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Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Saudi Arabia Seen Luring Billions With MSCI Indexes Now in Sight - Bloomberg

Saudi Arabia Seen Luring Billions With MSCI Indexes Now in Sight - Bloomberg:

"Saudi Arabia passed a major barrier to being classified by MSCI Inc. next year as an emerging market, an achievement that may draw billions of dollars to its traded companies through eventual inclusion in some of the biggest global stock indexes.

The kingdom, already boasting the Middle East’s largest equities market, was added to MSCI’s watch list for a potential upgrade in 2018, the index provider announced on Tuesday. More than $1.5 trillion in assets are benchmarked by money managers to the MSCI Emerging Markets index family."



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Dana Gas’s sukuk move is a surprising one | The National

Dana Gas’s sukuk move is a surprising one | The National:

"Dana Gas (DG) made headlines last week with reports that is was announcing that its own sukuk were "unlawful". It does seem a little bit surprising that a company would deem its own securities as unlawful. I mean, doesn’t that open DG up to liability for issuing the "unlawful" sukuk in the first place? The discussion that followed was wide. Indeed, Bloomberg published one article with the title "Why everyone’s talking about Dana Gas’s sukuk", from which I capture some of these facets. One is how DG’s actions would affect the whole sukuk market with Abdul Kadir Hussain, the head of fixed-income asset management at Arqaam Capital, quoted as saying [not paying coupons because the instrument is not Sharia-compliant is] "something that has a much wider implication for the sukuk market in general". The implication appears to be that the apparent manoeuvre by DG to invalidate its own sukuk on Sharia non-compliance grounds harms the whole Islamic finance sector. Indeed, Mr Hussain is further quoted in the article as saying "… clearly the company is trying to squeeze sukuk holders to the benefit of shareholders and that is a strategy that will end up hurting everybody down the road". If this analysis is correct, it could have a detrimental effect on Dubai’s goal of becoming the Global Centre for Islamic Finance."



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Qatar Ranks First for Service With CEO Taking Aim at Blockade - Bloomberg

Qatar Ranks First for Service With CEO Taking Aim at Blockade - Bloomberg:

"Qatar, the Arab state hurt by a Saudi-led campaign to isolate it over ties to Iran, can take solace in the fact that it’s state-owned airline is once again the world’s top-ranked carrier. Qatar Airways reclaimed the No. 1 spot in this year’s Skytrax awards, a coveted list of the leading 100 airlines announced on the second day of the Paris Air Show. Qatar unseated Emirates, the largest long-haul airline, which slipped to second. The rankings are based on an annual passenger survey. Akbar al Baker, Doha-based Qatar Air’s chief executive officer, used the platform to make an impromptu speech in which he condemned the blockade of Qatar, which he had previously likened to the Soviet siege of West Berlin after World War II."



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Qatar can weather boycott, foreign investors won't leave: Qatar Petroleum CEO | Reuters

Qatar can weather boycott, foreign investors won't leave: Qatar Petroleum CEO | Reuters:

"Qatar can stay under a "blockade forever" as it is well prepared and its oil and gas industries will not be affected, the chief executive of Qatar Petroleum said on Tuesday, referring to an economic boycott imposed by several other Arab countries.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE), which along with Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Bahrain have taken measures to isolate Qatar, said the sanctions could last for years unless Doha accepted demands that the Arab powers plan to reveal in coming days.

The Saudi-led alliance accused Qatar, the world's top liquefied natural gas (LNG) producer, of "supporting terrorism" and working secretly with Iran, the arch-foe of Saudi Arabia. Qatar denies the accusations."



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Qatar's Biggest Bank Says Crisis Has Minimal Impact on Business - Bloomberg

Qatar's Biggest Bank Says Crisis Has Minimal Impact on Business - Bloomberg:

"Qatar National Bank QPSC said it expects to meet its earnings targets as the ongoing Saudi-led campaign to isolate the gas-rich Arab state has minimal impact on its operations.

The Middle East’s largest lender by assets is confident it will reach its net profit growth target of 6 percent to 8 percent in the second quarter, the same guidance given to investors in March, according to a senior official at the bank who asked not to be identified because of company policy.

QNB has a good capital base, diversified funding sources and one of the best cost-to-income ratios so the standoff isn’t impacting the bank’s ability to get funding from the international market, the official said."



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Crude Slides Into Bear Market as Oversupply Distress Deepens - Bloomberg

Crude Slides Into Bear Market as Oversupply Distress Deepens - Bloomberg:

"Oil entered the first bear market since August as concerns worsen that OPEC is failing to ease a global supply glut.

West Texas Intermediate crude, the U.S. benchmark, fell more than 20 percent from its highest close this year, meeting the common definition of a bear market. Futures settled at $43.23 a barrel in New York, down from $54.45 on Feb. 23."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi pulls back before MSCI decision, Qatar hits post-crisis low | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi pulls back before MSCI decision, Qatar hits post-crisis low | Reuters:

"Gulf stock markets were weighed down by weak oil prices on Tuesday as Saudi Arabia pulled back despite hopes for positive news from index compiler MSCI, while Qatar closed at its lowest level since it was hit by a diplomatic crisis early this month. MSCI was due after the close on Tuesday to announce whether it will launch a review of Saudi Arabia for possible inclusion in its emerging market index; inclusion would bring tens of billions of dollars of fresh foreign money. The Saudi index surged 2.4 percent on Monday after Mohammed El-Kuwaiz, vice chairman of the Capital Market Authority, was quoted as saying by the Asharq al-Awsat newspaper that he expected inclusion by the end of 2018."



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Nigerian banks to take over Etisalat unit after debt default negotiations break down | The National

Nigerian banks to take over Etisalat unit after debt default negotiations break down | The National:

"Etisalat said a Nigerian bank syndicate will take over the Nigerian unit it owns with Mubadala Investment Company and a local partner, after the parties failed to reach a deal over a debt restructuring. The banks had declared default on a US$1.2 billion loan in March and had resisted taking a "haircut" so that the company could continue to operate without a further substantial injection of capital. The loan has a US dollar component and the terms turned against Etisalat Nigeria when the Nigerian currency, the naira, was severely devalued over the last two years."



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UAE President restructures Abu Dhabi Investment Authority's board | GulfNews.com

UAE President restructures Abu Dhabi Investment Authority's board | GulfNews.com:

"President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, issued a decree, in his capacity as the Ruler of Abu Dhabi, restructuring the board of directors of the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority.
As per the decree, the authority will be chaired by Shaikh Khalifa, while board members include His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, Shaikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, Shaikh Hamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Shaikh Mohammad Bin Khalifa Al Nahyan, Mohammad Habroush Al Suwaidi and Khalil Mohammad Sharif Foulathi."



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Qatar Financial Hub Looks Beyond Mideast to Grow Amid Standoff - Bloomberg

Qatar Financial Hub Looks Beyond Mideast to Grow Amid Standoff - Bloomberg:

"Qatar’s financial hub is looking beyond the Middle East and North Africa as the Saudi-led campaign to isolate the gas-rich Arab state threatens to dent regional business. "Our focus has shifted entirely toward markets other than Middle East and North Africa,” Yousuf Al Jaida, chief executive officer of the Qatar Financial Center, told reporters in Doha on Monday. “Current regional developments will not deter us from our growth plans going forward." The Qatar Financial Center is sticking to a target to attract 1,000 firms by 2022 even after canceling an event in Dubai later this year to showcase opportunities for regional companies, Al Jaida said. The center was started by Qatar’s government to foster investment in the Gulf emirate’s financial system."



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Barclays, Former Executives Charged Over Qatar Fundraising - Bloomberg

Barclays, Former Executives Charged Over Qatar Fundraising - Bloomberg:

"Barclays Plc and four former executives were charged with conspiracy to commit fraud regarding the bank’s 2008 capital raising from Qatar as it sought to avoid a bailout during one of the most turbulent periods in financial history. The Serious Fraud Office said Tuesday that former Chief Executive Officer John Varley, former chairman of investment banking for the Middle East Roger Jenkins, ex-wealth chief Thomas Kalaris, and Richard Boath, the former European head of the bank’s financial institutions group, face charges along with Barclays."



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Abu Dhabi fund takes 5 percent stake in Dana Gas | Reuters

Abu Dhabi fund takes 5 percent stake in Dana Gas | Reuters:

"Goldilocks Investment Co, an open-ended equity fund which is part of Abu Dhabi Financial Group, said on Monday it had bought 5 percent of Abu Dhabi-listed gas producer Dana Gas.

The fund was launched last October as a $200 million vehicle with a strategy of taking minority stakes in companies and helping them to restructure and develop. Its brief statement did not say what it intended to do with Dana.

Dana is struggling to recover hundreds of millions of dollars in overdue payments from Egypt and Iraqi Kurdistan. Last week, it proposed a restructuring of $700 million of its Islamic bonds, arguing that the instruments had become illegal under United Arab Emirates law since they were issued.

"



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France's Total to go ahead with major Iran gas project: CEO | Reuters

France's Total to go ahead with major Iran gas project: CEO | Reuters:

"Total will go ahead with development of a giant Iranian gas field this summer, its CEO told Reuters, in the first major western energy investment in the country since Tehran signed an international nuclear deal. Chief Executive Patrick Pouyanne said the French group would make an initial $1 billion investment after the United States extended sanctions relief for Iran under the 2015 agreement. Washington has warned that it could cancel the sanctions waivers if it believes Tehran is not curbing its nuclear program in line with the deal with world powers."



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Qatar says it will not negotiate unless neighbors lift 'blockade' | Reuters

Qatar says it will not negotiate unless neighbors lift 'blockade' | Reuters:

"Qatar will not negotiate with its neighbors to resolve the Gulf dispute unless they first lift the trade and travel boycott they imposed two weeks ago, its foreign minister said, but added Doha still believed a solution was possible. The United Arab Emirates, which along with Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Bahrain imposed the measures to isolate Qatar, said the sanctions could last for years unless Doha accepted demands that the Arab powers plan to reveal in coming days. Qatar has denied accusations by its neighbors that it funds terrorism, foments regional instability or has cosied up to their enemy Iran. The dispute has opened a rift among some of the main U.S. allies in the Middle East, with President Donald Trump backing tough measures against Qatar even as his State Department and Defense Department have sought to remain neutral."



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Oil Halts Slide as Investors Weigh U.S. Stockpiles Against Libya - Bloomberg

Oil Halts Slide as Investors Weigh U.S. Stockpiles Against Libya - Bloomberg:

"Oil halted its slide below $45 a barrel as investors weigh a forecast decline in U.S. crude stockpiles against a revival in output from Libya, which is exempt from the OPEC-led cuts.

Futures rose 0.3 percent in New York after falling 1.2 percent Monday. U.S. inventories probably shrank by 1.2 million barrels last week, according to a Bloomberg survey before Energy Information Administration data Wednesday. Libya is pumping the most oil in four years after a deal with Wintershall AG enabled at least two fields to resume production."



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Qatar Wealth Fund to Inject Dollar Deposits in Local Banks - Bloomberg

Qatar Wealth Fund to Inject Dollar Deposits in Local Banks - Bloomberg:

"Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund has injected deposits into local banks to shore up liquidity as an ongoing Saudi-led campaign to isolate the gas-rich Arab state hurts lenders, according to people familiar with the matter. Qatar Investment Authority has placed billions of dollars of cash with Qatari lenders after some banks in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain started withdrawing funds from the country amid the standoff, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private. The exact amount of funding provided by the sovereign fund isn’t clear, they said."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi continues pre-MSCI rally, rest of Gulf mostly sluggish | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi continues pre-MSCI rally, rest of Gulf mostly sluggish | Reuters:

"Saudi Arabia's stock market continued rising early on Tuesday before a decision by index compiler MSCI on whether to consider Riyadh for a possible upgrade to emerging market status. Most of the rest of the Gulf was sluggish. MSCI will announce its decision after the close. The Saudi index rose 0.5 percent in the first half-hour; it had surged 2.4 percent on Monday after Mohammed El-Kuwaiz, vice chairman of the Capital Market Authority, was quoted as saying by the Asharq al-Awsat newspaper that he expected Riyadh to be upgraded by the end of 2018. That would be faster than the mid-2019 date which MSCI's past practice would suggest. Tuesday's rise was broad-based, with nine of the 10 most heavily traded stocks gaining. "



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