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Global economic recovery patchy says Al-Naimi

Kuwait, April 18, 2011

The world economy is in better shape than two years ago but the recovery remains "patchy," according to the text of a speech Saudi Oil Minister Ali Al-Naimi is to give on Monday at a meeting of Middle Eastern and Asian countries.   

Al-Naimi, who said on Sunday the oil market was oversupplied, did not address current market conditions in greater detail in his speech.

Earlier, the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) also voiced concern about the impact of the Middle East political turmoil on the global economic recovery.

'A worsening of conditions in the Middle East and North Africa could derail global growth,' World Bank president Robert Zoellick said as the two institutions held their annual spring meetings in Washington.

'If oil prices were to rise sharply and durably - either because of increased uncertainty or due to a significant disruption to oil supply - global growth could slow by between 0.3 and 1.2 percentage points in 2011 and 2012, respectively.'

Meanwhile the IMF, in a statement from its main policy body, stressed the need to generate jobs as countries recover from the financial crisis to ensure the revival is sustained.

'Against this background, the immediate economic impact of the tragic events in Japan and of developments in some Middle Eastern and North African countries also warrants close attention,' it said in a statement.

IMF managing director Dominique Strauss-Kahn said the problem of a jobless recovery to economic growth was worrying many countries, but was more acute as turbulence spreads across the Arab crescent - where unemployment for youth is particularly high.

'The example of the Mena (highlights) this question that, you may have good figures at the growth level without having the sustainability of growth, just because of the political problems behind it.' 'We stand ready to help' with technical and financial assistance, he added.

The uprisings that overthrew longtime strongmen in Tunisia and Egypt and have challenged others from Libya to Syria and Yemen grabbed the focus of the world's financial technorati as they met in Washington to discuss the crucial challenges facing the global economy.

Zoellick stressed earlier in the week the impact that rising food prices have on political stability in poor countries.

'We may be coming out of one crisis - the financial and economic crisis - but we are facing new risks and wrenching challenges,' said Zoellick.

French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde, who chaired a Group of 20 finance chiefs meeting on the sidelines of the World Bank-IMF meetings, called for strong support for the North African countries from governments and multilateral agencies.

She said international financial institutions need to begin assessments 'in particular of those countries that have initiated a transition towards democracy'.

 




Tags: Saudi Arabia | Oil | Kuwait | recovery | Al-Naimi |

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