The Issue of Prices, and Hitting With an Iron Fist

Once again, the government asserts its interest in the living conditions of the citizen, and once again it asserts that the increase of prices will not affect his daily life, saying that neither the rise of electricity prices will affect consuming electricity at houses, nor the prices of gasoline which will also not affect the living standard of the family, because the solution is there, and easily available, in the sense that the Syrian government will distribute 1000 Liters of gasoline annually for each family by preferential prices.
Thus, it will “guarantee” that the surge of prices will not affect the daily life of the citizen.
On the other hand, Ministry of Electricity said that the increase of prices has not affected, according to the studies it made, on the bill of consuming electricity at houses because it addressed only the higher levels of consuming. Every time the government says that the increase of prices will not affect the citizen, it becomes more evident that this citizen is more confident that this increase will, for sure, affect him. Do not factories of cloth and textile run by electricity? Do not water pumps which irrigate plants run by gasoline, and likewise the trucks which carry these plants to other parts of the country? Or should the citizen trust the government also that “it will hit by an iron of fist all those who enrich themselves on the account of the average man”?

The UEA Considers the Issue of Disengaging its Currency with the Dollar

The Emirati Vice President, and Prime Minister, Sheikh Mohamad Bin Rashed al-Maktoum said on Tuesday that the UAE will not disengage its currency with the American Dollar, but he pointed out that a committee has been formed to study the issue of engaging the Emirati currency with the Dollar, adding that it will present its report on whether this disengagement must be made in the future.
It is worth mentioning that all the GCC countries engage their currencies with the American Dollar except Kuwait which disengaged its currency with the Dollar in May 2007.

Abu Dhabi Buys 20% of “Shell” Exploration Activities in Algeria

“Mubadala” Company, affiliated to Abu Dhabi Emirate said that it bought 20% of exploration activities in Algeria, being carried out by the giant British-Dutch “ Shell” Company. In a statement, the investing Emirati company has asserted in a statement that it concluded this deal via the company affiliated by it “Leo for Energy” , without mentioning its value.

Israel Bank Expects a Slowness of Growth Rate in 2008

The Governor of Israel Central Bank, Stanley Fischer, has said that he expects a slowness of economic growth in 2008, as a result of the current crisis of the financial markets in the world. Fischer further added that the average of the growth rate in the Israeli market will be 2, 3% this year, which is lower than it used to be during the last four years. It is worth mentioning that the growth rate in 2008 was expected to be 4,2% as it was indicated in the budget. On the other hand, Fischer pointed out that the average of inflation will reach 4,7% in 2008 compared to 3,7% in 2007.

“Boblis” Group Wins an Advertisement Contract With “Emirates Airlines”

The media Group “Boblis Group” has won the international contract for planning and buying the advertisement spaces of Al-Emirate Group. The contract will cover 80 countries with a budget estimated at about $350 million (1, 28 Dirham). The company, working under Al-Emirate Group will be run and supervised by “Philip Jabour” under the direct supervision of Starcom Media Vest Group.

Small Indexes

- Reports issued yesterday indicated that India has decided to stop exporting rice and decreasing the custom fees on food oil within its efforts to put an end to the pressures of inflation.
- The World Bank has said that it expects the Indonesian economy to grow this year by 6% of the total GDP, which is less than the previous expected average which was 6,4%

Companies Indexes

- The Moroccan real estate Group “ al-Duha” has achieved an increase of 36% of net profits in 2007, gaining revenues through investing in the field of popular housing, luxurious projects, and motels for holidays.
- The German Deutsche Bank has said today that it expects the erasing of 2,5 billion Euro from its loaning package during the first quarter of this year as a result of the crisis of real estate market in the U.S.

Exhibitions & Conferences

- Minister of Municipality and Rural Affairs in Saudi Arabia, Prince “Muteb Bin Abd Al-Aziz” will inaugurate the 11th session of al-Riyad Exhibition for real estates and constructional development on the 4th of next May at the center of al-Riyadh Exhibition Company.

Indicators is a daily economic watch newsletter about the Near East, issued by New Orient News agency in Beirut, Lebanon. It is available on 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.