This week's financial headlines

This week's financial headlines
30 March 2011

AS THE first quarter of 2011 comes to an end, businesses are slowly recovering in the Arab world. Despite continuing unrest in several Arab countries, there are promises of investment in infrastructure and signs that stock markets are gaining strength.

Here, cashy brings you the latest headlines...

Shares back on the rise

Stock markets in the UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait and Qatar have all posted gains as investors reacted to news that Saudi Arabia's Shoura Council has debated a draft mortgage law aimed at bringing private lenders into the market.

On Sunday, the Saudi Tadawul All-share index closed at 6,519.76, up 0.21% since that morning's opening level. Egypt's benchmark EGX30 climbed 5.3% the same day after only reopening last week, and hit its highest since December 2009. The Dubai stock market rose 0.23% to 1,556.31, while the Abu Dhabi securities exchange closed at 2,645.85, up 0.49% on the day.

UAE could rejoin common currency talks

Muhammad Al-Jasser, Saudi Arabia's central bank governor, told Al-Hayat newspaper that he hopes the UAE will rejoin a Gulf monetary union on the launch of a common currency. The UAE and Oman have withdrawn from the plans because of their own reasons. While Oman decided to pull out back in 2007 citing its inability to live up to the conditions attached and UAE's decision to withdraw from single currency project during 2009 appears to have been prompted by fears that Saudi Arabia intended to dominate policy once it is up and running.

Central bankers from oil-producing Gulf states met in Doha last week and discussed some of the steps needed to achieve a common currency. Do you think a common currency in the GCC will help or hinder the region? 

Dubai World finalises debt

State-owned conglomerate Dubai World has signed a final agreement with its 80 creditors to restructure billions of dollars of debt.

Under the terms of the two-tranche debt repayment plan, creditors will receive $4.4 billion over five years and $10.3bn over eight years at a fixed interest rate of 2.4%.

Dubai World sent global markets reeling in 2009 when it said it was unable to meet its debt obligations.

Qatar launches credit rating bureau

Qatar's central bank has launched a credit bureau to assess individuals' credit worthiness and limit lending risks. The bureau will provide credit report and credit-rating services to banks and finance companies, as well as monitor customer accounts and the debt portfolios of financial institutions. The services will later be extended to telecommunications and insurance companies, it said.

In December, the UAE established a credit rating office to help banks make better lending decisions. What is your take on Arab world countries launching credit bureaux? 

Iraq oil output to double by 2014

Iraq expects its oil output to more than double to 6.5 million barrels per day by 2014, oil minister Abdul-Kareem Luaibi told a Baghdad news conference.

Iraq has opened its oil industry to international investment in the hope of a rapid rise in output, which has increased only marginally since the overthrow of dictator Saddam Hussein in 2003 and the lifting of international sanctions. 

Gulf to spend $252bn on energy

Gulf states plan to spend a collective $252bn on energy and power projects in the next few years. Qatar leads the pack with $125bn followed by Saudi with $100bn. Meanwhile, Kuwait plans to spend $27bn by 2014 to develop its water and power infrastructure.

Pic credit: Salvatore Vuono/ 

What do you think of the week's headlines? Share your views with cashy by commenting below...


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