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AME Info, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, finance and economy briefs [AME Info, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates]
[January 28, 2013]

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) Jan. 28--DP WORLD GAINS AHEAD OF 2012 VOLUMES REPORT: The FTSE NASDAQ Dubai UAE 20 Index closed at 2048.83 today, up 0.31 percent, from the previous close. Shares of global maritime port operator DP World advanced 0.38 percent to reach $13.05. DP World Group Chief Executive Officer Mohammed Sharaf will present tomorrow Tuesday the company's annual throughput of the year 2012 to the public.

QATAR'S TOP ISLAMIC BANK AL RAYAN GAINS ON PROFIT SURGE: The QE Index bounced back 0.28 percent to reach 8,665. 19 points. Shares of Masraf Al-Rayan, the Gulf state's first Shari'ah-compliant financial institution, added 0.53 percent to finish at QR76.20. Earlier in the day, Al Rayan said it earned in 2012 a net profit of QR1.5bn in 2012 versus QR1.4bn in 2011. Total assets reaching QAR 61,628 million, compared with QR55.271bn in Dec. 31, 2011, a growth rate of 11.5 percent. The bank added that its board of directors discussed at its meeting a number of issues related to the acquisition of equity in different companies, where the board was briefed on the steps under way to complete the acquisition of a significant equity of the Islamic Bank of Britain (IBB) and also was briefed on the steps under way with respect to the acquisition of shares of a commercial bank in Libya through a capital increase, this is in light of preliminary approval of Qatar Central Bank. IBB has not generated profits since its inception in 2004. A deadline for Al Rayan to buy over the majority stake (84 percent) in IBB which is currently held by Qatar First Islamic Investment was set at Feb. 4 2013.

ADCB GETS GREEN LIGHT TO BUY BACK 10 percent ITS SHARES: The ADX General Index gained a quarter percentage point Monday, closing at 2,806.89 points. Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank or ADCB surged 2.74 percent to reach Dhs3.38. Earlier in the day, ADCB said the UAE central bank had no objections against the lender's plan to buy back 10 percent of its shares. Merging developers Aldar and Sorouh fell 2.11 percent and 0.58 percent, respectively. Ealier in the day, both developers said their merger will be subject to shareholders' vote in Feb. whilst the merger will be completed end of June this year.

DUBAI MARKET SWINGS BETWEEN PROFITS AND LOSSES: The DFM General Index closed a volatile Monday 0.13 percent higher at 1,821.30 points. Emirates NBD (up 6.06 percent at Dhs3.50 percent) helped the gauge to stay in the green. Emaar remained unchanged at its three-year high from yesterday at Dhs4.64. Profit takings dragged shares of the DFM, the only listed Arab market, down by 2.34 percent to Dhs1.25. Market breadth ended in the red as six stocks advanced, while 19 declined.

QATAR TO REVIEW SPONSORSHIP SYSTEM: The Qatari cabinet has formed a committee, comprising representatives from the ministries of interior, labour and justice, the general secretariat of urban planning and the chamber of commerce and industry, to review the sponsorship system to make it more in line with Qatar's Vision 2030, Gulf Times has reported. Under the current system, there is the lure of employing expatriates in a cost-effective manner but the fallout of this arrangement is diminishing job opportunities for nationals and slowing down of the use of state-of-the-art technology besides a fall in productivity, the report said.

EGYPT DECLARES STATE OF EMERGENCY: Egyptian president Mohamed Mursi has declared a state of emergency in three provinces following days of unrest that have left almost 50 dead, and said he was ready to take additional steps to protect the nation, Bloomberg has reported. Mursi said in a televised address that attacks on civilians and state installations won't be tolerated and that he had ordered security forces to deal with transgressors with "all firmness and strength" to halt further violence. "These actions have nothing to do with the revolution" and are instead the "ugly face of a counter- revolution," Mursi said.

DUBAI MAY RELAX INVESTMENT RULES: Dubai is considering allowing GCC nationals to set up joint ventures with non-Gulf foreigners, Reuters has reported. The emirate's Department of Economic Development said it has formed a committee to study applications from nationals of the GCC and will evaluate them based on how valuable the projects are to Dubai's economy. Currently, foreign investors in Dubai and the larger UAE can hold only minority stakes in companies and must have a local partner, except for free zones where 100 percent foreign ownership is allowed.

IMF SAYS YEMEN CAN CUT INTEREST RATES: The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has said that Yemen has room to gradually reduce interest rates to support economic recovery and needs to focus on consolidating its public finances, Reuters has reported. "In view of the continued decline in inflation, there is scope for a further gradual reduction in the interest rate to stimulate bank lending to the private sector," Khaled Sakr, the IMF mission chief for Yemen, told the news service. The central bank cut its key deposit rate by two percentage points to 18 percent in October as inflation came down to single digits and the Yemeni rial currency stabilised.

KSA'S ADVANCED PETROCHEMICAL NET INCOME, SHARES DECLINE: The Saudi Arabian equity market measure Tadawul All-Share Index ended Sunday trading unchanged at 7,023.74 points. Sabic gained fo third day straight (up 0.25 percent at SR93.5). Its rival Advanced Petrochemical Company fell 0.73 percent to SR27.20. Earlier in the day, the Jubail-based producer of propylene said the net income for the year 2012 was SR328.2m compared to SR512.8m for the last year with a decrease of 36 percent. Advanced Petrochemical added the reason for the decline in net income "is mainly due to decline in product prices and decrease in sales quantities due to planned turnaround activity during the second quarter of 2012.

FINANCIALS LIFT BAHRAIN BOURSE : The Bahrain All-Share Index added 0.27 percent Sunday, closing at 1,073.38 points. Al Salam Bank Bahrain surged 9.46 percent, while Inovest (up 5.13 percent) and Islamic bank Al Baraka Banking Group (0.69 percent higher) also helped the gauge to stay afloat. Ithmaar bank ended unchanged. No traded share decline in value at the Manama-based market.

QATAR ISLAMIC BANK APPOINTS NEW CEO : The QE 20 Index declined 0.57 percent to 8,640.61 points as profit takings occurred across the board. Qatar Islamic Bank or QIB closed unchanged at QR72.60. Earlier in the day, QIB said the board of directors has appointed Bassel Gamal as the Chief Executive Officer of the Shari'ah-compliant bank. "Mr. Bassel Gamal, who has 22 years experience in banking, will be responsible for all the companies and institutions affiliated to QIB inside Qatar and abroad. Mr. Bassel Gamal will assume his duties during February, 2013." Shares of Qatar Telecom, known as Qtel dipped 0.18 percent, finishing Sunday trading at QR110. End of last week, Qtel announced the successful pricing of $1bn senior unsecured notes to be issued by its wholly owned subsidiary, Qtel International Finance Limited under the U$3bn Global Medium Term Note Programme established on the Irish Stock Exchange on 7 December 2012. The transaction was priced at a margin of 2.15 percent over the 10 year U.S. Treasury rate for the 15 year note and at 1.625 percent over the 30 year U.S. Treasury rate for the 30 year note. Net proceeds from the sale of the Notes will be used for Qtel's general corporate purposes, including refinancing existing indebtedness.

ABU DHABI BOURSE KNOCKS AT 2,800, A FIRST SINCE OCT. 2010: Like the Dubai market the ADX started with gains and solid turnover into the last week of Jan. as the ADXGI ended up 0.60 percent at 2,799.63 points. Merging developers Aldar and Sorouh performed again in lockstep as both shares closed even at Dhs1.42 and Dhs1.72, respectively. Market bellwether Etisalat gained Dhs0.02 to reach Dhs9.52. The UAE's first telecom provider recovered half of its sever losses it suffered from Dec. 11 to Dec. 12 after the Emirati government set royalty fees for Etisalat and its Dubai-based rival Du for the years 2012 to 2016. The ministry of finance has set a federal royalty fee at 15 percent on revenues and 35 percent on profits for 2012-2015 for Etisalat. In 2016, the firm has to pay to the state 15 percent on revenues and 30 percent on profits. Shares of Abu Dhabi Ship Building lost the most, ending down 9.82 percent at Dhs1.01.

U. S. BULLS' RUN BOOSTS DUBAI MARKET: The DFM General Index gained 1.50 percent Sunday, closing at 1,819.01 points, a near three-year high. Last Friday, the U. S. bellwether index Dow Jones Industrial hit a 5-year high amid positive encouraging data from the labour market. Emaar Properties and DFM as the most liquid shares advanced 3.57 percent ad 2.40 percent to close at Dhs4.64 and Dhs1. 28, respectively. Earlier in the day, real estate services provider Asteco said strong demand for villa and apartment property in Dubai is expected to continue in the first half of 2013. In Q4 2012, villa sales prices were up on average 23 percent year-on-year and apartments made average gains of 14 percent during the same period, said Asteco. Shares of Kuwait's Mazaya Real Estate could not benefit from the general bullish sentiment and lost the most (off 10 percent at Dhs0.99.

SAUDI ARABIA UNEMPLOYMENT RATE AT 12.2 percent: According to a study by the Saudi Central Department of Statistics and Information, the unemployment rate in the country stood last year at 12.2 percent, with more than 588,000 jobless Saudis out of the more than 4,800,000 citizens in the working age group, Arab News has reported. "Of the total Saudi citizens in the working age group, 3,900,000 are men. They represent 80.6 percent of the labour force," said the report. The total number of employed Saudis was around 4,200,000 representing 87.8 percent of the Saudi labour force, it said.

GCC TO SET UP INVESTMENT FIRM IN QATAR: The GCC Economic Forum has approved a plan to set up a Gulf investment firm to be headquartered in Doha, Qatar, the Peninsula has reported. The forum also recommended establishing some companies and launched projects related to the precious metals and foodstuff to meet the growing demand in GCC countries.

IRAQ REDUCES GOLD HOLDINGS BY 25 percent IN NOVEMBER: According to data from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Iraq has cut its gold holdings by a quarter to 29.9 tonnes in November, Reuters has reported. The IMF's monthly statistics report showed an upward revision of 9.6 tonnes for the months of September and October, which took the total to 39.4 tonnes before the reduction in November.

SOUTH KOREA SAYS $1BN TRANSFERRED ILLEGALLY BACK TO IRAN: A Korean-American have been arrested by South Korean legal authorities on charges related to the illegal transfer of $1.02bn in Iran funds that had been frozen due to international sanctions, Reuters has reported. The suspect was charged with making fraudulent transfers in 2011 from the Iranian central bank's won-denominated account at a South Korean bank by using fake invoices for payment. "This is a criminal case perpetrated by an individual to circumvent the Korea-Iran won transaction system and the Bank of Korea's approval system," the prosecutors' office said. However, prosecutors couldn't track down who placed the order from Iran because South Korea does not have an agreement with Tehran to cooperate on criminal cases.

TADAWUL MARKET DEFENDS 7,000 POINTS: Positive input from the oil market ad the U. S., which saw the Dow Jones Industrial rising to 5-year high Friday, lifted the Saudi equity gauge Tasi by 0.40 percent to 7,025.31 points. Sabic as the most liquid shares ended up 0.81 percent to hit SR93.25. Alujain Corp. advanced one percent, finishing at SR14.95. Earlier in the day, Alujain ssid that in line with the "normal industrial practice", its subsidiary National Petrochemical Industrial Co. Propylene & Polypropylene Complex in Yanbu Industrial City will be shut down for a period of approximately 22 days starting Jan. 27 for major maintenance workd, as well as for implementing the production and equipment enhancement.

QATAR TO ENFORCE NATIONALISATION OF PRIVATE SECTOR JOBS: Qatari labour ministry has formed a committee to follow up the jobs-nationalisation programme in the private sector, the Peninsula has reported. The committee will hold meetings with private firms to ensure strict compliance with the Qatarisation programme approved by the cabinet, the ministry said. The cabinet has fixed 20 percent job quotas in the private sector for citizens and non-specialisation jobs have also been Qatarised, it said.

QINVEST'S TAKEOVER OF EFG-HERMES DELAYED: Egypt's biggest investment bank, EFG-Hermes Holding has announced its sale to Qatar's QInvest has been delayed as regulators in the Middle East scrutinise the takeover, Bloomberg has reported. QInvest, a unit of Qatar Islamic Bank, and EFG-Hermes plan to create an investment bank with operations in the Middle East, Africa and Turkey, as well as southern and south-eastern Asia. "It is mainly because of regulatory approvals that the conclusion of the deal is taking longer than expected," Hanzada Nessim, investor-relations manager at Cairo-based EFG-Hermes, told the news service. The deal, announced in March, was expected to be concluded in November.

___ (c)2013 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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