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

The IMF on Saturday approved extending $260.8 million to Jordan as part of $2 billion loan to the Arab kingdom. The amount increases the volume of money Jordan received from the IMF to $1.043 billion as part of the loan. In the statement, the IMF said it remains critical to further improve tax administration and public financial management. It added that the central bank should consider further cuts to interest rates only if there is clear evidence that core inflation is on a downward path. [IMF]
Egypt has spent 7 billion Egyptian pounds ($1.02 billion) of a package of 29.7 billion intended to stimulate an economy ravaged by more than two years of political turmoil, Planning Minister Ashraf al-Araby said on Saturday. Back in August 2013, Egyptlaunched a 22.3 billion pound stimulus package, increasing it later to about 30 billion.Officials hope that, with the stimulus package, growth could reach 3.5 percent by the end of June 2014. They also hope to lower the budget deficit to 10 percent of GDP this fiscal year, ending June 2014, from 14 percent last year, despite increasing government spending by 35 percent to 85 billion pounds. [Reuters]
Libya lost $7 billion to oil strikes
Libya has lost more than $7 billion and faces new competition from Algeria and Nigeria in oil markets due to strikes at oilfields and ports drying up exports, Oil Minister Abdelbari al-Arusi said on Saturday. Arusi said Libya had lost 9 billion Libyan dinars ($7.29 billion) in oil revenues after output had fallen to 250,000 barrels a day from 1.4 million bpd in July. [Reuters]
Tunisia: only 15 percent of bank loans are granted to SMEs and VSEs 
Only 15 percent of bank loans are granted to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and very small enterprises (VSE), while the latter represent 90 percent of all companies active in Tunisia, and contribute up to 70 percent to employment, former Finance Minister Jalloul Ayed said in his speech Saturday at the Business Days held in Sousse. He called to directing the economic program towards the creation of value rather than employment generation. Recently the European Investment Bank (EIB) announced it will unlock, probably in the first quarter of 2014, the second tranche in the amount of €100 million for financing SMEs. The first trench in the amount of €100 million was disbursed this year. [AfricanManager, L’Economiste Magahrabin]
Also of Interest:
Egypt’s currency reserves dip to $17.8 billion in November | Reuters
Finance Minister – Second economy stimulus package to be announced in January | SIS
Egypt: EGP 9 billion allocated for minimum wage in 2013/2014 budget | SIS
Egypt’s debt in Focus | DNE
Egypt cannot return $1 billion deposit to Turkey: Finance Minister | Egypt Independent
Egypt’s inconsistent economic policies hinder investment: IFC and World Bank | DNE
Underemployment, weak private sector growth: Warning signs for Egypt economy | Ahram
Industrial woes plague Egypt | DNE
Egypt’s foreign minister: Invest, invest, invest! | CNBC
US remains economically committed to Egypt: DOS | DNE
UAE’s support for Egypt | The National
Egyptian Investment Minister: Offered projects with more than EGP 50 billion to investors | SIS
Jordan total public debt is approaching JOD 20 billion | Al-Arab Al-Yawm [Arabic]
Analysis: The growing need for issuance of local bonds | Al-Arab Al-Yawm [Arabic]
Libya: GNC delays decision on LD 800 million subsidies funding | Libya Monitor [Sub-based]
Libya’s NOC denies fuel shortages | Libya Monitor [Sub-based]
Japan granted Morocco $100 million loan for education sector | Yemen Economist [Arabic]
Tunisia’s banking sector faces major risks | Al-Monitor, BNT [French]
Poll: Tunisians feel economic crunch, disapprove of country’s direction | Tunisia Live
Tunisia: shortfall in state budget due to smuggling hits TND 2,000 | AfricanManager
Tourism in Egypt and Tunisia improving | Tourism Review
FDI and job creation in the Tunisia | L’Economiste Magharebin [French]