The rebound in oil prices widens economic gaps between exporters and importers in the Middle East and North Africa (IIF)

The rebound in oil prices is widening economic gaps between oil exporters and importers in the Middle East and North Africa, the Institute of International Finance (IIF) said.

The region is expected to grow 2.3% this year and 4.3% in 2022 after a consolidated 3.8% contraction in gross domestic product last year, said IIR, a trade body for the sector. global financial institution, in a report.

“As the economic recovery continues to accelerate, a split in the macroeconomic outlook has emerged within the region … the divergence in economic performance between oil-exporting and importing countries has widened further,” he said. declared.

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Oil-producing countries are expected to post current account surpluses of $ 165 billion this year and $ 138 billion next year after a current account deficit of $ 6 billion last year based on oil price forecasts of $ 71 a barrel this year and $ 66 next year, the IIF says.

The foreign public assets of the Gulf countries – including foreign exchange reserves and sovereign wealth funds – are expected to exceed $ 3 trillion by the end of 2022, or the equivalent of 170% of GDP.

In contrast, for regional oil importers Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Tunisia and Sudan, aggregate current account deficits will increase to $ 35 billion this year from $ 27 billion. in 2020, largely due to rising oil import costs and low tourism revenues. .

Foreign public assets among importers will equal 15.5 percent of GDP this year, the IIR said.

Tourism, which accounts for a large portion of these countries’ GDP, is not expected to return to pre-pandemic levels until 2023.

“The resumption of growth in 2022 in these countries will be driven by investment and exports. However, this will still be insufficient to significantly reduce high unemployment rates, averaging 14%, with youth unemployment at 28% – the highest in the world, ”he said.

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