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Tuesday, 23 January 2018

Qatar-EU air & sea freight lanes to grow faster - The Peninsula Qatar

Qatar-EU air & sea freight lanes to grow faster - The Peninsula Qatar:

"The Qatar-EU trade lane has been projected as one of the busiest routes, both in terms of air and sea freight lanes, in the Emerging Market.

The EU-Qatar air freight lane is forecast to grow by 39.4 percent, while Qatar-EU sea freight air lane is projected to expand by a whopping 121.7 percent.

The annual Emerging Markets Logistics Index, released by global logistics leader Agility described Qatar as the “surprise GCC Index darling this year”, with its score improving by 0.24 points to 6.02, ranking it No. 11. Qatar made significant gains in Compatibility as economic diversification progressed and non-tariff barriers were judged to be less of a burden, while Connectivity improved thanks to better liner shipping connections."



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Qatar to take the lead in debt issuance this year: Kamco

Qatar to take the lead in debt issuance this year: Kamco:

"Qatar, along with three other Gulf countries, will take the lead in debt issuance this year and Islamic issuers are set to focus on sukuks as the outlook for Islamic banks continues to remain weak, according to Kamco. Referring to the prospective plans of Qatar and other Gulf countries in tapping the fixed income market, Kamco said these countries look at ways to finance their respective investment plans and plug budget deficits. “The GREs (government related enterprises) are increasingly tapping the international bond markets and this new trend is expected to see noticeable growth in 2018,” it said. Finding that fixed income issuances in the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) in 2017 saw one of the biggest jumps since the financial crisis with growth recorded in both bonds and sukuk markets; it said it was a record year for the GCC countries as sustained low oil prices coupled with rising budget pressure at home as well as infrastructure spending needs triggered some of the biggest issuances in the region."



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Extending Alliance, Oil's Big Two Seek Smooth Exit From Cuts - Bloomberg

Extending Alliance, Oil's Big Two Seek Smooth Exit From Cuts - Bloomberg:

"The pledge Saudi Arabia and Russia made to keep working together on managing the oil market beyond 2018 shows the two energy giants are now looking to engineer an orderly exit from the deal and avoid crashing the prices they’ve worked so hard to revive. “Keeping some level of production cuts into 2019 is the kind of thing that makes sense,” said Robin Mills, chief executive officer of Dubai-based consultants Qamar Energy. “Just abandoning the deal at the end of 2018 would put a lot of oil back on the market.” Russia is prepared to continue cooperating with the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries even after the cuts expire, Energy Minister Alexander Novak said in a joint interview with his Saudi counterpart in Oman on Sunday. Saudi minister Khalid Al-Falih said continuing curbs at a different level was one possibility under consideration."



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Iran Freezes Permits for New Private Banks, Credit Institutions - Bloomberg

Iran Freezes Permits for New Private Banks, Credit Institutions - Bloomberg:

"Iran’s central bank has ceased issuing permits and licenses for new private banks or commercial lenders, following a credit crisis that has seen the collapse of a parallel financial industry, freezing the savings of thousands of depositors.

Several of Iran’s commercial banks and so-called credit institutions or funds -- whose high interest rates attracted widespread popularity over the past 15 years -- have collapsed or received government bailouts in the past year, sparking protests last summer and fueling recent demonstrations against Iran’s political establishment over rising agricultural prices and its handling of the economy.

“I’ve instructed the central bank not to issue any permits to any new private banks since issuing unlicensed permits creates problems," President Hassan Rouhani said Monday in his first major live television appearance since the protests erupted earlier this month."



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Russia may back Aramco IPO, enhance OPEC ties

Russia may back Aramco IPO, enhance OPEC ties:

"Russian pension funds are considering investing in Saudi Arabian state oil major Aramco when it lists its stock in a move to strengthen the partnership between the world’s two top oil producers, Russia’s top state investment officer said.

The head of Russia’s Direct Investment Fund, Kirill Dmitriev, told Reuters on Tuesday that Moscow and Riyadh should be coordinating oil policies for many more years.

 “We see great interest in the Aramco IPO from Russian pension funds as well as from our Chinese partners,” said Dmitriev, who two years ago was the first Russian official to suggest the possibility of a joint oil output deal with OPEC.

"



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Qatar asks banks for proposals on first dollar bond issue since diplomatic crisis: sources

Qatar asks banks for proposals on first dollar bond issue since diplomatic crisis: sources:

"Qatar has sent out a request for proposals to banks to arrange an international bond issue, which would be Qatar’s first appearance in the international debt markets since the beginning of a diplomatic crisis in the Gulf last year. Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt cut diplomatic and transport ties with Doha on June 5 last year, accusing it of supporting terrorism. Doha vehemently denies the charges. The government of Qatar issued its last international bond in 2016, raising $9 billion through the debt sale. There is no clarity on the size of the upcoming, potential bond sale, but banking sources say Qatar will likely raise a similar amount."



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Emirates Picks HSBC, Citi to Arrange $1 Billion Sukuk - Bloomberg

Emirates Picks HSBC, Citi to Arrange $1 Billion Sukuk - Bloomberg:

"Emirates, the world’s biggest airline by international traffic, has mandated eight banks including HSBC Holdings Plc and Standard Chartered Plc to manage a sale of Islamic bonds, according to two people with knowledge of the transaction. The Dubai government-owned carrier also picked Citigroup Inc., BNP Paribas SA, Emirates NBD PJSC, Dubai Islamic Bank PJSC, Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank PJSC and Noor Bank PJSC, said the people, asking not to be identified because the information is private. The issue is scheduled for the next few weeks and will aim to raise about $1 billion, they said. Emirates will join a list of regional issuers seeking funding from international bond markets before expected increases in U.S. interest rates push up borrowing costs. Issuers from the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council, which includes the two biggest Arab economies of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, raised a record $84.9 billion from bond sales last year as they sought to take advantage of low interest rates and sidestep tight liquidity in the local-loans market amid low oil prices."



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Oil Hedge Fund BBL Commodities Sees Brent at $80 on OPEC Cuts - Bloomberg

Oil Hedge Fund BBL Commodities Sees Brent at $80 on OPEC Cuts - Bloomberg:

"BBL Commodities LP, one of the world’s largest oil-focused hedge funds, believes Brent crude will climb to $80 a barrel this year as stockpiles drop rapidly on the back of production cuts made by OPEC and its allies. "We think the market is vastly overestimating the near term inventory buffer," Jonathan Goldberg, the founder of BBL Commodities, said in an interview last week. "Given the rise in demand over the past five years, inventories are especially low as a measure of forward cover." With crude inventories down, Goldberg expects Brent to climb about 15 percent from current levels of $68.50 a barrel to about $80 a barrel. He also sees further gains in the premium of spot prices to prices further in future, a structure known in the oil market as backwardation."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf mixed as petchems aid Saudi, ex-div Emaar drags down Dubai | ZAWYA MENA Edition

MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf mixed as petchems aid Saudi, ex-div Emaar drags down Dubai | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"Gulf stock markets were mixed in early trade on Tuesday as petrochemical stocks supported Saudi Arabia while blue chip Emaar Properties dragged down Dubai as the stock went ex-dividend. The Saudi index climbed 0.3 percent in the first 45 minutes as 10 of the 14 petrochemical stocks rose on the back of strong oil prices. Saudi Kayan 2350.SE rose 1.3 percent. The company reported a fourth-quarter net loss of 220.3 million riyals ($58.7 million) versus a profit of 91.6 million riyals a year ago, but the loss was much smaller than the 417 million riyal loss forecast by NCB Capital. SICO Bahrain had predicted a 90 million riyal loss. "



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Monday, 22 January 2018

IMF raises Saudi growth prospects over high oil prices | Arab News

IMF raises Saudi growth prospects over high oil prices | Arab News:

"The International Monetary Fund on Monday raised its growth projection for the deficit-hit Saudi economy on the back of higher oil prices but retained its estimates for the region.
In its World Economic Outlook update, the IMF said the Saudi economy — which shrank 0.7 percent last year — is expected to grow by 1.6 percent in 2018, up 0.5 percent on its October estimates.
The Saudi economy is also projected to grow by 2.2 percent next year, up 0.6 percent on the previous estimate, it said."



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Qatar sees 13.4% growth in registration of new companies: QC - The Peninsula Qatar

Qatar sees 13.4% growth in registration of new companies: QC - The Peninsula Qatar:

"The country witnessed the registration of over 14,639 new companies during the year 2017, an 13.4 percent increase compared to the registration of 12,910 companies in 2016, Qatar Chamber’s Chairman Sheikh Khalifa bin Jassem Al Thani said yesterday. Over 34,848 companies had renewed the commercial registration last year. The Chamber chairman noted that the total number of companies registered in the chamber reached 76,666 compared to 59,926 in 2016 recording an increase of 28 percent. Sheikh Khalifa pointed out that 32 foreign companies had entered to the Qatari market for the first time last year, noting that 27 of them were registered during the post-blockade period. He said that the number of companies established after the siege reached 7,335 which affirmed that it had no impact on Qatar’s investment environment. During the past year, the Chamber organised about 200 different events, received 52 international trade delegations, conducted 14 overseas visits for the Qatari businessmen to a number of countries, as well as organized and participated in 14 trade fairs, Sheikh Khalifa added. Since the first day of the siege, the chamber played a key role in combating its affects. It held meetings with concerned authorities and businessmen to ensure the flow of commodities goods which were covered by alternative countries without any impact on consumers."



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QSE crosses 9,200 levels on robust buying support

QSE crosses 9,200 levels on robust buying support:

"The Qatar Stock Exchange on Monday crossed 9,200 levels on robust buying especially in real estate, telecom and banking equities.
Foreign institutions’ strong bullish outlook helped the 20-stock Qatar Index gain 0.72% to 9,211.02 points. The local bourse is up 8.07% year-to-date.
The market had touched a low of less than 9,150 points in the first 15 minutes of opening but to see progressive strengthening for the rest of the session to finally settle 66 points higher."



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Iran central bank governor warns speculators they face losses betting against rial

Iran central bank governor warns speculators they face losses betting against rial:

"Iran’s central bank chief on Monday warned investors speculating on the fall of the rial that they were heading for losses because his bank could control the foreign exchange market and the currency was likely to rebound in the next couple of months. Goveror Valiollah Seif was quoted by Iran’s Tasnim news agency as the rial sank to record lows versus the dollar, pulled down in part by concern about the fate of Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers. ”Those who are investing their resources in foreign exchange will suffer losses in the end,” Seif said, adding that rising oil prices had given Iran more resources to support its currency."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Region mixed, property firms pull down Dubai

MIDEAST STOCKS-Region mixed, property firms pull down Dubai:

"Middle East stock markets were mixed on Monday with property developers weighing on Dubai amid continued concern about ample new housing supply, while Qatar rose in anticipation of annual dividend announcements.

The Dubai index slipped 0.3 percent to 3,501 points as Emaar Properties dropped 0.4 percent, Deyaar lost 2.4 percent and Union Properties fell 0.7 percent.

In the last several days the index has tested but failed to break resistance around 3,540 points, where the market bottomed last October - a negative short-term technical signal."



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Talks between Dana Gas and bondholders break down - The National

Talks between Dana Gas and bondholders break down - The National:

"Talks to resolve a dispute between Dana Gas and holders of US$700 million of Islamic securities broke down after the company proposed a 15 per cent haircut on some of the debt, according to two people familiar with the matter. The Sharjah-based energy company suggested buying back about $200m at 85 cents to the dollar, and rolling over the rest into new securities with a profit rate of 4 per cent, the people said, declining to the identified. Bondholders, which include Goldman Sachs and BlackRock, want the buyback to be at par and the profit rate to be higher, the people said. Dana Gas declined to comment."



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DP World and India's NIIF to invest up to $3bln in transport, logistics | ZAWYA MENA Edition

DP World and India's NIIF to invest up to $3bln in transport, logistics | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"Dubai-based ports operator DP World DPW.DI and India's National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF), a quasi sovereign wealth fund, said on Monday they had created a fund to invest up to $3 billion of equity in the transport and logistics sectors in India. The money will target acquiring assets and developing projects in sea and river ports, freight corridors, special economic zones, inland container terminals, and logistics infrastructure such as cold storage, the two organisations said. It follows NIIF in October signing a $1 billion investment deal with another United Arab Emirates-based player, a unit of Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, one of the largest sovereign wealth funds in the world."



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Russia's VTB CEO says ready to provide loan to CEFC for Rosneft stake

Russia's VTB CEO says ready to provide loan to CEFC for Rosneft stake:

"VTB, Russia’s No.2 bank, is ready to provide a loan to China’s CEFC so it can buy a stake in Rosneft, the country’s top oil producer, VTB Chief Executive Andrey Kostin told Reuters in an interview. “We are ready to provide a loan, all the documents have been signed and decisions were made. Therefore, there are no issues from our side,” Kostin said. He declined to comment on why the deal was not yet closed. CEFC plans to buy a 14.16 percent stake in Rosneft from a consortium of Glencore and the Qatar Investment Authority, strengthening energy ties between Moscow and Beijing. VTB was ready to provide a 5 billion euro loan under the deal."



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Iran Armed Forces to Sell ‘Irrelevant’ Businesses, Official Says - Bloomberg

Iran Armed Forces to Sell ‘Irrelevant’ Businesses, Official Says - Bloomberg:

"Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guards and other branches of the military have been instructed to sell off business holdings and commercial assets “irrelevant” to their main function, according to the defense minister. Brigadier-General Amir Hatami said Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei had told all of Iran’s armed forces to either divest economic holdings on the country’s capital market or sell them to the private sector. “They will pursue this matter until these forces withdraw from irrelevant economic activities, ” Hatami was quoted as saying in an interview late Saturday to Iran newspaper."



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Saudi Arabia asks banks for proposals to refinance $10bln loan, raise more debt | ZAWYA MENA Edition

Saudi Arabia asks banks for proposals to refinance $10bln loan, raise more debt | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"Saudi Arabia has asked banks for proposals to refinance its $10 billion international syndicated loan and to help the sovereign raise funds through other means, the country's debt management office said on Sunday. In addition to the request for proposals (RFP) on the loan refinancing, the government has issued RFPs covering further U.S. dollar debt capital market issuance and financing supported by other countries' export credit agencies, the office said. The refinancing of the loan, which was raised in 2016, will include a repricing of the facility and the extension of its maturity to 2023 from 2021. An Islamic finance tranche using a murabaha structure will be added to the loan. "



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National Bank of Kuwait Q4 profit rises 5.4% | ZAWYA MENA Edition

National Bank of Kuwait Q4 profit rises 5.4% | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"National Bank of Kuwait (NBK), the Gulf Arab state's largest commercial lender, reported a 5.4 percent rise in fourth-quarter net profit, in line with analysts' forecasts, according to Reuters calculations.

The bank made a net profit of 80.0 million dinars ($266.3 million) in the three months to Dec. 31, compared with 75.9 million dinars a year earlier, Reuters calculated based on annual financial statements in lieu of a quarterly breakdown.

The average forecast of three analysts polled by Reuters was for a quarterly net profit of 83 million dinars. "



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Crumbling refinery profits threaten OPEC-led crude rally

Crumbling refinery profits threaten OPEC-led crude rally:

"The recent OPEC-led rally in crude prices is hitting refinery profits hard, flashing warning signs over oil’s bull run.

A wave of refinery maintenance scheduled in spring could also put downward pressure on crude, analysts said.

Higher oil prices typically quench consumption and squeeze profit margins at refiners that convert the feedstock into gasoline, diesel and aviation fuels."



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UAE’s NMC Health makes two Gulf acquisitions worth $207 million

UAE’s NMC Health makes two Gulf acquisitions worth $207 million:

"NMC Health has made two acquisitions worth $207 million, the London-listed and United Arab Emirates-based healthcare provider said on Monday. NMC acquired a 70 percent stake in UAE-based CosmeSurge for $170 million and an 80 percent stake in Saudi Arabia’s Al Salam Medical Group for $37 million, the company said in a bourse filing. The cash acquisition of CosmeSurge, which provides cosmetic surgery and aesthetic medicine, is expected to be completed during first quarter of 2018. It has an enterprise value of $250 million and is expected to report a 2017 EBITDA of $20.5 million on revenue of $67 million, the statement said."



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Saudi Graft Settlements May Top $100 Billion as Ritz Empties - Bloomberg

Saudi Graft Settlements May Top $100 Billion as Ritz Empties - Bloomberg:

"Saudi Arabia is winding down a controversial anti-corruption drive that led to dozens of princes and billionaires being detained at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Riyadh. Talks with suspects are expected to end this month and authorities will likely recover more than $100 billion in settlements, a senior government official said, asking not to be identified because the details are private. Those who don’t reach deals will be referred to prosecutors, the official said. Authorities have already agreed to drop charges against about 90 suspects, who were released, Attorney General Sheikh Saud Al Mojeb said in a separate interview at the Ritz-Carlton late on Sunday. About 95 people were still at the hotel, including five weighing settlement proposals, with the others reviewing evidence presented against them, he said."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf sluggish, property firms weigh on Dubai

MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf sluggish, property firms weigh on Dubai:

"Gulf stock markets were sluggish in early trade on Monday with real estate developers weighing on Dubai because of continued concern about the impact of ample supply of new homes on the sector.

The Dubai index lost 0.6 percent to 3,492 points as Emaar Properties dropped 0.8 percent and Deyaar and Union Properties both fell 0.7 percent.

In the last several days the index has tested and failed to break resistance around 3,540 points, where the market bottomed last October - a negative short-term technical signal."



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Sunday, 21 January 2018

Iran can set a post-Isis security policy for the region

Iran can set a post-Isis security policy for the region:

"The defeat of Isis has not just heralded the return of stability to large swaths of territory. It is also fanning fresh conflict and tension — including a concerted effort to revive the hysteria which has long obscured the reality of Iran’s foreign policy. Isis displayed the darkest depths of human evil. Yet it also provided an opportunity to come together to battle an existential threat. The co-operative relationships forged in this fight can usher in a new era. We need new approaches and new terminology to make sense of a world which is transitioning to a post-western global order. Here are two concepts to shape the emerging paradigm in west Asia: the idea of a strong region, and security networking, whereby small and large countries — even those with historical rivalries — contribute to stability. The objective of a strong region — as opposed to a quest for hegemony and the exclusion of other actors — is rooted in recognising the need to respect the interest of all stakeholders. Any domineering effort by one country is not only inappropriate but essentially impossible: those who insist on following that path create instability. The arms race in our region is an instance of this kind of destructive rivalry: siphoning vital resources into the coffers of arms manufacturers has contributed nothing to achieving peace and security. Militarism has only served to fuel disastrous adventurism."



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Iraq to sign gas deal with US firm for southern field - The Peninsula Qatar

Iraq to sign gas deal with US firm for southern field - The Peninsula Qatar:

"Iraq will on Monday sign a memorandum of understanding with American energy company Orion to tap gas at an oil field in the south of the country, the petroleum ministry said. The Nahr Bin Omar field, situated in the hydrocarbon-rich Basra province, is currently producing 40,000 barrels of oil a day, but only a small part of the gas from the field is being exploited. Iraq is looking to tap its gas deposits to help overcome severe electricity shortfalls in the country of some 35 million people."



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Agency affirms Qatar currency ratings despite Gulf crisis

Agency affirms Qatar currency ratings despite Gulf crisis:

"Capital Intelligence (CI), the international credit rating agency, has affirmed Qatar’s long-term foreign and local currency ratings of ‘AA-’ and short-term foreign and local currency ratings of ‘A1+’ despite the ongoing Gulf crisis. "Qatar’s ratings are supported by the country’s substantial economic wealth,” CI said, adding the country is the world’s third largest producer of natural gas after Russia and Iran and is by far the largest exporter of liquefied natural gas (LNG). According to the International Energy Association, the country has proven natural gas reserves of around 883tn cubic feet with a reserve to production ratio of around 58 years. Qatar’s prudent investment in large-scale LNG has contributed to one of the highest levels of GDP (gross domestic product) per capita in the world, estimated at $64,447 in 2017."



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Iran may try to loosen Revolutionary Guard's grip on economy

Iran may try to loosen Revolutionary Guard's grip on economy:

"Iran’s supreme leader has ordered the Revolutionary Guard to loosen its hold on the economy, the country’s defense minister says, raising the possibility that the paramilitary organization might privatize some of its vast holdings. The comments this weekend by Defense Minister Gen. Amir Hatami appear to be a trial balloon to test the reaction of the idea, long pushed by Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani, a relative moderate. Protests over the country’s poor economy last month escalated into demonstrations directly challenging the government. But whether the Guard would agree remains unclear, as the organization is estimated to hold around a third of the country’s entire economy."



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Oil producers will cooperate beyond 2018, says Saudi Arabia

Oil producers will cooperate beyond 2018, says Saudi Arabia:

"Global oil producers are in agreement that they should continue cooperating on production after their deal on supply cuts expires at the end of this year, Saudi Arabia’s energy minister Khalid al-Falih said on Sunday.

It was the first time Saudi Arabia, the world’s top oil exporter, had publicly stated OPEC and non-OPEC producers would keep cooperating after 2018.

The exact mechanism for cooperation next year has not yet been decided, Falih said, but if oil inventories increase in 2018 as some in the market expect, producers might have to consider rolling the supply cut deal into next year."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Most of region falls, Saudi retreats further from technical barrier

MIDEAST STOCKS-Most of region falls, Saudi retreats further from technical barrier:

"Most Middle Eastern stock markets fell on Sunday with Saudi Arabia pulling further away from a major resistance level, although a surge by fuel distributor ADNOC Distribution buoyed Abu Dhabi. The Saudi index slipped 0.3 percent to 7,513 points, retreating from the July peak of 7,586 points. Dairy company Almarai dropped 1.2 percent after reporting fourth-quarter net profit of 513 million riyals ($137 million), down from 536 million riyals a year ago and below forecasts of 549 million riyals by SICO Bahrain and 531 million riyals by NCB Capital."



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Does $70 a barrel mark the high point for oil?

Does $70 a barrel mark the high point for oil?:

"Brent crude oil started the week with a bang, hitting a three-year high of $70.37 a barrel. But the rapid run up in oil prices from below $45 a barrel just seven months ago has lead many investors to ask if $70 a barrel will mark the peak for the market? The reasons for caution are grounded largely in the resurgence of the US shale industry, which after weathering three years of lower prices is expected to roar back with higher production this year. The International Energy Agency on Friday raised its forecast for US production growth to 1.35m barrel a day this year, making up by far the biggest chunk of supply growth outside Opec countries. US oil output should surpass Saudi Arabia this year."



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Kuwait Is Said to Join Gulf Bond Rush With Plans for Dollar Sale - Bloomberg

Kuwait Is Said to Join Gulf Bond Rush With Plans for Dollar Sale - Bloomberg:

"Kuwait is weighing plans to sell dollar-denominated bonds, according to people familiar with the matter, joining other Gulf Cooperation Council states also said to be considering sales.

Officials from the oil-rich Gulf nation have held talks with banks about the possibility of a sale as soon as the first quarter, two of the people said, asking not to be identified as the discussions are private. The bond is likely to be in line with or higher than Kuwait’s last issuance of $8 billion in March 2017, some of the people said.

Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi are planning to tap the debt market in the first quarter to help plug budget deficits, people familiar with the matter said earlier this month. Oman already raised $6.5 billion from a bond offering this year as the Middle East’s biggest non-OPEC producer also seeks to bridge a deficit."



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Saudi Oil Minister Sees OPEC, Allies Cooperation Past 2018 - Bloomberg

Saudi Oil Minister Sees OPEC, Allies Cooperation Past 2018 - Bloomberg:

"OPEC and non-OPEC producers should stick with their supply cuts throughout 2018 and continue cooperating beyond that, oil ministers from Saudi Arabia and Oman said.

The crude market will take all of 2018 to reach a normal level, and oil ministers shouldn’t limit their efforts to this year, Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih told reporters on Sunday in Muscat, Oman, before a meeting to assess compliance with the cuts. Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said ministers need to see how the market develops before deciding if there’s a need to adjust production caps.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies see merit in maintaining their output limits into 2019 and probably won’t discuss an exit strategy from their cuts agreement when the committee monitoring compliance meets on Sunday, Oman Oil Minister Mohammed Al Rumhy told reporters. Saudi Arabia’s Al-Falih said the market won’t re-balance in the first half, and ministers need to identify a normal inventory level more clearly before OPEC meets next in June."



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Mideast Stocks: Gulf bourses mostly edge down in early trade | ZAWYA MENA Edition

Mideast Stocks: Gulf bourses mostly edge down in early trade | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"Gulf stock markets mostly edged down on Sunday with Saudi Arabia pulling further away from a major resistance level, although a surge by fuel distributor ADNOC Distribution buoyed Abu Dhabi. The Saudi index slipped 0.3 percent to 7,518 points in the first hour, pulling away from the July peak of 7,586 points. Dairy company Almarai dropped 1.9 percent after reporting fourth-quarter net profit of 513 million riyals ($137 million), down from 536 million riyals a year ago and below forecasts of 549 million riyals by SICO Bahrain and 531 million riyals by NCB Capital. "



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Saturday, 20 January 2018

Qatar weathers ‘blockade shock’ with ease - The Peninsula Qatar

Qatar weathers ‘blockade shock’ with ease - The Peninsula Qatar:

"Qatar has been able to ride out the ‘blockade impact’ on its economy better than expected, Arqaam Capital Research noted in its ‘Mena Banks Outlook.’ In its latest research note, Arqaam Capital said it has added QNB to its core portfolio. It had already upgraded QNB stock to a Buy from Hold following the bank’s strong Q3 17 performance.
Qatar’s latest GDP data shows 3.6 percent year-on-year expansion, while latest trade data also shows resilience, with imports in particular now higher than pre-blockade levels having risen by 11.5 percent year-on-year in October, after dipping over 30 percent in June and July.
The 2018 Qatar budget should provide further support as it pencils in 16 percent higher spending, while Arqaam calculates a 3.7 percent fiscal surplus at $65/barrel (bl) oil price.  According to Arqaam, the Barzan gas facility is likely to further raise the oil and gas sector’s output by 11bn standard cubic feet/day.
Qatari Riyal is stabilising after it moved away from the peg towards the latter part of the year. Foreign outflows have already slowed down significantly, with continued deposit outflows from foreign sources offset by higher borrowing from foreign banks and cheaper funding from the PSE sector."



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Saudi 2020 and the plan to attract tourists - will it work? | ZAWYA MENA Edition

Saudi 2020 and the plan to attract tourists - will it work? | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"The kingdom hopes it can extend its tourism industry beyond the religious pilgrimages of haj and umrah, in December announcing it will start issuing tourist visas in the first quarter of 2018. Other reforms specifically targeted at easing socio-cultural restrictions support this decision that will directly open up the conservative country to visitors: women will be allowed to drive by June this year, the 35-year-old ban on cinemas was lifted last month, and for the first time in Saudi Arabia, just last week women were allowed to attend a men’s soccer match.

As part of sweeping changes, the tourism sector is a central tenet of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s “Vision 2030” and 2020 National Transformation Program, which constitute unprecedented plans to wean the country off its oil dependence, shrink the importance of the state and create millions of new private sector jobs to meet the demands of its young, expanding population.

“The idea to diversify the economic base is gaining momentum and tourism is a great way to do that,” said Asim Bukhtiar, Head of Research at Saudi Fransi Capital. “Saudi has a lot of tourist potential, not just religious visitors, but there are a lot of other heritage and historical sites, which up until now have been closed to international visitors.”
"



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S&P maintains 'BBB+/A-2 Rating for Sharjah amid growth expectations  - The National

S&P maintains 'BBB+/A-2 Rating for Sharjah amid growth expectations  - The National:

"S&P Global Ratings has affirmed its BBB+/A-2' credit rating for Sharjah on expectations that the emirate's economy will recover in the next three years thanks to a deficit reduction programme and added investment related to Expo 2020. "We expect an acceleration in GDP growth in 2018, based on the increased economic activity in the real estate and construction sectors and the spillover effects of rising investment in nearby Dubai in relation to its World Expo 2020," said the rating agency, which held its outlook for the emirate's economy as stable. The emirate's economy is expected to average 2 per cent growth a year from 2018 to 2021, S&P predicted. Sharjah's government has yet to disclose its own GDP growth forecasts for the coming year."



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Bahrain needs an immediate rethink on subsidies | GulfNews.com

Bahrain needs an immediate rethink on subsidies | GulfNews.com:

"The Bahrain economy is undergoing changes designed to strengthen the state’s treasury income through many revenue enhancement measures. The authorities are adopting action in line with developments elsewhere in the Gulf, and notably mirroring what is happening in Saudi Arabia. These encompass reducing subsidies, raising prices for governmental services and where possible imposing taxes. Understandably, officials have little choice but streamline public finance. The numbers for fiscal year 2018 put expenditure at $9.2 billion and revenues at $6.2 billion. This leaves a projected deficit of $3 billion, which would be about 9 per cent of the gross domestic product. The gap is however an improvement over 2016’s deficit, when it stood at $4 billion or 12.5 of GDP. The latest steps intended to generate additional budgetary revenues include raising petrol prices. Starting January 9, the National Oil and Gas Authority increased prices for octane 95 by 25 per cent to $0.53 per litre. This marks the second such rise in fuel prices within two years, and the government is not ruling out further increases."



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Peak oil demand and its implications for Gulf producers | Arab News

Peak oil demand and its implications for Gulf producers | Arab News:

"Even if oil consumption reaches a peak and then starts to fall, the world will still need large quantities of oil for many decades to come.
The prediction is contained in a thoughtful paper co-authored by Spencer Dale, chief economist of BP, and Bassam Fattouh, director of the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies.
“Global oil demand is likely to continue growing for a period, driven by rising prosperity in fast-growing developing economies,” they wrote in a paper published on Monday."



'via Blog this'

US to overtake Saudi as crude oil producer: IEA - The Peninsula Qatar

US to overtake Saudi as crude oil producer: IEA - The Peninsula Qatar:

"The United States are set to overtake Saudi Arabia as the world's number two oil producer after Russia this year, as shale companies, attracted by rising prices, ramp up drilling, the International Energy Agency said on Friday. "This year promises to be a record-setting one for the US," the IEA wrote in its monthly market report. Crude production of 9.9 million barrels per day (bpd) in the US was now at the highest level in nearly 50 years, "putting it neck-and-neck with Saudi Arabia, the world's second largest crude producer after Russia," the IEA said."



'via Blog this'

Saudi minister previously detained in corruption crackdown to head Davos delegation

Saudi minister previously detained in corruption crackdown to head Davos delegation:

"Saudi Arabia’s delegation to the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos next week will be led by state minister Ibrahim al-Assaf, who was released from detention related to an anti-corruption purge in November, Saudi sources said.

Assaf, who was also a former finance minister and a board member of national oil company Saudi Aramco, was among people detained and under investigation by a new anti-corruption body, a senior Saudi official had told Reuters.

After he was seen attending a cabinet meeting earlier this month, a Saudi source said he had been cleared of wrongdoing and retained his positions as minister of state and adviser to the king."



'via Blog this'

Oil prices fall as rally falters on growing U.S. output concerns

Oil prices fall as rally falters on growing U.S. output concerns:

"Oil prices ended down on Friday and broke a four-week winning streak after a rally that had taken benchmarks to three-year highs, as investors sold positions on re-emerging U.S. production concerns.

Brent crude futures LCOc1 fell 70 cents, or 1 percent, to settle at $68.61 a barrel after hitting a session low of $68.28. On Monday, they hit their highest since December 2014 at $70.37.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures CLc1 settled at $63.37 a barrel, down 58 cents, or 0.9 percent. WTI marked a December-2014 peak of $64.89 a barrel on Tuesday."



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Friday, 19 January 2018

US set to overtake Saudi Arabia and rival Russia in crude output

US set to overtake Saudi Arabia and rival Russia in crude output:

"US crude production is on course to overtake Saudi Arabia and rival Russia, the International Energy Agency said, as it revised higher its 2018 growth forecast and stressed that “explosive” expansion in shale was offsetting Opec-led supply cuts. In its closely watched monthly oil market report published on Friday, the IEA said production growth was returning “to the heady days of 2013-2015”, even as the Paris-based body said global supply and demand would broadly find balance this year. The latest body to raise US estimates, following the US energy department’s statistics arm and Opec’s own research unit, the IEA said: “This year promises to be a record-setting one for the US.”"



'via Blog this'

Saudi economy set for sustainable revenue boost: Fitch | ZAWYA MENA Edition

Saudi economy set for sustainable revenue boost: Fitch | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"Recent fiscal measures in Saudi Arabia will prompt a sustainable rise in government revenues, Fitch Ratings said. Revenues in 2018 may also get a one-off boost from settlements with wealthy individuals following the anti-corruption campaign launched in November, the ratings agency said in a report released on Thursday. However Fitch noted that the value and use of the receipts has not been officially confirmed and they are not included in official budget projections. "



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Aviation: Emirates and flyDubai will continue to soar | ZAWYA MENA Edition

Aviation: Emirates and flyDubai will continue to soar | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"Over 79,000 trade visitors... Deals totalling over $113bn... A litany of widebody and narrowbody orders, led by Emirates ordering up to 40 Boeing 787-9 and 787-10 Dreamliners and flydubai signing a deal for up to 225 Boeing 737 MAXs... And that was just the 2017 edition of the Dubai Air Show. Dubai Airports will likely report 2017 as another record-breaking year for passengers handled and will retain the top spot for international traffic as it steamrollers towards the 100m passenger mark. And although naysayers have for years being forecasting an implosion in the GCC’s aviation sector, even a Saudi-led blockade of Qatar hasn’t dampened opportunities. So, what will 2018 hold? In short, bellwether airline Emirates will dominate headlines for a number of reasons."



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IEA sees oil markets tightening as Venezuelan output collapses

IEA sees oil markets tightening as Venezuelan output collapses:

"Global oil markets are tightening quickly on falling supply from Venezuela, which posted 2017’s biggest unplanned output fall and could see a further decline in 2018, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said on Friday.

Debt and infrastructure problems cut Venezuela’s December output to 1.61 million barrels per day (bpd), somewhere near a 30-year low. That helped oil prices top $70 per barrel in early January, their highest level in 3 years.

“The general perception that the market has been tightening is clearly the overriding factor and, within this overall picture, there is mounting concern about Venezuela’s production,” the IEA, which coordinates energy policy in industrialised nations, said in its monthly report."



'via Blog this'

IEA Sees ‘Explosive’ Growth in U.S. Oil Output As Prices Rally - Bloomberg

IEA Sees ‘Explosive’ Growth in U.S. Oil Output As Prices Rally - Bloomberg:

"U.S. oil output is set for “explosive” growth this year as prices rally, potentially offsetting a further collapse in Venezuela’s production, the International Energy Agency said. The agency is joining a chorus of voices from Goldman Sachs group Inc. and OPEC’s own analysts in warning of a surge in U.S. production as oil hits three-year highs. Output cuts led by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries have been successful in eroding bloated stockpiles, and yet they risk becoming a victim of their own success."



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Thursday, 18 January 2018

Abu Dhabi fund Goldilocks buys stake in GFH - The National

Abu Dhabi fund Goldilocks buys stake in GFH - The National:

"Goldilocks Investment Company, controlled by Abu Dhabi Financial Group (ADFG), on Thursday announced its had taken a 4.99 per cent stake in GFH Financial Group, the Bahraini Sharia-compliant investment house. Goldilocks is managed by ADCM Altus Investment Management, an indirect subsidiary of ADFG, and said it intends to request board representation with GFH. No financial details were given. "



'via Blog this'

Iran’s central bank claims billions from German stock exchange | Arab News

Iran’s central bank claims billions from German stock exchange | Arab News:

"German stock market operator Deutsche Boerse said Thursday that Iran’s central bank had levelled claims for billions of dollars against its Luxembourg subsidiary Clearstream, which blocked the funds after the US accused Tehran of funding terrorism.
The central bank (Bank Markazi) demands some $4.9 billion (4.0 billion euros) of assets it says are held in Clearstream accounts belonging to it and to Italian bank UBAE, plus interest, Deutsche Boerse said in a statement.
If the assets themselves cannot be recovered, the Iranian institution wants damages in the same amount."



'via Blog this'

Saudi Wealth Remains Hidden as Government Pursues $100 Billion - Bloomberg

Saudi Wealth Remains Hidden as Government Pursues $100 Billion - Bloomberg:

"When the Riyadh Ritz-Carlton starts accepting guest bookings next month, it will be the end of the luxury hotel’s stint as a prison for Saudi Arabian princes, billionaires and dignitaries accused of corruption. It also closes the door on a rare glimpse into the enduring mystery of private wealth in the oil-rich kingdom.

The Bloomberg Billionaires Index, a daily ranking of the world’s 500 richest people, has documented 15 individuals with a combined net worth of $63 billion from Saudi Arabia, a nation of 32 million. In Canada, which has a population of 36 million, the index has counted 31 with a combined $171 billion. In Singapore, a city-state of only 5.6 million people, the index tallies 14 with $85 billion.

The government’s goal of recouping up to $100 billion from the princes and businessmen detained in the purge suggests there may be a lot more wealth hidden in Saudi Arabia. The amount is about equal to the funds it says has been drained from state coffers through corruption."



'via Blog this'

Qatar's QNB Plans Expansion After Absorbing Shock of Standoff - Bloomberg

Qatar's QNB Plans Expansion After Absorbing Shock of Standoff - Bloomberg:

"Qatar National Bank QPSC has absorbed the shock of last year’s Saudi Arabia-led isolation of the gas-rich state and plans to push ahead with its expansion strategy. The Middle East’s biggest bank by assets expects that profit will increase 5 percent to 7 percent this year, Chief Executive Officer Ali al-Kuwari said in an interview. QNB will continue to diversify earnings by targeting Southeast Asia, while focusing on its main markets in Qatar, Egypt and Turkey, he said. QNB said Tuesday that annual net income rose 6 percent, meeting analysts’ estimates, as the lender cut impairment charges. The profit growth was at the slowest pace in at least 10 years with operating income remaining little changed from a year earlier."



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Dubai Islamic Bank poised to issue dollar sukuk – sources

Dubai Islamic Bank poised to issue dollar sukuk – sources:

"Dubai Islamic Bank, the largest sharia-compliant bank in the United Arab Emirates, is expected to issue as soon as next week a U.S. dollar-denominated Islamic bond in the region of $750 million, sources familiar with the matter said. The bank, which this week reported a 26 percent increase in fourth-quarter net profit, has appointed a group of banks including HSBC and Standard Chartered for the planned Islamic bond, or sukuk. The bank’s chief executive Adnan Chilwan said on Wednesday during a conference call to discuss the lender’s fourth-quarter results that Dubai Islamic Bank was considering capital raising options in 2018, including a rights issue and an Islamic bond."



'via Blog this'

OPEC-Russia Oil Deal Faces a New Danger: Too Much Winning - Bloomberg

OPEC-Russia Oil Deal Faces a New Danger: Too Much Winning - Bloomberg:

"When OPEC and Russia meet this weekend to review their strategy for clearing a global oil glut, they’ll face an unusual problem: it could be working just a bit too well. As their output cuts, coupled with robust global demand, tighten the market, crude prices have soared to a three-year high near $70 a barrel. That’s prompted warnings -- from Iran’s oil minister to Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and even OPEC’s own analysts -- of a fresh surge in U.S. production, wrecking all of the group’s hard work."



'via Blog this'

The World's Oil Kings Are Under Threat - Bloomberg

The World's Oil Kings Are Under Threat - Bloomberg:

"Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown in the world’s biggest oil market. Middle East producers who for decades reigned as the undisputed leaders of oil sales to Asia are sensing a threat to their dominance, which is goading them to review age-old habits. Before the U.S. shale boom and the biggest price crash in a generation, buyers eager to feed their galloping economies had little choice but to purchase their supply even if terms weren’t desirable. Refiners have long grumbled about Middle East producers providing pricing for long-term oil cargoes in a timeline that’s out of sync with when individual “spot” shipments are traded. That complicated policy makes it difficult to compare the relative costs of various crudes. "



'via Blog this'

UAE's Dana Gas sukuk drop after settlement talks fail to yield settlement | ZAWYA MENA Edition

UAE's Dana Gas sukuk drop after settlement talks fail to yield settlement | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"Prices of about $700 million of sukuk issued by United Arab Emirates energy producer Dana Gas fell by around three points on Thursday after talks between some local creditors and the company failed to lead to a settlement of their dispute. Last year the company refused to repay its Islamic bonds when they matured, claiming they were no longer sharia-compliant and therefore not valid under UAE law. It sought declarations in British and UAE courts on the validity of the sukuk. Legal proceedings are continuing but sources told Reuters this week that several weeks of discussions between the firm and some of its local creditors, aimed at finding an out-of-court settlement, did not lead to a solution. "



'via Blog this'

Oman's SWF gets approval for $1bln infrastructure fund- official | ZAWYA MENA Edition

Oman's SWF gets approval for $1bln infrastructure fund- official | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"Oman's State General Reserve Fund (SGRF) has got government approval to launch a $1 billion infrastructure fund that will invest in the tiny Gulf state's infrastructure projects, a senior finance ministry official said on Thursday. The non-OPEC oil producer, like some other Gulf states has been hit hard by low oil prices in the last two years leading to budget deficits. Oman is also channeling funding into projects that are essential for the country's non-oil future. "



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Saudi Electricity secures $2.6bln syndicated bridge loan | ZAWYA MENA Edition

Saudi Electricity secures $2.6bln syndicated bridge loan | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"State-controlled utility Saudi Electricity Co said on Thursday it had signed a $2.6 billion bridge syndicated loan.

The unsecured debt facility, with a one-year maturity, will be used for general corporate purposes and to back the company's capital expenditure programme.

Saudi Electricity raised the facility with a group of eight international banks including Citibank, Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, First Abu Dhabi Bank, HSBC, Mizuho Bank, Natixis, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation and Standard Chartered Bank. "



'via Blog this'

MIDEAST STOCKS-Egypt buoyed by M&A activity, Widam Food soars in Qatar

MIDEAST STOCKS-Egypt buoyed by M&A activity, Widam Food soars in Qatar:

"Mergers and acquisition activity in the health sector lifted Egypt’s stock market on Thursday, while Gulf markets mostly moved sideways but Qatar rose on the back of a jump by food processor and livestock trader Widam Food.

Nozha International Hospital jumped 10 percent to 75.62 Egyptian pounds and Cleopatra Hospital surged 7.4 percent after Nozha said Cleopatra was seeking regulatory approval to make a mandatory tender offer for all of Nozha.

Cleopatra, advised by EFG Hermes, will offer Nozha shareholders 90 pounds per share and intends to delist its acquisition, Nozha said."



'via Blog this'

U.A.E. to Postpone Changes to How It Calculates Key Rate - Bloomberg

U.A.E. to Postpone Changes to How It Calculates Key Rate - Bloomberg:

"The United Arab Emirates central bank’s plan to change the way a key interest rate used to price debt is calculated has been postponed, according to two people familiar with the matter.

For several months, banks that form part of a panel that contributes to the Emirates Interbank Offered Rate every day have been submitting interest rate quotes using both the current and proposed system, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private. The new method, which was supposed to be implemented this week, made the rate more volatile, they said.


The change was planned as the Federal Reserve seeks to boost borrowing costs further this year. The U.A.E. typically follows U.S. monetary policy decisions because its currency is pegged to the dollar. The last time the central bank proposed changing the way Eibor is calculated was in 2009, when interest rates plummeted, according to Aarthi Chandrasekaran, the vice president for research at Shuaa Capital in Dubai."



'via Blog this'

CFO of Saudi Prince Alwaleed's Kingdom Holding resigns -sources

CFO of Saudi Prince Alwaleed's Kingdom Holding resigns -sources:

"The chief financial officer of Saudi Arabian Prince Alwaleed bin Talal’s investment vehicle, Kingdom Holding, is leaving the firm, sources familiar with the matter said, in the first prominent departure since the detention of the firm’s founder.

Mohamed Fahmy, who has worked with the company for about five years and is believed to be a close aide of the Saudi billionaire, will leave the firm at the end of February, the sources told Reuters, requesting anonymity because of the commercial sensitivity of the matter.

The sources said the reason for Fahmy’s departure was not clear but it was not related to the detention of Prince Alwaleed, who has been held since November among dozens of officials and businessmen in a government crackdown on corruption."



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Emirates throws Airbus A380 a lifeline with $16 billion deal

Emirates throws Airbus A380 a lifeline with $16 billion deal:

"The Middle East’s largest airline, Emirates, announced Thursday it struck a deal with Airbus to purchase 20 A380 aircraft with the option to buy 16 more in a deal worth $16 billion, throwing a lifeline to the European-made double-decker jumbo jets. The Dubai-based Emirates already has 101 A380s in its fleet and 41 more on order, making it the largest operator of the jumbo jet. “This new order underscores Airbus’ commitment to produce the A380 at least for another ten years,” said Airbus chief salesman John Leahy."



'via Blog this'

Aramco ready to IPO in H2, awaiting govt decision on venue: CEO

Aramco ready to IPO in H2, awaiting govt decision on venue: CEO:

"Saudi Aramco’s Chief Executive Amin Nasser said on Thursday that the initial public offering (IPO) of the state oil giant is still planned for the second half of 2018, but the government has not yet made a decision on the listing venue.

“The company is ready for listing in 2018 when the decision is taken on the listing venue,” Nasser told reporters at the company’s headquarters.

 “We want to see if there is going to be a listing in another market (in addition to the Saudi Tadawul). There is a committee that is formed that looks into it and whenever the decision is taken the company is ready to implement.”"



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Sovereign investor 2017 deal values down 24% at $72bln | ZAWYA MENA Edition

Sovereign investor 2017 deal values down 24% at $72bln | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"Sovereign investor deal-making fell 24 percent in 2017 to $72.5 billion as megadeals such as China Investment Corp's (CIC) bumper $13.8 billion buy of warehouse firm Logicor, which led the pack, were thin on the ground. In previous years, multi-decade port infrastructure leases and pipeline purchases have swollen the pot. In 2017, it was consortium deals and venture capital funding rounds that boosted values, with tech start-ups and energy the popular plays. For example, the second largest deal in the fourth quarter was a mega-funding round for on-demand services provider China Internet Plus. This raised $4 billion, with GIC among the participants.   "



'via Blog this'

Qatar National Bank's loan growth seen slipping to 7-9% in 2018- analysts | ZAWYA MENA Edition

Qatar National Bank's loan growth seen slipping to 7-9% in 2018- analysts | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"Qatar National Bank's (QNB) loan growth is expected to fall back to between 7 and 9 percent in 2018, analysts said after an investor relations conference call with executives of the Middle East's largest lender.

The analysts speculated that the drop in lending growth, from around 12 percent in 2017, would likely be because of a fall in state spending on new projects in the Gulf state.

QNB is the top lender to the public sector and has for years benefitted from government spending on infrastructure, including preparations for the soccer World Cup in 2022. QNB estimates around $177.4 billion of projects will be delivered across oil and gas, transport and construction between 2018 and 2028. "



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf moves sideways, Qatar's Widam jumps on dividend

MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf moves sideways, Qatar's Widam jumps on dividend:

"Gulf stock markets mostly moved sideways in early trade on Thursday, with Qatari food processor and livestock trader Widam Food one of the few big movers as it soared after raising its annual dividend.

Qatar’s stock index edged down 0.1 percent but Widam jumped 9.1 percent in its heaviest trade for months. It said annual net profit rose to 108.1 million riyals ($29.7 million) from 91.3 million and proposed a dividend of 4.25 riyals per share, up from 3.5 riyals for 2016.

Medicare Group, which has more than doubled since mid-November, rose 3.6 percent and Qatar International Islamic Bank gained 1.9 percent. But the Qatari market was mostly quiet."



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Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Qatar Islamic Bank profit grows by 11.6% to QR2.4bn in 2017 - The Peninsula Qatar

Qatar Islamic Bank profit grows by 11.6% to QR2.4bn in 2017 - The Peninsula Qatar:

"Qatar Islamic Bank’s (QIB) net profit attributable to shareholders stood at QR2.4bn for the fiscal year 2017, an increase of 11.6 percent compared to QR2.15bn reported for the year 2016. QIB’s basic earnings per share reached QR9.31 compared to QR8.55 in December 2016. In line with the improved profitability, QIB Board of Directors proposed a higher dividend distribution to shareholders of QR5 per share i.e. 50 percent of the nominal share value, subject to approval of Qatar Central Bank and General Assembly. Total Assets of the bank has increased by 7.5 percent compared to 2016 and now stands at QR150bn driven by a robust growth in the financing and investing activities. The bank’s financing activities reached QR102.6bn having added QR4.4bn, representing a 4.5 percent growth over 2016. Investment securities have now reached QR30.4bn having added QR10.4bn, representing a 52 percent growth over 2016. Customer Deposits of the Bank have registered a strong growth of 6.7 percent compared to 2016 and stood at QR101.8bn improving the bank’s financing to deposit ratio."



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Qatar tipped to be key fixed income issuer in ’18 - The Peninsula Qatar

Qatar tipped to be key fixed income issuer in ’18 - The Peninsula Qatar:

"Fixed income issuances in the GCC in 2017 saw one of the biggest jumps since the financial crisis with growth recorded in both bonds and sukuk markets. The market issuances reached a record level of $40.6bn as against around $20bn during 2016. It was a record year for the GCC countries as sustained low oil prices coupled with rising budget pressure at home as well as infrastructure spending requirements triggered some of the biggest issuances in the region, KAMCO Research noted in its GCC Fixed Income 2017 market report. The ongoing trends also indicate a healthy pipeline of issuances in the near term. In addition, central banks in the region are also under pressure to raise interest rates due to rising interest rates in the US and the pressure to keep currency pegs within a manageable limit. This has also forced some issuers in the region to lock in favorable rates before the interest rates are raised."



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Uber's Mideast Rival Careem Holds IPO Talks With Banks - Bloomberg

Uber's Mideast Rival Careem Holds IPO Talks With Banks - Bloomberg:

"Careem Networks FZ, which competes with Uber Technologies Inc. in the Middle East, is in early talks with banks about a potential initial public offering, according to people familiar with the matter.

 The Dubai-based ride-hailing company started preliminary discussions as it prepares to hire financial advisers, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private. The firm could be valued at about $1.5 billion, with a share sale likely by early 2019, one of the people said. Banks haven’t been appointed and the company may decide not to pursue the listing, the people said. 


While an IPO is a“natural milestone” for a fast-growing business like Careem, the company is currently focused on expanding its operations to more markets, Chief Executive Officer Mudassir Sheikha said in an emailed response to questions.

"



'via Blog this'

Exclusive: Weeks of talks fail to resolve Dana Gas sukuk dispute - sources

Exclusive: Weeks of talks fail to resolve Dana Gas sukuk dispute - sources:

"Weeks of talks between UAE energy firm Dana Gas and some local holders of a disputed $700 million sukuk have failed to reach an agreement, sources told Reuters, leaving a potentially protracted legal battle as the only available option for now. Last year, Dana refused to redeem $700 million of maturing Islamic bonds, arguing they were no longer valid under United Arab Emirates (UAE) law because of changes in Islamic financial practice over the last several years. The move shocked the global Islamic finance industry, as some investors worried it could set a precedent for other sukuk issuers who might refuse to repay their obligations on the grounds of religious permissibility."



'via Blog this'

RPT-Banks expected to share tiny proportion of mammoth Saudi Aramco IPO

RPT-Banks expected to share tiny proportion of mammoth Saudi Aramco IPO:

"The banks that will advise and execute Saudi Aramco’s stock market listing are expected to share a tiny proportion of the $100 billion Riyadh hopes to raise in its initial public offering, according to banking sources and industry insiders. Investment banks involved in the listing IPO-ARMO.SE are expected to share a fifth of a percent of the money raised, they said, but noted that could still amount to about $200 million. The listing of 5 percent of the state oil company’s shares could be the largest IPO in history, almost five times the size of current record holder Alibaba, the Chinese e-commerce company which went public in New York in 2014."



'via Blog this'

Qatar Airways says U.S. startup airline has offered 25% stake | ZAWYA MENA Edition

Qatar Airways says U.S. startup airline has offered 25% stake | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"A start-up airline in the United States has offered a 25 percent stake to Qatar Airways, chief executive Akbar al-Baker said on Wednesday, providing another opportunity for the Gulf airline to broaden its reach. Baker did not name the airline when speaking with reporters at an airshow in Kuwait. Qatar Airways, which cannot fly to the lucrative markets of Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates because of an economic boycott, late last year bought a 9.61 percent stake in Hong Kong's Cathay Pacific Airways 0293.HK to help to increase traffic through its Doha hub. urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL3N1ND3V7 Baker also expressed regret about management changes at Airbus AIR.PA , such as the impending department of Chief Operating Officer Fabrice Bregier who is due to step down in February. urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL8N1OE7D2 "I'm very sad that Fabrice (Bregier) is leaving. Fabrice is a very good administrator. He is a very good engineer and he is a very good friend so I am very sad that he is leaving and I think by doing all these changes Airbus is going into unchartered waters," Baker said. He said Airbus still had to deliver 120 aircraft to Qatar Airways so these changes were a concern to him. Qatar Airways is one of Airbus' biggest customers. Airbus did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Baker's remarks. "



'via Blog this'

Economists Think Saudi's Outlook Looks a Little Too Rosy - Bloomberg

Economists Think Saudi's Outlook Looks a Little Too Rosy - Bloomberg:

"Saudi Arabia’s government expects record spending to deliver a strong economic rebound in 2018. Economists say it’s too optimistic, with officials underestimating the impact of new taxes, subsidy cuts and oil prices.

Even after King Salman ordered additional cash handouts this month to mitigate the toll of austerity on households, the median estimate of five economists surveyed by Bloomberg is 1.6 percent growth -- well below the 2.7 percent in the Saudi budget -- with predictions ranging from 0.7 percent to 2 percent."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Big Qatar banks diverge on Q4 earnings in mixed Gulf

MIDEAST STOCKS-Big Qatar banks diverge on Q4 earnings in mixed Gulf:

"Gulf stock markets were mixed on Wednesday with Masraf Al Rayan, Qatar’s second-largest bank by market value, pulling the Qatari stock index 0.2 percent lower.

Shares in Masraf Al Rayan sank 2.7 percent after the bank reported a 9.6 percent drop in fourth-quarter net profit to 466 million riyals, below an average 562.5 million riyal forecast by three analysts polled by Reuters.

Qatar National Bank also missed forecasts with a 5.2 percent rise in fourth-quarter net profit to 2.85 billion riyals ($783 million). But the Gulf’s largest lender raised its cash dividend for 2017 to 6 riyals per share and its stock was up 0.7 percent."



'via Blog this'

Dubai Islamic Bank weighs capital-raising in 2018- CEO | ZAWYA MENA Edition

Dubai Islamic Bank weighs capital-raising in 2018- CEO | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"Dubai Islamic Bank plans to raise capital in 2018 to help support an expected double-digit rise in loan growth, its chief executive said on Wednesday.

The bank is considering options including a rights issue and an issue of Islamic bonds, but any final decision on its plans will be subject to regulatory approvals, Adnan Chilwan said on a conference call to discuss the bank's fourth-quarter results.

In an investor presentation, the bank said it was targeting loan growth of between 10 and 15 percent in 2018, the same target it set for 2017. "



'via Blog this'

Saudi Arabia Closes the World’s Ritziest Prison - Bloomberg

Saudi Arabia Closes the World’s Ritziest Prison - Bloomberg:

 "The Ritz-Carlton in Riyadh is due to resume life as a five-star hotel next month, but the purge that turned it into the world’s most luxurious prison still carries risks for Saudi Arabia’s young leader.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, 32, held relatives and scores of others from his anti-corruption sweep in the 492-room establishment since November. Some are still there, while others are thought to be abroad, under house arrest or banned from traveling. The Ritz website is now taking reservations from Feb. 14, signaling an end to one chapter of a campaign whose goal is to recoup as much as $100 billion of allegedly misappropriated money.

The detentions are part of Prince Mohammed’s drive to transform Saudi society and the economy and cement his power. At the same time, they have strained ties within the royal family, once the pillar of Saudi stability, and raised questions over the increasingly authoritarian heir's intentions amid the prospect of facing some new powerful enemies. "



'via Blog this'

Oman’s economy is ‘over the worst’ says leading economist | Arab News

Oman’s economy is ‘over the worst’ says leading economist | Arab News:

"Oman’s economy is set to receive a ‘much-needed’ boost from additional revenue due to the rise in prices of oil barrels, according to the country’s investment fund chief economist, Fabio Scacciavillani. “The most difficult phase for the economy is coming to an end,” Scacciavillani told the Times of Oman. OPEC agreed to a production cut late last year which allowed the prices to rise, prompting Oman’s crude oil cost to rise above $67 — a three-year high for the gulf nation."



'via Blog this'

QNB Group profit surges 6% to QR13.1bn in 2017

QNB Group profit surges 6% to QR13.1bn in 2017:

"QNB, the largest financial institution in the Middle East and Africa, has reported 6% year-on-year growth in net profit to QR13.1bn in 2017 and suggested 60% cash dividend.
The bank’s total assets expanded 13% to QR811bn, the highest ever achieved by the group. The key driver of asset growth was loans and advances, which grew 12% to QR584bn. Also, the QNB Group increased customer deposits by 16% to QR586bn from December 2016.
“This led to QNB Group’s loans-to-deposits ratio to decrease from 102.7% in December 2016 to 99.8% as on December 31, 2017,” a bank spokesman said."



'via Blog this'

Oil-betting funds are having their cake and eating it

Oil-betting funds are having their cake and eating it:

"We are taught from a young age that it is possible to have too much of a good thing. Too many sweets will make you sick, staying up too late will leave you overtired and, as we get older, most eventually learn it is better to exit a party when you are still having fun.

But for hedge funds operating in the oil market — who have established a record bet on rising prices —Brent’s rally to $70 a barrel is not yet the signal to trigger a self-imposed curfew.

As prices hit levels not seen since the oil crash started in late 2014, a growing band of traders expect money managers from Mayfair to Connecticut to double-down on crude, despite warnings that the speculative overhang could trigger a sell-off if enough decide to cash in their profits."



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Rouhani’s budget transparency stokes Iran unrest

Rouhani’s budget transparency stokes Iran unrest:

"When President Hassan Rouhani unveiled this year’s budget his intention was to shine a spotlight on state funding for institutions under the influence of his hardline opponents. Instead, his attempt at transparency inadvertently stoked public anger that helped trigger the biggest anti-regime protests in almost a decade. As disgruntlement festered over rising living costs and complaints that Mr Rouhani had failed to back his promises of reform grew louder, the budget exposed the large amounts of taxpayers’ cash allocated to religious institutions and other entities affiliated to factions within the Islamic regime. One example picked up on by Iranians was the 31.1trn rials ($853m) proposed for about a dozen institutions that promote Islam and the ideological foundations of the Islamic regime. This was a nominal increase of 9 per cent on the previous year and almost the equivalent to the amounts earmarked for the foreign and culture ministries. "



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Damac Chief Ready to Sell 15% of His Stake at Right Price - Bloomberg

Damac Chief Ready to Sell 15% of His Stake at Right Price - Bloomberg:

"Hussein Sajwani, the billionaire whose Damac Properties Dubai Co. is developing Donald Trump-branded golf courses in Dubai, would be “more than happy” to sell as much as 15 percent of his majority stake in the company to boost the trading in its shares. Shares rose.

“The intention is there,” the Damac chairman said in an interview at his seafront residence on The Palm, a man-made island off Dubai’s coast. “As an owner who built the company with all the effort and hard work, I am not willing to sell it when I see my stock is undervalued,” he said. He declined to say what he considers a fair price.

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Damac Properties' Chairman on Business Opportunities, London
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Oil gives up early gains, but market still well supported

Oil gives up early gains, but market still well supported:

"Oil prices gave up some early gains on Wednesday as analysts warned of a downward correction, but remained well supported on the back of tightening supply and strong global demand

Tighter fundamentals have lifted both crude futures benchmarks about 13 percent above levels in early December, helped by production curbs by OPEC and Russia, as well as by healthy demand growth.

Brent crude futures LCOc1 were at $69.23 a barrel at 0808 GMT, up 8 cents from their last close, but down from a high of $69.37 earlier in the day. Brent on Monday rose to $70.37 a barrel, its highest since December 2014, the start of a three-year oil price slump."



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Why Carillion bankruptcy won't affect UAE projects | ZAWYA MENA Edition

Why Carillion bankruptcy won't affect UAE projects | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"Ongoing projects under the Al-Futtaim and Carillion joint venture in the UAE are unlikely to take a hit from the bankruptcy declared by the British partner on Monday, analysts said.

Abdul Kadir Faizal, CEO, Ere Homes, said Al-Futtaim is a big and well-diversified company and has resources to cope with this situation.

Another analyst, asking not to be named, said projects being developed by the joint venture are unlikely to take a hit because Al-Futtaim has the capacity to handle the situation."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf moves sideways early on; Qatari banks mixed after earnings | ZAWYA MENA Edition

MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf moves sideways early on; Qatari banks mixed after earnings | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"Gulf stock markets moved sideways in early trade on Wednesday with shares in top Qatari banks mixed after they reported lower-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings.

The Qatari stock index was almost flat. Qatar National Bank, the Gulf's largest lender, was up 0.7 percent after reporting a 5.2 percent increase in fourth-quarter net profit to 2.85 billion riyals ($783 million); SICO Bahrain had forecast 3.54 billion riyals, while EFG Hermes expected 3.30 billion riyals.

The bank's board recommended a cash dividend of 6 riyals per share for 2017, compared to the proposal for the previous year of 3.5 riyals per share plus a bonus share dividend which awarded one free share for every 10 owned.
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Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Dubai’s DAE Capital sets up dedicated asset management unit - The National

Dubai’s DAE Capital sets up dedicated asset management unit - The National:

"DAE Capital, the leasing arm of Dubai Aerospace Enterprise (DAE), has formed an asset management unit that will seek to build a US$5 billion portfolio of assetsin the coming years, the company said on Tuesday. DAE Aircraft Investor Services (DAE-AIS) will include in its remit the two aircraft portfolios that DAE already manages – Falcon Aerospace and Diamond Head, the latter of which was acquired as part of DAE’s acquisition of Dublin-based lessor Awas last August. The two portfolios have combined assets under management of $850 million."



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Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange signs agreement with Swift and other parties to adopt blockchain technology - The National

Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange signs agreement with Swift and other parties to adopt blockchain technology - The National:

"Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX) has signed an agreement with financial messaging services firm Swift and seven central securities depository (CSD) companies to use blockchain technology in post-trade operations and capital market transactions to cut costs and risks, it said on Tuesday. The nine entities signed a memorandum of understanding, under which they will collaborate on distributed ledger technology (DLT) in areas that include research and development, identifying, defining and developing additional use cases for DLT in a CSD environment, and the post-trade landscape, such as services for different kinds of DLT-based digital assets, ADX said. The bourse said it was the first in the region to enter such an agreement. “The exchange will open channels of constructive dialogue with various stakeholders to identify the common principals, standards and business rules needed for the successful implementation of DLT in post-trade operations, with the aim of enhancing the speed and security of capital market transactions,” said Rashed Al Blooshi, chief executive of ADX."



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Saudi Arabia’s ACWA powers on with IPO plan | Arab News

Saudi Arabia’s ACWA powers on with IPO plan | Arab News:

"Saudi Arabia-based ACWA Power, the power and desalination plant producer, could go public within the next two years, according to its CEO and President Paddy Padmanathan.
ACWA, which has garnered a reputation for building renewable energy projects at record low prices, is looking for an initial public offering (IPO) as soon as possible, Padmanathan said in an interview at the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week conference.
“I hope (it will happen) within two years. If it was this year, it would be wonderful. We’re not the ones holding back,” he said."



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Qatar's Masraf Al Rayan reports 9.6 pct fall in Q4 profit

Qatar's Masraf Al Rayan reports 9.6 pct fall in Q4 profit:

"Masraf Al Rayan, Qatar’s second-largest bank by market value, reported a 9.6-percent drop in fourth-quarter net profit on Tuesday, according to Reuters calculations, missing analysts’ expectations.

Net profit for the three months to Dec. 31 was 466 million riyals ($128 million) compared to 515.6 million riyals in the same period a year ago, Reuters calculations showed, using financial statements in lieu of a quarterly earnings breakdown.

An average of three analysts polled by Reuters had forecast the bank would make a net profit of 562.5 million riyals."



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Qatar central bank to consider topic of virtual currencies: governor

Qatar central bank to consider topic of virtual currencies: governor:

"Qatar’s central bank will consider the topic of virtual currencies and there may be an opportunity in the future to introduce them in Qatar, central bank governor Sheikh Abdullah bin Saud al-Thani said on Tuesday. "



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Saudi businessman Mulhem released in anti-corruption probe: sources | ZAWYA MENA Edition

Saudi businessman Mulhem released in anti-corruption probe: sources | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"Prominent Saudi Arabian businessman Khalid Bin Abdullah al-Mulhem has been released after being detained for more than two months, sources told Reuters on Tuesday.

Mulhem, vice chairman of Saudi British Bank, was among dozens of princes, senior officials and top businessmen detained in early November in what Saudi officials said was a crackdown on suspected corruption.

Mulhem could not be reached for comment on Tuesday and the Saudi government's media office declined to comment, saying all defendants in the investigation had a right to privacy. "



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Saudi Aramco snubs UBS and Bank of America for listing roles: sources | ZAWYA MENA Edition

Saudi Aramco snubs UBS and Bank of America for listing roles: sources | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"Saudi Aramco has not invited UBS and Bank of America Merrill Lynch to pitch for senior advisory roles in its stock market listing because they have not lent money to the state oil giant in recent years, according to five finance sources. The two investment banks, among the world's biggest, have not been asked to attend meetings in Saudi Arabia in the coming weeks where its rivals will pitch for global coordinator mandates for the IPO, said the people familiar with the matter.

They have been frozen out by Aramco, the sources added, despite having operations in the Middle East and wanting to take part in the initial public offering, which could be the biggest in history.

Saudi Aramco, Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Swiss lender UBS all declined to comment."



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Oman Plans $1 Billion Infrastructure Fund - Bloomberg

Oman Plans $1 Billion Infrastructure Fund - Bloomberg:

"Oman’s sovereign wealth fund is planning to start a $1 billion infrastructure fund to boost investment in projects including the Gulf state’s road, transport and energy systems, according to people familiar with the matter.

The State General Reserve Fund is talking to international banks and potential investors for the financing, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private. The projects in which the funds will be deployed have not been finalized, they said. Repeated calls to the fund’s offices in Muscat and the Ministry of Finance weren’t answered, while an email sent to an address on the fund’s website bounced back.

The country is turning to public-private partnerships to plug gaps in its infrastructure program, which is being hindered by tighter government finances. Oman, like other states in the oil-rich six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council, has been battered by a plunge in crude prices since mid-2014 that has caused budget deficits to swell and borrowing to surge. The nation’s bonds are rated junk by S&P Global Ratings and have among the lowest investment grades from Moody’s Investors Service and Fitch Ratings."



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