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World Economic and Financial Surveys

Regional Economic Outlook Update: Middle East & Central Asia

May 2014
©2014 International Monetary Fund



Middle East, North Africa, Pakistan and Afghanistan: Turning the Corner?

 

Growth has been tepid across the Middle East and North Africa, Afghanistan, and Pakistan (MENAP) region. In 2013, declines in oil production held back growth in the oil-exporting countries. Weak private investment, amid political transitions and conflict, continued to take a toll on economic activity in the oil-importing countries. Growth is expected to strengthen this year in line with an improved global outlook. However, weak confidence and, in some cases, large public deficits will continue to weigh on the region's economic prospects. Deeper economic transformations are necessary to ensure robust and inclusive growth and creation of enough jobs for the rapidly-growing labor force.



Caucasus and Central Asia: Moderating Growth, Rising Uncertainty

 

Economic growth in the Caucasus and Central Asia (CCA) is expected to decline from 6½ percent in 2013 to 6 percent in 2014, mainly because of weakening growth momentum in emerging market trading partners (particularly, China, Russia, and Turkey) and a temporary decline in oil output growth in Kazakhstan. Risks remain tilted to the downside. In particular, a slowdown in emerging market trading partners may weaken exports, foreign direct investment, and remittances. Policy priorities center on rebuilding buffers and increasing exchange rate flexibility to help adjust to unanticipated shocks. Stronger macroeconomic frameworks would provide a more credible anchor to economies. Rapid credit growth in some countries calls for strengthening the prudential policies to ensure the continued soundness of financial institutions. Structural reforms to improve the business environment and governance, as well as closer regional cooperation, would enable CCA countries to achieve their goal of becoming dynamic emerging market economies.



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