Ukraine war to hit North African economies as GCC set to record twin surpluses: Capital Economics

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Fri, 2022-05-06 10:10

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has pushed up the cost of living in a host of North African countries, according to a report by Capital Economics.

Egypt, Tunisia, and Morocco are all battling increases in inflation, at 10.5 percent, 7.2 percent, and 5.3 percent respectively, according to analysts.

Increased public debt also has become a rising issue, with Tunisia incurring another loan from the African Export-Import Bank.

The increasing prices have left these countries drowning in their accumulated debts, leading to a forced decline in their sovereign dollar bond and currency value.

“Within the region, Tunisia’s public debt position is most fragile and the government now faces a ballooning subsidy bill. We think that a debt restructuring will ultimately be needed,” the report said, adding: “The devaluation of the Egyptian pound has coincided with concerns about the growing share of public debt that is denominated in FX.”

While the Gulf Cooperation Council countries are affected by global inflation, they are expected to hit a twin surplus by the end of 2022, according to the London-based economic research consultancy.

Saudi Arabia and the UAE have experienced an increase in oil production of 26.7 percent and 14.3 percent respectively from the previous 2021 Feb reports.

Unlike Saudi Arabia’s rising 4 percent year-on-year Purchasing Managers’ Index growth, the UAE remained stable with a flat PMI. 

Although the UAE has been unable to operate at full capacity because of a dip into its oil reserves during the pandemic, the future of their oil industry looks promising with an expected increase in gross domestic product.

While Oman and Bahrain are still paying off their foreign exchange debt, Qatar is exercising a loose monetary policy. Overall, the war has had a positive effect on oil revenues in the GCC economies.

Algeria, another rentier model state, undergoes the same fate, where its oil revenues counter the increasing price level which will impact their economy positively.

The equity markets across the Middle East and North Africa appear to have been unaffected by the current events, as rises in the Morgan Stanley Capital International Arabian Markets and Dubai’s stock market were exhibited.

Main category: 
Business & Economy
Capital Economics
Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)

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