Bank Muscat secures regulatory approval for investment in GCC financial institutions

Bank Muscat secures regulatory approval for investment in GCC financial institutions
Bank Muscat secures regulatory approval for investment in GCC financial institutions

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Jeddah - Yasmine El Tohamy - RIYADH: Some 56 percent of chief economists expect the global economy to slow down in 2024 along with an acceleration in geo-economic fragmentation, a survey showed.  

The latest Chief Economists Outlook from the World Economic Forum noted that the global economy continues to grapple with headwinds from tight financial conditions and rapid advances in generative artificial intelligence.  

According to the survey report, 43 percent of chief economists foresee unchanged or stronger conditions in 2024, while seven out of 10 participants opined that geoeconomic fragmentation will accelerate during the period.  

“The latest Chief Economists Outlook highlights the precarious nature of the current economic environment. Amid accelerating divergence, the resilience of the global economy will continue to be tested in the year ahead,” said Saadia Zahidi, managing director at the World Economic Forum. 

She added: “Though global inflation is easing, growth is stalling, financial conditions remain tight, global tensions are deepening and inequalities are rising — highlighting the urgent need for global cooperation to build momentum for sustainable, inclusive economic growth.” 

A strong majority of survey participants, comprising 77 percent and 70 percent espectively, believe in the loosening of labor markets and financial conditions in 2024.  

The report noted that economic growth prospects have slightly weakened in the Middle East and North Africa region due to broader uncertainty about the trajectory of the Israel-Hamas war and its implications.  

Although 61 percent of economists still foresee moderate or stronger growth in MENA during 2024, regional prospects remain clouded by weak oil demand and a sharp contraction in tourism. 

Some 93 percent of economists expect at least moderate growth in South Asia, while 86 percent predicted upward movement of the economy in the East Asia and Pacific region.  

In Europe, the outlook has weakened significantly since the September 2023 survey, with the share of respondents expecting weak or very weak growth almost doubling to 77 percent.  

Some 43 percent of the economists predicted an economic slowdown in the US, the survey report noted.  

Chief economists who took part in the survey expect artificial-intelligence-enabled benefits to vary widely across income groups, with notably more optimistic views about the effects in high-income economies.  

Some 79 percent of the participants said generative AI will increase the efficiency of output production and innovation in 76 percent of the high-income economies this year.

Looking at the next five years, 94 percent expect these productivity benefits to become economically significant in high-income economies, compared to only 53 percent for low-income economies. 

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