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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.
Nidhaleddine Ben Cheikh, Mr. Sami Ben Naceur, Mr. Oussama Kanaan, and Christophe Rault
Our paper examines the effect of oil price changes on Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) stock markets using nonlinear smooth transition regression (STR) models. Contrary to conventional wisdom, our empirical results reveal that GCC stock markets do not have similar sensitivities to oil price changes. We document the presence of stock market returns’ asymmetric reactions in some GCC countries, but not for others. In Kuwait’s case, negative oil price changes exert larger impacts on stock returns than positive oil price changes. When considering the asymmetry with respect to the magnitude of oil price variation, we find that Oman’s and Qatar’s stock markets are more sensitive to large oil price changes than to small ones. Our results highlight the importance of economic stabilization and reform policies that can potentially reduce the sensitivity of stock returns to oil price changes, especially with regard to the existence of asymmetric behavior.
International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
This Selected Issues paper estimates the optimal allocation of government current spending, precautionary saving, and investment for Kuwait under uncertainty. The results show that in the face of high oil income volatility and the expected decline in oil prices, projected current spending exceeds the optimal amount over the medium term (2013–2018). However, there is room to increase investment spending, which should contribute to the growth of the tradable sector, as the projected investment rate is lower than the optimal investment rate of 20 percent of government income.
International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
This 2013 Article IV Consultation highlights that high oil prices and increased production have enabled the government in Kuwait to continue to record high fiscal and external surpluses and build strong buffers. Overall real non-oil GDP growth is projected to increase modestly to 3 percent in 2013, driven by an increase in domestic consumption and pick-up in public investment. A slight reduction in oil production would bring down total real GDP growth below 1 percent. The overall average consumer price inflation is projected at 3 percent in 2013. The economic outlook is expected to improve further in 2014 and over the medium term.
International Monetary Fund
Statistics of Kuwait’s economics are presented in this paper. Some of the areas covered include gross domestic product prices, gross domestic expenditure; production, disposal, and prices of oil, and LPG consumer. Data on population and employment, summary of government finance, revenue, current expenditure, domestic subsidies and transfers are provided. The monetary survey balance sheet of local banks, interest rates with local banks, and net foreign assets of the financial sector as well as financial soundness indicators, external debt, and international investment position data are presented.
International Monetary Fund
Kuwait faced the global financial crisis from a position of strength, owing to expansionary fiscal stance. The economy is expected to grow steadily over the medium term as Kuwait continues to implement the development plan and global recovery supports demand for oil. The near-term macroeconomic policy mix is adequate. The development plan (DP) implementation should be managed carefully. The financial situation of many investment companies remains precarious. Significant progress was made in the implementation of the update recommendations, but further steps are warranted.
Mr. Paul Cashin and Samya Beidas-Strom
Employing a dynamic panel regression, this study estimates the medium-term current account position for three subgroups of emerging market and developing countries with shared economic characteristics. The fundamental determinants of the macroeconomic balance approach to current account determination (arising from the IMF's Consultative Group on Exchange Rate (CGER)) are augmented by determinants relevant to Middle Eastern economies' current account positions. The study also assesses the deviation of the actual medium-term current account position of three Middle Eastern subgroups of countries (emerging markets; low-income and fragile economies; and net oil exporters) from their medium-term current account norms. Key findings are that: augmentation of the fundamental determinants yields plausible Middle Eastern current account norms; and in comparison with the medium-term current account norm, the actual and projected current account imbalances of each of the three subgroups are typically not excessive.
International Monetary Fund
The paper gives statistical data on sectoral origin of gross domestic product at current prices and constant prices; expenditure at current market prices and at constant production in Kuwait. It provides data on disposal; and prices of oil and LPG; consumer and wholesale price index; output of major industrial products; population and employment; distribution of employees by economic activity and nationality; summary of government finance, revenue, monetary survey; and financial account reserves and net foreign assets of the financial sector along with other major areas.
International Monetary Fund
Kuwait’s economy was affected significantly by the global crisis. The financial sector experienced funding pressures and deterioration in asset quality. The economic outcome depends largely on government spending and the associated private investment. Stress tests indicate that the banking system can withstand shocks. The macroeconomic policy mix is adequate, but growth of current expenditures should be contained. Successful implementation of the growth agenda requires progress in structural reforms. The financial system’s oversight framework should be strengthened. The household debt relief law can undermine the financial culture.
International Monetary Fund
Kuwait’s economy continued to perform strongly in 2008, although signs of weakness emerged in the second half of the year. The authorities’ key challenge in the near term is to preserve financial stability and cushion the impact of the global slowdown. Executive Directors have commended the Kuwaiti authorities’ prudent macroeconomic policies, which have contributed to robust economic growth, strong fiscal and external positions. Directors have also called for strengthening oversight of risk management practices by ensuring adequate policies and procedures for identifying, monitoring, and controlling systemic risk in the financial system.