Correspondent, Beirut
Sylvia's Feed
May 15, 2013

Kuwait court ruling may threaten economic recovery

KUWAIT (Reuters) – A ruling by Kuwait’s top court next month could end a period of relative political stability, jeopardizing government plans to push ahead with long-delayed economic projects.

One of the world’s richest countries per capita, Kuwait has struggled for years to get big infrastructure projects off the ground because of bureaucratic red tape and political turmoil. A parliamentary election in December was the fifth in six years.

May 13, 2013

Kuwait may sign plane deal in May, Airbus favoured – source

KUWAIT, May 13 (Reuters) – Kuwait is studying plans by its
airline to buy 25 Airbus jets, a source with knowledge of the
matter said, in the most sweeping overhaul since part of its
fleet was seized after Iraq invaded the Gulf state in 1990.

The proposal calls for state-owned Kuwait Airways to
buy 25 new Airbus jets and to lease a further 13 to upgrade its
fleet but needs government approval, the source said. It could
be signed by the end of this month.

May 8, 2013

Kuwait making tentative steps to connect with youth

KUWAIT (Reuters) – On a January afternoon in Kuwait City, a group of bloggers gathered around three men they would not normally expect to see in a downtown coffee shop, clutching lattes and mochas.

Education Minister Nayef al-Hajraf, Commerce and Industry Minister Anas al-Saleh and Sheikh Mohammad al-Mubarak al-Sabah, all in their early 40s, had come for an informal meeting with some 30 Kuwaiti bloggers and online journalists to discuss issues that concern young people.

Apr 22, 2013

Kuwait opposition politician gets bail in insult case

KUWAIT (Reuters) – A prominent Kuwaiti opposition politician convicted of insulting the ruling emir was granted bail on Monday, his lawyer said, prompting celebrations by supporters packing the court building and defusing tensions in the oil-exporting Gulf state.

Kuwait, a U.S. ally, has avoided a mass Arab Spring-style uprising but unrest flared last year after the emir changed the electoral law before a parliamentary election, a move opposition figures said was meant to deny them a parliamentary majority. The opposition boycotted the December 1 election.

Apr 10, 2013

Politics trumps economics as govt bails out indebted Kuwaitis again

KUWAIT, April 10 (Reuters) – At a parliamentary debate on
consumer debt relief in Kuwait last week, lawmakers described
how thousands of Kuwaitis were struggling to make ends meet in
one of the world’s richest countries per capita.

Citizens had taken out personal loans, often more than one -
perhaps to buy a car or renovate a house – and were unable to
pay the money back. They were victims of high interest rates and
punishing repayment schedules, the lawmakers said.

Apr 7, 2013

Kuwait telco Zain says Iraq unit to complete IPO by end 2013

KUWAIT, April 7 (Reuters) – Kuwait’s No.1 telecom operator
Zain on Sunday said its Iraqi unit would complete an
initial public offering by the end of 2013, signally a further
delay in the sale process.

Zain’s 2012 earnings release states Zain Iraq would likely
launch an IPO in the first half of 2013, but the company’s
chairman now appears to have extended that target date.

Apr 3, 2013

Kuwait’s parliament approves personal debt relief law

KUWAIT, April 3 (Reuters) – Kuwait’s parliament approved a
law on Wednesday to buy some citizens’ personal loans and write
off the interest after lawmakers argued that banks had
overcharged Kuwaitis for credit.

Kuwait is one of the world’s richest countries per capita
and many lawmakers elected in a new parliament in December had
made debt relief a priority of their campaigns and put pressure
on the new cabinet to approve a plan.

Mar 27, 2013

Among Egypt firms, dollars and optimism in short supply

CAIRO, March 27 (Reuters) – After two years of political
upheaval and weakness in the economy, companies in Egypt are
struggling with a sinking currency and a shortage of foreign
exchange, forcing some to make painful changes to their business

The central bank’s foreign currency reserves have tumbled to
$13.5 billion, covering little more than two months’ imports, as
tourism and investment have waned. So the central bank is
rationing U.S. dollar supplies in auctions, making it hard for
firms to get hold of dollars through the banking system.

Mar 25, 2013

Wheat stocks dwindling, Egypt seen locked out of big buys for months

CAIRO/LONDON, March 25 (Reuters) – Despite dangerously low
stockpiles of wheat, Egypt is unlikely to be able to buy more at
international tenders until at least the end of June, industry
sources say, and its plans to grow record harvests at home to
replace imports are unrealistic.

Industry sources spoken to by Reuters in recent days painted
a darker picture than previously understood about the ability of
the most populous Arab state to continue to feed its 84 million
people with the cheap subsidised bread that they expect.

Mar 13, 2013

RPT/FEATURE-Food price rises put restive Egypt on edge

CAIRO, March 13 (Reuters) – With croissants, baguettes and
bagels spilling off metal trolleys at the bakery where Mohammed
Alif works in central Cairo, food is not scarce, but profits
certainly are.

The Egyptian pound has lost more than 8 percent of its value
against the U.S. dollar since the end of December as concern
deepens about the state of the economy, which is being
undermined by political instability and rioting.

    • About Sylvia

      "Sylvia is based in Beirut, covering Lebanon and Syria. She joined Reuters as a graduate trainee in 2006 and has been based in London, Berlin, Frankfurt, Vienna and Kuwait and has reported from South Korea, Tunisia, Egypt and Iraq. She moved to Beirut in 2014."
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