EconSource: Syria Army Reopens Key Oil Supply Route Near Palmyra

The Syrian army has reopened a key oil supply route and secured the perimeter around the Jazal oil field near Palmyra. Head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights Rami Abdul Rahman said the capture of the area “allows the regime to secure a transport route for oil from the Jazal field … to other Syrian cities under its control.” Last week, government forces recaptured Jazal from the Islamic State (ISIS or ISIL). One of the few oil fields still in government hands, Jazal lies 20 km northwest of Palmyra. Abdul Rahman said the government depends on gas and oil fields around Palmyra to provide electricity to cities under its control, namely Damascus. [AFP, Reuters, 6/24/2015]

World Bank releases Spring 2015 Egypt Economic Monitor
The World Bank has issued its Spring 2015 Egypt Economic Monitor, which provides an update on key economic developments and policies over the past six months. The Bank expects annual growth to double to 4.3 percent in FY 2015. Growth could reach 5 percent by FY 2016/2017 if tourism and manufacturing continue to recover. Meanwhile, unemployment has started to slowly decrease, averaging 13 percent in the first half of FY 2015. However, the report warned that Egypt’s budget deficit and debt aggregates “will remain high and unsustainable,” despite the government’s “ambitious fiscal consolidation plan.” The report further cautioned that there is “significant uncertainty regarding the financing of the announced mega-projects.” [DNE, 6/23/2015]

World’s lowest debt-to-GDP ratio seen aiding Saudi debt sales
Saudi Arabia has the world’s lowest debt to economic output ratio – for now. With oil prices tumbling and the kingdom burning through currency reserves at a record pace, economists expect authorities to start raising money through the local bond market to cover a widening budget deficit. The potential sales will help create a benchmark for corporate borrowers. They may also be a boon for investment bankers after bond issuances in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) dropped by 34 percent this year. This comes as Saudi Arabia lost its spot last month as India’s top oil supplier for the first time in at least four years. The country also fell behind Russia and Angola as the biggest crude supplier to China last month. [Bloomberg, 6/23/2015]

Turkey’s central bank leaves key rates unchanged after election
Turkey’s central bank left interest rates unchanged on Tuesday, resisting government pressure for post-election cuts, and said it would stick to its cautious policy even though it predicts inflation will fall. Investors hoped that the election setback for the ruling AK Party this month would give the central bank some much-needed breathing space to fight inflation. “Inflation is expected to decline in the short term owing to a partial correction in food prices. Yet, recent movements in the exchange rates have delayed the improvement in the core indicators,” the bank said in a statement accompanying its rate decision. [Reuters, 6/23/2015]

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