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The People’s Bank of China announced it has signed a currency swap agreement worth AED20 billion ($5.54bn) with the UAE, during Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao’s visit to Dubai. The statement added that the three years-long deal would boost two-way trade and investment between both the countries. The accord is the latest in a string of arrangements to facilitate greater use of China’s yuan in international trade. The PBOC website claimed the deal is worth 35 billion renminbi yuan.

UAE’s state-run Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) and China’s Sinopec signed a major energy co-operation agreement in Abu Dhabi that will strengthen strategic ties between the two countries, the official WAM news agency reported. The two sides entered into the agreement on the sidelines of World Future Energy Summit 2012 which opened on Monday. “The joint UAE-Chinese agreement will promote cooperation between the two nations on the production and storage of oil, and on issues pertaining to training and research,” official news agency WAM said in a statement.

Meanwhile, UN Secetary General Ban Ki-moon warned delegates at the WFES 2012 that over three billion people around the globe lack access to power and depend on coal, wood and waste material to fulfil their basic needs. “The WFES, which is held under the theme Powering Sustainable Innovation’, is the perfect platform to examine the implications for the large-scale adoption of renewable energy and clean technologies in the world,” the UN chief said while urging world leaders to spearhead initiatives to help “increase investments in the field of renewable energy and its technology transfer”.

Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) has announced the emirate will tender the rights to some of its biggest oilfields in a bid to shake partnership with major oil companies, some of them dating back to the World War II. “Adco [Abu Dhabi Company for Onshore Oil Operations] concessions will be put to bidding because companies will be screened,” Abdulla Nasser Al Suwaidi, the director general of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, said in a statement, seen as the first clear indication of the Abu Dhabi government’s plans. The said concession is a constellation of onshore fields that have a collective production of 1.4 million barrels per day (bpd), or half of Abu Dhabi’s pumping capacity, is due to expire in 2014.

Moby Group, a Dubai-based media company operating in the Middle East and Central Asia, has sold a minority stake to the Murdoch’s media empire, a statement released by News Corporation said. It added that capital funding will be provided to facilitate the group’s expansion that runs popular television channels like Tolo and Lemar TV in Afghanistan, as well as a number of radio stations and newspapers. “Under the terms of the agreement, News Corporation will contribute its 50 per cent shareholding in Broadcast Middle East (BME), its Farsi-language TV joint venture with Moby, for a minority shareholding in Moby and will also provide growth capital to Moby for its expansion plans. BME will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Moby following the investment,” the statement read.

Dubai-based Jumeirah Group announced it will open a resort on the Jimbaran district of the Indonesian island of Bali. The owners of Burj Al Arab said the resort, housing 80 suites and 25 private villas, is expected to be opened in 2015. The company opened a new hotel in Etihad Towers in Abu Dhabi in November last year and recently took over the Grand Hotel via Veneto in Rome. It also runs two resorts in the Maldives and owns a hotel, named Jumeirah Himalayas Hotel, in Shanghai, China. Jumeirah plans to open five more luxury hotels in China while completing its under construction resort project in Thailand.

Saudi Arabian Oil Company, the world’s largest crude exporter, announced its plans to build refineries in China and Indonesia, as part of its ambitious $200 billion spending programme to expand refining capabilities and explore oil and natural gas reserves during the next decade. “We are preparing for talks about ‘final terms’ for a Chinese refinery and are still waiting for ‘good terms to be put on the table’ for a processing plant in Indonesia,” Khalid al-Falih, Chief Executive Officer, said in an interview. “It’s an aspiration for a longer-term growth objective. The company plans to boost its global refining capacity to 8 million barrels a day in 10 years, including projects yet to be announced,” al-Falih added.

The UAE government announced it will cancel AED21.3 billion ($5.80 billion) debt owed by Iraq, during a state visit made by a high level Iraqi delegation. “We thank the UAE for cancelling the debts on Iraq, which was a very heavy burden,” Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari said in a joint press conference with Emirati foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah. The UAE wrote off almost US$7bn worth of Iraqi debt left over from the era of Saddam Hussein in 2008. The debt, mostly loans and grants that dated back from the 1980s, was lent to Iraq to help run the economy during its long-running war with Iran.

(By Moign Khawaja -Editor: Arabian Gazette)

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