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Sharp drop in Suez Canal revenues adds to Egypt's woes

Sharp drop in Suez Canal revenues adds to Egypt's woes

Egypt's already considerable economic problems took a turn for the worse last month as revenues from transit of shipping through the Suez Canal dropped by half as a result of security problems in  the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden. Attacks by Houthi rebels on commercial vessels forced major shipping companies to divert away from the key global trade artery. Income from the international strategic waterway last month dropped to $428 million, compared to $804 million in January 2023, Osama Rabie, chairman of the Suez Canal Authority, said in an interview with Egyptian television channel ON TV. The total number of ships through the Suez Canal last month fell to 1,362 vessels, down 36 per cent from the 2,155 vessels navigating the canal during January 2023, he said. Houthi militants in Yemen began attacking commercial vessels in October in solidarity with the Palestinians in the Israel-Gaza war, and show no signs of retreating despite the US and Western allies attempting to deter the Iran-backed group with air strikes, which began on January 12.  Many shipping companies have rerouted their vessels away from the Red Sea to avoid the attacks, opting instead for the longer and more expensive route around the Cape of Good Hope at the southern tip of Africa. The Suez Canal is the shortest sea route between Asia and Europe. With about 12 per cent of the world's shipping traffic passing through it, the waterway is a major facilitator of global trade. The canal is also a crucial source of foreign currency for Egypt. The North African economy, already grappling with record inflation and a heavy debt burden was further impacted by the Israel-Gaza war, which has slowed tourism and decreased shipping through the Suez Canal. Egypt is "particularly exposed" to the Red Sea shipping crisis as the country generates about 2.2 per cent of its gross domestic product in annual balance-of-payment receipts and 1.2 per cent of GDP in fiscal revenue from Suez Canal dues, the International Monetary Fund said in its regional economic outlook in January.
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Opinion
Opinion: In the South Caucasus, connectivity should help build trust

Opinion: In the South Caucasus, connectivity should help build trust

All transport and communication lines in the South Caucasus remain closed. This failure can largely be attributed to the shift of connectivity from a concept intended to build trust to one tied up with security arrangements in the post-2020 era. "Instead of fostering closeness between the parties, concepts that were supposed to enhance cooperation were perceived as threats to territorial integrity and sovereignty", writes Shujaat Ahmadzada in this op-ed for commonspace.eu. "One should not overlook the fact that the November 10 statement and many of its components have been fundamentally and operationally Russia-centric, implying that the Armenian-Azerbaijani disagreements have to be settled around a third party – albeit not an ordinary one but one with hegemonic ambitions."

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Kazakhstan rebuffs talk of joint EAEU response to Western sanctions

Kazakhstan rebuffs talk of joint EAEU response to Western sanctions

The government of Kazakhstan, in a statement issued on Saturday (5 June) rebuffed the idea of such a joint response raised last week by Russian deputy foreign minister Alexander Pankin who said that the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), which brings together Belarus, Kazakhstan, Russia, Armenia and Kyrgyzstan, was working on a “consolidated response” to Western sanctions against some of its members.
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After Brexit, UK seeks trade deals with Gulf states

After Brexit, UK seeks trade deals with Gulf states

British International Trade Secretary, Liz Truss, says that the British government is looking at a possible trade deal with Gulf states starting with an investment tie-up with the UAE for an amount of £5 billion ($7.06bn). 
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EU celebrates Europe Day with a declaration outlining ambitious social agenda

EU celebrates Europe Day with a declaration outlining ambitious social agenda

This year, faced by the challenges of the pandemic and its social and economic consequences, European leaders meeting at an informal summit in Porto, hosted by the current Portuguese Presidency of the EU, focused on social issues, including on how to ensure an inclusive recovery, with education and skills at the heart of the EU's political action.
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EU puts new Investment Agreement with China on hold

EU puts new Investment Agreement with China on hold

The European Commission will stop efforts to approve the Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI) between China and the European Union (EU). European Commissioner for Trade, Valdis Dombrovskis, said that approval for the CAI is complicated due to recent EU-China relations.