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19 Apr 2017, Annie Tsoneva, EMIS Editor

Oil production cuts curb Mideast economic growth, IMF says

Oil production cuts agreed by OPEC to push up the oil prices will curb this year the economic growth of Saudi Arabia and most other Arab oil exporters, AFP reported citing the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

In its latest World Economic Outlook report, the global lender slashed its 2017 growth forecast for the Middle East, and North Africa, including Afghanistan and Pakistan to 2.6%, from the 3.1% projected in January.

Growth in Saudi Arabia, the region's top economy, is to slow down to 0.4% in 2017 due to lower oil production and the country’s fiscal consolidation programme. Next year, the Saudi economy is to grow 1.3%. OPEC members reached an agreement in November to reduce output for six months in to support crude prices. The deal is widely expected to be extended for further six months.

Among the oil importers in the region, Morocco's economic growth is to surge from 1.5% last year to 4.4% this year, Tunisia's economic growth is to accelerate to 2.5% from 1% in 2016, while Egypt’s growth will decelerate to 3.5% this year from 4.3% in 2016. The IMF excluded from the forecasts war-torn Syria, but underlined that the conflicts in the region also detract from economic activity.

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