Business Middle East

  • *Morgan Stanley is in talks to sell a majority stake in its commodities business to the Qatar Investment Authority. *Singapore state investor Temasek Holdings is putting pressure on Standard Chartered to appoint more independent directors.

  • *Jittery investors await U.S. job data, watch Europe. *Social unrest in Iran, Turkey- Syria clashes in focus. SINGAPORE, Oct 4- Brent futures edged up towards $109 per barrel on Thursday as a steep drop in the previous session brought in bargain hunters, while investors awaited further cues from a European Central Bank policy meeting and critical U.S. jobs data.

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    As Iran’s Currency Plunges, Investors Warned on Debasement Social cohesion and trust in a country’s currency are intrinsically linked, according to Dylan Grice from the strategy team at Societe Generale who is warning that history is ‘replete’ with great disorders in which social cohesion has been undermined by the debasement of a currency.

  • DUBAI, Oct 4- Indebted Zabeel Investments, which is owned by Dubai's crown prince, has reached a $956- million debt deal with lenders, according to al-Khaleej newspaper on Thursday. A Dubai government official confirmed this week that the management of Zabeel had been taken over by state-owned Dubai Real Estate Corp..

  • *Britain's FTSE 100 is set to open 12 to 17 points higher, or as much as 0.3 percent, according to financial bookmakers. FTSE index closed up 0.3 percent, or 16.36 points higher, at 5,825.81 points on Wednesday driven by gains in "defensive" stocks seen as the most resilient to an economic downturn.

  • ABU DHABI, Oct 4- National Bank of Fujairah. will replace British lender Barclays PLC on the United Arab Emirates' interbank rate setting panel, the banking regulator said on Thursday.

  • SYDNEY, Oct 4- Australian shares extended their gains by 0.3 percent on Thursday, hitting a 14- month high after banks offset losses in mining. Top banks continued this week's post rate-cut gains, led by Westpac Banking Corp.

  • MOSCOW, Oct 4- Here are events and news stories that could move Russian markets on Thursday. MOSCOW- "Russia Calling" investment conference held by VTB Capital. MOSCOW- Briefing by Alexey Simanovsky, First Deputy Chairman of the Central Bank of Russia.

  • FRANKFURT, Oct 4- The DAX top-30 index looked set to open 0.4 percent higher on Thursday, according to premarket data from brokerage Lang& Schwarz at 0614 GMT. Related news AIR BERLIN Indicated 2.2 percent higher.

  • LONDON, Oct 4- Gulf Keystone Petroleum Ltd:. amount of USD$ 200 million. of up to USD$ 25 million.

  • The lira was at 1.8035 against the dollar at 0544 GMT, weakening from 1.7966 late on Wednesday after Turkish artillery hit targets inside Syria in response to a mortar bomb fired from Syria which killed five Turkish civilians.

  • LONDON, Oct 4- European shares were set to rise on Thursday, mirroring gains in the United States and Asia, with investors positioning for more soothing data and some clarity on Spain's likely aid request during a European Central Bank press conference after its rate verdict.

  • Rising tensions between Syria and Turkey also contributed to higher prices, the geopolitical risk highlighting concerns about Middle East oil supplies. By early afternoon in Europe, benchmark oil for November delivery was up 62 cents to $88.76 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

  • NEW DELHI/ SINGAPORE, Oct 4- India's Essar Oil has sold 35,000 tonnes of naphtha to Itochu for Oct. 26-30 loading from Vadinar at about $31- 32 a tonne above Middle East quotes on a free-on-board basis, with traders saying the premiums reflected a firm market.

  • The head of VW's works council, Bernd Osterloh, urged the company to offer a low-cost car in emerging markets to counter weak sales in Europe, German paper Handelsblatt reported, citing Osterloh.

  • The October/November timespread slipped another $1.25 to a $7.75 per tonne backwardation or the lowest since September 26, according to Reuters data. Naphtha CFR Japan's October/November lost $1.25 to a backwardation of $7.75 a tonne, while the November/December backwardation was $1.00 per tonne lower, at $7.50 a tonne.

  • EADS Chief Executive Tom Enders is prepared to talk about guarantees for jobs and production sites in a planned merger of the company with Britain's BAE Systems, he told Germany's Bild daily.

  • DUBAI, Oct 4- HSBC Holdings Plc is to significantly scale back the scope of its global Islamic banking operations, as the business becomes the latest area to be affected by a wider restructuring at the UK- based bank.

  • WASHINGTON/ LONDON, Oct 3- To win approval for their planned $45 billion merger, EADS and BAE systems must persuade Washington to let a pan-European behemoth control some of the most sensitive U.S. defence contracts, without triggering a political backlash.

  • SINGAPORE, Oct 4- India's Oil and Natural Gas Corp has sold 35,000 tonnes of naphtha to Total for Oct. 26-27 loading from Hazira at around $30 a tonne above Middle East quotes on a free-on-board basis, down from previous sales for the month.