Loose Criteria of Unemployment

Figures of the percentage of unemployment presented by official bodies in Syria have always been surprising and sometimes conflicting. The last declared figure is 8.5% of manpower, whereas the other official figure announced by the Syrian Ministry of Labor about the number of those who registered their names at offices of governmental work reached 1.200.000 persons (More than 25% of manpower), but the usual explanation presented by the government for these official figures for unemployment is that they have been set according to the criteria of (The International Labor Organization) which says: (He who works less than one hour a week). No doubt that this percentage does not reflect the true picture of labor market in Syria, therefore Syrian mass media said yesterday that more loose criteria will be adopted by the government, adding that it will carry out a new survey for unemployment, which experts expected its percentage to reach 15%. We are not concerned with the loose figure mentioned by mass media, rather we are concerned with the figure according to which decisions will be taken. The tenth five-year plan to be ended in 2010, has been set up according to unloose criteria, and maybe we have to wait for more loose new plan which will start in 2010.

Half of World Population own Mobile Phones

With the end of the 1980s of last century, the technological progress resulted in a revolution in telecommunications and inter action which was helped greatly by the end of the Cold War. This led the pattern of knowledge economy to produce products which one of their features was the ability of wide spread. Thus, the world has become one market that needed to address its demands. The mobile phone is considered one of the most prominent products. A recent survey carried out by the British “The Mobile World” said the number of the users of mobile phone in the world will exceed 3.25 billion persons (half of world population) in 2007.

The Fourth Position for Palestinian Mobile Phone in the Middle East and North Africa

A study published by Arab guiders group has revealed that the market of the Palestinian mobile telecommunications occupied the fourth position on the index of competition in the Middle East and North Africa.

The Turkish “Tekevin” Company Executes the Projects of North Road in Qatar

The Turkish “Tekevin” company has signed an agreement with the Qatari General Projects Commission with a total value of 2.181 billion riyals (599.13) million US$ to execute the project of north road with its second and third phase.

Agricultural Israeli Products Enter Arab Countries’ Markets

The Arab Bureau for Boycotting Israel circulated a memo on the Arab states calling for activating boycotting Israel’s productions and goods. The memo asserted that many kinds of the Israeli agricultural products have been entered to some of Arab markets after counterfeiting their exporting documents as Palestinian or American and European products.

Two New Contracts of 117.5 US$ for “Orascom”

The Egyptian “Orascom” company for Construction and Industry has won 2 contracts for executing expansion and development projects in Egypt with a total value of 117.5 million US$.

The Privatization of Cairo Bank

The Egyptian government decided to circulate 80% of Cairo Bank’s shares for a strategic investor within the program of reforming and restructuring the portfolio of the General Commercial Banks.

Kurdistan Iraq Refuses Oil Deft Law

Officials in Kurdistan Iraq announced that they refuse the adjustments made by the state “Shura Council” on the last version of oil and gas draft law, asserting that they will oppose it when discussed at the parliament.

“Kamko” Signs a Loan Agreement with a Total Value of 75 Million US$

The Investment “Mashare’e al Kuwait” (Kuwait’s Projects) for the Management of Assets “Kamko” one of the leading companies in the field of the management of assets and financial services in Kuwait and the region, has concluded the operation it started lately for the arrangement of facilitating granting a loan by a total value of 75 million US$. The main goal of this loan is to pay the debts and strengthening “Kamko’s” financial status through supporting its commercial activities.

The Bahraini Public Bank Joins the Omani "Al-Tadamun" Bank with its Shares

The Omani "Al-Tadamun" Bank for Housing announced that the Bahraini United Public Bank might get 113 million shares free of charge in case the administrative board of the Omani bank approved on issuing shares free of charge with one share in return of one share.

Ruble Gets Ready for Taking Away the US Dollar Between Russia and China

Russian Minister of Finance and his Chinese counterpart have agreed at the conclusion of their meeting that the Russian and Chinese economies are facing similar financial problems resulted in dealing with the American US dollar which its exchange rate declined by 40% opposite to the European currency in the last years.

For the First Time in Syria, the Private Sector Invests Electricity Generating Stations

The Syrian private sectors companies started to introduce their offers for the investment of electricity generating stations in response to the calls by the government for investment in this field.
The two industrial groups "Mahjoob" and "Agha Khan" were among the first companies who responded to this call.

A-500-million US$ for "Al-Arabi" bank

Al-Arabi Bank has been granted a loan by an international banking gathering with a total value of half a billion US dollars for five years, amid a participation of 29 world banks from America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East countries.

A Partnership Agreement between “Maktoob” and “Faye” Groups

The Group of Maktoob.com which includes the web site used by more than 4 million persons, has concluded a strategic partnership agreement with Faye’s web site Faye3.com. The agreement paves the way for entering the age of the second generation of internet web sites with facilitations that help establishing private societies on the internet.

Companies Indexes

- Dubai Islamic Bank, the third biggest Islamic bank in the Gulf in terms of market value, said that it is studying circulating Islamic bonds that can be changed into shares.
- The Islamic Bahrain Bank said that it gained profits of 5.4 million dinars (14.3) million US dollars in the second quarter of this year with an increase of 30.8% compared to the same period of last year.
- The United Arab Emirates Establishment for Telecommunications (Itisalat), the third biggest Arab telecommunications company in terms of market value, has achieved an increased by 33% of profits in the second quarter of this year. The net profits of the company reached 1.965 billion dirhams (535) million US$.
- Yuri Shafranick, Chairman of the council of the directors of (Syoz Oil and Gas), told Novosty agency that the company intends to invest 300 million US$ in holding projects in Tajikistan.
- South China Airline Company has bought 45 planes of Boeing and Airbus, 20 planes of A320 from Airbus company and 25 planes of B-737-800 of Boeing company. The total value of this deal is estimated by 23.5 billion Yuan (3.69) billion US$.

Small Indexes

- The Algerian public loan announced that it installed an automatic distributor of banknotes that accepts international visa card. It is the first of its kind in Algeria.
- The International Financing Establishment approved on granting Morocco a loan of 20 million US$ for financing projects of the private sector.
- The national bureau of statistics in China has modified the value of the GDP of last year making it 21.09 trillion Yuan (2.79) trillion US dollars. The average of the national growth rate during this year reached 11.1% after it announced that it reached 10.7%.
- The General Director of the Algerian Company for Insurance has revealed that 93% of the exported products are not insured.
- The Mauritani House of Representatives has approved a new draft law that bids military officials and directors of the public and semi public institutions to declare their private properties.

Bids & Contracts

- The Italian Company (Ansaldo) has won a contract for building energy generating station in Algeria with a capacity of 500 megawatt in “Masella” city.
- The Kuwaiti holding company said that it expects to gain profits of 60 million dinars (208.3) million US dollars through selling 51% of its public branch for real estate projects.
- The Giant Canadian Aluminum Company (Alkan) has started discussions to integrate with (Rio Tento) mining company located in London in a try to face the possession offer by its American competitor (Alkwa).
- An agreement for the establishment of the limited liquid gas Qatar company between Qatar and the British-Dutch (Shell) company has been signed. Qatar for oil company owns 70% of the shares of the new company, whereas “Shell” owns 30% of it.
- General Electric and “Dosan” companies have won a contract for building electricity generating station in Qatar with a capacity of 1250 megawatt and with a value of about 700 million US$. It is worth mentioning that this station will be used for Aluminum fusing.

Exhibitions

- The International Meeting (Iran-Transit) will be held in Tehran between 15-16 of this month with the participation of representatives of 30 countries and 40 international organizations, among them the international transportation organization, the international bank, the Islamic Bank for Development, and the UNDP.
- The First Real Estate Exhibition and Conference will be held between 19-22 of July at the New Fair Grounds in Damascus with the participation of the Emirati (Ima’ar) company as a main sponsor of the exhibitions in addition to a number of Arab real estate companies like the holding (Al Qudra) company, (al-Sham) company for real estate investments, which is the agent of the real estate Dubai and Damak companies.
- World International Forum announced that it chose Dubai International Financial Center (DIFC. www.difc.ae), to be the destination that will host the next session of (WIF) to be held between 17-20 of March 2008.
- The exhibition of integration market 2007, which is considered the first of its kind, has been opened in Jordan. Technologies of telecommunications, mass media, and internet will be exposed for the public.

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