The Surge of Prices Affects Negatively The General Budgets

The increasing international prices of energy and food stuff are a test for the system of governmental subsidies adopted for decades in the Arab region. A large part of the governmental budgets in many countries like: Tunisia, Algeria, and Syria go for the governmental subsidies for covering the difference between the costs of fuel, sugar, wheat, and other basic food stuff and their prices in the international markets, and what can the people in those countries pay, especially that the incomes are low in those countries. With the surge of goods prices, the cost of their subsidies extract big revenues that can be used in improving the services of education, health, , and making the local companies more capable to compete with the fall of barriers of the world trade.
Economic experts say that the governmental subsidies has not achieved its declared objectives, as the main beneficiaries are the rich and middle classes and not the poor who are supposed to be the target of this subsidies. Moreover, the annual average of inflation of food stuff is very high. Analysts say that the reforms of systems of subsidies carry within it high risks, taking into consideration that a large portion of the people gets benefit from .
The governmental subsidies is still a good tool for controlling inflation, and to make the prices of food stuff and fuel follow more and more the steps of the international prices , might lead to the increase of the interest prices and pave the way for spoiling the prosperity witnessed at the insurance market.

The Emirati “Nakheel” Sells All The Units of “The Emirati Neighborhood”

The Emirate “ Nakheel” company said that it sold all its units of the “Emirati neighborhood” at the project of the international City. The “neighborhood” comprises 1612 housing units and 52 trade centers distributed among 26 buildings.

10 Areas for Integrated Tourist Development in Syria

The state-run Al-Thawra newspaper has said the Syrian Ministry of Tourism intends to offer a bid for investing 10 areas for integrated development in Syria, on the sideline of the 4th tourism meeting. The meeting to be held between 29th-30 of May, will focus mainly, according to the newspaper, on developing the areas of “Sasa’a” in Damascus countryside, “Kimar, “Afreen” area in Aleppo, “Harem”, “Takhareem” aeas in “Idleeb”, “Wadi Qandel” “ and “Al-Issawia” areas in Lattakia, and the project of “Louloua- Amrite”, “Islands of “al-Habas” in Tartous, in addition to the site of “Al-Wahda” dam in Daraa, and the site of “Al-Thawra- al-Kareen” , and finally “AL-Fikhikha” area on Al-Assad” lake in Al-Raqa governorate.

The Discovery of A big Mosaic Portrait In an Ancient Palmyrian Bath House

The Syrian Directorate of Antiquities has announced the discovery of an important historic site in “Klaibia” site, 32 Km. west of Palmyra , dating back to the Islamic era.
The site represents one of the ancient caravansaries on the road between Homs-Palmyra in the Syrian desert which were used for rest and recreation. The discovery includes a bath house of three rooms, a swimming pool, and areas for hitting water and recreation.

$ One Billion Syrian Pounds for Building a Refinery of The Syrian Heavy Crude Oil

The Syrian Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources has signed a cooperation agreement with the Chinese National Oil Company for building a joint refinery of the heavy Syrian oil in “Abu Khashab” area in “Der-Ezzor” governorate, with a total production capacity of 100 barrels daily.
The total costs of the refinery are estimated between $1,5 – 2 billion. The agreement signed by Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources, Mr. “Sufian Alou’, on the Syrian side, and the representative of the Chinese company, stipulates that the Chinese company will finance the project by 85% and the Syrian government by 15%.
It is worth mentioning that working at the project will end in 2011.

The Increase of the Value of the Shares of the Lebanese “Aouda” Bank

Dealers in the Lebanese “Aouda’ bank have said that the bank’s shares rose yesterday due to rumors that a progress has been achieved with regard to talks for integration with “al-Istithmar” (Investment ) Bank- the Financial Group “Hermis” .
It is worth mentioning that the Lebanese bank said on the 18th of March that it was holding talks with the above mentioned Financial Group for integration, asserting that the talks were still in the preliminary stage. The bank’s shares have risen on Friday by 3,7%, reaching $95 , whereas its shares registered in Beirut have risen by 5,9% , reaching $ 90.

Small Indexes

- The number of the Qatari tourists who visited Egypt last year reached 25000, after it was only 11000 ,500 tourists in 2002.
- Prices of the future dealings of the American crude oil rose by more than two Dollars yesterday, backed by the weakness of the Dollar, and following the publication of a report which indicated that owners of companies decreased employments in March.

Companies Indexes

- “Palm” Company has announced that it sold one million units of its latest products of mobile phone “Centro” in a period which did not exceed 6 months since its launching last September.
- Chairman of the Administrative Board of “Siemens” company, Peter Lisher has said that the new building of the company in Moscow will be completed in 2009.

Exhibitions & Conferences

- The annual Exhibition and Meeting for prominent companies of Travel and Tourism in the Middle East, namely, “The Market of the Arab Travel “ The Meeting”-2008 “ is due to be held in Dubai between 6-9 of next May.
- The Exhibition of National Trade and Industry is due to be held on the Fairground at Baghdad International Airport during the second half of next April, with the participation of more than 100 national companies from both the private and public sectors.
- Singapore has announced that it will take an active part in the Arab Travel Market Exhibition- 2008 to be held in Dubai , through a big numbers of huge tourist projects in addition to a number of strategic tourist destination in it.

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.