World

IMF says low oil prices and conflicts in Mideast to keep regional economic growth 'subdued'

Director of the International Monetary Fund’s Middle East and Central Asia Department Masood Ahmed talks to The Associated Press at the Dubai International Financial Center, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2015. The IMF says a fall in oil prices and deepening turmoil in parts of the Middle East will keep growth in the region subdued this year at 2.5 percent. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili)

Director of the International Monetary Fund’s Middle East and Central Asia Department Masood Ahmed talks to The Associated Press at the Dubai International Financial Center, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2015. The IMF says a fall in oil prices and deepening turmoil in parts of the Middle East will keep growth in the region subdued this year at 2.5 percent. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili)  (The Associated Press)

The International Monetary Fund says a fall in oil prices and deepening turmoil in parts of the Middle East will keep growth subdued this year at 2.5 percent.

The IMF's Middle East economic outlook report launched Wednesday says the region's oil exporters have lost $360 billion in revenues this year due to the fall in prices. It said reforms in Gulf Arab countries that create more jobs and economic diversification are "all the more urgent."

War-wracked countries like Syria, Iraq and Yemen continue to be the most hard-hit economically. Neighboring countries like Jordan and Lebanon hosting refugees are also facing sustained economic pressures.

Iran's prospects, meanwhile, are expected to improve with growth reaching 4 percent in the medium term through increased trade and investment with the easing of international sanctions.