IMF eyes MENA 2011 GDP growth at 3.9%.

By bne IntelliNews October 27, 2011
The economies in the Middle East and North Africa region (MENA) are expected to slow their overall growth to 3.9% in 2011 from 4.4% last year, as social unrest has hurt growth in some countries, but solid oil prices have boosted output in the regions oil exporters, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said in the October 2011 edition of its Regional Economic Outlook for the Middle East and Central Asia, which also includes Afghanistan and Pakistan. The IMF said recovery prospects vary substantially across the region as in the group of oil exporters the GDP growth is projected at almost 5% this year, while in the group of oil importers the growth is expected at below 2%. Qatar will be the strongest performer with a GDP rise of 18.7% in 2011, supported by expanding natural gas production and large investment expenditures. Egypts economy will slow down to 1.2% this year from 5.1% in 2010 but is expected to gain speed to 1.8% in 2012. Jordans GDP growth will accelerate to 2.5% this year and further to 2.9% in 2012. Growth in MENA oil exporters is driven by the high level of activity in the GCC, where GDP growth is projected at 7% in 2011. The GCC has been largely shielded from the negative impact of social unrest in the region; instead it has benefited from higher oil prices (31 percent higher than in 2010) and increased export volumes. In addition, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates stepped up their oil production to make up for the shortfall from Libya, and Qatar ramped up its capacity to produce liquefied natural gas, the IMF said. Social unrest in several MENA countries together with a worsening global economic outlook have contributed to a sharp drop in investment and tourism activities in the region which resulted in a severe economic downturn in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and Tunisia.

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