GDP growth of 3.9 per cent expected in 2014
Four of the region’s most influential business personalities and leaders in their respective fields analysed the business outlook for Bahrain and the wider region for the coming 12 months, providing insights on key industries. The general consensus indicated that global economic activity will remain unsynchronised, but stronger support factors will improve prospects as fiscal austerity eases in the developed world and monetary conditions remain supportive.
Held exclusively at Capital Club Bahrain, the panel consisted of industry heavyweights, including Dr Yahya Alyahya, CEO of Gulf International Bank, Hassan Jarrar, CEO of Standard Chartered Bank, Stephen Harrison, EDB’s International Advisor and Jamal Fakhro, managing partner at KPMG Fakhro, who moderated the event.
GDP growth in Bahrain in 2014, which is expected to reach 3.7 per cent, will be close to that of 2013 (3.9 per cent), which is high by most Western standards. Despite possible geo-political challenges, oil production will stabilise and the service sector will lead the steady growth.
Oil continues to be of significant interest for growth in Bahrain, as the government budget is increasingly dependent on oil. A recent confirmation that Bapco and Aramco have agreed to substantially expand the pipeline linking both countries is welcome news for Bahrain.
The outlook for the oil-rich GCC region and the wider Mena region is positive, despite tensions in other areas. Key priorities include the amendment of the government’s role as a regulator, the reform of the economy, rationalised subsidies and the creation of private sector employment.
Saudi Arabia’s economic prospects will remain robust in 2014, but it will be tempered by global, regional and policy challenges, as well as risks of volatile oil prices. Tourism and leisure business will be areas for growth in 2014, with the financial sector being the key contributor to Bahrain’s GDP. Strong and robust legal systems need to be developed in order to promote sustainable cross-border investments and trade flows.
On the subject of real estate reform, both the panellists and audience agreed wholeheartedly that the refinement of the real estate sector, which currently contributes approximately 15 per cent to Bahrain’s GDP, is critical. Jamal Fakhro says: “The general outcome of the session was very encouraging and overall atmosphere was very positive, as 2014 will bring steady growth for Bahrain.”
Monday, December 2- 2013 @ 14:19 UAE local time (GMT+4) Replication or redistribution in whole or in part is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Mediaquest FZ LLC.