EconSource: IMF–Mideast growth outlook to improve overall, bold reforms still needed

Follow the latest in economic news and developments about the Arab transition countries. 

The IMF in its latest regional assessment projects that “economic growth in the Middle East, North Africa, [Afghanistan, and Pakistan] is expected to strengthen this year, but weak confidence and, in some cases, large public deficits continue to pose risks to this outlook”. The IMF projects that growth in the region will average about 3¼ percent in 2014 as global conditions improve. [IMF]
Jordan and the US on Monday signed the second sovereign loan guarantee agreement, which will allow Jordan to access affordable financing from international capital markets.  [DOSJordan Times]
The interim government agreed cement companies could import coal in order to avoid a gas production crisis in 2018. The Ministry of Petroleum expects the natural gas deficit to become worse, hitting 2.4 billion cubic feet per day during the 2017/2018 fiscal year, not including the needs of new power plants, which are estimated at 1.2 billion cubic feet. [DNE]
Tunisia’s current account deficit stood at 2.4 perecnt of the GDP during the first quarter of 2014.  At this rate, the deficit will peak at 12 percent of GDP at the end of the current year, according to government spokesman Nidhal Ouerfelli. The government plans to maintain this rate to 7 percent of GDP at the end of this year. [AM]
Long neglected under Qaddafi, Libya’s second city is changing rapidly even as security remains precarious. Although it continues to be plagued by assassinations and explosions, it is experiencing a construction and commercial boom that has rendered some neighborhoods almost unrecognizable from pre-revolution days. [FT]
Also of Interest:
Egypt: Candidate al-Sisi details his vision for the county in a TV interview | Ahram
Israel to supply natural gas Egypt | Bloomberg
Egypt likely to postpone gas price rises | Aswat Masriya
Mahlab meets with World Bank delegation to boost cooperation | Cairo Post
Egyptian tourism official: Criteria for coal use to be announced in May | DNE, DNE
IMF head on working visit to Morocco | IMF
FDI in Morocco increased 23 percent in 2013 | MWN
FDI in Tunisia falls 19.3 percent in first quarter | Ahram
Tunisia Central Bank governor expects 3 percent growth in 2014 | TAP
President names Algerian government with Yousfi as oil minister | Reuters