Economics Editor, Europe, Middle East and Africa
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Dec 22, 2014

Markets rise on oil, Saudi budget hopes but uptrend slows

DUBAI, Dec 22 (Reuters) – Most Gulf equity markets continued
rising on Monday but their uptrend slowed, suggesting the
benefits of stabilising oil prices and expectations for a large
Saudi Arabian state budget had now largely been factored into
stocks.

The main Saudi index closed 0.3 percent higher,
after jumping 16 percent over the previous three days. Turnover
remained active but dropped by about a fifth from Sunday’s
level.

Dec 21, 2014

Gulf markets continue rally on oil, Saudi budget hopes

DUBAI, Dec 21 (Reuters) – Stock markets around the Gulf rose
sharply for a second straight day on Sunday after oil prices
bounced and before the release of Saudi Arabia’s 2015 budget
plan, which is expected to show the kingdom continuing to spend
heavily on economic development.

The main Saudi index rose 2.5 percent, bringing its
gains over the past three days to 16 percent – though it is
still 24 percent below its September peak.

Dec 13, 2014

Gulf equities slide in perfect storm of oil, leverage, panic

DUBAI, Dec 13 (Reuters) – Sliding oil prices, leverage and
sheer panic have exposed the fragility of Gulf equity markets
just as they are becoming mainstream destinations for
international investors.

In May, MSCI upgraded Qatar and the United Arab Emirates to
emerging-market status, drawing billions of dollars of new money
to them. Saudi Arabia will open its bourse to direct foreign
investment next year, which could draw tens of billions of
dollars in coming years.

Dec 11, 2014

Gulf bonds diverge as oil plunge separates strong from weak

DUBAI, Dec 11 (Reuters) – Sovereign bond yields in the Gulf
are diverging, as investors start to differentiate between
countries that can cope comfortably with the plunge in oil
prices and those which will find the cut to their export
revenues very painful.

For two years, yields of the six oil exporting nations in
the Gulf Cooperation Council converged as the regional economy
boomed. Some investors even saw the GCC as a single credit.

Nov 24, 2014

Oman considers spending cuts, tax rises as oil tumbles

MUSCAT, Nov 24 (Reuters) – An advisory body to Oman’s
government has suggested sweeping spending cuts and tax rises,
including a levy on liquefied natural gas exports, to cope with
the hit to state revenues from the plunge in oil prices.

Oman has run a small budget surplus so far this year but the
slide of the Brent crude oil price to around $80 a barrel in
recent months, from levels of around $115 in June, promises to
push it into deficit next year unless oil rebounds sharply.

Nov 23, 2014

Casablanca financial centre plans arbitration body to grow in region

MARRAKESH, Morocco, Nov 23 (Reuters) – Casablanca’s
international financial centre will launch a business
arbitration body this week in an effort to expand its footprint
in the region, an official involved with the project said.

“In the past, African companies might go to Paris, Brussels
or Geneva to resolve their business disputes,” said Said
Ibrahimi, chief executive of the Moroccan Financial Board, a
public-private body which oversees Casablanca Finance City.

Nov 21, 2014

Morocco to spend, reform to double foreign investment -minister

MARRAKESH, Morocco, Nov 21 (Reuters) – Morocco plans to
boost state spending in support of industry and reform
regulations as part of an effort to double foreign direct
investment by 2020, investment minister Moulay Hafid Alamy said.

Unlike many Arab economies, Morocco managed to avoid a big
drop in FDI in the wake of the global financial crisis and the
Arab Spring uprisings of 2011, partly by marketing itself as an
export base for Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Nov 20, 2014

Casablanca Stock Exchange plans board for smaller firms

MARRAKESH, Morocco, Nov 20 (Reuters) – The Casablanca Stock
Exchange will set up a new board for the shares of small and
medium-sized enterprises to make it easier for them to raise
money, the exchange’s chief executive Karim Hajji said.

Limited access to finance for small firms is hurting
Morocco’s efforts to create more jobs. At the same time,
authorities want to cut companies’ heavy dependence on bank
loans, which can make it hard for the central bank to tighten
liquidity without starving the corporate sector of finance.

Nov 6, 2014

NASDAQ Dubai to promote Egyptian firms’ dual listings

DUBAI, Nov 6 (Reuters) – NASDAQ Dubai has agreed with
Egypt’s securities clearing house to promote cross-listings of
Egyptian firms’ shares in Dubai, a sign of growing investment
links between the two economies.

The deal between NASDAQ Dubai, the smaller of Dubai’s two
stock exchanges, and Misr for Central Clearing, Depository and
Registry (MCDR) establishes technical ties that will facilitate
dual listings, the two bodies said on Thursday.

Nov 3, 2014

Region outperforms as MSCI hopes aid Qatar, IPO boosts Saudi

DUBAI, Nov 3 (Reuters) – Most Middle Eastern stock markets
rose on Monday, outperforming weak Asian and European bourses,
as hopes for a bigger weighting in MSCI’s indexes buoyed Qatar
and a successful initial public offer supported Saudi Arabia.

The Qatari index climbed 1.2 percent as Industries
Qatar surged 3.2 percent. When it upgraded Qatar and
the United Arab Emirates to emerging markets in May, MSCI
applied an “adjustment factor” of 0.5 to stocks there, citing
“accessibility issues to international institutional investors”;
in August, it said it might consider at a November review
whether to raise Qatar’s adjustment factor to 1.

    • About Andrew

      "Based in London, I manage economics and emerging markets coverage in the EMEA region and reporting on emerging markets in the area. Before moving to EMEA in early 2009 I spent almost 20 years in Asia as a journalist, based in Hong Kong, Taipei, Tokyo, Singapore and Shanghai."
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