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According to the data released by International Energy Agency (IEA), the UAE’s average oil output registered an increase of 2.38% in December to reach 2.58 million barrels per day (bpd) compared to 2.52 million bpd month before. “OPEC (Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries) crude oil supply rose by 240,000 bpd to an average of 30.89 million bpd in December. The rapid recovery in supplies from Libya, and to a lesser extent increases from Saudi Arabia and the UAE, combined to push year-end output to the highest level in more than three years,” the IEA said.

A Reuters poll suggested constant decline in house prices in the UAE will continue this year citing oversupply and concerns over the health of global economy that will have a direct impact on Dubai’s housing market. The poll, comprising of responses from banks, investment firms and research institutions, hinted house prices in Dubai’s real estate sector will slip by a median 5% during this year. “The key message is that despite some recent stability, we still have a good chunk of supply coming in 2012 and as long as new jobs are not created to absorb the new supply, we are not likely to see any recovery,” Athmane Benzerroug, analyst at Deutsche Bank, said.

Abu Dhabi announced it intends to create more than half a million jobs over the next decade. Speaking at the annual Tawdheef Recruitment Show, Hayate Jemai, director of the exhibition said the number of Emiratis seeking jobs annually range from 12,000-13,000 in the emirate of Abu Dhabi alone. ?For the first time in the exhibition?s history only [organisations] with immediate job openings for UAE nationals are taking part,? Jemai said while adding that Emirati nationals are being offered around 2,000 vacant positions in more than 100 public and private organisations including government, defence, finance, health care, tourism and hospitality, security and telecoms.

UAE’s Etisalat announced it is slashing roaming rates on outgoing calls made in the GCC countries by at least 26%, bringing the telecom operator’s charges in line with its competitor, du. The statement added that the new rates are effective immediately and apply to both prepaid and postpaid customers. “For example, whilst roaming on Mobily or on any mobile network in Saudi Arabia, an Etisalat customer calling Oman or Bahrain will get charged at a flat rate of Dh2.40 per minute,” Etisalat’s statement explained.

Centurion Investment has acquired a 40% stake, worth $2 billion, in the UAE Exchange, one of the country’s largest foreign exchange firms, the companies said in a joint statement. Owned by an Indian businessman, the UAE Exchange was part of NMC, until acquired by Centurion. It is one of the oldest exchange houses in the UAE with 99 branches, along with 560 international branches.

International Monetary Fund (IMF) warned Qatar to watch out carefully its massive public spending programme in line with the 2022 Football World Cup while noting that the gas-rich sheikhdom’s GDP grew at a staggering 19% in 2011, up 2% compared to 2010. “The economic outlook for 2012 and beyond looks favourable, despite increased external risks. The main downside risks are lower hydrocarbon prices and potential disruption in transportation of liquefied natural gas (LNG) due to increased geopolitical tensions,” IMF said in its annual assessment of Qatari economy. The global financial body praised Doha for braving the global economic crisis with high growth and fiscal surpluses.

Meanwhile, statistics released by the World Bank suggest Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) registered a sharp drop in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan by the end of 2011, receiving just over 12% of net investment made in the MENA region. The bank cited political unrest and economic uncertainty as the major reasons behind the fall in investment as well as in economy and tourism. However, the World Bank said it expects a turnaround in the economy later this year which will attract international investors to the country.

Oil traders said Iran cut its official selling prices (OSPs) by $2.10 a barrel for the month of February to match the declines in benchmark Saudi prices. The prices set by the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) stood $2.26 a barrel to Dubai and Oman during the month of January. Prices of Iranian Heavy and Forozan crude, sold to Asian buyers, were also lowered. NIOC made deeper price cuts for its European customers compared to the Saudis, setting its February Iran Light price to Northwest Europe at BWAVE minus $2.35 a barrel, down $1.55. Saudi Arabia’s February price for Arab light grade to Northwest Europe was slashed by $1.40 a barrel.

(By Moign Khawaja – Editor: Arabian Gazette)

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