The overall economic outlook for the six GCC countries “remains favorable,” but growth, though “robust”, is set to ease over the next few years, the IMF says in its recent “Economics Prospects and Policy Challenges for the GCC Countries” report.

The report says non-oil growth is weakening as the growth in government spending seen in recent years eases. Oil output may also grow more slowly, the IMF says. Not surprisingly, the IMF points to oil prices as the key determinant of the region’s growth prospects, and also a key ‘wild card’ necessitating the strengthening of fiscal buffers. The region is also vulnerable to volatility in global financial markets and broader Middle East unrest, the IMF says. (CONTINUED - 698 WORDS)