Oil and tourism drive Middle East recovery in 2022, UN says

Oil output raised to pre-pandemic levels could see a 4.8 per cent growth rate for the region

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The Middle East is projected to have a strong recovery from the coronavirus pandemic and its economic fall-out, with a growth forecast of 4.8 per cent this year, says a UN report released on Thursday.

The World Economic Situation and Prospects 2022 said oil exporters in the region, known in UN terminology as Western Asia, would have crude oil production rise to levels not seen since the start of the pandemic.

UN economists also attributed gains to progress on vaccination and the relaxing of Covid-19 restrictions in the region.

The expected “resumption of international tourism will support further recovery”, the 232-page document said.

But experts said the “recovery remains fragile” and warned that protracted conflicts in Syria, Yemen and the Palestinian territories would continue to drag down those economies and lead to “further polarisation in the region”.

Globally, UN economists projected growth of 4 per cent in 2022, down from 5.5 per cent last year, amid new waves of Covid-19 infections, labour market challenges, supply-chain constraints and rising inflation.

Global economic growth began to slow by the end of last year, including in big economies such as the US, China and the EU, as the effects of stimulus packages faded and major supply-chain disruptions emerged, researchers said.

Updated: January 13, 2022, 10:44 PM