EconSource: Iraq Economy to Shrink 0.5 Percent in 2014
According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Iraq’s oil-dominated economy is expected to shrink 0.5 percent this year, a significantly smaller contraction than the 2.7 percent fall forecast two months ago. While the first forecast was attributed to the oil production drop caused by the Islamic State insurgency, the renewed figures reflect recent higher figures in oil production and exports. Oil production is expected to reach 3.3 million bpd in 2014, up from 3.1 million bpd in 2013, with exports remaining at 2013 levels.

[Reuters, 12/10/2014]

World Bank offers $90 million grant to support poor in Yemen

The World Bank approved a $90 million grant to prop up the Yemeni government’s program protecting the most vulnerable elements of society. The grant will ensure government disbursement of cash transfers to more than one million poor families through the Social Welfare Fund (SWF), the main social security network program in Yemen. This critical support comes at a time in which the country faces a set of economic difficulties worsened by recent measures taken by the government in regards to fuel subsidies. An additional amount of $ 28.47 million was provided by the United States in support of the cash transfer program. [SABA, 12/10/2014]

Tunisia debates 2015 state budget

A plenary session devoted to the examination of the budget law and the state budget for the year 2015, started in Tunis today. In his opening speech, the chairman of the Assembly declared the economic situation in Tunisia as critical, referring to the interior of the country where economic indicators show low purchasing power and high unemployment. Further reforms are needed according to the chairman and have to focus mainly on stimulating the economy, social development and stability while ensuring social equity and fight tax evasion. [La Presse (french), 12/10/2014]

Egypt has only begun to tackle subsidy problem, says World Bank

According to a World Bank chief economist, Egypt still has “a long way to go” in the overhaul of its economy before it can regain the confidence of foreign investors. Steps by the government in July to reduce energy subsidies were “tremendous,” Shantayanan Devarajan said in an interview in Cairo yesterday. “But keep in mind that the gasoline price in Cairo today is one quarter of the world price.” Egypt will hold an economic conference in March in an attempt to attract more funds. Investors who attend will be looking for signs of the government’s commitment to restoring economic stability, such as lower subsidies, Devarajan said. [Businessweek, 12/9/2014]

Also of Interest:
MENA banks 2015 outlook negative, GCC stable | Zawya
Algeria reassures citizens as oil price plummets | Magharebia
Egypt’s government to spend EGP 1.8 billion on pensions raise | Ahram Online
BP plans $12 billion investment in Egypt over 5 years | Trade Arabia
EU offers new trade agreement to Egypt and MENA countries | Daily News Egypt
Egypt consumer inflation slows to 9.1 percent | Al Arabiya