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Central Bank of Egypt keeps rates on hold for now

The Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) kept interest rates unchanged at Thursday’s MPC meeting amid rising price pressures. However, we still think that inflation will slow in the final months of this year and re-open the door for the CBE to resume its easing cycle.
James Swanston Middle East and North Africa Economist
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Middle East Economics Weekly

Tunisia rate hike, Saudi budget data, Egypt privatisations

Tunisia’s central bank hiked interest rates this week with policymakers almost certainly having one eye on the country’s fragile external position. But we do not think that this will prevent sharp falls in the dinar and, in turn, a sovereign default. Elsewhere, Saudi Arabia posted its largest budget surplus since 2013 in Q1 on the back of high oil prices and continued tight fiscal policy. If oil prices remain high, though, the proverbial purse strings are likely to be loosened, supporting activity in the non-oil sector. Finally, more details emerged of Egypt’s forthcoming privatisation drive with the government planning to remove itself from a whole swathe of sectors.

19 May 2022

Middle East Economics Update

Saudi set for bumper GDP growth this year

Saudi Arabia’s economy grew at its fastest pace in a decade in Q1 and we think this strength will carry on over the rest of this year. The combination of rising oil output and the increasing likelihood of looser fiscal policy underpin our above-consensus forecast for the Kingdom’s economy to grow by 10% in 2022.

18 May 2022

Middle East Economics Update

Saudi inflation to stay in check, risks lie to downside

Headline inflation in Saudi Arabia rose to 2.3% y/y in April and we think that it will continue to accelerate over the coming months. Unlike in other parts of the emerging world, however, inflation will not surge to multi-year highs and, if anything, the risks to our inflation forecast lie to the downside.

18 May 2022

More from James Swanston

Middle East Economics Weekly

Lebanon finally gets a government, Saudi education plans

The news that Lebanon finally formed a new government this week came as welcome relief amid the country’s economic, political and humanitarian crises. But there are still plenty of big hurdles to clear before the country emerges from its crisis. Elsewhere, the Saudi government is set to launch reform of the Kingdom’s education sector – an area of Vision 2030 we have long argued had been lagging.

16 September 2021

Middle East Economics Update

Jordan’s public finances a cause for concern

Jordan’s public finances deteriorated sharply last year and fiscal consolidation is needed to put the debt position back on a sustainable footing. Sticking to austerity may prove difficult given the economic and political backdrop and the composition of Jordan’s debt is also a cause for concern. But the likelihood of financial support from the Gulf and Western allies mitigates the near-term risk of default.

15 September 2021

Middle East Data Response

Saudi Arabia Consumer Prices (Aug.)

Saudi inflation edged down to 0.3% y/y in August and is likely to remain around this level over the coming months. We think that inflation will pick up to 1.0-1.5% y/y in 2022-23, although the possibility of a VAT cut presents a downside risk.

15 September 2021
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