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International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
The COVID-19 pandemic is having far-reaching consequences for the global economy. Measures to contain the spread of the virus have led to sharp declines in economic activity across the globe, particularly in 2020Q2. The hardest hit sectors have been those requiring intensive human contact, such as tourism, transportation, services, and construction, while, in general, IT-intensive activities have fared better. The economic contraction is most significant in advanced economies. The GCC countries face a double impact from the coronavirus and lower oil prices. GCC authorities have implemented a range of appropriate measures to mitigate the economic damage, including fiscal packages, relaxation of monetary and macroprudential rules, and the injection of liquidity into the banking system, and there are recent signs of improvement. Low oil prices have caused a sharp deterioration of external and fiscal balances, and fiscal strains are evident in countries with higher debt levels.
Mr. Armand Fouejieu, Sergio Rodriguez, and Mr. Sohaib Shahid
This paper estimates fiscal multipliers for the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries. Using OLS panel fixed effects on a sample of six countries from 1990-2016, results indicate that GCC fiscal multipliers have declined in recent years which would make the on-going fiscal consolidation less costly than previously thought. Though both capital and current multipliers have declined in recent years, capital multipliers are larger than current multipliers, which implies that reducing (less productive) current spending will help limit the adverse impact of such measures on growth.
International Monetary Fund
The already sluggish global recovery has suffered new setbacks and uncertainty weighs heavily on prospects. The euro area crisis intensified in the first half of 2012 and growth has slowed across the globe, reflecting financial market tensions, extensive fiscal tightening in many countries, and high uncertainty about medium-term prospects. Activity is forecast to remain tepid and bumpy, with a further escalation of the euro-area crisis or a failure to avoid the “fiscal cliff” in the United States entailing significant downside risk.
Mr. Mustapha K. Nabli and Mr. Rabah Arezki
This paper takes stock of the economic performance of resource rich countries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) over the past forty years. While those countries have maintained high levels of income per capita, they have performed poorly when going beyond the assessment based on standard income level measures. Resource rich countries in MENA have experienced relatively low and non inclusive economic growth as well as high levels of macroeconomic volatility. Important improvements in health and education have taken place but the quality of the provision of public goods and services remains an important source of concerns. Looking forward we argue that the success of economic reforms in MENA rests on the ability of those countries to invest boldly in building inclusive institutions as well as high levels of human capacity in public administrations.
International Monetary Fund
This 2011 Article IV Consultation highlights that Qatar is using its fiscal space, generated from an increase in hydrocarbon production and prices, to implement a large public spending program. Large infrastructure investments are expected to sustain strong growth of 9 percent to 10 percent in the nonhydrocarbon sector in the medium term. The potential inflationary effect of the recent fiscal package is estimated to be about 1 percentage point. This underscores the need for fiscal policy to monitor aggregate demand and for the Qatar Central Bank to manage liquidity.
Mr. Oral Williams and Mr. Kamiar Mohaddes
This paper uses a pairwise approach to investigate the main factors that have been driving inflation differentials in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region for the past two decades. The results suggest that inflation differentials in the GCC are largely influenced by the oil cycle, mainly through the credit and fiscal channels. This implies that closer coordination of fiscal policies will be key for facilitating the closer integration of the GCC economies and ahead of the move to a monetary union. The results also indicate that after controlling for cyclical factors, convergence increased even during the recent oil boom.
International Monetary Fund
This Selected Issues paper on Kuwait reviews its economic development strategy and uses a variety of analytical methods to highlight Kuwait’s policy challenges and their effectiveness. Kuwait has accumulated large fiscal surpluses, enabling it to build up a sizable asset position for future generations. The fiscal position is also expected to remain comfortable over the medium term, but the recent rapid increase in expenditures raises doubts about the sustainability of the current fiscal stance over the longer term.