News from Libya, Egypt and Saudi Arabia

Libyan Rebels Retake Brega

With air support from the United States and its allies Libyan rebels have made major progress across Libya—taking the centrally located city of Ajdabiya, recapturing the eastern city of Brega and making steady advances towards the important oil depot of Ras Lanuf. Warplanes from the west have been bombarding the strongholds of Muammar Gaddafi, including his tanks, artillery and soldiers along the coast as well as near Gaddafi’s capital of Tripoli.

Saudi Stocks Rising

Saudi stocks rose to their highest levels in five weeks as investors are expressing their newly found confidence in the Saudi government and economy, which is the largest of the Arab economies. This outpouring of hope was seen as a reaction to the ordering of the establishment of a housing ministry by King Abdullah.

In addition, the governor of the Central Bank of Saudi Arabia, Muhammad Al-Jasser has declared that the Gross Domestic Product of the kingdom will be “north of four percent” in 2011 but the bond markets in the Gulf Arab State are “not well taken care of.”

According to Majdi Hariri, a member of the Shura consultative council of Saudi Arabia, the council may pass the draft mortgage law on April 3rd.

Egypt Expecting Stability Soon

The Finance Minister of Egypt, Samir Radwan, predicts that the Egyptian stock market should regain its former stability as the government makes $250 million available to purchase shares. The market there reached a two year low after a seven week stoppage.

Egypt is also planning to raise $840 million in treasury bills at an auction in Cairo, while simultaneously the Egyptian Central Bank did not intercede to help prop up the value of the Egyptian pound, as it reached its lowest point in over six years on March 24th.

Two businessmen and the former minister of tourism in Egypt Zoheir Garranah are scheduled to go to trial in Egypt on April 9 for profiteering and enabling the theft of public monies.