After a few difficult years, the Omani economy appears to be heading in the right direction. GDP contracted by 0.9 per cent in 2017 and is projected to grow by a modest 1.9 per cent this year, according to the IMF, but the Washington-based organisation has pencilled in a 5 per cent expansion next year.
As feared by many, the government is extending the reach of the dreaded “IR35 rule” to the private sector. It’s likely to lead to higher tax bills for many freelancer workers in the UK.
More than a year after the Taylor Review promised to make gig economy work fairer, has anything changed for the UK’s growing army of freelancers, contractors and the self-employed?
Despite Gulf producers’ success in forcing the price of crude up to around $70 a barrel, the strains of several years of lower oil prices are ever more apparent, even for the richest Gulf states. Adding to the pressure, several governments have had to shoulder the burden of huge military expenditure in Yemen and the cost of unprecedented diplomatic and other ‘soft power’ initiatives, as hydrocarbons revenues dropped away. These trends have driven a new burst of policy-making creativity in the UAE. Mindful of the need to generate more revenues, the authorities have launched a renewed drive to boost the economy’s competitiveness amid signs of sluggish growth.
Many of the economic gains made in President Rouhani’s first term are rapidly crumbling as the economy falters in the face of renewed US sanctions – all too predictably adding to hard-line factions’ momentum
The Saudi government is pushing forward with an ambitious and expensive drive to develop its domestic tourism and entertainment sector, with potentially major consequences for the shape of Saudi society and its economy.
In early August, a fresh round of US sanctions is due to be placed on Tehran, marking the imposition of what Washington hopes will be an economic straitjacket that the economy will struggle to escape from. Yet much will depend on the response from other world powers.
Egypt’s economy has been through a tumultuous couple of years, but there are signs it is turning the corner, not least because of an IMF programme agreed in August 2016.
Unilateral withdrawal from the JCPOA leaves the US looking more isolated on the world stage, but with strong support from Israel and some Gulf allies. Life is certain to get tougher for Iran and its trading partners once US sanctions are reimposed, even though Trump and his supporters, plans for what to do next remain unclear
International pressure on Tehran is ratcheting up, with the White House set to announce a decision on whether to ‘fix or nix’ the nuclear deal on 12 May, but before and after that point domestic disputes have the potential to cause significant problems for President Rouhani and his allies