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International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.

Abstract

A year into the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the race between vaccine and virus entered a new phase in the Middle East and Central Asia, and the path to recovery in 2021 is expected to be long and divergent. The outlook will vary significantly across countries, depending on the pandemic’s path, vaccine rollouts, underlying fragilities, exposure to tourism and contact-intensive sectors, and policy space and actions. 2021 will be the year of policies that continue saving lives and livelihoods and promote recovery, while balancing the need for debt sustainability and financial resilience. At the same time, policymakers must not lose sight of the transformational challenges to build forward better and accelerate the creation of more inclusive, resilient, sustainable, and green economies. Regional and international cooperation will be key complements to strong domestic policies.

International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.

Abstract

Countries in the Middle East, North Africa, Afghanistan, and Pakistan (MENAP) region and those in the Caucasus and Central Asia (CCA) responded to the COVID-19 pandemic with swift and stringent measures to mitigate its spread and impact but continue to face an uncertain and difficult environment. Oil exporters were particularly hard hit by a “double-whammy” of the economic impact of lockdowns and the resulting sharp decline in oil demand and prices. Containing the health crisis, cushioning income losses, and expanding social spending remain immediate priorities. However, governments must also begin to lay the groundwork for recovery and rebuilding stronger, including by addressing legacies from the crisis and strengthening inclusion.

International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.

Abstract

Oil exporters in the Middle East and North Africa, Afghanistan, and Pakistan region (MENAP) are continuing to adjust to lower oil prices, which have dampened growth and contributed to large fiscal and external deficits.

International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.

Abstract

The Arab Spring holds the promise of improved living standards and a more prosperous future for the peoples of the Middle East and North Africa region. At the same time, the region is witnessing uncertainty and economic pressures from domestic and external sources, which will likely be exacerbated by the recent worsening of the global economy. The main challenge in the short term will be to manage expectations while maintaining economic stability. To that end, better-targeted subsidies and transfers will help free up resources for investment in infrastructure, education, and health. Policies aimed at fostering inclusive growth will also help cement the longer-term benefits of the ongoing changes in the region. In the Caucasus and Central Asia, the economic outlook is broadly positive. Exports and remittances--key growth drivers in 2010--are continuing to grow solidly, helping the recovery gain firm momentum. At the same time, uncertainties over the robustness of the global recovery constitute a downside risk to the growth outlook. Key challenges facing the region over the medium term are to create jobs and foster high and inclusive growth.

International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.

Abstract

This issue of the Regional Economic Outlook: Middle East and Central Asia provides an in-depth look at the Middle East, North Africa, Afghanistan, and Pakistan (MENAP) region, as well as the Caucasus and Central Asia (CCA). Four chapters deal with MENAP oil exporters, MENAP oil importers, policy challenges facing MENAP, and sustaining the recovery in the CCA countries. Two developments mark the outlook for the MENAP region: the social and political unrest and the surge in global fuel and food prices, which have resulted in unusually large uncertainties in the near-term economic outlook. Meanwhile, growth in the CCA countries was higher than expected. Three main policy challenges to CCA countries are rising inflation, heightened social pressures to spend, and the poor quality of bank portfolios. Job creation and poverty reduction are key objectives for all CCA countries.

International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.

Abstract

The Regional Economic Outlook assesses the near-term outlook for each of the three subregions: the Middle East, North Africa, Afghanistan, and Pakistan (MENAP) oil exporters, the MENAP oil importers, and the Caucasus and Central Asia (CCA). The report also looks at medium-term issues of particular concern to the region, namely the need to boost competitiveness and growth to address high levels of long-standing unemployment in the MENAP region, and enhance the effectiveness of monetary policy and regional cooperation in the CCA.

International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.

Abstract

The May 2010 Regional Economic Outlook: Middle East and Central Asia reports on the implications for the region of global economic developments and presents key policy challenges and recommendations. A resumption of capital inflows and the rebound in crude oil prices have aided the recovery in the oil-exporting countries of the Middle East and North Africa. The group of oil-importing countries is expected to show marginal increase in growth in response to a pickup in trade, investment, and bank credit. A key challenge for these countries is to enhance competitiveness to raise growth rates and generate employment. In the Caucasus and Central Asia, exports have begun to pick up, the decline in remittances appears to be slowing or reversing, and capital inflows have turned positive. For 2010, a recovery across the region is projected as the global economy, and in particular Russia, picks up speed. Overall, prospects for the region are improving and the regional impact of the Dubai crisis and events in Greece has been limited so far. Nevertheless, a repricing of sovereign debt cannot be excluded, adding a degree of uncertainty to the outlook.

International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.

Abstract

The global crisis is now affecting the countries in the Middle East and Central Asia region, and economic and financial vulnerabilities are rising. In the Middle East and North Africa, good economic fundamentals, appropriate policy responses, and sizable currency reserves are helping mitigate the impact of the shock. In the Caucasus and Central Asia, lower commodity prices and adverse economic developments in Russia have hit hard. The report notes that countries should prepare for the contingency of a prolonged global slowdown by supporting domestic demand for a longer period and strengthening financial systems further. In some countries with rising unemployment, it will be important to target government resources and policies on protecting the poor; in others, increased donor support will be necessary to maintain needed economic development.

International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.

Abstract

Regional Economic Outlook: Middle East and Central Asia underlines that the region has continued to experience strong growth in 2008, and the short-term outlook is generally favorable. However, inflation has emerged as a key issue, and while the global credit crunch has thus far had a limited impact on regional financial markets, the financial turmoil and slowdown in developed economies could lower growth in the period ahead. Policies will need to focus on tightening the fiscal and monetary stance where appropriate, with greater exchange rate flexibility, and continuing efforts to strengthen the resilience of financial sectors.

International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.

Abstract

The Middle East and Central Asia region grew at 6.5 percent in 2007, marking its best five-year performance over the past 30 years. So far, the turmoil in international financial markets has had a limited impact on the region, and the short-term outlook remains very favorable. The report reviews recent economic developments, assesses the outlook for the coming year, and discusses key policy challenges. In addition, it takes a closer look at both regional topics--such as the rise in inflation in the GCC countries, intraregional capital flows, developments in oil markets, developments in real estate prices, and sovereign wealth funds--and country reviews for Algeria, Georgia, Iraq, and West Bank and Gaza.