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Public Debt and Fiscal Vulnerability in the Middle East

  • Ludvig Söderling
  • Hanan Morsy
  • Martin Petri
  • Martin Hommes
  • Manal Fouad
  • Wojciech Maliszewski

Public debt in the Middle East increased during the mid-1990s mainly because of fiscal expansions. It decreased in recent years, thanks to high oil revenue, economic growth, some primary non-oil fiscal adjustment, and debt relief. While countries in the Middle East appear to have adequately reacted to high indebtedness in the past, public debt levels remain uncomfortably high in many, particularly non-oil producing countries and middle income oil producers. Non-oil countries adjust mainly by increasing revenues, whereas oil countries adjust expenditure. For non-oil producing countries, substantial fiscal adjustment would be needed to bring debt down to below 50 percent of GDP. Oil producers as a group appear to follow sustainable, though procyclical, fiscal policies. Middle-income (but not high-income) oil producing countries would need to adjust somewhat to bring their policies in line with the permanent oil income benchmark.

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Paper provided by International Monetary Fund in its series IMF Working Papers with number 07/12.

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Length: 36
Date of creation: 01 Jan 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:imf:imfwpa:07/12
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  1. Barry Eichengreen & Ricardo Hausmann & Ugo Panizza, 2003. "Currency Mismatches, Debt Intolerance and Original Sin: Why They Are Not the Same and Why it Matters," NBER Working Papers 10036, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Taimur Baig & Abdul Abiad, 2005. "Underlying Factors Driving Fiscal Effort in Emerging Market Economies," IMF Working Papers 05/106, International Monetary Fund.
  3. Dalia Hakura, 2004. "Growth in the Middle East and North Africa," IMF Working Papers 04/56, International Monetary Fund.
  4. Eduardo M.R.A. Engel & Rodrigo Valdés, 2000. "Optimal Fiscal Strategy for Oil Exporting Countries," Documentos de Trabajo 78, Centro de Economía Aplicada, Universidad de Chile.
  5. International Monetary Fund, 2004. "Financial Sector Development in the Middle East and North Africa," IMF Working Papers 04/201, International Monetary Fund.
  6. Henning Bohn, 1998. "The Behavior Of U.S. Public Debt And Deficits," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 113(3), pages 949-963, August.
  7. Jan-Peter Olters & Daniel Leigh, 2006. "Natural-Resource Depletion, Habit Formation, and Sustainable Fiscal Policy; Lessons From Gabon," IMF Working Papers 06/193, International Monetary Fund.
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