EconSource: Egypt’s Sisi risks popularity with fuel, electricity and cigarette price hikes

Follow the latest in economic news and developments about the Arab transition countries. 

President Sisi has risked his current popularity by fulfilling promises to cut subsidies and raise taxes in a belated attempt to balance the national budget. Widespread protests followed the surprise announcement on Friday night that petrol prices would rise by a minimum of 40 percent and up to 80 percent. Gas fuel, often used by taxis, would rise by 175 percent. Sisi went a step further on Sunday raising taxes on cigarettes and alcohol. Phased electricity rises were announced earlier last week. [Telegraph, Reuters]
In legislation announced at the end of last week, Tunisia’s state budget for 2013/2014 has been slashed by TND 350 million ($319 million US dollars), from TND 28.125 billion ($17.578 billion) to TND 27.775 ($17.259 billion). The government also said it was hoping to use the extra funds to create more job opportunities and reduce the country’s unemployment levels. [AAWSAT]
The 2014 budget places a range of restrictions intended to keep a deficit at a minimum level, including preventing the government from agreeing to new contracts and freezing public wages. Furthermore, the Cabinet has voiced “reservations” about Article 29 in the 2014 budget, which freezes all previous decisions to increase public salaries. [Libya Monitor, Libya Herald (sub.-required)]
Yemen’s income from oil exports tumbled by over 64 percent to $73.4 million in May from a year ago, due to attacks on an export pipeline, and the central bank’s foreign asset reserves shrank to their lowest since end-2011, data showed on Sunday. Yemen relies on crude oil exports to finance up to 70 percent of its budget. Sanaa has earned just $671 million from exporting its crude in January-May, nearly 40 percent less than in the same period last year, the central bank’s monthly report showed. [Reuters]
Also of Interest:
Sisi’s economic orientation in his first month, and its influence | DNE 
Egyptian Army offers food, transportation alternatives to combat high prices | Ahram
Egyptian minister explain new austerity measures to public | Ahram
Egypt has repaid $700 million to Paris Club – CBE | Amwal Al Ghad
Egypt seeks UAE assistance, delegations visit | SPA
World Bank approves $500 million loan to Egypt for home gas delivery | DNE
Libya: Central Bank laments continuing economic crisis in Libya | African Manager
Islamic banking moves forward in Morocco | Magharebia
BCT Governor predicts growth rate close to 3 percent in 2014 | TAP
Tunisia: Supplementary finance bill reduces state budget and deficit to 5.8 percent | TAP
Tax on marriage raises controversy in Tunisia | Ahram
Tunisia: Inflation rate up by 5.7 percent in June 2014 |  TAP