Egypt and UAE inflation, OPEC+, austerity in Algeria

Inflation figures for Egypt showed the headline rate jumped to a 20-month high in September and we think that this will delay a turn towards interest rate cuts. Elsewhere, the UAE emerged from deflation in August amid signs that the property sector has turned a corner. But disappointing news on the number of visitors to the World Expo reinforce our bearish view on the sector. Meanwhile, the rally in oil prices has ratcheted up the pressure on the OPEC+ to raise output quotas, which would most likely involve higher quotas for the Gulf. Finally, Algeria’s turn to fiscal austerity is unlikely to be enough to prevent a sharp devaluation in the coming years.
James Swanston Middle East and North Africa Economist
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Saudi Arabia Consumer Prices (Sep.)

Saudi inflation rose to 0.6% y/y in September and is likely to drift a little higher over the rest of this year. However, we do not envisage a significant pick up in the headline rate and inflation is likely to remain around 1.0-1.5% y/y in 2022-23.

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OPEC+ fallout, Oman’s upgrade, TUI cancellations

The OPEC+ meeting this week triggered a rise in oil prices and, while we expect prices to fall by next year, rising production means that overall oil export revenues for the Gulf economies should increase in 2022. In turn, that will open the window for some governments to loosen fiscal policy. The exceptions to this are Oman and Bahrain. Although Oman had its outlook upgraded by S&P this week, both governments will still need to tighten fiscal policy further. Finally, the decision by travel company TUI to cancelled flights to Tunisia and Egypt until later this month highlights that recoveries in the tourism-dependent economies will be bumpy.

7 October 2021

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Egypt’s recovery facing several headwinds

Egypt’s economy has emerged from the COVID-19 crisis relatively well, but the country’s lagging vaccine rollout, a slow return of international tourists and tight fiscal policy mean that the recovery from here is likely to be slow-going. GDP is likely to be around 3% below its pre-virus trend by end-2023.

6 October 2021
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