RIYADH: Food prices are projected to increase by another 14 percent in 2022, after hitting historic highs in 2021, said the International Monetary Fund.
In its latest World Economic Outlook, the international agency noted that the commodity markets in the Middle East and North Africa are being impacted by the Russia-Ukraine war inflation, with prices sharply rising.
In a blog published on the IMF website, its economists warned that “higher commodity prices, propelled upwards by war in Ukraine, will have a significant economic impact on the region.”
The IMF expects the regional inflation rate to remain high at 13.9 percent in 2022, a substantial increase from last year.
Following the Russian invasion, oil prices skyrocketed to $130 per barrel, and are expected to average $107 by 2022, up $38 from 2021, it added.
In its Regional Economic Outlook, the IMF had revised its forecast for growth in the MENA as a whole by 0.9 percentage points to 5 percent, but it said: “This reflects improved prospects for oil exporters helped by rising oil and gas prices.”
For oil-importing countries, the agency marked down its projections, “as higher commodity prices add to the challenges stemming from elevated inflation and debt, tightening global financial conditions, uneven vaccination progress, and underlying fragilities and conflict in some countries.”