Regional growth to weaken further

The regional slowdown at the start of this year has further to run. This will continue to be led by the Gulf countries, where the drag from oil output cuts will intensify and low oil prices will prompt fresh fiscal austerity. Elsewhere, balance sheet concerns cloud the outlook for some of the region’s smaller economies. But Egypt and Morocco should be regional outperformers. Overall, we have pencilled in regional GDP growth of 2.3-2.8% in 2019-21. Our forecasts for most countries are below the consensus.
William Jackson Chief Emerging Markets Economist
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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 Industrial Production (Apr.)

The worse-than-expected 1.3% m/m decline in Brazilian industrial production in April is likely to be followed by a partial recovery last month. That said, the latest surveys suggest that activity in the industrial sector hasn’t picked up to the same extent as other parts of the economy.

2 June 2021

Latin America Data Response

Brazil GDP (Q1 2021)

The 1.2% q/q expansion in Brazil’s GDP suggests that the economy held up well during the country’s second virus wave and more timely figures point to a rapid recovery from the more recent third wave. These figures will keep the central bank on track to hike the Selic rate by a further 75bp (to 4.25%) when it meets in June and it looks increasingly likely that it will flag another 75bp hike in August too.

1 June 2021

Emerging Markets Trade Monitor

A closer look at the EM export boom

EM exports are set to hit a new high in Q2, which will help to support economic growth, particularly in East Asia where virus cases are hitting domestic economies. While EM exports are likely to come off their current highs, they will probably stay at elevated levels throughout the rest of the year.

27 May 2021
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