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Government of Dubai declared it has no plans to restructure billions of dollars of state-linked debt next year, quashing rumours the emirate is facing new financial difficulties. ?The government is following a solid fiscal policy that strengthens the level of confidence in its companies? ability to meet all financial obligations in a sound and systematic way. There is no truth in what was said about an intention to ?restructure? some of the debt of government-related companies in 2012,? Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, head of Dubai?s Supreme Fiscal Policy Committee, said in a statement.

Standard Chartered has expressed deep confidence in UAE’s banking system and economy and said the nation is well-positioned to withstand repercussions from global economic downturn and eurozone sovereign debt crisis. ?We expect the economy to grow at a slower rate in 2012 compared to the 3.8 percent growth projected for 2011. But the country?s strong fiscal position gives it enough room to spend its way out of a potential slowdown. This is true about most Gulf economies,? said Jonathan Morris, CEO Standard Charterted in the UAE.

IATA announced Thursday high fuel costs will squeeze profit margins of Middle Eastern airlines. In its forecast, the International Air Transport Association said Middle East carriers will post a combined profit of $400m for 2011 which is half of earlier prediction. Forecast also added that next year’s profits will be around $300m, less than half the previous forecast of $700m. ?The biggest risk facing airline profitability over the next year is the economic turmoil that would result from a failure of governments to resolve the euro zone sovereign debt crisis. Such an outcome could lead to losses of over $8bn – the largest since the 2008 financial crisis,? said Tony Tyler, IATA?s director general and CEO. The association also downgraded global profit forecast of $4.9 billion to $3.5 billion for 2012.

According to a report published by Social and Economic Research Institute (SESRI) at Qatar University, majority of citizens in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) support the idea of a regional single currency. A total of 2,692 respondents were questioned for the? survey across five GCC countries. Majority of the citizens in Qatar (85 per cent), the UAE (84 per cent), Saudi Arabia (83 per cent), and Bahrain (82 per cent) believed Gulf states will benefit from a single currency. Almost half of Kuwaitis (49 per cent) also supported the idea. A neutral currency name like ‘khaleeji’ has been suggested for the new GCC single monetary unit.

The Syrian Central Bank devalued Syrian pound by 10 per cent in response to fresh sanctions imposed by Arab Leagues, Turkey, European Union and the US on the Baathist regime in Damascus. Syrian currency has fallen by some 35 per cent since the uprising began in March this year against President Bashar Al Assad’s regime. Fresh sanctions include a ban on dealing with the Central Bank of Syria, halting commercial deals with organisations linked to Syrian government, freezing of Syrian government assets, and suspension of all commercial dealings with the Commercial Bank of Syria.

German newspaper “Welt Am Sonntag” has claimed Israeli government released $100 million tax collection from Occupied West Bank Territories to Palestinian Authority after coming under intense pressure from Berlin. The paper added that Merkel administration insisted Israel will not be able to complete a ?135 million worth submarine deal unless the frozen funds are transferred to authorities in Ramallah.

OPEC Secretary General Abdullah Al Badri said he hopes the EU would not slap sanctions on Iranian oil exports that will compound the already volatile global economic markets. “I really hope there will not be an EU embargo on Iranian oil. It will be very, very difficult to replace the exports of this OPEC member,” he said while adding: “Europe now is facing some difficulties… so to cut these 865,000 barrels a day immediately, I think it will be a problem.”

Yemeni economists estimate the country lost $17 billion since the popular uprising against President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s regime in March this year. The assessment comes days after the President signed a deal to step down and handed power to Vice President Abdul Rab Mansour Al Hadi in Sanaa. Yemeni Prime Minister, Mohammad Salem Basendwah, announced recently that neighbouring Saudi Arabia and the UAE will provide support to ailing power and energy sector of the country to ease the toll of political turmoil that has blighted the lives of millions of Yemenis, majority of which live under the poverty line.

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