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Since January 2016, when oil prices ended a sharp two-year slide, the price of crude has more than doubled. As a rule, higher prices are bad for oil-importing countries and good for oil producers. In recent years – and especially since oil prices began to slide in 2014 – MENA countries have been working to wean consumers and businesses off subsidized energy, while modernizing and diversifying their economies.All of this means that the near-term outlook for oil prices is uncertain, at best. MENA governments that took advantage of falling oil prices to reduce budget-busting fuel subsidies should thus tread carefully. For now, rising global oil prices will cause domestic prices to rise as well, unless governments use subsidies to limit the pass-through to local consumers.
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