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Sunday, 14 February 2016

KPMG forecasts more pain for Dubai housing | The National

KPMG forecasts more pain for Dubai housing | The National:

"House prices in Dubai will continue to suffer this year as cheap oil and the strong US dollar push properties beyond the means of many overseas investors, according to the latest report from consultants KPMG.

The low global price of oil is also depressing the Dubai housing market, KPMG added as it restricts the ability of some potential purchasers to buy and also because it is likely to prompt governments to cut budgets, which in turn means slower infrastructure growth.

Political unrest across the Middle East and economic uncertainties in China and Russia add to the factors deterring investors from entering the market, the company, one of the Big Four financial services firms, added."



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Iranian businesses still hobbled by sanctions fallout - FT.com

Iranian businesses still hobbled by sanctions fallout - FT.com:

"Optimism that Iran’s economy would quickly open up to foreign trade and investment after the easing of international sanctions has been dashed by continuing restrictions on financing businesses in the Islamic republic.
Iranian state-related bodies, backed by billions of dollars in unfrozen assets, have been quick to capitalise on the lifting of most sanctions, but smaller traders and investors continue to have difficulty securing finance to ramp up their operations."



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Oil majors’ business model under increasing pressure - FT.com

Oil majors’ business model under increasing pressure - FT.com:

"Gorgon, a massive liquefied natural gas project off the north-west coast of Australia, is one of the wonders of the modern age. Its $54bn price tag makes it — in nominal terms at least — one of the most expensive engineering projects ever completed.
It could also be a monument to a fading era, the last hurrah of Big Oil."



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The Bank of England must think again on systemic risk - FT.com

The Bank of England must think again on systemic risk - FT.com:

"A
central lesson of the crisis of 2008 was that banks had woefully inadequate equity capital. When banks could not absorb their losses, taxpayers had to — and we are still paying the price. Seven years on, the fundamental question of how much capital British banks should have has not been decided.
In late January the Financial Policy Committee of the Bank of England published a consultation paper on a “systemic risk buffer”. This is the additional capital that domestic banks of systemic importance must have, usually measured as a percentage of so-called risk-weighted assets (RWAs), a concept used by regulators to determine capital requirements. The buffer is added to the baseline in the Basel III global regulatory framework, which requires banks to have equity capital equivalent to at least 8.5 per cent of their RWAs."



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UAE bank results point to rising pressure on profits | GulfNews.com

UAE bank results point to rising pressure on profits | GulfNews.com:

"The full-year results of UAE banks are a mixed bag, with some reporting an increase in profitability, some a decline in profitability and others in the red — something that points to the different impact the challenging economic environment has had on bank balance sheets.

Analysts say the results are a reflection of challenges in both domestic and global economic environments that have led to rising costs, shrinking margins and higher provisions,

Notable exceptions to the overall declining trend were large lenders such as Emirates NBD, First Gulf Bank (FGB) and Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB).

"



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Saudi Arabia Said to Ease Bank Loan Rules to Boost Liquidity - Bloomberg Business

Saudi Arabia Said to Ease Bank Loan Rules to Boost Liquidity - Bloomberg Business:

"Saudi Arabia is easing rules on bank lending to stimulate growth in the largest Arab economy, two people with knowledge of the matter said.
Banks were told they can lend the equivalent of 90 percent of their deposits, up from an earlier limit of 85 percent, by the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency on Sunday, the people said, asking not to be identified as the information is private. The move followed a request from the country’s committee of treasurers to help ease liquidity constraints, according to one of the people.
Saudi Arabia is seeking to revive its economy and stimulate credit after the slump in oil and government spending strained the banking system. The three-month Saudi Arabia Interbank rate rose to 1.73 percent on Feb. 3, its highest in about seven years, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Bets for a devaluation of the riyal reached their highest in about two decades in January, even after the country pledged to keep its currency peg."



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U.A.E. Interbank Rate Drops to 2-Month Low as Deposits Increase - Bloomberg Business

U.A.E. Interbank Rate Drops to 2-Month Low as Deposits Increase - Bloomberg Business:

"A key interest rate in the United Arab Emirates fell to the lowest in almost two months on Sunday after bank deposits in the second-biggest Arab economy swelled and as the prospect of rate increases in the U.S. fades.
The three-month Emirates Interbank Offered Rate, a benchmark used to price loans, fell 1.2 basis points to 1.01786 percent, its lowest since Dec. 17, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The rate rose or remained unchanged in each of the 12 months in 2015 before falling less than one basis point in January."



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Five Countries Being Squeezed by Currency Pegs - Bloomberg Business

Five Countries Being Squeezed by Currency Pegs - Bloomberg Business:

"Only on the streets of cities like Cairo, Abuja or Tashkent can you gauge just how much pressure developing countries are under to ease controls on their currencies.
Individuals and businesses in five nations across central Asia, the Middle East and Africa are paying anywhere from 4 percent to 136 percent more than official exchange rates to get their hands on dollars, according to a Bloomberg survey. So-called black markets flourish at times when there’s a shortage of greenbacks and are one indicator of how much a currency should be allowed to depreciate to reach its fair value.
Central banks that uphold pegs have been under strain after tumbling commodity prices and slowing global growth weakened currencies from Brazil to Russia by at least 19 percent in the past year. In the four months that followed China’s shock devaluation of the yuan in August, Kazakhstan, Argentina and Azerbaijan abandoned control of their exchange rates to boost competitiveness and avoid draining reserves."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi, Egypt sink but UAE, Qatar climb | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi, Egypt sink but UAE, Qatar climb | Reuters:

"Stock markets in the Middle East diverged to an unusual degree on Sunday, with Saudi Arabia and Egypt falling close to multi-year lows while other major Gulf bourses edged up.

Riyadh's benchmark rose in early trade but closed 1.8 percent lower at 5,558 points in extremely volatile trade. It has important technical support at January's low of 5,349 points.

"The oscillation in trading activity points to bearish technicals and to investors' nerves - they are now worried about rising geopolitical tensions," said a Riyadh-based portfolio manager."



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Businessmen held in UAE were tortured into confessions, says UN report | World news | The Guardian

Businessmen held in UAE were tortured into confessions, says UN report | World news | The Guardian:

"Four businessmen who were arrested in the United Arab Emirates have been tortured into making confessions and could face the death penalty, according to a United Nations report and a legal opinion obtained by their British lawyer.

The plight of the four men, who variously hold Libyan, American and Canadian citizenship, has been taken up by Labour’s justice spokesman, Andy Slaughter, who is concerned about UK links to the Gulf state and previous complaints by Britons about being tortured in Dubai.

The legal opinion by Geoffrey Robertson QC, a former UN judge, says the four businessmen – Salim Alaradi, who has Libyan and Canadian nationalities, Kamal and Mohamed Eldarrat, who have Libyan and US nationalities, and Issa al-Manna, a Libyan – have been wrongly accused of funding a terrorist organisation. They are due to go on trial in the secretive state security chamber court in Abu Dhabi on Monday."



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UAE telco du Q4 net profit falls 10.1 pct | Reuters

UAE telco du Q4 net profit falls 10.1 pct | Reuters:

"Du, the United Arab Emirates' No.2 telecom operator, reported on Sunday a 10.1 percent fall in fourth-quarter net profit.

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

Du made a net profit of 461.0 million dirhams ($125.5 million) in the three months to Dec. 31, down from 512.7 million dirhams in the year-earlier period, according to Reuters' calculations based on previous financial statements."



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UAE's Etisalat Q4 net profit rises 2.7 pct | Reuters

UAE's Etisalat Q4 net profit rises 2.7 pct | Reuters:

"Abu Dhabi-listed Etisalat reported a 2.7 percent rise in fourth-quarter net profit on Sunday, according to Reuters calculations.

Etisalat, which directly and indirectly operates in about 18 countries across the Middle East, Africa and Asia, made a net profit of 2.32 billion dirhams ($632 million) in the three months to Dec. 31, Reuters calculated based on the firm's full-year earnings statement in lieu of a quarterly breakdown.

This compares with a profit of 2.26 billion dirhams a year earlier, according to Reuters data."



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Dubai contractor Drake & Scull reports Dh936 million loss for 2015 | The National

Dubai contractor Drake & Scull reports Dh936 million loss for 2015 | The National:

"Dubai-based contractor Drake & Scull reported a Dh936.8 million loss for 2015, which it blamed on the “unprecendent measures” it had to take in the third quarter, where it was forced to make Dh984m in provisions relating to an continuing contractual dispute in Saudi Arabia.

The company said that it had “normalised its profitability” following this, declaring a Dh14m fourth quarter profit as revenue climbed by 27 per cent to Dh1.4 billion (Q4 2014: Dh1.1bn).

However, full-year revenue dropped by 11 per cent to Dh4.2bn and despite winning Dh3bn worth of projects during 2015, its backlog fell by 18 per cent to Dh11.83bn by its year end."



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How Opec and Russia could save the oil industry from itself | GulfNews.com

How Opec and Russia could save the oil industry from itself | GulfNews.com:

"If global oil prices hope to recover from the current crash, an immediate cut in global production ranging between 2 to 3 million barrels a day of oil is needed, experts say.

Currently, the market is so volatile that any news of an agreement between Opec and non-Opec oil producing members, such as the comment from the UAE’s Energy Minister Suhail Mohammad Al Mazroui last Thursday, can affect prices. On Friday, Brent oil prices jumped 10.98 per cent to $33.36 (Dh122.43) a barrel following Al Mazroui’s comments that a deal between Opec and Russia was being discussed. By comparison, last week, prices dropped below $28. However, experts added that political differences between the two oil producing giants on several issues have been hindering the reaching of an agreement.

Estimates on just how much would need to cut vary widely."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi, Egyptian indexes edge down in early trade | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi, Egyptian indexes edge down in early trade | Reuters:

"Stock indexes in Saudi Arabia and Egypt edged down in early trade on Sunday, showing investor sentiment remains very fragile despite Friday's sharp rebound in oil and global equity markets.

Saudi's Arabia rose in early trade but was 0.2 percent lower after an hour. Blue chip Saudi Basic Industries added 0.4 percent and major Islamic lender Al Rajhi advanced 2.0 percent, but decliners outnumbered gainers 122 to 34 as most second- and third-tier stocks dropped.

Al Tayyar Travel tumbled 5.9 percent after saying it had acquired a 33.3 percent stake in Jumia Middle East Co, owner of online shopping website wadi.com, for 125.6 million riyals ($33.5 million). It said it would finance the purchase from retained earnings."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Real estate sector lifts Gulf markets in early trade | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Real estate sector lifts Gulf markets in early trade | Reuters:

"The real estate sector helped lift stock markets in the United Arab Emirates and Qatar in early trade on Sunday, as some risk appetite started to return after Gulf markets sold off at the end of last week.

Dubai's index rose 2.0 percent, recovering most of its 2.6 percent losses on Thursday. Developers Emaar Properties and DAMAC Properties each advanced more than 2.5 percent.

Drake & Scull was up 3.9 percent after the construction company posted a quarterly net profit of 14.7 million dirhams ($4 million); an analyst at SICO Bahrain had forecast a net loss of 38.6 million dirhams."



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