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IMF projects Oman growth at 3.7pc in 2018

Staff Reporter

MUSCAT

The International Monetary Fund expects a rebound in the Sultanate, projecting a growth rate of 3.7 per cent in 2018, slightly higher than that estimated for the Middle East, North Africa, Afghanistan and Pakistan (Menap).

After losing momentum this year, the economy is expected to pick up, mostly reflecting stronger demand from oil importers and a rebound of oil production in the wake of improved prices.

The drop in the pace of economic growth is because the after-effects of the 2014 oil price crash expected to linger on.

The IMF said in its world economic outlook report that this growth would slightly come down to 2.2 per cent in the Sultanate in 2019.

The region’s 2018 prospects are just below that of the world economy as a whole, which is forecast to grow by 3.7 per cent next year, and far ahead of the average for advanced economies, which are predicted to grow by just 2 per cent.

It said the more diversified UAE economy is expected to grow 3.4 per cent in 2018 which is marginally lower than that of the Sultanate.

“In 2018, growth in the region is expected to increase to 3.5 per cent, mostly reflecting stronger domestic demand in oil importers and a rebound of oil production in oil exporters,” the IMF said.

Saudi Arabia’s growth in 2018 is forecast to grow by 1.1 per cent in 2018.

Meanwhile, the pace of economic growth is Kuwait is expected to recover in 2018, growing at 4.1 per cent. Its GDP expanded 2.5 per cent last year.

The IMF had projected the price of oil to average $50.3 a barrel in 2017, higher than the previous year, but was expected to remain in the 50s until 2022.

Regional oil exporters have lost hundreds of billions of dollars in revenue since crude prices began to slump in mid-2014, it noted.