Middle East Business News Review – 23 Apr

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A look at today’s important financial news and business updates from the Middle East region:

 Middle East Markets Report: VIDEO

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UAE banks continue to be the largest asset base in the Middle East

UAE Central bank’s latest report says that the total UAE banks gained nearly AED 38 billion in the first two months of 2012.

The total assets of the 51 commercial banks reached nearly AED 1,700.2 billion at the end of February to maintain their position as having the largest bank asset base in the Middle East. Saudi Arabia, the largest economy in the Middle East have a total assets of AED 1,600 billion at the end of February in its 12 commercial banks, latest data from Saudi central bank reveal.

The report showed deposits with the UAE banks jumped to nearly AED 1,109.8 billion at the end of February and loans marginally stood up at AED 1,072.3 billion in the same period.

The money supply M0 (currency in circulation + currency at banks) registered a 1.5 growth and stood at AED 53.1 billion at the end of February.

Money supply M1 (currency in circulation + monetary deposits) increased by 1.6 per cent to AED 276.3 billion in the same period.

Money supply M2, covering M1 and quasi-monetary deposits rose by about 2.5 per cent to AED 856.3 billion

Money supply M3 (M2 plus government deposits at banks and the Central Bank) increased by 2.7 per cent to AED 1,036.2 billion.

GCC chief calls for strategy to ensure water security

In the 10th GCC Water Conference being held in Doha, GCC Secretary-General Dr. Abdullatif Al-Zayani called for a futuristic GCC water security strategy for the 21st century.

He explained that a strategy is required to address the GCC states’ anticipated high economic growth over the next five years in terms of production and consumption alike, and a substantial increase in population.

Al-Zayani said the GCC countries should adopt an integrated methodology to help them surmount the challenges of water and energy production and consumption.

GCC per capita consumption of water being the highest in the world, he stressed the need for enacting of joint legislation and setting up an all-GCC Water Emergency Plan to meet any crisis situation

Call for stronger economic cooperation between UAE and Poland

Sultan Al Mansouri, UAE’s minister of economy called for stronger economic cooperation between the UAE and Poland. He identifed energy, industry and tourism as the main areas of investment.

“UAE trade with Poland in 2008 was in the region of USD 500 million [AED 1.83 billion] annually and was low due to the global financial crisis, but the current figures are quite positive and encouraging,” he said.

Abdul Rahman Saif Al Ghurair , Chairman of the Dubai Chamber , said that there is huge potential for growth for polish companies setting up base in the UAE.

“At the end of 2010, Poland ranked 60th on the list of Dubai’s top trading partners. Presently, the number of Polish partnership companies registered with the Dubai Chamber is relatively low, at 20, therefore we see great potential and scope for more investors to set up businesses in the emirate,” he added.

“We see a huge potential for businesses from both countries to work together to enhance their business ties as Poland offers expertise in construction, aviation, oil, gas, energy, banking and finance.

“Meanwhile, the driving forces of our economy include trade, financial services, logistics and tourism and we look forward to working with you in these common areas of interest,” he said.

Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk lauded the strong partnership between Poland and the UAE, and said that his country was ready to invest USD 200 billion here during the next ten years.

Meanwhile, trade between Poland and the UAE varies between USD 300 million and USD 800 million annually, as per the deputy director of the Polish Information and Foreign Investment Agency.

Dubai Financial Market (DFM) reforms its trading rules as liquidity crisis close yet another brokerage

In a major announcement, Dubai Financial Market (DFM) for the first time said that it has allowed two companies, EFG-Hermes and Arab German International Broker, offer margin trading. Financial experts expects this move to substantially increase trading volume because it allows investors to leverage their cash into much larger trading positions.

DFM said it is working with other brokerage firms to provide the same facility.

Essa Kazim, the chief executive of the DFM said, “The introduction of margin trading should really help the development of the capital market. We would like to see more brokers benefit from the new rules and regulations introduced to the market to offer better services to investors.”

The financial crisis which began in 2008 had taken a toll on DFM’s liquidity and has driven smaller brokerages out of business.

The reform came as Al Awael Securities, which was ranked 42 out of 50 in DFM’s last month’s trading report, applied to the DFM to halt its operations due to declining revenues.

First Financial Services Association to be established in the UAE

A group of leading financial institutions in the United Arab Emirates have established the Financial Services Association (UAE), the first of its kind; a non-profit policy development and trade association for the financial services sector in the UAE. Such associations are integral to the development of a successful financial services sector in line with Global standards. Click here to read in detail…

UAE to establish itself as ‘prime centre of Arabic learning

Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, announced his government’s aim of establishing the UAE as a global ‘centre of excellence’ for Arabic language. Click here to read more….

Air France-KLM considering ties with Etihad-Air Berlin

A German newspaper reported Air France-KLM is considering a partnership with UAE’s national flag carrier Etihad that also includes a tie up with Air Berlin. Click here to read more…

Qatar to invest around $19.2bn to boost water, power networks

Qatar says it plans to spend around QAR70bn (US$19.2bn) to boost its electricity and water networks during the next nine years. Click here to read more…

Iranian oil industry disrupted by notorious malware attack

Iran’s state-controlled media reported that the country’s oil industry has been the victim of a major cyber attack on Sunday. The Mehr news agency reported Monday the Iranian oil ministry and the National Iranian Oil Company and a number of other companies associated with the Iranian government were target of a notorious computer worm with their websites down for hours until restored by computer engineers. Click here to read in detail…

Egypt scraps gas deal with Israel

Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Company announced on Monday it has terminated its contract to ship gas to Israel because of contractual violations committed by Tel Aviv. Click here to read more…

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