Mideast growth to dive as Saudi economy stagnates: IMF

Economic growth in the Middle East and North Africa is forecast to slow considerably over oil prices as the Saudi economy slides, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said Monday (July 24th).

According to the IMF, after a better than expected performance with 5% growth in 2016, the economies of countries in the Middle East and North Africa as well as Pakistan and Afghanistan will subside to just 2.6% growth this year, AFP reported.

In its World Economic Outlook update, the IMF lowered economic growth of Saudi Arabia, the world's top oil exporter, to just 0.1% in 2017, down 0.3% on its April projections.

This will be Saudi Arabia's worst growth since 2009, when its economy contracted by 2% on the slump of oil revenues following the global financial crisis.

"The recent decline in oil prices, if sustained, could weigh further on the outlook for the region's oil exporters," the IMF said.

The IMF projected that regional growth will rebound to 3.3% in 2018, however.

Saudi economic growth is also forecast to rebound to 1.1% next year, down 0.2 percentage points on April projections, it said.

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