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

Petroleum Minister Sherif Ismail said petroleum products subsidy is expected to increase by 10 percent by end of the current fiscal year to reach EGP 140 billion, compared to the current spending of EGP 130 billion. The minister added that “if Egypt wants to achieve huge growth rates in the near future, we should take serious measures to rationalize this subsidy. If the situation continues this way, Egyptian citizens, as well as the services rendered for them, especially in vital sectors like health and education, will be negatively affected”. [Al-Masry Al-Youm]
Tunisia plans to issue around $1.8 billion in new foreign bonds with guarantees from the US and Japan, and a $435 million Sukuk, this year, in major steps to help its economy to recover after its 2011 uprising. The package of financing will be a major boost for the small North African country’s economic stability and growth to consolidate on the political gains that are seen by many as a model for transition in the region. [Reuters]  
Tunisia’s annual inflation rate fell in January to 5.8 percent from 6 percent in December, official data showed on Wednesday. Inflation had been steady in November-September 2013 at 5.8 percent. Tunisia’s central bank raised its benchmark interest rate to 4.5 percent from 4 percent at the end of December, citing inflation pressures. Average inflation for 2013 was 6.1 percent, up from 5.5 percent for 2012. The central bank does not target a particular inflation rate but says the most that should be tolerated is 5 percent. [Reuters]
Despite some setbacks, Morocco’s economic performance improved considerably in 2013. Though low demand from Europe was still a challenge last year, stronger agricultural output and high FDI, together with efforts to diversify export markets and restore the fiscal balance, pushed GDP growth up to 5 percent. Morocco’s financial indicators have inched downwards in the past few years as the trade deficit has grown, prompting the government to turn towards external sources and bond markets. [OBG, sub-based]
Also of Interest:
Article reporting Sisi wealth pulled from publication | Mada Masr
Egypt will close bank accounts of Americans who refuse financial monitoring | Ahram [Arabic]
Egypt forex reserves up for first time since August | Ahram
Egypt’s non-oil exports rise in 2013 | Al-Shofra
IDB allocates $220 million for Egyptian power project | DNE
Jordan’s Lower House panel looking into gov’t expenditures | Jordan Times
DEF provides JOD 24 million in loans for projects in poverty pockets | Jordan Times
Morocco’s parliament passed two laws on economic competition | LNT [French]
Tunisia pins hopes on attracting investment to tackle high unemployment | FT
Tunisia must embrace Sub-Saharan Africa: Former finance minister | Tunisia Live
Informal trade, smuggling cost Tunisia TND 1.2 billion in yearly losses | WB