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Middle East & North Africa Economic Forecast

Economic Snapshot for MENA

March 11, 2020

Regional growth should recover slightly this year on a favourable base effect. However, economic activity will still be weak due to ongoing recession in Iran and the impact of the coronavirus. Downside risks include widespread geopolitical tensions, social unrest and political uncertainty in several countries, and a worsening of the viral outbreak.

MENA Monetary & Financial Sector News

Inflation in the Middle East and North Africa rose to 5.6% in January from 5.5% in December, due to higher price pressures in Lebanon and Saudi Arabia. This year, inflation is seen rising from its current  level on resurfacing price pressures in GCC countries, although the recent notable fall in crude prices will cap price pressures.

bet360备用网址Most MENA central banks manage currency pegs, against the USD or a basket of currencies including the USD or the EUR, and lack independent monetary policies. Several banks with currency pegs cut rates following the Fed’s surprise cut in early March. The central banks of Egypt and Israel, which have floating currencies, left their main policy rates unchanged.

The Egyptian pound strengthened against the USD in recent weeks on robust economic momentum, while the Israeli shekel depreciated slightly. Most remaining countries in the region maintain a de jure or de facto currency peg against the U.S. dollar or a basket of currencies mostly composed of the USD and/or the EUR.

 

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