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Daily brief: New Islamic finance guidance on gold, GCC F&B industry grows

Islamic finance experts have developed new rules for gold transactions; the GCC F&B industry continues to experience growth driven by the growing population and numbers of tourists. Here are the top seven business stories you need to know about today.


Dubai’s Emirates Islamic launches 1.5 bln dirham rights issue

Emirates Islamic Bank, the shariah-compliant arm of Dubai’s largest lender, launched its 1.5 billion dirham ($408 million) rights issue on Tuesday.

Shareholders will be eligible to the subscription which begins on December 14 and ends on December 28.


Egypt advisory council says Red Sea islands should remain Egyptian

An Egyptian state advisory body recommended on Monday that a Cairo court uphold a ruling that annulled an agreement giving Saudi Arabia control of two Red Sea islands. The agreement was first announced in April and caused controversy among Egyptians.


(Saudi oil shipments to Egypt halted indefinitely: Officials)


Jordan investors set to buy Arab Bank stake after Saudi bid fades

A Jordanian consortium has bid for Saudi Oger’s 20 per cent stake in Arab Bank Group after the family of Saudi Arabia’s Fawaz Alhokair dropped its own $1.1 billion offer, banking sources told Reuters on Monday.

A deal with investors led by Arab Bank Group’s chairman Sabih al Masri, a leading Jordanian businessmen with extensive holdings in banking and hotels, could be imminent, they said.


(Arab banks’ ties to foreign banks under pressure, survey finds)


New Islamic finance guidance on gold emphasises real deal

Islamic finance experts have developed new rules for gold transactions, potentially opening the way for Islamic institutions to trade gold and silver much more actively, it was announced in Dubai on Monday.

Gold transactions must be fully backed by physical metal and settled on the same day, the developers of the new guidance said, to observe Islam’s distinction between real economic activity and speculation.


(Islamic finance body approves sharia standard for gold-based products)

Apple Watch expects record sales over holidays, CEO says

Sales of the Apple Watch are expected to hit record highs during the first week of the holiday shopping season, CEO Tim Cook told Reuters.

“Our data shows that Apple Watch is doing great and looks to be one of the most popular holiday gifts this year,” Cook wrote in an email to the international news agency.


Air Berlin gets cash boost with Niki sale to Etihad

Air Berlin received another cash boost from shareholder Etihad, announcing plans to sell its share of Austria-based carrier Niki as part of a wide-ranging restructuring that will see the creation of a new leisure airline.

Etihad bought a 29 per cent stake in Air Berlin in early 2012, hoping to use it to boost its European network.


GCC F&B industry experiencing unprecedented growth

The GCC’s growing population and increasing inflow of tourists will continue to influence the development of the region’s food and beverage (F&B) industry in the coming years, according to a report on ‘Feeding the Growing Appetite of the GCC F&B Market’ released by Orient Planet Research, an Orient Planet Group venture.