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On the road to recovery
The Gulf States are finally emerging from the global financial crisis, says the IMF adding that it is only being cautiously optimistic and that several policy measures still have to implemented.
October 12, 2009 12:13 by Aarti Nagraj
The Gulf region has faced the global financial crisis well, but will have to keep up public spending, improve corporate governance, and move away from oil-dependence to ensure recovery, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said on Sunday.
“Authorities in the region responded quickly and decisively,” said Masood Ahmed, the director of IMF Middle East and Central Asia. Thanks to the large reserves that oil exporters in the region built up during the boom years, governments were able to respond with many financial policies, he added.
But this has also led to a decrease in their current account surpluses, which, according to the IMF’s latest Middle East and Central Asia Regional Economic Outlook, have fallen from $380 billion in 2008 to around $50 billion in 2009.
However, the region is set to see a rebound, the report said. “With higher oil prices and the anticipated re-emergence of global demand, oil revenues are expected to increase, allowing oil exporters to rebuild their international reserve positions by over 100 billion dollars in 2010,” it said. According to the IMF, economic growth in the Gulf’s oil exporting countries, which is expected to reduce from 6.4 percent in 2008 to 0.7 percent in 2009, will increase to 5.2 percent in 2010.
Oil prices fell from a record peak of $147 a barrel in July 2008 to just above $32 a barrel in December, and are currently trading at around $70 a barrel.
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