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Thursday, 27 July 2017

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.

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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."



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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."



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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?"



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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."



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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."



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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."



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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."



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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."



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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.”"



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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."



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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. "



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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."



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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."



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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."



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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."



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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."



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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."



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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. "



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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."



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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."



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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."



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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."



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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."



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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”."



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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."



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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."



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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."



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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."



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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."



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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."



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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."



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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."



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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."



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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. "



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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."



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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."



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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."



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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."



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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. "



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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."



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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."



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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."



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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."



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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."



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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."



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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.”"



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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'

MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf mixed in early trade but Qatar continues rebound

MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf mixed in early trade but Qatar continues rebound:

"Gulf stock markets were mixed in early trade on Thursday but Qatar continued rebounding from lows hit early this month because of its diplomatic rift with neighbouring Arab states.

The Qatari index rose 0.6 percent to 9,562 points. It closed at 9,924 points on June 4, just before the crisis erupted.

Doha Bank gained 2.2 percent after reporting that first-half net profit rose to 716‍​ million riyals ($197 million) from 708 million riyals year ago, as operating income gained 4.8 percent."



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Saudi Aramco offers fund managers a chance to prove their worth

Saudi Aramco offers fund managers a chance to prove their worth:

"Where is the clamour of investors calling for Saudi Aramco to list in their jurisdiction? Politicians, exchange executives, lawyers and bankers all see benefits from helping the national oil champion sell stock. Prestige, relevance, trading volumes and fees beckon, if the world’s largest extractor of crude oil becomes a public company late next year as planned. Yet recent proposals from the UK regulator to ease the way for a London quote, by removing some governance requirements for state controlled companies, prompted several asset managers to adopt a posture of principled outrage."



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Three Years Into Cheap Oil, Gulf Is Still Depending on a Rebound - Bloomberg

Three Years Into Cheap Oil, Gulf Is Still Depending on a Rebound - Bloomberg:

"Energy-rich Gulf Arab nations have scrambled to adjust to the slump in oil prices since 2014. Three years on, their economies are mired in weak growth and largely just as dependent on crude as they ever were.

The six members of the Gulf Cooperation Council have curtailed subsidies and introduced new taxes to bolster non-oil revenue and reduce ballooning budget deficits. Much of the savings, however, have been due to spending cuts and the pace of reforms has slowed across the region, said Monica Malik, chief economist at Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank. Overall progress in economic diversification has been limited, she said.

 Absent a rebound in oil prices, analysts say it’s unlikely that these nations can repair their finances without deeper spending cuts that could further hurt growth. The standoff between a Saudi-led bloc and Qatar is also undermining investor confidence at a time when the GCC is seeking foreign funds.

"



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Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Qatar LNG company postpones layoffs amid diplomatic crisis

Qatar LNG company postpones layoffs amid diplomatic crisis:

"Majority state-owned Qatari gas producer Rasgas has postponed a round of job cuts after the diplomatic crisis which erupted between Qatar and its neighbors in early June, people familiar with the matter have told Reuters. Staff at Rasgas were told earlier this year that they would be laid off in June, with the job cuts following last year's decision to merge RasGas with Qatargas, the two liquefied natural gas divisions of Qatar Petroleum [QATPE.UL]. But in a company email last month staff were informed that the job cuts had been delayed, two Rasgas employees said."



'via Blog this'

ADCB's Malik Says Qatar Has Deep FX Reserve Pockets - Bloomberg

ADCB's Malik Says Qatar Has Deep FX Reserve Pockets - Bloomberg:

"Monica Malik, chief economist at Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, discusses Qatar's geopolitical headwinds on "Bloomberg Markets: Middle East." (Source: Bloomberg)"



'via Blog this'

Qatar's $300 billion conundrum: how liquid are its reserves?

Qatar's $300 billion conundrum: how liquid are its reserves?:

"When is $300 billion not enough? That question is key to Qatar's future as some bankers and hedge funds speculate the super-rich state's vast financial reserves may not be liquid enough to defend its currency in the long term. Nobody doubts Qatar has a lot of money to resist economic sanctions imposed on it early last month, when Saudi Arabia and three other Arab states cut diplomatic and transport ties. Central bank governor Sheikh Abdullah bin Saud al-Thani said last week that Doha could employ about $340 billion of reserves: some $40 billion plus gold at the central bank, and $300 billion at the Qatar Investment Authority, the sovereign wealth fund."



'via Blog this'

Saudi Arabia empties domestic crude tanks: Kemp

Saudi Arabia empties domestic crude tanks: Kemp:

"Saudi Arabia has been progressively reducing its bloated domestic stocks of crude in a sign the global oil market is rebalancing, albeit more slowly than OPEC anticipated. Saudi Arabia’s domestic crude stocks declined in 16 of the 19 months between November 2015 and May 2017 according to government data reported to the Joint Organisations Data Initiative (tmsnrt.rs/2uIi9dC). Domestic stocks fell to just 259 million barrels at the end of May 2017, which was the lowest level since January 2012, according to updated figures published on Tuesday."



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Collapse in Saudi Oil Shipments Puts Upward Pressure on Prices - Bloomberg

Collapse in Saudi Oil Shipments Puts Upward Pressure on Prices - Bloomberg:

"Forget for a moment about the stock-draws in crude, gasoline and distillates. The most relevant piece of data is the collapse in Saudi shipments into the U.S., with last week’s arrivals at a seven-year low of just 524,000 barrels a day. Riyadh has promised to cut supplies this summer to the market that traders care the most (and where the data is most visible) and it seems to be delivering. If the trend holds, it could put upward pressure on prices."



'via Blog this'

MIDEAST STOCKS-Banks boost Qatar in otherwise quiet region

MIDEAST STOCKS-Banks boost Qatar in otherwise quiet region:

"Banking stocks boosted Qatar's equities market on Wednesday, with some share prices approaching levels last reached before the country's diplomatic crisis erupted in early June, while other bourses in the region were mostly quiet. The Qatar index advanced by 1.2 percent to 9,502 points, its highest finish since Saudi Arabia and other Arab states cut diplomatic and transport links with Doha on June 5. Wednesday's gain left the index only 4.3 percent below its pre-crisis close. It has been as much as 13 percent lower early this month. Qatar National Bank(QNB), the largest lender, jumped by 4.4 percent to 143 riyals. It closed at 145.30 riyals on June 4."



'via Blog this'

UPDATE 1-Dubai's Emirates NBD Q2 profit rises 6 pct, meets forecasts

UPDATE 1-Dubai's Emirates NBD Q2 profit rises 6 pct, meets forecasts:

"Emirates NBD (ENBD), Dubai's largest lender, posted a 6 percent rise in its second-quarter net profit on Wednesday, in line with analysts' forecasts, as net interest income edged up due to loan growth and higher lending rates.

The bank, the first major lender from the United Arab Emirates to report its earnings this quarter, made a net profit of 2.02 billion dirhams ($550 million) in the three months to June 30, it said in a statement, compared with 1.91 billion dirhams a year earlier.

Three analysts on average had forecast the bank to post a net profit of 1.88 billion dirhams."



'via Blog this'

Gulf business counts cost of Arab states’ Qatar embargo

Gulf business counts cost of Arab states’ Qatar embargo:

"When the quartet of Arab nations imposed an embargo on Qatar a month ago, accusing the gas-rich Gulf state of backing terrorism, they quickly closed air, sea and land borders to their neighbour.

For Mohammed Saleh, who runs a business that distributes building materials across the region, the crisis left an important Qatar-bound cargo stranded at Dubai’s Jebel Ali port. He had to take out a loan to pay his supplier, losing £30,000 in the process.

“One minute we are doing business with Qatar, the next we are told we are doing business with terrorist financiers,” he said. “It’s all so confusing.”"



'via Blog this'

Oil Steadies Amid Mixed Signals on U.S. Crude Inventories - Bloomberg

Oil Steadies Amid Mixed Signals on U.S. Crude Inventories - Bloomberg:

"Oil was steady amid mixed signals on U.S. crude inventories, with industry data showing supplies increased last week while government statistics were expected to indicate a decline.

Futures were little changed in New York after adding 0.8 percent on Tuesday. U.S. inventories rose by 1.63 million barrels last week, according to people familiar with the API data. That contrasts with a Bloomberg survey before an Energy Information Administration report Wednesday that forecasts a 3.5 million-barrel decline, which would be the 13th drop in 15 weeks."



'via Blog this'

Saudi Deflation Persists as Weak Demand Weighs on Growth - Bloomberg

Saudi Deflation Persists as Weak Demand Weighs on Growth - Bloomberg:

"Saudi Arabian consumer prices dropped again in June, reflecting the nation’s worst economic slowdown since 2009 as the kingdom struggles to cope with low oil prices. The economy shrank 0.5 percent year-on-year in the first quarter amid lower oil output and cutbacks in spending to shore up public finances. However, the reinstatement of public sector benefits and bonuses, and the introduction of value-added taxes in 2018 should support a return of positive inflation, according to Jason Tuvey, an economist at London-based Capital Economics."



'via Blog this'

Oman Oil to close $1 billion PXF loan imminently - source

Oman Oil to close $1 billion PXF loan imminently - source:

"State-owned Oman Oil expects to close imminently, within two months at the latest, a pre-export financing (PXF) loan of around $1 billion, a source close to the matter told Reuters.

The petroleum firm has hired Natixis and Societe Generale to lead the debt transaction, which is being marketed to other lenders. The loan is in the region of $1 billion, but the final size could be larger, the source added.

In PXF loans, which are often used by commodity producers, the borrower raises funds based on confirmed orders for its production. Another Omani government-controlled company, Petroleum Development Oman, raised in June 2016 a $4 billion loan with a similar structure."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Dubai rises after bank earnings, most of region sluggish

MIDEAST STOCKS-Dubai rises after bank earnings, most of region sluggish:

"Dubai's stock market rose on the back of strong bank earnings in early trade on Wednesday while most of the rest of the region was sluggish. The Dubai index, which has been technically bullish since rising earlier this week above resistance on its April peak, climbed 0.5 percent. Emirates NBD, Dubai's largest lender, gained 1.1 percent after it posted a 6 percent rise in second-quarter net profit to 2.02 billion dirhams ($550 million), at the high end of analysts' forecasts; three analysts had on average forecast 1.88 billion dirhams. Trade was very thin as the stock is tightly held."



'via Blog this'

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Fawaz Abdulaziz Al Hokair sinks its teeth into Turkish simit maker - The National

Fawaz Abdulaziz Al Hokair sinks its teeth into Turkish simit maker - The National:

"Saudi Arabia’s Fawaz Abdulaziz Al Hokair Group has bought a 10 per cent stake in a Turkish chain specialising in the bagel-like bread product known as simit, building on three years of cooperation between the companies. The Riyadh-based retailer will help privately-held Simit Sarayi, whose current locations include City Walk in Dubai, open more than 250 shops in the Middle East and North Africa by 2021, bringing the total number of regional outlets to more than 300, the companies said in a joint statement yesterday .  Al Hokair has a master-franchise agreement with Simit Sarayi, which currently operates 408 shops in 21 countries, including Turkey. "



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Biggest MSCI Emerging Hopeful Falters as Saudi Profits Stall - Bloomberg

Biggest MSCI Emerging Hopeful Falters as Saudi Profits Stall - Bloomberg:

"All it took was five trading days.

That was the time EFG-Hermes Holding SAE needed to go from overweight to underweight on Saudi Arabian shares after they were added to MSCI Inc.’s list for potential classification as an emerging market. The reasons: flat company earnings and excessive valuations.

Analysts have been slow to raise profit estimates for the $463 billion exchange -- the biggest among markets seeking emerging status on MSCI indexes -- as the kingdom struggles to diversify its economy away from oil amid low crude prices. While developing nation stocks have posted an 18 percent increase in 12-month forward earnings estimates over the past year, Saudi profit expectations are down 0.4 percent over that period."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Region falls; DAMAC hits Dubai, weak earnings dampen Egypt

MIDEAST STOCKS-Region falls; DAMAC hits Dubai, weak earnings dampen Egypt:

"Middle East stock markets fell on Tuesday as a tumble by real estate developer DAMAC caused Dubai to break a seven-session rising streak and weak corporate earnings helped to pull down Egypt's bourse.

The Egyptian blue chip index, which had closed at a record high on Monday, sank 1.7 percent in rising turnover - a negative technical sign. The broader EGX100 dropped 1.6 percent.

Ezz Steel plunged 10 percent after it reported a quarterly consolidated net loss after tax and minority interests of 521 million Egyptian pounds ($29.2 million), versus a loss of 137 million pounds a year ago."



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Will a tie-up lead to an Emirates-flydubai consolidation? - The National

Will a tie-up lead to an Emirates-flydubai consolidation? - The National:

"In an increasingly turbulent travel industry, existing synergies between Emirates and flydubai have led the two carriers to move closer announcing an “extensive partnership” yesterday that will pave the way for greater network integration and crossover of passengers out of their joint hub at Dubai International Airport.   “This is an exciting and significant development for Emirates, flydubai, and Dubai aviation,” said Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, the chairman and chief executive of Emirates Group and the chairman of flydubai. “Both airlines have grown independently and successfully over the years and this new partnership will unlock the immense value that the complementary models of both companies can bring to consumers, each airline and to Dubai.”"



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Kuwait Finance House studying merger with Ahli United Bank

Kuwait Finance House studying merger with Ahli United Bank:

"Kuwait Finance House (KFH) is looking to merge with Bahrain's Ahli United Bank , Kuwait's biggest Islamic lender said in a statement on Tuesday, confirming an earlier media report. The Gulf's banking sector is consolidation as three years of low oil prices squeeze deposits and push up bad loans. "The merger is currently only under study and there has been no agreement so far, and this would be a positive step if it closed with the right price," KFH Chief Executive Mazin Al-Nahedh was quoted as saying in Kuwait's Arabic language Al-Qabas newspaper."



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Oil Climbs on Report Saudi Arabia Considering More Export Cuts - Bloomberg

Oil Climbs on Report Saudi Arabia Considering More Export Cuts - Bloomberg:

"Oil climbed to the highest level in almost two weeks following a report that Saudi Arabia is considering deeper export curbs.

Futures gained as much as 2 percent in New York. Consultant Petroleum Policy Intelligence said the kingdom is considering additional export curbs of as much as 1 million barrels a day following signs that OPEC’s cutbacks aren’t clearing a global glut. Supplies from OPEC members Libya and Nigeria have recovered, while Iraq’s compliance has faltered and Ecuador announced it can no longer restrain output while its economy suffers."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf narrowly mixed, Saudi Kayan rises on earnings

MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf narrowly mixed, Saudi Kayan rises on earnings:

"Gulf stock markets were mixed in narrow ranges early on Tuesday though petrochemical maker Saudi Kayan rose in response to better-than-expected second-quarter earnings. The Saudi index edged down 0.1 percent in the first half-hour as Saudi Kayan, the most heavily traded stock, rose 2.2 percent. Its second-quarter net profit climbed to 242 million riyals ($64.5 million) from 97.3 million riyals a year ago; analysts had on average predicted 212 million riyals.

Jouf Cement jumped 9.5 percent after shareholders approved a 10 percent capital increase via an issue of bonus shares, to be paid for with the company's retained earnings.

National Co for Glass Industries surged 7.1 percent after reporting a 224 percent leap in quarterly net profit, although operating profit actually fell sharply."



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Monday, 17 July 2017

Qatar Fund Seeks U.S. Deals In Defiance of Gulf Crisis - Bloomberg

Qatar Fund Seeks U.S. Deals In Defiance of Gulf Crisis - Bloomberg:

"Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund is pressing ahead with plans to invest in the U.S. to show that the political crisis with Saudi Arabia and its allies hasn’t impacted its ability to strike global deals, according to four people with knowledge of the matter.

The Qatar Investment Authority is working to identify possible acquisition targets, the people said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the talks are private. Areas of interest include infrastructure and technology, two people said. A spokesman for QIA declined to comment.

While Qatar has earmarked $35 billion for American investments -- and already spent more than 50 percent of that amount -- more deals could help improve ties with the U.S. after President Donald Trump publicly sided with the Saudi alliance. U.S. companies, however, may hesitate to do business with the world’s biggest exporter of liquefied natural gas until the dispute is resolved, said Jason Tuvey, a London-based economist at Capital Economics.

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Tokyo Seeks Return to Glory Days With Piece of Saudi Aramco IPO - Bloomberg

Tokyo Seeks Return to Glory Days With Piece of Saudi Aramco IPO - Bloomberg:

"When members of Saudi Arabia’s royal family visited Japan last September and again in March, the Asian country made sure at least one message got through: Please list Saudi Aramco in Tokyo.

In September, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe delivered the message himself to then Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, while Japan Exchange Group’s chief executive, Akira Kiyota, tried to win King Salman’s approval in March. The conversations never stopped, with Tokyo executives visiting Saudi Arabia in October, December and again in March to explain why Japan would be ideal for the world’s largest oil company to go public.

“It’s going to be one big epic event,” Kiyota said in an interview at the exchange headquarters in Tokyo. “If all goes well, we want other foreign companies to opt for Tokyo as a destination for their initial public offerings.” "



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Dubai rises above chart barrier, ex-dividend bank pulls down Saudi

MIDEAST STOCKS-Dubai rises above chart barrier, ex-dividend bank pulls down Saudi:

"Dubai's stock index rose above technical resistance on Monday, suggesting a long period of underperformance compared with the region and other emerging markets might be ending, while a bank going ex-dividend helped to pull down Saudi Arabia's market.

The Dubai index gained 0.8 percent to 3,602 points, eclipsing its April peak of 3,573 points. The next, strong resistance is at 3,737-9 points, the January and February peaks.

Islamic Arab Insurance, the market's most active stock, climbed 3.4 percent in unusually heavy trade, accounting for about a quarter of all volume. It has been trading near record lows and, with a price below half a dirham, is easily moved by short-term speculators."



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Emirates announces new partnership with low-cost flydubai

Emirates announces new partnership with low-cost flydubai:

"Dubai’s Emirates airline has announced an “extensive partnership” agreement with its sister low-cost airline flydubai, opening up a combined network of 216 destinations, as Gulf carriers adapt to a slowdown in the region. With Gulf airlines facing economic headwinds, the two state-owned carriers said the tie-up would give flydubai customers “seamless connectivity” to Emirates’ worldwide destinations. Emirates said the partnership would be rolled out over the coming months, with the first enhanced code-sharing arrangements launching in the last quarter of this year. The two airlines, which will continue to operate independently, will align systems and operations at their Dubai hub."



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New UK listing rules set to attract state companies beyond Aramco

New UK listing rules set to attract state companies beyond Aramco:

"Proposed changes to Britain's listing regime are likely to attract a series of state-backed companies to London's stock markets as governments in oil rich states prepare for a wave of asset sales. However some investors and corporate governance groups say Britain's move to make its capital markets attractive to state-controlled firms by loosening some of the rules may lower the quality of companies on its stock exchange and leave shareholders with less protection when things go wrong. The UK financial regulator proposed a new "premium" listing category for state-owned companies on Thursday, intended to make the market more attractive for oil giant Saudi Aramco as it plans what is expected to be the world's largest ever initial public offering."



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EFG-Hermes' Al Hajj Says Saudi Stocks Are a Bit Expensive - Bloomberg

EFG-Hermes' Al Hajj Says Saudi Stocks Are a Bit Expensive - Bloomberg:

"Mohamad Al Hajj MENA Equity Strategist at EFG-Hermes, discusses Saudi Arabia's path to MSCI inclusion, Saudi stocks and his investment strategy for Saudi equities. He speaks on "Bloomberg Markets: Middle East." (Source: Bloomberg)"



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Dubai rises above chart barrier in otherwise sluggish region

MIDEAST STOCKS-Dubai rises above chart barrier in otherwise sluggish region:

"Dubai's stock index rose above technical resistance in early trade on Monday while the rest of the region's bourses remained mostly sluggish. The Dubai index gained 0.4 percent in modest trading volume to 3,586 points, eclipsing its April peak of 3,573 points. The next, strong resistance is at 3,737-9 points, the January and February peaks. Islamic Arab Insurance climbed 3.8 percent in unusually heavy trade - it was the market's most active stock, and three of the 10 most active stocks were insurers. DAMAC Properties, which has been surging in the past week, climbed a further 3.0 percent."



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Sunday, 16 July 2017

Swiss investment bank UBS says Saudi Arabian economy is stabilising - The National

Swiss investment bank UBS says Saudi Arabian economy is stabilising - The National:

"The Swiss investment bank UBS said that Saudi Arabia's economy appears to be stabilising ahead of its possible inclusion in the MSCI Emerging Markets stock index even amid volatile oil prices and regional conflicts.  Economists at UBS are predicting that GDP growth for the country's economy will stabilise at about 1 per cent this year and that its currency, which is pegged to the US dollar, will remain unchanged at 3.75 Saudi Arabian riyals over the next 12 months.  “Despite the geopolitical situation, we expect the Kingdom’s economic growth to stabilise and its deficits to shrink,” said Ali Janoudi, head of wealth management for Central & Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa at UBS and vice chairman of UBS Saudi Arabia.   "



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IMF lowers UAE growth forecast for this year and 2018 on low oil prices - The National

IMF lowers UAE growth forecast for this year and 2018 on low oil prices - The National:

"The IMF has lowered its growth forecast for the UAE for this year and 2018, as low oil prices continue to impact the economy.

The fund, however, said over the medium term non-oil growth is forecast to stay around 3 per cent, thanks to higher investment in the lead-up to Expo2020. It also said the introduction of a 5 per cent value added tax (VAT) in January next year will not have a “significant adverse impact on growth".

Overall growth this year is now projected to reach 1.3 per cent, compared to its 1.5 per cent forecast in April due to a slower expansion in the non-oil economy, which will grow 3.3 per cent, compared to 3.8 per cent in its previous forecast. The growth forecast for next year was lowered one percentage point to 3.4 per cent from 4.4 per cent in April, owing to an easing of oil growth to 3.2 per cent, compared with 6.2 per cent in the April forecast.

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