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UAE Inflation Forecast to Fall

Inflation in the UAE will fall from a 19-year high to an average 5 percent in the next five years as housing supply constraints ease, the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry said.

Inflation would slow to 3.4 percent in 2012 as "government fiscal expenditure restraint and the easing of housing shortage" take pressure off price rises, the chamber said in a report, citing International Monetary Fund forecasts.

Prices in the second-largest Arab economy rose 9.3 percent in 2006, the fastest pace since at least 1988.

UAE inflation will accelerate to 10.1 percent this year before easing to 8.9 percent in 2008, a Reuters poll of 12 economists showed this month.

"The danger of such high inflation is the risk of undermining the competitiveness of the economy and therefore jeopardising the long-term growth prospects of the economy," the chamber said.

Reducing inflation and addressing exchange rate policy are among the main issues facing policymakers in the country, it said without elaborating.

Like most Gulf Arab oil producers, the UAE pegs its dirham currency to the dollar, forcing it to follow US monetary policy at a time when the Federal Reserve is cutting rates to contain the fallout of a mortgage crisis. - Reuters

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SteelFab Expo Sharjah to Bring 25 Counteries

SteelFab and SteelTech exhibitions will feature Middle East's largest and most comprehensive display of machinery, equipment, accessories, and technology for the steel working and production industries. The exhibitions are to be held at Expo Centre Sharjah from January 21 to 23, 2008.

Organised by Expo Centre Sharjah with the support of UCIMU-SISTEMI PER PRODURRE - the Association of Italian Manufacturers of Machine Tools, Robots, Automation Systems and ancillary products, and the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the coming edition of SteelFab will feature over 400 brands and companies from more than 25 countries.

It will occupy an exhibition area of 14,000 sq. m. and host exhibitors from Austria, Belgium, Canada, China, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Poland, Russia, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan (ROC), Turkey, UAE, UK and the US among others.

On display at the exhibition will be machinery, equipment, products, services, and consumables related to surface preparation, blasting, galvanising, finishing and painting, steel machinery including metal forming, machine tools, and workshop machinery, grinding, cutting, power tools, tools, tooling for machinery, pipe construction equipment, tools, and orbital welding, software, services, training, testing, measurement, and NDT, welding and cutting including welding machines, and specialty welding, cutting systems including CNC – plasma, oxy fuel, laser, and water jet, and material handling including overhead cranes, hoists and trolleys.

“A large number of infrastructure and industrial development projects are currently underway in the Middle East region,” said advisor to the chairman, Expo Centre Sharjah, Fasahat Ali Khan.

Of the total number of brands that will be represented at SteelFab 2008, approximately 100 brands will be focused on steel machinery, 75 brands will be dedicated solely to welding and cutting, and over 50 brands will be dealing in surface preparation and finishing.

The rest will be showcasing pipe construction and CNC cutting systems. Almost all the major manufacturers of structural steel fabrication machines will have an imposing presence at the event.

A major attraction of the SteelTech exhibition will be the Gulf Iron and Steel Conference that will be held alongside.

The Conference, which will focus on the regional iron and steel sector, will be addressed by key players in the industry from across the globe. Among the participants at the event will be top decision makers from the regional iron and steel sector as well as technology providers, equipment manufacturers, and raw material suppliers to the industry. – TradeArabia News Service

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Ernst & Young Middle East Entrepreneur of the Year Awards 2007

Lloyds TSB International Private Banking will be sponsoring the Ernst & Young Middle East Entrepreneur of the Year Awards, 2007.

The awards, which were established over 20 years ago and take place in over 40 countries, are running in the Middle East for the first time this year. The ceremony will take place in Dubai between February 21 and 23, 2008, and will honour the growing number of highly successful entrepreneurs across the region.

The bank’s sponsorship will cover the entire awards programme, which will recognise entrepreneurs for their achievements in several categories, including entrepreneurial spirit, strategic direction, national or global impact, innovation; personal integrity and influence.

Cary Adams, managing director, Lloyds TSB International Private Banking, said: “We’re extremely proud to be sponsoring the first Ernst & Young Middle East Entrepreneur of the Year Award. The fast pace of growth in the region is testament to the hard work and ambition of so many individuals - not least the many thousands of entrepreneurs who are building their own successful businesses.

“The Middle East is one of the key regions for Lloyds TSB across the globe and as its growth story continues, we will be doing everything we can to encourage more of the innovation, commitment and contribution that these awards reflect so strongly,” he added.

Lloyds TSB has been providing banking services across the Middle East for the last 30 years having established its branch in Dubai in 1977 and was one of the first banks to receive a license from the UAE Central Bank. –TradeArabia News Service

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ARY start Jewellery Academy in Dubai

A dedicated gems and jewellery academy, set up by jewellery major ARY, will open next month in Dubai. The ARY Academy of Gems & Jewellery, which will be located at Jewel Plaza Building in the heart of Gold Souq, will provide world class education and training in all aspects of gold and precious metal trade, a statement said.

The institute will offer various certificate and diploma courses in the design, manufacture, assaying and management of gems and jewellery. It is recognized by the Knowledge Village in Dubai.

An initiative by the UAE-based ARY Group, a leader in the region’s jewellery trade with a tradition of over 50 years, the academy aims to mould true professionals to facilitate the growth and transformation of the gold and jewellery trade in the region.

“The region has been witnessing tremendous growth in per capita consumption of gold and jewellery, increase in the number jewellery retail outlets, and employment opportunities in this sector. It is imperative that such a growing industry gets the support of qualified and trained personnel in all aspects of the trade,” said Sarwat Abdul Razzak, CEO of ARY Academy of Gems & Jewellery.

“Today, the jewellery industry requires not mere traders but knowledgeable workers and entrepreneurs.

“As a business leader, we want the society to benefit from our heritage and we believe grooming a generation capable of maintaining quality and excellence in the industry is the best we could do. The ARY group has always drawn its strength from the reputation of the UAE, especially Dubai, as a major hub of gold trade. Hence we consider Dubai as the ideal choice for this Academy,” added Ms Razzak .

The Academy will open its doors on January 5, 2008 and admissions have already started.

The programmes offered at the Academy will cover various aspects of Gemology; Jewellery Designing; Gems & Jewellery Management; and Business Administration. The faculty comprises professional designers, technicians, craftsmen and educationists drawn from various parts of the world including Belgium, China, Thailand, Pakistan and India, said Naheed Anees, president of the Academy.

“Through this venture we wish to provide a quality education programme that delivers the best mix of both business and academic knowledge, specifically targeted for the trade. The course content will be updated regularly so that our students remain abreast of industry developments,” added Ms Anees.

To assist those students who are eager to launch their career in the gems and jewellery industry, the academy will have a placement cell that along with conducting campus recruitments and interviews will also maintain regular interaction with the trade and global business hubs. – TradeArabia News Service

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Qatar Petroleum, BP and Texas A&M University to Develop LNG Safety Research Programme

The landmark agreement was signed by H.E. Dr. Mohammed Bin Saleh Al-Sada, Minister of State for Energy & Industry Affairs.

The programme, which will extend and complement the existing BP-sponsored programme run at the Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas, will help advance the science and technical understanding of key safety issues impacting the worldwide LNG industry. The research will be carried out at the Texas A&M University branch campus within the Qatar Foundation university campus in Doha and will encompass practical testing at Qatar Petroleum's Ras Laffan Emergency and Safety College which is currently being constructed at Ras Laffan Industrial City.

H.E. Dr. Mohammed Bin Saleh Al-Sada said, 'We, at Qatar Petroleum, believe that this MoU represents a significant step in our quest to develop the Qatari human resources, and we are sure that such partnership with leading institutions will contribute to the advancement of science, and enhance technical skills of safety in the LNG industry. We are proud to be a part of this program which will certainly be a remarkable achievement for Qatar Petroleum and the Oil & Gas industry in Qatar.'

Signing the agreement on behalf of BP in Doha today, Steve Peacock, President of BP's Middle East and South Asia Exploration and Production Unit, said,

'BP is delighted to support what is Qatar's first postgraduate university research programme to be sponsored by an international oil company. The programme will create a unique and enduring training and development opportunity for graduates from the Qatar Foundation and enable them to benefit from the outstanding post-graduate teaching and research training provided by Texas A&M University. As Qatar continues to develop its leading role in the LNG world, such activities will facilitate the transfer of relevant technologies and build human capacity in LNG safety for the benefit not only of Qatar but also the LNG industry worldwide.'

Sheikh Khalid Bin Khalifa Al Thani, Acting Director Ras Laffan, who was also present at the signing ceremony, added: 'This MOU illustrates again the leadership and commitment of QP in the education of the people in Qatar and those in the MENA region.

The facilities and research programs, expected to be launched in 2008, will be of great benefit to Qatar Petroleum and the Petro-chemical Industry in the State of Qatar as it will enable Fire and Emergency Response Services and Fire Engineers to learn more about the behaviour of LNG fires and it will also offer students in Fire Engineering the opportunity to do PhD research.
The soon to be erected, Ras Laffan Emergency & Safety College with its LNG Fire Training props, offers the ideal facility to conduct such research.'

Dr. Mark Weichold, dean and CEO of Texas A&M at Qatar, said the research partnership represented a special opportunity for Texas A&M to conduct important research in a region where LNG is a vital natural resource.

'Texas A&M at Qatar strives to produce research that helps the State of Qatar meet its most pressing needs,' Weichold said. 'Safety is essential to ensuring LNG producers maintain steady output, and our faculty researchers are ready and able to help BP and Qatar Petroleum innovate ways to make their processes safer.'

Dr. Jim Holste, associate dean for research and graduate studies at Texas A&M at Qatar, welcomed the invitation to partner with industry leaders on safety research.

'We are delighted to be a part of this research partnership related to LNG safety,' Holste said. 'The combination of industrial experience provided by BP, the safety expertise of the Mary Kay O'Connor Process Safety Center in College Station and the Texas A&M University at Qatar faculty, and the exciting new facilities of the Emergency and Safety Training College being developed by Qatar Petroleum at Ras Laffan cannot be found elsewhere in the world. The research partnership being established today represents a significant contribution by the State of Qatar to future progress in the LNG industry.' via ameinfo.com

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KSE 100-share Heading Towards Recordbreaking 15,000 Points Level

The KSE 100-share index yesterday maintained its upward drive for the third session in a row as investors were not inclined to miss the rising market and capital gains.

It finished with an extended gain of 187.83 points or 1.32 per cent at 14,324.95 as compared to 14,137.83 a day earlier.Its junior partner,30-shares index on the other hand rose by 271.67 points at 17,220.75.

Over the last three sessions, it has risen by 3.25 per cent, adding Rs118.00 billion to the market capital to 4.420 trillion, a hefty increase in three session viewed by any standard, anlysts said.

Massive rise of Rs19.00 in MCB followed by GDR-linked buying and other leading base shares, notably National Bank, OGDC, PTCL and Bank of Punjab were the chief contributors to the current index rise.

MCB alone has the largest weightage 11 per cent in it and adds significantly to its rise in a single session,more than a half than the combined.

"A section of foreign investors is in the market and making selective covering purchases on the banking, oil and some other counters at the current lower levels," analysts said "but failed to pinpoint any specific reason behind the revival of foreign demand." via Khaleej Times

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Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum (MRM) Business Awards become Iconic

The Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum (MRM) Business Award, a Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry initiative, is growing from strength to strength.

The extension of the applications submission date from November 15 to December 15 is helping more local economic corporations, trade centres, free zone companies and business groups to file in their entries in time for the award on the relevant forms in accordance with the Award's criteria and assessment mechanism set up by the Steering Committee of the Dubai Chamber Award Unit.

Hamad Mubarak Buamim, Director General of Dubai Chamber and Chairman of MRM Steering Committee said: "The MRM Business Award 2007 is expected to be a bigger success as it's attracting a larger number of companies operating in Dubai and other emirates. Last year, the number of companies applying for the Awards increased by 49 per cent compared to its launch year in 2005," he said adding, "The inclusion of new categories of the MRM Finance Award and the MRM Real Estate Development Award goes in line with Dubai Chamber's vision and policy that complements the Dubai Strategic Plan 2015. via Khaleej Times

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Midamar to Guide GCC Producers on $16b US Halal Market

Halal food producers in the Gulf region are being offered guidance to break into the $16 billion Halal food and Muslim marketing opportunities in the US which is growing at a rate of 25 to 30 per cent a year.

Midamar, North America's largest supplier of Halal meats, will unveil a new consultation service for Middle East companies aiming to capitalise on a growing market in the US at Halal World Expo in Abu Dhabi next month.

Taking place at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre from December 9-11, this important new industry event is being launched at a time when the global Halal food market was worth an estimated $2.1 trillion a year.

Midamar, which has more than 30 years' international trading experience, will offer market research and local 'know how' to help Middle East producers make inroads and strategic investments into the US Halal industry.

The company has picked Halal World Expo as the launch platform for its new consultation service which officially becomes available in January 2008.

"There are many opportunities for Halal businesses in the UAE and other parts of the Middle East to take advantage of the growing Muslim community in North America," said Jalel Aossey, Director of Midamar Corporation. via Khaleej Times

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UAE FDI to US Reaches to $4.5 Billion

The United States received more foreign direct investment from the UAE — which almost doubled to $4.5 billion at the end of year 2006 over $2.5 billion during the previous year — as world's largest economy still see strong interest from Arab investors, said David Bohigian, assistant secretary, US Department of Commerce.

The US Commerce Department official was in Abu Dhabi, yesterday, to meet public and private sector officials for discussing bilateral relations in the field of investment and commerce.

He told reporters that the US will start negotiations with the UAE on the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) early next year, on which both the nations are currently focusing their attention.

He hoped the TIFA would be a stepping stone to potential free trade agreement with the UAE.

Bohigian said that President George Bush announced that the Free Trade Agreement with Middle East will be concluded by 2013. "We have already concluded FTAs with Bahrain and Oman, while constructive dialogue has started with the UAE," he said.

Asked about the contentious issues hampering the FTA negotiations, the US official said that his nation has gold standard comprehensive free trade agreement with various partners throughout the world which deal with issues relating to investments and all sectors of economy along with energy.

Bohigian said in order to boost investments from Middle East, US Congress has recently passed a bill on FDI that will provide greater transparency to the screening process. Already 95 per cent of the FDI deals does not go through national security screening, he added.

Regarding the Middle East FDI position in the United States, he said it has enlarged to $17 billion at the end of 2006 comparing with $9 billion during the previous year, showing a massive expansion.

Speaking about US investments in the Middle East, he said that during 2006, investments made by the US firms grew to $27 billion from $21 billion. via Khaleej Times

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Mohammam Bin Rashid Foundations announces 100 Scholarships

The Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Foundation has announced that it will provide 100 scholarships to students who wish to pursue masters degrees, reported Gulf News. Candidates who are selected to receive the scholarships will be able to pursue a masters degree in Business Administration, Public Administration, and Public Policy at a number of leading universities. Nationals of the 22 member countries of the Arab League are eligible to apply.

A step like this would ensure that the region steps onto the path of research and academic excellence. Higher qualifications are the cornerstones of sustainable development of any country and economy.

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UAE Manufactured Car Makes its Debut

For the first time a 150-horsepower, double cabin pick-up, produced in the UAE, has been launched in the market by Gulf Automobile Industry Corp priced between Dh36, 000 and Dh60, 000, reported Gulf News. The automobile has about 40 per cent local component, sourced from GCC and Arab countries and is being manufactured in a factory in Abu Dhabi. (ameinfo.com)

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