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Daily brief: Egypt eyes tourists’ return, Saudi aims to soften austerity

Investments in airport security and a cheaper Egyptian pound could result in the return of tourists to Egypt, the country’s tourism minister said. Here are seven business stories you need to know today.


Maldives govt rejects claims it is selling off atoll to Saudi Arabia

The Maldivian government said on Tuesday a planned multibillion dollar, Saudi-funded investment project on one of its atolls will focus on high-end tourism, and it rejected opposition claims that the islands would be sold to the government of Saudi Arabia.


Egyptians protest over fears of bread subsidy cuts

Hundreds of Egyptians protested around the country on Tuesday, blocking roads and surrounding government offices, after a change to the way bread rations are managed raised fears that the government was cutting food subsidies by the back door.


Rouhani talks rights as Iran election nears, critic attacks him on economy

President Hassan Rouhani should apologise to the Iranian people if he cannot show that the economy has improved, one of Iran’s most prominent hardliners said on Tuesday, setting a battle line for a presidential election in May.


Libyan oil guard head says asked to protect oil ports after clashes

An oil guard official appointed by Libya’s U.N.-backed government said on Tuesday that he had been tasked with protecting oil ports by an armed faction that took over Es Sider and Ras Lanuf terminals last week.


Egypt eyes return to pre-uprising tourist numbers, minister says

The number of tourists visiting Egypt this year could come close to levels seen before its 2011 uprising, encouraged by investments in airport security and a cheaper Egyptian pound, the country’s tourism minister said.


(Egypt’s non-oil business activity shrinks for 17th month -PMI)


Saudi pledges big projects to soften austerity hit to business

Saudi Arabia has promised to launch major development projects towards the end of 2017 to re-energise an economy which has been hit by austerity measures, industry sources told Reuters.


Saudi Aramco’s energy industrial city investment seen at 16.5bn riyals

State-owned oil giant Saudi Aramco sees investment in a new energy industrial city in Saudi Arabia to be 16.5 billion riyals ($4.4 billion), a senior Aramco official said on Tuesday.


(Burning less oil at home will help Saudi exports and Aramco IPO)


(With Reuters)