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Bahrain’s King Orders Increase in Main Food Subsidies

(Corrects second paragraph to say subsidy increase will be raised to 65.9 million dinars.)

Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa ordered an increase in food subsidies and social welfare payments as the government seeks to ease the burden of rising food prices.

The government will increase subsidies on basic food items including flour and meat to 65.9 million dinars ($175 million) in this year’s budget, and to 67 million dinars in the next fiscal year, the official Bahrain News Agency reported today. The king also ordered that social assistance is increased to 20 million in the fiscal years.

The government will increase subsidies on basic food items including flour and meat by 44 million dinars for the years 2011-2012, the official Bahrain News Agency reported today. The king also ordered an increase of 12 million dinars in social assistance.

World food costs rose to a record in December on higher prices for sugar, grain and oilseeds, the UN reported Jan. 4, contributing to the uprising that ousted Tunisia’s Zine El Abidine Ben Ali on Jan 14. In Egypt, hundreds of people have been killed in unrest against President Hosni Mubarak’s regime. There also have been protests in Algeria, Yemen and Jordan.

The yield on Bahrain’s 5.5 percent 10-year bond maturing in 2020 increased 14 basis points to 5.82 percent at 7:27 p.m. in Bahrain, according to Bloomberg composite prices.

The cost of Bahrain’s five-year credit default swaps rose 31 percent to 234 since Jan. 24.

To contact the reporter on this story: Vivian Salama in Dubai at vsalama@bloomberg.net; To contact the reporter on this story: Camilla Hall in Dubai at chall24@bloomberg.net

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