IMF: Volatile politics and oil prices hinder Mideast growth

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DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — The International Monetary Fund says political uncertainty and volatile oil prices are hindering economic growth in the Middle East this year.

The IMF's regional outlook report published on Monday projects growth to rise just 0.5% in 2019, compared to 1.6% in 2018. Increased activity in the oil and gas sectors is expected to generate a rebound to 2.7% growth in 2020, though this figure too falls shorter than previous projections.

The region is reeling from U.S. sanctions on Iran and last month's attack on the world's largest oil processor in Saudi Arabia, which caused prices to spike by the biggest percentage since the 1991 Gulf War. They've since settled.

The IMF says oil prices have swung from $55 to $75 a barrel since the start of the year.

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