Tim Callen

Visiting Fellow, AGSIW

Tim Callen is a visiting fellow at the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington. Callen is a former assistant director in the Middle East and Central Asia department at the International Monetary Fund. He served as the IMF’s mission chief for Saudi Arabia and as the chief of the Gulf Cooperation Council countries’ division from 2012-21. He was responsible for the IMF’s engagement with the government of Saudi Arabia and for the institution’s research and publications on the country. He also led the IMF’s research program on the GCC region. From 2021-22, he served as special advisor to the executive director for Saudi Arabia at the IMF’s Executive Board. Callen’s research interests focus on oil exporting countries and include prospects and policies for economic diversification away from oil, frameworks and institutions to limit procyclical fiscal policy, and appropriate exchange rate policies. Callen joined the IMF in 1993 and also worked in the Asia and Pacific, Communications, and Research departments. Before joining the IMF, he worked in the Economic Departments at the Bank of England and the Reserve Bank of Australia and at Hambros Bank. He holds a bachelor’s in economics from the University of Essex and a master’s in economics from the University of Warwick.

Petro Diplomacy 2024: The Countdown to Net Zero

On June 11, AGSIW convened its 10th annual Petro Diplomacy conference.

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Continued Progress in Saudi Economic Diversification

Efforts to diversify the Saudi economy continued to bear fruit in 2023, although oil is still the dominant economic force.

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Mixed Signals in the Latest Saudi Labor Market Report

The March 28 edition of the Saudi Economic Spotlight examines trends in unemployment and labor force participation rates for Saudi nationals.

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Is Aramco’s Higher Dividend Payout Sustainable?

Aramco should be able to sustain its higher dividend payout through 2025, but beyond this it will be increasingly dependent on higher oil revenue.

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Aramco Is Still the Jewel in Saudi Arabia’s Crown

The March 12 edition of the Saudi Economic Spotlight examines the continued strong performance of Aramco.

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Saudi Economy Contracted in 2023, But Growth Projections Unchanged for 2024

The March 11 edition of the Saudi Economic Spotlight examines detailed data on Saudi Arabia’s economic contraction in 2023.

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Four Indicators to Track Saudi Reform Progress

Positive developments in four indicators during 2024 – the female labor force participation rate, tourist arrivals, foreign direct investment inflows, and student educational attainment – will give confidence that the bold diversification plans underway in Saudi Arabia are on track.

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Stronger Growth Expected in Saudi Arabia in 2024 Amid High Uncertainty

The Saudi economy is likely to grow by around 1.5% in 2024 with the non-oil sector expanding by 3% to 4%. However, uncertainties are high, centering around the oil market, conflict in Gaza, path of U.S. monetary policy, and effects of domestic reforms.

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Going Big: Assessing the Growth Ambitions of the Saudi Public Investment Fund

Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund is likely to become the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund by the end of the decade, but raising the resources to fund its ambitious domestic investment program may increase economic and financial risks.

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Increased Spending Raises Risks to the Saudi Budget

The Saudi government is ramping up spending as it seeks to support economic development and diversification, pushing the fiscal balance into deficit despite high oil prices.

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Signs That Economic Diversification Is Working in Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia’s economic diversification plans are showing signs of progress, although the economy remains heavily reliant on oil.

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The Breakeven Oil Price Is a Poor Guide to Saudi Arabia’s Fiscal and Oil Production Policies

A thorough analysis of the government budget, debt, and net asset positions is needed to understand the fiscal situation in Saudi Arabia and any implications this may have for oil market policy.

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A Smaller Saudi Population Puts Key Economic Indicators in a More Favorable Light

Labor market data from the 2022 census is still to be published but once released could have important implications for the central goals of Vision 2030 given the recent large downward revision to population estimates.