EconSource: Oil Prices Require Revising Jordan’s 2015 Draft Budget

Due to the continuing slide of oil prices budget planners in Amman may need to change key assumptions in next year’s government spending bill currently under debate at the Lower House Finance Committee. According to the head of the committee Yousef Qorneh, the government prepared the draft state budget law based on global oil prices averaging $100 a barrel, with the recent slide in prices to less than $60 a barrel the committee was prompted to stop deliberating the bill. Qorneh said, “The committee will ask the government to redraft articles related to international oil prices.” [The Jordan Times, 12/14/2014]

Libya declares force majeure for two biggest oil ports, Es Sider and Ras Lanuf
According to the Tripoli-based state National Oil Corp (NOC), Libya has declared “force majeure,” a legal waiver for contractual obligations, for the country’s two biggest oil export ports, Es Sider and Ras Lanuf. Reportedly, oil production to the two eastern ports will be gradually shut down due to clashes between armed factions allied to Libya’s two rival governments closing in on the ports and interrupting oil flows from fields supplying the ports. Es Sider and Ras Lanuf normally ship nearly half of the country’s export capacity. [WSJ, Libya Monitor (subscription), 12/15/2014]

Egypt targets 4.3 percent growth in 2015/16 draft budget
According to Egypt’s finance ministry, the government aims to boost economic growth to 4.3 percent and have a budget gap of 9.5 to 10 percent of gross domestic product in the 2015/16 fiscal year. The government  expects to reach those targets by extending new taxes and cuts to energy subsidies introduced earlier this year. [Reuters, 12/14/2014]

CBS suspends credit facilitations to protect Syrian Pound
The Central Bank of Syria (CBS) has decided to suspend granting credit facilitations for the Syrian Pound (SYP), given for insurances in the form of deposits in foreign currency. The decision came as part of an effort to prevent a rise in the exchange rate, secure the necessary foreign currency to meet the market’s needs, and combat speculation attempts which had been recently witnessed. CBS also issued a statement saying it would extend a decree which allows applicants to reschedule loans for another two months in order to help protect the banking sector and increase cash flow. [SANA, 12/13/2014]

Also of Interest:
Defunding the failed policy of regime change in Syria | The Hill
Oil rallies on Libyan troubles | FT
Yemen, Italy review cooperation relations | SABA
IMF approves $104 million funding for Tunisia | African Manager
Egypt enters consultations with Eurasian Union to sign free trade agreement | MENAFN
Egypt’s stock market loses $3 billion in one day | AP
Egypt to benefit from cheaper oil | Zawya