EconSource: Tunisia Sees Growth at 1 Percent This Year

Tunisia’s economic growth is expected to slow to about 1 percent this year, compared with 2.3 percent in 2014, Finance Minister Slim Chaker told Reuters. That marks the slowest pace since 2011, according to International Monetary Fund (IMF) data. The government will try to keep the budget deficit at 5 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), Chaker said. Tunisia’s tourism industry—which represents about 7 percent of the economy—has been hit by two major Islamist militant attacks this year. Strikes and protests have also disrupted the country’s vital phosphate exports. [Reuters, Bloomberg, 7/12/2015]

Iraq gets first funding to rebuild war-struck regions
Iraq and the World Bank signed a $350 million loan agreement on Sunday to fund emergency reconstruction in towns recaptured from the Islamic State (ISIS or ISIL), a deal Baghdad said marked the first international help to rebuild areas devastated by war. Finance Minister Hoshiyar Zebari said around a third of the money would go toward repairing roads and bridges, with a similar amount allocated to restoring electricity networks, water, and sewage. Zebari said Sunday’s deal granted Iraq a fifteen year loan at around 1 percent interest, with a five year grace period. The World Bank is also preparing a separate $1 billion loan to help Baghdad deal with its budget deficit. [Reuters, 7/12/2015]

Egyptian pound steady at auction, stronger on parallel market
Egypt’s central bank held the Egyptian pound steady at 7.73 per dollar for the third straight foreign exchange auction on Sunday after a depreciation earlier this month. The currency strengthened on the parallel market. The central bank said it had offered $40 million and sold $37.5 million at a cut-off price of 7.7301 pounds per dollar. The central bank had held the pound at 7.5301 for the past five months until earlier this month, when it allowed it to weaken. Analysts say letting the pound weaken in a controlled way could boost exports and attract further investment, but also raises Egypt’s large bill for imported fuel and food staples. [Reuters, 7/12/2015]

Saudi crude oil output hits record in June
Saudi Arabia told the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) that it has raised crude oil output to the highest level on record, as the country prepares for peak summer demand and the return of Iran to international markets. In the monthly oil market report published by the oil producers’ cartel on Monday, Riyadh reported crude oil production of 10.6 million barrels per day (bpd) in June, an increase of more than 200,000 bpd from May, its highest level since records began. If Saudi Arabia keeps increasing production at this rate, it could, by the end of the summer, be the first country to pump 11 million bpd of crude since the former Soviet Union. [Financial Times, 7/13/2015]

Also of interest
Saudi June inflation edges up to 2.2 percent | Arab News
OPEC sees more balanced oil market in 2016 | Reuters
GCC to maintain growth with higher oil production | Gulf News
Most Gulf markets flat as investors await Iran deal | Reuters
Saudi stocks flat on mixed outlook; Egyptian rally ends | Reuters
Egyptian government borrows 6.75B EGP in T-bonds Monday | Cairo Post
Kuwait committee to visit London for sovereign fund probe | Reuters
Islamic State squeezes Iraq’s food supply | WSJ
Iraq’s oil accounted for 95.5 percent of 2014 exports | Middle East Monitor
Libya’s Ras Lanuf and Es Sider terminals remain closed | Libya Monitor (subscription)