The International Monetary Fund has sharply raised its forecast of the revenue windfall that the oil-exporting nations of the Middle East and Central Asia will amass in 2022 and urged policies that would make their economies less vulnerable to the boom and bust in energy prices.
Oil revenue in the region this year will reach $818 billion, an increase of $320 billion from the IMF’s forecast in October 2021, the Bloomberg news agency reported with reference to the organization’s regional outlook published on Wednesday.
The IMF stated it expects the revenue windfall “to improve fiscal and external balances” in a region that includes 13 oil exporters in total – from the UAE to Turkmenistan. It predicts oil prices will average $106.83 a barrel this year and $92.63 in 2023.
The Washington-based fund estimates official reserves in the region will amount to $1.3 trillion this year, an upgrade of around $235 billion from its October forecast.
Jihad Azur, Director of the IMF Middle East and Central Asia Department, said in interview that the oil bounty is “an opportunity to deepen financial markets as well as also to promote additional direct investments in the economy.”
This will help “accelerate diversification, create growth that becomes gradually less dependent on oil,” he added.
Established in 1944, the IMF consists of 190 member countries. The IMF is a partner of Turkmenistan in economic reforms and provides technical assistance to support ongoing macroeconomic reforms.