Postponing is a Correct Choice and Modifying the Decision is a Must

Circles within the Syrian government announced yesterday that the government would postpone its decision concerning re-offering subsidies of energy prices in Syria, or, as most Syrians see it, stopping the government’s support of prices of the basic fuel materials, till more talks and discussions, as well as surveying opinions of the Syrian citizens.
In fact, the step taken by the Syrian government is in the right direction despite it is late, as this step should have been taken before the announcement of re-distributing the subsidies which came within the context of a pre-taking decision and put into implementation in the markets through more increase of prices of many goods, asserting the analysis presented by many who said that executing the government’s decision would result in a big decline of buying power by the Syrian citizen, and maybe will not stop at the limits set up by the economic plan within the Syrian government. Consequently, expectations of consequences that go beyond the economic side would not be far.
Therefore, the intervention to correct and modify this decision is a big step forward with regard to the daily life of the Syrian citizen and the Syrian economy alike.

Erdoğan Continues the Program of Economic Reform

The Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has offered the program of his new government for the coming five years to the parliament. Mr. Erdoğan pledged to continue his reform program which supports market economy and aims at developing the economy, and decreasing the percentages of unemployment and inflation, as well as increasing the annual income of the individual to reach $10.000, raising it from $5500.

Iraqi Oil and Energy Sectors Need $50 bn

Washington Post newspaper has quoted an American official report that Iraq needs about $50 bn in order oil and energy sectors be able to address the increasing demands. The newspaper also quoted (The Bureau of the Government’s Accountability) that Iraq also needs $27 bn of operating the network of distributing electricity properly, in addition to $20-30 bn for finishing the construction of the oil facilities.

Iraq Studies Building a Petrochemical Factory

Iraqi Minister of Industry said that Iraq studies building a petrochemical factory with investments estimated by $2 bn, adding that Iraq might hold this year talks with international investors about the project. Mr. Fawazi al Hariri told Reuters, on the sidelines of a conference held in Dubai, that the total capacity of production of this complex is estimated by 1 million ton of Ethylene and other products.

The Syrian Private Banks Intend to Double Their Capitals

Banking sources said that the private banks in Syria are heading towards increasing their capitals through subscriptions on shares estimated by $600 m. “Syria and the Gulf Bank”, the newly-established private bank in Syria, has started to increase its capital through closed subscriptions, whereas “Al-Arabi Bank” as well as the “The International Bank for Trade & Finance” will start, according to officials at both banks, to double their capitals before the end of 2007.

The Palestinian Economy is in Need of Alternative Trade Routs

The annual report of the conference of the UN for Trade and Development has recommended, with regard to the Palestinian economy, the necessity of finding alternative trade routs through Rafah crossing point, and specially with regard to Jordanian and Palestinian seaports.

A Gloomy Report by Shua’a Capital on Arab Money Markets

The weekly report issued yesterday by Shua’a Capital said that the daily dealings still concentrate on certain investment fields without taking any consideration to others. The report added that this would not held the dealers, the registered companies, and the managements of the markets to find a way out of the current situation on the short term, adding that this will not lead to expand the bases of investments on all available tools in the markets.

Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank Buys a Share at “Gulf Merchant Group” Bank

Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank said yesterday that it bought 41% of the shares of the investment bank “Gulf Merchant Group”, located in Dubai, in return for $51 m, within the framework of plans to expand outside the UAE.

Iran Exports 800 million Flowers Annually with a Total Value of $20 m

The General Director of (Flowers and Herbs Union), Rida Mahrabani, said during his visit to the seventh exhibition of flowers and herbs in the Iranian Mashhad city, that his country produces annually 1 billion and 700 million flowers, adding that more than 800 million flowers will be exported with a total value of $20 m.

The First Meeting of the Iranian Trade and Investment Opportunities in Hong Kong

The Iranian Councilor in Hong Kong, Abdullah Nokonam, said that the first meeting of the Iranian Trade and Investment Opportunities will be held in Hong Kong between 6-7 of this month. Mr. Nokonam pointed out that the aim of the meeting is to make the concerned bodies in both countries be acquainted with the potentials within both countries. He further said that governmental and private sectors in Iran will take part in the meeting.

Small Indexes

- The Libyan airlines started yesterday to deal with the electronic ticket in its flights.
- The Commission of the UN for Refuges Affairs (UNRWA) has called upon the international community to provide $7 m for financing the program of voluntary comeback of about 24.000 Mauritani refugees who are living in Senegal and Mali.
- Israel Central Bank said that the country’s reserves of foreign currency have increased by $517 m, reaching $28.8 bn in August.

Companies Indexes

- The Kuwaiti Company for Financing Buying and Renting Planes “Alafco” said that it holds talks with clients for renting 19 planes, which were due to be sold to the owned-state Kuwaiti airlines.
- The French “Renault” Company has signed a protocol of intentions for building an assembling factory in Tanger in Morocco with a total value of 600 million Euro, and with a production capacity of 400.000 cars annually, which would create 6000 direct job opportunities as well as another indirect 30.000 job opportunities.
- The American “Goggle web site” has signed an agreement with a number of big news agencies in the world like the French news agency, the Associated Press, and the British Union of Journalism according to which it would allow its visitors to be acquainted with news from its original sources.

Exhibitions & Conferences

- The activities of the conference in title: “Prospect of Financial and Taxation Reform-Experiences and Challenges” are due to start today at “Four Seasons Hotel” in Damascus under the auspices of the Syrian Minister of Finance Dr. Mohammad al Hussein. The conference is organized by the group of “The Bank and Investors”. Ministers and Representatives of Egyptian, Jordanian, Qatari, and Lebanese Ministers of Finance, in addition to representative from the International Monetary Fund and the International Bank will take part in the conference.
- The International Second Saloon of Plastic and Rubbery is due to be held between 8-11 of September at the Palace of Exhibitions in Algeria.
- The Economic and Social Council at the Arab League is due to held its 80th session on the ministerial level on the sixth of September of discussing preparations of the Arab economic summit adopted by the Arab summit which was held in al-Riyadh, as well as discussing the issue of the free Arab trade zone.

Bids & Contracts

- “Suez” and “Gaz De France” companies for Energy Facilities have reached an agreement for their integration. The administrative boards in both companies are due to hold a meeting for approving the plan which was set up for the first time 18 months ago.
- The unit of the Saudi “Sa’ad Group”, owned by the second biggest contributor “HSBC”, has been granted alone of $2.82 billion for re-financing a debt.
- The Saudi company for Basic Industries “Sabec” said that it intends to have a loan $6 billion this year for financing the establishment of an industrial complex, despite the chaos at insurance market which forced it to decrease the volume of issuing bonds by half last month.

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.