Saudi banks turn to wholesale borrowing

The recent sharp rise in Saudi banks’ wholesale borrowing isn’t yet a major cause for concern, but it does mean that credit growth is more vulnerable to a shock that causes external financing conditions to tighten.
Jason Tuvey Senior Emerging Markets Economist
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Middle East Economics Weekly

SPR release, Turkey exposure, Egypt price adjustments

The US-led release of oil reserves earlier this week did little to bring down the price of oil as President Biden would have hoped and, if anything, could provoke OPEC+ to raise oil production more slowly than its current plans imply. Even so, the move is unlikely to drastically alter the outlook for the Gulf economies. Meanwhile, the spillovers from Turkey’s currency crisis are likely to be contained, although Tunisia's poor external position leave it vulnerable to financial contagion. Finally, Egypt’s government has announced it will cut electricity tariffs which could pose a threat to the fiscal position further down the line.

25 November 2021

Middle East Economics Update

Tunisia’s fragile external position poses risk to dinar

Tunisia’s external position is in a dire state and policymakers have little ammunition available to defend the dinar. We think the currency will depreciate by more than 10% against the euro by the end of next year and the risks lie heavily to the downside.

25 November 2021

Middle East Economics Weekly

Tunisia fiscal policy, Egypt’s private sector, COVID-19

Tunisia’s government upwardly revised its 2021 budget deficit target this week which, coupled with growing signs of it making concessions to appease the UGTT labour union, adds to our view that the public finances will continue to deteriorate and a debt restructuring will be needed. Elsewhere, Egypt government announced plans to scale back its involvement in the economy. While encouraging, there are reasons to be sceptical. And finally, COVID-19 vaccine rollouts in parts of North Africa have picked up the pace and the news of the development of an antiviral pill will provide countries with a further tool to add to the arsenal.

18 November 2021

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Emerging Europe Economics Weekly

Lira touches new low, CEE bond yield divergence

It's been a rocky week for the Turkish lira amid more changes at the central bank and political upheaval regarding a possible link between politicians and organised crime. This, coming alongside high inflation, has reduced the chances of an interest rate cut at the next meeting in June. Meanwhile, local currency bond yields have diverged in Central Europe recently, but we don't think this will continue and see scope for further rises in yields over the coming years, particularly in Czechia.

28 May 2021

Africa Economics Update

Nigeria’s recovery to remain stuck in first gear

The pick-up in Nigeria’s GDP growth in Q1 was driven in large part by the oil sector and rising oil output will support a further acceleration in growth over the coming quarters. But FX restrictions, limited fiscal support and a very slow vaccine rollout mean that the recovery is likely to remain stuck in the slow lane.

24 May 2021

Africa Data Response

South Africa Consumer Prices (Apr.)

The jump in South Africa’s headline inflation in April, to 4.4% y/y, was driven by energy price effects but there were signs that broader price pressures are starting to build. But even so, we think that the Reserve Bank will keep rates on hold for longer than investors currently expect in order to support the economy.

19 May 2021
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