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Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Barwa forecasts soft landing for Qatar real estate market - The Peninsula Qatar

Barwa forecasts soft landing for Qatar real estate market - The Peninsula Qatar:

"Qatar’s real estate market is heading to a ‘soft landing’ before taking a turnaround in post 2020, Barwa Real Estate Group CEO Salman bin Mohammed Al Mohannadi (pictured) has said. Speaking to The Peninsula here yesterday, Al Mohannadi said Barwa is forecasting a soft landing going forward. The market has been witnessing a scenario for long where the rents were far beyond reasonable. As a realistic market player, Barwa wants to play the role of a moderator in the market, he said. Al Mohannadi said the Barwa has no intention to increase rents in short term. “All of us know that that at certain point, the real estate market will face two scenarios. Either it will have to crash or will have a soft landing. In a ‘market moderator’ role we are trying to orchestrate a scenario of soft landing rather than a crash”, the Group CEO said."



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PE firm Abraaj suspends fundraising for $6 bln new fund-sources

PE firm Abraaj suspends fundraising for $6 bln new fund-sources:

"Dubai-based private equity firm Abraaj has suspended fundraising for a new $6 billion fund, sources familiar with the matter said, as the firm began a review of its business following a dispute with some of its investors in a healthcare fund.

The fund had its first close of about $3 billion last year, but has paused fresh fundraising during a recent review of the structure of the business, they said.

The shakeup also saw the firm’s founder, Arif Naqvi, step down as chief executive, handing the running of the fund, Abraaj Investment Management Ltd, to the two co-chief executives."



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Hedge funds continue to exit oil but OPEC stems rout: Kemp

Hedge funds continue to exit oil but OPEC stems rout: Kemp:

"Hedge funds continued to take profits on their bullish positions in crude and especially refined fuels in the most recently reported week but supportive comments from OPEC helped steady oil prices.

Hedge funds and other money managers cut their combined net long position in the six most important futures and options contracts linked to petroleum by the equivalent of 48 million barrels in the week to Feb. 20.

The hedge funds’ net long position has been cut in each of the four most recent weeks by a total of 263 million barrels, in what has been the largest drawdown for more than seven months."



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Shale Surge Sent U.S. Oil Production to Record High in November - Bloomberg

Shale Surge Sent U.S. Oil Production to Record High in November - Bloomberg:

"U.S. oil production reached a record high in November as the shale boom puts the nation among the world’s biggest suppliers and upends global markets.


Once the world’s largest importer of crude, the U.S. is passing Saudi Arabia and closing in on Russia to become the world’s largest producer. Oil prices above $60 a barrel have lured companies to ramp up production. Oil and gas exploration last year was a money-maker for the first time in more than a decade, according to Wood Mackenzie Ltd. As a result, drillers in the U.S. are using the most oil rigs since 2015."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Region slips, Qatar hit hardest as shares go ex-dividend

MIDEAST STOCKS-Region slips, Qatar hit hardest as shares go ex-dividend:

"Major Middle Eastern stock markets fell on Wednesday in response to weak global equity and oil prices, with Qatar particularly hard hit by several shares going ex-dividend and a brokerage’s decision not to pay an annual dividend. The Qatari index plunged 3.1 percent - its biggest drop since other Arab states imposed sanctions on Qatar last June - in its heaviest trade for a month. Barwa Real Estate sank 8.7 percent, Islamic bank Masraf Al Rayan lost 6.8 percent and Al Khaliji Bank slipped 6.7 percent as all three stocks went ex-dividend."



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HKEX exec says maintaining active dialogue with Saudi Aramco on IPO plan | ZAWYA MENA Edition

HKEX exec says maintaining active dialogue with Saudi Aramco on IPO plan | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing (HKEX) is still maintaining an "active" and "good conversation" with Saudi Aramco about its planned massive share sale, the head of HKEX said on Wednesday. At a news conference after announcing its results, Charles Li, however, said HKEX doesn't have visibility about Saudi Aramco's listing plan. The Saudi government says Aramco is worth $2 trillion and aims to list on one or more foreign stock exchanges in addition to Riyadh."



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Qatar’s trade surplus jumps by 52.2% in January - The Peninsula Qatar

Qatar’s trade surplus jumps by 52.2% in January - The Peninsula Qatar:

"Qatar’s trade surplus witnessed a sharp jump year-on-year in January 2018, reflecting upon the fact that Qatar has successfully defused the impact of the ongoing blockade.
 The foreign merchandise trade balance, which represents the difference between total exports and imports, in the first month of this year showed a surplus of QR16.4bn, registering a remarkable increase of about QR 5.6bn, or 52.2 percent, compared to the corresponding month last year (January 2017).
The significant increase in total value of exports was understandably due to rebound in the prices of petroleum and other hydrocarbons products."



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Qatar banking sector stays resilient: Sheikh Hamad

Qatar banking sector stays resilient: Sheikh Hamad:

"The resilience of Qatar’s banking sector was demonstrated by the financial results of the country’s banks including Al Khaliji, said bank chairman Sheikh Hamad bin Faisal bin Thani al-Thani. He was speaking at annual general meeting of Al Khaliji shareholders at Marriot Marquis Hotel yesterday.  Sheikh Hamad said, “2017 was an extraordinary year that witnessed the most serious regional crisis in our modern history that affected all economic sectors, in particular the banking sector. We were however able to successfully withstand this crisis and contain its impact thanks to the unity around our wise leadership, the significant support of the government and the Qatar Central Bank as well as the diligent efforts made by our board and senior management. The success of these efforts is evident in the financial results of the banks including ours, and once again demonstrate the resilience of the banking sector in Qatar”."



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Accor Sees $1.65 Billion Share Buyback After Unit Stake Sale - Bloomberg

Accor Sees $1.65 Billion Share Buyback After Unit Stake Sale - Bloomberg:

"Accor SA plans to buy back as much as 1.35 billion euros ($1.65 billion) of shares over the next two years after the hotel operator agreed to sell a majority stake in its property business. Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, Singapore’s GIC Pte sovereign-wealth fund, Credit Agricole Assurances, Amundi SA, Colony NorthStar Inc. and other investors joined forces to purchase an initial 55 percent stake in AccorInvest, according to a statement Tuesday from the French company. Accor will receive 4.4 billion euros ($5.4 billion) in cash from the deal and plans to pursue regional acquisitions and the buyback. “Investors will now focus on the asset-light growth story of the group, which we view as one of the most interesting in the lodging space,” Raymond James analyst Simon Lechipre said in a note. Lechipre, who has an outperform rating on the stock, said the proceeds from the sale of the property-unit stake are slightly higher than expected."



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Qatar c.bank's international reserves, liquidity edge up in January

Qatar c.bank's international reserves, liquidity edge up in January:

"The Qatar central bank’s international reserves and foreign currency liquidity edged up in January, data showed on Wednesday, after capital outflows caused by sanctions imposed last year by other Arab states eased.

The reserves and liquidity, a measure of the central bank’s ability to support the riyal currency, increased to $37.7 billion last month from $37.6 billion in December. "



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Saudi Arabia Fund Quadruples in Size as Cash Pours In: ETF Watch - Bloomberg

Saudi Arabia Fund Quadruples in Size as Cash Pours In: ETF Watch - Bloomberg:

"Inflows this year have quadrupled the amount of assets in an exchange-traded fund that invests in Saudi Arabian equities, data compiled by Bloomberg show. While the iShares MSCI Saudi Arabia ETF (ticker KSA) may still be relatively small with just under $58 million in assets, buyers have been pouring money into the fund that had about $14 million in assets at the start the year. Speculation about Saudi Arabia’s potential inclusion in the FTSE Russell and MSCI emerging-markets indexes, expectations of an initial public offering from Aramco and rising oil prices are all boosting flows into Saudi equities, according to Andrey Glukhov, a money manager at TCW Group who helps oversee more than $100 million in emerging-market equities."



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Bond Sales in Gulf Are Having the Best Start to a Year on Record - Bloomberg

Bond Sales in Gulf Are Having the Best Start to a Year on Record - Bloomberg:

"Borrowers in the Gulf, where most currencies are pegged to the dollar, are racing to beat an increase in U.S. interest rates. Issuance from the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council, which includes the two biggest Arab economies of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, climbed to $16.8 billion in the first two months of the year, mostly due to sales by Oman and Qatar National Bank, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That’s the most since at least 2007, when Bloomberg began collecting data. GCC bond sales will probably range between $70 billion and $90 billion this year, potentially exceeding the record $84.9 billion of issuance in 2017, Andy Cairns, the head of corporate finance at First Abu Dhabi Bank PJSC, the U.A.E.’s biggest bank, forecast in December."



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Saudi crown prince says corruption purge supports budget: Washington Post | ZAWYA MENA Edition

Saudi crown prince says corruption purge supports budget: Washington Post | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"Saudi Arabia's powerful crown prince said the kingdom's anti-corruption crackdown was needed to meet budget targets, comparing the purge to chemotherapy in an interview with the Washington Post published on Wednesday.

Authorities rounded up dozens of princes, top officials and businessmen in November on Prince Mohammed bin Salman's orders, with many confined and interrogated at Riyadh's glitzy Ritz-Carlton Hotel.

Most detainees, including global investor Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, were released after being exonerated or reaching financial settlements with the government, which says it arranged to seize more than $100 billion through such deals."



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Saudi's SABIC in talks to join Shell in Iraq's Nebras petchem project | ZAWYA MENA Edition

Saudi's SABIC in talks to join Shell in Iraq's Nebras petchem project | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"Saudi Basic Industries Corp (SABIC), the world's fourth-biggest petrochemicals company, is in talks to become a partner in Iraq's Nebras petrochemical project, an advisor to Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said on Tuesday. Kadhim Mohammed Jawad Hassan told Reuters on the sidelines of CWC's Iraq Petroleum Conference in Berlin that talks between Saudi Arabia and Iraq on the project are advanced and at the ministerial level. He said SABIC would enter as a fourth partner with Royal Dutch Shell, and the Iraqi oil and agriculture ministeries."



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Law firm forecasts bumper market for Gulf IPOs | ZAWYA MENA Edition

Law firm forecasts bumper market for Gulf IPOs | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"The total value of initial public offerings (IPOs) undertaken by Gulf companies listing their shares on regional stock markets could reach record highs this year - even if the anticipated flotation of a stake in oil giant Saudi Aramco doesn't take place, according to a new report by international law firm Hogan Lovells. The firm's 'Investment Outlook 2018: Transaction and deal trends in the GCC' report published on Tuesday argued that the market for IPOs in the Gulf picked up sharply last year following two subsequent years of decline. The 26 entities listed on Gulf exchanges was the second-highest number ever and the $3.7 billion total value of IPOs was the highest since 2007."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Banks still weak in Saudi, ex-dividends drag down Qatar

MIDEAST STOCKS-Banks still weak in Saudi, ex-dividends drag down Qatar:

"Major Gulf stock markets were mostly lower in early trade on Wednesday with Saudi banks dropping for a fourth straight day, partly because of concern about the government’s move to retroactively increase their Islamic tax liabilities.

The Saudi index fell 0.7 percent in the first hour with all 12 banking stocks declining. Al Rajhi Bank slipped 1.3 percent.

But National Industrialisation (Tasnee), which had jumped 9.9 percent on Tuesday after reporting an annual net profit up soared about seven-fold, added a further 4.5 percent and was the market’s most traded stock."



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