Regional Economic Outlook: Middle East and Central Asia: Mounting Challenges, Decisive Times

Publication Date:

October 31, 2022

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In a worsening global environment, economies in the Middle East and Central Asia are being buffeted by a confluence of shocks: a global slowdown, high and volatile food and energy prices, faster and stronger than expected tightening of financial conditions, and the risk of fragmentation. The region’s emerging market and middle-income economies (EM&MIs) and low-income countries (LICs) are hit hard, with many facing curtailed access to market financing, while oil-exporting countries are being buffered by still-high energy prices. The adverse impact of Russia’s war in Ukraine on the Caucasus and Central Asia (CCA) has thus far been milder than expected. Still, the CCA’s strong ties to Russia entail substantial risks to the region’s outlook. The most urgent policy challenge for all countries is to tackle the cost-of-living crisis by restoring price stability, protecting vulnerable groups through targeted support, and ensuring food security. Policy trade-offs in EM&MIs and LICs have become more pronounced than ever, as they also need to preserve debt sustainability and financial stability. Oil exporters have the opportunity to maximize the benefits of the oil windfall by building buffers and advancing their diversification plans. CCA countries should carefully assess the magnitude and durability of the initial spillovers from the war in Ukraine and adjust their policy mix accordingly. Limited policy space in many countries raises the urgency of structural reforms to bolster economic growth while transforming economies to become more resilient, sustainable, diversified, and inclusive.


Regional Economic Outlook





Publication Date:

October 31, 2022



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