EconSource: ISIS Fills Coffers With Iraqi Government Cash, Sells Oil to Assad Regime

The Islamic State (ISIS or ISIL) is skimming money from its enemies in both Damascus and Baghdad, making millions out of selling oil to the Assad regime and taxing Iraqi government money sent to civil servants in its fiefdom, according to a new BBC documentary. The documentary says ISIS has adopted a pragmatic, “tax-and-spend” approach to financing, building up a war chest of an estimated $2 billion in the process. Crucial to its revenue is income derived from oil produced from large fields in eastern Syria, some of which it then sells on to the Syrian government. The Syrian government denies they do any energy deals with ISIS. [The Guardian, IBT, 4/22/2015]

Egypt receives $6 billion from Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kuwait  
Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates deposited $6 billion with Egypt’s central bank on Wednesday, a sign the Gulf powers remain committed to propping up the Egyptian economy. The bank’s governor, Hisham Ramez, said that $2 billion was deposited from each of the three Gulf countries. Last month, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the UAE and Oman jointly pledged $12.5 billion in aid, investments and central bank deposits at Egypt’s economic development conference in Sharm al-Sheikh. [Reuters, 4/22/2015]

Iraq’s 2015 oil output seen flat, next year a challenge
Iraq’s oil output in 2015 is likely to remain flat as Baghdad struggles to cope with a slump in crude prices that has slashed government revenue and forced the country to renegotiate its service contracts with oil companies. A boost in crude production next year will prove to be even more challenging if oil prices remain low and Baghdad fails to repay oil companies or approve field development plans on time. [Reuters, 4/22/2015]

Saudi earnings weaker than expected
Despite a strong performance by banks, Saudi Arabia’s first quarter corporate earnings were generally weaker than expected, a sign that foreign investors should be cautious as the stock market opens up to them this year. The Capital Market Authority has said the $552 billion market will open to direct foreign investment on June 15. Potential foreign interest in the market is intense, but Saudi corporate earnings currently face headwinds that had a negative impact on first quarter results. [Reuters, 4/23/3015]

Also of interest
World Bank ready to give Tunisia $4 billion for economic reforms | Tunisia Live
Egypt’s investment minister vows to tackle country’s bureaucracy | WSJ (blog)
UAE energy efficiency companies target Egypt for expansion | The National
African free trade agreement to launch from Egypt | DNE
AfDB mulls financing solar energy project in Egypt | Amwal Al Ghad
Cheap oil slows Saudi, UAE projects but Qatar, Kuwait rise | Reuters
Resilient UAE economy boosts bank profits in first quarter | Gulf News