Min Zhu, Deputy Managing Director, International Monetary Fund
Martin Sommer, Deputy Chief, Middle East and Central Asia Regional Studies Division, International Monetary Fund
Roger Diwan, Vice President, IHS Financial Services
Aasim M. Husain, Deputy Director, Middle East and Central Asia Department, International Monetary Fund
Vali Nasr, Dean, Johns Hopkins SAIS
Jean-Francois Seznec, Scholar, Middle East Institute and Adjunct Professor, Johns Hopkins SAIS
Moderator: John Lipsky, Senior Fellow, Foreign Policy Institute, Johns Hopkins SAIS

June 8, 2016

Experts from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) convened at Johns Hopkins SAIS to release a report and discuss the effects of declining oil prices in the Middle East and Central Asia during an event co-hosted by the Middle East Institute.

IMF Deputy Managing Director Min Zhu explained factors driving recent oil prices, including rising shale production, slowing growth in emerging markets, and a greater emphasis on fuel efficiency and environmental sustainability. He supported a comprehensive approach to reduce oil revenue dependence in the Middle East and Central Asia.

Martin Sommer, Deputy Chief of the Middle East and Central Asia Regional Studies Division at the IMF, noted the strategies used by countries in the Middle East and Central Asia to respond to the current oil price decline. He warned that the uneven distribution of savings, rising debt, and lack of private sector jobs may create a large deficit and slow growth if their governments do not implement long term reforms soon.

Panelists also discussed supply and demand dynamics in energy markets, oil price projections, and the need for greater diversification in the regions' economies.