Vaccine developments brighten the economic outlook

The positive news on COVID-19 vaccines in recent weeks has helped to lift the near-term outlook for the Middle East and North Africa. For the Gulf countries, oil prices have picked up with Brent crude reaching its highest level since March and we think the rebound has further to run. This will boost oil exports , narrow current account deficits and should alleviate any lingering concerns that dollar pegs will be abandoned. While the recent rise in oil prices is unlikely to prevent OPEC+ extending its current output quotas beyond the end of next year, there will at least be less pressure on policymakers to implement further aggressive fiscal austerity. Meanwhile, the growing likelihood of a resumption of international tourism next year will come as a huge relief for the likes of Dubai as well as the North African economies.
William Jackson Chief Emerging Markets Economist
Continue reading

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

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

Latin America Data Response

Brazil Industrial Production (May)

The 1.4% m/m rise in Brazilian industrial production in May only partially reversed the falls in output in the three preceding months. And while surveys point to a stronger reading in June, the sector was probably a drag on q/q GDP growth over Q2 as a whole.

2 July 2021
↑ Back to top