EconSource: Soaring Bad Debts Sound Alarm in Turkey

The deterioration of Turkey’s economy is accelerating, as political uncertainty, early elections, and a conflict with Kurdish militants take a toll on the economy. Statistics by the Banks Association of Turkey Risk Center show a dramatic increase in both the number and value of bounced checks, especially in August. The problem seems to be particularly rife in the predominantly Kurdish provinces in the east and southeast, where since August 2014 the number and value of bounced checks increased by up to 115 percent. The regional breakdown for August indicates how political uncertainty has put a serious strain on businesses across Turkey, including the country’s economic powerhouses in the west. In the southeast, the trend is even gloomier. In August, five southeastern provinces topped the list of regions with the worst rate of bounced checks in terms of value. [Al Monitor, 9/23/2015]

Investments of Upper Egypt’s conference to reach $51 billion
Pledges to Upper Egypt’s Investment Conference, which will be held in November, are projected to reach EGP 400 billion ($51.08 billion), according to Investment Minister Ashraf Salman. According to Salman, projects that will be presented at the conference include cement, marble, and glass factories, in addition to hotels and resorts. “The General Authority for Investment (GAFI) headed by Alaa Omar chose about 100 projects out of 320 of the governorates’ projects to be presented for investment,” Salman said. He noted that Upper Egypt has suffered from marginalization during the recent years despite possessing many resources. “We are looking forward to holding a conference on the same level of Egypt’s Economic Development Conference (EEDC), held in last March,” said Salman in June regarding the conference. Agriculture Minister Salah Helal said that integrated proposals to encourage agriculture development and investment in Upper Egypt will also be presented. [Cairo Post, 9/23/2015]

Libya’s AGOCO cuts overall budget, faces difficulties paying salaries
Head of Finance at Libya’s Arabian Gulf Oil Company (AGOCO) Khalid Baio said the latest budget approved by the board included a 43 percent reduction in salaries. He said this has made it difficult for the company to pay salaries. “We are now planning measures to help with liquidity during the coming period,” Baio said. “Our overall running budget has also been cut – including [budgets for] production, refining, administration, insurance and costs of running ports – by 76 percent,” he added. He said that costs had exceeded the approved budget and were 158 percent higher than the amount originally approved. “This means the company cannot keep up with its [original] spending plans and we may be forced to postpone procurement of various equipment we require,” which would hurt production, according to Baio. Baio said AGOCO was in “constant contact with the relevant authorities” in an attempt to secure adequate finances for the coming months. [Libya Monitor (subscription), 9/24/2015]

Russia’s Gazprom Neft increases oil output at Iraqi Badra to 45,000 bpd
Russia’s Gazprom Neft, the oil arm of state gas producer Gazprom, said on Thursday that production at its Iraq Badra oil field has reached 45,000 barrels per day (bpd). The production was increased from 35,000 bpd after the new production well was launched. [Reuters, 9/24/2015]

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Sawiris to buy 30 percent of Endeavour Mining | Bloomberg
New initiative to merge informal, formal economies in Egypt | DNE