Middle East Business News Review – 11 July

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Middle East Business News Review – A look at today’s important financial news and business updates from the Gulf, Levant and North Africa:

Saudi, UAE top world cosmetics markets

Gulf nations, particularly Saudi Arabia and the UAE, are home to the world’s highest consumption rates of cosmetics, according to a study conducted by Epoc Messe Frankfurt and published by the London-based newspaper Asharq al-Awsat.

Saudi Arabia ranks first among Gulf nations, followed by the UAE, in consumption of skin and hair care products, the findings revealed. Both countries are also among the world’s fastest growing cosmetics markets, a study conducted by Beauty World Exhibition disclosed.

Dubai’s $6.81 million eco-friendly mosque to open in 2013

Dubai will have a modern, eco-friendly mosque by the end of 2013 that will be powered by solar panels and have a water-recycling plant that will reduce energy and water consumption by 15-19%.

The Awqaf and Minors Affairs Foundation (AMAF), which is funding the project, said that the AED25 million ($6.81m) mosque would be located behind Al Rowad village near the Clock Tower Roundabout in Deira. The 45,000-square-foot mosque will have about 105,000-square-foot area and will accommodate about 3,500 worshippers at a time.

Saudi raised oil output in June citing ‘increased’ demand

Saudi Arabia raised its oil production to 10.1 million barrels per day in June, from 9.8 million barrels per day a month earlier, Dowjones quoted an anonymous source as saying on Wednesday.

The Kingdom is currently producing around 10 million barrels per day, the person, who asked not to be named, told Dow Jones Newswires, adding the output rose due to increased demand from customers.

According to a Dow Jones survey carried out earlier this month, the largest Arab economy produced 10.05 million barrels per day in June, unchanged from a month earlier.

Few Muslims believe US stands for Democracy; Demand for more personal freedom, Islam – Report

Majority of population in Muslim nations expressed their strong desire for democracy more than a year after the first stirrings of the Arab Spring, a report revealed on Wednesday.

A survey carried out by the Pew Research Centre showed solid majorities in Lebanon, Turkey, Egypt, Tunisia and Jordan believe democracy is the best form of government. Around 42% Pakistanis also expressed their confidence in the democratic system. The second most populous Muslim nation has seen most of its 64 years as a functioning state under dictatorship.

Dubai’s Emaar Properties plans $500 mln sukuk

Emaar Properties, builder of the world’s tallest tower, plans to issue a $500 million seven-year sukuk this week, arranging banks said, joining a growing list of Gulf Arab entities tapping demand for Islamic debt.

The potential sale would mark the Dubai developer’s return to the debt markets after more than a year and an opportune time to raise cheap financing.

Kuwaiti family buys Nottingham Forest

In a statement on the club’s website (www.nottinghamforest.co.uk), Fawaz, Abdulaziz and Omar al-Hasawi said a shirt launch and news conference would be held at the City Ground on Saturday.

Forest are one of only eight clubs to retain the European Cup, securing their second title in 1980. They have not played in the Premier League since they were relegated in 1999.

Iran warns media against reporting impact of sanctions

Iran has warned the media against the publication of reports concerning the impact of Western sanctions, urging it to cooperate so that “the country is not hurt,” local newspapers reported on Wednesday.

“Our country is not in a position to allow the media to publish (any) news or analysis which is not compatible with the regime’s and national interests,” said Mohammad Hosseini, the Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance, whose ministry oversees the Iranian print media and official news websites.

“The situation regarding sanctions and other pressures, especially in economy … requires more cooperation by the media so the country is not hurt,” Hosseini said in comments originally published on the dolat.ir government site.

Dubai club Al Wasl sack Maradona

Former Argentina World Cup-winning captain Diego Maradona has been sacked as coach of United Arab Emirates club Al Wasl.

The 51-year-old, who agreed a two-year contract with Al Wasl in May 2011, was dismissed following a meeting of the club’s board on Tuesday.

Al Wasl failed to win any silverware under Maradona during his season at the helm, slipping to eighth in the 12-team UAE Pro League from sixth the previous season. They also lost in the final of the Gulf Champions League to Bahrain side Al Muharraq and enjoyed little success in domestic cup competitions.

Saudi Arabia says in talks to send women

Saudi Arabia will send women athletes to the 2012 London Games if they are invited by the International Olympic Committee, a Saudi official told Reuters on Wednesday in comments that suggested Riyadh was moving towards resolving the thorny issue.

“Saudi Arabia will allow female athletes to participate if they receive an invitation from the International Olympic Committee or other countries’ Olympic committees,” the official, who declined to be named because of the sensitivity of the issue, told Reuters by telephone.

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