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Monday, 26 February 2018

Higher oil prices, LNG investments to see Qatar’s growth rising

Higher oil prices, LNG investments to see Qatar’s growth rising:

"Qatar’s growth is set to rise on higher oil prices, eased fiscal constraints and investments in LNG production, QNB has said in its latest ‘Qatar Economic Insight’. The country’s real GDP is expected to rise to 2.5% this year and 3.4% in 2019 before slowing slightly to 3.3% in 2020 as higher oil prices lead to relaxed fiscal constraints and as investment in the long-term expansion of LNG production lifts growth.  In the hydrocarbon sector, the extension of the Opec output cuts agreement in 2018 will keep oil production flat, but Qatar’s hydrocarbon production should pick up thereafter as the Opec curbs are lifted and as new gas production from the Barzan project comes on line in 2020."



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Europeans Dig In Against New Iran Sanctions Risking Nuclear Deal - Bloomberg

Europeans Dig In Against New Iran Sanctions Risking Nuclear Deal - Bloomberg:

"European allies, pressed by President Donald Trump’s administration to impose tough new sanctions on Iran for its ballistic missile program, are digging in against moves that would effectively void the 2015 nuclear deal with the Islamic Republic. “There is no problem that you can think of with Iran that would not be to the power of 100 worse if this was a nuclear-armed country,” David O’Sullivan, the European Union’s ambassador to the U.S., said Monday in a meeting with editors and reporters at Bloomberg’s Washington bureau. “So for us, the first thing to do is to make sure this country doesn’t have nuclear weapons. That’s what the deal did and does in our view, and it is working.” Trump vowed in January to back out from what he’s called “the worst deal ever” by May unless its flaws can be resolved. “This is a last chance,” Trump said. U.S. officials have been focusing on talks with their European counterparts on how to restrain Iran’s continuing development of ballistic missiles, which isn’t explicitly barred under its 2015 deal with the U.S. and five other world powers. "



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Saudi Regulator Fines Former Mobily Chairman for Insider Trading - Bloomberg

Saudi Regulator Fines Former Mobily Chairman for Insider Trading - Bloomberg:

"Saudi Arabia’s market regulator fined the former chairman of the kingdom’s second-biggest telecom company for insider trading and ordered his investment firm to pay $75 million.

Abdulaziz bin Saleh bin Abdullah Alsaghyir, who was the chairman of Etihad Etisalat Co., was fined 100,000 riyals ($26.7 million), according to a statement on the Capital Market Authority’s website on Monday. He was also banned from managing portfolios, being an investment adviser and working for any Saudi-listed companies.

Abdulaziz Alsaghyir Business Investment Co., of which Alsaghyir is the founder and chairman, was also ordered to pay 280 million riyals for the avoided losses it avoided on its investment portfolio as a result of the violated trades."



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Saudi Arabia Extends Foreign Investment Licenses to 5 Years - Bloomberg

Saudi Arabia Extends Foreign Investment Licenses to 5 Years - Bloomberg:

"Saudi Arabia extended foreign investment licenses to a renewable period of up to five years from one year, in the latest step to broaden the oil-dependent economy.

Ibrahim Al Suwayel, deputy governor for investors’ services at the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority, said the move aimed to bolster the country’s economic changes.

Officials have already seen “a positive effect on new investment, following the recent regulation to reduce the time taken to issue business licenses from two days to just four hours,” he said in a statement."



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Middle East sovereign funds spend more on alternative assets - report | ZAWYA MENA Edition

Middle East sovereign funds spend more on alternative assets - report | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"Sovereign wealth funds in the Middle East are directing a greater proportion of their assets away from traditional investments such as equity and bonds and towards alternative assets, following a global trend, according to a new report by PwC. Over a seven-year period to 2016, the amount of funds allocated to alternative assets (including real estate, infrastructure, private equity, hedge funds and commodities) globally by sovereign wealth funds (SWFs) increased by 4 percent to 23 percent  of the $7.4 trillion total assets under management (AuM), said the report which was co-authored with the World Gold Council. PwC's sovereign investment fund director, Tarek Shoukri, told Zawya in an emailed response to questions that according to its analysis, there are 14 active SWFs in the Middle East, with combined assets under management of $2.8 trillion, or 38 percent of the global total held by SWFs. Their investments in alternative assets is currently much smaller than the world’s aggregate, but it is growing."



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Vodafone sells out of Qatari operations for EUR301mln | ZAWYA MENA Edition

Vodafone sells out of Qatari operations for EUR301mln | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"Vodafone VOD.L said on Monday it had agreed to sell its 51 percent stake in its Qatari operations to its existing partner, the Qatar Foundation, for a total sum of 301 million euros.

The British company said its brand would remain in Qatar as part of the deal through a partner market agreement. The transaction values Vodafone Qatar at an enterprise value of 1.45 billion euros."



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Shell warns of future LNG supply crunch

Shell warns of future LNG supply crunch:

"Tens of billions of dollars of new investment is needed in liquefied natural gas projects to avoid a supply crunch in the 2020s, Royal Dutch Shell has warned. The global market is still absorbing supplies from a wave of LNG megaprojects built in Australia over recent years, as well as the emergence of the US as a net gas exporter for the first time in more than half a century. But Shell, one of the world’s largest suppliers of LNG, said renewed investment was needed to meet surging demand from China and other developing countries."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-GFH jumps in Dubai, zakat worries weigh on Saudi banks again

MIDEAST STOCKS-GFH jumps in Dubai, zakat worries weigh on Saudi banks again:

"A leap by shares in GFH Financial enlivened an otherwise dull Dubai stock market on Monday, while bank stocks dragged on Saudi Arabia’s index for a second straight day because of concern about their Islamic tax liabilities.

The Dubai index was flat but GFH climbed 6.6 percent and accounted for over a third of market volume after saying Jassim Alseddiqi, chief executive of Abu Dhabi Financial Group (ADFG), had been elected chairman of its board.

The company did not explain the development but it could point to closer cooperation between GFH and ADFG, which owns nearly half of Shuaa Capital, whose shares gained 1.8 percent. GFH and Shuaa held merger discussions last year but the talks were called off in June."



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Winners and losers in the age of energy abundance 

Winners and losers in the age of energy abundance :

"In economic terms, the US has been the clear winner from the dramatic changes in the global energy market over the past decade. Shale gas and tight oil produced from shale rocks have driven up production and reduced the need for imports. Some 1.7m jobs have been created as a result and, along with the reduction in energy costs, that has contributed to steady economic growth since the crash of 2008. Shale developments in the country have helped to produce a fundamental shift in the world market — instead of being scarce, and ever more costly, energy is plentiful and prices have fallen. The only remaining question is whether the shift to an “age of abundance” is changing the global political landscape as well. That is the theme of a new book by Professor Meghan O’Sullivan, who works at the Belfer Center in Harvard. Ms O’Sullivan is an optimist. She sees in “abundance” the chance for significant positive changes in the balance of power around the world, all of which would support the foreign policy objectives of the US government. "



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UAE ranks highest in Middle East for economic prosperity | Arab News

UAE ranks highest in Middle East for economic prosperity | Arab News:

"The UAE has ranked first in the Middle East and 17th globally in terms of economic prosperity and government productivity, according to World Economic Forum’s latest Global Competitiveness Index. The report, which comes out yearly, assesses a country’s government productivity in a specific set of institutions, ranging from infrastructure and innovation to education and markets, based on empirical and theoretical research. “The UAE is in first place in the quality of government decisions, the government’s ability to adapt to changes, the effectiveness of government spending, and the partnership between the public and private sectors, as well as in administrative practices, the digital transformation of companies, and adopting technology,” UAE Vice President Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid said after reading the report, according to UAE state news agency WAM."



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Bahrain's GFH hopes to develop Saudi business, new chairman says

Bahrain's GFH hopes to develop Saudi business, new chairman says:

"Bahrain-based investment firm GFH Financial hopes in future to develop business in Saudi Arabia, the company’s new chairman told Al Arabiya television on Monday.

Jassim Alseddiqi, who is also chief executive of Abu Dhabi Financial Group, was speaking after he was elected chairman of GFH’s board."



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Apollo's Dubai Partnership for Middle East Deals Is Said to End - Bloomberg

Apollo's Dubai Partnership for Middle East Deals Is Said to End - Bloomberg:

"Apollo Global Management LLC’s partnership with a Dubai-based firm to help make its first investments in the Middle East is winding down, according to people familiar with the matter.

New York-based Apollo is ending its venture with Frontier Management Group, which looked to source regional deals for the U.S. firm, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private. As a result, Frontier, which was licensed by the Dubai International Financial Centre in 2015, is being closed down, the people said. The firm’s license is now listed as inactive on the DIFC website.


Apollo, which oversees about $250 billion in private equity, credit and real estate assets globally, had planned to use Frontier to expand in the Middle East but wasn’t successful in finding any regional investments. It bid for a controlling stake in Saudi Arabian supermarket chain Al-Raya For Foodstuff Co. in 2015 after Frontier sourced the deal, people familiar with the matter said at the time. The talks didn’t result in an agreement."



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Dubai to Doha: A Guide to the Mideast Bank Stocks Tipped to Gain - Bloomberg

Dubai to Doha: A Guide to the Mideast Bank Stocks Tipped to Gain - Bloomberg:

"Expectations of higher margins on lending, cross-border deals and potential inclusion in global equity benchmarks are some of the reasons banks are rising to the top of the list for Middle East stock investors and analysts. Even in Qatar, where banks have been battered by liquidity concerns during by the eight-month-long spat with neighbors, some lenders are seen as trading at attractive levels. Their peers in Egypt, meanwhile, stand to benefit from credit expansion as an easing cycle in monetary policy gets underway. “Banks is where we go,” Mohammed Ali Yasin, chief executive officer of FAB Securities LLC, the brokerage arm of the United Arab Emirates’ biggest bank, told Bloomberg Television when asked how he’d put money to work right now. “With the increase in interest rates, and oil prices where they are, they are going to have a lot of ammunition in terms of deposits to lend to the market.”"



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UAE's ADNOC awards Japan's INPEX 10% stake in new oil offshore concession | ZAWYA MENA Edition

UAE's ADNOC awards Japan's INPEX 10% stake in new oil offshore concession | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"Abu Dhabi National Oil Co's (ADNOC) signed on Monday a new 40-year agreement with INPEX awarding the Japanese oil company a 10-percent stake in its Lower Zakum concession, a deal set to help the UAE expand its foothold in Asia. Separately, INPEX's stakes in Abu Dhabi's Satah and Umm Al Dalkh concession have been extended for 25 years, ADNOC and INPEX said in statements. The Japanese oil company will maintain its 40 percent stake in Satah concession and increase its Umm Al Dalkh share to 40 percent from 12 percent. INPEX has paid a fee of 2.2 billion dirhams ($600 million) for the Lower Zakum concession, ADNOC said. INPEX has also paid 920 million dirhams to extend its share in the Satah and Umm Al Dalkh concession."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-GFH supports Dubai, banks weigh on Saudi again | ZAWYA MENA Edition

MIDEAST STOCKS-GFH supports Dubai, banks weigh on Saudi again | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"News of board changes at GFH Financial boosted Dubai's stock market early on Monday while bank stocks dragged on Saudi Arabia's index for a second straight day.

The Dubai index was flat but GGFH climbed 4.4 percent after saying Jassim Alseddiqi, chief executive of Abu Dhabi Financial Group (ADFG), had been elected chairman of its board. Under a management restructuring plan, chief financial officer Chandan Gupta is resigning.

The company did not explain the changes but they could point to closer cooperation between GFH and ADFG, which owns nearly half of Shuaa Capital, whose shares gained 1.8 percent. GFH and Shuaa held merger discussions last year but the talks were called off in June."



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