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Page added on October 22, 2015

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Oil, conflict create Middle East woes


Fiscal deficits are mounting for countries in the Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia because of lingering conflict and low oil prices, the IMF said.

The International Monetary Fund said the region as a whole should witness stagnant economic growth of around 2.5 percent for 2015. Conflict, the IMF said, is taking a “horrendous” toll on the region and a weak crude oil market is making matters worse.

“For the region’s oil exporters, the fall in prices has led to large export revenue losses, amounting to a staggering $360 billion this year alone,” Masood Ahmed, the IMF’s regional director, said from Dubai.

Crude oil prices spiked briefly in late September when Russia entered the simmering conflict in Syria on the side of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. According to the IMF, the conflict alone has nonetheless led Syria’s gross domestic product to contract by around 50 percent since fighting first erupted in 2012.

For a country like Yemen, where operators have been forced to halt work because of fighting, GDP is down about 30 percent for the year, the IMF reports.

As a whole, the IMF finds many regional governments are drawing on extra reserves or pulling back on spending, though fiscal deficits are still expected to run at about 13 percent of GDP for countries that rely heavily on oil export revenue.

One bright spot, the IMF said, may be Iran, where sanctions relief is expected to lead to growth of around 4 percent for the member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.

“With the easing of international sanctions, the country’s economic prospects have improved substantially and, through increased trade and investment, benefits are expected to flow to its economic partners as well,” Ahmed said.

2 Comments on "Oil, conflict create Middle East woes"

  1. makati1 on Thu, 22nd Oct 2015 8:10 pm 

    No news here…

  2. BobInget on Fri, 23rd Oct 2015 8:29 am 

    Syria – some info. from ongoing talks
    There is an article in Middle East Policy by a very well-connected analyst who first reported on Russian planes arriving in Syria. This piece (probably leaked by a Syrian official) adds a bit to your post:

    According to the source “President Putin offered himself as the guarantor to fight and defeat terrorism in Syria as a first priority. It was also agreed between the two Presidents that the political process is a necessity after the elimination of more than twenty to thirty thousand foreign fighting in the ranks of the “Islamic State” group (ISIS) and al-Qaeda in the Levant (Jabhat Al-Nusra Front). Mr. Assad expressed to Mr. Putin his readiness to engage in a political process and reform the existing law, giving guarantees and powers to those within the Syrian opposition but without any link to Salafi – jihadist, including those who are participating and currently engaged in the war in Syria”.

    As the Saudi FM talks tough in the link you provided, Russia talks tough to Saudi Arabia and other sponsors of Wahabi terrorism in Syria:

    “Mr. Putin is aware of every detail of the situation in Syria and the strength and the equipment provided to the Syrian rebels. He explained that Russia has used intercontinental cruise missiles to show to all players with proxies fighting on the ground in Syria its determination to target any regional country providing extremists with anti-air missiles (MANPADs) that can damage or shoot down any Russian jet.

    Any country that supports terrorists exposing Russian jets at risk would be a legitimate target to Russia.”

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