Feb 09, 2019 15:54 Asia/Tehran
  • IMF warns of high Arab public debt

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has warned of a 'challenging' economic path that lies ahead of the Arab countries since their public debt has rapidly increased due to their high budget deficits.

Iran Press/AmericaIMF Managing Director, Christine Lagarde said on Saturday that public debt among Arab oil exporter countries had increased from 64 percent to 85 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) since 2008.

Unfortunately, the region has yet to fully recover from the global financial crisis and other big economic dislocations over the past decade, she told the Arab Fiscal Forum in Dubai.

Among oil importers, (economic) growth has picked up, but it is still below pre-crisis levels, she added.

Public debt among Arab oil exporters rose from 13 percent of GDP to 33 percent of GDP, accelerated by the crash in oil prices around five years ago, Lagarde said.

Lagarde also said that the region’s oil exporters have not fully recovered from the dramatic oil price shock of 2014.

Modest growth continues, but the outlook is highly uncertain, she said.

Lagarde added that the bottom line: the economic path for the region is challenging.

The IMF last month lowered its economic growth forecasts for the world's top crude exporter, Saudi Arabia, citing a renewed fall in oil prices, low output and geopolitical tensions as the main reasons.105/210

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