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Business Middle East

  • Conservative lending rules and red tape have long been blamed for holding back development of the mortgage sector in Egypt. Mortgage lending is equivalent to less than half a percent of gross domestic product in Egypt, compared to 13 percent in Morocco, according to a 2011 report on Africa housing by FinMark Trust, a body mainly funded by British government aid.

  • MOSCOW, Oct 10- Russian shares fell on Wednesday, underperforming emerging market peers, while the rouble was stronger, supported by higher oil prices and an auction for rouble-denominated treasury bonds. "There are almost no new money inflows," said Vadim Feldblyum, a senior client manager at BCS.

  • BAGHDAD-- Iraq officially stepped back on Wednesday from its ambitious plans to more than triple its oil production by 2017, but it remains more optimistic than the world's leading global energy monitor about how fast and how high it can boost output.

  • *Rare chance for Sudan to meet Western firms. *Sudan and South came close to war in April. VIENNA, Oct 10- Sudan and South Sudan pledged to work together to rebuild their shattered economies and not to return to war in a joint plea for foreign investment after signing a critical trade and border agreement last month.

  • Brent November crude was up 89 cents at $115.39 a barrel at 11:02 a.m. EDT, having traded from $113.77 to $115.59.

  • LONDON-- This year's London Film Festival has Ben Affleck, Dustin Hoffman and the Rolling Stones _ and it's bookended by one of the city's premiere cinematic couples. Britain's biggest film showcase opens Wednesday with the European premiere of London- based American director Tim Burton's "Frankenweenie," the animated tale of a boy and his beloved _ but dead _ dog.

  • LONDON, Oct 10- The shale boom has left some of the most sophisticated refineries in the United States hunting across Europe and Africa for more of the heavy residue left over from other refiners' crude distillation units, as they try to find a use for all the expensive coking units built in the last decade.

  • NEW YORK, Oct 10- U.S. crude futures extended gains to more than $1 on Wednesday, testing resistance at highs from late September and earlier this month just above $93.30, as Middle East tensions continued to support oil prices. November crude was up 80 cents at $93.19 a barrel at 10:41 a.m. EDT.

  • CAIRO, Oct 10- Egyptian stocks seem unlikely to resume this year's world-beating rally until the government shows how and when it will begin cutting fuel subsidies to rein in the budget deficit and secure a $4.8 billion IMF loan. A surge of more than 50 percent in Egypt's main share index.

  • The United States and the European Union have imposed sanctions on Iran to deter it from pursuing a nuclear weapons program. The U.S. has pressed India to scale back its imports of Iranian crude to support those sanctions, but energy-starved India remains one of Iran's biggest oil purchasers.

  • NEW YORK-- Shares of basmati rice seller Amira are rising in their first day of trading Wednesday on the New York Stock Exchange after the company raised $90 million in an initial public stock offering. Amira Nature Foods Ltd., which is based in the United Arab Emirates, sells packaged rice grown in India in more than 40 countries.

  • NEW YORK-- Americans will pay more to heat their homes this winter as they feel something they didn't feel much of last year: cold. But customers will have to use more energy to keep warm than they did a year ago, according to the annual Winter Fuels Outlook from the Energy Department's Energy Information Administration.

  • *Tunisia plans to issue first sovereign sukuk next year. TUNIS, Oct 10- After decades of secular rule, Tunisia's government aims to develop Islamic banking in the country, but some suspect the government's motives are more political than economic: it wants to win the support of voters. But as the controversy in Tunisia shows, there are political complications.

  • *Qatar banks attract global bankers with pay, security. DUBAI, Oct 10- Qatar is luring high-profile bankers away from foreign firms by offering better pay and prospects, as the cash-rich Gulf state builds the talent needed to expand its financial footprint across the region.

  • KUWAIT, Oct 10- In a luxury hotel suite, away from prying eyes, twenty Kuwaiti female guests at a traditional wedding party segregated by the sexes watch the men via a video link. "The most important thing now is getting a university degree," said Noora al-Jaber, 28, who married seven years ago.

  • *Egypt's Grand Mufti denounces edicts. *Muslim Brotherhood under pressure to take a clearer line By Shaimaa Fayed and Yasmine Saleh. Egypt's media, once tightly controlled by the state, has become a free-for-all platform for ideas, theories and advice, which can range from the ignorant to the bizarre and to what some see as outright dangerous.

  • LOS ANGELES-- A man arrested at Los Angeles International Airport wearing a bulletproof vest and flame-resistant pants is not cooperating with federal officials working to discover why he was headed to Boston with a suitcase full of weapons, authorities say.

  • By Shaimaa Fayed and Asma Alsharif. CAIRO, Oct 10- Business leaders voiced frustration with Egypt's government at an investment conference in Cairo this week, where officials pledged to revive an economy battered by political turmoil but offered few details on policy.

  • LONDON, Oct 10- Brent crude oil eased towards $114 a barrel but stayed close to a three-week high on Wednesday as worries over the security of Middle East supplies outweighed increasing evidence of slowing global economic growth.

  • RIYADH, Oct 10- Banque Saudi Fransi, the lender part-owned by Credit Agricole, posted a 12.9- percent drop in its third-quarter net profit that missed analysts forecasts, it said in a bourse statement on Wednesday.