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Thursday, 23 March 2017

MIDEAST STOCKS-Most Gulf bourses recover, Egypt rebounds as foreign funds buy | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Most Gulf bourses recover, Egypt rebounds as foreign funds buy | Reuters:

"Most stock markets in the Gulf made small gains on Thursday, recovering some of the week's losses, but trading volumes remained very low. Egypt rebounded as foreign funds bought shares there. The Saudi stock index climbed 0.7 percent as the petrochemical sector regained some of the previous session's heavy losses, after Brent oil bounced from a four-month low hit on Wednesday. Saudi Kayan Petrochemical rose 1.3 percent. The insurance sector, which has been very volatile in recent days, also firmed with all but four of the 35 listed insurers advancing. Buruj Cooperative Insurance jumped 9.3 percent and was the top performer on the exchange."



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Islamic finance aims for easier sukuk investment with proposed new standards | Reuters

Islamic finance aims for easier sukuk investment with proposed new standards | Reuters:

"Two top standard-setting bodies are proposing new guidelines for Islamic bonds that could increase investment in the instruments by making them more transparent and easier to structure. Last week the Accounting and Auditing Organisation for Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI) published draft accounting standards for sukuk that aim to clarify how they should be treated on balance sheets and the information which issuers should disclose. Bahrain-based AAOIFI, whose standards are followed in whole or in part by Islamic financial institutions around the world, said it had also formed a working group to overhaul its sharia standards for sukuk. Sharia standards cover the instruments' compliance with Islamic principles."



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Saudi pledges stable oil supply as market confused by data | Reuters

Saudi pledges stable oil supply as market confused by data | Reuters:

"Output or exports? OPEC members have argued for decades over which of the two they should monitor to gauge compliance with oil-output cuts.

This month, Saudi Arabia has thrown a third metric – supply - into the debate.

The move saw oil prices declining, with confused traders fearing Riyadh would pump more crude, thus complicating OPEC’s efforts to reduce a global glut and prop up the market."



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City watchdog relaunches probe into Barclays’ cash call

City watchdog relaunches probe into Barclays’ cash call:

"The City watchdog has reignited its investigation into Barclays’ emergency cash call during the height of the financial crisis, opening up yet another line of inquiry that the UK bank must face as a consequence of the controversial deal. The Financial Conduct Authority has launched a series of interviews in recent weeks, according to people familiar with the situation. It is re-examining the fundraising of October 2008, when Barclays turned to Qatari and Abu Dhabi senior royals and sovereign wealth funds for a £7.3bn boost as a last-chance effort to stay out of UK government control. The interviews come despite the fact that the FCA already came to an early determination in 2013 that the bank had failed to disclose arrangements and fees it paid to Qatari investors at the time. The watchdog ‎said it would fine Barclays £50m, which the bank disclosed that year, adding that it would contest the findings."



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UAE bankruptcy no longer leads straight to prison

UAE bankruptcy no longer leads straight to prison:

"Pervez, a British businessman, set up a building materials supplier just before Dubai’s financial crisis began in 2008. The small-scale operation started as the emirate’s real estate boom turned to bust, with state-owned developers repaying only a fraction of the invoices outstanding for goods and services owed. Scraping through this difficult period, his business flourished as a new building boom gripped Dubai — seen as a safe haven — in the aftermath of the Arab Spring of 2011. But the return of another crunch since 2014, sparked by the regional oil price slide, led to a chain of late payments throughout the construction industry. “Customers just chose not to pay,” says Pervez. (He would only use his first name.) That meant owners were running away, because if they bounced a cheque they would face jail. “Half my market ran away,” he says. “People take as much credit as they can and run.” As the situation worsened, his bank froze hundreds of thousands of dirhams in his personal account, further limiting his ability to service debts. Last year, as due dates approached on cheques he had guaranteed, Pervez also chose to flee, to his native Britain. His staff dismembered his business once news of his departure spread."



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Saudi Arabia Rating Cut by Fitch on Worsening Public Finances - Bloomberg

Saudi Arabia Rating Cut by Fitch on Worsening Public Finances - Bloomberg:

"Saudi Arabia’s credit worthiness was cut one level by Fitch Ratings, which said low oil prices were worsening public and external finances.

 Fitch reduced Saudi Arabia’s rating to A+, the fifth-highest investment grade, and changed the outlook to stable from negative, the agency said in a statement on Wednesday. The downgrade “reflects the continued deterioration of public and external balance sheets, the significantly wider than expected fiscal deficit in 2016 and continued doubts about the extent to which the government’s ambitious reform program can be implemented," Fitch said.

 The downgrade by Fitch “was anticipated,” the Finance Ministry said in an emailed statement. Saudi Arabia’s economic fundamentals are strong, it said. Fitch’s cut puts its Saudi rating on par with Moody’s Investors Service. Both classify the kingdom two levels above S&P Global Ratings.

"



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi outperforms in mostly flat region; Dubai's DSI up on asset sale | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi outperforms in mostly flat region; Dubai's DSI up on asset sale | Reuters:

"Saudi Arabia's stock market outperformed the region in early trade on Thursday, recovering some of the previous session's losses, while in Dubai builder Drake & Scull climbed after it agreed to sell a major asset. The Saudi stock index was up 0.5 percent after 15 minutes of trade as the petrochemical sector recovered some of the previous session's heavy losses, after Brent oil bounced from a four-month low hit on Wednesday. Saudi Kayan Petrochemical rose 1.3 percent. The insurance sector, which has been very volatile in recent days, also firmed with all but three of the 35 listed insurers advancing. Solidarity Saudi Takaful rose 1.4 percent."



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