North Africa/Middle East

A ship that blocked the Suez Canal for almost a week in March is being held in the waterway as canal authorities pursue a $916 million compensation claim against the ship’s Japanese owner, one of the vessel’s insurers and canal sources said on Tuesday, Reuters reported. The Ever Given container ship, owned by Shoei Kisen, has been in a lake separating two sections of the canal since it was dislodged on March 29, as the Suez Canal Authority (SCA) conducts investigations. Two SCA sources, who declined to be named, told Reuters a court order had been issued for the ship to be held.
Read more
The blocking of the Suez Canal by one of the world’s largest container ships is likely to result in losses worth hundreds of millions of euros for the reinsurance industry, Fitch Ratings said, even as rescue teams were successful in partially refloating the vessel yesterday, Reuters reported. The 400-metre (430-yard) long Ever Given got wedged diagonally across the canal in high winds early last Tuesday, blocking the path for hundreds of vessels waiting to transit the shortest shipping route between Europe and Asia.
Read more

The giant cargo carrier blocking the Suez Canal was finally on the move Monday afternoon, nearly a week after it wedged sideways, causing billions of dollars worth of damage to global trade, the Washington Post reported. A fleet of tugboats worked through the night to take advantage of a full moon that led to the highest tide all month, helping to lift the boat. As of Monday morning, the Ever Given had been 80 percent refloated, the Suez Canal Authority said in a statement.

Read more
A huge container ship blocking the Suez Canal like a “beached whale” may take weeks to free, the salvage company said, as officials stopped all ships entering the channel on Thursday in a new setback for global trade, Reuters reported. The 400 metre (430 yard) Ever Given, almost as long as the Empire State Building is high, is blocking transit in both directions through one of the world’s busiest shipping channels for oil and grain and other trade linking Asia and Europe.
Read more
In normal times, Ziad Hassan, a grocery store manager in Beirut, would get a daily email from his chain’s management telling him which prices needed to be adjusted and by how much. But as Lebanon’s currency has collapsed, sending the economy into a tailspin, the emails have come as often as three times a day, ordering price increases across the store, the New York Times reported. “We have to change everything,” an exasperated Mr. Hassan said, adding that his employees often weren’t even able to finish marking one price increase before the next one arrived.
Read more
UAE-based troubled contractor Arabtec Holding has submitted a bankruptcy petition to Dubai Court, following the company's former group CEO Wail Farsakh's resignation in February 2021, Construction Week reported. In a missive issued to Dubai Financial Market (DFM), Arabtec Holding stated that a bankruptcy petition was submitted to the Dubai Court in addition to certain subsidiaries, which include Arabtec Construction, Austrian Arabian Readymix Concrete Co., Arabtec Precast, Emirates Falcon Electromechanical Co.
Read more
A debt restructuring proposal designed to prevent the collapse of construction giant Saudi Binladin Group may face more scrutiny from creditors, Bloomberg News reported. The lenders that want a bigger say in the process have held discussions with Rothschild & Co. and may decide to appoint the investment bank in the coming weeks. Talks are ongoing, and no final decisions have been made. Creditors may also choose to hire another adviser or none at all. While it’s not unusual for creditors to seek an independent counsel, they are acting almost a year after Binladin hired Houlihan Lokey Inc.
Read more
Egypt’s headline inflation accelerated at its fastest pace since December but remained below the target range, making rising global bond yields a more important factor in next week’s rate decision, Bloomberg News reported. The annual inflation rate climbed to 4.5% in February from 4.3% in January after two consecutive months of deceleration. On a monthly basis, consumer prices inched up 0.2%, the state-run statistics agency CAPMAS said Wednesday in a report. Egypt’s central bank is due to make its next interest-rate decision on March 18.
Read more
Tunisia’s state-owned firms are in dire straits, facing a perfect storm of debt, mismanagement, the coronavirus pandemic and a decade of political instability that could push some to bankruptcy, Agence France Presser's reported. Ten years since a revolution that overthrew the nepotistic regime of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, the sweeping reforms economists say are needed to clean up state finances have yet to materialise. The situation has pushed many of the cash-strapped North African country’s 110 state-owned firms towards the edge.
Read more