Amid the Absence of Drastic Solutions: 2008, An American Depression, a European Inflation, and Chaos in Financial Markets

The year 2008 has come with a heavy burden of the economic problems of last year, on the top of which the prices of the real estate mortgage in the US and what followed of effects on the American and international banking and financial system, in addition to the rise of oil prices which exceeded the barrier of $100, and the continuous chaos in the international financial markets. Economic experts assert that the possibility of depression in the American economy is becoming greater, and that the big banks have become more careful in granting loans to companies and individuals, which will force the American consumers to decrease consuming expenditure, which will decrease the company’s investments and that would be reflected on their revenues and force them to fire more employees which would threaten to increase the average of unemployment.
Experts assert that “ inflation has been created to remain” , in the sense that controlling the average of inflation has become difficult due to international external factors , the most important of which is the high economic growth rate in the developed countries and their eagerness to acquire different sources of raw materials”. Consequently, these societies, and among them the Arab countries, must adapt from now on to co-exist with inflation as a sustainable phenomena.

The Real Estate Ima’ar Intends to Carry Out four Projects in Algeria

The Real Estate Ima’ar Company intends within the coming few days to carry out four projects estimated at $5.5 bn in Algeria.. The Algerian Minister of Industry Abdul Hamid al Tamar said that studying four projects carried out by Ima’ar has been concluded, adding that the protocol of agreement will be signed after three days.

The Conference Tourism is on the Top of the List in Jordan

Decision makers in the Jordanian tourist sector have agreed upon that cultural tourism as well as the conferences tourism come the first in terms of growth rate and activity in the kingdom, according to the report of competitiveness published by the Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation, whereas statistics issued by Absos-Jordan for researchers showed that the volume of advertisement expenditure on conferences held in the kingdom has reach $819.4 spent last year.

OPEC’s Revenues Hit a Record in 2007

The Department of the Information of Energy in the US said that the member countries in OPEC have gained great revenues estimated at $675 billion last year as a result of oil exports and due to the increase of prices of crude oil. It is expected the revenues of these countries all together to witness an increase estimated at $175 bn this year.

The Biggest 200 Iranian Companies Exhibit Their Product in Syria

The activities of the first specialized exhibition for the biggest 200 Iranian companies in the trade, industrial, and service field have started yesterday on the fair ground in the Syrian capital Damascus. The five-day exhibition will witness an active participation of the Iranian companies which invest in Syria specifically. It is worth mentioning that the volume of the direct investment between the two countries has reached $102 bn, most of it investments of the Iranian companies in Syria and the latest of which is an Iranian factory for producing cars in Syria in addition to a cement factory, and the project of a joint refinery between more than one country in Syria which Iran takes part in.

Small Indexes

- The Algerian news agency said that the GDP has increased by 11% last year reaching $135 bn, backed by the increase of oil revenues.
- The Kuwaiti Ministry of Finance said that Kuwait’s budget for the fiscal year 2008-2009 is expecting a deficit estimated at 5.12 billion dinars “$18.75 bn”.
- The Japanese Trade Deficit has increased with the Middle Eastern countries by 39.5% in December reaching 1.187 trillion Japanese Yen.

Companies Indexes

- Bankers and dealers said that the exchange rate of the Yemeni currency hasn’t improve despite pumping $100 m by the Central Bank in the Market.
- Dubai Company for Investment, the biggest holding company with a variety of activities in the UAE, is planning to hold the real estate project in Ajman Emirate with a total value estimated at more than 10 billion dirhams “$2.72 bn”.
- Limitless, the real estate developing arm of Dubai International Company, said that it is about to launch its new operations in Jordan with the aim of carrying out a number of projects and adding them to its increasing international investment package.

Exhibitions

- The activities of the exhibition of the projects of development and tourist investment – 2008 have been concluded in Dubai International Trade Center. Lights were shed on projects of more than 50 developers in the tourist sector with a value estimated more than $700 m. It is worth mentioning that the next session will be held between 18-20 December in Dubai International Center for Exhibitions and Conferences.

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, English and Spanish. Also worth a read is Tendencies, the daily Near East political watch newsletter, available in Arabic, English, French, German, and Spanish languages.