EconSource: World Bank’s IFC Plans Sukuk Sale After Gulf Summer

The International Finance Corp. (IFC), the World Bank’s lender to the private sector, has started work on a return to the market for Islamic bonds, or sukuk, with plans to issue sharia-compliant debt after summer in the Gulf region. Last year an IFC official said a deal was in the early stages of discussion, which would mark the third time the World Bank’s development division issues sukuk. Details such as currency, tenor, and size were not yet available. The IFC last sold a $100 million five-year sukuk in 2009, listing it on the Dubai and Bahrain bourses. [Reuters, 6/22/2015]

Egypt earmarks $8 billion for fuel subsidies in 2015/2016
Egypt has earmarked 61 billion Egyptian pounds ($8 billion) for fuel product subsidies in its draft 2015/2016 budget, according to Tarek al-Molla, chairman of state-run Egyptian General Petroleum Corp (EGPC). Last week, the cabinet approved a draft of the budget for the next fiscal year but did not announce the amount allocated to fuel products subsidies. In the current fiscal year, Egypt will have spent around 70 billion pounds on petrol and natural gas products subsidies, rather than the projected 100 billion pounds. The government said in December its bill for fuel products this fiscal year would be 30 percent less than it had predicted due to sharply lower global oil prices. A switch to coal from natural gas and diesel in the cement industry also helped determine the figure, as did a change in domestic consumption, al-Molla said. [Reuters, 6/20/2015]

Saudis say to jointly invest up to $10 billion with Russian fund
Saudi Arabia’s government and a Russian state fund have signed a memorandum of understanding to jointly invest as much as $10 billion, the official Saudi news agency SPA said on Sunday. The deal between Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) and the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) was sealed last week when top Saudi officials visited Russia. The governments also agreed to cooperate on developing nuclear energy. SPA did not say where or when the joint investments would be made. [Reuters, 6/21/2015]

Syria fuel shortages due to rebel infighting threaten lives
Disruption of fuel supplies due to fighting between rebel groups in northern Syria is threatening the closure of hospitals and paralyzing the work of ambulances and rescue services, said Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) on Sunday. Islamic State (ISIS or ISIL) militants have closed a checkpoint under their control in the countryside north of Aleppo to trucks carrying fuel to areas in northern Syria held by rebel groups. MSF said in a statement that it had received distress calls from health centers in rebel-held areas in Aleppo, Idlib, and Hama provinces to say they were running out of fuel needed to run life-saving equipment. [Reuters, 6/21/2015]

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