Mixed outlooks for MENA

Published: May 25, 2010

Oil exports should rebound, but banking troubles remain, says IMF.

Sluggish credit could yet hamper a strong recovery in the Middle East and North Africa, according to a new report from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The report points out that the economic prospects for the region have improved, but adds that stress in the banking sectors could impede a rebound.

One bright note is oil. The report sees a recovery ahead for the region’s exporters, which should boost the current account surplus to US$140bn and oil-GDP growth to 4.3%.

“The region’s oil exporters still face challenges in their banking systems, however, where credit to the private sector remains sluggish and losses on nonperforming loans have yet to be fully recognized,” said Masood Ahmed, the IMF’s Middle East and Central Asia director.