Arab nations see 9.8% surge in public expenditure, reaching $957.5bn in 2022: report 

RIYADH: Arab countries witnessed a 9.8 percent increase in total public expenditure, reaching $957.5 billion in 2022, compared to $878.9 billion in 2021, according to a recent analysis. 

The 43rd edition of the Arab Monetary Fund’s Joint Arab Economic Report disclosed that combined current expenditures in these nations jumped 9.9 percent to $824.6 billion in 2022, compared to $750.7 billion in 2021. 

The study highlighted a 3.6 percent increase in capital expenses, reaching $132.5 billion. The publication also noted that the public budgets of Arab countries reported a surplus of $119.6 billion in 2022, contrasting with a deficit of $62.5 billion in 2021. 

Meanwhile, the average per capita gross domestic product at current prices also increased by about 22.1 percent, rising from $6,993 in 2021 to $8,563 in 2022.  

In addition, the GDP of Arab nations at constant prices increased by about 6 percent in 2022, following a growth rate of 3.6 percent in 2021. 

The economic performance of Arab countries, which are among the leading exporters of oil and gas, experienced improvement due to the sustained increase in global market prices for these commodities, particularly during the first half of 2022. 

On the other hand, other Arab nations faced challenges as their import bill for oil, gas, and food products increased, constraining their recovery.  

The publication highlighted that financial strain, high public debt, and inflation restricted the region’s ability to implement effective economic policies. 

Despite these challenges, sectoral growth rates for these countries indicated an improvement in the performance of most sectors, particularly in the extractive industries sector, followed by the manufacturing sector. 

The impact of international developments on global prices of energy and food materials has led to varying degrees of recovery. This depends on the structural characteristics of individual economies and the capabilities of their governments to implement expansionary financial policies, the report added. 

The Joint Arab Economic Report is a collaborative effort between the Arab League, the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development, the Arab Monetary Fund, and the Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries, known as OAPEC. 

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