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Oil prices climb above $69 Oil prices jumped above $69 on Friday, buoyed by hopes of a boost in energy demand amid signs of a world economic recovery, analysts said.New York s main futures contract, light sweet crude for delivery in July climbed 41 cents to $69.22 a barrel.Brent North Sea crude for July delivery rose 40 cents to $69.11. Crude s ability to completely deny . (Wednesday s) sharp sell off, strongly underscores the new found optimism in the energy complex, said ODL Securities oil analyst Marius Paun.Oil prices had rebounded strongly on Thursday after US investment bank Goldman Sachs said crude futures could strike $85 a barrel by the end of 2009.Also helping push prices higher was data showing new claims for jobless benefits in the United States fell for a third consecutive week, fuelling hopes recession gripping the world s biggest energy consuming nation may be easing.Goldman Sachs said its bullish price forecast stemmed from a global economic recovery and energy shortage. Further ahead, Goldman predicted that prices could strike $95 a barrel by the end of 2010.After plunging from record highs above $147 last July, oil prices touched multi-year lows in December, at one point nearing $32 a barrel.They have since clawed back ground, bouncing to seven-month highs this week as a struggling US currency makes dollar-priced crude cheaper for buyers holding stronger currencies, in turn stimulating demand and pushing up prices.Prices briefly slumped on Wednesday, however, after a surprise jump in American crude reserves that indicated weaker-than-expected demand.The US Department of Energy announced Wednesday that American crude oil inventories leapt 2.9 million barrels in the week ending May 29 to reach 366 million barrels. Most analysts had expected a 1.7-million-barrel drop.The higher stocks were attributed to rebounding imports. -AFP

Qatar LNG tanker due at UK South Hook June 11 -portA Qatari liquefied natural gas tanker called the Al Daayen is expected to arrive at Britain s South Hook import terminal in Wales on June 11, according to the local port authority website on Friday. The tanker, which can carry over 148,000 cubic meters of the super-cooled gas, sailed into the Mediterranean Sea after emerging from the Suez Canal on Thursday, according to AISLive ship-tracking data on Reuters. Britain s biggest LNG import terminal is a joint venture between US major Exxon Mobil, state-run Qatar Petroleum (QP), and French energy group Total. – Reuters

Abu Dhabi s ADIC eyes investments in South Korea State-owned Abu Dhabi Investment Company (ADIC) said on Friday it is diversifying investments into South Korea and Asia as it seeks to also attract inward investment. ADIC, Korea Development Bank (KDB) and the Korea Trade Promotion Agency (KOTRA) signed an agreement to help increase investment flows between South Korea and the Middle East and North Africa region, ADIC said in a statement. The agreement lays the groundwork for cooperation in many areas, including cross-border mergers and acquisitions, private equity, infrastructure and portfolio equity investment. This is an important step, which should lead to some exciting investment opportunities both in South Korea and the MENA region, said Nazem Fawwaz Al Kudsi, ADIC s chief executive. The Middle East should not just be regarded as a source of capital but also as an investment destination. Abu Dhabi, which is part of the UAE, has been using part of its oil income to diversify its economy and invest abroad. The UAE ranks as the world s fifth largest oil exporter. Investment funds in the Middle East are diversifying to include direct investments in Asia and Korea in particular, said Cho Hwan Eik, president of KOTRA. Through this MOU, we expect investment flows between Korea and Abu Dhabi to increase significantly. The South Korean government hopes to boost foreign direct investment by 7 percent this year to $12.5 billion, with special Free Economic Zones at the forefront of its strategy, the statement said. -Reuters

Qatar s housing prices seen rising in late 2009Qatar housing prices are expected to rise again from late 2009 and growth in the property market to continue due to infrastructure needs in the world s biggest exporter of liquefied natural gas, executives said on Thursday. We will see stability very soon, by the third quarter and the market will start climbing again, Brian Meilleur, president of Al Waab City, a $3.3 billion mixed-use property project, said on the sidelines of a construction conference in Doha. Once we get this one done, we would like to look further into Qatar and look regionally as well. Qatar house prices have fallen as much as 30 percent in the last six months due to the global slowdown, but high demand for property will limit price weakness, real estate services company Jones Lang LaSalle said in May. The economy could grow 7 percent or more in real terms in 2009 as it boosts gas production, its economy and finance minister has said. At the end of March 2009, around 191 construction projects were under way in Qatar, with a total value of $82.5 billion, Dubai-based research firm Proleads said in April. Infrastructure projects, including roads and bridges, education and sports projects, are some areas that are likely to experience growth in Qatar over the coming years, said Yahya Jan, Dubai-based vice president and design director for NORR Group, a Canadian engineering and architecture company. We are bidding for a number of very large projects in Qatar, Jan said. Whether oil is $35 or $135 a barrel, there will be tremendous revenue coming to the region because they are exporting energy. Qatar, which is bidding to host the FIFA football World Cup in 2022 and currently hosts several sports tournaments, is spending billions of dollars on property projects. The focus of real estate developers in Qatar and other Gulf Arab states should be more on the middle-income housing market, said Steven Miller, Dubai-based managing director of FXFOWLE, a US architecture company. Everybody in the region wants to be high income which is ridiculous. You can make money in middle income, but you can t make stupid money, said Miller, adding that the company is interested in education projects in Qatar. -Reuters

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