The IMF has revised down its 2012 GDP forecast for MENA, in step with its cut in estimates for global growth. In its October World Economic Outlook, it puts MENA 2012 growth at 5.3%, which is down 0.2 percentage points from its July forecast, while 2013 growth is left at the same 3.6% level. The IMF notes that the gap between the economic performance of MENA oil exporters and importers in the region has widened (see table).

For the former, increased government spending, helped by high oil prices, is supporting robust growth. The IMF is assuming an average oil price, based on futures markets, of $106.18/B in 2012 and $105.10/B in 2013. Oil exporters will see economic growth accelerate from around 4% in 2011, to 6.5% this year, mostly as a result of a rebound in Libyan oil production. But the Libyan boost will moderate in 2013 and then oil exporters will see growth slow to 3.8%. (CONTINUED - 586 WORDS)