EconSource: Tobruk Airplanes Set Oil Tanker Ablaze Amid Political Strife in Libya

Warplanes belonging to Libya’s internationally recognized government in Tobruk have bombed an oil tanker at a port controlled by its rival government in Tripoli. The Anwaar Afriqya, a tanker carrying 30,000 metric tons of oil from Motor Oil Hellas’s refinery in Greece, was attacked while anchored off Sirte in central Libya. The ship’s cargo was meant to supply the electricity in Sirte. The air strike caused a fire on the tanker which was later extinguished. One person was killed and another wounded in the attack. The Tripoli based government condemned the incident, saying it will have “serious consequences” on the country’s economy and the livelihood of its people by making it more difficult to find tankers willing to operate in Libyan waters. [Bloomberg, 5/24/2015]

IMF says Egypt tax delay means rich pay less to cut deficit
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) criticized Egypt’s decision to delay imposing a capital gains tax on stocks, saying it means that the cost of reducing the budget deficit will be paid by those less able to afford it. The capital gains tax was one measure the government had been pursuing to shore up public finances and restore investor confidence. The government has struggled to raise more money from wealthier Egyptians. In March, officials canceled a 5 percent surcharge on the highest earners, just nine months after it went into effect. Chris Jarvis, the Egypt Mission Chief for the IMF, added that Egypt’s central bank needs to adopt a more flexible exchange rate policy in order to strengthen competitiveness and attract investment. [Bloomberg, 5/24/2015]

Moody’s lifts economic outlook for Tunisia
Moody’s has lifted Tunisia’s outlook from negative to stable, citing an improved political situation following the successful democratic transition to a secular-Islamist coalition government in February, better market access, and improved fiscal imbalances. Moody’s maintained the country’s rating at Ba3. Moody’s said the key factors boosting Tunisia’s outlook are a significant decline in domestic political risk and reduced external funding challenges following the resumption of official financing and access to international capital markets. [Financial Times, 5/26/2015]

ISIS fighters set Iraq’s Baiji oil refinery ablaze
Fighters from the Islamic State (ISIS or ISIL) set fire to large parts of Iraq’s largest oil refinery on Monday, in an effort to thwart advances by Iraqi security forces. Black plumes of smoke could be seen coming from parts of the Baiji refinery as the Iraqi army backed by Shia militias advanced towards the facility. Baiji produces a third of the Iraq’s oil output. The government would lose a large slice of revenue if the refinery was destroyed. [Al Jazeera, 5/25/2015]

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