ABU DHABI: UAE remains the most diversified economy in the region and introduction of value added tax (VAT) is a step in right direction, said David Mann, global chief economist of Standard Chartered Bank, in Dubai on Monday at the launch of its global focus report.
The report further states that growth in the region is likely to pick up but remain below trend. The bank forecasts that growth in the MENAP region will accelerate to 3.2 per cent in 2018 from an estimated 2.7 per cent in 2017.
“We expect a broad- based pick-up, with most economies seeing an uptick. In the GCC, we see growth rising to 2 per cent in 2018 from an estimated 0.3 per cent in 2017. The recent rise in global oil prices should cause sentiment to bottom out, and is unlikely to derail policy makers’ efforts to diversify oil-centric economies. We expect interest rates to rise across the MENAP region alongside FFTR hikes; the notable exception is Egypt, where we expect the central bank to continue with gradual easing in 2018,” he said.
Discussing the details of the global report, Dhuha Fadhel, senior economist, Thematic Research, said: ” There is a need for institutions to look at fiscal policy reforms with target set for short-term to long-term goals.”
“We see 2.6 per cent GDP growth in the UAE in 2018. Economic activity is likely to be supported by implementation of infrastructure projects in the run up to Expo 2020 Dubai,” said Bilal Khan, senior economist for Middle East, North Africa and Pakistan (Menap). “Although our 2018 forecast is higher than our 0.9 per cent estimate for last year, we are more cautious on the growth outlook than the IMF’s 3.2 per cent forecast.