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International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.

Abstract

Growth in the near term remains subdued for oil exporters in the Middle East, North Africa, Afghanistan, and Pakistan (MENAP) region, amid volatile oil prices, precarious global growth, elevated fiscal vulnerabilities, and heightened geopolitical tensions. In addition, declining productivity is dampening medium-term growth prospects. To reduce dependence on oil prices and pave the way for more sustainable growth, fiscal consolidation needs to resume, underpinned by improved medium-term fiscal frameworks. In parallel, structural reforms and further financial sector development would boost foreign direct investment (FDI) and domestic private investment and foster diversification, thus contributing to improved productivity and potential growth.

International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
This 2019 Article IV Consultation and Proposal for Post-Program Monitoring highlights that Iraq’s social conditions remain harsh following the war with ISIS, with slow progress at reconstruction, weak public services and a lack of job opportunities. In the absence of policy changes, a widening budget deficit is expected to divert resources away from essential investment to rebuild the country and improve public services, while eroding reserves and posing risks to medium-term sustainability. Expenditure rigidities and limited fiscal buffers imply a significant vulnerability to oil price shocks in a context of volatile prices. The fiscal and external positions are expected to continue to deteriorate over the medium term absent policy changes—with reserves falling below adequate levels and fiscal buffers eroded. In a context of highly volatile oil prices, the major risk to the outlook is a fall in oil prices which would lower exports and budgetary revenues, leading to an even sharper decline in reserves or higher public debt. Geopolitical tensions, the potential for social unrest in a context of weak public services and lack of progress in combatting corruption pose further risks.
International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
This 2018 Article IV Consultation highlights that the real GDP growth of Iran is expected to reach 4.3 percent in 2017/18. In the first half of 2017/18, recovery broadened to the non-oil sector, aided by supportive fiscal and monetary policies and a recovery in construction and services activity. The unemployment rate declined to 11.7 percent in the first half of 2017/18, but remained particularly high for youth and women. Inflation averaged 9.9 percent during the first 11 months of 2017/18 aided by moderation in food prices and stable administered prices. Real GDP growth is expected to ease to 4 percent in 2018/19 and is forecast to average 4.5 percent over the medium-term.
International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
This Selected Issues paper analyzes the development of domestic government securities market in Iran. The Iranian authorities have intensified efforts to develop a domestic government securities market. The Debt Management Office is fully staffed with front-mid-back office functions. An electronic issuance system and effective custody and settlement systems are in place. A public debt law that identifies the Ministry of Economy and Finance’s role as the sole issuer of government securities and requires the preparation and publication of a medium-term debt management strategy, annual borrowing program, and publication of debt and asset data would enhance transparency and provide investors greater assurance about the government’s capacity to repay debt and ultimately lower borrowing costs.
International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.

This Selected Issues paper discusses some options to strengthen Iran's fiscal framework, and highlights the need for a medium-term framework. Fiscal policy design in Iran faces numerous challenges. Some are current, such as managing volatile oil revenue while addressing development needs. Other challenges are related to demographic pressures from new entrants to the labor market, as the country needs to prepare from aging pressures in the decades to come. With medium-term planning, macroeconomic stability, and adequate spending, fiscal policy could play a critical role in fostering growth. Ultimately, addressing these issues would help Iran achieve its objective of becoming one of the fastest-growing emerging economies.

International Monetary Fund
In recent years, the IMF has released a growing number of reports and other documents covering economic and financial developments and trends in member countries. Each report, prepared by a staff team after discussions with government officials, is published at the option of the member country.
International Monetary Fund
This 2012 Article IV Consultation highlights that the economic recovery in the United Arab Emirates is continuing despite the uncertain global economic environment. The banking sector has remained well capitalized and profitable, despite a continued rise in nonperforming loans and higher provisioning. Executive Directors have welcomed the continued economic recovery and favorable near-term outlook, but noted downside risks from the uncertain global environment. Directors have encouraged the authorities to continue their efforts to sustain growth and diversify the economy, while maintaining macroeconomic and financial stability.