Archive for February, 2013
Cheap debt leads to a rush to issue Sukuk
- Published on Monday, 18 February 2013 05:10
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Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (Dewa) will probably pay almost 50 per cent less to sell debt than it did almost three years ago after borrowing costs plunged four times more than global peers amid a pick up in power demand.
The state-owned company hired six banks to raise as much as US$1 billion from the sale of Islamic bonds, a banker familiar with the deal said January 31. Dewa, which has investment-grade ratings at Moody’s Investors Service and Standard & Poor’s, will probably pay about 4 per cent on 10-year bonds, according to Commerzbank and Mashreq Capital DIFC, which are not involved in the sale. It sold similar-maturity notes in October 2010 at 7.375 per cent.
Saudi Tadawul set to open up to foreign investors… in time!
- Published on Monday, 18 February 2013 04:46
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Deutsche Bank AG, Europe’s biggest bank by assets, expects Saudi Arabia will soon allow foreigners to invest directly in local company shares, joining hedge fund Passport Capital LLC in predicting the market is set to open.
“I am convinced that the market will open up to foreign investors and part of me is very optimistic it’s going to be soon,” Jamal Alkishi, chief executive officer of Deutsche Securities Saudi Arabia, said in an interview in his Riyadh office Feb. 11. “I think the leadership sees the benefits of doing so, but they just want to make sure that every facet is examined and thoroughly understood before plunging into this.”
Egypt’s shrinking foreign currency reserves, devaluation is inevitable
- Published on Monday, 11 February 2013 17:27
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A run on Egypt’s pound has left foreign currency in short supply and driven some dealers into the streets in search of people with U.S. dollars to sell, spawning a new black market.
The currency’s decline was triggered by a political uprising that swept Hosni Mubarak from power in 2011 and it has officially lost 8 percent of its value since Dec. 30.
Black market rates are even weaker, a sign that although the central bank managed to stem the slide in official trade last week, Egyptians are nervous about holding on to pounds.
Some dealers tout discreetly outside regulated foreign exchange bureaux and banks in Cairo, illegally offering a better rate to those looking to sell hard currency.
“There are no dollars. Everyone that walks in asks for dollars but supply is scarce,” said one of the dealers.
UAE government moves to decriminalize bounced checks, HSBC cries foul
- Published on Monday, 11 February 2013 17:12
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A new move to decriminalise bounced security cheques could backfire without a federal credit bureau in place, a top banker has warned.
It comes as other banks point to a rise in Emiratis missing payments on unsecured lending, which includes credit cards and personal loans, ever since a presidential decree immunised Emirati borrowers from going to jail over bounced security cheques.
If they are barred from using cheques as a security measure, banks may become unwilling to lend to individuals, said Rick Crossman, the head of retail banking and wealth management at HSBC Middle East.
“Kuwait, ‘the back office of logistical support’ for Syria’s rebels”
- Published on Thursday, 07 February 2013 17:09
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To many observers, Kuwait’s decision to host a United Nations meeting last week to raise humanitarian aid for Syrians – and its pledge of US$300 million to the effort – were the most overt steps that the country has yet taken to get involved in the crisis.
Until then, Kuwait had appeared largely absent from regional diplomacy on the crisis, while Qatar has funded and hosted the political opposition to Mr Al Assad and Saudi Arabia has reportedly sent arms to anti-regime fighters.
Yet interviews with aid organisations and officials suggest Kuwait has played a no less pivotal role than its Gulf Arab neighbours during the 22-month uprising. This country of 2.6 million people has emerged as a central fund-raising hub for direct financial support to insurgents fighting the Assad regime and for humanitarian aid to rebel-controlled areas, which are said to encompass slightly more than half of the country.