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Sunday, 29 January 2017

Saudi Aramco Said to Weigh Up to $5 Billion Renewable Deals - Bloomberg

Saudi Aramco Said to Weigh Up to $5 Billion Renewable Deals - Bloomberg:

"Saudi Aramco, the world’s largest oil company, is considering as much as $5 billion of investments in renewable energy firms as part of plans to diversify from crude production, according to people with knowledge of the matter. Banks including HSBC Holdings Plc, JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Credit Suisse Group AG have been invited to pitch for a role helping Aramco identify potential acquisition targets and advising on deals, the people said, asking not to be identified as the information is private. The energy company is seeking to bring foreign expertise in renewable energy into the kingdom, the people said, adding that first investments under the plan could occur this year. Saudi Arabia is planning to produce 10 gigawatts of power from renewable energy sources including solar, wind and nuclear by 2023 and transform Aramco into a diversified energy company. The kingdom also plans to develop a renewable energy research and manufacturing industry as part of an economic transformation plan announced by Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in April."



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Kuwait Extends World-Topping Rally as Traders Dismiss U.S. Ban - Bloomberg

Kuwait Extends World-Topping Rally as Traders Dismiss U.S. Ban - Bloomberg:

"Kuwait stocks, the world’s best performers this year, extended a rally to an 18th day, the longest winning streak in over a decade, as the country moved a step closer to a debut sale of dollar bonds. Gulf markets didn’t react to a U.S. travel ban on seven mainly Muslim countries.

The Kuwait Stock Exchange Index advanced 1.3 percent to 6,943.24 on Sunday, the highest level since November 2014. The Bahrain Bourse All Share Index finished at the highest level since 2015 and Oman’s MSM30 Index added 0.2 percent. Kuwait picked six banks to advise on its first international debt sale as the OPEC member shores up public finances after the slump in oil prices.

Last week’s selection of bond sale managers “is probably having the biggest impact in helping continue the market’s rally, in addition to the positive outlook of National Bank of Kuwait,” said Hasnain Malik, the Dubai-based head of equity research at Exotix Partners LLP. National Bank, the nation’s biggest lender, last week reported 2016 profit that beat estimates.

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Saudi money supply growth picks up as economy strengthens | Reuters

Saudi money supply growth picks up as economy strengthens | Reuters:

"Saudi Arabian money supply growth picked up in December in a sign that the economy is regaining strength after a slump last year caused by low oil prices and government austerity measures, central bank data showed on Sunday. Annual growth in M3 money supply, the broadest money supply measure, rose to 0.7 percent in December, its highest level since January 2016, from 0.1 percent in November. Growth in other forms of money supply accelerated by similar margins. A $17.5 billion international bond sale by the government in October eased pressure on its finances and encouraged authorities to start settling tens of billions of dollars in unpaid state debts to the private sector."



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UAE credit demand eased slightly but seems to have stabilised -c.bank | Reuters

UAE credit demand eased slightly but seems to have stabilised -c.bank | Reuters:

"Total demand for business and personal loans in the United Arab Emirates eased slightly in the October-December quarter but demand now seems to have stabilised, reflecting higher oil prices, 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 minus 1.3 in the last quarter, against minus 2.3 for the September quarter.

For the current quarter, respondents expected the net balance measure to rise to plus 20. This suggests a downward trend in overall credit demand since the first quarter of 2016 has ended, the central bank said."



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Market permitting, Dubai Investments plans IPOs in 6-9 months -CEO | Reuters

Market permitting, Dubai Investments plans IPOs in 6-9 months -CEO | Reuters:

"Dubai Investments, a diversified Dubai-based investment group, will press ahead with floating shares in subsidiary companies if a market rally extends over the next six to nine months, its chief executive said on Sunday.

Top of the list of candidates for an initial public offering was Emicool, a company that provides cooling systems for buildings by delivering chilled water through pipes. Its IPO has been mooted for several years.

"The market has started improving," Khalid Bin Kalban told reporters. "We need to see what momentum the market has and how the market is going to trend, and need six to nine months to gauge it. If it continues for the next six months, for example, then we can go ahead with our plans for IPOs.""



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi, Kuwait climb again as UAE, Qatar underperform | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi, Kuwait climb again as UAE, Qatar underperform | Reuters:

"Middle East stock markets were mixed on Sunday as uptrends in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait continued to divert regional investors' money away from the United Arab Emirates and Qatar. The Saudi index, which climbed 3.8 percent last week, rose a further 0.7 percent. Miner Ma'aden jumped 5.3 percent after issuing a statement describing progress in expanding its phosphate and bauxite operations. Builder Khodari climbed 1.5 percent and Nama Chemicals jumped by its 10 percent daily limit for a second straight day after announcing the outline of a plan to recover from accumulated losses that exceeded 75 percent of its capital. The plan includes eventually increasing capital to finance production of speciality chemical products and boost capacity, and the sale of assets of an investment affiliate."



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Saudi Public Investment Fund to be one of world’s top SWFs

Saudi Public Investment Fund to be one of world’s top SWFs:

"Among the throngs who descended on Davos this year, a big drawcard for some of the world’s most influential financiers and dealmakers was a Saudi chief executive on his first trip to the annual gathering. The attention Yasir al-Rumayyan enjoyed was a result of the transformation of the entity he heads: Saudi Arabia’s state-owned Public Investment Fund. For decades PIF was a little known and largely inactive holding fund. But a sudden burst of dealmaking and the central role it is being given in the kingdom’s reform plans have put it on course to become one of the world’s most powerful sovereign wealth funds. When Saudi Arabia completes the initial public offering of Saudi Aramco, scheduled for 2018, it is PIF that is expected to reap the rewards — the expectation is that it will be the depository for a potential $100bn from a 5 per cent sale of the state oil company."



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S&P downgrades Sharjah’s credit rating | The National

S&P downgrades Sharjah’s credit rating | The National:

"The ratings agency Standard & Poor’s (S&P) has downgraded the credit rating assigned to the emirate of Sharjah due to concerns about rising debt. The agency lowered its rating on Sharjah to BBB+/A-2 from its previous level of A/A-1, stating that Sharjah’s debt as a percentage of GDP has rapidly increased since 2014. "Sharjah’s fiscal underperformance below our expectations has resulted in a rapid increase in the emirate’s debt burden," S&P said in its note."



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GCC bank profits expected to improve in 2017 | GulfNews.com

GCC bank profits expected to improve in 2017 | GulfNews.com:

"Profitability of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) banks are expected to improve this year after going through a slowdown last year according to banking industry analysts and rating agencies.
“Earnings in GCC may show a growth of 5.9 per cent 2017 after a slight compression in 2016 of 3 per cent, with return on equity (RoE) stabilising at 13.1 per cent,” said Jaap Meijer, Director of Research at Arqaam Capital.
Although the operating environment for banks in the region remains challenging, the banking sector is expected to benefit from oil price stabilisation."



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Buyout Firm Abraaj Said to Seek Up to $8 Billion for Global Fund - Bloomberg

Buyout Firm Abraaj Said to Seek Up to $8 Billion for Global Fund - Bloomberg:

"Buyout firm Abraaj Group is planning to raise about $5 billion to $8 billion from investors this year, people familiar with the matter said, in what would be the emerging-market-focused investor’s largest fund.

The Dubai-based firm, which invests across markets from Asia to Latin America, is planning to raise the money from a pool of regional and international investors by the end of 2017, the people said, asking not to be identified as the information is private. The plans are in early stages and the size of the fund could fluctuate, they said.

An Abraaj spokeswoman declined to comment."



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Certain flight crew barred from U.S. entry after Trump order: IATA memo | Reuters

Certain flight crew barred from U.S. entry after Trump order: IATA memo | Reuters:

"A new ban on U.S. travel for nationals of seven Middle Eastern countries caught the airline industry unprepared, with flight crew from those states also barred from entering, the International Air Transport Association said on Saturday. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has briefed the global trade group that passport-holders from states such as Iran and Iraq, including cabin crew, will be barred entry to the United States, IATA said in an email to its member airlines, seen by Reuters. The email underscores airlines' confusion about the situation as well as the challenge some may face from crew scheduling. Airlines also stand to lose business: for instance, around 35,000 travelers from Iran visited the United States in 2015, according to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. "



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UPDATE 1-Jordan's Arab Bank group says 2016 net profit rose 20 percent | Reuters

UPDATE 1-Jordan's Arab Bank group says 2016 net profit rose 20 percent | Reuters:

"Jordan's largest lender, Arab Bank Group, said on Saturday its 2016 net profit rose 20 percent to $533 million, saying the results were due to diversified operations and growth in revenue from core banking activities.

The bank, one of the Middle East's major financial institutions, said its loans book and customer deposits had continued to grow despite exchange-rate fluctuations.

Total loans rose 6 percent to $23.7 billion while deposits rose 3 percent to $33.6 billion at the end of last year compared with the same period the previous year."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Most of Gulf moves little, Kuwait rises | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Most of Gulf moves little, Kuwait rises | Reuters:

"Most Gulf stock markets moved little in early trade on Sunday, although Kuwait continued this month's bull run in heavy trade.

The Kuwaiti index added 1.1 percent to a fresh 26-month high with eight of the 10 most heavily traded stocks rising and none falling.

On Monday, the government plans to announce details of its long-term economic development plan, which could help the stock market if it gives more impetus to big infrastructure projects."



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