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International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
Iraq's socio-economic fragilities have been severely aggravated by the pandemic and the sharp decline in oil revenues, which arrived on the heels of widespread social unrest and political instability. The health system’s limited capacity has been strained, while the fiscal position has become untenable as oil revenues declined sharply to a level that barely covers the government’s large wage and pension bills. Although the number of new infections declined recently, Iraq registered the second-highest COVID-related fatalities in the region, and the fiscal response to the pandemic has been one of the lowest. A six-month political paralysis preceding the formation of the government in May 2020 and plans to hold early parliamentary elections in mid-2021 have been weighing on political support for reforms. Risks of social unrest, geopolitical tensions, and insecurity remain elevated.
Mr. Nooman Rebei and Rashid Sbia
This paper documents the determinants of real oil price in the global market based on SVAR model embedding transitory and permanent shocks on oil demand and supply as well as speculative disturbances. We find evidence of significant differences in the propagation mechanisms of transitory versus permanent shocks, pointing to the importance of disentangling their distinct effects. Permanent supply disruptions turn out to be a bigger factor in historical oil price movements during the most recent decades, while speculative shocks became less influential.
International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
This paper discusses Iraq’s First and Second Reviews of the Staff-Monitored Program (SMP) and Request for a Three-Year Stand-By Arrangement. The oil price decline has resulted in a massive reduction in Iraq’s budget revenue, pushing the fiscal deficit to an unsustainable level. The authorities are responding to the crisis with a mix of necessary fiscal adjustment and financing, maintaining their commitment to the exchange rate peg. The authorities started an SMP in November 2015 to establish a track record of policy credibility and pave the way to a possible IMF financing arrangement. Their performance under the SMP has been broadly satisfactory.
International Monetary Fund
countries face similar challenges to create jobs and foster more inclusive growth. The current environment of likely durable low oil prices has exacerbated these challenges. The non-oil private sector remains relatively small and, consequently, has been only a limited source of growth and employment. Because oil is an exhaustible resource, new sectors need to be developed so they can take over as the oil and gas industry dwindles. Over-reliance on oil also exacerbates macroeconomic volatility. Greater economic diversification would unlock job-creating growth, increase resilience to oil price volatility and improve prospects for future generations. Macro-economic stability and supportive regulatory and institutional frameworks are key prerequisites for economic diversification...
International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
This Selected Issues paper focuses on the Iraqi oil sector and analyzes the developments and prospects after the twin shock. The Iraqi economy was affected by the two major challenges during 2014—ISIS insurgency and the fall in global oil prices. Iraq’s oil sector has performed well despite the security challenges that emerged after the onset of the ISIS insurgency in June 2014. On average, Iraq earned $97 per barrel on oil exported in 2014. Asia remained the leading destination of the Iraqi oil exports during 2013–14, and its share increased from 50 percent in 2012 to 65 percent in 2014.
Mr. Andrea Gamba
Jordan’s initiatives to reduce its energy dependency could have substantial macroeconomic implications, but will crucially depend on the level of international oil prices in the next decade. Significant uncertainties remain regarding the feasibility of the initiatives and their potential fiscal costs, including from contingent liabilities, could be very large. Given the lead time required for such major investments, work should start now on: (i) conducting comprehensive cost-benefits analysis of these projects; (ii) addressing the challenges arising from the taxation of natural resources; and (iii) designing a fiscal framework to anchor fiscal policies if revenue from these energy projects materializes.
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.
This staff report on Iraq’s 2013 Article IV Consultation highlights economic policies and development. Risks to the macroeconomic outlook remain high. The risks can translate into lower oil revenues, deterioration in the fiscal position, pressures to use Central Bank of Iraq reserves for fiscal purposes leading to depreciation pressures, and higher inflation. Policies to mitigate their impact include strengthening fiscal institutions and oil revenue management, improving monetary policy transmission, and reducing the economy’s dependence on the oil sector. The authorities depend solely on fiscal policy to address these vulnerabilities, underscoring the need for the authorities to urgently build up sufficient fiscal buffers, since Iraq’s fiscal and external performance is very sensitive to fluctuations in oil prices.
International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
This Selected Issues paper on Iraq discusses medium-term projections for oil production and exports. Constraints to oil export volumes arise from export bottlenecks and technical production issues. Production is held back by technical challenges such as the need for water injection in the southern oil fields and limited supply of electricity, of which the oil industry is one of the main consumers. Export infrastructure has suffered during many years of decay owing to sanctions and wars. The Iraqi crude is priced as an average of a benchmark oil price for 15 or 30 days from the bill of lading.