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

Egypt’s Finance Minister said on Sunday spending on energy subsidies next year will be 10-12 percent above the EGP 130 billion ($18.66 billion) budgeted for the current fiscal year, unless immediate reforms are made. Successive governments have stressed the importance of reducing energy subsidies, which account for more than 20 percent of state spending, but none have taken concrete steps to do so. [DNE]
Russia is keen to cooperate with Egypt in different fields, while the potential US Free Trade Zone agreement (FTA) with Egypt is over and will not be discussed furthermore, Minister of Industry Mounir Fakhry Abdel Nour said Saturday during an interview with CBC channel. Russia has agreed to export Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) to Egypt, as well as fund Egypt’s wheat exports. [Cairo Post]  
The government has started to gradually eliminate energy subsidy (gas and electricity) for food industries, textile and brick and ceramics industries, according to Minister of Industry, Energy and Mines Kamel Bennaceur. He added that the measure which implementation began in January 2014 to the tune of 10 percent for brick plants and ceramics factories will be spread over a period of 3 to 6 years. [TAPLM (French)]
Libya is burning through central bank reserves and scrapping infrastructure projects to overcome its worst budget crisis in decades after the seizure of oil installations by armed groups has reduced the government’s income almost to zero. Any immediate collapse of the state – at least in the next few months – looks unlikely. Libya accumulated more than $130 billion in foreign reserves during times of high oil prices. But $16 billion have been spent since last summer, killing off plans to overhaul dilapidated roads, schools and hospitals. [Reuters]
Also of Interest:
Egypt’s economy to strengthen from 2014 to 2016 | HSBC
Egypt’s BOP hits highest surplus in 17 years for Q1 in current fiscal year | Ahram
Egypt sees 18 percent decline in tourism during 2013, CAPMAS | Cairo Post
Egypt planning minister discusses political, economic stances with UAE media delegation | SIS
Jordan: Think tank to contribute own plan to improve economy | Jordan Times
Libya: Economy ministry implementing “austerity measures” | Libya Monitor
SocGen facing bribery lawsuit over Libyan deals | Reuters
Morocco – The hub of African financial integration? | CPI Financial
Op-ed: The White House’s empty words on supporting Egyptian democracy | WP
Analysis: Long-term North Africa starts to whet appetite of backers | FT
Op-ed: EU spreading itself thin in outreach to (MENA) neighbors | WSJ