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Tuesday, 9 January 2018

BBC iPlayer - House of Saud: A Family at War - Series 1: Episode 1

BBC iPlayer - House of Saud: A Family at War - Series 1: Episode 1:

" #SaudiArabia stands at a crucial crossroads facing unprecedented change. The Kingdom has long enjoyed seemingly inexhaustible wealth and untold power and influence. But the House of Saud is accused of spreading extremist ideology and even supporting violent extremists. This series looks at the challenges facing the new Crown Prince, 32-year-old Mohammed bin Salman, who has pledged to transform the country. The first episode examines the new leader's dramatic commitment to end extremism and to return to moderate Islam. Travelling from eastern Europe to India, and across the bloody battlefields of Syria and Yemen, the programme traces the impact that huge amounts of Saudi cash and weapons have had around the world. In recent years, Saudi Arabia has worked closely on counter-terrorism with the west and revolutionary change is now promised inside the Kingdom. But growing regional conflict with Iran has now placed the country at the heart of the crisis in the Middle East. The programme asks whether this most powerful and secretive country can now be a force for stability or a force for chaos in the world."



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Dubai’s DAE Capital builds fleet of 383 aircraft - The National

Dubai’s DAE Capital builds fleet of 383 aircraft - The National:

"DAE Capital, the leasing arm of state-owned Dubai Aerospace Enterprise, said its total fleet rose to 383 owned, managed and committed aircraft at the end of 2017, boosted by the acquisition of Dublin-based lessor AWAS last August. The completion of the acquisition from AWAS’ previous owners, private equity firm Terra Firma Capital Partners and the Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board, gave DAE ownership of around 400 aircraft. The deal tripled the previous number on its books and catapulted DAE Capital among the world’s biggest aircraft lessors globally with an estimated fleet value of over US$14 billion."



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Stable outlook for GCC banks as asset quality set to stabilize | GulfNews.com

Stable outlook for GCC banks as asset quality set to stabilize | GulfNews.com:

"Banks across the GCC are expected to see stabilisation of the financial profiles and performance after two years of significant pressure, according to S&P Global Ratings. While analysts expect to see further easing of liquidity and funding with improvement in asset quality metrics in 2018, there is a likely spike in cost of risk across the board due to factors other than new loan impairments. “We think that GCC banks’ cost of risk will increase in 2018 because of the adoption of IFRS 9 [International Financial Reporting Standards] and the higher amount of restructured and [loans] past due, but not impaired loans sitting on their balance sheets. However, we also think that the general provisions that GCC banks have accumulated over the years will help a smooth transition to the new accounting standard,” said Mohammad Damak, a Credit Analyst at S&P Global Ratings."



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Kuwait-backed 007 carmaker Aston Martin targets London float | Arab News

Kuwait-backed 007 carmaker Aston Martin targets London float | Arab News:

"British luxury carmaker Aston Martin is mulling a London stock market flotation, Bloomberg reported Tuesday. Aston Martin, in which Kuwait’s Investment Dar and Adeem Investment Co. own a stake, is mulling an initial public offering (IPO) that could value the iconic sports car manufacturer at as much as £5 billion ($6.8 billion, 5.7 billion euros), according to a report which cited people familiar with the matter. Investor interest in the shares sale could be boosted by the group’s plans to launch its first sport utility vehicle (SUV), the report added."



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Saudi Arabia to allow foreigners to own up to 49% of listed stocks | Arab News

Saudi Arabia to allow foreigners to own up to 49% of listed stocks | Arab News:

"Foreign investors will be allowed to own up to 49 percent of shares on the Saudi stock market, according to a document published by the local regulator.
The Capital Market Authority (CMA) said that a single qualified foreign investor (QFI) would be allowed to hold as much as 10 percent of shares in a company or debt instrument.
In aggregate, foreign investors will be allowed to hold up to 49 percent of shares or debt, according to the CMA document."



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Qatar needs to develop regulatory framework to cement Islamic finance lead: QFC

Qatar needs to develop regulatory framework to cement Islamic finance lead: QFC:

"Qatar needs to reform interbank liquidity management to study leakages from Islamic banks through interbank finance as part of a strategic roadmap for Shariah finance, according to a Qatar Financial Center (QFC) study. Moreover, there is also a need to develop a regulatory framework and promote green bonds and sukuk to embolden Qatar’s regional leadership in sustainable investment, said Qatar Islamic Finance Report 2017, a joint initiative by the QFC, Thomson Reuters and Islamic Research and Training Institute. In the banking sector, Qatar has led the world in ensuring in the authenticity of Shariah-compliant bank assets with Qatar Central Bank and the QFC Regulatory Authority requirements separating Islamic and conventional banks entirely, it said."



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Oman opens new concession area bids for oil and gas exploration | ZAWYA MENA Edition

Oman opens new concession area bids for oil and gas exploration | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"Bids for the new concession areas for oil and gas exploration, which were floated last year, have been opened and the Ministry of Oil and Gas is continuously following up the relevant developments Eng. Salim bin Nasser Al Oufi, Undersecretary of the Ministry has affirmed. He was talking after patronising over PDO’s celebration of the Omani Environment Day. Eng. Al Oufi told reporters that as per the Ministry’s plan, the bids for these areas will be analysed during February 2018 and that initial negotiations will start in March 2018 according the normal course of action. He hoped that the agreements for some concession areas would be signed before the end of this year."



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Dubai property transactions hit $78bln in 2017 | ZAWYA MENA Edition

Dubai property transactions hit $78bln in 2017 | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"Dubai registered 69,000 real estate transactions exceeding Dh285 billion in 2017, according to the Dubai Land Department (DLD).

Sultan Butti bin Mejren, director-general of DLD, said: "The figures for total transactions including sales, mortgages and others confirm the current strength of the Dubai real estate market, in particular when compared against the past two years - 2015 and 2016."

Bin Mejren added: "The numbers confirm the strength of the Dubai real estate market and its ability to grow from year to year. Among the positive signs of the report is the lead UAE nationals have in investments, as well as the diversity of the investor base which reflects the attractiveness of the Dubai real estate market to global investors.""



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Saudi to ease requirements for foreign investors in bourse from Jan. 23

Saudi to ease requirements for foreign investors in bourse from Jan. 23:

"Saudi Arabia will ease requirements for foreign institutional investors in its stock market from Jan. 23, the securities regulator said on Tuesday, as the kingdom seeks more foreign capital to help diversify the economy beyond oil exports.

Among the reforms, the minimum value of assets under management needed for an institution to qualify as an investor will fall to $500 million from $1 billion.

The qualification process will be simplified and institutions will be able to qualify affiliates and their managed funds without submitting a separate application for each of them."



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OPEC's cheer over 2018 oil rally tinged by shale worries

OPEC's cheer over 2018 oil rally tinged by shale worries:

"Oil’s price rally this year to its highest since May 2015 may seem a source of glee for OPEC, but some in the producer group fear the gains could prompt shale companies to crank open their spigots and flood the market. 

Benchmark Brent crude rose further above $68 a barrel on Tuesday, supported by oil output cuts led by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies including Russia that are due to run until the end of 2018.

The surge comes as a welcome boost for the revenues of oil-producing nations, many still reeling from a price collapse that started in mid-2014 when crude began to fall steeply from above $100 per barrel due to oversupply. "



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Saudi Arabia Considers Adding to $10 Billion Loan - Bloomberg

Saudi Arabia Considers Adding to $10 Billion Loan - Bloomberg:

"Saudi Arabia is considering increasing the size of a $10 billion loan after banks on the 2016 deal offered to lend more, people familiar with the matter said.

Lenders are in talks with the government to increase the amount it borrowed, said the people, asking not to be identified because the discussions are private. Another option being discussed is to arrange new bilateral or club facilities with the banks, they said.

The kingdom could add as much as $5 billion to the loan, one of the people said. Final decisions haven’t been made and discussions may not result in a new deal, the people said. Saudi Arabia’s ministry of finance didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment."



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OPEC Doesn't Want Brent Over $60 a Barrel, Says Iran’s Oil Minister - Bloomberg

OPEC Doesn't Want Brent Over $60 a Barrel, Says Iran’s Oil Minister - Bloomberg:

"A key OPEC minister has warned that the group risks overheating the oil market as crude prices head toward $70 a barrel.

“Members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries are not keen on increased Brent crude prices above $60 a barrel because of shale oil," Iran Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said, according to the ministry’s news service Shana. Prices have climbed in recent days because of production cuts and increased demand for petroleum products due to cold weather, he said.

While the view isn’t universally held among OPEC ministers, the comments show concerns among some countries that keeping production curbs in place as a strengthening global economy drives demand could spur more output from shale producers in the U.S. Higher prices also encourage producers to hedge future output, adding to supplies."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf moves little, Egypt rises on presidential election date

MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf moves little, Egypt rises on presidential election date:

"Gulf stock markets were mostly sluggish on Tuesday as Qatar slowed after surging for two days, but Egypt’s bourse rose after authorities announced a date for presidential elections.

The Qatari stock index closed 0.3 percent higher, well off early lows, as trading volume shrank by nearly a third. The index had gained 2.6 percent on Monday as investors positioned for annual dividend announcements in a few weeks.

Some of the best performers of the past two days pulled back, with Doha Bank losing 1.5 percent."



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Global sukuk issuance looks ‘uncertain’ for 2018, says S&P Global | Arab News

Global sukuk issuance looks ‘uncertain’ for 2018, says S&P Global | Arab News:

"While 2017 was a bumper year for global sukuk issuance, the outlook for Islamic bonds remains "uncertain" for the coming year, according to ratings agency S&P Global. Global sukuk issuance in 2017 reached $97.9 billion, an increase of 45.3 percent, from the $67.4 billion recorded in 2016. The increase was underpinned by large issuances by GCC countries, particularly the $9 billion sukuk issued by Saudi Arabia in April. This remains the largest issuance globally to date.
 "Driving this performance were good liquidity conditions in the GCC and, more generally, globally, as well as activity by some countries with the goal of further developing their Islamic finance industries," said Dr Mohamed Damak, head of Islamic finance, at the ratings agency. "



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UAE economic growth expected to rise to 3.9 pct in 2018 -official

UAE economic growth expected to rise to 3.9 pct in 2018 -official:

"Growth of the United Arab Emirates’ gross domestic product is expected to accelerate to 3.9 percent in 2018, a senior official of the Ministry of Economy said on Tuesday, citing a forecast by the central bank.

Abdullah al-Saleh, the ministry’s undersecretary for foreign trade, was speaking at a business conference. Last month, the central bank estimated GDP growth in 2017 at only 1.6 percent, partly because of cuts in oil output under a global deal among producers.

This year, oil output is not expected to be cut further. Saleh also cited government investment in infrastructure projects and growth in foreign trade, which benefits Dubai in particular."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf mostly soft in early trade, Qatar pulls back | ZAWYA MENA Edition

MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf mostly soft in early trade, Qatar pulls back | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"Gulf stock markets were mostly soft in early trade on Tuesday as Qatar pulled back after surging for two days during which investors positioned for annual dividend announcements in the next few weeks. The Qatari stock index  which had gained 2.6 percent on Monday, retreated 1.2 percent. Some of the best performers of the past two days lost the most; Islamic bank Masraf Al Rayan was down 2.2 percent. Aamal Co, which climbed as much as 5.8 percent in the opening minutes, was up only 0.9 percent after an hour of trade. It announced plans for an affiliate, which it owns 50-50 with Egypt's El Sewedy Electric Co, to build three factories to produce copper wires, aluminium bars and drums for cables - the country's first such factories "



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