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Mideast, North Africa commodity importers hit by higher prices - IMF

WASHINGTON, May 24 (KUNA) -- The International Monetary Fund (IMF) said Tuesday that "the war in Ukraine and related sanctions have triggered a sharp increase in commodity prices, which will add to the challenges facing countries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), particularly the region's oil importers." "Food prices are expected to increase by an additional 14 percent in 2022, after reaching historical highs in 2021," the IMF said in a statement.
"This surge in prices comes at a precarious time for the region's recovery." It indicated "oil prices are expected to settle at an annual average of around USD 107 in 2022, up USD 38 from 2021." It added that in its Regional Economic Outlook, the IMF revised its forecast for growth in the Middle East and North Africa as a whole by 0.9 percentage points to five percent "but this reflects improved prospects for oil exporters helped by rising oil and gas prices." For oil-importing countries, the IMF marked down its projections "as higher commodity prices add to the challenges stemming from elevated inflation and debt, tightening global financial conditions, uneven vaccination progress and underlying fragilities and conflict in some countries," the blog said.
The IMF projects inflation "to remain elevated in the region in 2022 at 13.9 percent, a significant upward revision relative to our previous projections in October." The blog affirmed, "as countries throughout the Middle East and North Africa work to adapt their macroeconomic policies to new geopolitical realities, the IMF will continue to help through policy advice, financing and capacity development." (end) si.mb