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Sunday, 6 August 2017

Slowdown in GCC takaful sector expected to linger | GulfNews.com

Slowdown in GCC takaful sector expected to linger | GulfNews.com:

"Following significant premium growth in the GCC’s Islamic insurance (takaful) sector in 2014 and 2015, the industry has battled a slowdown that started last year and which is expected to linger, according to ratings agency Standard & Poor’s. The sector reported high premium growth rates in the GCC, mainly driven by the introduction of new mandatory insurance covers, as well as strong increases in premium rates in Saudi Arabia, as new covers and actuarial pricing guidelines were adopted. After reporting of annual growth in gross premiums of up to 20 per cent in the GCC takaful sector, growth slowed significantly to less than 1 per cent in 2016. This was largely due to a slowdown in Saudi Arabia, which has the largest Islamic insurance market in the GCC."



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UAE firm JBF RAK seeks to renegotiate 2 bln dirhams of debt-sources

UAE firm JBF RAK seeks to renegotiate 2 bln dirhams of debt-sources:

"Manufacturer JBF RAK, which is 60 percent owned by the United Arab Emirates' Ras al-Khaimah Investment Authority (RAKIA), is in talks with banks about renegotiating around 2 billion dirhams ($544.6 million) of debt, banking sources told Reuters.

The polyester producer, which according to its website is an affiliate of India's JBF Group, has contacted lenders about reviewing its debt obligations, said the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity as the matter is not public.

JBF RAK and RAKIA did not respond to a Reuters request for comment."



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Qatar's IHG to list on bourse despite diplomatic crisis

Qatar's IHG to list on bourse despite diplomatic crisis:

"Family-owned Qatari conglomerate Investment Holding Group IPO-INVH.QA plans to list on the local stock market next week in a sign that authorities intend to push ahead with developing Qatar's financial markets despite a diplomatic crisis. Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt cut diplomatic and transport ties with Qatar on June 5, accusing it of supporting terrorism. This has caused many Gulf investors to pull deposits and equity investments from Qatar. However, the Qatar Stock Exchange said on Sunday that it had approved the listing of IHG's shares on Aug. 14, which would increase the number of firms listed on the exchange to 45. It would be the first listing since the crisis erupted."



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Biggest Qatar Bank Is Weighing Funding Options While Gulf Spat Drags On - Bloomberg

Biggest Qatar Bank Is Weighing Funding Options While Gulf Spat Drags On - Bloomberg:

"Qatar National Bank QPSC is considering options to raise financing as an ongoing standoff with its Gulf neighbors threatens to weaken liquidity in the gas-rich country, people familiar with the matter said.

The Middle East’s largest lender by assets held early discussions with international banks about the possibility of a private placement, bond sale or loan in the fourth quarter, said the people, asking not to be identified because the information is private. Final decisions haven’t been made and the bank may decide against a deal, the people said.

Qatari lenders are under pressure after Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt cut diplomatic relations and closed transport routes in June, accusing the nation of funding Islamist terrorism, a charge it denies. Foreign deposits at Qatar’s banks may fall further after dropping the most in almost two years in June as some Gulf lenders refuse to roll over holdings, people with knowledge of the matter said last week."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi Arabia, Egypt outperform in weak region

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi Arabia, Egypt outperform in weak region:

"Saudi Arabia's stock market edged up on the back of modest gains in the banking sector on Sunday while Egypt imitated world markets' strong finish at the end of last week. Most other Middle Eastern bourses fell. The Riyadh index added 0.1 percent, remaining near a six-week low, as Samba Financial Group jumped 3.4 percent after its board recommended a cash dividend of 0.75 riyal for the first half of the year. The proposed cash outlay is two-thirds more than Samba's interim payout in 2016. Gulf General Cooperative Insurance jumped 4.6 percent after reporting a slight dip in second-quarter earnings, while Allianz Saudi Fransi Cooperative Insurance rose 0.7 percent after announcing a 24 percent jump in net income."



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Kuwait's Agility expects settlement of US criminal case to help earnings - The National

Kuwait's Agility expects settlement of US criminal case to help earnings - The National:

"Kuwait-based Agility, one of the largest logistics firms in the Arabian Gulf, said yesterday it expects the settlement of a US criminal case to help lift earnings in the third and fourth quarters after posting a 12 per cent profit increase in the second quarter. Income growth in the next two quarters will be buoyed by operations and lower legal fees from the resolution of the case over US food-government contracts, said Tarek Sultan, the company’s chief executive. The impact on earnings will be partially reflected in the third quarter and fully reflected in the fourth quarter, he added. Agility, once the main food-supplier to the US Army in the Middle East, said in May it had agreed to pay US$95 million to settle the case and will now be able to bid again for US government contracts, which used to be its main source of revenue. "



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Qatar to continue tapping reserves and borrowing to support economy - The National

Qatar to continue tapping reserves and borrowing to support economy - The National:

"Qatar is set to continue to tap its foreign currency reserves and borrow abroad to support its economy, as the world’s biggest liquefied natural gas exporter seeks to stem an economic slowdown following more than two months of a political and economic rift with four Arab states, economists said. Qatar’s woes began on June 5 when the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt severed diplomatic relations with Doha and cut off air, sea and land access to the country over its support for “terrorist groups aiming to destabilise the region”. The dispute is the most serious between GCC members since the organisation’s creation in 1981.   “An escalation of the crisis could result in more damage to the Qatari economy, especially if the Arab states impose additional punitive economic measures,” said Ayham Kamel director of the Middle East and North Africa region at Eurasia Group. “The central bank will have to provide liquidity and manage to address increases in the withdrawal of foreign deposits.""



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi and Dubai trade sideways, Qatar underperforms

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi and Dubai trade sideways, Qatar underperforms:

"Stock markets in Saudi Arabia and Dubai were flat on Sunday after a mixed group of Saudi corporate earnings, while Qatar underperformed. The Riyadh index barely moved in the first half-hour of trading. Emaar the Economic City fell 1.1 percent after it reported an 85.4-percent drop in second-quarter net profit to 35 million riyals, citing a decrease in residential sales and higher financial charges. Al Andalus Property edged down 0.5 percent. It reported second-quarter net profit of 27.6 million riyals, up 11 percent from the same period last year."



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