Middle East and Central Asia > Bahrain, Kingdom of

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International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
GCC policymakers have managed to quickly mitigate the economic impact of the twin COVID-19 and oil price shock. Commodity prices have surged, and the outlook is more positive for GCC countries, with new challenges linked to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and tighter global financial conditions expected to have a limited impact on GCC economies. While GCC countries have overall benefited from higher, albeit volatile hydrocarbon prices, numerous risks still cloud the outlook—notably a slowdown in the global economy. In this context, the reform momentum established during the low oil price years should be maintained—irrespective of the level of hydrocarbon prices.
Mr. Maximilien Queyranne, Romain Lafarguette, and Kubi Johnson
This paper investigates inflation risks for 12 Middle East and Central Asia countries, with an equal share of commodities exporters and importers. The empirical strategy leverages the recent developments in the estimation of macroeconomic risks and uses a semi-parametric approach that balances well flexibility and robustness for density projections. The paper uncovers interesting features of inflation dynamics in the region, including the role of backward versus forward-looking drivers, non-linearities, and heterogeneous and delayed exchange rate pass-through. The results have important implications for the conduct of monetary policy and central bank communication in the Middle East and Central Asia and emerging markets in general.
Berkay Akyapi, Mr. Matthieu Bellon, and Emanuele Massetti
A growing literature estimates the macroeconomic effect of weather using variations in annual country-level averages of temperature and precipitation. However, averages may not reveal the effects of extreme events that occur at a higher time frequency or higher spatial resolution. To address this issue, we rely on global daily weather measurements with a 30-km spatial resolution from 1979 to 2019 and construct 164 weather variables and their lags. We select a parsimonious subset of relevant weather variables using an algorithm based on the Least Absolute Shrinkage and Selection Operator. We also expand the literature by analyzing weather impacts on government revenue, expenditure, and debt, in addition to GDP per capita. We find that an increase in the occurrence of high temperatures and droughts reduce GDP, whereas more frequent mild temperatures have a positive impact. The share of GDP variations that is explained by weather as captured by the handful of our selected variables is much higher than what was previously implied by using annual temperature and precipitation averages. We also find evidence of counter-cyclical fiscal policies that mitigate adverse weather shocks, especially excessive or unusually low precipitation episodes.