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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