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AME Info, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, finance and economy briefs [AME Info, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates]
[November 26, 2012]

AME Info, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, finance and economy briefs [AME Info, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates]

(AME Info (Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Nov. 26--DEPA RISES AS ASIAN BUSINESS FLOURISHES: The FTSE NASDAQ Dubai UAE 20 Index closed flat at 1755.17 Monday. While DP World ended likewise unchanged, shares of the Middle East's largest interior design firm Depa Limited gained 1.33 percent to reach $0.38. Depa's Asian subsidiary Design House based in Singapore reported a 102 percent rise in Q3 net profits amounting to $40.8m aminly fuelled by a rise in demand in mainland China. In addition, Depa said in a statement to the NASDAQ Dubai that investment manager Blakeney LLP sold 44,184,611 ordinary shares in the company on Nov. 21, the day before Arabtec Construction bought a 24 percent stake in Depa for $65.8m. "Following the above transaction, Blakeney LLP no longer holds shares in the company, down from 7.06 percent," said Depa.

KUWAIT MARKET FLIRTS WITH 6,000 POINTS, AGAIN: The KSE Market Index advanced 0.42 percent, finishing Monday trading at 5,903.24. The gauge failed to crack the resistance level at 6,000 points the last time in mid-October when it fulfilled a shoulder-head-shoulder formation. Telecom firms and developers lifted the gauge, as Kuwait Real Estate Holding posted the largest gain (up 26 percent at KD0.036). Earlier in the day, Kuwait's Global Investment House, whose shares were suspended a year ago, said it received green light from the majority of creditors for its plans to restructure 1.73 billion U. S. dollars of debt it piled up since the outbreak of the Great Recession in 2008.

QATAR EXCHANGE ENDS WEEK-LONG GAINING STREAK: Qatari shares lost value across the board Monday, dragging the Doha-based QE Index down by 0.23 percent to 8,429.01 points. Financial and developers in particular weighed on the gauge, which lost 3.92 percent since January 1.

TELCO SHARES PULL ABU DHABI BOURSE HIGHER: The ADX General Index gained 0.40 percent to reach 2,646.51 points as the UAE's first telecom company Etisalat and ADX bellwether added 0.20 percent to hit Dhs9.89. Qatar Telecom jumped 6.36 percent tp hit Dhs105. On Monday the Saudi telco regulator suspended telco operator Mobily from selling pre-paid sim cards. Listed developers such as Eshraq (down 2.44 percent at Dhs0.39).

DUBAI MARKET SLIPS AS UAE NATIONAL TIME-OUT APPROACHES: Ahead of the 41st UAE National Day to be observed on December 2nd, the DFM General Index fell 0.80 percent to 1,589. The UAE market regulator ESCA said earlier in the day that trading will be suspended on Sunday Dec. 2 and Monday Dec. 3 on the occasion of national day celebrations. Market bellwether Emaar Properties lost likewise 0.80 percent to hit Dhs3.70 after posting strong gains on plans for Mohamed Bin Rashid City, the emirate's recently announced project to host the world's largest shopping mall in a new "city within the city" between the world's largest tower Burj Khalifa (828m) and Emirates Road. Trading volumes dived as only 57m shares worth Dhs78.8m changed hands.

SAUDI TADAWUL EXCHANGE PLUMMETS 2.12 percent: The Tadawul All-Share Index closed Sunday trading 2.12 percent lower at 6,524.15, the lowest level since February 2012. Ongoing speculations about the health of the ruling King Abdullah, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, who had back surgery in mid-November weighed on the sentiment. Petrochems were among the top losers as SABIC as the most liquid share dived 2.25 percent to hit SR87.

ABUSE OF PUBLIC FUNDS IN JORDAN HAS REACHED A 'CRITICAL LEVEL': OFFICIAL: The president of Jordan's Audit Bureau, Mustafa Barari has said abuse of public funds in the country has reached 'critical levels,' due to the failure to observe laws and regulations at public sector agencies, Jordan Times has reported. The current measures to protect public funds and assets from misuse are still not as effective as they should be, Barari said, calling for amending the law governing his entity's jurisdiction to grant the bureau the status of a law enforcement agency. "By giving the bureau the authority to refer violations to courts directly, corruption could be reduced to much lower levels," he said.

EGYPT'S Q1 ECONOMIC GROWTH DROPPED 21 percent: Egyptian minister of planning and international cooperation, Ashraf El-Arabi has said the country's economic growth rate shrunk by 21 percent in the first quarter of the current fiscal year which started July 2012, Ahram has reported. Growth in the quarter was 2.6 percent, compared with 3.3 percent in the previous quarter, he said. The minister said Egypt's economy is expected to grow 3.5 percent in the current fiscal year, which will end on 30 June 2013, a figure previously announced in the government's plan announced two weeks ago.

SAUDI ARABIA TO ROLL OUT NEW STRATEGY TO FIGHT UNEMPLOYMENT: Saudi labour minister Adel Fakeih has unveiled plans to review the country's educational and training system to meet labour market needs, Arab News has reported. Currently, there are some 448,000 unemployed Saudi men and women in a country that hosts 8.4 million foreign workers, Fakieh said. The plans include the development of the Nitaqat system, tracking down companies that violate labour regulations, combating illegal cover-up businesses, deporting illegal workers, developing money transfer systems, protecting salaries and raising the cost of employing expatriates, he said.

CREDITORS APPROVE GLOBAL'S PLAN TO RESTRUCTURE $337M BONDS: Kuwait-based Global Investment House has said it had secured the approval of creditors to restructure two bonds worth KD95m ($337m) as part of the company's second debt overhaul in three years, Reuters has reported. Bond holders have approved the restructuring of a KD50m bond maturing in 2013 and of a KD45m bond maturing in 2012, Global said. The company, whose major shareholders include the governments of Kuwait and Dubai, said earlier this month that three of its creditors had failed to back this restructuring plan and that it would work on winning them over. It will also ask shareholders to approve delisting its stock from the Kuwait bourse after failing to secure a regulatory waiver needed to implement its restructuring plan, Global said.

BAHRAIN BOURSE INVESTORS HALT FOUR-DAY LOSING STREAK: The Manama-based Bahrain All-Share Index added a quarter percentage point Sunday to close at 1,040.93 points amid lackluster trading. Islamic bank Ithmaar surged 6.90 percent to reach $0.155. Bahrain Telecom, knwon and branded as Batelco, closed unchanged at BD0.400.

QATAR NAVIGATION JUMPS AS PLANNED CAPITAL INCREASE REMAINS IN LIMBO: The Doha-based QE 20 Index closed half a percentage point higher at 8,448.35 points Sunday. Shares of Qatar Navigation, known as Milaha, advanced 6.35 percent to reach QR67. Earlier in the day, the firm said its board of directors decided at its meeting held on Thursday, November 22, 2012, to recommend a cancellation of a previous decision by the Extraordinary General Assembly in April 2012 to increase the company's capital by 20 percent. The increase in capital was to have occurred during the fourth quarter of 2012. "This recommendation comes due to the availability of alternative sources of funding at lower costs," said Milaha in a statement posted on the QE's website.

DANA GAS SOARS, ALDAR AND SOROUH RISE IN LOCKSTEP: The Abu Dhabi market measure ADX General slipped 0.22 percent Sunday to finish at 2,636.53 points. Dana Gas jumped 5.13 percent, posting the largest gain to reach Dhs0.39 as investors were upbeat about news that the Sharjah-based energy firm was offering bondholders cash and an average eight per cent coupon on two new sukuks to replace the existing one, Reuters reported citing "two sources". Dana Gas did not settle a $920m Islamic bond which matured on Oct. 31 as the company struggled with payment collections in Egypt and Kurdistan. Merger candidates Aldar Properties and Sorouh Real Estate both gained 0.81 percent to close at Dhs1.24 and Dhs1.25, respectively.

EMAAR LEADS DUBAI MARKET REBOUND TO 1,600: Amid tailwinds from the Saudi bourse, which ended Saturday a 10-day losing streak by gaining 0.84 percent, the Dubai Financial Market (DFM) General Index edged up by 0.33 percent to reach 1,601.84 points Sunday. Emaar Properties was the most liquid share, closing 2.19 percent higher at Dhs3.73. Islamic financial institution Ajman Bank fell 1.83 percent to Dhs1.07. Earlier in the day, the UAE's youngest Islamic bank, founded in 2007, said that it in the first nine months it returned into profits which amounted to Dhs25.38m, up from a loss of Dhs4.8m in the same period last year. In Q3, the bank' profit rose more than 4-fold to hit Dhs13.5m. The DFM's advance-decline ratio ended even at 12 to 12. Some 131m shares were traded, valued at Dhs205.3m.

SAUDI BUSINESSES SAY EXPAT FEE IS 'DRACONIAN': The Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry has said that government measures to ensure business owners hire more Saudis are too tough and often arbitrary, Saudi Gazette has reported. The head of the chamber's commercial committee said the rule that stipulates SR2,400 fine for each foreign employee working in establishments that failed to achieve Saudization targets was "draconian" and "completely unacceptable." "This decision has left us with no choice. Either we accept it or we leave the market. But nothing is encouraging us to remain in the market," Taher said. Meanwhile, Hattab Al-Enezi, spokesman for the labour ministry said the ministry will not backtrack on enforcing the cabinet decision, which came into effect on November 15.

HRDF TO STOP ALLOWANCES FOR 600,000 UNEMPLOYED SAUDIS: Saudi Arabia's Human Resources Development Fund (HRDF) has announced the a monthly stipend for 600,000 unemployed youths will be stopped from this month, Arab News has reported. "There will be no extension of the unemployment stipend to a second stage. The royal order on the matter is clear," said director of HRDF, Ibrahim Al-Moiqil. The unemployment allowance was introduced as part of the Hafiz programme, which aimed to increase job opportunities for youths with intensive training programmes in professions required in the job market.

JORDAN'S 2013 BUDGET WILL NOT INCLUDE UNCERTAIN FOREIGN GRANTS: Jordanian finance ministry has said the kingdom's 2013 state budget will not feature any foreign grants that are not certain, Gulf Today has reported. The treasury has so far received grants worth only around JD94m ($131.6m), while when the 2012 state budget was prepared, the value of Arab and foreign grants was estimated to exceed JD800m, said Ismail Zaghloul , director general of the ministry's general budget department.

TADAWUL BOURSE, MARKET BREADTH BOUNCE BACK: The oversold Saudi Stock Exchange reagained 0.84 percent Saturday, endig a 10-day losing streak to close at 6,665.4 points. SABIC, the petrochems leader edged up 0.85 percent to reach SR89.00. Earlier in the day, SABIC said with reference to its announcement on Aug. 8th 2012 regarding its intention to shut down one production unit of the ethylene glycol plant to carry out the regular maintenance and some repairs starting the beginning of September, 2012 for about ten weeks, that on Thursday the 22nd of Nov, 2012 the maintenances and repairs have been completed. The units was restored back to normal operation. "The temporary shutdown will not have a material impact on the company result," said SABIC in a statement to the Tadawul bourse. 132 out of 155 traded shares advanced while 32 securities declined in value.

UAE, BAHRAIN TOP THE LIST OF ECONOMICALLY FREE ARAB STATES : According to a report by the German Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Liberty (FNF), the International Research Foundation (IRF) of Oman and the Fraser Institute, Bahrain and the UAE have the highest levels of economic freedom among Arab nations, Kuna has reported. The UAE scored 8.1 out of 10, tying with Bahrain after ranking second overall in 2011 with a score of 7.9. Jordan moved into the third spot from eighth overall, improving its score to 7.9 from 7.4 last year, the 'Economic Freedom of the Arab World' report showed.

QATAR RATED 'AA' BY S&P: Qatar's sovereign credit ratings have been rated by Standard & Poor's (S&P) at 'AA/Stable/A-1+,' the Peninsula has reported. The agency said the ratings reflect its view of is high levels of economic wealth and strong fiscal and external balance sheets with modest levels of debt and large external liquidity. "We believe the ratings are constrained, along with those of the peer group," it said.

___ (c)2012 AME Info (Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates) Visit AME Info (Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates) at Distributed by MCT Information Services

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