The world oil market has undergone a series of changes that have reduced the share of oil in the global energy balance and, with it, the influence of Middle Eastern oil exporters. In spite of oil’s loss of ground, however, Middle Eastern countries remain at the center of world oil developments. This paper focuses on the developments in the international oil market, the role of Middle Eastern countries therein, and the policy challenges arising from the dependency on oil.
The paper examines the direction of causality between total government expenditure and revenue in oil-dependent GCC countries by utilizing a cointegration and error-correction modeling framework, and by calculating a variance decomposition analysis. In addition, it presents impulse responses to shed light on the dynamic relation of expenditure to a revenue shock. The results confirm expectations that government spending follows oil revenue, suggesting a pro-cyclical expenditure policy to variations in oil revenue. To make budget expenditure less driven by revenue availability, the authorities could resort to a medium-term expenditure framework, so that expenditures can be planned and insulated from volatile short-term revenue availability.
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
George T. Abed, a Palestinian and a Jordanian national, took over this summer as Director of the IMF’s Middle Eastern Department. In his distinguished 20-year career at the IMF, he has worked on the Middle East and on fiscal policy issues worldwide. Outside the IMF, he taught at the University of California, Berkeley, and managed a development assistance foundation in Geneva, Switzerland. Laura Wallace spoke with him about the region’s prospects amid political tensions and difficult economic challenges. Besides modernizing the state and liberalizing the region’s economy, he stressed the paramount importance of democracy, human development, and attention to social needs.
The main purposes of this paper are to review the operational modalities and experience of oil funds currently in place in Norway, Chile (copper), the State of Alaska, Venezuela, Kuwait, and Oman, and to draw some preliminary conclusions on their contribution to enhance fiscal management. The outcome so far of their experience has been mixed, with differences among countries reflecting the variety of objectives attached to the funds, the challenges in adhering to established rules, the institutional set-up. and the soundness of the overall fiscal discipline in each country (or state).
This paper describes economic developments in the Azerbaijan Republic during the 1990s. Real GDP declined by more than 70 percent from 1992 to 1995, by which time high inflation had eroded real incomes, the exchange rate had weakened, and international reserves were nearly depleted. In early 1995, the authorities started a comprehensive stabilization program supported by the IMF’s Structural Transformation Facility. Fiscal and credit policies were tightened, while a number of structural reforms were introduced, mainly in the areas of exchange and trade liberalization.