IMF: Volatile oil and politics take a toll on Gulf countries’ growth
The GDP of the six Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, namely Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the UAE, Qatar, Oman and Bahrain is foreseen to grow 0.7% this year, down from 2% in 2018, the fund said. The figure was further lower from a previous 2019 growth forecast of 2.1%, which IMF projected in April.
Nonetheless, the downward trend may shift in 2020 when increased activity in the oil and gas sectors is predicted to generate a rebound to 2.7% growth in the region, the IMF report added.
Saudi Arabia’s economy is projected to expand 0.2% in 2019, compared with 2.4% in 2018. The UAE’s economy is projected to grow by 1.6% compared with 1.7% last year, noted the report.
In the report that looks at 23 countries, the IMF expects a 9.5% drop in Iran’s economic growth for 2019 mainly due to the US sanctions while Libya may even suffer from a 19.1% decline this year.
For oil importing countries including Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon, the growth is expected to be hindered less with GDP at 3.6% in 2019, when compared to 4.3% in 2018.
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