Rockin’ All Over The World!

cameron-brexitHaving launched its Living Legends project in Dubailand in 2006, Saudi developer, Tanmiyat, has announced that 184 villas and the first of 12 proposed tower blocks have been handed over – six years behind schedule. A second phase, in the 15 million sq ft development, will be handed over by Q4 2016, with overall construction completed within 18 months.

With the aim of building “more affordable” homes, Jumeirah Golf Estates has awarded a contract to Dubai’s Sumer Contracting Company to construct 674 apartments (with prices starting at US$ 163k) and 54 townhouses. Building work is expected to start this month with completion expected in 2018.

Decision No (8) of 2016, by HH Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, sees royal approval, allowing foreign ownership of three new plots in Dubai World Central. Consequently, non-UAE nationals can now claim rights to absolute ownership in these specified locations, close to both the new international airport and the 2020 Expo site.

Dubai Municipality is planning a US$ 545 million investment that will see 2k metric tonnes of solid waste converted to produce 60 MW every day by 2020. The facility, which will be the largest of its kind in ME, will also form part of the strategy that sets to reduce landfill by 75% within five years.

Al Futtaim Retail has signed an agreement with French fashion chain, ba&sh, that will see ten outlets opening over the next three years, with the first shop opening in City Walk, by the end of the year. Meanwhile, the Dubai-based operator has announced that its Carrefour franchise will be the anchor store in Abu Dhabi’s US$ 1 billion Reem Island development.

This week saw the arrival of the 80th Airbus 380 to the Emirates fleet, with a further 62 in the pipeline, 21 of which are due for delivery this year. Consequently, the airline is set to recruit more than 700 pilots this year (to add to its current figure of 3.9k) to meet not only its A380 expansion but also its massive Boeing 777 fleet.

Hong Kong is now the world’s most expensive city for expats, as it take over the reins from Luanda followed by Zurich, Singapore, Tokyo and Kinshasa. The latest Mercer report, covering 209 locations, has different conclusions than a recent Economist Intelligence Unit study which places Singapore, Zurich, Hong Kong, Geneva and Paris in their top 5 pricy cities. Dubai has moved up the Mercer ladder two places to 23rd.

Adeptio, the local investment group headed by Mohamed Alabbar, has finally reached an agreement with the Kuwaiti Kharafi family to acquire a majority 69% stake in Kuwait Food Co (Americana), owner of the ME franchises for KFC and Pizza Hut. The deal, worth US$ 2.4 billion, sees Adeptio buy all Al Khair’s Americana shares for US$ 8.82 each – a 26% premium; US$ 1.5 billion of the financing will be via a bridging loan.

With nearly 220k limited liability companies in the country, it was no surprise that a one-year extension has been granted for companies to comply with the requirements of Federal Law No 2 of 2015 on Commercial Companies. Businesses were originally given a one year grace period – to 30 June 2016 – to amend their Memorandum of Association and Articles of Association, which has now been extended to 30 June 2017.

Having a UAE property backlog of US$ 7.7 billion, and 13k units in the development stage, it is little wonder that Moody’s has upgraded Emaar Properties’ credit rating to Baa3, with a stable outlook. In Q1, the developer, that to date has delivered 40.2k units to the local residential market, posted 17.0% increases in both revenue, to US$ 962 million, and profit to US$ 328 million.

The possible link up between NBAD and First Gulf Bank could be a portent of more consolidation in the country’s banking sector.

As previously noted, both Emirates NBD and Commercial Bank of Dubai were tapping the markets for financing, prior to any possible Fed rate hikes later in the year and to ensure liquidity remains at acceptable levels. This week, the former signed a 3-year US$ 1.7 billion loan (US$ 450 million higher than originally planned), whilst CBD is expected to finalise a US$ 500 million facility before the end of the month.

With the latest Emirates Islamic’s US$ 750 million sukuk, the nominal listing of this sharia paper has topped US$ 41.8 billion on Nasdaq Dubai – the largest total of any exchange in the world.

The DFM opened on Sunday at 3308 and regained most of the previous week’s losses rising1.8% in continuing thin trading to close on 3368 by Thursday (23 June 2016). Trading volumes on Thursday were at 153 million shares, valued at US$ 55 million, changing hands, (cf 120 million shares for US$ 49 million, the previous Thursday). Bellwether stock, Emaar Properties, was up US$ 0.04 to US$ 1.74, as Arabtec remained flat at US$ 0.38.

Brent crude recovered – up US$ 2.90 to US$ 50.11 – whilst gold fell back – down US$ 35 to US$ 1,298 by the Thursday (23 June 2016) close. These were the balances before the Brexit results became known at which time the markets will be in inevitable turmoil.

Elon Musk is the chief executive of Tesla and chairman of SolarCity – and the major shareholder in both companies. This week, the electric carmaker made a US$ 2.8 billion bid for the leader in full-service solar power systems for buildings that also uses Tesla batteries in its projects.

Having recently confirmed that it had been falsifying fuel efficiency tests for the past 25 years, Mitsubishi is forecasting a US$ 1.4 billion loss this year, as over US$ 3 billion has been wiped off its share value. The company, the 16th largest in the world, produces about 1.2 million vehicles every year.

In a bid to expand its global footprint, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region, Revlon has agreed to acquire Elizabeth Arden for US$ 870 million; this represents a 50% premium on its latest share price. Combined turnover of the new entity will be in excess of US$ 3 billion.

In the same sector, Balmain, has been acquired by the Qatari Mayhoola investment fund in a US$ 522 million deal. Consequently, the French luxury company, mainly a wholesale chain, will now have finance to expand internationally and enhance its accessories lines.

Every month since last August, the Saudi government has been selling about US$ 5.3 billion of domestic bonds to banks to fund its budget deficit, caused by low oil prices. Now it is borrowing abroad, having raised US$ 10 billion in May, and will issue a dollar bond in the coming weeks.

After three years at the helm, Raghuram Rajan will be stepping down as the governor of the Reserve Bank of India to return to a life of academia. During his tenure, the Indian economy has become one of the fastest growing in the world, currently at 7.9%, the currency has stabilised and its inflation rate has almost halved to 5.8%.

The latest casualty in the on-going Brazilian Petrobas corruption scandal is former tourism minister, Henrique Alves, charged for money laundering and tax evasion. He becomes the third cabinet minister – after former Transparency Minister Fabiano Silveira and former Planning Minister Romero – to stand down since interim president Michel Temer took over from Dilma Rousseff last month.

Meanwhile, the August Olympics in the troubled city is facing financial problems with Rio’s governor requesting federal funds to help fulfill public service obligations during the Games. Furthermore, emergency measures are required to avoid “a total collapse in public security, health, education, transport and environmental management.”

The IMF has warned the US about the fact that sees 1 in 7 of its population lives in poverty, recommending a boost to the minimum wage level and offering paid maternity leave in a bid to get more females joining the workforce. If no action is taken to tackle this problem, there could be future problems, with the world body recommending increased investment in education and social programmes.

Despite owing its creditors US$ 335 billion, Greece expects to receive a fresh tranche of funds from the eurozone bailout fund, starting with an interim pay-out of US$ 8.4 billion. The country will receive further funds once a series of reform conditions have been met.

To readers of this blog, it was no surprise to see the British (excluding the Scots and Northern Irish) vote to leave the European Union. The nation – and the world – woke up to a financial bloodbath on Friday morning with sterling plunging US$ 0.18 overnight, to US$ 1.3228, and the FTSE shedding US$ 162 billion in early trading. Brent crude dipped by over 5% whilst safe haven assets, gold and the yen, headed in the other direction – up US$ 45, to US$ 1,343, and 5.2% respectively.

Major markets did not escape either, with France’s CAC, Germany’s DAX and the Nikkei all heading southwards – by 10%, 8% and 8% respectively. Some currencies suffered the same fate – Poland’s zloty sank by 7% and the euro was 3% weaker to the US$. Prime Minister David Cameron fell on his own sword and has offered his resignation (in the coming weeks) to The Queen.

The market does not like uncertainty and surprises and will inevitably overreact as it has done so today. In the short-term, expect a raft of interest rate cuts and further monetary easing by several central banks. Normality will eventually return but until then expect the markets to be Rockin’ All Over The World!

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