EconSource: Libya’s Budget Income Falls Sharply; Tobruk Struggles to Exert Influence Over Central Bank
Libya’s central bank said the country’s budget income fell to around $15 billion in the period from January to November from $45 billion a year before, blaming the situation on the 40 percent fall in oil prices since June and the state’s inability to collect customs duties. Expenditure in the period was $30 billion.

The bank warned the fall in income was affecting foreign currency reserves, which it has used in the past to cover deficits. The central bank has tried to stay out of the political struggle gripping Libya. Reports suggest that the internationally-recognized government in Tobruk exerts minimal control over the institution’s operations, which will become unsustainable as time comes to plan for a new budget. With limited banking services in the east, the government can make few transfers and is running low on funds. [Reuters, Libya Monitor (subscription), 12/8/2014]

Egypt to launch tender for second LNG import terminal

According to an undisclosed source at the Egyptian state gas board, Egypt will open a tender for a second liquefied natural gas (LNG) import terminal to help address the country’s energy crisis. Egypt has had to become a net energy importer due to foreign firm’s reluctance to invest in the sector before Egypt repays the billions it owes.  Egypt has been struggling with high energy bills caused by the fuel subsidies the government provides for its population. The first LNG port is expected to start operating by the end of March. [Reuters, 12/9/2014]

Non-oil sector to push Algeria growth above 4 percent

According to Algerian Central Bank governor, the expansion of non-oil businesses is expected to push Algeria’s economic growth above 4 percent in 2015. The growth is possible despite the global drop in oil prices because the country has large foreign reserves which are able to limit the negative impact. Inflation is expected to be around 2 percent or below in 2014, after 3.3 percent last year. [Reuters, 12/9/2014]

Moroccans lament high prices

According to Moroccan prime minister, the country will remove all subsidies on petroleum products by the end of the year. The prime minister added that he was committed to implement the reforms even if they were painful and would hurt the public’s spending power. The government is also  considering means to support parts the population which would be hit hard by the decision. The current retail price of a 12-kilogram cylinder, used by hotels and in farming, is 42 dirhams while its real cost would approach 125 dirhams. [Magharebia, 12/8/2014]

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