Month: March 2011

Welcome Back, Egypt

After approximately seven weeks of silence, the Egyptian stock exchange is finally back on its feet. As expected, the first few days were difficult, as shares fell and sent the benchmark index to a 23 month low. Many international investors sold holdings to free money that had been locked up for the almost two month duration.

International Investments

EFG-Hermes Holding SAE, for instance, the nation’s biggest investment bank, went to the lowest point since July 2009. In general, international investors, including Arabs, sold US$28 million.

Mohamed Abdel Salam

In addition, the head of Egypt’s stock market, Mohamed Abdel Salam, recently announced that the exchange was suspending the trading of 46 companies. These companies have failed to meet disclosure requirements that ask them to disclose if they have assets or shareholders under investigation.

Press Conference News

As Abdel Salem said in a televised press conference on state television, “The market has been closed for almost 60 days, so we required all companies to tell us how they’ve been affected and if they have shareholders under investigation.”

Those in the know predict that the market will continue to fall for a bit, as investors try to exit positions from the lock up period.

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Get Ready for the Banker Middle East Product Awards

It’s that time again. Voting has officially closed in the 2011 Banker Middle East Product Awards and those interested will soon know the results.  The results will be presented at the Gala dinner being held at the Emirates Towers in Dubai on March 23, 2011.

Awards Criteria

These product awards are part of a region-wide awards program that is open to all banks and financial institutions in the MENA region.  The awards are given out based on peer-vote decisions.

Purpose of Awards

The purpose of these awards is to encourage, inspire and reward those who rise above others in the banking industry and to raise the standards employed by all MENA banking sectors.  The way the voting process works is that institutions can nominate themselves.  A short-list was then created and institutions were allowed to provide supporting information for themselves.  Voting then takes place with only registered readers of Banker Middle East, Islamic Business & Finance, WEALTH, financeME or given eligibility to vote.

Award Categories

The Banker Middle East Product Awards 2011 included three main categories: Institutional & Investment; Business Finance; and Retail Finance and the entire program is sponsored by Thomson Reuters and PIC Solutions.

Tune in March 23rd to see who wins!

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Middle East Golfing Amidst the Turmoil

Certainly, the Middle East is in turmoil in many ways; one way that they are rising above the rest, however, is in golf.  The new KPMG Golf Benchmark Survey showed that rounds and revenues around the world were down last year – but that the Middle East is leading the way in golf profits.

Golfing Statistics

Less than half (49%) of the golf courses in Europe, the Middle East and Africa were profitable in 2010 – but for those in the MENA region, the figure was 73%.  The report showed, as well, that one out of every 12 owners was considering selling their facility. The survey included 350 golf courses.  33% of the courses in Eastern Europe reported that they performed poorly, while 73% of those in the Middle East and North Africa reported good results.

A Great Game

The study explained that the Middle East facilities were mostly aligned with resorts and residential communities and that their performance levels remained high.

Report from KPMG

As Andrea Sartori, the head of the KPMG’s Golf Advisory Practice said, “Undeniably, the effects of the economic downturn remain evident in the business performance of golf courses across Europe, the Middle East and Africa. However, there are some positive signs and the performance of courses in both Central Europe, as well as the Middle East and North Africa, lead the way.”

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Keeping All Eyes on Saudi Arabia

If you’re looking to relocate somewhere in the Middle East, Saudi Arabia might be just the right locale.

Certainly, while most of the Middle East is experience upheaval at the moment, there’s one locale that seems to be constantly moving in the right direction, at least financially. Saudi Arabia is heading towards the title of “Richest Middle East Economy” in terms of their GDP per capita. Citibank, in a recent forecast, reports that by the year 2050, Saudi Arabia will have an average wealth per family of $98, 311. This is almost four times the current rate of GDP per capital, according to figures from the CIA World Factbook.

It’s Not All About the Oil

While the figures for Saudi Arabia are impressive, they don’t place it at the top of the global list. Singapore is set to stay on top of this economic list with an estimate of $137,710 per family in 2050. Next are Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea, and then the U.S. Saudi Arabia is set to come in sixth, right after the United States.

More Immediate Growth

With these figures in the future, Saudi Arabia is also set to see economic growth for 2011 by 3.9%. This, from a country that holds approximately 20% of the world’s proven petroleum reserves and gets 45% of its GDP from this sector.
Interestingly enough, the report showed that Saudi Arabia’s non-oil sector will become more of an important role for the economy. As the report said, “The government’s initiative to diversify the economy away from the hydrocarbon sector will bolster private consumption and gross fixed capital formation [GFCF].”

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