GCC economic growth expected to slow down


Abu Dhabi : The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries will experience a slower economic growth compared to the past years, the central bank of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has said, WAM reported Tuesday.

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“The GCC region will not witness the past years’ boom, fuelled by the increase in oil and gas demand,” Sultan bin Nasser Al Suwaidi, the banks’ governor, told the Abu Dhabi Corporate Leadership Forum Monday.

The six-nation grouping is a loose political and economic alliance comprising Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the UAE, Oman, Qatar and the Bahrain.

He attributed the projected slow down to the impact of weakening US economy and the ebbing economic boom in China.

“The coming years will not see the birth of new China,” Al Suwaidi observed.

“UAE’s gross domestic product, which achieved a 9.1 percent growth in 2007, will drop to 6.6 percent this year, to rise again to 9 percent in 2009, and then drop to 8.5 percent during 2010 and 2011,” Al Suwaidi said, but he did not indicate reasons behind volatile rate.

He noted that the GCC countries may not follow European Union (EU) model in forming single currency.

“Gulf countries might not follow the example of European Union and the euro and are not obliged to follow criteria of Maastricht Treaty,” Al Suwaidi said.

The Maastricht Treaty, signed in February 1992 in the Dutch town of the same name, lays down the three cornerstones of the EU – a single currency, the European Communities and common foreign and security policies.