Ammon News, Business

Non-Jordanian investment net at ASE up JD14.6mln

[12/8/2019 9:49:44 AM]

AMMONNEWS - Statistics released by the Amman Stock Exchange (ASE) showed that the value of shares bought by non-Jordanian investors in November 2019 stood at JD22.8 million, representing 24.5% of the overall trading value. Statistics have also shown that the value of shares sold by them amounted to JD 8.2 million. As a result, the net of non-Jordanian investments in November 2019 showed a positive value of JD14.6 million, compared to the same month of 2018 where the net of non-Jordanian investments showed a negative value of JD3.3 million. The value of shares bought by non-Jordanian investors since the beginning of the year until the end of November 2019 was JD463.1 million, representing 31.6% of the overall trading value, while the value of shares sold by them amounted to JD342.4 million. This means that the net of non-Jordanian investments amounted to JD120.7 million, compared to JD23.6 million during the same period of 2018. The ASE said Arab investors purchases since from January to November of this year stood at JD334.2 million, or 72.2% of the overall purchases by non-Jordanians, while the non-Arab purchases amounted to JD128.8 million, constituting 27.8% of the total purchases. Meanwhile, Arab investors sales amounted to JD228.4 million, or 66.7% of non-Jordanians total sales, while the non-Arab sales amounted to JD114.0 million, representing 33.3% of the total sales by non-Jordanians. Non-Jordanian investors' ownership in companies listed at the ASE by end of November 2019 represented 51.2% of the total market value, 35.8% for Arab investors and 15.4% for non-Arab investors. At the sector level, the non-Jordanian ownership in the financial sector was 56%, in the services sector was 19%, and in the industrial sector was 60.3%.

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Budget based on capital spending, salary hikes, says finance minister

[12/5/2019 9:26:32 AM]

AMMONNEWS - Minister of Finance, Dr. Mohammad Ississ said the state budget is based on major axes, aimed to increase capital expenditure, hike salaries, improve the citizens' living standards and stimulate economic growth, in addition to reducing administrative flabbiness. During a discussion session with officials concerned with the procedures of the 3rd executive package of the economic program launched by the government on Thursday, the minister said financial stability and improvement of the citizens' living conditions were taken into consideration when preparing the state budget, through rationing expenditures, addressing spending distortions and fighting tax and customs evasion. As a result, the initial budget deficit has been slashed, he pointed out. The salary hike of workers and pensioners is "well-deserved" in light of recession and high prices, he noted, adding the budget has worked to align the twin challenge of reducing the deficit and improving the citizens' living conditions. The salary hike, the minister affirmed, will contribute to boosting growth through increasing the consumption level, and thus generating more revenues.

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Jordan proposes expansionary budget it bid to boost growth

[12/3/2019 8:19:19 AM]

AMMONNEWS - Jordan's government forwarded a record JD9.8 billion budget to parliament for ratification as the country struggles to balance its IMF commitments to cut public debt and spur growth. In what Prime Minister Omar Razzaz is billing as a ‘growth-focused’ spending bill, with a deficit forecast of JD1.2bn, equal to 2.3 per cent of the kingdom’s GDP. The bill is currently under review, with a vote expected within the next two weeks. Jordan is currently in the last year of a $723 million IMF credit line which requires it to cut its debt levels from 95 per cent of GDP to 88 per cent. Despite the introduction of a series of tax increases and austerity measures, debt levels have only inched down to 94 per cent. The proposed budget includes a 30 per cent increase in capital expenditure to JD1.42bn on a series of infrastructure and healthcare projects, as well as JD108 million for public-private partnerships. Spending on a government social safety net for Jordanian families will also increase by JD30m to JD146m to cover an additional 20,000 Jordanian families next year. Jordan is forecasting a boost in revenues to JD7.7bn in 2020 thanks to a 10 per cent increase in sales tax revenue, which accounts for over half of all government receipts, at JD3.9bn. About JD1.27bn is expected to be raised from income tax, with a 1 per cent increase set to be levied across the board, according to a 2018 income tax law. With Razzaz and government ministers pledging “no new taxes” in the spending bill, the government says it will also increase revenue by “cracking down on tax evasion”, but has not given details on how this will be achieved. The increased capital expenditure is part of a shift in focus towards growing the kingdom's economy to generate more income to repay debts as opposed to concentrating on taxes. Last month, Jordan launched a stimulus package which actually reduced taxes on real estate, cars and industry; future phases that will come into effect next year include reduced electricity tariffs for industry and financial incentives for companies to hire Jordanians. Also adding to budget costs is a 50 per cent raise given to public school teachers after a teachers strike in September grounded the country to a halt and a recent increase in retirement pay for retired military personnel. Razzaz said that 65 per cent of current expenditure in the 2020 budget is for salaries, while 15 per cent is for interest payments. With the current average starting public sector salary between JD200-300 per month in a country where poverty line is JD400 a month for a family of five, the government has set in the budget an unspecified amount for public sector wage increases - set to be announced this week. Jordan is trying to balance its debt obligations with growing an economy to provide jobs for a fast-growing population where 40 per cent of 15-35 year-olds are unemployed. According to an October forecast by the IMF, Jordan's GDP will increase to 2.2 per cent this year, from 1.9 per cent in 2018. Growth for 2020 is forecast at 2.4 per cent. The Washington-based lender remains in talks with Jordan's government about extending the credit line agreed in 2016 for another three years and is set to return to Amman for talks in January. In a statement following last month’s discussions, while underlining the need for Jordan to “boost growth, create jobs, and strengthen social protection”, the IMF warned that “fiscal consolidation has been slower than envisaged” and that income from efforts to broaden its tax base had fallen short of expectations. *The National

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Amman stock market closes at JD7.4 million

[12/3/2019 7:03:49 AM]

AMMONNEWS - The Amman Stock Exchange's (ASE) trading value for Tuesday stood at JD7.4 million. The ASE trading session for today was down by 0.07 percent at 1,792 points. A total of 5.1 million shares were traded through 1,440 transactions. The closing prices of 31 companies with traded shares went up, while 27 others declined. The prices of the shares of 41 others remained stable.

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Jordan imports 309,000 barrels of Iraqi oil in November

[12/3/2019 6:55:57 AM]

AMMONNEWS - Jordan imported a total of 309,000 barrels of Iraqi oil during November; transported by 1,209 tanks, Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources Hala Zawati said on Tuesday. In a press statement, Zawati said the oil quantities imported since the beginning of last September until the end of November amounted to 776,000 barrels, transferred from the Baiji oil refinery in Iraq to the Jordan Petroleum Refinery (JPR) in Zarqa governorate at an average of 10,000 barrels a day, constituting 7 percent of the needs of the Kingdom. "Such step comes as part of the energy cooperation between Jordan and Iraq to serve the interests of the two countries," the minister added. On Iraqi oil prices, Zawati confirmed that under the memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed by both countries last February, Jordan would buy Iraq's Kirkuk oil at benchmark crude Brent prices minus transport costs and deviations in standards. The minister noted the MoU aims at enhancing economic and energy cooperation between the two sides and creating more job opportunities, describing the import of Iraqi oil as a new phase of economic cooperation between the two countries. Zawati also expressed her hope that more Jordanian-Iraqi cooperation will soon be witnessed in the field of energy to meet the interests of both countries, by establishing an Iraqi oil export pipeline through Aqaba port, extending from Basra to Haditha and then to Aqaba port, as well as establishing a network of electrical link between the two countries.

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JD66 million allocated for water projects next year

[12/3/2019 6:52:16 AM]

AMMONNEWS - About JD66.655 million have been allocated for the capital projects of the Ministry of Water and Irrigation and the Jordan Valley Authority in the government's 'draft general budget law' for the fiscal year 2020. "The financial allocations for the Ministry of Water include JD20.499 million for new projects, JD449 thousand for ongoing projects, and JD16.536 million for projects under implementation," the General Budget Department said on its website. The Jordan Valley Authority has financial allocations of JD830 thousand for new projects, JD9.200 million for ongoing projects, and JD19.140 million and JD140 thousand for projects under implementation, the department added.

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Unemployment rate hits 19.1 pct over the 3rd quarter 2019, says DoS

[12/1/2019 7:05:55 AM]

AMMONNEWS - Jordan's unemployment rate in the 3rd quarter of 2019 has reached 19.1 percent, up by 0.5% for the same period last year. The unemployment rate among males in the aforementioned period reached 17.1% compared to 27.5% among females, the Department of Statistics (DoS) announced in a statement. The unemployment rate among males rose by 0.8% points and among females by 0.4% points compared to the 3rd quarter 2018, the department said. According to the department's figures, the unemployment rate was high among university graduates (unemployed individuals with a bachelor's degree and higher, divided by the workforce of the same educational qualification), reaching 25.2%, compared to other educational levels. 55.8% of the total jobless were General Secondary School Certificate (Tawjihi) holders and 44.2% of the total unemployed had less than secondary education, the DoS added. The percentage of unemployed varied according to educational level and gender, where the highest unemployment rates were recorded in the age groups 15-19 years and 20-24 years, with 29.9% and 38.8% respectively. At the governorate level, the highest unemployment rate was recorded in Madaba governorate by 23.9% and the lowest unemployment rate in Karak that was 14.5%.

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