Morning briefing: 21 Feb 2013

Lebanon services crippled by strike, plus other news


Oil extended losses for a second session on Thursday, with Brent slipping toward US$115 a barrel after market rumours that a hedge fund was forced to liquidate substantial commodity positions led to the fuel's largest daily fall in 2013 the previous day.

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An open-ended strike paralyzed a number of key state institutions and public schools across Lebanon Wednesday as demonstrators threatened to freeze work at a new government department each day until they receive a wage hike.

More from The Daily Star


Tunisian leaders have begun the search for a new prime minister to try to lead the North African nation out of its gravest political crisis since an uprising that inspired a wave of Arab revolts two years ago.

More from The National


Iran’s economy is not close to collapse, despite increased Western-led sanctions

More from Reuters


Lebanon’s Central Bank has sold $2.2 billion of sovereign Eurobonds and swapped LL6 trillion of 2013 and 2014 certificates of deposit with longer maturity ones over the past two weeks, Central Bank Governor Riad Salameh has disclosed.

More from The Daily Star


Egypt’s economy grew 2.4 per cent in the last half of 2012, the government said on Wednesday, citing consumer spending as a main driver for an economy battered by two years of political turmoil.

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Companies and Investments

Almost half of unemployed Saudi Arabians have never applied for a job, according to a study by the Gulf kingdom's Ministry of Labour.

More from Arabian Business


Nearly three quarters of businesses expect to increase their spending this year on mega infrastructure projects in the Middle East, according to a survey by professional services firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).

More from Reuters


Bahrain-based Islamic lender Al Baraka Banking Group recorded a 24 per cent increase in fourth-quarter net income, the bank said on Wednesday, with business expansion and improved asset quality aiding profit growth.

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GCC equities are forecast to generate moderate returns in the range of 10 to 15 per cent in 2013 on the back of a steady improvement in overall fundamentals, multiple re-rating and earnings growth, a regional investment bank said.

More from Khaleej Times