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

Egypt gets first sovereign credit rating upgrade since 2011 uprising
International credit rating agency Standard & Poor’s raised its long- and short-term foreign and local currency sovereign credit ratings for Egypt on Friday from “CCC+/C” to “B-/B” with a “stable” rating outlook. The action is the first such positive step for Egypt since the 2011 uprising, which toppled long-time autocrat Hosni Mubarak, triggering a series of credit-rating downgrades for the country by all the major international agencies. [Ahram]
Egyptian cabinet approves draft law exempting 80 percent of bank provisions from tax
The Egyptian cabinet has approved a draft law submitted by the finance ministry exempting up to 80 percent of bank provisions from taxes, according to an official statement issued by the ministry on Thursday. Loan loss provisions are an expense set aside by banks as an allowance for bad loans. [Ahram]
Jordan: Gov’t approves 2014 budget with spending of $14 billion
The government has endorsed the state budget for 2014 with unprecedented expenditure of $14 billion, affected by the Syrian crisis and struggling economic performance. Despite the expected deficit, the government promised its next year budget will include state subsidies of some basic items, including bread, water and electricity. The parliament is expected to examine the budget in the coming weeks, according to government officials. [ANSAMed]
Libya has money to cover spending needs: minister
Libya’s economy minister said Thursday that disruptions to the country’s oil production by protesters will hurt the economy but that the government has sufficient resources to meet its outlays. Moustapha Abou Fnas said “the petroleum crisis will certainly have negative effects on the economy, but will not affect government spending,” such as on salaries. “The state has other resources” to cover the deficit gap, he told a press conference, without elaborating.
Protesters demanding a fairer distribution of resources and jobs have been blocking oil fields and export terminals. [AFP]
IMF to lend Yemen money
A US senior official confirmed on Tuesday that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) hopes to reach a loan agreement with Yemen by year’s end, worth an estimated $500 million in order to tie up the impoverished nation and allowed its government to operate the last stages of its political and institutional transition as smoothly as possible. Yemen which faces severe economic difficulties as a result of 2011 revolution has experienced much difficulty meeting its short term obligations has been hit as well by a monetary crisis, leaving the nation at a very critical and delicate stage. The IMF loan would if agreed upon span over a two to three year period. [Yemen Post]
Also of Interest:
Sources: Egypt’s maximum wage will not extend to bank workers | Youm7
Egypt has the potential to become a powerful economy: World Bank VP | Ahram
Egypt: SIS implements media plan on economic census | SIS
Butane shipment from Algeria arrives in Egypt | Ahram
Libyan foreign bank to increase investment in Egypt | Youm7
Interview-Jordan sees Syria refugee costs soar, vows subsidy reform | Reuters
Jordan struggles to contain its water supply problems | Ammon News
Turmoil costs Libya 3 billion pounds | The Star
Opinion: Libya: An economy based on entrepreneurship? | Libya Herald