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Abdullah Al-Hassan, Imen Benmohamed, Aidyn Bibolov, Giovanni Ugazio, and Ms. Tian Zhang
The Gulf Cooperation Council region faced a significant economic toll from the COVID-19 pandemic and oil price shocks in 2020. Policymakers responded to the pandemic with decisive and broad measures to support households and businesses and mitigate the long-term impact on the economy. Financial vulnerabilities have been generally contained, reflecting ongoing policy support and the rebound in economic activity and oil prices, as well as banks entering the COVID-19 crisis with strong capital, liquidity, and profitability. The banking systems remained well-capitalized, but profitability and asset quality were adversely affected. Ongoing COVID-19 policy support could also obscure deterioration in asset quality. Policymakers need to continue to strike a balance between supporting recovery and mitigating risks to financial stability, including ensuring that banks’ buffers are adequate to withstand prolonged pandemic and withdrawal of COVID-related policy support measures. Addressing data gaps would help policymakers to further assess vulnerabilities and mitigate sectoral risks.
International Monetary Fund
GCC policymakers moved quickly to mitigate the health and economic impacts of twin COVID-19 and oil price shocks. Infection rates have declined across the GCC to well below previous peaks, though countries have experienced successive waves of the virus, and economic recoveries have begun to take hold. Nevertheless, GCC policymakers must navigate a challenging and uncertain landscape. The pandemic continues to cloud the global outlook as countries are in different phases of recovery, with varied growth prospects and policy space
International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.

Abstract

A fragile recovery continues in the Middle East and Central Asia region. The region has made good progress since the beginning of the year, but new challenges have emerged. They include a pandemic wave in countries with weak vaccination progress and rising inflation, which has contributed to declining monetary policy space, adding to the difficulties posed by limited fiscal policy space. Additionally, divergent recoveries and concerns about economic scarring persist. Inequities are also on the rise, and countries will need to tackle the pandemic’s impact on debt, labor markets, and the corporate sector. Countries will face difficult tradeoffs amid this challenging environment as they continue to manage the current crisis. Ramping up vaccine acquisition and distribution remains the most urgent short-term priority. Additional support should be well targeted, and central banks may need to raise interest rates if inflation expectations start to increase. Improving policy frameworks will be important to reduce policy tradeoffs. Preparing for a new chapter by investing in a transformational recovery will be vital to the region’s future. Important priorities include reorienting the role of the state toward health, education, and social safety nets; leveraging global trends like digitalization; and investing in climate-resilient technology.

Mr. Ernesto Ramirez Rigo, Christine J. Richmond, Oluremi Akin Olugbade, Gareth Anderson, Maria Atamanchuk, Mr. Hatim Bukhari, Iacovos Ioannou, Deeksha Kale, Tannous Kass-Hanna, Mr. Maximilien Queyranne, Wei Shi, and Joyce Wong
Prior to the COVID-19 shock, the key challenge facing policymakers in the Middle East, North Africa, and Central Asia region was how to generate strong, sustainable, job-rich, inclusive growth. Post-COVID-19, this challenge has only grown given the additional reduction in fiscal space due to the crisis and the increased need to support the recovery. The sizable state-owned enterprise (SOE) footprint in the region, together with its cost to the government, call for revisiting the SOE sector to help open fiscal space and look for growth opportunities.
Mr. Ernesto Ramirez Rigo, Christine J. Richmond, Oluremi Akin Olugbade, Gareth Anderson, Maria Atamanchuk, Mr. Hatim Bukhari, Iacovos Ioannou, Deeksha Kale, Tannous Kass-Hanna, Mr. Maximilien Queyranne, Wei Shi, and Joyce Wong
Prior to the COVID-19 shock, the key challenge facing policymakers in the Middle East, North Africa, and Central Asia region was how to generate strong, sustainable, job-rich, inclusive growth. Post-COVID-19, this challenge has only grown given the additional reduction in fiscal space due to the crisis and the increased need to support the recovery. The sizable state-owned enterprise (SOE) footprint in the region, together with its cost to the government, call for revisiting the SOE sector to help open fiscal space and look for growth opportunities.
Mr. Ernesto Ramirez Rigo, Christine J. Richmond, Oluremi Akin Olugbade, Gareth Anderson, Maria Atamanchuk, Mr. Hatim Bukhari, Iacovos Ioannou, Deeksha Kale, Tannous Kass-Hanna, Mr. Maximilien Queyranne, Wei Shi, and Joyce Wong
Prior to the COVID-19 shock, the key challenge facing policymakers in the Middle East, North Africa, and Central Asia region was how to generate strong, sustainable, job-rich, inclusive growth. Post-COVID-19, this challenge has only grown given the additional reduction in fiscal space due to the crisis and the increased need to support the recovery. The sizable state-owned enterprise (SOE) footprint in the region, together with its cost to the government, call for revisiting the SOE sector to help open fiscal space and look for growth opportunities.
International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
The authorities responded quickly and decisively to the COVID-19 crisis and the economy is recovering. COVID-19 cases are well below the 2020 peak and vaccination is progressing. The exit from the remaining COVID-related policy support needs to be carefully managed and the Vision 2030 reform agenda continued.
International Monetary Fund. Strategy, Policy, & Review Department
This paper presents traction as a multidimensional concept and discusses a comprehensive and complementary set of approaches to attempt to measure it based on the Fund’s value added to policy dialogue and formulation and public debate in member countries.