Gulf states to continue economic growth in medium term – Report


Kuwait : Arab Gulf states will continue their economic growth in medium term but at a relatively lower rate, an economic report shows.

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With projections showing that oil prices will remain high, it is unlikely that availability of oil in the Arab Gulf countries would end soon, according to the report released by the National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) Monday.

Even if oil prices retreat, said the report, high revenues of huge investments of public and private sectors would constitute a solid backbone for economic growth and human development. Gross domestic product (GDP) is projected to grow by over 6 per cent in 2007-08.

The report acknowledged that economies of the Gulf states prospered in the past four years, thanks to record oil prices and growing confidence of the national economies.

The fact oil prices remained high for long periods helped boost investment activities to record levels, it said.

Record surpluses in the government budgets of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states and foreign trade have helped in further cementing foreign currencies' reserve, despite government spendings.

The highest growth was recorded in the oil-dependent countries — Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) — in comparison with Bahrain and Oman which, despite their small oil fields, achieved remarkable growth, said the report.

All these combinations boosted volume of economies of the six GCC states to USD 706 billion in 2006 against USD 349 billion in 2002, noted the report.

Qatar came first with regards to economic growth with 25 per cent. It was followed by Kuwait and the UAE. Saudi Arabia, the largest GCC economy, was at the bottom with 16 per cent.