The Waves of Privatization Strike the Arab Economies Again

Privatizations
Since the beginning of the 90’s, privatization started to penetrate unofficially the Arab economies through the governmental gate. Egypt and Algeria took the lead in this respect, and today, Egypt seeks to privatize Cairo Bank which would grant the government revenues estimated by more than 1.6 billion US$ in a public auction open for the foreigners without any receptions.
The privatization of Cairo Bank comes after selling 80% of “Alexandria Bank” last year to the Italian San Paulo Bank by 1.6 billion US$.
As for Libya, it has started to follow the steps of Egypt but partially. The Libyan Central Bank prevailed that “BNP Paribas” Bank has been chosen to be a strategic partner in “Sahara” Bank after “BNP Paribas” offered to pay 145 million Euro in return for a-19%-share of the bank, although the two deals may cause a hot debate in the economic circles which oppose liberalization project internationally and locally because the results of social and economic privatization have become known for everybody.

New International Alliances Similar to OPEC because of Ethanol
The interest of world’s countries in producing sources of biological fuel, on the top of which is ethanol, has increased lately. This is because ethanol secures a clean and cheap source of energy. According to experts, the use of ethanol would decrease carbon emission by 80% due to its economic and environmental advantages the American President Bush announced the establishment of a forum of the producing countries of ethanol during his visit to Brazil last March, which urged the Russian Minister of Agriculture to call lately for the establishment of an organization similar to OPEC for the exporting states of wheat and other cereals which ethanol is produced from.

The Inauguration of a Factory for Manufacturing Mobile Phones in Iran

Iranian Assistant Minister of Industry and Mining for Economic and International Affairs, Muhsen Shater Zada, announced last Tuesday that the inauguration of another factory for manufacturing mobile phones would took place soon in Iran in addition to the factories of the Iranian telecommunications company “Kama” with the aim of increasing the production capacity in the country to reach 6 million mobile phones annually.

“Nippon Oil” company Stops dealing with the US Dollar in Response to an Iranian Request

In response to a request by the Iranian Oil Company, Chairman of the Japanese “Nippon Oil” company “Fumiaki Watari” who is also in charge of the Presidency of the Japanese Oil Federation, announced yesterday that his company will pay the price of the Iranian crude oil by the Japanese Yen instead of the American US Dollar with the beginning of October 2007.

The Decrease of Prices of the Egyptian Internet by 50%

The Egyptian Minister of Telecommunications, Tarek Kamel, said that the national commission for organizing telecommunications approved on decreasing the prices of the high speed internet by more than 50%. Thus, the prices would decrease from 95 to 45 Egyptian pounds annually for the speed of 256 K.byte per second.

Confirmations about the Non-Privatization of “Al-Ahli” and “Egypt” Banks

The Governor of the Egyptian Bank, Dr. Farouq Abdel Baki Al Okda, asserted that there is no any intention to privatize “Al-Ahli” and “Egypt” bank. Arab news network “Moheet” quoted al-Eqda as saying that the two banks would be supported till they become big entities in the Egyptian banking market.

Turkey Invests 3.5 billion US$ in two Iranian Gas Fields

Two senior officials in the Turkish Ministry of Energy said that Turkey would invest 3.5 billion US$ in gas field south of the Iranian “Fares” starting from 2008. The two sources said, on condition of anonymity, said that Turkey might also enter in a partnership with a member state in the European Union that operates currently in Iran.

The Commission of Stock Market Grants Five Companies a License for Dealing in Financial Renting

The Commission of the Palestinian Capital Market has granted five Palestinian companies a license for dealing in financing renting field. These companies are: “The Palestinian Company for Renting and Financing Renting, The Palestinian Company of Trucks and Equipment, The Palestinian Company for Cars (Hyundai), Good Luck Company for Renting Cars, and the Real Estate al-Mashreq Company”.

600.000 US Dollars, the Net Profits of “Al-Ittihad” company for Construction and Investment

Financial Statements of “Al-Ittihad” Company for Construction and Investment, showed an increase in the value of its revenues during the first half of this year compared to last year.
The total revenues reached last year about 1.031 million US$, whereas its revenues during the last six months reach more than 700.000 dollar.
The net profits of the company before paying taxation during last year reached about 465.000 $, whereas these profits reached during the last six months 600.000 dollar..

The Decrease of Corps Forces Syria to Cancel Wheat Contracts

A senior official in the field of cereal said that Syria has cancelled contracts of exporting with a volume of about 400.000 tons due to the decrease of corps of this year.
The official told Reuters that these contracts were sure adding that it included Egypt, Turkey, Iraq, and Italy.

The Wave of Brokary on the Kuwaiti Dinar Diminishes

The foreign assets of the Kuwaiti Central Bank decreased in June to its lowest levels since last February with the diminishing of the wave of brokaries for raising the value of t4he dinar.
The Central Bank said on its web site on the internet that the foreign assets decreased by 5.1% to 5.6 billion dinars in June compared to 5.9 billion dinars in May.

A Study for Establishing a Factory of Electrical Posts in Kurdistan Province

An official in the Iraqi Ministry of Industry and Mining said in a press conference that the company of mechanical industries affiliated by the ministry has prepared an economic feasibility study for establishing an integrated factory for electrical posts in Kurdistan province.

The Holding British Islamic Insurance Company Appoints Consultants

Following the last announcement of the increase of its paid capital, the administrative board of the holding British Islamic Insurance Company announced its decision to appoint the Gulf International Bank located in Bahrain, as a financial consultant for the company in the G.C.C and “Investic Bank” “The UK” limited as a financial consultant to the United Kingdom.

Companies Indexes

- Wall Street Journal newspaper revealed last Tuesday that “Murdoch Mass Media Establishment”, owned by Robert Murdoch, has concluded an initial agreement with Dow Jones company who owns the newspaper, to buy it in return for 5 billion US$.
- The Bahraini “Betlico” company, in participation with Microsoft and the UN sponsored the conference of “Woman’s Gate” held lately in Bahrain with the aim of encouraging women for launching small ventures.
- The Saudi Trade Public Bank, the biggest bank in the Gulf in terms of assets, said that it intends to buy more banks in the Middle East and North Africa after it launched the first foreign possession in Turkey.
- Qatar Islamic Bank, the fourth largest Islamic Bank in the Gulf in terms of market value, realized its least seasonal profits in a year due to increase of costs. The results of the bank contradicted the analyists’ expectations during the second quarter of this year.

Small Indexes

- The Iranian ambassador to Ankara, Ahmad Nouri, said that the volume of trade exchange between his country and Turkey reached 7 billion US$ in 2006, adding that the two countries are planning increased this number to reach 10 billion US$ during this year.
- The value of the Jordanian revenues of income taxation and sellings during the first five months of this year increased by 20.9% compared to the same period of last year.
- Inflation rate in Russia during the first ten days of July increased by 0.3%. It is expected that inflation would reach its highest level in July according to the ministry’s estimation and according to what it has been in last July 0.7%.
- The sector of transportation, storage, and telecommunications in Palestine has saved 5.7% of the total job opportunities of last year.

Bids & Contracts

- The Swedish Company for the Industry of Telecommunications Equipment “Ericsson” announced that it concluded contracts for importing a new generation of internet services for “Vodafone-Germany” and “Vodafone-Portugal”, companies.
- The Egyptian minister of Telecommunications announced that it approved on granting “Mobinil” company the license of the third generation of the services of mobile phone in return for 3.4 billion pounds “599 million US$”.
- The Saudi Bank for Investment said that it agreed on buying half of the share of “Dalla Al-Baraka Group” in the group of the banking Barka, the third biggest bank in Bahrain in terms of market value, in a deal for exchanging shares.
- Qatar expressed its readiness to offer a bid for buying “J. Sainsbury” which according to British newspapers it is estimated to be the third biggest British market series, by 12 billion sterling, 24.5 billion US$ including debts.

Exhibitions & Conferences

- The Jordanian capital “Amman” is due to host the activities of the Middle East exhibition for technology “Mits 2007” next August.

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.