Google+ Followers

Monday, 31 July 2017

The terrifying perils of over-reach in the Middle East

The terrifying perils of over-reach in the Middle East:

"The Middle East is now arguably more unstable than it has been at any time over the past century. A great deal of what has brought the region down in this 21st century is ascribable to two pulverising events: the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 and the turmoil unleashed by the chain of Arab uprisings from 2011. These earthquakes smashed Iraq and Syria into pieces, and uncorked the evil genie of the age-old Sunni-Shia schism within Islam, with the modern champion of each sect, Saudi Arabia and Iran respectively, facing each other in proxy wars across the region."



'via Blog this'

MAF on look out for acquisitions as first half earnings rise 4% - The National

MAF on look out for acquisitions as first half earnings rise 4% - The National:

"Majid Al Futtaim (MAF), the conglomerate behind Mall of the Emirates and operator of Carrefour stores throughout the Middle East, is on the hunt for acquisitions to help bolster its operations as the company posted a 4 per cent increase in first half year earnings. “Through both organic and inorganic growth, the company continues to pursue opportunistic acquisitions in line with its disciplined strategic and financial approach,” the company said in a July 31 statement. “It is actively assessing potential investment opportunities with a focus on digital capabilities, technology and e-commerce.” MAF has been on a buying spree, snapping up Retail Arabia’s Geant supermarket stores for an undisclosed sum and investing in Dubai-based consumer technology app Fetchr as part of a US$41 million funding round. It made an 11th hour bid for Souq.com but lost to Amazon, which bought the e-commerce company for more than $650m."



'via Blog this'

New UAE tax law brings clarity on VAT | GulfNews.com

New UAE tax law brings clarity on VAT | GulfNews.com:

"The UAE had announced its intention to the introduce value added tax (VAT) in the country starting January 1, 2018. The issuance of the final tax law has set the stage for implementation of VAT and meeting the implementation deadline. The new law comes after the UAE, represented by the Ministry of Finance, ratified the Common Value Added Tax (VAT) Agreement of the States of the Gulf Cooperation Council and the Common Excise Tax Agreement of the States of the Gulf Cooperation Council, following Federal Decrees No. 31 and 32 of 2017, issued by President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan. It is a follow up step from Federal Decree-Law No. 13 of 2016 on the establishment of the Federal Tax Authority (FTA) tasked with executing tax laws in the UAE. The Tax Procedures Law also establishes the register of tax agents who may interact with the FTA on behalf of taxpayers, specifies the basic requirements for appointing tax agents, and sets the standards for maintaining confidentiality by the authority as well as its officers."



'via Blog this'

Exclusive: Qatar launches wide-ranging WTO complaint against trade boycott

Exclusive: Qatar launches wide-ranging WTO complaint against trade boycott:

"Qatar filed a wide-ranging legal complaint at the World Trade Organization on Monday to challenge a trade boycott by Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and United Arab Emirates, the director of Qatar's WTO office Ali Alwaleed al-Thani told Reuters. By formally "requesting consultations" with the three countries, the first step in a trade dispute, Qatar triggered a 60 day deadline for them to settle the complaint or face litigation at the WTO and potential retaliatory trade sanctions. "We've given sufficient time to hear the legal explanations on how these measures are in compliance with their commitments, to no satisfactory result," al-Thani said."



'via Blog this'

Moody's gets licence to rate Saudi Arabia's corporates

Moody's gets licence to rate Saudi Arabia's corporates:

"Moody's has obtained a licence to operate rating activities in Saudi Arabia, joining the two major foreign credit rating agencies Fitch and Standard & Poor's, as the country seeks to develop its corporate debt capital markets. Saudi Arabia's corporate sector has traditionally relied on the bank loan market to back its funding requirements. But since low oil prices started impacting liquidity in the local banking system, authorities have encouraged more bond issuances as bonds allow a larger investor base such as insurance and pension funds to be tapped, therefore reducing the strain on the banking system."



'via Blog this'

Saudis Weigh Oil-Price Linked Tax for Aramco Before IPO - Bloomberg

Saudis Weigh Oil-Price Linked Tax for Aramco Before IPO - Bloomberg:

"Saudi Arabia is considering a flexible tax system for state-owned oil company Aramco that would increase royalty payments when crude prices rise, according to people familiar with the deliberations. Riyadh is mulling a proposal from Saudi Aramco to replace the current fixed royalty on revenues, the same people said, asking not to be named discussing government policies. Aramco has proposed to initially set the royalty at 20 percent -- the same rate as today’s fixed rate -- and increase it automatically if oil prices rise significantly. The Saudi government hasn’t yet decided whether to go ahead with the flexible royalty and it could decide against it, one of the people said. On top of the royalty, Saudi Arabian Oil Co., as Aramco is formally known, pays income tax on profit, which the government recently cut to 50 percent from 85 percent."



'via Blog this'

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi dips on weak Q2 while blue chips support Dubai

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi dips on weak Q2 while blue chips support Dubai:

"Saudi Arabia's stock market index recorded its sixth straight session of declines on the back of weak second-quarter corporate earnings, but Dubai outperformed a weaker region as bluechips rose. The Riyadh index slipped 0.3 percent as shares of milk and yoghurt maker Saudi Dairy Foodstuff Co fell 1.3 percent after it reported a 5.2 percent drop in second quarter net profit. Its peer Aljouf Agricultural Development dropped 4.8 percent after its second-quarter net income shrunk by two-thirds on the year."



'via Blog this'

Qatar’s imports fall 40% as blockade hits home

Qatar’s imports fall 40% as blockade hits home:

"Qatar’s imports slumped 40 per cent in June as the embargo imposed by its neighbours hurt the economy of the gas-rich Gulf state, official data show.

The trade data are the first to be released since Saudi Arabia on June 5 led a quartet of nations breaking air, sea and land ties with Qatar, which they accuse of supporting terrorism and stoking instability across the Middle East.

Qatar, which denies charges that it sponsors terrorism, has had to turn to Turkey and Iran for food imports since the closure of the Saudi land border, which it used to rely on to bring in most of its staple supplies."



'via Blog this'

Majid Al Futtaim's Beijjani on Earnings, Qatar - Bloomberg

Majid Al Futtaim's Beijjani on Earnings, Qatar - Bloomberg:

"Alain Bejjani, chief executive officer at Majid Al Futtaim, discusses first-half results and his exposure to Qatar. He speaks on "Bloomberg Markets: Middle East." (Source: Bloomberg)"



'via Blog this'

Mideast funds more positive on equities, Qatar balanced

Mideast funds more positive on equities, Qatar balanced:

"Middle East fund managers have become more positive on regional equities and have a balanced view on Qatar following a drop in valuations and as the shock of the sanctions imposed on Doha eases, a monthly Reuters poll showed.

The poll of 13 leading fund managers, conducted over the past week, found 38 percent expected to increase their allocations to regional equities over the next three months and none to reduce them. (For results of the poll, double click )

In last month's poll, 31 percent anticipated raising equity allocations and 8 percent foresaw reducing them. Second-quarter earnings released by Gulf companies this week, while mixed, have given some managers a clearer view of how economies are coping with low oil prices."



'via Blog this'

UPDATE 1-Dana Gas revokes offer to swap troubled $700 mln sukuk

UPDATE 1-Dana Gas revokes offer to swap troubled $700 mln sukuk:

"Dana Gas has cancelled its offer to exchange its outstanding $700 million sukuk, or Islamic bond, with new notes, and will pursue "litigation-driven outcomes" with regards to its restructuring, the Abu Dhabi-listed energy producer said on Monday. Dana last month offered to replace its current sukuk, which it deems no longer sharia-compliant and therefore unlawful and unenforceable under United Arab Emirates law, with new notes. The move sparked concerns in the Islamic finance industry regarding the impact it could have on sukuk as a debt instrument."



'via Blog this'

MIDEAST STOCKS-Poor Q2 results dampen Saudi, bluechips buoy Dubai

MIDEAST STOCKS-Poor Q2 results dampen Saudi, bluechips buoy Dubai:

"Poor second quarter corporate earnings were a drag on Riyadh's index in early trade on Monday in a generally weaker Gulf market, though Dubai bucked that trend as bluechips rose. Shares of Saudi builder Khodari fell 1.1 percent after the company reported a second-quarter net loss of 25.02 million riyals ($6.7 million), wider than EFG Hermes' estimate of 14.40 million riyals. Quarterly revenue was half of that in the year-earlier quarter, the company said. Milk and yoghurt maker Saudi Dairy Foodstuff Co fell 0.8 percent after it reported a 5.2 percent year-on-year drop in second quarter net profit."



'via Blog this'

Sunday, 30 July 2017

Saudi foreign assets rise for first time since May last year | GulfNews.com

Saudi foreign assets rise for first time since May last year | GulfNews.com:

"Saudi Arabia’s central bank reserves rose for the first time in over a year, even as low oil prices hinder government efforts to overall an economy dependent on energy exports. Net foreign assets at the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency increased to $493.2 billion in June from $491.7 billion in the previous month, according to a monthly report published on its website. It was the first increase since May 2016, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The rise is surprising, “especially given that the government’s deposits with the central bank continued to fall in the month,” said Monica Malik, chief economist at Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank. The increase “could be linked to investments strategies of the government and related flows,” she said."



'via Blog this'

Saudi Aramco’s IPO choice: London, New York — or both? | Arab News

Saudi Aramco’s IPO choice: London, New York — or both? | Arab News:

"I spent much of last week in London being persuaded that the city’s stock exchange was the appropriate place for listing shares in Saudi Aramco — apart from the Tadawul, of course, where it is guaranteed star billing.

I almost bought it. The London Stock Exchange (LSE) is a fine, venerable institution, still by far the biggest in the European trading zone. It wants the Aramco business, and the regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority, has bent over backwards to help them do it.

Maybe some investment professionals have reservations about being minority shareholders in a government-controlled entity, but they have the ultimate option: If they do not like it, do not buy it. 

"



'via Blog this'

Iran, Iraq moving closer to construction of Kirkuk pipeline: minister

Iran, Iraq moving closer to construction of Kirkuk pipeline: minister:

"Iran and Iraq are moving closer to building a pipeline that would export crude oil from the northern Iraqi fields of Kirkuk via Iran, Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh said on Sunday after meeting his Iraqi counterpart Jabar al-Luaibi, according to the official news site of the Iranian oil ministry. Agreements were reached between the two ministers about an international company that will carry out a feasibility study of the project, Zanganeh was quoted as saying in the SHANA report. Iraq and Iran signed a memorandum of understanding in February to study the construction of the pipeline."



'via Blog this'

MIDEAST DEBT-Gulf ratings diverge as Bahrain, Oman sink, others stabilise

MIDEAST DEBT-Gulf ratings diverge as Bahrain, Oman sink, others stabilise:

"Fresh cuts in the debt ratings of Bahrain and Oman underline a growing gap between the weakest Gulf Arab economies and the others - a gap which may not yet be fully reflected in market prices. Moody's downgraded Bahrain by two notches on Friday to B1, four notches below investment grade. All three major agencies rate Bahrain junk; Moody's is one notch below Standard & Poor's and three below Fitch. Moody's also cut Oman one notch to Baa2, two notches above S&P, which has the country at junk, and the same level as Fitch. All three agencies kept negative outlooks for Bahrain and Oman."



'via Blog this'

Global Banks Are Said to Shift Qatar Business From Dubai Hub - Bloomberg

Global Banks Are Said to Shift Qatar Business From Dubai Hub - Bloomberg:

"Some international banks are serving Qatar from London and New York instead of Dubai’s financial center as a regional dispute makes it harder to do business with clients in the gas-rich Gulf state, according to people familiar with the matter.

Lenders that handled clients such as the Qatar Investment Authority and wealthy family offices out of the Dubai International Financial Centre are shifting coverage to other global financial hubs to avoid damaging relations with the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, said the people, asking not to be identified because the matter is private.

Saudi Arabia, the U.A.E., Bahrain and Egypt severed diplomatic and transport links with Qatar in June, accusing it of supporting extremist groups. Qatar denies the charges. As part of the restrictions, Emirates, Etihad Airways PJSC and FlyDubai suspended flights to and from Qatar, meaning that Dubai-based bankers have to fly via Oman or Kuwait, adding hours to a flight that used to take less than 60 minutes. "



'via Blog this'

Qatar Crisis Back to Square One as Economy Shows the Strain - Bloomberg

Qatar Crisis Back to Square One as Economy Shows the Strain - Bloomberg:

"The Saudi-led alliance that severed ties with Qatar reinstated a list of 13 demands that must be met before talks to resolve the eight-week crisis could start, just as as fresh economic data highlighted the impact of the unprecedented boycott on the Gulf nation.

The foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain said there would be no compromise until Qatar ends its support for terrorism -- a charge it has repeatedly denied. The bloc had initially dropped the conditions, which included shuttering Al Jazeera television, and instead referred to six broad principles it said Qatar must agree to, fueling speculation that the crisis could soon be resolved.

Sunday’s announcement in Manama, Bahrain’s capital, deals a fresh blow to mediation efforts by Kuwait and U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who flew to the region this month and presented proposals aimed at preparing both sides to hold direct talks. Those efforts have reached an impasse, a Gulf official with direct knowledge of the matter said last week. "



'via Blog this'

MIDEAST STOCKS-Poor Q2 earnings dent Saudi Arabia in weak region

MIDEAST STOCKS-Poor Q2 earnings dent Saudi Arabia in weak region:

"Disappointing second-quarter results from large cap Saudi Arabian companies were the main drag on the local index on Sunday, while neighbouring bourses were mostly weak. The Riyadh index fell 0.8 percent as the largest petrochemical maker Saudi Basic Industries (SABIC) lost 1.3 percent after it reported a second-quarter net profit of 3.71 billion riyals ($989.3 million), below analysts' estimates of 4.6 billion riyals and down by a quarter from the year ago period. The profit fall stemmed from weaker performance at its iron and steel unit, said Chief Executive Yousef al-Benyan at a press conference in Riyadh."



'via Blog this'

Saturday, 29 July 2017

France's Vinci says Gulf rift not hurting its Qatar business so far

France's Vinci says Gulf rift not hurting its Qatar business so far:

"French construction group Vinci said on Friday that its Qatar business had seen no disruption at this stage after Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain severed relations with Qatar last month.

Vinci operates in Qatar through its 49 percent-owned Qatari unit QDVC. It also counts the wealthy Arab state as its third-largest shareholder, with a stake of nearly 4 percent, according to Reuters data.

"For the moment, no disruption. Our projects are not disturbed. Qatar is rather looking for friends and this facilitates discussions on some projects," Chief Executive Xavier Huillard told an interim results news conference."



'via Blog this'

OPEC, Non-OPEC Nations to Meet on Compliance With Oil Targets - Bloomberg

OPEC, Non-OPEC Nations to Meet on Compliance With Oil Targets - Bloomberg:

"Representatives of some OPEC and non-OPEC nations will meet in Abu Dhabi on Aug. 7-8 to discuss why some of them are falling behind in their pledges to cut production, according to an OPEC statement.

The meeting, co-chaired by Kuwait and Russia, will examine reasons why some countries aren’t fully implementing their cuts, it said. Some nations will argue that the independent sources used by OPEC to assess compliance overestimate their production, according to two people familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified because the discussions aren’t public.

Targets for output reduction are based on production estimates from six independent parties, known as “secondary sources.” Last year, as the deal was being negotiated, Iraq complained about these estimates, claiming they aren’t accurate. Other members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries are also putting the blame on secondary sources for their poor performance, said two people."



'via Blog this'

Friday, 28 July 2017

Iraq eyes first independent bond sale in a decade

Iraq eyes first independent bond sale in a decade:

"Iraq is bidding to make its first independent return to the capital markets in more than a decade, canvassing investors’ interest in a five-year bond after successfully launching a US-backed $1bn fundraising earlier this year. The oil-rich but war-ravaged Middle Eastern country has appointed three banks as bookrunners and will be meeting with prospective investors in the coming days. In late 2015 Iraq called off plans to return to the bond markets for the first time since the official end of US occupation, citing the excessively high cost investors were demanding in order to buy into the issuance."



'via Blog this'

Aviation's Hub Quits the Gulf - Bloomberg Gadfly

Aviation's Hub Quits the Gulf - Bloomberg Gadfly:

"Once upon a time, airlines based in the Persian Gulf were making all the running in the global aviation market.Propped up by state owners that didn't care too much about profits and blessed with a unique geographical position from which a single flight can reach almost every inhabited spot on the planet, Emirates, Etihad Airways PJSC and Qatar Airways Ltd. seemed to have the world at their feet.Emirates was expanding capacity at the rate of 30 million or so available seat kilometers per year -- roughly equivalent to adding an AirAsia Bhd. to its network every 12 months -- and striking deals with weakened rivals such as Qantas Airways Ltd. to win more long-haul traffic."



'via Blog this'

Qatar Airways Sticks to Jet Orders Despite Crisis, Official Says - Bloomberg

Qatar Airways Sticks to Jet Orders Despite Crisis, Official Says - Bloomberg:

"Qatar Airways, which has been losing passengers after a flight embargo from four Arab countries, is still making money and will go through with jet orders it’s already committed to, as the nation seeks an international ruling restoring its access to air corridors, a senior official said.

“We are continuing and maybe we’ll go faster,” Qatar Transport Minister Jassim Saif Ahmed Al Sulaiti said of the carrier’s plane orders from Boeing Co. and Airbus SE. He was speaking at a meeting with reporters in Montreal on Thursday. The airline may not be able to meet its previous financial targets but is “in good shape” as it opens new routes, he said."



'via Blog this'

Thursday, 27 July 2017

Etihad Airways books $1.87b in annual losses | GulfNews.com

Etihad Airways books $1.87b in annual losses | GulfNews.com:

"Etihad Airways said it expected to continue facing headwinds in 2017 on the back of a challenging environment for the global aviation industry as the carrier reported $1.87 billion (Dh6.86 billion) in net losses for 2016.
The losses for the year mark a significant plunge from the $103 million in profits recorded in 2015. The plunge was due mainly to $1.9 billion the airline paid in impairments.

In a statement, the Abu Dhabi-based carrier attributed the losses to one-off impairment charges and fuel hedging losses. The $1.9 billion in impairments were mostly from a $1.06 billion charge on aircraft."



'via Blog this'

Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank issues $320 mln Formosa bond -sources

Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank issues $320 mln Formosa bond -sources:

"Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB), the emirate's second largest bank by assets, raised $320 million through the sale of a five-year Formosa bond, sources told Reuters on Thursday.

Several Gulf banks have made forays into the Formosa market in the past year or so, including ADCB. Formosa bonds are sold in Taiwan by foreign issuers and denominated in currencies other than the Taiwanese dollar.

The sale, which was settled on Wednesday, was placed with institutional investors, the sources said, with one adding that a Taiwanese bank arranged the deal, declining to name it."



'via Blog this'

End the Blockade Against Qatar - Bloomberg

End the Blockade Against Qatar - Bloomberg:

"For two months, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia have led an illegal and unwarranted blockade on Qatar. The blockaders have attempted to use trade and economic levers as weapons – by closing borders, forbidding exports to Qatar, forcibly recalling their citizens, and censoring information. Qatar has successfully rejected these attempts to curb its sovereignty, as our citizens and residents have responded valiantly to every challenge and obstacle. Our strength traces back to our independence in 1971, when an early decision was made to always pursue dialogue and diplomacy over threats and force. At the same time, we resolved to guide economic and investment decisions by taking the long view toward our interests at home, in the region and globally."



'via Blog this'

City of London Skyscraper Stake Is Said to Be Offered for Sale - Bloomberg

City of London Skyscraper Stake Is Said to Be Offered for Sale - Bloomberg:

"Gerald Ronson’s U.K. property company plans to sell its stake in the City of London office building known as Heron Tower, a person with knowledge of the matter said, as overseas investors pay record values for properties in the financial district.

Ronson’s Heron International owns about a third of the 46-story skyscraper officially called 110 Bishopsgate. The stake will probably attract bids valuing the entire building at more than 760 million pounds ($1 billion), based on the price paid for the Walkie Talkie, the person said.

The rest of the building is controlled by investors including the State General Reserve of Oman Fund and members of Saudi Arabia’s royal family. Broker CBRE Group Inc. is advising Heron on the sale of the stake, the person said. A spokesman for Heron didn’t respond to repeated requests for a comment, and a spokeswoman for CBRE wasn’t immediately able to comment to answer requests for comment.


"



'via Blog this'

UAE’s ADNOC starts picking banks for planned loan – sources

UAE’s ADNOC starts picking banks for planned loan – sources:

"Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) has picked an initial group of banks to arrange a planned syndicated loan of up to $5 billion, banking sources familiar with the matter said on Thursday.

Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, First Abu Dhabi Bank, HSBC, and JPMorgan have a lead role in the deal, said the sources.

The four banks declined to comment, while ADNOC was not immediately available to comment."



'via Blog this'

MIDEAST STOCKS-Juhayna profit fall pulls down Egypt; Gulf mixed

MIDEAST STOCKS-Juhayna profit fall pulls down Egypt; Gulf mixed:

"A slide in shares of Egypt's Juhayna Food Industries after it reported second-quarter earnings pulled down Egypt's stock market on Thursday, while Gulf bourses were mixed.

Egypt's blue-chip index dropped 1.4 percent as Juhayna sank 4.2 percent after saying consolidated net profit attributable to shareholders fell to 27.2 million Egyptian pounds ($1.5 million) from 29.8 million pounds a year earlier.

A couple of other blue chips also retreated significantly: Commercial International Bank lost 1.9 percent and Global Telecom slipped 3.0 percent."



'via Blog this'

Foreign Bank Deposits in Qatar Fall Most Since 2015 on Spat - Bloomberg

Foreign Bank Deposits in Qatar Fall Most Since 2015 on Spat - Bloomberg:

"Foreign deposits at Qatar’s banks fell the most in almost two years last month as customers withdrew funds following a diplomatic row with four Arab nations led by Saudi Arabia.

Non-resident deposits with the 18 lenders in the world’s biggest liquefied natural gas exporting nation dropped 7.6 percent to 170.6 billion riyals ($47 billion) in June from a month earlier, according to data posted on the Qatar Central Bank’s website on Wednesday. The decline is the biggest since November 2015, the data show. Overall deposits climbed 1.1 percent in June helped by a jump in domestic funds.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt cut ties with Qatar on June 5, accusing it of supporting extremist groups. Qatar denies the charge and says the move was an attempt by Saudi Arabia to impose its will on smaller nations in the Gulf. Qatar Investment Authority, the country’s sovereign wealth fund, has placed billions of dollars in deposits in local banks since then to shore up liquidity and soften the blow, people familiar with the development said last month.

"



'via Blog this'

Opec’s purple patch does not mean the oil battle is won

Opec’s purple patch does not mean the oil battle is won:

"Is Opec using the summer to finally get its act together? After promising earlier this year to do “whatever it takes” to rebalance the oil market, Saudi Arabia, Opec’s de facto leader, said this week it would cut oil exports in August to 6.6m barrels a day, the lowest level in six years, and down 1m barrels a day from the same month in 2016. It was followed in quick succession by the UAE saying it would trim oil allocations to customers by 10 per cent in September, a significant move given the country has dragged its feet in reducing output in line with Opec’s deal to curb supplies."



'via Blog this'

Oil and the battle for Norway’s soul

Oil and the battle for Norway’s soul:

"As his fishing boat bobs its way out of the port, Leif Karlsen points to the house where he was born 63 years ago. He lets out nearly two kilometres’ worth of line while we watch the majestic, jagged peaks that dominate this part of the Arctic Circle framing the sea. Then he gestures towards another dwelling. “My grandmother lives there; she is 103.”

Karlsen has fished the waters off Norway’s Lofoten Islands since he was 15. The spectacular archipelago — widely prized as the crown jewel in a country with abundant natural treasure — is known for a bounteous population of Arctic cod, which has formed the basis of its economy for almost a millennium. 

It is a bright June day and outside the Arctic cod season, so Karlsen is here to catch halibut. The haul is expected to be slight — “I will be satisfied with one,” he says in his strong, lilting Lofoten dialect over the chug of the motor."



'via Blog this'

Riyadh airport sale a challenge for privatization policy, and for Goldman Sachs | Arab News

Riyadh airport sale a challenge for privatization policy, and for Goldman Sachs | Arab News:

"They are tricky things to sell, airports. With high infrastructure costs, and major consumer interface and national strategic considerations to take into account, they tick many of the boxes marked “avoid” in modern investment strategy. So this week’s news that Saudi Arabia has hired investment bank Goldman Sachs to handle the sale of a stake in Riyadh’s King Khaled International Airport will represent a rigorous test of how the Kingdom intends to manage the huge privatization program — worth some $300 billion, including the estimated $100 billion Saudi Aramco initial public offering (IPO) — which is at the heart of the Vision 2030 reforms. News reports about the hiring of Goldman — later confirmed by the Saudi aviation authorities — did not specify what kind of sale would be involved. Would it be a sale to public equity investors via an IPO? A sale to private equity firms? Or a sale to a trade partner, like an existing airport operator?"



'via Blog this'

UPDATE 1-Etisalat's Q2 net profit falls 15 pct as impairments weigh

UPDATE 1-Etisalat's Q2 net profit falls 15 pct as impairments weigh:

"United Arab Emirates-based telecoms operator Etisalat posted a 14.7 percent drop in second quarter net profit attributable to shareholders as impairments rose, its full financial report showed on Thursday.

The country’s largest telecoms operator issued a statement on Wednesday to say its net profit rose 6 percent, but it did not provide a breakdown of its net profit attributable to shareholders, a measure closely watched by investors.

On that basis, net profit was 1.97 billion UAE dirham ($536.40 million) in the second quarter compared with 2.31 billion dirhams in the prior-year period, a bourse filing showed."



'via Blog this'

MIDEAST STOCKS-Region moves little, earnings pull down Qatar

MIDEAST STOCKS-Region moves little, earnings pull down Qatar:

"Most Gulf stock markets barely moved in early trade on Thursday, largely ignoring a strong rise in global equities, while Qatar's stock index was pulled lower by weak corporate earnings.

The Qatari index fell 0.6 percent as Qatar First Bank dropped 2.8 percent to 7.56 riyals, though it came well off an intra-day low of 7.21 riyals.

The bank reported a first-half net loss of 76.7 million riyals ($21.1 million) versus a profit of 16.8 million riyals a year ago. In the first quarter of this year, it made a net loss of 9.6 million riyals."



'via Blog this'

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Bahrain sends request for proposals for U.S. dollar bond, sukuk issues -sources

Bahrain sends request for proposals for U.S. dollar bond, sukuk issues -sources:

"Bahrain's government has sent out a request for proposals to banks to arrange issues of U.S dollar-denominated conventional bonds and sukuk, sources familiar with the matter said on Wednesday. The issues would be conducted simultaneously, perhaps as soon as before September, they said, adding that the size of the issues had not been indicated. Bahrain's central bank did not respond to a request for comment."



'via Blog this'

UAE banks profit to grow about 5 percent in second half: official

UAE banks profit to grow about 5 percent in second half: official:

"Banks in the United Arab Emirates will post profit growth of around 5 percent in the second half of 2017, similar to the first six months as bad loans ease and lenders weather the Qatar crisis, the head of a local industry group said. Of the five major banks to publish earnings this quarter, four have reported improved profits thanks to higher net interest income and lower impairments for some of them. "If you look at the bank results that have come in so far, collectively there is a growth of five percent," said Abdulaziz al-Ghurair, Chairman of the UAE Banks Federation (UBF) and chief executive of Mashreq MASB.DU, Dubai's third largest lender by assets."



'via Blog this'

Oil rallies 3 percent as U.S. shale shows signs of slowdown

Oil rallies 3 percent as U.S. shale shows signs of slowdown:

"Qatar could adopt a monetary policy more independent of the United States if that proves necessary to combat economic sanctions by its Gulf Arab neighbors, a Qatari central banker said. Like most Gulf Arab oil exporters, Qatar pegs its currency to the U.S. dollar, putting pressure on its central bank to imitate interest rate moves by the U.S. Federal Reserve. But last month's decision by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt to cut diplomatic and transport ties with Qatar has changed the economic environment for the country."



'via Blog this'

Pipeline of IPOs From U.A.E. in Full Flow Ahead of Aramco Sale - Bloomberg

Pipeline of IPOs From U.A.E. in Full Flow Ahead of Aramco Sale - Bloomberg:

"Saudi Arabian Oil Co. isn’t the only one keeping IPO markets busy in the Middle East. A slew of companies from the United Arab Emirates, both sovereign-owned and privately held, is lining up initial public offerings in a bid to capitalize on money returning to emerging-market funds this year and as states in the region make their stock exchanges more liquid. “We are seeing a growing IPO pipeline across sectors in the Middle East as economies in the region have increasingly diversified away from natural resources over the last 10 years, or so,” said Tom Johnson, head of equity capital markets in Europe, the Middle East and Africa at Barclays Plc. “Importantly, emerging-market funds have seen inflows, making more money available for IPOs.”"



'via Blog this'

MIDEAST STOCKS-Region mixed in narrow trade, no big boost from oil rebound

MIDEAST STOCKS-Region mixed in narrow trade, no big boost from oil rebound:

"Major Middle Eastern stocks markets were mixed in narrow ranges on Wednesday as caution over companies' upcoming second-quarter earnings announcements outweighed the positive effect of a rebound in oil prices.

Brent crude futures rose 40 cents to $50.60 a barrel by the afternoon after rallying more than 3 percent on Tuesday. But many investors are preoccupied with the earnings season; so far, it has been uninspiring for the markets.

The Saudi stock index dropped 0.4 percent in thin trade. Most petrochemical stocks rose moderately on the back of the oil price increase and Sipchem jumped 4.1 percent after saying quarterly profit more than quintupled to 59.8 million riyals ($15.9 million), beating analysts' average forecast of 33.49 million riyals."



'via Blog this'

Emirates NBD has resilience to face challenge of losing market lead position, Moody's says  - The National

Emirates NBD has resilience to face challenge of losing market lead position, Moody's says  - The National:

"Emirates NBD, Dubai's biggest bank by assets, will be able to surmount the challenge of losing its market leader position coupled with a weakening economy and rising interest rates, Moody's Investor Service said.  "Emirates NBD's unique position as the Dubai government's bank of choice, its large low-cost deposit base and healthy loan book will support its profitability as it negotiates the challenges of a more competitive environment, a weaker economy, and rising interest rates," says Mik Kabeya, Analyst at Moody's.  The rating agency noted that the lender would continue to finance infrastructure projects ahead of Expo2020 and that competition with First Abu Dhabi Bank would be softened by the limited overlap between the two lenders. "



'via Blog this'

Abu Dhabi Ports Weighs IPO Amid U.A.E. Listing Spree - Bloomberg

Abu Dhabi Ports Weighs IPO Amid U.A.E. Listing Spree - Bloomberg:

"Abu Dhabi Ports Co. is considering an initial public offering, joining a growing list of state entities in the United Arab Emirates seeking to sell shares, according to people familiar with the matter.

The government-run ports operator has met with investment banks in recent weeks and may decide on financial advisers soon, the people said, asking not to be identified as the information is private. The company could raise at least $1 billion in a share sale on the local exchange, one of the people said. No final decisions have been taken, and the company may decide against a listing, they said.

“There are no immediate plans to go public,” Abu Dhabi Ports Chief Executive Officer Mohamed Juma Al Shamisi said Wednesday in response to Bloomberg’s request for comment."



'via Blog this'

Oil's Surge Masks Risk of Brent Slumping to $40 After Summer - Bloomberg

Oil's Surge Masks Risk of Brent Slumping to $40 After Summer - Bloomberg:

"Brent crude could potentially drop to $40 a barrel or below in the first quarter of 2018 without deeper output curbs by OPEC, according to an oil analyst at industry consultant JBC Energy GmbH. The benchmark for more than half the world’s oil may end 2017 between $45 and $47 a barrel, after which the market may turn “very tricky,” said Richard Gorry, managing director at JBC Asia. While prices are being supported by recent U.S. inventory draws amid the summer driving season when fuel demand typically peaks, that trend will reverse from early-September as consumption weakens, he said. Brent crude extended gains on Wednesday, trading up 0.8 percent at $50.61 a barrel at 5:50 a.m. in London, riding a rally as industry data showed U.S. stockpiles plunged last week."



'via Blog this'

MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf markets quiet, activity focuses on smaller stocks

MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf markets quiet, activity focuses on smaller stocks:

"Gulf stock markets moved little in quiet, early trade on Wednesday, with much activity in Saudi Arabia and Dubai focusing on second- and third-tier stocks.

The Saudi index edged down 0.1 percent in the first half-hour as Saudi Printing and Packaging, the most heavily traded stock, rose 3 percent.

Saudi British Bank edged up 0.4 percent after posting a 1.9 percent drop in its second-quarter net profit to 1.13 billion riyals ($301.4 million), at the high end of the forecasts of analysts, who had on average predicted 1.01 billion riyals."



'via Blog this'

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

DFM second quarter profit plummets on lower trading commission fees - The National

DFM second quarter profit plummets on lower trading commission fees - The National:

"The Dubai Financial Market, the only publicly listed Arabian Gulf stock exchange, posted a 19.2 per cent drop in second quarter net profit on lower trading commission fees.

Net profit attributable to equity owners in the three months to the end of June fell to Dh43.2 million compared with Dh53.5m in a year-earlier period, the exchange said in a statement.

Total income declined 10 per cent to Dh92.1m from Dh102.3m a year earlier. Trading commission fees, the main source of income, dropped 22.8 per cent to Dh49.3m from Dh63.9m."



'via Blog this'

Future of Airbus A380 said to hinge on Emirates order | GulfNews.com

Future of Airbus A380 said to hinge on Emirates order | GulfNews.com:

"Airbus is working on vital sales campaigns aimed at extending the life of its flagship A380 superjumbo, with outgoing marketing chief John Leahy seeking to secure orders by the Dubai Air Show in November, people familiar with the matter said. Key to the push is a requirement for 20 jets worth $8.7 billion (Dh31.96 billion) at leading A380 customer Emirates, with follow-on orders from British Airways owner IAG SA, Japan’s ANA Holdings Inc. and Thai Airways International PCL also in the mix, according to the people, who asked not to be named as the talks are private. Airbus may not feel that it can proceed with the smaller sales, likely to be for five to 10 planes apiece, without the Emirates deal to bolster the program, the people said. In the absence of new orders the company is set to pare output to less than one A380 a month, most likely sounding the death knell for the jet amid a dwindling backlog, and could detail the envisaged cut in an earnings update this week, they said."



'via Blog this'

Challenging road ahead for GCC’s economic diversification efforts | GulfNews.com

Challenging road ahead for GCC’s economic diversification efforts | GulfNews.com:

"GCC governments face significant challenges in their economic diversification efforts as they face sustained decline in oil prices in recent years, according to global rating agency Standard & Poor’s. “In our view, the challenges to GCC economic diversification remain substantial and GCC governments’ 20- and 30-year visions are aspirational, with significant progress to be made if they are to be achieved,” said Trevor Cullinan, a credit analyst with S&P. GCC sovereigns have announced ambitious diversification plans, some of which have existed for several years. These plans have recently gained new impetus following sustained decline in oil prices. By and large, governments have presented National Development Plans (NDPs) or ‘Visions’ with 20- to 25-year time horizons, usually incorporating five-year intermediate strategies."



'via Blog this'

U.A.E. Pledges Further Oil Output Cuts Starting in September - Bloomberg

U.A.E. Pledges Further Oil Output Cuts Starting in September - Bloomberg:

"The United Arab Emirates reiterated its commitment to the OPEC agreement on production cuts and said it would deepen its own curbs. The Abu Dhabi National Oil Co.’s shipments of Murban, Das and Upper Zakum crudes will be 10 percent lower from September, Minister of Energy Suhail Al Mazrouei said in a tweet on Tuesday. “The U.A.E. is committed to its share in the OPEC production cut,” he said. The move follows criticism on Monday from Saudi Minister of Energy and Industry Khalid Al-Falih of members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries who haven’t fulfilled their pledged supply reductions. The U.A.E. has only implemented 54 percent of its promised 139,000 barrel-a-day cut on average, according to the International Energy Agency. "



'via Blog this'

Australian Commodity Powerhouse Faces Post LNG Investment Slump - Bloomberg

Australian Commodity Powerhouse Faces Post LNG Investment Slump - Bloomberg:

"The startup of Chevron Corp.’s mammoth $54 billion Gorgon gas export plant last year has left Western Australia grappling with a slowdown as a decade-long investment bonanza subsides. The value of projects in Western Australia, home to the nation’s largest conventional gas reserves, has slumped to its lowest since the financial crisis in 2008, according to consultant Deloitte Access Economics. Projects being built in the state were worth A$64.7 billion ($51.3 billion) at the end of June 2017, a 46 percent decline from a year earlier. The completion of Gorgon, the largest resource development in Australia’s history, has “weighed heavily” on investment with engineering construction now accounting for less than 10 percent of the state’s economic value compared with more than 20 percent during the peak of the mining boom in 2012. Chevron’s Gorgon project off northwest Australia employed more than 10,000 people at its peak, project director Jeff Brubaker said last year."



'via Blog this'

Oil Jumps as Saudis Plan Export Cut, U.S. Supplies Seen Lower - Bloomberg

Oil Jumps as Saudis Plan Export Cut, U.S. Supplies Seen Lower - Bloomberg:

"Oil surged the most since November as the market appears to be tightening, with Saudi Arabia pledging deeper cuts to crude exports and supplies in the U.S. shrinking. Futures advanced 3.3 percent in New York, and the global Brent benchmark closed above $50 a barrel for the first time since June. Saudi Arabia will cap shipments at 6.6 million barrels a day in August, 1 million lower than a year earlier, Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih said. In the U.S., crude, gasoline and distillate supplies are seen dropping in the next Energy Information Administration report due Wednesday. “They have chased the bears back into the woods. Sentiment in the market is mildly bullish,” James Williams, an economist at London, Arkansas-based energy-research firm WTRG Economics, said by telephone."



'via Blog this'

MIDEAST STOCKS-Corporate earnings weigh on Saudi, most of region steady

MIDEAST STOCKS-Corporate earnings weigh on Saudi, most of region steady:

"Poor corporate earnings, due in part to Saudi Arabia's austerity policies and sluggish economic growth, weighed on the Saudi stock market on Tuesday as most regional bourses were virtually flat. The Saudi stock index fell 0.3 percent in thin trade. National Shipping Co (Bahri) sank 5.6 percent after reporting that quarterly net profit plunged to 153.9 million riyals ($41.0 million) from 487.1 million riyals a year earlier, as revenues also tumbled. It cited lower shipping spot market rates and higher bunker costs. Al Yamamah Steel lost 4.9 percent after reporting a quarterly profit of 17.2 million riyals, down from 67.9 million riyals, as sales fell steeply."



'via Blog this'

Saudi Arabia Raises $4.5 Billion in 1st Local Bond This Year - Bloomberg

Saudi Arabia Raises $4.5 Billion in 1st Local Bond This Year - Bloomberg:

"Saudi Arabia raised 17 billion riyals ($4.5 billion) from its first local Islamic bond sale this year as the biggest Arab economy seeks funds to bridge a budget deficit amid low oil prices. The government received investor offers in excess of 51 billion riyals, more than three times the deal size, according to a statement posted on the Ministry of Finance website. The kingdom sold 12 billion riyals of bonds maturing in 2022, 2.9 billion riyals of seven-year notes and 2.1 billion riyals of 10-year bonds, according to the statement. The 10-year sukuk was priced at 3.55 percent, the seven-year at 3.25 percent and the five-year securities at 2.95 percent, according to people familiar with the sale who asked not to be identified."



'via Blog this'

MIDEAST STOCKS-Corporate earnings weigh on Saudi in generally weak region

MIDEAST STOCKS-Corporate earnings weigh on Saudi in generally weak region:

"Poor corporate earnings, many of them the result of Saudi Arabia's austerity policies and sluggish economic growth, weighed on the Saudi stock market in early trade on Tuesday as regional bourses were generally soft. The Saudi stock index edged down 0.1 percent as National Shipping Co (Bahri) sank 5.3 percent after reporting quarterly net profit plunged to 153.9 million riyals ($41.0 million) from 487.1 million riyals a year earlier, as revenues also tumbled. It cited lower shipping spot market rates and higher bunker costs. Al Yamamah Steel lost 4.3 percent after reporting a quarterly profit of 17.2 million riyals, down from 67.9 million riyals, as sales fell steeply."



'via Blog this'

Monday, 24 July 2017

Saudis and Russians threaten to step up oil deal battle

Saudis and Russians threaten to step up oil deal battle:

"Saudi Arabia and Russia have threatened to escalate a brewing oil dispute to the highest levels of government, as frustration with countries who have failed to cut production in line with an Opec-led supply deal starts to spill over. Khalid al Falih, Saudi Arabia’s energy minister, said on Monday in St Petersburg there could be no more “free rides” after reviewing the progress of the supply deal, which was hailed as a new period of co-operation between Opec and big oil producers outside the group, but has so far failed to hold prices above $50 a barrel. “We are going to forcefully demand participation of all,” Mr Falih said in a joint press conference, adding they planned to raise the matter to “leadership beyond oil ministers if we do not see a response”."



'via Blog this'

MIDEAST STOCKS-Banks push Qatar higher, Mobily's loss dampens Saudi

MIDEAST STOCKS-Banks push Qatar higher, Mobily's loss dampens Saudi:

"Banks pushed Qatar's stock market higher on Monday while Saudi Arabia's market edged down as telecommunications firm Mobily plunged in the wake of a bigger-than-expected quarterly loss.

The Qatari index added 0.8 percent to 9,579 points, outperforming the rest of the region and closing at its highest level since June 5, when a diplomatic crisis with neighbouring Arab states erupted. It is now just 3.5 percent from its pre-crisis level, after dropping more than 10 percent at one stage.

Corporate earnings and macroeconomic data have shown the economy is suffering only minor damage from sanctions imposed by the other Arab states, and a Reuters poll of economists last week found them predicting Qatar will remain one of the Gulf's fastest-growing economies."



'via Blog this'

Assessing the IMF findings on Saudi Arabia | Arab News

Assessing the IMF findings on Saudi Arabia | Arab News:

"The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has just given the Saudi Arabian economy its annual road test, and it does more than just glance under the bonnet and kick the tires. Its Article IV Consultation report is based on a visit to the country by a team of top IMF experts, experts in Middle East economics, and meetings with top financial and economic policymakers, followed by a written report which is discussed by the full IMF team of 30 or so executive directors in Washington. The result is as accurate and independent a snapshot of the roadworthiness of a country’s economy as it is possible to produce. In essence the 2017 report just produced finds the Saudi engine in good condition, benefiting from the increased level servicing it is getting."



'via Blog this'

Qatar Crisis to Bring Cheer to World's Worst Emerging Market Airline of 2017 - Bloomberg

Qatar Crisis to Bring Cheer to World's Worst Emerging Market Airline of 2017 - Bloomberg:

"The troubles of a local rival may bring respite to Air Arabia PJSC, the worst-performing stock among major emerging-market airlines this year. While the United Arab Emirates’ only listed carrier has tumbled 20 percent in 2017, things look more favorable in the second half of the year, analysts say. The company could attract more travelers on routes that overlap with Qatar Airways, which has been banned from flying into or over countries including Saudi Arabia and the U.A.E after they severed commercial ties with their neighbor last month. The “Qatar Airways situation will help increase passenger traffic and load factors,” said Amine Wafy, an equities analyst at Renaissance Capital in Dubai. Air Arabia operates at near-full capacity into Saudi Arabia and the company could add more planes than anticipated for those routes, helping offset the lost capacity from flying into Qatari market, he said."



'via Blog this'

UAE's Adnoc in talks with banks for big syndicated loan, project bond: sources

UAE's Adnoc in talks with banks for big syndicated loan, project bond: sources:

"State-owned energy giant Abu Dhabi National Oil Co (Adnoc) is in talks with regional and international banks to obtain a syndicated loan worth several billion U.S. dollars, banking sources familiar with the discussions said on Monday. The loan will be "huge", two bankers said; a third said it was expected to be in a range of $4 billion to $5 billion. The facility would have various maturities of up to five years. The loan financing is one of a number of fund-raising plans which the company is considering. It is also discussing the possibility of issuing a project bond that could be as large as $3 billion in size, bankers said, declining to be named because of commercial sensitivities."



'via Blog this'

Saudi Economic Pain Will Test Resolve of Prince’s Reform Push - Bloomberg

Saudi Economic Pain Will Test Resolve of Prince’s Reform Push - Bloomberg:

"Saudi Arabia’s drive to reduce the economy’s reliance on oil has hit a snag: its reliance on oil.

More than a year after the kingdom’s dominant leader, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, unveiled a blueprint for the post-oil era, the drop in crude prices is making economists more skeptical about whether some of the plan’s medium-term targets can be met. The reason: lower oil revenue deprives the government of money needed to balance its books by 2020 while trying to stimulate growth to ease the transition’s burden on the population.

IMF data released Friday underscored the challenge. The fund lowered its forecasts for Saudi economic growth this year to “close to zero.” Analysts at Citigroup, EFG-Hermes and Standard Chartered see a bleaker picture, expecting the economy to shrink for the first time since the global financial crisis in 2009, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Deeper economic pain will test the authorities’ resolve to pursue tough reform measures as they seek to go against the run of history, which suggests that successful diversification efforts depended largely on policies put in place before a price shock."



'via Blog this'

Saudi Arabia Sells Domestic Debt for First Time in 2017 - Bloomberg

Saudi Arabia Sells Domestic Debt for First Time in 2017 - Bloomberg:

"Saudi Arabia, the Arab world’s biggest economy, started the sale of its first riyal-denominated debt in 10 months, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

The kingdom’s three-part Islamic offering consists of bonds priced between 2.9 to 3 percent for five-year debt, 3.25 to 3.35 percent for seven-year notes and 3.55 to 3.65 percent for a 10-year issue, the people said, declining to be identified because the information isn’t public. Investors have until Monday to submit bids, they said, with one person adding that Saudi Arabia plans to raise as much as 25 billion riyals ($6.67 billion).

The sale comes as lower oil prices and austerity measures weigh on Saudi Arabia’s economy. Gross domestic product contracted in the three months through March for the first time since 2009 -- illustrating the scale of the challenge facing the country’s new heir, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, as he implements his blueprint for a transition away from oil dependency. The government, which said on Sunday it started a local sukuk program of unlimited size, raised $9 billion from its inaugural sale of international Islamic bonds this year."



'via Blog this'

Saudis Plan to Tackle Lagging Compliance With Oil Cuts `Head On' - Bloomberg

Saudis Plan to Tackle Lagging Compliance With Oil Cuts `Head On' - Bloomberg:

"Saudi Arabia, OPEC’s biggest oil producer, plans to step up pressure on nations that aren’t complying with their commitment to cut output, including a proposal to start monitoring exports.

“Some countries continue to lag” in their compliance, Saudi Oil Minister Khalid Al-Falih said Monday in St. Petersburg, Russia, where he’s attending a meeting of OPEC and non-OPEC producers. It’s “a concern we must address head on.”

OPEC’s supply in July will be the highest this year, data from tanker-tracker Petro-Logistics SA show. The group’s compliance with its November deal to curtail output dropped to 92 percent in June from 110 percent in May, according to a person familiar with the data."



'via Blog this'

MIDEAST STOCKS-Banks pull Qatar higher, big Mobily loss weighs on Saudi

MIDEAST STOCKS-Banks pull Qatar higher, big Mobily loss weighs on Saudi:

"Banks pulled Qatar's stock market higher in early trade on Monday while Saudi Arabia's market edged down after a string of second-quarter earnings, with telecommunications firm Mobily plunging on a bigger-than-expected loss.

The Qatari index added 0.4 percent as Qatar National Bank climbed 1.0 percent and Masraf Al Rayan rose 0.8 percent. Qatar International Islamic Bank gained 1.4 percent after reporting a modest year-on-year rise in first-half net profit.

Islamic insurer AlKhaleej Group surged 2.8 percent in unusually heavy trade."



'via Blog this'

The blockade against #Qatar damages all sides

The blockade against Qatar damages all sides:

"With help from President Donald Trump, Riyadh and its Arab allies have painted themselves into a corner at a precarious moment for the Gulf. It is seven weeks since Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain clubbed together to impose a blockade on Qatar in an attempt to bend the gas-rich emirate’s rulers to their will. There are few signs that US and regional mediation is making progress towards breaking the impasse, even though it is clear that the dispute is damaging all concerned. In effect, Saudi Arabia and its allies have asked Qatar to volunteer for vassal status as the price for ending a trade and diplomatic embargo. Their initial demands included closing Al Jazeera, the Doha-based broadcaster; scaling back co-operation with Iran, with which Qatar shares its gas; evicting a Turkish military base; and cutting ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. They also required the emirate to submit to regular compliance checks."



'via Blog this'

Sunday, 23 July 2017

S&P affirms Abu Dhabi's AA/A-1+ credit ratings as high cash reserves outweigh low oil prices  - The National

S&P affirms Abu Dhabi's AA/A-1+ credit ratings as high cash reserves outweigh low oil prices  - The National:

"S&P Global Ratings affirmed on Sunday the credit ratings for Abu Dhabi despite the recent slowdown in economic growth on account of low oil prices due, to the large cash reserves of the emirate which make it "resilient" to shocks in the commodity market.   

At the same time, the rating agency also affirmed the credit ratings of both Sharjah and Ras Al Khaimah. 

The rating agency said it maintained its AA/A-1+ sovereign credit rating on Abu Dhabi while keeping its outlook stable. "



'via Blog this'

Oil markets need regulator in face of speculators: Eni CEO

Oil markets need regulator in face of speculators: Eni CEO:

"Energy markets might need to be regulated to put a brake on widespread financial speculation that is distorting crude prices, the head of Italian oil major Eni told Il Sole 24 Ore newspaper. Eni (ENI.MI) CEO Claudio Descalzi said OPEC and Saudi Arabia were not in a position to push prices higher by cutting output, adding that geopolitical tensions, growing U.S. shale oil production and heavy speculation in crude futures were hurting the sector. "The financial speculation is so strong that it has transformed even those with long term strategies into short term investors," Descalzi was quoted as saying."



'via Blog this'

MIDEAST STOCKS-Amlak boosts Dubai, Qatar pulls back from near pre-crisis level

MIDEAST STOCKS-Amlak boosts Dubai, Qatar pulls back from near pre-crisis level:

"Islamic finance firm Amlak helped to boost Dubai's stock market on Sunday while Qatar pulled back after events at the weekend failed to point to progress in resolving the diplomatic crisis between Doha and neighbouring states.

The Dubai index added 0.6 percent as Amlak surged 3.6 percent to 1.16 dirhams, closing above its 200-day average for the first time since January, though it came far off its intra-day high of 1.24 dirhams. It was the market's most active stock; on Thursday, Amlak had soared 14.3 percent.

Traders attributed the rise to last week's announcement by real estate developer DAMAC that it was partnering with Amlak to sell second homes to customers. However, the partners gave no financial details, and many investors piled into the stock just because it had momentum. DAMAC rose 1.8 percent on Sunday."



'via Blog this'

The argument to be a buyer of the Saudi Aramco IPO

The argument to be a buyer of the Saudi Aramco IPO:

"Like cats transfixed by a pigeon, the world’s bankers are quivering in anticipation of next year’s initial public offering by Saudi Aramco, the state oil group. Once-strict regulators are finding exceptions to rules, lawyers are straining to magic away litigation risk, and giant real-money investors are being cajoled into orderly queues.

Many problems can be waved away for the opportunity to participate in “The IPO” as it is referred to on Wall Street. The fees on a ticket of maybe $75bn . . . no wonder they are focused. There is just one question from investors, though: what about shale? Do the US producers continue to depress oil and gas prices?

Let me answer the question with another question. Is the shale industry still competitive thanks to technology, or thanks to quantitative easing? Americans tend to say that rising “unconventional” hydrocarbon production is all about superior science and engineering. International oil people believe the shale people are the spoiled children of the Federal Reserve, the US central bank, and overindulgent investors."



'via Blog this'

Dubai aircraft lessor prices $2.4bn bonds - The National

Dubai aircraft lessor prices $2.4bn bonds - The National:

"Dubai Aerospace Enterprise (DAE), the aircraft leasing and maintenance company controlled by the Dubai Government, has priced US$2.3 billion in senior bonds split across three tranches, the company said on Sunday.

The firm priced $500 million of 4 per cent notes due in 2020, $800m 4.5 per cent bonds due in 2022 and $1bn 5 per cent bonds due in 2024, it said.DAE said it will use part of the proceeds from the bond sale, together with cash on hand, to pay for the acquisition of the Dublin-based lessor Awas, announced earlier this year.

DAE said in April it was acquiring Awas from the private equity firm Terra Firma Capital Partners and the Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board.The acquisition, subject to regulatory approval, is expected to close in the third quarter."



'via Blog this'

Etihad submits non-binding offer for Alitalia - The National

Etihad submits non-binding offer for Alitalia - The National:

"Etihad Airways has emerged as one of around 10 bidders interested in acquiring a partial or full stake in the Italian airline Alitalia, suggesting the Abu Dhabi-based carrier remains committed to its investment in the troubled airline. The non-binding bid, submitted ahead of a deadline on Friday, also suggests that Etihad may not be ready to reverse course on its international investment strategy, despite last week selling off its stake in Switzerland’s Darwin Airline following a strategic review launched last year. This weekend Etihad was named in the Italian press as one the airlines that had submitted a non-binding offer for total or partial takeover of Alitalia, alongside the Irish low-cost carrier Ryanair."



'via Blog this'

Spike in NPLs continue to challenge bank profits | GulfNews.com

Spike in NPLs continue to challenge bank profits | GulfNews.com:

"Significantly higher provision costs in the first six months of 2017 has impacted profit growth of a few leading banks. Broad trend indicates that despite proactive efforts, a creeping increase in non-performing loans continue to adversely impact asset quality and profitability of some banks. Commercial Bank of Dubai’s (CBD) first half profits were lower by 31.6 per cent at Dh332.5 million for the first half of 2017 compared to Dh485.8 million for the same period last year mainly due to higher provisions and costs. Net impairment provisions of Dh531.5 million were set aside during the first half compared to Dh288.7 million for the same period previous year. Operating expenses were 7 per cent higher at Dh449.3 million for the first half of 2017 compared to Dh420.1 million for the same period last year. Total assets were higher at Dh67.9 billion as at June 30, 2017, an increase of 10.6 per cent over the Dh61.4 billion reported in the first half of 2016. CBD’s loans and advances increased 14.1 per cent year on year to Dh46.3 billion in the first half of this year and was up 10.4 per cent compared to Dh42 billion at year-end 2016."



'via Blog this'

MIDEAST STOCKS-Oil slide may dampen Gulf, no good news on Qatar crisis

MIDEAST STOCKS-Oil slide may dampen Gulf, no good news on Qatar crisis:

"Demand for business credit and personal loans in the United Arab Emirates increased slightly in the April-June quarter and is expected to continue rising slowly in the current quarter, a central bank survey showed on Sunday.

The net balance measure for business lending - the weighted percentage of respondents reporting an increase in demand for loans minus those reporting a fall in demand - was plus 7.5 in the latest quarter compared to plus 7.6 in the previous quarter.

Over 50 percent of respondents reported no changes in credit standards during the latest quarter while 25-35 percent reported a modest tightening, the survey found. For the current quarter, respondents expect the net balance measure to rise to plus 16.3. "



'via Blog this'

Saudi finance ministry says domestic sukuk program established

Saudi finance ministry says domestic sukuk program established:

"Saudi Arabia's ministry of finance said on Sunday it had established a program to issue local currency Islamic bonds, as the government covers a large budget deficit caused by low oil prices. The ministry described the program as "unlimited" and said it would announce on a case-by-case basis details such as the types of eligible investors, the size of the issues and the expected profit rate. The program has been submitted to the Capital Market Authority, the ministry added without specifying when the first sukuk issue would take place. "



'via Blog this'

No Winners in Gulf Feud as Saudi, Qatari Assets Converge on Oil - Bloomberg

No Winners in Gulf Feud as Saudi, Qatari Assets Converge on Oil - Bloomberg:

"Investors aren’t taking sides in the biggest political crisis in the Gulf in decades because their focus has already returned to oil.

Seven weeks after Saudi Arabia led a coalition of Arab states in cutting ties with Qatar over allegations that it supports terrorism, holders of both countries’ stocks and bonds are paying almost identical risk premiums. Their five-year credit default swaps converged for the first time in two years, stocks are valued at an average 13.8 times’ projected earnings over the next 12 months, and their international bonds traded level on Friday at 3.39 percent."



'via Blog this'

Saudi Arabia Turns Off the U.S. Oil Tap - Bloomberg Gadfly

Saudi Arabia Turns Off the U.S. Oil Tap - Bloomberg Gadfly:

"At last, Saudi Arabia seems to be doing what it takes to reduce the world's most visible oil glut: the one in the U.S.Unfortunately, its renewed vigor comes as OPEC's deal to reduce excess crude stockpiles starts to show signs of unraveling elsewhere, a subject that will be wrestled with by the group's oil ministers as they and other producer nations meet in St Petersburg on Monday. "



'via Blog this'

MIDEAST STOCKS-Dubai outperforms quiet region as Amlak leaps

MIDEAST STOCKS-Dubai outperforms quiet region as Amlak leaps:

"Dubai's stock market outperformed a quiet region in early trade on Sunday as Islamic finance firm Amlak jumped for a second straight day in very heavy trade.

The Dubai index added 0.6 percent as Amlak surged 8.0 percent to a four-month high of 1.21 dirhams and was the market's most active stock, accounting for nearly a quarter of turnover.

It rose above its 200-day average, now at 1.14 dirhams, for the first time since February. On Thursday, it had soared 14.3 percent."



'via Blog this'

Saturday, 22 July 2017

ICD profit drops 21 % as transport sector takes a beating - The National

ICD profit drops 21 % as transport sector takes a beating - The National:

"The Investment Corporation of Dubai (ICD), the emirate’s sovereign wealth fund with strategic holdings that include Emirates airline, Emirates Global Aluminium and lender Emirates NBD, posted a 21.4 per cent decline in full-year net profit for 2016, as the transport sector took a hit and the fund benefited in 2015 from a one-off gain from the sale of aviation services company Standard Aero.

Net profit for equity holders in the 12 months ending December 31 reached Dh17.99 billion compared with Dh20.89bn in 2015, the fund said in a statement on Nasdaq Dubai. Revenue dipped 0.5 per cent to Dh176.31bn from Dh177.14bn in 2015.

ICD attributed the net profit plunge to “increased competitive pressure on yields” in its transportation segment and to a 2015 gain from discontinued operations following the sale of Standard Aero, a unit of Dubai Aerospace Enterprise (DAE), an aircraft leasing and maintenance company in which ICD has an 80.53 per cent stake. DAE sold Standard Aero to an affiliate of private equity firm Veritas Capital for Dh5bn, booking a gain of Dh2.07bn, according to ICD’s financial statements."



'via Blog this'

IMF Sees 2017 Saudi Growth ‘Close to Zero’ on Oil Prices, Cuts - Bloomberg

IMF Sees 2017 Saudi Growth ‘Close to Zero’ on Oil Prices, Cuts - Bloomberg:

"Saudi Arabia’s economy will stall this year with growth “close to zero” due to lower oil revenue, the International Monetary Fund said.

 The fund lowered its 2017 growth forecast to 0.1 percent from 0.4 percent, citing OPEC production cuts, uncertainty over oil prices and the structural reforms the country is undertaking to reduce its reliance on crude, it said in a statement on Friday concluding its Article IV consultation. The IMF also lowered its non-oil growth projection to 1.7 percent from 2.1 percent -- compared with actual growth of 0.2 percent in 2016.

Lower oil prices and austerity measures are weighing on Saudi Arabia’s economy, which contracted in the first quarter for the first time since 2009 -- illustrating the scale of the challenge facing the country’s new heir, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, as he implements his blueprint for a transition away from oil dependency. Even so, the fund said it welcomed the government’s direction, which it said would help the fiscal deficit “narrow substantially in the coming years.”

"



'via Blog this'

Friday, 21 July 2017

Qamar’s Mills: Qatar Deepens Iran Relationship on Natural Gas

Bloomberg:

"Bloomberg Markets AM with Pimm Fox and Lisa Abramowicz.
GUEST: Robin Mills, CEO of Qamar Energy and contributor to Bloomberg View, on Qatar’s deepening relationship with Iran on natural gas.
Running time 05:53"



'via Blog this'

Oil nudges higher; Brent crude below $50 ahead of OPEC meeting

Oil nudges higher; Brent crude below $50 ahead of OPEC meeting:

"Oil prices edged up on Friday ahead of a key meeting of major oil producing nations next week, but Brent held below the $50 per barrel level that was briefly breached for the first time in six weeks in the previous session.

International benchmark Brent crude futures were up 10 cents, or 0.2 percent, at $49.40 per barrel at 0658 GMT.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were up 7 cents, or 0.2 percent at $46.99 per barrel."



'via Blog this'

OPEC, Russia to Stand Pat on Oil Deal Even as Glut Persists - Bloomberg

OPEC, Russia to Stand Pat on Oil Deal Even as Glut Persists - Bloomberg:

"OPEC and Russia’s plan to clear the global oil glut hasn’t worked as they hoped, but there’s little expectation the world’s largest producers will act more aggressively when they meet this weekend. Oil has slumped into a bear market and inventories remain stubbornly high despite a deal between OPEC and 10 countries outside the group to cut output. The implementation of supply curbs is faltering as Libya and Nigeria restore lost production. The trouble for ministers meeting in St. Petersburg to review the progress of the deal is the alternatives look little better than the status quo. If the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries abandons the deal and increases oil output, a further plunge in prices would inflict more pain on their economies. And while deepening the production cuts would spark a rally, that might encourage even bigger flows from U.S. shale drillers."



'via Blog this'

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Deyaar Development's first-half revenues rocket - The National

Deyaar Development's first-half revenues rocket - The National:

"Deyaar Development reported a first-half 135 per cent year-on-year increase in revenues to Dh316.4 million, up from Dh134.9m in the same period last year, for the six months ending June 2017. The rise was driven by sales of its properties and construction progress at The Atria and Mont Rose projects, both of which currently exceed 75 per cent completion, it said. Deyaar, based in the UAE, also recorded first-half net profit of Dh67m, down from Dh111.3m in the same period last year. This year’s net profit figure was a result of the progress in Deyaar’s flagship projects, it said."



'via Blog this'

Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank profits dip on provisions - The National

Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank profits dip on provisions - The National:

"Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB), the UAE's third largest lender, said yesterday that its second -quarter net profit dipped 10.3 per cent, missing analyst forecasts, as money set aside to cover bad debt grew and non-interest income plummeted. Net profit in the three months ended June 30 reached Dh1 billion compared with Dh1.12bn a year earlier, the bank said. Total net interest and Islamic financing income rose 10 per cent year-on-year to Dh1.67bn but non-interest income declined 30 per cent to Dh434 million. Four analysts polled by Bloomberg had forecast an average net profit of Dh1.11bn."



'via Blog this'

Diplomatic crisis triggers only minor Qatar economic forecast cuts: Reuters Poll

Diplomatic crisis triggers only minor Qatar economic forecast cuts: Reuters Poll:

"A political crisis between Doha and its neighbors has pushed economists to cut growth forecasts for Qatar -- but not by enough to stop it being one of the region's strongest performers, a Reuters poll showed. The poll of 12 economists lowered the median forecast for Qatar's gross domestic product growth this year to 2.3 percent from 3.5 percent projected in the previous Reuters poll, conducted in April. Next year's growth forecast was cut to 3.1 percent from 3.7 percent. If the new predictions are correct, Qatar will still grow more quickly this year and next year than most of the five other rich Gulf Arab oil exporters."



'via Blog this'

Fitch Revises Dunia's Outlook to Negative; Affirms IDR at 'BB'

Fitch Revises Dunia's Outlook to Negative; Affirms IDR at 'BB':

"(The following statement was released by the rating agency) LONDON, July 20 (Fitch) Fitch Ratings has revised Dunia Finance LLC's (Dunia) Outlook to Negative from Stable while affirming the company's Issuer Default Ratings (IDR) at Long-Term 'BB' and Short-Term 'B'. The Outlook revision reflects weakening asset quality, which negatively affected Dunia's profitability in 2016. Fitch expects Dunia's asset quality metrics to remain under pressure throughout 2017. Dunia is a UAE-based finance company, offering smaller-ticket, predominantly unsecured loans, with a particular franchise among salaried expatriates from emerging markets. KEY RATING DRIVERS IDRS The IDRs reflect the balance between the significant exposure of Dunia to credit risk arising from its unsecured lending and the moderate (by finance company benchmarks) leverage under which it operates. Dunia's net impairment charge has approximately doubled in each of the last two years as job losses and wage pressures constrained borrowers' repayment capacities. Simultaneously, loan growth slowed markedly to -2% in 2016 from 34% in 2015 and 47% in 2014. With impairment charges absorbing a materially higher proportion of revenue (72% in 2016, up from 40% in 2015 and 29% in 2014), Dunia's pre-tax profit dropped 67% in 2016 to AED71 million (2015: AED217 million). "



'via Blog this'

The Blockade of Qatar Airways’ Home Base Is Trouble for the World’s No. 1 Airline - Bloomberg

The Blockade of Qatar Airways’ Home Base Is Trouble for the World’s No. 1 Airline - Bloomberg:

"You’d think Qatar Airways, voted the world’s best airline in a passenger survey last month, would have no trouble keeping its seats filled. Instead, it’s had to cancel scores of flights after four neighboring countries barred it from their airspace; it’s also being kicked out of an American Airlines Group Inc. code share agreement that eased access to the crucial U.S. market. On July 12, Qatar Air’s brash chief executive officer, Akbar Al Baker, issued a rare public apology after his description of U.S. flight attendants as “grandmothers” was condemned by other airline executives and labor unions. The carrier has now been pressed into service to fly 4,000 dairy cows into the country on cargo planes to assure fresh milk supplies during the blockade."



'via Blog this'

Hunting Oil Services Stocks With a DUC Call - Bloomberg Gadfly

Hunting Oil Services Stocks With a DUC Call - Bloomberg Gadfly:

"The problem is, of course, the oil price. E&P firms have cut costs and got a bit of a tailwind from the rally in oil prices earlier this year, leading to a sharp increase in the number of rigs in operation. But it's hard to maintain that sort of enthusiasm when oil futures don't rise above $50 a barrel until early 2020. So the number of oil rigs being added has slowed markedly:
Dog Days
Weekly additions to the U.S. oil-rig fleet this summer have slowed to about a third of the pace in the spring"



'via Blog this'

MIDEAST STOCKS-Qatar continues rally near pre-crisis level, SABIC boosts Saudi

MIDEAST STOCKS-Qatar continues rally near pre-crisis level, SABIC boosts Saudi:

"Qatar's stock market continued rebounding on Thursday from lows hit after its diplomatic rift with neighbouring Arab states, while strength in top petrochemical producer Saudi Basic Industries buoyed Saudi Arabia.

The Qatari index rose 0.4 percent to 9,542 points. It had closed at 9,924 points on June 4, just before the crisis erupted, and has rebounded more than 10 percent from its low at the start of July.

Doha Bank gained 2.0 percent after reporting its first-half net profit rose to 716‍​ million riyals ($197 million) from 708 million riyals year ago, as operating income gained 4.8 percent."



'via Blog this'

Etihad Airways sells first airline stake amid review | GulfNews.com

Etihad Airways sells first airline stake amid review | GulfNews.com:

"Etihad Airways has sold its minority stake in European regional carrier Darwin Airline, the first divestment since launching a strategic review last year and just weeks after chief executive James Hogan left the Abu Dhabi carrier.
Etihad, which held a 33.3 per cent stake in Darwin Airline, and other investors have sold their shares to a subsidiary of Slovenia’s Adria Airways, according to a Darwin Airline statement sent to Reuters by Etihad on Wednesday.

Darwin Airline was one of eight carriers Etihad had bought since 2011 and the second one sold after British Airways-owner International Airlines Group (IAG) took over Aer Lingus in 2015."



'via Blog this'

Adnoc hires banks for fuel retailer IPO: sources

Adnoc hires banks for fuel retailer IPO: sources:

"Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc) has picked a local bank and three foreign lenders as bookrunners for the planned initial public offering of its retail unit that could raise $1.5 billion to $2 billion, sources said on Thursday. The listing for ADNOC Distribution, which manages petrol stations as well as convenience stores across the United Arab Emirates (UAE), comes as Abu Dhabi joins other Gulf states, such as Saudi Arabia and Oman, in privatizing energy assets. First Abu Dhabi Bank, HSBC, Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Citigroup have been mandated for the IPO, sources familiar with the matter told Reuters."



'via Blog this'

JPMorgan, Citigroup See Mideast Bond Deals Slipping From Record - Bloomberg

JPMorgan, Citigroup See Mideast Bond Deals Slipping From Record - Bloomberg:

"JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Citigroup Inc., the biggest debt arrangers in the Middle East and North Africa, expect regional sales to slow for the rest of the year after sovereigns raised a record $37 billion in the first half.

“We have seen a significant amount of issuance early in the year and it’s not surprising that we are starting to see things slow down,” Hani Deaibes, JPMorgan’s regional head of debt-capital markets, said in an interview. “While we expect activity to pick up a bit later in the year, we don’t see a substantial pipeline at the moment.”"



'via Blog this'

Qatar Warms Up to Iran on Natural Gas - Bloomberg

Qatar Warms Up to Iran on Natural Gas - Bloomberg:

"The world’s biggest gas field lies between Qatar and Iran, and the half-competitive, half-cooperative race to exploit it has taken a new turn. For both countries, this enormous resource is also a source of political power. Now, with the emirate at odds with Tehran’s foe, Saudi Arabia, its tacit cooperation with Iran is gaining, even as the two are set to compete more intensely in gas markets. In 1971, Shell first drilled into what became Qatar’s North Field and was disappointed to find not oil, but gas, though in vast quantities. The country was only a modest oil producer with a tiny domestic and regional energy market. Through the 1980s and 1990s, it struggled to develop a liquefied natural gas project to export to Asia, but with low global energy prices, a cost-cutting BP gave up and Mobil took over. The emir, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, who took power from his cautious father in a bloodless coup in 1995, was keen to press ahead. Exxon might not have had the entrepreneurial mindset to create the project, but when it bought Mobil in 1998, and soon afterwards oil and gas prices began to rise, it had one of its most valuable global assets. The wily former oil minister, Abdullah bin Hamad al-Attiyah, worked with the emir to use Qatar’s strategic position to sell gas both east and west. Total, ConocoPhillips and Shell also built LNG plants, while the Abu Dhabi state firm Mubadala, with Total and Occidental, constructed the Dolphin pipeline to the neighboring United Arab Emirates."



'via Blog this'