Mena News

 

  U.S. housing, factory data point to momentum in economy
Dec , 30 , 2012  
  Contracts for U.S. home resales hit a 2-1/2-year high in November and factory activity in the Midwest expanded this month, suggesting some strength in the economy despite the threat of tighter fiscal policy. The National Association of Realtors said its Pending Home Sales Index, based on contracts signed last month, increased 1.7 percent to 106.4 - the highest level since April 2010 when the home-buyer tax credit expired.
 

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  U.S. consumer confidence hits four-month low in December
Dec , 30 , 2012  
  U.S. consumer confidence fell to a four-month low in December as a looming budget crisis sapped what had been a growing sense of optimism about the economy, a private sector report released showed. The Conference Board, an industry group, said its index of consumer attitudes fell to 65.1 from a downwardly revised 71.5 in November. Economists had expected a reading of 70.0, according to a Reuters poll.
 

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  Saudi 2012 GDP growth slows to 6.8 percent from 7.1 percent
Dec , 30 , 2012  
  Saudi gross domestic product growth slowed to 6.8 percent in real terms in 2012 from 7.1 percent in 2011, the state-run Saudi Press Agency said, citing Finance Minister Ibrahim Alassaf. GDP totalled SAR2.73tn riyals this year, representing nominal growth of 8.6 percent, Alassaf said in a 2013 budget statement to the Saudi cabinet and King Abdullah. He added that 2012 inflation was 2.9 percent using an updated baseline of 2007 prices, and was 4.5 percent using the old 1999 baseline. He said public debt was SAR98bn or 3.6 percent of GDP.
 

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  Saudi Arabia sets record budget for 2013
Dec , 30 , 2012  
  Saudi Arabia has set a record state budget for next year as high oil prices allow heavy spending on welfare and infrastructure projects. The government plans to spend SAR820bn (USD219bn) in 2013, Finance Minister Ibrahim Alassaf said. That amount is 19 percent higher than the SAR690bn that the world’s largest oil exporter budgeted for 2012. It is slightly below the estimated SAR853bn that the government actually spent this year. On the other hand, Saudi Arabia said its budget surplus in 2012 hit SAR386bn (USD102.93bn) as oil-dominated revenues continued to rise.
 

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  Kuwait inflation to keep falling in 2013
Dec , 30 , 2012  
  Kuwaiti inflation will slow to 4.3 percent this year and 4.1 percent next year from 4.8 percent in 2011, central bank governor Mohammed Al-Hashel predicted in comments carried by state news agency KUNA. Non-performing loans at Kuwaiti banks amounted to around 6.8 percent of total credit portfolios in the first nine months of this year, Hashel said, adding that the banks had set aside provisions totaling 82.2 percent of the NPLs.
 

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  Brent holds near USD111 on U.S. fiscal jitters; Japan supports
Dec , 27 , 2012  
  Brent crude held near USD111 per barrel on early Thursday, December 27, as jittery investors stayed on the sidelines with a deadline to avert a U.S. fiscal crisis approaching, while hopes the new Japanese government's policies will spur demand supported prices.
 

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  China November industrial profits up 22.8 percent on year
Dec , 27 , 2012  
  Profits earned by China's industrial companies jumped 22.8 percent in November from a year earlier to CNY638.5bn (USD102.4bn), accelerating from October's 20.5 percent increase, China's National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said. Industrial profits totaled CNY4.66tn in first 11 months of 2012, up 3 percent from a year earlier, the bureau said in a statement published.
 

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  Japan November housing starts rise 10.3 percent YoY
Dec , 27 , 2012  
  Housing starts in Japan rose 10.3 percent in November from a year earlier, up for the third straight month, data from the land ministry showed, supported by a rush in demand before expected sales tax hikes and reconstruction in areas hit by last year's earthquake and tsunami. Orders received by 50 major construction companies fell 2.1 percent in November from a year earlier.
 

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  Egypt to let Telecom Egypt provide mobile services
Dec , 27 , 2012  
  Egypt will grant Telecom Egypt a license by mid-2013 to provide mobile telephone services and will later let mobile companies offer fixed-lined services using Telecom Egypt infrastructure, the telecom regulator said. "Telecom Egypt will be granted the right to offer mobile telephone services," Amr Badawy, the executive chairman of Egypt's telecom regulator, said in a statement, adding that the offer would be "executed by mid-2013". "Mobile companies will also be given the right to get a license to offer fixed-lined services using the infrastructure of Telecom Egypt," he added without giving a timeframe.
 

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  UAE bad loan provisions drop for first time since crisis
Dec , 27 , 2012  
  Outstanding provisions for bad loans set aside by banks in the United Arab Emirates fell in October for the first time since the global financial crisis began building in 2008, central bank data showed. Provisions set aside for specific non-performing loans edged down to AED65.3bn (USD17.8bn) at the end of October from AED65.4bn in September, the data showed. General provisions earmarked for other purposes by the 23 UAE-based banks and 28 units of foreign banks also fell slightly in October to AED17.4bn from AED17.6bn in September; they totaled AED15.4bn in October 2011.
 

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