The Institute of International Finance has warned that the continued rise in oil prices is widening the economic gaps between oil-exporting and importing countries in the MENA region. It also expected the region to grow by 2.3 percent this year and 4.3 percent in 2022 after a contraction of 3.8 percent in gross domestic product last year.
According to the IIF, oil-producing countries will witness current account surpluses of $165 billion this year and $138 billion next year, after a deficit of $6 billion last year, based on an oil price forecast of $71 per barrel this year and $66 per barrel next year. It is also expected that the general foreign assets of the Gulf states will rise to more than three trillion dollars by the end of 2022, equivalent to 170 percent of the gross domestic product.
As for oil-importing countries such as Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Tunisia and Sudan, the combined deficit in the current account balance will increase to $35 billion this year from $27 billion in 2020, mainly due to the high cost of importing oil and the decline in tourism sector revenues. It is worth noting that the public foreign assets in oil-importing countries will represent 15.5 percent of combined gross domestic product this year.
Source (Al Khaleej Newspaper-UAE, Edited)