b first-half profit | GulfNews.com:

"Mashreq on Wednesday reported a first-half net profit of Dh1.1 billion, compared to Dh1.3 billion in the same period last year. Net profit for the first half stood stable compared to the normalised net profit for the first half of 2015 adjusted for the impact of recoveries, the bank said in a statement.

For the second quarter of the year the bank’s net profit was Dh539 million, up 1.4 per cent quarter-on-quarter. Adjusting for impact of recoveries in the second quarter of 2015, the bank said its normalised net profit increased by 3.5 per cent.

“Mashreq’s prudent fiscal policies and continued commitment to its focus on placing its customers at the forefront of all decisions has enabled the bank to return a stable performance for the first half 2016,” said Mashreq’s CEO, AbdulAziz Al Ghurair."



'via Blog this'

MIDEAST STOCKS-Qatar, Saudi fall on Q2 earnings misses; FX troubles Egypt | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Qatar, Saudi fall on Q2 earnings misses; FX troubles Egypt | Reuters:

"Stock markets in Qatar and Saudi Arabia were pulled lower on Wednesday by two blue-chip companies whose weak second-quarter earnings missed forecasts, while Egypt was hurt by a fresh slide of its currency in the black market.

Commercial Bank of Qatar slumped 6.6 percent after it posted a 63 percent drop in second quarter net attributable profit to 212.3 million riyals ($58.3 million); analysts polled by Reuters had forecast 339.5 million riyals.

Other Qatari banks also fell, even though they had reported strong earnings at the start of this week. Qatar Islamic Bank dropped 1.6 percent. The main Qatari index dropped 0.5 percent to 10,592 points, but closed 81 points above its session low."



'via Blog this'

ADIA Abu Dhabi UAE 2015 review pdf

ADIA’s mission is to sustain the long-term prosperity
of Abu Dhabi by prudently growing capital through
a disciplined investment process and committed people
who reflect ADIA’s cultural values.



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Sovereign wealth fund Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (Adia) renews faith in China and India’s growth prospects amid market tumult | The National

Sovereign wealth fund Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (Adia) renews faith in China and India’s growth prospects amid market tumult | The National:

"The Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (Adia) said it remains focused on China’s and India’s long-term growth prospects, even after emerging markets generally have been hit by a slowing global economy.

The emirate’s main sovereign wealth fund said in its annual review, released today, that long-term returns declined last year amid tumultuous markets, though it explained the lower rates as mainly due to statistical averaging over the long periods it uses to measure returns.

Adia said its annualised returns over 20 and 30 years were 6.5 per cent and 7.5 per cent, respectively, as at the end of last year. That compared with 7.4 per cent and 8.4 per cent the previous year, and 7.2 per cent and 8.3 per cent as of the end of 2013."



'via Blog this'

The reality check on Gulf states’ economy | GulfNews.com

The reality check on Gulf states’ economy | GulfNews.com:

"Oil prices have of late witnessed a quick and unexpected recovery to $50 (Dh183.50) a barrel. This recovery was associated with fluctuations that resulted from either speculations or from geopolitical and technical developments, such as the strikes and acts of sabotage targeting Nigerian oil installations and the unstable situations in Iraq and Iran, or even the decline in US inventories and drilling rigs.

The oil price gain has occurred in spite of doubling of Iranian oil exports by 2.5 million barrels a day and the boost to Iraqi production by more than 4 million barrels a day. Meanwhile, global demand has also increased, especially in Asia where the Chinese economy is growing faster than expected, creating a state of fragile balance that has, despite fluctuations, raised prices.

It is true the that prices might continue to fluctuate over the coming months, but they should remain in the current range with some drops and rises depending on market conditions and the whims of speculators."



'via Blog this'

MIDEAST STOCKS-Qatar, Saudi dragged down by two Q2 earnings misses | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Qatar, Saudi dragged down by two Q2 earnings misses | Reuters:

"Stock markets in Qatar and Saudi Arabia were pulled lower early on Wednesday by two blue-chip companies whose weak second-quarter earnings missed forecasts, while other Gulf Arab markets moved little.

Commercial Bank of Qatar slumped 6.1 percent after it posted a 63-percent drop in second-quarter net attributable profit to 212.3 million riyals ($58.3 million); analysts polled by Reuters had forecast 339.5 million riyals.

Other Qatari banks also fell, even though they had reported strong earnings at the start of this week. Masraf Al Rayan was down 0.8 percent. The main Qatari index dropped 1.3 percent."



'via Blog this'

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

More Dubai property deals over first six months – but total value lower | The National

More Dubai property deals over first six months – but total value lower | The National:

"The value of property deals transacted in Dubai in the first six months of the year fell despite a rise in the number of transactions.

According to figures from the Dubai Land Department published yesterday, the total value of real estate transactions in Dubai fell 12.4 per cent to Dh113 billion in the first half of 2016 from Dh129bn during the same period a year earlier.

However, the DLD reported that the number of transactions taking place over the period increased by more than a fifth, rising to 28,251 sales, mortgages and other transactions in the first half of 2016 from about 23,000 a year earlier."



'via Blog this'

Full Show: Bloomberg Markets Middle East (07/19) - Bloomberg

Full Show: Bloomberg Markets Middle East (07/19) - Bloomberg:




"Bloomberg Markets Middle East hosted by Yousef Gamal El-Din and Angie Lau. Guests include Nadir Qureshi, chief investment officer at Makara Capital, Shamsheer Vayalil, chief executive officer at VPS Healthcare, and Jaap Meijer, managing director and head of research at Arqaam Capital. (Source: Bloomberg)"



'via Blog this'

UPDATE 1-Qatari bank CBQ misses estimates with profit drop | Reuters

UPDATE 1-Qatari bank CBQ misses estimates with profit drop | Reuters:

"Commercial Bank of Qatar (CBQ) posted a 62.9 percent slump in its second-quarter net attributable profit on Tuesday, missing analysts' forecasts as rising impairments on bad loans and weaker results at its overseas subsidiaries weighed heavily.

The result contrasts with those of the three other large Qatari lenders, which all reported rising profits for the quarter, even as the local economy slows and challenges emerge in the domestic construction sector.

The Gulf Arab state's third-largest lender by assets earned a net profit attributable to equity holders of 212.3 million riyals ($58.3 million) in the three months to June 30, it said in a statement."



'via Blog this'

MIDEAST STOCKS-Qatar outperforms again in sluggish region | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Qatar outperforms again in sluggish region | Reuters:

"Qatar's stock market rose on Tuesday after breaking major technical resistance, but other markets in the region were sluggish, held back by soft oil prices and mixed corporate earnings.

The Qatari index climbed 0.6 percent to 10,649 points in a broad-based rise, with nine of the ten most heavily traded stocks gaining. Trading volume fell from Monday's high level but remained active.

On Monday the index had broken above its December and March peaks at 10,490 and 10,502 points, triggering a "reverse head and shoulders" pattern formed by the highs and lows since December and pointing up in the long term to around 12,600 points."



'via Blog this'

MIDEAST STOCKS-Markets move little on mixed earnings; Saudi's Ma'aden sinks | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Markets move little on mixed earnings; Saudi's Ma'aden sinks | Reuters:

"Gulf stock markets mostly moved little in early trade on Tuesday, restrained by weak oil prices and mixed corporate earnings, while Saudi Arabian Mining Co (Ma'aden) fell sharply after announcing a plunge in second-quarter profit.

The Saudi stock index dropped 0.3 percent in the first half hour as Ma'aden slid 4.4 percent. It posted a 51 percent year-on-year drop in net profit because sales revenues were hit by low commodity prices, although the profit was at the high end of analysts' estimates.

Saudi Airlines Catering fell 1.0 percent after announcing a 17 percent decline in quarterly profit."



'via Blog this'

Monday, 18 July 2016

ADCB beats estimates despite 12.3% drop in second quarter profit | The National

ADCB beats estimates despite 12.3% drop in second quarter profit | The National:

"Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank beat analysts’ forecasts despite posting a 12.3 per cent drop in second-quarter net profit, weighed down by the need to set aside more cash for bad debts.

It is the third Abu Dhabi bank to report weak earnings, reflecting the struggles of the emirate’s banking sector as lower oil prices and reduced government spending feed through into the wider economy.

Abu Dhabi’s third-largest bank by assets made a net profit attributable to shareholders of Dh1.13 billion in the three months to June 30, compared to Dh1.28bn in the same period a year ago."



'via Blog this'

Saudi Binladin seeks loan extension after Grand Mosque payment delay | GulfNews.com

Saudi Binladin seeks loan extension after Grand Mosque payment delay | GulfNews.com:

"Saudi Binladin Group has asked for an extension on an 817 million riyal ($217.8 million) Islamic loan that matured last week and which was being used to fund construction on the kingdom’s Grand Mosque site, sources aware of the matter said.

The request to delay the payment, originally due on July 15, was because the Saudi government had yet to reimburse the construction firm for work carried out on Islam’s holiest location, the sources said on condition of anonymity due to the subject’s sensitivity.

The company has been hit by government spending cuts and by its suspension from receiving new state contracts since September last year, when a crane accident killed 107 people at the Grand Mosque."



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Emirates NBD reports Dh3.71b net profit in first half 2016 | GulfNews.com

Emirates NBD reports Dh3.71b net profit in first half 2016 | GulfNews.com:

"Emirates NBD on Monday reported a first half net profit of Dh3.71 billion for the first six months of 2016, up 12 per cent year on year.

For the second quarter of the year the bank’s net profits improved 16 per cent year on year and 6 per cent quarter on quarter to Dh1.91 billion.

During the first half of the year, the bank’s net interest income improved 2 per cent year on year as loan growth more than offset net interest margin contraction. Non-interest income remained flat as higher core fee income, particularly from foreign exchange, helped offset lower income from the sale of properties, the bank said in a statement."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Qatar, Dubai surge, rest of region restrained | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Qatar, Dubai surge, rest of region restrained | Reuters:

"Qatar's stock market surged as it broke major technical resistance and Dubai was boosted by real estate companies on Monday, while most Middle Eastern markets were held back by weak oil prices and uneven corporate earnings.

The Qatari index gained 1.6 percent to 10,585 points, an advance on its December and March peaks at 10,490-10,502 points. Trading volume nearly quadrupled from Sunday's level.

The break triggered a reverse head & shoulders pattern formed by the highs and lows since December and pointing up in the long term to around 12,600 points."



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Full Show: Bloomberg Markets Middle East (07/18) - Bloomberg

Full Show: Bloomberg Markets Middle East (07/18) - Bloomberg:




"Bloomberg Markets Middle East hosted by Yousef Gamal El-Din and Angie Lau. Guests include Inan Demir, chief economist at Finansbank, Gary Dugan, chief investment officer at Emirates NBD, Michael Bolliger, head of EM asset allocation at UBS. (Source: Bloomberg)"



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Azerbaijan faces up to a post oil future | FT World - YouTube

Azerbaijan faces up to a post oil future | FT World - YouTube: ""



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf narrowly mixed in quiet trade; Saudi banks firm | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf narrowly mixed in quiet trade; Saudi banks firm | Reuters:

"Gulf stock markets were narrowly mixed in quiet, early trade on Monday although Saudi Arabian banks rose after a couple of them announced second-quarter earnings.

The Saudi stock index edged up 0.2 percent in the first half-hour as Riyad Bank gained 0.9 percent. It posted a 1.6 percent year-on-year rise in second-quarter net profit to 1.15 billion riyals ($306.6 million); analysts polled by Reuters had on average forecast 1.03 billion riyals.

Samba Financial Group, which reported a 1.4 percent drop in quarterly profit that was in line with forecasts, climbed 1.7 percent."



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Turkey will not intervene to support the lira, says deputy PM - FT.com

Turkey will not intervene to support the lira, says deputy PM - FT.com:

"Turkey will not intervene to support the lira, according to deputy prime minister Mehmet Şimşek, but will watch markets adjust to this “major event” and count on the quick resolution of Friday’s attempted coup to provide confidence to foreign investors.
Its central bank will provide unlimited lira liquidity and drop the commission rate for intraday liquidity to zero. The bank will also consider increasing foreign exchange deposit limits for banks."



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Iran opens talks with Siemens and Rolls-Royce on energy investment - FT.com

Iran opens talks with Siemens and Rolls-Royce on energy investment - FT.com:

"Iran is stepping up the hunt for overseas investment in its energy infrastructure after talks with Siemens and Rolls-Royce that point to the gradual opening of the country’s economy following the lifting of international sanctions.
Hamid Chitchian, Iran’s energy minister, met representatives of both companies in London last week to discuss collaboration in power generation technology."



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FT Business | How Brexit will affect London’s luxury property - YouTube

FT Business | How Brexit will affect London’s luxury property - YouTube: ""



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Sunday, 17 July 2016

Saudi’s largest lender National Commercial Bank says profit rises on higher lending | The National

Saudi’s largest lender National Commercial Bank says profit rises on higher lending | The National:

"Saudi Arabia’s largest listed lender, National Commercial Bank (NCB), reported a 3.2 per cent increase in second-quarter net profit on Sunday, which was at the low end of analysts’ forecasts.

The bank made a net profit of 2.44 billion Saudi riyals (Dh2.3bn) in the three months to June 30, up from 2.36bn riyals in the same period last year, it said in a bourse statement.

Four analysts had forecast on average that NCB would make a quarterly profit of 2.54bn riyals."



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UAE banking sector growth expected to remain soft in 2016 | GulfNews.com

UAE banking sector growth expected to remain soft in 2016 | GulfNews.com:

"The UAE’s banking sector earnings are expected to soften further in the second quarter as many banks are likely to announce weak growth in lending and profitability in their second quarter earnings, according to banking sector analysts.

“We forecast bottom line to fall -3.5 per cent year on year in the second quarter as growth remains soft amid a challenging macro environment, net interest margins (NIM) is under moderate pressure, non- net interest income (NII) should slip, JAW ratio [ ratio of income growth rate to expense growth rate] are slightly negative despite operating expenses (OpEx) optimisation,” Jaap Meijer, head of Research at Arqaam Capital said in a note.

UAE banks are well capitalised and have comfortable liquidity position despite the difficult macroeconomic situation prevailing due to low oil prices. In 2015, profitability of UAE banks moderated and the trend is expected to continue in the short term."



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Commercial Bank of Dubai Q2 profit falls 22 per cent | The National

Commercial Bank of Dubai Q2 profit falls 22 per cent | The National:

"Commercial Bank of Dubai said its second quarter profit fell 22 per cent, weighed down by rising levels of bad debt amid a weakening of the economy.

Net income fell to Dh245 million in the second quarter versus Dh314m in the same period last year. Impairment allowances on loans and advances and Islamic finance more than doubled to Dh181.6m compared to Dh77.9m in same period last year.

Bad debt has been plaguing UAE banks since the slide in oil prices that began two years ago.

Most of those loans that have soured have come from small and medium size enterprises, which because of their small size are usually the first to go under when economic growth begins to slow."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf edges up despite Turkey; Saudi's NCB falls on earnings | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf edges up despite Turkey; Saudi's NCB falls on earnings | Reuters:

"Major Middle Eastern stock markets edged up on Sunday although some shares with exposure to Turkey underperformed after the failed coup attempt there, and Saudi Arabia's largest listed bank dropped after reporting second-quarter earnings.

The instability in Turkey is expected to have little financial impact on the Gulf because trade and investment ties are relatively minor. Nevertheless, fund managers said the event made some investors more cautious about buying.

Qatar National Bank, which last month completed the acquisition of Turkey's Finansbank, slipped 0.5 percent, helping to pull the Qatari stock index down 0.1 percent."



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Friday, 15 July 2016

Theresa May's cabinet creation | FT Comment - YouTube

Theresa May's cabinet creation | FT Comment - YouTube: ""



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UPDATE 1-UAE bank ADIB warns on credit growth after 1 pct Q2 profit gain | Reuters

UPDATE 1-UAE bank ADIB warns on credit growth after 1 pct Q2 profit gain | Reuters:

"Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB) warned on Thursday it was restricting the amount of new credit it was extending due to an increase in defaults across its business lines.

The message from the emirate's largest Islamic bank is perhaps the most stark yet of the impact on the banking sector in the United Arab Emirates from reduced government spending as a result of lower oil prices.

This came after the bank posted a 1 percent rise in second-quarter net profit to 507.5 million dirhams ($138.2 million), a result which beat the forecasts of analysts at EFG Hermes and Arqaam Capital."



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HNA to Buy 80% of Swiss Plane Maintenance Company SR Technics - Bloomberg

HNA to Buy 80% of Swiss Plane Maintenance Company SR Technics - Bloomberg:

"China’s HNA Aviation Group Co. agreed to buy a majority stake in SR Technics, a Swiss aircraft-maintenance service provider, from Mubadala Development Co. for an undisclosed amount.
The Abu Dhabi government-backed investment fund will sell 80 percent of SR Technics and retain the rest in a deal subject to regulatory approvals, the Zurich-based company said in a statement. SR Technics has 3,300 workers and services about 1,050 aircraft, according to its website.
The latest acquisition by the HNA Group, a Chinese airlines-to-supermarkets conglomerate based in Hainan, will add to a series of aviation assets it has been buying around the world as billionaire founder Chen Feng expands his empire beyond Hainan Airlines Co. The group is currently in the process of acquiring Gategroup Holding AG, a Swiss inflight caterer."



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Thursday, 14 July 2016

DP World chief Sultan bin Sulayem on growth in India, Iran and prospects around the world | The National

DP World chief Sultan bin Sulayem on growth in India, Iran and prospects around the world | The National:

"The ports operator DP World says that it remains ­positive on the medium- and long-term outlook for the industry in an environment of slower global trade and low oil prices.

Sultan bin Sulayem, its chairman and chief executive, highlights key markets for the company’s growth, including in India where it will spend more than US$1 billion over the next few years and in Russia where it has a US$2 billion joint venture planned. He also says it is “business as usual" after the UK voted to leave the European Union."



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UAE business credit growth slowed in Q2, says Central Bank | The National

UAE business credit growth slowed in Q2, says Central Bank | The National:

"UAE banks were less willing to extend loans to corporations and small businesses during the second quarter of the year compared with the first, according to the central bank’s quarterly credit sentiment ­survey.

Lenders were also hesitant about giving loans to individuals, but at the same time demand for loans eased across the board amid a slowdown in economic growth.

That trend is expected to continue after a recovery in the first quarter and comes despite a rebound in oil prices this year, the central bank said."



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