EconSource: Syrian PM Says Power Crisis Worsens as Militants Target Plants

Electricity is being rationed more in government controlled areas in Syria after an escalation in attacks on power plants by Islamist militants. In an address to parliament on Wednesday, Syrian Prime Minister Wael Halaki cited several major attacks on gas plants near Palmyra since the ancient city was captured by the Islamic State (ISIS or ISIL) in May. “In the last two months there has been a systematic targeting by these terror groups of gas fields and plants and gas pipelines towards power plants. This has reduced supplies to modest amounts,” Halaki said. He said that electricity generation has fallen to nearly a quarter of its pre-war 9,000 megawatt capacity. Electricity is being rationed for longer periods, ranging from 8 to 18 hours “from one province to the other depending on security circumstances,” Halaki added. [Reuters, 7/29/2015]

Turkish central bank ups 2015 inflation forecast, signals no sharp rate moves
Turkey’s central bank slightly raised its inflation forecast for the end of 2015 on Thursday, citing expected moderate economic growth and an improvement in the current account deficit. Central Bank Governor Erdem Basci said the bank’s mid-point year-end inflation forecast now stands at 6.9 percent, up from 6.8 percent in its last report. The bank left its 2016 mid-point forecast at 5.5 percent. Basci forecasts inflation below 7 percent this month, but said that keeping it there would require a joint effort by the bank and economic policymakers. Basci also hinted at possible moves to simplify monetary policy, which has been criticized by investors for being too complicated. [Reuters, 7/30/2015]

World Bank approves $550 million sanitation project for Egypt’s poor
The World Bank has approved a $550 million program for Egypt that aims to improve sanitation services for more than 800,000 poor rural Egyptians in the Nile Delta. “The Sustainable Rural Sanitation Services Program for Results” will improve local service delivery by connecting rural poor to sanitation systems in the Delta governorates of Daqahliya, Sharqiya, and Beheira in Lower Egypt. “One of our strategic areas for supporting Egypt is improving service delivery especially for the poor,” said Asad Alam, World Bank Country Director for Egypt, Yemen and Djibouti. A statement by the Bank announcing the program also highlighted accountability and transparency measures that will be put in place to monitor the performance of the program. [World Bank, 7/28/2015]

Saudi Arabia to pull back oil production after summer
Saudi Arabia is planning to pull back from record high levels of crude oil production at the end of the summer when domestic energy demand subsides. The reduction could begin as soon as September and would amount to about 200,000 to 300,000 barrels per day (bpd), bringing production to about 10.3 million bpd. Saudi Arabia told the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) that it produced 10.56 million bpd in June, a record high. The decision to reduce production “is purely based on the [domestic] demand situation,” one source said, adding that “production is likely to hover around” 10 million bpd until the end of the year. [Wall Street Journal, 7/29/2015]

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