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Experts predict economic boost for net oil importers

Published by Daily Times on Wed, 11 Feb 2015

Emmanuel OgbonnayaThe falling price of oil has been predicted to boost economies of net oil producing countries on the condition that it does not exacerbate the threat of deflation.National Institute of Economic and Social Research UK, has disclosed that following growth of 3.4 per cent in 2014, the world economy will grow by 3.3 per cent in 2015 and 3.6 per cent in 2016.According to the report which was released Tuesday, growth was weaker than expected in late 2014 and inflation has fallen further below target in almost all developed countries;But a sustained lower oil price, if it does not exacerbate the threat of deflation, should provide a boost to growth in countries that are net oil importers and for the global economy, the report said.According to the report, oil prices have declined by more than a half (in US dollar terms) since June 2014. Oil exporting countries will suffer and some could face financial stress, yet the impact should be beneficial for the world as a whole, spreading the benefits of increased supply and mitigating the effects of weaker demand. However, this will depend partly on the extent to which it has a prolonged downward effect on inflation.The report stressed that priority for central banks in most advanced economies should be to ensure that the price decline does not exacerbate the problem of below-target inflation, with the associated threat of deflation. In some cases, this may mean further reductions in official interest rates; in others, in particular the Euro Area, there may be a need to strengthen unconventional measures.Continuing tepid expansion in the advanced economies in spite of the fall in oil prices, combined with substantial economic slack and low and declining rates of inflation, points to the continuing importance of promoting growth by boosting demand. Structural reforms that boost demand as well as supply can play an important role. These include: reforms that remove impediments to investment, business formation, and job creation and reforms that promote investment by raising expectations of future growth. At the same time, there is substantial potential for increased government investment, financed by borrowing, to boost both demand and potential output in many if not most advanced economies, the report said.Growth in the second half of 2014 was also said to be generally been weaker than expected, with the exception of the United States. Inflation in many cases has fallen further below central banks targets. These developments have led to additional policy actions in several economies to ease monetary conditions, including a welcomeindeed overduemajor expansion of asset purchases by the European Central Bank.There have been further marked declines in government bond yields, to record lows in some cases, and a significant general appreciation of the US dollar against other major currencies. A notable exception to this is Switzerland, where the Swiss National Bank removed the francs cap against the euro, resulting in a sharp appreciation.
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