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Saturday, 31 March 2018

Saudi Arabia to become major solar power exporter under new plan | ZAWYA MENA Edition

Saudi Arabia to become major solar power exporter under new plan | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"The Saudi solar initiative will diversify the national economy and stimulate investment in non-oil industries. The project will also reduce solar power production costs and create employment opportunities, with up to 100,000 jobs in solar power schemes alone. Saudi Arabia has unveiled plans to transform its solar power production, in line with the Vision 2030 strategy to diversify the country’s economy and end its reliance on oil. Under the Solar Power Project Plan 2030, the Kingdom expects to produce 200 gigawatts of the solar power by 2030, acccording to the SPA."



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Qatar energy firms to raise foreign share ownership to 49% -QP | ZAWYA MENA Edition

Qatar energy firms to raise foreign share ownership to 49% -QP | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"Foreign investors will be able to hold up to 49 percent of Qatar stock exchange-listed shares in three subsidiaries of Qatar Petroleum (QP) after limits on foreign ownership were lifted, the state-owned energy company said on Saturday.

In a statement, QP said shareholder ownership limits in the companies would also be raised, to 1 percent for Qatar Electricity and Water Company (WOQOD) and to 2 percent for Gulf International Services Company and Mesaieed Petrochemical Holding Company.

The three firms will take the steps needed to approve the increase in the foreign ownership limit to 49 percent within the coming weeks, the statement said.
"



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Friday, 30 March 2018

QSE below 8,600 as domestic institutions turn profit takers

QSE below 8,600 as domestic institutions turn profit takers:

"The Qatar Stock Exchange settled below 8,600 levels as domestic institutions turned profit takers this week which saw improved earnings performance of banking and industry help the listed companies’ 2017 net profitability expand more than 1%.
Insurance, real estate, transport and banking counters witnessed stronger selling pressure this week which witnessed Capital Intelligence, the international credit rating agency, affirm Doha Bank's financial strength rating at ‘A’ with a "stable" outlook.
Foreign institutions’ weakened net buying interests also played its part in the bearish market this week which saw Qatar’s February 2018 trade surplus at QR14.05bn mainly on higher shipments to South Korea, Japan and India, which together accounted for more than 53% of exports."



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Starbucks stop showcases Prince Mohammed’s charm offensive

Starbucks stop showcases Prince Mohammed’s charm offensive:

"Dressed in an open-neck shirt and casual suit, Mohammed Bin Salman looked like any other highflying Manhattan businessman this week as he grabbed a coffee in Starbucks with media entrepreneur Michael Bloomberg.

In another image from his New York trip, the Saudi crown prince, who has rapidly consolidated power under his father, King Salman, was locked in a smiling embrace with Lloyd Blankfein, Goldman Sachs chief executive and one of Wall Street’s most powerful figures. “The crown prince is always impressive when he sets out his vision for the KSA,” Mr Blankfein enthused in a tweet. 

The side of Prince Mohammed on display since his arrival last week in the US is part of a charm offensive that aims to reshape how the world views Saudi Arabia. Riyadh has deployed millions of dollars in Washington as part of its lobbying efforts, and relations between the White House and the kingdom are at their warmest in years."



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Follow the money as Gulf tension ratchets up

Follow the money as Gulf tension ratchets up:

"“The Shanamah has a happy ending”. Iranian proverb about how good outcomes are only found in fiction

Elite American chatter about Iran or conflict in the Gulf mostly concerns courtiers rising or falling at the White House, or Washington think-tanker moans over past or present American policy. Perhaps that is less useful than considering the sentiments of people in the region, and what they are doing with their money.

That is not a simple task, because most of the states on the Gulf have fixed currency pegs, and all of them have opaque governance and obedient media. Insider trading is not the exception but the rule. For decades, Gulf financial markets and exchange rates have been tranquil, right up to the moments when they are not."



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Dubai's Abraaj Group said to cut back on 15 per cent of its workforce - The National

Dubai's Abraaj Group said to cut back on 15 per cent of its workforce - The National:

"Abraaj Group is cutting about 15 per cent of its total workforce, according to people with knowledge of the matter, as the Middle East’s largest buyout fund seeks to trim costs, placate investors and curb the tumult that followed allegations of misused funds. Positions are being eliminated globally, mostly in back-office operations and among junior employees, with most of the affected staff being notified on Thursday, the people said, declining to be identified as the plans are confidential. No partners will be fired, they said. The company employs about 350 people. “It is always difficult to separate talented people from the firm,” the Dubai-based buyout firm said in a statement. “The personnel changes we are making as part of this re-organisation will help ensure that Abraaj is better positioned for operational effectiveness and sustainable growth.”"



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Saudi's Kingdom Holding proposes fiscal year dividend | ZAWYA MENA Edition

Saudi's Kingdom Holding proposes fiscal year dividend | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"Saudi Arabian investment firm Kingdom Holding proposed a cash dividend of 0.50 riyals per share for 2017, the company said on Thursday.

Chairman Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, who holds a 95 percent stake, waived his share of proposed dividends worth 299.2 million riyals quarterly ($79.8 million), it added in a bourse filing.

Alwaleed will still receive 562.7 million riyals in dividend for the year, a company official told Reuters."



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Saudi market rules ready for Aramco IPO by end-June - CMA chairman | ZAWYA MENA Edition

Saudi market rules ready for Aramco IPO by end-June - CMA chairman | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"Saudi Arabia expects to unveil by the end of June rules to prevent large share price drops in newly-listed companies, the final regulatory step for the listing of oil giant Saudi Aramco, the head of the kingdom’s stock market regulator said.

The mechanism, known as price stabilization, is common on developed markets and allows underwriters of an initial public offering (IPO) to use some of the company’s stock to bolster its price, should it fall in the days after it starts trading, or the volume of shares changing hands is weak.

The kingdom has been overhauling its stock market rules to prepare for the local listing of state-owned Aramco, which is hoping to raise $100 billion or more through a 5 percent stake sale later this year."



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Index inclusion promises Saudi a pre-Aramco bump | ZAWYA MENA Edition

Index inclusion promises Saudi a pre-Aramco bump | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"Saudi Arabia’s integration with global markets doesn’t depend entirely on the initial public offering of Saudi Aramco, its national oil champion. FTSE Russell is adding the kingdom to its global and emerging-markets indexes. MSCI is likely to follow suit, which could steer billions in index funds to the Riyadh exchange.

The big index companies have been dancing with the Saudis for years but have held off from including the country’s stocks in their benchmarks because of limited market access and burdensome rules. What tipped the balance this time were measures to simplify the quota system used to give foreign investors access and to align settlement procedures with global norms.

Although the quotas have been in place for three years, most international investors have little exposure to Saudi stocks. By itself, the FTSE Russell decision is unlikely to change that picture dramatically. Based on the funds that track the relevant indexes, inclusion could generate some $5 billion of inflows, or 1 percent of the $500 billion market cap of the Tadawul, the only Saudi bourse."



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Thursday, 29 March 2018

ADX concludes New York roadshow, expanding beyond 3,800 US investors - The National

ADX concludes New York roadshow, expanding beyond 3,800 US investors - The National:

"The Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX) completed its New York roadshow this week, touting market successes and an expanded portfolio of individual and institutional investors in the United States.

Following meetings in Boston, ADX Chief Executive, Rashed Al Balooshi, went to New York where he hosted roadshows on Monday and Tuesday. It oversaw meetings for ADX and listed companies with around 70 institutional investors whose assets under management are around $11 trillion.

Mr Al Blooshi told The National that the roadshow is intended to attract international individual and institutional investors, and present opportunities available in ADX."



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Qatar shares snap 6-day losing streak on buying support

Qatar shares snap 6-day losing streak on buying support:

"The Qatar Stock Exchange on Thursday snapped six consecutive days of bearish spell to settle higher on strong buying support from Gulf and foreign institutions. Heavy demand, especially at the insurance, telecom and consumer goods counters, led the 20-stock Qatar Index to gain 0.24% to 8,573.99 points. The Doha Bank and Masraf Al Rayan sponsored exchange traded funds, QETF and QATR , saw 0.16% and 0.39% gains respectively."



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Saudi Arabia’s Solar Power Goals Are as Challenging as They Are Big - Bloomberg

Saudi Arabia’s Solar Power Goals Are as Challenging as They Are Big - Bloomberg:

"Saudi Arabia and Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp. signed a memorandum of understanding on Tuesday to develop 200 gigawatts of solar power capacity by 2030 in the desert kingdom, with a price tag of $200 billion. Here’s a few points to keep in mind: The Size It’s a hundred times larger than anything else on the drawing board worldwide and double what the global photovoltaic industry supplied last year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Or, as Bart Lucarelli, managing director for power and utilities at AWR Lloyd, puts it: “Surreal and unprecedented.” If built at one site, a 200-gigawatt solar farm would cover about 2,023 square kilometers (781 square miles), or double the size of Hong Kong, according to Bloomberg News calculations."



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Qatar Petroleum wins exploration bids in 4 blocks offshore Brazil

Qatar Petroleum wins exploration bids in 4 blocks offshore Brazil:

"Qatar Petroleum and its partners won bids for four exploration blocks in the Campos basin off Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro coast on Thursday, the company said in a statement.

It will hold a 30 percent stake in two of the blocks to be explored along with Exxon Mobil Corp and Brazil’s state-controlled oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA < and 36 percent in another two to be explored with Exxon."



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UAE money exchange houses ordered to raise standards by regulator

UAE money exchange houses ordered to raise standards by regulator:

"Money exchange houses in the United Arab Emirates have been ordered by the central bank to raise their standards, after several banks cut ties with them due to concerns about the risk of illicit financial flows. The United Arab Emirates’ huge expatriate workforce and growing business and tourism sectors have made it a global centre for exchanging foreign currencies and transferring money to and from the Middle East, Asia, Africa and parts of Europe. But some of the roughly 125 exchange houses in operation have struggled in recent years as a growing number of U.S. dollar correspondent banks, relied upon to clear dollar trade, and local lenders cut ties with them. The banks have often cited the prohibitive compliance costs they must have in place to ensure they’re not doing business with exchange houses laundering money or financing terror."



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UPDATE 1-Mannai Corporation set to break Qatar public bond impasse

UPDATE 1-Mannai Corporation set to break Qatar public bond impasse:

"Qatar’s Mannai Corporation has hired banks to arrange investor meetings ahead of a potential debut bond offering denominated in U.S. dollars, a document from one of the banks showed.

Should it go ahead, the deal would be the first public debt issuance by a Qatari entity since the beginning of a diplomatic rift in the Gulf last June, when Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt cut ties with Doha accusing it of supporting terrorism, a charge that Qatar denies.

Mannai Corporation has hired Bank of America Merrill Lynch as global coordinator for the planned bond, which would be a senior perpetual bond non-callable for five years. Other banks arranging the deal are Nomura and Standard Chartered, the document showed."



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Oil stumbles as U.S. supply growth offsets OPEC optimism | ZAWYA MENA Edition

Oil stumbles as U.S. supply growth offsets OPEC optimism | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"Oil prices slipped on Thursday as another rise in U.S. inventories and production outweighed the prospect of OPEC sticking to its output curbs for the rest of the year.

Brent crude, the international benchmark, touched $71 a barrel on Tuesday, near its high for the year, but has dipped since then.

June Brent crude futures were down 35 cents at $68.41 by 1310 GMT, while the May contract expiring on Thursday was down 25 cents at $69.28."



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Saudi Prince Alwaleed cedes cash distributions from Kingdom Holding | ZAWYA MENA Edition

Saudi Prince Alwaleed cedes cash distributions from Kingdom Holding | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, chairman of Kingdom Holding, has given up full entitlement of his share of proposed annual cash distributions, the company said in a bourse filing on Thursday. Prince Alwaleed, the kingdom's most recognised business figure, was freed on Jan. 27 after being held at Riyadh's Ritz-Carlton for three months in a campaign against corruption led by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. "Prince Alwaleed gave up his full entitlement of his share of the proposed annual cash distributions, which totaled ... 8.50 halalas per share (or) 299.2 million Saudi riyals ($79.8 million) quarterly," the filing said."



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Bahrain agrees to sign key accords to avoid EU blacklist | ZAWYA MENA Edition

Bahrain agrees to sign key accords to avoid EU blacklist | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"Bahrain has agreed to share financial information of expatriates and foreign companies from the European Union to avoid being blacklisted as a tax haven.

Parliament yesterday voted in favour of two international agreements drafted by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the G20.

Both agreements, which go hand in hand, focus on administrative assistance and the sharing of information regarding the finances of expatriates and businesses with their countries of origin to ensure they are paying their taxes."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi retreats after winning FTSE emerging status, rest of region strong

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi retreats after winning FTSE emerging status, rest of region strong:

"Saudi Arabia’s stock market fell back because of moderate profit-taking on Thursday after index compiler FTSE Russell decied to upgrade Riyadh to emerging market status, a move likely to draw billions of dollars of new foreign money. Most other Gulf markets gained, after being being depressed in recent weeks by funds flowing to Riyadh in anticipation of a positive decision by FTSE. Inclusion in FTSE’s emerging market index is expected to put Saudi Arabia on the map for many international fund managers. If rival index compiler MSCI also decides in June to upgrade Riyadh, over $30 billion could flow in over the next couple of years."



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Saudi solar energy comes of age at the stroke of midnight in New York | Arab News

Saudi solar energy comes of age at the stroke of midnight in New York | Arab News:

"The tension had been building for some hours in New York City, but when the deal finally came it was well worth the wait. The provisional agreement that was announced just before midnight could well turn out to be the tipping point in the global quest for renewable energy.
Mohammed bin Salman, crown prince of Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest exporter of oil, and Masayoshi Son, the far-sighted founder of high-technology finance house SoftBank, signed a memorandum of understanding that looks set to revolutionize the solar energy industry.
With a potential value of $200 billion by the time the project is completed in 2030, the deal is one of the biggest in the history of the Kingdom. Only the project to develop Neom, the futuristic urban development straddling the northern borders of the Red Sea, is bigger — with an estimated cost of $500 billion."



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COLUMN-China's crude oil futures contract should confound the sceptics: Kemp

COLUMN-China's crude oil futures contract should confound the sceptics: Kemp:

"China’s new crude oil futures contract, which began trading this week, has a good chance of confounding the doubters and becoming a regional benchmark where other contracts have failed.

The history of futures and options trading is littered with new contracts launched amid great fanfare but which subsequently failed to develop sufficient liquidity and have been discontinued or faded into irrelevance.

But the new crude futures contract launched on the Shanghai International Energy Exchange comes after years of meticulous preparation and has many of the ingredients needed to be successful."



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Four Charts Show How World's Newest Oil Futures Fared This Week - Bloomberg

Four Charts Show How World's Newest Oil Futures Fared This Week - Bloomberg:

"The burden of a quarter century of expectations is weighing on China’s oil futures. The yuan-denominated contract that was launched this week has lofty goals -- from providing a benchmark for buyers in the world’s biggest oil-consuming region to challenging the dominance of the dollar and encouraging the Chinese currency’s use in global trade. The debut on Monday, which ended years of delays and setbacks since China’s first attempt to list the securities in 1993, was given a hand by some of oil’s biggest names including Glencore Plc and Trafigura Group. Yet data from the first few days of trading signal the futures have a ways to go for success."



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Islamic finance body IFSB throws down gauntlet on sukuk

Islamic finance body IFSB throws down gauntlet on sukuk:

"The Islamic Financial Services Board (IFSB) has proposed a new standard covering the regulation of sharia-compliant capital market products, posing a challenge for regulators, issuers and intermediaries working on Islamic bonds, or sukuk. The exposure draft from the IFSB, one of the main standard-setting bodies in Islamic finance, represents the most detailed effort to rein in claims of sharia non-compliance and clarify resolution of disputes in sukuk deals. Such issues have gained prominence over the past year after a company in the United Arab Emirates stopped payments on a $700 million sukuk, arguing the transaction no longer complied with Islamic principles."



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UPDATE 1-Bahrain says it may return to global market after calling off part of bond issue

UPDATE 1-Bahrain says it may return to global market after calling off part of bond issue:

"Bahrain may return to the international debt market to raise funds later this year, its central bank said on Thursday, after investors’ concern about its rising public debt level caused it to call off part of a planned bond issue this week. The government sold $1 billion of 7-1/2-year Islamic bonds on Wednesday but decided not to go ahead with plans for an issue of conventional bonds, because it found the pricing demands of some investors too costly, banking sources said. The deal illustrated the growing market pressures on Bahrain, which is financing a state budget deficit caused by low oil prices while it is rated as junk by all three of the world’s top credit rating agencies."



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Exclusive: China taking first steps to pay for oil in yuan this year - sources

Exclusive: China taking first steps to pay for oil in yuan this year - sources:

"China is taking its first steps towards paying for imported crude oil in yuan instead of the U.S. dollar, three people with knowledge of the matter told Reuters, a key development in Beijing’s efforts to establish its currency internationally.

Shifting just part of global oil trade into the yuan is potentially huge. Oil is the world’s most traded commodity, with an annual trade value of around $14 trillion, roughly equivalent to China’s gross domestic product last year.

 A pilot program for yuan payment could be launched as early as the second half of this year, two of the people said.

"



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Saudi Arabia Wins Emerging Status in Quest for Billions - Bloomberg

Saudi Arabia Wins Emerging Status in Quest for Billions - Bloomberg:

"Saudi Arabia won classification as an emerging market by a major index compiler for the first time, a key step toward the kingdom’s goal of attracting billions in additional stock investor inflows. FTSE Russell said the Middle Eastern country will be included in its secondary emerging markets grouping effective March 2019, according to a statement Wednesday. Saudi Arabia joins a category that already includes China, Russia and India. The kingdom will have a 2.7 percent weighting in the compiler’s main emerging market stock benchmark, FTSE said. “Saudi Arabia is to be congratulated on the pace of the recent market reforms,” said Mark Makepeace, FTSE Russell’s chief executive officer."



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Qatar c.bank's international reserves, liquidity edge down in February | ZAWYA MENA Edition

Qatar c.bank's international reserves, liquidity edge down in February | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"The Qatar central bank's international reserves and foreign currency liquidity edged down in February, official data showed on Thursday.

The reserves and liquidity, a measure of the central bank's ability to support the riyal currency, fell to $37.6 billion last month from $37.7 billion in January."



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FTSE to upgrade Kuwait to emerging market in two stages | ZAWYA MENA Edition

FTSE to upgrade Kuwait to emerging market in two stages | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"Kuwait's stock market will enter FTSE Russell's emerging marketindex in two equal stages in September and December this year, and 10 Kuwaiti stocks currently look likely to join the benchmark, the company said on Wednesday. FTSE announced in September that it planned to classify Kuwait as an emerging market; it released details of the transition on Wednesday. Kuwaiti stocks entering the index will be given 50 percent of their weightings in September and the remaining 50 percent in December. FTSE projected that Kuwait would have a total 0.4 percent weighting in the index."



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Mideast funds more wary on Saudi after market surge, bullish on Egypt | ZAWYA MENA Edition

Mideast funds more wary on Saudi after market surge, bullish on Egypt | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"Middle East fund managers have become more cautious about ploughing additional money into Saudi Arabian equities after the market jumped on expectations that it would be included in global indexes, a monthly Reuters poll showed on Thursday. The Saudi stock index has rocketed over 9 percent so far this year on widespread expectations that FTSE Russell would decide this month to add Riyadh to its secondary emerging market index, and that MSCI would make a similar decision in June. FTSE decided in favour of Saudi Arabia on Wednesday night, and many fund managers are positive on the kingdom's long-term outlook because of economic reforms now underway."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi moves sideways after winning FTSE emerging market status

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi moves sideways after winning FTSE emerging market status:

"Saudi Arabia’s stock market moved sideways in early Thursday trade after index compiler FTSE Russell said it would upgrade Riyadh to emerging market status, a move expected to draw billions of dollars of fresh foreign money in the next two years. FTSE’s decision is extremely positive for the market in the long term, and is expected to be followed by a similar decision by rival index compiler MSCI in June. But it will only take effect in stages between March and December 2019. Only then will passive funds linked to the index begin flowing in."



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FTSE Russell promotes Saudi Arabia to Emerging Market status

FTSE Russell, the global index, data and analytics provider, has confirmed that Saudi Arabia will be promoted to Secondary Emerging market status following the March 2018 interim country classification review. FTSE Russell formally reviews country classifications within its FTSE Global Equity Index Series (FTSE GEIS) using a comprehensive, transparent and consistent methodology. The review incorporates ongoing country classification research and feedback from FTSE Russell’s independent external advisory committees to designate markets as Developed, Advanced Emerging, Secondary Emerging or Frontier.
The market authorities in Saudi Arabia have taken the required steps to implement market reforms and now meet the formal requirements to be included in FTSE GEIS. Changes include the introduction of enhancements to the Independent Custody Model (ICM) and the further opening of the Saudi Arabia capital market to Qualified Foreign Investors (QFI), which was initiated in 2015 and enhanced in 2018.http://www.ftserussell.com/files/press-releases/ftse-russell-promotes-saudi-arabia-emerging-market-status

Wednesday, 28 March 2018

Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund eyes overseas expansion

Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund eyes overseas expansion:

"Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund is considering opening offices around the world as it plans to expand its assets under management to $400bn by 2020 through overseas as well as domestic investments. 

Yasir al-Rumayyan, managing director of the kingdom's Public Investment Fund said it was weighing opening up offices in the US - New York and San Francisco - the UK and Japan as it seeks to become a "global investment powerhouse'.

Speaking at a gathering of Saudi and US business leaders in New York, he said the PIF had grown from around 50 people in 2015 to 240 today and he sought to double this number by the end of the year. "



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UPDATE 1-UAE's Mubadala, Greece's Taneo to invest 400 mln euros in Greece

UPDATE 1-UAE's Mubadala, Greece's Taneo to invest 400 mln euros in Greece:

"Mubadala Investment Company has signed a deal with Greece’s New Economy Development Fund, known as Taneo, to create a 400 million euro ($496 million) co-investment platform, the Abu Dhabi state fund said on Wednesday. Under the agreement, Taneo and Mubadala will each contribute 200 million euros to invest in businesses with growth potential across key sectors of Greece’s economy, Mubadala said. In the past, Mubadala has signed investment deals with state-linked funds in Russia and, most recently, France to invest in parts of those countries’ economies."



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Saudi Bank Pegs Growth Hopes on Mortgages, Women Buying Cars - Bloomberg

Saudi Bank Pegs Growth Hopes on Mortgages, Women Buying Cars - Bloomberg:

"Saudi Arabia’s second-biggest bank is betting that government efforts to develop the entertainment industry, boost home-ownership and open up the role of women in the economy will fuel growth this year. The kingdom is undergoing an economic overhaul driven by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman that includes removing restrictions on cinemas, concerts and women driving and working. It also plans to subsidize home loans to expand the private-sector’s role in funding mortgages as part of the transformation plan to diversify the economy away from oil and reduce the population’s reliance on state spending. Al Rajhi Bank is also planning to expand its corporate-lending business on optimism that businesses will start borrowing again later this year, after loans to the private sector fell in 2017, Chief Executive Officer Steve Bertamini said in an interview. Rising demand for corporate and housing loans should help Al Rajhi outperform peers in 2018, he said."



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Bahrain Wakes Up to Bond Reality as Secondary Market Takes a Hit - Bloomberg

Bahrain Wakes Up to Bond Reality as Secondary Market Takes a Hit - Bloomberg:

"Bahrain reined in its bond-sale plans as investors sought higher yields amid a surge in issuance from the Gulf. After indicating last week that the kingdom could sell as many as three different tenors in a mix of conventional and Islamic debt, it only offered a 7.5 year sukuk today. Bahrain’s yields have jumped since the roadshow details were shared with investors. Recent sales from the region have seen a drop off in bids as appetite for Gulf deals flagged amid tight pricing. Weak global markets are also adding to the jitters."



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OPEC seeks "very long-term" cooperation with other oil exporters | ZAWYA MENA Edition

OPEC seeks "very long-term" cooperation with other oil exporters | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"OPEC is seeking "very long-term" cooperation with other oil exporters, the secretary general of the oil exporting group said on Wednesday. Mohammad Barkindo was commenting on news that top OPEC producer Saudi Arabia and non-OPEC Russia were working on a long-term pact that could extend controls over world crude supplies by major exporters for up to 20 years. Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman announced the plan in an interview with Reuters on Monday. "



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi stocks pull back before FTSE decision, most of Gulf down

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi stocks pull back before FTSE decision, most of Gulf down:

"Saudi Arabia’s stock market pulled back because of profit-taking on Wednesday ahead of a decision by index compiler FTSE Russell on whether to upgrade Riyadh to emerging market status, while most other regional bourses were also weak.

The Saudi index has surged in recent weeks on expectations of a positive decision by FTSE on Wednesday. If MSCI also decides in June to make Saudi Arabia an emerging market, the bourse - which now has a capitalisation of about $500 billion — could see foreign fund inflows exceeding $40 billion in the next couple of years, analysts calculate.

The recent surge has left many valuations in line with or slightly above other emerging markets, however, so some fund managers think the index could drop back after a positive FTSE decision."



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Growth strategies to reinforce role of Qatari capital market, says QSE’s Al Mansoori - The Peninsula Qatar

Growth strategies to reinforce role of Qatari capital market, says QSE’s Al Mansoori - The Peninsula Qatar:

"Qatar’s ongoing strategies to transform the competitive dynamics of the country’s capital market is set to expand the role of the local market in financing business ventures, widening ownership of assets and generate returns on long-term savings. In this free-wheeling interview to  the Arabic business daily Lusail, published today, Qatar Stock Exchange (QSE) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Rashid bin Ali Al Mansoori  (pictured) shares his vision how QSE is set to transform itself as one of the leading bourses in the region. Following is the translated version of the interview: Rashid bin Ali Al Mansoori, CEO of the Qatar Stock Exchange (QSE) has said the bourse is in the process of listing several companies in the coming years. In fact, the QSE has prepared a list of 35 companies that are expected to be listed for the next five years, he said."



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Saudis Struggle to Respond as Rising Libor Pressures Dollar Peg - Bloomberg

Saudis Struggle to Respond as Rising Libor Pressures Dollar Peg - Bloomberg:

"Saudi Arabia is struggling with rising U.S. rates as it tries to strike a balance between boosting growth and averting capital flight that would put pressure on the riyal’s currency peg. Saibor, a key Saudi interbank rate for riyals, rose on Monday above the central bank’s benchmark repurchase rate -- in theory its ceiling. That means the Saudi central bank, SAMA, could face renewed pressure to raise the repo rate to keep the riyal attractive for depositors who might otherwise be tempted to shift into dollars. Saudi Arabia raised its benchmark rate on March 15 for the first time since 2009, preempting the U.S. Federal Reserve increase after Saibor fell below its equivalent London rate for dollars, posing a risk of capital flight."



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Exclusive: Mideast Uber rival Careem in early talks to raise new funds - sources

Exclusive: Mideast Uber rival Careem in early talks to raise new funds - sources:

"Middle East ride-hailing app Careem is in early talks to raise as much as $500 million in new funds from investors, sources told Reuters.

Careem, Uber’s [UBER.UL] rival in the region, is checking the appetite of potential investors and hopes to secure its targeted $500 million in a new funding series, three sources said, speaking on condition of anonymity as the matter is not public.

Careem declined to comment when contacted by Reuters on Wednesday. "



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Dubai Aerospace set to raise $400 million syndicated loan - sources

Dubai Aerospace set to raise $400 million syndicated loan - sources:

"Dubai Aerospace Enterprise (DAE), a government-controlled company, is raising a $400 million loan arranged by Ahli Bank of Kuwait, sources familiar with the matter said.

DAE has become one of the world’s largest aircraft lessors after acquiring Dublin-based AWAS last year. The acquisition tripled the Dubai aircraft leasing and maintenance company’s portfolio to about 400 aircraft worth more than $14 billion.

The new loan, which is being syndicated to banks, includes a revolving credit facility and a working capital facility. It could be increased to $600 million, one of the sources said."



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UPDATE 1-Bahrain markets sukuk, does not proceed with conventional bond -sources

UPDATE 1-Bahrain markets sukuk, does not proceed with conventional bond -sources:

"Bahrain is marketing an international issue of U.S. dollar-denominated Islamic bonds, but is not proceeding with a proposed conventional bond sale because of the pricing demands of some investors, banking sources said on Wednesday. The kingdom started meeting investors last week ahead of its planned international debt issuance. It was considering making a long seven-year sukuk issue, and also an issue of 12- or 30-year conventional bonds, or both, depending on market conditions, documents from the banks leading the deal showed. On Wednesday, Bahrain gave initial price guidance in the 7 percent area for the sukuk, documents from the banks showed, but they made no reference to the conventional bonds, and a banker involved in the deal confirmed to Reuters that the conventional tranche was no longer planned."



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RPT-UAE healthcare provider NMC raises $2 billion loan - sources

RPT-UAE healthcare provider NMC raises $2 billion loan - sources:

"United Arab Emirates’ healthcare provider NMC Health has raised a $2 billion loan which will be used for general corporate purposes and partly to refinance existing debt, sources familiar with the matter said.

The fundraising, completed earlier this month, was provided by a consortium of banks including Citi, JPMorgan and Standard Chartered, the sources said.

London-listed NMC said earlier this month that it planned acquisitions worth up to $800 million this year, as it looks for growth opportunities in Dubai, Oman and Saudi Arabia. Last year, NMC spent $641 million in acquisitions."



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Saudi Arabia’s Farabi Petrochemicals shortlists banks for $1 billion project: sources

Saudi Arabia’s Farabi Petrochemicals shortlists banks for $1 billion project: sources:

"Saudi Arabia’s privately owned Farabi Petrochemicals Company has shortlisted a group of banks to finance the development of a new petrochemical complex worth 4 billion riyals ($1.07 billion), banking sources familiar with the matter said. The company will borrow around 3 billion riyals for the project, they said. The sources said HSBC is advising Farabi on financing for the new project, which will be built in Yanbu, a port city on Saudi Arabia’s western Red Sea coast which is already home to several refineries and petrochemicals plants."



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Oil eases back from 2018 highs above $70 a barrel

Oil eases back from 2018 highs above $70 a barrel:

"Oil fell on Wednesday as investors took profit on a rally the previous day to this year’s highs after a report showed a surprisingly large increase in U.S. crude inventories.

Brent crude futures LCOc1, which expire on Thursday, were at $69.70 per barrel, down 41 cents on the day by 0917 GMT, while June futures LCOc2 were down 44 cents at $69.02.

 WTI futures CLc1 were down 60 cents at $64.65 a barrel."



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Softbank to Build World’s Biggest Solar Park in Saudi Arabia - Bloomberg

Softbank to Build World’s Biggest Solar Park in Saudi Arabia - Bloomberg:

"Saudi Arabia and SoftBank Group Corp. signed a memorandum of understanding to build a $200 billion solar power development that’s exponentially larger than any other project. SoftBank founder Masayoshi Son, known for backing ambitious endeavors with flair, unveiled the project Tuesday in New York at a ceremony with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman. The powerful heir to the throne of the world’s largest crude exporter is seeking to diversify the economy and wean off a dependence on oil."



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Saudi, US companies sign 36 MoUs | ZAWYA MENA Edition

Saudi, US companies sign 36 MoUs | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"Apart from high ranking government officials, more than 200 leading economic figures and business leaders from Saudi Arabia and the United States participated in the second edition of the Saudi-US CEO Forum held in New York on Tuesday. The forum, with the theme of “An era of Transformation: From Vision to Implementation,” was organized by the Saudi Center for Strategic Partnerships on the sidelines of the current state visit of Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman, deputy premier and minister of defense, to the United States. The main thrust of the forum was achieving political and social reforms in a broad spectrum within the Vision 2030 through establishing new partnerships, further bolstering economic ties, and expanding mutual trust, understanding and cultural awareness."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi stalls before FTSE decision, other markets mixed

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi stalls before FTSE decision, other markets mixed:

"Saudi Arabia’s stock market stalled in early trade on Wednesday ahead of a decision by index compiler FTSE Russell on whether to upgrade Riyadh to emerging market status, while other regional bourses were mixed. The Saudi index was 0.1 percent lower at 7,931 points after 45 minutes of trade, with leading blue chips still heavily traded ahead of the FTSE decision, which will come on Wednesday night. The index rose 1.1 percent on Tuesday and is up about 10 percent year-to-date. Some fund managers think that could expose the market to profit-taking directly after FTSE’s announcement, but Khaled Feda, senior research manager at Alistithmar Capital, said the outlook remained strong."



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Tuesday, 27 March 2018

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi outperforms region again before FTSE index decision

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi outperforms region again before FTSE index decision:

"Saudi Arabia’s stock market climbed to a 31-month high on Tuesday, once again outperforming the rest of the region in anticipation of a positive decision by FTSE on Wednesday to include the kingdom in its secondary emerging markets index. The Saudi index rose 1.1 percent, bringing its gain so far this year to 9.9 percent. A positive decision by FTSE after the close on Wednesday would attract several billion dollars of passive, index-linked foreign funds to Saudi Arabia when the decision was implemented late this year or early next; inflows of active funds would probably be larger. Heavyweights Saudi Basic Industries and Al Rajhi Bank have been among the main beneficiaries of inflows anticipating a positive decision. That trend continued on Tuesday, with SABIC rising 2.6 percent and Al Rajhi up 1.4 percent. The biggest listed bank, National Commercial Bank , climbed 1.3 percent."



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Exclusive: Swiss private bank Julius Baer bullish about Middle East growth - The National

Exclusive: Swiss private bank Julius Baer bullish about Middle East growth - The National:

"Julius Baer, the third-largest private Swiss bank with more than 388 billion francs ($410bn) of assets under management, said the Middle East outperformed for the wealth manager last year and is likely to continue to show promising growth this year as oil prices rebound from a three-year slump. "The United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia hold the most promise in the region this year as the two states boost efforts to diversify their economies," Bernard Hodler, the bank’s chief executive, told The National in an interview. “In the past two years things have gotten better and it has a little to do with higher oil prices and I think the economy here in the UAE has become a bit more stable,” Mr Hodler said."



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Saudi Aramco IPO prospectus ‘virtually ready,’ with new reserves valuation likely to top 260bn barrels | Arab News

Saudi Aramco IPO prospectus ‘virtually ready,’ with new reserves valuation likely to top 260bn barrels | Arab News:

"The prospectus for the initial public offering (IPO) of Saudi Aramco is “virtually ready,” including a revised valuation of the oil giant’s reserves, a person familiar with the company’s plans has told Arab News.
The news came as Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said OPEC is seeking to cooperate with Russia on oil supplies for the next 10-to-20 years. The crown prince, currently leading a Saudi delegation in the US, added that OPEC has agreed on the general outlines for long-term oil supply cooperation with Russia.
The person familiar with the company’s plans, who declined to be identified because details of the prospectus were not in the public domain, said the plans for an IPO were on track for later this year, and that the prospectus was awaiting government approval and some finalizing some details, like valuation and listing venue. “There are a few spaces left blank but (the prospectus) is almost ready to go,” he said."



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QIIB plans roadshows in Asia, Europe to test appetite for sukuk

QIIB plans roadshows in Asia, Europe to test appetite for sukuk:

"QIIB plans to hold roadshows in Asia and Europe next month to explore the market for its proposed sukuk, chief executive officer Dr Abdulbasit Ahmad al-Shaibei has said. “Neither the size nor the tenor of the sukuk have been decided as yet, although we are looking up to $500mn with a maturity of three to five years,” al-Shaibei told Gulf Times yesterday. He said QIIB shareholders approved the issuance of the senior unsecured sukuk at their AGM last night. "



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OPEC, Russia consider 10-20 year oil cooperation- Saudi Crown Prince | ZAWYA MENA Edition

OPEC, Russia consider 10-20 year oil cooperation- Saudi Crown Prince | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"OPEC is seeking a long-term deal to cooperate on oil output controls with Russia and other non-OPEC producers, said Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

“We are working to shift from a year-to-year agreement to a 10-20 year agreement,” the crown prince told Reuters in an interview in New York.

“We have agreement on the big picture, but not yet on the detail.”"



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MIDEAST STOCKS-FTSE decision lifts Saudi Arabian market, others remain soft | ZAWYA MENA Edition

MIDEAST STOCKS-FTSE decision lifts Saudi Arabian market, others remain soft | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"Saudi Arabia's stock market rose on optimism over its inclusion in the emerging market indexes, while other markets had a mixed reaction in early trade on Tuesday.

The Saudi index rose 0.9 percent to its highest level since August 2015 as investors are expecting FTSE to upgrade Riyadh to secondary emerging market status. FTSE will make the announcement later on Tuesday.

Investors were bullish on Saudi stocks, all sectors included, as they expect billions of dollars to pour into the market after the upgrade."



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Qatar Airways plans to buy stake in Russian airport as emir visits Moscow

Qatar Airways plans to buy stake in Russian airport as emir visits Moscow:

"Qatar Airways announced plans on Monday to buy a 25 percent stake in Russia’s Vnukovo Airport, the third-largest in the Moscow area by passenger numbers.

The deal was announced on the same day that Qatar’s Emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, met President Vladimir Putin in the Kremlin.

A Qatar Airways spokeswoman told Reuters the airline had signed a memorandum of understanding to buy the minority stake and that it now had eight weeks to finalize the transaction. "



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Investors Bullish on Saudi Stocks as Key FTSE Decision Eyed - Bloomberg

Investors Bullish on Saudi Stocks as Key FTSE Decision Eyed - Bloomberg:

"Investors expect FTSE Russell to include Saudi Arabia in the emerging markets category later this week, a decision that would trigger billions of dollars in inflows to the biggest Middle Eastern stock market.

An announcement from the index compiler is due on March 28, the first of two decisions that will potentially put the kingdom on the radar of fund managers, investors say. MSCI Inc. will provide the second in June, with a positive outcome setting the stage for a planned initial public offering of shares in Saudi Aramco, expected to be the biggest ever and key to a series of reforms taking place in Saudi Arabia. After gaining Tuesday, the country’s main stock gauge is up 9.7 percent this year, versus 3.1 percent for emerging markets.

Inclusion by FTSE Russell could draw about $5 billion from passive investors starting next year, with twice that amount coming if MSCI follows suit, according to estimates by EFG-Hermes Holding. The announcement is expected after markets close in the U.S., and investors in the region estimate it will be positive for the Saudis. Check their views below. "



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Abraaj may sell part of investment management business -sources | ZAWYA MENA Edition

Abraaj may sell part of investment management business -sources | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"Private equity firm Abraaj Group is considering selling part of its investment management business as it seeks to stem the fallout from a dispute with investors in one of its funds, three sources familiar with the matter said. Dubai-based Abraaj is in early stage talks with several possible buyers, the sources said, with one source saying Abu Dhabi Financial Group was among them and another source saying Abraaj had received interest from international financial firms. The talks are focused on Abraaj's investment management business, a core part of its operations, two of the sources said."



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Saudi Aramco ready for IPO in second half of 2018 -CEO | ZAWYA MENA Edition

Saudi Aramco ready for IPO in second half of 2018 -CEO | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"Saudi Aramco will be ready for an initial public offering in the second half of 2018 and the work is ongoing, Amin Nasser, the chief executive officer of the state oil company, said in a Bloomberg television interview on Monday. * "We are doing a lot of work to prepare the company for listing," he said. * The venue and the timing will depend on the government, Nasser said. "Don't forget this is a very complex process. Aramco's size and complexities is something that requires time.""



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Monday, 26 March 2018

Abraaj is said to consider sale of fund unit stake to raise cash | GulfNews.com

Abraaj is said to consider sale of fund unit stake to raise cash | GulfNews.com:

"Abraaj Group, the Middle East buyout firm, is considering the sale of a stake in its fund management business to raise cash amid heightened regulatory scrutiny and the departure of key executives, according to people with knowledge of the matter. The group has held discussions with advisers about selling part of the newly separated investment business, which oversees funds globally for institutional investors, the people said, asking not to be identified as the matter is private. Meanwhile, markets regulator for the Dubai financial center where Abraaj is licensed is holding discussions with the firm about some investors’ concern that capital in a health-care fund wasn’t allocated properly, though no formal investigation is underway, they said. Abraaj, which last month said it would separate the funds business from its holding company, is working with consultants on a “comprehensive review” of its corporate structure, a spokeswoman said in response to queries. The firm “remains in regular contact and dialogue with its regulators and engages with them on various matters,” she said. A representative for Dubai Financial Services Authority declined to comment."



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Cyber attacks a ‘real threat’ to Gulf business | Arab News

Cyber attacks a ‘real threat’ to Gulf business | Arab News:

"Cyber attacks in the Gulf are a growing threat for businesses operating in the region, Internet security experts warn, calling for more to be done to protect data. Businesses, consumers and governments in the GCC are increasingly victims of a varied range of cybercrimes, including malware emails; software that holds a victim’s data to ransom, and most recently “cryptojacking” which involves the unauthorized use of someone’s computer to mine for virtual currencies. “Cyber risk is a real threat to Gulf states, with the cost of data breach mounting in 2017,” Edmond Christou, Middle East analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence, told Arab News. Bloomberg Intelligence on Monday published research on the impact of cyberattacks on oil and gas companies in the Gulf."



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KSA and US to get down to business in New York | Arab News

KSA and US to get down to business in New York | Arab News:

"With the diplomacy and the statecraft nearly at an end, it is time to get down to the sharp end of business in commercial relations between the US and Saudi Arabia. On Tuesday at the Gotham Hall in midtown New York City, the elite of the business leadership from America and the Kingdom will come together for a day of formal presentations, networking and deal-doing to give a concrete form to the new relationship between the two countries. It is the financial and economic equivalent of the political summits in the White House and other parts of Washington last week, as Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman continues his tour of the US. The Saudi-US CEO Forum is the second installment in a series of annual events that began in Riyadh last May during President Trump’s first overseas visit since he entered the White House. That was regarded as a groundbreaking event, leading to deals or agreements worth hundreds of billions of dollars."



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Bahrain gives no details on new Gulf financial aid during bond roadshow -sources

Bahrain gives no details on new Gulf financial aid during bond roadshow -sources:

"Bahraini officials conducting a roadshow for investors ahead of a possible sovereign bond issue have not disclosed details of additional financial support that the country may receive from its Gulf neighbours, fund managers at the meetings said. The country plans to sell a multi-tranche, U.S. dollar-denominated sovereign bond after a series of investor meetings that started last Friday in London and are continuing this week in the Middle East, the United States and Asia. The tiny Gulf kingdom is rated junk by the three major credit rating agencies. But so far it has borrowed successfully in the international debt market because investors believe it can count on support from its richer Gulf neighbours, particularly Saudi Arabia, if its finances deteriorate further."



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UAE's ADNOC awards $3.5bln contracts to Samsung Engineering | ZAWYA MENA Edition

UAE's ADNOC awards $3.5bln contracts to Samsung Engineering | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"Abu Dhabi National Oil Co (ADNOC) said on Monday it had awarded two contracts to South Korea's Samsung Engineering 028050.KS worth more than $3.5 billion.

The contracts were signed by ADNOC Refining, a wholly owned subsidiary of ADNOC, and Samsung Engineering.

The first engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract was awarded for a $3.1 billion project on flexibility in crude oil processing, ADNOC said in a statement."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf stocks muted, Saudi bourse closes up despite missile attacks

MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf stocks muted, Saudi bourse closes up despite missile attacks:

"Middle Eastern stocks were mixed on Monday with investors in Saudi Arabia largely ignoring an apparent escalation in the country’s three-year war with Yemen, after the conflict caused its first civilian death within Riyadh. The kingdom’s air defences shot down seven ballistic missiles fired by Yemen’s Houthi forces late on Sunday, and debris killed an Egyptian resident of Riyadh. After initially slipping as much as 0.6 percent, Saudi Arabia’s main index recovered to close 0.2 percent higher."



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UPDATE 1-UAE's DXB Entertainments expects brighter 2018

UPDATE 1-UAE's DXB Entertainments expects brighter 2018:

"DXB Entertainments is expecting an improved 2018 after reporting a 1.12 billion dirham ($305 million) loss for last year, the CEO of the Dubai-based theme park operator told Reuters on Monday.

The company also announced it had reached a deal with banks to restructure 4.2 billion dirhams in debt and had received fresh funding from its majority shareholder, Meraas Holding, a Dubai government-linked developer.

DXB Entertainments owns Dubai Parks and Resorts, a group of theme-parks in the south of Dubai including the Hollywood-inspired theme park Motiongate and a Lego-themed water park."



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English court refuses to hear Dana Gas's appeal in sukuk dispute

English court refuses to hear Dana Gas's appeal in sukuk dispute:

"Dana Gas has lost an attempt to overturn English court rulings that backed creditors’ demands for the repayment of $700 million of Islamic bonds, the UAE company said on Monday.

The English Court of Appeal refused an application by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) company to appeal the November 2017 and February 2018 English High Court orders.

Dana Gas last year shocked the global Islamic finance industry when it stopped payments on its sukuk, which matured in October, saying that because of changes in the interpretation of Islamic finance rules the bond had become unlawful in the UAE. "



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In Saudi Shadow, One Troubled Gulf State Seeks an Investor Reset - Bloomberg

In Saudi Shadow, One Troubled Gulf State Seeks an Investor Reset - Bloomberg:

"Gleaming skyscrapers rise from reclaimed land in one corner of Bahrain’s capital, a new development that’s a showcase for the government’s effort to lure hi-tech business and move the economy beyond energy dependence. That’s a widespread aspiration in the Persian Gulf -- and the Manama skyline wouldn’t be out of place among peer cities. But it’s a sharp remove from the rest of Bahrain, a country that faces a challenge unique in the neighborhood. At the same time as pursuing a more diverse economy, it’s battling to contain political unrest. There’s another Bahrain in which security forces conduct night-time raids into villages where the Shiite Muslim majority live, while leaders of opposition groups remain jailed. The small island nation was the only one of the Gulf’s Sunni Muslim monarchies that teetered during the Arab Spring in 2011. Shiite youths inspired by their peers elsewhere in the region poured into the streets of the capital Manama to demand change. It took a military intervention led by Saudi Arabia to shore up the ruling Al Khalifa family."



'via Blog this'

MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf markets subdued as investors take stock of missile attacks

MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf markets subdued as investors take stock of missile attacks:

"Stock exchanges in the Gulf were mainly subdued early on Monday as investors digested news of missiles fired overnight at Saudi Arabia, the region’s largest economy.

Saudi air defences shot down seven ballistic missiles fired by Yemen’s Houthi forces on Sunday, with debris killing a man in Riyadh, the first death in the capital during a Saudi-led coalition’s three-year military campaign in Yemen.

Any effect on stocks of the attacks was offset by reports that the United States and China have quietly started negotiations to improve U.S. access to Chinese markets. Hopes that the move signalled an easing of the threat of a global trade war pushed U.S. stock futures up more than 1 percent ."



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Sunday, 25 March 2018

Deepening economic ties will give the west leverage over Iran

Deepening economic ties will give the west leverage over Iran:

"President Donald Trump’s choice of John Bolton as his national security adviser installs the ultimate Iran hawk in the White House. Mr Bolton has called for the bombing of Iran on multiple occasions, repeatedly urged regime change in Tehran and has sketched a plan for extricating the US from the nuclear deal. Mr Trump’s two-step of appointing Mr Bolton and nominating another hawk, Mike Pompeo, for secretary of state may put the US on a collision course with Iran.

Congress and the US’s European allies have been discussing how to save the nuclear agreement with Iran so that Mr Trump does not rip it up. Mr Pompeo has indicated he is open to the idea. But even if they find a way to placate the president, isolate Mr Bolton and preserve the deal, the administration’s current stance towards Iran will ensure that the US continues to lurch from one crisis to another.

A different strategic approach is needed: increased trade in exchange for specific concessions on ballistic missiles or regional meddling."



'via Blog this'

Qatar has shaken off initial negative impact of blockade: CI

Qatar has shaken off initial negative impact of blockade: CI:

"Qatar has shaken off the initial negative impacts of the blockade and appears to have fully adjusted to the need to change supply chains and logistical arrangements, according to Capital Intelligence, an international credit rating agency. "The general picture is of a return to normality," CI said in a report. Historical trading and family links have been hit. Nevertheless, part of the response has been legal and regulatory changes that are making Qatar a much more open economy – and this is encouraging inward investment into the private sector, the rating agency said."



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Qatar proposes Russian companies develop gas fields in 2019-2020: RIA

Qatar proposes Russian companies develop gas fields in 2019-2020: RIA:

"Qatar has proposed that Russian companies take part in tenders for the further development of gas fields in 2019-2020, RIA news agency cited the Qatari envoy to Russia Fahad bin Mohammed Al-Attiyah as saying on Sunday.

“Russian companies, like others, may try to win the tender, which will be announced,” he is quoted as saying.

Russian President Vladimir Putin will meet the Emir of Qatar in Moscow on March 26, the Kremlin said on Friday."



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The Builder of One of the World's Largest Airports Revives IPO - Bloomberg

The Builder of One of the World's Largest Airports Revives IPO - Bloomberg:

"Limak Investments, which is part of a group building Istanbul’s new six-runway airport, is considering an initial public offering later this year or next, rekindling a plan it shelved in 2011 after equity markets tumbled.

"We are looking for the right window to move forward," Chairwoman Ebru Ă–zdemir said in an interview with Bloomberg TV in Kuwait. "All our companies are ready. Our cement group is the second-biggest cement group in Turkey. Our infrastructure and energy groups, likewise."

Limak has expanded into building roads in Russia and airports in Kosovo, Senegal and Kuwait, and now has 65,000 employees and operations in 17 countries since touting the sale of a 30 percent stake in its business seven years ago. The company may come to market amid a boom in Turkish share sales that last year jumped to the highest since 2011, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. This year may be more than five times 2017’s levels, according to local brokerage, Is Yatirim."



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UAE's Dana Gas plans cash dividend despite $700mln sukuk dispute | ZAWYA MENA Edition

UAE's Dana Gas plans cash dividend despite $700mln sukuk dispute | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"Dana Gas will seek shareholder approval to pay a dividend for 2017, it said on Sunday, in a move that could complicate its legal dispute with investors demanding that the company settles $700 million of Islamic bonds. The United Arab Emirates energy producer's share price jumped by 8.3 percent after it announced that a shareholder meeting on April 11 would discuss a proposal to pay its first cash dividend in several years. The dividend, equivalent to 5 percent of capital, would total about 349 million dirhams ($95 million)."



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UAE inflation eases in February after jumping on new tax | ZAWYA MENA Edition

UAE inflation eases in February after jumping on new tax | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"Inflation in the United Arab Emirates eased slightly in February after jumping to a multi-year high in January when the government introduced a 5 percent value-added tax, official data showed on Sunday.

The annual inflation rate came down to 4.5 percent last month from 4.8 percent in January, which was the highest level since 2015. Month-on-month, consumer prices fell 0.2 percent in February after surging 2.7 percent in January.

There were signs in February that some companies were discounting to maintain market share after initially hiking prices more sharply in response to the tax.
"



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Dana Gas lifts Abu Dhabi; some Saudi blue-chips advance

MIDEAST STOCKS-Dana Gas lifts Abu Dhabi; some Saudi blue-chips advance:

"Gulf stock markets were generally little changed on Sunday, though Abu Dhabi’s Dana Gas surged on news of plans for its first annual dividend for several years. The Abu Dhabi index rose 0.8 percent as Dana Gas jumped 8.3 percent after the board said it would seek shareholder approval for a cash dividend for 2017 totalling 5 percent of capital, or about 349 million dirhams ($95 million). By diverting money to shareholders, the plan could complicate Dana’s dispute with bondholders after the company’s decision not to redeem $700 million of sukuk that it said had become unlawful after changes in Islamic finance."



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Al Ghurair Iron and Steel says US exports will be hit due to tariffs | GulfNews.com

Al Ghurair Iron and Steel says US exports will be hit due to tariffs | GulfNews.com:

"Al Ghurair Iron and Steel, a joint venture between Nippon Steel Sumitomo Metal Corporation of Japan and UAE’s Al Ghurair Group, expects steel exports to the US will be hit due to the introduction of tariffs on imported steel and aluminium by the US government, the chief executive officer of the firm told Gulf News in an interview. “We are still getting enquiries from our US customers, however pricing has become a challenge. Even after the tariffs were announced, the buyers in the US have continued to send us enquires but they expect the prices to be discounted to offset the impact of the new 25 per cent tariffs,” said Abu Baqer Hussain, adding that US is a net importer of steel and their domestic mills don’t cater to the entire demand of the metal in the country. He said that the market sentiment is down due to protectionist measures undertaken by the US government and customers are feeling the heat. "



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Qatar’s non-oil exports reach QR2.2bn in Feb 2018, says report

Qatar’s non-oil exports reach QR2.2bn in Feb 2018, says report:

"The value of Qatar’s non-oil exports jumped 4.8% month-on-month from QR2.1bn to QR2.2bn in February 2018, Qatar Chamber said in its latest report.
The report, Qatar Chamber said, was prepared based on the 2,620 certificates of origin issued by its Research & Studies Department and Member Affairs Department in February 2018.
In February, the report said Qatar exported goods and services to 62 countries compared to 59 in the previous month."



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Abu Dhabi’s utility folded into new energy department - spokesman

Abu Dhabi’s utility folded into new energy department - spokesman:

"Abu Dhabi has folded utility Abu Dhabi Water & Electricity Authority (Adwea) into the emirate’s newly established department of energy as part of a consolidation of state-owned entities, a spokesman for the department said on Sunday. The Regulation & Supervision Bureau (RSB), which oversees water, waste water and electricity in Abu Dhabi, will also become part of the energy department. Oil-rich Abu Dhabi has seen some of its largest firms merge in the last two years as part of a strategic review in response to an oil price slump."



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U.S. Investors Will Have Chance to Buy Aramco Shares, Saudis Say - Bloomberg

U.S. Investors Will Have Chance to Buy Aramco Shares, Saudis Say - Bloomberg:

"Americans will have a chance to own shares in Saudi Arabia’s oil company, the nation’s energy minister said.

Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih also said some investors have been slow to sign on to the reform plan proposed by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman because they are focused on dividends. “We are going to have to face that when we list Aramco and have a conversation about how much cash will be given to investors,” he said in a speech Saturday at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The initial public offering of shares in Saudi Aramco is a cornerstone of the prince’s reform plan -- dubbed Vision 2030 -- to transform the nation’s economy and society. Saudi officials hope to raise as much as $100 billion by selling up to 5 percent of the company, valuing Aramco at $2 trillion."



'via Blog this'

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

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

"Shares in Abu Dhabi-listed Dana Gas jump 9.5 percent to 0.92 dirham in early, unusually heavy trade Company's board said it will seek shareholder approval for 2017 cash dividend of 5 percent of capital; did not pay dividend for 2016 Not clear how decision to pay dividend may affect dispute between Dana and holders of its $700 million of sukuk, who are fighting company's refusal to redeem the sukuk on maturity"



'via Blog this'

Kuwait’s Silk City key project in China’s One Belt One Road initiative | ZAWYA MENA Edition

Kuwait’s Silk City key project in China’s One Belt One Road initiative | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"Kuwait’s Silk City and the five-island developments are a key project in the One Belt One Road initiative, and will strengthen Kuwait-China relations, according to Jiang Zengwei – Chairman of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT) and the China Chamber of International Commerce (CCOIC).  In a keynote address at the Kuwait Investment Forum (KIF 2018), Zengwei said Kuwait was one of the first GCC nations to have diplomatic ties with China and relations between the two countries have strengthened over the years. He said the One Belt One Road initiative complements Kuwait’s Vision 2035 in fostering development in several core sectors.  Kuwait and China have signed several cooperation agreements, which have further laid the foundations for promoting mutually beneficial growth. “China is today one of the Kuwait’s most important trading partners and an important source of crude oil from Kuwait. Bilateral trade was US$12 billion in 2017, recording a year-on-year growth of 28 per cent,” added Zengwei. "



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Mideast Stocks: Gulf mostly soft early on but Dana Gas leaps on dividend plan | ZAWYA MENA Edition

Mideast Stocks: Gulf mostly soft early on but Dana Gas leaps on dividend plan | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"Stock exchanges in the Gulf were mostly soft in early trade on Sunday, reflecting losses in global equity markets at the end of last week, but there were signs of continued flows of foreign funds into some Saudi Arabian blue chips. The Dubai and Abu Dhabi stock indexes were 0.1 percent and 0.4 percent down respectively, while the Qatari indexe lost 0.3 percent. But Abu Dhabi-listed energy producer Dana Gas  jumped 9.5 percent after the board said it would seek shareholder approval to pay a 2017 cash dividend of 5 percent of capital; it paid no dividend for 2016."



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Saturday, 24 March 2018

UAE markets go their separate ways | GulfNews.com

UAE markets go their separate ways | GulfNews.com:

"Last week the Dubai Financial Market General Index (DFMGI) dropped by 47.77 or 1.49 per cent to close at 3,149.53. Most issues fell as there were only nine positive stocks for the week against 26 that declined. Volume meanwhile dipped to the lowest weekly level since August of last year. For the past several weeks the DFMGI has been consolidating within a relatively narrow range around the area of the 50 retracement (3,164.50) of the long-term uptrend which topped out in January 2017. This could potentially be at least short-term bullish as many times support is seen around the 50 per cent retracement zone and is followed by a bounce if not more. However, even though we are seeing support as the index has essentially stopped going down, it has not been enough to turn the market up. This means that downward pressure remains and the risk of a bearish continuation of the five-month downtrend is real. There are several indications that would support such a bearish scenario. First, and of significance, is that the recent lows and three-week consolidation have occurred below a two-year consolidation pattern. A breakdown from that pattern occurred three weeks ago as the DFMGI fell below long-term support at 3,195.49. Further, last week’s low of 3,134.12 was a new 25-month low, plus the week ended at a new 25-month weekly closing low. "



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GIF retains ‘overweight’ position on Qatar - The Peninsula Qatar

GIF retains ‘overweight’ position on Qatar - The Peninsula Qatar:

"The London-listed Gulf Investment Fund (GIF), formerly known as Qatar Investment Fund (QIF),  has retained its position ‘overweight’ on Qatar. On October 16, 2017 the fund announced its intention to change its investment policy  from a largely Qatar-focused investment strategy to a broader GCC investment strategy. Previously, the investment policy enabled the fund to invest up to 15 percent of the company in GCC countries, other than Qatar. The change in investment policy removed the 15 percent limit and enabled the Company to increase its investment allocation to other GCC countries and provided the Investment Adviser with a wider investment universe and more flexibility to identify attractive opportunities in the GCC region."



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Qatar, Turkey to enhance economic cooperation - The Peninsula Qatar

Qatar, Turkey to enhance economic cooperation - The Peninsula Qatar:

"The Minister of Economy and Commerce H E Sheikh Ahmed bin Jassim Al Thani (right) met with the head of Qatar-Turkey Business Council and member of directors’ board at Foreign Economic Relations Board of Turkey (DEIK) Ethem Sancak (left) and his accompanying delegation in Doha, yesterday. During the meeting, they discussed aspects of joint cooperation, especially in the field of economic, trade and investment, and means of developing them. Bilateral trade volume stood at QR4.9bn in 2017, which is expected to jump significantly in coming years. Turkey’s Ambassador to Qatar Fikret Ozer was also present."



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Oil clocks best week in nearly 8 months on ‘Bolton premium’

Oil clocks best week in nearly 8 months on ‘Bolton premium’:

"Geopolitical risks returned to the oil market with a vengeance this week to help both US and global crude prices deliver their biggest weekly gains in nearly eight months. Brent, the international crude marker, settled up 2.2 per cent at $70.45 a barrel, putting the gauge less than a dollar away from the three-year highs of $71.28 set in late January. The move also takes the benchmark’s five-day advance to 6.4 per cent, making this its best week since July 28."



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UAE Central Bank's total foreign assets near $92.60bln in February | ZAWYA MENA Edition

UAE Central Bank's total foreign assets near $92.60bln in February | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"The UAE Central Bank's total foreign assets surged to an equivalent of AED339.81 billion during February, a growth of 4.2 percent from AED326 billion in January.

According to statistics issued by the CBUAE, the current account balances and deposits with banks abroad increased from AED254.91 billion in January to AED266.530 billion in February.

According to CB criteria, the foreign assets do not include CBUAE's reserve tranche position and SDR holdings with the IMF."



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Friday, 23 March 2018

OPEC, Russia should cut oil into 2020 if U.S. output booms: Lukoil

OPEC, Russia should cut oil into 2020 if U.S. output booms: Lukoil:

"Lukoil vice-president Leonid Fedun said on Friday he believes OPEC and Russia should extend oil cuts into 2020 if U.S. oil output keeps booming.

Fedun said Russia’s second biggest oil producer should support Saudi Arabia’s idea of extending oil cuts into 2019. "



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Saudi Arabia has options if U.S. walks from nuclear power deal -minister | ZAWYA MENA Edition

Saudi Arabia has options if U.S. walks from nuclear power deal -minister | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"Saudi Arabia has international partners it can work with if the United States walks away from a potential deal on nuclear power technology over concerns about nuclear proliferation, Khalid al-Falih, the kingdom's energy minister, said in an interview on Thursday. "If the U.S. is not with us, they will lose the opportunity to influence the program in a positive way," Falih said after he and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman met this week with President Donald Trump, Energy Secretary Rick Perry and other officials on a range of issues. Perry has been quietly working with Saudi Arabia on a civilian nuclear agreement that could allow the kingdom to enrich uranium and reprocess plutonium, technologies that nonproliferation advocates worry could one day be covertly altered to produce fissile material for nuclear weapons."



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Thursday, 22 March 2018

Abu Dhabi to combine two sovereign wealth funds into new $200bn vehicle

Abu Dhabi to combine two sovereign wealth funds into new $200bn vehicle:

"Abu Dhabi is consolidating two of its leading sovereign wealth funds into a $200bn vehicle, deepening financial consolidation in the oil-rich emirate. Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the crown prince and de factor ruler of the emirate, said Abu Dhabi Investment Council would join Mubadala Investment Company group, which last year merged with the International Petroleum Investment Company, or Ipic. “An investment vehicle of such scale will enhance the country’s competitive position,” he tweeted. Abu Dhabi’s original and largest sovereign fund, the $800bn-plus Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, remains a separate entity, leading efforts to invest excess oil revenues for future generations. Bankers say Adic was set up in 2007 with a mandate to deploy surplus revenues into the region as a complement to Adia’s global focus. The council also holds the government’s stakes in domestic banks. Adic, which ended up replicating the strategies of Adia and Mubadala, was closely associated with United Arab Emirates President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who is recovering from a stroke away from public life."



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Masraf Al Rayan launches Qatar ETF - The Peninsula Qatar

Masraf Al Rayan launches Qatar ETF - The Peninsula Qatar:

"Qatar’s first Shari’a-compliant exchange traded fund and arguably, the largest single-country Shari’a compliant ETF in the world was listed on Qatar Stock Exchange (QSE) yesterday. The Al Rayan Qatar ETF (stock exchange ticker: QATR) traded more than QR56m on its debut which accounted for 20 percent of total exchange volumes on the day. To mark the launch of the ETF, the bourse yesterday welcomed the fund’s founder, Masraf Al Rayan, and fund manager, Al Rayan Investment, to open trading. The Fund will track the QE Al Rayan Islamic Index (Price) which is comprised of large and medium sized, Shari’a-compliant, listed Qatari companies. “As an exchange we’re delighted that the world’s largest single-country Islamic ETF is available to trade exclusively in Doha. Al Rayan Investment has a strong reputation in asset management locally and the index itself makes for a Shari’a-compliant investment strategy and diversification for QSE investors,” said Rashid Ali Al-Mansoori, CEO of the Qatar Stock Exchange."



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Qatar Airways denies Air India bid plan

Qatar Airways denies Air India bid plan:

"Qatar Airways has denied reports in a section of the Indian media that it is making a joint bid with IndiGo for India's national carrier Air India, which the country's federal government plans to sell.
“We are aware of the reports in India, but we are not interested in the bid. We deny the report that we are making a bid on Air India along with IndiGo,” a Qatar Airways spokesperson told Gulf Times on Wednesday. 
In June 2017, India’s Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs gave an in-principle nod for the strategic divestment of the airline."



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Qatar forex reserves rise to $37.7bn in January: QNB

Qatar forex reserves rise to $37.7bn in January: QNB:

"In a clear indication of Qatar’s improving international investment position, the Qatar Central Bank’s foreign exchange reserves increased to $37.7bn in January, QNB has said in its “Qatar Monthly Monitor’.
In December, Qatar’s forex reserves stood at $37.6bn, the report said.
The report showed Qatar’s current account surplus widened to 5.3% of GDP in the third quarter (Q3) from 2.5% in the second quarter (Q2) while the deficit in the financial account narrowed."



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BP Squeezed Out of Abu Dhabi Offshore Oil as China, Italy Win - Bloomberg

BP Squeezed Out of Abu Dhabi Offshore Oil as China, Italy Win - Bloomberg:

"When oil-rich Abu Dhabi put a string of offshore fields up for auction, suitors from China to Italy vied for a slice of the pie. Surprisingly, that piece was snatched from one of the world’s largest energy conglomerates. BP Plc missed out on a chance to renew its partnership in oil concessions off the emirate’s shores, which expired this month. The loss of barrels -- estimated at 100,000 a day -- will offset growth from BP’s new projects, meaning its total oil output will stay flat this quarter. Competitors Total SA, Eni SpA and others will take a share of the three licenses in Abu Dhabi, an emirate that produces 6 percent of the world’s oil. Now out of the picture offshore, BP will need to focus on the country’s onshore fields it won in 2016, as well as gas assets in the region such as Zohr in Egypt and Khazzan in Oman. "



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