EconSource: US Official Says Majority of Iraq’s Baiji Refinery Controlled by ISIS

Iraqi security forces are “all but cut off” at the Baiji oil refinery by the Islamic State (ISIS or ISIL) and now only control about 20 percent of the facility, according to a senior US official. ISIS fighters have successfully moved into several refinery areas in recent days, and are keeping the Iraqi forces from being resupplied. The official told CNN that ISIS now controls the majority of the refinery. US forces have dropped supplies in an effort to try to relieve pressure on Iraqi forces at the refinery. [CNN, Reuters, 5/8/2015]

Egypt’s nine month budget deficit 9.4 percent of GDP
Egypt’s budget deficit since the start of the fiscal year in July 2014 to March 2015 rose to 9.4 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), compared with 7.3 percent for the same period last year. In February, Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab said he believed his government’s budget deficit would come in below 10 percent of GDP in the current financial year. Egypt’s GDP is expected to grow 4 percent, up from 2.2 percent last year, he said. [Reuters, 5/7/2015]

Saudis seek to secure role as largest oil supplier to Asia
Saudi Arabia is spending generously on Asian oil refiners in an effort to secure its position as the region’s biggest oil supplier. Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi traveled to Beijing last month, highlighting the importance of the world’s second-biggest crude consumer to Saudi Arabia’s future. Al-Naimi also visited a South Korean refinery, in which Saudi Arabia has a majority interest. Pressure is rising on Saudi Arabia to hold on to market share in Asia as competitors including Iraq, Russia, and Mexico make inroads. The kingdom has cut price differentials on its crude to Asia ten times in the past eighteen months, while rivals followed with their own reductions. [Bloomberg, 5/7/2015]

Also of interest
Saudi stocks slips as Yemen urges ground intervention; Egypt up | Reuters
Egypt receives natural gas shipment from Algeria | Cairo Post
Syria battles serious economic woes as well as rebellion | VOA
Trade exchange between Morocco and the EU over EUR 29 billion in 2014 | Morocco World News
Algeria jails ex-officials, fines foreign firms in highway graft case | Reuters
Tunisian inner cabinet meeting focuses on development of governorates | TAP/All Africa