EconSource: Saudi Naimi says Global Oil Demand Can Absorb Iran Output Jump

Saudi Arabian Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi said that growing global demand will be able to absorb an anticipated jump in Iranian production next year, as Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zangeneh said he expects the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to roll over production policies following a meeting today. Naimi said he expects the meeting to go smoothly. He reiterated Saudi Arabia’s willingness to cooperate with any who are willing to help balance the oil market. Zangeneh said Tehran would be prepared to discuss OPEC quotas or other actions to lower production only when his country reaches pre-sanction oil output levels. Both Iran and Iraq plan to boost exports in 2016, which could potentially worsen one of the worst oil gluts in history. [Reuters, 12/4/2015]

Turkey mounts charm offensive among regional energy producers amid dispute with Russia
Turkey’s leaders have mounted a charm offensive among regional energy producers in an effort to diversify supplies as relations with major natural gas provider Russia deteriorate following the downing of a Russian warplane by the Turkish air force. President Tayyip Erdogan and Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu visited Qatar and Azerbaijan respectively this week in an effort to avert any economically damaging disruption in energy supplies. “There is indeed a crisis right now… We are exploring how we can offset this,” a Turkish energy official said. “Davutoglu and Erdogan have personally taken the initiative to make sure Turkey doesn’t experience a problem in terms of energy supplies.” Meanwhile on Thursday, Turkey’s European Union (EU) Minister Volkan Bozkir said that Ankara is ready to boost energy cooperation with the EU. Bozkir met with EU officials in Brussels and noted Turkey’s intention to invest $125 billion in the energy sector by 2030. [Reuters, 12/3/2015]

Egypt’s foreign reserves rise slightly in November
Egypt’s foreign currency reserves rose to $16.422 billion dollars at the end of November from $16.415 billion the previous month, according to the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE). The statistics were released a day after new CBE Governor Tarek Amer met with president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and told him that foreign reserves were stable and would improve. Bankers had been watching for a dip in reserves after the CBE pumped additional dollar liquidity into the banking sector in recent weeks to ease a foreign exchange crisis. Meanwhile, Sisi met with a group of Egyptian businessmen on Thursday and emphasized the importance of the private sector and investment in Egypt’s economy. He asked the businessmen to form a contact group of Egyptian business leaders and investors that would communicate directly with the presidency. [Reuters, Ahram Online, SIS, 12/3/2015]

Tunisia eyes 5 percent growth in next five years
Tunisia’s five year development plan for 2016-2020 aims to achieve 5 percent growth, according to Minister of Development, Investment, and International Cooperation Yassine Brahim. “The broad lines of Tunisia’s development plan provide for a series of bold reforms, a gradual recovery of economic growth for a sustained growth, and a noticeable reduction of unemployment,” Brahim said in remarks at the opening of the second Tunisian-German economic forum. More than 200 businessmen from Tunisia and Germany are participating in the forum. In addition, President Beji Caid Essebsi met with President of the Euro-Mediterranean and Arab Association for Economic Cooperation (EMA) Christian Wulff. Wulff affirmed Germany’s commitment to Tunisia and stressed the need for Tunisia to achieve sustainable growth. [TAP, 12/3/2015]

Iraqi Kurdistan’s cash crisis hits banks
Iraqi Kurdistan’s cash-strapped government has seized billions of dollars in deposits at two branches of the Central Bank of Iraq since 2014, bankers said. Since Baghdad cut budget payments to Kurdistan in January 2014, the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has struggled to meet the public payroll and is now several months in arrears. Though initially envisioned as a temporary measure, the KRG Finance Ministry’s practice of tapping funds that banks had deposited in their current accounts at local branches of Iraq’s central bank has continued. State-run Iraqi lenders and institutions from Lebanon, Jordan, and the United Arab Emirates may sue or threaten to divest from the KRG if their funds are not released soon, bankers said. “We funded the revenue gap through advances from banks including the Central Bank of Iraq’s branches in Erbil and Sulaimaniyah,” said KRG Deputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani. “Ultimately it’s a liquidity issue caused by the fiscal crisis in Baghdad.” That move led to the freezing of around two dozen banks’ current accounts at central bank branches in Kurdistan. Talabani confirmed banks operating in the region had problems accessing their funds. [Reuters, 12/4/2015]

Also of interest
The Saudi riyal peg is safer than forward contracts imply | Bloomberg
Kuwait LNG imports to rise 17 percent in 2015 | Reuters
Egypt’s food holding company saw revenue rise of 334 percent in 2014/15 | Ahram Online
Egypt banks ordered to prioritize providing foreign exchange for vital exports | DNE
Jordan to source 20 percent of 2016/17 gas from spot LNG market | Reuters
PM Says Turkey cannot be ‘brought to its knees’ by Russia | NYT