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IMF sees breathing space in ME

  • Published at 05:54 pm April 22nd, 2017
IMF sees breathing space in ME
Rising growth outside the troubled oil sector is offering some relief to economies in the Middle East and Central Asia, a senior IMF economist said Friday. But the subdued overall outlook is not enough to spur needed job growth and reduce poverty, according to Jihad Azour, the new head of the International Monetary Fund’s Middle East and Central Asia department. “A more favorable environment, including higher-than-expected growth and some firming up of commodity prices is providing some breathing space,” he told reporters during the spring meetings of the IMF and World Bank in Washington. In its World Economic Outlook this week, the fund said Middle East oil exporters would see growth drop precipitously in 2017 as producing countries cope with lower petroleum production and fiscal reforms. Middle East economies, taken together with those of Afghanistan and Pakistan, should expand at a rate of 2.6% - a 1.3 percentage point decline from 2016’s estimated growth rate. The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries in November acted to stabilize tumbling oil prices by agreeing to the first production cuts in eight years.
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