Gulf In Focus

Bahrain economy returns to pre-pandemic levels

Bahrain’s economic indicators show that the performance of various sectors in August this year was comparable to the levels recorded during 2019 – before the outbreak of the pandemic, Finance and National Economy Minister Shaikh Salman bin Khalifa Al Khalifa has said. The data reflects the continued pace of economic recovery, he said. Shaikh Salman paid tribute to His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, hailing royal directives to launch the stimulus package to mitigate the impact of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) and maintain sustainable development, said a Bahrain News Agency report.

Iraq advances in prosperity index

Iraq has climbed the ranks on various economic indicators over the past decade as the government’s fiscal reforms aimed at ensuring stability bear fruit, according to the 2020 Legatum Prosperity Index. Iraq rose five places to 137th position out of 167 countries in 2020, up from 142nd place in 2010 when it was one of the least prosperous countries, the index shows. It scored higher for its open economy – particularly economic quality, market access and infrastructure – as well as social inclusion, although its people empowerment fell by one spot. “Prosperity is far more than wealth; it is when all people have the opportunity and freedom to thrive. Prosperity is underpinned by an inclusive society, with a strong contract that protects the fundamental liberties and security of every individual,” the Legatum Institute’s report said.

Kuwait to implement largest government restructuring in its history as of 2022

Kuwait plans to merge ministries, abolish others and create new strategies as part of the largest restructuring roadmap in its history over the next four years, Al Qabs reported. Beginning in 2022, the ministries of electricity, water and oil will come together under one umbrella called the ‘Ministry of Energy’, while a ‘Ministry of Economy and Trade’ will also be created. This department will be responsible for managing economic development, take responsibility for the national strategy for privatization, and manage the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Authority.

Qatar’s economic outlook for 2021 significantly positive

Qatar’s economy is on the path of recovery after facing challenging situation caused by COVID-19 pandemic outbreak. The economic outlook for the local economy for the current year is ‘significantly positive’, according to Qatar Central Bank (QCB). In its latest Annual Report, the central bank noted that higher economic activities due to increasing COVID-19 vaccination rate, rising global oil prices and growing natural gas production will help to boost Qatar’s economic growth. “In the middle of a global economic contraction due to the outbreak of COVID-19, Qatari economy too contracted in 2020. Despite this contraction in real GDP against an expansion in the preceding year, the economic outlook for 2021, however, remains significantly positive,” said QCB in its Annual Report 2020.

Over 1.3 million homes to be completed in Saudi Arabia by 2030

More than 1.3 million homes and 100,000 hotel rooms will be built in Saudi Arabia in the next nine years, according to the global real estate consultant Knight Frank. The firm has made the prediction after the Kingdom witnessed a tenfold increase in the number of residential mortgages issued in the first half of 2021 compared to the same period in 2016. Knight Frank has estimated that close to $1 trillion worth of real estate and infrastructure projects have been announced in the wake of the National Transformation Plan, unveiled in 2016. This is only a third of the total $3.2 trillion of spending that is planned, according to the consultancy firm.

Dubai sees surge in new companies

Dubai Chamber on Monday revealed that a total of 16,000 new companies joined in the first eight months of 2021, bringing its total membership to over 275,000, posting a year on year growth of 68.5 percent. The value of ATA Carnets — international customs documents that permit temporary import of duty-free and tax-free goods — issued by Dubai Chamber and received by the country between January and August 2021, reached Dh2.2 billion, a growth of 47 percent. This reflects an uptick in activity in the Meetings, Incentives, Conferences & Exhibitions (MICE) industry. Meanwhile, the number of ATA Carnets issued by the Chamber and received by the country, increased 5.1 percent over the same period, reaching 2,188 in the first eight months of 2021. The ATA Carnet system is managed by Dubai Chamber in cooperation with Dubai Customs, facilitating the temporary entry of imports to Dubai.

Up to 50pc rise in Dubai villa sales seen in q4

Dubai villa segment has a bright outlook and is expected to record up to 50 percent growth during the fourth quarter as investors and end-users look for best options in areas near to Expo 2020 site, says a latest report. “Villa segment is expected to drive strong growth in Dubai real estate sector during the fourth quarter as consumer and investor sentiments are up ahead of Expo 2020 Dubai,” according to Zoom Property Insights. The promising figures reported in the first two quarters of 2021 and the current statistics in the third quarter depict the same pattern that will boost villa sales by up to 50 percent on quarter-on-quarter basis during the October-December 2021 period, the Dubai-based real estate portal said. It further said the demand for villas is expected to surge in the areas closer to the six-month long exhibition site.

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Bahrain’s growth continues The Kingdom of Bahrain has ambitious plans for post-pandemic growth. After a …

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