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Sangyup Choi, Davide Furceri, Mr. Prakash Loungani, Mr. Saurabh Mishra, and Mr. Marcos Poplawski Ribeiro
We study the impact of fluctuations in global oil prices on domestic inflation using an unbalanced panel of 72 advanced and developing economies over the period from 1970 to 2015. We find that a 10 percent increase in global oil inflation increases, on average, domestic inflation by about 0.4 percentage point on impact, with the effect vanishing after two years and being similar between advanced and developing economies. We also find that the effect is asymmetric, with positive oil price shocks having a larger effect than negative ones. The impact of oil price shocks, however, has declined over time due in large part to a better conduct of monetary policy. We further examine the transmission channels of oil price shocks on domestic inflation during the recent decades, by making use of a monthly dataset from 2000 to 2015. The results suggest that the share of transport in the CPI basket and energy subsidies are the most robust factors in explaining cross-country variations in the effects of oil price shocks during the this period.
International Monetary Fund
Many countries around the globe, particularly the systemic advanced economies, face the challenge of closing output gaps and raising potential output growth. Addressing these challenges requires a package of macroeconomic, financial and structural policies that will boost both aggregate demand and aggregate supply, while closing the shortfall between demand and supply. Each element of this package is important and one cannot substitute for the other: easy monetary policy will not raise potential output just as structural reforms will not close the output gap. This report studies the impact on emerging markets and nonsystemic advanced economies from monetary policy actions in systemic advanced economies, with a look also at knock-on effects from the decline in world oil prices.
International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.

Abstract

This issue discusses economic developments in the Middle East, North Africa, Afghanistan, and Pakistan (MENAP), which continue to reflect the diversity of conditions prevailing across the region. Most high-income oil exporters, primarily in the GCC, continue to record steady growth and solid economic and financial fundamentals, albeit with medium-term challenges that need to be addressed. In contrast, other countries—Iraq, Libya, and Syria—are mired in conflicts with not only humanitarian but also economic consequences. And yet other countries, mostly oil importers, are making continued but uneven progress in advancing their economic agendas, often in tandem with political transitions and amidst difficult social conditions. In most of these countries, without extensive economic and structural reforms, economic prospects for the medium term remain insufficient to reduce high unemployment and improve living standards.

International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
KEY ISSUES Context. Saudi Arabia’s economy has grown very strongly in recent years, benefitting from high oil prices and output, strong private sector activity, and government spending. It has played a systemic and stabilizing role in the global oil market. The economy has not been affected by the recent global financial market volatility. The Saudi population is young, growing, and increasingly well educated. Outlook and risks. The near term economic outlook is positive. Oil production is expected to be little changed from 2013, while non-oil growth will be underpinned by strong private sector activity and government spending on large projects in transportation infrastructure and housing. Inflation is expected to remain subdued. The main source of risk is the global oil market. Macroeconomic policies. Fiscal buffers are strong at present, providing macroeconomic policies with scope to respond to shocks. The current path of fiscal policy would, however, lead to a substantial erosion of these buffers over the medium-term. Fiscal adjustment needs to start to preserve these buffers and increase saving for intergenerational equity purposes. Monetary and macro-prudential policy settings are appropriate at present. Reforms to the macroeconomic policy framework can help strengthen macroeconomic management and create an environment conducive to private investment and job creation. Managing demographic pressures. A multi-pronged labor market reform program is increasing the employment of nationals in the private sector and improving the functioning of the labor market. An ambitious program to boost the supply of housing is also underway. Energy consumption is high, and price increases are needed to support efforts to increase energy efficiency and develop public transportation networks. Economic diversification. Creating a more diversified economy is a challenge given Saudi Arabia’s vast oil resources. The government is making considerable efforts to lay the groundwork for further diversification by upgrading infrastructure, strengthening education and skills, boosting access to finance for SMEs, and improving the business environment. However, more needs to be done to realign incentives to encourage firms to export and workers to seek jobs in the private sector.
Stephen Snudden
Structural budget-balance rules with countercyclical elements appear well suited to stabilize the macroeconomic volatility of oil-exporting countries and have been used successfully by other commodity exporters. Using a global DSGE model, the efficient design of such rules is found to depend on the source of oil price fluctuations and the oil exporters’ structural characteristics. The output-inflation tradeoff is of particular concern for oil exporters relative to non-oil exporters due to the pass through of oil prices into headline inflation. Fiscal rules are best when coordinated with inflation targeting monetary policy, but are still desirable for fixed exchange rate regimes.
International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
This staff report on Saudi Arabia’s 2013 Article IV Consultation discusses economic policies and development. As the largest crude oil exporter, and the only producer with significant spare capacity, Saudi Arabia plays a systemic and stabilizing role in the global oil market. In 2011, Saudi Arabia formally committed through the G20 to use its systemic position in the oil market to promote global stability. Saudi Arabia raised oil production to a 30-year high to ensure demand was met the abrupt decline in Libyan production in 2011, and continued geopolitical tensions in 2012. Growth in fiscal spending has contributed to continued robust growth in private-sector credit of more than 16 percent, and high levels of liquidity in the banking system.
International Monetary Fund
This papers discusses Benin’s third review under the Extended Credit Facility Arrangement. The re-election of the President and the regained majority in Parliament have provided a window of opportunity for reforms. All performance criteria and most quantitative targets have been met, but progress in implementing structural reforms was mixed. The introduction of critical customs reforms met with strong initial resistance, leading to a sharp fall in customs revenue in the second half of 2011. The financial system remains sound, but supervision needs to be strengthened.