AMMAN, JORDAN – The shock to the global economy from the coronavirus outbreak is hitting Middle East economies particularly hard, analysts say. “It’s a double whammy shock for the region,” said Jihad Azour, who directs the International Monetary Fund’s Middle East and Central Asia department. “First was the shock of the eruption of the virus from China because the region is strongly connected to China in terms of trade and services. The second episode came with the decline of demand in oil,” Azour said, referring to the dramatic drop in fuel consumption. Usage fell roughly 30 percent around the world, with airlines grounded and fewer vehicles on roadways due to coronavirus lockdowns and the resulting economic standstill. OPEC oil producers and others, including the United States and Russia, have agreed in principle to an unprecedented deal that will slash global output by 9.7 million barrels per day in May and June — the largest cut in oil production ever agreed to. They hope the April 12 deal will end a Russia-Saudi Arabia price war, which sent prices tumbling to nearly $20 a barrel. Oil producers want world prices to rise enough so they are not losing money and the excess… Read full this story
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