Egypt jobless rate rises to 9.4 percent
Egypt's unemployment has climbed to 9.4 percent in the first quarter of 2009 due to the global economic crisis.
The Middle East News Agency has cited the official Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics as saying the rate rose from 8.8 percent in 2008.
Most analysts put the real number at twice that.
Egyptian officials say while the country is faring well in the current downturn, economic growth is still projected to slump to 4 percent in the current fiscal year due to falling tourism, the Suez Canal traffic, worker remittances and foreign investment revenues.
Egypt's economic growth rate averaged about 7 percent over the past three years.
Serbia's National Bank said yesterday it will challenge government-imposed salary cuts, which its says jeopardize its independence, guaranteed by the constitution.
The bank said it will bring its case to the Constitutional Court, while government officials have rejected the criticism.
Reduction of salaries in all state institutions is part of an austerity plan agreed with the International Monetary Fund to receive a 3 billion euros (US$3.97 billion) bailout package.
The government also plans to fire thousands of state employees and increase taxes to bridge a budget gap. But National Bank says government control of its employees' wages is a "dangerous precedent" because it paves the way for "direct influence" of the state institutions on the bank.
French retail giant Carrefour is negotiating to buy Russian supermarket chain Sedmoi Kontinent for US$1.25 billion, the daily Kommersant reported yesterday. The paper, quoting an unnamed senior Western investment banker close to the talks, said Carrefour would formally submit its bid on May 15 under the terms of a preliminary agreement signed in April.
The paper said the French retailer would pay US$1.25 billion to acquire 75 percent of Sedmoi Kontinent and 100 percent of Mkapital, the firm managing the real estate holdings of the Russian supermarket chain.
The Russian chain's owner, Alexander Zanadvorov, received a US$560 million loan from Deutsche Bank in November 2007, using a 75-percent stake of Sedmoi Kontinent and a 95-percent stake in Mkapital as collateral.