International Monetary Fund chief warns of high Arab public debt

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New Delhi : Public debt has rapidly increased in many Arab countries since the 2008 global financial crisis, due to persistently high budget deficits, the International Monetary Fund warned Saturday.

“Unfortunately, the region has yet to fully recover from the global financial crisis and other big economic dislocations over the past decade,” IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde said.

“Among oil importers, (economic) growth has picked up, but it is still below pre-crisis levels,” she told the Arab Fiscal Forum in Dubai.

Lagarde said public debt among Arab oil importing nations had increased from 64 percent to 85 percent of Gross Domestic Product in the decade since 2008.

Nearly half of these countries now have public debt of over 90 percent of GDP, she said.

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