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Monday, 15 January 2018

A power shift in the Middle East

A power shift in the Middle East:

"With a major new gasfield on stream, Egypt’s energy market is changing. Self-sufficiency should be restored within the next 18 months. The country can once again become an exporter and build on its existing role as one of the most important trading hubs in the region, ideally placed to link western and eastern markets. Geography is destiny. A state’s physical location determines its potential and opportunities. If Kurdistan, for instance, were not landlocked it would be a fully independent nation. Eygpt’s opportunity is that it finds itself at the crossroads of the emerging international trade in natural gas. In December, production of natural gas began from the giant Zohr field 150 miles off the Egyptian coast in the eastern Mediterranean. First, supplies from the field — which, with reserves estimated at 30tn cubic feet, is one of the largest discoveries of the last two decades — reached Port Said; production is set to rise to 2.7 bcf/day by 2019. Its development in little more than two years represents a great success for the operating company, Italy' s Eni. A number of smaller developments, including BP' s West Nile Delta field, are adding to supplies. "



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QFC records 66% jump in new firms licensed in 2017

QFC records 66% jump in new firms licensed in 2017:

"The Qatar Financial Centre (QFC), one of the world’s leading and fastest growing business and financial centres, has recorded 66% growth year-on-year in new firms licensed during 2017.

This follows a 41% jump in new firms registrations in the first half (H1) of 2017 compared to H1 in the previous year.

The total number of firms on the QFC platform has reached 461 (as on December 31, 2017) against 348 at end of December 2016, showing a 32.5% increase year-on-year.

"



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Saudi's Kingdom Holding sells Beirut Four Seasons hotel stake: sources

Saudi's Kingdom Holding sells Beirut Four Seasons hotel stake: sources:

"Saudi Arabian investment firm Kingdom Holding has sold its stake in the Four Seasons Hotel in Beirut for around $100-115 million including debt, sources told Reuters on Monday."



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EU to remove Panama, Korea, UAE, 5 others from tax haven blacklist

EU to remove Panama, Korea, UAE, 5 others from tax haven blacklist:

"European Union officials have proposed removing eight jurisdictions from the blacklist of tax havens the bloc adopted in December, in what critics may see as a blow to its campaign against tax avoidance.

EU states decided last month to draw up the list in a bid to discourage the most aggressive tax dodging practices.

But eight of the 17 jurisdictions currently listed are set to be quickly removed from the list after they offered to change their tax rules, according to EU documents seen by Reuters."



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Banks Increasingly Think OPEC Will End Supply Cuts as Oil Hits $70 - Bloomberg

Banks Increasingly Think OPEC Will End Supply Cuts as Oil Hits $70 - Bloomberg:

"As oil rallies to a three-year high near $70 a barrel, the view that OPEC and its partners will end their supply cuts early is spreading. Citigroup Inc., Societe Generale SA, and JMorgan Chase & Co. predict the coalition of oil producers may begin winding down their intervention from the middle of the year, before its scheduled conclusion in December. The producers are nearing their goal of clearing an inventory glut, and rising prices risk encouraging rival supply. Crude has climbed as output curbs by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and Russia successfully whittle away a surplus that had weighed on global markets for more than three years. The agreement will be reviewed at their next formal meeting in June."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi up on purge progress, Qatar down after fighter jet report

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi up on purge progress, Qatar down after fighter jet report:

"Saudi Arabian stocks continued rising on Monday on signs that Riyadh’s crackdown on corruption is nearing completion, while Qatar’s bourse fell steeply after the United Arab Emirates said Qatari fighter jets intercepted an Emirati civilian aircraft.

The Saudi index rose 0.6 percent, outperforming the rest of the region, after surging 1.4 percent on the previous day.

The luxury Riyadh hotel used as a prison during the corruption purge will reopen for business on Feb. 14, according to a company employee and its website, suggesting authorities are close to settling the cases of many of the dozens of detained princes, officials and businessmen."



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GCC governments’ credit strength likely to weaken in 2018 | GulfNews.com

GCC governments’ credit strength likely to weaken in 2018 | GulfNews.com:

"The credit strength of a number of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries is expected to weaken further this year driven by weak growth outlook and geopolitical tensions, according to leading credit rating agencies, Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s Investors Service.
The 2018 outlook for sovereign ratings in the GCC is negative, reflecting GCC members’ muted economic growth, structural challenges and geopolitical tensions in the region, according to Moody’s.

“Although oil prices have risen significantly from their lows in early 2016, most sovereigns in the region will continue to run sizeable fiscal deficits and record an increase in their debt burdens over the next 12 to 18 months. In addition, long-standing geopolitical event risks have come to the fore again and will play an important role in defining sovereign credit quality in 2018,” said Steffen Dyck, Senior Credit Officer at Moody’s."



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S&P affirms stable outlook for Abu Dhabi | ZAWYA MENA Edition

S&P affirms stable outlook for Abu Dhabi | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"S&P Global Ratings has affirmed its 'AA' long-term and 'A-1+' short term foreign and local currency sovereign credit ratings on the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, a member of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The outlook is stable. “At the same time, we affirmed our 'AA' long-term foreign currency issue rating on the sovereign-guaranteed bond of senior unsecured debt issued by Waha Aerospace BV,” said the ratings agency."



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BRIEF-Moody's expects diplomatic, economic boycott of Qatar by Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain to extend well into 2018 and possibly beyond

BRIEF-Moody's expects diplomatic, economic boycott of Qatar by Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain to extend well into 2018 and possibly beyond: "Moody‘s:

* MOODY‘S SAYS NEGATIVE GCC SOVEREIGN OUTLOOK IN 2018 REFLECTS MUTED GROWTH, STRUCTURAL CHALLENGES AND GEOPOLITICAL TENSIONS‍​

* MOODY‘S SAYS FORECASTS A SLIGHT PICK-UP IN GDP GROWTH OF CLOSE TO 2% IN 2018 FOR THE GCC AS A WHOLE

* MOODY‘S SAYS IF OIL PRICES STABILISE AT CURRENT LEVELS, PACE OF PROACTIVE FISCAL CONSOLIDATION COULD BE SLOWED AS GOVERNMENT REVENUES WILL BE BOLSTERED FOR GCC

* MOODY‘S SAYS RISING OIL PRICES AND FISCAL CONSOLIDATION MEASURES HAVE HELPED TO NARROW GCC FISCAL DEFICITS FROM THEIR PEAKS IN 2015 AND 2016

* MOODY‘S SAYS GCC GOVERNMENT DEBT BURDENS WILL CONTINUE TO RISE, BUT AT VARYING SPEEDS

* MOODY'S SAYS EXPECTS DIPLOMATIC AND ECONOMIC BOYCOTT OF QATAR BY SAUDI ARABIA, THE UAE AND BAHRAIN TO EXTEND WELL INTO 2018 AND POSSIBLY BEYOND Source: bit.ly/2EHZTlD"



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Escalating Feud Upsets Qatar Stocks' Race to Bull Market: Chart - Bloomberg

Escalating Feud Upsets Qatar Stocks' Race to Bull Market: Chart - Bloomberg:

"Qatari stocks, on the verge of a bull market, suffered a blow as concern grew that a feud with its Gulf neighbors is escalating. The benchmark QE Index on Monday was fewer than 5 points away from completing a 20 percent gain since a November low, before slumping as the U.A.E. said the country’s fighter jets intercepted one of its commercial planes. Qatar denied the claim. The gauge was last year’s worst performer among 96 benchmarks tracked by Bloomberg in local currency terms, after a group of countries led by Saudi Arabia cut diplomatic and transport ties with Qatar."



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Saudi CMA adopts updated instructions on IPOs | ZAWYA MENA Edition

Saudi CMA adopts updated instructions on IPOs | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"The Capital Markets Authority (CMA) board issued its resolution to adopt the updated instructions on Book Building and Allocation of Shares in IPOs. This updated instructions shall be effective from the date of publication, it said in a press release.

The instructions amendment comes in continuance to the Authority's efforts to regulate the processes of book building and allocation of shares in IPOs, by taking advantage of the past experience of adopting the instructions on 15/10/1437H corresponding with 20/07/2017G, and in line with the best international practices in this field.

The CMA stated that pursuance to its devotion to contact and consult with public investors and government and private entities regarding regulations projects before issuing them, the CMA published the instructions previously to obtain the public's view and opinions. Subsequently, the CMA received many comments and suggestions from different entities and individuals, which all were taken into consideration."



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