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Saturday, 2 April 2016

HSBC’s chief Middle East economist has stark message for regional budget-makers | The National

HSBC’s chief Middle East economist has stark message for regional budget-makers | The National:

"The slump in oil prices has triggered a steep downturn in economic activity in the oil-producing countries of the Arabian Gulf that has “many years to run", according to one of the leading economic analysts of the region.

In his latest quarterly report on the region, Simon Williams, chief economist for the Middle East at HSBC, wrote that oil prices would need to almost double to spark a significant economic recovery in the region.

“Only if oil prices rose back above $80 per barrel would we start to believe that the oil-dependent states’ broken economic model might yet return to life," said Mr Williams."



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September-December could be critical for UAE stocks | GulfNews.com

September-December could be critical for UAE stocks | GulfNews.com:

"After a spectacular recovery on UAE indices since mid-January, fund managers are unsure of the continuity in performance as investors brace for April 17 meeting between and Opec and non-Opec producers and late April meeting of the US Federal Reserve,

The Dubai Financial Market General index has gained 28 per cent since January 20, and total volumes traded were at Dh57 billion, 50 per cent of which were registered in March alone as investors betted on dividend-yielding stocks and etisalat, among other stocks. But in the past few sessions, volumes have again been falling, a trend that fund managers expect to continue in coming months until September this year.

“What we see in the market now is substantially decreasing liquidity for the past few sessions. Most of the stocks are trading ex-div, so that is the reason we are seeing such a massive slowdown. Most of the investors are on the sidelines, trying to avoid aggressive investment decisions as we are close to announcement of first quarter results,” Mohammad Ali Yasin, managing director at NBAD Securities, told Gulf News."



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Lunch with the FT: Mikhail Fridman - FT.com

Lunch with the FT: Mikhail Fridman - FT.com:

"As I sit with Mikhail Fridman in Frescobaldi, an Italian restaurant in Mayfair, my eyes drift to a quote from Dante’s Divine Comedy painted on the white ceramic tiles behind us: “The devil is not as black as he is painted.”
For years, Fridman was demonised in the western press as a symbol of everything that was wrong with Russian business. He was portrayed as a ruthless tycoon who exploited Russia’s corrupt politics and courts, a billionaire bully who stopped at nothing to defeat competitors and partners alike.
As a reporter in Moscow in the 1990s, I’d witnessed his rise to mogul-dom, as he began to amass a fortune currently estimated by Forbes at $14.6bn. On returning to London, I covered the ins and outs of his war with BP over their jointly-held Russian oil producer TNK-BP — one of the most spectacular corporate battles of the past decade. The company had been subjected to an onslaught of tax, labour and police inspections — all engineered, BP claimed, by Fridman and his partners as part of a furtive power-grab. TNK-BP’s American boss Bob Dudley fled Russia in July 2008, after a campaign of what he called “sustained harassment”."



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Barclays Can Still Compete in Gulf After Job Cuts, CEO Says - Bloomberg

Barclays Can Still Compete in Gulf After Job Cuts, CEO Says - Bloomberg:

"Barclays Plc still has “critical mass” to compete in the Middle East and will aim to help local companies raise capital even as it scales back lending, Chief Executive Officer Jes Staley said.
The U.K. lender has more than 200 employees in the United Arab Emirates after job cuts in the country this year and will continue to operate its corporate, investment banking and wealth management businesses in the region, Staley, 59, said in an interview in Dubai on Thursday. Barclays’s U.A.E. business is “very profitable,” Staley said, without elaborating on the profitability.
Staley is joining other banking chiefs in trying to prove that a global lender doesn’t need expansive operations in every country where it wants to earn fees. Barclays has exited seven countries in Asia as part of a restructuring, and Staley said the bank will use its presence in the U.A.E. to bring international investors and companies there and to nearby nations such as Qatar."



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