Given the high level of uncertainty and volatility over the past few months, we have been somewhat hesitant in publishing an Economy Watch report because of the risk that it could become outdated, and hence misleading, very rapidly. However, as we are now moving past the immediate crisis into a recovery phase, and are armed with some initial impact data, now seems like a good time to provide our clients with some thoughts to help in making sense of what might look like a confusing economic outlook.
This report starts by assessing the evidence available so far of the economic impact of the crisis, including data for some indicators in April, which is likely to have been the low point of the regional recession to date.
However, there were hopeful signs in late May that the levels of active infections were flat or falling in many countries.
We then look at the policy responses by governments, which include a mixture of liquidity support, stimulus measures to protect jobs and struggling firms, but also consolidation measures to adjust to new fiscal constraints.
Overall the net policy stances vary from significant consolidation (Oman and Saudi Arabia) to moderate stimulus (Bahrain and UAE).
Finally, we look at the outlook for the next two years which will be shaped more than ever by global trends, including epidemiological ones and their impact on the oil market.
This report gives a high-level overview, but of course the experiences of the crisis vary significantly in each country and economic sector.