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Lebanese PM flags up Saudi investment potential, financial ties lebanese pm flags up saudi investment potential financial ties

Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Al-Hariri highlighted the potential for strong commercial and investment ties between Lebanon and Saudi Arabia at a conference in London on Thursday.

He described his relationship with Saudi Arabia as a good one: “I believe that the Saudi market is a good market for Lebanon.

“We have prepared many agreements that we will be signing with Saudi Arabia as soon as we form an administration. When we form a government, we will see Saudi Arabia taking some serious steps toward Lebanon.

Al-Hariri has been struggling to form a national unity government in Beirut since elections in May produced an inconclusive result.

But he hoped a new government would be unveiled before the end of the year or early 2019.

Al-Hariri said he recognized the need for urgent reforms to rebuild Lebanon after the civil wars of 1976-90, and clashes with Israel that left many areas pulverised in 2006. “We have to do things differently, we can’t go on as before,” he said

He also spoke of the circumstances that Lebanon found itself after taking in 1.5 million Syrian refugees. There was a pressing need to restore the nation’s finances after several years of GDP growth of between 1 percent and 1.5 percent.

Al-Hariri added: “We can’t tell Gulf countries to come to Lebanon (to invest) at the same time as there are political parties (in Lebanon) cursing the hell out of the Gulf. We need to move away from the regional conflicts. Lebanon is too small to pay a price in these big conflicts. Big countries can afford it. We cannot.”
Creating employment was vital for Lebanese young people, and he said that the unemployment rate among refugees was 75 percent.
“We have to look outside of the box … where we can invest money, create jobs quickly.

“We want to prepare Lebanon as a platform for foreign companies to come and invest in, and make Lebanon a hub for them to take advantage of reconstruction in Syria, Iraq and even Libya.”

At a recent media briefing at the World Bank’s offices in Beirut, Lebanon’s economy was described as “unsustainable” by the bank’s vice president for the MENA region, Ferid BelHajj.
He said: “Lebanon has been defying gravity for quite some time”, and a day would come when “gravity materializes,” though he added that the central bank had a good buffer of foreign reserves. 

The IMF has called for “an immediate and substantial” fiscal adjustment to improve the sustainability of public debt, which stood at more than 150 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) at the end of 2017.

The World Bank has a $2.2 billion investment portfolio in Lebanon, but the lack of government means $1.1 billion of that amount — to be spent on jobs, health and transport projects — is still awaiting approval by Beirut before it can be used.

International donors meeting in Paris pledged more than $11 billion of investment for Lebanon, but they want to see reforms first.

At the Paris meeting Al-Hariri promised to reduce the budget deficit as a percentage of GDP by 5 percent over five years, Reuters reported.

From :Arabnews



Fri, 14 Dec 2018 19:07:03 GMT
Libya’s National Oil against paying ‘ransom’ to reopen El Sharara field libya’s national oil against paying ‘ransom’ to reopen el sharara field

Libya’s state-owned National Oil Corp. (NOC) said it was against paying a ransom to an armed group that has halted crude production at the country’s largest oilfield.

“Any attempt to pay a ransom to the armed militia which shut down El Sharara (oilfield) would set a dangerous precedent that would threaten the recovery of the Libyan economy,” NOC Chairman Mustafa Sanalla said in a statement on the company’s website.

NOC on Monday declared force majeure on exports from the 315,000-barrels-per-day oilfield after it was seized at the weekend by a local militia group.

The nearby El-Feel oilfield, which uses the same power supply as El Sharara, was still producing normally, a spokesman for NOC said, without giving an output figure. The field usually pumps around 70,000 bpd.

Since 2013 Libya has faced a wave of blockages of oilfields and export terminals by armed groups and civilians trying to press the country’s weak state into concessions.

Officials have tended to end such action by paying off protesters who demand to be added to the public payroll.

At El Sharara, in southern Libya, a mix of state-paid guards, civilians and tribesmen have occupied the field, camping there since Saturday, protesters and oil workers said. The protesters work in shifts, with some going home at night

NOC has evacuated some staff by plane, engineers at the oilfield said. A number of sub-stations away from the main field have been vacated and equipment removed

The occupiers are divided, with members of the Petroleum Facilities Guard (PFG) indicating they would end the blockade in return for a quick cash payment, oil workers say. The PFG has demanded more men be added to the public payroll.

The tribesmen have asked for long-term development funds, which might take time.

Libya is run by two competing, weak governments. Armed groups, tribesmen and normal Libyans tend to vent their anger about high inflation and a lack of infrastructure on the NOC, which they see as a cash cow booking billions of dollars in oil and gas revenues annually.

From :Arabnews



Fri, 14 Dec 2018 18:55:12 GMT
Bank of Russia raises key rate bank of russia raises key rate

The Bank of Russia Board of Directors decided to raise the key rate by 0.25 pp to 7.75% per annum, the regulator said in a press release issued after the Board of Directors.

"The decision taken is proactive in nature and is aimed at limiting inflation risks that remain elevated, especially over the short-term horizon. There persists uncertainty over future external conditions, as well as over the reaction of prices and inflation expectations to the upcoming VAT rate increase. The increase in the key rate will help prevent firm inflation anchoring at the level significantly exceeding the Bank of Russia’s target," the regulator says.

The Bank of Russia will consider the necessity of further increases in the key rate, the regulator said.

The increase in the key rate will help prevent firm inflation anchoring at the level significantly exceeding the Bank of Russia’s target, the regulator explained.

"The Bank of Russia will consider the necessity of further increases in the key rate, taking into account inflation and economic dynamics against the forecast, as well as risks posed by external conditions and the reaction of financial markets," according to the press release.

Key rate hike will help maintain real interest rates on deposits, support their attractiveness, the regulator said. 

Oil market
The Central Bank notes increased risks of supply exceeding demand in the oil market in 2019.

"In the fourth quarter, oil prices remain above 55 US dollars per barrel included in the baseline scenario assumptions for 2019-2021. However, the risks of supply exceeding demand in the oil market in 2019 have increased," the regulator said.

Meanwhile, it added that high uncertainty over future external conditions and their impact on financial asset prices remains.

VAT increase
The forthcoming VAT (value-added tax) rate increase might have a slight constraining effect on business activity in Russia, mostly in the beginning of the year, the Central Bank said.

"The Bank of Russia’s view of the Russian economy’s mid-term growth prospects has remained mainly unchanged. In 2019, the forthcoming VAT increase might have a slight constraining effect on business activity (mostly in the beginning of the year)," the statement said.

In 2018, inflation in Russia is expected to be around 4%, which is in line with the goal of the Russian Central Bank.

"At the end of 2018, inflation is expected to be close to 4%, which corresponds to the Bank of Russia’s target. In November, the annual consumer price growth rose to 3.8% (3.9%, according to the estimates as of 10 December). This November’s upward movement of inflation was largely driven by annual food price growth accelerating from 2.7% to 3.5%. This was supported by changes in the balance of supply and demand in certain food markets," the Central Bank said.

According to the report, consumer price growth is starting to be affected by the VAT increase scheduled to take effect from January 1, 2019. According to Bank of Russia estimates, most inflation indicators reflecting the most sustainable price movements are growing.

The Bank of Russia forecasts consumer price growth rate at 3.9-4.2% by the end of 2018.

GDP growth rate
The growth rate of Russia's GDP in 2019 will be in the range of 1.2-1.7%, the economic growth rates could increase in the future, the Russian Central Bank said.

"The newly attracted budgetary funds will be used to boost government spending, including spending on investments, as early as 2019. As a result, according to the Bank of Russia forecast, GDP growth in 2019 will range between 1.2% and 1.7%. The following years might see higher growth rates as the planned structural measures are implemented," the regulator said.

Foreign currency
Russia's Central Bank will resume the regular purchases of foreign currency as part of the budgetary rules for the Ministry of Finance, starting on January 15, 2019.

"The increase in the key rate is proactive and will limit the risks of inflation staying at a level significantly exceeding the Central Bank goal. The forecast takes into account the decision made by the Bank of Russia to resume regular purchases of foreign currency on the domestic market as part of the budgetary rule, starting on January 15, 2019," the regulator said.

Fri, 14 Dec 2018 14:08:08 GMT
Indian Minister of Trade meets with UAE Ambassador, Chairman of Emaar Properties indian minister of trade meets with uae ambassador chairman of emaar properties

Suresh Prabhu, Minister of Trade, Industry and Civil Aviation of India, yesterday met with Dr. Ahmed Abdul Rahman Al Banna, UAE Ambassador to India, and Mohamed Ali Alabbar, Chairman of Emaar Properties.

During the meeting, both sides discussed the current commercial activities of Emaar in India and its future plans.

Dr. Al Banna thanked Prabhu and appreciated India’s efforts to facilitate foreign investments while praising India’s achievement by rising 23 places in the "International Businesses Practices Rankings."

Al Abbar explained Emaar’s commercial activities in India and noted that Emaar is one of the biggest Emirati investors in the country, and is still committed to increasing its investments in the Indian market.

Regarding the company’s future investment plans, he stressed that Emaar is keen to diversify its activities, including by investing in logistical services, food storage centres, real estate development and traditional properties. He also affirmed that food security is one of the key priority sectors in the UAE while expressing Emaar’s desire to create relevant partnerships with the private sector.

Al Abbar praised India’s efforts to solve issues related to investments and Emirati companies in India while pointing out that a high-level investment task force accomplishment significant achievements in solving some of these issues. The formation of the "Fast Path Committee," under the supervision of Dr. Al Banna and Ramesh Abhishek, Deputy Director of Policy and Industrial Development of India, will provide significant support to solve these issues, according to a specific timeframe, he said in conclusion.

Thu, 13 Dec 2018 22:53:36 GMT
Turkey starts building land part of Turkish Stream pipeline turkey starts building land part of turkish stream pipeline

Turkey is launching the construction of the onshore part of the Turkish Stream gas pipeline on the territory of the republic.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced this presenting the action plan for the second 100 days of the new cabinet after the country’s transition to the presidential form of government.

"We are launching the construction of the onshore part of the Turkish Stream on our territory," he said as quoted by the Anadolu news agency.

Erdogan also announced plans to complete the implementation of this project "by the end of 2019."

On November 19, Istanbul hosted the ceremony of completion of the construction of the offshore section of the Turkish Stream gas pipeline, which was attended by the leaders of Russia and Turkey, Vladimir Putin and Tayyip Erdogan. The Russian President expressed confidence that this project, as well as the construction of the Akkuyu NPP, will become vivid symbols of the ongoing development of the Russian-Turkish partnership and the "pledge of friendship" between the two nations.

The Turkish Stream project envisages the construction of a gas pipeline across the Black Sea to the European part of Turkey and farther to the border with Greece. The seabed section is to be about 910 kilometers long and the land section will run 180 km into Turkey. Gas deliveries via the first stretch of the gas pipeline are designed to meet the requirements of the growing Turkish market, while the second stretch is planned to deliver gas to the countries of Southern and South-Eastern Europe. Each thread will have a capacity of 15.75 bln cubic meters of gas a year. The project is estimated at a total of 11.4 bln euro.


Thu, 13 Dec 2018 22:22:03 GMT
Egypt, Algeria sign MoU to increase trade exchange egypt algeria sign mou to increase trade exchange

The Federation of Egyptian Chambers of Commerce (FEDCOC) on Thursday signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Algerian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CACI) to activate the Egyptian-Algerian Business Council, with a view to increasing the volume of trade exchange and exploring available trade and investment opportunities.

Delivering a speech at the Egyptian-Algerian business forum, FEDCOC chairman Ahmed El-Wakil said the agreement includes establishing an annual work program covering different activities.

Also, El-Wakil urged the maritime transport Sector and the international transport services department to accelerate the building of a direct navigation route linking the two countries.

The move is expected to contribute to lowering freight costs and enhancing Algerian exports through the Suez Canal development axis.

The FEDCOC called on Algeria to join the Greater Arab Free Trade Area (GAFTA), Agadir Agreement, with the aim of attaining industrial integration and raising the exchange of the production components and inputs to boost exports.


Thu, 13 Dec 2018 21:16:17 GMT
Economic conference on investment opportunities in Syria kicks off in Romania economic conference on investment opportunities in syria kicks off in romania

With the participation of 120 representatives of Romanian companies, Chambers of Commerce and industry, An economic conference on “Reconstruction in Syria between the development of economic steadfastness and the opportunities of private Romanian companies”  discussed Wednesday the investment opportunities in Syria.

The conference, which is held by an initiative from the Romanian Economic and Political Studies Institute in cooperation with the Syrian embassy in Bucharest , tackled many points which focused on the role which may be played by Romanian companies in reconstruction process in Syria.
Syrian Ambassador in Romania Walid Othman said that hundreds of Syrian refugees have returned to their areas after the government had restored the basic services to these areas.

He added that the Syrian government has begun to put plans for reconstructing what has been destroyed by terrorism.

The Ambassador considered that the Conference is a good and promising initiative in the track of boosting cooperation ties between Syria and Romania and an encouraging step for common partnership during the rebuilding process.

Thu, 13 Dec 2018 13:52:34 GMT
Philippine central bank holds overnight borrowing rate steady philippine central bank holds overnight borrowing rate steady

The Philippine central bank held its benchmark interest rate steady on Thursday, as expected, in line with the outlook for the inflation rate to cool.

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas left the rate on its overnight reverse repurchase facility unchanged at 4.75 percent, as predicted by 11 out of 13 analysts in a Reuters poll.

The central bank raised rates by a total 175 basis points at the past five consecutive meetings to tame inflation, which eased for the first time in nearly a year in November to 6.0 percent..

From :Arabnews


Thu, 13 Dec 2018 13:23:06 GMT
Top EU court backs legality of ECB bond buying top eu court backs legality of ecb bond buying

The European Central Bank (ECB) decision in 2015 to buy government bonds was valid and within its mandate, the EU's top court ruled Tuesday.

Moreover, the bond-buying program was not a form of financing public debt - which is prohibited - because it bought bonds on secondary markets, the judges said.

Under the law, it is clear that "the ECB and the central banks of the member states may, in principle, operate in the financial markets by buying and selling outright marketable instruments in euro," the judges wrote in a press release.

Several German lawsuits had challenged the bond purchase programme, which was an attempt to kick-start the eurozone's sluggish economy after the financial crisis. By buying corporate and government bonds, the ECB hoped to lower interest rates as a way of boosting consumption and investment

Tue, 11 Dec 2018 11:33:28 GMT
ASE opens trading on lower note ase opens trading on lower note

The Amman Stock Exchange (ASE) on Tuesday opened trading with a drop to 1,818 points compared to 1,829 points of last session closure.

During the first 15 minutes of today's trading, the market index fluctuated between 1,816 points and 1,829 points with a trading volume of JD700.000, the ASE sources said.

Tue, 11 Dec 2018 11:02:10 GMT
Amman stock market closes trading at JD4.4 million amman stock market closes trading at jd44 million

The Amman Stock Exchange (ASE) wrapped up Monday's trading session down by 1.46 percent at 1,829 points. A total of 3.3 million shares were traded through 1,849 transactions at a trading value of JD4.4 million.

When comparing the closing prices of the shares of 95 companies, 54 saw their share prices going up while 10 others declined. The prices of the shares of 31 firms remained unchanged.

Mon, 10 Dec 2018 15:40:23 GMT
OPEC+ deal to ensure stability of oil price, that is positive for Russia opec deal to ensure stability of oil price that is positive for russia

The OPEC+ deal curbing oil production will ensure stability of the oil price, which is positive for Russia, First Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Anton Siluanov told reporters on the sidelines of the United Russia party congress on Saturday.

"What does it mean? [It means] that we imply some stability on the oil market, which is good, which is positive when a joint scheduled step is approved. It is positive for all countries as energy prices become predictable. It is important for Russia," he said.

On Friday, OPEC agreed to reduce oil production by 1.2 mln barrels per day in the first half of 2019 as part of the OPEC+ deal.

Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said that the oil price within a range of $55 to $65 per barrel might become the most balanced in the future both for producers and consumers. According to Novak, preserving the current oil price and its lesser volatility could be most beneficial for Russia, taking into account both revenues to the budget and balance on the domestic market.


Sun, 09 Dec 2018 13:35:08 GMT
Egypt's decision to adjust customs' duties on luxury goods to benefit economy egypts decision to adjust customs duties on luxury goods to benefit economy

The Egyptian Ministry of Finance’s decision to adjust the customs dollar exchange rate for non-essential goods, tying it to the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE)’s dollar exchange rate will benefit the Egyptian economy as a whole, said the head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF)’s mission to Egypt Subir Lall.

Lall told MENA on Friday that the decision will help improve the efficiency of resource allocation, including the foreign direct investment.

The decision’s impact on inflation rates will be once and will be limited, he said, noting that the decision marks an important progress.

The previous customs practices, such as conducting transactions at fewer exchange rates included an unnecessary implicit subsidy, he clarified.

Minister of Finance Mohamed Maait decided last week to keep the customs dollar exchange rate for essential commodities unchanged at EGP 16 until the end of December.

The decision also adjusted the customs dollar exchange rate for non-essential and luxury goods to be determined as per the dollar exchange rate set by the CBE.

Sun, 09 Dec 2018 12:33:28 GMT
Cairo, Rome ink 45 million Euros deal to support Egyptian private sector cairo rome ink 45 million euros deal to support egyptian private sector

Minister of Investment and International Cooperation Sahar Nasr and Italian Ambassador in Cairo Giampaolo Cantini signed a deal Saturday to support the development of Egypt’s private sector with total investment of €45 million.

The deal, signed on the sidelines of Africa 2018 Forum, will contribute to supporting Egypt’s private sector via training programmes and technical support for small and medium enterprises.

Nasr said the deal will support the government’s plan to provide a good atmosphere for the private sector in a way that underwrites development and comprehensive growth.

Nasr lauded Italy’s keenness to support empowering Egypt's youth, whether through investment or financing development programmes.

The Italian ambassador asserted the strength of the Cairo-Rome partnership on the political, economic and cultural levels.

He added that cooperation will continue between Italy and Egypt to open up job opportunities for young Egyptians.

Sun, 09 Dec 2018 12:24:23 GMT
Investment minister witnesses MoU to support clean technology start-up accelerator investment minister witnesses mou to support clean technology startup accelerator

Minister of Investment and International Cooperation Sahar Nasr witnessed Saturday the inking ceremony of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to establish an investment fund specialised in supporting emerging companies working in the field of clean technology.

The MoU, inked on the sidelines of Africa 2018 Forum, was signed by chairman of Enara Capital fund Sherif El-Gebaly and CEO of Falak start-up accelerator Youssef El-Samaa.

Nasr said the investment fund that will emerge from the MoU will be responsible for direct and indirect investment in companies working in all fields of clean technology with the aim of accelerating their growth.

The new fund targets injecting investment into five companies working in the clean energy field in addition to 60 others not presently in the field.

Launched upon an initiative by the Ministry of Investment and International Cooperation, Falak is a start-up accelerator designed to support and empower the next generation of Egyptian entrepreneurs and contribute to the development of the start-up ecosystem in Egypt.

The programme offers funding, mentorship, training, and a wide variety of perks and benefits, with the aim of arming entrepreneurs with the necessary tools, resources, and contacts to develop their strategies and expand their businesses so that they may thrive in today’s competitive economy

Sun, 09 Dec 2018 12:09:47 GMT
Putin does not rule out connecting South Europe to Turkish Stream via Greece putin does not rule out connecting south europe to turkish stream via greece

Russian President Vladimir Putin did not rule out that the countries of Southern Europe can be connected to the Turkish Stream pipeline through Greece. He made this statement at a press conference following talks with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.

"We are ready to implement, together with Greece, major infrastructure energy projects. This also applies to the possibility of connecting Southern Europe to the Turkish Stream through Greece," he said.

The Russian leader added that Moscow is now discussing this issue with its Turkish partners, as well as with Greece. He recalled that a pipeline from Greece to Italy has actually been built, but it is yet to be filled with gas.

"You can think together about how to fill this route with a real product. This is a matter that requires separate consideration, primarily in terms of economic feasibility for economic players, including Russian ones. But it is quite possible, I do not rule out this, moreover, we believe that this is quite realistic," he concluded.

The Turkish Stream project envisages the construction of a gas pipeline across the Black Sea to the European part of Turkey and farther to the border with Greece. The seabed section is to be about 910 kilometers long and the land section will run 180 km into Turkey. Gas deliveries via the first stretch of the gas pipeline are designed to meet the requirements of the growing Turkish market, while the second stretch is planned to deliver gas to the countries of Southern and South-Eastern Europe. Each thread will have a capacity of 15.75 bln cubic meters of gas a year. The project is estimated at a total of 11.4 bln euro.

Greek economy 
Vladimir Putin believes that as the Greek economy strengthens, Russian investment in the country will grow.

"I am sure that if the situation in the economy stabilizes, then other participants in economic activity - and the investment potential of Russian business is very large - will be more active and confident," Putin said on Friday at a press conference following talks with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.

The Russian leader wished the Greek government to overcome all the difficulties in the country's economy as soon as possible.

Fri, 07 Dec 2018 16:28:40 GMT
Major oil producers haggle over production cut major oil producers haggle over production cut

Major oil producers are meeting in Vienna on Friday for a second day of talks aimed at bridging differences over a planned production cut that is meant to stop a recent price drop.

The 25 countries that account for nearly half of global oil supplies have so far failed to reach an agreement as industry heavyweights Saudi Arabia and Russia haggle over how much of an output reduction they are willing to shoulder.

Saudi Arabia is the biggest producer among the 15 members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), while Russia leads a group of 10 additional countries that are coordinating their market strategy with the Vienna-based cartel.

Together, the so-called OPEC-plus group is seeking for ways to reduce unusually high global levels of oil reserves, as a way to boost prices that have dropped some 30 per cent since early October.

Markets are oversupplied because countries such as Saudi Arabia and Russia increased output in anticipation of the US oil embargo against Iran that came into effect in November.

The embargo turned out to be less strict than expected, with Washington granting exemptions to some Iran's oil customers, including China and Japan. US oil production has also risen in the past year.

The 25 OPEC-plus countries are mulling a cut of some 1 million bpd, which would reduce global supplies by about 1 per cent.

The benchmark price for North Sea Brent oil traded at 60.28 dollars a barrel Thursday morning, 0.22 dollars above the previous day.

Fri, 07 Dec 2018 14:30:51 GMT
Venezuela inks deals worth six bn dollars with Russia venezuela inks deals worth six bn dollars with russia

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on Thursday said he had signed deals with Russia worth six billion dollars during a recent visit to Moscow.

The deals include investments in the oil sector and gold mining, Maduro tweeted.

The socialist president also said he had purchased 600,000 tonnes of wheat for the coming year.

His tweet also spoke of "Alliances for the people's happiness!"

Despite its vast oil reserves, Venezuela is suffering an economic, political and humanitarian crisis, with widespread shortages of basic goods and skyrocketing inflation.

Some three million people have left the country, according to United Nations agencies, more than one million of them to neighbouring Colombia.

Peru, Ecuador, Argentina, Chile, Brazil and Panama also host large numbers of Venezuelan refugees.

The South American country has become increasingly isolated amid international criticism of the Maduro regime.

Fri, 07 Dec 2018 10:25:39 GMT
Tyre maker Continental opens lab to extract rubber from dandelions tyre maker continental opens lab to extract rubber from dandelions

Tyre manufacturing company Continental on Thursday opened a laboratory in the German city of Anklam for the purpose of researching how rubber can be sustainably manufactured from dandelions.

Continental is researching the industrialization of rubber from the roots of Russian dandelion plants. It is an effort to find an alternative to rubber from the rain forest, while at the same time reducing CO2 emissions.

The technology to extract the rubber was developed by the University of Muenster, the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft institute and the Julius Kuehn Institute.

Plastic from tyres has been determined as a major source of ocean pollution. Debris from tyre abrasion is particularly harmful for the environment.

Thu, 06 Dec 2018 13:41:32 GMT
Major oil exporters mull supply cut amid internal rifts, US demands major oil exporters mull supply cut amid internal rifts us demands

Oil ministers from some of the world's biggest petroleum producers meet on Thursday and Friday to discuss an output cut to bolster prices, as Middle Eastern tensions and US demands for cheap oil add a political dimension to the talks.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is mulling a reduction in the area of 1 million barrels per day (bpd), which would take about 1 per cent of global supplies off the market.

Ministers from the 15 OPEC countries meet on Thursday. A Russia-led group of 10 additional countries plan to join them on Friday.

Together, the 25 so-called OPEC-plus countries have been implementing an output cap since early 2017.

However, there has been a dramatic price drop from 86 dollars per barrel in October to below 60 dollars last week, triggering a move towards a further reduction.

There is a "yes to a cut" among oil exporters, Oman's Oil Minister Mohammed al-Rumhi said on Wednesday evening, adding that specifics still need to be discussed.

US President Donald Trump tweeted ahead of the Vienna talks that "the World does not want to see, or need, higher oil prices!"

Saudi Arabia, OPEC's largest producer, has tried balancing the interests of its US ally and other major oil consumers on the one hand, and its need for higher oil revenues on the other.

Saudi Arabia's disputes with rival OPEC members Qatar and Iran have created rifts within the oil cartel.

Qatar announced its exit from OPEC this week, while Iran has complained that Riyadh is colluding with Washington to enforce the US embargo on Iranian oil.

Thu, 06 Dec 2018 13:29:22 GMT
China demands Canada release Huawei's chief financial officer china demands canada release huaweis chief financial officer

China's Foreign Ministry on Thursday demanded the immediate release of Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer at Huawei Technologies, who was arrested in Canada at the request of the United States.

The ministry also asked the US to clarify why it had requested authorities to detain Meng, who is also deputy chair of Huawei's board and the daughter of company founder Ren Zhengfei. She was detained last week as she changed planes in Vancouver.

Meng is facing extradition to the US, where prosecutors in New York are investigating whether Huawei violated US sanctions against Iran, according to the Wall Street Journal. 

Canada's Justice Department said earlier that a bail hearing had been set for Friday but did not disclose further details due to a publication ban.

Huawei, the world's largest maker of cellular-tower electronics and other telecommunications equipment, said it had been provided with "very little information regarding the charges and is not aware of any wrongdoing by Ms Meng."

Thu, 06 Dec 2018 13:21:42 GMT
Bahrain's economic delegation concludes successful India visit bahrains economic delegation concludes successful india visit

Bahrain's economic delegation concluded an official visit to India, organised by the Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB) this week to promote investment opportunities in Bahrain. The delegation's activities were centered in Mumbai, a vital hub for financial services and technology in India.

The Bahraini delegation included officials from the EDB, the Central Bank of Bahrain and representatives of the private sector.

During the visit, the EDB organised a business forum which formed an important interactive platform for delegation members to discuss opportunities with around 100 Indian investors and sector representatives.

The delegation sought to enhance the bilateral investment relations between Bahrain and India by promoting the Kingdom's investment opportunities in the financial services, financial technology and real estate sectors, as Bahrain is the ideal gateway to the Gulf market, worth $ 1.5 trillion.

The visit is part of the EDB's efforts to attract investments to the Kingdom to contribute to the creation of jobs in the local market.

In 2014, the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Tourism and the EDB coordinated the visit of an economic trade delegation to India to encourage investment between the two countries, coinciding with the historic visit of His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa to India.

During the visit, the delegation highlighted Bahrain's experience in creating a supportive environment for incubators and business accelerators represented by the Bahrain FinTech Bay.

It also discussed the competitive advantages of the Kingdom's investment environment in terms of low operating costs, advanced legislation and economic openness.

The visit saw the signing of an agreement between the EDB and the Indian state of Maharashtra to create a framework for cooperation in the promotion of innovation in financial technology and to provide mutual support to the financial technology environment through training programmes.

The Bahraini delegation also met officials from leading Indian companies, with ties to major international businesses, in the areas of trade, entertainment, financial services, FinTech, consultations, business solutions and ICT.

Discussions focused on potential to explore cooperation, where representatives of the Indian companies showed interest in strengthening relations with Bahraini business sectors.

"I am very optimistic about the results of this roadshow that will pave the way to a strategic partnership on the government side and between Bahraini and Indian businesses in vital sectors such as FinTech, financial services, and ICT," Dr. Simon Galpin, Managing Director at EDB, said.

"Bahrain and India share many common interests since both countries are seeking a transformation towards a digital economy, and an adoption of tech solutions by the financial services environment in both countries."

Bahrain's General Consul in Mumbai Ali Abdulaziz Al Balooshi has welcomed the EDB roadshow in India's financial capital and lauded its work.

"The signing of this MoU comes within the framework of the major developments in the Bahraini-Indian relations and cooperation, especially in terms of the economic and FinTech aspects," he said.

"The focus at this stage is to begin practical steps to implement the provisions of the MoU. Bahrain, as a result of the guidance of the wise leadership and the great steps taken in this regard, is ready for such important agreements in line with the Kingdom's great ambitions and keenness to stay ahead."

MoUs and roadshows contribute to the start of further partnerships and agreements with India, which has a strong economy that is growing steadily and has been able to reduce disparities with large economies, he added.

"The expectations are that the Indian economy will have the largest growth in the future. This represents significant opportunities that must be seized through the conclusion of such agreements and partnerships for the benefit of all parties."

Rishi Kapoor, Co CEO of Investcorp, said on the sideline that the roadshow has been successful and that he looked forward to further opportunities to promoting Bahrain.

"As an Indian living in Bahrain for almost 25 years now, Bahrain is home," he said. "It is a privilege to be part of the Economic Development Board of Bahrain. For Investcorp it is a very national extension because it ties so neatly with our own inspirations and opening a good investment opportunity channel relating to the Indian market place, for our investors globally. As a global firm, this is an ideal way for Investcorp to benefit from that India-Bahrain corridor to enable our investment activities in India and also to enable the activities of Indian corporates and other promoters as they continue to grow in the Middle East.

"In terms of investment, Investcorp has been present in Bahrain since nearly the 1980’s, as the hub of our global operation in terms of the Middle East side of the business and it continues to be a very important asset of our global business. Bahrain is the core of our client coverage for the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and it is also the centre of all our Middle East investing activities. "

Several investors said on the sideline of the forum that they were confident about the Bahrain options and assurances.

Sanjeev Agarwal, Managing Director of Sunrise Corporation, said it was important to have the support of the Economic Development Board and stressed that it provided commendable support.

"Last year, I was working on a project to set up a base in the Middle East. I went to several countries in the region, including Bahrain, the UAE and Turkey, to select a manufacturing base to export to the US and to the Middle East," he said.

"The quality of interactions and inputs that were given to me by the Bahraini Economic Development Board was the best of the lot. They understood what I needed. They made sure that whenever I travelled to the place, they had all the relevant meetings lined up, to meet the right people, to understand the regulations, to know the issues involved, and to appreciate the agreements between Bahrain and the Middle East countries about tax on import and export duties. Although the local market in Bahrain is small, those who want an entry point into the Middle East will find that the most effective and the most cooperative people in the Middle East are the Bahrainis. The cost of living in other places is pushing people towards Bahrain."

Agarwal said he was working on a FinTech concept product related to gold and jewellery and that he was exploring India and Bahrain at the entry setup level.

"From the perspective of lower costs, India is better. But if I look for entry into the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) market, the various benefits offered by the government, including support at the startup and support financially and on the ground levels, Bahrain is better than any state in the Middle East," he said.

"EDB has offered support and set up meetings for me with top people in the customs, banks, in the trade to understand every aspect of cost, process and structure that I need to look into before I set up business. The potential in Bahrain is higher than elsewhere in the region thanks to the quality of work and inputs EDB is providing and the flexibility of the regulations in Bahrain to understand all needs."

Nayan Shah, Managing Director of Paramount Health Services and Insurance, said the company already has a joint venture in Bahrain.

"We have a company called Health 360, a joint venture with Takaful International, an insurance company," he said.

"We work for a number of insurance companies in Bahrain and we are now getting into IT space in healthcare and insured tech activity. We give our software to Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, including Palestine, and we have a contract with a company in Bahrain."

Bahrain is very familiar and his company had a lot of work, he added.

"Our company now has a joint venture in Saudi Arabia and we expect to grow there. We have a company in Sharjah and Dubai, but we want to shift our full teach activity to Bahrain. I have been interacting with EDB and we should set up shop in Bahrain in 2019. There are companies in the insurance sector that are using the old technology. They want to move into the latest space technology and have machine learning and artificial intelligence that we can provide in Bahrain will open us the door to GCC and MENA region and we look forward to interacting with EDB and see how fast we can proceed."

Shah said that they would start with 15 people in Bahrain and will grow depending on the work.

"We are discussing with EDB on how they can support us. We need exposure in the market and contacts within the market."

Praveen Suthrum, President and co-founder of Next Services, said that thanks to the EDB, he had visited Bahrain to explore the healthcare industry.

"My company is currently US and India based. We sell mostly in the US and the team is based in the US and India. Bahrain can be a good place for the Middle East.

I look at it from that standpoint. Right now, we work mainly with gastrologist and pathology labs. We offer many services. We have software electronic health record platform, which is on AWS. With such different services, we have created a common platform that can be used and expanded everywhere."

The company might raise capital next year and they are looking for financial partners.

"I am very optimistic about Bahrain and the future is fantastic and looks very promising. It is important for us in the healthcare technology sector to have assurances. With AWS and having offices, there is a good validator for the region and it provides us with assurances and guarantees about what could happen. I felt confident about the forum and the various perspectives we heard here."

Bahrain and India enjoy strong economic and trade relations. According to the latest statistics, trade between both countries has exceeded $1 billion.

Bahrain’s industrial diversification policy has played a major role in boosting economic cooperation with India. Currently, there are more than 23 branches of Indian banks and companies registered in Bahrain, in addition to 3,181 joint ventures registered in Bahrain.

The EDB has attracted 76 companies with a total investment of BD305 million ($810 million), surpassing the record achieved by the Board in 2017 when it attracted 71 companies with a total investment of BD276 million ($733 million). Direct investments in the first nine months of 2018 were almost five times higher than investments in all of 2015.

Wed, 05 Dec 2018 21:03:27 GMT
World Bank funds water projects in North Kordofan State world bank funds water projects in north kordofan state

The Groundwater drilling operations have begun in selected communities of the World Bank-Funded Social Safety Net Project for Livelihood Projects in North Kordofan State.

The Coordinator of the Community Support Unit in the State Dr. Hafiz Haji Makki said, in a statement to SUNA, that this work was one of the priorities of the programs that enhance the work of the project in the targeted communities in the state.

Dr. Makki said that the water projects would be accompanied by productive projects in the field of horticulture to produce vegetables for the beneficiaries of the project implemented by the World Bank in the state within the context of poverty alleviation through the ownership of the means of production that contribute to the improvement of household income and livelihoods.

Wed, 05 Dec 2018 20:46:15 GMT
Index at Palestine stock market drops by less than one point index at palestine stock market drops by less than one point

The Al-Quds Index of the Palestine stock market, the Palestine Exchange (PEX), closed Wednesday trading at 523.84 points, a 0.91 points (0.17%) decrease compared to the last trading session despite high trading level, according to the PEX daily report.

A total of 1,855,310 shares were traded for a value of $4,422,776.595 executed during 86 transactions.

Shares of 18 companies were traded. Share price increased in six companies and decreased in six others.

Top five gainers: JCC by 6.67%, ARAB by 3.75%, NCI by 3.30%, TNB by 2.42%, and NIC by 0.82%.

Top five decliners: PRICO by -2.27%, PEC by -2.21%, UCI by -1.61%, QUDS by -1.13%, and PALTEL by -0.46%.

Wed, 05 Dec 2018 19:10:18 GMT
EBRD President Suma Chakrabarti to visit Egypt ebrd president suma chakrabarti to visit egypt

EBRD President Suma Chakrabarti will visit Egypt from 6 to 9 December 2018 for high-profile meetings and participation in the Business for Africa summit.

In Cairo President Chakrabarti will meet the President of Egypt, Abdel Fattah El Sisi, Prime Minister and Minister of Housing and Urban Development, Mostafa Madbouly, Minister of Finance, Mohamed Ahmed Maait and Minister of Electricity and Energy, Mohamed Shaker. He will also sign several projects and an agreement on the launch of the Bank’s economic inclusion policy dialogue in Egypt.

In Sharm el Sheikh, President Chakrabarti will speak at the Business for Africa summit on the Presidential Panel: “Bold Leadership and Collective Commitment - Advancing Intra-African Investments”. He will also take part in a panel on “Egypt as investment destination and gateway to Africa”.
Ahead of his mission the EBRD President said: “We welcome the goal of the Business for Africa summit, which is the promotion of greater economic integration through increased investment flows across Africa.”

He added: “The EBRD is committed to supporting Egypt in its reform effort. The Bank’s business in Egypt is growing steadily and integration is one of our priorities here and in the other economies where we work.

The EBRD delegation will include KyooHong Cho, EBRD Board Director for Egypt; Alain Pilloux, EBRD vice President for Banking, Janet Heckman, EBRD Managing Director, for the southern and eastern Mediterranean Region, and Catarina Bjorlin Hansen, EBRD Deputy Head for Egypt.

Since the start of its operations in Egypt in 2012 the EBRD has invested over €4.5 billion in 87 projects in the country. Egypt is part of the southern and eastern Mediterranean region, which is currently the fast-growing region of EBRD operations with more than €8.2 billion investments in over 196 projects in the first six years.


Tue, 04 Dec 2018 15:42:21 GMT
French PM puts fuel tax hike on hold after protests french pm puts fuel tax hike on hold after protests

French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe has announced a six-month moratorium on petrol and diesel tax hikes, after increasingly angry protests across the country in recent weeks.

Planned rises in electricity and gas prices and plans to tighten safety checks on vehicles will also be suspended while a national consultation process takes place, Philippe said on Tuesday.

Protesters wearing yellow high-visibility tops have blocked roads across France since mid-November in protest at the planned fuel rises, and the last two weekends have seen demonstrations in Paris turn violent.

No tax rise "can be worth putting the unity of the nation at risk," Philippe said, announcing the measures in a brief televised address.

Tue, 04 Dec 2018 13:02:41 GMT
Qatar says it is withdrawing from OPEC on January 1 qatar says it is withdrawing from opec on january 1

Qatar will withdraw from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) effective January 1, the Minister of State for Energy Affairs Saad Sherida al-Kaabi said Monday, according to state-owned Qatar Petroleum.

Qatar Petroleum, of which al-Kaabi is CEO, said on Twitter that OPEC was informed of the country's withdrawal.

"The withdrawal decision reflects Qatar's desire to focus its efforts on plans to develop and increase its natural gas production from 77 million tons per year to 110 million tons in the coming years," the minister was quoted as saying at a press conference in Doha.

"Qatar is proud in its international standing at the forefront of natural gas producers, and as the biggest exporter of LNG - the cleanest fossil fuel, which has given Qatar a strong and resilient economy," Qatar Petroleum also quoted al-Kaabi as saying.


Mon, 03 Dec 2018 09:30:47 GMT
RDIF says $2 billion will be invested in Russian economy from joint Russian-Saudi fund rdif says 2 billion will be invested in russian economy from joint russiansaudi fund

The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDFI) will invest $2 bln in infrastructure projects in Russia from the joint Russian-Saudi fund next year, RDFI CEO Kirill Dmitriev told reporters.

"Saudi Arabia confirmed their interest in participation in several infrastructure projects presented by RDIF, and we plan to invest in Russia another $2 billion from the joint Russian-Saudi fund in the next year," Dmitriev said. He noted that twelve projects on petrochemistry, logistics, and so on, are on the agenda.

Dmitriev said that at the meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the question of increasing Saudi investment was discussed. He said that it was noted that the volume of Saudi investment was already significant. "Two years ago Saudi Arabia's investment stood practically at zero, and now they have exceeded $2 billion," Dmitriev said.


Sun, 02 Dec 2018 14:02:53 GMT
Egypt’s total public investments record EGP 72 bln in Q1 egypt’s total public investments record egp 72 bln in q1

Egypt’s total public investments during the first quarter of the 2018/2019 fiscal year have registered EGP 72 billion, with government investments of about EGP 27.4 billion, Minister of Planning, Monitoring and Administrative Reform Hala El Saeed said on Saturday.

Most of the government investments have been directed to develop infrastructure, the minister said at the inauguration ceremony of Al Ahram economic third annual conference, held under the auspices of Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouli.

A total of 18 percent of these investments have been allocated to the sector of construction and public utilities, while the transport sector and electricity sector have been provided with 13 percent and 11 percent of the investments respectively.

The conference was attended by several ministers, officials of government authorities, financial and banking institutions as well as representatives of the business community.

Sun, 02 Dec 2018 10:58:35 GMT
G20 leaders back WTO reform despite clear divisions g20 leaders back wto reform despite clear divisions

World leaders attending the Group of 20 annual summit in Buenos Aires on Saturday endorsed a "rules-based international order" in a joint final statement which also laid bare stark differences between key powers. 

The leaders pledged to create better jobs, tackle the sources of refugee movements and implement the "necessary reform" of the World Trade Organization (WTO) - a key demand of the United States.

"The system is currently falling short of its objectives and there is room for improvement," the joint statement said on multilateral trade mechanisms. 

"For the first time ever, the G20 recognized that the WTO is currently falling short of meeting its objectives and that it’s in need of reform," a US administration official said after Saturday's statement was issued. 

The document lacked any language against protectionist trade measures. The leaders were also split over climate change and migration.

But for host Argentina, the fact that a deal was reached was a success, given current tensions. The trade stand-off between China and the US meant an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit last month was unable to produce a joint communique for the first time.

However, hours after the summit and following a highly anticipated dinner between US President Donald Trump and Chinise President Xi Jingping, the US and China announced a 90-day ceasefire in their months-long trade war.

The two sides said that tariffs on 200 billion dollars worth of Chinese goods would not be raised on January 1, as Trump had threatened.

However the White House warned that if a deal could not be reached in the 90-day timeframe on issues including forced technology transfer and intellectual property theft, the tariffs would go up.

It said China had also agreed to increase its imports from the US to reduce the trade imbalance between the two countries.

The US has also slapped tariffs on its traditional transatlantic and North American allies since Trump became president. Trump insists they are a reaction to years of unfair treatment and says he can reach better trade deals.

The US president also regularly takes aim at the Geneva-based WTO.

Teams from the G20 members laboured for a week to reach Saturday's agreement between the member states and had to ditch more concrete language on refugees, migration and climate change.

A separate paragraph in the joint leader's statement noted that the US had withdrawn from the 2015 Paris agreement, while other nations said they would continue to work for the deal's "full implementation." 

The US says the Paris deal is "job killing" and Trump has also voiced scepticism about the validity of scientific warnings about climate change. 

Trump cancelled a planned press conference in Buenos Aires, citing the death of former US president George HW Bush.

The summit saw a focus on one-on-one meetings, highlighting how the G20 forum has shifted to a venue offering world leaders a chance to meet, as multilateralism has moved onto the back burner.

The next G20 summit is due to take place in Japan in June. 

Sun, 02 Dec 2018 08:27:25 GMT
US and China agree to 90-day ceasefire on tariffs after leaders' meet us and china agree to 90day ceasefire on tariffs after leaders meet

The United States and China have agreed to a 90-day ceasefire in their trade war, giving the sides time to continue negotiations, in a move that will likely be welcomed by markets and farmers. 

The announcement followed talks between US President Donald Trump and Chinese leader Xi Jinping in Argentina at the close of the G20 summit. The meeting lasted more than two hours.

Trump agreed that on January 1 he would leave the recently increased tariffs on 200 billion worth of Chinese product at 10 per cent and not raise the rate to 25 per cent, as he had threatened.  

Negotiations between the sides in the next three months will also look at intellectual property protection, non-tariff barriers, cyber intrusions and cyber theft. 

The White House warned that if the sides could not reach a deal in the allotted time frame, the tariffs would go up. 

China will also increase its imports from the US to improve the trade balance between the countries. 

"China has agreed to start purchasing agricultural product from our farmers immediately," the White House said. Further down the line Beijing will also add "very substantial" amounts of agricultural, energy, industrial, and other products to its imports. 

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi confirmed the pause in the trade war and described the working dinner between the presidents as "very positive and constructive." 

He said the sides would also work to scale back the increased duties rate. By holding dialogue "as equals" the two countries could find "win-win solutions to their problems," he told reporters in Buenos Aires.

Beijing has also agreed to re-examine the acquisitIon of Dutch firm NXP Semiconductors by US company Qualcomm, the world’s largest smartphone chip company, according to the White House.

The 44-billion-dollar deal fell apart in July when Chinese regulators failed to give their approval in what has been called one of the largest casualties of the US-China trade war.

"This was an amazing and productive meeting with unlimited possibilities for both the United States and China," Trump was quoted as saying in the White House statement.

The White House also said Xi had made "a wonderful humanitarian gesture" by agreeing to designate Fentanyl, a highly-addictive synthetic opioid, as a controlled substance. 

The US is currently dealing with a serious and lethal opioid epidemic, which Trump has promised voters he will tackle. 

Markets were worried a bad meeting would mean a further increase on in tariffs and perhaps even a fresh set of duties on another 250 billion dollars worth of products, as previously threatened by Trump. 

The US accuses China of engaging in unfair trading practices and not enforcing intellectual property rules.

China has hit back at the US tariffs with trade measures of its own, including against US agriculture and industry. China raised tariffs on soybeans to 25 per cent. That product alone is worth billions in bilateral trade.

Sun, 02 Dec 2018 07:54:58 GMT
Turkey hails China's 1st import expo, gets ready for next session turkey hails chinas 1st import expo gets ready for next session

The first China International Import Expo (CIIE) has sent out a strong message that China will further open up its markets, Turkey's Trade Minister Ruhsar Pekcan told Xinhua in a recent interview.

The expo, held in Shanghai on Nov. 5-10, was also a "clear reflection of China's new development strategy," Pekcan said in the written interview.

"We are very proud to see the strong participation of Turkish companies from many different sectors at the CIIE, which is a clear reflection of China's new development strategy, namely increasing consumption and imports," the minister said.

Pekcan said that Turkish companies brought a wide range of products to the expo where they were greeted with open arms.

These products included agricultural and industrial products with high quality and fair prices, such as dried fruits, hazelnut, olive oil, milk products, beverages, herbal cosmetic, jewelry, electronic appliances, cleaning products, auto spare parts, generators, financial software as well as services products, such as tourism, she said.

The minister expressed her satisfaction with the contracts signed by Turkish suppliers and Chinese companies during the CIIE. The Turkish delegation was led by deputy Trade Minister Gonca Isik Yilmaz Batur.

"The CIIE was a platform to bolster the existing awareness towards Turkish products in China, and I can frankly share with you the positive feedback from the participating companies regarding their contact with Chinese business people," Pekcan noted.

"We are pleased to announce that we have already started our preparatory work for a stronger participation to the second session of CIIE next year," she said.

At the same time, the minister expressed the hope that more work would be done to resolve the unbalance in the trade between Turkey and China.

China was the biggest exporter to Turkey as its exports reaching 23.4 billion U.S. dollars in 2017, while Turkey was China's 54th supplier with 2.9 billion dollars in exports, according to official figures.

"Turkey's aim is to achieve a balance in its bilateral trade with China and encourage our business circles to do business and investment both in China and Turkey," Pekcan said.

In recent years, Turkey and China have deepened their political, economic and cultural cooperation, with Ankara supporting Beijing's Belt and Road Initiative while Chinese investments in Turkish companies continue to increase.

In this context, the Turkish minister called on China to increase its investment in Turkey, which is struggling to overcome the hardship amid an economic slowdown after the currency turmoil this summer.

China's worldwide direct investments surpassed 120 billion dollars in 2017, but Turkey's share of them was below 1 billion dollars, according to official statistics.

Turkey wants to see more Chinese companies investing in Turkey, said Pekcan.

Asked about the future of the China-Turkey trade cooperation at a time when the United States has imposed heavy tariffs on imports from foreign countries including China and Turkey, Pekcan said that she believes that the China-Turkey bilateral commercial and economic ties will not be affected and will continue on its course.

The minister also highlighted the need to have more interactions between the two countries in the fields of tourism, civil aviation and entertainment, noting that Turkey has already become a hub for medical tourism in the region.

China declared 2018 as "Turkey Tourism Year," a move that has boosted the cooperation between travel agencies from the two countries.

Citing that Turkey has close cooperation with the European Union as a candidate country and they have a Customs Union Agreement, Pekcan said that this is an opportunity for Chinese investors to use Turkey as a production hub for their targeted markets in the EU.

Fri, 30 Nov 2018 20:32:18 GMT
Paper industry around famous Chinese lake to be shut down by 2019 paper industry around famous chinese lake to be shut down by 2019

The paper industry around one of China's largest and most famous freshwater lakes will be shut down and removed by 2019, according to an announcement made by government authorities in central China.

Pulping manufacturers and outdated paper-making capacity in three cities and one district around Dongting Lake in Hunan Province will be removed by the end of 2018, while all paper mills will be closed by the end of next year, reports Chinese state media Xinhua.

Fri, 30 Nov 2018 15:23:00 GMT
Egypt, World Bank seek cooperation in solid waste recycling egypt world bank seek cooperation in solid waste recycling

Egypt's Ministry of Environment organised Wednesday a roundtable meeting on cooperation between the Egyptian government and the World Bank (WB) in the sector of recycling solid waste.

The meeting was attended by Minister of Environment Yasmine Fouad, Minister of Local Development Mahmoud Sharawy and Minister of Transport Hisham Arafat, along with a World Bank delegation.

The two sides discussed suitable measures to overcome the problem of solid waste in Egypt and to minimise air pollution, said Fouad in press statements.

She added that the issue is priority to the political leadership in Egypt.

Sharawy underlined the importance of benefiting from WB financing in improving the system of solid waste management in Egypt.

Arafat said there is a plan to minimise carbon emissions from transportation used in waste management. 

Fri, 30 Nov 2018 15:06:22 GMT
Saudi Arabia pledges $50 million to UNRWA saudi arabia pledges 50 million to unrwa

On November 28, Abdallah Al Rabeeah, Supervisor General of the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre (KSC), and Commissioner-General Pierre Krähenbühl of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), signed an unprecedented agreement which confirmed the pledge of $50 million made by Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud in support of the Agency's core services.

Expressing his deep recognition and gratitude, Commissioner-General Krähenbühl stated, "The disbursement of this landmark donation will make a major contribution to the Agency's global mobilization aimed at reducing an unprecedented shortfall this year. With Saudi Arabia's donation and the support of our other partners, we have brought the deficit of $446 million down to its current level of $21 million, and have been able to open on time the 711 schools run by UNRWA for 530,000 girls and boys in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, Gaza, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria.”

“It was crucial to ensure that their education is preserved. Similarly, our 140 health centers remained open thanks to the funding received, providing crucial primary health care to 3 million patients,” he added.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, along with its humanitarian and development bodies, is an important and consistent partner to UNRWA. This year alone, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has contributed close to $160 million towards UNRWA including projects across its five fields of operations.

Fri, 30 Nov 2018 14:23:43 GMT
G20 set to open in Argentina with global trade concerns in focus g20 set to open in argentina with global trade concerns in focus

World leaders are set to open a two-day Group of 20 summit in Argentina on Friday, with global trade concerns set to dominate, while the flare up in Russia-Ukraine tensions and the fallout from the murder of Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi are also likely to feature.

While there have been some signs that Chinese and US delegations could reach a ceasefire on trade, there are growing worries that President Donald Trump and President Xi Jinping will not be able to make a breakthrough at their highly-anticipated meeting at the summit.

Before departing Washington on Thursday, Trump said he was "very close" to reaching a deal with China but added "I don't know that I want to do it because what we have right now is billions and billions of dollars coming into the United States in the form of tariffs or taxes."

Trump said China "wants to make a deal," and was open to one, but said he liked "the deal we have right now."

The US began hiking tariffs on Chinese goods earlier this year and Beijing has responded in a tit-for-tat fashion, sparking tensions that a full trade war could erupt.

Trump has already threatened to further increase tariffs on some 200 billion dollars worth of Chinese goods.

Ottawa meanwhile confirmed the new trade deal between Canada, the US and Mexico would be signed in Buenos Aires on Friday. However the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) will still need ratification from each country's legislative body.

Following the G7 summit in Canada in June, Trump triggered a war of words with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, calling him "dishonest," and withdrawing support for a joint G7 communique, after the Canadian leader vowed retaliation for US tariffs on steel and aluminium.

The recent flare up of tensions between Ukraine and Russia is also likely to loom large at the summit, with Trump abruptly cancelling a planned meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on his way to the summit.

"Based on the fact that the ships and sailors have not been returned to Ukraine from Russia, I have decided it would be best for all parties concerned to cancel my previously scheduled meeting ... in Argentina with President Vladimir Putin," he tweeted from Air Force One.

On Sunday, Russia seized three Ukrainian naval vessels off the Crimea Peninsula, a territory it annexed from Ukraine in 2014.

Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is also attending the summit, though it remains to be seen how warmly he will be welcomed by other leaders following the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last month.

The crown prince is suspected of ordering the October killing of Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. Saudi Arabia has denied the charges and the White House says there is no smoking gun tying the crown prince to the murder.

When asked about why he had no plans to meet the crown prince in Buenos Aires, Trump said before boarding his plane he would have been happy to meet him but did not have time.

"I would have met with him but we didn’t set that one up," he said.

Representatives of the G20 nations, who make up more than 80 per cent of the world's economy and global trade, have already been working this week on a joint statement to close the summit, in the hopes all sides can agree on wording.

The language on open and fair trade in any final statement will be closely watched.


Fri, 30 Nov 2018 12:27:45 GMT
Canada on track to sign new free trade deal with US and Mexico canada on track to sign new free trade deal with us and mexico

Canada is “on track” to sign the renegotiated free trade deal with the United States and Mexico on Friday as officials from all three countries work feverishly to iron out the last details, Canada's foreign affairs minister said Thursday.

“Our objective has always been to sign this agreement on November 30, and we are on track to hit that objective,” Chrystia Freeland told reporters in Buenos Aires, where she is attending the annual G20 Summit.

The US and Mexico had signalled that they were ready to sign the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) at the summit, and Freeland was asked what was holding up the deal for Canada.

“As is always the case with these agreements, there are always details to be finalized and we are very hard at work doing that,” Freeland said.

A spokesman for Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau later tweeted that the new trade deal would be signed in Buenos Aires on Friday.

"Tomorrow morning in Buenos Aires, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will join President Donald Trump & President [Enrique Pena Nieto] for a signing ceremony of the new North American free trade deal which strengthens the economy & jobs in Canada," spokesman Cameron Ahmad tweeted.

Canadian officials had been in touch with their US and Mexican counterparts from the moment they arrived in Buenos Aires and would be working with them throughout Thursday, Freeland said.

“These agreements are massive and a vast number of technical details need to be scrubbed and wrapped up,” Freeland said.

“The fact that this is an agreement in three languages adds to the level of technical complexity and it is on that level that we’re just being sure that all the i’s are dotted and all the t’s are crossed,” she said.

The three countries agreed a deal in principle to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) after 14 months of bareknuckle talks concluded with a last minute bargain on September 30.

Fri, 30 Nov 2018 12:03:04 GMT
Japan funds project to enhance water quality project in Palestinian town japan funds project to enhance water quality project in palestinian town

Grant Contract for Grassroots Human Security Projects (GGP) was signed on Thursday by Takeshi Okubo, Ambassador for the Palestinian Affairs and Representative of Japan to Palestine, and Aizariya Municipality at the Representative Office of Japan to Palestine in Ramallah for a total amount of $88,937, according to a statement by the Japan Representative Office.

Aizariya Municipality in Jerusalem Governorate will use a fund for rehabilitation of the main water network in Aizariya town to improve tap water supply and to enhance the water quantity and quality for 250 households as direct beneficiaries and mostly for all of the household in the town, through replacing of 680 meters of 8 inches water pipelines, 75 meter of 3 inches, and 260 meter 2 inches water pipelines, it said.

Okubo congratulated Aizariya Municipality and wished them success in their project. He emphasized Japan’s firm commitment of supporting Palestinian people from human security perspective as well as the importance of implementing social and economic development projects needed for Palestinian communities.

Since 1993 the Government of Japan has extended its official development assistance amounting to approximately $1.86 billion to the Palestinians. GGP projects have been formulated in collaboration with the Palestinian Authority through Ministry of Finance and Planning since 2010.

Thu, 29 Nov 2018 20:20:07 GMT
BisB silver partner of World Islamic Banking Conference bisb silver partner of world islamic banking conference

Bahrain Islamic Bank (BisB) is proud to announce its support as a Silver Partner of the 25th Annual World Islamic Banking Conference (WIBC), which is being held in strategic partnership with the Central Bank of Bahrain on November 26-28. 

In the 25th edition of the conference, more than 1,200 Islamic leaders, policymakers and innovators will participate in a series of panel discussions gravitating around the theme of "Islamic Finance & Sustainable Economic Growth in the Age of Disruption." 

BisB's CEO Hassan Jarrar said "We are proud of our continued partnership with this prestigious conference, being one of the largest and most influential annual meetings with the world's top leaders in the Islamic finance sector."

"Over the years, the conference has continuously provided opportunities for the sustainable development of Islamic finance industry at a global level. Our constant participation in this conference is vital, we see it as our core responsibility to help drive the industry’s digital evolution in the age of disruption, by offering innovative, simple solutions that facilitate customers’ banking transactions," he added.

"As a silver partner of the 25th Annual WIBC, we are pleased to invite the audience to attend this event and visit BisB's pavilion to learn more about the Bank's products and services," he also added.

Wed, 28 Nov 2018 12:21:28 GMT
Egypt, Saudi Arabia to strengthen economic ties in coming phase egypt saudi arabia to strengthen economic ties in coming phase

Egypt and Saudi Arabia agreed on Tuesday to establish joint projects between their private sectors to strengthen the economic partnership between the two countries, Egypt's Minister of Trade and Industry Amr Nassar said. 

This came during talks between Nassar and Saudi Minister of Trade and Investment Majed bin Abdullah Al-Qasabi, who is currently visiting Cairo as part of a delegation accompanying Saudi Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman.

Nassar affirmed that Egypt and Saudi Arabia represent the safety valve for the Arab world, underlining their assiduous efforts to achieve comprehensive integration among all Arab nations and boost cooperation to develop the Arab economy.

Nassar said that there is currently unprecedented international economic and trade variables that require further cooperation and joint action between Cairo and Riyadh.

He highlighted the importance of building upon the outcome of the joint committee meetings that convened in Riyadh in May and turning all initiatives into real projects that serve the interests of the Egyptian and Saudi economies. 

There is full agreement between both countries' trade ministries on improving the investment climate to boost trade exchange rates and joint investments during the coming phase, Nassar said.

Nassar noted that the volume of trade exchange between the two countries amounts to about $7 billion. 

The Saudi minister described the Egyptian-Saudi relations as strategic, saying that the current visit of the Saudi crown prince ensures strong and close relations and reflects keenness on promoting them. 

Al-Qasabi asserted the importance of the Egyptian market as a distinguished destination for Saudi investments, noting that joint economic ties will be given a stronger impetus in the coming phase.

Wed, 28 Nov 2018 09:50:53 GMT
Egypt's imports of poultry, sugar drop over past 10 months egypts imports of poultry sugar drop over past 10 months

The General Organisation for Import and Export Control (GOEIC) said that the imports of strategic goods such as poultry and sugar have declined over the past 10 months.
Poultry imports in this period recorded $61 million compared to $153 million in the same period in 2017; a 60 percent drop, MENA quoted a GOEIC report as saying.

Sugar imports in the same period registered $509 million compared to $742 million in the same period last year; a drop of 31.4 percent.

Tue, 27 Nov 2018 12:33:58 GMT
Eurasian Economic Union to protect itself from anti-Russian sanctions eurasian economic union to protect itself from antirussian sanctions

The Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) will find effective mechanisms of protection from anti-Russian sanctions that affect other member states of the association, First Deputy Head of the Russian Government Office Sergei Prikhodko said ahead of the session of the Eurasian Inter-Governmental Council.

"At the previous session of the Eurasian Inter-Governmental Council on July 27 in St. Petersburg, the Eurasian Economic Commission was tasked with analyzing the international practices of using collective measures in response to the actions of a third country," Prikhodko said. "At the upcoming meeting in Minsk [on November 27], the report prepared by the Comission will be considered. On its basis, work will continue on the most effective mechanisms of protection from sanctions and minimizing their impact," he added.

"As the first concrete step, the Russian side proposes to discuss the implementation of Article 40 of Agreement on EAEU 'Response measures to a third party'," Prikhodko continued.

He noted that "the problem of how anti-Russian sanctions impact Russia's economy and consequently other member states of the Union is in the center of attention." "This topic was discussed at sessions of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council in October 2017 and in May 2018 in Sochi. We think it is important to adopt a systemic approach to this issue," he said.

Transactions in national currencies

The share of transactions in national currencies between EAEU member countries reached 70% in the first half of 2018, Prikhodko continued. "In the first half of 2018, the share of transactions in national currencies between member countries of the Eurasian Economic Union has exceeded 70%. This indicator will further grow if the following factors are present - ensuring macroeconomic and financial stability, creating the common financial market and harmonizing legislative regulation in the financial sphere," he said.

He added that most transactions in national currencies occur in trade with Russia, with Russian ruble being the most popular currency in use.

According to Prikhodko, the possibilities of increasing the share of transactions in national currencies depend on the development of trade relations between EAEU member countries.

Common oil and gas market

The Russian government hopes that all issues pertaining to forming the common oil and gas market in the EAEU will be resolved soon, Prikhodko said.

"One of the main spheres of integrational cooperation of the five countries [EAEU member states - Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia] in energy is forming a common market for oil and oil products, as well as gas," Prikhodko said. "This topic has already become traditional at meetings of heads of government," he added. "We hope that soon no such questions will be left up for discussion," he noted.

Talking about the agenda for the upcoming session, Prikhodko said that heads of government of EAEU member states will discuss financial market concepts. "It should start functioning from 2025, but we are already working on preparing necessary documentation," he added.

The official reminded that Russia chairs EAEU this year. "The Russian side proposed removing hurdles on the Union's internal market as the main priority. At the session, a detailed report of the Eurasian Economic Commission on this issue will be presented. This topic is under special control since different restrictions remain that hamper the normal operation of the Eurasian Union," he said.

Another important topic is the implementation of the digital agenda, Prikhodko said adding that government structures, businesses and individuals are already proposing different initiatives in the sphere of digitalization. "Our task is to create necessary institutional and infrastuctural conditions for the launch of these projects. In particular, we plan to develop a concept of implementing special regimes (regulatory 'sandboxes') in the framework of implementing EAEU's digital agenda," he said.

Expanding EAEU

The official said that no talks are currently held about expanding the Union. "We are currently not talking about expanding the Union," Prikhodko said. He reminded that Russian chairmanship's main priority is to deepen and strengthen integration, particularly when it comes to removing existing hurdles and restrictions on the common market. "EAEU's expansion never was an aim in itself for coutries participating in the integration association," he noted. "The tasks are instead rather pragmatic. We are focusing on those practical benefits that our countries receive from deepening economic integration," the official added.

Prikhodko noted that this includes increasing trade turnover, improving its structure (by boosting the share of high value-added goods), lifting obstacles on the way of movement of capital, services, labor, as well as strengthening the overall social-economic stability in the region. When developing relations with third countries, EAEU "uses a flexible approach and different formats of cooperation," he said. In order to involve other countries that are not interested in becoming an EAEU member for various reasons but still want to receive information about integration processes in the Union, the association created a status of an observer state. Moldova became the first observer state in EAEU.

"If other partners, including among CIS [Commonwealth of Independent States] countries, will demonstrate their interest, we are open for a constructive dialogue," Prikhodko said.


Tue, 27 Nov 2018 08:27:36 GMT
Syria exported up to 750 products, mainly foodstuff, to 109 Arab and European states syria exported up to 750 products mainly foodstuff to 109 arab and european states

Despite the coercive unilateral sanctions imposed on the Syrian people, Syria has exported up to 750 products, mainly foodstuff, to 109 Arab and European states in 2017 and 2018, according to a study conducted by the Syrian Exporters Union.

The massive damage inflicted upon the industrial sector due to the crisis did not deter the Syrian food manufacturers from continuing production with local or imported raw materials in order to meet the needs of local markets and export part of their products to foreign markets.

Member of Damascus and its Countryside Industry Chamber Office, Talal Qala’aje, stressed that the comparative advantage of Syrian food products has contributed to making our exports take the lead and compete their branded counterparts, adding that these flavoursome products include apricot jam, tomato paste, olive oil, almond, cumin, aniseed and Awassi meat.

He pointed out that the good manufacturing practices, conformity with established international standards and the special attention paid to packaging process promote the competitiveness of Syrian food products and increase the demand for them.

Qala’aje called for reducing import tariffs on raw materials used in food manufacturing as it reflects positively on its competitiveness in terms of achieving added value, providing job opportunities, meeting requirements of local market and exporting the surplus.

He underlined the efforts exerted by the Chamber, in coordination with other commerce and industry chambers and the Syrian Exporters Union, to hold exhibition for Syrian products abroad such as in Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, Libya and Algeria and open centers for Syrian exports in different foreign markets.

For his part, Chairman of Syrian Exporters Union, Mohammed al-Sawwah, expected an increase in Syria’s exports throughout the next year given that the reopening of Nassib border crossing with Jordan and the anticipated reopening of border crossings with Iraq, noting that all these measures came within the governmental support strategy for exportation in order to guarantee markets for Syrian products and increase the volume and value of exports.

Mon, 26 Nov 2018 13:39:36 GMT
Black Friday less wild as more Americans turn to online deals black friday less wild as more americans turn to online deals

As more Americans tend to browse online to get good deals on Black Friday instead of lining up at the crack of dawn in front of brick-and-mortar stores, the shopping spree seemed less wild this year.

Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving that marks the official start of the U.S. holiday shopping season, pulled in 6.22 billion U.S. dollars in online sales this year, up 23.6 percent from a year ago and setting a new high, according to Adobe Analytics, which tracks transactions for 80 of the top 100 internet retailers in the United States, including Walmart and Amazon.

However, it does not mean traditional retailers have lost their appeal. Buy online and pick up in stores grew to be a popular option for shoppers this holiday season, with "click-and-collect" orders increasing 73 percent from Thursday to Friday, according to Adobe.

While online sales made inroads, retail malls were still packed though definitely not mobbed. More than 164 million Americans are expected to shop over the five days from Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday, projected the National Retail Federation.

South Coast Plaza, the largest shopping mall on the West Coast of the United States, predicted that nearly 200,000 people would have visited the center, who set a record of the county in sales of over 1.5 billion U.S. dollars last year and is seeing a new record in 2018.

The largest shopping center in California, anchored by three Macy's stores, Sears, Nordstrom, Bloomingdale's, and Saks Fifth Avenue, is located in city of Costa Mesa, 77 km east of Los Angeles downtown.

"Today was the busiest day after Thanksgiving in South Coast Plaza's history," Debra Gunn Downing, spokeswoman for South Coast Plaza, told Xinhua on Friday. "Some shoppers came for the Black Friday promotions while others came to enjoy the holiday atmosphere. There were lines outside the doors of some boutiques, including Chanel."

"All told, nearly 200,000 people will have visited the center today. We anticipate that to continue through the weekend and the momentum to carry through the holiday season," she added.

Black Friday, which was once relegated to the day right after Thanksgiving, now gets longer as stores offer pre-Black Friday and pre-pre-Black Friday sales.

South Coast Plaza opened its holiday season last week, lighting three 90-foot-high Christmas trees and setting a Santa's Village indoor where shoppers take photos with Santa Claus in live holiday music. Amazon also offers a "Black Friday Deals Week," with different markdowns each day.


Total spend for Black Friday weekend is predicted to reach roughly 59.6 billion U.S. dollars, according to estimates by GlobalData Retail. That represents an increase of 5.7 percent over the 2017 sales.

"More people have already shopped than at this point last year, and their average spend is higher," said Neil Saunders, the firm's managing director, said in a statement.

One factor driving this year's shopping spree might be concerns over potential price hike against the backdrop of U.S. tariffs battles with its major trading partners.

"More worryingly, this holiday season is likely only to be the start of higher prices for shoppers," wrote Erin Dunne in an opinion carried by

In a rustling shopping mall in Queens, New York, 30-year-old Soraya and her husband were busy checking off items from their shopping list: clothes, sneakers, video games and a laptop.

Soraya told Xinhua she might even consider buying more goods this year to avoid higher prices.

According to a recent survey by Harris Insights & Analytics, a market research firm, 44 percent of U.S. consumers said they would compare prices of products more closely during the shopping season.

"It can affect your bottom line for sure," Lisa Jones, who was shopping Wednesday at a Home Depot store in San Mateo city, northern California, told Xinhua.

She was worried that price increases would cost her more in the coming years.

"I haven't seen the prices go up yet, but I think it will happen," she said.

Ruben, a shopper in Houston, told Xinhua he would shift some high-end electronics from his Christmas list.

"I normally wait until mid-December, but I am afraid that products in December will include the new imposed tariffs," he said.

Peifan Yu, a Houston resident, said he would not be waiting to see lower price after Christmas as usual.

Puneet Manchanda, professor of marketing at University of Michigan, told Xinhua on Wednesday that most U.S. retailers had not increased prices, but people would see that happen early in the new year.

"There is strong evidence that companies are changing their behavior vis-a-vis tariff implementation - they are stocking up heavily on the affected commodities and rationalizing their purchasing for next year," he said.

Alex Boehnke, spokesman for the Ohio Council of Retail Merchants, said in a report that the household impact would really be seen in January or February, when retailers have to restock shelves after the holiday shopping season.

Sunny Zhang, associate professor of Marketing at the Cameron School of Business, University of St. Thomas in Houston, noted that "for made-to-order items, for example, custom-made furniture, retailers are playing the effects of tariffs as they put the pressure on consumers on immediate purchases."

Mon, 26 Nov 2018 12:09:53 GMT
Oil prices plummet amid U.S. drilling rigs down oil prices plummet amid us drilling rigs down

Major oil benchmarks were in a nose dive on Friday. Around 3 p.m. local time in Houston, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude for January delivery and Brent crude for January delivery fell over 7 percent and 6 percent, respectively.

Meanwhile, WTI lost over 4 U.S. dollars but still standing at 50-dollar levels, and Brent reduced almost 4 dollars to 58.8 dollars. Both hit the lowest in more than a year.

Due to concerns with the oversupply in the market, oil prices have been keeping fall recently and they are set to post the seventh consecutive weekly loss for this week.

Amid the oil prices going down, the number of active drilling rigs in the United States decreased by three to 1,079 this week, but still 156 more than in the same period last year, according to Houston-based Baker Hughes.

According to the latest data released on Wednesday, two days in advance due to the Thanksgiving holiday, the count of land drilling rigs in the country decreased by six to 1,052, and the number of offshore drilling rigs increased by three to 25. The number of inland waters rigs stayed level at two.

The number of directional drilling rigs increased by two to 73. The number of horizontal drilling rigs fell by 10 to 929, and the number of vertical drilling rigs increased by five to 77.

The U.S. state of Louisiana led the gain with an increase of four to 69 rigs, while the state of Texas fell by three to 532 rigs.

The number of rigs operating in U.S. oil fields decreased by three to 885 in the week, and more than half of the oil rigs were located in the Permian Basin region of western Texas and southeastern New Mexico. The number of rigs drilling for gas stayed steady at 194 this week.

Sun, 25 Nov 2018 21:00:37 GMT
Amman stock market wraps up trading at JD2.6 million amman stock market wraps up trading at jd26 million

The Amman Stock Exchange (ASE) ended Sunday's trading session slightly down by 0.37 percent at 1,936 points. A total of 2.6 million shares were traded through 2,305 transactions at a trading value of JD2.8 million.

When comparing the closing prices of the shares of 96 companies, 20 saw their share prices going up while 39 others fell in the red zone. The prices of the shares of 37 firms remained unchanged.

Sun, 25 Nov 2018 17:56:51 GMT
Egypt's Investment minister meets Lebanese PM to boost economic cooperation egypts investment minister meets lebanese pm to boost economic cooperation

Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri met on Friday with Egyptian Investment and International Cooperation Minister Sahar Nasr in Beirut.

The meeting tackled bilateral relations and, in particular, the economic cooperation between the countries, said Egyptian Ambasssador to Lebanon Nazeh el-Naggari, who was present.

They discussed also the Egyptian-Lebanese business forum currently being held in the Lebanese capital.


Sun, 25 Nov 2018 12:21:09 GMT
French lawmakers fear intimidation by 'yellow jacket' fuel protesters french lawmakers fear intimidation by yellow jacket fuel protesters

A day ahead of planned protests in Paris against rising fuel prices and taxes on petrol, a French minister warned that lawmakers had been threatened by angry demonstrators.

"You have deputies who have been threatened by angry citizens," Parliamentary Affairs Minister Marc Fesneau told broadcaster Public Senat.

"People have a right to be angry but nobody has a right to give out the personal addresses of members of parliament, or even in some cases to call for the homes of members of parliament to be vandalized," he added.

France has seen days of protests and blockades by protesters wearing yellow high-visibility jackets. Hundreds of people have been injured or arrested. Two have died in traffic incidents linked to the protests.

Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said Friday evening that a police operation was taking place in the Angers area, where a person wearing a yellow jacket and carrying "an explosive grenade" had announced he was carrying explosives and demanded to meet President Emmanuel Macron.

Police special forces were evaluating the situation, Castaner said.

Local authorities later clarified that the man was at a car wash rather than, as Castaner had said, a petrol station, adding that his demands were not yet clear.

Castaner appealed to protest organizers to declare their plans to police in line with French law, saying that was necessary to protect everyone.

Security services last week dismantled a "terrorist network" that was planning an attack last Saturday, when 283,000 people took part in the first wave of "yellow jacket" protests, Castaner said.

Paris police chief Michel Delpeuch warned protesters not to try to assemble on the city's Place de la Concorde, as suggested in several calls on social media, or other areas near the Elysee Palace.

Authorities have said that protesters can rally at the gardens around the Eiffel Tower, a slightly less central location.

But the decision has not been welcomed in the largely leaderless movement. "We aren't going for a giant picnic on a patch of grass," one activist told broadcaster BFMTV.

The government says it will not give in to protesters' demands to cancel planned rises in petrol and diesel taxes.

It has promised to aid poorer motorists and those who need to regularly travel long distances, but those measures do not appear to have placated the protesters.

Fri, 23 Nov 2018 21:48:06 GMT