Qatar gas, Morocco FX purchases, Tunisian turmoil

The continued rise in global gas prices will provide a substantial boost to Qatar's export revenues and provide scope for policymakers to loosen the purse strings to support the economic recovery. Elsewhere, moves by Morocco’s central bank suggest that the currency could appreciate further. Finally, Tunisia’s President Kais Saied's moves on Wednesday add to signs that his power grab is leading to a one-man rule. This will reinforce concerns about the future of Tunisia’s democracy and the government’s capacity to service its debts.
James Swanston Middle East and North Africa Economist
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Middle East Economics Weekly

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.

14 October 2021

Middle East Data Response

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.

14 October 2021

Middle East Economics Weekly

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

More from James Swanston

Middle East Economics Update

Dubai World Expo: near-term boost, debt risks linger

The long-awaited World Expo in Dubai will get underway next Friday and while there is likely to be some boost to the economy, this will be short lived. What’s more, as we have long warned, the Expo could leave high rates of overcapacity in Dubai’s real estate and hospitality sectors in its wake that could ultimately re-ignite concerns about the debts of the Emirate’s government-related entities.

23 September 2021

Middle East Economics Update

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.

17 September 2021

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
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