EconSource: IMF says Iran Nuclear Deal to Boost Mideast Economy

The Iranian nuclear deal will lift economic growth in the Middle East next year as the rolling back of sanctions brings a rebound in oil exports, the International Monetary Fund said Tuesday in its latest World Economic Outlook. Growth in the Middle East and North Africa will “pick up substantially in 2016, supported by accelerated activity in the Islamic Republic of Iran,” the report said. “The lifting of sanctions … should allow for a recovery in oil production and exports,” it added, while predicting “a gradual improvement in the outlook for countries severely affected by conflicts, such as Iraq, Libya, and Yemen.” Regional growth has slowed to 2.3 percent this year from 2.6 percent in 2014, before an expected rebound to 3.8 percent in 2016. Oil exporters, including the Gulf states, Iran, Iraq, Yemen, Libya and Algeria, account for most of the weakness in growth this year. In addition, “spillovers from regional conflicts and intensified security and social tensions are weighing on confidence and holding back higher growth,” the IMF said. [AFP, 10/6/2015]

Yemen’s Aden refinery resumes oil-product imports
Yemen’s Aden Refinery Company has resumed imports of oil products after a nearly six-month hiatus, industry sources said. The imports are expected to boost oil product margins in Asia at a time when refinery maintenance has cut supplies, traders said. The refinery declared force majeure in April on its oil imports and exports as Yemen’s civil war escalated. Sources expect it to issue a tender soon to import 60,000 tonnes of gasoil, with traders already indicating interest in shipping cargoes to Aden. Still, many shipping companies are unwilling to risk their vessels in Aden, traders said. The refinery resumed operations at its refinery late last month, and is now producing 75,000 barrels per day (about half its capacity). [Reuters/Trade Arabia, Al Masdar, 10/7/2015]

Egypt’s growth forecast unchanged in latest IMF report
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) kept its forecast for Egypt’s growth at 4.2 percent in 2015 and 4.3 percent in 2016 in its latest World Economic Outlook. The IMF expects consumer prices to increase in 2015 to 11 percent (compared to 10.1 percent in 2014) and slow to 8.8 percent in 2016. The IMF also forecast a 0.8 percent decrease in Egypt’s deficit in 2015. IMF Research Director Maurice Obstfeld said that Egypt’s savings following the the global drop in oil prices have been a main factor allowing the economy to maintain its performance. “But this is an unsustainable factor,” he said, noting that commodity prices continue to fall. “The fall in commodity prices, which accelerated recently, will have a dramatic impact on developing countries,” he added. Meanwhile, the Central Bank of Egypt said Wednesday that foreign currency reserves fell to $16.335 billion at the end of September from $18.096 billion the previous month. [Ahram Online, 10/6/2015]

Qatar National Bank Q3 net profit rises 6.1 percent, beats forecasts
Qatar National Bank (QNB), the largest lender in the Gulf Arab region, achieved a 6.1 percent increase in third quarter net profit, beating analysts’ forecasts. The bank made a net 3.11 billion riyals ($854 million) from July through September, up from 2.93 billion riyals a year before. The bank did not provide a quarterly breakdown in its earnings statement. For the first nine months of the year, net profit rose to 8.70 billion riyals, up 9 percent from the same period of 2014, the bank said in a statement. Loans and advances rose 11.5 percent in the first nine months of 2015, QNB added. QNB aims to become the largest bank in the Middle East and Africa by 2017. [Reuters, 10/7/2015]

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