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Tuesday, 2 May 2017

GFH posts 427% increase in Q1 net profit | GulfNews.com

GFH posts 427% increase in Q1 net profit | GulfNews.com:

"GFH Financial Group (GFH) has announced a net profit of $31.91 million for the first quarter of 2017, in a statement on Tuesday. The figure represents a 427 per cent increase from $6.06 million reported in the same quarter of 2016. GFH reported a consolidated net profit of $33.55 million for the quarter as compared to $10.04 million in the first quarter of 2016. GFH’s total consolidated income for the quarter also increased by 75 per cent to $51.08 million as compared to $29.17 million in 2016."



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Barclays Sees Wealth Funds, Bank Deals Driving Mideast M&A - Bloomberg

Barclays Sees Wealth Funds, Bank Deals Driving Mideast M&A - Bloomberg:

"Barclays Plc sees bank mergers and sovereign wealth funds’ technology investments driving Middle East dealmaking this year as the region adapts to low oil prices.

“The type of deals sovereign wealth funds are looking for has changed over the years, but they continue to be active,” Makram Azar, chairman for the bank in the Middle East and North Africa, said in an interview in London. Funds are looking at opportunities in new areas, such as technology, as well as traditional sectors, such as real estate and infrastructure where they can get good yields, he said.

Sovereign wealth funds in Gulf Arab states are seeking new sources of income to lessen their reliance on volatile oil markets. Since last year, Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund has funneled about $50 billion of the kingdom’s reserves into investments abroad, almost all of it into technology. It is said to be committing as much as $45 billion to partner with SoftBank Group Corp. to set up a new $100 billion vehicle to invest in global technology. The fund also invested $3.5 billion in Uber Technologies Inc. last June.

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Central bank governor says Saudi will stick to currency peg | Reuters

Central bank governor says Saudi will stick to currency peg | Reuters:

"The governor of Saudi Arabia's central bank said on Tuesday that the kingdom would stick to the currency peg linking the Saudi riyal to the U.S. dollar.

"The peg exchange rate has served us very well and it continues to serve us, so we will stick to it," Ahmed al-Kholifey told an investment conference.

He also said the central bank was comfortable with Saudi Arabia's level of banking services and their sophistication, but that it was not content with the amount of credit being provided by banks to small and medium-sized enterprises, which was about 2 percent of the total."



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Etihad says will no longer invest in Italy's Alitalia | Reuters

Etihad says will no longer invest in Italy's Alitalia | Reuters:

"Abu Dhabi's state-owned Etihad Airways said on Tuesday that it was no longer willing to invest in Alitalia after the Italian carrier's board asked to be put under special administration. Without support for restructuring, "we are not prepared to continue to invest," Etihad's president James Hogan said in an emailed statement. "We therefore support the necessary decision of the Alitalia Board to apply for extraordinary administration." Etihad took a 49 percent stake in Alitalia in 2014, promising to turn around the troubled airline with a 1.76 billion euro ($1.92 billion) investment that included other shareholders. "



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Boeing Moves Ahead on Delivering First Jets to Iran Next Year - Bloomberg

Boeing Moves Ahead on Delivering First Jets to Iran Next Year - Bloomberg:

"Boeing Co. is making “steady progress” to complete the terms of an 80-jetliner sale to Iran Air and expects to deliver the initial planes next year, the first U.S. aircraft exports to Iran since the country’s revolution in 1979.

“That remains on track,” Chief Executive Officer Dennis Muilenburg told reporters Monday following the planemaker’s annual general meeting in Chicago. “It’s really important that at every step of the process, we’re working on this hand-in-hand with the U.S. government.”

The $16.6 billion deal with Iran Air and a separate $3 billion agreement with Iran Aseman Airlines bring two of President Donald Trump’s initiatives into conflict: his campaign vows to “get tough” on Iran and his promise to bolster U.S. exports supporting thousands of manufacturing jobs. Airbus SE, Boeing’s European rival, already has delivered the initial planes in a $19 billion sale struck last year after a nuclear accord with Iran lifted some international restrictions on trade with the country.

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Hedge funds lose faith in OPEC: Kemp | Reuters

Hedge funds lose faith in OPEC: Kemp | Reuters:

"Hedge funds are losing faith that OPEC can accelerate the rebalancing of the oil market even if the group agrees to extend output cuts when it meets later this month. Hedge funds and other money managers cut their combined net long position in the three main futures and options contracts linked to Brent and WTI by 139 million barrels in the week to April 25 (tmsnrt.rs/2p10Ih8). The reduction was one of the largest weekly falls on record, and reverses a cumulative increase of 140 million barrels over the previous three weeks, according to data from regulators and exchanges (tmsnrt.rs/2oSQUu5). "



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Short Selling Makes Quiet Start in Middle East After Saudi Debut - Bloomberg

Short Selling Makes Quiet Start in Middle East After Saudi Debut - Bloomberg:

"Saudi Arabia, the Middle East’s largest share market, became the first in the region to introduce short selling last month. Investors have yet to test the waters.

Allowing the sale of borrowed securities is among steps the country is taking to make its market more attractive as it closes in on an upgrade to emerging-market status and readies a record initial public offering for state oil company Saudi Aramco. Still, since authorizing short selling on April 23, regulators overseeing the $438 billion Saudi stock market are still to record the first transaction.

Given the dominance of retail investors across the region, the cautious approach to the newly allowed strategy could be understandable. Few markets provide trading in futures or options contracts on stocks, for example. In Dubai, where futures contracts on some shares have been offered since September, volumes have been light. The Emirate, Qatar and Kuwait said earlier this year they aim to allow short selling, but details have been scarce."



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Wealth Fund Rid of `Pocket Change' Readies Flurry of Kazakh IPOs - Bloomberg

Wealth Fund Rid of `Pocket Change' Readies Flurry of Kazakh IPOs - Bloomberg:

"Unloading what Kazakhstan’s sovereign wealth fund calls “pocket change” was the easy part. Next up is the biggest wave of privatization in the Central Asian country’s history.

Samruk-Kazyna, which gained assets accounting for about half of the nation’s economic output after bailing out banks hurt by a financial crisis in 2007-2009, has embarked on a “program of transformation,” according to Berik Beisengaliyev, the fund’s management board member. That’s meant streamlining organization to reduce the number of firms it controls by half to about 300 by the end of this year, he said in an interview in Almaty.

“The emphasis of the first phase of privatization was on small companies,” said Beisengaliyev, who’s also managing director of asset optimization at the fund. “Some got sold, some are being sold, some were liquidated. Now we are only starting with strategic assets.”"



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi's SABIC slips after Q1 results; Gulf sluggish on oil but Egypt up | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi's SABIC slips after Q1 results; Gulf sluggish on oil but Egypt up | Reuters:

"Shares in petrochemical giant Saudi Basic Industries (SABIC) fell on Tuesday after the company reported first-quarter results, while most equities in the Gulf were sluggish as oil prices traded near five-week lows. Egypt followed emerging markets higher. SABIC posted a first-quarter net profit of 5.24 billion riyals ($1.40 billion), up 80 percent from the same period last year and broadly in line with analysts' average forecast of 5.35 billion riyals. Analysts at NCB Capital said in a note that profits rose because of higher petrochemical margins due to an increase in product spreads, as well as higher fertiliser margins due to stronger urea prices."



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‘’OPEC Has Failed’’ | OilPrice.com

‘’OPEC Has Failed’’ | OilPrice.com:

"Two months ago we first suggested that OPEC may be fabricating data about its production cuts - and certainly overstating the "success" of the Vienna production cut deal - by looking at the rising Chinese oil imports, and by extension, rising oil deliveries by OPEC nations.

As JPMorgan wrote back in February, the IEA estimated that OPEC crude oil production fell by 1mbd to 32.06mbd in January, suggesting an initial compliance of 90 percent with the output agreement reached at the end of 2016. The latest oil supply details released by Chinese customs on Monday suggest a reduction of supplies was not yet seen by China, the world’s largest oil importer.

In fact, quite the contrary: crude oil shipments from the 11 OPEC nations rose 4 percent from December 2016 - in a time when production was supposed to be declining - to 4.6mbd in January, accounting for 57 percent of China’s total oil imports."



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Australia gas export restrictions only damage reputation: Russell | Reuters

Australia gas export restrictions only damage reputation: Russell | Reuters:

"When governments adopt new policies the benchmark for success should be that the change works, is efficient and fair to all parties and does not create unintended consequences.

The decision by the Australian government to restrict exports of natural gas if the domestic market is constrained meets none of these criteria, although it may just persuade an increasingly angry public that the authorities are doing something.

Whether the new policy does serve some short-term political objective shouldn't distract from the view that this is a radical change that will serve mainly to undermine Australia's reputation as an investment destination of choice for the resource sector."



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OPEC May Need to Extend Production Cuts to End of Next Year - Bloomberg

OPEC May Need to Extend Production Cuts to End of Next Year - Bloomberg:

"OPEC is certain to extend cuts in oil output when its ministers meet later in May and will need to keep limiting production until as late as the end of 2018, a veteran market analyst said.

The reaction of global crude inventories to the cuts will determine how long the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and allied producers stick with their policy of pumping less oil to counter a global glut, said Fereidun Fesharaki, the head of industry consultant FGE. Oil may drop to as low as $40 a barrel if U.S. stockpiles increase, he said Monday at the Middle East Petroleum and Gas Conference in Dubai.
 
“The probability that OPEC will agree to extend its cuts is at 100 percent,” said Fesharaki, a former adviser in the late 1970’s to the Iranian Prime Minister. “And the cuts will have to be extended even beyond this year, to the middle or even to the end of next year.”"



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Saudi finance minister says likely to tap foreign, local bond markets again this year | Reuters

Saudi finance minister says likely to tap foreign, local bond markets again this year | Reuters:

"The Saudi Arabian government is likely to tap the international and domestic bond markets again this year, depending on demand for its debt and the pricing it can obtain, finance minister Mohammed al-Jadaan said on Tuesday. He told an investment conference that the state budget deficit would be funded with three streams - international debt, local debt and drawing down the government's financial reserves - and that using the reserves would be the last resort. Saudi Arabia issued a debut, $17.5 billion sovereign international bond last year and made a $9 billion sukuk issue last month. It halted monthly domestic bond issues late last year to ease pressure on liquidity in the banking system. "



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Iraq's SOMO, Russia's Litasco set up oil trade firm in Dubai - sources | Reuters

Iraq's SOMO, Russia's Litasco set up oil trade firm in Dubai - sources | Reuters:

"Iraq's state-oil marketer SOMO and Russia's Litasco have set up a joint trading company in Dubai to market crude, trading sources said, joining other Middle East producers that buy and sell oil to boost their incomes. The new venture, LIMA Energy, is establishing a team to work at the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC), the sources said, adding that it would trade in Iraqi, Russian and other crude. "LIMA will lift the first cargo of Iraqi crude in May," one source said."



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Billionaire Saudi Family to Hire Saudi Fransi for IPO - Bloomberg

Billionaire Saudi Family to Hire Saudi Fransi for IPO - Bloomberg:

"Saudi Arabia’s billionaire Olayan family, which runs one of the nation’s biggest conglomerates, hired Saudi Fransi Capital as financial adviser for the planned share sale of some of its local assets, according to people familiar with the matter. Olayan Financing Co., which controls the family’s investments in the Middle East, may set up a new holding company for as many as 20 of its units, which could be worth as much $5 billion, two of the people said, asking not to be identified as the information is private. Shares in the holding company would be sold to the public and listed on Saudi Arabia’s Tadawul stock exchange, the people said."



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IMF Sees Gulf Budget Deficits Shrinking as Rulers Spend Less - Bloomberg

IMF Sees Gulf Budget Deficits Shrinking as Rulers Spend Less - Bloomberg:

"Spending cuts and an increase in oil prices are helping Gulf Arab monarchies lower some of the world’s highest budget deficits, the International Monetary Fund said, hailing it as progress in efforts to transform economies that have relied on hydrocarbons for more than five decades.

These five charts highlight key elements from the latest IMF outlook released in Dubai on Tuesday."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi's SABIC slips after quarterly results, region sluggish as oil dips | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi's SABIC slips after quarterly results, region sluggish as oil dips | Reuters:

"Shares in petrochemicals giant Saudi Basic Industries (SABIC) fell in early trade on Tuesday after the company reported first- quarter results, while most equities in the Gulf were sluggish as oil prices traded near five-week lows.

SABIC posted a first-quarter net profit of 5.24 billion riyals ($1.40 billion), up 80 percent from the same period last year and broadly in line with analysts' average forecast of 5.35 billion riyals, but its shares were down 0.8 percent after an hour of trade.

The Saudi stock index edged up by 0.2 percent but Emaar the Economic City (EEC) jumped by 4 percent in active trade ahead of a Saudi television interview with Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman that television executives said would be broadcast later in the day."



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BP profits surge after rebound in oil prices

BP profits surge after rebound in oil prices:

"BP almost tripled its profits in the first three months of this year, as the UK oil group benefited from higher crude prices to report better than expected first-quarter results on Tuesday. Profits on an underlying replacement cost basis, the main measure watched by analysts, came to $1.5bn. This was up from $532m in the first three months of 2016 and higher than the $1.26bn consensus forecast by analysts. The results added to evidence of recovery in the energy industry after an 80 per cent increase in oil prices from the 12-year lows recorded early last year. ExxonMobil and Chevron, the two biggest US oil groups, both last week beat market expectations with sharply higher first-quarter earnings."



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