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IMF chief warns of high Arab public debt

AFP  |  Dubai 

Public debt has rapidly increased in many Arab countries since the 2008 global financial crisis, due to persistently high budget deficits, the warned Saturday.

"Unfortunately, the region has yet to fully recover from the global financial crisis and other big economic dislocations over the past decade," IMF said.

"Among importers, (economic) growth has picked up, but it is still below pre-crisis levels," she told the Arab Fiscal Forum in

Lagarde said public debt among Arab importing nations had increased from 64 percent to 85 percent of Gross Domestic Product in the decade since 2008.

Nearly half of these countries now have public debt of over 90 percent of GDP, she said.

Public debt among exporters -- including the six-nation -- rose from 13 percent of GDP to 33 percent of GDP, accelerated by the crash in around five years ago, Lagarde said. "The have not fully recovered from the of 2014," she said.

"Modest growth continues, but the outlook is highly uncertain." Lagarde said oil producing countries should look to in the coming decades, in line with the Agreement on climate change, which stipulates a reduction in greenhouse emissions.

The IMF last month lowered its economic growth forecasts for -- the world's top crude exporter -- and the wider and region due to a renewed fall in oil prices, low output and geopolitical tensions.

Lagarde welcomed both spending and revenue reforms, including the introduction of a value added-tax (VAT) and excise duty by and the

But she urged more reforms, anti-corruption measures and transparency. "The economic path ahead for the region is challenging," she added.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sat, February 09 2019. 14:40 IST
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