EconSource: Iraqi Prime Minister, in Washington, Seeks Billions to Overcome Deficit

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi used his first official visit to Washington this week to pursue billions of dollars in loans and international assistance as his government struggles with plunging oil prices and a large budget deficit.  A major priority for Abadi is laying the groundwork for financial support to help the Iraqi government as it struggles to take back territory from the Islamic State (ISIS or ISIL).Iraq faces a budget deficit this year of $22 billion, a sizable gap in a total budget of $105 billion. Oil revenue, which accounts for a vast majority of government income, has declined while the government tries to restore essential services and rebuilding areas damaged in the fight against the ISIS. Iraqi officials are counting on substantial international support from the United States, the International Monetary Fund, and the World Bank. [New York Times, 4/14/2015]

Study shows Saudi military spending rose 17 percent in 2014
Saudi Arabia’s military spending grew 17 percent in 2014 to $80.8 billion, data from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) showed on Monday, the biggest annual hike by any of the world’s top fifteen military spenders. The kingdom’s 2014 military spending represents more than 10 percent of Saudi GDP. The report by SIPRI cited worsening security situations, corruption, and “vested interests and autocratic governance” as reasons for military buildup in the region. [Reuters, 4/12/2015]

Egypt to import $3.55 billion worth of LNG in 2015-16
Egypt will import around $3.55 billion worth of liquefied natural gas (LNG) in the 2015-16 financial year, an official at state owned Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation (EGPC) said. Egypt moved closer to easing its chronic power shortages this month with the arrival of a floating import terminal marking the start of imports of LNG. Egypt has exported LNG in the past, but the new terminal will allow the country to begin imports. [Reuters, 4/14/2015]

Libyan government in Tobruk pledges more funding for southern region
Libya’s eastern government in Tobruk pledged $68 million for southern Libya, on top of the $12 million that was promised last month, in a cabinet meeting. An additional $28 million was approved for the “emergency committee in Bani Walid.” However, it is unclear how the Tobruk government plans to finance these pledges, as it has limited access to Central Bank accounts. [Libya Monitor (subscription), 4/14/2015]

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Downstream focus may help increase capacity of GCC refineries | Gulf Times
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