World Bulletin/News Desk
Turkmenistan's parliament has approved a $1.2 billion budget deficit for next year to help fund plans to raise salaries and pensions in the gas-rich former Soviet republic, state media reported on Saturday.
The state budget for 2013 envisages outgoings of $31.5 billion versus income of $30.3 billion. The reclusive Central Asian state, which closely guards economic data, did not reveal the size of the deficit in relation to gross domestic product.
Economic growth in Turkmenistan, a country of 5.5 million people, hinges on the development and export of the world's fourth-largest natural gas reserves. BP data shows the country consumed less than half the gas it produced in 2011.
Almost every aspect of life in Turkmenistan is controlled by President Kurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, a trained dentist who goes by the unofficial nickname of "Arkadag", or The Patron.
State newspaper Neutral Turkmenistan reported Berdymukhamedov as saying next year's budget would include a 10 percent increase in salaries and a 15 percent rise in pensions, as well as investment in the water supply, housing and schools.
Turkmenistan's GDP expanded by 11.1 percent in the first nine months of this year, largely on the back of an 8.5 percent increase in gas production. State media have not disclosed the actual size of GDP or natural gas production.
The country has the capacity to produce about 75 billion cubic metres of gas annually and plans to triple output by 2030 after developing large gas fields to supply China, Iran, southern Asia and Europe, as well as traditional market Russia.
A monitoring mission from the International Monetary Fund, which visited Turkmenistan in July, said it projected real GDP growth to remain strong in 2012 and 2013, at about 8 percent a year.
Tuvakmammed Japarov, governor of Turkmenistan's central bank, said on Oct. 17 that inflation in the first nine months of the year was less than 4.7 percent on a year-on-year basis.
The Ministry of Finance said that Denmark has written to China to "announce its intention to apply to be a founding member" of the AIIB.
Experts state that the crisis poses risks to the region, which is significant for oil production and exports in the world.
Federal Reserve removes word 'patient;' interest rate increase expected within months. Yellen says timing of rate rise 'not decided,' but will come anytime after April; holds current rates at 0 to 0.25 pct.
Many emerging-market currencies have fallen against the dollar in recent weeks
Anticipated Federal Reserve interest rate hikes making dollar strong against most emerging market currencies, Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan says.
European Statistical Agency says slight decline fuelled by drop in production of durable consumer goods.
EU will use all its foreign policy instruments to establish strategic energy partnerships with producing and transit countries.
Dollar strength and waning investor confidence are driving the lira lower
Greece has already received two bailouts totalling 240 billion euros but fellow euro zone member Ireland said last week that it would have to negotiate a third programme.
The Ukraine crisis has tested the loyalties of Bulgaria, a Balkan country with historical ties to Moscow and heavily dependent on Russian energy supplies.
Syria expels three United Nations aid workers hindering aid development in the country
Russia has overcome a "psychological barrier" and is ready to deepen its economic ties with China, Deputy Prime MinisterArkady Dvorkovich said
With Chancellor Angela Merkel's right-left coalition plus the opposition Greens, it was the biggest majority for any euro zone rescue package so far in the 631-seat chamber.
The agreement commits Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi to cooperate with the United States in customs issues, ease red tape at borders, reduce customs wait times and harmonize trade standards.
Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena has unnerved China with his re-examination of certain projects that Chinahas invested in, including a $1.5 billion "port city" project in Colombo.
EU energy chief Maros Sefcovic invited Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak and his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Demchyshyn for talks