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GCC economies to expand by 5.9% in 2022: World Bank

For the UAE, the economic recovery is projected to continue in 2022, with growth anticipated to reach 4.7 per cent driven by oil and non-oil sectors, according to the latest issue of the World Bank’s Gulf Economic Update



The sunrise reflects on city skyline at the Marina and Jumeirah Lake Towers districts in Dubai. The World Bank report describes GCC economies as rebounding robustly from the Covid-19 pandemic in the course of 2021 and at the beginning of 2022. — AP file photo
The sunrise reflects on city skyline at the Marina and Jumeirah Lake Towers districts in Dubai. The World Bank report describes GCC economies as rebounding robustly from the Covid-19 pandemic in the course of 2021 and at the beginning of 2022. — AP file photo
by

Issac John

Published: Thu 26 May 2022, 6:05 PM

The economies of the GCC are projected to expand by 5.9 per cent overall in 2022, with this recovery likely to continue in the medium-term, driven by the hydrocarbon and non-hydrocarbon sectors, said the World Bank in a new report.

For the UAE, the economic recovery is projected to continue in 2022, with growth anticipated to reach 4.7 per cent driven by oil and non-oil sectors, according to the latest issue of the World Bank’s Gulf Economic Update (GEU) titled “Achieving Climate Change Pledges.”

The report describes GCC economies as rebounding robustly from the Covid-19 pandemic in the course of 2021 and at the beginning of 2022.

The report attributes the rebound to a broadly successful vaccination rollout across the GCC, the easing of pandemic restrictions, and developments in the hydrocarbon market. As a result, fiscal deficits have markedly improved, with the GCC external balance reaching pre-pandemic levels in 2021 as energy prices and export earnings strengthened.

As major hydrocarbon exporters, GCC countries may also benefit from changes in the energy markets brought about by the war in Ukraine. These countries may see strong fiscal and external surpluses, which could help spur consumer confidence and investments, the report noted.

However, the war has also placed energy security at the top of the agenda of many major oil importers, thereby accelerating their plans for a transition to green growth. The GEU contains a special chapter focusing on critical steps that need to be taken towards energy subsidies, fiscal consolidation, and the importance of getting prices right to bring about an environment that places the private sector at the forefront of green growth.

“As GCC countries commit to the net-zero objectives laid out in their pledges and strategies, it is important to restructure energy and water subsidies and address the GCC’s challenge of moving to a more sustainable growth model less hydrocarbon dependent and managing the transition to a global low-carbon economic environment that risk to see their oil revenues reduced in the next few decades,” said Issam Abousleiman, World Bank regional director for the GCC.

The special chapter of the GEU discusses opportunities to restructure energy subsidies in the region, as well as opportunities that exist for the GCC countries to become renewable energy powerhouses by diversifying into green technologies. This transition to an environment-friendly model will be a recurrent theme in future issues of the Gulf Economic Update, making this the first in a series that will focus on green growth in the region.

In Saudi Arabia, growth is expected to accelerate to 7.0 per cent in 2022, driven by stronger oil output following Opec+ production cuts and continued growth in non-oil sectors, and supported by stronger consumption, increased tourism, and higher domestic capital spending.

For Qatar, real GDP is estimated to rise in 2022 to 4.9 per cent on the heels of boosted hydrocarbon exports, while growth in private consumption may be slightly lower, at 4.8 per cent, driven by a potential dilution of World Cup proceeds and higher prices.

Oman’s growth in 2022 is projected to reach 5.6 per cent, underpinned by more than 8.0 per cent growth in the hydrocarbon sector, while the non-oil economy continues to grow by more than 2.0 per cent as faster vaccine rollout strengthens domestic activity.

In Kuwait, growth in 2022 is expected to accelerate to 5.7 per cent, due to higher oil output as Opec+ cuts are phased out and domestic demand strengthens.

Bahrain’s economy is expected to accelerate in 2022 to 3.5 per cent, boosted by surging energy prices. Recovery in the non-oil economy will be driven by expansion in the transportation and communication sectors, as well as increased agriculture and fishing.

— issacjohn@khaleejtimes.com


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