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Monday, 28 March 2016

GCC deficit spending will not continue forever, bank warns | The National

GCC deficit spending will not continue forever, bank warns | The National:

"Government spending has helped to keep the wheels of the Arabian Gulf’s non-oil economies greased in the past two years as oil prices crashed, but that resilience may wane if the price of crude does not rebound soon, according to the investment bank Alkhabeer Capital.

Deficits in countries in the region including the UAE and Saudi Arabia have widened over the past year as the more than 60 per cent drop in oil prices empties coffers and forces governments to dip into sovereign wealth funds and borrow more money to keep spending on infrastructure and social services.

“Growth in the non-oil sector continues to outpace the rate of expansion seen in the region’s hydrocarbon sector. It cannot continue to remain largely resilient to low oil prices for a prolonged period, especially if we consider the high reliance of the Gulf economies on government expenditure," the investment bank wrote."



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Majid Al Futtaim profit up on higher property valuations | The National

Majid Al Futtaim profit up on higher property valuations | The National:

"The Dubai-based conglomerate Majid Al Futtaim (MAF) posted a 28.7 per cent increase in net profit last year thanks in large part to higher valuations for its investment properties.

MAF’s net profit attributable to equity holders rose last year to Dh3.28 billion from Dh2.5bn a year earlier, the company said yesterday.

Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (Ebitda) increased 7 per cent to Dh3.8bn last year from Dh3.6bn in 2014. Revenue grew 8 per cent to Dh27.3bn, from Dh25bn a year earlier."



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UAE Banks federation offers 90-day moratorium prior to legal action against defaulting firms, calls it a ‘mini insolvency law’ | GulfNews.com

Banks federation offers 90-day moratorium prior to legal action against defaulting firms, calls it a ‘mini insolvency law’ | GulfNews.com:

"The UAE Banks Federation said on Monday it will stop legal action against small and medium-sized businesses for 90 days and work with them to restructure their outstanding debt.

Due to a slowdown in the economy, many SMEs that belong mainly to the food and beverage and oil and gas industry, have been registering losses, resulting in bad debts for banks. This has moved the banking body, which includes 49 member banks, to announce a moratorium of 90 days before any legal action is initiated. During this time, the banks will also be looking at ways to restructure the bad debt so that troubled business will be able to begin repaying loans.

“This solution is a better solution than the immediate legal solution if the customer is genuine, because if he runs away to his home country, his business comes to standstill. It’s better for the bank to protect its interest by allowing the customer to restructure his business,” Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair, Chairman of UBF, told journalists."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Markets narrowly mixed, Dubai holds chart support | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Markets narrowly mixed, Dubai holds chart support | Reuters:

"Middle East stock markets were mostly mixed in narrow ranges and moderate trading volumes on Monday, as Dubai tested and held technical support and petrochemical shares supported Saudi Arabia.

The Dubai index closed 0.4 percent lower at 3,266 points, off a low of 3,248 points. It has chart support on its mid-March low of 3,253 points and any break would trigger a minor double top formed by the March peaks and indicating a fresh leg down.

Dubai Parks & Resorts tumbled 6.9 percent in heavy trade. On Sunday it had pulled back 5.1 percent after proposing to boost its capital by 1.68 billion dirhams ($458 million) through a rights issue to finance development of a Six Flags theme park."



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Saudi Arabian regulator approves Yamamah Steel IPO | Reuters

Saudi Arabian regulator approves Yamamah Steel IPO | Reuters:

"Saudi Arabia's Capital Market Authority has approved an initial public offer of shares in Al Yamamah Steel Industries Co, the regulator said on Monday, after severe volatility in the stock market earlier this year disrupted listing plans.

The maker of steel tubes, pipes and other products with plants in Jeddah, Dammam and Yanbu will offer 15.25 million shares representing 30 percent of its capital between April 27 and May 3. Some of the shares will be allocated to institutional investors, the CMA said without giving details.

The Saudi stock index has swung wildly this year in response to low oil prices, but in the last few weeks has regained some strength, permitting IPO activity to resume."



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Revealed: Top economic crimes in Middle East companies | GulfNews.com

Revealed: Top economic crimes in Middle East companies | GulfNews.com:

"Unlike murder, rape, robbery or any other acts of street violence, financial crime is something most people simply don’t care about, yet it continues to affect a growing number of companies in the UAE and other parts of the Middle East, according to a new report.

These illegal activities, also known as white collar crimes, cost companies billions of dollars a year and they include money laundering, bribery, corruption and cybercrime. Not only are these crimes putting company finances at risk, they’re also endangering hundreds of jobs. Doesn’t the Lehman Brothers collapse, which rendered 26,000 employees jobless in 2008, ring a bell?

A recent study by PwC showed that economic crimes were reported in 26 per cent of companies in the Middle East in the past 24 months. Although the number is lower than the global average, it went up by 5 per cent from 2014, suggesting that more incidents have been reported recently.

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Central Bank of Oman approves Bank Muscat request to open Tehran branch | GulfNews.com

Central Bank of Oman approves Bank Muscat request to open Tehran branch | GulfNews.com:

"The Central Bank of Oman (CBO) has approved the request from Bank Muscat, Oman’s largest lender by market value, to open a representative office in Iran. The move comes after a meeting held by the CBO board members on Sunday.

The approval makes Bank Muscat one of the first foreign financial firms to establish a presence in Iran since the international sanctions, imposed over Tehran’s disputed nuclear programme, were removed in January.

Bank Muscat did not say when the process of opening the office would be completed or give any further details."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Dubai bounces from chart support, rest of Gulf mixed | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Dubai bounces from chart support, rest of Gulf mixed | Reuters:

"Dubai's stock market bounced from technical support early on Monday after a week of declines, while other Gulf stock markets were mixed in quiet trade.

The Dubai index edged down to a low of 3,267 points in the opening minutes, near chart support on its mid-March low of 3,253 points, but after an hour of trade was 0.4 percent higher at 3,294 points.

Builder Arabtec added 2.5 percent after it scheduled a board meeting for Wednesday to discuss its business. Islamic Arab Insurance was the most heavily traded stock, rising 2.7 percent."



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Oil Recovery Hits Saudi Devaluation Bet - Bloomberg Business

Oil Recovery Hits Saudi Devaluation Bet - Bloomberg Business:

"Oil’s rebound to about $40 a barrel means some investors are nursing losses after betting that Saudi Arabia would abandon its three-decade-old currency peg.
Contracts used to speculate on the kingdom’s exchange rate in the next 12 months have fallen to about the lowest since November. A $1 million wager on the contracts at their peak in January would have lost 68,900 riyals ($18,370), or about 1.8 percent, according to Bloomberg calculations. Several U.S.-based hedge funds were said in February to be among investors that have bet Saudi Arabia would devalue the riyal."



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