Economics Editor, Europe, Middle East and Africa
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May 25, 2015

Iraqi bank to open five more branches in bet on future

DEAD SEA, Jordan (Reuters) – An Iraqi bank controlled by Jordanian interests plans to open five more branches in Iraq by the end of this year, a sign that there is still money to be made in much of the country despite civil war and low oil prices.

Iraq’s economy shrank an estimated 2.4 percent in 2014 and the International Monetary Fund expects it to grow only marginally if at all this year. Baghdad has started running down its international reserves as cheap oil slashes state revenues.

May 13, 2015

Iran’s Future Bank appeals Bahrain decision to take it over

DUBAI, May 13 (Reuters) – An Iranian-owned bank based in
Bahrain has appealed a decision by local authorities to place it
in administration, in a case showing the vulnerability of Iran’s
business interests in the Gulf as political tensions rise.

In a letter to the Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB), the
chairman of Future Bank, Abdolnaser Hemmati, said his company
had fully complied with regulatory requirements and saw no
reason to be treated as a risk to the banking system.

May 5, 2015

IMF says may agree on $800 million loan to Iraq in weeks

DUBAI (Reuters) – Iraq has requested financial assistance from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and agreement may be reached within weeks on a loan of about $800 million (529 million pounds), a senior IMF official said.

Iraqi finances have been hit hard by the plunge of oil prices since last year as well as by the Islamic State insurgency. The government has projected a budget deficit of about $25 billion this year, in a budget of some $100 billion.

Apr 29, 2015

Gulf economies’ growth forecasts cut as oil stays low: Reuters poll

DUBAI, (Reuters) – The outlook for most of the rich Gulf Arab economies has dimmed for this year and next as oil prices have remained relatively low, according to a Reuters poll published on Wednesday that showed economists cutting their forecasts.

Heavy state spending and strong private consumption are cushioning the impact of a plunge in oil export revenues.

Apr 12, 2015

From film to fashion, Dubai bids to be creative capital for Arab world

DUBAI, April 12 (Reuters) – Move over, Cairo, Beirut and
Casablanca. Dubai is launching a drive to become one of the Arab
world’s top centres for art, design, film and fashion – areas
that have traditionally been dominated by old Arab cities
outside the Gulf.

Success is not certain. The wealthy emirate is much better
known as a trading and banking hub and luxury shopping
destination than as a centre for the arts. It lacks the
established cities’ centuries of history and culture.

Apr 9, 2015

Gulf mostly up despite oil, Egypt continues recovery

DUBAI, April 9 (Reuters) – Most major Gulf stock markets
rose on Thursday as positive corporate news and earnings
outweighed a pull-back of oil prices, while Egypt continued its
bounce from three-month lows.

Brent crude plunged 6 percent on Wednesday because
of a shock jump in U.S. crude inventories and news of record
Saudi output. It rebounded about 3 percent to $57.20 a barrel in
Asia on Thursday.

Apr 8, 2015

Gulf higher on oil, Egypt rises after debt upgrade

DUBAI, April 8 (Reuters) – Most Gulf stock markets rose on
Wednesday, buoyed by firmer oil prices, as Egypt climbed after
rating agency Moody’s Investors Service upgraded the country’s
sovereign debt.

Brent crude had rebounded sharply in the past two
days and although it pulled back slightly on Wednesday, it
remained above $58 a barrel, about $1 above its levels when
Gulf stock markets were open on Tuesday.

Apr 7, 2015

Gulf boosted by stronger oil; Egypt starts rebounding

DUBAI, April 7 (Reuters) – Major Gulf stock markets rose on
the back of stronger oil prices on Tuesday, while Egypt began
rebounding after a three-week bout of heavy profit-taking.

Brent crude jumped nearly 6 percent on Monday to
$58.24 a barrel, its highest since March 27, although it
partially dropped back to $57.52 on Tuesday.

Apr 7, 2015

Britain’s Charlemagne plans Iran investment funds before sanctions lifted

DUBAI, April 7 (Reuters) – A British asset manager is
teaming up with a Tehran-based firm to establish funds that will
invest in the Iranian securities markets, in a sign that flows
of foreign money into Iran may not wait for economic sanctions
to be lifted.

London-based Charlemagne Capital, an emerging
market asset management group with about $2.5 billion under
management, said on Tuesday it would set up and promote the
funds jointly with Turquoise Partners.

Apr 6, 2015

Property firms buoy Dubai; Saudi rallies a bit, Egypt continues slide

DUBAI, April 6 (Reuters) – Real estate-related shares led
Dubai’s stock market higher on Monday while Saudi Arabia rose
modestly because of higher oil prices. Heavy profit-taking,
fuelled by weak economic data, continued to weigh on Egypt.

The Dubai stock index climbed 1.2 percent, buoyed
in part by last week’s poor U.S. jobs data, which appeared to
reduce chances that the U.S. Federal Reserve would hike interest
rates anytime soon.

    • 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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