The Arab Monetary Fund (AMF) slightly increased its loan commitments to member states during 1999 to 211.7 million Arab accounting dinars (AAD $931.5 million) from AAD 203.5 million ($895.4 million) the year before, according to AMF figures. Tunisia, Jordan and Yemen were all granted new credits.

The AMF, owned by Arab governments, is based in Abu Dhabi and has paid-up capital of AAD 323 million ($1,421.2 million).

It makes soft loans to Arab states to help them with imbalances in payments. It also owns half of the Arab Trade Finance Programme, runs financial training programmes for Arab officials and carries out research on the state of the Arab economies.

The fund’s total assets at the end of 1995 stood at AAD 673 million ($2961.2 million), compared to AAD 630.7 million ($2,775.1 million) the year before. The loan commitments include the balances of existing loans and credits approved during 1995, but not yet paid out. The AMF, which also has a sizeable investment portfolio, made net profits of AAD 24 million ($105.6 million) in 1995.

As part of its efforts to develop Arab financial markets, the AMF is taking part in a joint venture with the International Finance Corporation and the Londonbased credit ratings agency IBCA to set up domestic ratings agencies in the region.

Bahrain-based Inter-Arab Ratings Company is due to open its first local office in October to cover the Maghreb (MEED 16:8:96).

Iraq, Sudan and Somalia have longrunning arrears to the fund, which increased slightly to AAD 171.1 million ($752.8 million) in 1995. However, the AMF said this total included a small amount owed by Mauritania that was paid off early in 1996.