Interpreting Middle East Economic News and Analyzing Market Trends

Archive for March, 2013

There is still tension on the Iraq-Kuwait border…

Nearly twenty-two years since the end of the first Gulf War, tensions between Iraq and Kuwait still exist.


Iraqi police said they shot in the air to disperse stone-throwing crowds protesting against the demarcation of the border with Kuwait on Monday, leaving some on the Kuwaiti side believing they were being fired at, according to media reports.

The protest, and the confusion over the shooting, underlined localized tensions over the position of the frontier that have persisted more than two decades after Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait.

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Qatar courting Sarkozy to run PE fund

Qatar looking to setup a private equity fund to be run by former French President, Nicolas Sarkozy.  The fund is not yet setup and Sarkozy is still not sure if he will join the new venture.  What’s in it for Sawkozy?  Well, a lot of money for starters.  What’s in it for the Qataris?  More global branding and a star asset… among other things.  Here’s more from CNBC:


Nicolas Sarkozy is being wooed by sovereign wealth funds including Qatar’s who are ready to back him to start a private equity fund.

Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund and other investors have offered to commit as much as €500m in total to a fund run by the former French president, people familiar with the matter said. Mr Sarkozy has sought advice from close advisers on the plan.

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Junk bond issuance hits new record, time for sukuk issuers to stay clear of this bubble

Junk bond issuance hit a record in 2012 and is on track to hit another record in 2013.  Much like the sukuk market, junk bonds have been the hot product on Wall Street ever since the Fed and ECB pushed interest rates near zero and promised to keep them there for years to come.  Investors searching for higher yields had to look outside of these markets for better returns.  This ushered in the new era for the junk bond market.  Here’s a recent article on the junk bond market:

Wall Street banks are selling junk bonds at a record pace — raising concerns they are selling debt that may be poised to lose value.

 The banks spent more than $93 billion dealing with costs from the 2008 credit crisis, including lawsuits and fines for allegedly misleading investors about mortgage-backed products.

This time is different, bankers say.


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Saudi Arabian economy expected to grow 3% in 2013, larger issues loom on the horizon

Twenty-twelve was a good year for the Saudi economy.  The final number on the GDP is expected to come in at 6.8% for the year.  This year, the economy is expected to grow 3% according to a report in Arab News.  However, the country faces large hurdles in the coming years.


Real GDP.jpg


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The history of money beginning in Egypt and the difference between money and currency

Here’s a multi-part series produced by  The first episode below discusses the early forms of money in Egypt.  It then goes on to explain the difference between currency and money.




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