EconSource: IMF Further Cuts Saudi Growth Projections

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Thursday further cut its growth projections for Saudi Arabia’s oil dependent economy despite a rebound in crude oil prices. The IMF forecast growth of 2.8 percent this year, 0.2 percentage points down on from its last projection in April. It also lowered its projection for 2016 to 2.4 percent, down 0.3 percentage points. Saudi Arabia has projected a budget deficit of $39 billion for this year, but the IMF estimates the shortfall could exceed $130 billion, the largest in the kingdom’s history. The IMF projected on Thursday that the price of benchmark Brent crude would average $59 a barrel this year. It estimates that Saudi Arabia needs a price of more than $100 a barrel to balance its budget. [AFP, 7/9/2015]

Libya’s Tobruk government warns tankers away from Ras Lanuf port
Libya’s internationally recognized government in Tobruk has warned that its security forces will seize any tankers approaching the Ras Lanuf oil terminal without permission, saying that any attempt to make oil deals with the rival government in Tripoli would be “piracy.” Earlier this week, the National Oil Corporation (NOC) based in Tripoli said it was lifting the force majeure measure on Ras Lanuf. However, the oil terminal is protected by an armed force allied with the Tobruk government, which has appointed its own NOC chief, Yousef Bu Saifi. He told Reuters that the force majeure is still in effect and orders have been given to the Petroleum Facilities Guard (PFG) to intercept tankers approaching Ras Lanuf. Oil guards say they have received orders to warn vessels away and to arrest crew if they do not comply. [Reuters, 7/9/2015]

EU grants Tunisia EUR 100 million in support of reforms
Tunisia’s Minister of Development, Investment and International Cooperation, Yassine Brahim, and the European Union’s (EU) Ambassador to Tunisia, Laura Baeza, have signed an agreement granting EUR 100 million from the EU to Tunisia to support economic reforms. The grant, which aims to implement reforms jointly agreed by the EU and Tunisia, will focus on three areas: support for Tunisia’s democratic transition, tackling unemployment, and reforming public governance. Funding will be allocated in two stages. The first disbursement of EUR 75 million is planned for December 2015. A second disbursement of EUR 25 million is scheduled for late 2016. [African Manager, 7/10/2015]

Egypt’s annual core, urban inflation drop in June
Egypt’s annual urban consumer inflation and core inflation dropped in June after rising last month, with analysts saying the fall reflected slower growth in food prices. Core annual inflation, which excludes volatile items like fruit and vegetables, dropped slightly to 8.07 percent from 8.14 percent the previous month, the central bank said. Hany Farahat, a senior economist at CI Capital, said last month’s jump was due to expected volatility in food items ahead of the Ramadan. Urban consumer inflation dropped to 11.4 percent from 13.1 percent in May, official statistics agency CAPMAS said on Thursday. Capital Economics, an economic research company, said inflation could drop into single digits during July. [Reuters, 7/9/2015]

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