Bahrain-GCC trade reached $5.7 billion in 2020, accounting for 25 per cent of Bahrain’s global bilateral trade for the year ($20.8 billion).
The figures were released at the same time as Bahrain’s Information and eGovernment Authority quarterly foreign trade report, identifying a 12 per cent surge in national origin exports buoyed by a thriving manufacturing sector.
Regional home to national and multinational manufacturing and logistics giants including Alba, Mondelez, Reckitt Benckiser and DHL, Bahrain offers a US FTA and direct access to the GCC’s largest consumer market – the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
During the fourth quarter, the value of exports of national origin increased by 12 per cent to $1.59 billion (BHD599 million) during the fourth quarter of 2020, compared to $1.41 billion (BD532 million) for the same quarter of the previous year. Meanwhile, the country’s trade balance – the difference between exports and imports – improved by 18 per cent in Q4, recording a deficit of $1.16 billion (BHD435 million) compared to $1.41 billion (BHD530 million) in the same quarter of the previous year.
The top 10 countries in terms of the value of exports of national origin purchased from Bahrain accounted for 72 per cent of the total value, with the remaining countries accounting for 28 per cent.
Ali Al Mudaifa, executive director, Investment Origination at Bahrain Economic Development Board, said: “As well as unparalleled access to GCC markets, manufacturers in Bahrain enjoy duty free trade through FTAs with 22 countries around the world, including the first ever US FTA with a GCC member – a critical market for midstream and downstream aluminium companies. Bahrain’s national manufacturer, Alba, is the largest single-site smelter in the world outside of China, producing at full capacity more than 2 per cent of global output of an increasingly important metal. With aluminium products featuring among our top exports during Q4 of 2020, it is clear that our economic diversification efforts in this area are paying off.”
During the fourth quarter of 2020, the value of imports decreased by seven per cent, reaching $3.17 billion (BHD1.191 billion) compared to $3.41 billion (BHD1.282 billion) for the same quarter the previous year. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia ranked first among countries receiving Bahraini exports of national origin, importing $337 million (BHD127 million) from Bahrain. Meanwhile, the United States of America was second with $138 million (BHD52 million) and United Arab Emirates third with $135 million (BHD51 million).
Unwrought aluminum alloys emerged as the top products exported from Bahrain during fourth quarter 2020, Agglomerated iron ores and concentrates alloyed was second, and Unwrought aluminum (not alloyed) third.