Middle East Business Review

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Dubai’s stock exchange slumped to more than seven-year low Sunday while the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX) fell more than three-week low, local Gulf News reported. The Dubai Financial Market (DFM) General Index was down 0.99 per cent to 1,314.47 ? lowest close since June 2004 ? soon after credit ratings of nine EU countries were downgraded opening doors wide open to speculation that local companies will report disappointing full-year earnings.

Meanwhile, the UAE stock exchanges have come under renewed calls to reduce their market trading fees that are 15 times higher than their Saudi counterparts. Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange and the Dubai Financial Market, the country’s two main exchanges, take a standard fee of 15 basis points per trade. Brokerages, on the other hand, take a flat commission of 15 basis points as well but are charging way less due to the competition for business, lower volumes and depressing market conditions.

According to the Indian Trade Minister Anand, the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, the sovereign wealth fund of the Abu Dhabi emirate, has pledged to invest in Indian infrastructure sector to the tune of $1 trillion in the next five years. “This is an opportunity to enter this huge market,” Sheikh Hamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the managing director of the ADIA, said in a statement. The funds would be utilised to complete the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC) project that will oversee the completion of 24 industrial zones along the railway lines connecting both the metropolises.

According to a Financial Times report, Saudi Arabia is expected to allow foreign capitalists to invest directly in its $340 billion stock market for the first time later this year. The paper quoted a senior emerging markets fund manager as saying that international access to the Saudi stock market could happen “as early as the first half of this year or even the first quarter”.

Strata, Mubadala Aerospace’s manufacturing unit, has won a package by Airbus worth more than $1bn (AED3.67bn). The engineering firm is an advanced composite aircraft-structures maker in Al Ain, and has been awarded its first work package on the new Airbus A350 XWB, to provide wing components called flap-track fairings.

Saudi Arabia and China have signed a mutual cooperation deal on the civilian use of nuclear energy as part of a package of deals the world’s most populous country signed over the weekend to strengthen ties with the top oil exporter, Saudi state news agency SPA reported. Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao is in Riyadh as part of a tour of the Middle East to secure oil supplies to the Communist republic amid tightening economic sanctions against Iran’s oil industry.

Meanwhile, the Iranian representative to the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) has urged Arab countries not to increase production of crude oil in case of the EU embargo on Iranian oil imports. “We cannot predict the consequences of the embargo. Thus, our Arab neighbours should not cooperate with these adventurers and should adopt prudent measures,” Sharq newspaper quoted Iranian envoy Mohammad Ali Khatibi as saying.

(By Moign Khawaja ? Editor: Arabian Gazette)

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