Una's Feed
Dec 14, 2011
via Breakingviews

OPEC desperately looking for a deal, any deal

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

A torn and divided OPEC is unlikely to tighten its ever loosening grip on the oil market at its summit this week in Vienna. But it might try to paper over the deep differences between its members by pretending to agree on a deal that would mostly consolidate the current status quo, leaving oil markets guessing as to the organisation’s strategy – if there is one at all.

Nov 29, 2011
via Breakingviews

Egypt fosters false economic expectations

By Una Galani
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columinst. The opinions expressed are her own.

Egypt is fostering false economic expectations. In the post-Mubarak era, the moderate Muslim Brotherhood movement’s call for “social justice” is now popular with almost every political force running for election to the country’s new parliament. But the idea is vaguely defined, and delivering the democratic dividend – with high hopes of economic improvement among the millions of poor – will be a struggle.

Oct 20, 2011
via Breakingviews

Gaddafi death could add momentum to Arab Spring

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

Muammar Gaddafi’s death adds welcome momentum to the Arab revolution, allowing Africa’s biggest holder of oil reserves to begin moving towards democracy, like Tunisia and Egypt. If the country’s interim rulers can stick to their plan to hold elections within eight months, it might even take less time to get there than either of Libya’s revolutionary peers.

Oct 19, 2011

Abu Dhabi’s airline strategy lacks coherence

By Una Galani

DUBAI, Oct 19 (Reuters Breakingviews) – Abu Dhabi has developed an unhealthy appetite for European airlines. The UAE’s official national carrier, state-owned Etihad Airways, is eyeing a tie-up with Virgin Atlantic — which is bidding for Lufthansa’s (LHAG.DE: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) bmi unit — and mulling a 25 percent stake in Aer Lingus (AERL.I: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) being sold by the Irish government. Such deals may deliver tactical gains. But they would be a messy way to trying to catch up with rival Dubai-owned Emirates.

Etihad is in an awkward position, outdone by Emirates in terms of profile and passenger numbers. The eight-year-old Etihad flew 7 million passengers in 2010 with a 74 percent seat load factor. Emirates — which is almost three decades old — flew 31 million passengers at an 80 percent load over the same period. Its sheer scale means Emirates is often wrongly assumed to be the UAE national carrier.

Oct 3, 2011

Qatar steals $1 bln march on European Goldfields

By Una Galani

DUBAI, Oct 3 (Reuters Breakingviews) – The Gulf country is
hungry for exposure to gold. Its offer to finance a Greek mining
project will secure it at least 27 pct of the Canadian group at
a snip of its mooted July valuation. But in current markets,
investors will have to think hard before turning away the
Qataris.

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Sep 21, 2011

Al Jazeera shake-up may signal shift for Qatar Inc

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

By Una Galani

DUBAI, Sept 21 (Reuters Breakingviews) – Al Jazeera -– the
island -– has become less of an island. It isn’t entirely clear
why Wadah Khanfar resigned as the director of the Qatari
state-owned and funded network after eight years. But the quiet
frenzy of speculation surrounding the departure of the man
widely credited for putting the outspoken broadcaster on the map
underscores Qatar’s awkward membership of the Kings’ club.

Sep 21, 2011

Breakingviews-Al Jazeera shake-up may signal shift for Qatar Inc

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

By Una Galani

DUBAI, Sept 21 (Reuters Breakingviews) – Al Jazeera -– the
island -– has become less of an island. It isn’t entirely clear
why Wadah Khanfar resigned as the director of the Qatari
state-owned and funded network after eight years. But the quiet
frenzy of speculation surrounding the departure of the man
widely credited for putting the outspoken broadcaster on the map
underscores Qatar’s awkward membership of the Kings’ club.

Aug 22, 2011
via Breakingviews

End game in Libya could herald oil slump

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

The end game in Libya could herald an oil price slump. Like the rebel advance into Tripoli, Libyan supplies to the global market could come sooner than expected. Brent has slipped by almost $3 to almost $106 per barrel in a matter of hours. A resolution in Libya, coupled with concerns over global growth, means tight markets could soon look oversupplied.

Aug 3, 2011

Kuwait Airways sale may not be a runway success

By Una Galani

DUBAI, Aug 2 (Reuters Breakingviews) – Kuwait Airways’ privatisation might not be a runway success. After two decades without profit, the oil-rich nation is seeking to off-load a 35 percent stake in its national carrier to a strategic partner. The hope is that this could allow the company to turn itself from a bloated and inefficient business into a lean and mean flying machine serving the travel needs of the Kuwaiti population. But the implied asking price looks lofty, bidders face many political obstacles, and the business case doesn’t look compelling.

True, the government appears to have overcome one major problem in the airline’s restructuring: it has managed to convince the majority of Kuwait Airways’ 2,600 plus well-paid staff to retire, or take other government jobs, according to a person close to the airline. That should bring down the crippling wage bill, estimated at around 30 percent of revenues by Kuwaiti ratings agency Capital Standards.

May 31, 2011
via Breakingviews

Cup loss wouldn’t be end of the world for Qatar

By Una Galani

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

The World Cup is no small prize for Qatar. It’s far from clear that the Gulf state will lose the right to host the prestigious 2022 soccer tournament. But even if the worst happened, it might do no more than put a small dent in the $77 billion of domestic spending promised as part of its aggressive bid campaign.

    • 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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