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Mon 26 Jan 2009 09:27 AM

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IMF sees 2009 Gulf Arab growth slowing to 5%

World economic body forecasts GCC growth dipping down from 6.8% in 2008.

The International Monetary Fund sees economic growth in Gulf Arab states cooling to 5.1 percent in 2009 compared to around 7 percent in 2008, lower than previous forecasts, an IMF official said on Sunday."GDP growth in the GCC will be 5.1 percent in 2009 as against 6.8 percent in 2008. But they could be revised downward further due to the deteriorating world economic conditions," said Saade Chami, an IMF coordinator in Lebanon, speaking about Gulf Arab economies at a conference in Abu Dhabi.

Fiscal and external balances are projected to remain in surplus as long as oil prices do not fall further and remain below $50 a barrel for long, he said.

"Policy actions should be comprehensive in the GCC with some contingency planning and coordinated action to the crisis across the region is necessary," said Chami.

In October, the IMF had forecast economic growth for the Gulf Arab region at 6.6 percent in 2009, from 7.1 percent in 2008. (Reuters)

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