EconSource: Algeria Cuts Spending, Sees Energy Revenues Falling 50 Percent This Year

Algeria will cut spending in its 2015 budget by 1.35 percent, the government announced, as it expects a slump in oil prices to reduce its energy earnings by 50 percent. The government expects economic growth outside oil and gas to reach 5.1 percent, unchanged from an initial forecast early this year. Inflation is now expected to be 4 percent, rather than 3 percent, while the budget is based on a $60 per barrel oil price, much lower than the anticipated $90. Imports are projected at $57.3 billion for this year, exceeding exports for the first time. Algeria posted a trade deficit of $7.78 billion for the first half of 2015, compared with a $3.2 billion surplus a year earlier. [Reuters, 7/23/2015]

Syria wheat deficit seen at 800,000 tonnes in 2015
The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Food Programme (WFP) estimated Syria’s wheat production at 2.445 million tonnes in 2015, leaving a deficit of 800,000 tonnes. A joint report released by the two agencies said that despite ample rain, wheat production remains 40 percent lower than pre-conflict levels. The FAO and WFP estimate is around 600,000 tonnes lower than government expectations. Agricultural production is hampered by shortages of fuel, farm labor, and agricultural inputs, in addition to damaged irrigation systems and farming equipment. [Reuters, 7/23/2015]

Turkey holds rates steady as political risks pressure lira
Turkey’s central bank on Thursday kept all interest rates unchanged for a fifth consecutive month as political uncertainties and national security threats continued to pressure the country’s weak currency and high inflation. The bank kept its benchmark one-week repo rate at 7.5 percent and its overnight lending and borrowing rates at 10.75 percent and 7.25 percent, respectively. The central bank has been grappling with a persistently weak lira and high inflation that has remained stubbornly above the 5 percent official target. Although recent drops in food and oil prices have helped consumer inflation slow, their volatility merits a cautious policy, the bank said. [WSJ, Bloomberg, 7/23/2015]

Kuwait’s Al-Salam to list on Egypt exchange
Kuwait’s Al-Salam Holding received approval to list on the Egyptian stock exchange and offer depository receipts, exchange chairman Mohamed Omran said. Al-Salam Holding, an investment company listed on the Kuwait and Dubai exchanges, has tried unsuccessfully to offer depository receipts on the Egyptian bourse since 2013. The Egyptian bourse listing committee also approved Beltone Capital’s request to offer shares later this year. The private equity firm plans to offer 1 billion Egyptian pounds ($128 million) of shares during the fourth quarter. The listing of Al-Salam and Beltone Capital brings the number of new companies listed on the Egyptian bourse since the beginning of the year to twelve, Omran added. [Reuters, 7/22/2015]

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