Middle East Business News Review – 30 May

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

UAE facing fuel subsidies dilemma

The UAE government has setup a top-level body to review state fuel subsidies amid calls by national retailers not to further cut oil prices as their losses soar. Members of the Federal National Council (FNC), a consultative body, unanimously approved plans this month to cut gasoline prices for everyone, after reports suggested fuel prices in the Emirates are third highest in the Middle East, after Syria and Tunisia. Click here to read more…

Middle Eastern airlines boost April international air traffic

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) said on Wednesday Middle East airlines’ passenger traffic was boosted by 16% in April, more than double the global average. It also noted that international air passenger traffic rose 7.4% in April year-on-year while passenger demand registered a double digit increase in the second half of 2011. Click here to read more…

Iraq sits atop millions in unspent global aid

Iraq’s government risks losing funding from international donors as millions of dollars in international aid to build and repair Iraq’s dilapidated schools and other infrastructure has gone unspent for years. The World Bank, chief Iraq donor, is weighing to use some of it elsewhere. Click here to read more…

BP starts operations in Libya amid Shell exit

British Petroleum said on Wednesday it is resuming exploration activities in Libya which were suspended last year due to the violent uprising against former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. The announcement comes amid Royal Dutch Shell’s decision to halt oil exploration in the country due to ‘disappointing results’. Click here to read more…

Global oil prices fall sharply thanks to rebounding dollar

World oil prices hit multi-month lows on Wednesday, as the US dollar hit a 22-month high against euro on concerns over a possible Spanish bailout, dealers said. Brent North Sea crude touched the lowest point since 20 December after sliding to $105 per barrel. Click here to read more…

UAE central bank mulls exemptions on lending limits

The UAE’s central bank could grant exemptions to some banks over planned lending limits to sovereign and state-linked entities, pushing compliance beyond the 30 September deadline, its chairman told a local newspaper on Wednesday. Click here to read more. (Source – Reuters via ArabianBusiness.com)

Kuwait-led consortium wins Iraq oil deal

Kuwait Energy announced on Wednesday that a consortium led by the company has been awarded an exploration and development oil contract in Iraq. Click here to read more. (Source – ArabianBusiness.com)

Gulf nations turn to export credit as global banks curtail loans

Arab Gulf borrowers are increasingly relying on trade credit companies to raise money for projects as global banks curtail their business in the oil-exporting bloc. Click here to read more. (Source – Bloomberg via Daily Star Lebanon)

US sanctions Syria International Islamic Bank

Washington slapped sanctions on the Syria International Islamic Bank Wednesday, saying it had helped the Damascus regime skirt sanctions placed on the country’s leading bank. Qatar is supporting the move with “corresponding actions,” the US Treasury said, as the US and allies step up pressure on the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, accused of orchestrating a brutal campaign of repression against a popular uprising. (Source – AFP via Zawya.com)

Arab exports to Brazil up 37% so far in 2012

Arab exports to Brazil between January and April 2012 rose 37 percent to $3.4bn, compared to the same period last year, according to official data released on Wednesday. Figures from the Arab-Brazilian Chamber of Commerce (ABCC) showed Algeria topped the list of Arab exporters with $1.5bn worth of trade, followed by Saudi Arabia ($723m) and Kuwait ($378m). The majority of the exports consisted of oil and oil products, fertilisers and plastics. Click here to read more. (Source – ArabianBusiness.com)

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