The International Monetary Fund says political uncertainty and volatile oil prices are weighing heavily on economic growth in the Middle East this year.

A new outlook report issued on Monday said that overall regional growth is expected to slowdown from close to 2% last year to about 1.5% in 2019.

A closer look, however, shows sharp variations from country to country.

Iran is among the hardest hit, with the IMF expecting economic retraction of around 6% under pressure of sanctions. The U.S. withdrawal of waivers on Iranian oil exports is likely to further impact this figure.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman and Qatar will need to create minimum 1 million new jobs annually for at least the next five years to stop unemployment from rising.

View more:

Sign up to receive our latest news!

By submitting this form, I agree to the terms.