Inflation in the oil-rich Gulf Cooperation Council is expected to increase to about seven percent in 2008, compared with an earlier forecast of six percent, the International Monetary Fund said on Monday. "Overall inflationary pressures in 2008 are expected to increase to about seven percent on average," Gene Leon, deputy chief of the IMF's Middle East and Central Asia section, told a forum in Bahrain.
According to the AFP, the IMF had earlier projected overall inflation in the six GCC countries to be six percent in 2008.
The IMF had expected inflation in Qatar and the United Arab Emirates to ease to some 12 percent and eight percent respectively in 2007. Inflation was expected to ease further in Qatar and the UAE to 10 percent and 6.4 percent respectively.
But on Monday, the figures provided by Leon inidicated that inflation in Qatar climbed to around 14 percent in 2007 while consumer prices in the UAE were estimated to have grown by some 11 percent. The IMF also showed inflation in 2007 rising by more than 4.1 percent in Saudi Arabia.
Among the other GCC states, inflation went up by around 5.5 percent in Oman last year, more than five percent in Kuwait and more than four percent in Bahrain, according to the IMF.