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Inflation to be a key driver of policy in GCC

Governments in the region are quite keen to encourage equity market trading, experts said
Governments in the region are quite keen to encourage equity market trading, experts said

While economies around the world are working to normalise our relationship with the Omicron variant, there have been concerns about inflation related to monetary tightening



by

Rohma Sadaqat

Published: Tue 25 Jan 2022, 5:48 PM

Inflation will continue to be a key driver of policy, and decision-making in 2022, especially in light of the continued concerns revolving around the Omicron variant, experts at PwC said.

Speaking during the ‘Transforming our Region’ webcast by PwC Middle East, Richard Boxshall, chief economist at PwC, highlighted several themes for 2022 that have been identified across the GCC region.

“Our relationship of society and economy with Covid-19 is changing, and changing quite decisively,” he said. “Covid-19 is very clearly here to stay, and it is going to be a feature of our everyday lives. As individuals, as a society, and as a government, I think the way that we deal with that going forward will change, and I think we're going to move towards a much more tactical and targeted responses.”

While economies around the world are working to normalise our relationship with the Omicron variant, there have been concerns about inflation related to monetary tightening.

“At the moment, there has been a strong factor in the duration of inflation and prices, particularly abroad,” he said. “We are seeing it in the US and other economies, and that is starting to impact the region, particularly through imported inflation at the moment. We don’t seem to be seeing too much domestically generated inflation. So all-in-all, inflation in the region is on the rise, but maybe more moderately compared to what we are seeing elsewhere in the globe, but I think this will continue to play out in the region.”

What is important, he says, is the impact of the rise in inflation. “It will have an impact on the cost of living and the cost of doing business. I think we're going to hear much more about this from commentators such as policymakers and ministers. So, I think that inflation will be a key driver of policy, and decision-making in the year ahead.”

Other areas of interest will revolve around climate change agendas and the deepening capital markets. The GCC region, Boxshall said is prepared to host several climate change conferences, and there is already a lot of momentum towards the first-ever carbon-neutral World Cup being held in Qatar later this year.

“Another key trend that we are seeing is capital markets deepening,” Boxshall said. “We started hearing a bit about this at the back end of last year and it really seems like governments in the region are quite keen to encourage equity market trading, and making capital markets more attractive to investors more broadly – I think we're going to see an acceleration in the policy to support the overall objective of deepening capital markets in the region.”

Economies, he added, can also expect to see many more listings in 2022. “The Saudi Exchange has already reported 50 applications for fresh IPOs in the year ahead, and I am sure that we will have many more announced soon.”

rohma@khaleejtimes.com


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