Middle East

AP Interview: IMF says low oil prices still hurting Mideast

  • Masood Ahmed, director of IMF Middle East and Central Asia Department, stands in front of the view of Dubai skyline from The Gate building before a press conference on the IMF Regional Economic Outlook Update in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2016. Ahmed told The Associated Press that oil-producing Mideast countries "still have some way to go" in reforming government sector and cutting spending. ((AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili)

    Masood Ahmed, director of IMF Middle East and Central Asia Department, stands in front of the view of Dubai skyline from The Gate building before a press conference on the IMF Regional Economic Outlook Update in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2016. Ahmed told The Associated Press that oil-producing Mideast countries "still have some way to go" in reforming government sector and cutting spending. ((AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili)  (The Associated Press)

  • Masood Ahmed, director of IMF Middle East and Central Asia Department, talks to a journalist during a press conference on the IMF Regional Economic Outlook Update in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2016. Ahmed told The Associated Press that oil-producing Mideast countries "still have some way to go" in reforming government sector and cutting spending. ((AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili)

    Masood Ahmed, director of IMF Middle East and Central Asia Department, talks to a journalist during a press conference on the IMF Regional Economic Outlook Update in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2016. Ahmed told The Associated Press that oil-producing Mideast countries "still have some way to go" in reforming government sector and cutting spending. ((AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili)  (The Associated Press)

  • Masood Ahmed, director of IMF Middle East and Central Asia Department, talks to a journalist during a press conference on the IMF Regional Economic Outlook Update in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2016. Ahmed told The Associated Press that oil-producing Mideast countries "still have some way to go" in reforming government sector and cutting spending. ((AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili)

    Masood Ahmed, director of IMF Middle East and Central Asia Department, talks to a journalist during a press conference on the IMF Regional Economic Outlook Update in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2016. Ahmed told The Associated Press that oil-producing Mideast countries "still have some way to go" in reforming government sector and cutting spending. ((AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili)  (The Associated Press)

The head of the International Monetary Fund in the Mideast says nations are making efforts to cope with low oil prices, though more needs to be done.

Masood Ahmed told The Associated Press that oil-producing Mideast countries "still have some way to go" in reforming the government sector and cutting spending.

Ahmed also says that Iran's economy has beat expectations by growing by 4.5 percent this year and could keep that pace, if the Islamic Republic can "move on addressing some of the other restraints in their economy." Ahmed says chief among them is modernizing both its banking system and its manufacturing industry, both of which were affected by sanctions.

Ahmed spoke to the AP on Tuesday. The IMF released a report on the Mideast economy Wednesday.