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AME Info, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, finance and economy briefs [AME Info, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates]
[December 31, 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) Dec. 31--BARGAIN HUNTERS END QATAR MARKET'S 7-DAY LOSING STREAK: The QE 20 Index advanced 0.71 percent to reach 8,358.94 points. Qatar National Bank added 1.32 percent, while Al Ahli Bank fell 2.60 percent. After being the only gaining gauge for two year, the Doha-based bourse ended 2012 with an annual index loss of 4.72 percent.

KUWAIT STOCK EXCHANGE GAINS TWO PERCENT IN 2012: The KSE Market Index declined 0.22 percent to 5,934.28 points. The market measure failed to crack the resistance level at 6,000 points several times this year but ended 2012 with a tiny plus of two percent. The northern Gulf state's largest lender National Bank of Kuwait or NBK underperformed during the year by losing 4 percent, closing Dec. 31 at KD0.960. The IMF expects Kuwait's real economy growth to decline to 1.9 percent in 2013, down from an expected 6.3 percent this year.

DANA GAS GAINS ON GAS DISCOVERIES IN EGYPT: The ADX General Index closed a quarter percentage point higher at 2,633.21 points. The gauge is the second best performer in the GCC in 2012 as it gained 9.50 percent since Jan. 1 (behind Dubai, which added 19.90 percent). Dana Gas advanced on Monday by 2.27 percent to reach Dhs0.44. Earlier in the day, Dana Gas said in a statement to the ADX that it has discovered two onshore gas wells located in the Nile Delta Basin. "Initial estimates indicate the two discoveries could increase Dana Gas' commercial reserves by up to 55 percent", said the Sharjah-based energy firm.

DUBAI MARKET TOP IN GCC IN 2012: The DFM General Index closed the last trading day of the year with a loss of 0.40 percent, closing at 1,620.53 as the looming fiscal cliff in the U. S. weighed on the sentiment. However, the year of the dragon was a comeback for the local Dubai bourse as its main gauge gained 19.89 percent since Jan. 1, the best performance in the GCC. In the MENA region, only the Egyptian EGX30 Index (up 50.21 percent y-t-d) performed better. In Dubai, Emaar fell from its two-years high to Dhs3.75 on Monday, while Arabtec closed unchanged at Dhs2.24. Shuaa Capital los the most, ending down 6.95 percent at Dhs0.549. Trading volumes rose 10 percent compared to Sunday, as some 165m shares were traded, valued at Dhs210.

QATAR REAL GDP UP 3.9 percent IN Q3 2012: Qatar's statistics authority has said the Gulf country's gross domestic product, adjusted for inflation, rose 3.9 percent from a year earlier in the third quarter of this year, Reuters has reported. GDP expanded 1.7 percent from the previous quarter, it said.

SAUDI'S PIF TO FOCUS ON HOUSING, ENERGY, IT: Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund (PIF) has said it will focus on three primary sectors: housing finance, renewable energy and information technology, Arab News has reported. The government-run fund is considering investing in other sectors, such as communication technologies, aerospace, energy, environment, security and advanced investments at King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology and other universities, research centres and individual initiatives, said Abdul Rahman Al Mufadhi, PIF secretary general.

EGYPT SEES TALKS WITH IMF IN JANUARY: Egypt's prime minister has said his country will resume talks in January with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), after Cairo suspended its request for a $4.8bn loan during this month's political turmoil over the now-adopted constitution, the Associated Press has reported. Hisham Kandil didn't specify when the talks will resume, but he stressed that the loan is important to Egypt's efforts to regain investor confidence as his country grapples with a crippling budget deficit and dwindling foreign reserves. "We need the vote of confidence from the IMF," Kandil said. "We hope to have more consensus on the government program. We hope there are no core changes to our plan with the fund," he said.

SAUDI 2013 INCOME COULD BE HIT BY GLOBAL OIL OUTPUT INCREASE: Saudi finance minister Ibrahim Alassaf has said production hikes by other oil producers will weigh on energy prices in 2013, potentially cutting into the kingdom's fiscal surplus, Reuters has reported. The world's top oil exporter said on Saturday that it ran a budget surplus of SR387bn ($103.2bn) in 2012 as high energy prices and strong output levels generated revenue of SR1.24trn. For next year it has conservatively budgeted spending of SR820bn and income of SR829bn, although based on recent fiscal performance both figures are likely to be a lot higher. "The results of this year are exceptional... The international conditions and the increase in production by some states (in 2013) will have negative effects on prices, that's why we're being conservative," Alassaf told Al-Arabiya TV.

SAUDI MARKET FALLS BACK AS FISCAL BUDGET EUPHORIA VANISHES: The Tadawul All-Share Index fell 0.78 percent Sunday, closing at 6,824.11 points as turnover rose slightly and 33 shares advanced, while 113 declined. In 2012, budget surplus of SR386nm was recorded, compared to a budgeted surplus of SR12bn. On Saturday, the Council of Ministers endorsed the fiscal budget for 2013 which is scheduled to continue the path of spending increases for infrastructure projects in the kingdom, a major oil exporter. According to Jadwa Investment's senior economist Fahad Al-Turki, the budgeted investment spending, raised by 28 percent to an all-time high of SR285 billion, will support healthy economic growth and provide encouragement and opportunities for the private sector at a time of global and regional uncertainty. Al-Turki added "We estimate that a price of $66 per barrel for Saudi export crude (around $70 per barrel for Brent) and production of 9.6 million barrels per day are consistent with the revenue projection contained in the budget. The IMF has warned recently, the kingdom could see fiscal deficits by 2017, if oil prices fall on a global economic slowdown. Al-Turki is less pessimistic. "In the event of a shortfall in revenues, any deficit can be financed comfortably by drawing from SAMA's (the Saudi central bank) huge stock of foreign assets, which stood at $635bn at the end of November 2012", he said.

DP WORLD SOARS ON JEBEL ALI TERMINAL 2 UPGRADE: The FTSE NASDAQ Dubai UAE 20 Index closed 0.78 percent higher at 1822.07 Sunday. Dubai Pots (DP) World advanced 1.90 percent to hit $11.73. After the exchange's closing, the world's third largest port operator said its chairman H.E. Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem has formally overseen the installation of the last of the 2752 65 ton blocks that make up the foundation of the extended quay wall of the 1 million TEU (twenty foot equivalent container units) expansion of Jebel Ali Container Terminal 2. The expansion, scheduled to open for business in Q2 2013, extends the quay wall by 400 metres to 3000 metres, allowing the simultaneous handling of six 15000 TEU "mega ships". DP World added that work was "well underway" on the new 4 million TEU capacity Terminal 3. It is set to open in 2014, taking Jebel Ali's total capacity to 19 million TEU. In 2012, DP World shares, which are dual-listed on London's LSE, gained 19 percent in value.

QATARI BOURSE FALLS TO FIVE-MONTH LOW: The sell-out continued on Sunday in Doha where the QE 20 Index fell 0.13 percent to close at 8,300.37 points, the lowest level since Jul. 31 this year. Weakly performing bank shares weighed on the gauge in particular. Al Ahli Bank lost the most, ending off 4.90 percent at QR50.30. Doha Insurance Co. gained 2.50 percent to reach QR27. Earlier in the day, the insurer said that its board of directors will be holding a meeting on Wednesday, January 30, 2013 to discuss and approve the financial statements ending December 31, 2012, and discuss the dividend distribution proposal for the fiscal year 2012.

AL BARAKA BANKING REACHES SIX-WEEK HIGH: The Bahrain All-Share Index gained the third session straight Sunday, closing 0.96 percent higher at 1,074.13 points. The kingdom's oldest Islamic bank Al Baraka Banking Group posted the largest advance, ending up 8.60 percent at $0.76. Gulf Finance House (GFH) remained at $0.12. Earlier in the day, GFH said in a statement to the bourse in reference to a Bloomberg interview given by its Acting CEO Hisham Alrayes on Dec. 26, that GFH remained committed to the development of the Tunis Financial Harbour, a copycat of the Manama-based Bahrain Financial Harbour, a financial dictrict (no free zone) for the banking industry. GFH said further it partially exits infrastructure projects, e. g. it will redeem the investors funds of Navi Mumbai Mega City. At the same time the Islamic investment bank studies property investment options in Dubai. Any decisions in the latter regards will be executed in 2013.

FGB SOARS, ETISALAT STABILISES AT ABU DHABI BOURSE: The ADX General Index added 0.06 percent to reach 2,626.97 points Sunday. First Gulf Bank rose to the highest level since Aug. 2008, finishing up 1.31 percentat Dhs11.70. The UAE's first telecom provider Etisalat added 1 fils to reach Dhs9.06. Al Buhaira National Insurance Co. gained the most (2.41 percent higher at Dhs4.25). In constrast to the Dubai bourse DFM, trading turnover remained low in Abu Dhabi as 56.5m shares valued at Dhs112.8m.

DUBAI MARKET HITS TWO-MONTH HIGH ON BULLISH 2013 OUTLOOK: The Dubai Financial Market General Index gained 1.13 percent on a robust turnover, closing at 1,629.07 points. Emaar as the most liquid share closed up 1.87 percent to reach Dhs3.81. Earlier in the day, the British Sunday Times said British investors shall buy property in Dubai as prices in the emirate are poised to rise by 5 percent to 15 percent in 2013. Shares of the DFM, the only Arab bourse listed on an exchange, advanced 1.06 percent, finishing at Dhs1.04, the highest price-level since Oct. 30. DFM shares reacted to the rise in trading volumes in Dec. Some 190m shares worth Dhs246m changed hands.

SAUDI ARABIA ANNOUNCES RECORD BUDGET FOR 2013: Saudi finance minister Ibrahim Alassaf has said the cabinet has set a record state budget for next year, as high oil prices allow heavy spending on welfare and infrastructure projects, helping it avoid the severe social unrest seen in other parts of the Arab world, Reuters has reported. The government plans to spend SR820bn ($219bn), 19 percent higher than the SR690bn that the world's largest oil exporter budgeted for 2012, Alassaf said. "The 2013 budget points to a continued strong expansionary fiscal stance," said Monica Malik, chief economist at investment bank EFG-Hermes in Dubai, who predicted actual spending would rise by 10 percent or more next year.

CENTRAL BANK SEES KUWAIT INFLATION TO CONTINUE FALLING NEXT YEAR: Kuwaiti central bank governor Mohammed al-Hashel has said inflation will slow to 4.3 percent this year and 4.1 percent in 2013 from 4.8 percent in 2011, Kuna has reported. Inflation in the major oil exporter has been slowing gradually since mid-2011, mostly due to lower food prices. Consumer prices rose 2.3 percent from a year earlier in November.

SAUDI ARABIA'S ACE COOP INSURANCE RISES ON PRODUCT APPROVAL: The Tadawul All-Share Index or Tasi gained 0.16 percent Saturday, closing at 6,877.06 points amid thin trading. Shares of ACE Cooperative Insurance Co. ended up 0.60 percent to reach SR86.50. Earlier in the day, ACE said the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA) has issued the final approvals of ACE's 'Professional Indemnity Insurance'. Tasi market bellwether SABIC retreated 0.28 percent to SR90.50.

ADX TO IMPLEMENT 'CALL AUCTIONS': The Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX) has unveiled plans to implement a new trading mechanism from January 2, Gulf News has reported. The new mechanism, known as "Call Auctions," will be based on calculating the closing prices and its shift to a new Free Float Index, Abdullah Salem Al Naimi, manager of market surveillance at ADX, told the daily. The migration from the current system of Volume Weighted Average Price (VWAP) will help ADX operate more seamlessly with global systems, Al Naimi added. "There will be a pre-closing auction session from 1:50pm to 2pm. During this period, brokers will be allowed to enter orders of buy or sell into the automated system as well as change them but without executing them," he said.

EGYPT PLANS TO INCREASE BOND SALE TARGET BY 60 PERCENT: The Egyptian finance ministry plans to sell about 60 percent more government bonds next quarter after political unrest prompted authorities to delay an International Monetary Fund (IMF) loan regarded as crucial to regaining investor confidence. The plan marks a reversal of the government's strategy last quarter to cut long-term debt sales by 49 percent in expectation of a $4.8bn IMF loan deal. "Unless we see liquidity inflows from the central bank or foreign investors, local banks will have to carry the burden of the extra debt," Amr Seif, chief dealer at Piraeus Bank Egypt, told the news service.

___ (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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