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Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Viceroy vows to keep fighting Dubai’s Five Holdings after US court decision - The National

Viceroy vows to keep fighting Dubai’s Five Holdings after US court decision - The National:

"A Los Angeles court threw out claims by affiliates of Dubai hotel operator Five Holdings that US-based Viceroy Hotel Group “mismanaged” a luxury hotel on Dubai’s Palm Jumeirah island, a statement from Viceroy said on Wednesday.

“We are pleased that the Los Angeles Superior Court held that this lawsuit has absolutely no merit,” a spokesman for Viceroy said, adding that the hotel group would continue to pursue its own claims against Five Holdings in the US court, which include fraud, extortion and unfair business practices.

The decision is the latest development in a complex management dispute between Viceroy Hotel Group and Five Holdings, a real estate company led by Dubai-based Indian millionaire Kabir Mulchandani."



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Iran signs $740 million agreement on oil project | Arab News

Iran signs $740 million agreement on oil project | Arab News:

"Iran's state-run oil company has signed a $740 million agreement with a Russian-Iranian consortium to develop two oil fields near the Iraqi border.
Under the agreement signed Wednesday, there will be a 48,000-barrel daily production of crude for a 10-year span in oil fields in Aban and West Paidar in the southwest near the border with Iraq. Iran currently produces 36,000 barrels of crude in both fields.
The consortium includes the Russian state-controlled Zarubezhneft Oil Co. and the Iranian private Dana Energy Co.
"



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Industries Qatar increases foreign ownership limit to 49% - The Peninsula Qatar

Industries Qatar increases foreign ownership limit to 49% - The Peninsula Qatar:

"Industries Qatar (“IQ” or “the group”; QE: IQCD), one of the region’s industrial giants with interests in the production of a wide range of petrochemical, fertiliser and steel products, has announced the increase of the foreign ownership limit from 25 percent to 49 percent. This decision comes in line with the vision of Qatar Exchange to enhance the Qatari stock market and develop its mechanisms to become a regional financial center and capital market that attracts local and regional issuers and investors."



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Facing boycott, Qatar focuses on self-reliance in five-year plan

Facing boycott, Qatar focuses on self-reliance in five-year plan:

"Qatar launched a five-year development plan on Wednesday that focuses on making the tiny country more self-reliant in the face of a boycott by other Arab states.

The National Development Strategy for 2018-2022 pledges to “rationalise energy consumption and encourage development of renewable energy while raising self-sufficiency levels for farming and fishing production”.

The 333-page plan, released by Prime Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser al-Thani, aims for Qatar to satisfy 30 percent of its demand for farm animals and 65 percent of its demand for fish domestically by 2022, partly through fish farms. "



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OPEC sees oil supply surge from rivals, countering its cuts

OPEC sees oil supply surge from rivals, countering its cuts:

"OPEC on Wednesday raised its forecast for non-member oil supply this year to almost double the growth predicted four months ago as higher prices spur U.S. shale drilling, offsetting OPEC-led output cuts and a collapse in Venezuelan production.

In a monthly report, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries said non-OPEC producers would boost supply by 1.66 million barrels per day in 2018. That was the fourth straight rise from 870,000 bpd forecast in November.

“For 2018, higher growth is expected on the back of the projected increase in U.S. shale production following a better price environment not only for shale producers, but also for other countries such as Canada, the UK, Brazil and China,” OPEC said of the outlook for non-OPEC supply."



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Qatar to Curb Transfers to Its Sovereign Fund Until 2022 - Bloomberg

Qatar to Curb Transfers to Its Sovereign Fund Until 2022 - Bloomberg:

"A combination of lower energy prices and increased domestic investments will curb the net transfer of funds to Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund until 2022, according to the gas-rich country’s latest forecast. Qatar, isolated in a standoff with its Gulf neighbors, has trimmed its budget since energy revenue began declining in 2014, including removing some subsidies and consolidating government ministries and state-owned companies. But despite the reductions in “current expenditure,” which is projected to decline to 21.2 percent of gross domestic product by 2022 from 32.6 percent in 2015, there will be limited surpluses left over for the Qatar Investment Authority, as the fund is known, the government said in a national development strategy report."



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One-stop plan to ease flow of trade between GCC markets | ZAWYA MENA Edition

One-stop plan to ease flow of trade between GCC markets | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"Fewer border checkpoints will ease the flow of trade between GCC markets, it has been suggested. This is one of the 75 recommendations of the GCC Customs Union draft prepared by the Federation of GCC Chambers. The draft is currently being explained to the GCC Chambers through workshops, the third session of which was held yesterday at the Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) headquarters in Sanabis."



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Saudi Arabia's home finance co Bidaya announces debut sukuk programme | ZAWYA MENA Edition

Saudi Arabia's home finance co Bidaya announces debut sukuk programme | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"Saudi Arabia's Bidaya Home Finance (BHF), partly owned by the Saudi sovereign wealth fund Public Investment Fund, has established a 500 million riyals ($133.33 million) inaugural sukuk programme, it said on Wednesday. The Riyadh-based company aims to make home financing more readily available by offering sharia-compliant financing products to Saudi retail customers in a country with low levels of home ownership. Saudi Arabia's housing ministry said on Wednesday that it has raised the target for the local mortgage market to reach a total volume of 502 billion riyals by 2020 from a current 290 billion riyals, as the country implements various measures to stimulate mortgage lending and home purchases."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Region mostly soft, some Saudi stocks surge on positive news

MIDEAST STOCKS-Region mostly soft, some Saudi stocks surge on positive news:

"Most Middle Eastern stock markets were soft on Wednesday with Qatar pulling back after two days of strong gains, but a few individual stocks in Saudi Arabia rose sharply in response to positive news. The Qatari index, which had surged 6.7 percent in the previous two days as heavyweights Qatar National Bank and Industries Qatar soared after announcing plans to raise their foreign ownership ceilings, fell back 0.6 percent. QNB slipped 2.0 percent and Industries Qatar retreated 0.9 percent. Qatar Insurance sank 8.4 percent in its heaviest trade since May 2015; at the end of this week, it will be removed from several FTSE global indexes."



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Better times ahead for Gulf financiers, says Moody's | ZAWYA MENA Edition

Better times ahead for Gulf financiers, says Moody's | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"The banking sector in the Gulf is likely to benefit from credit growth in 2018 as activity in the region's non-oil sector picks up, despite a likely rise in non-performing loans in the region's two biggest banking markets, according to Moody's. Olivier Panis, a senior credit officer with the ratings agency, told journalists during a briefing in Dubai on Tuesday that the "slow and gradual recovery in economic growth - particularly in non-oil economic growth" would help to boost the credit growth of banks in the region by between 4 percent in Saudi Arabia and 6-7 percent in Oman and Kuwait. This compares with a decline in credit growth in Saudi Arabia in 2017 and an "almost flat" credit market in the United Arab Emirates over the same period, Panis said."



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Prince Alwaleed closes hotel deal with Assad-linked businessman

Prince Alwaleed closes hotel deal with Assad-linked businessman:

"Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, the leading Saudi Arabian investor, has sold his stake in the Four Seasons hotel in the Syrian capital Damascus to a businessman linked to President Bashar al-Assad, according to people familiar with the matter.

The sale was completed while Prince Alwaleed was detained during an anti-corruption campaign led by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, which began in November and wound down last month.

The buyer, people briefed on the transaction say, is Samer Foz, a relatively unknown businessman before Syria’s seven-year conflict whose profile has risen during the war."



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Abu Dhabi banks post 30.83 billion dirhams in aggregate earnings for 2017 | Arab News

Abu Dhabi banks post 30.83 billion dirhams in aggregate earnings for 2017 | Arab News:

"Abu Dhabi banks recorded 30.83 billion dirhams worth of earnings in 2017, data recently released by Statistics Center-Abu Dhabi (SCAD) show.
The earnings of commercial banks headquartered in the capital reached 25.53 billion dirhams, accounting for 82.8 percent of the total, while Islamic lenders contributed the rest.
The government statistical agency said the figures were gathered “to identify the characteristics of banking activities in the emirate,” with the information being used “to support the development of the banking and investment sectors in the capital.”"



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Saudi Arabia wants mortgage market to grow to $134 billion by 2020

Saudi Arabia wants mortgage market to grow to $134 billion by 2020:

"Saudi Arabia’s housing ministry has set a target for the mortgage market to reach a total value of 502 billion riyals ($134 billion) by 2020 from a current 290 billion riyals, the kingdom’s housing minister said on Wednesday.

Saudi Arabia has launched a program of measures to stimulate mortgage lending. So far these include allowing banks to provide a bigger share of funding for home purchases and lifting the maximum loan-to-value rate on for mortgages for first-time homebuyers to 90 percent from 85 percent.

“We are working to facilitate access to finance so that Saudi citizens’ chances to obtain fivefold what [it] was in the past,” Majed al-Hogail said at a housing conference."



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No Rebound for Dubai Property as Slump Drags On - Bloomberg

No Rebound for Dubai Property as Slump Drags On - Bloomberg:

"Four months after rejecting a broker’s advice to slash his rent demands on a new Spanish-style villa in Dubai, the homeowner was ready to accept a 20 percent cut on the still vacant property. The broker, Akbar Ladak, wasn’t surprised. More landlords are accepting that they have to lower their sights, and for every one still holding out for a long-anticipated market rebound, plenty of others are willing to take what they can right now, he said. Dubai has seen predictions of a property rebound miss the mark again and again over the last two years. Optimism about a recovery in 2017 has given way to quiet resignation that the slump may persist for two to three years after oil price increases, key to the Persian Gulf sheikhdom’s economy, failed to spark an expected jobs boost."



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Saudi non-oil growth likely to hit 2.7% this year | ZAWYA MENA Edition

Saudi non-oil growth likely to hit 2.7% this year | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"Saudi Arabia's non-oil growth is expected to average 2.7 per cent this year, better than the growth seen in the last two years, according to a Bloomberg economist. The kingdom's non-oil growth increased 1 per cent in January, a slowdown from the estimated 2.6 per cent registered at the end of last year, according to Bloomberg Economics monthly series of Saudi GDP. Ziad Daoud, chief Middle East economist, Bloomberg Economics, said: “Sluggish private consumption, due to cuts to fuel and electricity subsidies, the introduction of VAT and rising inflation, is likely the main culprit behind the slowdown of non-oil activity in January."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Qatar pulls back in early trade, some Saudi stocks surge on news

MIDEAST STOCKS-Qatar pulls back in early trade, some Saudi stocks surge on news:

"Qatar’s stock market pulled back in early trade on Wednesday after two days of strong gains, while most other Gulf bourses moved sideways but a few individual stocks in Saudi Arabia rose sharply in response to positive news. The Qatari index, which had surged 6.7 percent in the previous two days as heavyweights Qatar National Bank and Industries Qatar soared after announcing plans to raise their foreign ownership ceilings, fell back 2.0 percent. QNB slipped 3.4 percent and Industries Qatar retreated 2.8 percent. The most heavily traded stock, Qatar Insurance , sank 6.5 percent. At the end of this week, it will be removed from several FTSE global indexes."



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