IMF predicts negative GDP growth for GCC over collapsing oil prices

GCC nations, the top oil exporters in the Middle East, are expected to post an aggregate negative growth of 3.9 percent in 2020, IMF’s said in its latest World Economic Outlook report noting that low oil prices will have a huge impact on exporters.

Due to the economic fall out of the coronavirus pandemic, the global economy is expected to shrink by 3 percent during this year, marking the steepest downturn since the Great Depression of the 1930s, the report said.

However, a partial rebound is expected in 2021, with the world economy growing at 5.08 percent rate but it is marked by “extreme uncertainty” and outcomes could be far worsen depending on the course of the coronavirus pandemic, the global organisation said.

In the UAE, real GDP growth is forecast to slip by 3.5 percent compared to 1.3 percent recorded in 2019. Saudi Arabia’s growth is forecast at -2.3 percent, with non-oil GDP contracting by 4 percent. Qatar’s real GDP is projected to fall by 4.3 percent in 2020 while Oman’s is projected to decline by 2.8 percent.

According to the outlook, Kuwait fared better with a projected growth of -1.1 percent compared to  0.7 percent in 2019.

Almost every country in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region is forecast to shrink in 2020. Egypt is the only nation the IMF expects to post any growth this year, at 2 percent. However, that is still far lower than the 5.6 percent expansion seen last year.

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