|Debt Crisis & West|
|YOU may recall the Latin
American debt crisis of 1982,
the Asian debt crisis of 1997,
the Russian debt crisis of 1998
- and you´ll certainly remember
the US sub-prime debt crisis of 2008.
Now we have a European debt crisis
and, horror of horrors, a US government
That´s the word to keep hold of: debt.
Ignore the financiers´ jargon - bond
yields, credit default swaps, hedge
funds - which make finance sound like
quantum physics, a fearfully abstruse
subject beyond the grasp of ordinary
mortals. Financial crises occur when
people (or governments or companies)
can´t repay their debts. Or more precisely
when their creditors (or shareholders)
decide they aren´t likely to get
|US GRIPPED BY GREAT
|IN the wake of the hugely disappointing
budget deal and
the S&P´s debt downgrade,
maybe we need to hang a new
sign in the immigration arrival
halls at all US ports and airports. It
could simply read: "Welcome. You
are entering the United States of
America. Past performance is not
necessarily indicative of future
Because our country is now finding
itself in the worst kind of
decline - a slow decline, just slow
enough for us to keep deluding ourselves
that nothing really fundamental
needs to change if our
future is to match our past.
Our slow decline is a product of
two inter-related problems. First,
we´ve let our five basic pillars of
growth erode since the end of the
Cold War - education, infrastructure,
IQ’s steel projects on hold over lack of gas
ZAWYA DOW JONES
DOHA QATARI steel-to-fertilizer conglomerate Industries Qatar (IQ) has put on hold two planned steel plants in the industrial city of Mesaieed worth 8.1 billion QR$2.22 billion due to problems securing natural gas for the projects, the company said.
“The market should also be aware that following extensive discussions with Qatar Petroleum, it has been agreed to put the Qatar Steel Phase 2 and 3 projects on hold due to natural gas allocation restrictions,” IQ said in a trading update dated August 7. “It is our intention to revisit the projects when sufficient natural gas allocations have been secured,” the Doha-based conglomerate added. Qatar Steel is fully-owned by IQ.
Shares in IQ finished trading down 1.3 percent at QR135 on Monday in a broadly negative overall market. A spokesman for IQ couldn’t be reached immediately for comment. The news is a blow for IQ’s expansion plans in its fast growing steel division at a time of surging domestic demand for the metal as Qatar presses on with a huge infrastructure building program that will accelerate in the run up to the 2022 soccer World Cup.
IQ made first-half revenue of QR2.9 billion in its steel division thanks to strong domestic demand and robust prices, it said. Industries Qatar said it was on track to significantly exceed our full-year budget revenue and net profit targets of QR14.5 billion and QR4.9 billion respectively.
Aperson familiar with the matter said it was unclear why state-run energy giant Qatar Petroleum had failed to allocate gas for the projects. A spokesman for the company couldn’t be reached for comment. Qatar sits on the third-largest natural gas reserves in the world, after Russia and Iran.
However, the development of its massive offshore North Field has been on hold since 2005, when the government declared a moratorium to conduct technical studies and ensure longevity of the world’s biggest gas field.
Gas demand in the Arab Gulf state has soared in recent years on the back of rising domestic consumption, largely driven by largescale industrial developments such as petrochemical and aluminium plants.
Industries Qatar said in April it planned to spend QR12.6 billion on projects over the next four years. Qatar Steel’s phase two project was originally scheduled for completion in the third quarter of 2013 and phase three was due to be finished in 2015. Neither project broke ground or received IQ shareholder approval.
Qatar Steel, which manufactures and distributes steel and iron products, aims to produce 4 million tons of the metal by 2014, according to Zawya.com.