EconSource: Saudi Arabia to Invest Up to $10 Billion in Russia

Saudi Arabia has signed a commitment to invest up to $10 billion in Russia, the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) said Monday. The majority of the $10 billion from Saudi Arabia’s sovereign-wealth fund will be spent on Russia’s agricultural projects, medicine, logistics, and the country’s retail and real estate sectors, RDIF chief Kirill Dmitriev said. He added that seven projects have received preliminary approval and he expects to close ten deals before the end of the year. The RDIF also said it signed an agreement with the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority, under which the two sides will seek mutual investment opportunities in Saudi Arabia and other Middle East countries. [Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, 7/7/2015]

Egypt’s domestic debt surpasses two trillion pounds, foreign reserves rise
Egypt’s domestic debt reached 2.016 trillion pounds ($261 billion) in the third quarter of the current fiscal year, the central bank said on Monday, reflecting the government’s reliance on domestic borrowing to finance its deficit. “The government is highly dependent on local sources, mostly banks, in the form of treasury bills and bonds, to finance its deficit,” said Hany Farahat, senior economist at CI Capital. Total domestic borrowing is up 18 percent year-on-year. A statement by the central bank also said external debt dropped during the third quarter to $39.9 billion, down from $45.3 billion in the same period last year. On Tuesday, the central bank said Egypt’s foreign currency reserves rose to $20.08 billion at the end of June from $19.560 billion the previous month. [Reuters, 7/6/2015]

Iraq to tap retail investors in $5 billion domestic bond offer
Iraq’s government is planning a domestic issue of $5 billion worth of bonds starting in the fourth quarter of this year. The medium-term notes, with maturities of between twelve and eighteen months, will help to finance the budget deficit and will be open to local banks, other institutions, and retail investors. The bond issue will seek to tap into large sums of foreign currency that Iraqis have become used to hoarding in their homes through years of conflict and upheaval. The bonds will be denominated in US dollars and issued in stages, according to investor demand. In addition to the domestic bond issue, Iraq has said it plans to raise $5 billion with an international bond issue this year. [Reuters, 7/6/2015]

Turkish GDP growth seen at 2-2.5 percent in 2015, missing government target
The Turkish economy is expected to grow between 2 and 2.5 percent this year, falling far short of a government target of 4 percent after a June election failed to produce a single-party government, government officials said. The heightened political uncertainty, including the possibility Turkey will fail to form a coalition government and hold a snap election, is suppressing investment, economy officials said. The eurozone crisis and violence in Syria and Iraq also hampers investment, the officials said. One senior official said that even if measures to boost investor confidence are taken, growth would only rise to 3 percent. [Reuters, 7/6/2015]

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Oil plunge may depress Gulf stocks; Emaar Misr key for Egypt | Reuters
Egypt signs energy import deals with Russia’s top oil producer | Reuters
Egypt pays $670 million debt to Paris Club | Reuters
Egypt’s foreign debt drops by 12 percent | Al Bawaba
Egyptian stocks tumble as concerns over economy weigh on sentiment | WSJ (blog)
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Morocco GDP grows 4.3 percent in Q2 y/y from 4.1 percent in Q1 | Reuters