The head of the International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde (R), attends the international conference on Islamic finance, in Kuwait City on November 11, 2015. AFP PHOTO / YASSER AL-ZAYYAT
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On a trip through a Gulf squeezed by low oil prices, the head of the International Monetary Fund repeatedly called on countries to cut back on subsidies, lower government spending and consider levying taxes.But implementing Christine Lagarde's suggestions is easier said than done in the oil-rich countries, even as crude prices have dropped by over 50 percent since last year.Countries like the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Kuwait have large cash reserves to cushion the blow of low prices. However, if depressed prices continue into next year and beyond as analysts predict, even oil powerhouse Saudi Arabia could find itself hurting.Kuwaiti Finance Minister Anas al-Saleh, on hand for the event, said low oil prices wouldn't slow the country's development plans, though it likely would raise money for projects through Islamic bonds known as sukuk.
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