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Thursday, 30 November 2017

Local funds positive on Saudi Arabia after corruption crackdown - The National

Local funds positive on Saudi Arabia after corruption crackdown - The National:

"Middle East fund managers have become more positive towards Saudi Arabian equities after authorities launched a sweeping crackdown on corruption, a monthly Reuters poll showed on Thursday. Forty-six per cent of funds now expect to raise their allocations to the Saudi stock market in the next three months and none to reduce them, according to the poll of 13 leading managers, conducted over the past week.) That is the most bullish bias towards Saudi stocks since July, and compares with ratios of 31 per cent and 8 per cent in last month's poll, just before the purge was announced."



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Offshore Banking Guards Against Tyranny - Bloomberg

Offshore Banking Guards Against Tyranny - Bloomberg:

"Confidential, offshore banking is hardly a popular institution. It’s often seen a stand-in for rampant wealth inequality, secrecy and, in some cases, tax avoidance or evasion, even when the money is placed overseas legally. The Panama Papers and Paradise Papers, both large troves of leaked documents about overseas accounts, were considered scandalous, even though the financial institutions involved are legitimate, and many of the accounts haven’t been connected with legal wrongdoing in any way. Given this background, I’d like to speak up for offshore banking as a significant protection against tyranny and unjust autocracy. It’s not just that many offshore financial institutions, such as hedge funds registered in the Cayman Islands, are entirely legal, but also that the practice of hiding wealth overseas has its upside. Consider recent developments in Saudi Arabia. In a series of remarkable events, the Saudi government has taken many of the kingdom’s wealthiest individuals hostage in Riyadh hotels, including the Ritz-Carlton, and is negotiating with them for their release. According to some reports, the government is asking for up to 70 percent of their wealth, to raise hundreds of billions of dollars. Presumably if they turn the wealth over, they will be given their freedom. On Tuesday, one of the most senior detained royals, Prince Miteb bin Abdullah, was released after agreeing to pay a $1 billion settlement."



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OPEC Agrees to Extend Oil Cuts Until the End of 2018 - Bloomberg

OPEC Agrees to Extend Oil Cuts Until the End of 2018 - Bloomberg:

"OPEC and its partners, including Russia, agreed to extend oil-production cuts to the end of 2018 and included Libya and Nigeria in the deal for the first time, according to delegates gathered in Vienna.

The cooperation of OPEC’s allies enables the deal to be finalized following a day of talks in the Austrian capital.

Libya and Nigeria, previously exempt from cutting production due to internal strife, agreed to a collective cap on their output that exceeds the nations’ current production, according to Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh. That means their inclusion won’t immediately deepen the overall level of supply reduction."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi edges up to chart barrier, Qatar slips before MSCI decision

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi edges up to chart barrier, Qatar slips before MSCI decision:

"Saudi Arabia’s stock market edged up to technical resistance on Thursday while Qatar’s bourse softened, as regional trade was thinned by the closure of markets including the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Egypt for public holidays. The Saudi index added 0.5 percent to 7,004 points, rising for a seventh straight day to test resistance around 7,000 points, which has capped the market since mid-October and roughly coincides with the 200-day average, now at 7,014 points. The market was hurt this month by Saudi Arabia’s massive crackdown on corruption, but in recent days there have been signs the damage is fading, with some detained suspects reaching settlements with the government and the number of frozen bank accounts falling after exceeding 2,000 at one stage."



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Qatar, Oman set up $416m joint venture to assemble buses - The Peninsula Qatar

Qatar, Oman set up $416m joint venture to assemble buses - The Peninsula Qatar:

"The foundation of mega vehicle assembling unit, which is a joint venture of Mowasalat Qatar and Oman Investment Fund (OIF), will be laid today in Al Duqm Special Economic Zone, Oman. It is a $416m joint venture between Mowasalat, Qatar’s public transport company and Oman Investment Fund (OIF). The new vehicle assembling unit will be named Karwa Automotors. The facility will assemble big buses, school buses, cars. According to Lusail newspaper, total investment for the project is $416m with 70% shares of Mowasalat and 30% of Oman Investment Authority. The unit will have capacity to produce 2000 buses per year and create employment opportunity for 500 people directly or indirectly. It will also create benefits for 2000 people employed by related companies or industries like suppliers etc."



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May Vies With Trump for Aramco Listing - Bloomberg

May Vies With Trump for Aramco Listing - Bloomberg:

"U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May said London is “extremely well-placed’’ to win a planned stock exchange listing by Saudi Arabia Oil Co., as she competes against U.S. President Donald Trump for the coveted initial share sale by the world’s largest crude producer. The company, known as Aramco, is mulling an international sale in addition to a listing on the Saudi exchange. Trump earlier this month tweeted his hope that the Saudis would use a U.S. exchange, before lobbying Saudi King Salman personally on a phone call. “I think London is extremely well-placed’’ to secure the listing, May told reporters on the plane when asked how confident she was that London would secure the share sale. That’s “not only for its importance as an international financial center, it’s also technically well-placed in relation to Aramco.’’"



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OPEC and Russia Ready to Extend Oil-Supply Cuts Through 2018 - Bloomberg

OPEC and Russia Ready to Extend Oil-Supply Cuts Through 2018 - Bloomberg:

"OPEC and Russia are ready to extend their oil production cuts until the end of next year to ensure global stockpiles keep falling and prices maintain recent gains.

All OPEC members and Russia, the biggest producer outside the group to join the deal, agree the cuts should last until the end of 2018, according to delegates in Vienna to attend Thursday’s meeting. On Wednesday, a committee charged with overseeing the agreement on behalf of the whole group also recommended extending until the end of next year, two delegates said.

"Everybody’s working toward that nine-month extension,” Nigerian Petroleum Minister Emmanuel Kachikwu said in a Bloomberg television interview."



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Qatar sovereign fund may support Qatar Airways, local projects, CEO says | ZAWYA MENA Edition

Qatar sovereign fund may support Qatar Airways, local projects, CEO says | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), one of the world's largest sovereign funds, may invest in local real estate development Katara and national carrier Qatar Airways as it supports local projects, its chief executive was quoted as saying. "Katara is in the pipeline and Qatar Airways could be the next one," the Gulf Times quoted Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohamed bin Saud al-Thani as saying in a speech late on Wednesday. Katara is a major real estate development in Doha which includes theatres, galleries and restaurants and venues. Qatar's economy has been hit this year by an economic boycott imposed by other Arab states on Doha in June."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi edges up, Qatar soft in early trade | ZAWYA MENA Edition

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi edges up, Qatar soft in early trade | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"Saudi Arabia's stock market edged up in early trade on Thursday while Qatar's bourse softened, as regional trade was thinned by the closure of the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait for public holidays. The Saudi index added 0.2 percent in the first hour as retailer United Electronics gained 2.3 percent after saying it had launched a partnership with online retailer Noon.com to be its exclusive supplier of home and electronic appliances in Saudi Arabia. In Qatar, the index fell 0.6 percent as Qatar Islamic Bank slipped 1.2 percent. But shipper Qatar Navigation, which has been rebounding from an eight-year low hit in mid-November, jumped a further 5.8 percent. "



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Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Moscow drags its feet on oil cuts commitment

Moscow drags its feet on oil cuts commitment:

"The fragile alliance between the world’s two largest crude oil producers faces its first big test, with Saudi Arabia still waiting on a clear commitment from Russia to back an extension of output cuts throughout 2018.

The two oil superpowers, which came together last year to reverse tumbling oil prices, have appeared unable to finalise a deal in the run-up to Opec’s meeting on Thursday, which brings together countries both inside and outside the cartel that together pump over half the world’s crude.

While inching closer, Moscow is dragging its feet over signing up for all of next year, sparking talk that a partnership that has underpinned oil markets for the past year could be under strain."



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Opec must make deeper cuts to oil inventories | Arab News

Opec must make deeper cuts to oil inventories | Arab News:

"Saudi Arabia and other Opec countries should resist any temptation to ramp up production in the wake of a partial recovery in the oil price and instead support deeper cuts to inventories to avoid another “massive” build up of stocks, an influential UK think-tank said on Wednesday, ahead of a crunch meeting of producers in Vienna today. In a report entitled “Opec’s hard choices,” the UK’s Oxford Institute of Energy Studies (OIES) said OPEC “should continue to pursue their current strategy of reducing the level of inventories. The job is not yet done. The faster this objective is achieved (which requires deeper cuts), the better position OPEC will be in.” OIES research fellow James Henderson told Arab News there was a strong argument for Saudi Arabia to test the price on the high side as there was “wide uncertainty” regarding a US shale response in the $60–$70 per barrel price range."



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Investment Corp of Dubai reports steady H1 net profit

Investment Corp of Dubai reports steady H1 net profit:

"Investment Corporation of Dubai’s (ICD) first-half net profit rose 0.3 percent to 10.3 billion dirhams ($2.8 billion), the Dubai government’s main investment arm said on Wednesday.

ICD benefited from higher commodity prices and continued strength in banking and financial services, it said in a statement.

ICD, whose portfolio includes stakes in companies such as Emirates Airline and Emirates NBD, registered a 13.1 percent rise in revenue to 93.2 billion dirhams."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi firm after settlements in corruption probe, Qatar climbs

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi firm after settlements in corruption probe, Qatar climbs:

"Saudi Arabia’s stock market was firm on Wednesday after news that senior prince Miteb bin Abdullah had been freed by authorities after settling corruption allegations against him by paying more than $1 billion. Miteb was the first senior figure confirmed to have been released in the kingdom’s sweeping anti-graft probe, and at least three other suspects have finalised settlement agreements, a Saudi official told Reuters. The news may indicate Saudi authorities can soon wind down parts of the probe, reducing the risk of disruption to the economy. A senior Saudi commercial banker told Reuters that the number of bank accounts frozen in the crackdown, which at one stage was around 2,000, had now fallen by many hundreds."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi edges up after settlements in corruption probe

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi edges up after settlements in corruption probe:

"Saudi Arabia’s stock market edged up in early trade on Wednesday after news that senior prince Miteb bin Abdullah had been freed after reaching a settlement agreement with investigators in the country’s corruption probe by paying more than $1 billion.

Apart from Miteb, the first senior figure confirmed to have been released among about 200 people detained in the probe, at least three other people allegedly involved in corruption cases have finalised settlement agreements, a Saudi official told Reuters.

The news may indicate Saudi authorities can soon wind down parts of the probe, reducing the risk of disruption to the economy through the freezing of bank accounts, and easing the danger that companies linked to detainees could be affected."



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Qatar among 'best developed' ecosystem for Islamic finance

Qatar among 'best developed' ecosystem for Islamic finance:

"Qatar is among the ‘top 10 nations’ in the world with the “best developed ecosystem” for Islamic finance, a report showed and noted that the country’s Islamic market was worth nearly $73bn in 2015. Qatar also figured among the top ‘Muslim consumer travel expenditure market’ and was worth nearly $11.7bn in 2015, according to ‘State of Global Islamic Economy 2016/17’ report produced by Thomson Reuters. The report noted that the “Islamic economy continues to evolve, driven by young Muslims asserting their values, and requiring companies to provide products and services that meet their faith-based needs.”"



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi market may cheer settlements in corruption probe | ZAWYA MENA Edition

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi market may cheer settlements in corruption probe | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"Saudi Arabia's stock market may respond positively on Wednesday to news that senior prince Miteb bin Abdullah has been freed after reaching a settlement agreement with investigators in the country's corruption probe by paying more than $1 billion. Apart from Miteb, the first senior figure confirmed to have been released among about 200 people detained in the probe, at least three other people allegedly involved in corruption cases have finalised settlement agreements, a Saudi official told Reuters. The news may please the market by suggesting that Saudi authorities could soon be able to wind down parts of the probe, reducing the risk of disruption to the economy through the freezing of bank accounts, and reducing the risk that companies linked to detainees could be affected. "



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Powerful Saudi prince released from detention over graft probe

Powerful Saudi prince released from detention over graft probe:

"Prince Miteb bin Abdullah, the former head of the Saudi National Guard and a son of the late king, has been released after more than three weeks in detention over corruption allegations, a person briefed on the investigation said on Tuesday.

The prince was one of more than 200 people, including members of the royal family, senior officials and businessmen, who were detained in an extraordinary anti-corruption crackdown led by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the kingdom’s powerful heir apparent.

Posts on social media by members of the royal family also said that Prince Miteb, considered a contender for the throne when his father King Abdullah was in power until his death in 2015, was no longer in detention. He would be the highest-profile detainee to be released."



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Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Saudi foreign reserves rise in October as budget deficit outlook improves

Saudi foreign reserves rise in October as budget deficit outlook improves:

"The Saudi Arabian central bank’s foreign reserves rose in October for the first time since June, in a sign that higher oil prices and government austerity steps are reducing pressure to draw down the assets, official data showed on Tuesday.

The bank’s net foreign assets rose by $8.3 billion from September to $485.9 billion last month; they shrank by 9.3 percent from a year ago. The reserves peaked at $737 billion in August 2014 before starting to drop as oil prices plunged.

The government has been liquidating the reserves to cover a big budget deficit caused by low oil export receipts, and to build up its top sovereign wealth fund, the Public Investment Fund, which is becoming a key force in developing the economy."



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Violating Saudi bankruptcy laws could invite fines and prison time | ZAWYA MENA Edition

Violating Saudi bankruptcy laws could invite fines and prison time | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"The Shoura Council is set discuss on Wednesday a draft bankruptcy law prepared by the Ministry of Commerce and Investment. The draft law, which includes 231 articles, stipulates that anyone who breaks the law or abuses its measures will be punished by imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years and a fine not exceeding SR5 million ($1.3 million) or one of these penalties. The law also gives the court the right to add other penalties to the violator, including the prohibition of running any profitable establishment, the direct or indirect management of its business, in addition to the sale of violator’s share in the ownership of the enterprise or other rights."



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OPEC to Back 9-Month Extension, Awaits Russia's Commitment - Bloomberg

OPEC to Back 9-Month Extension, Awaits Russia's Commitment - Bloomberg:

"All OPEC members support extending their oil production cuts until the end of 2018, although Russia hasn’t yet committed to the proposal before Thursday’s meeting in Vienna, said people familiar with the matter.

While Russia and the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries have crafted the outline of a deal to continue their curbs for nine months beyond the current end-March expiry, Moscow still has concerns that supporting oil prices above $60 a barrel will help U.S. shale rivals, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private.

This situation underscores the dilemma faced by the 24 oil producers who forged a historic agreement to curb output a year ago. Signs of success are clear -- global fuel stockpiles are draining and crude prices are near two-year highs. Yet ministers gathering in the Austrian capital this week have little idea how U.S. shale producers will respond if they continue to restrain their own output until the end of 2018. Until recently, Russia and OPEC member Kuwait had been insisting the decision on extension should be delayed until early next year, hoping the outlook would be clearer."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Egypt surges as FX control removed, Saudi continues climb

MIDEAST STOCKS-Egypt surges as FX control removed, Saudi continues climb:

"Egypt’s stock market surged on Tuesday after the central bank removed caps on deposits and withdrawals of foreign currency for importers, scrapping one of the last currency controls in place since the Arab Spring uprising in 2011. The blue-chip index registered its biggest daily jump since March as it rose 2.2 percent to a record closing high of 14,537 points, passing its previous peak in mid-November. The central bank’s move reflects a big improvement in foreign currency liquidity after Egypt obtained a $12 billion International Monetary Fund loan and devalued the pound last year."



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Slowing outflows let Qatar wind down bank support operation in Oct-data | ZAWYA MENA Edition

Slowing outflows let Qatar wind down bank support operation in Oct-data | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"Slowing withdrawals of deposits from Qatari banks permitted Qatar's government to stop pumping money into the banks last month to shield them from sanctions imposed by other Arab countries, central bank data showed on Tuesday. Banks and investors from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt began pulling deposits and other funds out of Qatar in June, when those four states cut diplomatic and trade ties with Doha. The deposit outflow initially put the balance sheets of some Qatari banks under pressure, and the government responded by injecting billions of dollars of its own money into accounts at the banks. Much of the money came from the country's sovereign wealth fund, the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA). "



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ADNOC Distribution books are covered on the base deal size- term sheet | ZAWYA MENA Edition

ADNOC Distribution books are covered on the base deal size- term sheet | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"The information came after ADNOC unit on Sunday set an indicative price range for its IPO that could raise as much as $2bln. ADNOC Distribution's books for its initial public offering are covered on the base deal size, according to a term sheet by one of its bookruners seen by Reuters. The information came after Abu Dhabi National Oil Co's (ADNOC) unit on Sunday set an indicative price range for its IPO that could raise as much as $2 billion to become the biggest listing in the United Arab Emirates since 2007. "



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Oil price climbs as Opec meets in Vienna

Blockade on Qatar: Firms to approach international courts - The Peninsula Qatar

Blockade on Qatar: Firms to approach international courts - The Peninsula Qatar:

"With the Saudi-led quartet countries’ unjust blockade on Qatar completing six months in a week’s time, local and international law firms are reviewing large number of cases for damage claims filed by scores of companies and hundreds of individuals, legal experts familiar with such cases, told The Peninsula. The affected parties have filed cases in a number of courts including in Qatar, UAE, Saud Arabia, Switzerland, the UK and the US. Damage compensation claims made by businesses, companies and individuals for all kinds of losses they suffered (or have been suffering) due to the illegal economic and diplomatic siege, are very strong cases, both as per Qatari civil laws as well as international laws, say law experts handling scores of these cases."



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Abraaj buys Tunisie Telecom from Dubai Holding-Tunisian minister

Abraaj buys Tunisie Telecom from Dubai Holding-Tunisian minister:

"Private equity firm Abraaj Group has bought from Dubai Holdings’ telecoms arm its 35 percent stake in state-controlled Tunisie Telecom, a Tunisian minister said on Monday.

In 2006 Dubai Holding’s Emirates International Telecommunications (EIT) bought the stake for $2.25 billion, according to its website. “The UAE’s Abraaj became a new partner in Tunisie Telecom to succeed Dubai Holding which sold its 35 per cent stake,” the Tunisian Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Anwar Maarouf, told parliament.

“The entry of the new partner contributes to the development of the company’s activity,” he said without disclosing the financial details of the deal."



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Bill Gates Calls Detained Saudi Prince Alwaleed an ‘Important Partner’ - Bloomberg

Bill Gates Calls Detained Saudi Prince Alwaleed an ‘Important Partner’ - Bloomberg:

"Bill Gates said that Saudi Arabia’s Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, who was arrested as part of the kingdom’s anti-corruption drive this month, has been an “important partner” in charitable work to improve health conditions around the globe.

“I’m only aware of what I’ve read in the press, and I can’t speculate,” the Microsoft Corp. co-founder said in an emailed statement. “Prince Alwaleed has been an important partner in my foundation’s work to ensure that kids around the world receive life-saving vaccinations. We’ve worked together to help stop the spread of polio, measles, and other preventable diseases. His commitment to philanthropy is inspiring.”

Alwaleed, the billionaire investor whose Kingdom Holding Co. owns stakes in companies such as Citigroup Inc. and Twitter Inc., is among dozens of princes, ministers and senior officials being held on orders from an anti-corruption committee headed by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

"



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Tough OPEC meeting looms amid specter of oil deficit

Tough OPEC meeting looms amid specter of oil deficit:

"OPEC is heading for tougher-than-expected policy talks this week amid concern that its efforts to rebalance the oil market might overshoot by creating a global deficit and spurring a further price rally.

“It will not be an easy meeting and we always look at various scenarios,” United Arab Emirates Energy Minister Suhail bin Mohammed al-Mazroui said on Tuesday in Dubai before leaving for the gathering of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries in Vienna.

OPEC, Russia and nine other producers are cutting oil output by about 1.8 million barrels per day until March 2018, and on Thursday will discuss extending the deal. The market had largely expected OPEC to prolong cuts until the end of 2018 but doubts have emerged in the last few days."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf markets narrowly mixed, Saudi firm early on

MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf markets narrowly mixed, Saudi firm early on:

"Most Gulf stock markets were narrowly mixed in early trade on Tuesday with Saudi Arabia edging up for a fifth straight day as it was boosted by the petrochemical sector.

The Saudi index rose 0.1 percent in the first hour as Chemanol gained 1.2 percent and PetroRabigh added 0.4 percent.

In Qatar, the main index fell 0.3 percent despite a 0.5 percent gain by Qatar National Bank, the region’s largest bank by assets."



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Monday, 27 November 2017

Qatar banks witness double-digit growth in total assets despite siege

Qatar banks witness double-digit growth in total assets despite siege:

"Unperturbed by the economic blockade, Doha's banking industry witnessed a double-digit year-on-year expansion in total assets in October mainly on the back of robust credit off-take and securities portfolio, according to the Qatar Central Bank data.
Total assets of all the commercial banks (all branches inside Qatar) grew by a healthy 10.6% year-on-year to QR1.32tn in October 2017.
Total credit portfolio, which constituted 69% of the banking sector’s overall assets, grew 13% year-on-year to QR912.94bn, mainly on the back of robust loans to the government and industry, the QCB data showed."



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Abu Dhabi Oil Producer May Invest in First Overseas Refineries - Bloomberg

Abu Dhabi Oil Producer May Invest in First Overseas Refineries - Bloomberg:

"Abu Dhabi’s state oil producer may build or buy into refining and petrochemical businesses outside the United Arab Emirates, making its first international investments as it seeks to strengthen ties with customers for its crude. Abu Dhabi National Oil Co. plans capital spending of 400 billion dirhams ($109 billion) over the next five years, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan said Monday on Twitter. Some of that could be channeled into plants abroad, while Adnoc also intends to start producing unconventional gas -- which is drilled from rocks that are hard to access -- by 2030. “Adnoc will expand its portfolio through strategic international downstream investments, and develop Abu Dhabi’s unconventional gas resources,” the Crown Prince tweeted after a meeting of the Supreme Petroleum Council, the emirate’s highest policy-making body for the oil industry."



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LPC-UAE's Drydocks gets 100% support for debt restructuring

LPC-UAE's Drydocks gets 100% support for debt restructuring:

"Creditors to UAE shipbuilder Drydocks, a unit of conglomerate Dubai World, have given unanimous support to a restructuring plan which will see Dubai-based ports operator DP World take control of Drydocks, sources close to the situation said on Monday.

The deal is now set to close in January, one of the sources said.

On September 18, Dubai-based ports operator DP World agreed to take 100% control of Drydocks World in return for a capital injection of US$225m."



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Qatar import growth turns positive as sanctions impact fades

Qatar import growth turns positive as sanctions impact fades:

"Qatar's imports rose from a year
earlier in October for the first time since other Arab states
imposed sanctions on Doha in June, official data showed on
Monday, suggesting damage done to the Qatari economy by the
sanctions is fading.

Monthly imports plunged by as much as 40.0 percent
year-on-year after Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates,
Bahrain and Egypt cut diplomatic and transport ties with Qatar
in June, accusing it of backing terrorism, which Doha denies.

The boycott disrupted Qatar's shipping routes through the
Gulf and blocked imports across its land border with Saudi
Arabia. Much of its perishable food products as well as
construction materials came across that border."



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Oil Slips From Two-Year High as Doubts Over OPEC Meeting Linger - Bloomberg

Oil Slips From Two-Year High as Doubts Over OPEC Meeting Linger - Bloomberg:

"A rising U.S. rig count and continuing uncertainty over OPEC’s strategy to extend supply cuts pushed oil prices lower following a week in which they hit their highest close in more than two years.

Futures slid as much as 2.4 percent in New York after rising 1.6 percent Friday to the most since June 2015. OPEC and Russia, partners in the oil-cuts deal, have crafted the outline of an agreement to extend curbs to the end of next year, according to people involved in the discussions. But doubts remain over the size of the reductions after the current accord expires in March, as well as which exit strategy the group will adopt. Meanwhile, drillers targeting crude in the U.S. added nine rigs last week.

"What we’re seeing is cold feet heading into the OPEC meeting," said Ashley Petersen, lead oil market analyst at Stratas Advisors in New York.

"



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Jordan cement deal helps Saudi shares but region moves little

MIDEAST STOCKS-Jordan cement deal helps Saudi shares but region moves little:

"Saudi Arabia’s stock index edged higher on Monday after Al Jouf Cement and Saudi Industrial Export Co announced an export deal with Jordan, but the region as a whole traded in small ranges, lacking fresh stimulus.

The Saudi index closed 0.1 percent higher at 6,939 points after approaching and failing to break technical resistance around 7,000 points, which has held since mid-October.

Al Jouf rose 3.4 percent and Saudi Industrial Export Co, which has been trading at 13-year lows, jumped 5.1 percent. Saudi Industrial Export said it had signed a sale and marketing contract with Al Jouf to supply 72,000 tonnes of cement annually to Jordan."



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Efforts to hurt Qatar's riyal may backfire on region, central banker says

Efforts to hurt Qatar's riyal may backfire on region, central banker says:

"Some Arab states are trying to destabilize Qatar’s riyal but efforts to drive down its value could backfire by hurting other dollar-linked currencies in the region, a Qatari central banker said. Khalid Alkhater, currently in Britain on leave from the central bank, was commenting on moves by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt to isolate Qatar. Doha’s rivals say it supports terrorism, which it denies. “It’s deliberate economic warfare, a strategy to cause fear or panic among the public and investors to destabilize the economy,” Alkhater told Reuters in a telephone interview, saying he was giving his personal views."



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War of Words Threatens to Upend OPEC Meeting - Bloomberg

War of Words Threatens to Upend OPEC Meeting - Bloomberg:

"OPEC ministers head to Vienna, Austria, this week for the 173rd meeting of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries. Brent crude prices are up almost 20 percent since the last meeting on May 25, 2017, while those for West Texas Intermediate are up around 10 percent. The Nov. 30 gathering is likely to have a different tone than the last two OPEC meetings because global oil demand has strengthened, inventories have tightened, prices are on the rise and trading technicals appear bullish. 

Bullish oil price dynamics should please OPEC members, but like all large gatherings of colleagues at this time of year, some inter-office drama could spoil the party. Geopolitical tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia are the highest in more than a year. This could spill over into the negotiating room, and dash traders’ hopes of additional OPEC and non-OPEC agreements to extend oil production cuts. Without additional an extension of oil production cuts -- or at least without a significant extension -- oil prices could come under some short-term pressure."



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OPEC Battle With U.S. for Oil Supremacy Nears Day of Reckoning - Bloomberg

OPEC Battle With U.S. for Oil Supremacy Nears Day of Reckoning - Bloomberg:

"The clash between OPEC and America’s oil industry is reaching a day of reckoning.

The U.S. shale revolution is on course to be the greatest oil and gas boom in history, turning a nation once at the mercy of foreign imports into a global player. That seismic shift shattered the dominance of Saudi Arabia and the OPEC cartel, forcing them into an alliance with long-time rival Russia to keep a grip on world markets.

So far, it’s worked -- global oil stockpiles are draining and prices are near two-year highs. But as the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and Russia prepare to meet in Vienna this week to extend production cuts, ministers have little idea how U.S. shale production will respond in 2018."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf rises, Saudi gets support from cement sector

MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf rises, Saudi gets support from cement sector:

"Most Gulf stock markets rose in early trade on Monday with Saudi Arabia getting support from Al Jouf Cement and Saudi Industrial Export Co after the companies announced an export deal with Jordan.

The Saudi index climbed 0.6 percent in the first hour as Al Jouf surged 5.0 percent and Saudi Industrial Export Co jumped 6.4 percent in unusually heavy trade.

Saudi Industrial Export said it had signed a sale and marketing contract with Al Jouf to supply 72,000 tonnes of cement annually to Jordan."



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Sunday, 26 November 2017

Zuma in Talks to Sell Stake in Arms Maker to Qatar, Times Says - Bloomberg

Zuma in Talks to Sell Stake in Arms Maker to Qatar, Times Says - Bloomberg:

"South Africa is in talks with Qatar to sell a majority stake in its arms manufacturer Denel SOC Ltd. to the Gulf country, the Sunday Times reported, citing a source it didn’t identify. President Jacob Zuma is also seeking to sell portions of other struggling state-owned enterprises, including power utility Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd. and South African Airways SOC Ltd., the newspaper said. The Department of Public Enterprises, which would need to approve the transaction, did not immediately respond to Bloomberg’s requests for comment. Denel was among state entities bailed out this year to prevent a call on its government-guaranteed debt. This list includes South African Airways, the South African Post Office and the South African Broadcasting Corp. which all may require further intervention, the National Treasury said in its mid-term budget report."



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Aramco Sees Oil Market Balanced as U.A.E. Dismisses Shale Threat - Bloomberg

Aramco Sees Oil Market Balanced as U.A.E. Dismisses Shale Threat - Bloomberg:

"Global crude inventories are declining and supply and demand are in balance, according to the head of Saudi Aramco, while the United Arab Emirates energy minister said U.S. shale oil doesn’t threaten OPEC’s efforts to support the market.

Demand for crude is continuing to rise and oil inventories are returning to the levels of the past five years, Aramco Chief Executive Officer Amin Nasser said Sunday in the eastern Saudi city of Dhahran. “This is helping prices improve,” he said, as the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and allied suppliers prepared to gather this week in Vienna to assess the market.

U.A.E. Energy Minister Suhail Al Mazrouei said he’s optimistic the producers will extend their deal on output cuts when they meet on Nov. 30. Shale oil represents only a fraction of global production and “is not an enemy to OPEC,” he told reporters in Abu Dhabi, referring to the U.S. deposits that contributed to a worldwide glut."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi rises after prince reassures on crackdown, Gulf mostly sluggish

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi rises after prince reassures on crackdown, Gulf mostly sluggish:

"Saudi Arabia’s stock market rose on Sunday after Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman reassured investors about the impact of a crackdown on corruption, while other Gulf bourses were sluggish. The Saudi index added 0.8 percent. Prince Mohammed said in a New York Times interview that about 95 percent of about 200 businessmen and officials implicated in the probe were agreeing to financial settlements of the charges against them - a possible indication the probe, which has unsettled the stock market, could start to wind down. Al Tayyar Travel, whose founder has been detained in the crackdown, rebounded 6.4 percent. After plunging in the initial days after the probe was announced, it has been recovering in the last few days."



'via Blog this'

Adnoc Distribution sets pricing for IPO on Abu Dhabi bourse - The National

Adnoc Distribution sets pricing for IPO on Abu Dhabi bourse - The National:

"Adnoc Distribution, which intends to list on the Abu Dhabi stock market next month, has opened the subscription of its initial public offering (IPO), setting the pricing between Dh2.35 and Dh2.95 per share. At this price range and on a 12.5 billion share count, this equates to approximately $8 to $10 billion in equity value, Adnoc Group chief executive Sultan Al Jaber said in a statement. “The planned IPO of Adnoc Distribution is centered around Adnoc’s recently announced strategy to more actively manage our assets and capital and represents a key milestone in the company’s ongoing transformation,” Mr Al Jaber said. “It will also support the continued evolution of Adnoc Distribution and accelerate growth of the business. Adnoc Distribution has enormous potential and we believe this IPO will help unlock the inherent value in the business. We see multiple areas for growth in the business – new initiatives in fuel retail sales, further expansion and leveraging of our market leading convenience store platform, as well as growing our commercial fuel distribution business and increasing our regional footprint.”"



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Qatar economy resilient in post-blockade period - The Peninsula Qatar

Qatar economy resilient in post-blockade period - The Peninsula Qatar:

"H E Sheikh Abdulla bin Saoud Al Thani, Governor of Qatar Central Bank, has expressed confidence in the strength of Qatar’s economy in an interview with The Euromoney Qatar Conference. The Governor, who will be speaking at the event in December, outlined the key factors that have enabled Qatar to thrive in 2017, even with an uncertain global economy and pressure from a diplomatic and economic blockade by neighbouring states. "



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Qatar economy to 'expand at fastest pace' in GCC in 2017, says QCB governor

Qatar economy to 'expand at fastest pace' in GCC in 2017, says QCB governor:

"Despite low global crude oil prices and a not so conducive economic environment, Qatar’s economy is projected to expand at the fastest pace in the Gulf Cooperation Council region in 2017, said HE the Qatar Central Bank Governor, Sheikh Abdulla bin Saoud al-Thani.
As per the latest International Monetary Fund report, real GDP growth is projected to grow at 3.1% in 2018, up from 2.5% in 2017.
The real GDP growth is expected to pick up on account of recovery in global crude oil prices and their positive spillover effects on both hydrocarbon and non-hydrocarbon GDP, Sheikh Abdulla said in an interview with The Euromoney Qatar Conference."



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Saudi GDP expected to grow 2.3% in 2018, 3.8% in 2019 | ZAWYA MENA Edition

Saudi GDP expected to grow 2.3% in 2018, 3.8% in 2019 | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"Several economies in the Middle East are set for transition in 2018, implementing new policies to tackle economic and financial vulnerabilities, and lay the ground for more diversified growth. "We expect a pickup in economic growth in the coming couple of years, but business should remain aware of risks to recovery," the latest ICAEW Economic Insight report revealed. In Saudi Arabia, a gradual easing in social restrictions should remove constraints to growth. Lebanon’s economy has suffered from a combination of political upheaval and the cost of hosting 1.5 million refugees over recent years. But progress has been made on a number of fronts through 2017, and though challenges remain substantial we do expect a recovery in confidence and activity in the years ahead. "



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UPDATE 1-Iraq plans $2 bln bond issue, Trade Bank of Iraq to establish Saudi branch

UPDATE 1-Iraq plans $2 bln bond issue, Trade Bank of Iraq to establish Saudi branch:

"Iraq is planning a $2 billion sovereign bond issue in 2018, the central bank governor said on Sunday, after the country successfully returned to the international debt market by selling a $1 billion bond in August. “The economy is seeing a recovery with the increase in oil prices and measures of the government on financial consolidation,” Ali Ismail al-Alak told Reuters after the opening of Trade Bank of Iraq’s representative office in Abu Dhabi. On the sovereign bond, he said: “It is in process, awaiting parliament approval. It is to cover the budget deficit.”"



'via Blog this'

Saudi Alhokair Mall IPO Said to Be Derailed as Billionaire Held - Bloomberg

Saudi Alhokair Mall IPO Said to Be Derailed as Billionaire Held - Bloomberg:

"Plans to revive the public share sale of Fawaz Alhokair Group’s mall unit are on hold after the accounts of its billionaire co-founder were frozen in Saudi Arabia’s corruption crackdown, according to people with knowledge of the matter. Fawaz Alhokair, who’s a major shareholder in the group and in fashion retailer Fawaz Abdulaziz Alhokair & Co., is being detained at the Ritz Carlton as part of the investigations, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private. Before the probe, the group had planned to restart work on the IPO of its Arabian Centres mall unit, the people said. “There are many rumors in the market," Fawaz Alhokair’s personal assistant said by email in response to questions on the arrest and the IPO. "Your speculations are false," and "all is well and it is business as usual at our group.""



'via Blog this'

Shale Is Confounding Everybody, But Never Mind - Bloomberg Gadfly

Shale Is Confounding Everybody, But Never Mind - Bloomberg Gadfly:

"If anyone doubted that the U.S. shale industry has completely upended the oil market, just look at how it's complicating OPEC's next meeting.As the group prepares to decide on Nov. 30 whether to extend output cuts to the end of 2018, it has no idea how much competition to expect from shale. Nor does anybody else, for that matter.Forecasting output growth used to be a relatively simple undertaking. Developing oil fields had a lead time of several years and the flow of new oil coming from them was reasonably visible over a 12-month horizon."



'via Blog this'

Abu Dhabi's Adnoc Seeking Up to $2 Billion With Unit IPO - Bloomberg

Abu Dhabi's Adnoc Seeking Up to $2 Billion With Unit IPO - Bloomberg:

"Abu Dhabi National Oil Co. may raise $2 billion from the initial public offering of its fuel-retailing unit in an IPO that could be the biggest in the United Arab Emirates in 10 years.

The crude producer will price the shares of Abu Dhabi National Oil Co. for Distribution PJSC in a range of 2.35 dirhams (64 cents) to 2.95 dirhams, according to an advertisement published in Gulf News. Based on that estimate, the unit is valued at $8 billion to $10 billion.

IPO activity in the U.A.E. is showing signs of picking up after only two deals were completed throughout 2015 and 2016. Emaar Properties PJSC raised $1.3 billion from the sale of shares in its development unit earlier this month, while Mubadala Investment Co. expects to IPO its Emirates Global Aluminium unit next year."



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Saudi rises in early trade, most Gulf markets move little | ZAWYA MENA Edition

Saudi rises in early trade, most Gulf markets move little | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"Saudi Arabia's stock market rose in a broad-based rally early on Sunday with most other major Gulf bourses moving little. The Saudi index  climbed 0.6 percent with all 10 of the most active stocks gaining. Insurer SABB Takaful surged 5.5 percent after Saudi British Bank said it had completed the purchase of all of HSBC's stake in SABB Takaful. Al Tayyar Travel, its founder detained in Saudi Arabia's corruption probe, added 2.9 percent; after plunging in response to the probe, it has been edging back up in the last few days. "



'via Blog this'

Saturday, 25 November 2017

Saudi elite start handing over funds in corruption crackdown

Saudi elite start handing over funds in corruption crackdown:

"Saudi princes and businessmen rounded up in a corruption crackdown have begun handing over funds and assets to pay for their freedom, two people briefed on the process say. Several billions of dollars had already been handed over to the government, one of them said, as Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman seeks to recover at least $100bn through the crackdown. More than 200 people, including some of Saudi Arabia’s richest businessmen, have been detained at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Riyadh since an anti-graft operation was launched this month. The Financial Times revealed that the authorities are negotiating settlements under which the detainees can secure their release if they hand over assets and funds — in some case up to 70 per cent of their holdings."



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Friday, 24 November 2017

KSA’s anti-graft drive is not a shakedown, but a big shake-up | Arab News

KSA’s anti-graft drive is not a shakedown, but a big shake-up | Arab News:

"What are the differences between a “shakedown,” a “plea bargain,” and a “deferred prosecution agreement”?
After consulting several dictionaries and talking to a few lawyers, I came to the conclusion it is largely a question of degree, sophistication and origination, and they are all pretty similar in practice.
A shakedown is US slang for demanding money with menace, and is obviously unacceptable and illegal, with shades of the gangster Al Capone: “Give me the money or I’ll break your arm.”"



'via Blog this'

US tax threat to Gulf airlines may be ‘discriminatory’ | Arab News

US tax threat to Gulf airlines may be ‘discriminatory’ | Arab News:

"A threatened US tax hit on Gulf carriers Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airlines could be deemed as discriminatory if not applied to other airlines serving the US, warned a leading London airlines analyst. Additionally, the move would potentially amount to “a double whammy” as the airlines were already cutting costs to offset some of the toughest trading in years, Tim Coombs, head of UK-based Aviation Economics, told Arab News. A late amendment to the US Senate tax bill would scrap the exemption from tax that Etihad, Emirates and Qatar Airways have enjoyed on income generated from flights to and from the US."



'via Blog this'

Thursday, 23 November 2017

Qatar Says Committed to Official FX Rate After MSCI Proposal - Bloomberg

Qatar Says Committed to Official FX Rate After MSCI Proposal - Bloomberg:

"Qatar’s central bank said it will honor commitments to provide dollars to local and foreign investors at the official exchange rate, describing a proposal by index provider MSCI Inc. to use the offshore rate to value the country’s stocks as unjustified. “There are no restrictions on any banking transactions, including transfers,” the central bank said in an emailed response to questions on Thursday. The offshore rate “is not reflective of the Qatari market fundamentals, and all banks in Qatar execute transactions using the on-shore rate,” it said. MSCI, whose gauges guide the allocation of about $11 trillion in assets, is consulting investors on the proposal after complaints that a boycott of Qatar by four Arab countries was making access to the official exchange rate difficult. The central bank said it “has sufficient foreign reserves that can cover all investors’ requirements.”"



'via Blog this'

Saudi to allow smaller foreign funds into stock market, ease other rules

Saudi to allow smaller foreign funds into stock market, ease other rules:

"Saudi Arabia will ease requirements for foreign institutional investors in its stock market, the securities regulator said on Thursday, as Riyadh seeks to draw more capital into the market before the listing of state oil giant Saudi Aramco. The Capital Market Authority opened the bourse to direct investment by qualified foreign institutions in 2015. It reduced minimum requirements for the institutions last year and is now proposing a fresh round of reforms, giving the public 14 days to comment on the proposals. Among the reforms, the minimum value of assets under management needed for an institution to qualify as an investor would fall to 1.875 billion riyals ($500 million) from 3.75 billion riyals."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Region rises as IPO plan boosts Egypt, Emaar Properties up in Dubai

MIDEAST STOCKS-Region rises as IPO plan boosts Egypt, Emaar Properties up in Dubai:

"Almost all Middle East stock markets rose on Thursday as a plan for an initial public offering (IPO) boosted Egypt while blue-chip Emaar Properties continued to recover in Dubai.

Ibn Sina Pharmaceutical Industry, one of Egypt’s largest drug distributors, plans to raise as much as 1.6 billion Egyptian pounds ($90.7 million) by offering nearly 40 percent of its shares in December, an official at underwriter Beltone Financial said. The regulator has approved the company’s prospectus, the official said.

The offer is expected to kick off a series of about half a dozen Egyptian IPOs by the end of next year, which could increase trading volumes and attract foreign investment."



'via Blog this'

Update: Senior UAE banker calls for VAT to be postponed | ZAWYA MENA Edition

Update: Senior UAE banker calls for VAT to be postponed | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"Financial institutions in the UAE are not yet ready for the implementation of value-added tax, which is set to come into effect within weeks, a senior UAE banker said. “We call to postpone implementing the VAT to give time to all the sectors to implement it correctly, whether in banking, insurance, or other sectors,” AbdulAziz Al Ghurair, Chairman of the UAE Banks Federation told reporters on the sidelines of a banking event held in Abu Dhabi. “Neither banks, nor insurance companies are ready,” he added speaking in Arabic. “We need at least six months from the time we receive all the detailed implementing regulations to be ready, along with details for each sector, and how to calculate the tax for each product,” he added."



'via Blog this'

Qatar will remain world’s top clean energy producer - The Peninsula Qatar

Qatar will remain world’s top clean energy producer - The Peninsula Qatar:

"Minister of Energy and Industry, H E Dr Mohammed bin Saleh Al Sada said yesterday that natural gas was the ideal solution to the climate change issue, resulting from the race to meet rising economic standards of living and industrial need of the growing population of this planet. Dr Al Sada was speaking at the First International Gas Seminar of GECF, on the sidelines of the 4th GECF Summit, that will be held tomorrow in Santa Cruz, Bolivia. Addressing the Seminar, held under the theme: “Natural Gas: The Fuel of Choice for Sustainable Development”, Dr Al Sada said that industrial processes and emissions from fossil fuel combustion has created numerous environmental problems, such as greenhouse gas emissions; air pollution, and other harmful gases. The Minister said that using natural gas, unlike other fossil fuels, would be beneficial to the environment. “Natural gas emits virtually no Sulphur oxides, and up to 80 percent less nitrogen oxides than combustion of coal”, he explained."



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Abu Dhabi's TAQA looks at loans as government did not approve bond issue -sources | ZAWYA MENA Edition

Abu Dhabi's TAQA looks at loans as government did not approve bond issue -sources | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"Abu Dhabi National Energy Co is talking to banks to obtain loan facilities of up to $1.3 billion which would refinance maturing debt after the Abu Dhabi government declined to approve a planned bond sale in October, sources close to the matter said. TAQA, a state-controlled oil explorer and power supplier, had planned to issue an international bond to refinance an outstanding $500 million bond that was due in October, a company official said in August. But the refinancing did not go ahead and the company instead used an existing revolving debt facility to pay down that bond. Abu Dhabi's debt management office (DMO) did not approve TAQA's planned new bond issue because other government-related entities "whose need for issuance is greater" intended to issue bonds this year, said one source directly involved the matter. "



'via Blog this'

OPEC chatroom dead as Qatar crisis hurts Gulf oil cooperation

OPEC chatroom dead as Qatar crisis hurts Gulf oil cooperation:

"OPEC’s most powerful internal alliance, bringing together the oil producer group’s Gulf members, is disintegrating fast.

As a six-month-old spat between Saudi Arabia and Qatar deepens, the organization’s Gulf ministers will have to scrap their tradition of meeting behind closed doors to agree policy before OPEC holds its twice-yearly talks, OPEC sources say.

“We used to have a WhatsApp group for all ministers and delegates from the Gulf. It used to be a very busy chatroom. Now it’s dead,” said a senior source in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries."



'via Blog this'

Biggest Dubai IPO in 3 Years Has Worst Trading Debut Since 2014 - Bloomberg

Biggest Dubai IPO in 3 Years Has Worst Trading Debut Since 2014 - Bloomberg:

"Geopolitical risk in the Middle East took a toll on the debut of a stock linked to one of the strongest brands investors can find in the United Arab Emirates market. 



Emaar Development PJSC, the U.A.E. real estate developer that began trading in Dubai on Wednesday, fell 4.3 percent. That was the worst debut trading day since 2014 among the 10 biggest initial public offerings in the Middle East and Africa over that time span, Bloomberg data show. The company is the local development arm of Emaar Properties PJSC, a company that’s 30 percent owned by the government of Dubai and the developer of the world’s tallest skyscraper."



'via Blog this'

Oil Sets Itself Up for Fall If OPEC Can't Deliver Cuts Extension - Bloomberg

Oil Sets Itself Up for Fall If OPEC Can't Deliver Cuts Extension - Bloomberg:

"Oil traders and analysts almost unanimously expect OPEC and Russia to prolong their production cuts next week. However, behind the scenes Saudi Arabia and Russia are still debating what course to follow. These high expectations, coupled with a recent surge in bullish bets on crude, amplify the risk to prices if the group can’t convince a hesitant Russia that it’s necessary to agree an extension right away. “Anything but an extension supported by Russia would have a significant impact on the price,” said Ole Hansen, head of commodity strategy at Saxo Bank A/S. “Not least due to the near record-long oil bet, which has left little room for error in terms of the communication from the OPEC ministers.”"



'via Blog this'

MIDEAST STOCKS-Markets firm in early trade, Emaar continues rebound in Dubai

MIDEAST STOCKS-Markets firm in early trade, Emaar continues rebound in Dubai:

"Gulf stock markets generally firmed in early trade on Thursday with Emaar Properties continuing to rebound in Dubai from losses suffered in the run-up to its local development unit’s listing.

Dubai’s index climbed 0.8 percent as Emaar Properties added 1.3 percent to 7.90 dirhams, extending a recovery from technical support at 7.60 dirhams.

The stock slid ahead of Wednesday’s listing of Emaar Development because of fears that the debut could go badly."



'via Blog this'

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

UAE banks top GCC peers with $720bln in assets | ZAWYA MENA Edition

UAE banks top GCC peers with $720bln in assets | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"The asset value of 48 banks operating in the UAE amounted to around Dh2.3 trillion (US$720 billion) by the end of September, according to UAE Central Bank statistics. This proves that the UAE banking system's solvency profile is not only the best among the GCC States only but also across the entire region, reported Emirates news agency Wam, citing estimates by leading international financial organisations. The Saudi Banking system came second with an asset value of $609 billion by the end of Q3 - $2 billion less than its June equivalent of $611 billion. The net asset value hit $209 billion in Kuwait, and $189 billion in Bahrain."



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Dubai theme parks a real rollercoaster for investors | ZAWYA MENA Edition

Dubai theme parks a real rollercoaster for investors | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"DXB Entertainments has experienced a tough 12 months since opening the doors to the first phase of Dubai Parks and Resorts last year. The full scale of the challenge it faces was laid clear last week as it reported its third quarter results to September 30. In initial financial projections released in December last year, DXB Entertainments was forecasting full-year revenue of almost 2.447 billion UAE dirhams ($666.2 million) for 2017, based on 6.7 million park visitors and revenue spend of 304 UAE dirhams per head. Although it still has one quarter to go, the firm would require rollercoaster-level proportions to hit these targets."



'via Blog this'

Qatar row moves to WTO litigation phase, dismaying many

Qatar row moves to WTO litigation phase, dismaying many:

"Qatar took the final step on Wednesday to start litigation at the World Trade Organization in its row with the United Arab Emirates, but no other WTO members spoke up in support of the move, which many trade experts see as a dangerous precedent.

The UAE was one of four countries - along with Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt - that cut ties with Qatar, a major gas supplier and site of the biggest U.S. military base in the Middle East, on June 5. They accused Qatar of financing militant groups in Syria and allying with Iran, their regional foe.

Qatar denied the allegations and opened WTO dispute proceedings against the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. It pressed its case against the UAE alone, and last month it asked the WTO to set up an adjudication panel [nL8N1MN6EE]."



'via Blog this'

Saudi Graft Suspects Are Starting to Make Payments for Freedom - Bloomberg

Saudi Graft Suspects Are Starting to Make Payments for Freedom - Bloomberg:

"Saudi suspects being held as part of the kingdom’s crackdown on alleged corruption are starting to make payments to settle cases in exchange for freedom, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

Some businessmen and officials being detained at the Ritz-Carlton are signing agreements with authorities to transfer a portion of their assets to avoid trial, the people said, asking not to be identified because the discussions are private. Some detainees have started to transfer funds from personal accounts to government-controlled accounts, the people said.

The payments, less than a month since the detentions, show the speed at which Saudi Arabia wants to settle the corruption probe that involved the sudden arrests of royals and billionaires such as Prince Alwaleed bin Talal this month. The purge -- while welcomed by some in Saudi Arabia -- has also stirred political uncertainty in the kingdom at a time when Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is seeking to attract international investment."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Region up as oil gains, Emaar Development slumps on debut

MIDEAST STOCKS-Region up as oil gains, Emaar Development slumps on debut:

"Gulf stock markets mostly rebounded from several days of weakness on Wednesday, encouraged by strong oil prices, though Emaar Development sank on its debut after Dubai’s first big initial public offering since 2014.

Emaar Development, the local property development unit of Emaar Properties, closed at 5.77 dirhams, down from its IPO price of 6.03 dirhams, which represented its net asset value according to an estimate by consultants JLL.

The weak debut underlined two factors weighing heavily on Dubai. Its real estate market has been slumping for over two years as low oil prices cause governments around the region to cut spending and impose new taxes, slowing economic growth."



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UAE's Bank of Sharjah and Invest Bank in merger talks- sources | ZAWYA MENA Edition

UAE's Bank of Sharjah and Invest Bank in merger talks- sources | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"Bank of Sharjah and Invest Bank are in merger talks that could create an institution with about 50.6 billion dirhams ($13.8 billion) of assets, sources familiar with the matter told Reuters. In the latest latest sign of consolidation in the United Arab Emirates' crowded banking industry, the two lenders have held on-and-off discussions over a potential merger since last year, the sources said. One of the sources added that the tie-up between two of the UAE's smallest banks was being driven by authorities in the emirate of Sharjah, where the lenders are based. "



'via Blog this'

Lebanon tension spurs questions over Middle East currency pegs

Lebanon tension spurs questions over Middle East currency pegs:

"The rumbling crisis in Lebanon has raised questions about the country’s currency peg — the bedrock of its relative financial and economic stability — and prompted a sterner examination of other fixed foreign exchange regimes across the region. The Lebanese pound came under pressure this month with the shock resignation of Saad al-Hariri, the prime minister, on a visit to Riyadh. Behind his departure, many observers concluded, was the escalating rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Iran. Such tensions have fuelled the war in Yemen and were behind the blockade imposed on Qatar, one of the six members of the Gulf Cooperation Council, by Saudi Arabia and the rest of the GCC. If fractures in the GCC deepen, say analysts, the resiliency of their currency pegs will be questioned."



'via Blog this'

Iran to explore Qatar capital market - The Peninsula Qatar

Iran to explore Qatar capital market - The Peninsula Qatar:

"Iran’s stock exchange is seeking opportunities to tap Qatar’s capital market. A top official of Iran Fara Bourse (IFB) disclosed on Monday that the bourse is looking for dual listing of selected fixed income products on QSE. Some of the companies listed on IFB are also exploring opportunities for dual listings. Iran Fara Bourse, also known as Farabourse, is an over-the-counter market for securities and other fixed income products in Tehran, Iran, which operates under official supervision of Securities and Exchange Organisation (SEO). As of now, two bourses are operating in Iran. With over 300 listed companies and an estimated $170bn market cap, Tehran Stock Exchange is Iran’s largest stock exchange. IFB is mainly a market for financial ‎instruments including equities, sukuk, certificate of deposit (CD), Housing Mortgage ‎Right (HMR), Exchange Traded Fund (ETF), Exchange Traded Project Fund (ETPF) and ‎Intellectual Property (IP).‎"



'via Blog this'

Emaar Development shares drop sharply on first day  - The National

Emaar Development shares drop sharply on first day  - The National:

"Shares in Emaar Development, which this month raised Dh4.8 billion in Dubai's third largest IPO ever, traded sharply lower in their opening morning on the Dubai stock exchange, the first significant share debut on the stock market since late 2014. The real-estate development arm of Emaar Properties saw it shares fall over seven per cent at the open on Wednesday, before recovering ground to trade around 3.5 per cent lower after an hour. Emaar Development last week priced its sale of 800 million shares – representing a 20 per cent stake in the company - at Dh6.03 per share, raising Dh4.8 billion in the largest IPO at the lower end of the original pricing guidance of Dh5.7-6.9 per share announced in early November, which was subsequently revised to Dh6.03-6.70 per share."



'via Blog this'

UAE central bank: request on Saudi accounts was just information-gathering

UAE central bank: request on Saudi accounts was just information-gathering:

"A request by the United Arab Emirates central bank for local banks and finance companies to provide details of the accounts of 19 Saudi Arabian citizens was just an information-gathering exercise, the central bank governor told reporters on Wednesday.

The request earlier this month followed a sweeping corruption investigation in Saudi Arabia that involved the detention of dozens of businessmen and officials.

Asked about the request, Mubarak Rashed al-Mansouri said it was “just information-gathering, nothing more”. Commercial bankers have expressed concern that it could be a prelude to freezing the accounts. "



'via Blog this'

Dubai-based lender Mashreq in Qatar for long haul -CEO

Dubai-based lender Mashreq in Qatar for long haul -CEO:

"Dubai-based bank Mashreq is in Qatar for the long haul, chief executive Abdulaziz al-Ghurair told reporters on Wednesday. He was speaking as a regional political dispute rages on between Qatar on the one hand and the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt. Diplomatic and transport links between the UAE and Qatar have been cut, and many UAE portfolio investors and depositors have pulled their money out of Doha. Mashreq was the first UAE lender to open an office in Qatar under its previous name, Bank of Oman. "



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Qatar's Ooredoo Is Said to Plan Rival Bid for Turk Telekom Owner - Bloomberg

Qatar's Ooredoo Is Said to Plan Rival Bid for Turk Telekom Owner - Bloomberg:

"Qatari phone carrier Ooredoo QSC decided to bid for the insolvent owner of Turkey’s biggest telecommunications company to rival an offer from Saudi Telecom Co., three people with knowledge of the matter said. Ooredoo will seek to acquire Ojer Telekomunikasyon AS, or Otas, a special purpose vehicle that owns 55 percent of Turk Telekomunikasyon AS, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the matter is private. The Saudi proposal remains on the table, they said. A purchase by Ooredoo would extend the Doha-based company’s record of expanding to serve about 150 million customers from Algeria to Myanmar, largely through acquisitions. The plan by Saudi Telecom, which owns 35 percent of Otas’s parent, Oger Telecom, involves buying the company via a $750 million cash injection and committing to restructure a further $4 billion of debt."



'via Blog this'

MSCI may use offshore FX rates for Qatar stocks as sanctions hurt riyal access | ZAWYA MENA Edition

MSCI may use offshore FX rates for Qatar stocks as sanctions hurt riyal access | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"International equity index compiler MSCI may shift to using offshore foreign exchange rates to value Qatar's equities market because sanctions against Doha have made it more difficult for foreign investors to obtain riyal onshore, MSCI said. If it goes ahead, the shift could lead to changes in the weighting of Qatari stocks in MSCI's emerging market index, which is used as a benchmark by funds managing around $1.6 trillion of assets. Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt cut diplomatic and transport ties with Qatar in June. As a result many Gulf and other foreign banks reduced their business with Qatari banks, distorting the foreign exchange market, where onshore and offshore rates have diverged. "



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Most of Gulf firm though Emaar Development slides on listing | ZAWYA MENA Edition

MIDEAST STOCKS-Most of Gulf firm though Emaar Development slides on listing | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"Most major Gulf stock markets edged up in early trade on Wednesday, including Dubai, although Emaar Development dropped as it began trading after Dubai's first big initial public offer of shares since 2014.

Emaar Development, the local property development unit of Emaar Properties, was at 5.85 dirhams after 80 minutes, down from its IPO price of 6.03 dirhams; 209 million shares traded, compared to 800 million sold in the IPO. The stock opened at 5.61 dirhams.

The weak debut underlined two factors weighing heavily on Dubai. Its real estate market has been slumping for over two years as low oil prices cause governments around the region to cut spending and impose new taxes, slowing economic growth.
"



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Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Ratings boost for Saudi reform program | Arab News

Ratings boost for Saudi reform program | Arab News:

"Political reforms in Saudi Arabia have potentially lifted the country’s appeal to investors, as well as widening opportunities for Saudi citizens, according to a report out today from New York-based credit ratings agency Standard & Poor’s. With that in mind, the agency said its ratings on KSA debt were unchanged at ‘A-/A-2’ , and the outlook remained ‘stable’. The stable outlook was based on S&P’s expectation that the Saudi authorities would continue to take steps to consolidate public finances and maintain government liquid assets close to 100 percent of GDP over the next two years."



'via Blog this'

Qatar stock exchange CEO says shock of sanctions has passed | ZAWYA MENA Edition

Qatar stock exchange CEO says shock of sanctions has passed | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"The Qatar Stock Exchange has passed the shock of the boycott imposed on Doha by other Arab states and is now operating normally, the exchange's chief executive Rashid Ali al-Mansoori said on Tuesday. Over 100 new foreign funds have begun investing in Qatar since the boycott was imposed in early June, Mansoori said in a speech, without naming any of the funds. He also said the exchange was in talks with Arab and Asian countries, which he did not name, to arrange dual listings of foreign stocks in Qatar. Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt cut diplomatic and transport ties with Doha on June 5, and portfolio investors and depositors from the four countries began pulling money out of Qatar. "



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Markets stay weak, ADNOC plans boost Abu Dhabi

MIDEAST STOCKS-Markets stay weak, ADNOC plans boost Abu Dhabi:

"Most Middle East stock markets fell on Tuesday, weighed down by geopolitical worries, but Abu Dhabi was boosted by government plans to privatise parts of Abu Dhabi National Oil Co (ADNOC). Saudi Arabia’s stock index fell 0.4 percent on the back of weak banks and cement shares. National Commercial Bank , the largest lender, lost 1.8 percent while Riyad Bank fell 1.2 percent. Northern Cement lost 1.1 percent. Food maker Savola dropped 2.3 percent to 35.65 riyals after Morgan Stanley cut its target price for the stock to 44 riyals from 50.6 riyals."



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Qatar Insurance renews Abu Dhabi licence, two months after saying it would close branch | ZAWYA MENA Edition

Qatar Insurance renews Abu Dhabi licence, two months after saying it would close branch | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"Qatar Insurance said on Tuesday that it had renewed the business licence for the company's branch in Abu Dhabi, more than two months after saying it would close because of a regional political row.

The branch will continue to conduct normal activities, Qatar Insurance said in a bourse statement.

The move is an apparent turnaround from September when the company said it was not able to renew its business licence in the United Arab Emirates capital because of the current political situation in the region. "



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Saudi Wealth Fund Is Said to Take Over Struggling Financial Hub - Bloomberg

Saudi Wealth Fund Is Said to Take Over Struggling Financial Hub - Bloomberg:

"Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund finalized a deal to take ownership of Riyadh’s $10 billion unfinished financial hub as the government attempts to revive the project, according to people familiar with the matter. The Public Investment Fund is taking control of the King Abdullah Financial District from the Public Pension Agency, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private. Details of the deal aren’t clear, they said. The fund will appoint Hilmi Ghosheh as the head of the hub that has been plagued by delays and cost overruns, the people said. Ghosheh is currently advising the PIF’s Managing Director Yasir Al-Rumayyan on real estate projects, according to his LinkedIn profile."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi falls in early trade, Emaar still sliding in Dubai

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi falls in early trade, Emaar still sliding in Dubai:

"Saudi Arabia’s stock index fell 0.3 percent in early trade on Tuesday while blue chip Emaar Properties continued sliding in Dubai. National Commercial Bank, Saudi Arabia’s largest lender, lost 0.7 percent and food maker Savola dropped 1.9 percent to 35.80 riyals after Morgan Stanley cut its target price for the stock to 44 riyals from 50.6 riyals. In Dubai, the index fell 0.5 percent as Emaar Properties declined a further 1.7 percent. It has been sliding since late last week, when it priced the initial public offer of its local real estate development unit in the lower half of an indicative range."



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Monday, 20 November 2017

S&P affirms Saudi Arabia credit ratings | GulfNews.com

S&P affirms Saudi Arabia credit ratings | GulfNews.com:

"S&P Global Ratings on Monday affirmed Saudi Arabia’s credit ratings, saying the kingdom’s sweeping reforms could make it attractive to investors in the medium term despite underlying risks.

The agency maintained its “A-/A-2” ratings on Saudi Arabia and said its outlook was stable, citing expectations the government would take steps to consolidate public finances in the next two years.
“Recent shifts in Saudi Arabia’s political power structures and societal norms, alongside various regional stresses, could increase the risk of policy mistakes that could result in increased domestic and geopolitical tensions,” S&P said."



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Exclusive: Saudi prince detention holds up loan to investment firm - sources

Exclusive: Saudi prince detention holds up loan to investment firm - sources:

"Kingdom Holding’s plan to borrow money to fund new investments has stalled because owner Prince Alwaleed bin Talal has been detained in Saudi Arabia’s anti-corruption crackdown, according to four banking sources familiar with the matter. Kingdom 4280.SE had approached banks to obtain the loan, but the financing plan has been held up because the lenders are worried about potential repercussions if they lend to the prince’s company, the sources said.

One of the sources, who was approached for the loan, said it would have been worth roughly 5 billion riyals ($1.3 billion). "



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Saudi Billionaires Look for Ways to Protect Assets From Any Government Purge - Bloomberg

Saudi Billionaires Look for Ways to Protect Assets From Any Government Purge - Bloomberg:

"Wealthy Saudis are seeking to restructure their businesses to ring fence assets in case authorities widen their declared crackdown on corruption, according to three people with knowledge of the matter. Several family groups and businessmen who aren’t implicated in the purge are talking to local banks and international law firms about how to structure their companies to make it harder for the kingdom to confiscate or seize assets, the people said, asking not to be identified because the discussions are private. One option could be to split assets between more than one holding company, one of the people said, though it’s not clear how successful these plans could be because the government is closely scrutinizing business activity in the kingdom as part of the crackdown, he said."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Geopolitics weigh on markets, Abu Dhabi firm on ADNOC IPO plan

MIDEAST STOCKS-Geopolitics weigh on markets, Abu Dhabi firm on ADNOC IPO plan:

"Most stock markets in the Middle East fell again on Monday, dampened by geopolitics, although Abu Dhabi was supported by plans for an initial public offer of shares by the distribution unit of Abu Dhabi National Oil Co (ADNOC).

Regional tensions have risen in recent weeks between Sunni Muslim monarchy Saudi Arabia and Shi‘ite Islamist Iran over Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri’s surprise resignation, and an escalation in Yemen’s conflict.

The Saudi and other Arab foreign ministers called at an emergency meeting in Cairo on Sunday for a united front to counter Iranian interference."



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Saudi Arabia’s crown prince could turn to Credit Suisse next

Saudi Arabia’s crown prince could turn to Credit Suisse next:

"For those who had not been paying attention to the rise of Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, his recent dramatic detention of fellow princes and other senior figures over corruption allegations came out of the blue.

But amid some pretty tough competition for the world’s attention — a quasi-coup in Zimbabwe, more Brexit tumult — he has kept up the momentum ever since. On Thursday it emerged that the Saudi authorities were seeking vast sums — up to $300bn — in exchange for dropping charges relating to the alleged $100bn corruption racket.

It is against that background that two people close to the situation confirm the existence of deepening but secret talks between the Saudi government and the Swiss banking sector. Precise information about the whys and wherefores is scant. But there are several plausible reasons for the contact."



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Investor relations a critical skill in KSA’s great transformation | Arab News

Investor relations a critical skill in KSA’s great transformation | Arab News:

"Tadawul, the Riyadh stock exchange, is holding a workshop later this week on the issue of crisis management and its impact on shareholder value. The session — organized in conjunction with the Middle East Investor Relations Association (MEIRA) Saudi chapter, and in which all listed companies are invited to participate — could not be better timed.  The huge changes underway in the Kingdom do not necessarily bring crisis, but in any great transformation there will come moments of critical vulnerability where share prices can react with extreme volatility. Shareholders — and the professional advisers who are expert on such things — have to know how to react in times of value fluctuation."



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Foreign selling of Saudi stocks slows in latest week- exchange | ZAWYA MENA Edition

Foreign selling of Saudi stocks slows in latest week- exchange | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"Selling of Saudi Arabian equities by foreign investors eased last week after increasing sharply early this month in response to the kingdom's sweeping crackdown on corruption, exchange data released on Monday showed.

Immediately after the purge was announced, foreign investors were heavy net sellers of Saudi stocks. In the week to Nov. 9, they sold 2.00 billion riyals ($533 million) and bought 917 million riyals.

In the latest week to Nov. 16, they remained net sellers but by a much smaller margin, of 748 million riyals to 439 million riyals. "



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Oil Short-Sellers Return as Doubts Loom on OPEC's Horizon - Bloomberg

Oil Short-Sellers Return as Doubts Loom on OPEC's Horizon - Bloomberg:

"Short-selling is rearing its head in the oil market again.

After bullish bets on Brent crude hit a record and futures surged to two-year highs, hedge funds are pulling back with a sense that the rally reached its limit for now. Wagers on lower prices rose by the most since June as Middle East tensions took a backseat, while uncertainty looms over Saudi Arabia’s push to extend OPEC’s output curbs this month.

"We’re at levels where the market appears to have crested," said Gene McGillian, a market research manager at Tradition Energy in Stamford, Connecticut. "Continuing to see supply draw-downs is probably what the next leg of the rally will be predicated on.""



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