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Thursday, 28 April 2016

How Tehran is ramping up a trade offensive | The National

How Tehran is ramping up a trade offensive | The National:

"Since 1979, Iran has positioned itself in strategic competition with its neighbours, primarily Saudi Arabia. One of Iran’s major tactics has been to seek to gain popularity and exert influence through soft power.

Before the Syrian uprising, Iranian leaders, in contrast to the American political establishment, implemented strategies to expand their influence in the Middle East and establish relationships through soft power.

Culturally, Iran enjoys shared societal norms and national festivals with some of the population in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Turkey, Lebanon, Yemen and Syria. Religiously, the Shiite communities across the region have affinities with Iran."



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Mubadala Said to Mandate Citi, JPMorgan, BofAML for Bond Sale - Bloomberg

Mubadala Said to Mandate Citi, JPMorgan, BofAML for Bond Sale - Bloomberg:

"Mubadala Development Co., the Abu Dhabi government-owned investment company, hired banks for its first dollar-bond sale since 2014, two people with knowledge of the plan said.
The company mandated Citigroup Inc., JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Bank of America Corp’s Merrill Lynch unit to arrange the benchmark-sized offering, said the people, asking not to be identified because the information isn’t public yet. The sale process may begin as early as next week, one of the people said. A benchmark-sized issue usually raises $500 million or more.
Mubadala’s possible debt offering comes after Abu Dhabi, capital of the United Arab Emirates and holder of about 6 percent of the world’s oil reserves, raised $5 billion from the sale of five and 10-year securities this week, its first sale in seven years. Mubadala, which has the third-highest investment grade rating at Moody’s Investors Service, last sold bonds in April 2014 when it raised $750 million.
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MIDEAST STOCKS-Disappointing earnings hit UAE, Egypt; Saudi soft | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Disappointing earnings hit UAE, Egypt; Saudi soft | Reuters:

"Disappointing quarterly earnings among big banks pulled down stock markets in the United Arab Emirates on Thursday, while Orascom Telecom posted a big net loss that weighed on Egypt's bourse.

Abu Dhabi's index lost 1.0 percent. Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank nosedived 7.7 percent after it reported first-quarter net profit of 1.02 billion dirhams ($277.7 million), missing analysts' forecasts.

It attributed the 18.2 percent fall to a dip in income from core business and increased bad loan provisions."



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Iran's Startup Spring - Fortune

Iran's Startup Spring - Fortune:

"As sanctions are lifted, can a burst of entrepreneurship succeed—and even transform the nation?

The sun is streaming through the windows of a loft-like office where a half-dozen young tech entrepreneurs huddle over their MacBooks in sweatshirts and sneakers. They’re putting the finishing touches to PowerPoint presentations in preparation for a pitch meeting with potential funders, who are visiting from Germany and Austria. When the investors arrive, the entrepreneurs, most in their twenties, nervously take turns displaying graphs and figures that promise sharp growth for their new ventures. “Trello meets Slack on steroids,” notes one slide, describing a project-management platform that launched a year ago. Another predicts rapidly rising subscriptions for a remote-learning site.

With bean bag chairs scattered on the floor and a ping pong table next to the coffee machine, you could easily imagine this scene in Silicon Valley. But these startups are launching thousands of miles away. This is Tehran, a city that since the Islamic Revolution in 1979 has been associated in the minds of many Americans with stern-faced mullahs, women in black chador, and angry demonstrators railing against “the Great Satan.”"



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Putin's Decade-Old Dream Realized as Russia to Price Its Own Oil - Bloomberg

Putin's Decade-Old Dream Realized as Russia to Price Its Own Oil - Bloomberg:

"Russian President Vladimir Putin is on the verge of realizing a decade-old dream: Russian oil priced in Russia.
The nation’s largest commodity exchange, whose chairman is Putin ally Igor Sechin, is courting international oil traders to join its emerging futures market. The goal is to increase revenue from Urals crude by disconnecting the price-setting mechanism from the world’s most-used Brent oil benchmark. Another aim is to move away from quoting petroleum in U.S. dollars. 
If Russia is going to attract international participation in Russian-based pricing, the Kremlin will need to persuade traders it’s not simply trying to push prices up, some energy analysts said. The government is dependent on oil revenue to fund its budgets."



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Best Airline Meals on Etihad, Cathay, Singapore, Qatar, Emirates - Bloomberg

Best Airline Meals on Etihad, Cathay, Singapore, Qatar, Emirates - Bloomberg:

"Ever since Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin served his guests turtle bouillon, lamb chops and champagne on the world’s first international passenger flight in 1912, on-board catering has been key to winning the hearts and stomachs of top-paying passengers.
These days, about 4 million meals are consumed in the air every day. So with competition increasing between the highest-rated airlines in Asia and the Middle East, it’s no surprise that their battalions of food trolleys are in the vanguard of the fight for premium passengers.
Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd. and Singapore Airlines Ltd. introduced new food and beverage offerings as they try to lure back premium passengers from carriers such as Emirates Airline and Etihad Airways PJSC that offer shower spas and luxurious suites. The Middle Eastern operators have used their geographic position at the crossroads of global flight paths to build giant transfer hubs that connect passengers between Asia and Europe and the U.S."



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Libya fund accuses Goldman Sachs of breaching its own rules - FT.com

Libya fund accuses Goldman Sachs of breaching its own rules - FT.com:

"The brother of a top Libyan official who secured an internship at Goldman Sachs was paid a pro-rata salary of £36,000 plus a housing allowance — soon after the US bank carried out lossmaking trades on behalf of Libya’s sovereign wealth fund.
New details of the internship undertaken by Haitem Zarti, brother of Mustafa Zarti, the Libyan Investment Authority’s former deputy head, have been revealed in court documents as part of a $1bn legal battle between the Libyan Investment Authority and Goldman."



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Qatar National Bank hit by cyber attack - FT.com

Qatar National Bank hit by cyber attack - FT.com:

"Qatar National Bank, the gas-rich Gulf state’s leading lender, has been rocked by a data leak that has exposed the personal details of many of its clients in a file posted on social media that singles out some Al Jazeera staff and purports to identify security officials.
The leak contains references to thousands of alleged transactions records of QNB customers, including remittance data to global banks with thousands of alleged beneficiary names and account numbers."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Abu Dhabi, Dubai pulled down by banks; Saudi cools | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Abu Dhabi, Dubai pulled down by banks; Saudi cools | Reuters:

"Share price declines among leading banks in the United Arab Emirates after disappointing quarterly earnings reports pulled down stock markets there on Thursday, while Saudi Arabian shares edged down.

Abu Dhabi's index lost 1.3 percent. Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank dropped 5.0 percent after it reported first-quarter net profit of 1.02 billion dirhams ($277.7 million), missing analysts' forecasts. It attributed the 18.2 percent fall to a dip in income from core business and increased bad loan provisions.

"Tight liquidity in the market is escalating competition and pushing deposit costs higher," said a note by UBS Securities."



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Saudi Arabia Follows Post-Oil Vision With Jordan Investment Plan - Bloomberg

Saudi Arabia Follows Post-Oil Vision With Jordan Investment Plan - Bloomberg:

"Saudi Arabia and Jordan agreed to set up a joint coordination council that will oversee investments by the Saudi Public Investment Fund.
The fund’s investments will be the largest in Jordan in decades and "will unblock billions of dollars" for the Hashemite kingdom, Bassem Awadallah, King Abdullah II’s special envoy to Saudi Arabia, said by phone from Amman. Agreements on nuclear power cooperation and on uranium extraction are also expected to follow, he said.
"We’ve never had an Arab investment fund that has come to commit billions of dollars in investments in leading sectors of the economy in Jordan," Awadallah said. The new council will determine which sectors will be chosen and how much will be invested, and the two countries will also cooperate in Jordan’s Aqaba special economic zone, Awadallah said."



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