Egypt’s COVID outbreak, Tunisia’s president tightens grip

Fears are growing that Egypt is on the cusp of a fresh wave of COVID-19 driven by the Delta variant, but past experience suggests that restrictions will remain light touch and there is growing hope that the vaccine rollout will speed up in the coming months. Elsewhere, Tunisia’s President Kais Saied appears to be tightening his grip on power and leading the country back towards autocracy. As well as the risk that this pushes Tunisia closer to a debt restructuring, the fresh erosion of the country’s institutions will weigh on long-term economic prospects.
Jason Tuvey Senior Emerging Markets Economist
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Middle East Economics Weekly

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COVID-19 outbreaks diverge, booster shots rolled out

The past month has seen a growing divergence in COVID-19 outbreaks across the region, with cases still very low in Central Europe but surging in Israel and Turkey. Either way, it appears that restrictions will remain light touch and economic recoveries should stay on track. But studies showing that vaccine efficacy fades over time mean that booster shots look set to become the norm.

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Gulf and oil prices, Egypt remittances, PIF’s Call of Duty

The latest drop back in oil prices is unlikely to be of much concern to policymakers in the Gulf and we still think that there is a window of opportunity for fiscal policy to be loosened. Elsewhere, remittances into Egypt have held up well during the pandemic but this is unlikely to be enough to prevent falls in the pound. Finally, Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) raised its stake in a major US video game producer this week although foreign acquisitions may become rarer as the PIF heeds the call to support domestic projects.

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A dive into Saudi Arabia’s balance of payments

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