An Economic Peace Plan with Israel

Minister of Economy in the Palestinian Emergency, Kamal Hasouna, unveiled an agreement to build joint industrial areas in the north, middle, and the south borders with Israel similar to al Mintar area north of Gaza.
Hasouna said that working in the factories will be mutual with Israel, and it will insure creating more job opportunities for the Palestinian manpower which would buy and manufacture the raw materials from Israel and then it will sell them to the Israelis or export them to other countries via Israel. Nevertheless, this agreement ignores decades of Palestinian experience in dealing with Israel.
The declared agreement is an agreement of economic dependency, as if the aim was more engagement instead of disengagement. Al Mintar crossing point, which the minister wants to build a similar one, represents today a very clear example on the possibility of imposing an embargo on the Palestinian economy, and not cooperating with it.
This step, according to Israel, comes within “an economic peace plan”, which Tony Blair works on crystallizing it in cooperation with Ehud Olmert, but it is clear that this step embodies practically “an economic embargo plan”, which is maybe more practical than the current economic situation.

Decline of Oil Production by World Oil Companies and Increase of Investment, Prices Reach Their Highest Levels

The three biggest oil companies, registered all for general exchange, are investing billions of dollars this year but the increasing expenditure haven’t granted them yet more profits. The production of Exxon Mobil, Royal Dutch Shell and BP” Companies declined in the second quarter of this year although they allocated 61 billion US$ as capital expenditure in 2007 with an increase of 5.5% compared to 2006.

Bahrain Offers 700 Fields for Tenders

The Bahraini Akhbar al-Khaleej newspaper said on Tuesday that about 25 oil and gas companies expressed their interest in participation in a tender for winning four marinal exploration areas in Bahrain.
Bahrain intends to drill 700 oil well and spends more than 1 billion US$ on modernizing the refineries.

Branches of “City Bank” in Emirates and Egypt Win the Prize of the Best Bank in Dealings Via the Internet

The banking “City Group” announced yesterday that it won four prizes in the first round granted by Global Finance magazine for the best bank in the world for dealings via the internet for 2007 in the Middle East and Africa. The four prizes were distributed among “City Bank” branches in the UAE and Egypt for the two categories: the best bank for consuming dealings via the internet and the best bank for the dealings of companies and institutions via the internet.

A Limited Jordanian Proxy for Manufacturing Trucks of the American International Group

The Jordanian “Al Safi” company for Vehicle Trade and Heavy Equipment has signed an agreement with the American International Group according to which it will be granted a proxy for “International Group for Trucks” and manufacturing them in Jordan.

The Syrian “Syrian Pearl”, the First Syrian Joint Air Lines

The Syrian Airlines Establishment signed on Monday a memorandum of understanding with the holding joint corporation “Al-Cham”, the Kuwaiti “Al-Aqeelah Finance & Investment Company”, “Aqiq Affish Holding” company, in addition to the investment “Dishini Group Sons” company.
Al Thwara newspaper mentioned that the establishment will have the right to establish joint companies for aerial transportation services, pointing out that the capital of the new company, which is called “Syrian Pearl”, is 250 million Syrian pounds. It is worth mentioning that the Syrian Airlines Establishment will participate in 25% of the total capital of the new company to be located in Damascus.

“Per Zeit” Company for Medicines Doubles its Profits

The financial statements of “Per Zeit” Company for Medicines said that the sellings of the company during the first six months of this year have increased by 27%, reaching 5.2 million dinars compared to 4.1 million dinars during the first six month of 2006.

National Bank of Kuwait Signs an Agreement for Buying 40% of the Turkish Bank

National Bank of Kuwaitsaid that it signed an agreement to buy 40% of Turkish Bank in Istanbul. The Executive Chairman of Kuwait National Bank, Ibrahim Dabdoub, described the agreement by saying that it represents a great success for the expansional strategy of the bank.

The Private Sector in Iran Inaugurates the Largest Factory in the Middle East for Producing Wood Industries

The biggest factory in the Middle East for producing wood industries by investments of the private sector which reached 50 million US$ by foreign currency in addition to 242 billion Iranian riyal, was inaugurated yesterday in “Kich” island in Iran.

A Considerable Development of Insurance Sector in Algeria

Insurance sector in Algeria has recorded a considerable rise during the first quarter of 2007, reaching 37,.6% compared to the same period of 2006.

“Sabec” buys 35% of Iron Project in Mauritania

The Saudi Company for Iron Industry “Sabec” revealed that it will buy 35% of the capital of a project for producing raw iron in Mauritania with a total cost of 1.5 billion US$.
The other contributing companies in the project are: The Australian “Sphere Investment”, The “Societe Nationale et Miniere” of Mauritania specialized in Iron Production, and “Qasco” (Qatar).

Spain and Algeria Sign an Agreement on “Medgaz” Deal

Algeria and Spain have reached an agreement for settling their disputes over Algeria entering to the European market, according to the Spanish El Pais newspaper. According to the agreement, the Algerian “Sonatrach” company will sell 10% of “Medgaz” pipeline project for the Spanish “Gas Natural”. In return, “Sonatrach” will be granted the right to increase its exports of gas between 10-12%.

Postponding the Inauguration of Gas Pipeline between Turkey and Greece Till the 15th of September

The inauguration of a pipeline that transfers natural gas from the Azeri “Shakh Deniz” field to Europe has been postponed to the 15th of September instead of the 15th of August.
The Russian Novosti Agency said that the pipeline, which passes through “Merek” river along the Turkish-Greek borders, has not been completed as it was planed.

Companies Indexes

- BBC started operating TV service “A Player” which allows the subscribers to use the internet for loading the famous programs which the corporation presents on their electronic computers.
- The net profits of the Jordanian paper and cartoon factories have increased by 476.000 dinars in the first half of this year compared to 568.000 dinars of the same period of last year.
- The investment “Invest Corp” Bank, the third biggest company in Bahrain in terms of market value, said that the profits of the second half of this fiscal year have increased by three times due to the revenues of the private investments.
- The net profits of the largest private bank in Turkey in terms of market value of shares, increased in the first half of this year by 35% reaching 1.2 billion liras “923” million US$.

Small Indexes

- 186 million Egyptian pounds are being spent annually on the tunes of mobile phones in Egypt.
- The Arab world needs more than 70 million job opportunities during the next decades “2000-2020” for facing the problem of unemployment, according to a report issued lately by the Arab Labor Organization.
- The Algerian minister of Energy said that the volume of investments in Petrochemical sector reached about 20 billion US$.
- The volume of trade exchange between Iran and China during the last 7 months reached 11 billions US$ with an increase of 40% compared to the same period of last year.
- The American Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, said that its talks with the Egyptian officials this week will center on discussing weapons dealings for Egypt with a total value of 13 billion US$ for the next ten years.

Bids & Contracts

- Tunisia and France have signed a memorandum of understanding aiming at modernizing the administrative sector in Tunisia and developing knowledge.
- The Greek “Public Power Corp” (P.P.C) for Electricity Utilities, said that it agreed on the offered presented by “Weather Investments Holdings” owned by the Egyptian Billionaire, Naguib Sawiris, for buying the remaining share of its unit “Tellas” for telecommunications.

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.