Turkish banking links weigh on Gulf markets

Gulf markets sunk as investors shied away from banks with links to Turkey’s deepening economic turmoil. (AFP)
Updated 13 August 2018
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Turkish banking links weigh on Gulf markets

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia’s stock index touched its lowest level in more than three months on Monday, with regional markets sinking as investors shied away from banks with links to Turkey’s deepening economic turmoil.
Attracted by its large population and surging economy, several Gulf banks have expanded into Turkey in recent years, most recently Dubai’s largest bank Emirates NBD, which in May agreed to buy Turkey’s Denizbank in a $3.2 billion deal.
But investor confidence in the economic outlook has been shattered by the lira tumbling on worries over President Tayyip Erdogan’s increasing control over the economy and deteriorating relations with the United States.
Emirates NBD slumped by 4.6 percent. Emaar Properties , which has projects in Turkey, was down 2.3 percent.
The main Dubai index slipped by 1.5 percent, while he main Saudi index lost 2.4 percent.
National Commercial Bank (NCB), Saudi Arabia’s largest bank by assets, fell by 3.7 percent. NCB’s exposure to Turkey is estimated by Arqaam Capital as 8 percent of its assets and 12 percent of its loans.
Other Saudi blue-chip stocks were also down. Saudi Basic Industries Corp. (SABIC) fell by 2.4 percent, while Al Rajhi Bank slipped by 2.6 percent.
The Middle East and North Africa’s largest bank, Qatar National Bank, retreated by 2.6 percent. Around 15 percent of the bank’s assets and 14 percent of its loans relate to Turkey, according to Arqaam Capital.
Qatar’s Commercial Bank, which owns Turkey’s Alternatifbank, edged down 0.6 percent. The wider index shed 0.8 percent.
In Kuwait, Kuwait Finance House and Burgan Bank , both of which have loans and other assets in Turkey, declined by 1.3 percent and 1.4 percent, respectively.


India suspends Kashmir border trade with Pakistan

Updated 19 April 2019
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India suspends Kashmir border trade with Pakistan

  • Kashmir has been on edge since a February suicide attack that killed 40 Indian paramilitaries
  • India said it had reports that trade on the border was being “misused by Pakistan-based elements for funnelling illegal weapons, narcotics and fake currency”

NEW DELHI: India has suspended trade across its disputed Kashmir border with Pakistan, alleging that weapons and drugs are being smuggled across the route, as tensions simmer between the nuclear-armed neighbors.
Kashmir has been on edge since a February suicide attack that killed 40 Indian paramilitaries and brought the two countries to the brink of war with cross-border air strikes.
On Thursday, India’s government, which is in the middle of a tough national election, said it had reports that trade on the border was being “misused by Pakistan-based elements for funnelling illegal weapons, narcotics and fake currency.”
It also said many of those trading across the Line of Control, which divides Kashmir into zones under Indian and Pakistani control, had links to militant organizations.
The home ministry said trade would be suspended until a stricter inspection mechanism is in place.
The cross-border trade is based on a barter system, with traders exchanging goods including chillies, cumin, mango and dried fruit.
It began in 2008 as a way to improve strained relations between New Delhi and Islamabad, who have fought two of their three wars over the disputed region.
The Indian Express newspaper said Friday that 35 trucks carrying fruit traveling from the Indian side of the border had been stopped after the government order.
Trade on the border has been suspended before, including in 2015, when India accused a Pakistani driver of drug trafficking.
The latest move comes after India withdrew “Most Favoured Nation Status” — covering trade links — from Pakistan after the February attack, which was claimed by the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed Islamist group.
Islamabad has denied any involvement in the attack.
India’s Hindu nationalist Prime Minister Narendra Modi has made national security a key plank of his re-election campaign, pointing to the recent flare-up of violence as he battles the center-left opposition Congress party.
He is seeking a second term from the country’s 900 million voters in the mammoth election which kicked off on April 11 and runs till May 19. The results will be out on May 23.