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Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Qatar Air Targets Other U.S. Investments After American Spat - Bloomberg

Qatar Air Targets Other U.S. Investments After American Spat - Bloomberg:

"Qatar Airways hasn’t given up on investing in the U.S. after scrapping plans to buy a stake in American Airlines Group Inc. amid opposition from the Fort Worth, Texas-based company.

“We have other opportunities, both in America and North America, which we will consider,” Akbar Al Baker, the Persian Gulf carrier’s chief executive officer, said Wednesday in Doha, the Qatari capital. “I have some things in mind. The U.S. is an important market for us.”

Qatar Airways ended its interest in American on Aug. 2 after the U.S. company’s chief, Doug Parker, said he wasn’t keen on having the Gulf carrier as a shareholder. While the airlines are partners in the Oneworld alliance, the approach came as a surprise since American had publicly opposed the growth of Mideast airlines in the U.S., claiming they’ve benefited from $50 billion in illegal aid."



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Fitch: UAE Islamic Banks Affected by Higher Financing Costs and Impairment Charges

Fitch: UAE Islamic Banks Affected by Higher Financing Costs and Impairment Charges:

"Fitch Ratings says in a new report that UAE Islamic banks' performance in 2016 was hit by higher funding costs and financing impairment charges (FICs). Stronger financing growth than conventional banks continued. While the average Islamic bank's impaired financing ratio improved further to 5% in 2016, aided by rapid financing growth (above conventional banks), this ratio is skewed by the two largest UAE Islamic banks, which account for almost two-thirds of Islamic banking assets, and whose ratios have fallen sharply to around 4%. The other four Islamic banks have young, fast-growing franchises, and their impaired financing ratios are between 5% and 9%. FICs increased to 1.4% of financing in 2016 (2015: 1.1%) due to deterioration in the SME segment. Islamic financing grew, albeit at a slower rate of 10% (2015: 19%), due to wider adoption and more innovative structuring of sharia-compliant products. Higher funding costs in 2016 put pressure on most Islamic banks' net financing margins and operating profitability metrics, despite many banks successfully repricing their financing books. "



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Abu Dhabi informally boycotts western banks with big Qatari investors

Abu Dhabi informally boycotts western banks with big Qatari investors:

"Abu Dhabi has launched an informal boycott of western banks with significant Qatari shareholders, broadening the impact of the Arab quartet’s two-month embargo against the gas-rich state.

Officials have told bankers that lenders such as Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank and Barclays are unlikely to win significant mandates in the capital of the UAE in the coming months because of large shareholdings held by Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund and members of the ruling family.

Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain launched an economic embargo on June 5, accusing the gas-rich state of supporting terrorism, claims denied by Doha."



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State oil producers eye bigger slice of trading pie

State oil producers eye bigger slice of trading pie:

"National oil companies have spent years watching independent traders make huge profits from shipping their crude around the world: now these state-backed producers want a larger slice of the action.

As rivalries between traditional exporter countries intensify and Opec producers battle newer competitors such as US shale companies, big Middle East producers such as Iraq, the UAE and Kuwait are exploring ways to get more involved in oil trading. This reflects efforts to generate greater cash for their crude as the market downturn enters its third year.

“These national oil companies are at the very early stages of this process,” says Roland Rechtsteiner, head of global risk and trading at consultancy Oliver Wyman. “But one thing that is consistent across the board, particularly in the Middle East, is the recognition they must find additional revenue streams.”"



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Qatar dispute puts UK-Gulf trade talks on hold | Politics | The Guardian

Qatar dispute puts UK-Gulf trade talks on hold | Politics | The Guardian:

"Plans for a prestigious UK-Gulf Co-operation Council meeting in London this year have been put on hold, threatening UK plans for a quick free-trade deal with some of the richest economies in the world after Brexit.

Theresa May promised last year to host the first meeting of the GCC nations outside the Gulf in December as part of a symbolic show of the UK’s strengthening trade and security ties with the regional bloc.

But Gulf nation sources said the two-month dispute between Qatar and three other Gulf states has put planning for the summit on hold. There have been suggestions that if the dispute worsens Qatar will be suspended from the GCC, or that the organisation itself will fold."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Region moves sideways, outperforms EM index; DXBE slides on losses

MIDEAST STOCKS-Region moves sideways, outperforms EM index; DXBE slides on losses:

"Middle Eastern stock markets generally moved sideways in quiet trade on Wednesday, outperforming other emerging markets, though Dubai theme park operator DXB Entertainments sank because of poor first-half earnings.

The Gulf has underperformed global emerging markets this year, hit by low oil prices and government austerity policies.

But this may have left the Gulf less vulnerable to a pull-back as MSCI's emerging market index dropped 0.9 percent on Wednesday, partly because of tensions between the United States and North Korea."



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Qatar standoff an opportunity to rethink GCC’s basic economic model | Arab News

Qatar standoff an opportunity to rethink GCC’s basic economic model | Arab News:

"The ongoing standoff between the members of the Anti-Terror Quartet (ATQ) and Qatar over Doha’s alleged financing of terror groups has already called into question the future of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) as it is currently constituted — but that debate looks set to intensify as the economic, financial and commercial repercussions of the dispute sink in.

Whatever the ultimate outcome of the current confrontation, regional policymakers should take a long, hard look at the GCC in any case, because it is clear that the organization has fallen short of the ambitious targets it set itself in 1981 when it was first set up, and which have been restated by various measures in the period since. 

Most notably, these included the establishment of a free-trade agreement between the member states in 1983, a customs union in 2003, and a declaration of commitment to freedom of movement for people and goods in 2008."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Dubai's DXBE, Industries Qatar drop on weak Q2 in early trade

MIDEAST STOCKS-Dubai's DXBE, Industries Qatar drop on weak Q2 in early trade:

"Shares of Dubai theme park operator DXB Entertainments sank in early trade on Wednesday because of weak interim earnings, while Doha's Industries Qatar was also down after its quarterly net income missed analysts' estimates. Dubai's stock index fell 0.4 percent as DXBE fell 3.0 percent after reporting a first-half net loss of 578 million dirhams ($157 million). The company has not made a profit since it opened its first theme parks and hotels in October 2016. The company said it was reorganising its business into three units: theme parks, family entertainment centres, and retail and hospitality. It announced an agreement with local developer Meraas to manage its portfolio of leisure and entertainment offerings including Hub Zero, Splash Pad and Roxy Cinemas."



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OPEC Says Iraq, U.A.E, Kazakhstan Affirm Commitment to Cuts - Bloomberg

OPEC Says Iraq, U.A.E, Kazakhstan Affirm Commitment to Cuts - Bloomberg:

"OPEC said Iraq, the United Arab Emirates and Kazakhstan -- who have lagged in their implementation of a deal to cut production -- affirmed their commitment to the accord at a meeting in Abu Dhabi.

“All expressed their full support” for the system to monitor the cutbacks “in order to achieve the goal of reaching full conformity,” OPEC said in a statement on its website. Malaysia also attended and made the same pledge.

The meeting, co-chaired by Kuwait and Russia, was scheduled after several nations faltered in their pledges to reduce output. Twenty-four producers, from among the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and beyond, agreed to cut production late last year to try to end a global glut."



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Dubai builder Arabtec swings to Q2 profit, Depa investment helps

Dubai builder Arabtec swings to Q2 profit, Depa investment helps:

"Dubai builder Arabtec said on Wednesday that it had swung to a net profit in the second quarter, boosted by profits from its investment in interior designer Depa as well as by cost-cutting. Arabtec made a net profit attributable to equity holders in the parent of 39.8 million dirhams ($10.8 million) in the three months to June 30, compared to a loss of 186.4 million dirhams a year ago. It was Arabtec's second straight profitable quarter; in 2015 and 2016, it consistently posted loses as the company coped with a slumping regional construction market, which has been hit by government austerity measures due to low oil prices, as well as internal management changes."



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