20 -June 02, 2002
OPEC MAY STRIKE DEAL WITH RUSSIA
Opec is hopeful of striking a deal with the world's second
largest oil producer, Russia, on oil output cuts despite the Russian
announcement not to extend the current output cut deal beyond the second
Opec plans to hold talks with the Russian government on the
possibility of extending oil output restrictions, before the end of second
quarter, Opec press secretary Abdurrahaman al-Kharaigi said. There is a
possibility that Opec may consider revising the export output quotas of the
member countries upward, depending upon the prevailing market situation then, in
its third quarter meeting in September, but not now.
The Opec press secretary said: "We hope that Russia will
cooperate with us as long as it is necessary to establish a fair price for oil.
In my opinion, the current prices do not correspond to fundamental
pre-requisites on the market," he said.
Al-Kharaigi noted that during the extra-ordinary Opec
conference in June, the group does not intend to plan any increase in production
quotas of the member states. "However, by September, when the next
conference will take place, the situation might change," he observed.
However, despite the initial reaction from the market to shed
prices, there is also a consensus prevailing here that the Russian decision was
insignificant in many ways. The commitment form Russia, to the output cuts has
always been questionable. Despite the formal Russian announcement to accept an
output cut of 150,000 barrels per day (about five per cent of its total output),
in line with the Opec cuts, there have been instances in recent weeks when
market was supplied with Russian oil via the former Soviet republics. There have
been question marks about the Russian commitment to the output cuts, analysts
SAUDI BORDER WITH IRAQ TO OPEN NEXT WEEK: OFFICIAL
The main border crossing between Saudi Arabia and Iraq at
Arar, closed since Baghdad's 1990 invasion of Kuwait, will be reopened for trade
next week, a Saudi customs official said on Wednesday.
"We have completed preparations for the opening of the
post. The first truck with Saudi exports is expected to go through Arar next
week," the official, who asked not to be identified, told AFP. "We are
ready to begin at any moment. We are only waiting for the Iraqi side to be
prepared and waiting for the green light from the foreign ministry after
consultations with the United Nations.
"In the first phase, only Saudi trucks will be allowed
to use the crossing, but later, trucks coming from other Gulf countries will be
allowed," he added. Over the past 12 years, the post was opened only from
time to time to allow Iraqi pilgrims into Saudi Arabia, home to Islam's holiest
Saudi exports to Iraq under the oil-for-food programme —
introduced in 1996 to allow Baghdad to sell crude under UN supervision to meet
the humanitarian needs of its sanctions-stricken population — are currently
sent through Jordan. Saudi businessmen say that exporting directly to Iraq will
save them between eight and 10 percent in operating revenues. Saudi importers
were last week given the nod to re-export non-Saudi products to Iraq in a bid to
boost trade despite the absence of diplomatic ties between the two Arab
countries since the 1991 Gulf War.
The decision came during a visit to Riyadh by Iraqi Minister
of Industry and Minerals Muyasser Shallah, who presented a plan to Saudi
officials for a bilateral free-trade accord. Iraq has awarded Saudi firms trade
contracts worth 64.7 million dollars since the start of 2002 under the
oil-for-food programme, with about 49 million dollars of the contracts going to
Saudi private firms in the past two weeks.
Iraqi Trade Minister Mohammad Mahdi Saleh said earlier this
month that Baghdad had imported more than one billion dollars worth of goods
from Saudi Arabia within the framework of the humanitarian programme.
GCC MAY EXEMPT MORE IMPORTS FROM CUSTOMS
GCC states are considering exempting more imported products
from tariffs when they enforce their customs union early next year to meet free
trade terms by the World Trade Organisation (WTO), officials said yesterday.
The recommendation was made at a meeting in Riyadh this week
by the GCC's WTO Committee, which is holding regular talks to ensure the
landmark customs union that will merge regional economies will not contradict
with WTO trading rules.
The participants from the economy and trade ministries in the
six member states asked Oman as the current GCC chairman to formally inform the
Geneva-based organisation about the group's decision to move forward its plans
to create a customs union to the beginning of 2003 from the original schedule in
DUBAI UNVEILS TECHNOLOGY FREE ZONE
Dubai unveiled a new free zone - Mohammed Bin Rashid
Technology Park - to smoothen technology transfer to the region, and to create
infrastructure and extend research and development facilities to global
According to the plan, three square km land on the south side
of Sheikh Zayed Road, close to the Jebel Ali Free Zone will be developed
initially, to create infrastructure, buildings, laboratories, research
facilities by the Dubai Government.
EGYPT ENERGY SCHEMES SNUB ISRAEL
Egypt is fostering energy cooperation with its Arab
neighbours and beyond, while keeping Israel at bay in another sign of anger at
its treatment of the Palestinians, industry sources said on Wednesday. A Western
oil executive said Libya is reinforcing Egypt's decision to reduce cooperation
with Israel by negotiating with Cairo to take over the stake formerly held by
Israeli investors in a 1.2 billion-dollar refinery in Egypt.
The equity sought by the Libyan government in the Middle East
Oil Refinery, or Midor, "is likely to be part or all of National Bank of
Egypt's 39 percent share," said the London-based International Oil Daily (IOD)
received here on Wednesday. The bank last year bought the 23 percent share held
by Israeli concerns, among them investment group Merhav, raising to 39 percent
its own stake in the refinery built in the Mediterranean port city of
Alexandria, said IOD, quoting industry sources.
BRISK BUSINESS AT HOTEL EXHIBITION
Many of the 180 exhibitors at the region's leading hotel
supplies exhibition which ended at the Airport Expo Dubai reported brisk
At the Hotel Show which drew 3,500 hotel trade visitors, the
British husband and wife business partnership of Alan Mitchell and Carol Conci
could win $4 million worth of business as a result of their joint efforts. His
company, Lighting Design Partnership International, is expecting to firm-up
orders worth $1.25 million to design lighting for at least ten Middle East
hotels, and that could mean her company, ConciLuce, supplying the lighting
equipment at around $300,000 per hotel.
IRAN PRAISES UAE FOR IMPROVING RELATIONS'
The Islamic Republic of Iran praised the UAE for improving
bilateral relations and welcomed "the positive role played by the UAE in
Iranian Minister of Defence Admiral Ali Shamkhani expressed
his country's readiness for constructive cooperation with the UAE. He described
friendship between the two countries as necessary for solving existing problems.
IRAN, IRAQ BRUSH ASIDE US TERROR ACCUSATIONS
New US accusations that Iran sponsors terrorism are
irresponsible and further damage any chances of establishing ties between
Washington and Teheran, a senior Iranian official said.
In Iraq, another of the seven countries named as sponsors of
terrorism in a State Department report on Tuesday, the official Al Thawra
newspaper charged that the US administration was the most active supporter of
terrorism worldwide through "wars and genocide" it had waged in
different parts of the world.
IRAN'S LEADER BLASTS
Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei blasted the idea
of talks with the United States on Wednesday as "treason" and
"stupidity", in a bid to silence allegations that secret talks have
taken place between the two foes.
Allied Deals Holding, the UAE-based company currently under
investigation by the US prosecutors in connection the $600 million metals
trading scam, has come into the spotlight because it had acted as the guarantor
for a $21.5 million credit line for its US subsidiary, which is accused of
leading the global scheme to secure bank loans for illusory metal-trading deals.
EBI NET DOWN, ASSETS UP
Emirates Bank International has reported a 25 per cent
decline in its net profit while the bank's total assets moved up by 6 per cent
during the first quarter of 2002.
The net profit of the bank for the first three months of 2002
is 113.85 million, down by 37.9 million from 151.84 million in the first quarter
DUBAI NATIONAL INSURANCE
Dubai National Insurance company has reported a net profit of
Dh3.01 million for the first quarter of 2002, against Dh284,000 during the same
period last year.
Spending on Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solutions
will reach $44.5 billion worldwide by 2006 and the Middle East will be major
part of this growth.
MICROSOFT TO INVEST
US software giant Microsoft has announced that it is
investing in Estarta Solutions, a leading software development company in the
Middle East and North Africa (Mena).
Estarta Solutions was the result of the business combination
of two major Jordanian software companies: Zeine Technological Applications and
Oneworld Computer Programming. While maintaining its ongoing business in
American and other developed countries' IT markets, Estarta Solutions will focus
its operations on the MENA Information Technology ("IT") services
market, said a Microsft Press release.
ENTERPRISE DATA NETWORKS SECTOR TO WITNESS STRONG GROWTH
With 114 new hotels expected to come up the Gulf region by
the end of 2005, the hospitality industry will see integration of their
communications, data and building management systems, says a senior Siemens
Joachim Kundt, CEO of Siemens LLC, the regional arm of the
German giant, says that in the enterprise data networks sector alone, the AGCC
region is estimated to grow to a market size of 199 million euro by 2006.
AL MASHRIQ IN DH10M DUBAI PARK PROJECT
Dubai's Al Mashriq Furniture Manufacturing LLC (AMFM), which
currently manufactures sofas and chairs in a factory in Al Quoz, is investing
Dh10 million in a factory at Dubai Investment Park.
The project was announced at The Office Exhibition, the
Middle East's first dedicated trade show for the office interiors and facilities
management sector, which closed a three-day run at the Airport Expo Dubai,
alongside The Hotel Show, last night.
LINKDOTNET ACQUIRES NINE ARAB NET COMPANIES
LINKdotNET, one of the Arab world's Internet services
powerhouse, announced the acquisition of nine leading Egyptian Internet
companies in a share swap deal that will raise its current value to 365 million
Through the acquisitions LINKdotNET will own eight new online
businesses ArabFinance.com,CareerMidEast.com, E-Dar.com, El3ab.com, Masrawy.com,
Mazika.com, Nilemart.com and Otlob.com. The ninth is Internet Egypt, one of the
largest independent ISPs (Internet service providers) in the country and the
biggest lease line provider across Egypt.
ADCB SHARES HIT THE ROOF
Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank continued from where it left off on
Monday by gaining Dh11 to close at Dh520. The most "exuberant"
performer for the last two days, the scrip gained Dh45 in the period.
On Monday it was the biggest gainer by putting on Dh34 and
finishing at Dh509.
ALGERIA SECURES UAE INVESTMENTS
Algeria has secured some Dh555 million the UAE investments in
different projects since September 11 and expects more investments from Arab
countries which have begun investing within the Arab world.
Sharjah's Gibca Group and Abu Dhabi's Al Hajiri Group have
invested in projects related to construction, aluminium manufacturing and a
tissues producing factory in Algeirs.
BAHRAIN PROPERTY FIRM SET UP
A Bahrain-based $50 million GCC property development company
has been formed by Bahrain's Gulf Finance House (GFH) and Kuwait's Gulf
Investment House (GIH).
The Gulf Construction Co has a paid-up capital of $16 million
and has obtained necessay approvals from Bahraini authorities, said a GFH
PALESTINIAN MILITANT LEADER KILLED
Israeli forces have killed a Palestinian militant commander
and two other people in an attack on the Balata refugee camp outside Nablus.
In a statement, the Israeli military described one of the
dead, Mahmoud Titi, leader of the al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades group at the camp,
as a "senior terrorist" who was responsible for many attacks against
UN BEGINS SUDAN AID DROPS
The United Nations food agency has begun dropping food aid to
rebel-held areas in central Sudan under a ceasefire agreement to allow
humanitarian aid in to the stricken Nuba mountains region.
The UN World Food Programme (WFP) said 4,000 tonnes were to be delivered to
the region - a stronghold of the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA).