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

Yemen’s coalition government confirmed it approved a draft annual budget for 2014 which provisions for an increase of 4 percent in comparison to 2013 state spending. Yemen’s 2014 state spending budget has been set for $13.4 billion. While Parliament has yet to approve the draft, officials have already explained that the country will focus on rebuilding its battered economy now that its political and institutional crises have dutifully resolved at the National Dialogue Conference. [Yemen Post]
Egypt’s government announced on Tuesday that the assets of 572 Muslim Brotherhood leaders had been frozen, according to the decisions of the newly formed committee tasked with examining the issue. The committee has also decided putting 87 schools owned by Brotherhood under the state’s supervision. Last week, Ezzat Khamis, assistant to Egypt’s Minister of Justice, announced in a press conference that a total of 132 Brotherhood leaders had had their assets frozen in execution of a court ruling in September. [Ahram]
The Minister of Economy, Mustafa Abufunas, announced at a press conference on December 30, 2013 the establishment of a new financial regulation authority. Abufunas said that the new regulating body will regulate the entire financial sector, except for the banking sector, adding that this new regulatory body represents a very important addition to the Libyan economy and in the establishment of an economy based on sound foundations. [Libya Herald]
Qatar and Morocco have signed an aid deal worth $1.25 billion, part of a five-year package of financial assistance extended by wealthy Gulf states to the North African kingdom to help it weather ‘Arab Spring’ protests. Four Gulf states – Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates – agreed in 2012 to provide aid worth a total $5 billion to Morocco in the period 2012-2017 to build up its infrastructure, strengthen its economy and foster tourism. Morocco has budgeted to receive a total $1 billion in aid from the Gulf states for 2014. It hopes to cut its budget deficit to 4.9 percent of GDP next year from an estimated 5.5 percent in 2013. [Reuters]
Tunisia’s economy is predicted to grow by 4 percent in 2014, up from 2.8 percent this year, the outgoing Prime Minister Ali Larayedh told parliament. Speaking at a session devoted to next year’s budget, the Islamist prime minister also predicted that the deficit would drop to 5.7 percent from its current level of 6.8 percent. He said the 2014 budget would grow by 2.3 percent to reach 28,125 billion dinars. Larayedh is due to step down by January 14 as part of a political roadmap brokered by mediators after his Islamist Ennahda party came under sharp criticism for failing to rein in jihadists blamed for violence. [ENCA, TAP]
Also of Interest:
Middle East funds most bullish about Egypt equities: Survey | Ahram
A historic opportunity to rebuild Egypt’s economy? | Mada Masr
Egypt: Minimum wage to be applied to private sector | Cairo Post
Poll: 49 percent oppose further US aid to Egypt | UPI
EBRD provides $2 million to Jordan | Jordan Times
Central Bank of Libya to join EBRD Convention | LBN
Libya loses $10 billion from oil export terminal shutdown | Libya Herald
Libya makes new gas discovery | 4-traders
Morocco’s royal budget remains a taboo | Al-Monitor, NAP
Morocco social policy raises questions | Magharebia
Tunisia’s “Dignity and Rehabilitation Fund” | Tunis Times
Pressures mount on Tunisian middle class | Magharebia
Interview with former Tunisian finance minister | Asharq Al-Awsat
Tunisia: 30 percent of state resources will come from debt | African Manager
Tunisian dinar fell by 12 percent in 2013 | L’Economiste Magharebin [French]
Tunisia: Illegal trade and smuggling becoming economic backbone | MedAfrica, ISN
Tunisia: UTICA ‘’disappointed’’ by Finance Act 2014 |  African Manager
Yemen, EU sign €86 million agreements to enhance food security | SABA