Una's Feed
Mar 6, 2012
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Lucrative Sino-Gulf ties will survive Syria clash

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By Una Galani

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

Russia has been roundly criticised in the Gulf for vetoing last month’s United Nations Security Council resolution on Syria. China, which also vetoed the resolution, has come in for much less flak. This may be partly because the Gulf Arab countries see Moscow rather than Beijing as Bashar al-Assad’s main supporter. But it is also because the Gulf and China have $90 billion a year in bilateral trade. It’s in the interests of neither that this is disrupted.

Mar 6, 2012

Dubai’s flying shoppers could ease its debt burden

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

By Una Galani

DUBAI, March 6 (Reuters Breakingviews) – Dubai is relying on
what it does best to help solve its debt woes: shopping. After
successfully borrowing against road toll receipts last year, the
flashy emirate now wants to raise at least $500 million by
issuing bonds secured against future revenue from its giant
airport retailer, Dubai Duty Free. Securitisation is often seen
as the last refuge of the cash-strapped, and is nascent in the
Middle East. But as Western banks withdraw, it’s looking
increasingly attractive.

Feb 20, 2012
via Breakingviews

Iraq offers investors ultra-high risk-reward bet

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By Una Galani

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

Are you a global investor looking for an ultra-high risk-reward option? Consider Iraq. The perils are well known – possible civil war at the top of the list – but the Baghdad main index is still up 32 percent over two years, outperforming its Middle East rivals. This year has started less well – drops are hardly a surprise for a fractious country in a volatile region – but this frontier market has many of the ingredients of success.

Feb 1, 2012
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Gulf stock markets head for lost half-decade

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

Gulf stock markets are heading for a lost-half decade. Regional indices are down sharply since the start of 2008 and volumes are desperately thin. There is plenty to blame: the ghosts of Lehman, the Dubai-debt crisis, the euro-zone mess, the Arab uprisings. But market participants are doing precious little to help.

Dec 19, 2011
via Breakingviews

Alwaleed pushes the limits with edgy Twitter stake

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

Prince Alwaleed might be pushing the limits with Twitter. Even though the billionaire entrepreneur Saudi-royal is known for both his reformist views and bold media investments, his latest coup, a $300 million strategic stake in the social networking site, is decisively edgy.

Dec 14, 2011
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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.

Full view will be published shortly.

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    • 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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