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Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Is the Brent crude glut coming to an end? | Markets

Gulf boycott of Qatar spreads to banks — FT News — Overcast

Gulf boycott of Qatar spreads to banks — FT News — Overcast:

"Companies with business ties to Arab Gulf states have found themselves in an uncomfortable position as a result of a trade boycott of Qatar by four regional Arab states, including Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Now it appears that global banks are feeling the impact. Caroline Binham asks the FT’s Gulf correspondent Simeon Kerr what’s going on. Music by Kevin MacLeod."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Most markets up; Egypt ends losing streak but Qatar down after data

MIDEAST STOCKS-Most markets up; Egypt ends losing streak but Qatar down after data:

"Most Middle Eastern stock markets rose on Wednesday, with Egypt ending a six-day losing streak, but trading volumes were thin in the absence of major new catalysts for investors. The Dubai index rose 0.3 percent as GFH Financial , the most active stock, climbed 2.9 percent. It had plunged 12.9 percent over the previous two days as it acquired a $1.2 billion infrastructure portfolio in Africa and the Middle East, funding it with a $315 million capital increase that took issued and paid-up capital to $975 million - a big dilution for minority shareholders."



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UPDATE 1-Qatar sovereign fund said to plan new foreign investments despite sanctions

UPDATE 1-Qatar sovereign fund said to plan new foreign investments despite sanctions:

"Qatar's sovereign wealth fund, with around $300 billion to its name, is shrugging off the country's diplomatic crisis with its neighbours and planning to expand its holdings.

Its chief executive was quoted on Wednesday as saying there were no plans to liquidate foreign assets -- as some investors had speculated -- and that the fund would soon announce big new international investments.

"We have just completed a tour of several countries around the world and you will hear about significant investments soon," Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohamed bin Saud al-Thani, who runs the Qatar Investment Authority, told the Lusail newspaper."



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UAE, Saudi to be the first countries in GCC to introduce VAT | GulfNews.com

UAE, Saudi to be the first countries in GCC to introduce VAT | GulfNews.com:

"The UAE and Saudi Arabia will be the first countries in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) to introduce Value Added Tax (VAT) from January 1 next year, a senior government official said on Tuesday. “The UAE and Saudi Arabia will be the first countries to roll out VAT in the GCC from early 2018 while other Gulf countries have time till the end of next year to implement the new tax system,” said Khalid Ali Al Bustani, Director General of Federal Tax Authority (FTA), at a press conference in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday. The rate for VAT is set at 5 per cent whereas excise tax will be 100 per cent on tobacco and energy drinks and 50 per cent on soft drinks excluding sparkling water."



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Dubai's Noor Bank cuts dozens of jobs -sources

Dubai's Noor Bank cuts dozens of jobs -sources:

"Dubai-based Noor Bank has laid off several dozen employees, banking sources told Reuters on Tuesday, the latest lender to adjust to more subdued growth levels in the local financial services sector.

Although the number of jobs cut in the past few weeks was in the high double-digits, sources said the final figure for the planned redundancies could be more than 200. The Islamic bank's total workforce before the redundancies was around 1,200 to 1,500, the sources said.

"The Bank has seen significant growth over the past few years - and following a robust evaluation, believes that now is the time to streamline its functions and align to a new operating model," Noor said in a statement to Reuters in response to a request for comment on the redundancies."



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Cox: Qatar kerfuffle could tip Aramco to New York

Cox: Qatar kerfuffle could tip Aramco to New York:

"Economic boycotts are usually designed to force dramatic change. They deprive enemies of income that can be used to finance armies, feed propaganda machines and sustain populations - with the hope of provoking the target's people to overthrow their leaders. Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain have followed much of this playbook since early June in their ostracism of Qatar, which they accuse of financing terrorism. The four Arab neighbors have cut diplomatic ties and trade links with Doha, and suspended air and shipping routes with the gas-rich nation. They issued a 13-point ultimatum insisting, among other things, that it scale back ties with Iran and muzzle the Al-Jazeera cable network. Thus far, Western companies have not been overtly punished for maintaining their ties with Qatar. And U.S. companies will not be, according to a letter the quartet of nations sent to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in July, Reuters reported over the weekend. One exception may be companies who count entities controlled by the Al Thani monarchy, primarily through Qatar's $300 billion-plus sovereign wealth fund, as important shareholders. If so, these regional grievances may alter the trajectory of one of the biggest deals in the history of global capital markets, the planned initial public offering sometime next year of the $2 trillion Saudi Aramco. "



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Saudi Arabia plans to launch second local currency sukuk issuance next week

Saudi Arabia plans to launch second local currency sukuk issuance next week:

"Saudi Arabia plans to launch the second issue of its local currency sukuk programme during the week beginning on August 20, the ministry of finance said on Wednesday. Saudi Arabia made its first offer of riyal-denominated sukuk, or Islamic bonds, in late July. The government, which is raising debt financing to cover a budget deicit caused by lower oil prices, raised 17 billion riyals ($4.53 billion) with the first issuance."



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Natural Gas Heads for Middle East Doldrums - Bloomberg

Natural Gas Heads for Middle East Doldrums - Bloomberg:

"Conventional wisdom says that Middle East natural gas demand will continue to surge. In the 10 years through 2016, consumption rose by 25 billion cubic feet a day -- much more than in both the U.S., despite its shale boom, and China. BP Plc’s 2017 energy outlook sees demand rising from 47 Bcf a day in 2015 to 73 Bcf by 2035. National oil companies and liquefied natural gas exporters are both relying on the region’s appetite to justify ambitious expansion plans. But this is about to change.

The story of how we got here can be simply told. The region’s economic boom from the early 2000s on, fueled by high oil prices, led to rapid growth, the construction of new cities and demand for air conditioning, winter heating, cooking, desalinated water and all the other accoutrements of a comfortable life.

Governments pursued energy-intensive industrialization, seeking to diversify their economies into sectors where they had a competitive advantage: petrochemicals, aluminium, steel and cement. Mindful of social pressures, they subsidized natural gas, electricity and water, leading to runaway demand and inefficiency."



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Qatari Sovereign Wealth Fund Reduces Stake in Credit Suisse - Bloomberg

Qatari Sovereign Wealth Fund Reduces Stake in Credit Suisse - Bloomberg: "The

Qatar Investment Authority has reduced its shareholding in Credit Suisse Group AG to 4.94 percent.

The country’s sovereign wealth fund, known as QIA, previously held 5.01 percent in voting rights, according to a Swiss stock market filing. The QIA’s overall holding in Credit Suisse -- made up of so-called contingent convertible bonds which convert into equity if the bank’s tier 1 capital falls below a certain threshold -- fell to 15.91 percent from 17.98 percent, after the bank’s recent capital increase.

Credit Suisse, which is halfway through a three-year strategy revamp, raised about 4.1 billion francs ($4.21 billion) in June after tapping shareholders for a second time since Chief Executive Officer Tidjane Thiam took over in mid-2015. The bank has said the fresh funding will increase its common equity Tier 1 capital to 13.4 percent of risk-weighted assets, up from 11.7 percent at the end of the first quarter."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf moves sideways, GFH and Union Properties recover a bit in Dubai

MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf moves sideways, GFH and Union Properties recover a bit in Dubai:

"Gulf stock markets mostly moved sideways in quiet trade early on Wednesday although two major stocks in Dubai, GFH Financial and Union Properties, rebounded modestly after sharp losses on the previous day. The Dubai index was flat as GFH, the most active stock, rose 4.0 percent. It had plunged 12.9 percent over the previous two days as it acquired a $1.2 billion infrastructure portfolio in Africa and the Middle East, funding it with a $315 million capital increase that took issued and paid-up capital to $975 million - a big dilution for minority shareholders. Union Properties edged up 0.5 percent after sinking 4.3 percent on Tuesday, when it reported a 2.29 billion dirham ($624 million) net loss for the second quarter because of big provisions to cover past accounting errors. "



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