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Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Oil, iPhones, and Trump: How Norway's huge sovereign wealth fund made a $53 billion return — Quartz

Oil, iPhones, and Trump: How Norway's huge sovereign wealth fund made a $53 billion return — Quartz:

"After a rocky start to 2016, Norway’s $900 billion sovereign wealth fund announced today that it made a return of almost 7% last year (pdf), more than doubling its result the previous year. The unlikely source of this $53 billion windfall? US president Donald Trump. American stocks have been on a tear since Trump was elected, as investors predict tax cuts, deregulation, and other business-friendly policies will boost corporate profits. Just under a quarter of the Norwegian fund’s assets are invested in US stocks.
Last year started off badly for the world’s largest sovereign fund, with global stocks falling by 10% in the first few weeks of 2016. Norway’s government also made its first withdrawal from the fund after 20 years as falling oil prices cut into Norway’s commodity-driven economy."



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Saudi bank lending growth slows to lowest in nearly seven years | Reuters

Saudi bank lending growth slows to lowest in nearly seven years | Reuters:

"Annual growth in Saudi Arabian bank lending slowed in January to its lowest level in nearly seven years, official data showed on Tuesday, a sign of weak corporate demand but also improving liquidity in the economy.

Bank loans to the private sector rose just 1.8 percent from a year earlier, compared to 2.4 percent in December, the central bank said. It was the slowest growth since February 2010, when the Saudi economy was still recovering from the global financial crisis.

The sluggish growth shows private companies have little desire to make fresh investments, because of an economic slump caused by low oil prices and government austerity measures."



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Citigroup Said to Be in Talks for Saudi Arabia Bank License - Bloomberg

Citigroup Said to Be in Talks for Saudi Arabia Bank License - Bloomberg:

"Citigroup Inc. is in advanced discussions for a banking license in Saudi Arabia, returning after a more than 10-year absence from the kingdom, as the bank looks for ways to capitalize on financial reforms, according to people familiar with the matter.

The New York-based bank has started sounding out potential staff in expectation that the license application will succeed, the people said, asking not to be identified as the information is private. Ahmed Bozai, Citigroup’s chief operating officer for Middle East and Africa, and Carmen Haddad, a senior private banker for the firm’s operations in the region, are among executives in talks with Saudi Arabian regulators, two of the people said.

The bank has yet to receive a license and talks may still falter, they said. A spokeswoman for Citigroup declined to comment. The Capital Market Authority, which would issue the license, said in a statement that it won’t comment on any application before a final decision is reached."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Qatar falls sharply, Etisalat drags on Abu Dhabi; Saudi bounces from low | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Qatar falls sharply, Etisalat drags on Abu Dhabi; Saudi bounces from low | Reuters:

"Most stock markets in the Gulf fell on Tuesday with Qatar's index hit particularly hard, but Saudi Arabia ended almost flat as petrochemical shares rebounded.

Qatar's stock index dropped 2.2 percent; all banking shares fell with Qatar National Bank retreating 2.9 percent.

A monthly Reuters poll, published on Tuesday, found 62 percent of Middle Eastern fund managers expected to decrease their allocations to Qatari equities over the next three months and none to increase them. That was the most negative outlook towards Qatar since the survey was launched in September 2013."



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WorleyParsons leaps after Dubai’s Dar Group reveals stake

WorleyParsons leaps after Dubai’s Dar Group reveals stake:

"Shares in Australian energy services company WorleyParsons jumped by about 30 per cent today after Dar Group, a Dubai-based consulting group, revealed it had taken a 13.35 per cent stake in the company. Privately-owned Dar Al-Handasah Consultants Shair and Partners, which Worley confirmed as having made a takeover offer in November, said in a note to the ASX today it had acquired an 8.61 per cent stake via physical shares and exposure of 4.74 per cent by way of a cash-settled equity swap exposure. Dar said it had purchased the stake “with a long term strategic perspective and looks forward to being a supportive shareholder.”"



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Fossil fuel hope found in Egypt

Arrest orders against public fund embezzlers | GulfNews.com

Arrest orders against public fund embezzlers | GulfNews.com:

"Investigations by Ras Al Khaimah’s Public Funds Prosecution have revealed new evidence of the involvement of former government employees in the embezzlement of public funds. According to Ras Al Khaimah Attorney General Hassan Saeed Mohaimed, the new evidence uncovered the involvement of accomplices from the US and other countries in the public funds embezzlement. Investigations revealed that Dr Khater Massaad and Karam Al Sadiq along with other suspects had embezzled and misappropriated government funds during their tenure as government employees."



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India Said to Consider Selling 51% in Air India to Investor - Bloomberg

India Said to Consider Selling 51% in Air India to Investor - Bloomberg:

"India is considering selling a majority stake in Air India to a strategic partner after a $3.6 billion bailout failed to turn around the loss making national carrier, people with knowledge of the matter said. The proposal includes reviving Air India within five years of selling a 51 percent stake, the people said, asking not to be identified as the information isn’t public. Talks are at an initial stage and presentations have been made to the finance ministry and the prime minister’s office, they added. The government isn’t planning to sell 51 percent stake in the carrier, Civil Aviation Secretary R.N. Choubey said in New Delhi. D.S. Malik, a spokesman at the Ministry of Finance declined to comment. Neither did Dhananjay Kumar, Air India’s spokesman."



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Iran's 'Impressive Recovery' Clouded by 'Uncertainty,' IMF Says - Bloomberg

Iran's 'Impressive Recovery' Clouded by 'Uncertainty,' IMF Says - Bloomberg:

"The Iranian economy has had an “impressive recovery” following sanctions relief last year, though new uncertainty regarding the fate of the nuclear deal and relations with the U.S. threaten to undermine it, the International Monetary Fund said. Iran’s economy is expected to grow 6.6 percent in the calendar year ending March 20 and stabilize at 4.5 percent “over the medium-term as the recovery broadens,” the IMF said in a report released on Monday. The report also highlighted the government’s ability to maintain inflation in single digits and stabilize the foreign exchange market. The Washington-based lender warned, however, that “renewed uncertainty” surrounding the viability of the nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers and, in particular, relations with the U.S., “could deter investment and trade with Iran and short-circuit the anticipated recovery.”"



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UAE's Majid Al Futtaim sets initial price guidance for dollar bond in high 5 pct area - leads | Reuters

UAE's Majid Al Futtaim sets initial price guidance for dollar bond in high 5 pct area - leads | Reuters:

"Majid Al Futtaim, a United Arab Emirates-based conglomerate, has released initial pricing guidance for its planned subordinated, unsecured perpetual bond in the high 5 percent area, according to a document issued by the lead banks on Tuesday. The bond, issued by MAF Global Securities and guaranteed by Majid Al Futtaim Holding and Majid Al Futtaim properties, is expected to price later on Tuesday. The joint lead managers and bookrunners of the debt sale are Barclays, Emirates NBD Capital, Goldman Sachs International, HSBC, National Bank of Abu Dhabi and Standard Chartered Bank. "



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Exclusive: Saudi Arabia wants oil prices to rise to around $60 in 2017 - sources | Reuters

Exclusive: Saudi Arabia wants oil prices to rise to around $60 in 2017 - sources | Reuters:

"Saudi Arabia wants crude oil prices to rise to around $60 a barrel this year, five sources from OPEC countries and the oil industry said. This is the level the OPEC heavyweight and its Gulf allies - the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Qatar - believe would encourage investment in new fields but not lead to a jump in U.S. shale output, the sources said. The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, Russia and other producers pledged last year to cut production by about 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd) from Jan. 1. The first cut in eight years is intended to boost prices and get rid of a supply glut."



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Aramco's Malaysia deal gives Saudis upper hand in fight for Asia oil share | Reuters

Aramco's Malaysia deal gives Saudis upper hand in fight for Asia oil share | Reuters:

"Top global oil exporter Saudi Arabia broke from the pack in the race to lock up Asian market share after agreeing on Tuesday to pump $7 billion into a refinery-petrochemical complex in Malaysia, analysts said. State oil giant Saudi Aramco's IPO-ARMO.SE investment into Malaysia's RAPID project will secure an outlet for its crude oil for at least two decades and beefs up its downstream portfolio ahead of its initial public offering (IPO) next year. The competition in Asia among producers, including Russia and other Middle Eastern suppliers such as Iraq, Kuwait and Iran, is sharp. Asia's growing oil demand provides the only home for the producers' output, especially as they have lost market share in the United States to rising domestic shale oil production."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Dubai outperforms otherwise weak regional markets | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Dubai outperforms otherwise weak regional markets | Reuters:

"Dubai's stock index outperformed in an otherwise weak Gulf region in early trade on Tuesday as investors bought shares that had recently fallen.

The Dubai index added 0.5 percent, with advancing shares outpacing declining ones by 17 to three. Small-to-mid sized stocks were the top gainers, with Union Properties climbing 4.0 percent. Shares of telecommunications operator Etisalat, the largest stock on Abu Dhabi's exchange, fell 1.1 percent to be the main drag on the index, which was down 0.2 percent.

Qatar's index slipped 0.5 percent, weighed down by banking shares; Qatar National Bank fell 1.6 percent."



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