EconSource: World Bank Approves $500 Million Loan for Egypt Public Housing Project

The World Bank has approved a $500 million loan to Egypt to support a government affordable housing project, Minister of Housing Moustafa Madbouly said Wednesday. Up to 170,000 housing units will be built by the end of 2015 for a total of 250,000 housing units built over an eighteen month period.The units are being built in new urban communities to house low and medium-income Egyptians who would benefit from a subsidy on each unit through the World Bank loan. [Ahram Online, 5/6/2015]

Saudi Arabia presses with big projects despite oil price fall
Saudi Arabia’s Finance Minister Ibrahim al-Assaf said that despite low oil prices, the government remains committed to infrastructure and development projects. He said the kingdom is in a strong enough financial position to help bolster private sector growth through capital expenditure projects, however it needs to “rationalize” spending. His comments came as the International Monetary Fund warned that the kingdom would need to reduce the pace of spending, despite its large financial reserves. Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal reported that Saudi Arabia is working on fuel efficiency measures to cut domestic oil consumption, rather than slash subsidies. [Financial Times, 5/5/2015]

IMF says Middle East oil importers will gain from price decline
In the oil importing countries across the Middle East and North Africa, economic growth is expected to strengthen this year as oil exporters (especially the Gulf Cooperation Council countries) face a fall in oil incomes and overall gross domestic product (GDP) growth slows, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Improved domestic confidence, more accommodating fiscal and monetary policies, and lower oil prices are expected to contribute to the GDPs of the oil importing countries. [Gulf News, 5/5/2015]

Iran mulls another $1 billion credit line for Syrian regime
Syria and Iran are discussing a second $1 billion credit line to prop up the government of President Bashar al-Assad. Syrian Central Bank Governor Adib Mayaleh said that the Iranian government had given preliminary approval for the credit line, the second since 2013. He said Syria still has money left from the first $1 billion agreement, which helps finance imports. Mayaleh added that Damascus has not dipped into its reserves, but is using inflows of $10 million daily from personal transfers and exports to fund imports. [Bloomberg, 5/6/2015]

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