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International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.

Abstract

Countries of the Middle East and Central Asia region have been hit by two large and reinforcing shocks, resulting in significantly weaker growth projections in 2020. In addition to the devastating toll on human health, the COVID-19 pandemic and the plunge in oil prices are causing economic turmoil in the region, with fragile and conflict affected states particularlyhard-hit given already large humanitarian and refugee challenges and weak health infrastructures. The immediate priority for policies is to save lives with needed health spending, regardless of fiscal space, while preserving engines of growth with targeted support to households and hard-hit sectors. In this context, the IMF has been providing emergency assistance to help countries in the region during these challenging times. Further ahead, economic recoveries should be supported with broad fiscal and monetary measures where policy space is available, and by seeking external assistance where space is limited.

International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.

Abstract

The global crisis is now affecting the countries in the Middle East and Central Asia region, and economic and financial vulnerabilities are rising. In the Middle East and North Africa, good economic fundamentals, appropriate policy responses, and sizable currency reserves are helping mitigate the impact of the shock. In the Caucasus and Central Asia, lower commodity prices and adverse economic developments in Russia have hit hard. The report notes that countries should prepare for the contingency of a prolonged global slowdown by supporting domestic demand for a longer period and strengthening financial systems further. In some countries with rising unemployment, it will be important to target government resources and policies on protecting the poor; in others, increased donor support will be necessary to maintain needed economic development.