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Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Moody’s upgrades outlook of Saudi Arabian banks to stable | The National

Moody’s upgrades outlook of Saudi Arabian banks to stable | The National:

"Moody’s has upgraded the outlook for Saudi Arabia’s banking industry to stable from negative on expectations of a pickup in non-oil economic growth and an improvement in the levels of cash available for lending following a spate of sovereign bond sales. Shares in the sector rallied after the rating agency released the report on Wednesday morning. "Despite low oil prices, which we expect to fluctuate between US$40 and $60 a barrel over the next 18 months, and cuts in oil production, the Saudi economy will gradually recover, supported by government spending," said Olivier Panis, a vice-president at Moody’s."



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Deyaar’s ex-CEO loses two appeals, jailed for 25 years | GulfNews.com

Deyaar’s ex-CEO loses two appeals, jailed for 25 years | GulfNews.com:

"Deyaar’s former chief executive officer will spend 25 years in jail and pay around Dh92 million in fines after he lost two appeals in graft cases of abusing office and misappropriating funds. The 52-year-old American-Lebanese ex-CEO was fighting two appeals before the Dubai Appeal Court and seeking acquittal in two graft cases in which he was accused of indulging in financial irregularities to the tune of Dh56 million and Dh43 million, respectively, during his tenure at Deyaar. Presiding judge Saeed Salem Bin Sarm rejected former CEO’s appeals and upheld the two primary judgements, according to which the American-Lebanese convict will serve two jail terms, 15 years and 10 years."



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Britain's Fox says commissioned work on Iran ties to help develop trade | Reuters

Britain's Fox says commissioned work on Iran ties to help develop trade | Reuters:

"British trade minister Liam Fox said on Wednesday he had commissioned work from his department to look at how to normalize "effective payment channels" with Iran to try to open up trading opportunities. Britain is seeking new and deeper trade relations with countries outside the European Union to strengthen its hand in divorce talks with the bloc and is targeting countries in the Middle East among other areas. Fox told a parliamentary committee that he expected to receive the findings of the report at the end of this month."



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As You Wait for Aramco, Here Are Other Middle East IPO Hot Spots - Bloomberg

As You Wait for Aramco, Here Are Other Middle East IPO Hot Spots - Bloomberg:

"Saudi Arabian Oil Co.’s plans for a giant initial public offering are top of mind for Middle East investors -- but they may have to wait at least until late 2018 to snap up the shares. While they prepare for Aramco, regional money managers are taking stock of what else might come to market this year. After a slow 2016, when IPOs in the Middle East and Africa fell 64 percent to $1.7 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg, activity in the region should pick up this year, said Jaap Meijer, head of equity research of Arqaam Capital Ltd. in Dubai. “The IPO pipeline in Saudi Arabia, in particular, looks strong with some interesting names listing on the Nomu exchange,” which focuses on small and mid-size enterprises, Meijer said. “In Egypt, the government is looking to embark on a large privatization process, starting with the banking sector, with Banque du Caire and the Arab African International Bank said to be the first candidates.”"



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Bahrain central bank raises key rates by 25 bps | Reuters

Bahrain central bank raises key rates by 25 bps | Reuters:

"The central bank of Bahrain said on Wednesday it had raised its key policy interest rate on the one-week deposit facility by 25 basis points to 1.25 percent.

It also increased three other rates by 25 bps: the overnight deposit rate to 1.00 percent, the one-month deposit rate to 1.75 percent, and the lending rate to 3.00 percent."



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Kuwait central bank raises discount rate by 25 bps | Reuters

Kuwait central bank raises discount rate by 25 bps | Reuters:

"Kuwait's central bank said on Wednesday that it had decided to raise its discount rate by a quarter of a percentage point to 2.75 percent, effective on Thursday. Central bank governor Mohammad al-Hashel said in a statement that the move would help to maintain attractive returns on savings in Kuwaiti dinars compared with major international currencies, particularly after the U.S. Federal Reserve's interest rate hike on Wednesday. "



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Nasdaq CEO says tech partnership can help win $100 billion Saudi Aramco IPO | Reuters

Nasdaq CEO says tech partnership can help win $100 billion Saudi Aramco IPO | Reuters:

"Nasdaq Inc is touting its technology credentials in its effort to win the listing of Saudi Aramco's upcoming initial public offering, the exchange operator's chief executive said in an interview. Financial centers around the globe, including New York, London and Tokyo, have been making a special effort to win the oil giant's $100 billion listing, which is expected to be the largest IPO ever. Nasdaq is already the technology provider to Saudi Arabia's exchange, and will use that relationship to promote the idea of a dual listing in Riyadh and another global market, Nasdaq CEO Adena Friedman said. Nasdaq is based in New York, where its exchange operates, but offers technology services to other global exchanges."



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Oil at $40 No Problem as U.S. Drillers Snub OPEC With Hedges - Bloomberg

Oil at $40 No Problem as U.S. Drillers Snub OPEC With Hedges - Bloomberg:

"OPEC’s worst enemy isn’t U.S. shale drillers. It’s the hedges propping them up.

American oil explorers who survived the worst of the 2014-2016 market rout are shrugging off the 14 percent slide in prices this year from a high of $55.24 to less than $48 a barrel Tuesday. The price would have to drop to the $30s or lower to dent the bottom line of many drillers now working U.S. shale fields, said Katherine Richard, the CEO of Warwick Energy Investment Group, which own stakes in more than 5,000 oil and natural gas wells.

That’s because many producers have already locked in future returns with financial contracts that guarantee the price of their oil for most of the rest of the decade. Such resilience poses a dilemma for countries that agreed to an OPEC-led production cut aimed at tightening supplies to raise prices and relieve their distressed national economies."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf markets mixed but banks buoy Saudi | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf markets mixed but banks buoy Saudi | Reuters:

"Gulf stock markets were mixed on Wednesday but Saudi Arabia was boosted by banks after credit rating agency Moody's raised its outlook for the kingdom's banking system to "stable" from "negative".

The Saudi stock index climbed 0.7 percent as 11 of the 12 listed banks gained, with the biggest, National Commercial Bank, rising 2.4 percent.

"Saudi banks' liquidity and funding conditions will improve. Although profitability and loan performance will continue to soften, Saudi banks will maintain robust capital and loss-absorption buffers compared with regional and international peers over the outlook horizon," Moody's said."



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IEA blames Opec production for jump in oil stockpiles – monthly report

IEA blames Opec production for jump in oil stockpiles – monthly report:

"Opec’s relentless production late in 2016 is to blame for a jump in stockpiles for the first time in six months and a backlog of unused oil, the International Energy Agency said on Wednesday. Commercial stockpiles in industrialized nations rose in January for the first time in six months by 48m barrels, or around 1.5m barrels a day, to above 3bn barrels, the IEA said in its monthly market report. Before the agreement to curb output was reached in Vienna late last year, production between September and November surged by 580,000 barrels a day."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Most Gulf markets edge up in quiet, early trade | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Most Gulf markets edge up in quiet, early trade | Reuters:

"Most Gulf stock markets edged up in early trade on Wednesday ahead of an expected U.S. interest rate hike later in the day, though concern that U.S. monetary authorities could signal further hikes down the road kept trading volume moderate.

Saudi Arabia's index climbed 0.4 percent with most banks rising after credit rating agency Moody's raised its outlook for the Saudi banking system to "stable" from "negative", predicting liquidity and funding conditions would improve.

Al Jazira Bank gained 1.4 percent and electronics retailer United Electronics jumped 5.3 percent. Petrochemical firm Yansab fell 1.8 percent as it went ex-dividend.

"



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Barclays Qatar Targets Said to Make Last SFO Plea Before Charges - Bloomberg

Barclays Qatar Targets Said to Make Last SFO Plea Before Charges - Bloomberg:

"Former Barclays Plc executives sent final pleas to the U.K. Serious Fraud Office arguing they shouldn’t face prosecution related to a 2008 fundraising campaign involving Qatar, as the agency prepares to announce whether it will charge anyone in the probe, according to people with knowledge of the matter. In recent weeks, several suspects have contacted the SFO outlining why they shouldn’t be charged, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the letters are private. At least eight former senior officials have been treated as suspects. The SFO told a London court last year that it would decide on charges by the end of March, and the prosecutor is on track to make an announcement around then, three of the people said. The five-year-old investigation is into two "advisory services agreements" worth 322 million pounds ($391 million) that Barclays committed to pay the Qatar Investment Authority during the 2008 financial crisis. The pacts came around the same time the sovereign wealth fund joined a two-stage 12 billion-pound fundraising to help the bank avoid a state bailout, raising questions about the true purpose of the services agreements. "



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Here's Why Kuwait's Dollar-Bond Debut Was a Hit With Investors - Bloomberg

Here's Why Kuwait's Dollar-Bond Debut Was a Hit With Investors - Bloomberg:

"The scramble among investors to buy Kuwait’s first international bond reveals a subtext: the country is better cushioned against oil-price declines than any of its peers.

International Monetary Fund figures show the current oil price, at about $52 barrel, is more than enough for the country to balance its budget and current account, unlike its neighbors. Which is why when the OPEC member raised $8 billion from the sale of five-year and 10-year notes this week, and attracted $29 billion in bids, it paid less than what Qatar, Abu Dhabi and Saudi Arabia offered last year. "



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