EconSource: Turkish Tourism and Economy Struggle Due to Bombings

Turkey’s tourism industry and economy are suffering following terror attacks in Istanbul and a chilling of the relationship with Moscow. Economists forecast that tourism revenue will tumble by a quarter this year, costing the country around $8 billion. While overall visitor numbers to Turkey fell by a relatively modest 1.6 percent last year, the signs are not good before the May to October peak season, when Turkey usually earns around 70 percent of its tourism revenues. Turkey has lost its number two market for tourism, Russians, amid an economic crisis at home and political tensions between Moscow and Ankara. There is also a risk that wealthier European tourists will choose to spend their holidays elsewhere. “Security concerns have the biggest impact on high-income tourist groups, who are most likely to change their plans to visit,” economist at Oyak Investment Mehmet Besimoglu said. Economists say the fall in tourism is so pronounced it could have a broad economic impact. The hit in tourism revenue could knock more than half a percentage point off economic growth, which the government is targeting at 4.5 percent for this year. [Reuters, 3/24/2016]

Kuwait says find new oil and gas field
Kuwait Oil Company (KOC) said it discovered a new oil and gas field in the Western part of the country. It said in a statement that preliminary tests suggest the new field in the al-Jathatheel region will provide a significant boost to the country’s resource reserves. The new field is expected to “constitute an important addition to the company’s capacity production capacity and country’s reserves from light crude and gas,” it said. It is forecast to “enrich the Kuwaiti oil reserves and enable the country [to] pursue crude oil production for decades to come,” KOC Chief Executive Officer Jamal Abdelaziz Jaafar said. The statement gave no estimate on the size of the field. [Reuters, AP, 3/24/2016]

Oman Oil in talks with banks on $1 billion loan for subsidiary
State-owned Oman Oil Company is seeking a $1 billion loan from banks for a subsidiary, Chief Executive Issam al-Zadjali said Thursday. Banks in Oman have been active in the loan market in the past few months, a potential sign that liquidity is becoming tighter due to low oil prices. The oil industry contributes around 44 percent to Oman’s economy, according to government estimates. Oman Oil would use the funds mainly to finance one of its subsidiaries, Oman Oil Company Exploration and Production, and for the development of the country’s Khazzan natural gas field, al-Zadjali said. The company signed an agreement last month with British Petroleum to develop the second phase of Khazzan, making the estimated investment in the project to $16 billion. Oman Oil is talking to both local and international banks about the loan, al-Zadjali said. He said the term of the loan was not yet decided. [Reuters, 3/24/2016]

Central Bank of Egypt sets term limit for bank CEOs
Chief executive officers of Egyptian banks will have to step down after nine years as part of measures to modernize the sector and “inject new blood,” the Central bank of Egypt (CBE) said Thursday. The rule will apply to the CEOs of public and private banks as well as the heads of foreign banks operating in Egypt. Both consecutive and non-consecutive terms will count towards the limit, the CBE said. Around 40 public and private sector banks operate in Egypt. A senior banking official said the term limit will force eight of the country’s banking heads out of their positions. [Reuters, 3/24/2016]

Iraq oil exports hold steady in March
Iraq’s oil exports have held steady so far in March, according to loading data and industry sources, stemming the rapid supply growth that has increased downward pressure on prices. Baghdad has expressed support to an initiative by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and outside producers to freeze output in an effort to boost prices. Producers are due to meet on April 17 to discuss the plan. The lack of export growth is partly involuntary as it reflects disruptions on Iraq’s northern pipeline, offsetting near-record southern exports. Still, coupled with outages in other producers, it has supported a price rise this year. “The recent disruption in Iraq and Nigeria, alongside greater risk appetite in financial markets, has helped to lift the price,” said Global Head of Commodity Strategy at BNP Paribas Harry Tchilinguirian. “But that momentum is running out of steam. The global supply and demand imbalance is still large in the first half of 2016.” [Reuters, 3/23/2016]

Also of interest
UAE will attend Doha oil producers meeting | Reuters
Egypt supply minister says close to wiping out graft in wheat sector | Reuters
Egypt’s GASC receives wheat offers from six trading firms | Reuters
Fitch: devaluation somewhat positive for Egyptian banks in long term | Fitch
Turkey eyes energy cooperation with China | Anadolu Agency