IMF sees uptick in Menap growth

According to the IMF?s Regional Outlook, growth in the Menap region is expected to decline to 2.25 per cent by the end of the year, a 0.75 percentage point below its May 2013 projections. ?However, growth is likely to pick up in 2014 as global conditions improve and oil production recovers,? the Washington-based organisation said.

The IMF observed that most oil-exporting countries in the region continued to enjoy steady growth in the non-oil sector, supported in part by high levels of public spending.

?Although headline growth has declined because of domestic oil supply disruptions and lower global demand, a recovery in oil production and a further strengthening of the non-oil economy will likely lift economic growth in 2014,? it said.

Masood Ahmed, Director of the IMF?s Middle East and Central Asia Department, said there are challenges on the horizon.

?While these countries are running an aggregate fiscal surplus, already half of them, mostly outside of the GCC, cannot balance their budgets and have limited buffers against shocks. Policies should therefore focus on strengthening budgets while minimising the impact on growth and enhancing equity. High on the agenda is also to continue to pursue structural reforms to bolster private-sector growth, economic diversification, and job creation for nationals.?

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