By Farah Halime, Cairo, Egypt: In a thriving economy, investors are committed. But for Egypt, attracting investors is a point of contention: are they or are they not putting money in Egypt? Marshall Stocker, an American venture capitalist, sheds light on it: he was forced out after the revolution, and he won’t return.
Entries in Middle East, Africa (40)
By Marin Katusa, Chief Energy Investment Strategist: The world changed: Iran made a deal with the US, Russia, China, the UK, France, and Germany. Forget the nuclear weapons program. There’s only one thing on the minds of these six countries: oil.
By Joao Peixe of Oilprice.com: While Saudi Arabia continues to state that it is not at all worried by the increasing production driven by the US shale revolution, Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal, the billionaire CEO and owner of the Kingdom Holding Company, frets about it.
By Farah Halime, Justin Dargin: The oil producing country of note with major disruptions due to the Arab Spring was Libya. But it produces a relatively minor amount of the global supply. Syria, Egypt, Yemen, and other countries with their own “Arab Springs” are not major producers. So why the fear premium in the price of oil?
By Chriss Street: President Obama sought to showcase his leadership on the anniversary of 9/11 by leading an international coalition against a brutal tyrant in Syria. After much dithering, neither Congress nor the international community was willing to follow. A Russian-controlled settlement may be a defeat for the President’s ego, but....
By Farah Halime, Cairo: Egypt’s central bank sold $1.3 billion from its foreign reserves on Wednesday to cover strategic imports such as wheat, meat and cooking oil. As the country grapples with an economic crisis, the central bank’s foreign currency sales are an attempt to reassure the people that the government can afford basic commodities.
An American attack on Syria would just be a punitive action for the gruesome gas attacks. “Regime change” wouldn’t be part of it. That was the idea. Now the Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted to authorize President Obama to wage war on Syria, but amendments suddenly set new goals – smack-dab in the middle of a distant lala-land.
By Farah Halime, Cairo: The CEO of Egypt’s biggest construction company, Orascom, signaled that the firm is “exploring its legal options” with regards to its $1 billion tax settlement with the Morsi administration. If the decision is overturned, it would be a symbolic victory for the business tycoons who have laid low since the end of the Mubarak era.
By Rory Johnston: Oil prices are at a six-month high, and no one knows what will happen in Syria nor how it will affect oil prices in the coming weeks. However, the recent spike in oil prices also reflects fundamental supply factors: Libya, a major regional producer, has seen its production completely collapse over the past month.
By Farah Halime, Cairo: The bloody events of the last 24 hours have destroyed any chance of political reconciliation. Tourism and foreign investment, already hit hard, will dry up. The cabinet will fall apart. Aid will be hard to come by. The nation, now highly vulnerable, is on its own.
The Real Reason High Oil Prices Lead to Instability (Such As In Egypt Where Fuels Are Heavily Subsidized)
By Evan Abrams, Global Risk Insights, for OilPrice.com: For businesses investing in a volatile corner of the world, trying to predict political instability is a critical activity. One of the factors often cited as contributing to unrest is the high price of oil. But in Egypt, gasoline and diesel are heavily subsidized. So what gives?
By Farah Halime, Cairo: Familiar faces are back (trying) to run Egypt – 11 of 34 ministers are veterans of Mubarak’s regime. Good news for business, given that many of the newcomers have backgrounds in economics and finance and are seasoned politicians. But it’s still an interim government backed by the military with no appetite for reforms.
By Farah Halime, Cairo: Ignore the economy at your peril. That is the lesson Arab leaders of transitional countries should learn from the Egyptian military’s removal of Mohammed Morsi from power, but one that continues to fall on deaf ears.
Contributed by Jen Alic of Oilprice.com: The situation in Egypt has not been tenable since the Muslim Brotherhood and President Morsi took over, post-revolution, but now that the military has stepped in, ousted Morsi, and placed him in detention, foreign investors are celebrating – on the logic that things couldn’t get any worse, only better.
Governments, corporations, even that genius app developer in Russia have one thing in common: they want to know everything. Data is power. And money. As the Snowden debacle has shown, they’re getting there. Technologies for gathering information, then hoarding it, mining it, and using it are becoming phenomenally effective and cheap. But it’s not perfect.
Contributed by Daniel J. Graeber of Oilprice.com. Growing security risks in the Middle East and North Africa are giving oil companies the jitters. But with seven of the 12 OPEC members experiencing some form of upheaval, the cost of doing business suggests members may need more than a little bit of luck to return to glory.
Contributed by Jen Alic of Oilprice.com. In Kiobel vs. Royal Dutch Petroleum, the US Supreme Court has ruled that Nigerian nationals do not have the right to sue the oil company for alleged rights abuses overseas, dashing the hopes of Esther Kiobel, who filed her lawsuit against Shell in 2002 shortly before she became a US citizen.
Contributed by Oil & Energy Insider, of Oilprice.com. Egypt will hold parliamentary elections in April—against a backdrop of violent protests, a state of emergency in three key provinces, weapons caches discovered in Cairo, and growing calls from radical Salafi forces who think the Muslim Brotherhood’s agenda is far too moderate.
Contributed by Jen Alic of Oilprice.com. Libya—awash with roving militias and undergoing a near-total evacuation of Westerners from oil-producing Benghazi—is doing its best to make cosmetic security changes in an atmosphere of growing uncertainty. But much of the country’s south and half of its border regions are not even under government control.
Contributed by Chriss Street. The Algerian hostage crisis ended with the death of at least 37 foreign hostages and most of the jihadi kidnappers after special forces blasted their way into the gas complex. Algeria, which won a decade-long Civil War against Islamists in 2000, understands this is a war of attrition with al-Qaeda spreading across North Africa.