Sorry Mr. Minister

Syrian Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources, Mr. Sufian al Alaw, said in a special interview with the Syrian TV yesterday that the Syrian government has taken the decision of implementing the gradual lifting of subsidence’s on fuels as of this year.
In fact, the impact of this decision on the daily life of the Syrian citizen wasn’t absent, but what was clear was the weakness of the proposed mechanism for facing the negative effects of this decision because the sum of 1000 Syrian pounds that has been allocated by the Syrian government to be paid for each family as a compensation for increasing prices is, in fact, a very small sum of money because raising prices of fuels would eventually raise prices of most goods at the market by percentages that, at least, match the percentages of raising fuel prices if not much more.
In other words, in order to preserve the already-weak income of the Syrian citizen, the potential hike of goods prices should be matched up with raising the citizen’s income by the same percentage.

Syria Joins Officially the Countries that Offer Islamic Financial Services

Al Sham Islamic Bank is due to start offering it services officially in the Syrian market, as the first Islamic Bank with a capital of $100 m and with a Syrian, Kuwaiti, Saudi, and Qatari partnership.
Thus, al Sham Islamic Bank will be number 291, joining the list of the 290 Islamic Banks that offer their services around the world. The volume of the Islamic Financing is estimated by more than $265 bn, and with an annual growth rate estimated by 15%.

The Egyptians Encourage the Syrians to Invest in their Country

An Egyptian delegation visiting Damascus has reviewed with Syrian businessmen and investors fields of available investment in Egypt and discussed the possibility of establishing Syrian companies in Egypt or joint Syrian-Egyptian companies. It is worth mentioning that the number of the Syrian companies working in Egypt is estimated by 408 companies working in the fields of spinning, textile, food stuff and touristic industries, as well as 23 companies working in the field of free investments.

1.300 Loans for Industrial Projects in Baghdad

An official at the General Directorate of Industrial Development, affiliated by the Iraqi Ministry of Industry and Mining, said that about 1.300 loans have been granted for financing small and medium-sized projects in Baghdad, within the framework of the cabinet’s plan to invest about $20 m for supporting the industrial projects of the private sector with easy-paid loans.

The Real Estate "Emaar" and "Dubai Holding" Form a Coalition for Holding Joint Projects

The Real Estate "Emaar Properties" and the "Dubai Holding LLC" (Dubai al Qabeda) Companies announced that they are holding talks for discussing the possibilities of launching joint real estate development projects at distinctive sides in Dubai Emirate. It is expected the announcement of this project to take place next September.

The French "Groupama" Plans to Enter Insurance Sector in Algeria

Mr. Azema, the General Director of the French Establishment for Insurances "Groupama", said in an interview with the American Dow Jones agency, that the establishment is paying great attention for opening the insurance sector in Algeria for the foreign investor, pointing out that this activity comes within a strategy set up by the company to enter the markets of Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Libya.

1 million Subscribers at Egypt’s Telecommunications Company

An official at Egypt’s telecommunications company said that the number of the subscribers of the company’s services has reached 1 million subscribers at the first 7 weeks since it started its activities.

Iran Holds the First Meeting of Investment Opportunities in Tourism Industry

The first international meeting for investment opportunities in the field of the Iranian tourism industry was opened yesterday at the Center of the International Conferences for Radio and TV Establishment in Iran. The meeting, which was attended by the Iranian President, comprised sixty countries among them: Germany, Britain, Ireland, America, France, Turkey, China, India, Iraq, Malaysia, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Emirate, Kuwait and Japan.

$500 bn, the Volume of Arab Investments in Turkey

100 Arab giant companies intend to pump investments estimated by more than $500 bn in Turkey during the next coming months.
Sources at the Turkish Chamber of Commerce and Stock Markets said that Chairman of the Arab Chamber of Commerce, Mr. Adnan Qasar, will take shoulder coordinating and organizing a visit by representatives of these companies to Turkey. It is worth mentioning these companies are able to carry out projects of huge capitals estimated by more than $500 bn.

Small Indexes

- The Commonwealth of South Eastern Asia (Asian) expressed its wish to signed 6 agreements of free trade with the most important trade partners in the region till 2013.
- Iran said that its exports to Iraq have reached last year $1 bn, 200 m, adding that it will increase its exports to the Iraqi market during this year to reach $1 bn, 800 m.
- The volume of trade exchange between Syria and Egypt has reached in 2006 $933 m compared to 2002 which reached $150 m, according to statements by the Egyptian Minister of Investment Mahmood Mhueddin.
- The Egyptian Central Bank said that the surplus of the balance of the Egyptian current dealings has jumped by 54% at the fiscal year which ended last June. The surplus reached $2.7 bn in the fiscal year 2006-2007 compared to $1.75 bn recorded at the previous fiscal year.

Companies Indexes

- The total profits of the holding "Burger King" company, the second biggest series of fast foods in the world have reached during the fourth quarter which ended on the 30th of last June, $ 36 m compared to $ 10 m losses of last year.
- The Algerian company for fuels "Sonatrach" has recorded $26.81 bn of exports during the first six months of this year, with a decline estimated by 1% compared to the same period of last year, according to latest figures issued by the company.
- Manusaher Mantaki, the General Director of "Iran Khodoro" complex for cars said last Saturday that the annual production capacity of the complex has reached 700.000 cars, expecting the number to reach 1 million cars during the next nine years.

Bids & Contracts

- Deputy of Babel Governor said that new designs for establishing the civil airport at al Hela city will be set up. He further said that the project will be executed on a total space area of 4000 hectares.
- The Jordanian Al Theqa (Trust) investment company "Jord Invest" has signed the agreement of financial consultations and the management of issuance with the industrial, trade, and agricultural joint-stock corporation "ICA", according to which "Jord Invest" will offer financial consultations in regard to expansion projects and restructuring.

Conferences

- "Iran Special Exhibition" was opened yesterday in Uganda with the participation of more than sixty Iranian companies, exhibiting agricultural crops, cars, oil industries, telecommunications equipment, carpets, hand-made products, shoes, bags, leather products and food stuff industries.
- Dubai is due to host the activities of the second session of the governmental technology exhibition "GT Summit", between 19-21 of next November.

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.