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Economy News _ Baghdad
A senior official at the International Monetary Fund said today, Sunday, that the chances of banks in the Middle East and Central Asia being exposed to the banking turmoil that the United States and Europe witnessed last month are very limited, but financial pressures exacerbate the pressures resulting from high interest rates, volatile oil prices and the persistence of double-digit inflation rates. dozens of years ago.
Jihad Azour, Director of the Middle East and Central Asia Department at the International Monetary Fund, said, "The pressures of the banking sector came quickly after more stringent monetary policies that raised interest rates and reduced the possibility of obtaining financing," adding that "there is a growing gap between countries that have credit." Good and able to reach markets, including Morocco, Jordan, oil exporters and others, and countries facing problems.
And he added, "We are concerned because the matrix of risks is constantly increasing: high interest rates, volatile oil prices, geopolitical tension, and this is the third year in a row that inflation continues to be in the double digits."
He stated that "the stability of the financial sector is not the main concern, as it is preceded at the present time by concerns about high debt levels, the risk of social unrest, and the ability to maintain strict policies due to pressures on social conditions."
"We see increasing vulnerabilities again, which is why countries are being encouraged to do more structural reforms, to increase their growth by at least 1 or 2 percent... They have a window of opportunity as governments are now willing to do more, not put money in," he added. in the vaults of central banks.
Last Thursday, the International Monetary Fund predicted a slowdown in GDP growth in the Middle East and North Africa region to 3.1% in 2023 from 5.3% a year earlier.
The International Monetary Fund placed Iraq and Egypt at the top of the list of the highest-growing Arab economies in 2023, and according to the Fund, the economies of both countries are expected to grow by 3.7%, which is a greater percentage than the expected growth in other Arab countries such as the UAE, Palestine and Saudi Arabia.
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