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Monday, 22 February 2016

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Robust volumes push major bourses higher | Reuters

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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



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

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

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



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

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



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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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



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