The Arabs are on the Top of the Richest in the World

“The Mexican Businessman of a Lebanese origin, Carlos Slim Helú, is the richest man in the world coming before Bill Gates, the Founder of Microsoft Company”. A news circulated by printed, radio, TV, and electronic mass media, asserting al-Helo’s superiority with 67.8 billion US$ coming ahead of the American giant Bill Gates with only 59.2 billion US$.
The response of the Arab mass media seemed to be different from the Western ones. the western mass media focused on Gate’s retreat whereas the American Forbes magazine, which publishes annually the list of the wealthiest people in the world, refused the new classification, asserting that it still puts Gates in the first position as the wealthiest man in the world, adding that the real classification will be published at the end of the year.
On the other hand, Arab mass media focused on the Arab origin of the new Mexican rich man, talking a lot about his family and his expatriation to Mexico.
The question here is: Would Arab mass media have cared about Carlos Slim Helú had he been an ordinary expatriate just like millions of Arabs, who live in the West and suffer a lot because of their miserable living conditions?.
A question that needs no answer.

The European Union Looks for a Successor For the Chairman of the International Monetary Fund

The European Commission said that it hopes that European Union Finds a suitable successor of the Chairman of the International Monetary Fund, Rodrigo Rato, who resigned lately.
The surprising resignation of Rato before the end of his term aroused calls to search for a successor outside Europe, which chooses chairmen of the fund since its establishment after the end of the Second World War in 1945, whereras the US chooses the Chairman of International Bank which keeps Japan and the developed countries aside.

The Second Cars Factory in Syria

A new car factory will be opened next month in Syria. Al Ba’ath newspaper said that the factory will start by a total value of 50 million US$ and with a production capacity of 15.000 cars annually.
The project will be in cooperation between the Iranian “Sefeco” company and the Syrian “Hamsho” company which contributes with 20%.

Syria Intends to Cancel Contracts of Wheat Export

European traders said that Syria told its agents that it might cancel contracts for exporting soft and hard wheat, because of poor quantity of crops.
Reuters agency quoted these traders as saying that the possible cancellations might include 550.000 tons of soft flour wheat, which is sold to buyers in Europe and the Middle East in addition to 200.000-300.000 tons of hard wheat, most of which is sold to Italy.

Al Sharja Bank Continues the Process of Possession in Lebanon

The Emirati “Al Sharja Bank” concluded the procedures to possess the Lebanese “Al Bekaa Bank” in a 25-million US$ deal.
The bank said in a statement that this deal would grant it a license to work in Lebanon.

Ten billion Jordanian dinars, “The Jordanian’s” Loan for Rehabilitation

The Jordanian Company for Funding the Real Estate “Mortgage” has signed an agreement to give a loan for refunding housing loans with the Jordanian-Kuwaiti bank by 10 billion dinars and for five years with the aim to strengthen and support the market of Jordanian funding in Jordan.

An Israeli Report Admits the Cancellations of Gaza’s Economy from the Map

An Israeli Juristical report said that after three weeks of completes prohibition of importing goods to Gaza Strip, the industrial sector has begun to collapse, pointing out that 2900 factories out of 3900 have been closed because of the shortage of the raw materials prohibited from entering to Gaza after closing the crossing point of al Mintar.

OPEC Oil Production Increases to 50.000 barrels without Iraq and Angola

A survey carried out by Reuters has showed that OPEC’s production except Iraq and Angola, has recorded a slight increase in June with the rise of the Nigerian supplies after a series of technical failures as well as the increase of the Iranian production of oil.

62 million Square meters for Building an Industrial City in Dubai

Dubai seeks to built a huge industrial base after it attracted hundreds of international companies in a near area of near area of its seaport taking advantage of its world wide reputation as f the biggest center for re-exporting in the region, following its success in financial, business, and tourism sectors.

An Increase in the Moroccan Touristic Movement by 7% in 2007

The Moroccan Ministry of Tourism announced that Morocco received 2.26 million tourists between January and May, 2007, that is to say, a 7% increase of the same period of last year.
Marrakech remains the most popular touristic destination with an increase of 12% of the number of tourists followed by Casablanca by 9%, and Agadir with 3%.

Article 44 of the Constitution, a Big Transformation in the Iranian Economy

The Representative in the Islamic Shura Council in Iran “Mohammad Mahdi Mufteh”, said on Wednesday that the implementation of article 44 of the constitution concerning the privatization of the governmental economic centers as well as the governmental activities is considered a big revolution in the economic sector of the country, pointing out that by implementation of this article the privatization of institutions worth of 150 billion US$ will result in gaining profits that would reach 60 billion US$ in the few coming years.

“Al Adala’a” Shares in Iran for a Broader Participation

The Iranian Minister of Interior Mostafa Pour-Muhammadi said that with the end of the first phase of the distribution of “Al-Adala’a Shares” in Khurasan governorate yesterday, one of the important goals in distribution of these shares is a broader participation by the citizens in general investments and realizing development and economic prosperity in the country.

30 million tourists to Turkey by 2010

The Director of “Conrad Istanbul Hotel”, Jean Sebastian Kling, expected that Turkey would succeed in attracting about 30 million tourists by 2010, asserting that the Turkish tourism has recovered after the great decline in the number of tourists which it witnessed before.

“Nestlé” Expect a Big Increase in the Prices of Food Stuff

The International “Nestlé” company said that the world would probably witness a rise in the prices of food stuff for a long period of time as a result of great demands by China and India, as well as the using of agricultural crops in producing chemical fuel.

Companies Indexes

- The Algerian Minister of Energy said that “Sonatrach” company intends to resort to the higher Spanish bodies as well as the European commission to reach a solution about the conflict between it and Spain with regard to its share of gas which it would promote in the project of gas pipeline “Midgas”.
- The Prince of Qatar Hamad Bin Khalifa al-Thani has approved the draft agreement of establishing a joint investment company between Qatar and Syria with a capital of 5 billion US$.
- “Lamprell Group” company for Oil Services located in Dubai, said that it expects its net profits to exceed the current expectations of this year.
- The Real Estate “Ieamar” company has been classified as one of the biggest 500 world companies (FT Global 500) in terms of market value according to The Financial Times newspaper.

Small Indexes

- Deputy Chairman of the Spanish Institute for External Trade expected the trade volume between his country and Morocco to exceed 7 million US$ in 2007.
- The Libyan government allocated 2 billion US$ for building 2 stations for energy generation north of the country.
- The Iranian Minister of Industry announced yesterday that the production capacity of cement in Iran has reached 35 million tons last year, expecting it to reach 42 million tons this year.

Bids & Contracts

- Dubai International Capital announced that it possessed a share of 3.12% of the European Company for Space and Aviation Defense, which owns a big number of civil and military aviation investments including Airbus, thus becoming one of the biggest institutional share holders in the country.
- The Indian Federal Cabinet approved on Thursday of the investment of 612 million US$ to participate in building the project of the experimental international reactor for nuclear integration “I.T.A.R” to be built South of France with a total value of 5 billion

Indicators is a daily economic watch newsletter about the Near East, issued by New Orient News agency in Beirut, Lebanon. It is available on in Arabic and English. Also worth a read is Tendencies, the daily Near East political watch newsletter, available in Arabic, English and French languages.