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GOLD PRICES DIP, 22K PRICED AT DH146.75 IN DUBAI

Gold prices nudged lower on Thursday, with investors taking profits after gains of nearly 1 percent in the previous session on weaker US economic data and concerns among some Federal Reserve policymakers over lower inflation.

Dubai gold prices are Dh156.25 for 24-karat and 22-karat can be bought for Dh146.75.

Many Fed policymakers expect that interest rates will have to be raised in the “near term”, the minutes of the US central bank’s last policy meeting showed on Wednesday.

However, some members expressed concern over the inflation outlook and emphasized they would be looking at upcoming economic data before deciding the timing of future rate rises.

Spot gold was down 0.2 percent at $1,289.88 per ounce by 0741 GMT.

US gold futures for December delivery edged down 0.2 percent to $1,289.70.

“There appears to be a bit of profit taking … With the impending rate hike from the Fed next month, maybe (investors think) gold prices have gone a bit too high and will come down in the aftermath of the rate hike,” said John Sharma, an economist with National Australia Bank.

“The Fed has some inflation concerns and we don’t know how it’s going to be in the medium term. There is lot of uncertainty everywhere and you can see it in gold’s (rangebound) movement.”

Earlier in the week, Fed Chair Janet Yellen stuck by her prediction that U.S. inflation will soon rebound but offered an unusually strong caveat: she is “very uncertain” about this and is open to the possibility that prices could remain low for years to come

“Although the minutes seemed to tick a December hike as a done deal, traders took fright at their more ‘data-driven’ neutral stance into 2018,” said Jeffrey Halley, a senior market analyst with OANDA.

“Gold was one of the chief beneficiaries of the ensuing general dollar sell-off (on Wednesday) as the US heads into its Thanksgiving break … We would expect trading over the coming two days to be muted with the US away.”

US markets are closed on Thursday for the Thanksgiving holiday, while Japan also has a public holiday.

Spot gold may test a support at $1,283 per ounce as it failed to break resistance at $1,297, according to source.

In currencies, the dollar touched a two-month low against the yen and hit a one-month trough against a basket of six major currencies on Thursday.

Meanwhile, silver was down 0.4 percent at $17.088 an ounce, platinum fell 0.6 percent to $932.50 an ounce, while palladium was down 0.1 percent at $1,002.05 an ounce.

UAE MULLS REGULATION FOR CROWDFUNDING

The Central Bank of the UAE is looking at regulation for crowdfunding in the emirates as part of measures to boost financing for small and medium enterprises, its governor said on Wednesday.

“We are looking at crowdfunding regulation which will help SMEs,” Mubarak Rashed Al Mansoori told a banking forum in Abu Dhabi. He said the objective of the move is to license crowdfunding platforms, which are currently not licenced.

Regulators in the United States and Britain are among those countries that have introduced rules for crowdfunding, which is becoming an increasingly important source of cash for small and medium-sized enterprises.

In August 2017, the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) launched its regulatory framework for loan and investment-based crowdfunding platforms to create an innovation-friendly ecosystem.

The introduction of the regulation comes as crowdfunding is becoming an increasingly important route for SMEs to access financing. Global loan-based crowdfunding is forecast to reach more than $300 billion (Dh1.1 trillion) and global equity-based crowdfunding more than $93 billion by 2020.

KUWAIT’S 88-YEAR-OLD RULER LEAVES HOSPITAL AFTER MEDICAL CHECKUP

Kuwait’s ruling Amir has left the hospital following a checkup after an earlier announcement that said he was suffering from cold.

The state-run KUNA news agency reported on Thursday that Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah left the hospital. The statement issued read – Minister of Amiri Diwan Affairs Sheikh Nasser Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah said on Thursday that The Amir of Kuwait, His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Jaber Al Sabah has left the hospital after a successful medical checkup.

He entered the hospital on Wednesday for medical checks.

Sheikh Sabah has ruled Kuwait since January 2006. He came to power after parliament voted unanimously to oust his predecessor, the ailing Sheikh Saad Al Abdullah Al Sabah, just nine days into his rule and shortly before lawmakers received his formal letter of abdication.

In recent months, he’s been working to try to negotiate an end to the diplomatic crisis between the Arab nations and Qatar.

AIRFARES SURGE UP TO 70% AHEAD OF UAE LONG WEEKEND HOLIDAYS

With a long UAE weekend fast approaching (November 30 onwards), a number of residents will be planning to fly to their home countries or use this opportunity for a short weekend break outside the UAE.

There’s one minor issue, though: Basic economics. The law of supply and demand is affecting airfares, which seem to be rising with every passing day – in fact, every passing hour – as bookings increase and the seat availability reduces.

Data collated by source shows that the biggest fare increase – as expected – will be on the Indian (Kerala) and Egyptian (Cairo) routes during the current period (November 23-26) and the extended holiday weekend (November 30-December 3), with fares jumping more than 70 per cent in just a week due to increased bookings

The report compares a departure date of November 23 and return on November 26 for this weekend with a departure date of November 30 and return on December 3.

The UAE government has announced holidays from November 30 to December 3 for the public sector while the private sector gets paid holidays from November 30 to December 2 to mark Commemoration Day and the UAE National Day.

“Peak demand, as we see at holiday events like Eid, Christmas as summer are points which force up fares due to the finite capacity available at the time,” says Saj Ahmad, chief analyst at StrategicAero Research.

During the high airfare season, Ahmad said passengers can benefit from the airlines’ loyalty point schemes (like Emirates’ Skywards and flydubai’s Open point accumulation programmes), which can often help offset price rises – although much of that price suppression will depend on how many points/miles someone has.

“Also, some carriers offer promotional fares so it makes sense to grab these when they’re advertised. Throughout the year, Emirates is renowned for offering extremely competitive fares months in advance of travel and has proven popular.

“Astute buyers get these seats quickly so that when peak travel times roll around, customers aren’t having to pay top dollar nor look for alternative fares or changes that then disrupt their travel plans,” he added.

REFORMS INSPIRE MORE UAE NRIS TO BUY HOMES IN INDIA

The implementation of the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act (Rera) and the Goods and Services Tax (GST) NRIs has inspired more Indian expats in the UAE to invest in a property back home.

A survey conducted by the Indian Property Show reveals an increased urgency among UAE Indian expats to purchase a property back home, showing a rise of 59 per cent compared to June this year. The survey found that 13 per cent want to buy a home immediately as opposed to only 8.15 per cent in June; whereas 35 per cent are keen on buying within the next three months, compared to 16.23 per cent earlier – indicating a steep rise of 115 per cent.

In all, 70 per cent NRIs have shown interest in buying their dream home in India within the next six months, up by 44 per cent a few months ago.

The study also reflects a sharp increase in the number of NRI buyers looking to finance their property purchase at 67 per cent compared to 53 per cent last time around. Moreover, a large number of young Indian expats, mainly millennials, are eager to buy their dream home in India.

The younger age group between 18 to 35 years accounts for a significant chunk of people willing to buy properties in India. This age group has seen a greater increase of 46.73 per cent from 24.7 per cent last time.

Mumbai (21.71 per cent), Bengaluru (11.06 per cent) and Chennai (9.39 per cent) retain their top positions as the most popular property destinations, while Kolkata and Cochin enter the top 10.

ONLINE BOOKINGS POPULAR, BUT…

Thanks to one of the highest Internet penetration rates in the world, the tech-savvy UAE residents are increasingly turning towards web for hotel and airline bookings, discounts, price comparisons and reviews but trust factor remains a big concern for the residents.

Nearly two-thirds of residents – 62 per cent – seriously consider the digital experience on offer when selecting an airline, with digital boarding passes and e-tickets high up their wish list, according to the results of The Global Digital Traveler Research 2017.

The study revealed that UAE travellers now research their next trip with 88 per cent using travel booking sites, 82 per cent price comparison sites and similar per cent of people check review sites.

When it comes to booking holidays, the majority of UAE travellers – 83 per cent – do so via their desktop or laptop. However, half – 48 per cent – also say they book travel through their smartphone, more than double those in countries such as Canada, Germany and the UK.

QUANTUM EUROSTAR, ETIHAD ESCO INK DEAL

Quantum Eurostar Energy Solutions Company (Qesco), a accredited ESCO in the UAE, announced ESCO projects in the UAE to undertake innovative energy management solutions projects. Qesco is a joint venture between the Eurostar Group and Quantum, an Italian Energy Expert Company.

QESCO has also signed a major eight-year period contract with Etihad ESCO, the energy efficiency and saving arm of Dewa. Quantum Eurostar will provide energy saving solutions to some of Dubai’s iconic golf courses – Dubai Creek Golf and Yacht Club, Emirates Golf Club and Dubai Golf Residence.

Stefano Martini, CEO and managing director of Quantum, said, “At Quantum, we have been at the forefront of designing and executing energy saving solutions across industries. With our partner Eurostar, we aim to bring to this region our tried and tested capabilities. It gives me immense pleasure to be working with Etihad ESCO on a prestigious project. Over the last year, QESCO has been working with various government and private organisations across the region. In the near term, we aim to announce new project wins in this space.”

The total energy and water savings during the project period is expected to be AED 35million. The accumulative carbon footprint reduction is 36,000 tonnes by end of the project period. The project will produce solar energy by installing roof-top solar system, where the capacity will be 677kW and the generation is 1,093,000 kWh per annum. Quantum ESCO will save Dh4,422,000 per annum.

FOCUS ON DUBAI SUSTAINABILITY, GREEN ECONOMY

The UAE has taken stringent measures to address climate change, by preserving natural resources, expanding clean energy and implementing green growth plans, contributing to achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals 2030, said Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, MD & CEO of Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (Dewa), at the Asian Business Leadership Forum (ABLF), organised under the patronage of Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, UAE Minister of Tolerance, in Dubai.

“Dubai is leading the way in promoting sustainable energy as it steadily works to diminish its carbon footprint while maintaining a secure, reliable and affordable supply of power and water. In this regard, Dubai Electricity and Water Authority is implementing innovative solutions to improve supply side efficiency, apply demand side management (DSM) initiatives, and reduce transmission and distribution losses, under the umbrella of our smart grid initiative. Dubai has established ambitious clean energy targets with Dewa, playing an instrumental role in increasing its renewable energy targets, managing energy demand, and further reducing its carbon footprint,” added Al Tayer in the discussion panel that included Dr Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, Tsuyoshi Nakai, CEO of Japan Cooperation Centre Petroleum (JCCP), and Dr Chun-Yuan Gu, President, AMEA Region, ABB, China. The session was moderated by Kim Kelaita.

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