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Saturday, 21 April 2018

No residency visa needed to buy property in Sharjah | ZAWYA MENA Edition

No residency visa needed to buy property in Sharjah | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"In a game-changing development in the real estate market, non-Arabs will no longer need a UAE residence visa to purchase a property in Sharjah. It was in 2014 that Sharjah government opened its realty market to foreign investment by allowing expatriates to buy property with the rider of a mandatory UAE residence visa.

Back then only certain areas were earmarked for investment. Tilal Properties, a joint venture between the government's investment arm Sharjah Asset Management and Eskan Real Estate Development, was the first entity to offer expatriates leases of up to 100 years with its Tilal City project.

Tilal Properties director general Khalifa Al Shaibani in an exclusive chat with Khaleej Times said as per the government's new legislation foreign investors need not have a UAE residence visa to buy property in Tilal City."



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Friday, 20 April 2018

More than QR20bn added to capitalisation on higher FOL, Q1 results

More than QR20bn added to capitalisation on higher FOL, Q1 results:

"Higher foreign ownership limits and buoyancy in the first quarter financials had their way in lifting the Qatar Stock Exchange to near-9,200 levels and add capitalisation more than QR20bn this week. More than 69% of the traded constituents extended gains this week which saw Qatar and China explore opportunities, including mutual listing of Qatari and Chinese exchange traded funds (ETFs) in both markets. Foreign funds’ substantially strengthened buying interests helped the 20-stock Qatar Index gain 278 points or 3.12% this week which saw Qatar Industrial Manufacturing Company (QIMD) considering setting up a float glass project with an estimated initial investment of QR700mn."



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Trump's tweet gatecrashes OPEC's celebration

Trump's tweet gatecrashes OPEC's celebration:

"With oil prices hitting $75 per barrel, it was meant to be one of the smoothest meetings OPEC has had in recent years. 

The night before the meeting, the ministers gathered in Jeddah celebrated with a traditional Saudi sword dance - just as U.S. President Donald Trump had done when he visited Saudi Arabia last May.

Little did they know that Trump was about to spoil their post-meeting party when he tweeted that oil prices had rallied too far.

"



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Surprise: Russia-Saudi Oil Alliance Could Push Prices Down - Bloomberg

Surprise: Russia-Saudi Oil Alliance Could Push Prices Down - Bloomberg:

"As the market reaction to the strikes on Syria demonstrated, increased tensions in the Middle East often force oil prices higher. Until some easing of the markets Thursday, crude had been trading at the highest level in more than three years: 



Observers understandably worry about production disruptions or the interference in the shipping of crude oil in the Middle East -- nearly a third of the world’s daily waterborne oil shipments pass through the Strait of Hormuz. General unease about heightened political and military tensions in the region can push prices higher even when these two risk factors are not present -- and even when events occur in a place like Syria, which is a bit player in global oil markets.

Yet we may be seeing a radical development affecting how these markets work. The dynamic of growing concerns over Middle Eastern flare-ups and rising prices will remain important. Concerns about a U.S. withdrawal from the Iran deal, for example, are making markets nervous. Yet, the new politics of the region suggest another scenario is also a possibility -- geopolitical risk could actually bring with it the threat of lower prices, not higher ones, at least in the medium and long run. 


"



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Explainer: If Trump revives Iran sanctions, they'll take time to come back

Explainer: If Trump revives Iran sanctions, they'll take time to come back:

"Reports of the Iran nuclear deal’s imminent demise might just be premature.

President Donald Trump will decide by May 12 whether

to restore U.S. economic sanctions on Tehran, which would be a severe blow to the 2015 pact between Iran and six major powers.

Under the deal, Tehran agreed to curb its nuclear program in return for relief from economic sanctions. Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama, struck the pact to try to keep Iran from building a nuclear weapon but Trump believes it has “disastrous flaws.”"



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DP World should rethink port deals in Somalia: foreign minister

DP World should rethink port deals in Somalia: foreign minister:

"Somalia’s foreign minister said on Friday that Dubai state-owned port operator DP World DPW.DI should reconsider its contract with the breakaway region of Somaliland and work with federal authorities so Somalia’s sovereignty is not violated. “We are asking DP World to reconsider these agreements,particularly the one in Berbera port since Somaliland is claiming to be a state independent from Somalia,” Ahmed Isse Awad, Somalia’s foreign minister, told Reuters in an interview. He said DP World’s agreement to develop an economic zone and port in Somaliland’s Berbera “bypassed the legitimate authority” of Somalia, triggering “misunderstanding and disagreement” that remained unresolved."



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DP World should rethink port deals in Somalia: foreign minister

DP World should rethink port deals in Somalia: foreign minister:

"Somalia’s foreign minister said on Friday that Dubai state-owned port operator DP World DPW.DI should reconsider its contract with the breakaway region of Somaliland and work with federal authorities so Somalia’s sovereignty is not violated. “We are asking DP World to reconsider these agreements,particularly the one in Berbera port since Somaliland is claiming to be a state independent from Somalia,” Ahmed Isse Awad, Somalia’s foreign minister, told Reuters in an interview. He said DP World’s agreement to develop an economic zone and port in Somaliland’s Berbera “bypassed the legitimate authority” of Somalia, triggering “misunderstanding and disagreement” that remained unresolved."



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Trump accuses Opec of driving up oil prices ‘artificially’

Trump accuses Opec of driving up oil prices ‘artificially’:

"Donald Trump has launched a broadside against Opec for pushing oil markets to the highest level since 2014, saying that crude prices have been driven up “artificially” by the cartel.

The US president’s statement, made in one of his customary early morning tweets, followed comments by Saudi Arabia’s energy minister on Friday that the world economy could cope with higher oil prices as crude approached $75 a barrel.

“Looks like OPEC is at it again. With record amounts of Oil all over the place, including the fully loaded ships at sea, Oil prices are artificially Very High! No good and will not be accepted!” Mr Trump tweeted."



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The continuing blockade of Qatar makes no sense

The continuing blockade of Qatar makes no sense:

"If state-backed newspapers in Riyadh are to be believed, the next chapter in the stand-off between Gulf states could see Saudi Arabia turn its tiny, gas-rich neighbour Qatar into an island. This would involve excavating a Suez-style canal on the land border between the two countries. To reinforce this topographical engineering, a dump for toxic waste would be planted in between. The story may well be apocryphal — the latest in a sustained propaganda campaign which has failed thus far to intimidate the Qatari emirate into bending to the will of rival dynasties. It is symptomatic nonetheless of how riven the Gulf states still are 10 months since Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates initiated a trade and diplomatic embargo on Qatar, to the detriment of all. Saudi Arabia has long resented the reluctance of the geographical minnow on its eastern flank to accept a shadow role. Instead, with the independent powers of patronage that Qatar has cultivated thanks to its prodigious gas reserves, the ruling al-Thani family have adopted a consistently maverick foreign policy stance. Qatar’s meddling in regional conflicts, its support for the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood, and the revolution in the Arab media engendered by the Doha-based broadcaster Al Jazeera, have made it a wayward member of the club in the view of rival dynasties. They have not forgiven Qatar either for its wholehearted backing of Islamists in the uprisings that swept Syria, Libya and Egypt during the Arab Spring, when Saudi royals feared their own powers could come under threat."



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Saudi energy minister: world has ‘capacity’ to absorb high oil price

Saudi energy minister: world has ‘capacity’ to absorb high oil price:

"Saudi Arabia’s energy minister said on Friday that the world economy had the “capacity” to absorb higher prices, the day after crude hit the highest level since 2014. Khalid al-Falih, who has led Opec’s 1.8m barrel a day supply reduction deal with Russia, said that while the kingdom was not targeting a specific price, it had little fear current levels above $70 a barrel would cut into rising consumption. “I have not seen any impact on demand with current prices. We have seen prices significantly higher in the past, twice as much as where we are today,” Mr Falih said at a technical meeting in Jeddah to review the impact of the cuts."



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OPEC, Russia Find Reasons to Keep Cutting After Hitting Goal - Bloomberg

OPEC, Russia Find Reasons to Keep Cutting After Hitting Goal - Bloomberg:

"The oil stockpile surplus that’s weighed on prices for three years is all but gone, but instead of celebrating victory OPEC and Russia are finding reasons to continue production cuts.

The group’s historic agreement has achieved impressive results, wiping out 97 percent of the targeted inventory surplus. Yet the cuts should continue because another important goal -- boosting investment in oil and gas production back to sufficient levels -- remains far out of reach, said Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih.

His most important ally, Russian counterpart Alexander Novak, agreed there’s no reason to stop just because the pact’s initial goal -- stockpiles back in line with the five-year average -- is at hand."



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More countries needed in OPEC, non-OPEC pact: UAE's Al Mazrouei | ZAWYA MENA Edition

More countries needed in OPEC, non-OPEC pact: UAE's Al Mazrouei | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"Further oil producers need to join Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and non-OPEC producers in curbing supply, UAE oil minister Suhail Mohamed Al Mazrouei told a German newspaper.

"OPEC members and non-OPEC producers over-delivered on the supply cuts they promised... But we must include further countries in the pact," the Handelsblatt newspaper quoted him as saying in an interview published on Friday.

OPEC members, Russia and other non-OPEC producers have reduced output since January 2017 aiming to reduce inventories and support prices.
"



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Thursday, 19 April 2018

Oil theft ‘costing Libya over $750m annually’

Oil theft ‘costing Libya over $750m annually’:

"Fuel smuggling is costing Libya more than $750 million each year and harming its economy and society, the head of the National Oil Company in the conflict-riddled country said.
“The impact of fuel smuggling is destroying the fabric of the country,” NOC president Mustafa Sanalla said according to the text of a speech delivered on Wednesday at a conference on oil and fuel theft in Geneva.
“The fuel smugglers and thieves have permeated not only the militias which control much of Libya, but also the fuel distribution companies which are supposed to bring cheap fuel to Libyan citizens,” he said."



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Saudi reforms should bring flood of foreign funds next year

Saudi reforms should bring flood of foreign funds next year:

"Saudi Arabia’s inclusion in global equity indexes and the planned privatization of oil company Aramco are expected to bring big inflows of overseas money into the kingdom next year.

This should help Riyadh rebuild its financial reserves and fund investment plans after the 2014 plunge in oil prices that cut export earnings and deprived the banking system of funds.

Reversing the trend would shift the outlook for an economy which shrank last year for the first time in nearly a decade. "



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$100 Oil Price: The Last Temptation Of Saudi Arabia - Bloomberg

$100 Oil Price: The Last Temptation Of Saudi Arabia - Bloomberg:

"If you're seeking signs of inflation, look no further than the rapid escalation in Saudi Arabia's oil-price targets. Barely a week after Bloomberg News reported Saudi officials pushing to get oil up to $80 a barrel, some are now talking of $100, according to a report from Reuters. It's just talk, of course. And it's usually couched in terms of encouraging stability and investment and whatnot. Still, Saudi Arabia seems in no hurry to call off OPEC's supply cuts, despite the glut in OECD oil inventories having largely drained away. But inventories are just a proxy for what really matters to petro-states: revenue. On top of this, Riyadh has an ambitious reform program (along with a war) to fund and an IPO of its national oil company, Saudi Arabian Oil Co., or Saudi Aramco, to get done. Triple-digit oil would appear to grease both."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi index boosted by oil gains; Qatar National Bank jumps

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi index boosted by oil gains; Qatar National Bank jumps:

"Saudi Arabia’s stock market surged on Thursday, bolstered by a pick-up in oil prices to their highest since late 2014, while a jump in heavyweight Qatar National Bank helped to lift Qatar’s index.

The Saudi index finished in positive territory for a sixth straight day, gaining 1.6 percent. Brent oil rose to nearly $75 a barrel on a drop in U.S. crude inventories and after sources told Reuters that Saudi Arabia aims to push oil prices higher.

Al Rajhi Bank rose 2.9 percent and Samba Financial Group 3.5 percent, while Saudi Arabian Mining Co (Ma’aden) advanced by 6.1 percent."



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Qatar banks forecast 2018 uptick in private sector credit growth | ZAWYA MENA Edition

Qatar banks forecast 2018 uptick in private sector credit growth | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"Qatar banks expect private sector credit growth in the country to pick up speed in 2018 as companies borrow and invest to expand their business, taking advantage of opportunities created by a regional political impasse. The government and state-linked companies have long been the mainstay of credit growth and will continue to be, especially as Qatar prepares to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup. But a political rift that erupted between Qatar and Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt in June and the subsequent scaling back of some companies and investments from those countries is creating a vacuum gradually being filled, in part, by Qatar's fledgling private sector."



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Value of bounced cheques in UAE declines to Dh15.7 billion in first quarter | GulfNews.com

Value of bounced cheques in UAE declines to Dh15.7 billion in first quarter | GulfNews.com:

"Using cheques to settle bills, from rents, utilities to big-ticket purchases, remains popular in the UAE, but it looks like people have smartened up or gotten extra cautious when dealing with non-cash transactions. The latest official data show that there have been fewer bad cheques intercepted in 2018 than in 2009, when many consumers and businesses around the world were not in the best of shape due to the global financial crisis. According to the latest data from the UAE Central Bank, more than seven million cheques changed hands in various transactions in the UAE during the first three months of the year, and at least 310,000 of them bounced."



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Doha Bank showcases resilience of Qatari economy at London meet - The Peninsula Qatar

Doha Bank showcases resilience of Qatari economy at London meet - The Peninsula Qatar:

"Doha Bank CEO Dr R Seetharaman showcased Qatar’s sustainability and resilience at the just-concluded ‘London Summit of Leaders Achievements Forum 2018’.   The event, held at the Institute of Directors (IOD), London,  was attended by key British and world expert’s members of the Oxford Speakers Bureau and Academic Union professors. Commenting on the fast expanding Qatari economy, Dr. R. Seetharaman said: “Qatar economy expected to grow by close to 2.6 percent in 2018. Qatar will raise LNG production by 30 percent to 100mtpa within five to seven years after lifting a moratorium on gas development earlier in 2017. In response to the economic blockade Qatar has emerged strong and has brought various reforms to transform itself into a self-reliant economy.”"



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Iran’s Biggest Threat Has Nothing to Do With Trump - Bloomberg

Iran’s Biggest Threat Has Nothing to Do With Trump - Bloomberg:

"Ahmad, who runs an advertising agency in a busy commercial district of Tehran, has given up trying to get a business loan from any of the dozens of lenders just a short walk from his office.

Finding a bank in Iran is easy. The challenge is finding one that will lend at affordable rates, or even lend at all. The central bank’s rates for businesses are set as high as 18 percent. Ahmad, who employs about 20 people, says his bank told him that his company’s healthy accounts put him in a good position for a loan. But when he applied, he was refused and given excuses, says Ahmad, who asked not to be to be identified by his full name because of concerns in Iran about speaking to foreign media.

Money is harder to come by in a struggling economy, and Ahmad’s experience reflects the financial problems in a country that three years ago looked to be on the cusp of prosperity after a rapprochement with the U.S. and Europe. Now it’s flirting with its own version of the credit crunch that crippled Western banks a decade ago. With the deal on its nuclear program failing to deliver promised gains, experts in Tehran say a banking crisis poses a bigger economic threat to the country than any decision by Donald Trump to rip up the agreement.

"



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Oil’s Bullish Signals Show Saudi Arabia’s $80 Goal Within Reach - Bloomberg

Oil’s Bullish Signals Show Saudi Arabia’s $80 Goal Within Reach - Bloomberg:

"While $80 oil seemed in the clouds just a year ago, it now looks primed for capture.

Technical indicators show that the price Saudi Arabia is said to be aiming for may be within reach, with global benchmark Brent crude already near $74 a barrel. While futures in London have broken past the 50 percent Fibonacci retracement of the slump from when they were above $100 in mid-2014, another signal shows the rally could persist to the line just under $82.

Recent corrections in Brent have shown prices hit a speed bump only when the reading on its Relative Strength Index climbs to 75, well past the usual overbought signal of 70. With that measure now at about 68, it points to continued support for crude on its way up."



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Oil Market Faces Tense Wait as Iran Sanctions Too Close to Call - Bloomberg

Oil Market Faces Tense Wait as Iran Sanctions Too Close to Call - Bloomberg:

"Global markets for equities, currencies and metals have all been whipsawed by the uncertainty over what President Donald Trump’s next geopolitical move would be. Oil’s about to have a turn.

It’s too close to call whether Trump will reinstate sanctions on Iran next month and the impact is highly uncertain, according to a Bloomberg survey of oil-market analysts. The 17 respondents saw on average a 50-50 chance of sanctions “snap-back,” which could halt anywhere between zero and 800 thousand barrels a day of exports from OPEC’s third-largest producer within the next six months.

 That risk looms over Friday’s meeting of some OPEC nations and their allies as they gather to monitor supply cuts in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi stocks lifted by higher oil prices, Qatar index gains

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi stocks lifted by higher oil prices, Qatar index gains:

"Saudi Arabia’s stock market climbed in early trade on Thursday, lifted in the wake of oil prices’ rise to their highest level in over three years, while Qatar’s index was boosted by strong earnings.

Saudi Arabia’s index rose 1.4 percent, set for a sixth straight day of gains. Al Rajhi Bank rose 3.3 percent, while Samba Financial Group climbed 3.2 percent.

Saudi Basic Industries Corporation rose 0.9 percent as petrochemical stocks gained support from higher oil prices because of a decline in U.S. crude inventories and as top exporter Saudi Arabia pushes for higher prices by continuing to withhold supplies."



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Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Qatar non-oil exports at QR5.6bn in Q1 - The Peninsula Qatar

Qatar non-oil exports at QR5.6bn in Q1 - The Peninsula Qatar:

"Qatar’s non-oil exports for the first quarter of 2018 touched QR5.64bn, up 15.1 percent or QR4.9bn, compared to the same period in 2017, according to the monthly report of Qatar Chamber.

The Chamber, in its report which was prepared based on certificates of origin issued by the Chambers Research & Studies Department and Member Affairs Department, pointed out about 2876 certificates of origin were issued in March 2018.

In March, Qatar exported goods and services to about 57 countries, including 11 Arab countries and GCC, 10 European countries including Turkey, 16 Asian countries (excluding Arab countries), 15 African countries (excluding Arab countries), 3 countries of North America, and one of South America and Australia."



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Exclusive: Japan’s Mizuho loses Saudi bond role in ongoing Gulf rift

Exclusive: Japan’s Mizuho loses Saudi bond role in ongoing Gulf rift:

"Japan’s Mizuho Securities has lost a bond mandate for Saudi Arabia, on top of another for Qatar, banking sources said, highlighting how international banks have been caught up in Qatar’s ongoing dispute with its neighbors.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt, last year cut diplomatic and transport links with Qatar accusing it of financing terrorism. Doha denies those charges and says the boycott is aimed at stripping it of its sovereignty.

Last week Saudi Arabia and Qatar had more than $100 billion in total orders for competing U.S. dollar denominated bonds. Mizuho Securities, part of Mizuho Financial Group (8411.T), was offered a leading position in both the $11 billion Saudi issue and the $12 billion Qatar bonds. "



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Iran switches from dollar to euro for official reporting currency

Iran switches from dollar to euro for official reporting currency:

"Iran will start reporting foreign currency amounts in euros rather than U.S. dollars, state media said on Wednesday as part of the country’s effort to reduce its reliance on the U.S. currency due to political tension with Washington.

The new policy could encourage government bodies and firms linked to the state to increase their use of the euro at the expense of the dollar.

Central bank governor Valiollah Seif said last week that Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei had welcomed his suggestion of replacing the dollar with the euro in foreign trade, as the “dollar has no place in our transactions today”. "



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Too Battered to Fail: Bonds in the Gulf Are a Safe Place to Hide - Bloomberg

Too Battered to Fail: Bonds in the Gulf Are a Safe Place to Hide - Bloomberg:

"Investors’ appetite for risk is back, but most of the issues that soured the mood across emerging markets last week are a tweet away from flaring up again. When that happens, the Gulf’s beleaguered bonds will offer refuge. Blighted by political risks in the region, a flood of debt sales and finances that haven’t recovered fully from the crash in oil prices, sovereign bonds in the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council are now attractive compared with similarly rated peers. “Although Middle East sovereign issuers remain vulnerable to headline risk, there is already a considerable geopolitical risk premium baked into their asset prices,” said Brett Rowley, the Los Angeles-based managing director for emerging markets at TCW, which manages about $200 billion."



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EXCLUSIVE-OPEC's new price hawk Saudi Arabia seeks oil as high as $100 - sources | ZAWYA MENA Edition

EXCLUSIVE-OPEC's new price hawk Saudi Arabia seeks oil as high as $100 - sources | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"Top oil exporter Saudi Arabia would be happy to see crude rise to $80 or even $100 a barrel, three industry sources said, a sign Riyadh will seek no changes to an OPEC supply-cutting deal even though the agreement's original target is within sight.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, Russia and several other producers began to reduce supply in January 2017 in an attempt to erase a glut. They have extended the pact until December 2018 and meet in June to review policy.

OPEC is closing in on the original target of the pact - reducing industrialised nations' oil inventories to their five-year average. There is no indication yet, however, that Saudi Arabia or its allies want to wind down the supply cut."



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Kuwait Petroleum Corp set to spend $113bln in 5 years | ZAWYA MENA Edition

Kuwait Petroleum Corp set to spend $113bln in 5 years | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"Kuwait plans to invest a whopping KD34 billion ($113 billion) over the next five years mainly to boost oil exploration and production activity both inside and outside the country, reported Kuwait News Agency (Kuna). This comes as part of Kuwait Petroleum Corporation's (KPC) 2040 ambitious road map for the country's oil sector with the ultimate goal to maximize revenue generation to the Kuwait's economy, said the Kuna report citing the country’s oil minister. "Through this we aim to raise production of nonassociated gas to nearly 500 million standard cu ft per day by the end of 2018," remarked Oil Minister Bakhit Al Rashidi."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Qatar, Saudi climb in sluggish region; Qatari banks surge

MIDEAST STOCKS-Qatar, Saudi climb in sluggish region; Qatari banks surge:

"Stock markets in Qatar and Saudi Arabia climbed on Wednesday while the rest of the region was sluggish, with a slide in Dubai blue chip Emaar Properties dragging down that market once again. The Qatari index surged 1.1 percent as Commercial Bank gained 3.8 percent. It reported a 345 percent year-on-year jump in first-quarter net profit to 405 million riyals ($111 million). The average forecast from analysts polled by Reuters was 329.5 million riyals. Doha Bank, which is to announce its first-quarter earnings next Sunday, climbed 3.4 percent. Qatari banks’ earnings so far in the reporting season have generally been strong, suggesting the impact on them of the embargo imposed by other Arab states on Qatar has largely faded."



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UAE court says Dana Gas can distribute dividends, contradicts UK court | ZAWYA MENA Edition

UAE court says Dana Gas can distribute dividends, contradicts UK court | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"A court in the United Arab Emirates has ruled that local energy firm Dana Gas can distribute dividends to its shareholders, contradicting an earlier decision by a British court, according to court documents published on Wednesday. The ruling is the latest move in a legal battle in the UAE and Britain which began last year, when Dana halted payments on its $700 million of Islamic bonds. The company argues the sukuk have become unlawful because of changes in Islamic finance; holders of the sukuk contest that and are demanding to be paid. Dana said late last month that it would seek shareholder approval to pay a cash dividend for 2017, its first in several years. The dividend would be worth 5 percent of capital or about 349 million dirhams ($95 million)."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Qatar strong as Commercial Bank surges, rest of Gulf moves little

MIDEAST STOCKS-Qatar strong as Commercial Bank surges, rest of Gulf moves little:

"Qatar’s stock market outperformed in early trade on Wednesday as Commercial Bank surged after beating analysts’ forecasts for its first-quarter earnings, while other Gulf bourses moved little.

Qatar’s stock index rose 0.8 percent as Commercial Bank gained 3.0 percent. It reported a 345 percent year-on-year jump in first-quarter net profit to 405 million riyals ($111 million); the average forecast from analysts polled by Reuters was 329.5 million riyals.

Doha Bank, which is to announce its first-quarter earnings next Sunday, also climbed 3.0 percent. Industrial blue chip Industries Qatar added 1.4 percent."



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Saudi's Riyadh airport privatization plans on hold: sources

Saudi's Riyadh airport privatization plans on hold: sources:

"Saudi Arabia has put on hold privatization plans for King Khaled International Airport in Riyadh, the kingdom’s second biggest airport, sources familiar with the matter said.

The Gulf Arab state is launching a privatization drive as part of wider economic reforms aimed at boosting efficiency, easing pressure on state finances and diversifying the oil dependent economy.

In July, sources told Reuters that Goldman Sachs (GS.N) was hired by the government to manage Saudi Civil Aviation Holding Company’s (SAVC) plans to sell a minority stake in Riyadh airport. "



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A $12.5 Trillion Market Defies Investor Attempts at Definition - Bloomberg

A $12.5 Trillion Market Defies Investor Attempts at Definition - Bloomberg:

"Decades of graduations, demotions, rallies and retreats, have left the world’s $12.5 trillion of emerging-market debt and equities facing a bit of an identity crisis. Nations as dissimilar as Pakistan, Greece, South Korea and Chile are considered members of the asset class, according to MSCI Inc. Declining inflation rates and receding currency risks have even got some banks including Goldman Sachs Group Inc. saying the lines have blurred with developed nations. And the composition may get shaken up further next month, when MSCI releases its semi-annual index review, prompting some analysts to ask: What exactly is an emerging market? The problem is that the signposts are so scattered, said Sonja Gibbs, a senior director at the Institute of International Finance, a trade group created during the international debt crisis of the early 1980s. Either you’re judging by market development, as in size, liquidity, domestic investors and legal and regulatory frameworks, or else looking at economic development -- per capita income, growth prospects and institutional quality."



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OPEC-Russia Talks Set to Keep Oil Cuts Even as Glut Vanishes - Bloomberg

OPEC-Russia Talks Set to Keep Oil Cuts Even as Glut Vanishes - Bloomberg:

"OPEC and Russia will meet in Saudi Arabia this week after all but banishing a global oil glut. While looming political crises threaten to tighten supplies further, the group seems determined to keep its cuts in place. Almost 16 months of output curbs by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its partners have seen crude rally to a three-year high near $70 a barrel. That’s replenishing their coffers after the worst oil slump in a generation, encouraging the producers to extend their intervention even as Venezuela’s petro-economy implodes and Donald Trump threatens Iran with sanctions. “Would they declare victory now and stop? No way,” said Mike Wittner, head of oil market research at Societe Generale SA. “They’re happy to see inventories continue to go down, to see prices of $70 or $80. In the end, it’s about revenues. The question is at what point do they become uncomfortable with higher prices?”"



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Dubai's Emirates NBD Q1 net profit up 27% | ZAWYA MENA Edition

Dubai's Emirates NBD Q1 net profit up 27% | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"Emirates NBD (ENBD), Dubai's largest lender, posted a 27 percent rise in first-quarter net profit on Wednesday, boosted by loan growth, improved margins and slimmer provisions for bad debt.

The bank, the first major lender from the United Arab Emirates to report its earnings during the quarter, made a net profit of 2.39 billion dirhams ($651 million)in the three months to March 31, a statement from the bank said, compared with 1.87 billion dirhams in the corresponding period of 2017.

The bank's earnings beat analyst estimates, with SICO Bahrain estimating a profit of 2.08 billion dirhams and EFG Hermes expecting a profit of 2.14 billion dirhams."



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Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Abraaj offers to step down as manager of $1bn healthcare fund

Abraaj offers to step down as manager of $1bn healthcare fund:

"Abraaj has offered to resign as manager of its $1bn healthcare fund as the emerging markets private equity company deals with investors angry about alleged misuse of their money.

The plan seeks to swap Dubai-based Abraaj with an interim manager and then a permanent replacement, people involved in the discussions said. Other options include turning the fund into a company or a self-governing fund.

Abraaj, which has deployed $8bn in its 15-year history, came under fire during the healthcare fund’s annual general meeting with investors in London earlier this month."



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MENA region needs to spend $260 billion for power production, report says

MENA region needs to spend $260 billion for power production, report says:

"Middle Eastern and North African countries need to spend $260 billion over the next five years for electricity production to meet rising demand, a report said on Tuesday. The region, which includes oil heavyweights Saudi Arabia, Iran and Iraq, must make the investments to add 117 gigawatts (GW) of power generation by 2022, Arab Petroleum Investment Corp. (APICORP) said. The Dammam-based energy development bank said $152 billion is needed for electricity generation and the rest for transmission and distribution projects."



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Qatar shares extend gains to inch near 9,000 points

Qatar shares extend gains to inch near 9,000 points:

"The Qatar Stock Exchange on Tuesday extended gains to the second straight session to inch near 9,000 points, mainly lifted by real estate and insurance scrips. Gulf funds turned bullish and there were increased net buying interests from non-Qatari individuals as the 20-stock Qatar Index gained 0.03% to 8,958.89 points. Doha Bank and Masraf Al Rayan sponsored exchange traded funds QETF and QATR, however, bucked the overall trend by falling 0.24% and 0.3% respectively."



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After policy shock, Iran says rial will move no more than 5-6 pct a year

After policy shock, Iran says rial will move no more than 5-6 pct a year:

"Iran will let its currency move in a range of only 5 or 6 percent against the U.S. dollar each year, its central bank governor said, a week after the government unified official and free-market exchange rates to support the plunging rial.

“The rate of 42,000 rials against one U.S. dollar is not fixed and will fluctuate depending on the market and economic factors,” Valiollah Seif was quoted as saying by Tasnim News on Monday.

“But the fluctuations are not going to be massive and will be within a range of 5 to 6 percent,” he added."



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Qatar's Commercial Bank posts first-quarter profit leap

Qatar's Commercial Bank posts first-quarter profit leap:

"Commercial Bank, Qatar’s third-largest lender by assets, on Tuesday reported a huge 345 percent jump in first-quarter net profit, beating analysts’ forecasts as provisions for bad loans halved. The bank earned a net profit of 405 million riyals ($111 million) in the three months to March 31, it said in a statement, against 91 million riyals in the same period last year. The average forecast from three analysts polled by Reuters was for a quarterly profit of 329.5 million riyals."



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Exclusive: First Saudi Arabian-linked banks join al-Gosaibi debt settlement plan

Exclusive: First Saudi Arabian-linked banks join al-Gosaibi debt settlement plan:

"Two Saudi Arabian-linked banks have become the first lenders with ties to the kingdom to sign a debt settlement plan with Ahmad Hamad al-Gosaibi and Brothers (AHAB), the company’s chief executive said, opening the way for the conglomerate to try to push through a multibillion-dollar deal with creditors. Since AHAB defaulted on about 22 billion riyals ($5.9 billion) of debt in 2009, Saudi banks and those with links to the kingdom have refused to join other creditors in a debt settlement deal, arguing the terms on offer were not satisfactory. But in the last few weeks, Bahrain-based Gulf International Bank (GIB), 97 percent owned by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, and Alawwal Bank 1040.SE, Saudi Arabia’s oldest lender and 40 percent owned by Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS.L), have signed the deal with AHAB, sources familiar with the process said."



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Exclusive: Japan's Mizuho pulled out of Qatar bond amid Gulf dispute

Exclusive: Japan's Mizuho pulled out of Qatar bond amid Gulf dispute:

"Japan’s Mizuho Securities withdrew from its role as a bookrunner for a U.S. dollar-denominated bond issued by Qatar last week, in the latest sign international banks are wary of doing business in the Gulf state amid a regional dispute.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt in June cut diplomatic and transport ties with Qatar, which they accuse of backing terrorism. Qatar denies this, and says the pressure is aimed at stripping it of its sovereignty.

Qatar issued $12 billion of bonds last week, its first international debt sale since the dispute erupted. "



'via Blog this'

Saudi Binladin receives multi-billion dollar government loans-sources

Saudi Binladin receives multi-billion dollar government loans-sources:

"Saudi Arabia’s finance ministry has provided Saudi Binladin Group with loans of around 11 billion riyals ($2.9 billion) to help turn around the fortunes of the construction giant, people familiar with the matter said. The money will be used to prioritise work on projects deemed key to the government, as well as to pay staff and creditors, the people said, with one adding that further cash transfers from the government are possible in the near future. Binladin, which had over 100,000 employees at its height, is the biggest builder in the country and crucial to Riyadh’s plans to develop property, industrial and tourism projects to help diversify the economy beyond oil."



'via Blog this'

Saudi, Egypt Stocks Turn Mideast Stars as Dubai Gets Ignored - Bloomberg

Saudi, Egypt Stocks Turn Mideast Stars as Dubai Gets Ignored - Bloomberg:

"The rise of Saudi Arabia and Egypt as the top Middle East choices for equity investors is taking a toll on Dubai.

Trading on the Dubai Financial Market dwindled to 88 million dirhams ($24 million) on Monday, the lowest since September 2015 and about 57 percent below its 15-day average. The DFM General Index has slumped about 7 percent in 2018, while an index tracking emerging-market peers is little changed. The complaint among investors is that the banking and real estate companies that dominate Dubai’s bourse offer little in the way of triggers to trade their stock, with a few exceptions.

In contrast, Saudi Arabian stocks have climbed more than 12 percent this year, with foreign investors net buyers for 15 straight weeks, as local companies and the government benefit from rising prices for oil, the country’s biggest export. Expectations of billions in inflows to follow classification as an emerging market are adding to the buzz. Over in Egypt, the EGX 30 has gained more than 18 percent as investors applaud economic reforms and government plans to offer stakes in public-owned companies. "



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Abu Dhabi sovereign rating resilient; Dubai upgrade uninhibited by slow growth | ZAWYA MENA Edition

Abu Dhabi sovereign rating resilient; Dubai upgrade uninhibited by slow growth | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"Growth in the emirates of Abu Dhabi and Dubai will remain at a sustained level of approximately three per cent over the next few years, if oil prices remain stable around current levels; growth is predicted to be steady, albeit modest when compared with over four per cent per annum achieved pre-2015, according to Fisch Asset Management (Fisch), one of the leading credit analysis and convertible bond specialists. A report by Independent Credit Review (I-CV), a subsidiary of Fisch, confirmed Abu Dhabi’s credit quality as AA-, with the emirate benefitting from comfortable reserves, but with a forecast of slightly negative national budgets and rising debt levels over the coming years. Dubai received an upgrade to BBB+, stemming from a gradual reduction in total debt, including contingent obligations from state-owned companies, from 141 per cent at the end of 2013 to 111 per cent at the end of 2016. The selective introduction of import tariffs and VAT will not negatively impact economic growth in the emirates but will instead support the fiscal situation in light of lower oil-related activities, according to the report."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi index at highest since Q3 2015, other markets mixed | ZAWYA MENA Edition

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi index at highest since Q3 2015, other markets mixed | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"Saudi market extended gains on Tuesday morning, hitting its highest level since the third quarter of 2015, backed by solid performance of leading stocks. Other markets in the region were mixed. Oil price increase and the potential inclusion of Saudi in the MSCI emerging market index in June have boosted investor sentiment in Saudi market this year on hopes of significant foreign fund inflows to the region's biggest stock market. "Higher oil prices are the main driver for the Saudi market, people are optimistic over prices going further up in the coming months," said Mazen al-Sudairi, head of research at Rajhi Capital."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi index at highest since Q3 2015, other markets mixed

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi index at highest since Q3 2015, other markets mixed:

"Saudi market extended gains on Tuesday morning, hitting its highest level since the third quarter of 2015, backed by solid performance of leading stocks. Other markets in the region were mixed. Oil price increase and the potential inclusion of Saudi in the MSCI emerging market index in June have boosted investor sentiment in Saudi market this year on hopes of significant foreign fund inflows to the region’s biggest stock market. “Higher oil prices are the main driver for the Saudi market, people are optimistic over prices going further up in the coming months,” said Mazen al-Sudairi, head of research at Rajhi Capital."



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Firms registered with QFC cross 500 ahead of deadline

Firms registered with QFC cross 500 ahead of deadline:

"Unperturbed by the Gulf crisis, the Qatar Financial Center’s (QFC) registered firms numbered 507, including 120 entities post blockade, thus reaching the more than the halfway mark set for 2022, six months ahead of the deadline.
“More than 500 firms have chosen the QFC platform to conduct business from Qatar,” QFC chief executive Yousuf Mohamed al-Jaida told the media in Doha. In its 2017-22 strategy, QFC had said it was eyeing a target of 1,000 firms.
Highlighting that local, regional and international firms continue to see the multi-billion dollar investment opportunities that are available in the country’s unsaturated market, he said it is the reason why the centre continues to see businesses interested in the openness of Qatar as a market and in the attractiveness of its platform."



'via Blog this'

Firms registered with QFC cross 500 ahead of deadline

Firms registered with QFC cross 500 ahead of deadline:

"Unperturbed by the Gulf crisis, the Qatar Financial Center’s (QFC) registered firms numbered 507, including 120 entities post blockade, thus reaching the more than the halfway mark set for 2022, six months ahead of the deadline.
“More than 500 firms have chosen the QFC platform to conduct business from Qatar,” QFC chief executive Yousuf Mohamed al-Jaida told the media in Doha. In its 2017-22 strategy, QFC had said it was eyeing a target of 1,000 firms.
Highlighting that local, regional and international firms continue to see the multi-billion dollar investment opportunities that are available in the country’s unsaturated market, he said it is the reason why the centre continues to see businesses interested in the openness of Qatar as a market and in the attractiveness of its platform."



'via Blog this'

Saudi Arabian Stocks Rise Above 8,000 Level as Syria Fears Fade - Bloomberg

Saudi Arabian Stocks Rise Above 8,000 Level as Syria Fears Fade - Bloomberg:

"Saudi Arabian shares closed above levels last seen in 2015 as concern about an escalation of geopolitical tensions in the Middle East fades and optimism about rising oil prices and corporate earnings moves to the fore.

The Tadawul All Share Index advanced 1 percent on Monday, finishing above 8,000 points for the first time since August 2015. The gauge rose 1.9 percent on Sunday, the most in 10 months. Concern of a military showdown between the U.S. and Russia in Syria are easing as traders see limited fallout from missile strikes at the weekend.

“Tensions regarding Syria are behind us now, and most analysts are increasing their estimates for oil prices,” said Mazen Alsudairi, head of research at Al Rajhi Capital Co. in Riyadh. Oil is the country’s main export. “Optimism regarding oil prices is reflecting in sentiment, in general.” "



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Dubai's Noor Bank markets $500mln five-year sukuk | ZAWYA MENA Edition

Dubai's Noor Bank markets $500mln five-year sukuk | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"Dubai-based Noor Bank has started marketing a five-year sukuk worth $500 million with an initial price guidance of around 175 basis points over mid-swaps, a document from one of the banks leading the transaction showed. Noor Bank, rated A-(minus) by Fitch, plans to price the senior unsecured Islamic bonds later on Tuesday. Citi, Deutsche Bank, Dubai Islamic Bank, Emirates NBD Capital, Noor Bank, Sharjah Islamic Bank, Standard Chartered Bank and Warba Bank have been appointed as bookrunners for the issue."



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Etihad CEO highlights plans for profitablity | ZAWYA MENA Edition

Etihad CEO highlights plans for profitablity | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"Despite facing a setback of nearly $2 billion in 2016 and losing out on investment partners Airberlin and Alitalia in 2017, Etihad's CEO said it was business as usual, with the airline constantly being driven by change to adapt to an ever-changing environment. "The core airline has always been operating in a very, very solid way even in most challenging times," CEO Peter Baumgartner said in an interview with CNBC. The 2016 oil price collapse had hit the Middle Eastern aviation market, including Etihad, which was moving forward on its big global ambitions. "In 2016, local regional markets contracted, accelerating the overcapacity situation on competitive overlapping traffic flows, bringing yields down, Baumgartner revealed during the interview."



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Monday, 16 April 2018

UAE's Stanford Marine in talks to restructure $325mln in debt- sources | ZAWYA MENA Edition

UAE's Stanford Marine in talks to restructure $325mln in debt- sources | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"Stanford Marine Group, majority owned by a fund managed by private equity firm Abraaj Group, is in talks with banks to restructure a $325 million Islamic loan, banking sources said.

The Dubai-based oil and gas services firm, which has struggled as a result of a downturn in the hydrocarbons market, has asked banks to consider extending the maturity of its debt and restructuring repayments, the sources said.

Although the company, which operates a fleet of offshore supply vessels that service the oil and gas industry, has not missed any repayments, one of the sources said it had breached certain covenants, without elaborating."



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Qatar sovereign fund not liquidating assets to help banks, CEO says

Qatar sovereign fund not liquidating assets to help banks, CEO says:

"Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund has not been liquidating foreign assets to support the Gulf state’s banking system since other Arab countries imposed an embargo on Qatar last June, according to the fund’s chief executive. The embargo caused heavy outflows of deposits from Qatari banks in the initial months, and central bank data shows government bodies protected the banks by depositing about $30 billion in them between June and December. Outflows have now essentially ceased, removing the need for a government support operation, but bankers said much or most of the emergency deposits in banks last year came from the QIA."



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UPDATE 1-Abu Dhabi's TAQA to issue $1.75 bln dual-tranche bond

UPDATE 1-Abu Dhabi's TAQA to issue $1.75 bln dual-tranche bond:

"Abu Dhabi National Energy Co (TAQA) is to issue $1.75 billion in bonds split into a $750 million seven-year tranche and a $1 billion 12-year tranche, a document from one of the banks leading the deal showed. The bond issue, expected to price later on Monday, is the latest sizeable debt sale out of the Gulf, which last week flooded international debt capital markets with about $24 billion in new paper. Saudi Arabia completed an $11 billion deal and Qatar followed with a $12 billion transaction. TAQA, a state-controlled oil explorer and power supplier, has received orders in excess of $8.25 billion for the planned bonds."



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Emirates NBD expands its bank in Saudi Arabia | ZAWYA MENA Edition

Emirates NBD expands its bank in Saudi Arabia | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"Emirates NBD has expanded its operations in Saudi Arabia by opening its first branch in Jeddah and announcing plans to open two other branches elsewhere in the kingdom, Dubai's largest bank said on Monday. It is the latest foreign bank seeking to expand its presence in Saudi Arabia in anticipation of business stemming from the kingdom's plans to overhaul it economy. Citi C.N also said on Monday that it had officially opened its new offices in Kingdom Tower, Riyadh. The bank, which pulled out of Saudi Arabia in 2004, in January won formal approval from Saudi Arabia's Capital Market Authority to begin investment banking."



'via Blog this'

Aramco Accounts Show Expanding Refining Business Lagged Big Oil - Bloomberg

Aramco Accounts Show Expanding Refining Business Lagged Big Oil - Bloomberg:

"During the price crash of 2014 to 2017, Big Oil weathered the storm thanks to what the industry calls downstream. Margins from refining, petrochemicals and fuel stations shone as crude got cheaper, bringing in profits that helped sustain companies including Exxon Mobil Corp., Royal Dutch Shell Plc and Chevron Corp. For Saudi Aramco it doesn’t seemed to have worked the same way: the state-run energy giant’s downstream profits lagged well behind those at its closest competitors in the first half of 2017, according to accounting data reviewed by Bloomberg News.  The information -- the first look inside Aramco’s financial performance since its nationalization more than 40 years ago -- shows the challenge the Saudi-owned company faces as it directs more spending into downstream with the aim of almost doubling refining capacity over the next decade. "



'via Blog this'

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi, Qatar lifted by financials, other Gulf markets mixed

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi, Qatar lifted by financials, other Gulf markets mixed:

"Saudi stocks were lifted on Monday by optimism about fund flows and Qatari stocks rose on strong bank earnings, while other bourses in the region were lacklustre. The Saudi index closed 1.0 percent higher, lifted by financial stocks. Insurance firm BUPA Arabia gained 5.5 percent after it recommended an increase in capital to 1.2 billion riyals ($320 million) from 800 million riyals through a 1-for-2 bonus share issue. Banks were also up, with Al Rajhi Bank gaining 2.7 percent, returning to the multi-year high hit last week. "



'via Blog this'

Mideast Stocks - Gulf's relief rally pauses but Saudi extends gain on financials | ZAWYA MENA Edition

Mideast Stocks - Gulf's relief rally pauses but Saudi extends gain on financials | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"Most Gulf stock markets were flat to slightly higher early on Monday, pausing after they rallied on the previous day because of hopes that the Western military attack on Syria would not escalate into a wider conflict. But Saudi Arabia extended its gains on the back of financials.

The Saudi index was up 0.5 percent in the first half-hour. Insurance firm BUPA Arabia gained 4.0 percent after it recommended an increase in capital to 1.2 billion riyals ($320 million) from 800 million riyals through a 1-for-2 bonus share issue.

Banks were also up with Al Rajhi Bank gaining 1.5 percent, returning to the multi-year high hit last week."



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Oil Slips Below $67 as Shale Worries Linger and Syria Fear Eases - Bloomberg

Oil Slips Below $67 as Shale Worries Linger and Syria Fear Eases - Bloomberg:

"Oil slid below $67 a barrel as concerns over surging U.S. output reemerged while fears of a Middle East supply crunch waned on speculation that the fallout from a missile strike in Syria may be contained. Futures slipped as much as 1.1 percent in New York after the number of rigs drilling for crude in the U.S. rose to a three-year high, signaling production may rise from record levels. President Donald Trump declared “mission accomplished” a day after the U.S., France and the U.K. launched military strikes in response to Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad’s suspected chemical attack on civilians, and British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson insisted that the hit was a one-time move."



'via Blog this'

Tale of Two Bonds: How Qatar's Sale Compares With Saudi Arabia's - Bloomberg

Tale of Two Bonds: How Qatar's Sale Compares With Saudi Arabia's - Bloomberg:

"The political discord between Saudi Arabia and Qatar, which has divided the Arab world since June, spilled into the bond market last week as both chose to sell debt to help fund their budget deficits within 48 hours of each other.

While Qatar held meetings with fixed-income investors between April 9 and 11, Saudi Arabia started and completed a sale on April 10. Both countries had been planning an offering for months.

Below is a comparison of the two offerings and the nations’ finances. Economic data for both countries are from the International Monetary Fund:"



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Sunday, 15 April 2018

Saudi Crown Prince Salman Wowed U.S. Here's a Reality Check. - Bloomberg

Saudi Crown Prince Salman Wowed U.S. Here's a Reality Check. - Bloomberg:

"For three weeks ending last weekend in Texas, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was the most celebrated foreign leader to visit the U.S. since China's Deng Xiaoping almost 40 years ago.

MBS, as he's called, was embraced by the administration of President Donald Trump. He saw former President Bill Clinton, leading tech executives, entertainment stars, titans of Wall Street, the foreign policy establishment and prominent journalists.

In a public relations triumph, the 32-year-old prince was greeted as a combination of rock star and Winston Churchill."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-No retaliation after Syria boosts Gulf; Saudi petchems up on oil

MIDEAST STOCKS-No retaliation after Syria boosts Gulf; Saudi petchems up on oil:

"Most Gulf stock markets rose on Sunday due to firm oil prices and relief that the weekend’s military attack on Syria was relatively limited in scope and there was no immediate retaliation. The United States, France and Britain launched 105 missiles after a suspected poison gas attack in Syria a week earlier. The strikes were limited to three alleged chemical weapons facilities, Washington said. “Regional markets have lagged global risky assets over the last four years, so the sharp recovery in oil prices so far further underpins the bull case for regional markets,” said Mohamed El Jamal, managing director at Abu Dhabi’s Waha Capital."



'via Blog this'

Deloitte undertakes review of Abraaj's business, troubled fund-sources | ZAWYA MENA Edition

Deloitte undertakes review of Abraaj's business, troubled fund-sources | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"Abraaj has hired Deloitte to examine its business, including its troubled $1 billion healthcare fund, after investors questioned an earlier review by KPMG of the embattled fund, people familiar with the matter said. Abraaj has been trying to stem the fallout from a row with four of its investors, including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the International Finance Corp (IFC), over the use of their money in the fund. A Deloitte team, including specialists in forensic services, is working inside Abraaj's office to help the healthcare fund review its governance and control mechanisms, the sources said."



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Abu Dhabi's Dana Gas jumps on dividend hopes | ZAWYA MENA Edition

Abu Dhabi's Dana Gas jumps on dividend hopes | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"Shares in Abu Dhabi-listed Dana Gas surge 4.4 percent to 0.96 dirham in early, active trade. Company said in late March it would seek shareholder approval to pay a dividend for 2017, its first in years; at weekend, it published on its website report by Al-Khaleej newspaper saying "the Board can also now continue to recommend dividends in future years". Newspaper says dividend policy can be supported by various large sources of funds, including arbitration by Dana's affiliate Crescent Petroleum against Iran, and Dana is already funded to develop assets in Iraq's Kurdistan."



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Gulf stocks up on oil, no retaliation after Syria attack | ZAWYA MENA Edition

Gulf stocks up on oil, no retaliation after Syria attack | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"Gulf stock markets rose in early trade on Sunday, boosted by strong oil prices and the fact that the Western military attack on Syria on Saturday appeared to be limited in scope and caused no immediate retaliation.

The United States, France and Britain launched 105 missiles after a suspected poison gas attack in Syria a week earlier. The assault was confined to three alleged chemical weapons facilities and led to no immediate reaction from Syria’s ally Russia.

Brent oil  closed at $72.58 a barrel on Friday, near multi-year highs, partly because of the geopolitical tensions."



'via Blog this'

Dubai eyes timeshare and trade to boost growth and help small businesses

Dubai eyes timeshare and trade to boost growth and help small businesses:

"Dubai plans to lower costs for local retailers, develop a local time-share holiday home market, and further stimulate its SME sector, as part of a raft of measures to stimulate the emirate’s economy.
Dubai Ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum discussed the new measures with a number of leading government officials, the Dubai Media office said on Saturday.
“Dubai has established a clear and well-established economic policy which in turn has strengthened its ability to absorb rapid changes in an unstable global economy in order to achieve sustainable economic growth and enhance its competitiveness at all levels,” Sheikh Mohammed said in a statement."



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Lifting of North Field moratorium to help boost Qatar growth, income: QNB

Lifting of North Field moratorium to help boost Qatar growth, income: QNB:

"Qatar’s decision to lift the North Field moratorium will help boost growth and national income when production comes on stream, probably just after the World Cup in 2022, QNB has said in an economic commentary.  In April last year, Qatar lifted a moratorium on the development of the North Field, the world’s largest non-associated gas reservoir. The moratorium had been in place since 2005 and its removal clears the way for an increase in production and export of liquefied natural gas (LNG).  In July 2017, Qatar announced a new development from the North Field would produce 23mn tonnes per year (tpy) by 2024; an increase of 30% from current total LNG production levels to about 100mn tonnes per year, thus cementing Qatar’s position as the leading LNG producer. "



'via Blog this'

Syria Strike Isn't Causing Panic in Mideast Markets, Analysts Say - Bloomberg

Syria Strike Isn't Causing Panic in Mideast Markets, Analysts Say - Bloomberg:

"Don’t expect a selloff across the Middle East when markets trade for the first time since the U.S., U.K. and France launched strikes on Syria, say investors and analysts. Company results are still investors’ main focus, while stocks in Qatar could perform well after the government raised $12 billion from the biggest sovereign debt sale across emerging market this year. Here’s what investors and analysts had to say:"



'via Blog this'

The Real Worry for Oil Prices Isn't Missiles Over Syria - Bloomberg

The Real Worry for Oil Prices Isn't Missiles Over Syria - Bloomberg:

"Rising geopolitical tensions in the Middle East have already boosted oil prices and there is plenty of scope for them to move higher still. That an oil price spike would follow Western missiles launched at Syria seems a foregone conclusion. But for prices to really keep moving higher, the U.S. would have to take serious action against Syria's key sponsors: Russia and Iran.

Any form of attack on Syria should have little or no physical impact on oil supplies. Syria hasn't exported any since the start of its civil war in 2011. To keep the country running, Iran has been delivering around 50,000 barrels a day of crude to Syria's Banias terminal, according to Bloomberg tanker tracking.

As I have written recently President Donald Trump already has Iran in his sights. The clock is ticking -- May 12 is the deadline for him to extend the waiver on sanctions that are suspended by the nuclear deal. "



'via Blog this'

Al Habtoor founder open to IPO after 2020 | ZAWYA MENA Edition

Al Habtoor founder open to IPO after 2020 | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"Khalaf Ahmad Al Habtoor, founder of the Al Habtoor Group (The Group), believes 2018 will be a much better year for businesses in the UAE after a tough year in the previous 12 months. The Chairman conceded 2017 had been a challenging year, given the overall business climate, but he said that he has seen considerable growth and is optimistic that progress will continue, adding that taking the Group public with an initial public offering (IPO) is under consideration. “The UAE is resilient. We are unlike anywhere else in the region because the people of the country work hand in hand with the government. We are partners with the leaders to ensure our success,” he said in a video of a recent breakfast briefing with journalists in Germany, reported by Arabian Business."



'via Blog this'

Aldar raises foreign ownership limit by 9% | ZAWYA MENA Edition

Aldar raises foreign ownership limit by 9% | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"Aldar Properties (Aldar) today announced its Foreign Ownership Limit (FOL) has been increased to 49 per cent, from 40 per cent, following completion of all regulatory formalities and will be implemented for trading effective today. This follows shareholder approval of the increase at Aldar’s 2018 Annual General Meeting, which was held on 21 March 2018. “Active engagement with international investors has been an important focus for Aldar over the past few years and we have seen significant growth in our international shareholding over this time. The increase in our Foreign Ownership Limit to 49 per cent will support further growth in our international shareholding, as well as providing greater liquidity in the stock as we embark on our growth strategy within Abu Dhabi and beyond,” said Talal Al Dhiyebi, CEO of Aldar."



'via Blog this'

Saturday, 14 April 2018

Aramco Accounts Show Scale of Challenge Facing Crown Prince - Bloomberg

Aramco Accounts Show Scale of Challenge Facing Crown Prince - Bloomberg:

"The first look at the financial guts of Saudi Aramco show a corporate cash gusher, pumping billions in profit every month and beating every other big name in global business. But they also illustrate the scale of the challenge Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman faces to achieve his twin desires -- a $2 trillion valuation in an initial public offering of the state-owned behemoth, plus a generous flow of cash into government coffers to fund a crowded policy agenda. The financial information reviewed by Bloomberg News revealed huge profits, a pristine balance sheet and world-beating production costs. The figures also show the Saudi Finance Ministry, rather than investors, as the main beneficiary from oil’s rise above $70 a barrel, and it would reap an even greater share of any gains above $100."



'via Blog this'

Saudi Arabia Affirmed by Moody's on Fiscal Consolidation Effort - Bloomberg

Saudi Arabia Affirmed by Moody's on Fiscal Consolidation Effort - Bloomberg:

"Saudi Arabia’s sovereign credit rating was affirmed at A1 by Moody’s Investors Service on expectations that fiscal consolidation will continue over the medium term, stabilizing the government’s debt burden.

Moody’s expects the government’s ambitious structural reform agenda to "reduce the exposure of Saudi Arabia’s economy and public sector balance sheet to oil prices," according to the statement. The stable outlook indicates that the risks to the ratings are balanced, the agency said.

Saudi Arabia’s economy contracted 0.7 percent last year as the kingdom cut oil output and the private sector struggled with lower crude prices and rapid economic policy shifts meant to diversify and open up the oil-reliant economy."



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Friday, 13 April 2018

Saudi Aramco’s $2tn valuation looks to be a tough target

Saudi Aramco’s $2tn valuation looks to be a tough target:

"Saudi Aramco is unlikely to achieve the $2tn valuation sought after by Saudi officials ahead of its planned stock market listing despite the state energy giant’s huge profits and cash flows.

The financial community and oil analysts have long been sceptical of the ambitious valuation targets of the kingdom’s crown prince Mohammed bin Salman, but now new financial information adds weight to the idea that Saudi Arabia is unlikely to get there.

For decades financial information has been kept a closely guarded state secret. But now it has emerged that the world’s largest oil producer earned $33.8bn in the first half of 2017, according to Bloomberg that cited company accounts it had seen."



'via Blog this'

The Aramco Accounts: Inside the World’s Most Profitable Company - Bloomberg

The Aramco Accounts: Inside the World’s Most Profitable Company - Bloomberg:

"It’s a cornerstone of the global economy, producing and selling 10 million barrels of oil every day. Yet for four decades the financial performance of Saudi Aramco has been one of the biggest secrets in global business, limited to a tiny circle of executives, government officials and princes.

Now, a first glimpse of the state oil giant’s finances shows Aramco churned out $33.8 billion in net income the first six months of 2017, easily outstripping U.S. titans like Apple Inc., JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Exxon Mobil Corp.

The numbers seen by Bloomberg News give investors the most extensive set of data yet to assess the possible value of a once-in-a-generation deal for financial markets: Aramco’s proposed initial public offering. And with Aramco generating the bulk of Saudi Arabia’s revenue, the accounts also provide sovereign bond investors with a unique insight into the kingdom’s financial health."



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Qatar banks’ assets expand by 9% to $378.9bn - The Peninsula Qatar

Qatar banks’ assets expand by 9% to $378.9bn - The Peninsula Qatar:

"Qatar’s non-hydrocarbon sector grew 4.2 percent in 2017, offset by a contraction in the hydrocarbon sector. The real GDP growth slowed marginally in Q4 mainly due to temporary shutdowns for LNG maintenance, QNB noted citing official data.

Brent crude prices were stable on average in March and Qatar’s oil production rose to 621,000 b/d in December from 612000 b/d prior. The country’s property sector continued to recover – the real estate price index rose 1.8 percent in December and falling rents turned a corner, QNB monthly report said.

Qatar’s exports expanded 14 percent year-on-year in February 2018 on higher hydrocarbon prices while import growth remained steady at 0.6 percent year-on-year. Inflation slowed to 0.4 percent y/y in March; food inflation eased while housing inflation picked up."



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AP sources: US, Emirates near deal to solve air subsidy spat

AP sources: US, Emirates near deal to solve air subsidy spat:

"The United States and the United Arab Emirates are nearing a deal to resolve a years-old spat over alleged government subsidies to Emirati airlines that the major U.S. airlines claim have tilted the competition against them, four individuals familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press. Under the budding deal, Dubai-based Emirates and Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways would agree to voluntarily open up their accounting books, long accused by the U.S. airlines of obscuring billions in subsidies. The airlines will also assert to the United States that they currently have no plans to add additional flights to the United States from Europe or other destinations outside of the United Arab Emirates. The deal will closely mirror one reached in January between the U.S. and Qatar, the individuals said. Despite years of rancorous debate, that deal was broadly embraced both by the Qataris and by the big U.S. airlines, making it an attractive model to replicate. The individuals weren’t authorized to discuss the deal ahead of its completion and requested anonymity."



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Qatar's $12 Billion Bond Tops Saudi Debt Sale to Lead EM - Bloomberg

Qatar's $12 Billion Bond Tops Saudi Debt Sale to Lead EM - Bloomberg:

"Qatar raised $12 billion in its first dollar bond sale in two years, surpassing its estranged neighbor Saudi Arabia to issue the biggest dollar bond from an emerging-market nation this year. The world’s biggest liquefied natural gas exporter sold $3 billion of five-year notes, priced to yield 135 basis over similar-maturity U.S. Treasuries, according to two people familiar with the matter, declining to be identified because the information is private. It also placed $3 billion of 10-year bonds at a spread of 170 basis points and $6 billion of 30-year securities at 205 basis points, the people said. The sale, which eclipsed Saudi Arabia’s $11 billion bond issued earlier this week, received more than $53 billion in bids, including interest from joint lead managers. It was the country’s first public international bond sale since the start of a regional spat in June. "



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Thursday, 12 April 2018

Qatar’s $12bn bond deal tops that of rival Saudi Arabia

Qatar’s $12bn bond deal tops that of rival Saudi Arabia:

"The diplomatic crisis between Gulf states spilled into financial markets this week, as Qatar overcame a surprise debt issue from rival Saudi Arabia to set a record for the largest emerging market bond sale of the year. Qatar returned on Thursday to the international bond market for the first time since 2016, as it raised $12bn in a sale that attracted $53bn of orders, according to people involved in the deal. That came despite Saudi Arabia just days earlier borrowing $11bn in a quick-fire sale that drew $52bn of orders, and was seen by some as an attempt to soak up demand that would otherwise go to Qatar."



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Saudi's $11 billion bond largely covers dollar funding for 2018: official

Saudi's $11 billion bond largely covers dollar funding for 2018: official:

"Saudi Arabia has largely covered its hard currency funding needs for 2018 by completing this week’s $11 billion international bond issue, the head of the kingdom’s debt management office said.

Riyadh has become one of the biggest emerging market debt issuers since it started borrowing internationally in 2016 to finance a state budget deficit caused by low oil prices.

This week it issued its fourth international bond in tranches of seven, 12 and 31 years, attracting massive investor orders of $52 billion. That followed last month’s $16 billion syndicated loan refinancing, which expanded the original facility by $6 billion."



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OPEC switches operational target from inventories to investment: Kemp

OPEC switches operational target from inventories to investment: Kemp:

"OPEC appears to be reformulating its target in terms of upstream investment rather than oil inventories, according to an analysis of recent statements made by ministers from member countries.

“There is no such thing as a target price by Saudi Arabia,” the kingdom’s energy minister, Khalid al-Falih, told reporters on Wednesday (“Saudi Arabia happy with oil market, won’t let another glut form”, Reuters, April 11).

“We’re seeing (production in) many regions declining. The only way to offset this is for the financial markets to start financing and funding upstream projects,” Falih observed.

"



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Qatar Treads Off the Beaten Path in Quest for U.S. Investments - Bloomberg

Qatar Treads Off the Beaten Path in Quest for U.S. Investments - Bloomberg:

"Qatari investors are hitting the road less traveled in their current tour of the U.S., sizing up deals in South Carolina, Florida and Texas rather than hitting only New York and other mainstays. The biggest exporter of liquefied natural gas has already spent more than $17 billion of the $35 billion it plans to invest in the U.S. by 2020, with an additional $10 billion earmarked for infrastructure projects, Sheikh Ahmed Bin Jassim Bin Mohammed Al Thani, Qatar’s minister of economy and commerce, said in an interview in Washington. “The economic relationship between Qatar and the U.S. keeps increasing year after year,” said Sheikh Ahmed, who is also the vice-chairman of the country’s $320 billion sovereign wealth fund, the Qatar Investment Authority. The fund plans to open its second office in Silicon Valley, while private Qatari investors are pooling their funds to co-invest in deals around the U.S., he said."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Most Gulf stocks in red over Syria tension, Saudi stabilises

MIDEAST STOCKS-Most Gulf stocks in red over Syria tension, Saudi stabilises:

"Most Gulf stock markets closed lower on Thursday as the threat of U.S. military action in Syria kept investors on the sidelines, but the Saudi Arabian market stabilised after a sell-off on the previous day.

In Egypt, the index fell 1.8 percent as investors booked profits, overwhelming a 1.4 percent gain on Wednesday. Banking and property stocks were hit hard with Commercial International Bank falling 3.3 percent.

Property firm Madinet Nasr for Housing and Development dropped 6.5 percent after soaring on Wednesday on news that it would discuss a possible merger with SODIC. SODIC rose a further 1.8 percent."



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OPEC sees oil markets tighten further even as U.S. shale booms

OPEC sees oil markets tighten further even as U.S. shale booms:

"The global oil stocks surplus is close to evaporating, OPEC said on Thursday, citing healthy energy demand and its own supply cuts while revising up its forecast for production from rivals who have benefited from higher oil prices.

U.S. shale oil output has been booming over the past year since OPEC reduced its own production in tandem with Russia to prop up global oil prices.

But as oil production collapsed in OPEC member Venezuela and is still facing hiccups in countries such as Libya and Angola, the oil exporters’ group is still producing below its targets meaning the world needs to use stocks to meet rising demand."



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UPDATE 1-Qatar attracts hefty demand for comeback international bond

UPDATE 1-Qatar attracts hefty demand for comeback international bond:

"Qatar, which is marketing a triple-tranche U.S. dollar-denominated bond, has received orders in excess of $32.5 billion for the planned debt sale, a sign of hefty demand for its comeback to the international debt markets since a rift with its Gulf neighbours started last year.

Qatar plans to price later on Thursday bonds with maturities of five, 10 and 30 years.

The issuance is a test of Qatar’s ability to access international markets after Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt severed diplomatic and transport ties with the country in June last year, accusing it of supporting terrorism. Doha denies the charges."



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Fitch affirms Qatar Islamic Bank rating at ‘A’ - The Peninsula Qatar

Fitch affirms Qatar Islamic Bank rating at ‘A’ - The Peninsula Qatar:

"Fitch Ratings has affirmed Qatar Islamic Bank’s (QIB) Long Term Issuer Default Rating (IDR)at ‘A’. The rating of QIB reflects its strong and well-established franchise in Qatar, with a market share of about 10 percent of total banking system assets at end-2017. It also factors in adequate profitability, sound asset-quality metrics, satisfactory capital ratios and sufficient liquid assets. QIB reported sound financial performance in 2017 due to an improvement in its net financing margin."



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Qatar economy ‘more accessible’ to world post-illegal blockade, says Sheikh Ahmed

Qatar economy ‘more accessible’ to world post-illegal blockade, says Sheikh Ahmed:

"The illegal blockade on Qatar since June 2017 has presented the country with an opportunity to make its economy “more accessible to the world, and bolster its trade relations,” particularly with the US, said HE the Minister of Economy and Commerce Sheikh Ahmed bin Jassim bin Mohamed al-Thani.
“The illegal blockade was with the aim of undermining Qatar’s position as an economically independent and sovereign state, but we have emerged stronger and more independent than ever before,” Sheikh Ahmed said in his address to a reception organised by the US Chamber of Commerce in co-operation with the Qatar-US Business Council and the Embassy of Qatar in Washington on Tuesday.
Qatar, he said, has successfully established direct commercial routes with a number of strategic hubs around the world, diverting trade to its major trading partners."



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JetSuite Plans a 100-Plane Fleet, Thanks to Qatar - Bloomberg

JetSuite Plans a 100-Plane Fleet, Thanks to Qatar - Bloomberg:

"JetSuite Inc., a small charter airline that offers scheduled service up and down the West Coast, plans to expand its public face with a fleet of regional jets that will eventually grow to 100.

The expansion of its public charter, JetSuiteX, will be funded in part by investor Qatar Airways and an expanded stake sold to JetBlue Airways Corp., which became a minor JetSuite investor in 2016. The company also plans to relocate from Southern California to the Dallas-Fort Worth area this summer.

Qatar Airways has invested in several major airlines, from Italy to London to Hong Kong. In August, the carrier ended its effort to acquire 10 percent of American Airlines Group Inc. after the world’s largest carrier rebuffed its advances. Federal law limits foreign investment in a U.S. air carrier to 25 percent. None of the companies involved in the JetSuite deal disclosed the size of their investments."



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UAE says most countries in oil cut deal like idea of long-term alliance

UAE says most countries in oil cut deal like idea of long-term alliance:

"A majority of the OPEC and independent oil producers participating in a current deal to cut supply like the idea of a long-term producers’ alliance, the energy minister of the United Arab Emirates said on Thursday.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), Russia and several other non-OPEC producers began to cut supply in January 2017 in an effort to erase a global glut of crude that had built up since 2014.

OPEC and its partners, 24 countries in all, have extended the pact until the end of 2018 and are considering a deal to prolong their alliance for years or even decades. "



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