Oil exporters

DUBAI: Oil exporters in the Middle East and North Africa region are expected to increase their international reserves by over $100 billion in 2010 as oil prices rebound, International Monetary Fund said on Sunday. The rebuilding of reserves will help governments of the region maintain public spending, which has mitigated the impact of the global financial turmoil on their economies, IMF said in report released in Dubai. “With higher oil prices and the anticipated re-emergence of global demand, oil revenues are expected to increase, allowing oil exporters to rebuild their international reserve positions by over $100 billion in 2010,” the Middle East and Central Asia Regional Economic Outlook said. — AP

Kuwait group

KUWAIT CITY: Kuwait’s Securities Group said on Sunday it may make a multi-billion dollar offer for a near 25-per cent stake held by state-owned Kuwait Investment Authority (KIA) in telecom giant Zain. “The Securities Group announces that it is making the necessary studies to make an offer to purchase part or all of the KIA stake in Zain telecom whenever KIA decides to sell,” the group said in an advertisement in local press. KIA, the emirate’s sovereign wealth fund, owns 24.6 per cent of Zain, according to disclosures on the Kuwait Stock Exchange website. The Securities Group, a leading investment firm listed on the Kuwaiti bourse, said it is ready to offer a price of two dinars ($6.99) per share. Zain was trading at 1.42 dinars (five dollars) a share on Sunday. — AFP

Solar power

DURANGO: The sun had just crested the distant ridge of the Rocky Mountains, but already it was producing enough power for the electric meter on the side of the Smiley Building to spin backward. For the Shaw brothers, who converted the downtown arts building and community center into a miniature solar power plant two years ago, each reverse rotation subtracts from their monthly electric bill. It also means the building at that moment is producing more electricity from the sun than it needs. “Backward is good,” said John Shaw, who now runs Shaw Solar and Energy Conservation, a local solar installation company. — AP

State Budget

WASHINGTON: Struggling states and towns got a dose of badly needed money this summer from a Cash for Clunkers program that poured hundreds of millions of dollars of tax revenue into their budgets. Now, like the auto industry, recession-ravaged governments are seeing revenue fall off as car buyers take a breather from the frenzied sales of July and August. That means less money for schools, roads, public safety and other projects that get much of their funding from sales tax collections. And while officials welcomed the shot in the arm, the extra clunkers money won’t fill the holes in their budgets or solve the worst revenue downturn. — AP