EconSource: Saudi Arabia said to order spending curbs amid oil price slump

Saudi Arabia is ordering a series of cost cutting measures as a global slide in oil prices weighs on the kingdom’s budget. The Saudi Finance Ministry told government departments not to contract any new projects and to freeze appointments and promotions in the fourth quarter of 2015, sources said. The ministry also banned the buying of vehicles and furniture or agreeing to any new property rentals and told officials to speed up the collection of revenue. To help shore up its finances, authorities plan to raise between 90 billion riyals ($24 billion) and 100 billion riyals in bonds before the end of the year, sources said in August. The finance ministry declined to comment. Sources in August also said that the government was working with advisers on a review of capital spending plans. The International Monetary Fund found that over the past three years, Saudi Arabia’s budget surplus has been turned into a deficit of more than 20 percent of gross domestic product. [Bloomberg, 10/8/2015]

S&P cuts Turkey growth forecast for 2016
Ratings agency Standard & Poor’s (S&P) on Wednesday slightly raised its forecast for Turkey’s economic growth this year to 3.1 percent from 3 percent. However, S&P cut its forecast for Turkey’s growth in 2016 to 2.8 percent from 3.2 percent. “Turkey reported stronger [gross domestic product] growth than we expected in the first half [of 2015], with a surprising surge in private investment in the second quarter,” S&P said. “External and domestic headwinds are intensifying, however, suggesting that this strong performance is unlikely to continue into the second half of the year,” the agency added. S&P said its forecasts assumed a gradual tightening of monetary policy, with the central bank raising its main interest rate to 8.5 percent by the end of 2016. A survey released by the German Marshall Fund on Wednesday found that Turks are pessimistic about their country’s economic prospects. [Reuters, 10/7/2015]

Libya’s oil export capacity rises as Zueitina port reopens
Libya’s crude export capacity has increased as the eastern Zueitina oil port resumed loadings after a five month halt due to protests, a workers union said. Zueitina began loading 600,000 barrels of crude oil on Thursday, according to the port’s workers union president Ramadan Lefkaih. The shipment, which is bound for Italy, is the first since May when protesters seeking jobs at state run National Oil Corporation (NOC) shut down the pipeline that supplies Zueitina with crude. The protesters agreed to reopen the export route after being promised jobs, Lefkaih said. Zueitina has 2 million barrels in storage and its current supply rate from the fields stands at 30,000 barrels per day (bpd), Lefkaih added. It has an installed export capacity of 70,000 bpd, according to the Oil Ministry. Meanwhile, NOC spokesman Mohammed al-Harari denied recent reports that Libya’s crude production had fallen to 300,000 bpd, saying that output stands at more than 400,000 bpd. [Bloomberg, 10/8/2015]

Egypt’s annual inflation rises to 9.2 percent in September
Egypt’s annual inflation accelerated to 9.2 percent in September compared to 7.9 percent in August, while the monthly inflation rate spiked 2.8 percent, state statistics agency CAPMAS said Thursday. CAPMAS attributed the sharp rise in inflation to a 19 percent hike in vegetable prices, a 14.4 percent increase in outpatient clinic fees, and a 17 percent rise in the cost of school uniforms. Egypt’s core annual inflation rate dropped to 5.55 percent in September, down from 5.61 percent in August. The Egyptian government has projected an inflation rate of about 10 percent in the 2015/2016 fiscal year and a rate of about 7 percent by the 2018/2019 fiscal year. In other news, the Egyptian government said its repayment of $1.25 billion for ten year bonds that recently matured was responsible for the country’s drop in foreign currency reserves last month. [Ahram Online, Aswat Masriya, 10/8/2015]

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Hungary imports oil from Iraq’s Kurdistan at expense of Russian crude | Reuters
Tunisia financial reforms hit the target but miss the bullseye (analysis) | Tunisia Live