EconSource Headlines- February 18, 2014

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

Egypt’s unemployment rate remained unchanged in the fourth quarter of 2013 at 13.4 percent of a labor force of 27.3 million people, according to state-run statistics body CAPMAS. Sixty-nine percent of unemployed people were aged between 15 and 29, and more than 82 percent of those young people held diplomas and university degrees. The unemployment rate among male workers reached 10 percent, while among females it was 25 percent. Urban areas experienced a rise in the unemployment rate to 17.6 percent as compared to 16.7 percent in the previous quarter. [Ahram]
US loan guarantees are boosting Jordan’s bonds as investors bet the $1 billion in aid will help the Middle East nation struggling to pay rising costs for energy and relief to refugees from Syria. The American money will augment $5 billion that oil-rich Persian Gulf nations pledged for infrastructure improvements in Jordan and will support hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing the war in neighboring Syria. The U.S. offered its guarantee on Feb. 14, six months after pledging $1.25 billion in similar support to ease the kingdom’s financing costs. [Bloomberg]
Energy subsidies in Tunisia require a comprehensive and urgent reform insofar as the current system is fiscally unsustainable, socially unfair and economically inefficient,” according to a study by the World Bank. [TAP
While recent improvements in the political and security situation have raised hopes for some, the economy continues to struggle post revolution. The effect on businesses, however, varies depending on their location and the goods they sell. Some business owners see the growth in the informal economy as one factor hampering their profits, with many more street vendors now hawking their wares than before the revolution. While the upper class is still able to afford the same standard of living, the middle class has felt the burden of the post-revolution economic slowdown. [Tunisia Live]
Also of Interest:
Egypt receives UAE financing to support capital spending, a credit positive: Moody’s | DNE
Egypt: Black market revenues of petroleum products total EGP 30 billion | DNE
Egypt’s top auditor reveals financial violations by state bodies | Ahram
Egypt’s Ministry says energy crisis to last another year, recommends imports | Cairo Post
Opinion: Economic recovery may need more than a second stimulus | Mada Masr
Germany pledges €25 million in aid to Jordan | Jordan Times
Hopes pinned on private sector as Libya economy slumps | AFP
Morocco, Tunisia tighten bilateral ties | Magharebia
Moroccan government increases price of diesel | MWN
Morocco trade deficit rises 18 percent in January | Reuters
Germany to support Moroccan SMEs with €200 million | MAP
WFP grants Yemen two-year support worth $491 million | SABA
Business leaders lament North Africa union’s failure | AFP
Most workers in the Middle East would prefer to launch a business | Wamda
Report says Islamic finance could make inroads into North Africa | CPI