EconSource: Iraq Says Expects $6.4 Billion Financial Support This Year

Iraq expects to receive financial support of $6.4 billion in 2016 from donors and international organizations, Finance Minister Hoshiyar Zebari said Tuesday. Speaking after talks in Jordan with officials from the International Monetary Fund, Zebari said, “This year we expect from [the IMF] and other financial institutions and donors around $6.4 billion.” Zebari did not provide a breakdown of the funds. He added that Iraq is set to “start talking seriously” with the IMF next month on a standby arrangement. [Reuters, 3/29/2016]

Shrinking Saudi money supply points to slowing economy
Saudi Arabia’s money supply shrank in February for the first time in more than a decade. Net foreign assets at the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA) dropped 1.7 percent from the previous month to 2.19 trillion riyals ($584 billion) in February, data showed Tuesday. While that marked a 17.3 percent drop from a year earlier, the current level of assets suggests Riyadh could continue spending at its present pace for several years. The broadest measure of money supply published by SAMA, M3, dropped 0.9 percent from a year earlier, its first annual decline since at least 2004. Narrower money supply measures M1 and M2 also shrank. M1, which includes currency in circulation and demand deposits but excludes less liquid assets such as savings and time deposits, fell by 5.1 percent. Saudi growth may slow to 1.5 percent this year, the slowest pace since at least 2009. [Reuters, Bloomberg, 3/29/2016]

Egypt to establish infrastructure investment fund
Egypt is in the process of establishing a specialized fund for infrastructure investments through the National Investment Bank, Planning Minister Ashraf al-Araby said Monday. The fund will be owned by the state with subsidiaries funds for different sectors, including agriculture, electricity, and industry. “The government is working on establishing a major entity that carries out consultancy work and studies for major projects implemented by the state,” al-Araby said. He said the fund would be made up of “Egyptians with long years of expertise in world consultancy offices.” [AMAY, DNE, 3/28/2016]

Security concerns lead to a fall in foreign visitors to Turkey
The number of foreign visitors going to Turkey fell 10.32 percent year-on-year in February to 1.24 million people, the largest drop in a decade, amid security concerns over recent bomb attacks. Economists have forecast that Turkey’s tourism revenue will drop by a quarter this year, costing the country around $8 billion. Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Simsek said in a speech to the Ankara Chamber of Industry that the drop in tourist numbers would be short-lived. “This year we will have some troubles, but they are temporary,” he said. Simsek said Turkey’s economy grew by about 4 percent in 2015. [Reuters, 3/29/2016]

Also of interest
Kuwait says agrees with Saudi to restart Khafji oilfield | Reuters, AFP
Egypt’s Sisi sacks top auditor who alleged mass state corruption | Reuters
Tunisia’s Ben Guerdane to host free trade zone | Tunisia Live
Turkey sees drop in foreign visitors after attacks | AP