Higher oil prices to help narrow twin deficits

The price of oil has continued to rise and will help to improve balance sheets in the Gulf. With oil prices at $75pb, all Gulf economies with the exceptions of Bahrain and Oman are likely to be running current account surpluses, having run deficits in 2020. Budget deficits will have narrowed too and this may open the door to looser fiscal policy. Indeed, there have been signs recently that policymakers in Kuwait, Oman and Saudi Arabia are moving in this direction. However, we expect that the price of oil will fall later in the year, meaning that the window to raise spending may be limited.
William Jackson Chief Emerging Markets Economist
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More from Middle East

Middle East Economics Weekly

Omicron, tourism and the oil market

Low vaccine coverage and large tourism sectors mean that the non-Gulf economies are particularly vulnerable to the emergence of the Omicron variant. Meanwhile, the drop in oil prices and the likelihood that OPEC+ raises oil output more slowly than previously envisaged has increased the downside risks to our GDP growth forecasts for the Gulf.

2 December 2021

Middle East Economics Update

Saudi economy set for a strong end to the year

The economic recovery in Saudi Arabia has picked up pace and should end the year on a strong note. The emergence of the Omicron variant has clouded the outlook, but for now we expect economic growth in the Kingdom to strengthen in 2022 on the back of rising oil output.

2 December 2021

Middle East Chart Book

MENA and the Omicron risks

The Middle East and North African economies are potentially among the most vulnerable to the fallout from the Omicron strain of COVID-19. The North African economies as well as Lebanon and Jordan have low vaccination rates and large tourism sectors, leaving them exposed to the risk of tighter restrictions and curbs on international travel. In the Gulf, vaccination rates are much higher and, Dubai aside, tourism sectors are relatively small. But the fall in energy prices could prompt governments to hold off loosening fiscal policy. And producers may raise oil output more slowly, which would weigh on economic growth.

30 November 2021

More from William Jackson

Latin America Data Response

Brazil & Chile Consumer Prices (Jun.)

The further rise in Brazilian inflation, to 8.3% y/y, means Copom will continue to hike when it meets next month. But the data are not quite enough to prompt a shift from 75bp hikes to a larger 100bp move. Meanwhile, with Chilean core inflation continuing to run above target and optimism about the economy growing, we now think the central bank will start its tightening cycle when it meets next week.

8 July 2021

Emerging Europe Data Response

Russia Consumer Prices (Jun.)

The further rise in Russian inflation to a stronger-than-expected 6.5% y/y in June means the central bank (CBR) is likely to up the pace of tightening when it meets in a couple of weeks. A 75bp hike (to 6.25%) seems most likely, but the probability of an even larger 100bp hike has risen.

7 July 2021

Emerging Markets Economics Update

EM credit growth: where do the risks lie?

With the (usual) exception of Turkey, the strong rates of credit growth seen in some EMs including Brazil and Korea are unlikely to be sustained as policymakers have already started (or will soon turn to) tightening policy. The bigger concern is the extreme weakness of credit growth in other EMs such as Mexico and the Philippines, which threatens to further hold back economic recoveries.

6 July 2021
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