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Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Financial crisis hurts Dubai's foreign labour force

The global financial crisis has come to the Gulf emirates, and to its once-booming real estate sector. Thousands of labourers who had come -- mainly from the Indian subcontinent -- to work on building projects may now be expelled, or forced to work illegally.
Migrant workers make up over 85% of the population of the UAE (United Arab Emirates).

A booming construction area with dozens of large multi phase developments such in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and other emirates include projects such as the Burj Dubai, Ski Dubai, Dubailand and the Mall of Arabia.

Migrant workers make up virtually every category of employee in the UAE from CEOs and engineers to cement mixers, drivers, accountants and janitors.

Highly skilled and educated workers from western nations come to the Middle East for tax free income and often increased wages and opportunity. Most attention to migrant workers focuses on the manual laborers.

Numbering over 300,000, manual laborers make up a large amount of the population. Attention has focused on these workers for their wages and working conditions which are generally poor by western standards.

Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait and other wealth oil exporting nations also have large numbers of migrant workers who are mostly focused on building infrastructure and implementing the huge investments made by these countries. Workers come from all over the world in addition to the higher paid, educated and skilled workers from the UK, US, Ireland and throughout Europe and Asia, manual laborers come from Myanmar (Burma), India, Pakistan, Somalia or other countries. India and Pakistan also have a large number of highly skilled and highly paid workers.

Lack of unions and organized labor makes life for the construction workers very different from the US however most workers are very happy for the opportunity and the economics of wage equalization exist because of a very liberal work immigration policy and a robust economy.

Favorable taxes and opportunity make the region popular for guest workers.

Tags: workers construction unions building labor uae united arab emirates middle east migrant slavery human trafficking immigration open Indian Pakistani third world second cab driver working conditions

Dubai hit by economic downturn

It is often said that the Gulf region is immune to the global financial crisis.

This perception may be about to change as Dubai's boom starts to fizzle out.

With debts of up to $80m, Dubai could be in need of some urgent financial help.

Al Jazeera's Todd Baer reports.

Tags: Todd Baer al jazeera aljazeera english dubai economy crisis financial boom debts middle east gulf global

Dubai's Financial Crisis on Sky News

Dubai's Financial's Crisis

World Markets Up as Dubai Debt Tensions Ease

World stock markets rose sharply Tuesday after Dubai officials reported negotiations were underway to restructure 26 billion dollars in debt owed by a state-owned conglomerate. The announcement appears to have eased investor concerns, that began after the emirate said the country's investment arm, Dubai World, was seeking a six month delay in repaying nearly 60 billion dollars in debt.VOA's Mil Arcega has the latest.

Tags: dubai debt economy financial crisis business stock markets recover global unemployment recession arcega voa news

Dubai Debt Crisis

Dubai Debt Shock UAE Leaders Try To Steady Nerves Over Dubai Stocks Fall

UAE Leaders Try To Steady Nerves Over Dubai Stocks Fall

Source Zawya

Tuesday, Dec 01, 2009

DUBAI The leadership of the United Arab Emirates tried Tuesday to steady the nerves of investors after concerns over Dubai's debt crisis sent stock markets across the Gulf sharply lower for a second day.

In a public statement, Dubai's ruler stressed federal unity across the U.A.E. amid concern that oil-rich Abu Dhabi will remain on the sidelines as it struggles to restructure the debts of its government-owned companies.

The country is working on "enhancing integration between the federal and local frameworks," said Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who is also Prime Minister of the U.A.E.

Stocks in Dubai and Abu Dhabi fell sharply for a second day. The Dubai Financial Market's main index closed down 5.6% Tuesday, after falling 7.3% the previous day. Abu Dhabi shares closed down 3.6%. Shares in Qatar and Kuwait were also hit, with benchmark measures down 8.3% and 2.7% respectively.

Copyright (c) 2009 Dow Jones & Co.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Dubai debt fears tear into investor confidence

Friday, Nov 27, 2009

Investor confidence took a severe battering yesterday as worries about the potential fallout from a possible debt default in Dubai added to a growing sense of foreboding about the backdrop for financial markets.

"The state of play in global risk assets is looking more precarious by the day," said Lena Komileva, head of G7 market economics at Tullett Prebon. "The market is belatedly downgrading emerging and financial credit risk valuations."

With thin trading conditions due to the closure of Wall Street exacerbating price moves, equities in both Europe and emerging markets tumbled, credit spreads widened and commodities suffered broad losses.

A flight to safety helped the dollar pull away from recent lows and pushed up benchmark government bond prices. Gold touched another record peak, within sight of $1,200 an ounce.

The fears over Dubai served to heighten growing unease about sovereign debt amid a deteriorating environment in Greece and other peripheral European countries and after a ratings downgrade for Mexico.

Standard & Poor's yesterday put the credit ratings of four Dubai banks on negative outlook.

Adding to investors' disquiet yesterday was a warning from the Bundesbank that German banks faced further write-offs in 2010 - which came hard on the heels of a rescue for ailing lender WestLB.

"The market is far away from the days where asset pricing reflected any real potential for a large financial-centered shock," said Sacha Tihanyi, strategist at Scotia Capital.

"As we've learned from the crisis, financial distress in one part of the world risks contagion in others and the impact of a Dubai default could have serious repercussions."

But Benoit Anne, emerging markets debt strategist at BoA-Merrill Lynch, while noting the widespread contagion from the events in Dubai across EM credit, interest rate and foreign exchange markets, suggested the risks might be limited to the short term.

"The initial market reaction across EM may appear excessive, and to some extent also the result of the poor liquidity owing to the US holidays," he said.

"In a best-case scenario where the developments in the Gulf have no protracted impact on global risk appetite, the temporary weakness may produce some opportunity in a number of assets."

But the risk sell-off yesterday was severe. European equities suffered steep losses, with the FTSE Eurofirst 300 sliding 3.2 per cent - its worst one-day drop for seven months - and the Xetra Dax index in Frankfurt down 3.3 per cent. Greek stocks fell more than 6 per cent.

In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 Average in Tokyo eased 0.6 per cent to a fresh four-month low as exporters were undermined by a hefty rise in the yen.

Emerging market stocks, unsurprisingly, also came under heavy pressure. The Russian Micex index shed 3.3 per cent, India lost 2 per cent and Brazil was down 2.3 per cent by late afternoon in New York.

In the credit markets, the cost of insuring against default by Dubai rocketed, with its five-year credit default swaps quoted as high as 550 basis points, against 300bp before the Dubai World restructuring was announced.

Greek and Irish CDS spreads also widened, as did those of eastern European nations such as Latvia.

In Europe, the Markit iTraxx Crossover index of mostly junk-rated credits widened 24bp to 536bp. Commodity prices suffered a broad retreat, with the US oil price falling $1.73 and threatening to slide through the $76 a barrel mark, while copper retreated from a 14-month high above $7,000 a tonne.

Gold touched a record $1,194.90 after Sri Lanka on Wednesday bought 10 tonnes of bullion from the IMF.

But gold eased back as rising risk aversion helped the dollar bounce off a 15-month low against the euro and a 14-year low against the yen in the currency market s .

Benchmark European government bonds attracted buying by nervous investors, with the 10-year Bund yield down 9bp at 3.17 per cent and the 10-year gilt yield down 10bp at 3.53 per cent.

. Copyright Financial Times Limited 2009. All Rights Reserved.

By Dave Shellock

Friday, October 30, 2009

Moroccan economy grew 5.4% in 2009 2Q, HCP

Moroccan economy grew 5.4% in 2009 2Q, HCP
Rabat - The Moroccan economy posted a growth rate of 5.4% in the second quarter of 2009, compared to 6.3% during the same period a year before, the High Planning Commission (HCP) said.

According to figures published by the HCP, the growth is due to the increase of both the agricultural value added volume (+27.8%) and the non-agricultural Gross Domestic Product (+2.1%).

The growth rate of the mining and energy sectors fell short of that registered a year earlier (-9.9% against +3.6%), while processing industries dropped (-0.3% against +4.2%).

Services increased by 3.5% instead of 5.3% in the first quarter of 2008, said the HCP, adding that the GDP rose by 4.9%.

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Kuwait's Zain acquires 31% stake in Morocco's Wana

زين الكويتيّة تستحوذ على حصّة 31% من "وَنا" المغربيّة - 15Mar09 (0:43)
كشفَت مجموعة زين عن استحواذها لحصّة 31% من شركة "وَنا" المغربيّة مقابل 324 مليون دولار.
Kuwait's Zain acquires 31% stake in Morocco's Wana - 15Mar09 (0:43)
Zain Group reveals its acquisition to 31% stake in Morocco's Wana for $324 million.

New Moroccan-manufactured car marketed in Egypt as of 2010

Cairo - Morocco's Minister of Foreign Trade, Abdellatif Maazouz, announced, Tuesday in Cairo, that the new Moroccan-Manufactured car "Dacia Sandero" will be exported to Egypt as of 2010.

The export of this car is part of the Agadir Free-Trade Agreement, concluded between Rabat, Cairo, Amman and Tunisia, Maazouz said following the inauguration of a showroom to present Logan cars in Cairo.

He said another model of Logan will be marketed in the Egyptian market to meet need for an estimated 200,000 cars annually, which will reach one million in 2020.

For his part, Advisor to President of "Renault Euromed" and President of the automobile Federation, Larbi Belarbi, said Morocco plans to develop a regional automobile platform by developing the Renault-owned Moroccan car company "SOMACA" as well as the new Tangiers' industrial complex.

He said exports of Logan cars to Egypt increased to 600 up from 200 per month. "There is a constant growing pace, due notably to marketing and advertising strategies as well as the product quality which has been welcomed by the Egyptians, as it met the need of the domestic market."

Belarbi said he "is quite optimistic about the future of exports of Logan in Egypt," adding that the group plans to be among the pioneers of this market.

He also highlighted the importance of the Agadir free-trade agreement for Logan export to Egypt, considered an ever-growing market.

Logan cars were introduced into the Moroccan market in 2006 and have become one of the leading brands in the low-cost car market.

Morocco's phosphate company to form joint venture with US Jacobs Engineering

Morocco's phosphate company to form joint venture with US Jacobs Engineering
Casablanca - Morocco's state-owned phosphate company Office Cherifien Des Phosphates (OCP) and American Construction services company Jacobs Engineering Group Inc, announced on Wednesday in Pasadena (California) that they intend to form an engineering joint venture.

During the initial phase, the joint venture will provide programme, project management, and engineering services for projects based on the OCP's $5 billion investment programme in Morocco, OCP said in a statement.

The same source said the joint venture will advance Jacobs expansion plans in the fertilizer industry and in the region.

The joint venture is also expected to provide services to OCP and other companies in their phosphate engineering business activities worldwide.

The two parties also intend to expand the capabilities of the joint venture to include infrastructure engineering services to keep up with the growing West African infrastructure market.

The new company will employ Jacobs engineering systems and tools and will be staffed by OCP and Jacobs, as well as local hires. It is also expected to operate before the end of 2009 and to employ over 200 people within a 12-month period.

OCP Group CEO, Mostafa Terrab, welcomed this collaboration, saying it represents an important milestone for OCP in implementing its immediate and medium-term investment objectives.

He underlined that the joint venture will promote the expertise of both companies in providing engineering and related services on phosphate projects outside Morocco as well as infrastructure projects in West Africa.

For his part, Jacobs Chairman, Noel Watson, said the joint venture is a unique opportunity to support OCP's business goals and enhance the two companies' expertise in the field of fertilizers.

OCP Group, headquartered in Casablanca, is a worldwide leader in the phosphate rock and derivatives industry, while Jacobs is one of the world's largest and most diverse providers of technical, professional, and construction services.

Arab Advisors Group President talks about Morocco Telecom sector

مدير عام مجموعة المرشدون العرب يتحدّث عن سوق الإتصالات المغربي: الجزء الثاني - 23May09 (2:16)
يقول مدير عام مجموعة المرشدون العرب جواد عبّاسي أنّ السوق المغربي للإتصالات هائل ذو نموّ إقتصادي جيّد، عدد مستخدمين كبير و ذو عوائد جيّدة.
Arab Advisors Group President talks about Morocco Telecom sector: Part II - 23May09 (2:16)
Jawad Abbassi, Arab Advisors Group President says that Morocco Telecom market is huge with a great economic growth, large number of mobile subscribers and excellent revenues.

North Africa Holding, Rocco Forte Collection announce new projects

KUWAIT: North Africa Holding CompanyNorth Africa Holding Company
North Africa Holding Company
Kuwait | Financial Services
News | Profile | Officers
, part of Kuwaiti-based KIPCO Group, hosted a press conference yesterday at Burgan Tower in Kuwait City to introduce their latest project being developed at Marrakech, Morocco. The Marrakech project was part of their three luxurious hotels under construction in collaboration with 'Rocco Forte Collection', a European company dedicated to developing luxurious hotels in the world.

The three projects are due in 2010 and 2011 in Jeddah, Marrakech and Abu Dhabi. The event was attended by Sir Rocco Forte, Chairman and Chief Executive of 'The Rocco Forte Collection' Hotels, and Emad Al-Saleh, CEO of North Africa Holding CompanyNorth Africa Holding Company
North Africa Holding Company
Kuwait | Financial Services
News | Profile | Officers

The two companies have announced their latest project being developed in collaboration, which showcased exclusive development of Assoufid resort in Marrakech. The construction of new five-star 90-all suite room hotels, golf and spa resort started in May 2009 and due to be completed by 2011. The projects also include construction of 80 luxury villas on a spacious one hectare land, now available for purchase. First phase of the project will be ready by the end of 2010.

Al-Saleh said that his company is very proud to be partnering with 'The Rocco Forte Collection'. "The Assoufid development is the result of market demand for discreetly luxurious year-round destination built and managed to the highest standard and we are very pleased to be part of it," he said. Al-Saleh noted that the two companies are able to offer villa owners a high level of luxury, comfort and security just minutes away from one of the world's most exciting and vibrant cities.

North Africa Holding CompanyNorth Africa Holding Company
North Africa Holding Company
Kuwait | Financial Services
News | Profile | Officers
is part of KIPCO Group established in 2006 with the aim of focusing investment in North Africa from Egypt to Morocco. The company was established with a capital base of KD50 million. "We have the current investment in Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco and Egypt. In May 2009, in collaboration with Rocco Forte, we launched the project in Marrakech and we look forward to brighter, productive and fruitful business investment in Morocco," Al-Saleh said.

Speaking on how the Rocco Forte Collection was created, Sir Rocco Forte acknowledged that his company started from a mere dream in 1996. "My company is relatively young. We set this up 12 years ago, and my idea is to create European luxury styles of hotels and spa. There is no company in a luxury hotel that covers major cities around Europe and so we developed 30 hotels. We developed a very strong brand Rocco Forte Collection from then onwards," he said.

Forte lauded his company's relentless expansion especially in the Middle East. He took pride in his company being appointed by an Egyptian General Company for Tourism to restore their historic Shepherd's Hotel in Cairo. He also mentioned that the new and luxurious 281-bedroom hotel due to open in 2010 in the UAE and an impending property opening in 2011 in Jeddah Saudi Arabia. "Middle Eastern people are very important and close to us since many of our customers are coming from this part of the world," he said.

On the idea behind the features and highlight of his hotel collections, Forte noted, "I want to create an atmosphere which is very intimate and welcoming. My idea of a hotel should touch the culture and heritage of the country we are in. I believe that hotel should reflect the nature and culture of the country. Our hotels carry the very strong design themes thanks to my sister. Our hotels carry the most personalized services which is dear to our guests and customers," he said.

The Rocco Forte Collection include Hotel de Russie-Rome, Hotel Savoy in Florence France, The Balmoral, Edinburgh, The Lowry Hotel-Manchester, Hotel Astoria-Saint Petersburg, Hotel Amigo-Brussels, Brown's Hotel in London, Villa Kennedy-Frankfurt, Hotel de Rome-Berlin, Le Richmond-Geneva, The Charles Hotel-Munich, The Augustine-Prague, Vendura Golf & Spa Resort in Sicily.

By Ben Garcia

Morocco, Libya ink new accords

Morocco and Libya signed several co-operation agreements at the conclusion of the 8th session of the Moroccan-Libyan High Joint Commission on Friday (October 23rd) in Rabat MAP reported.

The civil protection, tourism, air transport, customs, education, industrial zones, investment and other accords were concluded by Moroccan Prime Minister Abbas El Fassi and his Libyan counterpart, Al Baghdadi Ali al Mahmoudi.

© 2009

Kuwait Gulf Hldg To Launch Morocco Villa Proj Soon -Report

Kuwait Gulf Hldg To Launch Morocco Villa Proj Soon -Report. Monday, Oct 26, 2009. BEIRUT (Zawya Dow Jones)--Kuwait's Gulf Holding ...

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Ericsson wins managed services deal with du in United Arab Emirates

29 October 2009
Dubai 29 October 2009: EricssonEricsson (NASDAQ:ERIC) and United Arab Emirates-based operator dudu, have signed a three-year managed services agreement which will enable dudu to continue develop operational efficiency of nationwide GSM/WCDMA network operations.

The partnership provides dudu with a long-term sustainable operating model, reducing its operational expenses and enabling the operator to focus further on providing attractive new services to its subscribers. The network operations agreement also guarantees the performance and quality of du’s multi-vendor network.

Hatem Bamatraf, Senior Vice President, Network Development, dudu, says, “We are committed to continuously develop and use our network at the optimum level. Our partnership with EricssonEricsson is a positive step in realization of this objective. With Ericsson’s experience in managed services, we can bring new mobile telecommunications services to the UAE market more efficiently than ever.”

Valter D'Avino, Vice President and Head of Managed Services, EricssonEricsson, says that the deal confirms EricssonEricsson's position as the industry leader in managed services and underscores a shift toward managed services in the region.

“Managed services have become a key to the success of operators in the Middle East, as well as in the wider industry,” D’Avino says. “With EricssonEricsson running network operations, dudu can devote even more attention to providing its customers with the latest mobile services with excellent network quality.”

- Ends -

GE Oil & Gas to Provide Qatargas with Integrity Management Services to Enhance LNG Pipeline Monitoring and Safety

UAE, Dubai; October 29, 2009: GE Oil & Gas’ PII Pipeline Solutions business has been awarded a multi-million U.S. dollar, six-year contract to supply Qatargas Operating Company Limited (Qatargas)Qatargas Operating Company Limited (Qatargas)Qatar Gas Operating Company
Qatar | Oil and Gas
News | Profile | Officers
with advanced pipeline integrity management services to enhance the monitoring and maintenance of the company’s liquid natural gas (LNG) network.

Based in Ras Laffan City in the State of Qatar, QatargasQatargas has nine prominent shareholders – Qatar Petroleum, ExxonMobil, Total, Mitsui, Marubeni, ConocoPhillips, Shell, Idemitsu and Cosmo Oil.

Under the agreement GE Oil & Gas will build and deploy a custom pipeline integrity management system (PIMS) to drive Qatargas’ overall integrity management processes. As part of this work, GEGE will provide QatargasQatargas with the associated integrity management (IM) elements, including manuals and procedures covering in-line inspection (ILI), software automation and engineering assessments.

“QatargasQatargas operates world-class LNG facilities in Qatar, and our goal is to be the world’s premier LNG company,” said Sheikh Ahmed Al Thani, Chief Operating Officer, Engineering & Ventures, QatargasQatargas. “A critical success factor in achieving that goal is the continued assurance of availability and safe operation of our pipeline networks used to transport gas and condensate from our offshore production sites to our onshore treatment facilities.”

While QatargasQatargas already has a strong pipeline integrity management program in place, the company continually works to adopt industry best practices, including the implementation of GE’s comprehensive PIMS program, Qatargas’ Sheikh Ahmed Al Thani said.

Much of GE’s advance work will be performed by GE Oil & Gas’ pipeline technology centers for excellence in Cramlington, U.K. (for pipeline integrity management and integrity engineering services as well as in-line (ILI) inspection tool preparation) and in Mission, Kansas (for software management), while a dedicated project and account management team will be established in Qatar to help ensure the successful implementation of the projects for QatargasQatargas.

“We are excited to have the opportunity to continue our long-term relationship with QatargasQatargas, which has an outstanding record of achievement in the area of pipeline integrity and maintenance,” said John Bucci, General Manager of GE Oil & Gas’ PII Pipeline Solutions, noting that the business has provided inspection services to QatargasQatargas since 1998.

While the earlier inspections covered two LNG pipelines, the new integrity management contract will cover additional offshore product lines that will rely significantly on PII Pipeline Solutions’ extensive ‘wet gas’ experience.

Separate to the pipeline services contract, GE Oil & Gas’ global services business previously signed an 18-year customer service agreement to support Qatargas’ operations.

GE Oil & Gas has a successful record of supporting a number of major pipeline integrity management initiatives in Qatar, Egypt and other Middle Eastern countries.

- Ends -

About GE Oil & Gas
GE Oil & Gas ( is a world leader in advanced technology equipment and services for all segments of the oil and gas industry, from drilling and production, LNG, pipelines and storage to industrial power generation, refining and petrochemicals. We also provide pipeline integrity solutions, including inspection and data management. As part of our 'Innovation Now' customer focus and commitment, GE Oil & Gas leverages technological innovation from other GEGE businesses, such as aviation and healthcare, to continuously improve oil and gas industry performance and productivity. GE Oil & Gas employs more than 12,000 people worldwide and operates in over 100 countries.

About GE
GEGE is a diversified global infrastructure, finance and media company that is built to meet essential world needs. From energy, water, transportation and heal to access to money and information, GEGE serves customers in more than 100 countries and employs more than 300,000 people worldwide. For more information, visit the company’s Web site at http:/// GEGE is Imagination at Work.

For more information, contact:
Hiba Al Hafidh / Roisin Lillis
ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller
Tel: +9714 334 4550

Roisin Lillis
ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller
Tel: +9714 334 4550

© Press Release 2009

Dubai - United Arab Emirates - UAE in portuguese

Showing you a little bit more of Dubai - a wonderful city located at United Arab Emirates - UAE. - Emirados Árabes Unidos (in portuguese)

Tags: Dubai United Arab Emirates Emirados Árabes Unidos Viagem Fly Oriente country city faster grow up arabian UAE EAU

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Emaar Properties records revenue of AED 5,429 million (US$ 1,478 million) in first nine months of 2009

Dubai, UAE; October 22, 2009: Emaar PropertiesEmaar PropertiesEmaar Properties
Emaar Group

PJSC, the Dubai-based global property developer, has recorded revenues of AED 5,429 million (US$ 1,478 million) in the first nine months of 2009, led by its strategy of strengthening customer-oriented initiatives to support property purchases and a commitment to project delivery. Net operating profits for the same period stood at AED 1,401 million (US$ 381 million).

Third quarter (July to September) 2009 revenue reached AED 1,948 million (US$ 530 million), comparable to second quarter revenue of AED 1,940 million (US$ 528 million). Net operating profit for the same period reached AED 655 million (US$ 178 million), an increase of 48 percent as compared to the second quarter operating profit of AED 442 million (US$ 120 million). Third quarter net operating profit has also increased by 53 percent as compared to profit in same period in 2008 of AED 428 million (US$ 117 million).

The increase in profitability is due to the higher margin relating to Alma townhomes in Arabian Ranches handed over during the third quarter. The townhomes were handed over ahead of its scheduled delivery demonstrating EmaarEmaarEmaar Properties
Emaar Group
UAE | Real Estate

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Oil prices pull back after hitting 80 dollars

LONDON, Oct 21, 2009 (AFP) - Crude oil prices fell on Wednesday as investors took profits after a recent rally sent the market above 80 dollars for the first time in one year, analysts said.

Traders meanwhile awaited the latest weekly snapshot of crude inventory levels in the United States, which is the world's biggest energy consuming nation.

New York's main contract, light sweet crude for December delivery, fell 1.04 dollars to 78.08 dollars a barrel.

The November contract, which had expired Tuesday, briefly touched 80.05 dollars -- the highest level for New York crude since October 14, 2008.

Elsewhere on Wednesday, Brent North Sea crude for December delivery was off 84 cents at 76.40 dollars a barrel.

"We are still around 79 bucks so the pull back can hardly be said to be dramatic -- and might have more to do with the fact that we hit a nice round number at 80 dollars," said analyst Simon Denham at Capital Spreads.

A weak dollar and an upbeat mood about the global economic recovery are driving the recent surge in crude prices, according to oil market watchers.

Later Wednesday, at 1430 GMT, the US government's Department of Energy will publish its report on crude oil inventories for the week ending October 16.

Traders will also absorb the latest results from US banking groups Morgan Stanley and Wells Fargo, as well as the US Federal Reserve's Beige Book, which is based on reports from the Fed's 12 districts and used for its policy making.

Despite topping 80 dollars, oil prices finished Tuesday in negative territory after downbeat data from the ailing US property sector.

US housing starts grew in September but the pace was softer than anticipated while permits for construction fell sharply, government data showed.

"Worse-than-expected housing sector data brought to an end the latest rally in prices," wrote analysts at the John Hall Associates energy consultancy in a note to clients.

"Data from the US Commerce Department revealed a less-than-expected increase in the number of housing starts and building permits."

OPEC is meanwhile ready to invest funds to aid the production of oil amid a recovery in energy demand and rising prices for crude, the cartel's chief Abdalla Salem El-Badri had said on Tuesday.

El-Badri, speaking at a London energy conference, also argued that 60-70 dollar oil would not be enough to allow adequate investment levels by OPEC, which pumps 40 percent of the world's oil.

© Copyright AFP 2009.

Maybach 62S in Dubai

Maybach 62S in Dubai

DUBAI The fastest growing city in the world

An overview of Dubai's megaprojects including the Palm Islands, Burj Dubai (world's tallest building), Dubailand (world's largest theme park), Business Bay and much more!
An overview of Dubai's megaprojects including the Palm Islands, Burj Dubai (world's tallest building), Dubailand (world's largest theme park...all » An overview of Dubai's megaprojects including the Palm Islands, Burj Dubai (world's tallest building), Dubailand (world's largest theme park), Business Bay and much more!«

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Emaar Morocco makes substantial progress on Aldea homes in Tinja

Tangier, Morocco; October 20, 2009: Emaar Morocco, the country-subsidiary of Emaar PropertiesEmaar PropertiesEmaar Properties
Emaar Group

PJSC, is making impressive progress on the Tinja master-planned community, particularly with Aldea villas and townhomes.

Foundation work has been completed and super-structure is progressing. The waterfront homes are supported by advanced infrastructure and roads, and water lines and other amenities are being laid out. Hand over to customers will be done as planned in 2010.

Emaar Morocco is currently developing this residential neighbourhood of 184 townhomes and 110 villas as part of the first phase of Tinja, an integrated community which was launched for sale to strong customer response. In addition, construction is progressing for model homes in EmaarEmaarEmaar Properties
Emaar Group

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Gold spikes to record above 1,070 dollars

LONDON, Oct 14, 2009 (AFP) - The price of gold leapt to a record peak above 1,070 dollars per ounce here on Wednesday as the dollar slid in value against the European single currency.

On the London Bullion Market, gold struck 1,070.80 dollars an ounce, which was the highest level in history.

The latest peak was forged as the euro surged above 1.49 dollars for the first time since August 2008.

In recent days and weeks, gold has enjoyed a record-breaking run as the tumbling dollar has stimulated demand.

A fading US dollar makes the precious metal cheaper for investors holding other currencies. Gold is used in jewellery, dentistry and electronics.


© Copyright AFP 2009.

UAE recovery to take longer than other Gulf states

KUWAIT CITY, Oct 14, 2009 (AFP) - Economic recovery in the United Arab Emirates is expected to be slower than in other Gulf states due to high debt levels and its struggling real estate market, a Kuwaiti bank said on Wednesday.

Forecasting the UAE to record its first budget deficit in five years, the National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) said the Emirati economy is expected to contract by 4.6 percent this year before rebounding by 3.6 percent in 2010.

"The presence of high debt levels, weak bank lending, lower company profits and struggling real estate markets will continue to weigh on the economy for at least another year," Kuwait's largest bank said in a special report.

"After being one of the region's most vibrant economies over the past five years, the UAE may now be set to endure a period of relatively slow growth compared to some of its GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) neighbours," it said.

"Spending growth is likely to be much reduced this year ... and combined with a drop in oil revenues, the government could record its first budget deficit in five years," NBK added.

Dubai, part of the seven-member UAE, has been hard hit by the global economic downturn due to its high exposure to the global credit markets to finance massive construction projects, many of which have now been delayed.

Abu Dhabi, the largest and richest emirate, was also hit by the crisis due to the sharp fall in oil revenues and reported huge losses in its sovereign wealth fund holdings overseas.

Nominal Gross Domestic Product (GDP) will drop to 213 billion dollars this year from 254 billion dollars in 2008, a contraction of 16.4 percent. It is however forecast to grow to 225 billion dollars in 2010, NBK said.

The main engine of the recovery next year will come from the oil sector, which is expected to grow by five percent in real terms in 2010 after shrinking nine percent this year.

Non-oil sector is forecast to contract one percent in real terms this year and to be followed by a moderate growth of 2.5 percent in 2010.

Bank lending is likely to remain weak next year, while oversupply will remain in some parts of the real estate sector, indicating that "property prices are unlikely to bounce back any time soon," NBK said.

The absence of access to short-term financing will continue to create problems for refinancing operations and could force changes to entire business models at some firms, it said.


© Copyright AFP 2009.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Oil market caught in bull-bear fight over economy: IEA

By Hugh Dent

PARIS, Oct 09, 2009 (AFP) - Oil demand is firming but the global market is still weak, riven by doubts over how a groggy recovery from the global crisis will affect energy consumption next year, the IEA said on Friday.

Describing the "bulls versus bears" battle in the oil market, it insisted: "There is considerable uncertainty as to the world's short-term economic outlook."

Pointing to an oil price of about 75 dollars a barrel next year, from about 71 dollars now, the International Energy Agency warned that immediate oil demand was "in the doldrums".

However, the rate at which demand was shrinking was "clearly falling" and demand in the fourth quarter would probably show an increase over 12 months.

Despite the turnaround from depressed levels, oil demand in 2010, even after the expected "rebound" "will still remain below 2008 levels," said the IEA's monthly report.

The agency revised upwards its estimate for global oil demand this year by a moderate amount of 200,000 barrels per day and for next year by 350,000 barrels per day.

The upgrading reflected revised growth forecasts in a recent report by the International Monetary Fund and also strengthening data from Asia and the Americas.

The IEA now expects global oil demand to average 84.6 million barrels per day this year, meaning annual contraction of 1.7 million barrels per day, equivalent to a fall of 1.9 percent from consumption last year.

Demand was expected to rise to 86.1 million barrels per day in 2010, an annual increase of 1.4 mbd, marking a turnaround to an annual increase of 1.7 percent.

Global oil supply in September rose by 310,000 barrels per day to 84.9 mbd, because output from non-OPEC countries rose while production from OPEC countries remained constrained, even though it was running above target quota levels.

In addition, there was "further evidence of fuel substitution and efficiency improvements," the IEA said.

It warned that "given continuing uncertainties about the path of economic recovery" there was a downward risk which could bite deeply into the latest demand estimates, cutting them by 100,000 barrels per day in the second half of this year and 600,000 bpd next year.

"The crucial role of China in shaping future oil markets," was a fundamental factor.

The IEA said that although it had revised up its outlook, "prompt oil demand remains in the doldrums."

It explained: "Global demand was still down by 1.6 percent year-on-year in July, versus minus 2.3 percent as previously estimated, and by 1.7 percent in August.

"More significantly, demand among the world's twelve largest oil consumers which collectively account for about 70 percent of the world total, is still contracting by two percent on a yearly basis; the modest demand surge in June appears to have been short lived.

"Gasoil (diesel) demand, in particular, remains very weak, trailing by about four percent below last year's levels on a quarterly basis."

The contraction for oil demand overall this year "will be significant" and "despite the expected 2010 rebound, oil demand next year will still remain below 2008 levels."

In this light, the IEA said, the absolute level of oil demand, rather than relative change, "is more instructive when outlining market fundamentals."


© Copyright AFP 2009.

Emaar Properties Takes top Place in First Gulf Webranking Survey

DUBAI, UAE, 08 October 2009/PRNewswire/ -- Real estate giant EMAAREMAAR takes top slot in on-line consultancy Hallvarsson & Halvarsson's (H&H) inaugural "GCC Webranking" survey. Abu Dhabi National Energy CompanyAbu Dhabi National Energy CompanyAbu Dhabi National Energy Company
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came second with ZAINZAIN third. Bahrain is the GCC country with the highest average score in the region, closely followed by the United Arab Emirates.

For the first time H&H Webranking has included the GCC in its annual survey of corporate websites. Eighty-five listed companies, measured by market capitalization, in five GCC countries were ranked. Sites were assessed according to 140 criteria, derived from H&H's annual survey of business journalists, analysts and investors to identify what information and functionality they value most highly from a listed company's corporate website.

"The number of listed companies in the Gulf has increased over the past few years and the region is becoming increasingly interesting for international investors. This is why we have included the GCC in our annual Webranking survey. Any company looking to compete on an equal footing for international investor attention needs to utilise high quality online communication," said Staffan Lindgren, Executive Partner of H&H. "EMAAREMAAR wins the 2009 H&H Webranking in the Gulf as they present themselves on-line through a website that best fulfils the requirements for a corporate website's target audiences. In particular, EMAAREMAAR's website has a well developed Investor Relations section offering information that is in demand by the capital market, such as presentations, financial figures and a lot of share-related information."

Rank Company Score

2 Abu Dhabi National Energy CompanyAbu Dhabi National Energy CompanyAbu Dhabi National Energy Company
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4 Sorouh Real EstateSorouh Real Estate 33
5 Hikma PharmaceuticalsHikma PharmaceuticalsHikma Pharmaceuticals
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7 Al Khalij Commercial BankAl Khalij Commercial Bank (Al KhalijiAl Khaliji) 28.75
8 Qatar TelecomQatar Telecom 28
9= DP WorldDP World 26.5
9= Gulf Finance HouseGulf Finance House 26.5

The rankings show that some Gulf region companies are using the online medium for financial disclosure reasonably effectively. However, the spread of results within the region ranges from 0 to 34.25 points. This indicates that the level of website performance differs substantially, with some companies performing poorly.

The Gulf average is below the European average, 18.5 compared to 50.3 (average of 700 European companies in H&H Webranking 2008).

Bahrain is the highest average scoring country in the region, although there is no significant difference between the five countries covered by this survey. Average ratings were as follows:

Rank Country Average score

1 Bahrain 20.55
2 United Arab Emirates 19.82
3 Qatar 18.38
4 Saudi Arabia 17.51
5 Kuwait 16.03

Areas with greatest room for improvement are "Financial Information", "Corporate Governance" and "Financial Calendar" -all areas increasingly important for the international capital markets.

Commenting on the results of the survey, Nicholas Lunt, Gulf Region MD of H&H's sister company, M: Communications, added: "It's important to place these results in the context of the wider region and to understand that local and south Asian investors are a critical audience for listed companies in the GCC. Most GCC listed companies are head and shoulders above their regional peers when it comes to Investor Relations (IR) and PR. It's important to weld together methodologies that are appropriate for their core target audiences with the best elements of international best practice. For example the way Aldar Properties uses video and photography on its website is an excellent example of a company presenting a human yet dynamic face to its stakeholders, something that I know is particularly valued in the Gulf Region".

For more information on the GCC Webranking survey and report contact:

Nicholas Lunt, M: Communications - Gulf: +971-55-2700216

Source: M Communications (London) Ltd

© Press Release 2009

Wall Street dips as Bernanke injects note of caution

NEW YORK, Oct 09, 2009 (AFP) - Stocks swung lower Friday on Wall Street as comments from Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke hinting at a potential hike in rates prompted traders to lock in some gains of the past few sessions.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 20.48 points (0.21 percent) to 9,766.39 as the market pulled back from a series of gains this week.

The Nasdaq composite shed 5.87 points (0.28 percent) to 2,118.06 and the broad-market Standard & Poor's 500 index retreated 2.19 points (0.21 percent) to 1,063.29.

The market was digesting comments from Bernanke late Thursday that rates may be lifted from the level of near zero when the US economic outlook has "improved sufficiently."

"There is nothing monumental about the chairman's statement," said Patrick O'Hare at, who added that the market paused to reflect on the impact of higher rates on the US dollar and commodities.

Because a weak dollar and rising commodities has been pushing stocks up, the latest comments prompted caution.

"Mr. Bernanke threw the dollar a bone with the remark and the uptick in the greenback is expected to weigh a bit on commodity-sensitive areas," O'Hare said.


© Copyright AFP 2009.

Moroccan Attijariwafa Bank's H1 net rises 13.1 Percent

Moroccan Attijariwafa Bank's H1 net rises 13.1 Percent -->Casablanca - Morocco's private banking group Attijariwafa Bank said its first-half net for year 2009 increased 13.1 percent.

Morocco to treble trade with Germany by 2015, Minister says

Cologne (Germany) (MAP)- Morocco can treble trade with Germany by 2015, said on Thursday Minister of Foreign trade, Abdellatif Maazouz.
Speaking at the opening of Morocco's food industry expo, held in Cologne, the minister said that trade between Morocco and Germany represents 7pc of trade exchanges between the North African kingdom and the European Union.
Saying that Moroccan products have started to conquer the German market, the minister pointed out at progress made by Morocco in several industrial fields, notably food industry.
He also said that the North African country has became an important destination for investors interested in car industry, aeronautics and electronics.
Organized by Moroccan Centre for Export Promotion (CMPE), the exhibition aims at boosting Morocco's presence in ANUGA International Fair, which will take place in Cologne on Oct 10-14.

New projects in Jeddah worth $1b unveiled

09 October 2009JEDDAH - New investments into the Jeddah 2nd Industrial City in Saudi Arabia are expected to total $1 billion (SR4 billion), it was announced on Thursday.The Saudi Industrial Property Authority's (Modon)Saudi Industrial Property Authority's (Modon)
Saudi Industrial Property Authority
Saudi Arabia Governmental Institutions
News Profile Officers decided to allocate 1.7 million m2 of land to industrial projects to be built in the area.Dr Tawfig Bin Fawzan Alrabiah, director general of ModonModon, signed land allocation decisions for 163 factories, each expecting to cost between $266,000 and $1 million. ModonModon is working to develop Jeddah 2nd Industrial City along with a range of projects costing up to $532 million upon completed. The latest project includes a district cooling service, which will provide the industrial city with approximately 100,000 tons of cooling services and produce an electric energy amounting to 80MW. A steam network will also be made for the first time in the industrial cities. These services will help reduce costs to factories and provide a unique and distinct service that helps to save energy, preserve the environment and increase productivity.Major infrastructure projects are planned to be completed in the city within two years.Alrabiah emphasized that the industrial lands are available in many of the existing industrial cities, which are under development at incentive rates, whether domestic or foreign investments and in different industrial, commercial, residential and service sectors. Other projects are the establishment of an integrated network of roads, sidewalks, parking, guidance boards, farming and landscaping, potable water networks, sewage networks, and a range of treatment plants for treating and pumping sewage water, irrigation water tanks, agriculture irrigation networks and drainage networks, rainwater collection channels, sub power plants, distribution network of electric power, street lighting systems, communication systems and information technology systems. Major infrastructure projects are planned to be completed within two years.Industrial cities are spread in the various regions of Saudi Arabia (Riyadh 1&2, Jeddah 1&2, Dammam 1&2, Makkah, Qassim, Al-Ahsa, Madinah, Asir, Al-Jouf, Tabuk, Hail, Najran, Al-Kharj, Jizan, Arar). Development projects have been launched to develop new cities in Sudair , Zulfi, Al-Taif.ModonModon had taken into account in the designing of the development of the project using the best standards and technical specifications that help facilitate the operations of the factories and goods transport movement within the industrial city.Jeddah 2nd. Industrial City is one of the major projects of the Kingdom with an area of eight million square meters. It is characterized by its location where it is located 35 km south of Jeddah city on Jeddah - Leeth - Jizan Highway.ModonModon has set up 18 industrial cities in various regions of the Kingdom with a total area of approximately 237 million squares in Riyadh, Jeddah, Dammam, Makkah, Qassim, Ahsa, Madinah, Assir, Al Jouf, Tabuk, Hail, Najran, Al-Kharj, Jazan, and Ar'ar. The investment in these cities exceeds SR200 billion and more than 300 thousand workers are employed in these areas. - SGModonModon is also responsible to create ideal environment for developing and upgrading Technology zones in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.Jeddah 2nd Industrial City is one of the major projects of the Kingdom with an area of eight million m2. Meanwhile, Kingdom Holding Co Chairman Prince Alwaleed bin Talal has topped Arabian Business Magazine's 50 Richest Saudis List for 2009. - SGThe magazine described Alwaleed as "the world's richest Arab and the Middle East's most high-profile businessman."The prince is known for exploring new and potential business opportunities and ventures in synchronization with the direction and fluctuations of the economic climate.
© The Saudi Gazette 2009

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Construction costs fall steeply in Qatar

08 October 2009
DOHA: Construction costs have come down almost 25 to 40 percent since early last year when the industry was booming.
Reliable sources in the building industry say the cost of construction being quoted in tenders has now slid to around QR4,000 per square meters for high quality construction.
The rates until late last year before the onset of the global recession hit the real estate sector were between QR5,000 and QR6,000 per square meters for high-quality building projects.
The rates apply to both government and private projects. As for projects that do not focus so much on quality, the rates could be much lower, say sources.
"AS we know, there has been a slowdown in the industry as compared to last year and it is clearly reflected in the rates contractors have now been quoting in bids for private as well as state projects," said a source in the building industry.
At least 60 percent of a project's costs go towards buying building materials, while the remaining 40 percent is spent on hiring labour, among other things. It also includes the contractor's margins.
The sector has now begun showing some recovery. The demolitions being carried out in some areas of Doha (a reference to Al Musherib area) might refuel construction boom as they would eventually pave the way for new constructions to begin, sources said.
"This (demolitions) is a way to bring buoyancy back to the building industry as new projects are launched on razed sites," said a source.
Asked how the increased steel prices were going to affect the construction sector, he said the hike had not actually made much difference since the demand for basic building materials such as cement and steel remain much subdued as compared to last year during the peak of the boom.
"Since not many new projects are being launched now, the increased rates of steel, or even cement for that matter, do not mean much as the demand remains lower," said another source.
According to him, people in the industry are, however, surprised by the steel price hike because of the demand being low. "I think the move has to do with the global trend. Steel prices have lately being going up in the international market, having plummeted late last year," said the source.
But locally, the prices of steel might have been raised because of the removal of government subsidy.
The development (removal of subsidy) is a welcome sign because it at least signals that the local construction industry is limping back to normalcy with the worst phase being over.
By Mohammed Saeed
© The Peninsula 2009

UAE real estate market dynamics get greener

08 October 2009Closing message at Cityscape Green Day Conference urges developers to 'LEED' by example - private sector 'lagging behind' needs 100% mindset change
Sustainable construction standards should no longer be seen as a choice but the norm, delegates heard during the afternoon session of the first Green Day to be ever held at Cityscape Dubai, which concluded today (Thursday 8 October 2009)
Habiba Al Marashi, Chairperson, Emirates Environmental Group and Board Member, UN Global Compact, said a 100% mindset change was necessary to reduce carbon emissions and encourage best practices industry wide.
"It's not just political will, leadership should be taken by the private sector which is one of the sectors lagging behind," she said.
But Saeed Alabbar, Mechanical Engineer, Halcrow International, recognised a mindset has taken place in the UAE market. "It was all develop-to-sell in the boom, the end user was so far removed that we all thought the customer was the developer. Thankfully, that paradigm has shifted, and we're seeing a develop-to-manage mentality and sustainability is coming more to the forefront."
"Apart from tougher regulatory standards, enlightened property owners will be key as well," said Chris Speller, Group Director, Cityscape.
"For many property owners it is as much about managing running or operating costs as reducing their carbon emissions, but there is a sound business case for sustainability. During the boom, developers had no financial incentive to go green. However due to changing market dynamics, developers now need a competitive edge. Adopting a sustainable design not only reduces carbon emissions, it can lower maintenance and utility costs as well as increase the lifecycle of the building and therefore present a better return on investment for the building owner," added Speller.
Dr. Mohammed Dulaimi, Professor, The British University in Dubai, said enlightened companies saw environmental sustainability as a trigger for innovation. "Investing in a building now will enhance your competitiveness."
Richard Smith, Technical Director for Atkins and Group Chairman of Carbon Critical Buildings, said he is seeing increased interest locally in concentrated solar power and that, despite the region's high carbon footprint, potentially the UAE is a very sustainable place in future.
The earlier session discussed which rating system is best for the Middle East - LEED, Estidama or BREEAM Gulf. As befits its east-meets-west geography, the region is one of the few globally to have such a cross-section of standards.
"They are all good products and formulated on the same principles but the devil is in the detail and we have inconsistency which needs to be cleared up," said Smith.
For full details of Cityscape Dubai 2009 and its events, please visit:
About CityscapeCityscape, organised by IIR Middle East which is part of Informa plc, encompasses a series of exhibitions and conferences that take place in Dubai and Abu Dhabi; Asia; Saudi Arabia; USA; Latin America; and India.
Media contactNathalie ViseleShamal Marketing CommunicationsDubai Media City, United Arab EmiratesTel: +971 4 365 2711Cell: +971 50 457 6525Email:
© Press Release 2009

V-shaped economic upturn expected in Dubai next year

Emirates Business 24-7, 08 October 2009As economic recovery gains steam, a top official of Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI)Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) expects to see a V-shaped recovery in the UAE next year."Our research indicates that the UAE will see a robust growth in 2010. The decline in the country's GDP will be limited and we expect a V-shaped recovery next year," said Hamad Buamim, Director-General of Dubai ChamberDubai Chamber."[The] impact on Dubai was not as severe as it was expected to be," he said, adding that "long-term outlook has improved considerably and expectations of liquidity and access to financing also look better."His view is shared by leading analysts in the country."On current trends, it looks as though we are on a V-track recovery in terms of national income. A low baseline effect will also flatter annual growth figures from the fourth quarter onwards," Dr Giyas Gokkent, Chief Economist of National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD), told Emirates Business.Talking about the W-shaped recovery, he said: "W is the possible double dip in economic activity that may occur once one-off stimulus/policy measures end. Policymakers are displaying a strong preference to err on the side of growth."Early reversal in the policy course appears unlikely for the time being. It would have been easier to have greater conviction on a V-shaped recovery if the crisis had been country specific," said Gokkent.Worldwide, many experts are claiming that the worst is far from over. Most recently, Michael Geoghegan, Chief Executive of HSBC, said he fears a second downturn and is cautious about growing too fast.The UAE, which is linked to global happenings, will reflect what happens on the broader scenario but could be more buoyant."The UAE is interlinked to the rest of the world through a number of channels. One link is oil. The United States accounts for 25 per cent of global oil consumption, while roughly 30 per cent of UAE nominal GDP is based on hydrocarbon activity."Another link is exchange rates. A potentially stronger dollar would translate to a stronger dirham versus major currencies and could be detrimental to non-oil economic activity."A third link is interest rates. The fixed exchange rate of dirham vis-à-vis the dollar means that under normal circumstances interest rates in the UAE mirror those prevailing in the dollar markets."
By Shuchita Kapur
© Emirates Business 24/7 2009

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Dubai eyes the jewel of the past to bring back the lustre of pearls

Dubai is known for its oil riches and spectacular architecture, but it craves a return to its old glory, and the origin of its prosperity as the major producer of natural pearls.

In the past, pearl divers could hold their breath for two minutes and dive into the warm waters of the Gulf for the aquatic gems. The lucrative trade was based on these “amphibious” men. Many died and many got rich. It was a time when a pearl was more expensive than gold – a time when the Gulf was the world's pearl trade epicenter with $4 million revenue a year at the start of the 20th century.

In the 1930s that industry was turned upside down overnight, leaving the country desperate, when cultured (technologically altered) pearls were introduced by the Japanese, meaning they were no longer rare. In the 1960s, the oil boom returned the Gulf people's interest to the sea, despite the value of natural pearls having fallen by 90%. But nowadays, while the pearl market is packed with cultured pearls from the Far East and West, natural pearls have returned to their throne, and an ambitious Dubai is attempting to revive the 3000-year-old pearl trade with an eye on the multibillion dollar natural and cultured pearl market.

Read more

Monday, September 28, 2009

Abu Dhabi Challenges Global Credit Crunch

Abu Dhabi, UAE, 24 September, 2009-(ME NewsWire): The emirate of Abu Dhabi retained its strong economic position despite the economic crisis that hit world-over throughout last year. The emirate's entire production and development wheel continued turning in spite of the current global credit crunch, thanks to the wise policies adopted by its leadership, led by the Executive Council, under the chairmanship of H.H General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces and as stipulated by the Emirate's strategy "Plan Abu Dhabi 2030" and "Economic Vision 2030".
A number of international economic and financial research organizations issued reports and studies indicating that the emirate's entire economic sectors were growing persistently in spite of the on-going economic downturn.
"The Report: Abu Dhabi 2009", of the Oxford Business Group "OBG", said that the Emirate's government spending has risen by 12% to AED42.2 billion this year. The Emirate still enjoys a strong economic and credit position despite oil price plunging in the international markets, which is the main source of Emirate's income. The report also indicated that Abu Dhabi will be in a very strong position when the global market picks up, thanks to the ability of its government to continue to fund major infrastructure projects and keep its development strategy. This is evident in on-going works in a number of mega-projects in the emirate, such as 'Shaikh Zayed National Museum', 'Guggenheim Abu Dhabi Museum', the 'Louvre Abu Dhabi' and the 'Performing Arts Centre', all of which are located in the Cultural District of the Saadiyat Island. Also, the emirate is starting the initial studies for the Abu Dhabi Metro Project, investment in heavy industries with aim of diversifying the emirate's economy and the introduction of renewable energy sources as a substitute for oil and natural gas.
These achievements have their reflection on the emirate's employment market, as the online recruitment firm said that Abu Dhabi is leading the recovery from the economic downturn in Gulf careers and employment, now accounting for 23% of all advertised jobs in the GCC. The report added that over the first six months of this year the UAE capital's share of jobs advertised in the region grew by 9% compared to the same period of the last year, while other GCC countries experienced either drop or modest increase in the number of jobs advertised.
The report also indicated that the emirate has allocated 37% and 23% of its total spending for the social services and education, respectively, which are huge amounts compared to what is done by other countries.
The Government of Abu Dhabi has earlier injected AED120 billion in local banking sector to help it cope with the current global credit crunch.
Contact:Executive Council - Public RelationsTel: +971-2-668-8888Fax: +971-2-665-5850Email: pr@ecouncil.ae
© Press Release 2009

UAE Inflation edges up in July

Emirates Business 24-7, 26 September 2009Inflation in the UAE edged up in July but remained at one of its lowest levels following a sharp fall in rents and food prices, official figures show.The consumer price index (CPI) rose by about 0.39 per cent in July over the previous month despite a decline in seven groups making up the CPI, showed the figures by the Ministry of Economy.Inflation stood at only 0.03 per cent in June compared with the previous month while it averaged 2.96 per cent in the first seven months of 2009 compared with the same period of 2008, the figures showed.In July, there was an increase of 0.84 per cent in the food and beverage index and nearly 0.77 per cent rise in rents. There was also an increase of 1.92 per cent in home supply and 0.27 per cent in culture.The report showed there was a decline of 0.07 per cent in the liquor and tobacco index and 0.14 per cent in clothes and footwear, 1.10 per cent in health services, 0.46 per cent in transport, 0.01 per cent in communications, 0.26 per cent in restaurants and hotels, and 0.60 per cent in other groups. Education services remained unchanged during that month. Liquor and tobacco recorded the largest price rise in the first seven months of 2009, surging by 11.39 per cent. It was followed by education services, which increased by 9.27 per cent and transport services by 6.06 per cent. Only two groups in the CPI recorded a fall in the first seven months of this year, with cultural services and clothes and footwear dropping by 1.06 and 1.45 per cent respectively, according to the report.The UAE recorded its highest inflation rate of 12.3 per cent in 2008 because of a surge in local rents and food prices, higher global commodity prices, and a sharp increase in its import bill due to the weakening US dollar, to which the dirham and other Gulf currencies are pegged. Economists attributed the sharp slowdown in inflation this year to the strengthening dollar, falling prices of oil and other commodities, a correction in the local real estate sector, and waning domestic demand.In a recent study, Saudi American Bank said the UAE could have a brief period of deflation in some months this year before a recovery in domestic demand and higher import bills push the country back into price growth.Inflation rates have steadily increased over the past seven years mainly because of high rents and strong domestic demand triggered by the oil boom.From 2.9 per cent in 2002, the rate grew to 3.1 per cent in 2003, five per cent in 2003, 6.2 per cent in 2004, 9.3 per cent in 2006 and 11.1 per cent in 2007 before climbing to a record high last year.
By Nadim Kawach
© Emirates Business 24/7 2009

GCC Central banks hold on to their gold reserves

Emirates Business 24-7, 27 September 2009Central banks across the world held on to their gold reserves in the past quarter (July-September) as governments searched their way out of the economic depression, recent data released by the World Gold Council (WGC) showed.Even as the total volume of gold held by central banks remained almost constant, their value as a percentage of total assets held marginally declined in most of the cases, the WGC data highlighted. Two GCC countries -Saudi Arabia and Qatar - were mentioned on the list and they were shown to have maintained their gold reserves in the past three months. As per WGC's 'World official gold holdings' for September 2009, the US and Germany with 8,133.5 and 3,408.3 tonnes of reserves are the countries with the highest amount of gold reserves in the world. China, the world's largest gold producer, apparently slowed its gold accumulation spree. It holds 1,054 tonnes of gold, which is just 1.8 per cent of its total reserves.The WGC did not publish data regarding the UAE Central BankUAE Central Bank's gold reserve. WGC data shows that the country has stopped keeping its reserves in gold since 2003 onwards.Saudi Arabia and Qatar were shown were as having 12.3 and 2.3 per cent of their reserves in gold. The figure stood at 12.4 per cent and 3.7 per cent respectively for the two hydrocarbon rich countries in March 2009.While Germany was a prominent disposer of gold in the last quarter, France the other major European economy accumulated gold in the last quarter. The two European nations recently recorded an above-zero spike in growth rate. While Germany disposed 4.3 tonnes of gold in the last quarter, France amassed 5.6 tonnes of the yellow metal. WGC CEO Aram Shishmanian earlier said the GCC central banks are looking forward to improving their gold reserves. "Central banks with low reserves of gold are looking forward to increasing their reserves. They are trying to analyse what the right balance should be. They are getting aggressive," he had said.The bullion has seesawed between $900 an ounce and $1,020 this year having touched the upper mark recently. The yellow metal traded at about $991.70 an ounce yesterday. It is expected to find support at $975 an ounce before commencing an upward journey again.Jeffrey Rhodes, Chief Exec utive of Intel Commodities, said that the bullion is expected to touch a "new high" beyond $1,100 an ounce by the end of 2009.
By Shashank Shekhar
© Emirates Business 24/7 2009

Dubai best positioned for long term investment

Monday, Sep 28, 2009
Gulf News
Dubai: Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Cairo and Casablanca are the best positioned within the MENA region to attract long-term capital over the next few years, says a recent industry report.
The ability to attract long-term investors and investments will be key to market success, said a recent report by Jones Lang LaSalle.
In more mature economies, long-term investors account for 80 per cent of large real estate investment transactions.
"This transition will require a paradigm shift from the previous reliance on short-term strategies and rapid implementation to an increased focus on the creation of quality real estate assets that will be attractive to both occupiers and long-term real estate investors," noted the report.
Many long-term investors have put off investing in Dubai, especially in the past due to the frantic activity of short-term speculators and developers that buoyed the market for so long.
This essentially led to the current sluggish market activity and reduced sales.
"In the rush to build and sell real estate assets, markets across the MENA region have largely overlooked the requirement to attract more stable, long term investors and end users over the last decade," said the report.
When many investors left the marketplace and took their money with them, this contributed to the decline in property prices and rents which fell 25 to 50 per cent in some markets across the region.
While 2009 has been a year of correction, in the eyes of many industry experts, markets in the region are expected to stabilise in 2010 and finally recover in 2011, according to Jones Lang LaSalle.
And signs of a more stable property market are already becoming visible in Dubai with developers and investors having learned harsh lessons from past experiences.
"There has been some long-term investment from local and GCC family groups. What has been missing is investment from western style institutional investors - this will come but has not been much in evidence to date," Craig Plumb, head of research, MENA, Jones Lang LaSalle, told Gulf News.
Dubai, the hardest hit real estate market, Abu Dhabi, Cairo and Casablanca topped the table in the region as being best positioned to attract long term capital due to three major elements - investment environment competitiveness such as infrastructure and ease of investment, real estate market conditions, including stability of pricing, transparency and liquidity and finally, the availability of investable products like stable rental income and potential for capital growth.
"The key markets for investments are Dubai and Abu Dhabi with a caveat on Abu Dhabi that there is a change in the investment area. The types of occupiers [in Dubai and Abu Dhabi] are the ones international investors are looking for," said Nicholas Maclean, managing director of CB Richard Ellis Middle East region.
Maclean said while Dubai and Abu Dhabi are definitely key areas for long term investors, Cairo and Casablanca are "not in the same league" as the UAE, although Cairo is likely to offer more opportunities as it develops further.
A possible vehicle to stimulate investment in the sector might be Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) and Dubai is poised to see strengthened activity in this area in the future.
"REITs would indeed be a good vehicle and we expect to see more products being structured in this manner in the future," Plumb added. REITs have not been so widely used in this region historically due to legislation and restrictive regulations.
Another way to encourage long term investment is to federalise the current laws so that all the emirates can operate under one set of regulations and not have to make retrospective changes, Maclean added.
The most significant challenge right now, however, is the issue of potential oversupply. Vacancies in the office market are around 25 per cent and the average hotel occupancy rate is around 65 per cent, said the report. The oversupply situation creates additional downward pressure on prices and rental levels in the short term.
By Suzanne Fenton, Staff Reporter
© Gulf News 2009. All rights reserved.

Financial sector hiring to surge 20% this quarter

Emirates Business 24-7, 28 September 2009

Recruitment for the financial sector has started picking up in the region and estimates point to a 17 to 20 per cent increase this quarter compared to the previous three months.

Industry executives said companies, particularly international ones, are expected to allocate higher budgets towards recruitment and training of their staff in 2010.

As economic sentiment gets positive, the financial sector, which saw heavy lay-offs during the onset of the crisis, is preparing to seize business opportunities by hiring the right kind of people. However, the current focus is on hiring specialists and high-calibre staff who will help generate revenues and, in most cases, fill the positions that are left vacant.

Robert Half UAE, a recruitment company that has published its Salary Guide UAE 2009-2010, said demand for finance and accounting specialists in the UAE continued, whereas there was a drop in demand for support functions such as human resources and IT.

Placement consultants and analysts said it is an opportune time to hire staff at "realistic salaries". As per estimates there has been a 20 per cent decline in salaries this year and, with manpower available at lower costs, the analysts advise that organisations should not delay hiring further if they are to take advantage of the economy picking up.

The financial sector, including banks and asset management firms, took a beating during the economic crisis and saw massive job cuts globally. A report by Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) said 15 million job cuts took place between end of 2007 and July 2009. The International Labour Organisation (ILO) estimated global unemployment rate to increase to 7.1 per cent and 51 million jobs to be lost in 2009 compared to six per cent in 2008 and 5.7 per cent in 2007.

Of the total job losses, the financial sector contributed a major share.

However, the past three months have reported relative stability in job cuts globally and, if placement consultants are to go by, positive sentiment has started showing results in jobs markets.

In a survey of 1,500 people conducted by Naukri?, more than 60 per cent of respondents said that had started to hire again.

"Companies have definitely started hiring now. Our survey showed that more than 60 per cent are recruiting people again. Jobs on our website have increased. Now, post Ramadan, there is an increase in activity," Rahul Khar, Zonal Manager of, told Emirates Business.

After the job cuts, uncertainty about improvement in economic conditions has seen companies adopting a wait and watch policy. However, the same appears to be giving way to hope about betterment resulting in a focus on seizing the opportunities that businesses foresee in near future, the consultants said.

James Sayer, Senior Manager at Robert Half UAE, said: "Finance and accounting has fared better than other sectors due to the need to having strong F&A functions during a downturn, with a real focus on treasury, financial control and accounts payable positions."

Nofel Izz, Director,, said: "Jobs in the financial sectors are showing more stability now than in March and April of 2009. The increase would be approximately 17 per cent in this quarter as compared to the previous quarter."

Charles Francis, Partner with GCC Partners, said: "In the past three weeks we have seen people starting to put plans into action. We have been hired for consultancy, received mandates to hire new staff and train new staff. The time has come not just to talk about it but actually start putting some of these things into action.

"Besides, the markets are looking better. Across the world, markets are rallying, there is confidence. They are looking ahead rather than just looking over the shoulder. The financial sector is positive. It has become a lot busier. Asset management firms are looking to hire analysts, brokerages are in need of brokers - everywhere they are hiring."

Large corporates, said consultants, are expected to allocate a higher share of their budgets for the next year towards recruitment and hiring.

"Bigger companies are doing their annual budgets. As they prepare their budgets for 2010 at the end of Q3 and in Q4, we are expecting them to be more comfortable allocating towards recruitment, training and consultancy," added Francis.

Christo Daniels, General Manager, iQselection, said: "It is busier now compared to the past quarter. Unlike a few weeks ago when people were shying from making decisions, they are now doing so. Activity post-Ramadan has picked up and the lead time between placing a job vacancy and filling a post is becoming shorter."

For fresh recruitments, firms are looking at "the best candidates" who can help generate revenues instead of hiring in large numbers. In addition, training existing staff is also high on agenda.

"What happened in the past is that they hired across the board and in large volumes, whereas now they are much more selective. They are combining consultancy and recruitment. Looking for people who are more experienced and high calibre, rather than hiring in large numbers.

"Companies have already finished job cuts. They are now looking at generating revenues and the staff they add would help them attain that goal. They are looking at specific areas and are much more selective in re-hiring. As they realise this, they are also opting for consultants who can help them frame plans in this field," said Francis of GCC Partners.

"Employers prefer hiring candidates who are more UAE-based than overseas, or at least if the person is available in the region would stand a better chance. They are also looking for brand names when it comes to hiring someone in the financial industry, so if your company is listed on Nasdaq, you will probably have a better chance at a finance job in Dubai than others," said Izz.

An increase in allocation towards training too is being seen, the consultants said. "Firms are training the staff in cases where they feel the need. The staff in this region is very eager to have training and expand their skills set. Training has been high on the agenda particularly in the past year. As things start to get better, managements are doing training much more than they did last year," said Francis.

"In some cases there is 100 per cent increase in training budgets, many companies told us this is the first time they are going for it. They are realising the value addition."

Analysts said firms which are hiring at the moment are able to save as candidates are available for "realistic" salaries. "Companies are hiring individuals but the pay scales are 20 per cent lower than what they used be in 2007," said Izz.

Robert half said top UAE performers include managing directors in financial services with more than 15 years' experience, who can expect annual salaries in excess of $350,000 (Dh1.28 million); and chief financial officers of similar standing, who take home packages of between $250,000 and $400,000. For those with less than two years' experience under their belts, the allure of banking is still clear, with junior private bankers starting on $100,000 per annum.

Lower salaries make it beneficial for firms to fill vacant positions, the consultancy said. "Right now is a good opportunity to hire people on realistic salaries. People just want to stay here. Maybe 12 months from now would be a different picture," said Francis.

The consultants said there are companies that are still waiting for things to improve further and not hiring but these stand a risk of losing the talent pool already available in the country and may face tougher competition in days ahead, or even lose some opportunities that have started to arise.

"Some companies are being a little slower and losing. The worry is that if they lose another six months, the talent pool may be scarcer. There is a mixed talent pool here in the region. Globally, large companies are hiring and people are moving to places where they are getting jobs. If regional companies wait till next year the competition will be greater, they might have to spend more on salaries. Even as the region attracts people due to the tax regime, people are currently more concerned about having a job. So they are leaving due to opportunities abroad," Francis said.

By Shveta Pathak

Retailers target GCC to set up home

28 September 2009
Home furnishings and accessories retailers are targeting the GCC in their expansion plans, attracted by the region's untapped potential and increased bargaining power for massive rental spaces.

The American home furnishings chain, Ethan Allen, is the latest retailer to announce plans to open about 15 stores across the GCC over the next five years.

It follows the Swedish retail giant IKEA, which earlier this month said it would open its largest store in the Middle East on Abu Dhabi's Yas Island by the end of this year. Siddarth Bhide, the operations and project manager for IKEA in the UAE, said the company was now eyeing new stores in Oman and Qatar.

"Everybody is aware of the Qatar economy in terms of potential and we want to get into that market as soon as we can," he said.

While IKEA sales in the UAE are on par with last year, a slowdown from the double-digit growth rate most retailers saw last year, the region still has untapped potential, Mr Bhide said.

"We look at the market with a long-term view," he added.

"I think there is still a lot of investment in these markets, in real estate and infrastructure in Qatar and Abu Dhabi and Dubai also."

Ethan Allen recently opened its flagship 1,170-square-metres design centre in Dubai Mall and was setting its sights on Abu Dhabi, Damascus and Doha, said Farooq Kathwari, its chairman and president."We're looking at every major city in the Middle East," he said, adding that Ethan Allen had 290 stores, 40 of which were outside North America. Mr Kathwari said the company's interior design service, free with purchase, would give it an edge over the competition.

"The most important part of our offering is our interior design service," he said. "Coming to Dubai without that service would not have been the right thing to do. We would then be basically offering a great programme, but still competing as a commodity.

"Dubai is important because it is in the crossroads between many different places, from South Asia to Europe, to all of the Middle East. Positioning us here gives us an opportunity to expand the projection of our brand."

Consumers in the UAE have cut back on discretionary purchases this year and retailers have seen sales dip by as much as 30 to 40 per cent compared with last year. Despite a slowdown in the local property sector, a number of other home retailers are expanding within or entering the GCC market in the coming months.

The high-end home retailer Williams-Sonoma will open four stores in Dubai and Kuwait by next year in partnership with MH Alshaya Group, the Middle East's largest retail group.

Index Living Mall opened a 50,000 sq ft outlet in Dubai last month, its first outside Thailand, and has plans for stores in Abu Dhabi, Bahrain and Qatar over the next three to five years, said Pisith Patamasatayasonthi, the retailer's president and chief executive.

He acknowledged these were tough economic times but believed this worked in favour of new entrants to the market in terms of availability and the price of new retail space.

"Right now, it is easy to choose the best locations," he said. "Bargaining power is at its best.

"Since Index Living Mall needs a big space, a good location is not easy to find." Robert Ziegler, the vice president of the management consultancy AT Kearney in Dubai, said opportunities for retail still existed in Abu Dhabi, but less so in Dubai.

"There is a slowdown in the market," he said. "I'm not sure it makes sense to reserve capacities unless you're a latecomer and you haven't been in the market before."

However, Laurent-Patrick Gally, a retail analyst with Shuaa Capital in Dubai, said some people were holding on to their properties and might be inclined to renovate their homes.

"You may still have some areas where there is some opportunity for interior decoration," he said.

"In a globally slowing environment, maybe pricing is more acceptable now than a few months back."

By Armina Ligaya

© The National 2009

Monday, August 31, 2009

Prince Al waleed Is Richest Saudi

Prince Alwalled still tops 2009's Saudi rich list. (Bloomberg News)
Category: News & Politics
Personal Finance Business Economy

Saturday, August 29, 2009

New Etihad Airways first class suite enters service

29 August 2009
Etihad Airways has introduced its highly-anticipated new first class suite into service, marking a new era in luxury air travel.

The new product on board the airline's latest Airbus A340-600 is now operating between Abu Dhabi and London Heathrow.

The state-of-the-art private suite provides first class customers with an extra-large leather seat, upholstered by world-renowned leather company Poltrona Frau, which extends to a fully-flat bed, 80.5 inches in length.

Within the first class cabin there is also a large and luxurious changing room with a full length mirror, wash basin and leather fold-down seat allowing customers to freshen up at any time during the flight.

James Hogan, Etihad AirwaysEtihad Airways' chief executive, said: "The entry into service of our new first class product is a major milestone for Etihad AirwaysEtihad Airwaysas it is the first time we have offered our customers their own private suite within the first class cabin.

"The new suite is state-of-the-art in every way and the innovative enhancements, such as a personal illuminated wardrobe with mirror and refreshment cabinet, demonstrate our continued commitment to provide a world-class experience for our premium passengers."

A second A340-600 with the new suite will join the fleet in September 2009. Etihad AirwaysEtihad Airwayswill take delivery during the next two years of a further five Airbus A330-300 aircraft configured with the new first class suites. The first of these new aircraft is due to arrive in December 2009. The airline will also retrofit nine Airbus A340 aircraft that are currently in service by December 2010.

The new suites feature in-flight entertainment of the highest quality, with more than 600 hours of entertainment available on-demand on the 23 inch wide-screen LCD screen. In-flight dining is taken to a new level with meals served on an extra large wood-finished table.

Key features of the new first class cabin include:

  • First class suite is an 82 inch long private space with an extra-large seat

  • The suites are in a 1-2-1 configuration, allowing all customers direct access to the aisle

  • The first class seat transforms into a fully-flat bed with a total length of 80.5 inch and width of 29.75 inch

  • Each private suite is accessed by its own 57 inch high sliding screen door

  • Centre seats have an optional privacy divider offering total seclusion

  • Every suite is equipped with a personal illuminated wardrobe with mirror, refreshments cabinet and new compartments built into and around the seat for customers to stow their possessions

  • Luxurious leather seats have been upholstered by world-renowned Poltrana Frau, which also provides interiors for Ferrari cars

  • A handy touch-screen control activates the built-in massage

  • Every seat comes equipped with in-seat power sockets for PCs, USB ports, Ethernet port and audio jack. Customers can also connect their own media player to the IFE system

  • Seats are equipped with a 23 inch personal TV/video screen, with cinematic 16:9 aspect ratio

  • Noise cancelling headsets

  • Four different dimmer settings for four individual lights

  • The in-flight entertainment system allows customers to pause, stop, fast-forward or rewind more than 600 hours of films, TV and radio programmes, and play games

  • Meals are served on an extra large (24 inch x 25 inch) wood finished table. The new seat also allows up to four people to dine together, face-to-face

  • A large changing room with a full length mirror, new style washbasin and leather fold-down changing room seat, along with designer amenity kits, allows customers to freshen up and change after take-off and prior to landing

Key features of Etihad's premium in-flight experience:

  • Introduction of a new cabin crew position called the food and beverage manager responsible for championing the quality, presentation and delivery of in-flight dining

  • First and business class customers can dine on demand anytime from an a la carte fine dining menu or opt for kitchen style snacks

Key features of Etihad premium ground services experience:

  • First and business class customers flying from Abu Dhabi airport can take advantage of a dedicated concierge service

  • Customers' complimentary limousine service is met kerb-side and they are then escorted to the airline's dedicated premium check-in zone

  • Dedicated first and business class lounges at both Terminal 1 and Terminal 3 at Abu Dhabi airport

  • Lounges offer a range of services including all-day fine dining, boardroom-style meeting facilities, Six Senses Spa treatments, a champagne bar and even a cigar room

To view an online demonstration of the new first class cabin, visit Etihad AirwaysEtihad Airwayswebsite, A range of images of the new first class suite are also available for download at


About Etihad Airways
Etihad AirwaysEtihad Airwaysis the national airline of the United Arab Emirates based in the UAE's capital, Abu Dhabi. Etihad offers flights to more than 50 destinations in the Middle East, Europe, North America, Africa, Asia and Australia. For further details: Etihad AirwaysEtihad AirwaysCorporate Communications: Tel: + 971 (0) 2 511 1032 / 1036 or visit

© Press Release 2009

from Four Communications Group