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MENAFN - Arab News - 05/11/2012

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(MENAFN - Arab News) The Arab Spring encouraged Arab expats to keep observing the stability of their country's currency as they aimed to return once the economy would be stable.

Uprisings in Egypt, Libya, Tunisia and Yemen made some of its nationals in Saudi Arabia start dreaming of a return to their countries once they would feel confident about the stability of their economy and currency.
Others were disappointed due to the financial losses their countries suffered during the Arab Spring.

"Many Egyptians are observing their currency changes on a daily basis. The recent upheaval encouraged all Egyptians abroad to start caring more about exchange rates, the political climate and its impact on the Egyptian economy," said Dr. Ibrahim Zamak, an Egyptian pediatric doctor at a private hospital in Jeddah.

According to a recent Reuters poll, Egypt's economy will grow by just 1.3 percent this financial year and 3.6 percent next year as it makes a slow recovery from the disruption to tourism and investment.

"All Egyptians are frustrated about the economy, especially when the pressure on the Egyptian pound will continue. Forecasts suggest it will weaken to 6.13 pounds to the US dollar by the end of June 2013 from around 5.96 pounds now," he said.

Zamak added: "We expected things to pick up after the presidential elections in June. The direction of government policy in terms of economics is still very unclear. There are some rumors that the economy will be impacted positively by the international commercial agreements that President Mursi conducted recently."

Alaa Abdullah, an Egyptian pharmacist, has been working in Jeddah for the past ten years. He had been planning to return to Egypt since the beginning of 2011, but has been delaying his decision until he feels more certain of the outcome of the revolution.

"I was looking to return to Egypt and open a chain of pharmacies there. The revolution changed my plans, as investments opportunities became less after the revolution. Furthermore, I am observing the currency stability, which is deteriorating every day," he said.

Abdullah Baqlaq, a Yemeni driver, has been working in the Kingdom for the last five years. He expects his dream to return to Yemen will soon come true, as the Yemeni riyal is still stable.

"The improved political situation has brought a remarkable stability in the Yemeni currency over the past months. The exchange rate between the Yemeni riyal against the US dollar is 214.70 riyals for buying and 215.10 riyals for sale," he said.

He added, "The Saudi riyal exchange rate against the Yemeni riyal is 57.12 riyals to buy, and 57.35 riyals for sale. This surely indicates a growth of the Yemeni economy."

Maryam Boswisa, a Tunisian hairdresser, has been living in Jeddah for the past ten years. She stated that most Tunisians expected a hike in the growth of the Tunisian economy after the Arab Spring, especially as the aim of the revolution was to expand fairness and equality among Tunisian residents. Maryam has been observing the rate of exchange for the Tunisian currency since the revolution started in Tunis.

"The Tunisian dinar fell rapidly since last April to 1.6 against the US dollar compared to 1.3 since the beginning of the year 2012. Tunisian media reports stated that the inflation rate is currently about 5.7 percent, which is a record level that was last seen in Tunisia in the middle of the last century," she said.
She added, "Such facts scared all expatriate Tunisians and diverted their hopes to return to their country in the near future. Furthermore, economists expect a further depreciation of the dinar."


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