Middle East and Central Asia > Kuwait

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International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
The COVID-19 pandemic is having far-reaching consequences for the global economy. Measures to contain the spread of the virus have led to sharp declines in economic activity across the globe, particularly in 2020Q2. The hardest hit sectors have been those requiring intensive human contact, such as tourism, transportation, services, and construction, while, in general, IT-intensive activities have fared better. The economic contraction is most significant in advanced economies. The GCC countries face a double impact from the coronavirus and lower oil prices. GCC authorities have implemented a range of appropriate measures to mitigate the economic damage, including fiscal packages, relaxation of monetary and macroprudential rules, and the injection of liquidity into the banking system, and there are recent signs of improvement. Low oil prices have caused a sharp deterioration of external and fiscal balances, and fiscal strains are evident in countries with higher debt levels.
Mr. Tokhir N Mirzoev, Ling Zhu, Yang Yang, Ms. Tian Zhang, Mr. Erik Roos, Mr. Andrea Pescatori, and Mr. Akito Matsumoto
The Future of Oil and Fiscal Sustainability in the GCC Region
Nidhaleddine Ben Cheikh, Samy Ben Naceur, Mr. Oussama Kanaan, and Christophe Rault
Our paper examines the effect of oil price changes on Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) stock markets using nonlinear smooth transition regression (STR) models. Contrary to conventional wisdom, our empirical results reveal that GCC stock markets do not have similar sensitivities to oil price changes. We document the presence of stock market returns’ asymmetric reactions in some GCC countries, but not for others. In Kuwait’s case, negative oil price changes exert larger impacts on stock returns than positive oil price changes. When considering the asymmetry with respect to the magnitude of oil price variation, we find that Oman’s and Qatar’s stock markets are more sensitive to large oil price changes than to small ones. Our results highlight the importance of economic stabilization and reform policies that can potentially reduce the sensitivity of stock returns to oil price changes, especially with regard to the existence of asymmetric behavior.
International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
This paper discusses Iraq’s First and Second Reviews of the Staff-Monitored Program (SMP) and Request for a Three-Year Stand-By Arrangement. The oil price decline has resulted in a massive reduction in Iraq’s budget revenue, pushing the fiscal deficit to an unsustainable level. The authorities are responding to the crisis with a mix of necessary fiscal adjustment and financing, maintaining their commitment to the exchange rate peg. The authorities started an SMP in November 2015 to establish a track record of policy credibility and pave the way to a possible IMF financing arrangement. Their performance under the SMP has been broadly satisfactory.
Mr. Kamiar Mohaddes and Mr. Mehdi Raissi
This paper investigates the global macroeconomic consequences of falling oil prices due to the oil revolution in the United States, using a Global VAR model estimated for 38 countries/regions over the period 1979Q2 to 2011Q2. Set-identification of the U.S. oil supply shock is achieved through imposing dynamic sign restrictions on the impulse responses of the model. The results show that there are considerable heterogeneities in the responses of different countries to a U.S. supply-driven oil price shock, with real GDP increasing in both advanced and emerging market oil-importing economies, output declining in commodity exporters, inflation falling in most countries, and equity prices rising worldwide. Overall, our results suggest that following the U.S. oil revolution, with oil prices falling by 51 percent in the first year, global growth increases by 0.16 to 0.37 percentage points. This is mainly due to an increase in spending by oil importing countries, which exceeds the decline in expenditure by oil exporters.
International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
This Selected Issues paper on Iraq discusses medium-term projections for oil production and exports. Constraints to oil export volumes arise from export bottlenecks and technical production issues. Production is held back by technical challenges such as the need for water injection in the southern oil fields and limited supply of electricity, of which the oil industry is one of the main consumers. Export infrastructure has suffered during many years of decay owing to sanctions and wars. The Iraqi crude is priced as an average of a benchmark oil price for 15 or 30 days from the bill of lading.
International Monetary Fund
Statistics of Kuwait’s economics are presented in this paper. Some of the areas covered include gross domestic product prices, gross domestic expenditure; production, disposal, and prices of oil, and LPG consumer. Data on population and employment, summary of government finance, revenue, current expenditure, domestic subsidies and transfers are provided. The monetary survey balance sheet of local banks, interest rates with local banks, and net foreign assets of the financial sector as well as financial soundness indicators, external debt, and international investment position data are presented.
International Monetary Fund
Kuwait faced the global financial crisis from a position of strength, owing to expansionary fiscal stance. The economy is expected to grow steadily over the medium term as Kuwait continues to implement the development plan and global recovery supports demand for oil. The near-term macroeconomic policy mix is adequate. The development plan (DP) implementation should be managed carefully. The financial situation of many investment companies remains precarious. Significant progress was made in the implementation of the update recommendations, but further steps are warranted.
Mr. Paul Cashin and Samya Beidas-Strom
Employing a dynamic panel regression, this study estimates the medium-term current account position for three subgroups of emerging market and developing countries with shared economic characteristics. The fundamental determinants of the macroeconomic balance approach to current account determination (arising from the IMF's Consultative Group on Exchange Rate (CGER)) are augmented by determinants relevant to Middle Eastern economies' current account positions. The study also assesses the deviation of the actual medium-term current account position of three Middle Eastern subgroups of countries (emerging markets; low-income and fragile economies; and net oil exporters) from their medium-term current account norms. Key findings are that: augmentation of the fundamental determinants yields plausible Middle Eastern current account norms; and in comparison with the medium-term current account norm, the actual and projected current account imbalances of each of the three subgroups are typically not excessive.
International Monetary Fund