Una's Feed
Oct 2, 2012

Qatar’s sovereign funds: A guide for the perplexed

(The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions
expressed are her own)

By Una Galani

DUBAI, Oct 2 (Reuters Breakingviews) – Cash-rich and outward
looking Qatar is a gold mine for advisors. Yet for those hoping
to land work on any of the multi-billion dollar transactions led
by the Gulf state, it’s no longer enough just to put in a call
to its highest-profile sovereign wealth fund, the Qatar
Investment Authority. Today, Qatar’s financial activities are
spread across different but related entities, with blurred
dividing lines.

Aug 2, 2012

Barclays’ Qatari baggage gets even heavier

(The authors are Reuters Breakingviews columnists. The opinions
expressed are their own)

By Una Galani and George Hay

DUBAI/LONDON, Aug 2 (Reuters Breakingviews) – Barclays’
(BARC.L: Quote, Profile, Research) Qatari baggage is getting heavier. A costly capital
injection by Gulf funds spared the UK bank from a state bailout
in 2008. But if a probe by the UK’s Financial Services Authority
into the disclosure of fees discredits one of the few remaining
members of Barclays’ top executive team, the bank’s decision to
seek salvation in the Middle East will look even more like a
Faustian pact.

Jul 19, 2012
via Breakingviews

Sovereign funds still hungry for Western banks

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By Una Galani

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are her own.

Sovereign wealth funds are still hungry for Western banks. Even though an early-crisis wave of financial investments mostly ended badly, Credit Suisse’s latest 3.8 billion Swiss franc cash call shows rich states still have faith in global lenders.

Jul 9, 2012
via Breakingviews

Saudi Arabia pushes accelerator on reform

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The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are her own

By Una Galani

Saudi Arabia is moving at its fastest pace in years to overhaul the economy, and this time there isn’t even the crunch of lower oil prices. Last year’s effort to tackle unemployment, and a recent and long-expected mortgage law designed to help solve the housing problem, should help shore up stability in the absolute monarchy. These are tentative steps so far. But they go in the right direction.

Jun 25, 2012
via Breakingviews

No quick wins for Egypt’s new Islamist president

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By Una Galani

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are her own.

Egypt’s Islamists will find victory bittersweet. The Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohamed Mursi is the Arab nation’s first freely elected president. But the role comes with limited power and may be short-lived. The long-repressed movement will struggle to deliver on its promise to jumpstart the ailing economy.

Jun 21, 2012

UBS royal pickle reveals Gulf M&A minefield

(The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions
expressed are her own)

By Una Galani

DUBAI, June 21 (Reuters Breakingviews) – UBS (UBSN.VX: Quote, Profile, Research) has
got itself into a royal pickle in Kuwait. The Swiss bank is
fighting a claim that it failed to pay a local sheikh for
helping it secure the $10.7 billion sale of the African
subsidiary of part state-owned telecom operator Zain (ZAIN.KW: Quote, Profile, Research).
UBS denies that it entered into any contract with the sheikh.
Yet if nothing else, the case has exposed the lengths to which
big banks will go to schmooze Gulf royals.

Jun 13, 2012
via Breakingviews

Iran’s oil sanctions are just beginning to hurt

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By Una Galani

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are her own.

Iran’s sanction pain is just beginning. Oil revenue in the Islamic Republic may have fallen by nearly one third, or $35 billion, on the back of a slowdown in exports and declining prices. With U.S. sanctions set to tighten and China’s apparent readiness to go along, Tehran’s budget could be thrown deep into the red.

Jun 12, 2012
via Breakingviews

Iraq rise will upset OPEC power balance

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By Una Galani and Christopher Swann

The authors are Reuters Breakingviews columnists. The opinions expressed are their own.

Iraq’s rise is upsetting OPEC’s power balance. For the last decade, the oil cartel has let the Gulf country produce crude without an output quota. The exemption allowed Iraq the freedom to invest in its war-damaged oil industry. That reconstruction is picking up pace – production is now higher than before the U.S.-led invasion in 2003. Iraq is set to overtake Iran as OPEC’s second biggest producer. The rapid increase in output is an urgent challenge for OPEC’s oil ministers who are meeting this week in Vienna.

Jun 6, 2012
via Breakingviews

Qatar play for EFG Hermes stokes backlash in Egypt

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By Una Galani

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are her own.

Qatar’s move on EFG Hermes is provoking a backlash. The Gulf emirate’s play for key assets of the region’s preeminent investment bank has prompted a rival consortium, notably backed by billionaire Naguib Sawiris, to declare an interest in buying it outright. The Qatari deal was approved last week by shareholders, but in the current volatile situation anything can happen.

May 28, 2012
via Breakingviews

Saudi’s foreign aid bill piles up

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By Una Galani

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are her own.

Saudi Arabia’s foreign aid bill is mounting. Egypt Jordan, Bahrain, Oman and Yemen – the Arab spring has elicited a string of pledges of loans and grants from the oil-rich kingdom to its troubled, resource-poor neighbours.

    • About Una

      "Una Galani is Asia Corporate Finance Columnist of Reuters Breakingviews, based in Hong Kong. She spent three years in Dubai covering the region’s economies in the immediate aftermath of the Arab Spring. Previously, Una wrote on capital markets, mergers and acquisitions, and telecoms across Europe from London. She was commended in the category of Young Financial Journalist at the Harold Wincott Awards for 2009 after joining Breakingviews in 2006. Una read English Literature at Oxford. Follow Una on Twitter @ugalani"
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