IMF eyes MENAs 2011 GDP growth at 4%.

By bne IntelliNews September 21, 2011
The economies in the Middle East and North Africa region (MENA) are expected to post an overall growth of 4% in 2011, 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 September 2011 edition of its World Economic Outlook. MENA economies expanded by 4.4% y/y in 2010 and are forecast to grow by 3.6% next year. The IMF said recovery prospects vary substantially across the region as in the group of oil exporters the GDP growth is projected at 4.9% this year, while in the group of oil importers the growth is expected at 1.4%. 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. Commodity price movements and social unrest continue to shape the regions experience and prospects. The short-term outlook is still subject to unusually large uncertainties, stemming mainly from the fluid political and security situation in some MENA economies as well as growing uncertainty about external demand. Preserving macroeconomic stability while building social cohesion is a key immediate priority; restoring fiscal health and designing a growth model to achieve inclusive mediumterm growth and employment also remain critical, the IMF said. MENA inflation will remain elevated at 9.9% in 2011 but will ease to 7.6% in 2012, reflecting receding commodity prices. The overall current account surplus will widen to 11.2% of the GDP this year from 7.7% in 2010, driven in part by elevated energy export prices. The surplus is seen to shrink to 9% in 2012. The region faces serious policy challenges including securing economic and social stability and the need to place public finances on a sustainable footing. The governments of oil exporting countries need to move toward sustainable and more diversified economies

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