The Gulf Research Center, in its mission to produce high quality research and analysis on the Gulf region, will therefore be holding a closed webinar discussion in the context of the current COVID-19 pandemic, held under the Chatham House Rule, which will focus specifically on how the COVID-19 pandemic is currently impacting the Gulf economy, in addition to ways that it will continue to affect the Gulf economy in the aftermath of the crisis.
The interactive discussion will address the following topics and questions: Fiscal and budgetary challenges: What fiscal and monetary means do Gulf economies have at their disposal? How much do they need to do and for how long can they sustain low oil revenues from a fiscal and budgetary standpoint? Is this a dejavu of the 1990s fiscal constraints or is this different? Labor and unemployment risks: How will labor markets react? Will the private sector be able to cope with job creation challenges? Will unemployment rise over the short to medium term? What can policy makers do? Debt and currency constraints: Debt will inevitably rise for all Gulf economies. What is the impact of rising debt on Gulf sovereign ratings and corporations? Do debt sustainability thresholds matter? Will this impinge on their ability to borrow more in the future. How will their currencies be affected in a low oil price environment? Is the question of devaluation back? Private sector growth and entrepreneurship: How will the private sector fare in this new economic environment? Is the private sector locked in a dependency cycle with government spending or is there deleveraging? Will the private sector be able to grow independent of the government? Will rent-seeking behavior change and evolve into more competitive practices? What is the future of the Gulf private sector? Are the much talked-about SMEs taking off in the Gulf? The future of industry: The impact on industry will be vast in an era of trade retrenchment and de-globalization and localization. What will Gulf industries do and how do they adapt in this new environment? Will some have a head start than others? What is the comparative advantage in industry for Gulf economies? Is this a good time to rethink individual country-industrial strategies?