WASHINGTON, April 9 (UPI) -- The International Monetary Fund said Wednesday it expects tepid economic growth from oil-producing nations in the Middle East and North African regions.
IMF said economic growth in the region was slow because of declines in oil production and weak private investments. Political transition in countries like Libya, meanwhile, led to a lack of economic confidence.
"Economic activity will strengthen in 2014–15 as export growth improves in line with trading partners’ recoveries and public and private investment accelerates," it said in its world economic report.
IMF said a general decline in oil demand, coupled with fewer imports from the United States, meant countries that would otherwise depend on energy reserves are in decline.
As oil output stabilizes as the global economy gains traction, IMF said it expected regional gross domestic product should rise to about 3.5 percent 2014, compared with 2 percent last year.
"However, weak confidence, high unemployment, low competitiveness, and in many cases, large public deficits will continue to weigh on economic prospects in the region," the report said.
IMF's assessment didn't include recent events in Libya, where the central government brokered a deal to open eastern oil terminals closed previously by rebel leaders seeking more autonomy for a region known as Cyrenaica.