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Dear Client,

Welcome to the April edition of the MENA Digest.

I hope you have discovered the new and exciting features in Thomson Reuters Eikon v 4.  Are you already using the Microsoft Office add-in feature to add value to forecasting models and presentations? Keep reading to find out how to leverage the full power of Thomson Reuters content and sources in Excel and PowerPoint.

Read how Dubai Financial and Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange may merge sooner than you think.  Will the renewed bid to launch Islamic finance in Morocco work – read our analysis in this issue.

Don’t forget to register for the Thomson Reuters MENA Asset Management Conference & Awards taking place on May 4th, 2014 in Dubai. It will be the perfect opportunity to network and hear all about the latest issues shaping the asset management industry today.

Thank you for taking the time to be part of our MENA financial community.

Samer Habbal,
General Manager - Financial & Risk
Middle East & North Africa


Find out what our readers think. Results will be published in the next edition.

Do you think that the new margin lending rules in UAE will drive trading volumes down on the short-term?


Results of last month’s poll

Do you think the rift between Qatar and the three Arab states will impact their joint initiatives?


A top Dubai economic policymaker said on Monday that an agreement to merge the two main stock markets in the United Arab Emirates, the
Dubai Financial Market and the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange, had been reached in principle but nothing had been finalized. "It is going to be very positive. The agreement has been reached between the two - there is a dialogue but it is not yet finalized," Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed al-Maktoum, head of Dubai's supreme fiscal council, told reporters on the sidelines of a conference in Abu Dhabi. Sources told Reuters last year that advisors had been appointed to help facilitate a merger of the exchanges, but the idea has been discussed sporadically for years without a deal. Click here for more.

 Jordan on Monday signed deals with two companies to build two solar energy-run power plants, Energy Minister Mohammad Hamed said. Under the agreements, the two companies will
build power generation facilities in the southern region, each with 10-megawatt capacity, the minister told The Jordan Times after the signing of the two deals. The agreements raise the number of deals signed by the government for renewable energy projects to 12, he said, ending the first phase of a three-stage project to increase the locally produced renewable energy input. "Under the first round, we signed 12 agreements. We have two remaining rounds under which about eight renewable energy projects for power generation will be built," said the minister. The total cost of the 12 projects under the first round stands at $560 million, Hamed added. Click here for more.

Iran said it hopes enough progress will be made with major powers this week to enable negotiators to start drafting by mid-May a final accord to settle a long-running dispute over its nuclear programme.
The Islamic Republic and six world powers will hold a new round of talks in Vienna on Tuesday and Wednesday intended to reach a comprehensive agreement by July 20 on how to resolve a decade-old standoff that has stirred fears of a Middle East war. It will be the third meeting of chief negotiators since February. So far, officials say, they have largely focused on what issues should form part of a long-term deal. "We will finish all discussions and issues this time to pave the ground for starting to draft the final draft in Ordibehesht (an Iranian month that begins in two weeks)," Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said upon arrival in Vienna. Read more.

Morocco is set to give Islamic finance a second try, counting on closer regulation and a clearer legislative framework to resolve problems which plagued its first attempt. Banks in the country
began introducing a range of Islamic finance products in 2007, calling them "alternative finance", but they drew little response from the majority Muslim population. Both consumers and the banks themselves were unfamiliar with the products, while the lack of a detailed legal framework for Islamic finance also kept uncertainty and costs high. Read more.

Iran and Russia have made progress toward an oil-for-goods deal that sources said could be worth up to $20 billion and enable Tehran to boost vital energy exports in defiance of Western
sanctions, people familiar with the negotiations told Reuters. In January, Reuters reported that Moscow and Tehran were discussing a barter deal that would see Moscow buy up to 500,000 barrels a day of Iranian oil in exchange for Russian equipment and goods. Click here for full article.

Growth in Bahrain's inflation-adjusted gross domestic product slowed to 5.4 % year-on-year in the fourth quarter of last year from a revised 5.7 % in the third quarter, data from the state statistics
body showed on Monday. GDP rose 0.7 % from the previous quarter. The mining sector, which includes oil production and accounts for over a fifth of GDP, led growth in the fourth quarter, expanding 14.6 % from a year earlier. Read more.

The Saudi construction market is set to scale greater heights with a projected growth rate of 35% over the next three years. With the total value of projects planned currently estimated at $ 732
billion, the sector is poised to become the fastest-growing in the Kingdom's economy by 2015. Construction projects worth a total of $42 billion were awarded in 2013 in the Kingdom, compared with $17 billion in 2012, making 2013 the strongest year for the country's construction industry in recent times. Click here for more.

Did you know?
Thomson Reuters will be hosting its 2nd annual Thomson Reuters MENA Asset Management Conference & Awards. Join us for thought provoking discussion and celebrate with us at the fund awards during the Gala Dinner. The event will be held at the Ritz-Carlton, DIFC in Dubai, UAE on May 4th, 2014. We look forward to seeing you there.

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Did you know?
Thomson Reuters in partnership with Meethaq Islamic Banking recently organized an event in Muscat,  that highlighted the future of the Islamic finance industry in Oman. The event was attended by around 200 Islamic Finance practitioners from the region. To read more about the event and its main findings please click here. Thomson Reuters will produce a white paper detailing the findings shortly.


Thomson Reuters Eikon v4 provides you with access to the precise news, data, analytics, markets and professional networks you need – anywhere, anytime – through a more intelligent, intuitive and open desktop and mobile experience. Enabling users to discsover more profitable opportunities and make crucial decisions confidently.Click here for more

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