The cumulative budget deficit for the Middle East has been revised down to USD 765 billion from over USD one trillion due to higher oil prices, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) announced Friday.
In a press conference on day one of the institution's Annual Meetings, Director of the Middle East and Central Asia Department Masood Ahmed lauded steps taken by Saudi Arabia to outline its Vision 2030, as well as the possible introduction of a Value Added Tax (VAT) in Qatar, but said the implementation of those plans remains to be seen.
Earlier this week the IMF said it is maintaining its growth forecast for Saudi Arabia - the region's largest economy - at 1.2 percent in 2016, and two percent in 2017.
A modest recovery in oil prices - with a barrel expected to increase from USD 43 this year to USD 51 next year - is not expected to have much impact on producers in the Middle East, the IMF said.
Much of Friday's press conference also focused on Egypt's struggling economy, with the IMF set to approve a USD-12-billion loan package to the country as early as November, Ahmed told reporters.
"I am hopeful that we will be able to be in a position to firm up these financing pledges in the coming weeks," he said, referring to an additional USD 5-6 billion that Cairo has requested.