The Middle Eastern and North African economies are expected to fare better than many others throughout the world amid a global economic crisis, according to the International Monetary Fund’s May 2009 Economic Outlook for the Middle East and Central Asia, which was released Sunday during the Dubai International Financial Centre.
Though both regions are expected to experience a decline of economic growth, their prudent economic management and large oil reserves will help cushion the blow, said Masood Ahmed, director of the IMF’s Middle East and Central Asia Department, as reported in AME Info.
Ahmed described three ways in which the crisis is affected the broader Middle East, North Africa, Afghanistan and Pakistan region: “The sharp drop in oil prices is shrinking revenues for oil exporters as well as import costs for oil importers; the contraction in global demand, trade and related activity is lowering exports, tourism and remittances; and the tightening of international credit markets and lower investor appetite for risk is slowing down capital inflows, depressing local asset prices and reducing investment.”
As the media onslaught regarding swine flu (H1N1 influenza) begins to wane, Mexico’s Tourism Board is planning to throw a punch of its own with a US$15 million promotional campaign that will launch as soon as the H1N1 influenza outbreak is contained, according to Travel Weekly. The campaign, which was approved by Mexico Finance Secretary Agustin Carstens, is being funded as part of a larger US$1.3 billion economic stimulus designed to help the battered country recover from the setback. Carstens estimated the country has lost at least US$2 billion because of effects from the swine flu breakout.
Hawaii’s Gov. Linda Lingle vetoed tax increases she warned would further damage the state’s sagging economy, despite vows by State House and Senate leaders to override her vetoes, according to the honoluluadvertiser.com. The new taxes comprised increases on hotel-room tax and state income taxes on the wealthy, among other things. Hawaii has been plagued by record-breaking occupancy declines during the recession, making it one of the hardest hit states in the U.S.
As large cruise lines reschedule port calls amid fears over the H1N1 influenza outbreak, some top tourism spots are reaping the benefits—in the form of millions of dollars in business, reports BusinessWeek. In San Francisco, for example, 16 additional swine-flu related landings will boost annual port traffic 31 percent and bring 49,000 visitors. Each call could mean US$1 million in sales for city business. Similar windfalls are bestowing destinations as diverse as the Bahamas to Seattle, Washington, to British Columbia in Canada.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics is set to release its Consumer Price Index Friday. Other reports expected to be released this week from the U.S. government: Weekly Selected U.S. Interest Rates, Job Openings and Labor Turnover, and Selected Economic Indicators.
View the weekly schedule of releases.
Compiled by Patrick Mayock.