IMF cuts growth forecasts for Middle East oil producers

15 April 2015

Lower oil prices dampens economic outlook

  • Forecast of 3.9 per cent growth for oil exporters has been slashed to 2.4 per cent
  • Saudi Arabia has seen its growth forecast cut from 4.5 per cent to 3.0 per cent
  • The IMF says policy makers need to prepare for a sustained period of lower oil prices

The IMF has cut economic growth forecasts for oil-exporting nations in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) and warned that policy makers need to prepare for a sustained period of lower oil prices and reassess their spending plans.

In its semi-annual World Economic Outlook the IMF slashed its 2015 growth forecast for Mena oil exporters to 2.4 per cent, 1.5 percentage points lower than the 3.9 per cent growth it forecast in October 2014.

The countries the IMF classifies as Mena oil exporters are Saudi Arabia, Iran, the UAE, Algeria, Iraq, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, Libya, Oman and Yemen.

Since October the Opec basket oil price has declined from around $90 a barrel to $54 a barrel.

“Faced with large losses from lower oil prices, most oil exporters need to recalibrate their medium-term fiscal consolidation plans,” the IMF said in the report, which was published on 14 April.

“Oil production and prices as well as continued conflicts in the region, constitute important risks to the outlook. Heightened uncertainty in the oil market persists, with oil price volatility and historically high levels and risks for oil production skewed to the downside.”

Saudi Arabia, Iran, UAE, and Algeria are among those worst affected by the drop in oil prices.

Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest oil exporter, has seen its 2015 growth forecast revised down from 4.5 per cent to 3.0 per cent.

For the UAE a forecast expansion of 4.5 per cent has been reduced to 3.2 per cent.

The estimate for economic growth in Iran has been reduced from 2.2 per cent to 0.6 per cent and in Algeria an expansion of 4 per cent has been slashed to 2.6 per cent.

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