Once again, a strengthening global demand for oil in the second quarter of 2014 fueled economic growth in the MENA’s oil exporting countries that remained shielded to the waves of violence and insecurity overshadowing the MENA’s oil importing countries. Securing a robust private sector performance, Saudi Arabia focused on social reforms and preservation of its position as a valve of the MENA’s political and economic developments. In Qatar, concerns of the state losing the hosting right of the 2022 World Cup topped the news jeopardizing the encouraging economic outlook of the country in the coming years. The United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) economy finally recovered Dubai crisis of 2009 thanks to the promising performance of real estate, tourism and trade sectors that were boosted by the Emirates winning the right to host the World Expo 2020. Meanwhile, oil-importing countries were striving to resolve their basic political and economic problems. Starting with the most populous country in the MENA, Egypt’s journey under Al-Sisi mandate started and was characterized by structural economic reforms and a relative period of stability that followed series of political and security developments. Syria’s civil war continued amid the controversial re-election of Al-Assad and was the main barometer of the regional stability and the socio-economic conditions of its neighboring countries. The Syrian economy preserved its shaky position in Q2 2014 with an ongoing decline in oil production and most economic sectors posting steep losses. Spillovers of the enduring stalemate between the regime forces and the opposition in Syria widely affected the Lebanese and Jordanian economies. Lebanon’s economy failed to show strong signs of improvement, burdened by the presence of more than 1.1M registered Syrian refugees besides the continuous presidential vacuum and the wage scale dilemma. As for Jordan, the kingdom was undergoing threatening instabilities on the Iraqi border while trying to install the basic economic principals required by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) under the $2.00B loan-agreement.
MENA Review and Quarterly Outlook – Q2 2014