EconSource: Sisi Establishes Economic Zone Around Egypt’s Suez Canal

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi issued a decree establishing an economic zone around the Suez Canal, the country’s state news agency said on Tuesday. The decree establishes a 460-square-kilometer economic zone around the canal. The government says the zone will be used to develop an international industrial and logistics hub that will attract foreign investment. It will include six ports and one thousand factories and will offer investors eighteen projects worth almost $40 billion. Egypt’s investment minister said in March that the economic zone is expected to eventually make up about a third of the country’s economy. [Reuters, Ahram Online, 8/11/2015]

Iraq’s oil output climbs to record as south escapes fighting
Iraq’s crude production climbed to an all-time high in July with record exports from southern terminals mostly unscathed by Islamic State (ISIS or ISIL) militants. Output rose to 4.18 million barrels per day (BPD) last month from 4.15 million in June. Oil fields in the south cranked out record Basra crude exports of 3.06 million bpd, up by about 40,000 barrels from June. Meanwhile, exports in shipments from the north of Iraq through the port of Ceyhan dipped 50,000 bpd to about 520,000 bpd. The drop was due to rising tension between the central government and Kurdish regional authorities in the north over oil payments. [Bloomberg, 8/12/2015]

Former Saudi official presses for change in managing oil wealth
A former senior official at Saudi Arabia’s central bank says he believes the kingdom may soon change the way it manages its oil wealth as part of efforts to protect its financial reserves in an era of cheap crude. Since last year, exactly that has been happening: Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA) foreign assets have been shrinking at an annual rate of about $120 billion. Khalid al-Sweilem, Chief Investment Officer at SAMA is proposing an alternative: the creation of two sovereign wealth funds which would be shielded from direct use by the finance ministry and the introduction of rules to decouple the level of state spending from oil revenues. [Reuters, 8/12/2015]

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