The oil exporters of the Middle East and Africa, dominated by the Gulf Arab states, are looking at a near-$400bn earnings loss for 2015 as a result of the slide in oil prices, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) says. Yet despite these grim projections, which match a similar outlook by the International Energy Agency (IEA), Opec’s biggest producers in the region are holding fast to their policy of maintaining their output at relatively high levels despite lukewarm demand and a resilient US shale oil industry.

Masood Ahmed, director for the Middle East and Central Asia Department at the IMF, said in an 18 April briefing on the outlook for the region, that the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries would still manage to achieve average growth of 3.5% in 2015 by using their financial cushions accumulated during the period of higher oil prices in recent years. But their external accounts will take a hit because of lower oil export revenues. (CONTINUED - 1388 WORDS)