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KEY PROJECTS DRIVE ECONOMY

Bahrain’s overall assets hit $190 billion in February.

Bahrain to see 4 per cent growth despite low oil

MANAMA, July 19, 2015

Bahrain’s economy is expected to grow by at least four per cent this year despite global financial challenges and declining oil prices, said a top banking executive.

Non-oil sectors would play a crucial role in boosting the economy and spurring growth, Al Baraka Banking Group chief executive Adnan Yousif was quoted as saying by the Gulf Daily News, our sister publication.

He stressed the importance of strategic and vital projects, which were carried out last year, including infrastructure, energy and essential services schemes.

He highlighted the construction sector, which grew by two digits to exceed 12 per cent.

Bahrain’s economy, he said, stands to benefit tangibly from the $10 billion GCC Marshal Plan, describing the government’s $22 billion spending programme for the next five years as another major boost.

The banking expert expressed confidence in the solid fundamentals and pillars on which the Bahraini economy is based.

“Such fundamentals have helped the economy to be more flexible and capable of coping with the fluctuations in oil markets.

“Other non-oil sectors are also expected to grow, including hotels, tourism and social services,” he said.

Citing updated figures, he said that sectors of trade, retail commerce and manufacturing expanded by 4.6 per cent, 4.4 per cent and 4.1 per cent respectively.

Yousif underlined the crucial role of the banking sector in diversifying sources of revenues.

“Bahrain is home to 403 financial institutions which employ 14,000 people, of whom more than two thirds are Bahrainis,” he said.

According to latest figures, the banking and financial sectors contribute 16.7 per cent to Bahrain’s gross domestic product.

Bahrain’s overall assets hit $190 billion in February which reflects its solid standing as a major trade, investment and tourism hub in the region.

Bahrain is also home to 24 Islamic banks with combined overall assets of $25 billion, besides the assets of Sharia-compliant takaful financial companies, he said.

Bahrain has also topped all Arab countries this year on the Heritage Index of Economic Freedom.

It has also ranked second in the Arab region and seventh internationally on the World Bank Ease of Doing Business Index.

Yousif said that the Greek debt crisis would not leave a direct toll on the GCC economies.

“The volume of trade exchanges between GCC countries and Greece represents less than 0.5 per cent of the overall external commerce,” he said, adding that there are no massive GCC sovereign debts in Greece.

He said that the Bahraini and GCC investments and loans given to Greek banks are very small and do not pose any risk to GCC financial stability. – TradeArabia News Service




Tags: Bahrain economy | non-oil | Al Baraka | Islamic banks |

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