The IMF Deputy Managing Director Nemat Shafik has pointed out that the conflict in Syria and related large refugee inflows, high energy and food prices, and lower gas supplies from Egypt have exerted pressure on Jordan’s external and fiscal positions. Speaking at the end of a visit to ‘Amman, Ms Shafik said that the Jordanian authorities have taken “decisive steps” to address these challenges, while protecting vulnerable citizens. Ms Shafik acknowledged that risks to the economic outlook remained, but that improvements in the fiscal and external accounts were encouraging.

The IMF official went on to note that despite the difficult external environment, the kingdom’s economy has been performing well. Economic growth in 2012 is estimated to have risen by 2.8%, while inflation has recently eased to 6.7%. While higher energy imports led to a widening of the external current account deficit, a stronger capital account has helped to offset this deficit. Also Jordan’s international reserves currently stand at a comfortable level thanks to the receipt of grants from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries and the successful launch of a bond issue domestically. (CONTINUED - 325 WORDS)