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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.
Jason Tuvey Senior Emerging Markets Economist
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Middle East Chart Book

Region’s financial markets routed

Risk-off sentiment and the sell-off in EM financial markets have hit the Middle East and North Africa hard. Having been the top regional performer earlier in the year, the MSCI Arabian Markets Index has fallen by nearly 20% since mid-April. Sovereign dollar bond spreads have widened across the board, particularly in Egypt and in Tunisia – the latter appears to be hurtling toward a default. With developed market central banks set to deliver more hikes over the rest of this year and next, we suspect that equities in the Middle East and North Africa (and EMs more generally) will continue to struggle. Meanwhile, sovereign dollar bond spreads could widen further, and currencies in North Africa are likely to come under greater pressure.

24 June 2022

Middle East Economics Weekly

OPEC+ policy, Egypt’s orthodox shift and FY22/23 budget

Next Thursday's OPEC+ meeting may drop some hints about the future for the group's oil output beyond September and we think that quotas are likely to be lifted. If that’s the case, the Gulf economies would be major beneficiaries. Elsewhere, comments from Egypt’s finance minister suggest that officials are becoming more receptive to a weaker pound, adding to hopes that the move to a more flexible exchange rate is the real deal. A weak currency is a concern given the growing sovereign FX debt burden, but the country’s FY2022/23 budget passed this week does at least highlight a commitment to fiscal austerity.

23 June 2022

Middle East Economics Update

Egypt public finance risks contained… for now

Egypt’s public debt dynamics look increasingly fragile due to a combination of the extremely short average maturity of its debt, rapidly rising yields, and a growing share of debt denominated in foreign currency. That said, for now, there are reasons to think that the sovereign should be able to muddle through. World with Higher Rates - Drop-In (21st June, 10:00 ET/15:00 BST): Does monetary policy tightening automatically mean recession? Are EMs vulnerable? How will financial market returns be affected? Join our special 20-minute briefing to find out what higher rates mean for macro and markets. Register now

20 June 2022

More from Jason Tuvey

Emerging Europe Data Response

Turkey GDP (Q3 2021)

Turkey’s economy put in another strong performance in Q3 but, as the effects of the recent currency crisis filter through, it is likely to suffer a contraction in Q4. The only crumb of comfort is that the downturn is likely to prove less severe than that which followed the 2018 crisis.

30 November 2021

Emerging Europe Economics Weekly

Lira crisis, MNB hikes, Ukraine-IMF, Romanian politics

This week has been dominated by the collapse in the Turkish lira and all our research on the crisis can be found here. While Turkey’s problems have been driven by a ‘head-in-the-sand’ approach to inflation and falls in the lira, Hungary’s central bank tightened policy further this week amid signs that officials across Central Europe are taking the inflation fight more seriously and becoming less tolerant of currency weakness. Elsewhere, the early signs are that a new grand coalition in Romania does not have the appetite for much-needed austerity. Finally, the latest tranche of IMF funds provide a welcome boost for Ukraine’s economy.
Drop-In: Why is Asia sitting out the global inflation surge? 09:00 GMT/17:00 HKT, Thursday 2nd December https://event.on24.com/wcc/r/3546145/A9D34EF592141BEFCAC819ADB40359D5?partnerref=report

26 November 2021

Emerging Europe Economics Update

Turkey & policy responses during past “sudden stops”

The Turkish lira’s sharp fall yesterday looks similar to the experience of sudden stops elsewhere. In those instances, central banks usually responded with interest rate hikes of around 600bp as well as other regulatory measures, which supported a recovery in currencies. But it seems unlikely that policymakers in Turkey will follow this script.

24 November 2021
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