EconSource: Reinforcements Sent to Battle ISIS at Iraq’s Largest Oil Refinery

Hundreds of additional Iraqi troops are being sent to reinforce forces working to fight off an attempt by the Islamic State (ISIS or ISIL) to overrun Iraq’s largest oil refinery. The reinforcements are being sent four days after ISIS began attacking the Baiji oil refinery, a key strategic resource that has long been a target because the facility refines much of the fuel used by Iraqis domestically. Meanwhile, President Barack Obama gave the Iraqi prime minister Haider al-Abadi a strong endorsement and  $200 million in humanitarian aid yesterday. [CNN, 4/14/2015]

Discounts fail to lure oil buyers as Tobruk government seeks to bypass Tripoli
Libya’s eastern government in Tobruk is struggling to sell crude oil under a new system it devised in an attempt to bypass the rival administration in Tripoli. However, buyers are reluctant to take advantage of discounts on crude oil due to uncertainty over who actually owns the oil being sold by the Tobruk government. Amid the chaos in Libya, control of many oil production and export facilities has frequently changed hands, leaving major buyers wary of doing business with anyone other than the established state oil corporation. [Reuters, 4/14/2015]

IMF upgrades outlook for Egypt’s economic growth to 4 percent in 2015
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has increased its forecast for Egypt’s economic growth in 2015 to 4 percent, from 3.8 percent in its previous assessment. The fund forecasts Egypt’s economy to grow by 4.3 percent in 2016, noting that lower oil prices will reduce Egypt’s vulnerabilities as a main oil importer in the Middle East. The IMF cited Moody’s Investors Service’s recent decision to upgrade Egypt’s credit rating as signs of improvement in Egypt’s growth. [Cairo Post, 4/15/2015]

Report says North Africa’s key economies primed for growth spurt
Economic growth in Egypt, Morocco, and Tunisia could surge as high as 6 percent a year, according to a new report from London-based firm Capital Economics. The report argues that because these economies are starting from a lower base, they could theoretically catch up to more developed economies by rapidly implementing key technologies and focusing on high-productivity industries. Rapidly growing populations will also contribute to growing workforces. However, government-led economic reform is key to continued growth. [Wall Street Journal (blog), 4/14/2015]

Also of interest
World Bank report says Libya is in recession | Libya Herald
Saudi Arabia discusses oil markets with Russia | Al Bawaba
IEA says oil market recovery could be delayed | Wall Street Journal
Saudi Arabia leads OPEC oil boom as US shale growth slows | Bloomberg
UAE employment rate increased by 10 percent in 2014 | Gulf News