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The Daily TIP: Egypt Slated to Start Importing Israeli Natural Gas in Early 2019

Posted by Tip Staff - August 06, 2018

Egypt Slated to Start Importing Israeli Natural Gas in Early 2019
In Face of Sanctions, Iranians Blame Regime, not U.S., for Economic Hardship
Following Moody's, Standard and Poor's Gives Israel an Improved Credit Rating
Israel Tech Incubator Signs Agrement with S. Korean Venture Capital Firms

Egypt Slated to Start Importing Israeli Natural Gas in Early 2019

Egypt’s Dolphinus Holdings plans to start importing gas from Israel in early 2019, Reuters news agency reported Sunday.

“Imports will start in small quantities first and will gradually increase to reach their climax in September 2019,” one source told Reuters. The source gave no details on prices or quantities.

In February, partners in Israel’s Tamar and Leviathan offshore gas fields -- which include Delek Group, Isramco and Ratio -- said that it had signed agreements with its associates to supply 2.26 trillion cubic feet (64 billion cubic meters) of gas from Israel's offshore fields to Dolphinus over a 10-year period -- a deal estimated to be worth $15 billion.

Half will come from each field, and the proceeds will be split equally, they said.

The agreement has stirred controversy in Egypt, which until a few years ago exported gas to Israel. However, instability in the Sinai Peninsula region where Egypt’s large gas fields are located and numerous Islamist and jihadist groups are based, have changed the strategic and economic landscape in the country.

The new agreement is meant to boost Egypt’s efforts to become a major regional energy exporter and the government of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi hopes that the imports will help its ambitions to become a regional energy hub.

Israel started gas production at the Tamar offshore field in an effort to put the country on the road to energy independence. Tamar, which began production in 2013, has estimated reserves of up to 238 billion cubic meters (8.4 trillion cubic feet).

In Face of Sanctions, Iranians Blame Regime, not U.S., for Economic Hardship

Protesters across Iran are blaming the regime — and not the United States — for the nation's worsening economic situation as harsh new U.S. sanctions are set to be imposed this week, The Wall Street Journal reported Monday.

Instead of chants of "Death to America" which are common at regime-led protests, the protesters in one video are heard saying, "Death to inflation! Death to unemployment!” In another video, protesters were heard mocking the security forces.

"In a country where the wealthy and well-connected enjoy fast cars and luxury hotels and the underclass toils to afford rice, bread and sugar, the social fabric is being strained by the economic threat posed by new U.S. sanctions that are set to go into place," the Journal described the dynamic driving the protests.

Other factors behind the widespread discontent include increases in food prices, poor water quality in Iran's southwest, and labor unrest. Woman also have been protesting restrictions on their dress.

Economic unrest spurred nation-wide protests in December and January. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, who was reelected earlier this year, promised to improve the economy at the time. Since then the rial has depreciated by more than a half. In January the exchange rate was 43,000 rial for a dollar; now it is 96,000.

Sanctions targeting Iran's sale of oil to Asian nations is expected to cause Iran's economy to shrink 4.3% in 2019, according to the firm BMI Research.

"Iran’s leaders often blame internal dissent on foreign forces," the Journal reported, "even as Iranian protesters focus their ire mostly on Iran’s leadership."

Following Moody's, Standard and Poor's Gives Israel an Improved Credit Rating

For the second time in two months, an international credit rating agency has raised its assessment of Israel's economy, as Standard and Poor's raised Israel's credit rating to -AA, Ynet reported Saturday.

In July, Moody's raised Israel's outlook of Israel's economy from "stable" to "positive." This means that in the next year to year and a half, the agency could raise Israel's rating from A1 to Aa-. The reasons given for upgrade were the fiscal discipline exercised by Israel's government, as well as its recent strong economic growth.

Similarly, Ynet described the S&P giving Israel its favorable rating as a "very significant achievement for the Israeli economy," as the rating "indicates confidence in the ability of the economy to grow and the government's ability to maintain a responsible fiscal policy."

There are only 17 nation's that S&P has given an AA rating to. Israel is among six with the -AA rating. Others at that level include Qatar and the Czech Republic. Seven others — including Belgium, Britain and Kuwait — have an AA rating. The United States and Finland are among four nations with the highest AA+ rating.

Switzerland, Australia and Norway have AAA ratings.

S&P predicts that Israel's economy will grow at a rate of 3.3% from 2018 to 2021, driven by "private consumption, continued investment by corporations, and strong performance in the field of services exports," according to Ynet.

Israel Tech Incubator Signs Agrement with S. Korean Venture Capital Firms

OurCrowd Labs/02, a Jerusalem-based seed-stage incubator focused on deep-tech innovation, signed dual memorandums of understanding with South Korean venture capital firms DTNI and Yozma Group Korea.

Facilitated by the Korea-Israel Industrial R&D Foundation, the agreements aim to strengthen bilateral strategic collaboration and investments, as well as promote partnerships between companies in the two countries in the area of deep technology.

“The collaboration between OurCrowd Labs/02, DTNI and Yozma Korea seeks to establish ‘landing pads’ in Israel and South Korea, with the intention of providing startups from both countries the network to establish themselves, connect with the local startups and innovation ecosystems, and forge meaningful collaborations,” said Moshe Raines, CEO of OurCrowd LABS/02.

DTNI CEO Seungsuk Lee added, “This partnership is an important step towards strengthening South-Korean and Israeli VC ties, as the tech scene in both countries continues to grow. We believe that this partnership will further the mutual benefit of our funds and startups.”

The collaboration will allow for mutual sharing of information and networks between the venture capital ecosystems of South Korea and Israel and also support increased activity of venture funds co-created by private and governmental investment vehicles. This collaboration will also help South Korean stakeholders leverage the know-how and methodologies of the Israeli startup ecosystem.

(via Israel21c)

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