Real GDP growth in the MENA region is expected to decline to 2.1% in 2013 from 4.6% in 2012, before rising to 3.8% in 2014, according to the IMF latest six-monthly World Economic Outlook released on 8 October. The 2013 projection marks a sharp downgrade from the figure of 3.1% given six months ago. The IMF says weak global demand and domestic supply disruptions have reduced oil production, while “prolonged political transitions” have hit MENA oil importers.

For oil exporters, growth decelerated in the first half of 2013, driven by falling oil production. The oil supply in several countries like Iran, Iraq and Libya was disrupted by “high geopolitical tension, economic sanctions, unscheduled maintenance, and deteriorating security,” the IMF says. Oil exporters’ GDP growth is projected to fall to 1.9% in 2013, before rising to 4.0% in 2014. Iran (under sanctions), which registered negative GDP growth (-1.9%) in 2012, is expected to record a further fall of -1.5% in 2013, before rising 1.3% in 2014. While average inflation in most of the exporting countries remained low in 2013, Iran’s inflation is projected at 42% in 2013, before falling in 2014. (CONTINUED - 403 WORDS)