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Star Inflation rate climbs<p>* A study by the Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation indicated that inflation rate in Jordan rose in the first half of 2004 by 2 percent to 3.6 percent compared to the same period of last year. The study attributed the rise to the increase in prices of basic commodities, including foodstuffs. It noted that prices of eggs, poultry and meat products rose by 7.4 percent compared to 2003, while prices of cereals increased by almost 6 percent. The study pointed that the government's recent decision to raise fuel prices and Sales Tax pushed other commodities' prices up. The study predicts the inflation rate will level off to between 3.5 to 4 percent by the end of 2004<p>Balqaa Investments rosy despite red tape<p>* The Balqaa governorate is expected to host this year 180 investment projects at a total value of JD 56 million of which JD 16 million are secured in 2004's budget, while the rest would be forthcoming from the Social-Economic Transformation Program. The designated projects cover fields of education, tourism, industry and health. Sources at the governorate's Development Department warned of the prolonged bureaucratic procedures that may hinder these projects, and called for the decentralization of decision-making to enhance development in rural areas. <p>Egyptian Arab Bank restructures <p>* The Egyptian Arab Land Bank reduced its branches in Jordan to nine from 19 due to administrative reasons. Director-general of the bank, Hazim Mohammad Youssef said the bank is restructuring its departments and branches to enhance the quality of services and products. About 100 employees lost their jobs because of the restructuring plan, which started at the beginning of this year. Five of the nine branches are located in Amman, while the rest are in Irbid, Zarqa, Mafraq and Aqaba. Youssef denied that restructuring has anything to do with the bank's financial status. "The bank has achieved remarkable financial standing in 2003 and in the first half of 2004. We are planning to expand our work through providing new services and products to promote investments," he said.<p>JCC replenishes profits in 2004<p>* Profits of Jordan Cables Co (JCC) rocketed in the first half of 2004 by 331 percent to JD 1.7 million, compared to JD 407,700 in the same period of 2003. JCC's financial statement indicated that the company's sales increased by 185.8 percent to JD 10.7 million compared to JD 3.7 over the same period. The statement attributed this growth to the company's booming business with Iraq. Last year the company suffered a setback due to the US-led war on Iraq, but more than compensated this year by getting contracts there, the statement said. JCC' assets also increased in the first half of this year by 54.3 percent to JD 31 million up from JD 20 million in 2003.

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Publication:The Star (Amman, Jordan)
Date:Jul 22, 2004
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