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Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Iran holds 100 traders and freezes accounts in dollar crackdown

Iran holds 100 traders and freezes accounts in dollar crackdown:

"Iranian authorities have detained almost 100 currency traders and frozen bank accounts reportedly worth 200tn rials ($5.3bn) in the biggest crackdown on foreign exchanges in six years.

The operation is aimed at tackling a slide in the value of the rial, which is down more than 10 per cent this year, caused by a dollar shortage that has spooked businesses reliant on hard currencies.

Iran is facing renewed threats from Washington to reimpose sanctions lifted in 2015 and rumours of a co-ordinated move by the US and some Gulf states to up pressure on the Islamic Republic by further restricting its access to hard currencies. Iranians often obtain dollars via the United Arab Emirates."



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Producers would rather tighten oil markets than exit cuts deal too early - Saudi oil minister

Producers would rather tighten oil markets than exit cuts deal too early - Saudi oil minister:

"Saudi Arabia’s energy minister said that global producers, which have joined efforts to curb output over the last year, would rather persist with production cuts and bring about a slight supply shortage than unwind the deal before the market was ready.

Khalid al-Falih said on Wednesday that Opec and allies outside of the cartel including Russia would stick with the cuts policy throughout 2018 and “if we err on the side of overbalancing then so be it”. He was speaking to reporters after a meeting of oil ministers and experts in Riyadh.

Mr Falih said it was “premature” to discuss an exit from the production deal that got underway in January 2017 and which has been extended until the end of 2018."



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Adnoc Distribution reports higher profit for 2017 - The National

Adnoc Distribution reports higher profit for 2017 - The National:

"Adnoc Distribution, the UAE's biggest fuel distributor and convenience store operator, said its 2017 preliminary profit rose 1.3 per cent, boosted by higher oil prices and an increase in volumes.

The results were the company’s first financial results since it sold shares to the public in December and announced an expansion into Saudi Arabia and Dubai.

Net profit rose to Dh1.8 billion in 2017, or Dh0.144 per share, compared with Dh1.78bn, or Dh0.142 per share in 2016, the company said in statement on its website. Revenue rose 11.8 per cent to Dh19.76bn in 2017 versus Dh17.67bn in 2016, it said. Total assets rose to Dh12.2 b in 2017 from Dh11.44bn in 2016."



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UAE, India sign historic deal to trade directly in dirhams and rupee | GulfNews.com

UAE, India sign historic deal to trade directly in dirhams and rupee | GulfNews.com:

"The UAE and India have reached a historic agreement which will enable businesses on both sides to bypass the US dollar or any other foreign currency and trade directly in UAE dirhams and the Indian rupee.
The agreement will mean large savings for business communities on both sides as trade between the UAE and India soars to new highs.

India’s Ambassador to the UAE, Navdeep Suri, said that this is in addition to the agreements and memoranda of understanding which were signed during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s just-concluded two-day visit to Abu Dhabi and Dubai."



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There is money to be made out of distressed projects | GulfNews.com

There is money to be made out of distressed projects | GulfNews.com:

"There is still money to be made from distressed projects in Dubai’s property market. And quite significant amounts.
Aqua Properties is going full steam ahead on a high-rise project — called the Limelight — at Dubai Sports City scheduled for completion by December. “It was a project that had gotten nowhere because the original developer had left the country and the apartment owners were left stranded,” said Ali Tumbi, CEO at Aqua. “When we came on board, we took up the whole business of reviving it and pumped in Dh60 million initially. Now, the project — which will cost about Dh500 million — is at the 70 per cent mark.”

But the real good news for Aqua will come closer to the completion date. Of the 730 apartments, 690 units were sold by the original developer before he skipped town. Since taking over, Aqua initiated contact with these buyers first."



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Damac profits take a tumble in 2017 as cost of sales rises | Arab News

Damac profits take a tumble in 2017 as cost of sales rises | Arab News:

"Dubai developer Damac Properties recorded a 25 percent drop in profit last year amid a regional real estate slump.
The real-estate company behind the Trump International Golf Club in Dubai suffered from the rising cost of sales and a decline in margin for international projects following a tricky period for the sector.
In a statement published on the Dubai Financial Market website, the company said full-year net profit fell from 3.69 billion dirhams ($1 billion) in 2016 to 2.76 billion dirhams last year. However revenues rose by 4 percent during the same period, from7.16 billion dirhams to 7.45 billion dirhams."



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Over half of GCC family busineses confident about prospects for ’18: KPMG - The Peninsula Qatar

Over half of GCC family busineses confident about prospects for ’18: KPMG - The Peninsula Qatar:

"The GCC’s family businesses have shown confidence in their prospects for 2018, as they begin to adapt to the “new norm” of lower oil prices and the impact of geopolitical developments, according to KPMG’s recently published “GCC Family Business Survey 2017”.
The report analyses the thoughts of over 40 senior members of family businesses from the six GCC countries, on trends and issues affecting the sector.
On the report, Yacoub Hobeika (pictured), Head of Family Business for KPMG in Qatar commented: “In the GCC, perhaps more than anywhere else world-wide, family businesses form the backbone of the economy. Fifty-seven percent of those surveyed suggesting that they are confident about their business’ prospects in the coming 12 months and we can take this sentiment as a positive indicator for the region’s economic conditions.”"



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Al Rayan Bank UK’s £250mn sukuk priced at 80 bps over 3-month Libor

Al Rayan Bank UK’s £250mn sukuk priced at 80 bps over 3-month Libor:

"Al Rayan Bank UK has priced its £250mn Islamic bond ‘Tolkien Funding Sukuk No 1’ at 80 basis points over three-month Libor (London Inter-bank Offered Rate) as part of efforts to make the debt “attractive” for investments.
The UK lender launched the first-ever £250mn sukuk through residential mortgage backed securities (RMBS, the Islamic Shariah compatible alternative), thus becoming the first bank to issue sukuk outside an Islamic country.
“The demand from investors has been significant, with European RMBS investors and conventional and Islamic banks and pension funds all represented in the final allocation,” said the UK lender, which is 68.84% owned by Masraf Al Rayan."



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Russia, Saudis May Go Beyond Their Oil Alliance With LNG Deal - Bloomberg

Russia, Saudis May Go Beyond Their Oil Alliance With LNG Deal - Bloomberg:

"Russia and Saudi Arabia are seeking ways to amplify the success they’ve had working together to manage the oil market by reaching new energy agreements, including one on liquefied natural gas. The two energy giants, which orchestrated an oil-cuts agreement that helped crude prices recover to a three-year high, may announce an LNG pact later on Wednesday, Saudi Arabian Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih told reporters in Riyadh before a planned meeting with his Russian counterpart. It would be “a big announcement” from Saudi Aramco on a partnership in the super-chilled fuel, Kirill Dmitriev, chief executive officer of the state-run Russian Direct Investment Fund, said in the Saudi capital. Neither gave further details. Russian President Vladimir Putin made a priority of expanding the nation’s LNG industry last year, and the country is seeking new partners in projects to overtake the fuel’s biggest producers, including Qatar and Australia. Saudi Arabia is looking from Russia to East Africa and the U.S. for natural gas assets as state-owned Aramco, known formally as Saudi Arabian Oil Co., hunts for ways to meet soaring domestic demand."



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UAE telco Etisalat Q4 profit falls 12% | ZAWYA MENA Edition

UAE telco Etisalat Q4 profit falls 12% | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"UAE telecoms company Etisalat ETEL.AD on Wednesday reported a 12 percent fall in fourth-quarter profit, according to Reuters calculations.

Etisalat, which directly and indirectly operates in countries across the Middle East, Africa and Asia, made a net profit of 1.97 billion dirhams ($536.4 million), in the three months to Dec. 30, Reuters calculated from annual financial statements in the absence of a quarterly breakdown.

This compares with a net profit of 2.24 billion dirhams in the same period a year ago."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Qatar, Kuwait outperform in mixed region

MIDEAST STOCKS-Qatar, Kuwait outperform in mixed region:

"Qatar’s stock market rose on Wednesday as local institutional investors chased shares left behind in the bourse’s latest rally, while rises in second-tier speculative stocks boosted Kuwait. The Qatari index climbed 0.8 percent as real estate firm Ezdan Holding, which had been trading near two-month lows, surged 3.9 percent. Gulf Warehousing added 1.4 percent. Industries Qatar rose in early trade but closed flat after reporting annual net profit of 3.32 billion riyals ($912 million), up from 2.96 billion riyals in 2016, and lifting its proposed annual cash dividend back to 5 riyals per share from 4 riyals. "



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Egypt raises $4bn in debt sale including 30-year bond

Egypt raises $4bn in debt sale including 30-year bond:

"Egypt has raised $4bn in new debt, in the latest sign that investors’ appetite for relatively risky sovereign paper has been undimmed by the recent market turmoil. The bonds were issued at three maturities, with a five-year tranche and a 10-year tranche raising $1.25bn each, while a 30-year tranche raised $1.5bn. The yields on the bonds were 5.577 per cent, 6.588 per cent and 7.903 per cent, respectively. The 30-year debt sale follows on from last January’s multi-tranche offering, in which Egypt raised $4bn in five-, 10- and 30-year maturities priced at yields of 6.125 per cent, 7.5 per cent and 8.5 per cent. That came shortly after receiving an IMF bail-out in late 2016."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Qatar climbs, other major Gulf bourses move little early on | ZAWYA MENA Edition

MIDEAST STOCKS-Qatar climbs, other major Gulf bourses move little early on | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"Qatar's stock market rose in early trade on Wednesday as local institutional investors chased shares left behind in the bourse's latest rally, but other major markets in the Gulf moved little. The Qatari index climbed 1.1 percent as Gulf Warehousing, which had been trading near two-month lows, rose 1.7 percent and Qatar Insurance added 2.7 percent. Industries Qatar gained 0.7 percent after reporting annual net profit of 3.32 billion riyals ($912 million), up from 2.96 billion riyals in 2016, and lifting its proposed annual cash dividend back to 5 riyals per share from 4 riyals. Reuters calculations indicated fourth-quarter profit jumped to 960 million from 230 million riyals."



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Dubai court can hear case against Deloitte unit after collapse of Hezbollah-linked bank | Arab News

Dubai court can hear case against Deloitte unit after collapse of Hezbollah-linked bank | Arab News:

"A Dubai court could hear evidence relating to the alleged role of auditor Deloitte & Touche (M.E.) in the collapse of Lebanese Canadian Bank – which went bust after being linked to an international drug smuggling and money laundering racket with ties to Hezbollah. It follows a ruling in a legal row between a group of investors in the collapsed Lebanese Canadian Bank and the regional Deloitte partnership of the auditor, over whether or not the Dubai International Financial Center (DIFC) Courts had jurisdiction to hear the case. The shareholder group is led by Nest Investments Holding SAL, which was founded by Gulf entrepreneur, Ghazi Abu Nahl. They claim they lost some $128 million from the collapse of the bank. "



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Blockade impact on credit quality of Qatar insurers seen limited

Blockade impact on credit quality of Qatar insurers seen limited:

"The economic blockade, now into the ninth month, is expected to have only a limited impact on the credit quality of insurers in Qatar, which is slated to see uniform policy guidelines for the sector, according to A M Best, a global insurance rating agency. Finding that the Middle East and North Africa region is accustomed to political and economic turbulence, with periodic conflicts, the report, however, said the GCC (Gulf Co-operation Council) itself has historically remained relatively calm. Nevertheless, geopolitical tensions were elevated to new levels in 2017 when Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain severed diplomatic relations with Qatar and imposed trade and travel sanctions, A M Best said, adding to date, these actions have not had a material impact on the insurance operations of carriers in the region, although investment markets have seen volatility."



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Russia May Invest in Saudi Aramco IPO Via Fund With China - Bloomberg

Russia May Invest in Saudi Aramco IPO Via Fund With China - Bloomberg:

"Russian banks and a joint Russia-China investment fund are eager to participate in Saudi Aramco’s initial public offering, according to the head of a sovereign Russian investment fund. Several banks and other groups in Russia are interested in investing in shares of Aramco, the world’s biggest oil exporter, Kirill Dmitriev, chief executive officer of the Russian Direct Investment Fund, said Wednesday in Riyadh. Saudi Arabia plans this year to sell a stake of about 5 percent of the company in what could be a record IPO. “Not only this, but we have a Russia-China investment fund, and through that Russia-China investment fund we see a major interest in the Aramco IPO from a number of leading Chinese institutions,” Dmitriev told reporters. “We see significant interest to invest in the Aramco IPO from Russia, from China, and we believe that this is very good for, once again, thinking jointly about oil.”"



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Oil Recovery Struggles Near $60 on Fears Over U.S. Supply Gains - Bloomberg

Oil Recovery Struggles Near $60 on Fears Over U.S. Supply Gains - Bloomberg:

"Oil is being held back after its worst week in two years as fears over rising U.S. crude supplies curb investor optimism.

Futures are trading below $60 a barrel in New York, little changed after a near 10 percent decline last week, as forecasts for rising American crude inventories compound concern U.S. shale’s resurgence is hampering OPEC’s efforts to shrink global supplies. More cause for worry came after industry data on Tuesday showed stockpiles of crude and gasoline had continued to expand.

"



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Dubai-listed Arabtec swings to Q4 net profit | ZAWYA MENA Edition

Dubai-listed Arabtec swings to Q4 net profit | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"Dubai contractor Arabtec swung to a net profit in the fourth quarter, its fourth consecutive quarter of profitability.

Arabtec made a net profit attributable to owners of the parent of 47.8 million dirhams ($13.02 million) in the three months to Dec. 31, Reuters calculated based on yearly financial statements in lieu of a quarterly breakdown.

This compares with a net loss of 2.95 billion dirhams in the corresponding period of 2016, according to Reuters' calculations.
"



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Dubai property firm DAMAC Q4 profit plunges 47% | ZAWYA MENA Edition

Dubai property firm DAMAC Q4 profit plunges 47% | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"Dubai's DAMAC Properties, the owner and operator of the only Trump-branded golf club in the Middle East, posted a nearly 47 percent drop in fourth-quarter profit, while full year profit dropped by 25 percent. The results came as Dubai, its core property market, saw lower property prices last year due to modest demand and rising supply as new developments hit the market. Damac's 2017 net profit was 2.76 billion dirhams ($751.4 million), down from 3.69 billion year earlier, it said in a statement. "



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Saudi's Mobily Q4 losses widen, customers decline | ZAWYA MENA Edition

Saudi's Mobily Q4 losses widen, customers decline | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"Saudi Arabia's Etihad Etisalat (Mobily), the country's second-largest telecommunications operator, reported a widening quarterly loss on Thursday, partly blaming it on the introduction of internet calls and a decline in its customer base. Net losses more than doubled to 181.7 million riyal ($48.45 million) in the three months to December 31 from a loss of 70.2 million riyals a year earlier, it said in a statement to the Saudi bourse. Revenue fell 2.8 percent to 2.83 billion riyals."



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