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Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Abu Dhabi to sell Italian exec-jet business to China buyers — source | GulfNews.com

Abu Dhabi to sell Italian exec-jet business to China buyers — source | GulfNews.com:

"Mubadala, an arm of the Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth fund, plans to sell the executive-jet business of Italy’s Piaggio Aerospace to a state-backed Chinese consortium in a deal that is now under scrutiny by Rome, a source familiar with the matter said.
The deal comes at a sensitive time for Chinese investments in the European Union, with the head of the European Commission recently proposing to limit state-backed foreign takeovers in hi-tech manufacturing, among other industries.

An Italian defence firm such as Piaggio Aerospace must notify the government of any big asset sale, even if it does not involve a defence asset."



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Dubai airport passenger traffic up 6.6% in August, busiest month on record | GulfNews.com

Dubai airport passenger traffic up 6.6% in August, busiest month on record | GulfNews.com:

"Dubai International Airport, the world's busiest for international traffic, recorded its busiest month ever in August for passenger traffic, which the operator said was boosted by a seasonal increase in travellers. The number of passengers travelling through the airport increased 6.6 per cent to 8.23 million compared to the same month a year ago, operator Dubai Airports said in a statement on Tuesday. August is the third time this year the airport has seen record monthly passenger traffic, beating July's 8.07 million and January's 8.04 million. "



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Oil lifts most markets, but global concerns weigh

MIDEAST STOCKS-Oil lifts most markets, but global concerns weigh:

"Rising oil prices helped Middle East indexes eke out modest gains on Tuesday, though shares more exposed to foreign funds followed global markets lower, weighed down by a list of worries including North Korea.

Brent oil surged 3.8 percent overnight to settle at $59.02 a barrel after major producers said the global market was on its way to rebalancing, and crude held near that level on Tuesday.

Riyadh’s index rose 0.2 percent as most petrochemical shares advanced, including bellwether Saudi Basic Industries which added 1.4 percent."



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US oil producers lock in prices after crude’s rally

US oil producers lock in prices after crude’s rally:

"North American oil producers have pounced on the recent rise in crude prices to lock in sales at current levels, something that could safeguard prospective shale output in the face of a future downturn.

Bankers and brokers say hedging in the US and Canada has accelerated as West Texas Intermediate crude pushes above $50 a barrel, a break-even price for many shale oil companies.

“There’s been more producer-hedging in the past two weeks than in the past four or five months,” a banker said."



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Electric cars put pressure on oil demand | Markets

Citi Says Get Ready for an Oil Squeeze - Bloomberg

Citi Says Get Ready for an Oil Squeeze - Bloomberg:

"Those in the oil market fearing a flood of OPEC supply next year will probably be better off preparing for a shortage, according to Citigroup Inc. Five countries in the group -- Libya, Nigeria, Venezuela, Iran and Iraq -- may already be pumping at their maximum capacity this year, Ed Morse, the bank’s global head of commodities research, said in an interview. Rather than a surge in output, there’s a risk of a market squeeze emerging as early as 2018, driven by those nations because of weaker investment in exploration and development, he said. “Fear in the market has been that OPEC production will rise dramatically,” said Morse. However, “there could be a supply gap emerging, which could point to a tighter market,” he said in Singapore on the sidelines of the S&P Global Platts APPEC Conference."



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Saudi central bank announces measures to cut mortgage costs

Saudi central bank announces measures to cut mortgage costs:

"Saudi Arabia’s central bank has scrapped administrative fees for mortgage holders if they switch between fixed and floating rate loans, as part of new measures to boost the housing market. The Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority also announced, via its twitter account, other measures to help reduce mortgage costs, including allowing a mortgage holder to move to a new lender without additional costs. Mortgage laws and regulations are still being ironed out, according to one Jeddah-based analyst, and may be subject to modifications."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf rises in early trade as crude oil scales two-year highs

MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf rises in early trade as crude oil scales two-year highs:

"Stock markets in the Gulf rose early on Tuesday as crude oil prices climbed to a two-year high.

Brent oil surged 3.8 percent overnight to settle at $59.02 a barrel after major producers said the global market was on its way to rebalancing, and the commodity traded near that level on Tuesday morning.

Riyadh’s index rose 0.5 percent as all 13 petrochemical shares that were trading on Tuesday morning rose, including bellwether Saudi Basic Industries which was up 1.0 percent."



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Monday, 25 September 2017

Sharjah intends to be right at the centre of innovation | GulfNews.com @bodour

Sharjah intends to be right at the centre of innovation | GulfNews.com:

"Last week, we successfully concluded the third edition of the Sharjah Foreign Direct Investment Forum (FDI Forum). The theme this year was the fourth industrial revolution. We discussed the transformations that are rapidly taking place in the world through technology, specifically in relation to Sharjah and the UAE. We emerged from the forum energised about the future, and have since been determined to continue this journey, until we become a top global FDI destination, and a leader in the field. There were a lot of topics in the matrix — nanotechnology, artificial intelligence, 3D printing, big data, smart robotics. Just name it. What clearly emerged from all these discussions, is that innovation is the new battleground for all economies."



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Where Oil and OPEC Go From Here - Bloomberg

Where Oil and OPEC Go From Here - Bloomberg:

"Bassam Fattouh, director of the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies, argues that while U.S. shale poses a threat to OPEC, the idea that the organization has no role in the oil market is unrealistic. Fattouh was interviewed via email between Sept. 21-22. Comments have been edited and condensed.

 Can OPEC still manage the market given shale’s strength?

There is no doubt that the context within which OPEC is operating has dramatically changed. Within OPEC, the output from some producers such as Nigeria and Libya has become more uncertain. The re-entry of Iraq with its massive reserve base, low production cost and ambitious plans to increase its productive capacity, and Iran’s plans to increase productive capacity after the lifting of sanctions, will complicate the management of OPEC output."



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Creditors tell High Court that Dana Gas sukuk get-out is "absurd"

Creditors tell High Court that Dana Gas sukuk get-out is "absurd":

"A claim by Dana Gas that it does not have to pay back its Islamic bonds because they are no longer sharia-compliant is “absurd” as repayment under such a scenario is covered in the original paperwork, creditors told a London High Court. United Arab Emirates energy producer Dana Gas said in June that its $700 million sukuk were unlawful and unenforceable under UAE law and began proceedings to have this confirmed in British and UAE courts, because while the purchase undertaking part of the sukuk is regulated by English law, the “mudarabah” agreement underlying it is regulated by UAE law. Mudarabah is a sukuk structure which resembles an investment management partnership."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi shares drop on fear of FTSE delay, Qatar rises again

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi shares drop on fear of FTSE delay, Qatar rises again:

"Saudi Arabia’s stock index fell on Monday on rumours that index compiler FTSE might not upgrade Riyadh to emerging-market status as quickly as hoped, while Qatar notched up its fifth straight session of gains.

At the end of the business day on Sept. 29, FTSE will announce its decision on whether to include Saudi Arabia in its secondary emerging market index.

For several weeks the market had been pricing in a strong chance of an upgrade. Analysts have predicted Saudi Arabia could see around $3.2 billion to $3.7 billion of passive fund inflows as a result, although that would not occur until the decision actually took effect, probably in late 2018."



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Why oil markets are taking Kurdish referendum in their stride

Why oil markets are taking Kurdish referendum in their stride:

"Today the Kurdistan region of Iraq (KRI) plans to hold a referendum on independence. The move has sparked fierce opposition from the Iraqi central government, as well as many western countries, the UN Security Council and neighbouring Iran and Turkey.

All sides have urged the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) to postpone the referendum arguing that it will lead to further destabilisation of Iraq and the region.

But the KRG is determined to push ahead. According to Kurdish officials, the referendum will not only be held in the three provinces formally under Kurdish jurisdiction but also include disputed areas claimed by both the central government and the KRG."



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BP begins fracking at $16bn Oman gas project

BP begins fracking at $16bn Oman gas project:

"BP has started production from a $16bn gas project in Oman that involves the biggest use of US-style fracking technology so far seen in the Middle East.

The Khazzan field in central Oman is characterised by “tight” rock, which requires horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing to release trapped gas from depths of up to 5km below the surface.

BP said it had employed techniques developed in the US to open the field, showing how the American-led “unconventional” oil and gas revolution is slowly spreading to hard-to-reach resources in other parts of the world."



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NMC Healthcare snaps up two Saudi hospitals for $40m - The National

NMC Healthcare snaps up two Saudi hospitals for $40m - The National:

"NMC Healthcare, the UAE's largest private healthcare provider, is expanding further into Saudi Arabia, the Arab world's largest economy, via two multi-speciality hospital acquisitions worth a combined US$40 million and two greenfield health facilities. The London-listed healthcare provider, which entered the kingdom last year via the acquisition of a 70 per cent stake in As Salama Hospital in Al Khobar, will acquire a 60 per cent stake in a new hospital in the southern city of Najran, and fully acquire a second hospital in the northwestern city of Ha’il. NMC also plans to build a multi-speciality facility in the eastern oil city of Al Khobar, and has received regulatory approvals for its proposed new long-term care facility, Chronic Care Specialty Medical Center, in the Red Sea port city of Jeddah."



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Oman Chases Bigger Slice of Maritime Oil Trade With Port Project - Bloomberg

Oman Chases Bigger Slice of Maritime Oil Trade With Port Project - Bloomberg:

"Oman, the biggest Arab oil producer outside of OPEC, is turning up the heat in a regional battle for business from ships in need of fuel with a $600 million deal to build storage tanks at the port of Sohar. Sohar Port and Freezone signed a contract with Singapore-based trader Trescorp Alliance Pte to build an initial fuel-storage capacity of 600,000 cubic meters (21.2 million cubic feet) that will start operating by 2020, the Omani company’s chief executive officer, Mark Geilenkirchen, said in an interview. Trescorp plans to triple the facility’s capacity to 1.8 million cubic meters within a year, he said Monday in Dubai. The Indian Ocean port of Sohar is taking aim at some of the business that the oil trading hub of Fujairah, located on the same coastline in the neighboring United Arab Emirates, has had pretty much to itself. Fujairah is the Middle East’s biggest hub for ship fueling, or bunkering, and will provide more than four times the oil-storage capacity that Sohar expects to have by 2020. "



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Iran Says OPEC Must Address Rising Libya, Nigeria Oil Output - Bloomberg

Iran Says OPEC Must Address Rising Libya, Nigeria Oil Output - Bloomberg:

"OPEC’s commitment to cutting production to clear a global glut is working, but the group needs to address rising output from Libya and Nigeria, Iran’s Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said. Compliance with the output cuts is “acceptable,” Zanganeh told reporters Sunday in Tehran. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries should focus on “the situation with Libya and Nigeria,” he said, referring to the two countries exempted from capping production due to their internal strife. Nigeria will be able to participate in cuts when its output stabilizes at 1.8 million barrels a day, Oil Minister Emmanuel Kachikwu said Friday. “OPEC’s actions are working and compliance is acceptable overall, although there needs to be some change,” Zanganeh said, referring to OPEC members’ compliance with their pledges to pump less. “Changes are really related to Libya and Nigeria and the 100 percent compliance of everyone.” He didn’t elaborate."



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UAE's oil supply cut compliance is 100 percent: energy minister

UAE's oil supply cut compliance is 100 percent: energy minister:

"The United Arab Emirates energy minister said the country’s compliance with a pact on global oil supply cuts stood at 100 percent. “UAE compliance is 100 percent and we announce cuts every month,” Suhail al-Mazroui told reporters on the sidelines of an event in the the capital Abu Dhabi on Monday. “In the last two months we cut 10 percent of our exports,” he said."



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OPEC Deal With Russia Is Showing Signs of Strain - Bloomberg

OPEC Deal With Russia Is Showing Signs of Strain - Bloomberg:

"Saudi Arabia's former oil minister Ali al-Naimi complained in 2014 that Russia never followed through on its promises to reduce production during the 2008-2009 financial crisis, and he assessed the chance of cuts at “zero." Under his successor, Khalid Al-Falih, Russia -- leading a group of non-OPEC states -- has engaged in unprecedented cooperation with the Saudi-guided Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries. Rising oil prices reflect some market optimism, but strains are again showing in the deal, up for renewal or expiry in March 2018. A failure to renew the accord would add further oversupply. Despite a bump in August, compliance is already weakening slowly. The conditions in the first half of this year were the most favorable: Russian production usually is stagnant in spring, due to weather. At the same time, Saudi domestic demand for power generation was lower, and Iraq and Iran struggled to boost output. Nonetheless, OPEC exports did not decline nearly as much as reported falls in production. Since then, Libyan production, though volatile, has recovered substantially, while Nigerian output also came back, as both have been exempt from cuts under the arrangement. Iran has recently started exceeding its agreed cap slightly, with production inching up, while investment is returning in Iraq, which has reluctantly agreed to the deal. To meet summer domestic demand, Saudi Arabia moved from over-complying to merely complying. OPEC’s goal of removing 1.16 million barrels per day from its October 2016 production has shrunk to only 489,000 bpd, taking into account the two exempt countries, while exports are down just 213,000 bpd, according to the tanker-tracking service Kpler."



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Saudi Arabia Hires Goldman, JPMorgan, HSBC for Dollar Bond - Bloomberg

Saudi Arabia Hires Goldman, JPMorgan, HSBC for Dollar Bond - Bloomberg:

"Saudi Arabia will hold calls with fixed-income investors starting Monday as the world’s biggest oil exporter seeks to sell dollar bonds for the second time this year. The kingdom mandated Goldman Sachs Group Inc., GIB Capital, HSBC Holdings Plc, JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc. as joint lead managers and bookrunners to organize the calls, according to two people familiar with the matter. A sale of 144a/ RegS bonds with maturities of more than five, 10 and 30 years will follow subject to market conditions, they said."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Dana Gas down before sukuk trial, Qatar extends gains

MIDEAST STOCKS-Dana Gas down before sukuk trial, Qatar extends gains:

"Shares of Abu Dhabi-listed Dana Gas fell sharply early on Monday, before a London court hearing on its maturing sukuk issue, while Qatar bucked an otherwise weak regional market. They stocks sank 2.7 percent after 90 minutes of trade, heading to their third straight session of losses, as investors awaited the outcome of a London High Court trial on the validity of the $700-million sukuk. It focuses on Dana Gas’s June announcement that it would not redeem its outstanding sukuk, or Islamic bonds, on the grounds that due to changes in interpretation of Islamic finance they’re no longer sharia-compliant and therefore unlawful in the UAE."



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Sunday, 24 September 2017

Global sovereign wealth funds may invest $185 billion in real estate by 2020, Knight Frank says - The National

Global sovereign wealth funds may invest $185 billion in real estate by 2020, Knight Frank says - The National:

"Global sovereign wealth funds (SWF) have been boosting real estate holdings over the past decade and may spend US$185 billion on real estate by 2020, according to the real estate consultant Knight Frank. 

“Sovereign funds continue to build allocations in global real estate,” the consultancy said in a report. 

“This combination of increasing capital under management plus bigger target weightings towards real estate translates into very significant dry powder searching for suitable global prime real estate opportunities and will make them increasingly important landlords in even the largest markets.”  "



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Pessimism Starts Paying Off for Turkey Stock Bears - Bloomberg

Pessimism Starts Paying Off for Turkey Stock Bears - Bloomberg:

"After nine frustrating months, Turkey bears are gaining the upper hand.

Istanbul stocks are heading for the first monthly decline since November 2016, after posting one of the five best gains globally in 2017. This month, the benchmark index has slipped to the world’s worst performance in dollar terms after Qatari stocks as technical signs deteriorate. The pain may just be getting started if a surge in short traders’ bets is any indication."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Dana Gas down as London sukuk trial to resume, Qatar up

MIDEAST STOCKS-Dana Gas down as London sukuk trial to resume, Qatar up:

"Shares of Abu Dhabi-listed Dana Gas fell sharply on Sunday after news that a London court hearing on its maturing sukuk issue would resume, while Qatar’s bourse bucked a general downtrend in the region. After several delays last week, a London High Court trial on the validity of $700 million of sukuk issued by Dana will go ahead on Monday. Dana said in June it would not repay holders of its Islamic bond, or sukuk, because it had become invalid under United Arab Emirates law. The case is being fought in UAE and British courts, and sukuk holders have been hoping the London court will produce a ruling that effectively shuts down Dana’s legal campaign in both jurisdictions. The uncertainty knocked Dana’s shares 5.1 percent lower on Sunday."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Dana Gas down as London sukuk trial set to resume, Qatar rises

MIDEAST STOCKS-Dana Gas down as London sukuk trial set to resume, Qatar rises:

"Shares of Abu Dhabi-listed Dana Gas fell sharply in early trade on Sunday on news that a London court hearing on its maturing sukuk issue would go ahead, while the rest of the region was mixed. Dana Gas lost 3.9 percent. After several delays last week, a London High Court trial on the validity of $700 million of sukuk issued by Dana will go ahead on Monday. Dana said in June it would not redeem its sukuk because they had become invalid under United Arab Emirates law. The case is being fought in UAE and British courts, and sukuk holders have been hoping the London court will produce a ruling that effectively shuts down Dana’s legal campaign in both jurisdictions."



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Saturday, 23 September 2017

Dana Gas sukuk trial to continue in London on Monday - The National

Dana Gas sukuk trial to continue in London on Monday - The National:

"A complex trial on the validity of a Dana Gas Islamic bond will continue on Monday in London amid an ongoing dispute between bondholders including BlackRock and the Sharjah-based company.   The case will continue despite an injunction from a UAE court preventing Dana Gas and some of its bondholders from participating.  "The trial will proceed on Monday," said the UK high court judge George Leggatt. "I will treat the defendants' counterclaim as the primary claim and will hear oral argument on behalf of BlackRock as intervenors. They will be opening the case." "



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VAT likely to affect UAE retail sector | GulfNews.com

VAT likely to affect UAE retail sector | GulfNews.com:

"The appliances sector, especially consumer electronics, will be hardest hit by the introduction of value-added tax (VAT), according to Euromonitor International.
As for other segments of the retail sector, the UAE’s first major tax will have varying degrees of impact, says Nikola Kosutic, Research Manager for Euromonitor International Middle East.

“Broadly speaking, the grocery segment will be least affected as most of it will be exempted,” Kosutic said, adding: “But the hardest hit will be the appliances segment due to the elasticity of demand for such products.”"



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Boeing Lands $11 Billion 787 Deal From Resurgent Turkish Air - Bloomberg

Boeing Lands $11 Billion 787 Deal From Resurgent Turkish Air - Bloomberg:

"Turkish Airlines said it intends to purchase 40 of Boeing Co.’s 787-9 Dreamliners, a long-awaited deal that signals the carrier’s rebound following a terrorist attack on its Istanbul hub last year.

When finalized, the order would be valued at almost $11 billion before the customary discounts for large aircraft purchases. The pact, unveiled during a brief signing ceremony in New York late Thursday, came after years of market studies and negotiations for wide-body planes as the airline plotted its expansion.

Boeing’s carbon-composite Dreamliners will help upgrade Turkish’s fleet of long-range aircraft as it competes with other Middle Eastern airlines amid slowing growth in the region. The carrier’s expansion would hasten President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s goal of making Istanbul one of the world’s premier air travel hubs. The airline already has 75 Boeing 737 Max jets on order, according to the planemaker’s website."



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Oil heads for third weekly gain as Opec says market is improving | GulfNews.com

Oil heads for third weekly gain as Opec says market is improving | GulfNews.com:

"Oil was heading for a third weekly gain as Opec ministers meeting in Vienna urged a continued commitment to supply cuts they said are making good progress in draining a global glut. Front-month oil futures were little changed in New York, leaving them 1.3 per cent higher this week. It’s critical for the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries to maintain focus and fully implement their agreed curbs, Secretary General Mohammad Barkindo said Friday. The oil market is well on its way to rebalancing and the pace of the drop in inventories in developed economies has accelerated, Kuwait’s Oil Minister Issam Al Marzooq said. Oil has advanced this month on forecasts for rising crude demand and as US Gulf Coast plants recover from Hurricane Harvey, which halted almost a quarter of the nation’s refining capacity. Nine months into the Opec-led supply agreement, implementation of the pledged production cuts remains high. Nigeria, which is currently exempt from making cuts, reiterated that it would accept a cap once output stabilises around 1.8 million barrels a day."



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The Deep Damage from Dana's Debt Drama - Bloomberg Gadfly

The Deep Damage from Dana's Debt Drama - Bloomberg Gadfly:

"There is brinkmanship, and then there is Dana Gas. Not repaying your debt has been seen before -- but demanding previous payments back from investors is a new one.Dana Gas PJSC is an independent natural gas supplier from Sharjah, one of the smaller United Arab Emirates. It produces most of its energy from the Kurdish region of Iraq as well as Egypt. With a market capitalization of about $1.5 billion it may not be a major player, but it has certainly learnt how to play hardball in legal wranglings over its sukuk securities.Its dispute with investors including Blackrock Inc. and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. is now making its way through the English courts -- the latest wrinkle is due on Monday -- and trading suggests bond holders are banking on common sense prevailing. "



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Friday, 22 September 2017

Lufthansa set to land Air Berlin assets, sources reveal - The National

Lufthansa set to land Air Berlin assets, sources reveal - The National:

"Lufthansa is set to pick up a large part of insolvent rival Air Berlin, and easyJet is also still in the running for some assets, two sources familiar with the matter said. Air Berlin’s creditors met on Thursday to discuss offers for Germany’s second largest airline and agreed the carve-up, the sources said. Air Berlin, which has about 8,000 employees and operates 144 mostly leased planes, filed for insolvency in August after major shareholder Etihad pulled the plug on funding."



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OPEC, Allies Wait and See If Oil Cuts Need to Be Extended - Bloomberg

OPEC, Allies Wait and See If Oil Cuts Need to Be Extended - Bloomberg:

"OPEC and its allies indicated that they’ll wait a bit longer to see if further action is required in their bid to clear a global oil glut. Ministers from nations that together pump more than half the world’s oil at times made conflicting statements, but broadly signaled that their meeting on Friday wouldn’t take concrete steps to address concerns that their agreement may end too early. While their production cuts have shown signs of success in recent months, the market could return to surplus next year if the group allows the accord to expire at the end of March. “OPEC members are trying to target a figure of close to $60 a barrel. We’re not too far away from that,” Nigerian Minister of State for Petroleum Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu said in an interview on Friday with Bloomberg television in Vienna. “If we get to March and find that there’s a need to do more, I think we will.”"



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Saudi Arabia to implement bankruptcy law in early 2018 - Al Arabiya

Saudi Arabia to implement bankruptcy law in early 2018 - Al Arabiya:

"Saudi Arabia will begin implementing a new bankruptcy law early next year as part of efforts to attract foreign investment and encourage private sector activity, Saudi-owned broadcaster Al Arabiya reported citing the kingdom’s commerce minister.

Under current legislation there is no easy way to wind up the activities of indebted companies in Saudi Arabia and the new law could help with government plans to restructure the economy and make it more attractive to outside investors.

“(The) bankruptcy law has been passed to the Shura Council and we expect it to be implemented by the end of the first quarter of 2018,” Commerce and Investment Minister Majid al-Qusaibi said in an interview according to Al Arabiya’s website."



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Thursday, 21 September 2017

QIA Is Said to Plan Sale of Credit Suisse's Canary Wharf Office - Bloomberg

QIA Is Said to Plan Sale of Credit Suisse's Canary Wharf Office - Bloomberg:

"The Qatar Investment Authority plans to sell an office building in London’s Canary Wharf financial district which is leased to Credit Suisse Group AG, according to two people familiar with the matter. The Gulf state’s sovereign-wealth fund appointed brokers CBRE Group Inc. and Jones Lang LaSalle Inc. to offer the building for about 450 million pounds ($610 million), the people said, asking not to be identified because the matter is private. A spokesman for QIA declined to comment on the plan, which CoStar News reported earlier Thursday."



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London judge postpones decision on Dana Gas sukuk hearing

London judge postpones decision on Dana Gas sukuk hearing:

"A London High Court judge will decide on Friday whether to continue proceedings on the validity of $700 million sukuk issued by Dana Gas in a case which is being closely watched by the global Islamic finance industry. United Arab Emirates producer Dana Gas started proceedings in June in UK and UAE courts seeking to have its sukuk, or Islamic bonds, declared invalid and unlawful because of changes in the interpretation of Islamic finance. The UK trial started on Tuesday, but a last-minute injunction obtained by some shareholders from a UAE court in Sharjah prevented Dana Gas and the legal representatives of another party to the case, Deutsche Bank, from participating in the trial."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Petchems support Saudi as oil stays near $56, Qatar up again

MIDEAST STOCKS-Petchems support Saudi as oil stays near $56, Qatar up again:

"An overnight rise in crude oil prices to a fresh five-month peak helped to push the Riyadh stock index slightly higher on Thursday while Qatar secured its third straight day of gains.

The Saudi index edged up by 0.1 percent as all but two of the 14 listed petrochemical producers rose as Brent contracts traded around $56 a barrel.

Yanbu National Petrochemical added 0.9 percent. Shares in the large-cap producer have been active for four sessions, and one Riyadh-based analyst told Reuters that investors have been building positions in “relatively safer petrochemical stocks” because of the recent climb in the oil price."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Banks support Saudi after Fed comments, Qatar cools

MIDEAST STOCKS-Banks support Saudi after Fed comments, Qatar cools:

"Banking shares lifted the Saudi stock index slightly higher in early trade on Thursday but Qatar’s index cooled after it had risen for two straight days. The Riyadh index rose 0.2 percent after 20 minutes of trade as nine of the 12 listed banks rose after the U.S. Federal Reserve left interest rates unchanged on Wednesday but signaled it still expects one more increase by the end of the year. Most Gulf currencies are pegged to the dollar and any monetary policy change in the United States is usually mimicked by Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Qatar. A rate hike is considered positive for banks because it lifts their interest rate margins."



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Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Crescent Petroleum, Dana Gas file arbitration against Hungarian partner - The National

Crescent Petroleum, Dana Gas file arbitration against Hungarian partner - The National:

"Crescent Petroleum and Dana Gas have sold shares in Hungary’s MOL Group, their partner in the Pearl consortium operating in northern Iraqi region of Kurdistan, and started arbitration proceedings over the recent settlement with the Kurdistan Regional government (KRG). “Unfortunately, MOL unreasonably sought to link its endorsement of the settlement to a renegotiation of the terms by which it first secured its participation in Pearl back in May 2009,” Dana Gas said in a filing on the Abu Dhabi bourse. “And now [MOL] complains about Dana Gas and Crescent Petroleum for their handling of the settlement alongside Pearl, expressing dissatisfaction with the outcome as compared to the alternative of pursuing a final litigation and enforcement outcome against the KRG.”"



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Kuwait's Alshaya invests in $1bn e-commerce platform Noon ahead of its launch - The National

Kuwait's Alshaya invests in $1bn e-commerce platform Noon ahead of its launch - The National:

"MH Alshaya, the Kuwaiti franchise operator which is present across the Arab world, Turkey and Russia, bought a stake in e-commerce platform Noon. It is a US$1 billion joint venture between a group of investors led by UAE billionaire businessman Mohamed Alabbar and Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund and is expected to launch later this year.

Alshaya, whose franchises include Starbucks, Muji, Boots, The Cheesecake Factory and Victoria’s Secret, is the first retailer to announce a partnership with Noon, which was supposed to launch in January with 20 million products. The e-commerce retailer has said it will launch operations “later this year”, giving no further details.

The size of Alshaya’s investment in the platform was not disclosed."



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Size of GCC asset management market to double by 2020 - The National

Size of GCC asset management market to double by 2020 - The National:

"Assets under management are forecast to more than double in 2020 from 2016 levels in the Arabian Gulf region as Sharia-compliant investments continue to rise and an expanding middle class presents more growth opportunities. The total assets managed by fund managers in the GCC, a region which accounts for about a third of the world’s proven oil reserves, are expected to rise to US$110.9 billion in 2020 from $45.8bn in 2016, according to a report released by Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) yesterday.  The report, Mapping Opportunities in the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia region (Menasa) region, complied in partnership with Thomson Reuters, explores investment opportunities in the broader Menasa region and provides a five-year projection for wealth management in key countries."



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Iran’s Leaders Are Bolstered by Billions in Loans From the East - Bloomberg

Iran’s Leaders Are Bolstered by Billions in Loans From the East - Bloomberg:

"As Donald Trump escalates his offensive against Iran, its leaders are being bolstered by billions of dollars flowing from the east.

It was the turn of the Chinese last week, as a group of Iranian banks secured $10 billion in loans from Citic Group, and Iran signed preliminary agreements worth about $15 billion with China Development Bank. That followed a $10 billion credit accord with Japan last year, and Iran has also signed a $9.6 billion deal with the Export-Import Bank of Korea.

The funding is a “big political statement from governments,” some traditionally close to America, at a time when the U.S. is seeking help in confronting Iran, said Henry Smith, lead analyst on Iran and the Middle East at the Dubai office of Control Risks, a global risk consultancy. Major private lenders aren’t about to drop their guard with Iran, he said, but having states heavily invested can boost the confidence of executives pondering their plans."



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Abu Dhabi's Adnoc Considers IPO for Shipping Business - Bloomberg

Abu Dhabi's Adnoc Considers IPO for Shipping Business - Bloomberg:

" Abu Dhabi National Oil Co. is considering a plan to sell shares in its shipping unit as part of a broader strategy to attract investment into the emirate that pumps most of the crude in the United Arab Emirates, according to people with knowledge of the project. State-run Adnoc is merging three maritime transport and service businesses and will only decide on whether to sell a minority stake in the new unit through an initial public offering once that transaction is done, said the people who asked not to be identified because the proposal is confidential. The new company would have to prove its attractiveness to investors and a sale isn’t likely to go ahead before 2019, the people said. Adnoc didn’t specifically comment on the plan for the shipping unit. In an emailed response to questions from Bloomberg, the company said it is “expanding its partnership model and creating new investment opportunities.” It said “Adnoc is therefore considering the potential IPO of minority stakes of some of its services businesses which have attractive investment and growth.” It reiterated that it won’t sell shares in the Adnoc Group holding company."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Qatar extends rebound, Dana Gas down ahead of trial

MIDEAST STOCKS-Qatar extends rebound, Dana Gas down ahead of trial:

"Qatar’s stock index extended gains for a second day on Wednesday as local and international funds stepped up buying after a long spell of weakness. The Doha index broke an 11-day losing streak on Tuesday, though the benchmark index is still down 18.5 percent so far this year. It has been hurt by the economic and political boycott of Qatar by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt."



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Arqaam Capital bullish on prospects of Egyptian markets | GulfNews.com

Arqaam Capital bullish on prospects of Egyptian markets | GulfNews.com:

"Arqaam Capital said on Wednesday it swill continue to build its local capabilities in Egypt to provide a bridge for capital flows into the Egyptian economy by leveraging the bank’s world class capabilities to service both Egyptian and international clients looking to do business in Egypt. “With the brave and bold economic and structural reform program that the Government of Egypt has embarked on, we are bullish with respect to the future prospects of the Egyptian market. We are witnessing first-hand the steady improvement in the country’s key economic indicators, and we do believe that while significant challenges still remain, we see more opportunities than risks going forward,” Radi Al Helw, Managing Director, Arqaam Egypt said in a statement."



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UAE will defend industries after U.S. dumping accusations

UAE will defend industries after U.S. dumping accusations:

"The United Arab Emirates (UAE) will spare no efforts to defend its industries after the United States found that UAE companies were dumping carbon and alloy steel wire rod in the U.S. market, the Gulf state said on Wednesday.

The U.S. Commerce Department said in an initial finding on Sept. 6 that exporters from the UAE had sold wire rod products at 84.1 percent below fair value and that it would ask U.S. customs to collect duties.

The UAE Ministry of Economy told Reuters it was “paying close attention” to the investigations and would defend UAE industries “with every tool at our disposal,” in line with World Trade Organisation (WTO) agreements."



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MIDEAST MONEY-Abu Dhabi targets IPOs worth $5 bln ahead of Saudi Aramco

MIDEAST MONEY-Abu Dhabi targets IPOs worth $5 bln ahead of Saudi Aramco:

"Abu Dhabi is hoping to fast-track at least $5 billion of stock market listings by state-backed companies next year before Saudi Aramco’s planned $100 billion IPO dominates investor demand. Like neighbouring Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi is restructuring its industrial sector, hoping to lure foreign investors with privatisations after lower energy prices depleted its coffers. This could result in at least five large listings including Abu Dhabi National Oil Co (Adnoc‘s) fuel distribution unit, aluminium-maker EGA, industrial conglomerate Senaat and Abu Dhabi Ports, government and banking sources said."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Qatar up again in otherwise weak region, Dana Gas flat after trial adjourned

MIDEAST STOCKS-Qatar up again in otherwise weak region, Dana Gas flat after trial adjourned:

"Qatar’s stock market extended gains in early trade on Wednesday as local investors bought on price dips, in an otherwise weak Gulf region. The Doha index rose 0.5 percent after 40 minutes of trade, extending the previous session’s small 0.1 percent rise. “Local funds are stepping up, and buying after the market has lost 10 percent since early August, some companies are looking pretty cheap,” said a Doha-based fund manager."



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Tuesday, 19 September 2017

UAE Central Bank ramps up clampdown on banks mis-selling consumer and investment products - The National

UAE Central Bank ramps up clampdown on banks mis-selling consumer and investment products - The National:

"The Central Bank of the UAE has stepped up action against banks following complaints of mis-selling on consumer and investment products, a senior executive at the institution said on Tuesday, Nariman  Alawadhi, chief manager at the Central Bank, said that 100 clients have had money returned to them by banks thanks to the institution's clampdown. “We get a lot of complaints about investment products. The consumer is ignorant and does not know much; at the same time the bank is not clear and does not tell you if this product is good for you or not,” she told delegates at a business platform on financial literacyamong the nation's youth, hosted by the Emirates Foundation."



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IFC plays an all-rounder role for private sector, governments in region | GulfNews.com

IFC plays an all-rounder role for private sector, governments in region | GulfNews.com:

"International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank, has invested $6 billion in the region, playing an all-round role in financing, advising, among others, and a top official said its role is important as ever as foreign investors become averse. IFC, which is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in developing countries, has invested billions of dollars directly or indirectly through private equity firms and venture capitalist in 400 firms. “As objectives change and as situation of countries changes, as foreign investors feels less comfortable with certain countries depending on their macro environment, we have a higher risk appetite. So investors are leaving the town, we are going in. So it’s a counter cyclical role, we play it quite well,” Deepak Khanna, Chief Investment Officer at IFC, told Gulf News on the sidelines of the Sharjah FDI Forum."



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Dana Fight With BlackRock to Start Despite U.A.E. Court Order - Bloomberg

Dana Fight With BlackRock to Start Despite U.A.E. Court Order - Bloomberg:

"A London lawsuit over $700 million in Shariah-compliant bonds issued by Dana Gas PJSC will go ahead despite a last-minute United Arab Emirates court order that attempted to stop the company from taking part in the trial. Dana Gas stunned investors and the Islamic finance community when it announced in June that it had reviewed its own bonds and found they were not Shariah compliant. Bondholders, led by Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and BlackRock Inc., hired investment bankers and then lawyers when it became clear they were facing losses of 90 percent or more. But Tuesday, on the first day of the trial, lawyers said an order issued by a court in the U.A.E., where Dana is based, prevented the company from participating in the London case. Judge George Leggatt postponed the start of the trial until Thursday and said that the dispute could go ahead without Dana."



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Atlas Jewellery debt resolution plan hits stumbling block -sources

Atlas Jewellery debt resolution plan hits stumbling block -sources:

"Three banks are blocking a deal aimed at resolving the close to 500 million dirhams ($136.1 million) debt troubles of Dubai-based Atlas Jewellery, banking sources said.

Atlas, which once had more than 50 retail branches across the Gulf and India, defaulted on loans in 2015 and its owner, M. M. Ramachandran, was sentenced to a three-year jail term for writing cheques without sufficient funds for them to clear.

Since then banks have struggled to secure repayment, leading to the United Arab Emirates central bank trying to broker a deal that would put on hold legal action against Ramachandran so he could be released from jail to facilitate asset sales to repay banks while restructuring the company’s remaining debt, the sources said."



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UPDATE 1-Judge tells Dana Gas London trial could go ahead without it #Sharjah #UAE

UPDATE 1-Judge tells Dana Gas London trial could go ahead without it:

"A High Court judge called on Tuesday on Dana Gas and its creditors to agree on a way for a trial seen as shaping the future of Islamic finance to proceed and said he might complete it regardless of whether all parties were present.

George Leggatt adjourned the trial until Thursday after lawyers for Dana Gas said that it was prevented from taking part in the proceedings because of an injunction by a UAE court.

Leggatt said before adjourning the trial that it was difficult to foresee what arguments could be advanced before the Sharjah court to prevent the English court from ruling on matters of English law."



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Qatar flooded banks with $8 billion in August to offset outflows

Qatar flooded banks with $8 billion in August to offset outflows:

"Qatar pumped 29.1 billion riyals ($8 billion) into its banking system in August to cushion it from withdrawals by financial institutions from neighboring Arab states due to the Gulf’s diplomatic crisis, central bank data showed. The current crisis, triggered by the political and economic boycott of Qatar by the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt, had already led to government deposit injections of $6.9 billion in July and $10.9 billion in June. The Saudi-led bloc accuses Qatar of supporting terrorism, a charge denied by Doha."



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The World’s Biggest Wealth Fund Hits $1 Trillion - Bloomberg

The World’s Biggest Wealth Fund Hits $1 Trillion - Bloomberg:

"Norway’s sovereign wealth fund hit $1 trillion for the first time on Tuesday, driven higher by climbing stock markets and a weaker U.S. dollar.

The milestone valuation was reached for the first time on Sept. 19 at 2:01 a.m. in Oslo, Norges Bank Investment Management said in a statement on Tuesday.

“I don’t think anyone expected the fund to ever reach $1 trillion when the first transfer of oil revenue was made in May 1996,” Yngve Slyngstad, chief executive officer of the fund, said in the statement. “Reaching $1 trillion is a milestone, and the growth in the fund’s market value has been stunning.”"



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Banks Hire Lazard to Solve Turkey's Biggest Default - Bloomberg

Banks Hire Lazard to Solve Turkey's Biggest Default - Bloomberg:

"Banks that provided a $4.75 billion loan to Turk Telekomunikasyon AS’s major shareholder hired Lazard Ltd. to advise them on the nation’s biggest ever default, according to three people with knowledge of the matter. The creditors also hired Raiffeisen Investment AG to advise in negotiations over the loan taken out by Ojer Telekomunikasyon AS, or Otas, which owns 55 percent of Turk Telekom. Other parties to the talks are the Turkish Treasury, which also has a stake in the company, and Saudi Telecom Co., which indirectly owns shares, the people said. Spokesmen for Turk Telekom, Otas and Raiffeisen declined to comment, while Lazard officials didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Qatar slightly off 5-yr low as local traders buy, Saudi worst performer

MIDEAST STOCKS-Qatar slightly off 5-yr low as local traders buy, Saudi worst performer:

"Qatar’s stock index came slightly off a five-year low on Tuesday as local funds intensified their buying of those shares, while Saudi Arabia was the region’s worst performer.

The Doha index had recorded 11 straight sessions of losses, reflecting a lack of foreign investor confidence in a speedy resolution to the Gulf diplomatic crisis.

Local investors, however, have been net buyers for several weeks and on Tuesday they made up roughly three-quarters of the total market turnover, bourse data showed, helping lift the index 0.1 percent higher."



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Abu Dhabi Financial Group plans $100 mln private bond sale -sources

Abu Dhabi Financial Group plans $100 mln private bond sale -sources:

"Abu Dhabi Financial Group (ADFG), a privately owned investment company with over $5 billion of assets under management, is considering issuing $100 million in debt through a privately placed bond, sources familiar with the matter said. The private placement, with a three-year tenor according to the sources, would come at a relatively calm time in the Gulf’s debt capital markets, which have seen little to no issuance over the summer months. The lull was interrupted last week by a $3 billion debt sale by Bahrain, which is to be followed this week by a dollar bond sale by Saudi Arabia’s Islamic Development Bank. But corporate issuances have been rarer, with the latest being a $375 million bond by United Arab Emirates’ Topaz Marine last July."



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Qatar Pours More Billions Into Local Banks as Crisis Drags On - Bloomberg

Qatar Pours More Billions Into Local Banks as Crisis Drags On - Bloomberg:

"Qatari authorities stepped up their support of domestic banks for the third month in a row in August in an attempt to offset foreign withdrawals as the showdown between the Gulf emirate and a Saudi-led alliance show no sign of abating. Public-sector deposits in the world’s largest exporter of liquefied natural gas grew by 10.5 percent to 295 billion riyals ($80 billion) from 267 billion riyals in July, according to central bank data. That bring the increase to about 53 billion riyals since the crises broke out more than three months ago. The support helped total deposits grow 5 percent to 645 billion riyals even as non-resident deposits declined for a third straight month to 149 billion riyals, the data show. They stood at 171 billion in June."



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Saudi Arabia Raises $1.9 Billion From Islamic Bond - Bloomberg

Saudi Arabia Raises $1.9 Billion From Islamic Bond - Bloomberg:

"Saudi Arabia raised 7 billion riyals ($1.9 billion) from domestic sukuk sales as the kingdom seeks to bolster its finances amid an economic overhaul and lower oil prices. The government received more than 24 billion riyals in bids for its third riyal-denominated Islamic bond sale, according to a statement on the Ministry of Finance’s website. It raised 2.4 billion riyals from a five-year tranche priced at 2.75 percent, 3.9 billion riyals from seven-year notes at 3.25 percent and 700 million riyals through a 10-year tranche at 3.45 percent, people familiar with the matter said, asking not to be identified because the information is private. The kingdom has raised 37 billion riyals in the past three months from domestic debt sales after tapping the international Islamic bond markets for $9 billion. The fund-raising could help the government narrow an expected budget deficit of 198 billion riyals this year, or 7.7 percent of economic output."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Qatar rises slightly in early trade, coming off 5-yr low

MIDEAST STOCKS-Qatar rises slightly in early trade, coming off 5-yr low:



"Qatar’s stock index came slightly off a five-year low in early trade on Tuesday while most other markets in the region moved little.

The Doha index had recorded 11 straight sessions of losses as investors lack confidence in a speedy resolution to the regional diplomatic crisis, but it was up 0.4 percent after 45 minutes of trade.

Qatar Gas Transport was up 2.2 percent and Doha Bank rose 0.8 percent."



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Monday, 18 September 2017

UAE’s non-oil contribution to GDP to swell to 80% by 2021 | GulfNews.com

UAE’s non-oil contribution to GDP to swell to 80% by 2021 | GulfNews.com:

"The UAE’s non-oil contribution to its GDP (gross domestic product) will jump by about 14 per cent in four years due to rapid diversification of the economy, Sultan Bin Saeed Al Mansouri, Minister of Economy, said on Monday. Currently, the non-oil sector contributes 70 per cent of the UAE’s GDP with oil contributing the remaining. By 2021, the non-oil sector will contribute 80 per cent, he said. “Efforts are being made to increase the percentage of non-oil sector to the GDP by 80 per cent by 2021 in order to establish the base for post-oil economy,” said Al Mansouri while speaking at the UAE-Iraq Trade and Investment Forum in Abu Dhabi."



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France floats idea of strengthening Iran nuclear deal post-2025

France floats idea of strengthening Iran nuclear deal post-2025:

"France on Monday raised the possibility of strengthening the provisions of the international accord on Iran’s nuclear program that expire in 2025 and defended the pact against the Trump administration’s misgivings, saying its collapse would risk a regional arms race. The 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers faces a stern test at the United Nations this week as Europeans try to persuade the United States to keep it, while Israel lobbies to turn up the pressure on Tehran. U.S. President Donald Trump, who must make a decision by mid-October that could undermine the agreement, last Thursday repeated his view that Iran was violating “the spirit” of the deal under which sanctions were loosened on Tehran in return for curbing its nuclear program."



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DP World to buy Dubai Maritime City, Drydocks World for $405 million

DP World to buy Dubai Maritime City, Drydocks World for $405 million:

"DP World DPW.DI, one of the world’s largest port operators, has agreed to buy two fellow state-owned maritime companies from its parent for $405 million.

DP World will acquire Dubai Maritime City owner Maritime World for $180 million and Drydocks World for a capital injection of $225 million from Dubai World, the port operator said in a statement on Monday.

Dubai World, the state-owned conglomerate which agreed to a $25 billion debt restructuring in 2011 after it was hit by the global financial crisis, is the majority owner of DP World, Maritime World and Drydocks World, according to its website."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Qatar hits 5-year low as diplomatic rift hits firms

MIDEAST STOCKS-Qatar hits 5-year low as diplomatic rift hits firms:

"Qatar’s stock index hit a five-year low on Monday because of a fresh sign that a diplomatic dispute in the region was starting to inflict long-term damage on some of its companies. Shares of Qatar Insurance dropped 2.3 percent after the company said it was closing its Abu Dhabi branch because it had not been able to obtain a licence. The United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt cut diplomatic and transport ties with Doha on June 5. Its Abu Dhabi business, which had been operating since 2002, used to bring in annual gross premiums of 110 million Qatari riyals ($30 mln), the company said."



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Saudis May Raise Domestic Gasoline Prices by 80% - Bloomberg

Saudis May Raise Domestic Gasoline Prices by 80% - Bloomberg:

"Saudi Arabia is considering a plan to phase out subsidies for gasoline and jet fuel in November at the latest, as the world’s biggest oil exporter pushes a program to curtail spending after a global slump in prices.

The government would boost gasoline to parity with varying international prices under the plan, according to a person with knowledge of the matter. At current levels, this could result in a hike of about 80 percent for octane-91 grade gasoline to about 1.35 riyals per liter (0.36 cents), the person said on condition of anonymity. The government plans to delay increases in other energy prices until early 2018, the person said.

Authorities are expected to make a final decision on the plan in September or October, the person said. The Saudi finance, economy and energy ministries didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Qatar's decline intensifies as insurer's Abu Dhabi branch shut

MIDEAST STOCKS-Qatar's decline intensifies as insurer's Abu Dhabi branch shut:

"Qatar’s stock index was down again on Monday as shares in Qatar Insurance tumbled after it announced the closure of its Abu Dhabi branch because of the region’s diplomatic crisis. The stock index had fallen for the previous 10 straight sessions. Qatar Insurance dropped 4.6 percent after the company said its licence to operate in Abu Dhabi had not been renewed. Its Abu Dhabi unit, which had been operating since 2002, used to bring in annual revenue of 110 million Qatari riyals ($30 mln), the company said."



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Sunday, 17 September 2017

Exclusive: Smaller UAE lenders should consider M&A as bigger banks transform digitally: Emirates NBD CEO says - The National

Exclusive: Smaller UAE lenders should consider M&A as bigger banks transform digitally: Emirates NBD CEO says - The National:

"Smaller lenders should consider merger and acquisition options in the UAE’s over-banked market to gain scale, Shayne Nelson, the group chief executive of Emirates NBD said. This would allow them to compete with larger banks who are investing in digital transformation of services that could stifle business opportunities for smaller institutions. “For the size of the economy and the size of the population, there are too many banks,” said Mr Nelson, who heads the biggest bank in Dubai by assets. “There is a necessity for those banks to merge over time. Frankly, the sooner they do it, to me, they will be in a better position.”"



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Wall Street’s Crush on Autocrats Grows Amid Hunt for High Yield - Bloomberg

Wall Street’s Crush on Autocrats Grows Amid Hunt for High Yield - Bloomberg:

"Democracy doesn’t matter. That’s the message traders are sending as they gorge on bonds from some of the world’s most authoritarian governments.

Wall Street soaked up junk-bond deals this month from Tajikistan and Bahrain, both of which are ranked among the most autocratic regimes by Washington-based Freedom House. Demand for the Central Asian republic’s debt was so high last week that it was able to cut borrowing costs by almost a full percentage point from its initial target. The Middle East kingdom sold $3 billion of debt on Wednesday, its biggest sale ever."



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CORRECTED-Creditor support grows for Dubai's GGICO $572 mln debt deal

CORRECTED-Creditor support grows for Dubai's GGICO $572 mln debt deal:

"Dubai-based Gulf General Investment Company (GGICO) has agreement from nearly half of its creditors on a 2.1 billion dirham ($572 million) debt restructuring, sources close to the matter told Reuters. The deal is set to achieve the target of 75 percent creditor support by the end of the month, the sources said, adding that the terms push back the bulk of the company’s debt repayment to 2024. Some of the debt will be repaid immediately, partly from proceeds of a sale of non-core assets from real estate, retail, manufacturing and financial services holdings, one of the sources said."



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Less foreign borrowing, longer bonds offset rise in emerging debt levels: BIS

Less foreign borrowing, longer bonds offset rise in emerging debt levels: 

BIS: "A large-scale shift toward domestically issued and longer-dated bonds in emerging markets has helped build resilience to external shocks despite the increase in overall debt levels, the Bank for International Settlements said. The BIS, an umbrella body for global central banks, has warned in the past that developing world risks were entering a new crisis because of a build-up in debt levels, especially in China. But its latest report found that changes in the composition of debt were a mitigating factor. “Borrowing is mostly done in local currencies, at longer maturities and at fixed rates. Taken together, these trends should help strengthen public finance sustainability by reducing currency mismatches and rollover risks,” the BIS wrote."



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Dubai awards $3.9 billion solar energy contract to Shanghai Electric, ACWA Power

Dubai awards $3.9 billion solar energy contract to Shanghai Electric, ACWA Power:

"Dubai’s state energy utility awarded a $3.9 billion contract to build and run a 700 megawatt solar power plant to a consortium comprising Shanghai Electric and Saudi Arabia’s ACWA Power, the government said on Saturday. The project will feature a 260-metre (850-foot) tower receiving focused sunlight, the world’s tallest such tower, the government said. The consortium bid to supply electricity to Dubai for 7.3 U.S. cents per kilowatt hour. The first stage of the project is due to be commissioned in late 2020. It is part of the Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum Solar Park, a vast complex which is projected to generate 1,000MW by 2020 and 5,000MW by 2030."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Qatar index down for tenth day running

MIDEAST STOCKS-Qatar index down for tenth day running:

"Qatar’s stock index fell for a tenth straight session on Sunday as talk of dispute negotiations fails to sway investors, while strong oil prices boosted the Saudi Arabia market. On Friday Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani said his country was ready to sit at the negotiating table to try to end its diplomatic dispute with Gulf Arab neighbours. But in the absence of any positive response from the Saudi-led coalition that is boycotting Qatar, investors did not take the remarks as a sign that the dispute was moving closer to resolution. “There is too much uncertainty around Qatar right now, and the full extent of how hard those companies have been hurt by this crisis is yet to be known,” one Paris-based fund manager said."



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Bahrain Is Said to Refuse Qatari Bond Investors in Record Sale - Bloomberg

Bahrain Is Said to Refuse Qatari Bond Investors in Record Sale - Bloomberg:

"Bahrain refused to process bids by Qatari investors for its largest-ever bond offering after cutting ties with the gas-rich Gulf state in June, according to two people familiar with the matter.

Doha-based companies that submitted bids for Bahrain’s $3 billion debt sale last week weren’t given allocations because the island state, along with other Gulf economies, are cutting their financial exposure to Qatar, the people said, asking not to be identified because the matter is private. The Bahraini government didn’t send a formal directive to arrangers about Qatari bids, a third person said."



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UAE’s Emaar Properties gets $1.5 bln loan from First Abu Dhabi Bank–sources

UAE’s Emaar Properties gets $1.5 bln loan from First Abu Dhabi Bank–sources:

"Dubai-based Emaar Properties obtained a $1.5 billion corporate finance loan from First Abu Dhabi Bank, sources familiar with the matter said on Sunday. Emaar, which develops residential properties, hotels, entertainment and shopping malls, agreed on the financing after initially holding talks with some of its relationship banks for three bilateral loans of $500 million each. In the end, it chose to obtain a single loan of $1.5 billion with First Abu Dhabi Bank underwriting the whole amount, said the sources, declining to be named as the matter is not yet public."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Qatar continues slide, Saudi supported by strong oil

MIDEAST STOCKS-Qatar continues slide, Saudi supported by strong oil:

"Qatar’s stock market headed for its tenth straight losing session on Sunday while Saudi Arabia’s index bucked an otherwise weak region because of gains in the petrochemical sector. On Friday, Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani said Qatar was ready to sit at the negotiating table to try to end a dispute with its Gulf Arab neighbours. But in the absence of any positive response from the Saudi-led coalition which is boycotting Qatar, investors did not take the remarks as a sign that the dispute was moving closer to resolution. Qatar’s index slipped 0.5 percent with Doha Bank dropping 2.6 percent."



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Thursday, 14 September 2017

Emirates NBD chief sparks fresh debate over bounced cheques - The National

Emirates NBD chief sparks fresh debate over bounced cheques - The National:

"Banks and senior legal figures are divided over whether bouncing a cheque should remain a criminal offence, with some calling for the law to be axed and others warning the move could send the wrong signal to scammers and fraudsters. The CEO of Emirates NBD sparked a renewed debate of the issue when he told a radio station recently that he did not believe it was right that the action could land someone in jail. But Shayne Nelson drew a clear distinction between account holders that could be punished for making a genuine mistake and fraudsters that use dud cheques to rip people off. "



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Mashreq to shed 10 per cent of headcount in next 12 months as artificial intelligence spending pays off  - The National

Mashreq to shed 10 per cent of headcount in next 12 months as artificial intelligence spending pays off  - The National:

"Mashreq Bank, the Dubai-based lender controlled by the Al Ghurair family, will shed 10 per cent of its workforce of over 4,000 in the next 12 months as investments in artificial technology are lessening its reliance on human resources, its chief executive said. 

"The know-how of artificial intelligence did not exist before, more and more of it is becoming available," Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair said in an interview with The National on Wednesday. 

"Once used, it will replace simple, repetitive jobs at the bank. By using artificial intelligence, employment at the banks will shrink over time," he added.  "



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Bahrain prices $3bn, three-tranche bond deal; demand tops $15bn

Bahrain prices $3bn, three-tranche bond deal; demand tops $15bn:

"The Kingdom of Bahrain has priced its $3bn, three-tranche bond issue at 5.25 per cent for 7.5-year money, with a 12-year maturity at 6.75 per cent and a 30-year tranche at 7.5 per cent. Strong investor demand drove books to top $15bn. The deal includes an $850m, 7.5-year maturity sukuk – the biggest Islamic finance bond to launch since the start of a row over sukuk bonds issued by UAE-based energy company Dana Gas threatened to derail the Islamic finance market earlier this year. "



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Breakingviews - Saudi can afford to scrap Aramco IPO plan

Breakingviews - Saudi can afford to scrap Aramco IPO plan:

"Saudi Aramco’s initial public offering is an idea that deserves to be put back in the ground. The sale of a 5 percent stake in Saudi Arabia’s state-owned oil giant may be pushed back into 2019, according to Bloomberg. Achieving the desired $2 trillion valuation always looked a stretch. If Riyadh really wants the money it has better options. Buying a bit more time to prepare what could be the world’s largest IPO makes sense. First, the timing of the sale – a pet project of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman – is awkward. Saudi is embroiled in a bitter diplomatic feud with neighboring Qatar, which has undermined Arab unity and investor confidence in the region. Closer to home the House of Saud has also been shaken by internal strife. The prince replaced his older cousin as heir to the throne in June, in what looked more like a coup than a royal reshuffle. Since political risk will be a big input into Aramco’s valuation, it would be logical to wait for calmer times. Then there is the valuation. The prince thinks the sale could raise $100 billion, but he is in a minority. According to a Breakingviews calculation, oil prices would have to trade at around $80 per barrel over the next decade – a 45 percent premium on Brent’s current value – to achieve this windfall. Tinkering with royalties and taxes is one way of juicing up the valuation. Even then, the pricing could be sensitive. Too cheap, and it will look like the kingdom has given away a piece of its crown jewel too easily. Too expensive, and the shares could fall, embarrassing the Saudi elite."



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Oil prices expected to stay in a range of $50-$60, says BP CEO

Oil prices expected to stay in a range of $50-$60, says BP CEO:

"Oil prices are expected to hold between $50 and $60 a barrel as bloated global stocks fall after a deal between OPEC and other producers to trim output, BP Chief Executive Bob Dudley said on Thursday.

“It was always going to take quite a while for stocks to come down. But for the OPEC and non-OPEC producer agreement, from everything we see, there is broadly compliance in place and stock levels are coming down,” Dudley said in an interview with Reuters.

“We don’t expect a spike up in prices nor do we expect a big drop in prices. So we’re all trying to make our way in this world of between $50 and $60 and I would expect that to continue.”"



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Telcos hurt Saudi, Dana Gas up on sukuk hopes, Qatar sinks

MIDEAST STOCKS-Telcos hurt Saudi, Dana Gas up on sukuk hopes, Qatar sinks:

"Telecommunications shares weighed on the Saudi Arabian stock market on Thursday after authorities moved to remove the ban on voice and video calls over the Internet, while Qatar continued to fall as foreign buyers intensified their selling. The Riyadh index fell 0.1 percent as the top three telecommunications providers dropped. Saudi Telecom lost 3.5 percent, the worst performer. The communications minister said on Wednesday that the government planned to unblock internet voice and video calls which could hurt revenues from traditional phone calls, especially those by the 10 million foreign workers who live in Saudi Arabia calling their home countries."



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Iran cracks down on Revolutionary Guards business network

Iran cracks down on Revolutionary Guards business network:

"Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps is being forced to shrink its sprawling business empire and some of its senior members have been arrested as part of President Hassan Rouhani’s attempts to curb the elite force’s role in the economy.

In the past year, the guards, who have interests in sectors ranging from oil and gas to telecoms and construction, have had to restructure some holding companies and transfer ownership of others back to the state, a regime insider and a government official told the Financial Times.

At least a dozen guards members and affiliated businessmen have been detained in recent months, while others are being forced to pay back wealth accrued through suspect business deals, the officials said."



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Bahrain raises $3 billion in largest ever debt sale  - The National

Bahrain raises $3 billion in largest ever debt sale  - The National:

"Bahrain raised US$3 billion, about 10 per cent of its economic output, in a three-part international bond sale that may help narrow a gap in its finances left by a more than 50 per cent drop in oil prices since 2014.

The sale includes an $850 million Islamic bond, according to a person familiar with the deal who is not authorized to speak publicly. It also raised $1.25bn in 12-year notes and $900m due in 30 years, the person said.

The Gulf kingdom, like other oil-exporting countries across the region, has made repeated use of international debt markets to bolster public budgets since energy markets slumped. Bahrain’s fiscal deficit reached 15 per cent of economic output last year."



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Riyadh must do more to capitalize on Saudi financial transformation | Arab News

Riyadh must do more to capitalize on Saudi financial transformation | Arab News:

"Saudi Arabia has some pretty big ambitions in the financial sector. The largest initial public offering (IPO) in history is progressing as Saudi Aramco gets ready for the market next year; the $200 billion privatization drive is also moving ahead under the revamped National Transformation Program. So why is Riyadh, capital of the Kingdom, not capitalizing on the unprecedented surge in financial activity underway there? In Abu Dhabi earlier this week (and simultaneously in China) the twice-annual Global Financial Centers Index (GFCI) was unveiled to an expectant audience of bankers, regulators and other professionals in the money-making world. The GFCI is increasingly viewed as an important indicator of the respective strengths of the cities that are aiming for “financial hub” status."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Dana Gas up on sukuk hopes, telcos drag on Saudi

MIDEAST STOCKS-Dana Gas up on sukuk hopes, telcos drag on Saudi:

"Shares in Abu Dhabi’s Dana Gas rose early on Thursday after its sukuk holders proposed a deal to end a dispute over payments on the debt, while Saudi telecommunications shares fell as officials moved towards allowing voice and video calls over the Internet. Holders of about $700 million of Islamic bonds issued by Dana Gas submitted a proposal to restructure the sukuk to the company’s management, in an effort to end the legal battle over Dana’s refusal to redeem them, a committee for the holders said on Wednesday. Dana called the proposal unacceptable, however, and it is not clear that it will change the stand-off over the bonds. A court hearing of the case in London is due to start next week."



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Saudis Prepare for Possible Aramco IPO Delay to 2019 - Bloomberg

Saudis Prepare for Possible Aramco IPO Delay to 2019 - Bloomberg:

"Saudi Arabia is preparing contingency plans for a possible delay to the initial public offering of its state-owned oil company by a few months into 2019, according to people familiar with the matter. While the government is still aiming for a Saudi Aramco IPO in the second half of next year, that timetable is increasingly tight for what’s likely to be the biggest share sale in history, the people said, asking not to be named discussing internal deliberations. Saudi Aramco said in statement the IPO "remains on track. The IPO process is well underway and Saudi Aramco remains focused on ensuring that all IPO related work is completed to the very highest standards on time.” It didn’t give a timeframe. The comment was echoed by a Saudi government source Wednesday. Officials have previously said the most likely schedule is the second half of next year."



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Saudi Arabia’s Economic Overhaul Claims a Victim - Bloomberg

Saudi Arabia’s Economic Overhaul Claims a Victim - Bloomberg:

"At a Riyadh office of construction giant Saudi Oger Ltd., dust covers the desks, cigarette butts and empty water bottles litter the floor, and the mailbox is stuffed with crumpled envelopes. The parking lot of another Oger facility a mile away is barricaded and filled with trash. And at headquarters, a few blocks farther west, a lone administrator is left to handle the concerns of angry workers."



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Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Investors in $700 million sukuk issued by UAE's Dana Gas propose restructuring

Investors in $700 million sukuk issued by UAE's Dana Gas propose restructuring:

"Holders of about $700 million of Islamic bonds issued by Abu Dhabi-listed Dana Gas have submitted a restructuring plan to the company’s management, a committee for the holders said on Wednesday. The sukuk are due to mature this year but Dana has refused to redeem them on the grounds that changes to Islamic financial practice in recent years make them unlawful in the United Arab Emirates - a claim which the holders reject. Dana argues that the sukuk’s mudaraba structure - a form of investment management partnership - has become obsolete since 2007 when the company originally issued the debt. At that time the structure was common but Dana says many of its features have been discredited."



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OPEC Plays to the Base - Bloomberg Gadfly

OPEC Plays to the Base - Bloomberg Gadfly:

"“Baseload” is a loaded term these days.Prior to this, it was merely meaningless outside of utility circles. Baseload refers to a minimum level of demand for electricity and the types of power plants that tend to stay switched on most of the time to supply it. These have historically been nuclear or coal-fired plants, because their running costs were low.In recent years, though, they’ve been supplanted in many cases by natural-gas plants and renewables, which also tend to reduce power prices overall. The Department of Energy lately is very into pushing market changes that support those old “baseload” plants – which just happen to either burn coal or employ lots of people."



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Qatar Fund Plans U.S. Deals to Diversify Amid Gulf Crisis - Bloomberg

Qatar Fund Plans U.S. Deals to Diversify Amid Gulf Crisis - Bloomberg:

"Qatar plans more U.S. investments as it seeks to diversify its assets further as a diplomatic standoff with its Gulf neighbors continues.

The Qatar Investment Authority, which was created to handle the windfall from the world’s largest liquefied natural gas export base, will spend most of what remains of its $45 billion investment target on infrastructure in the U.S., Chief Executive Officer Sheikh Abdullah Bin Mohammed Bin Saud Al Thani said in Doha Wednesday. The fund, which is also looking for technology and healthcare assets, has invested more than half of the money so far, he said.

“For a long-term investor like us having to liquidate some of your assets with asset prices at the bottom is the worst-case scenario,” he said. “How can you develop a global portfolio strategy when you are faced with uncertainty? The answer is diversification. Diversify your investment by region, diversify by investing in all sectors.”"



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Savola, Almarai drag down Saudi, Qatar sold by foreign investors

MIDEAST STOCKS-Savola, Almarai drag down Saudi, Qatar sold by foreign investors:

"Shares of Saudi Arabia’s top food producers, Savola and Almarai, fell on Wednesday after Savola said it was selling a small stake in the dairy maker, while Qatar’s bourse closed at a 52-month low as foreign funds continued to exit.

The Riyadh index fell 0.3 percent with Savola declining 1.8 percent to 46.55 riyals, after initially surging to an intra-day high of 49.60 riyals in the opening minutes of the session.

Savola said it was selling a 2 percent stake in Almarai for 1.12 billion riyals ($308 million) through an accelerated book-building process, with 16 million shares on offer at 70 riyals each."



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Saudi food company Savola moves to sell 2 pct stake in Almarai

Saudi food company Savola moves to sell 2 pct stake in Almarai:

"Saudi Arabian food maker Savola Group, the country’s largest food products company, said on Wednesday that it is selling a 2 percent stake in Almarai, the Gulf’s largest dairy company for 1.12 billion riyals ($307.6 million). The sale was conducted through an accelerated bookbuilding process, which will cut Savola’s stake in Almarai to 34.52 percent from 36.52 percent, it said, adding that it will use the proceeds of the sale for general corporate purposes. Savola said that completion of the deal to sell 16 million shares at a price of 70 riyals per share and receipt of the proceeds remained subject to the execution of the trades and the completion of the settlement."



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100 Days of the Big Gulf Feud: Now Pick Sides - Bloomberg

100 Days of the Big Gulf Feud: Now Pick Sides - Bloomberg:

"A spectacular display of acrobatics and pyrotechnics marked the opening of Qatar’s new $7.4 billion port last week, but it was the timing that was more striking than the extravaganza."



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Bond Trend That Makes This Fund Manager Bullish on Mideast Debt - Bloomberg

Bond Trend That Makes This Fund Manager Bullish on Mideast Debt - Bloomberg:

"There’s a burgeoning opportunity in Middle East debt markets.

Abdul Kadir Hussain, a Dubai-based fund manager who weathered the emirate’s near default almost 10 years ago, has been plotting the average credit risk of emerging-market bonds against the extra yield investors demand to hold debt in the Arab world.

The two have been converging, which means the potential reward for holding riskier developing-nation bonds has almost vanished when compared with Middle Eastern debt, said Hussain, the head of fixed income at Arqaam Capital Ltd."



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