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Wednesday, 7 February 2018

Money exchange with links to Dubai govt ‘a hub for laundering empire’

Money exchange with links to Dubai govt ‘a hub for laundering empire’:

"A multinational currency exchange bankrolled by the United Arab Emirates has emerged as a key conduit for a global money laundering operation which has siphoned hundreds of millions of dollars out of Australia. Wall Street Exchange, one of the largest money remitters in the Middle East and which has its main office in Dubai, has been identified by the Australian Federal Police as a major hub for the movement of drug profits and terrorism finance. Australian Federal Police (AFP) Assistant Commissioner David Stewart has told Four Corners the money laundering operation run by Altaf Khanani — who is now in jail in Florida — ran its international transfers through multiple currency exchanges."



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Qatar’s real estate sector shows rise in transactional volume in Oct, Nov: DTZ Qatar

Qatar’s real estate sector shows rise in transactional volume in Oct, Nov: DTZ Qatar:

"Qatar’s real estate sector has shown an increase in transactional volume of 8% and 12% in October and November respectively, DTZ has said in its latest Qatar’s Real Estate market review. Whilst there continues to be a softening in the residential and commercial rental market, this has been driven by supply pipeline and not as a result of the ongoing blockade.  “In fact the Qatar market has shown considerable resilience when compared regionally with, for example, Abu Dhabi that saw residential rents fall by 13%, and Bahrain by 16.2% during 2017,” DTZ Qatar said."



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QSE chief hails strong results by firms despite blockade against nation

QSE chief hails strong results by firms despite blockade against nation:

"Doha’s inherent economic strengths and the listed companies’ flexibility to adapt to situations have helped many of the constituents to largely encounter the blockade and report strong results, according to a top official of the Qatar Stock Exchange (QSE).
“Despite the challenging trading environment in Qatar, a consequence of a perceived uncertainty on future earnings for our listed companies, many stocks continue to report strong results, demonstrating the resilience of Qatar’s economy and the quick strategic choices made by individual companies,” QSE chief executive Rashid bin Ali al-Mansoori said here at the third annual Investor Relations (IR) award on Tuesday night.
His remarks assume significance considering that Qatar is right now in the ninth month of economic blockade, instigated by some of its Gulf neighbours."



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Crude Tumbles as Record U.S. Output Stokes Oversupply Anxieties - Bloomberg

Crude Tumbles as Record U.S. Output Stokes Oversupply Anxieties - Bloomberg:

"Oil posted the biggest loss in two months as record crude production from U.S. fields reignited worries that supplies will swamp demand. Futures slid 2.5 percent in New York. Crude output from American wells jumped to 10.25 million barrels a day last week, vaulting the U.S. into the elite of world producers alongside Saudi Arabia and Russia. With production set to climb even higher later this year, the Saudi- and Russia-led alliance of other major suppliers will come under renewed pressure to reconsider self-imposed output caps aimed at eroding a glut."



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Bitcoin trading prohibited in Qatar: Central Bank - The Peninsula Qatar

Bitcoin trading prohibited in Qatar: Central Bank - The Peninsula Qatar:

"In a statement sent to all banks operating in the country, Qatar Central Bank said that trading in Bitcoin is not allowed in Qatar and penalties will be levied if the circular is violated. Active trading in Bitcoin have been noticed in some countries, but it is an illegal currency because there is no commitment from any central bank or a government in the world to exchange their value for money issued and cleared for payment for the goods traded globally or for gold, the statement said. “This cryptocurrency is highly volatile and can be used for financial crimes and electronic hacking as well as risk loss of value because there are no guarantors or assets,” it added."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Most major bourses rebound but Saudi pulled down by petchems, cement

MIDEAST STOCKS-Most major bourses rebound but Saudi pulled down by petchems, cement:

"Most major Middle Eastern stock markets rebounded on Wednesday after global bourses stabilised following their tumble in recent days, but the biggest regional market, Saudi Arabia, was hit by profit-taking in petrochemical and cement shares. The Saudi index rose almost 1 percent in early trade but then edged down for the rest of the day, closing 0.7 percent lower. Thirteen of 14 petrochemical shares dropped along with 11 of 14 cement shares. Al Yamamah Steel Industries sank 6.2 percent after saying quarterly net profit tumbled to 6.7 million riyals ($1.8 million) from ‍29 million riyals a year ago because of a slowdown in projects and stiff competition. SICO Bahrain had forecast a profit of 22.3 million riyals."



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From oil to solar: Saudi Arabia plots a shift to renewables | GulfNews.com

From oil to solar: Saudi Arabia plots a shift to renewables | GulfNews.com:

"Life in Saudi Arabia has long been defined by the oil that flows from the kingdom. Over decades, the vast wealth it pumped out paid not just for gleaming towers and shopping malls but also for a government sector that employs a majority of working Saudis. Now, Saudi Arabia is trying to tie its future to another natural resource it has in abundance: sunlight. The world’s largest oil exporter is embarking, under Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman, on an ambitious effort to diversify its economy and reinvigorate growth, in part by ploughing money into renewable energy. The Saudi government wants not just to reshape its energy mix at home but also to emerge as a global force in clean power."



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Qatar National Bank secures $3.5bln syndicated loan | ZAWYA MENA Edition

Qatar National Bank secures $3.5bln syndicated loan | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"Qatar National Bank said on Wednesday it had secured a $3.5 billion three-year syndicated loan for general corporate purposes.

The syndication comprised 21 international banks. It was fully underwritten by nine underwriters: Bank of America Merrill Lynch, the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Barclays Bank, Deutsche Bank, Intesa Sanpaolo, Mizuho Bank, Standard Chartered Bank, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, and United Overseas Bank. "



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Sovereign fund redemptions from global markets fall 35% yoy in 2017 | ZAWYA MENA Edition

Sovereign fund redemptions from global markets fall 35% yoy in 2017 | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"Sovereign wealth funds' (SWFs) redemptions from global stock and bond markets fell by about a third year-on-year to $38.1 billion in 2017, preliminary data from research firm eVestment showed on Wednesday. Fourth quarter outflows slowed to $2.5 billion, the lowest level since SWF redemptions from third-party asset managers began in the third quarter of 2014, suggesting the high watermark of selling has passed. The figures from eVestment, which collates data from about 4,400 firms managing money on behalf of institutional investors, are preliminary as fund managers holding about a fifth of the prior quarter's assets have still not reported, but the directional trend is not expected to change, the firm said. "



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Moscow and Riyadh gloss over differences to forge energy pact

Moscow and Riyadh gloss over differences to forge energy pact:

"It was below 30 degrees Celsius in the Arctic Circle but the delegations from Saudi Arabia and Russia tossed aside their gloves for a friendly handshake, smiling despite the cold under their fur hats and padded jackets.

Khalid al-Falih, Saudi energy minister, had come to the port in Sabetta in Russia’s far north to open a $27bn liquefied natural gas plant, in the company of his counterpart Alexander Novak and President Vladimir Putin.

“Buy our gas and you’ll save oil,” the Russian leader told Mr Falih. “That’s why I‘m here,” Mr Falih replied, patting Mr Putin on the shoulder. “I have a great relationship with Alexander, we’ve become partners,” the Saudi minister added."



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Oil World Turned Upside Down as America Sells Oil in Middle East - Bloomberg

Oil World Turned Upside Down as America Sells Oil in Middle East - Bloomberg:

"The United Arab Emirates, a model Persian Gulf petro-state where endless billions from crude exports feed a giant sovereign wealth fund, isn’t the most obvious customer for Texan oil. Yet, in a trade that illustrates how the rise of the American shale industry is upending energy markets across the globe, the U.A.E. bought oil directly from the U.S. in December, according to data from the federal government. A tanker sailed from Houston and arrived in the Persian Gulf last month. The cargo of American condensate, a type of very light crude oil, was preferred to regional grades because its superior quality made more suitable for the U.A.E’s processing plants, a person with knowledge of the matter said, asking not to be identified discussing a commercially sensitive matter."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf rebounds after global markets stabilise | ZAWYA MENA Edition

MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf rebounds after global markets stabilise | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"Gulf stock markets rebounded modestly in early trade on Wednesday after global bourses stabilised following their tumble in recent days. The Saudi index  was 0.9 percent higher after 45 minutes in a broad rally, with gaining stocks outnumbering losers by 164 to 11. PetroRabigh, which surged in the past two days on very strong fourth-quarter earnings, added a further 3.8 percent. Food retailer Abdullah Al-Othaim Markets, which rose on Tuesday after saying quarterly profit grew 75 percent, climbed a further 3.9 percent. "



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Saudi anti-corruption purge winds down, but questions emerge

Saudi anti-corruption purge winds down, but questions emerge:

"Billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal headed outdoors to Saudi Arabia’s terracotta-colored sand dunes over the weekend, after being interrogated, investigated and detained for nearly three months in the kingdom’s extraordinary anti-corruption campaign. The wealthy Saudi investor and royal shared photos of himself riding horses with his grandchildren and relaxing on Persian-style rugs, two hawks perched obediently before him on wooden stilts. More than a dozen men, some there to greet him and others there to serve him, are seen seated or standing around the prince as he looks out onto the desert. The photos on Twitter project the image of a man who still reigns supreme over his own fiefdom, a man who can still hold a “majlis” — a reception in which people line up to request favors and assistance."



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Saudi Aramco and Petronas Are Close to Raising $8 Billion Loan - Bloomberg

Saudi Aramco and Petronas Are Close to Raising $8 Billion Loan - Bloomberg:

"Saudi Arabian Oil Co. and Malaysia’s state-owned oil firm are close to raising an $8 billion loan to partly finance the construction of a planned refinery and a petrochemical complex in the Southeast Asian nation, people familiar with the matter said. The Middle Eastern oil giant, known as Aramco, and Petroliam Nasional Bhd. could sign the loan agreement as early as next month, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private. BNP Paribas SA, HSBC Holdings Plc and Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ Ltd. are among lenders that have agreed to provide financing, the people said. The complex is part of a $27 billion project known as Refinery and Petrochemicals Integrated Development, or RAPID, in Malaysia’s southern state of Johor that’s due to come on stream in 2019. Aramco agreed to invest $7 billion for half of the oil refinery and petrochemical plant last February as it seeks to defend its status as the world’s biggest exporter and fend off rivals in Asia, the biggest market for its crude."



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