Inflation Dynamics in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC): What is the Role of External Factors?


Inflationary pressures have intensified in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) in 2021-2022, mainly driven by a pick-up in tradeable goods inflation. Despite this increase, inflation remained relatively contained as compared to regional comparators. This paper aims to provide a comprehensive analysis of inflation dynamics in the region, with a focus on external factors because of GCC’s high reliance on international trade. Using a Global Vector Autoregressive model with quarterly data from 1987 to 2022, we find that external factors such as the imported inflation from main trading partners, mainly driven by China, and nominal effective exchange rate (NEER) are the main drivers of inflation in the GCC region. Additionally, we find that the direct pass-through of international commodity price shocks such as oil and raw agricultural materials is somewhat limited, after controlling for trading partners’ inflation, which can be explained by the prevalence of subsidies and administered prices in the region. Overall, since external factors are the main drivers of domestic inflation in the GCC, an increased focus on diversification, promoting food security, and ensuring prudent central bank policies, including through effective liquidity management frameworks, can play a key role in managing this impact.

Abolfazl Rezghi
Abolfazl Rezghi
Economist (EP)

My research interests include monetary policy, financial frictions, firm dynamics, and behavioral macroeconomics.