Social unrest puting a damper on Middle East real estate markets, says S&P report

Standard & Poor's Ratings published a report named "Social Unrest Rattles Middle East And North Africa Real Estate Markets", in which they analize the current landscape in property markets in the Arabic-speaking countries of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).
Because of the political unrest and demonstrations that took place recently, some real estate companies are obligated to cover damages from building destruction. It seems like this problems are causing the turists to avoid countries like Egypt and Tunisia.

Insurers team up to cover political risks

African Trade Insurance Agency (ATI) has partnered with Islamic Corporation for Insurance of Investments and Export Credit (ICIEC) to help traders cushion against political risks in North Africa.
The pact, with the Saudi Arabia-headquartered insurer, is expected to help traders doing business in the Muslim-dominated Northern Africa amidst ongoing political turmoil in the region.
Political upheaval that has seen governments in Tunisia and Egypt toppled and others like Libya and Yemen facing uprising has prompted reassessment of the region’s risk profile.
The political unrests that have also engulfed Bahrain have as well sent debt protection costs and yields on government debt up across the Gulf, the world’s top oil exporting region.

S&P Report Comments On Middle East Unrest's Credit Impact On Banks And Insurers In The Region

Standard & Poor's commented today about the negative rating actions it has taken on several banks and insurance companies following sovereign rating actions in the Middle East and Africa since the unrest began: four banks in Tunisia, two banks in Egypt, two banks and one insurance company in Jordan, and four banks and three insurance companies in Bahrain.

Sukuk yields rise most in 9 months on unrest

Islamic bonds, led by securities in the Arabian Gulf, underperformed emerging-market debt in February as spreading unrest across the Middle East caused the biggest monthly rise in yields since May.
Investors are shunning Middle East assets as protests expanded to Oman, Bahrain, Yemen and Libya, holder of the largest proven oil reserves in Africa. Moody’s Investors Service and Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank say Islamic bonds aren’t likely to recover unless demonstrations that have toppled Tunisia’s and Egypt’s rulers and killed hundreds end soon.

Saudi King's $15 Billion Housing Grant Won't Eliminate Shortage

Saudi King Abdullah’s pledge to increase spending on housing by 55 billion riyals ($15 billion) probably will do little to relieve the country’s home shortage unless it’s coupled with long-delayed changes in mortgage financing laws.
The kingdom’s 86-year-old monarch last week announced plans to spend about 110 billion riyals on programs aimed at boosting housing, education and social welfare. Governments from Jordan to Yemen have offered concessions to quell public discontent after popular uprisings toppled leaders in Tunisia and Egypt last month and sparked protests across the Middle East and North Africa.

Ben Ali-linked bank seized in Tunisia: statement

Tunisia's central bank took over a bank controlled by a son-in-law of ousted president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in the first such move against the huge assets controlled by the Ben Ali family.
Materi, a senator, holds a 51-percent stake in the bank and many other assets. He fled following Ben Ali's ouster.

Zitouna Takaful is born

It is a limited company whose future subscribed capital is 15,000,000 dinars.
The company's purpose in Tunisia and abroad is to operate in accordance with the principles and values that it adopted especially those relating to Takaful and Re-Takaful: its vocation is to carry out or participate in any industrial, commercial, financial, agricultural, or real estate operations, related directly or indirectly to any objects defined above.

“Aman Union” to holds first annual meeting in Tunis

Aman Union will hold on November 23 and 24, 2010 its first annual meeting in Tunis.
The meeting is organized with the support of the Tunisian Foreign Trade Insurance Company (COTUNACE). At the meeting there will be discussed topics as credit insurance industry of trade finance and investment in Arab and Islamic countries and the development of partnership relations between professionals in the finance sector in general and insurance in particular.

Tunisia Launches $3 Billion Islamic Finance Centre

The Bahrain-based Islamic investment banking major, Gulf Finance House (GFH), and the Tunisian government have announced the launch of a $3 billion North Africa’s first offshore financial center as part of Tunis Financial Harbour. The mixed use waterfront development will provide the physical infrastructure for the planned offshore financial center.
The formal announcement was made by the GFH senior management and the governor of the Tunisian Central Bank on the sidelines of a reception for financial services institutions and policy specialists held in Washington, DC held during the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) annual meeting. Both parties’ briefed attendees on the project as well as the development of Tunisia’s financial services regulatory environment.

Noor Islamic Bank keeps Rep Office in Tunis open

Noor Islamic Bank PJSC issued a statement saying that their Tunisian representative office is operational and that they continue to explore market opportunities in North Africa, while assessing regional market trends and having to readjust plans to reflect the reality of the slowdown.

The statement followed news announcing the closure of the rep office by some media.

Noor Islamic Bank closes Rep Office in Tunisia

Noor Islamic Bank closes its representative office in Tunis. The decision shall be taken as expansion plans have been revisited towards focussing on the Gulf region.

Addendum: Noor Islamic Bank denied the closure of the rep office in a press release.

New license: Tunisia's first domestic Islamic finance bank

Tunisian President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali's son-in-law recently won a license to begin operating an Islamic bank, which would be Tunisia's first domestic Islamic finance bank.

Tunisia: New Islamic bank ahead: Banque Islamique Zitouna

Les Afriques reported on 7 March that Mohamed Sakhr El Materi, President of Princesse El Materi Holding has received end of January the regulatory agreement to create the commercial bank Zitouna.

Existing Islamic banks in Tunisia are Best Bank (Bank Ettamwil Tounsi Saoudi) and Noor Islamic Bank, the latter with its regional office.

Gulf Finance House launches USD 3 bn project in Tunisia

Xinhua reported on 9 January that Gulf Finance House (GFH) launches a new USD 3 bn project in Tunisia, named "Tunis City Communication". In December 2007 GFH has already announced the "Tunis Financial Harbour", with an investment close to USD 3 bn.

International Islamic Bank takes Tunisian company IPO

Business Intelligence reported on 13 April that International Investment Bank (IIB), a globally-focused Islamic investment bank based in Bahrain, announced the successful initial public offering of ARTES, the exclusive distributor of Renault, Nissan and Dacia in Tunisia.

Aabed Al-Zeera is Chief Executive Officer of IIB.
Mohamed Hadi Mejai is Executive Director, Investment and Business Development, IIB.

Source: http://www.bi-me.com/main.php?c=3&cg=2&t=1&id=19150

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